Thursday, July 28, 2011

Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli Another book from The Domino Project (received through BzzAgent for my honest review)

Traditional meetings
All of us have attended meetings where we wondered what was accomplished. Most of us have attended several of these (perhaps even weekly or daily). You probably resented having your time wasted and disrespected.
But unproductive meetings are even more insidious than just a waste of everyone’s time.

As the author, Al Pittampalli points out, “Once we're exposed to the callous indifference of a false-urgent meeting, we begin to question everything the organization does. If management is willing to regularly tolerate such an affront on our productivity, why bother?” 

Meetings should never be called when a memo would suffice.

We can't work and meet at the same time. It’s time organizations decide what’s more important to them.

The author suggests, “The Modern Meeting convenes to support a decision that has already been made. If we still have serious objections or better alternatives, or we want to propose changes to the details of the decision, the Modern Meeting is the forum for debating them. In the end, though, you (the leader) make the decision; you own the outcome. 

“The Modern Meeting focuses on the only two activities worth convening for: conflict and coordination. The Modern Meeting meets only for the purpose of dissent. (Unlike the traditional meeting,) conflict is expected, so participants feel safe to let their ideas fly indiscriminately.” 

I can see where this would keep people from feeling that their time was being wasted by unproductive meetings. I agree with many of his ideas about how to conduct the Modern Meeting and why it should replace the Traditional Meeting. However, I think if you followed it to the letter it would be a bit too cold and sterilized for my tastes. I’m not sure how a bit of warmth and caring could be added but most business professionals may prefer his style to mine, anyway.

Excerpt from The Steamer Trunk

Just wanted to share a sneak peek at an excerpt from my rough draft of THE STEAMER TRUNK. It's still a work in progress and has a long way to go with lots of research still needed.

Chapter 1:-

A knock on the cabin door startled Heather out of her nap. “Who is it?”

“Cabin Steward; we dock in five minutes.”

“Thank you.”

As she threw cold water on her face from the sink in the tiny bathroom, she remembered the jokes she had heard about ship’s cramped cabins and lavatory facilities. She wouldn’t miss the lack of stretching room in both.

The large, awkward trunk she was struggling to maneuver out the door had only helped to make the space more confining. The villagers would be surprised by what was inside it.

Almost one hundred years before, her great great grandfather had traveled these same waters to bring it to the newly founded village but he had had dysentery. He, his wife, and infant son had been dropped off at one of the ports along the way to seek treatment for him. He had died of the dysentery at the age of 25.

She smiled as she thought about how astonished the people would be to see her and the contents of the trunk when she presented it at their centennial celebration.

When Heather and her trunk touched shore, she assessed her immediate surroundings. Directly ahead of her were a restaurant and a gift shop. To the left was a car rental place and to the right was her hotel. She decided to go to the hotel first so she could unpack the trunk and make arrangements to secure the carefully wrapped item.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Twists, Turns, and Intrique

My Book Review of The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer 

When I was offered a chance to review this book, I was excited because the publisher's site noted that it was about a child in foster care. Having grown up in that system, I was anxious to compare Jaimie's experiences with mine. It turned out that we had very little in common but I empathized with her unique situation just the same.

12-year-old Jaimie can sense evil and to escape it, one night she seeks the help of the one person in her life that she trusts, her teacher, Mr. G. That decision triggers a series of calamities for him and uncovers secrets about Jaimie's past and the Catholic Church.

This is an easy to read, fast paced Christian thriller. I couldn't put it down and read it in one day. The ending was totally unexpected to me and raised additional questions.

I would recommend it, if you don't mind endings that don't tie everything neatly together.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Press in exchange for my honest review.

Book Signing at the Galloway House in Fond du Lac next month

If any of you are planning to be in the Fond du Lac, WI area August 20 and 21,2011, I will be at the Galloway House Reception Building for a book signing between 10 am and 4 pm both days.

