Hello again to my friends, family, colleagues, and clients. Many of you know me personally through work, networking or through one of my speaking engagements related to sales skills, effective online and offline networking, LinkedIn and Social Media training and personal development; and some of you may know me only by email and telephone. Welcome to everyone that’s new to this distribution list.
There are a lot of very smart and interesting people that I am fortunate to network with. We share books, movies, music and ideas that stimulate us. I’m always interested to learn what other people that I respect are reading, watching and listening to. This is my monthly email newsletter with books I’ve recently read, movies seen, music devoured, ideas and other things that may be of interest to you. If you find this interesting and would like to pass it on, please feel free to do so. If you’d like to be removed from this list just let me know. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you and you would like to be added to this distribution list or if you’d like to view previous newsletters, please email me and let me know.
Thank you for all the great feedback on this newsletter. I enjoy responding to comments and am pleased to say that this newsletter goes out to thousands of readers all over the US, Canada, China, Singapore, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Finland, England, Spain, Turkey, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Iran, France, Mexico and even New Jersey among a few other remote places (Joizy….what exit?).
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A number of people have asked that I insert an announcement indicating whether I have any upcoming speaking engagements that are open to the public. I do have a number of public speaking engagements this month. If you have an interest in dates, times and speaking topics, please let me know.
Quick FYI: Due to the growing readership of this newsletter and the multiple businesses that I operate in, starting 3/1/09 I will be moving the newsletter to an email newsletter platform. This will allow me to add graphics and to add many other enhancements. Please realize that starting 3/1/09, the newsletter will not be arriving in your inbox from my ADP email address. I had hoped to start this on 2/1/09, but I am still working through some of the changes.
It’s amazing that we’re already into the second month of 2009. Time flies when you’re having fun. The mountains here in beautiful Colorado are white, the skiers are schussing, and the skaters are spinning. Here in amazing Colorado Springs, we have our cold days, and lots of days in the 50’s and 60’s that feel like the 70’s. The sunshine is amazing.
I hope that wherever you are, you’re having a great start to 2009 and that this year is your best year ever!
TWO BOOKS TO PUT ON YOUR MUST READ LIST
The New Influencers: A Marketer's Guide to the New Social Media- Paul Gillin
Social Media is taking the world by storm and Paul Gillin is an expert in this rapidly-growing field. There are many self-proclaimed “Social Media experts” out there. Paul actually has the credentials. The New Influencers is intended to help marketers understand the new patterns of influence that are emerging in social media and to begin to engage with the influencers.
Gillin says that the first decade of the internet was “read-only” and a few years ago we entered the “read/write” age. Conventional marketing wisdom has long held that a dissatisfied customer, a pundit or someone with a message to get out tells ten people. In the new age of social media, he or she has the tools to tell 10 million.
Paul covers blogs, podcasting, PR, viral marketing, social networks, and the complex interdependency that is forming between mainstream and social media. He also goes in depth to describe how small and large businesses are using social media to communicate with customers and the media and how they are attempting to become influencers themselves.
Rather than focusing on just a few aspects of how influence is changing in the digital world, the book is a comprehensive discussion. It covers a wide spectrum of social media, including podcasting, vlogging and viral video. Books this broad are usually targeted at those just getting into the space, and are a bit of a yawn for others. But – surprise – Gillin is engaging, particularly in his profiles of some of these new influencers.
Here are some great quotes from the book:
– Traditional mass media is being replaced by networks of individual and small-group influencers. Young people are so convinced of the value of peer networks that they will trust the advice of a total stranger over that of a professional marketer.
– While the popular image of a blog is as a personal diary, the reality is that the most popular-and commercially influential blogs on the internet are topical. They offer a personal voice, but usually on an issue that’s compelling to a number of people. They’re a new style of publishing that emphasizes timeliness and opinion over comprehensiveness.
– Another truth with the blogosphere is that transparency is key to working in this medium. This premium on transparency may be the single greatest cultural shift that businesses will face as they engage with social media.
– In my interviews with influencers, I found surprisingly little competitive drive. In fact, enthusiasts were more likely to compliment their competitors than dismiss them. Contrast this to the intensively competitive environment in which newsrooms operate. But enthusiasts share one characteristic pretty universally: they know a lot.
– To understand the influence in social media, you need to buy in to the power of small markets. The audience is highly engaged and often passionately interested. Often, it’s because the topic relates to their work or a cause that concerns them. People are avid consumers of information in small markets, much more so than in large ones. But until recently, there were few cost-effective ways to address many small-market needs.
