Posts Tagged ‘books’

Tell The Truth: You’re a Real Storyteller

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Lost in the shuffle of what I guess is the more important news was the fact that Irish writer Frank McCourt passed away at the age of 78. McCourt’s opus, Angela’s Ashes, was an unlikely success: an autobiographical tale of one hell of an impoverished family in Limerick, Ireland.

Rest in Peace

There is nothing earth shattering about the book, which is why McCourt was awarded a Pulitzer for telling it straight. It is written in the voice of a child who recounts sordid story after sordid story. For example: After little Frank’s drunk father left the family, supposedly to work in a munitions factory, Frank was the sole breadwinner in the house by stealing milk and bread. The whole block shared a single outhouse. Frank’s grandmother scrubbed him to within an inch of his life on the day of his first Communion. On and on these wonderful vignettes go.

These are anecdotes of no particular import that formed one of the best selling and most loved books of the 1990s, spawning a profitable and well-loved movie transformation in 2000.

The success of Angela’s Ashes and other books like it (and there have been copycats!) did teach how the most popular stories that seem to resonate with readers and affectuate new and positive changes are often the true ones. Sound like a good blog? See, people want to hear how things actually do work and how they have worked. People want to share their experiences with others who might feel better (or touched) by them. We want to hear what has happened, not what may have happened.

During this deep recession, anyone telling tales — customers, prospects, or friends — is well advised to give it to them without ice: no chaser. I try to do that and am often told to be more subtle. (Like that’ll ever happen.)

Work of the best storytellers are, like McCourt and Bukowski and others before and since, the type that make you go “Crap, I didn’t think of that!”

Many moments within McCourt’s tales of life in Limerick have given us a bit of hope for brightness. You know that is something we all can’t wait to talk about.

…..For less wistful tweets, do the Twitter dance @laermer and don’t forget to check out Bad Pitch Night School (During the Day)!

Trends for the Long-Awaited New Year

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

1. BAILOUT FOR BOOKS
First people stop buying books as Wii, DVR, and Hulu make it too easy to do eye exercises. Prez Obama sinks a cool billion into life support for the publishing doofuses. Taxpayers take to the street to protest; then the hullabaloo makes people realize Barnes & Noble is in fact a bookstore, not a coffee shop.

Empty bookstore.


2. MACY’S GOES CASUAL
People learn Target and Macy’s basically sell the same stuff and stop paying attention to their advertising. Macy’s becomes “Walmart without dog food and toilet paper.”


3. A HEART-WARMING BLOCKBUSTER?
A movie opens quietly that touches people’s hearts and yet has no celebrities. What occurs is this: Wes Anderson changes his name to something obscure and recruits actors via YouTube auditions. They shoot the feel-good movie of the year in Prospect Park, and it grosses more than a billion. But alas, the goodwill is ruined by the studio’s DVD-release hype.


4. BLOOMBERG VS. CHAINS
The City of New York bans store chains from opening more than one location in any neighborhood. As 7-Elevens invade the territory reserved for the grimy neighborhood bodega, third-termer Michael Bloomberg proclaims that every city block ought to have at least one store where it’s fine for locals to sit outside on milk crates and drink $2 Snapple out of paper bags . Subsequently, taxes rise. I heart NY.

BODEGA


5. A MAGAZINE STAYS OPEN, SELLS ADS
The post-millennial Saturday Evening Post announces that it is merging with Playboy, and suddenly Martha and O’s magazines are in big trouble. The new mag publishes things people want to read and engenders brand loyalty in its readers by being authentic and dirty. The printed word is the new black.


6. A BIG IDEA
Someone not named Donnie Deutsch takes over the 10 p.m. spot on CNBC and does interviews with people who have something to say that isn’t a prepared statement by flacks. Jeff Zucker for once gets a night’s sleep.


7. THE IPHONE TIDE
The iPhone is given away with boxes of Tide detergent. Steve Jobs takes to the stage at MacWorld and proclaims that Tide is all he ever uses on his closetful of black turtlenecks and jeans because, “like Apple, Tide is a noun, and I like nouns.” The iPhone is priced down to $9.99, and Americans begin to make all their spending money selling ideas via the App Store.

1984.


8. BANDWAGONING
After the calamitous failure of several self-help biz books, we start noting how much cheaper it is to enact someone else’s great idea — and pretend it’s ours. The ‘09 way to live a saner and more successful existence is by, you guessed it, jumping on the bandwagon in order to forgo sitting at the reins trying to blaze the trail ourselves.


9. BAD TV IS BANNED
All remaining reality TV gigs, “One Tree Hill” and the ridiculously skinny “90210″ are banned by the feds because a CDC study proves they are in fact not guilty pleasures at all but instantly kill brain cells upon viewing. The ACLU challenges the move as a violation of free speech, or at least a bad use of pee breaks. The liberals win, and a Fox reality show is quickly constructed. Its title: “ACLU-Ville.”


BIG BROTHER


10. EXECS SELL THEIR SOLES
Those bass-ackward Kenneth Cole HELP ads inspire jobless executives to hawk $500 loafers on New York’s Canal Street. In a similar story, “My Super Sweet 16″ is canceled because no one is able to afford to pay for parties that huge and absurd anymore. Rational people rejoice. 2009 is heralded as a banner year!

Today’s The Day

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Today’s the day that “2011: Trendspotting” is officially released.

So

Buy the Book - 2011

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