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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

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Uploaded by Nuigurumi

Check out this article.  It appears that the top ten novels in Japan were written on mobile phones.  I can hear the click-clack of thumbs now.  If getting rid of keyboards is happening soon and literature is being produced on a IPhone, what does that mean for traditional education. 

I can just imagine Shakespere now, writing Hamlet with the Verizon network people following him.  Can you hear my writing now?  How about now?

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Uploaded by cdevroe

I just read a fascinating article where Bill Gates predicts the end of the keyboard.  He says with the advancements in things like touch screens and voice recognition, keyboards will become less and less important.

 So what does this mean for teaching kids how to write?  Do you teach them with paper and pencil?  Do you teach them how to enter with a keyboard? Or, do you teach them how to talk into their computer?

I think some of the best and easiest to understand writing is when someone write the way the speak.  That is if they can articulate their thoughts.  I know that some people are still holding on to their old Royal typewriters and some like the feel of pen and paper.  I’m sure future generations will feel the same about their first computer they could talk to.

I think the world is going to get a lot noisier.

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Uploaded by Joseph Dath

 On a gut level, you might say that kids today just don’t read and write like we used to…or most adults just don’t read books. 

However, when you dig into it a little what’s really evident is that reading and writing have changed so much that comparing the past to today is comparing apples to oranges.

Here’s what I mean.  It used to be that you wrote long letters to friends and family and dropped them in the mail box.  In fact, a lot of history is recorded letters.  The civil war is a great example because it is one of the most documented wars because of all the letters.  The big change is not a decline in writing but a decline in using a paper and pen.  If you added up all the emails, text messages and posts on social networking sites, the amount of writing is massively greater.  Think about when congress wants another departments emails and the get several million emails to look at.

Well what about newspapers.  No one reads newspapers like they used to.  This is an absolutely true statement.  The reality is that people are probably more engaged and interested in their world, but news print just doesn’t cut it.  I could wait for old news to appear on my door step or I could just go to Yahoo news and see what’s happening right now.  A newspaper might offer you two or three columnists on a subject while you can go on line and get a hundred different points of view.  Newspapers also have to compete with 24/7 cable news and sports.  I remember rushing to the paper to get the sports scores in the morning.  Now I can watch the ticker on ESPN or call them up on my cell phone.

I know you’ll say, what about books.  No one reads books any more.  I’d say some one has the be reading books because the number of books in print each year has exploded.  Today about a 100,000 books are published each year.  If you read a book a week, you’d be reading .005% of the new books.  Hard to keep up on your reading that way.  Think about all the people who used to own a really good set of encyclopedias.  Their basically worthless today because if you want the knowledge of the world a quick Google search will work and you can get everything in multi-media.

So here’s a good question, have we change the way we teach reading and writing to fit a new world or are we still in line with the 1950s?

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One of the great challenges in working on training or any other kind of major initiatives is how to build support and consensus while leading to a successful conclution.  That’s where good consulting skills come in. 

As a side not, I had a discussion the other day about the difference between consultative selling and consulting.  Consultative selling is a style of selling where you identify customer needs, issues and problems and then present an appropriate solution.  In consulting, you’re taking customers through a displined process or problem solving while applying your expertise.  In consulting, you are often the product or service.

Here’s probably the best book to start with Peter Blocks, Flawless Consulting, a guide to getting your expertise used.   The techniques and methodologies are good for both internal and external consulting.

consulting_.jpg  Here’s a link.

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One of my favorite quotes is from the Elvis Presley song “Are you lonesome tonight?” where he sing, “Someone once said, the world is a stage…”  Well I think that person was Shakespere but I could be wrong.  Having the right quote at the right time can add a lot to your writing and speaking.  So here are some quotes from some very quotable people, feel free to submit your favorites:

  • Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
    H. L. Mencken
  • Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.
    Orson Welles
  • About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation.
    Will Rogers
  • Another thing that freaks me out is time. Time is like a book. You have a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s just a cycle.
    Mike Tyson
  • A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.
    Mark Twain
  • I don’t think silicone makes a girl good or bad.
    James Caan
  • For days after death hair and fingernails continue to grow, but phone calls taper off.
    Johnny Carson
  • I found there was only one way to look thin, hang out with fat people.
    Rodney Dangerfield
  • A word to the wise is not sufficient if it doesn’t make sense.
    James Thurber
  • A man’s got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.
    Ernest Hemingway
  • I never rooted against an opponent, but I never rooted for him either.
    Arnold Palmer
  • Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.
    Yogi Berra
  • I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.
    Yogi Berra
  • I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.
    J. D. Salinger
  • I guess when you turn off the main road, you have to be prepared to see some funny houses. Stephen King
  • At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.
    Salvador Dali
  •  I have a very strict gun control policy: if there’s a gun around, I want to be in control of it. Clint Eastwood
  • Being noticed can be a burden. Jesus got himself crucified because he got himself noticed. So I disappear a lot.
    Bob Dylan

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Some writers have a very strong writing style without a lot of purple prose.  One of these writers is Elmore Leonard.  He started out writing westerns and went on the mystery and crime novels.  One of his best known is Get Shorty which was turned into a movie with John Travolta.  He also wrote 3:10 to Yuma the Russell Crowe movie.

One of his best quotes about writing was the his secret was to leave out all the parts people skip.  Listening to his books we discovered one of the best readers Arliss Howard.  He narrates two books, the Hot Kid and the sequel Up in Honey’s Room.  It’s a story about Carlos Webster and his rise in the Oklahoma Marshal’s service.  It’s set in the 30s and 40s.  The narrator gets the accents and syntax just right to make these books really easy to listen to. 

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Does it make a difference?  It does and it doesn’t.  How’s that for a strong stand.  When the main character is female, the book is better read by and women and vice versa.  Here’s a very good example.  Alexander McCall Smith has a fantasitic series:  The No. 1 Ladies Detective Series.  The series is about “traditionally built” Precious Ramotswe who travels Botswana in her little white van solving mysteries.  To read all the names and syntax are difficult but to hear it is wonderful and educational. 

The reader is Lisette Lecat.  She’s one of the best.  She also reads other stories about Africa.  She really makes these stories pop.  She lowers her voice for male characters but they still have a soft edge which really fits many of the characters. Here are a few of those books:

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