– In short, there’s no barrier to entry. A blogger’s or podcaster’s success is almost entirely dependent on his or her ability, ingenuity and hard work. New voices emerge all the time and they can gain traction and become influential very quickly. Whole industries are still almost untouched by social media, which means that influence has yet to be defined there.
– By engaging prospective customers in active dialogue, companies can showcase their expertise and domain knowledge and generate buzz around their products and services, while eliciting feedback as well as collaboration from product evangelists.
– They’re joining an exploding number of small businesses that are finding that blogs and podcasts are a cheap and easy way to grow business and create an online voice.
– The motivations for small and large businesses to blog are very different, and so are the rewards. Talk to a small business blogger and he or she will tell you about sales leads and orders that came in as a result of the blog. Big businesses don’t see such ROI, or at least they don’t measure it. For them, the appeal is in creating new communication channels to customers, exposing the quality of their human capital or just looking hip. The ROI is easier to measure than many people think and the cost can be so small that it almost doesn’t matter.
– Corporate attitudes are beginning to shift away from blasting a message to engaging in a conversation. Your own business objective needs to be specific. The point is that an objective will keep you focused and focus is what will make you successful. You need to keep your commentary relevant and interesting. A business goal gives you a single guideline against which you can measure what you say.
A valuable attribute of the book is that Gillin, while an advocate of social media, is not wearing rose-colored glasses. He writes, “If you think your corporate blog is going to make your customers love you, the media go easy on you and your investors buy your stock, you’re wrong.” The New Influencers provides excellent resources and advice useful for anyone attempting to educate an organization about social media. I recommend it to “newbies” as well as those with more experience—it is always good to take in a fresh perspective, and that’s what Gillin is offering here. http://paulgillin.com
How To Get Rich: One of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets- Felix Dennis
Geez…another great book recommendation from my friend David Fein! This is one of the most interesting books that I have read in some time, and I read a lot of interesting books. Some will look at the title and immediately dismiss this book. I wouldn’t do that too quickly. There are always lessons available to be learned from people that are very good at what they do. There’s no denying that Dennis is a master at making money. He’s also so disarmingly honest about his motivations and his past that you quickly realize that he didn’t write this book because he needs the money. He’s in a position where he can speak his mind freely and let the chips fall where they will.
Are you looking for a practical how-to, what’s-it-like guide to becoming a rich entrepreneur, written by an expert and eccentric? If so, Felix Dennis’ How To Get Rich is probably for you. Though I really liked his writing style — direct, bold, and funny in a self-effacing way– truth be told, with a title like How To Get Rich, I lowered my expectations a bit in case it turned out to be the usual stuff you usually find in the Business Profiles section of a bookstore. Actually, Dennis has some pretty harsh words for all the authors out there who write how-to-get-rich books without actually having done so, except by selling copies of their how-to books!
Enter Felix Dennis, a British publishing mogul who loves writing poems, outstanding wines, and telling it like it is. If you’ve never heard of him, he started Dennis Publishing in 1974, hit it big by publishing magazines related to the PC revolution back when no one else thought it would last, and nowadays publishes some of the most successful men’s lifestyle magazines in the US, like Maxim, Stuff, and Blender. By his own estimation, he’s worth about $400-$900M before tax.
Dennis emphasizes in his book that it’s a definitive how-to guide to being rich, and he regularly repeats, more than half-seriously, that if you’re not using his book to get rich, then you’re wasting your time and might as well give it to someone who will use it properly. I disagree wholeheartedly. You’re going to get good advice from this book regardless of whether you’re aiming to become rich, want to run your own simple business, or even if you work for someone else.
Sure, for those who are looking to get filthy rich, Dennis’s advice is probably spot-on. In a nutshell: choose a good industry (he gives some guidelines on what to avoid), mix in some luck (he gives advice on how to improve your chances of catching Lady Luck), and, finally, the most important part, retain 100% ownership of it through thick and thin (much easier said than done). Dennis truly believes that getting rich really isn’t hard, and anyone can do it, as long as they’re willing to make the sacrifices that are required to get there. On this point, I like that Dennis handles being rich even handedly. He says outright that being rich won’t make anyone happier and is in fact more likely to lead to distress and loneliness, because getting there and maintaining wealth always requires personal sacrifices that most people aren’t willing to make, and for good reason.
