Monday, September 30, 2013

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck—Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

By Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Jim Collins has a great reputation going into the writing of this book: "six books that have sold in total more than ten million copies worldwide! Wow!

It is clear why he has been successful, even though I have not read any of his previous bestsellers: Good to Great, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fail. Great titles, too!

If those books provide a template for this one, it is easy to see why they are bestsellers.

His book, Great by Choice, has 38 pages of incredible notes. There are 14 pages of "Frequently Asked Questions." There are 52 pages on "Research Foundations." And the "Index" is nine pages long. In a book that is 304 pages long, the actual text (narrative) is only 183 pages. This is not an indictment, because the book reads well, the research is effectively presented, the examples are expertly injected into the content, and the "Key Points," "Unexpected Findings," and "Key Questions" used to end each of the seven main chapters of the book are effective.

I loved the emphasis on the discipline, empiricism, and paranoia of leaders (as opposed to the risk takers, visionaries, and more creative). I thought the examination of a leader’s ability to scale innovation and blend creativity with discipline in a chaotic and uncertain world is a useful finding.

When you contrast the kind of leadership style of George W. Bush with that of Barack Obama (or any intellectual), you quickly discover that leading in a fast world does not require fast decisions and fast actions. The best leaders are thoughtful, analytic, patient, and intuitive. That is precisely the kind of leadership that will protect businesses and help them survive.

I loved the thought provoking nature of the book, the numerous practical concepts, and the fact that the findings here are data-driven. There is no question that they clearly prove that greatness happens by choice—and the authors clearly establish how choice can be directed, managed, and controlled. This is clearly a five-star out of five.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Humor

1. These greens are so fast I have to hold my putter over the ball and hit it with the shadow. ~ Sam Snead

2. I was three over today: One over a house, one over a patio and one over a swimming pool..

~ George Brett

3. Actually, the only time I ever took out a one-iron was to kill a tarantula. And I took a 7 to do that.
~ Jim Murray

4. The only sure rule in golf is - he who has the fastest cart never has to play the bad lie.

~ Mickey Mantle

5. Sex and golf are the two things you can enjoy even if you're not good at them.
~ Kevin Costner

6. I don't fear death, but I sure don't like those three-footers for par.
~ Chi Chi Rodriguez

7. After all these years, it's still embarrassing for me to play on the American golf tour. Like the time I asked my caddie for a sand wedge and he came back ten minutes later with a ham on rye.

~ Chi Chi Rodriguez

8. The ball retriever is not long enough to get my putter out of the tree.
~ Brian Weis

9. Swing hard in case you hit it.

~ Dan Marino

10. My favorite shots are the practice swing and the conceded putt. The rest can never be mastered.

~ Lord Robertson

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Profound advice

Essay by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

It’s not often that I use an essay to provide a book review. I have plenty of other outlets for my book reviews; I don’t need to clutter my essays with them . . . unless . . . unless . . . I have found a spectacular book that offers profound advice. This is not actually a book review anyway.

Now, I have to tell you up front why I think the advice I’m going to share with you in this essay is so profound. There is a simple reason for it. It is the advice I have been sharing in my classes, lectures, popular books, and textbooks. This is advice I have been giving for my entire professional life, and what is remarkable, I have found so much of it in one book!

Rather than go over my review of the book, Darren Hardy’s THE COMPOUND EFFECT:: JUMPSTART YOUR INCOME, YOUR LIFE, YOUR SUCCESS (NY: Vanguard Press, 2010), let me refer you to my review of it on For awhile, it was the lead review of the book.  In this way, I can dispense with the accolades and proceed with the advice.

There is no order to the "profound advice" that follows; however, it follows the order in which I discovered it in this book, and I have placed page numbers as reference points just in case you purchase the book and are interested in the context of the quotation. My first selection simply underscores Darren Hardy’s (he is the publisher and editorial director of SUCCESS magazine) credentials.

[After citing his past 16 years as a leader in the personal-development industry] "When you have such an exhaustive view of this [self-help] industry, and wisdom gained through studying the teachings and best practices of some of the world’s most successful people, an amazing clarity emerges—the underlying fundamental truths become crystal clear. Having seen it, read it, and heard most all of it, I can no longer be folled by the latest gambit or self-proclaimed prophet with the newest ‘scientific breaktrhough.’ Nobody can sell me on gimmicks. I have too many reference points. I’ve gone down too many roads and learned the truth the hard way" (p. 3).

"Earning success is hard. The process is laborious, tedious, sometimes even boring. Becoming wealthy, influential, and world-class in your field is slow and arduous. Don’t get me wrong; you’ll see results in your life from following these steps almost immediately. But if you have an aversion to work, discipline, and commitment, you’re welcom to turn the TV back on and put your hope in the next infomercial—the one touting promises of overnight success, if you have access to a major credit card" (p. 4).

[Explaining one of his Dad’s core philosophies] "‘It doesn’t matter how smart you are or aren’t, you need to make up in hard work what you lack in experience, skill, intelligence, or innate ability. If your competitor is smarter, more talented, or experienced, you just need to work three or four times as hard. You can still beat them!’ No matter what the challenge, he taught me to make up in hard work for wherever I might be disadvantaged" (pp. 6-7).

