Do comedy and business mix? To answer that question you need simply look to the Middle Ages for the answer.
Court jesters, the very best of the best, were on retainer with a royal court for a variety of reasons:
- They provided entertainment and humor to relieve the
stress of being king or queen.
- The court jester could offer an objective opinion or
outside point of view. Royalty were surrounded by
lackeys and often only heard, "Yes, Your Majesty."
- They were paid to go out into the kingdom and discover
what the people were concerned about. In other words,
they were "Idea Reporters."
As most of you know by now, I am passionate about learning: attending seminars, reading great books, and honing my skills as a writer and speaker. Ben Franklin wisely affirmed over 200 years ago, "Take a coin from your purse and invest it in your head and it will come flowing from your head and overflow your purse!" Education is like that. We always receive an enormous ROI from any kind of education.
In my pursuit of the "Causes of Success" (C.O.S.) for the last 30 years, I am like a court jester. I continually seek ideas, people, and processes at every turn: ideas on leadership, marketing, sales, presentation skills, team building, writing, and coaching. The causes of success are everywhere. In the last 30 days, as I worked and played, I found inspiration and education in the following places:
- Writing a new e-book, It's About Time: HOW TO GET
TWICE AS MUCH DONE IN HALF THE TIME
- Concerts (Tim McGraw at the Western Washington
- Arnold's new e-book, TOTAL RECALL (a brilliant,
honest, and insightful memoir)
- WOTS weekend (Writers on the Sound seminar in
- E-zines from smart people (Dr. Mardy Grothe)
- Interviews of innovative entrepreneurs with
exciting new products
- The Sunday edition of the New York Times (article about
Twitter CEO and improvisation master, Dick Costolo)
- Sporting events (Sounders vs. Timbres soccer game
with 67,000 people in attendance)
As I gathered this information, it hit me: We are never too old to learn, nor too young to teach! In this e-zine, you will get a smorgasbord of ideas from the old and the young, the famous and the obscure. I hope you find real value.
It's About TIME: HOW TO GET TWICE AS MUCH DONE IN HALF THE TIME:
In writing my newest e-book, I re-learned so many great insights into professional effectiveness. This 105-page e-book is loaded with the very best ideas from my time with brilliant leaders, speakers, authors, and stars from sports, entertainment, business, and, of course, a few thoughts from my own experience. What you get is self-guided seminar and life-changing treatise on change, goal achievement, time management, and getting things done. Results are the name of the game, and this book will show you how!
Click here to access my bookstore!
Tim McGraw, 45-Year-Old Singer, Actor, and Entrepreneur:
Though not a huge country and western fan, I am changing my views. Tim's song "Live Like You Were Dying" is at once profound, inspiring, and sad. He is a master at getting the crowd involved. He loves what he does and understands who pays him-his customers. He loves them and they love him. He is funny, sincere, humble, smart, AND he has sold over 40 million units! In his words, "There's a lot of people who can pick up a guitar and sing you a great song, but there's very few people that can tell you how they feel. That's the main purpose of acting or doing an opera or painting or anything. It's to tell somebody how you feel and more importantly, tell them how they feel."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bodybuilder, Actor, Politician, Comedian, and now....Writer:
See the Book of the Month section below. The "Austrian Oak" has done it again, this time in the field of writing! Arnold earned his big break into Hollywood's inner circle with Lucille Ball in the '70s because he used improvisation. He ad-libbed humor naturally in a skit as a masseuse.
Rick Steves, Travel Writer, PBS Documentarian, and Speaker:
This engaging speaker visits Europe 4 months a year ALONE every year! He observes, travels, journals and writes: "I like my work so much; I can work 40, 12-hour days and feel younger when I get back!", "Rest every seventh day is great advice!", and "My work is my vacation!" Europe Through the Back Door was his first book and he updates it annually. First self-published in 1980, the book is now in its thirtieth edition. His advice is profound:
Become a Teacher First. Traveler Second. Writer Third. Become a KEEN Observer of what you see around you. Study, observe, capture details. Connect people with people.
