Tuesday Titter: Think Titanic

funny-titanic-art-fear


Source: Drake

Lit Boy

John-VandeZande

I’ve reached the half-way mark of Updike, a biography on John Updike written by Adam Begley.  I pause to reflect on how I arrived here.  “Here” being how did I come to be reading John Updike’s biography.  Yes, it was Amazon’s Best Book of the Month for April, 2014. That helped, but that wasn’t it.  It was that man in the photograph that is responsible.  John VandeZande.

It was an undergraduate elective class titled “Good Books.” It was highly recommended by my senior jock buddies: “Just show up, read a few books and you’re done.”  I signed up for the class. I sat in the back of the room.  And hoped never to get called on.

He would assign Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Updike, in his biography, would describe them as “textual titans.” At the time, I would describe them as literary unknowns – – DK, a lover of Hardy Boys who then graduated to the genres of Jeffrey Archer (Kane & Abel), James Clavell (Shogun & Tai Pan) and Stephen King – – was being heaved up into the major leagues.  I slumped further down in my chair at the back of the room.

He would break the awkwardness of the early classes by reading long passages from the assigned readings. He would sit on the edge of his desk.  The book in his right hand.  And then immerse himself in the passage. There were no pencils tapping. There was no shifting in chairs.  We were gently transported with him on the journey.

He struck the match. And stoked the fire. And I went on a tear.  First Hemingway with The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea. Then Faulkner with The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August and Absalom, Absalom!. Followed by John Steinbeck with The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row and East of Eden.  And then John Updike with Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux and Rabbit Is Rich.  And to this day, my serial runs on “Textual Titans” continues. (In Begley’s biography of Updike, Updike explained that: “A real reader,” he explained, “reading to escape his own life thoroughly, tends to have runs on authors.” That had my head spinning.)

[Read more…]

Simpatico

theresa-curra

I watched from a distance. A short, feisty, scrappy, spit-fire. A Chihuahua.

Place of Birth: The Bronx. With accompanying accent.

Deep skills. A reputation for getting things done, but doing so and leaving a large wake. She didn’t tolerate fools gladly. She was quick to show up colleagues. Result: A bulls-eye on her back.

It was January, 2011. It was a 12-minute interview. I told her that the job was hers sans the wake creation. I would have zero tolerance for air turbulence. I created enough of my own.

I went on to give her the pre-game disclosure. And motivational speech:

You’re playing on the A team now. Out of junior varsity.
We use proper English in our memos and letters.
No slang. Or whatever that is coming out of your mouth.
I need to show up at the right airport. At the right meeting. On time. All the time.
No crying when your feelings get hurt. You want a hug, get a dog.
I had better not find HR in my office on any antics.
You won’t keep up. Just accept it. [Read more…]

Millennials. Listen up.

skills-students-future-chart


#2: Writing Effectively.  My 10th Grade English teacher underscored this for me YEARS ago.  And I see too much today that hurts the eyes.


Source: Pewresearch

Hump Day: 4:02 am and inspired…

Kicking off Hump (Hug?) Day with Dave Matthews Band and “Everyday.” (Lori, music video is dedicated to you).  And now to feature some of the most inspiring blog posts of the week by some of my favorite bloggers:

If I had a son who was playing high school football – he’d be lucky to play for Coach Bill Moore – the Westfield, MA High School Football Coach. I was inspired by Coach Moore’s recent post Jugs: “It was 1989 when I faced a monster nicknamed Jugs. He was a colossus of a man, six feet six inches tall and 300 pounds of powerful mass and ill content. I watched the film in the week before the game. I knew what was coming. I had faced powerful men before, but nothing like this…”

Leonard Buchholz at DealerPro Training Solutions with his post Want to have a big day today? Get a checkup.Anyways, I think I have probably heard ‘do a checkup from the neck up’ at least a million times in my career. It is as pure an attitude adjustment technique today as it was when first uttered. I picture a Roman general saying to his troops just before battle “Hey, get in the war man. Do a checkup from the neck up before we rush over that moat” or something like that. That’s how old it is.” Check out his prescriptions. Leonard lands yet more ah-has with this post.

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Week in Review: Pushing things that come to your hands a little higher up, a little farther on…

Self: Tough week?

DK: Let’s talk about the weekend.

Self: No highlights? No inspirations?

DK: Two word summary: Falling behind.  And, exhausted.

Self: That’s three.

DK: Listen Pal. Don’t get cute.

Self: OK. OK. OK. We’ll keep it upbeat.  I’ll cut you some slack.  Gimmee one BURSTING ray of sunlight.

DK: Direct reports.  2-down managers. Sales side leadership. SMEs. Gritty. Scrappy. Poised. Professional. Proud. Taking body shots. Best in business. One word for this pack: L-E-A-D-E-R-S.

[Read more…]

Strive For Results, Not The Accolades…

Source: NY Times – An Interview with John Donovan, Chief Technology Officer of AT&T

Great interview.  John Donovan certainly exemplifies the 7 mindsets of the most trusted professionals in this interview (See prior post: “Are You A Professional?”).  The article also did grab my attention early when he mentioned he was a former hockey player.  🙂  A few of my favorite excerpts below.

Q. What were some early leadership lessons for you?
A. “…if there’s a situation where someone else needs to lead, and it’s working, that is A-O.K. I don’t feel a burning need to be in charge, and I don’t feel that it’s a bad thing to follow when the right things are getting done. So in some respects, I don’t have the innate drive that certain people have about control and ownership and leadership.”

“…The first thing I noticed very quickly early on was that hard work is central to what you do, and that’s not any magic or science. I said, “Well, if I start today, and I outwork everybody, then the only question is the starting point.” So I figured that if I work really hard I can be in the top 5 percent in any field. It just gave me some comfort to say, O.K., I’m going to do fine financially, so I shouldn’t make decisions based on money. My objective should be to gain the broadest set of experiences I can, and just try to drill deep everywhere I can. And so I played the game for breadth. Early in my career, I bought businesses, fixed them and sold them. Some went well; some didn’t. I did some home development. I was in sales. I went back to business school. A lot of people work hard to get ahead, and I recognized early on that it’s a differentiator. I just figured that there was a certain amount of this that’s just raw tonnage.” [Read more…]

Book Review: The Power of Professionalism. Are you a Professional?

Are you a Professional?

How would you define a Professional?

Bill Wiersma conducted research asking a number of executives in various industries (including members of the Dave Matthews Band) whether they considered themselves professionals and what was their definition of a professional.  Yet many who who surveyed did feel that those occupations that required a special degree or qualification, such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant were professionals.  His startling findings were that most people he surveyed did not view themselves as professionals, let alone understand the mind-set required to be one.   It matters because the higher the degree of professionalism in a firm, the higher likelihood of achieving goals and driving better results.  And that viewing oneself as a professional is a precursor to being one as the aspirational identity is affirming, and it elevates her view of herself and therefore influences her actions.

His research went on to find that 7 mind-sets were prevalent among the most trusted professionals:

[Read more…]

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