"As a nation, our entire populace seems to have lost appreciation for the value of a strong work ethic. We’ve had two, if not three, generations of Americans who have known great prosperity, wealth, and ease. Our expectations of what it really takes to create lasting success—things like grit, hard work, and fortitude—aren’t alluring, and thus have been mostly forgotten. We’ve lost respect for the strife and strugglek of our forefathers" (p. 18).

"Everything in your life exists because you first made a choice about something. Choices are at the root of every one of your results. Each choice starts a behavior that over time becomes a habit. Choose poorly, and you just might find yourself back at the drawing board, forced to make new, often harder choices. Don’t choose at all, and you’ve made the choice to be the passive receiver of whatever comes your way" (p. 23).

[In a seminar when Hardy was 18, the seminar speaker asked] "‘What percentage of shared responsibility do you have in making a relationship work?’ I was a teenager, so wise in the ways of true love. Of course I had all the answers.

"‘Fifty/fifty!’ I blurted out. It was so obvious; both people must be willing to share the responsibility evenly or someone’s getting ripped off.

"‘Fifty-one/forty-nine,’ yelled someone else, arguing that you’d have to be willing to do more than the other person. Aren’t relationships built on self-sacrifice and generosity?

"‘Eighty/twenty,’ yelled another.

"The instructor turned to the easel and wrote 100/0 on the paper in big black letters. ‘You have to be willing to give 100 percent with zero expectation of receiving anything in return,’ he said. ‘Only when you’re willing to take 100 percent responsibility for making the relationship work will it work. Otherwise, a relationship left to chance will always be vulnerable to disaster’" (pp. 28-29).

"You alone are responsible for what you do, don’t do, or how you respond to what’s done to you. This empowering mindset revolutionized my life. Luck, circumstances, or the right situation wasn’t what mattered. If it was to be, it was up to me. I was free to fly" (p. 30).

"Your core values are your internal compass, your guiding beacon, your personal GPS. They act as the filter through which you run all of life’s demands, requests, and temptations, making sure they’re leading you toward your intended destination. Getting your core values defined and properly calibrated is one of the most important steps in redirecting your life toward your grandest vision" (p. 65).

"Personally, I’m always happy when something is hard. Why? Because I know that most people won’t do what it takes; therefore, it will be easier for me to step in front of the pack and take the lead I love what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Said so eloquetly: ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments ofr comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge’" (. 90).

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"The Six Components of a Champion’s Success System" , is an essay by Jon L. Iveson, Ph.D.. He discusses 1) a compelling future vision, 2) a harply focused purpose, 3) a set of powerful leadership questions, 4) a quarterly breakthrough goal, 5) a process for gathering and developing ideas to accelerate, innovate, and improve on the journey toward the compelling future vision, and 6) a process for acknowledging, recognizing, and celebrating victories along the way.

At , James Chung writes about "The One True Law that Coach [sic] Personal Success in Business." He writes, "The one critical component that harnesses the entire process and impact greatly on the outcome has always been the feedback or evaluation loop. Information from this component will impact the integration effectiveness of the entire process; ultimately it even - - -improves or enhances the desired outcomes. Herein is business success.."

I thought Chung’s conclusion to his essay was especially motivational: "When you do, you will be good for yourself, good for your family, your friends, your environment, and the list goes on. Otherwise, we may be good for nothing...and we all know of people like that. When you embrace this perspective, everything else falls into place! You will also find all the other secrets to success, the other laws of success can all be impacted and propelled forth but only from out of such an attitude...constantly confronting ourselves, so as to challenge ourselves towards peace and clear conscience, if not for greater heights. Interestingly, they say that the only constant in life is change; hence we need to do it constantly."

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Copyright September, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

When you hear that people have criticized you, simply reply that had they known the rest of your faults, they would not have ended their criticism having mentioned only these alone.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

And Then Some News

The first two paragraphs of Thursday's essay, "Profound advice," are as follows:

It’s not often that I use an essay to provide a book review. I have plenty of other outlets for my book reviews; I don’t need to clutter my essays with them . . . unless . . . unless . . . I have found a spectacular book that offers profound advice. This is not actually a book review anyway.

Now, I have to tell you up front why I think the advice I’m going to share with you in this essay is so profound. There is a simple reason for it. It is the advice I have been sharing in my classes, lectures, popular books, and textbooks. This is advice I have been giving for my entire professional life, and what is remarkable, I have found so much of it in one book!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Tao of travel: Enlightenments from lives on the road

By Paul Theroux
Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

The old proverb reads that you can’t judge a book by its cover; however, the publishers of Paul Theroux’s book, have attempted to make readers believe that proverb holds no water. I have reviewed over 100 books for And Then Some Publishing LLC, and I have reviewed over 100 books under my own name, and I have not yet been able to say this about any previous books I’ve reviewed: I love the look and feel of this book. I am a very tactile person. Bound in leather, inscribed in gold, with pages that are rounded at the corners (instead of rectangular — squared-off), and with a brown elastic band embedded on the back cover that can be pulled around the book as a bookmark, I enjoyed holding this book. (It’s the same way I feel about reading a book on a screen; I would rather hold the book in my hands. This one enhances that experience ten-fold!)

