This book is more encouragement than a how-to guide. It does contain practical advice, but not nearly as much as I anticipated. It starts with resultsThis book is more encouragement than a how-to guide. It does contain practical advice, but not nearly as much as I anticipated. It starts with results from a survey of 35,000 parents, then walks through several aspects of parenting, specifically aimed at parents of strong-willed children. It’s written by a Christian psychologist.
I skipped the chapter on parenting adolescents, because my oldest is two.
The parenting approach can be summarized by this paraphrase from later in the book: Hold tightly to the reigns of authority in the early days, and build an attitude of respect during this brief window of opportunity. Once you’ve established your right to lead, loosen the reigns year by year.
Rebellion In the survey, approximately 40% of strong-willed children rebelled as toddlers, and the percentage rose in every age category through adolescence, peaking at 74% in the teen years. In young adulthood there was a rapid decline from 74% to 36%.
Rebellious behavior usually represents more than a desire to do what is forbidden. It's an expression of independence and self-assertion, and a rejection of adult authority.
Corporal punishment Spankings should be reserved for the moment a child (age 10 or less) expresses a defiant "I will not!" or “You shut up!"
Corporal punishment is reserved for moments of willful, deliberate defiance by a child who is old enough to understand what he's doing. These challenges to authority begin around 15 months and should be met with loving firmness. A thump on the fingers or a single slap on the upper legs will be enough to say, “You must listen when I tell you no.”
Parenting advice One way to entice children (ages 4 to 8) to go to bed is by using fantasy. For example, Dobson told his kids about “Mrs. White’s Party” which had all the things the kids were interested in, and the only way to go there was by sleeping.
Instead of begging, bribing, or threatening, put good food in front of child cheerfully. If he chooses not to eat, smile and send him on his way. When he returns, serve the same food again. Eventually he’ll be hungry enough to eat. Don’t allow snacking.
Don’t spend your parenting years fatigued and stressed by crowding your days with unnecessary responsibilities and commitments that provide no lasting benefits. Postpone or decline such commitments.
Parents aren’t fully responsible for the sin of their grown children. Adam and Eve weren’t responsible for Cain’s murder. Jacob and Rachel weren’t responsible for the sins of Joseph’s brothers. Samuel wasn’t charged for the sin of his rebellious children. The father of the Prodigal Son wasn’t accused of raising his son improperly. However, God does require parents to discipline and train their children; see the incident of Eli in 1 Samuel 2:23-36.
Before entering a public area, give your child a stern warning that your rules still apply. If he misbehaves, take him to the car or around the corner and apply the punishment you would at home.
Adolescence (survey results) More than three times as many very strong-willed teenagers got Ds and Fs during the last two years of high school as did compliant teens.
58% of strong-willed teens were greatly influenced by their peers, compared to 24% of compliant teens (as judged by their parents).
Of the very strong-willed teenagers, 43% disliked themselves (35%) or hated themselves (8%)
53% of even the most strong-willed eventually return their parents’ values. Combined with those “somewhat” accepting of parental perspectives, 85% of kids eventually lean towards their parents’ point of view at end of adolescence.
Girls were just as rebellious as boys during adolescence....more
I was underwhelmed. I had high expectations after liking Howey's Silo series. I wanted more hints of how the world got the way it did. I found the endI was underwhelmed. I had high expectations after liking Howey's Silo series. I wanted more hints of how the world got the way it did. I found the end unsatisfying. There was far too much profanity for my tastes.
I thought sand-diving was an interesting concept....more
This is an interesting analysis of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It covers symbols and allusions, and attempts to explain parts Lewis left unexplainThis is an interesting analysis of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It covers symbols and allusions, and attempts to explain parts Lewis left unexplained. It's well-researched and goes chapter-by-chapter. It also references the other Chronicles of Narnia (spoiler alert!) and many of Lewis’ other works.
I read this because I liked Inside Narnia. This one isn’t as good, but maybe that’s because it’s for the third book in the series, and the other was for the first. Also, Lion is far more popular.
I learned that while he was writing it, Lewis planned Voyage to be the last book.
Notes Meanings Coriakin’s relationship with Dufflepuds parallels God’s relationship with humans. It’s “the old story of authority, disobedience, and correction.”
The Dufflepuds’ work “to mind the garden” parallels Adam and Eve tending the Garden of Eden.
The “spell for the refreshment of the Spirit,” with the cup, sword, tree, and green hill, is probably the story of Christ’s Last Supper, arrest, death, and ascension. Reasons: 1. Cup represents the Last Supper; sword represents the one used by Peter at Jesus’ arrest; tree represents cross; green hill represents the one Jesus ascended from. 2. The story doesn’t seem to belong in Narnia. Aslan promises to tell it to Lucy “for years and years,” likely when she’s in England. 3. This comes after Lucy sins, showing grace and redemption.
The albatross is the traditional good luck bird of the sea.
Aslan appearance as a lamb echoes many biblical descriptions of Christ as the Lamb of God.
Aslan’s breakfast points to John 21, where Jesus prepares a fish breakfast for His disciples.
Select Narnia books referenced The Way Into Narnia, Peter Schakel The Chronicles of Narnia: The Patterning of a Fantastic World, Colin Manlove The World According to Narnia, Jonathan Rogers Into the Wardrobe, David Downing Revisiting Narnia, Shanna Caughey Not a Tame Lion, Bruce Edwards The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy, Gregory Bassham Planet Narnia, Michael Ward...more
This should be required reading for consultants and advisors. It explains that getting hired and rehired is about earning trust, and walks through manThis should be required reading for consultants and advisors. It explains that getting hired and rehired is about earning trust, and walks through many ways to build trust. There are plenty of real-world examples from the authors, three experienced consultants.
It’s logically organized, and I like how often lists are used.
My favorite points • Act as if you're advising your parents, not your children. • Manipulate the client’s emotions without being manipulative. • Socializing isn’t necessary, but being sociable is • Be the first one to take a personal risk (let your guard down). Don’t wait for the client. • Ask "how do you feel about that?" • Don't jump into solving the problem. Spend more time defining it and talking about the end state with the client. • Respect the client’s deadline even if it's artificial or arbitrary. • Don't blame anybody for anything anytime.
Below are my notes.
Perspectives on Trust Traits of trusted advisors • Help client think things through (it's client's decision) • Don't substitute their judgment for client's • Give client reasoning (to help them think), not just their conclusions • Give client options, increase their understanding of those options, give them the recommendation, and let them choose
Success in client relationships is tied to the accumulation of quality experiences. Seek out (rather than avoid) client-contact experiences, and take personal risks with clients.
Clients want advisors who • Understand their interests and will put the client’s interests first • Can be trusted to do the right thing • Will care
How to give advice • Act as if you're advising your parents, not your children. You're more likely to find the right words to convey your point with respect, and to soften any critique. • A primary task is to defuse defensiveness. Prove you're trying to help, not criticize. • Focus less on the advice/conclusion, and more on creating a conversation to help them see that issue from a new perspective. • Clients don't always want advice; they often just want a sympathetic ear.
You're more likely to be trusted if you say, "I'm not completely sure how to deal with this; can I talk it over with you?" Then if you say, "leave it to me; I'll solve everything!"
The client is primarily interested in having the problem understood, in all its emotional and political complexity, as a precondition to having the problem diagnosed and solved.