In his journal, he captures ideas, quotes, and stories:
I'm a lint brush! I am not a hair-splitting scholar. I write what I remember.
On marketing and promotion he advises:
> Handout your books, give more of them away.
> Have more than one title.
> Speak every chance you get, even if it's for FREE.
> Choose a niche and carve out your place in it.
(Become an expert!)
> Create something that will outlive you. (A legacy!)
The only writing book he read was On Writing Well
by William Zinsser.
Dr. Mardy Grothe's Weekly E-zine:
On October 7, 1922, William Zinsser was born in New York City (he
celebrates his 90th birthday this week). Zinsser has authored seventeen books on a variety of subjects, but he is best known for On Writing Well, a book that grew out of his writing classes at Yale. Originally published in 1976, the book has appeared in numerous editions, selling well over a million copies. (Rick Steves said it was the ONLY book on writing he has read!)
> Writing is thinking on paper.
> Thought is action in rehearsal.
> Too short is always better than too long.
> Never let anything go out into the world that
you don't understand.
> What I want to do is to make people laugh so that
they'll see things seriously.
> Hard writing makes easy reading.
Easy writing makes hard reading.
> Ultimately the product that any writer has to sell is not
the subject being written about, but who he or she is.
> Conclude with a sentence that jolts.... The perfect ending should
take your readers slightly by surprise and yet seem exactly right.
In 2010, at age 88, Zinsser began writing a weekly blog ("Zinsser on Friday") for the American Scholar. After nearly two years and eighty-two posts, he recently brought his blogging career to an end. But his posts are all archived and available for your reading pleasure at:
You can sign up for Dr. Mardy's e-zine here:
Mike Solow, CEO of Idea Harvest, Co-Inventor of the Tablet Claw:
Mike recently reached out to tell me about the product he developed with his Idea Harvest co-founder Buddy DiFonzo. For anyone who uses a tablet, including the iPad, in public presentations, the Tablet Claw is a must-see and a must-have! Where can you get the Tablet Claw? You will find it here:
From the Sunday Edition of the New York Times:
"A Master of Improv, Writing Twitter's Script." A comic's heart beats inside Dick Costolo, the nonconforming chief executive of Twitter, who may well hold the key to the company's success. Costolo is a rare bird; he is both jester and king! You can read about him here:
Freddie Braun, 24-Year-Old Professional Soccer Player for the Portland Timbres:
Freddie called me last month and offered to take me to the big game in Seattle. We met when I conducted a seminar 3 years ago at the University of Louisville for the men's soccer team. The Sounders game was an amazing experience, and I learned how smart Drew Carey is for bringing professional soccer to Seattle. Sixty-seven thousand crazy fans showed up. It was surreal, entertaining, and a must-see game. The revenue from scarves alone must be in the many millions! Freddie has a bright future and is so teachable. We sat in Century Link Field as he explained the game of soccer to a basketball guy. He also explained why Google-Plus is so easy and important. Thanks, Freddie!
It's important to know that some royal courts even consulted jesters before going to battle. In her 2001 book, Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester Around the World, Beatrice Otto relates the story of Leopold the Pius, Duke of Austria. In 1386, Leopold asked his jester for her opinion on his plans to attack the Swiss. His jester, Jenny von Stockach, is reported to have bluntly said Leopold and his advisors, "You fools, you're all debating how to get into the country, but none of you have thought how you're going to get out again." (Does this sound familiar?) As the story goes, Leopold failed to listen and the army suffered badly, with a brigade of knights in heavy armor passing out from heat and thirst before they had even entered battle! At least 2,000 were killed when enemy knights rolled rocks down a mountain onto his army.
Before you go into battle, perhaps it's time to consult an outside source. Know any good court jesters?