Then you turn to the front and back pages and you have "A New and Accurat [sic] Map of the World" — the two halves of the world spread out so you can see the entire world in earth-tone colors printed on "parchment." Around the hemispheres is located eight ancient pictures of "The Heavens and Elements." It is a truly delightful book that you will not just enjoy having in your permanent library, but you will like bringing it out to show family and friends. It is an all-encompassing aesthetic pleasure!

I have the same picture as the one inside the front and back of this book in gold, framed in a narrow gold frame with black matting on my study wall just over my desk, and I have the opportunity to look at it every day. For me, it exists on my wall for the very same purpose Theroux (or his publishers) chose to use it twice in the book — that the world offers no boundaries for the avid traveler.

One of the reasons I picked up this book was to get some tips ("enlightenments") from travel writers. I am a travel writer myself — although by no means exclusively — and I am always in search of ways to improve my craft. I have written the book Exotic Destinations . . . And Then Some! Stories of Adventures from Around the World (Perrysburg, OH: And Then Some Publishing LLC, 2011). Whenever I take a trip, I take Theroux’s advice, "Keep a Journal" (p. 275), and it is from those journal entries that I compose the travel essays collected on my blog at

As I began reading The Tao of Travel I was disappointed. I haven’t read any of Theroux’s other works, but from the excerpts published here, it is clear that he is an outstanding writer. I wanted more of him and less of all the other excerpts. Even from the title of this book, I did not know exactly what it was about or how it was put together when I first picked it up. It turns out that the subtitle is an excellent description.

But I did not give up or throw in the towel, and as I kept reading, I enjoyed it more and more. Perhaps it was just becoming accustomed to the form of the book. Also, I’m certain, it was reading some excellent entries.

Chapter 3, "The Pleasures of Railways," reminded me of our family’s 3-day trip on a train across the Nullabor Plain in Australia. Theroux’s observation, "The soothing and unstressful trip leaves deep impressions of the passing scene, and of the train itself" (p. 26). How accurate! Our trip was outstanding and memorable because the sights from the train windows offered nothing (Nullabor = no trees!) to distract from the pleasures of interacting with train personnel, Australian travelers, and our own family members.

In Chapter 4, "Murphy’s Rules of Travel," I found a potential "Consider This" box for the eleventh edition of my book, Communicating Effectively (McGraw-Hill, 2012). Theroux excerpts Dervla Murphy, and when she talks about "Don’t be inhibited by the language barrier," she suggests that "ignorance of the local language thwarts exchanges of ideas, [but it is] unimportant on a practical level . . . — {to satisfy the basic needs of] sleeping, eating, [and] drinking" (p. 45) — great advice to encourage students who read my textbook to travel widely.

"Travelers on Their Own Books," the title of Chapter 5, spoke directly to my own concerns and my travel book. Theroux writes, "The writing of a travel book is, like the trip itself, a conscious decision, requiring a gift for description, an ear for dialogue, a great deal of patience, and the stomach for retracing one’s steps" (p. 47). It is the excerpt from "Paul Bowles: ‘The Conflict Between Writer and Place,’" that struck me as most relevant, "What is a travel book? For me it is the story of what happened to one person in a particular place, and nothing more than that; it does not contain hotel and highway information, lists ofr useful phrases, statistics, or hints as to what kind of clothing is to be needed by the intending visitor" (53) He continued by saying, a moment later, " . . . there is nothing I enjoy more than reading an accurate account by an intelligent writer of what happened to him away from home" (p. 53). And that is precisely what I enjoy supplying!

Chapter 10, "Travel as an Ordeal," made me thankful that I (or other members of my family) have never undertaken trips nor excursions that would fit this description, but reading about the trails and travails of others was, indeed, thrilling. The writers Theroux chose to excerpt were superb. It is hard to believe that Theroux, as the compiler of this volume, has such a command of a wide variety of other travel writings. That, alone, is something to marvel at.

Well, there is so much in this book. I loved the entry on Thoreau’s "Walking," on sixteen-year-old, Jessica Watson’s 24,000-mile, solo, non-stop, unassisted sail around the world, Emily Dickinson’s argument for staying home (we lived in Amherst, Massachusetts — her home — for six years), and Theroux’s "travel epiphanies," and so much more.

I have to say, as an active traveler, this book triggered so many great memories, brought back an enormous number of experiences, and made me appreciate even more, the wonderful work of so many great travel writers.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Humor

A dapper gent in his mid eighties walked into an upscale cocktail lounge freshly groomed and scented with expensive after-shave. With a boutonniere in the lapel of his charcoal double-breasted suit, he presented quite the debonair image.

Seating himself next to a lovely younger lady in her mid seventies, he offered to buy here a drink and inquired, "So tell me dear, do I come here often?"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

And Then Some Revisited

Essay by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

At my blog, you will not just find the core philosophy, "The Core of the "And Then Some" Philosophy Part I," but you will find, too, the number of pivotal moments in my life, "The Core of the "And Then Some" Philosophy Part II," which have proven, over and over, the validity of the philosophy and why it is so firmly entrenched not just in my life but in my psyche.