Manipulate the client’s emotions without being manipulative. Use trust-building techniques.
Stop serving clients who can see that you're not fully engaged. The damage to your reputation will outlast any income penalty. Reputation before revenue!
Occasional socializing can be enjoyable, but earning trust is not about sporting events and dinners. Socializing isn’t necessary, but being sociable is. It's the window into the client's needs, hopes, fears.
The Structure of Trust Building Trust Equation: T = (C + R + I)/S, where T = trustworthiness, C = credibility, R = reliability, I = intimacy, S = self-orientation
Be expert at a variety of small touches that build familiarity. For example, stay current on client events and names. The more you can understand and relate to the unconscious norms of the client, the more reliable they’ll feel you are.
You can have a close relationship with the client without having anything to do with their life outside of work. It's about emotional closeness concerning the issues at hand.
Be the first one to take a personal risk (let your guard down), to share something of what you see, feel, or think. Don’t wait for the client.
Take most of the responsibility for failed communications.
Talk to your client as if he is a friend. We're concerned about our friends and their well-being, and it shows in our conversational style.
Five stages of building trust 1. Engage: use language of interest and concern. "I’ve been thinking about your competitors, and …" "Your people have been telling me about …" 2. Listen: use language of understanding and empathy. "Tell me more about …" "What’s behind that?" "That must feel …" 3. Frame: use language of perspective and candor. "I see three key themes emerging here …" "You know, what’s tough to do here is …" 4. Vision: use language of possibility. "Wouldn't it be great if …" 5. Commit: use language of joint exploration. "What would it take, for each of us, to …"
Talk about competitive, career, and personal issues. These conversations contrast with more content- or expertise-related conversations.
Don't make early interactions purely transactional. If you focus strictly on the content, you'll be paid more as a technician in as an advisor. Talk to them as if they are a new friend, not an old friend.
What good listeners do • Ask "how do you feel about that?" • Ask how they think you might be of help • Ask what they've thought of before telling them what you've thought of
After stating enough responsibility-taking caveats, say the thing that must be said, even if it seems risky.
Instead of asking "why don't we …?" ask "how would things be if …" Focus on descriptive sentences. Ask questions about things like benefits, end states, outcomes.
After the problem is defined, the client will ask "what can we do about this?" Say, "hold on, we'll get there, but let's talk about where we want to go and what we're trying to achieve."
Effective counseling (reimbursed or not) can be the most effective means of generating future revenues. Would you rather be someone's counselor, or write proposals?
Putting Trust to Work Instead of pitching, get to work immediately. Act as if the project has already started. Show the prospect what it feels like to be in a relationship. The best selling technique is to not sell, but to commence the service process. Clients don't want to buy air unless they can breathe it first. They prefer to buy based on a sample.
Professionals sell confidence, security, and ease.
Factors that increase clients' perceived value of service • Understanding • Sense of control • Sense of progress • Access and availability • Responsiveness • Reliability • Appreciation • Sense of importance • Respect
Clients often forget the promises we keep but remember the promises we didn't fulfill.
Respect the client’s deadline even if it's artificial or arbitrary. If it's unreasonable, it's better to ask for an extension, or even argue about it, then miss it.
This was a disappointment after Pathfinder, which I really liked. There’s too much unnecessary dialogue, which slows the pace. It feels like this wasThis was a disappointment after Pathfinder, which I really liked. There’s too much unnecessary dialogue, which slows the pace. It feels like this was simply written as a bridge to Visitors, the final book in the trilogy. This book is much more sci-fi than fantasy, whereas Pathfinder was mostly fantasy until near the end, when it became more sci-fi.
This chapter-by-chapter literary analysis of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, wasn’t what I was expecting. It’s mostly about the literary aspectsThis chapter-by-chapter literary analysis of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, wasn’t what I was expecting. It’s mostly about the literary aspects of the book: motifs, archetypes, style, plot devices, characterization, etc. I prefer books that delve more into the meaning of the story, for example, Inside Narnia by Devin Brown. Still, there was some interesting content.
Notes • Lewis wrote that “the Witch is of course Circe,” a mythical temptress who turned men into animals by getting them to drink potion. • When reading Lion to children, don’t preface it by saying that Aslan is Jesus. Let children recognize the parallels as you read. • The Witch’s ability to turn creatures into stone was inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Magic Summary • Narnia: magic is a “purely literary device used primarily to express a transcendent Christian worldview.” • Harry Potter: “magic goes beyond the sparing use that such literary genres require, and is not used to embody metaphorically the Christian supernatural.”
Details • Narnia: magic is used only as required by genres (fairy tale, romance, myth). It affirms the Christian worldview that the supernatural is real. Magical interventions are equivalent to divine intervention or miraculous. • Harry Potter: magic is central focus.
• Narnia: magic exists primarily in a fantasy world. • Harry Potter: magic exists primarily in a our world.
• Narnia: magic is performed by supernatural agents. • Harry Potter: magic is performed by humans casting spells.
In Narnia, magic entails calling on Aslan for help (example: first chapter of The Silver Chair). “Attempts to control circumstances through divination or spells are almost always wrong.”...more
This guide is bursting with small business marketing strategy and tactics. It’s well-written and practical, based on extensive firsthand experience. TThis guide is bursting with small business marketing strategy and tactics. It’s well-written and practical, based on extensive firsthand experience. The system advocates an expanded version of the marketing funnel, content marketing, digital marketing, and lead conversion.
I found welcome advice about creating a core marketing message, positioning, and generating referrals. All of those are areas I’ve been working to refine with my web design agency, OptimWise.
The Duct Tape Marketing System 1. Develop Strategy Before Tactics. Define your ideal client, communicate your key difference, and filter your tactics through your strategy. 2. Embrace the Marketing Hourglass. Expand the marketing funnel to turn new customers into advocates and referral partners. The path: know, like and trust, then try, buy, repeat, refer. 3. Adopt the Content Publishing Model. Commit to producing content like a publisher. Consistently produce content that builds awareness and trust. 4. Create a Total Web Presence. Having a website isn’t enough. Promote it through SEO, social media, offline efforts. 5. Orchestrate the Lead Conversion Trio. Generate leads with referrals, advertising, and PR. These amplify each other. 6. Drive a Lead Conversion System. Create a systematic approach to nurture and educate leads and orient new clients. 7. Live by the Marketing Calendar. Create monthly projects and themes, weekly action steps, and daily marketing appointments.
Identify your ideal client Steps to discover ideal clients 1. Profit: which clients are most profitable? Which service or type of engagement is most profitable? 2. Propensity to refer: which of these clients refer? 3. Demographics: what demographics do these clients share? 4. Behavioral markers: what makes these clients tick? What triggers them to look for someone like you? What behaviors can you target (attending certain conferences, joining civic or nonprofit causes, etc.) 5. Biographical sketch: how would you spot the ideal client? What words and images make up their “picture”? Give these profiles personal names.
Questions to ask • What problem do you solve? Do you sell peace of mind, status, pain relief? • Where are your ideal clients located? Are certain areas or patterns more desirable? • How do ideal clients make buying decisions? Committee, bid, RFP, referral, search engine, etc.? • How can you reach ideal clients? Associations, publications, mailing lists, networking, etc.? • What irritation/frustration in your industry do clients deal with, that you can fix? • Does the target market value your expertise enough to pay a premium? • Are other companies already thriving in this market (proving viability)?