I suppose the reason I enjoy this book so much and will read it over and over again is that you seldom have the opportunity to hear someone’s philosophy and conclusions about living life, let alone someone who has probably done things you’ll never get to do (but might like to). I like that Dennis gives examples of his thought processes, and I don’t mean only on his successful ventures. More often than not, he gives examples of how he missed opportunities and made errors. He talks about what he’d do differently if he had the chance to start over. He gives some advice on managing talent (what he considers the important asset in a business) even though he also says that entrepreneurs shouldn’t be focusing on managing people.
Here are some great quotes from the book:
– Personally I know only five acquaintances who dedicated themselves to achieving success in business in order to make themselves seriously rich. (As opposed to scores of senior managers or professionals known to me who dedicated themselves to success in their business life, but allowed others to reap the main financial rewards of their labors.)
– No matter how much faculty of idle seeing a man has, the step from knowing to doing is rarely taken. Knowing that fear of failure is holding you back is a step in the right direction. But it isn’t enough, because knowing isn’t doing.
– We do not choose out parents. We do not choose our nationality. We do not choose who we fall in love with. We do not even choose the personality or character of the children we bring into the world or our own personal characteristics-random configurations of DNA do it for us. But we do get to choose, if we are determined enough, what it is we want to do for a living. Most of us flunk this test.
– It is the instinct to seize an opportunity when it presents itself that perhaps sets apart the self-made filthy rich from the comfortably poor, the willingness to ignore conventional wisdom and risk everything on what others consider to be folly.
– The lesson is clear. Despite the words of the old rock ‘n’ roll song; the original is not the greatest. Not always. If you want to be rich, then watch your rivals closely and never be ashamed to emulate a winning strategy. They may josh you a little for doing it, but that’s a price well worth paying. The problem with the great idea is that it concentrates the mind on the idea itself. This is fine as far as it goes. But unless the idea is executed efficiently and with panache and originality, then it doesn’t matter how great the idea is, the enterprise will fail. Ideas are certainly of immense importance, but I have seen so many people attempting to create a start-up company become obsessed with proving that their idea is “right” rather than obsessed with making money. Nobody really cares if an idea is “right”, except the person who came up with it.
– This is an “anti-self-improvement” book-because it admits openly that the chances of anyone reading it and then becoming rich are miniscule. The vast majority of you are far too nice. And comfortable. And sensible.
– Learning to evolve or die is a cardinal virtue. Most of us would prefer that things stayed the same so that we can carry on making money in the way we have grown comfortable with. But things do not stay the same. Either you learn to go with the flow and change as rapidly as you are able, or you will be left stranded, like the last dinosaur, by the last warm lake, on the last continent the ice age has yet to reach.
– The biggest basket I ever built wasn’t my first or second. It was my twentieth. But if I hadn’t built the second, I would never have reached the twentieth.
– The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.
– Please remember: you are not reading this book to become a successful manager. Managers rarely become rich. Most managers are lieutenants. You, on the other hand, have to keep your eye on another ball-several other balls, in fact. You may well have to masquerade as a manager (for a short while) on the way to becoming rich, and you should strive to be a good manager while the role is forced upon you. But even if you discover that you truly have a talent for the minutiae that management demands, it’s best to abandon the role just as soon as you can afford to hire appropriate personnel.
– The world is full of aspiring lieutenants. Most people seek job security, job satisfaction and power over others far more than they seek wealth. And thank goodness for that. If all the great managers in the world were dead set on becoming rich, and willing to take the necessary risks to do so, there would be little hope for the likes of you and me.
– Please think about this if you want to be rich. Ownership is not the most important thing. It is the only thing that counts. Nothing else counts in the getting of money.
There are so many interesting concepts and quotes in this book that I could fill a few newsletters. Even if being an entrepreneur isn’t one of your goals, this book will still give you perspectives that you’ll seldom hear from other people in your life. Like him or hate him, you can’t deny that he speaks his mind. I REALLY enjoyed this book. www.felixdennis.com
Shine- Joni Mitchell
I’ve been a big Joni Mitchell fan for years and I’m hoping that someday my wife, Karin, will appreciate her. God knows, I’ve tried to get Karin to come over to my side. If I could just get her to turn off the Abba, Barry Manilow, Aha and Anchovy (Bon Jovi) for a few minutes.