That philosophy was written for a speech I delivered more than twenty-five years ago. Since that time, my textbook, COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012) has gone through at least eight editions, and is now in its tenth. Also, I have written or composed six books designed for the general public, produced close to 300 book reviews (many of them posted at,) and written well over 300, 1,000-word essays. It is the "and then some" philosophy in action in my life.

That "and then some" philosophy is no less important today than it has always been—maybe, considering the deterioration of the Puritan work ethic, it may be even more important. Let me repeat here for emphasis and a strong reminder, the advantages of this approach

First, going the extra mile can make you stand out. Few people, unfortunately, are so motivated. Thus, going the extra mile can set you apart, reveal your conscientiousness, establish your reliability, or increase your value.

Second, it is likely to bring out positive emotions in others. When positive emotions are connected either to you or something you did, it will cause others to both remember you and feel good about you.

Third, it will help you move ahead of your competition and succeed where others fail.

Fourth, and finally, it can bring personal rewards. In one college course, I became so absorbed in the term project that I exceeded all the parameters of the assignment. I knew what the value of the project would be to me, and what I needed to know to help me, so, like the Energizer Bunny, I just kept going, and going, and going. It resulted in a grade of A+ in the course, but that was never the goal; it was simply an unintended, and unexpected reward for my excessiveness. I did the project and then some.

Can you apply the "And Then Some" philosophy to others? Of course. When you borrow a pan or dish from a neighbor, show your appreciation for the loan by placing a goodie inside when you return it. When someone asks you for a piece of gum, give him or her the whole pack. When going for groceries, ask a neighbor if he or she is out of milk, needs a prescription picked up, or a loaf of bread. Give people an un-birthday treat—something that they had their eye on but wouldn’t pick up for themselves. Give thank-you notes to people for something they have done for you—even the small, often thankless, little courtesies.

Often, it is the small things—the little ways we have for showing respect and caring—that count the most in others’ lives. Run errands for a parent; take a friend out to dinner; call your existing customers just to make sure they are happy with their purchase; help a co-worker with their heavy workload; do a personal favor for an employee; say little things that will build others up. Do what is expected and then some.

But, too, you can be a model for the "And Then Some" philosophy. Going the extra mile in your own life is often revealed in a positive, optimistic, cheerful outlook. For example, people are more likely attracted to those who avoid swearing, vulgar language, and gossip. People, too, do not like to be talked down to. When you say nice things to others, give out compliments, help others when they are cranky, and tell the truth, you are showing others you are confident and self-assured. When you reveal the traits above, too, you show others you care about them. True, it is hard to do when you are in a bad mood, but by lifting the mood of others, you will lift your own as well. Set an example and then some.

At the website muyiwa OKEOLA, the essay is called, "Go the extra mile. Succeed more!"
It ends with the following inspirational paragraph, "When you consistently go the extra mile in every area of your life: personal, relationship, job and business, you inevitably become excellence personified. This implies that you always do ordinary things in extraordinary manner. Consequently, you achieve extraordinary results doing ordinary things. Start going the extra mile today! Start going beyond the ordinary in your little business or job. . . ."

At, the essay is called, "Workplace: Going the Extra Mile has Benefits." The author lists his or her own ten reasons for doing it: 1) It gives you a new life’s purpose. 2) It turns your attitude from negative to positive. 3) It makes you a positive initiator. 4) It improves the environment for you and everyone else around you. 5) It gives you job security. 6) You might get a pay raise or promotion without asking. 7) It has a positive effect on all those around you—coworkers, clients, etc. 8) It gives you a clear conscience. 9) It can prevent procrastination. 10) Going the extra mile can stimulate your soul. What motivators each of these elements could be!

Let me end with the website ExtraMileAmerica and what it says in the brief essay there : "It is one of those great laws of success masked in a simple ‘cause and effect’ principle...add value to receive value. When we go the extra mile...

1. In our careers...we launch forward. We experience our best jobs...and our best paychecks.

2. In our relationships...we find harmony. We experience our greatest friendships and love.

3. In our communities...we serve a greater number. We experience the greatest sense of selflessness.

4. In ourselves...we find happiness. We experience the greatest transformation.

5. In our encouragement...we find joy. We experience what it feels like to bring out the best in someone else.

"Now is the time to take a personal look in the mirror and ask ourselves, 'What can I do differently?  What can I do to make a difference?'"  And I would add to these two questions a third: "How can I make full and complete use of the 'And Then Some' philosophy in my life?

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"A Gift of Inspiration," is the name of the website. The rather lengthy essay there by Keith Ready, "Positive Inspirational Achievement Stories: The Habits of Going the Extra Mile," ends this way: "We know the rules by which success is attained. Let us appropriate these rules and use them intelligently thereby acquiring the personal riches we demand, and adding to the wealth of the nation as well."