Ideal prospect = physical description + what they want + their problem + how they buy + best way to communicate with them
Discover your Core Marketing Message Don’t claim to be different on quality, good service, fair pricing. These are expected. Your difference must be in how you do business, how you sell; the experience.
To help uncover your positioning, ask your clients: • Why did you hire us? • What do we do that others don’t? • What’s missing from our industry? • What could we do that would thrill you? • What do you put up with in this industry? • What would you do if you owned our business?
Create a talking logo to answer the question, “What do you do?” Formula: action verb (I show, teach, help) + target market (business owners, Fortune 500 companies) + how to X (solve a problem, meet a need)
Core Marketing Message: What’s the chief benefit of doing business with you? How can you easily communicate your difference?
Produce marketing content that educates Create content partnerships with strategic partners (co-brand ebook, invite to guest post, offer seminar to their customers, etc.).
To write case studies, interview clients and ask these questions: 1. What solutions were you seeking when you hired us? 2. What did/do we provide that you value the most? 3. What has been the result of working with us? 4. What would you tell others who are considering hiring us?
When asking clients to write a testimonial, ask them to write it as though they were recommending your business to a friend who was considering hiring you.
Run advertising that gets results Two-step direct response advertising 1. Run ads that offer the reader a free report, sample, or something of high perceived value. Ask them to visit website and exchange basic contact info for this valuable info. 2. Send the report to all who respond, and market to this group like crazy.
To develop a good info product, think of how to help readers avoid the pain of paying too much, wasting their time, losing something they value, or encountering frustrating situations. The info product can be a white paper, webinar, audio, workshop, email series, etc.
To evaluate advertising options, ask: 1. Does it allow you to specifically target your ideal prospect? 2. Does it provide high ROI?
Advertising options • Direct mail is likely the best option for most small businesses. Purchase very targeted lists and do small tests. • Telemarketing is ineffective for lead generation, but can be useful in following up on other forms of marketing. • Internet ads, including PPC, can be effective. They can be placed quickly, targeted, and tested. • Start with direct mail, get a predictable response, then add other forms of advertising to expand and enhance your message.
Direct mail is an ideal target medium Sales letter formula 1. Headline. Scream, “This is worth your time!” 2. State the problem. Show that you realize their problem and understand their frustration. 3. Stir up the problem. Draw a picture of what the problem is costing them in money, time, frustration, status. 4. Paint a hopeful future. Reveal what life could be like (or what it’s like for others like them). 5. Outline a solution. Show that you know how they can get relief. Layer on the benefits of your solution. 6. Answer objections. Address those that prospects have posed. 7. Make an offer. Offer free report, workshop, or other free or low-cost info product. 8. Call to action. Tell them why and how to contact you. 9. P.S. Always include a P.S., the second most read part. Restate your offer or chief benefit.
Headline starters 1. Ask a compelling question: “Do you know why …?” 2. State your offer: “Free report reveals 101 ways to …” 3. Identify the target: “Mechanical engineers find that …”
Ramp up a systematic referral machine Educate your referral sources with one sheet with following info: • How to spot your ideal clients • Your Core Message • Your referral marketing process: how you’ll contact the referral, what you’ll say, how you’ll follow up • CTA: the best way to refer you: actual words to use, how to pass lead, web address • Create a blank copy of your referral source education document and send it to referral network, asking them to fill it out so you can better refer them.
How to reward referrers • Offer discounted prices • Give gift • Give your product/service • Recognize at referral appreciation dinner • Acknowledge their contribution online and in newsletter • Refer business to them
When you meet with a new client, say, “We know that you’ll be so thrilled with our service that at the end of 90 days we’ll ask you to help us identify 3 other people who, like you, need this kind of result.”
Create a strategic referral partner network • Find businesses with same ideal client target • Ask good clients who they like to buy from • Invite partners to contribute to newsletter, blog, etc. • Use, rate, and review partners • Bring partners together to network • Get businesses that serve the same target market to offer a free product/service that complements what you sell, or is at least of interest to your target market • Offer to businesses that serve your market to provide a service for their customers. Example: offer to accounting firms to complete a free marketing audit for each of their new small business clients.
Referral offers • Offer influencers a trial service in exchange for endorsement, testimonial, speaking gig, etc. • Offer 20% refund each time client refers someone, up to 100%
Presentations • At end of your presentations, ask participants to complete a very brief survey to help you improve your presentations. Offer a free info product in exchange. The comments can be used as testimonials. • Give attendees a simple one-page note-taking handout with your contact info. • If you must present info that you’re not passionate about, inject something personal you are passionate about (hobbies, interests, etc.).
Commit to your marketing with a plan Marketing habits • Send handwritten notes to thank clients for their past support and business. This will generate work and referrals. • Call 5 clients and briefly interview them about ways you could serve them better. This can also help you discover your USP and Core Message. • When you cold-call, simply offer a free resource (tip sheet, checklist, report) on your website. Don’t try to sell anything. Follow up with those who get info....more
This has a lot of useful advice for meeting your child's emotional needs. It’s written for parents of young children, but can be read at any point. IThis has a lot of useful advice for meeting your child's emotional needs. It’s written for parents of young children, but can be read at any point. I liked the approach to discipline, which advocates using love and other emotional efforts to prevent bad behavior, rather than simple physical punishment.
I read this because we have a strong-willed two-year-old, and we’ve been trying to find ways to get her to behave. My wife started reading this, then recommended it. We both liked The Five Love Languages. The authors are Christian and reference biblical principles.
Summary 1. Keep your child’s emotional love tank full. Speak the 5 love languages. 2. Use the most positive ways you can to control your child’s behavior: requests, gentle physical manipulation, commands, punishment, and behavior modification. 3. Lovingly discipline your child. Ask, “What does this child need?” and then go about it logically. 4. Do your best to handle your own anger appropriately, and not dump it on your child. Be pleasant but firm. 5. Do your best to train your child to handle anger maturely. The goal is to do so by age 16.5.
Physical Touch • Under 18 months, physical touch is especially important. • Teenage girls still need and want physical touch, such as hugs, from dads. But don't do in public unless daughter initiates, to prevent embarrassment.
Words of Affirmation Rather than prohibiting bad behavior and condemning those who do it, show your child how others have suffered from such bad behavior, and show your concern for them. Tell your child you hope they never do such things and suffer such consequences.
How to show • Put note in lunch with encouraging words. • Mention something specific you observed to highlight accomplishments, such as good behavior. • Ask what child wants to do or be when they grow up. Encourage in ways that help them pursue dreams. • Record video or audio messages telling child how much they mean to you, to play when you’re out of town. • Frame something the child created to show how much it means to you. • Create a series of short daily notes for child when you’re out of town. • Give child a name of affection that only you use. • When child makes mistake when trying to do something good, tell them you know of their good intentions. • Play, “I like you because …” (you and child take turns completing sentence).
Quality Time • To prevent interruptions, give child quality time before beginning a task. • If child can't get positive attention, they’ll misbehave to get negative attention. • Most of your eye contact must be pleasant and loving, not negative, as when reprimanding.
How to show • When a small child is showing you something, crouch to their level, or pick them up. • Ask your child where they’d like to go, and why. Surprise them occasionally by letting them choose one (or arranging it for them). • Watch your child’s favorite show with them. • Go to a toy store and play with some toys (without buying them). • Make a photo album (digital or physical) with child.