Joni Mitchell's first album of new songs in many years finds her mourning the sad state of the planet, but with a newfound acceptance that all things have their place in the universe ("bad dreams are good in the great plan," as she puts it here, quoting her young grandson) — including her own anger and disappointment. Despite the numerous call-outs of money/corruption/greed/rag
She boldly opens the album with an instrumental, which struck me as an odd move on first hearing, but in the context of the rest of the album makes perfect sense on Joni's terms, which are the only terms on which she makes records, bless her. (Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young — her true peers — also specialized in weirding out listeners who expected more-of-the-same with each new record.) Every song gets a distinctive orchestration of its own, from the percolating "Hana" — a portrait of an old movie heroine, an Irish bodhisattva disguised as a traveling maid, who had "a special knack for getting people back on the right track" — to a playful reprise of "Big Yellow Taxi" rescored like French circus music. "This Place" has particularly sleek and engaging sound, blending lap steel, warm horns, and bright keyboards, with its reference to a neighbor in rural British Columbia who says, "When I get to heaven, if it is not like this, I'll just hop a cloud and I'm coming back down here…"
Joni is a genius and she is greatly appreciated for all that she has created over the years and if I had to put money on it, I’d wager that as time goes on she’ll be appreciated more and more.
ARE YOU GOING TO FINISH STRONG?
My good friend, Dave Block, sent me this fantastic clip. There are times when things are not going well for me and like almost everyone else, I can start to feel sorry for myself and shake my fist at the air and get pretty upset. When I watched this short amazing clip I realized that if most of us had the opportunity to put our troubles in a bag with other people’s troubles and pick one, we’d rather just keep our own situations.
Nick Vujicic has no arms or legs but has come to terms with his lot in life and he delivers an inspirational speech to these school kids that they will probably never forget.
FLYING LIKE BIRDS
A while back I posted a video of a Frenchman that built a flying suit that has an engine on it. Wait until you see this clip. Who needs an engine? The guys that are in this amazing footage are mind-boggling. They come within inches of mountains at well over 100 mph and the photography is remarkable. I have watched this over and over and over and am constantly dumbfounded by this. Thanks go to my friend, Melanie Kantor for this tremendous clip.
A MEAL TO DIE FOR
My dad forwarded this clip to me. He also told me that if I ever took my kids here, I’ll be out of the will. You know the drill….…where there’s a will, there’s a relative.
This is one heck of a restaurant in Chandler, Arizona. No one can say that they weren’t warned by the name of the place. If you’re gonna check out, at least the scenery is pretty nice.
WHAT ENGINEERS DO WHEN THEY RETIRE
Thanks to my friend Todd Dierdorff from outside Sacramento, CA for this clip. It should come as no surprise that this Rube Goldberg-type video comes from Germany. I can say that because I are a German. I’m afraid of the mind that thought this up, but I have to give them credit for the use of the chess board and the cell phone….brilliant!
THE WORST BEST MAN EVER
The name sums up the content of this brief clip.
START WEARING PURPLE
In keeping with my personal philosophy that you can never get enough odd music videos, I submit this piece of brilliance by Gogol Bordello for your review. If you enjoy this, perhaps you and I should go to a few New York clubs together. I haven’t been to those clubs in some time, but I’m about due for a visit. Colorado Springs is great, but I can assure you that there are no clubs like this here. Special thanks to my cousin Tony in Brooklyn, NY for this purple gem.
SOME GREAT QUOTES
“Age doesn’t protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.” Jeanne Moreau
“We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and we must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society.” Judith Martin
“All the technology in the world will never replace a positive attitude.” Harvey Mackay
“True strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces, and then eat just one of the pieces.” Judith Viorst
”A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people’s patience.” John Updike
“Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child.” Ron Wild
“The man who says that he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance.” Laurence Peter
“Dissatisfaction and discouragement are not caused by the absence of things but the absence of vision.” Anonymous
“The prime purpose of eloquence is to keep other people from talking.” Louis Vermeil
“Decide if you’re Tigger or Eeyore.” Unknown
“It is never too late to give up our prejudices.” Thoreau
“I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They’ve experienced pain and they’ve bought jewelry.” Rita Rudner
“We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” Frank Tilbolt
“Football is a mistake. It combines the two worst elements of American life. Violence and committee meetings.” George Will
If you think that this newsletter will be of interest to someone that you know, please feel free to forward it on. If you have any thoughts or opinions on any of these recommendations or have recommendations of your own, please let me know-you never know where the conversation may go from there. As always, if you’d like to reach me, the easiest and fastest way is either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile phone at 719-650-7659 719-650-7659.
To your success,