I wonder how much of "going the extra mile" goes on by students in colleges today? And, I wonder how study habits used in college provide a template for habits used after college? I think Karli Kloss, a columnist at theMiamiStudent , may have it right in her column titled, "Opinion: Going the Extra Mile Benefits All." "We put in the hours when it counts, but all the extras that go into the true scholastic experience doesn't happen anymore. We do what we need in order to get by. But there are a few who go out of their way to learn just for the sake of learning. I know people who will Google questions in class on their Androids before even thinking about skimming the textbook for the answer...This is part of our generation's identity, but it makes me a little sad for the world of learning."

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Copyright September, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

One’s spirit is revealed in the words one chooses to dress the world one sees.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

And Then Some News

The first paragraph, and part of the second paragraph, of Thursday's essay, "And Then Some Revisited," read as follows:

At my blog, you will not just find the core philosophy, "The Core of the "And Then Some" Philosophy Part I," but you will find, too, the number of pivotal moments in my life, "The Core of the "And Then Some" Philosophy Part II," which have proven, over and over, the validity of the philosophy and why it is so firmly entrenched not just in my life but in my psyche.

That philosophy was written for a speech I delivered more than twenty-five years ago. Since that time, my textbook, COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012) has gone through at least eight editions, and is now in its tenth.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Alphabetter Juice or, The Joy of Text

By Roy Blount Jr.

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I have just begun reading this book — I am only in the "As" — but I have already fallen in love with this book. Blount is not only a terrific writer, but he has a sophisticated, intelligent, knowledgeable sense of humor. This is not all humor for humor’s sake, it just seems so natural and conversational — designed specifically for the educated audience of readers.

Having just reviewed Neil Pasricha’s The Book of (Even More) Awesome (I enjoyed Pasricha’s book!), I thought Blount’s description of the word "awesome" was apt: "Sadly diminished by overuse. Time magazine should not be reduced to describing an Olympic boxer’s victories as ‘jaw-droppingly awesome." (p. 24).

In the "Introduction," Blount writes, "I’m a writer. I like to handle words and pass them on by hand. The letters of the alphabet are my stuff" (p. 10). Throughout the book, he reinforces this statement, not just in the words he chooses to illustrate, but in all the descriptions, examples, quotations, and experiences he relates. If you want to be introduced to the writer’s world, this book would be a great choice, for when you are a writer and when you are immersed in the universe of words and all the related ancillaries that make up that universe, books like this one naturally evolve.

I didn’t read Blount’s Alphabet Juice (his previous book similar to this one) - New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008, but you can bet that I will look it up and acquire it. This book — beautifully constructed and expertly written — is an impressive (I was just about to use the word "awesome"!) sales tool for his first of these two books.

What a wonderful, thoroughly erudite, and compellingly entertaining sense of humor Blount has! He is a joy to read, and what an amusing and engaging way to spend several hours!

I took the author’s direction (on page 64) and Googled "Video Stroboscopy of the Vocal Cords," and I was thoroughly enthralled with two separate YouTube presentations. I had never seen the vocal cords in action, and this was a terrific introduction.

His description of the fly and his wife’s fine and straight hair was charming (p. 75). There is so much in this book.

The range of sources Blount uses — besides being overwhelming in their depth and breadth — makes one realize the depth and breadth of his or her own resources. How meager, how un-informed, and how limited, deficient, and pitiful is the information we have available to us. You just get this feeling — despite all the education, traveling, books and magazines read — that we are all deficient (underfed and undernourished) in so many different ways. Blount leaves you breathless!

Even Blount’s nostalgia trips are delightful: "Well, going back to my boyhood again . . ." (p. 75). As a writer, I can easily see how the words he chooses to talk about, triggered many different memories. I would wager a guess that he had difficulty at various points in putting this book together, deciding which of his nostalgia trips to use, and it is guessed, that this book would have (could have?) been much longer had Blount not used careful discretion in selecting among his many experiences.

This book is a wonderful excursion into a writer’s many-faceted mind.
















Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Humor

Did you hear about the 83 year old woman who talked herself out of a speeding ticket by telling the young officer that she had to get there before she forgot where she was going?



Three old guys are out walking.First one says, 'Windy, isn't it?'
Second one says, 'No, it's Thursday!'
Third one says, 'So am I. Let's go get a beer.'

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Why go to college?

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I did not know all of what I am about to write in this essay when I graduated from high school and entered college. This essay has me looking in the rear-view mirror and reflecting on what I discovered from my own experiences of going to college.

Just writing what I have in the first paragraph above reveals one of the most important reasons for going to college. When I graduated from high school I was young, inexperienced, unsophisticated, unworldly, and juvenile—immature, to say the least! I desperately needed college as an opportunity to grow up. I did well in high school, but it wasn’t difficult for me and not much of a challenge; thus, I never had to take school (up to that point) seriously. Actually, I never really had to think about it at all. I studied, did the work, completed the assignments, obeyed my teachers, learned what I needed to learn, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was never rebellious, defiant, or disobedient.

When I examine why I went to college, then, everything hinges on that all-important aspect: maturity. As-a-matter-of-fact, everything not only "hinges" on my maturity, but it is totally dependent on it: The process of maturing created what I derived from college. It caused it to happen and happen, too, in a supportive, constructive, intelligent, knowledge-based environment.

