A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I used to write monolog jokes for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. One day after the show I happened to be sitting with Jay (no doubt having pizza; with ...Continue Reading →
I just finished co-chairing (with the truly amazing Ruby Newell-Legner) a major conference for my professional organization, the National Speakers Association (NSA). By all accounts, it was a huge success (which translates, of course, into huge relief for me!). In the three days since the event ended, I’ve spent some time trying to discern what it was that made the conference so successful.
Yes, we had some truly great speakers and presenters. Yes, the format flowed ...Continue Reading →
My dad is turning 91 today. He never planned to be around this long. Both of his parents died young (his father, my grandfather, died at age 42), so he just kind of assumed that he would too. But here he is, nearly 50 years later, still chugging along.
Most of us don’t plan to live until 91. Oh, we say we do—but we don’t act like it. We have no plan, and we certainly have no savings. Most of us ...Continue Reading →
“What do you do for a living?”
That’s a question that far too many people dread, because they don’t have a good, compelling answer. They say something like, “I’m a lawyer,” or, “I’m a financial planner,” or, “I’m the drummer for the Beatles,” and then wonder why everybody quickly walks away. (Okay, they’re probably not going to walk away from that last one, but you get my point. And by the way—Ringo, if you’re reading this, give me a call. I ...Continue Reading →
A couple of nights ago I made sauteed chicken breasts for dinner, with a white wine pan sauce to make it a little more interesting. Briefly, here’s how you make a pan sauce (and yes, I promise this is going somewhere): you add a quarter cup of wine and a quarter cup of chicken broth to the pan, perhaps with a bit of mustard, and then boil it until the half-cup of liquid is reduced down to a total of ...Continue Reading →
Last week I was the guest on a radio show—two hours talking about the Beatles, which is heaven for me. One of the things we spent a great deal of time talking about was the Beatles’ incredible growth and evolution from album to album. I mean, in roughly five years these guys went from Please Please Me through Sgt. Pepper and the White album all the way to Abbey Road. That’s a growth curve that’s unprecedented and, so far, unequaled ...Continue Reading →
Every college or university has its share of freshman-level courses. You know, the huge “intro” courses that start out with 300 or so students—and end with maybe 100? Most of the students who drop these courses do so for one of two reasons:
That’s the way it should be. These courses are designed to “weed out” the serious students (in that field, at least) from the dabblers, the ...Continue Reading →
My favorite definition of “greatness” is this one:
When everything that came before you seems obsolete, and everything that comes after you bears your stamp.
That certainly applies to the Beatles. It applies to Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Bill Gates. (Yes, I know there are some people who don’t like Bill Gates. There are also some who don’t like Shakespeare, Beethoven, or, horror of horrors, the Beatles! That doesn’t, however, negate the facts.) But here’s the big question:
Does it, or will it, apply ...Continue Reading →
A number of years ago I was conducting an all-day workshop for Philips, the consumer electronics and healthcare giant, and I found out that one of their core principles was to not be involved in any business that they couldn’t be #1 or #2 in the world at. Now, for a large company like Philips, this is not an unusual principle. Many global businesses have adopted similar goals for themselves. My question is this:
Why is it that so few small ...Continue Reading →