March 2009 From Kevin Knebl


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 online and offline networking, Social Media and personal development; and some of you may know me by LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, email or 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 your 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, Poland, Scotland, Ireland, Ukraine, Israel, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia, South Africa and even New Jersey among a few other remote places (Joizy….what exit?).

I use ( for business networking, ( for social networking, and for instant global messaging ( Through LinkedIn, I have been able to refer a lot of business and connect many people for business and social purposes. If we are not already connected on LinkedIn, please contact me to connect and if I’m able to refer business your way, I’ll be happy to do so. Please also consider connecting to me through Facebook as it is a fantastic way to keep up to date with your friends all over the globe (and a lot of fun).

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 speaking engagements this month. If you have an interest in dates, times and speaking topics, please let me know.

Can you believe that we’re already in March? Man, time does fly. I hope that you are doing well. Here in the US, we are experiencing a difficult economic situation and there are a lot of hurting people. I hope that things are going well for you and that you and your family are hanging in there through these trying times. Everyone is being affected this in one way or another, so if you’re having some sleepless nights, know that you’re not alone.
Not to sound like a motivational speaker (oh wait, I am one), it’s not what happens, but how we handle it. As a good friend of mine says, “this too shall pass”. It may not be much consolation when you’re in the midst of a serious situation, but it is true nonetheless. Hang in there.

I was recently interviewed by The Colorado Springs Gazette and here’s the link to the interview. Although they got some of my personal information a little bit off, they did print my quotes pretty accurately.

The Myth of Multitasking (How “Doing it All” Gets Nothing Done)- Dave Crenshaw

This short book is a great story about something that many of us deal with all the time. In today’s busy world we are led to believe that we can do more than one thing at a time. We are also led to believe that we can do these things effectively. If I can be so bold…..where’s the evidence? Multitasking makes us less productive, costs us time, and generally leads to the feeling that we’ll never catch up.

Crenshaw tells the story of Phil, who is a business consultant and Helen, who is like many of us. Helen is working all the time and is overwhelmed with her responsibilities (although she’d probably never admit it to anyone except Phil). Phil explains the concept of “switchtasking”. We tend to believe that we can do more than one thing at a time, but it has been proven that this isn’t true. The human mind can only consciously concentrate on one thing at a time. Switchtasking is the process of switching between tasks. This is what we are really doing when we think that we are multi-tasking. Switchtasking is very costly. It is a less effective and less efficient way to get things done.

Crenshaw’s book is a fast read and there’s a good message behind the interesting modern story. He paints a good tale that I think that most people in business will intimately relate to. There were times when I was reading the book that I felt that Crenshaw was looking over my shoulder.
He intersperses quotes on multitasking from studies and business publications throughout the book. Here are some interesting observations:

– Our research offers neurological evidence that the brain cannot effectively do two things at once. -Rene Marois, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University

– Multitasking: A polite way of telling someone you haven’t heard a word they said.

– The brain is a lot like a computer. You may have several screens open on your desktop, but you’re able to think about only one at a time. –William Stixrud, Ph.D., Neuropsychologist

– Multitasking? I can’t do two things at once. I can’t even do one thing at once. –Helena Bonham Carter

– To do two things at once is to do neither. –Publilius

– Technology provides the very tools that are supposed to make us more productive, but we haven’t done a very good job of deploying them, training others to use them, or training managers on how to manage those who use them. – Jonathan Spira, CEO and Chief Analyst, Basex Research

– Dress me slowly, for I am in a great rush. –Napoleon Boneparte

– Multitasking: A nice way to say that you’re doing many different things at the same time. And since no one can divide by 0, that means you’re doing many different things half-a—d.

Crenshaw takes us through an understanding of backgroundtasking, active switches, passive switches, micro-switching costs and other interesting concepts. His book contains a marvelous exercise with which readers can prove to themselves that this is actually the case, that switchtasking takes longer than actually doing one thing at a time. He also provides worksheets at the end of the book so we can take a look at how we are processing tasks and learn how to become more effective in our work.