Gifts How to show • Make personalized coupons for kid, for special meals, time with you, or a gift the next time you're out. • Create a scavenger hunt for kids to find gifts around your house or yard. • Use stickers to track progress towards goal, then reward with gift when reached.
Acts of Service How to show Make a surprise breakfast for your kids.
To discover your child's primary love language • Observe how they express love to you (ages 5 to 10). • Observe how your child expresses love to others. • Listen to what your child requests most often. • Notice what your child most frequently complains about. • Give your child a choice between two options that involve different love languages, and track their choices.
Discipline • Discipline only after a child's love tank is filled with unconditional love. • The main cause of misbehavior is an empty love tank. • The second most common cause of misbehavior is something physical, such as pain or hunger. • When child misbehaves, instead of asking, “How can I correct my child’s behavior?” ask, “What does my child need?” • When child is genuinely sorry, forgive, don't punish. • Make pleasant requests rather than unpleasant commands. • When small child tells you no, it's often negativism to express independence, not defiance. Gently physically move rather than punish. • Don't use your child's primary love language in a negative way to discipline your child, or they may feel that you don't love them. Use other languages instead.
Misc. • You can't tell definitely tell a child’s primary love language before age 5. • The primary love language of children and adults can change over time. • Encourage your child to express anger verbally so it doesn't come out in the bad behavior. Then help them process their anger....more
Godin shows how to use storytelling as marketing. He says that the successful marketers are those who honestly tell a story people want to believe andGodin shows how to use storytelling as marketing. He says that the successful marketers are those who honestly tell a story people want to believe and share. He describes principles and plenty of specific examples. There’s no filler.
Despite the title, Godin isn’t advocating lying. He calls the stories that consumers believes “lies,” because they often aren’t completely factually accurate. Stories are the lies consumers tell themselves based on the emotional need they want to fill by acquiring a product or service.
Summary Your story is your product. People want to know it. Make it consistent and authentic. Frame it in terms of the worldview of the person you’re telling the story to (marketing to). Live it out loud. Support it with every action you take, and your packaging, ads, customer service, etc. Don’t worry about those who don’t want to hear it. Tell it to those who will listen, believe, and tell their friends.
Highlights When people expect a certain outcome, their brains filter their experience to match. “People tell themselves stories and then work hard to make them true.” For example, at a raved-about restaurant, people remember the good and forget the bad.
“The story is what people set out to buy.” “Lies satisfy our desires. It’s the story, not the good or the service that you actually sell, that pleases the consumer.” “Nobody buys pure design … They buy the way the process makes them feel.”
"Stories (not ideas, not features, not benefits) spread from person-to-person”.
“The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.”
Their Worldview Find a shared worldview and frame a story around that view.
Don’t try to change someone’s worldview. Don’t try to use the facts to prove your case.
Instead of targeting niches, target the much bigger opportunity: overlooked big markets comprised of people with complementary worldviews.
“It’s not enough to find a niche that shares a worldview. That niche has to be ready and able to influence a large group of their friends.” “They can turn a small market into a cult, into a movement and then a trend, and finally into a mass market.” Seek out early adopters (those who want to try new stuff), persuade some that you’ve found “the answer” they’re seeking. "You succeed by being an extremist in your storytelling, then gracefully moving your product or service to the middle so it becomes more palatable to audiences that are persuaded by their friends, not by you.”
Marketing Marketers succeed by creating an emotional want, not by filling a simple need.
In marketing, "you have to hint at the facts, not announce them. You cannot prove your way into a sale - you gain a customer when the customer proves to herself that you’re a good choice."
Tell a different story than your competitors. “Persuade those listening that your story is more important than the story they currently believe.” Tell a story that’s different in kind, not in degree.
The only stories that spread are the remarkable ones; the “I can’t believe that!” stories....more
This is a highly entertaining story of time travel. It’s an interesting mix of sci-fi and fantasy. It has an intriguingly mysterious plot and pretty gThis is a highly entertaining story of time travel. It’s an interesting mix of sci-fi and fantasy. It has an intriguingly mysterious plot and pretty good character development. I like that Card plays with the paradoxical nature of time travel.
The pace is good overall, but slow at times. There’s just enough action. As with many of Card’s books, some characters (especially Rigg) seem unbelievably intelligent, clever, and insightful....more
Brown makes a few minor criticisms, but is mostly positive and defensive of Lion, Narnia, and Lewis. He explains why reading Lion as the first book in the series preserves its novelty and mystery, and allows readers to share in the children’s sense of curiosity and wonder.
I read this because I’m a fan of Narnia, and curious about its allusions and meanings. There are many references to Tolkien, which I enjoyed (as a huge Tolkien fan).
Brown explains that
Narnia is intentionally a hodgepodge collection of widely diverging elements, often with no relation to each other, giving it a dreamlike quality. At the same time Narnia is also a blend of more specific, intentionally chosen pairs of opposites: ‘the ordinary and the fabulous, the contemporary and the medieval, the childlike and the adult, and the secular and the religious.’
Notes Lewis as author Lewis met illustrator Pauline Baynes through Tolkien. She had illustrated Farmer Giles of Ham.
During WW2 a group of schoolgirls stayed at Lewis’ home, the Kilns.
The Professor is the character closest to Lewis himself.
The Professor is partially inspired by Lewis’ tutor William Kirkpatrick.
Lewis wrote negatively about schools in Chronicles because of his own bad experiences in his school years.
Words and meanings “Tumnus” may be from Latin “tumulus,” for “hill.”
Lewis may have gotten the name “Narnia” from an ancient Umbrian city in Latin literature.
Lilith is a demon of Babylonian and Hebrew mythology who kills children.
Lewis left inconsistencies between the Witch’s origin story in Lion and The Magician’s Nephew.
Cair Paravel may come from “kaer,” an old British word meaning “city,” and from “par aval,” Old French for “down,” and “ad vallem,” Latin for “to the valley.” So Cair Paravel is “city in the valley. An alternative explanation is “paravail,” one who is in a position below another but who holds another beneath. In Lion, the kings and queens rule over Narnia, but are in submission to Aslan.
Wooses correspond to Tolkien’s Woses, and orknies (from Beowulf) are similar to Tolkien’s orcs.
Aslan’s breath may represent the Holy Spirit.
Select Narnia books referenced • Companion to Narnia, by Paul Ford • Past Watchful Dragons: A Guide to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, by Walter Hooper • C. S. Lewis: A Companion and Guide, by Walter Hooper • The Christian World of C. S. Lewis, by Clyde Kilby • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Patterning of a Fantastic World, by Colin Manlove • A Guide through Narnia, by Martha Sammons • Reading with the Heart: The Way Into Narnia, by Peter Schakel...more
I gave up a little over halfway through because I wasn't into it. I didn't care about the protagonist, other characters, or the plot. The plot remindeI gave up a little over halfway through because I wasn't into it. I didn't care about the protagonist, other characters, or the plot. The plot reminded me somewhat of The Hunger Games, which I really liked, but this didn't work for me. There's gratuitous violence, which isn't necessarily a problem per se, but it didn't enhance this story....more
A guide to Christian parenting of strong-willed children, from toddler to teenager. It contains both a biblical philosophy and its practical applicatiA guide to Christian parenting of strong-willed children, from toddler to teenager. It contains both a biblical philosophy and its practical application. The main principle: strike a balance between love and control. Dobson tells how to shape the child’s will without breaking their spirit. He shows how to shape the will through strong leadership.
