Bo Burlingham | Finding Gratitude in the Wake of Tragedy

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Bo Burlingham | Finding Gratitude in the Wake of Tragedy

Bo Burlingham

Posted on August 6, 2019

Listen to the episode:

In this special episode of the donothing podcast, you’ll learn:


  • Where Bo was planning on flying to on 9/11/2001
  • Why Bo missed Flight 11 on September 11th
  • How Bo found out that he was supposed to be on that flight
  • What Bo’s first reaction was when he heard “his flight” hit the Twin Towers
  • How Bo’s near miss with death changed his outlook on life
  • Why Bo considers this near-miss a blessing—and not just because he survived
  • How others including his family and colleagues like Jack Stack and Norm Brodsky reacted to the events of 9/11 and came together in the wake of tragedy
  • Why it took several days for Bo and his wife, Lisa, to reunite
  • How Bo’s sense of gratitude deepened after this experience
  • Why Bo doesn’t want the memory of his brush with death to fade
  • What Bo has had the opportunity to enjoy thanks to missing Flight 11
  • Why gratitude is often the silver lining behind tragedy

As we walk through life, many of us never know the near misses with tragedy we avoid due to an unknown twist of fate. For others, however, that near-miss was broadcast worldwide and will be forever remembered.


Bo Burlingham, author of the best-selling books Small Giants, The Great Game of Business and Finish Big, co-founder of the Small Giants Community and recent donothing guest, was one of those people. This week, we’re deviating from our typical podcast format to share his unbelievable story.



On September 11th, 2001, 2,977 innocent people lost their lives—and Bo was nearly among them.


That Tuesday over 17 years ago, Bo had plans to travel from Boston to Los Angeles with a seat booked on American Airlines Flight 11. However, a twist of fate moved him to change his flight. Instead of sitting on that plane, he watched in horror as it plunged into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.


Listen to Bo’s incredible story about that terrible day and discover how his brush with mortality changed his entire outlook on life.


Connect With Bo Burlingham Online





Find Bo’s Books Online

Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top


Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big


Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs, with Norm Brodsky


The Great Game of Business, with Jack Stack


Registration is OPEN for the 2020 donothing Leadership Retreat!


The dates are set for next year’s silent retreat at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. Join me and other leaders from April 19-23, 2020 as we dive into the biggest leadership challenge our lives—doing nothing. Learn more about the donothing Leadership Retreat at


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