Backlist Book Review

Find New Business Ideas in Old Books
One of many tips listed in Speak and Grow Rich by Lilly Walters & Dottie Walters, 1997. The authors write that many people overlook backlist titles, which is a mistake because they often contain a great source of ideas, practices or concepts that be rediscovered and reintroduced…

Speak and Grow Rich

Ironically, this book fits the bill perhaps because the material focuses on how to market one’s speaking skills, a promotional strategy relevant in many fields today. And the book is packed with tips, facts and advice for the professional speaking industry and related fields.

A multi-page list of skills for aspiring speakers is included.
It’s a gem of a book for aspiring entrepreneurs even if speaking is not the field one intends to enter.


Paid Public

Hollywood Films & Business Themes

Filmmakers Are An Entrepreneurial Bunch.
Their movies often weave story lines illustrating the public’s fascination
with becoming their own boss.

If you had to quickly list entrepreneurial-oriented films Michael Douglas in Wall Street, Justin Timberlake in Social Networking, or Decaprio in Howard Hughes might come to mind…or not. But  the themes are easily found in all kinds of films.

And some of the issues or challenges confronting would-be entrepreneurs or creative types abound with underlying messages.

From ghoulish to odd to real-world here are a few examples.

  • Fantastic Four
    Underlying lesson: Investors can be problematic. And if Von Doom is the potential financier’s surname, perhaps rethinking collaboration at the start might be wise.
  • Road to Perdition
    Many men and women from 9 to 90, and from every socio-economic status
    and walk of life dream about becoming their own boss someday. So no surprise when the film’s contract killer finds a way to supplement his income by turning his talent for murder and photography into a part-time business.
    Note: See Roger Ebert Reviews. com Road to Perdition
  • The Ghost & Mrs Muir
    Struggling to pay for the mortgage on hiter New England cottage, a widow and budding writer is not turning out the manuscripts that the public wants to read. Her prim and proper background isn’t salable.
    So she collaborates with the spirit of a sea captain and pens the tale of his bawdy adventures and she finds literary success.
    Lesson:  Cant go wrong with innovative collaboration.
  • Mildred Pierce
    Waitress works her way up to become a wealthy and successful restaurant owner while business and family life unravels.


Fantastic Four

Roger Road to Perdition

The Ghost & Mrs Muir

Mildred Pierce

Fish Flops Supports Wildlife Organization

Fish Art Contest
Contest open to public, private and home schooled students k-12
Top winners will receive merchandise from teenager Madison Nicole’s line of colorful aquatic footwear.

Press Release
Describes contest
Education, Art & Conservation

Mystery of the U.S. President

Thinking Critically
Consider, “the only president measured tested subjective
with high ideaphoria and inductive reasoning and low structural visualization. His educational background was not in law,” according to Margaret Broadley in Your Natural Gifts How would you make an educated guess as to which president the author meant? Hint: All clients of JOCRF are confidential, so Goggling the answer will not work. Using a checklist method, indicate how you might crack the case. What sites might contain clues?

Product Details

Note: Your Natural Gifts is out of print but used copies
are found online. But you don’t need to buy the book to tackle
the puzzle. The entire mention on the subject of the book
is quoted in the first paragraph of this post.

An Answer
If you read the post last week and noted there
was nothing online on the topic, and so you didn
‘t attempt to check for yourself …insert buzzer. It took awhile,
but I turned up one article that included mention of the mystery
president and JOCRF testing.

D magazine  featured an article that mentions the topic:
“It’s rumored that, years ago, one son in a large,
politically oriented family (Johnson O’Connor won’t give out names)
tested out below average in every aptitude and was found to have
an extremely “objective” personality — attributes common to managers.
Armed with that information and higher-than-average ambition,
he pursued his perfect career path, culminating in the
ultimate manager’s job: president of the United States…”

* Article originally appeared in D magazine.
Quote used with permission.
Note the description of the mystery president’s
personality in the article differs from
Margaret Broadley’s description.

2. Start with the obvious clues: The book Your Natural Gifts….
When was the book first written, according to the copyright notice? Disregard revised additions. Use the date the book was first written as an end cut off point, And use the date JOCRF was established as a starting point.

3. JOCRF established 1922
Your Natural Gifts was written 1972 (with a year or two before for lag time.)

4. Using a list of U.S. Presidents between 1922 and 1970, or so, eliminate the lawyers and the remaining names are your best bet. Also were any in attendance with Johnson O’Connor at Harvard?

Do did any of them fit the profile of the son of a large politically oriented family? (If the description in the rumor is accurate.)

Finally, there is a possibility that somewhere exists a news story about Johnson O’Connor and a U.S. President and that might be a telling clue perhaps. As would outright mention in presidential papers.

Somewhere in that pared down list of names is the president who was tested
And that as Sherlock Holmes would say is elementary.


Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation

Born to Succeed October 1992

Mystery of the US President


Lawyers Who Become Entrepreneurs

Four Profiles…Excerpt
The niche bank is one term often used to describe the successful City National Bank, according to business journals. A CEO with a law degree heads the firm. Music mogul Clive Davis… and the founder of Southwest Airlines, and The Sharper Image, (Arron)  are  companies with founders who were lawyers before turning to the business world.

Fact Sheet PDF
Have you thought about leaving law

Certain innate abilities found in many successful lawyers include Ideaphoria and Inductive thinking, the ability to detect patterns in facts and ideas, according to the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation. Talents which fit into the entrepreneurial arena excellently. From barrister to cartoonist, trial lawyer to cake baker, or author, blogger, and career counselor for lawyers, surfboard champion and instructor… commercial airline pilot… the sky’s the limit.

Running from the Law: why good lawyers are getting out of the legal profession, top attorney Deborah Arron revealed why many lawyers are burnt out, and how some stop practicing law and take the entrepreneurial path.

Deborah Arron was a pioneer. She wrote the first book that exposed the professional turmoil a segment of the attorney population experiences. Before the late 1980s, it was not a topic that lawyers dared to speak openly about, according to the Seattle Times. Arron later closed her practice and became a speaker and counselor for lawyers who wanted to change their profession.

Unfortunately, Arron later succumbed to a fatal illness, but her work is as relevant today as ever. Several years ago, I found a copy of Running from the Law on the shelf of a law library. I later bought a copy. Free of legalese, it’s a great read, and an insightful and valuable resource, despite the 2004 copyright. Research shows that many of the issues addressed by Arron are still current. Ten Lawyer Types are featured in the book.

For example, the Lawyer-Entrepreneur, the Lawyer-Superwoman, the Lawyer-Peacemaker.  Entrepreneurial,  Corporate, and Academic paths are addressed.
A section on how former lawyers have capitalized on hobbies through creative and unusual ways, such as jewelry pin design and channeler/psychic is included along with a resource appendix.

Examples Found Online

Allworth Press Starving artists often lack financial knowledge and know little about protecting their rights in the business world, a circumstance that spurred a teacher with a law degree to develop a way to educate and empower the artistic community. Allworth Press was the solution. Founder Tad Crawford could easily be classified Attorney-Crusader or Attorney-Altruist. He has been called an artist rights’ advocate.

With a background in economics, Crawford started his company with one book of legal forms and checklists for photographers. Today, Allworth Press specializes in titles for artists in many areas. For example, the theater, Webb design, photography, crafts.

Business and Legal Forms for Photographers Business and Legal Forms for Illustrators
Product image

For legal professionals thinking
about the entrepreneurial path.
“Consider whether you would be happy with the choices
and responsibilities that would be yours as an entrepreneur, says Crawford.

Book Tip:The Secret Life of Money is a good choice, because money is often more about emotions, psychology, and spirituality than about quantity.”

Alex Steuart Williams
101 Ways to Leave the Law
From barrister to animator and cartoonist extraordinaire.

Amazon Page 

Warren Brown
From trial lawyer to baker with a chain of locations, classes,
and award-winning books.
Entrepreneur, educator, youth mentor,
small business champion, speaker

The Cakelove Story
Insightful, humorous, touching, and wonderful account of discovery from a lawyer turned baker who conquered his “fear of flour.”

Important tip for legal professionals
thinking about the entrepreneurial path
Don’t be afraid to leave your law career… there are a world of opportunities outside of the legal arena, says Brown.
Note: More about Brown’s start-up adventure and philosophy and other background d
etails are included


Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation

Deborah Arron helped lawyers solve career crises
Bobbi Nodell
Seattle Times

Alex Williams’ website

The Cakelove Story

Cookbook cover illustrations
from Abrahms: The Art of Beautiful Books

Why So Many Students [and Others] Dislike Research Tasks

Avoiding Research Pain…805-words…Summary + Tips


Earlier last year, I re-read Finding Facts Fast by
academic librarian 
Alden Todd, who wrote about students
who lacked interest and 
attention to detail when handling
their research assignments for

various classes.

Reviewing Todd’s story, written in 1992, I realized his account
isn’t limited to 
students, and I wondered for the first time why
was it that so many people dislike the tasks associated with research.

For instance, business consultants point out that many
aspiring entrepreneurs 
fail to research their ideas before start up.
A habit noted by author Richard Nelson Boles in What Color Is Your Parachute?

And career counselors say job applicants, including
upper management, have been known to appear for
interviews with companies they know nothing about
because they failed to investigate the company in question.

Curiosity compelled me to do a little research on my own.
So I sought out
 opinions.”Why do students dislike research
to such a great extent?”  Querying 
librarians in an out of the
academic arena.

Meanwhile, I searched through scholarly databases for answers.
I learned more than half of college students are not even
reading their assignments.

