Who is your Authority?

I just got a lovely email offering me 40 percent of Joel Osteen’s new book, “Become a Better You”. Trouble is, Joel Osteen doesn’t fit my idea of an authority on the subject he’s writing about. I’ve never even read the guy’s stuff and I only saw him once on television for about 23 seconds. Now, before I get inundated with Osteen supporters telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain.

I read a lot. I mean a whole lot. Probably a lot more than you. Certainly way more than the average American. I’m not trying to turn this into a contest because I’m sure many people also read more than me. I just want to explain upfront that I’m no casual reader.

Vital Friends

Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without

I’ve just finished reading Tom Rath’s Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without. I have not read his prior bestselling “How Full is Your Bucket?”, but I found Vital Friends to be a remarkably informative book.

The Downtown Library

My home from my youngest days has been Melbourne, Florida. One of the earliest memories I have is the downtown library, its tall stacks of books, the groaning of the shelves under the weight of its contents, the small children’s section, the wooden card catalog with its smooth cornered drawers and cards typed with the occasional smudged printing from the librarian’s Selectric. Story day was the best, and the two man-made lakes outside were the wonder of every child. We brought our last crumbled piece of bread with the plastic wrapper that held the original loaf - throwing it to the ducks and the geese as they surrounded us. We’d walk with mommy around the lake, crossing over the little wooden bridge that was between the two lakes. The sun shone every day we were at the library and a trip home with armfuls of books was our just reward for being quiet.

Fiorina typical of Career Women

A recent Wired Magazine story chronicles the adventures of Carly Fiorina, who most will recall, was the celebrated female CEO of Hewlett-Packard for six years before being asked to resign. It also examines her newly released book, Tough Choices, in which Wired Magazine says Ms. Fiorina claims that she was unfairly scrutinized as a women in business and opposed by people who feared the big changes she needed to make at HP. She labels herself a change agent and talks a bit about what it takes to be a change agent.

The New Water-Only Diet that I’m Starting

I hope I don’t bore too many of you loyal readers. I have decided to start a new “water only” diet. And I intend to post my results from time to time here.

First, I hate the word diet, because I’m actually not going to alter my diet at all. This is all based off my longtime belief that drinking more water can “cure” nearly any ailment or problem us humans have. I’ve been very quick to say it, but not very good at living it.

7 Tips to Manage your Agency

I wrote this a while back for insurance agency owners, but it may equally apply to your business.

1. Track (religiously) anything that you want changed. Information is power - and not a burden to track when it helps you achieve your goals. If you don’t know, well then, you don’t know. And if it takes you 30 minutes to find out, you won’t access that information very frequently. The old saying is true: What gets tracked, gets done.

2. Don’t rely on your carriers to tell you how you are doing. You are always doing “great” or “terrible” in their eyes… but how are YOU really doing? Can you show it to me in writing in ten minutes with assurance? Can you do it again next week with correct and updated information?

Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done : The Art of Stress-Free ProductivityI am a huge fan of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. I’ve been an efficiency expert most of my life and highly adept at getting more done faster. Yet, until David came out with his book, most of the “organizing” books I’ve read (probably over 100) were all variations on a theme. David finally codified what I and others had been thinking for sometime but often unable to put into words.

Where’s the Old Blog?

I’ve had a few emails about why I started a new blog, what happened to the old blog, etc. Yes, in a moment of shining clarity I deleted the old blog - forever. I can’t seem to recall the exact clarity anymore that led me to do that, however. I think it had something to do with the overall focus that the blog had strayed toward. You can still see the excerpts of the postings by using Google’s Blog Search and typing “MelbourneLawrence” which was the name of the old blog. I think you’ll see what I mean.

Dell sues Paul Dell for Dellwebsites.com

I read Michael Dell’s book when it came out. Mike is no slacker. But as it goes, I doubt he understands the irony of what he is doing to Paul Dell who is being sued by Dell Corporation for his domain name, dellwebsites.com. Paul has agreed to accept financial support from folks who don’t like the idea of what Michael Dell is doing. If another Dell, let’s say “Ahmed Dell” for fun, had a big company making websites 20 years ago, when Michael was in college tinkering with computers in his dorm room, and Michael started “Dell Computers” on the net and registered dellcomputers.com and dell.com, wouldn’t he have been just a little annoyed to have Ahmed come sue him? I would think that Michael, an entrepreneur at heart, wouldn’t be so quick to buy into the feudal system of corporate America.

Who Let the Blogs Out?

Who Let the Blogs OutJust finished reading a great book on blogging called “Who Let the Blogs Out?” by Biz Stone. There’s probably not too many books on blogging yet. The ones I’ve seen are more “how to” type books. This book has a little of that, but also contains a lot of the social dynamic that goes into blogging (history, the “why’s” of blogging, etc).

It is pretty entertaining as well, even if you don’t want to blog, but want to get a bit of understanding into what the blog craze is all about. But the author includes lots of tips about blogging as well, including information on how to make money with your blog - if that is your goal.

A Not-so-Singular View of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”

The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings : Poems, Tales, Essays, and Reviews (Penguin Classics)The Fall of the House of Usher is considered by most to be Poe’s greatest work. Although some works are more famous, such as the Cask of Amontillado and The Raven, the Fall of the House of Usher is wrought with interpretive possibilities. However, before discussing these, a brief summary of the story must be given.

Like many Poe stories, the cast of characters is extremely limited. Poe instead spends much of his time developing a smaller cast of characters, often taking up much of the story just in development. Events are often limited as they are in Usher. There are three characters in Usher: the Narrator, whose name is not given, Roderick Usher, and his twin sister, the Lady Madeline.

Samuel Adams and John Hancock: A Common Alliance between Two Uncommon Heroes

It may strike Americans that the end of the 20th century holds a unique place in history. Filled with the pursuit of social justice amidst class struggles, Americans today feel we are far removed from our founding fathers. However, most would be surprised to discover how two different classes of people joined together when pressed by a common enemy. These first Americans are an early example that many today would have difficulty emulating. The alliance between Samuel Adams and John Hancock exemplifies these bonds clearly.