I didn't pick up as many techniques as I'd hoped, but the guidelines are good. Dobson seems to draw on a fairly small, cherry-picked collection of studies for evidence. Many of the anecdotes don't add value.
I read this because we have a strong-willed 2-year-old, and Dobson's parenting books were recommended by Christian parents and a Christian doctor.
Shaping the will • Set rules and enforce them. • Deal with disobedience quickly and decisively. • Overlook childish irresponsibility, but not willful defiance. • After punishment, have a teachable moment and reassure of your love. Pray with child for forgiveness. • Let child know you love and care about them, and they can come to you with concerns.
Young children • Anger and verbal outbursts are the most ineffective method; they usually make things worse. • Warn kids a few minutes before play time ends. • Hold child's face, look in eyes, give direct command. • When child ignores your words, squeeze nerve in shoulder muscles just enough to show you're serious.
Best parents excel at 3 functions 1. They’re superb designers and organizers of their children’s environments. 2. They permit their children to interrupt them for brief, 30-second episodes, during which personal consultation, comfort, information, and enthusiasm are exchanged. 3. They’re firm disciplinarians while simultaneously showing great affection for their children.
Discipline at different ages • 15-24 months: Warn only once before punishing (slap on wrist or bottom). You can only do so much to improve toddler behavior. Some of it they must just outgrow. • 2-3 years: same as 15-24 months, with addition of time-out. time-out: put in chair or bed, and tell why. If they leave, give small swat on legs or bottom with paddle or belt. • 9-12 years: Use physical punishment infrequently. Studies show it's ineffective after age 10.
Spanking • Many studies of the effects of spanking don't separate out abuse, and are skewed. • Studies don’t show evidence that corporal punishment causes children to be aggressive. • Studies show spanking doesn’t teach impulsive, angry lashing out. Most parents spank purposely, without anger. • To say that spanking teaches “might makes right” isn't fair; parents routinely use power and restraint to control their children. When parents spank in love and for the child’s benefit, the child does not perceive it as bullying or demeaning. • Clinical field trials show spanking along with time-out and positive reinforcement is effective at decreasing non-compliant behavior. • Studies show spanking and child abuse are not strongly linked.
• Use verbal correction, time-out, and logical consequences before resorting to spanking. • Start spanking at 15 to 18 months and use rarely after 6 years. • After 10 months, a slap on the hand or wrist may be used after distraction and removal have failed.
Adolescence • By communicating kindness to your oppressed and harassed teenagers you'll circumvent many of the disciplinary problems of adolescence. • Help your teenage daughter realized that her mood swings are tied to her menstrual cycle.
When bad teenage behavior first surfaces, take teen out for a meal to explain that they will clash with you in their desire for freedom. Tell them they’ll have increasing freedom over the next few years, but not full freedom yet. Explain your responsibility as parent and their responsibility as child. Tell them you love them and will be there for them in teen years.
Teenagers who eat dinner with their parents five times a week or more are less likely to be on drugs, depressed, or in trouble with the law. They're more likely to do well in school and be surrounded with close friends....more
This is so shallow and reveals so little about the Christianity Tolkien wrote into The Lord of the Rings that it’s not worth reading. It reads like aThis is so shallow and reveals so little about the Christianity Tolkien wrote into The Lord of the Rings that it’s not worth reading. It reads like a short devotional to which the authors later added brief summaries from LotR. It barely references Tolkien’s own thoughts. It’s much less than I expected for the title and description.
Each chapter is 2-3 pages of summary of part of LotR (in chronological order), then 2-3 pages of shallow application/devotion.
Quote "Many Christian believers at the beginning of the third millenium feel as if they have a great deal in common with the Elves at the end of Middle-earth’s Third Age. Our world is changing for the worse. Many fair things are passing away; indeed, many are already gone. The pall of evil is spreading, growing, engulfing everything. The post-Christian era has arrived and established permanent residency. A few islands of sanity and goodness remain, of course, a Rivendell here, a Lothlórien there, but soon they too will be swept away. We kept up a brave front as long as we could, but the eve of our departure is at hand. … The end is near. It’s at moments like these that … a small voice from behind says, ‘Sam Gamgee’s old Gaffer was right: where there’s life, there’s hope.’ … Suddenly remember we remember: Christ lives. And because he lives, the enemy’s defeat is certain. It's just a matter of time."...more
This is an interesting examination of The Chronicles of Narnia, including allusions and meaning, with deep theological discussions. It also discussesThis is an interesting examination of The Chronicles of Narnia, including allusions and meaning, with deep theological discussions. It also discusses the influences on Lewis' life, and other works by Lewis. Fans of Narnia and Lewis will enjoy this.
It’s a collection of essays by various authors. The pencil illustrations and photos add visual flair. My favorite essay is "Deeper Magic: Allusions in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by Marvin Hinten.
Notes Lewis wrote against indifferentism (that all religions are equally valid) and syncretism (synthesizing elements from the traditional religions into a new, inclusive, civil religion). This plays out in The Last Battle. But, Lewis did believe that God "prizes" those who follow bad causes they believe to be good. For example, Emeth the Calormene in The Last Battle, or Plato.
"The artistry, the archetypes, and the pattern of Christian thought all make it preferable to read the books in the order of their publication "
Deeper Magic: Allusions in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe • Peter, Susan, Lucy may be may represent disciples Peter, James, John, respectively. • "Tumnus" may be abbreviation of Vertumnus, Roman god of seasons and growth. • "Kirk" is old Norse and Scottish for "church." • Maugrim means "grim maw" or "fierce mouth." His name in other editions is Fenris Ulf, where "ulf" is Old Norse for "wolf" and Fenris is a form of Fenrir, wolf-son of evil god Loki. • Aslan is a lion, king of beasts, "lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5.5).
• "Aslan" is Turkish for "lion." • Lewis used Arabs and Turks to represent evil because of the history of the 8th century and the Crusades. • Jadis is descended from giants and jinn. In Norse, giants undermined gods. In Arabic legend, jinn are supernatural creatures who took on human and animal shapes. • Lewis grew up with Norse myth, and spend time in late 1940s rereading Arabic myth. • "Cair" is old Norse for "to go," and sometimes part of place names. Cair Paravel may stem from "caravel," a type of 15th-century sailing ship.
• Lewis said the Stone Table represents the 10 Commandments. • The hill of the Stone Table represents Calvary and Mount Sinai. • The pavilion near the Stone Table represents the tabernacle. • Creatures with an animal body and human had are good; creatures with a human body and animal head are bad. This represents reason over passion. • The Witch’s claim to Edmund seems based on Romans 6:23.
• The big star on the eastern horizon represents Christ as the morning star. • Aslan’s rescue of the statues represents Jesus rescuing the souls of Jewish patriarchs (the Harrowing of Hell). • Lewis uses images that match the setting or theme of the book. For a warm, wet climate (such as Caspian), he uses Greek images. For warm and dry (Horse), Arabian and Turkish. For Lion, with its winter, Norse.
Tolkien • Tolkien literally embraced trees. • Tolkien based Treebeard on Lewis.