Those who go to college to increase their earning potential are correct in making this choice. The statistics prove it. Unfortunately, for some of those with this as their solitary goal, their focus on the diploma tends to outweigh everything else, and they miss many of the other great things a college education can supply. Those are the things I discovered; the financial benefits of a college education never affected me. Yes, of course, I wanted to become employed, and I desired a secure future; however, I don’t ever remember having that as one of my primary goals. Thus, I did not seek college-level training and skills development in order to pursue a career or employment opportunity—as some students, obviously, do.

When I began college I was a pre-medicine major following a pre-med curriculum. I pursued this academic track from ninth grade when I investigated being a doctor as a social-studies class project. I never thought much about it nor investigated other options.

Being immature, I can safely say—in retrospect, of course—that I pursued a college education to gain further self-confidence. Operating independently (I held a job throughout college and had my own transportation, even though I lived at home), securing an adviser, making course decisions, completing course requirements, obeying the rules, attending all classes and lectures, and studying by myself (often buried in the stacks of the graduate library where I worked), not only enhanced my self-confidence, but even more important, further convinced me that I was in charge of my life. My decisions not only made a difference, but they brought positive results.

Along with gaining self-confidence, and closely tied to it, I wanted to continue my education. I knew, from my high-school experiences, that I was not finished, that there was so much more, and that, with an open mind, I could acquire a wonderful education. For those who have no interest in learning, college is a waste of time and money. Getting a high-quality education was a top priority, and I definitely got my money’s worth. It was Leo Rosten who said,

"Happiness comes only when we push our brains and hearts to the farthest reaches of which we are capable."

What people who have not gone to college don’t know is that by going to college, it makes you a more well-rounded person. That is precisely one of the benefits of more education. With the knowledge you gain combined with your improved communication skills, you are exposed to a whole new world. And it is a world well worth discovering.

You might wonder how that happens? How do you become a more well-rounded person? Surrounding yourself with educated people and participating in discussion and debate expands your mind and makes you more aware of the world around you. Once you become aware of others and their various paths in life, you will be more likely to serve your community and affect change in whatever field you choose to follow. Sometimes, as in my case, this happens slowly, imperceptively—surreptitiously. It invades the system and embeds itself in your DNA!

Another thing I learned along the way, is that life is so much more than a job. I worked at a variety of jobs since I was 14 years old. But, clearly, I had not found my passion. I thought it was pre-medicine—becoming a doctor, but college changed that. Although my goal was not to find my passion, college seemed to thrust my passion on me! I recommend all college-bound students to take courses that interest you and explore all the options available within the college environment. My passion, as it turned out, occurred within the speech-communication discipline, and once found, I discovered it was much easier to follow the right career path and find fulfillment. It was not instantaneous; it took place because of a course outside my career track.

Who would have guessed that I would go on and write a successful college textbook----Communicating Effectively 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012)—based on a passion uncovered as a college undergraduate? Not only is life full of surprises, it is full of ironies and coincidences, too. You can easily see how, for me, college was not just a means to an end, it was a life-changing experience.

There is no doubt that you get out of college what you put into it. But that is true of all education. In college, I stretched myself beyond what was easy and comfortable, and it was, ultimately, college that helped me realize my full potential. College allowed me the opportunity to get off the beaten path—the course of study I thought was my destiny---and head out on the road less traveled.—a new and very uncertain future. As I challenged those boundaries, I learned more about myself and I grew as a person.

Now, if I look at the life that my college degrees afforded me (I went on for an M.A. and a Ph.D.), I have to say that it was my college experiences that allowed me to achieve a higher quality of life—a better lifestyle—for myself and my family. It has allowed all members of my family to live healthier lives with strong value systems. It made me a better parent and leader for my family. It allowed our families to follow the American dream. We received a great return on the investment—the money I invested in going to college came back in multiples throughout my life. There are many reasons for going to college, to be sure, and these are my answers to the question, "Why go to college?"

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At GetDegrees, the essay "Why Go to College? 40 Reasons to Go to College" supports many of the reasons in the essay above and adds many more.

At MetroNorth, the essay "Reasons for Going to College," is another good one that offers a number of additional ideas.

At, there is an essay, "Five Reasons to Skip College" that is worth looking at. The reasons are: 1) You’ll be losing your working years. 2) You won’t necessarily earn less money. 3) In fact, you could probably earn more money if you invested your tuition [as if you would have it in one lump sum available to invest!] 4) You don’t need to be in a classroom in order to learn something. 5) Plenty of other people did fine. (e.g., " Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Quentin Tarantino, David Geffen, and Thomas Edison, among others, never graduated from college. Peter Jennings and John D. Rockefeller never finished high school.")

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Copyright September, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

Everyone has sandpaper people in their lives—those who rub them the wrong way. Whether they are your co-workers, bosses, employees, friends, family members, or neighbors, how you interact with them will have a direct bearing on your life. The more you treat them as beacons rather than burnt-out lightbulbs, the greater the likelihood that they will no longer have a negative influence on your life, and the more likely they will reflect light rather than darkness.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

And Then Some News

Thursday's essay is entitled, "Why go to college?," and the first paragraph of the essay reads:

I did not know all of what I am about to write in this essay when I graduated from high school and entered college. This essay has me looking in the rear-view mirror and reflecting on what I discovered from my own experiences of going to college.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The book of (even more) awesome

By Neil Pasricha review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Having not read the first Awesome book, I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this one. From just the title, I was skeptical; I do not like wasting my time reading silly, purposeless material or books.

