High Speed, Low Service

I’ve traveled in first class on the high speed trains in the UK, France, Spain, and Italy. They all go faster than the US Acela, which can reach 186 MPH in theory, but usually only hits about 150 MPH and then only on limited stretches of track. (To give you a comparison, my Bentley is rated at 205 MPH, and let’s just say I know it can go over 150 without breathing hard. It’s faster than the train without traffic.) …


Pick Up the Check

I’ve had people in my workshops order internet in the conference room so they had access and attempt to put it on my bill! I’ve had people who ordered special food—lattes, or eggs—to augment what I was offering, and charge it to me. I had one guy, who thankfully left my community for good when he was ostracized, try to order Louis XIII when I offered after-dinner drinks on one occasion (it goes for $250 a glass). I’ve seen people …


On Your Feet!

I attended still another mediocre, self-absorbed, theatrical conceit last night, and the audience members dutifully jumped to their feet at the conclusion. The actors were certainly outstanding, with a single exception, so I’d like to think they were the ones being honored more than the production, which was an idiosyncratic bore for the entire first act. One of the greatest declines in society has been the loss of taste. It’s as if a limited amount of class and substance have …


Days of Yore

My son used to call my own adolescence as “the days of yore.” Yet there are some interesting memories. My cohort is the eldest of the Baby Boomer generation. Our grammar school, in an inner city, was a former cheese factory, where there was always poison positioned for the omnipresent rats.   Periodically, a doctor and nurse came into the classroom and checked each student’s hair for lice. If any were found, the student was sent home and had to …


Before and After the Fall (Prelapsarian Fun)

I used the word “prelapsarian” (before the fall of man; Edenic times) this week in my Monday Morning Memo. Sure enough, some clown who received the FREE newsletter writes me and tells me that using the word was pretentious. So let’s review: • I used the word as a metaphor for how long something had been going on: “The prelapsarian goal, from then to now, of any buisness is to have customers.” I find it an apt metaphor is one …


Leaning Crazy

I’ve been in Munich and Hamburg for a few days, and the only English-speaking television is CNN, MSNBC, and Bloomberg. They are 90% business news, and they are all insane. They cover abstruse and obscure market movements, and hypothesize all day long about issues which they examine from nine sides and have no real bearing on anything. Sometimes it’s like listening to Swahili, and I’ll turn to a German channel which is more comprehensible than the insane business chatter and …


These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

• A woman takes issue with one of my weekly Monday Morning Memos—a FREE newsletter—and tells me that if I don’t write more consistently with her point of view, she’ll cancel her subscription. (She had been reading it for over a year.) • A man writes a venomous email because I wrote a column in a FREE newsletter about the special nature of my mornings in Nantucket. He wrote that if I can’t provide him with ideas to improve his …


Conspiracies and Paranoia

I’m reading more and more from people who believe there are vast conspiracies preventing their success. The conspirators are usually the government, drug companies, the media, the United Nations, the wealthy, and so forth. (Any notion of a government which can’t keep the tiniest secret engaging in decades-long conspiracies is comical, but I digress.) A widespread believe in conspiracies is paranoid. Here’s the definition of paranoia: a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into …


Get Rich Quick (Or Maybe Not)

I recall the old multi-level marketing (Ponzi Scheme) pitch that went: “I’m making more money part time today than I did in my full time job. Come to our meeting tomorrow night.”  At the meeting, some guy with a diamond pinky ring and an ostentatious Caddy showed us how we could make money selling detergent or phone cards—oh, and also by recruiting new members. Today, we’re asked to subscribe to series of videos and seminars to learn what? To learn …


CBS News in New York

I’m up early looking over Manhattan arising, the most powerful city on earth. In a center of commerce, culture, and culinary arts, you’d think the media would set the standard for excellence. AT 5 am the CBS news has a blown-dry male host who makes pointless jokes, which are laughed at hysterically by the female host who has a completely inappropriate low-cut dress, raccoon-like eye makeup, and puffy lips. Six people must have worked on her hair. The weather guy, …