Other books • The Keys to the Chronicles by Marvin Hinten • Further Up & Further In by Diane Pendergraft...more
This book about remote work is part advocacy and part basic how-to guide. It’s mostly about remote employees, but deals with contractors too, and mostThis book about remote work is part advocacy and part basic how-to guide. It’s mostly about remote employees, but deals with contractors too, and most of the advice applies to both. I agree with the principles, but it’s lacking in substance (details on practices and techniques).
I read this because my web design company, OptimWise, is a distributed company. My teammates and I work remotely. Given that, I didn’t learn anything groundbreaking, but I picked up a few tips about management, culture, and finding remote workers.
“[T]he key intellectual pursuits that are the primary fit for remote working - writing, programming, designing, advising, and customer support, to mention just a few - have little to do with the cutthroat wars of say, manufacturing. Squeezing slightly more words per hour out of a copywriter is not going to make anyone wealthy. Writing the best ad just very well might.”
You don’t need in-person meetings to have breakthrough ideas. Video calls and screensharing work just fine. Besides, true breakthrough ideas are rare; most work is implementing past ideas.
Culture is about the spoken and unspoken values of an organization, not just in-person social activities. You can have a strong culture without everyone physically working together.
Aim for ~4 hours of overlap to avoid collaboration delays and feel like a team. Working with little or no real-time collaboration is more of a challenge than it’s worth; definitely don’t do it just to save money.
Meetings and managers still exist in remote work, but their time is purposeful and compressed, leaving more time for work.
Remote workers must have a solid command of your home language. Since most communication is written, they must be solid writers.
Get everyone together in person occasionally to put faces to names and learn personalities. Also to talk shop, present the latest projects, and decide the direction of the company. Also, consider attending conferences together.
To keep an open line of communication, have one-on-ones every few months with remote employees. These are casual conversations to ask, “what’s up, how are things?” They usually last 20-30 minutes. ...more
This book explains that people buy from a company because they believe in its values, not because of the quality of its products or services. In SinekThis book explains that people buy from a company because they believe in its values, not because of the quality of its products or services. In Sinek’s words, “People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Customers and employees want to be part of a higher cause (your WHY), so you need to share yours and show how your products or service advance that cause. If you watch TED Talks, you’ve probably seen Sinek’s 2009 talk, How great leaders inspire action, which this book expands on.
According to Sinek, your WHY is your belief. HOWs are the actions you take to realize that belief. WHATs are the results of those actions (what you say and do, your products, services, marketing, culture, etc.).
The book includes worthwhile insights into defining your vision, mission, and marketing. Unfortunately, it’s 2-3 times longer than it needs to be to make its points.
Below are my notes.
Customers Manipulation drives transactions, but not loyal, lasting relationships. That requires inspiration. Manipulations include price drops, promotion, fear-based or aspirational messages, or novelty. Inspiration is the cause represented by the company.
"A simple claim of better, even with the rational evidence to back it up, can create desire and even motivate a decision to buy, but it doesn't create loyalty.”
You can’t differentiate based on your HOW and WHAT (product, service, price, etc.). You must differentiate based on WHY and HOW.
Many companies try to prove their value without saying WHY they exist in the first place.
When selling, share your WHY first, then your WHAT. The WHY (belief) drives the decision, and the WHAT (features and benefits) serve as tangible proof of they WHY, providing a way to rationalize.
Employees Customers and employees want to be part of a higher cause (your WHY).
Companies with a strong sense of WHY inspire their employees, who are more productive and innovative.
"Average companies give their people something to work on. … Innovative organizations give their people something to work toward.”
Company leadership "Companies with a clear sense of WHY tend to ignore their competition, whereas those of a fuzzy sense of WHY are obsessed with what others are doing.”
Most successful entrepreneurs are HOW-types. Most love to build things, not envision them (as WHY-types do).
Sinek's recommended books the works of Ken Blanchard, of Tom Friedman and of Seth Godin The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham Good to Great by Jim Collins The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi E-Myth by Michael Gerber The Tipping Point and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell Chaos by James Gleick Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M.D. The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner FISH! By Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christensen and Ken Blanchard The Naked Brain by Richard Restack Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki The Black Swan by Nicholas Taleb American Mania by Peter Whybrow, M.D. and the single most important book everyone should read, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel...more
I didn’t like this as much as the first two in the series. It’s slower and has too much fluff. The pace quickens in the final chapters. I liked the stI didn’t like this as much as the first two in the series. It’s slower and has too much fluff. The pace quickens in the final chapters. I liked the storyline of Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne more than Rand, Mat or Perrin. As with the other books, I didn’t feel a connection with the latter three....more
An insightful look into the Christian meaning behind The Hobbit. It walks through several lessons: the meaning and purpose of life, providence and freAn insightful look into the Christian meaning behind The Hobbit. It walks through several lessons: the meaning and purpose of life, providence and free will, mercy and pity, materialism and greed, pride, and self-sacrifice and love. According to Pearce, The Hobbit’s deepest meaning is that God is the Ultimate Master who directs all, and turns evil to serve the greater good.
It’s well-written. It goes in order of The Hobbit, and that works well. I think Pearce digs a little too deep for meaning in some cases, making connections that may have been beyond Tolkien’s intent.
I prefer this to The Christian World of the Hobbit. It’s deeper, and Pearce seems to know Tolkien’s works more thoroughly than Brown (based on my reading only these two books by the authors).
Despite the title, it’s not limited to The Hobbit; it talks about The Lord of the Rings almost as much. Don’t read this if you haven’t finished both The Hobbit and LotR, as there are many spoilers!
Regarding the conflict between good and evil throughout human history (before the end of the world), Tolkien said (Letters 255),
"Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’— though it contains (and in legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory."
I didn’t get nearly as much out of this as The E-Myth Revisited. It has a lot more detail about business processes than The E-Myth Revisited visited,I didn’t get nearly as much out of this as The E-Myth Revisited. It has a lot more detail about business processes than The E-Myth Revisited visited, but much of it applies to business that are larger than my web design company. The conversations with Sarah take up too much space and don’t add any value to the business advice. For this reason, I barely read any of Part One.
There’s not much specifically about the Internet, but the principles still hold.
I like Gerber’s statement, “Your business, not your commodity, is your product.” He means that what you truly sell and deliver is the experience of buying from you, not your product/service. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your business runs smoothly.
Below are my notes.
Enterprise Leader Categorize all your tasks as E (Enterprise), M (Manager), or T (Technician). E work is leadership work; what would be done in a corporate office. All other operational work is M or T work. Organize your day into three segments, and do each type of work only during its segment.
Marketing Leader Language to use for gratification modes (how customers are gratified): • For interpersonal (gratified by interacting with people): use language about people and social situations. • For objective (gratified by objects or data): use language about info, systems, tangibles. • For introverted (gratified by ideas in solitude): use language about how you'll handle details and make it easy, so they can be free from unwanted involvement and pursue ideas.
Language to use for dominant purchase preference (how customers decide what to buy): • For experimental (want new, innovative; often interpersonal type): use language about newness, innovation, cutting-edge, first. • For performance (want reliable, dependable, proven; often objective type): use language about reliability, dependability, quality. • For value (want best price, value; often introverted type): use language about best price, value.