Opinions primarily were that many students didn’t want to take
the time to do the work. For many, technology was the new
sheriff in town, and there was an expectation of instant results.

I decided the answer was probably a combination of weak
research skills
and digital overload. My attention turned elsewhere until last
week when I came across a newly released study of first-year
students enrolled in six US colleges and universities.

The study’s purpose was to investigate the research habits of freshmen, especially when students are making the transition from
finding information for high school assignments to completing
college-level research work.

Project Information Literacy (PIL), an ongoing research study
conducted in collaboration with the University of Washington’s
Information School, has uncovered eye-opening and revealing facts that expose hidden issues behind a longstanding problem in our educational system.

Hmm… wonder what the
research avoiding
would-be entrepreneurs and
job hunters experienced as students… 

Too many students transfer from high school into college with little understanding,
training, or even access to library research tools. They discover that
they are ill-prepared for the major differences and rigorous work load required in college.  For example, Harvard has more than 1,000 databases for students to choose from yet many have had experience with only a two in high school, and the student may or may not have had any experience using those.

PIL found that this was a common occurrence regardless of the college in question. And there were numerous other issues uncovered which caused stress and confusion for the new students.

Not only were they overwhelmed with thousands of new resources,
but there was a problem with wrestling with time-consuming tech glitches.

How to think and ask questions is an important skill needed to tackle research assignments. But critical thinking skills were not taught either in many cases.
Technology has exposed, amplified, worsened, and created a new set of challenges, but the digital age is not the underlying cause of a longstanding systemic problem.

A third of the freshmen that enroll in U.S. colleges and universities this fall will not return to campus next year, according to the study.

Problems documented by PIL point to a history of flawed curriculum,
and bad 
educational policies. Circumstances,
which cannot be blamed on students.

If a student lacks skills, knowledge, and confidence
and is overwhelmed, they will find ways to avoid
stressful situations whenever possible.

Little wonder some students cope by using the same
set of information resources–Google search, course readings,
and library databases such as JSTOR–to complete their research assignments throughout their college years.

And as for aspiring entrepreneurs and other groups
who research tasks, wonder what academic
experiences they encountered?

Finding effective ways to overcome skill set issues is key.
Identifying what you dislike about a task can help
uncover solutions.

Different ways to say the R word include:

Freshman Study PDF
Project Information Literacy Research Report: “Learning the Ropes”
December 4, 2013
Alison J. Head, Ph.D.

Op-ed: Old-school Job Skills You Won’t Find on Google
Alison J. Head Ph.D
Seattle Times, December 29, 2013

College Students Don’t Know How to Research

Wall Street
Librarians push back to protect jobs
Article Summary: Some public schools are laying off middle and high school librarians. Or plans are underway to replace the librarians, who have Master’s degrees in library science, with aides, according to the Wall Stree Journal.

Finding Facts Fast

What Color is Your Parachute?

Dee Adams is the author of
Finding Your Niche: Discover…


How a Dream Inspired Words to a Hit Song

How a Dream Inspired Words to a Hit Song
Illustration by the
Colorist  Casey Klahn
New School Color

Aspiring entrepreneurs who literally dreamt their way into a successful business have been featured in earlier posts. Here’s an intriguing story I discovered last week about the business of music.

Asleep on his friend’s floor after a grueling collaborative session
in the late 1960’s, musician Michael Martin Murphy awoke from a dream and penned the words to a song that would later sell a million copies.

An unusual blend of cords, a beautiful melody, and a haunting lyrical tale of a man’s memory of a mountain woman and a magical horse. Elements of a ghost story Murphy first heard as a small child.

Today, the award-winning musician performs as a cowboy singer.
And several versions of Wildfire appear on Youtube.

Wildfire Lyrics

YouTube      5 Min.
Version similar to the rendition released on the radio.
Advisory: This video version has an annoying caption that rotates around the singer’s face during the entire performance, and it has angered some visitors who have expressed their right to free speech in the comment section.
Tip:  Avoid the comments and just listen. A memorable performance otherwise.

Album (5:05 min) HQ
Longer Version

Illustrated YouTube Favorite
with nearly 3 million views

Live Performance
Summary: Before singing, Murphy briefly recounts the story
of how the song was composed.

Interview & Symphony Performance  7 Minutes

Video Interview
on Murphy’s family history

Murphy’s history

Colorist illustration
retrieved from Open Access

Jessica Lange’s Artistic Photography

It’s about a Little Bird

Lang’s October appearance on PBS’ Tavis Smiley replayed recently, and several interesting topics were discussed:

  • Humorous account of the real life Italian canary that inspired Lang’s
    new book for children.
  • And Lange offers an inside glimpse of how to make artistic hand drawn photography prints versus mass-produced digital photography, which she finds unappealing.

It’s about a Bird
Jessica Lange on Tavis Smiley
Original broadcast
Oct 2013

Amazon Page