You have to know that I was more than pleasantly surprised. There were a number of things that made this book an interesting and worthwhile reading experience.

First, the sections are short, so you can move through the book with great speed. And, too, you can select those segments that appeal to you and leave others alone. One segment does not lead to another nor does any one segment depend on any other. All segments exist independently.

Second, the segments are surprisingly relevant. So many of them (and I mean a lot of them!!!) deal with those brief — in many cases, overlooked — moments in life that we all experience and with which we can all identify. Here’s what surprised me: I can’t believe that someone has his thumb so beautifully and securely touching the pulse of human behavior. It is amazing the wide range of moments that are covered and you — as a reader of this book — will be shocked to discover that so many of those moments that you consider personal (to yourself) and unique (only relevant to you), are far more universal than imagined. It won’t take you long when reading this book to discover this insight.

Third, if anyone were looking for a lexicon of cultural bits and pieces that together compose the fabric of our daily lives, this would be a great place to begin the investigation.

Fourth, this book is a terrific motivator, encourager, and activator. Of course, if your life is dull and lifeless and that’s the way you like it, there is little that a book like this one, or any single source for that matter, can light the fire within you. But, if you like to get charged up, it isn’t just the topics Pasricha covers that make this a worthwhile read, it’s his attitude and approach. Pasricha is delightfully positive and upbeat, and if he is, indeed, as "turned on" by life’s little pleasures, he is certainly the kind of person with whom anyone would like to be associated. He has such a positive approach to life!

Fifth, in a book such as this, it would be easy to get saccharine — sickeningly sappy to the point of nauseating. Pasricha never gets schmaltzy with his descriptions, and what is surprising, with 379 pages (in a small-sized book) you never get tired of reading more of his segments. The material is fresh, the author’s approach is light, friendly, and often funny, and the material is a joy to read.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Humor

For those who haven't heard, Washington State just passed both laws - gay marriage and legalized marijuana.

The fact that gay marriage and marijuana were legalized on the same day makes perfect biblical sense because Leviticus 20:13 says "If a man lies with another man they should be stoned."

We just hadn't interpreted it correctly.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Memorable Messages About College

By Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I do not remember a single memorable message about college given to me by my parents or by any other person. All I know is that as far as college was concerned, it was a foregone conclusion that everyone goes to college after high school. Perhaps, that was an embedded message that resulted from two important factors: 1) Both my parents were college educated. One was a science teacher, and the other was a university professor (a professor of conservation, natural resources, University of Michigan).

There was another element involved, too. 2) The second factor that undoubtedly had an influence on my life is that I chose (in the ninth grade) to become a doctor—probably a family doctor. Since that was my early choice, college was a necessity to obtain the goal I had set for myself.

But there are many people who do not fit into these categories, obviously, and for many of them, college is not a natural foregone conclusion. I think that if they were really aware of the circumstances in our society today, they would realize that college is a necessity—to broaden one’s job potential, to prepare oneself for life in the real world, and to be competitive in today’s job markets.

Be that as it may, this essay is really designed for the parents of children who want those children to have as one of their goals, a college education. Parents need to place emphasis on the quotation by Brian Tracy. He said, "If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development."

There is some research published in January, 2012, in the academic journal, Communication Education (Volume 61, Number 1, January, 2012, pp. 44-66) that could have a bearing on parents’ success in making certain that college is a goal their children hold for their own future. The title of this 22-page article, "‘If You Can Dream It, You Can Achieve It.’ Parent Memorable Messages as Indicators of College Student Success," and its authors are Haley Kranstuber, Kristen Carr, and Angela M. Hosek. The final author is a faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies at Emerson College in Boston. The first two authors are working for their Ph.Ds in the Department of Communication Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (433 Oldfather Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0329).

What makes this article so powerful is simple. It reports the results of a sophisticated study conducted by these authors that has positive implications for everyone: "Clearly, memorable messages about college are important and useful to college students, with far-reaching applications for both educators and parents" (p. 62).

Even more important than positive results is the fact that the authors reported some of the messages themselves. Although the specific messages may have differed some, there were five main themes (pp. 53-56): (I quote from the article, but I have refrained from using quotation marks for ease of reading.)
1) Work hard and/or play hard. Parents simply acknowledged the importance of
focus on college, and there were three subthemes within this supratheme:

a) Work hard. This memorable message emphasized the importance of students staying focused on their studies while in college. Many of the respondents noted the "point" of college was to get good grades, study hard, and/or graduate and minimized the idea that college is for life experience or for socializing.Here, I am adding a quotation that I find motivating. Hamilton Holt said this about hard work: "Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last."

b) Balance work and play. Both academics and social activities are important to the college experience.

2) Play hard. These parents saw college as a time for fun and exploration, not necessarily a time for serious work. Messages such as "Don’t let your studies get in the way of your college career," or "College will be some of the best times in your life."