How to write USP 1. Make it short – a phrase, not a sentence. 2. Keep it a vague enough to leave room for the imagination. 3. Convey a positive feeling. 4. Give it impact, punch, and emotion. 5. Avoid defining product/service as a commodity. 6. Focus on the promise of emotional gratification, the result or benefit, not the technical work for features you offer. 7. Make it consistent with the relative standing, gratification mode, and purchase preference of your positioning strategy.
Positioning statement: more explicit restatement of USP. It has up to three elements: • Product: identify the product/service and how it's different from competition • Problem: describe problem, "package" your solution, promise emotional gratification • Result: describe emotionally gratifying result your product/service delivers.
Lead Conversion Leader • Customers want your product/service and a relationship with you, because they need your help to make the right purchase decision. • Be indifferent to the sale, and focus on helping customer make decision. Tell them you want a long-term relationship dedicated to helping them. • In lead conversion process, repeat the emotional message of your promise that you made in your marketing....more
This collection of four fun short stories about Ender and his parents gives interesting background info. The stories are pretty good, but too short toThis collection of four fun short stories about Ender and his parents gives interesting background info. The stories are pretty good, but too short to really get into. Still, they're worth reading for any Enderverse fan.
The Polish Boy This is about six-year-old John Paul Wiggin in Poland. There’s a lot of talk about government and religion. (view spoiler)[The International Fleet marks John Paul as Battle School material for his ability to read human behavior, and he meets Captain Graff during his testing. John Paul refuses to go to Battle School, and makes a deal to go with his family to America instead. The IF knows that later he’ll be too old, but they want his kids. (hide spoiler)]
Teacher’s Pest This is about John Paul in college, meeting Theresa. They discuss the Hegemony and global politics. They believe that the Hegemony’s population laws were designed not for a need to limit population, but to make nations detest it, so it wouldn't last after the war with the Formics.
Ender’s Game This is the original 1977 Ender’s Game novella, which makes up 31% of the book. I skipped it because I’ve read Ender’s Game more than once.
Investment Counselor This is about Andrew (age 20) and Valentine landing on a planet and Andrew having to pay taxes. (view spoiler)[Jane introduces herself to Andrew for the first time, and helps him out of a tight spot. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Rand is less annoying than the first book, but I stA strong second book in the series. It has plenty of action. It's darker than The Eye of the World.
Rand is less annoying than the first book, but I still didn’t feel a connection with him (or to Mat or Perrin). I liked how Nynaeve developed. I was confused about Selene, but understood more at the end. I would’ve liked more of Moiraine (view spoiler)[and Thom (hide spoiler)].
This is a decent but underwhelming SEO guide. It uses the right approach and contains some good advice and resources, but the writing isn’t great. AlsThis is a decent but underwhelming SEO guide. It uses the right approach and contains some good advice and resources, but the writing isn’t great. Also, this edition was published in 2014, but it seemed like some content hadn’t been updated since previous editions, and is outdated. I expected more from Entrepreneur Press, especially with a title like “Ultimate Guide.”
I read this because my web design company, OptimWise, provides SEO for WordPress sites. I wanted to make sure we weren’t overlooking anything. I skimmed some of the technical instructions since the specifics are handled by one of my teammates who specializes in SEO.
Four-Step SEO Process Step 1: Target market business analysis • Website analysis: analyze on-site SEO • Competitive analysis: examine keywords and rankings of top 5 competitors • Initial keyword nomination: create prioritized list of keywords
Step 2: Keyword research and development • Keyword analysis: research competition and search volume to further identify keywords • Baseline ranking assessment: record ranking weekly • Goals and objectives: clearly define objectives (e.g., increase traffic to x, increase conversion rate to y). Start with site-level goals and move to page-level.
Step 3: Content optimization and submission • Create page titles: keyword-based • Create meta tags: meta description, not meta keywords • Place strategic phrases on pages: use 1-3 keywords per content page • Develop sitemaps for Google and Bing: XML and HTML • Submit site to directories: Yahoo!, Business.com, DMOZ, etc.
Step 4: Continuous testing and monitoring • Test and measure: track rankings and traffic, and test changes • Maintenance: add and modify keywords and content, and review link strategy
Domains • Best to worst TLD's: .com, .org and .net, .info and .biz. • Use a domain name that contains keywords and is memorable. Short, no hyphens, 1-3 word summary of site.
Misc. • Traffic and conversions are more important than rankings, but rankings are a good indicator. • To get a site indexed quickly, get a link from a high-ranking, frequently-updated site in your category. Also, add site in Webmaster tools (Google and Bing). • ubl.org will list you on multiple local sites....more
Entertaining sci-fi with interesting future vision, characters, and tech. It didn’t meet my high expectations; I've heard it praised. It was interestiEntertaining sci-fi with interesting future vision, characters, and tech. It didn’t meet my high expectations; I've heard it praised. It was interesting but not compelling. I didn’t like it as much as Reamde, another of Stephenson’s books that jumps between reality and virtual reality.
Stephenson’s writing makes it easy to imagine the people, places, and events he describes. I really liked how the franchises fit into the story.
The end seemed abrupt. There was too much profanity. I found the biblical content more palatable if I viewed it as part of the fictional story rather than presentation of fact....more
The final book in the First Formic War Series reveals more about the war, but has a slow pace and dragging storyline. It’s not as good as Earth UnawarThe final book in the First Formic War Series reveals more about the war, but has a slow pace and dragging storyline. It’s not as good as Earth Unaware or Earth Afire. I was mostly bored by Rena’s and Bingwen’s storylines. I quickly tired of Lem and Ukko’s conniving and bickering.
(view spoiler)[I liked Wit O'Toole throughout this series, and was saddened by his death. I like that the book ends with the creation of the International Fleet and Hegemony. I like that the epilogue sets the stage for the Second Formic War. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
This entertaining book tells more of the First Formic War, which takes place 100 years before Ender’s Game. It picks up right after Earth Unaware. I’vThis entertaining book tells more of the First Formic War, which takes place 100 years before Ender’s Game. It picks up right after Earth Unaware. I’ve been curious about the formic wars since reading Ender’s Game, and it was great to finally learn about it.
I enjoyed seeing Mazer Rackham in action. I found the political elements of the storyline interesting. I can’t wait to start Earth Awakens....more
An interesting but fairly shallow exploration of three Christian themes in The Hobbit: providence, purpose, and morality. It also covers those same thAn interesting but fairly shallow exploration of three Christian themes in The Hobbit: providence, purpose, and morality. It also covers those same themes in The Lord of the Rings. It discusses Tolkien’s Christian faith and how he deliberately wove it into his stories. It’s packed with quotes from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s letters, Tolkien scholars, and C.S. Lewis (Tolkien’s friend), as well as Bible verses.
Despite the title, it’s not limited to The Hobbit; it also talks about The Lord of the Rings extensively. Don’t read this if you haven’t finished both The Hobbit and LotR, as there are many spoilers! This book isn’t as deep as I was hoping, but it is interesting nonetheless.
Themes • Providence: there’s a benevolent force at work. • Purpose: this force is concerned with Bilbo’s spiritual benefit, and uses Bilbo’s adventure to bring good to many inhabitants of Middle-Earth. • Morality: there are such things as absolute truth, objective right and wrong, and personal responsibility. Greed is dangerous and must be rejected. Love for the ordinary and everyday is good.