According to Fond du Lac Historic Society's website, visitors to the Galloway House & Village will

"See what life was like in the late 1800s. Tour this authentic village and 30-room mid-Victorian mansion boasting 4 fireplaces, Italianate details, and many pieces of original furniture. Surrounded by 25 historic buildings such as a church, photographers' shop, townhall, newspaper print shop, and one-room school. The Blakely Museum contains historical collections from Native American to present day.

The Galloway House and Village is located at 336 Old Pioneer Road, midway between Wisconsin 175 and U.S. 45. Our season runs from Memorial Weekend through Labor Day plus weekends in September. Hours: Seven days a week, 10 AM through 4 PM."

The weekend of August 20 and 21 offers fun for every family member with an

Ice Cream Social, Vintage Car & Craft Show
"Celebrate Historic Hero's, men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces through the years with our new displays in the Blakely Museum. Special prices for service people in uniform, with dogtags, or proof of service."

Adults $6, Children (4-12) $3, 3 & under free. LOCATION: 336 Old Pioneer Rd
TIME: Sat 10-5pm Sun 10-4pm

Click here for a few photos of the Galloway House and Village

Hope to see you there. 

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Timely political quotes

“There is only one way to kill capitalism—by taxes, taxes, and more taxes.” – Karl Marx

“It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them.” – Adolf Hitler

“It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion.” Joseph Goebbels

“Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” – Josef Stalin

“If ever time should come when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” – Samuel Adams

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis.” – Dante

“During times of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell ’1984′

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Have Been Converted


DragonSpell (Dragon Keepers Chronicles, Book 1)

DragonSpell (Dragon Keepers Chronicles, Book 1)
by Donita K. Paul
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.28
Availability: In Stock

172 used & new from $0.43

5.0 out of 5 stars I have been converted, July 18, 2011

This is the second book I have read by Ms. Paul and I will read more of her books. I never used to be a fan of fantasy or dragons but she has made me one.

Several of the reviews I have read on this book refer to the story as a spiritual allegory, which it certainly is. If you define allegory as "anything used as a symbol", you might also find, as I did, that it could be an allegory for government too.

The characters were well developed and their flaws were believable. Paul made me care about all of the "Good Guys" and to wish them well, as she placed some of them in jeopardy. To my surprise, some parts of the story actually made me cry. Who would have thought I would relate to dragon characters?

Dragonspell is an excellent read for all ages and fans of Christian fantasy. Or, if you have an open mind, you may be converted to Christian fantasy by Donita K. Paul's skill with weaving a magical world and plot.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Press in exchange for my honest review.
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Friday, July 1, 2011

What They Don’t Teach You in Business School

Anything You Want by Derek Siver Review

Whether you are already in business or thinking of starting one, this book has something inspiring to share.

So many businesses today seem to have lost sight that the primary reason the company exists to give the customer something that helps them. The pursuit of profits should never take precedence over outstanding customer service.

Derek’s business, was founded in 1997 as a way to help his indy musician friends sell their CDs online at a time when none of the big distributors wanted to handle the indies. I actually discovered CDBaby about five years ago when I was helping to promote a friend’s band.

Derek never planned on growing his business. It started as a hobby that grew because of Derek’s business philosophy of going the extra mile to help his customers. It accidentally grew into a business that sold for $22 million. He put himself in his customer’s place by asking himself what he wanted as an indy musician and then he made sure he delivered, every time. In turn, his happy customers told others about their positive experiences. All decisions were made by first asking himself what was best for his customers.

I laughed out loud at some of his stories about the amusing things he did to make his customers happy.

I related to his observation that many entrepreneurs spend decades pursuing goals that some business school or program told them they should pursue, without creating their own paths to success and happiness. He admonishes the business owner to never do anything just for the money but to remember that business is about making dreams come true for others and for yourself.

I highly recommend this book to entrepreneurs and wannabees.

I received the book free in exchange for my honest review, from

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