3) College as necessary. These were messages indicating that parents knew that a college education was mandatory for being competitive in the job market. A message such as "nowadays you have to go to college to get a great job," or "College will give you the best opportunity to do the things you want to do in life, and be able to live the life you want to lead."

4) My two cents: other advice for attending college. 

a) Do this: providing advice for good decisions. One such message was: "Your education is what you make out of it."

b) Don’t do this: cautionary tales. These messages related to risky health behaviors such as alcohol, drugs, partying, sex, and dropping out of college.

5) Support and encouragement. Parents fulfilled their children’s emotional needs during their transition to college. The messages parents sought to reassure children of their love and support, and encouraged them to use their talents to be successful in college. A message such as :"We love you, believe in you, and good luck," would be of this type.

There is more to it, with respect to results, than merely providing motivational messages. That is, the authors say, "Reflecting the students’ parental memorable messages may increase students’ perception of course relevancy and potentially increase student motivation" (p. 62). Wouldn’t that be terrific? A subtle, effective, perhaps, long-term effect of memorable messages is that students may see more relevancy in their courses and, thus, increase their motivation because of them. The point is, "Perceptions of memorable messages and parent relationships were also predictive of both college student motivation and empowerment" (p. 60).

The summary the authors used for their academic article reads as follows: "In conclusion, in the current study we analyzed the memorable messages that college students cite from parents and found that characteristics of these messages predict college student success. . ." (p. 63). The point of this essay is a simple one: Memorable messages are remembered, and they are effective. Use them — and remember what Mark Houlahan said, "If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page." A college education will assure that the pages you write are significant, relevant, meaningful, eloquent, and consequential.

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Cuesta College, has a brief essay on "Characteristics of a Successful Student" and lists and discusses five characteristics.

At College, Career, Life, there is another set of characteristics discussed in the essay, "Characteristics of Successful College Students." Here they are listed as 1) Good time management skills, 2) Curiosity, 3) Persistence, 4) They talk to their professors and instructors, and 5) Ability to enjoy the moment while preparing for the future.

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Copyright September, 2013, by And Then Some Publishing LLC




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Quotations by Richard L. Weaver II

The strangeness that makes strangers may be the opposites that attract.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

And Then Some News

Dr. Weaver's Thursday essay is called, "Memorable messages about college," and the first paragraph reads like this:

I do not remember a single memorable message about college given to me by my parents or by any other person. All I know is that as far as college was concerned, it was a foregone conclusion that everyone goes to college after high school. Perhaps, that was an embedded message that resulted from two important factors: 1) Both my parents were college educated. One was a science teacher, and the other was a university professor (a professor of conservation, natural resources, University of Michigan).

Monday, September 2, 2013

The consuming instinct: What juicy burgers, ferraris, pornography, and gift giving reveal about human nature

By Gad Saad

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

There are 293 pages of text in this book and 45 pages of excellent notes (462 total). This means that there are approximately 1.6 footnotes per page. Most of the notes, incidentally, are academic (credible, highly reliable, and easy to trace).

In addition to the wide variety of superb sources, Gad Saad has an excellent, competent, and credible background to write such a book as this. Quoting from the inside flyleaf of the cover: "[He is] a popular blogger for Psychology Today, is a professor of marketing at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. He holds the Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption and is the author of The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption, as well as numerous scientific papers."

Saad’s explanation for why he carefully chose the words in his subtitle (pages 12-13) was terrific. They relate to the four key Darwiian drives: 1) our penchant for fatty foods, 2) the sexual signals in the mating arena, 3) the evolutionary forces that shape human sexuality, and 4) gift giving—linked, says Saad, "to all four Darwinian overriding drives" (p. 13).

To give you a flavor of Saad’s writing, and what’s in store for readers with respect to subjects and vocabulary, note this excerpt from page 15: " . . . I provide an overview of evolutionary psychology and contrast it with the socialization perspective. I tackle some of the fallacies that persist with regard to evolutionary theory. I address the infamous nature-versus-nurture debate, as it helps in understanding which elements of consumption are learned, which are innate, and which are shaped by an inextricable melange of both forces" (p. 15).

If you are looking for a relevant learning experience, this book will serve that purpose in spades. Not only is it well-written, bujt the way Saad incorporates the research into his writing is exemplary. It makes for smooth reading along with the education. There is so much information in this book.

Saad’s examination of contemporary musical song lyrics — "some of the most powerful cultural fossils for those wishing to understand the evolution of the human mind" (p. 152) — is truly outstanding (pp. 152-158). He looks at television storylines, movies, and literature and proves to readers he is a pop culture junkie. This is an outstanding chapter: Cahpter 6, "Cultural Products: Fossils of the Human Mind" (pp. 149-176).

I think there is little question that whether you are highly educated or lack a degree in higher education, you will come away from this book "with a deep appreciation of the power of evolutionary theory in helping [people] navigate through [their] daily lives" (p. 293). It is truly astounding how much of our consuming instinct is guided by our biological heritages, and if you did not believe it before reading this book, the sheer weight of the evidence and the incredible number of examples throughout the book will not just leave you convinced, it will leave you overwhelmed. What a terrific book!