Regarding providence, Tolkien said,
“The story and its sequel are … about the achievements of specially graced and gifted individuals. I would say … ‘by ordained individuals, inspired and guided by an Emissary to ends beyond their individual education and enlargement’. This is clear in The Lord of the Rings; but it is present, if veiled, in The Hobbit from the beginning, and is alluded to in Gandalf’s last words.”
This is a decent intro to SEO, but it’s fairly shallow. It’s mostly screenshots with minimal explanations. It covers several tools of the SEO trade, bThis is a decent intro to SEO, but it’s fairly shallow. It’s mostly screenshots with minimal explanations. It covers several tools of the SEO trade, both free and paid. It was published in 2013, so some specifics are dated, but the fundamentals are the same.
I skipped chapters 10-12 on the basics of social media and PPC. I skimmed chapter 13, which covers search engines besides Google.
Notes SEO #1 most important factor: quality backlinks. #2: original, well-written content.
Local SEO • Create and optimize Google+ page. • Get reviews on Google+ page. Reviews there count for more than other sites (Yelp, Merchant Circle, Foursquare). • Optimize website for local search. Put city, state, ZIP in header and/or footer, as well as title and meta description of geo-focused pages. • Increase followers on social media. Focus on acquiring those with social influence. Increase follower engagement. • Correct inaccurate location info across web. • Use product/service and location keywords in anchor text that points to your site or Google+ page. • Add business to Local.com, Yahoo, Yelp, YP.com, ReferLocal.com....more
These summaries of popular Greek and Roman myths are entertaining and informative. Included are stories of creation, Jason and the Quest of the GoldenThese summaries of popular Greek and Roman myths are entertaining and informative. Included are stories of creation, Jason and the Quest of the Golden Fleece, Hercules, the Trojan War (The Iliad), Odysseus (The Odyssey), Aeneas (The Aeneid), and more. They’re drawn from many authors: Ovid, Apollodorus, Euripides, Sophocles, Homer, Hesiod, and more.
It says of the Greek gods that “they were a beautiful, radiant company, … and their adventures made excellent stories; but when they were not positively harmful, they were capricious and undependable and in general mortals got on best without them.”
I read this because I wanted to understand more about the many references to Greek and Roman mythology that are woven into Western culture.
Notes Greek and Roman mythology • Silenus usually rode a donkey because he was too drunk to walk. • The Romans adopted the Greek gods because they didn’t have their own definitely personified gods. Their gods were vague, simply viewed as “those that are above.” • Fauns are the Roman equivalent of Greek satyrs. • Earth and Heaven were forces, not living creatures. The first living creatures were the children of Mother Earth (Gaea) and Father Heaven (Ouranos). • The children of Earth and Heaven were 1) huge creatures with a hundred hands and fifty heads, 2) the Cyclopes, and 3) the Titans.
• The Giants and Furies sprang up from the blood of the Titan Cronus. The Furies pursued and punished sinners. • After the gods crushed the Titans, Earth gave birth to Typhon. Zeus destroyed it. • Epimetheus (Prometheus’ brother) gave the best gifts to the animals. Because no good was left for man, Prometheus made them in the upright shape of the gods and gave them fire for protection. • Pandora was the first woman. “From her … comes the race of women, who are an evil to men, with a nature to do evil.” • Hercules was simple and sometimes blunderingly stupid. He was quick to repent, and desired to make amends. He was so confident in his strength that he even wrestled Death. He killed people quickly, sometimes accidentally. • Rome was founded by descendants of Aeneas, a Trojan who escaped Troy.
Norse mythology • The gods know that they and Asgard will one day be destroyed. The cause of good (gods and men) against evil is hopeless. • In the last battle of good against evil (Ragnarok), men will fight with the gods, but will lost. The gods are doomed to destruction by the frost giants. • The Valkyries were maidens who brought the dead to Valhalla. • Loki wasn't a god, but the son of a giant. • Man was created from an Ash tree, and woman from an Elm.
• Dwarfs were ugly but masterful craftsmen earth lived under the earth. Elves were lovely sprites who tended flowers and streams. • The Elder Edda tells of new, eternal heaven and earth after defeat of gods and humans and destruction of present heaven and earth....more
This is a story about being alive and appreciating life. It presents an optimistic view of excitement, levity, property, home, and marriage. It’s theThis is a story about being alive and appreciating life. It presents an optimistic view of excitement, levity, property, home, and marriage. It’s the story of Smith, a man who “refuses to die while he is still alive. He seeks to remind himself, by every electric shock to the intellect, that he is still a man alive.”
As Smith says, “the world, when all is said and done, is a wonderful and beautiful place …”
I liked the thought-provoking moral, but didn’t get really much out of the story. I didn’t like the style (especially Part 2, the trial), and felt it could've been much more concise.
Quotes "Imprudent marriages!" roared Michael. "And pray where in earth or heaven are there any prudent marriages? Might as well talk about prudent suicides. You and I have dawdled round each other long enough, and are we any safer than Smith and Mary Gray, who met last night? You never know a husband till you marry him. Unhappy! of course you'll be unhappy. … Disappointed! of course we'll be disappointed. I, for one, don't expect till I die to be so good a man as I am at this minute— a tower with all the trumpets shouting.”
“‘[D]on't tell me I confuse enjoyment of existence with the Will to Live!’”
“‘[H]e was only our own youth returned.’”
“‘I mean to keep those bullets for pessimists—pills for pale people.’”
“‘I am going to hold a pistol to the head of the Modern Man. But I shall not use it to kill him—only to bring him to life.’”
“‘In each case the scare was so wholesome that the victim himself has dated from it as from a new birth. Smith, so far from being a madman, is rather a mad doctor— he walks the world curing frenzies and not distributing them.’”
“‘Though not an optimist in the absurd sense of maintaining that life is all beer and skittles, he did really seem to maintain that beer and skittles are the most serious part of it.’”
“‘[D]eath was their only chance of learning to live.’”
“‘He lashed his soul with laughter to prevent it falling asleep.’”
‘“I think God has given us the love of special places, of a hearth and of a native land, for a good reason. … Because otherwise,’ he said, pointing his pole out at the sky and the abyss, ‘we might worship that. … Eternity … the largest of the idols— the mightiest of the rivals of God.’ ‘You mean pantheism and infinity and all that.’”
(view spoiler)[“‘Yes, Innocent Smith has behaved … upon a plain and perfectly blameless principle. It is odd and extravagant in the modern world … His principle can be quite simply stated: he refuses to die while he is still alive. He seeks to remind himself, by every electric shock to the intellect, that he is still a man alive, walking on two legs about the world. For this reason he fires bullets at his best friends; for this reason he arranges ladders and collapsible chimneys to steal his own property; for this reason he goes plodding around a whole planet to get back to his own home; and for this reason he has been in the habit of taking the woman whom he loved with a permanent loyalty, and leaving her about … so that he might recover her again and again with a raid and a romantic elopement. He seriously sought by a perpetual recapture of his bride to keep alive the sense of her perpetual value, and the perils that should be run for her sake.’” (hide spoiler)]
“‘He has broken the conventions, but he has kept the commandments.’”
(view spoiler)[“‘It is just because he does not want to kill but to excite to life that a pistol is still as exciting to him as it is to a schoolboy. It is just because he does not want to steal, because he does not covet his neighbour's goods, that he has captured the trick … of coveting his own goods. It is just because he does not want to commit adultery that he achieves the romance of sex; it is just because he loves one wife that he has a hundred honeymoons.’” (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more