I really liked this book and recommend that you read it if you are a business owner or someone that feels overwhelmed from time to time by all the things that you are working on and need to get done. Geez- would that be all of us?
Here’s Dave’s website and there’s a good, short video on his home page. Cool stuff.

Emotional Awareness- Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion (A Conversation between the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman, Ph.D.)- Edited by Paul Ekman, Ph.D.

Paul Ekman is a world famous psychologist and The Dalai Lama is the leader of a millennia-old spiritual Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Bringing different perspectives to bear-Eastern and Western, spirituality and science, Buddhism and psychology-the Dalai Lama and Ekman sought to clarify these contradictions and illuminate some paths that might enable a balanced emotional life and a feeling of compassion that can reach across the globe.

Despite their differences, they discovered important common ground in their perspectives. They both share a commitment to reducing human suffering, intense inquisitiveness, and a conviction that they were both likely to learn from each other. Their conversations revealed the unfolding of what developed into an intense friendship over the course of the nearly forty hours that they spent exploring these issues.
Here are some quotes from both Ekman and the Dalai Lama:

-Dalai Lama: Some scientists believe or feel science is something that must be anti-religion, but that is not the case. Science is only the method to investigate what is the reality. Religious matters deal mainly with the subjective side.

-Ekman: English seems to me rather impoverished in its labeling of the different emotions. If we do not have words to describe different states, then we cannot think about them and anticipate them. We cannot discipline ourselves as much because we do not have the words to refer to these emotions. Without words, we cannot reflect on what has or could occur. We need to expand our vocabulary for describing our emotions, particularly the constructive and destructive aspects of each of them.

-Dalai Lama: Knowledge about the benefits of compassion can be taught.
Ekman: The knowledge can be taught. But learning the skill of monitoring awareness-of being in the moment, to be aware of the spark before the flame-is not easy. You need both. You need knowledge and you need skill. Knowledge you can even get from a book. Skill you cannot get from a book-you need to practice again and again. They are two different, but related, matters that are essential for a balanced life.
Dalai Lama: Mindfulness is bringing to the present the awareness of things that you have learned.

-Dalai Lama: What we are doing with these meditative practices, such as focusing on the breath, is creating skills that in some sense we do not need. It is very hard to focus attention on our breath because it is automatic. We are not equipped by nature to focus on it: It is unnecessary. But if we learn how to do so, then we are more generally acquiring the ability to monitor automatic mental processes and that means we are building new neural connections for monitoring what occurs without consciousness.
If you create these new connections, which are unnecessary to breathe, walk, or eat, I postulate that it will allow you to monitor the automatic nature of emotion. If you develop the skill to focus on your breath for longer and longer periods of time, then that very skill that you have developed will benefit your emotions because your emotions are automatic also.

-Dalai Lama: One basic point is that, generally, the majority of people do not really think about the destructiveness of many of the emotions. I mean that the awareness simply is not there. That is partly because the emotions are a very natural part of humans. In general, society’s perspective is that it is only the emotional manifestations in murder or rape or stealing that are thought to be very destructive. There is not much thought given to the underlying mental states that motivate them, partly because they are innate, a part of the human mind. If an individual has learned, either through cultural exposure or another means, that these emotions can be destructive and can lead to undesirable consequences, he or she would have a different attitude and reaction. For example, in Tibetan society, children learn from a very early age about the undesirability of harming any living being, including small insects. They are culturally exposed to this idea from a very early stage, so it becomes part of their basic habit. You immediately resist from harming.
Ekman: In the West and also in Japan, self-help books are very popular, which shows that there is a widespread desire for changing our emotional lives. Certainly, not everyone wants to do so; it is more evident in women than in men. But they want help with their emotional lives. I am not a historian to know how far back this goes, but this has certainly emerged in the twentieth century, and there are industries devoted to it. Just like people who want to be slim and read one diet book after another to lose weight, people read one self-help book after another to try to attain better emotional balance.
Dalai Lama: This is true. This is very true. It is obvious that there is a growing appreciation of the importance of understanding one’s emotions, how they operate, and how to manage them.
In this unparalleled series of conversations, the Dalai Lama and Ekman prod and push toward answers to the central questions of emotional experience. What are the sources of hate and compassion? Should a person extend her compassion to a torturer—and would that even be biologically possible? What does science reveal about the benefits of Buddhist meditation, and can Buddhism improve through engagement with the scientific method? As they come to grips with these issues, they invite us to join them in an unfiltered view of two great traditions and two great minds.
Harps and Angels- Randy Newman

