Thursday, December 1, 2011

Must-have Christmas presents

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

If you are a regular reader of my blog (posted, too, on Facebook) there are several things you know about me (maybe even more!).  First, you know that I am a reader of a wide range of non-fiction books, since I have now posted more than 200 book reviews on the blog.  Second, you know that I love quotations and aphorisms and thoughts, which I have collected in a book entitled SMOERs -Self Motivation, Optimism, Encourage Rules: Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living, which has a website all of its own.
The book, SMOERs gives 365 daily, motivational, suggestions like “Take time to smell the roses,” “Be willing to change,” “Enjoy the best years of your life,” and “Break out from conformity,” that are supported by an average of four quotations each day.  The quotations range from classical writers such as Cicero and Aristotle to modern-day prophets such as Oprah Winfrey, Carol Burnett.and Zig Zigler.  I’ve even included a number of my own quotations when I was looking for some incredibly profound, insightful, or wise comments.  (I’m kidding about the profound, insightful, and wise characterization, but not about including some of my own quotes.)
If you were looking for a Christmas present for the person who has everything, this would be a perfect present.  You can purchase it at  It even has a picture of a perfect s’more on the cover that illustrates the perfection within!  (Kidding again!)
Now, I have moved away from the thoughts captured in paragraph one, above.  Another thing you have learned about me, if you are a regular reader of my blog, is that I write motivational essays.  Whether it was delivering college lectures, giving speeches to different organizations (16 of which were published in Vital Speeches of the Day), writing college textbooks, or creating essays for our local newspaper, I have been involved with motivational material my entire professional life.
As a result of my interest in motivational material, I have assembled my most profound, stimulating, and inspiring essays in a book entitled You Rules - Caution: Contents Leads to a Better Life!, which is a collection of the best of the best!  If you know of someone who needs to read uplifting information, who needs a boost in their lives to get them off square one (or out of a rut), or who simply enjoys reading self-improvement material, this book is a great choice.  There are no age restrictions involved.  In this 316-page book, there are 50 essays. 
The essays in You Rules (which is available at begin by establishing the foundation for growth, development, and change — learning to be optimistic, developing a positive attitude, getting out of comfort zones, and getting organized.   The next section, “Strive to be healthy,” discusses what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle.  The third section, “Get where you want to go,” offers suggestions for developing self-disciple, managing yourself, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, controlling worry, developing memory, and moving to the front of the pack.  “Exercising your creativity” is the fourth section, and readers will find all the ingredients necessary for developing the characteristics of successful, creative people.  The fifth section discusses how to maintain progress toward your goals by dealing with failure, overcoming obstacles, resisting undesirable influences, and making self-improvements last.  The final section on looking toward a positive future has essays on developing a growth mindset, understanding and achieving forgiveness, becoming a loving human being, and living the good life.
Speaking of possible Christmas presents — presents people would really enjoy finding under their Christmas tree — I want to recommend several other books.  A neighbor of mine wanted me to give his daughters some lessons in effective public speaking, because he knew of its importance in the world.  I told him to order my book, Public Speaking Rules: All You Need for a GREAT Speech! and then, if he had any additional questions, to ask me.  At a later meeting he admitted purchasing the book at, having both his daughters read it, and finding (after asking them) that it really helped them.  He said, the information is straightforward and to the point, the suggestions can be easily followed, and the advice is accurate and useful.  Of course, I thanked him (and, thus, avoided giving some individual tutoring lessons).
Public Speaking Rules, a book designed for all those involved in public speaking of any kind, and it grew out of over 30 years of writing, lecturing, and speaking about it.  Counting all the editions of my textbooks I have written over 30, and many include aspects of public speaking.  Immersed in the area, I have distilled what I know and what I know works, and put it all into this 180-page, nuts-and-bolts book that tells it like it is and, too, is available at
Another great Christmas gift idea is the book Relationship Rules: For long-term happiness, security, and commitment, which, once again, is a distillation and condensation of all the work I have done in the area of interpersonal communication.  If you have anyone going into, just coming out of, or planning to enter a relationship, this book is one of those “must read” items that really “tells it like it is.”  You can find it at just as you can all of the books mentioned in this essay.
Some of my fondest Christmas memories can be traced back to those times when I unwrapped books.  They are wonderful Christmas presents and they create dual memories — one set of memories when they are opened and another set of memories when they are read.  Please think about the books in this essay — especially if you have people on your list who are difficult to please, hard to buy for, or just enjoy good books.
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There are other books that make great Christmas gifts as well.  The first, How to Be Funny on Purpose: Creating and Consuming Humor, by Edgar E. Willis, offers serious readers the history of humor on radio and television, specific instructions on how to create humor, and ways to listen to, analyze, and appreciate humor.  It is available at

If you have anyone in your family who served in World War II or is currently in the military he or she will enjoy the book Civilian in an Ill-fitting Uniform: Memoir of World War II, by Edgar Willis.  Not only does this book provide a personal look at the war (and it’s not all favorable!), but it gives readers the historical context for the war as well.  This one is available at, too.

Access my blog at for book reviews, news about And Then Some Publishing, quotations, essays, and Friday's "LAUGH . . . And Then Some."

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Copyright December, 2011, by And Then Some Publishing, L.L.C.

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