book

Emails Like These

It's emails like this one from a reader of my ebook, 20 Things I've Learned as an Entrepreneur, that make my day and inspire me to do more.

Alicia,

Thank you so much for your work. I am a new entrepreneur, and I am working on following your guidelines religiously!

I am 24 years old, I spent my first year working in Pharmaceuticals and absolutely hated the day to day Robotic self that I was becoming. I took it upon myself at the end of 2012 to change this and to live my life in the present, and not in the future (I always said one day I'll own a business, one day I'll do this, one day I will etc. etc.). I decided to start off in a way that will teach me the background of business, so I decided to franchise a home health agency in Philadelphia. WHAT A SHELL SHOCK!!! Customer service, thinking on your feet, working with a whole different breed of employees, and finally keeping a positive outlook on the business. I have to tell you, I beat myself up everyday for about 6 months and did not grow at all. I was in such a self hate kind of mode, and I was not learning anything at all! I decided to become a student of business again, and take on all of the problems head on so that I could fall on my face 300 times, and ensure that I was to pick myself up 301 times. The last 6 months have been unbelievable. Anyways, I picked up your book last night, and it reminded me of all of the values that I needed to keep to. I can happily say, I was practicing 15/20 of these already! But I now have a list of your 20 Things That You Have Learned about my desk, so I can keep learning and know that it is all part of the ride! I also truly loved when you stated, "No one is without fear, if they're an entrepreneur they feel it regularly". This made me ease up a bit, it is hard being a 24 year old working all of the time always thinking of a big sale, or if someone is going to miss a shift and you'll lose a client at 11 pm on a Saturday night (while your friends are out without a care in the world!).

I just wanted to thank you and say what a pleasure it was to read 20 Things I've Learned As an Entrepreneur. In my quest for as much knowledge as possible, this will definitely be a monthly read.

Best Regards,

K B

Memoir

I recently attended a reading by an author of a best selling memoir about a mother daughter relationship. I went because I'm interested in writing a memoir. As the author talked about her book, which I had not read, it occurred to me that the author's daughter was standing in as a proxy for the emotions the author didn't allow herself to have about her own mother.

After the reading, I had a quick quiet moment with the author. So I decided to pose the question:

"I hope this isn't too personal, but do you think your daughter has served as a proxy for the emotions you didn't allow yourself to have about your mother?" I said.

She touched my arm. "You haven't read the book, but yes. You're so perceptive," she said.

She was then called away to sign some books.

I didn't get a chance to complete my thought. Which was I hope she takes her daughter off the hook. I hope she gives her daughter permission to have her own relationship with her (the author's) mother. While the process may be painful to the author (she doesn't have a good relationship with her mother), I think the result would be beneficial to everyone - grandmother, mother, daughter, alike.

I understand having a difficult relationship with a family member, but letting a bad relationship affect a third party, is detrimental and in the end, only exacerbates the dysfunction.

The Te of Piglet

Animal so shy and small,Dreaming you were Bold and Tall - You hesitate, all sensitive, Waiting for a chance to Live.
Time is swift, it races by; Opportunities are born and die . . . Still you wait and will not try - A bird with wings who dares not rise and fly.
But that You you want to see Is not you, and will never be. No one else will ever do The special things that wait inside of you.
You can be a guiding star, If you make the most of Who You Are. And the sensitivity That you're now ashamed to see Can be developed even more, So you can find the hidden doors To places no one's been before. And the pride you'll feel inside Is not the kind that makes you fall - It's the kind that recognizes The bigness found in being Small.

~ Benjamin Hoff, The Te of Piglet

Are Book Covers a Thing of the Past?

I love books. How they feel, how they smell, and how they look. It's easy to think that digital books or ebooks (what do you call them?) spell the end of the tangible pleasure of a book. To some extent that's true, but where digital excels is visual, so why does the look of a book have to suffer? It doesn't. Cover art is very much alive. I'm happy to see it memorialized by some great blogs and Pinterest boards. What's your favorite book cover?

Finding the Words

“Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." I'd like to show how "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" connects with "the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age." I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar." I've never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I've entered my story, I need them more than ever. ”

― Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

The Choice

I don't even have children, but I am endlessly fascinated by the dust up that Amy Chua's book has caused. I think this article in The Atlantic does a fine job of pinpointing the fear that caused so many violent reactions to Chua's book. Caitlin Flanagan's last paragraph struck a chord with me.

"She understood early on—as the good mothers are about to learn, when the heartbreaking e-mails and letters from the top colleges go out this month—that life is a series of choices, each with its own rewards and consequences. In a sense, that is the most unpalatable message of her book, the one that has caused all the anguish: it’s an unwelcome reminder (how can we keep forgetting this?) that the world really doesn’t lie before us like a land of dreams. At best—at the very best—it can only offer us choices between two good things, and as we grasp at one, we lose the other forever."

As a dreamer, myself, her line that "the world doesn't lie before us like a land of dreams" made me uncomfortable. Mainly, because, if I didn't think that, I'm not sure I'd be where I am today. But at the same time, I understand completely what she means by choices. To put your heart and soul in one thing, often means they aren't going into something else. But what I've learned is that it all starts with what you think the choices are in the first place.

Books in 5 Quotes: Daniel Pink

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink outlines the Six Senses found on the right side of your brain, the new, evolving world will require: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning.

His book in Five Quotes:

1. “The left hemisphere [of the brain] is particularly good at recognizing serial events – events whose elements occur one after the other – and controlling sequences of behavior. The left hemisphere is involved in controlling serial behaviors. The serial functions performed by the left hemisphere include verbal activities, such as talking, understanding the speech of other people, reading and writing. The right hemisphere doesn’t march in the single-file formation of A-B-C-D-E. Its special talent is the ability to interpret things simultaneously.”

2. “Pursuits devoted to meaning and transcendence, for instance, are now as mainstream as a double tall latte. In the United States, ten million adults now engage in some form of regular meditation, double the number a decade ago. Fifteen million practice yoga, twice the number in 1999. American popular entertainment is so awash in spiritual themes that TV Guide heralds the rise of ‘transcendental television.’”

3. “Stories are easier to remember – because in many ways, stories are how we remember.”

4. “We can see this yearning for self-knowledge through stories in many places – in the astonishingly popular ‘scrapbooking’ movement, where people assemble the artifacts of their lives into a narrative that tells the world, and maybe themselves, who they are and what they are about, and in the surging popularity of genealogy as millions search the Web to piece together their family histories. What these efforts reveal is a hunger for what stories can provide –context enriched by emotion, a deeper understanding of how we fit in and why that matters. The Conceptual Age can remind us what has always been true but rarely acted upon – that we must listen to each other’s stories and that we are each the authors of our own lives.”

5. “Seeing the big picture is fast becoming a killer app in business.”

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future