Most people know Randy Newman from his hilarious song “Short People” from the 70’s and all his great songs in Disney movies over the last decade or so. Newman is the recipient of the 2002 Academy Award for Best Original Song, 17 Oscar nominations, five Grammy Awards, 13 Grammy nominations, and two Emmy Awards, Newman is a singular figure who over the course of his career has explored various styles and sounds of the cannon of 20th century American music.

Whenever I listen to Randy I feel like I should be in a bar in New Orleans. His songs shuffle along and they have a simple quality to them. Don’t take that as anything other than a strong compliment. The great ones always make it sound easy. Anybody can take a simple thing and make it complicated, but it takes a genius to take a complicated thing (like music) and simplify it. His ability to write in a humorous way without being a clown is amazing. Irony in music is not an easy thing to pull off, but you’d never know that listening to Newman. The man is a genius.

Newman has never been known for writing anything other than what he wants. I love that he writes about what is interesting to him and he just lets the chips fall where they will. The songs on this new CD are awesome. He sings about race relations, the state of America in defense of the view of Europe and other hot topics. He also has written an incredibly poignant song called “Losing You”. The melody is so simple, but the message goes straight to your heart. Here is a link to a quick interview with Randy and then a video of just him and his piano singing “Losing You”.

What a great short video. You may think that you know where this is going, but please watch it to the end you will be surprised. At a meeting of AARP (American Association of Retired People) they showed this video which was submitted by a 20 year old for a contest. The contest was titled "u @ 50". This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause. So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it.

Who woulda’ thunk that Bruce Lee was a black belt in ping pong? This is fun.

This is amazing! My friend, David Block sent me this incredible clip. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Alright, this one has been around the world a hundred times, but I never get tired of it. You can’t make this stuff up. The truth is always more amazing than fiction. Get a Kleenex.

I am going to miss Conan O’Brien at his usual late night time slot. Here’s a clip of Louis CK on Conan’s show talking about how spoiled and impatient we have all become. The funniest part of this is that he’s actually not trying to be funny- he’s just telling the truth. Great perspective!

This is another song from “Harps and Angels” called “Potholes”. He calls this the most honest song he’s ever written.

Everyone knows that I’m a sucker for catchy pop songs from the 70’s. Do you remember this one? It’s a masterpiece. A lot of you reading this weren’t even born when this song came out, so just shut up. Young punks.

“You will find more love by generating it thank seeking it.” Alan Cohen

“The genius of communication is the ability to be totally honest and totally kind at the same time.” James Powell

“In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.” Fran Liebowitz

“Build a little community of those you love and who love you.” Mitch Albom
”The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.” Elizabeth Taylor

“Some will never know anything because they understand everything too soon.” Thomas Blount

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and Jill a rich widow.” Evan Esar

“Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity”

“Kindness is a language the dumb can speak and the deaf can hear and understand.” Christian Boyee

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” Mark Twain

“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.” Emerson

“The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.” George Will

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Goethe

“I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations that I've traveled to. But first, I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map, so it won't fall down.” Mitch Hedberg

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 or mobile phone at               719-650-7659         719-650-7659.

To your success,

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