Set Me On Fire

Once again, we see people insufficiently motivated to walk across Tony Robbins’s hot coals without getting burned and, in fact, needing hospitalization. Poor Tony, he’s facing more and more weak people. (http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/more-than-30-people-burned-in-tony-robbins-hot-coals-walk/ar-AAhAtzI?li=AAggFp5) On a more serious note, when will we make it illegal to use spurious developmental scams with no validation or pragmatic use—be they hot coals or sweat tents or holding your breath—that can cause serious physical and psychological harm and, in some cases, even death?


The Dog Star: Braking

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition) Bentley ran out so fast this morning that he ran right past a duck which, inexplicably, was sitting on the lawn. The duck looked as though it had seen an apparition, and took off for the tennis court (then the pool and, finally, the pond where it lives). Bentley threw …


Four Movies

I recently traveled about 40,000 air miles, to Sydney and back and then to Rome and back. So I watched four movies of fairly recent vintage. My reactions: Hail Caesar: This was the best of the four, a funny satire of old Hollywood and Communist idealists, with Josh Brolin superb as a studio enforcer and coverup guy. George Clooney was wasted in the lead—anyone could have played it—but the spoof of the Communist writers, usually such subjects of empathy (see Trumbo, below), was …


When in Rome….

• I’m waiting for the elevator in The Hassler Hotel on the fourth floor, going up to the lounge on the seventh. It arrives with an all-too-typical American man: pot belly, tee-shirt, raggedy shorts, flip flops. With him is his daughter, about 12, who says as the door opens, “We’re going UP!” as if I’ve stopped it while trying to go down. “Thanks for the information,” I respond, “I’m going up.” “It stops at every floor,” she whines over and …


Those Stupid Things Remind Me of You

We all say stupid things. Some of us are lucky enough to have family and friends who straighten us out. You owe it to your clients to point out stupid things, not pretend they weren’t said or are actually legitimate. “You were a great investment for us, but we’re having a tough year so I don’t know if we can renew with you,” is a stupid thing. Do you sell your best performing stocks in a poor market? © Alan …



Publish but Don’t Perish

You know how “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it”? Well, a corollary: “It’s not that you have a book out, it’s what you do with it.” Stop dreaming that you’re in the book selling business or that you’ve just written War and Peace. Use the fact that a third-party publisher thought enough of your quality to invest in you, and use that to attract buyers and close business. A book is a marketing device. I’ve written …


A Quick Tip

A taxi in Sydney takes me to my meeting. I pay the driver, including my usual tip, and thank him. “Good Lord,” he says, “you’re American.” “Can you tell by my accent?” “No, I can tell by your tip!”



Owning the Conversation

Stop trying to respond to buyers’ questions as if you’re seeking a good score on the SATs or taking an interview for grad school. Change the conversation toward the direction you need to close business. For example, once you explain what you can do for clients, and you’re sensibly asked, “How do you do that?” respond: “Instead of talking theoretically or about another environment, why don’t we talk about what I can do specifically for you? What are your greatest …