I Got Your Spooky Right Here

October 31, 2006

The look of the world’s a lie, a face made up
O’er graves and fiery depths; and nothing’s true
But what is horrible. If man could see
The perils and diseases that he elbows,
Each day he walks a mile; which catch at him,
Which fall behind and graze him as he passes;
Then would he know that Life’s a single pilgrim,
Fighting unarmed amongst a thousand soldiers.

— from Death’s Jest-Book (Act I, Act II) by Thomas Lovell Beddoes (June 30, 1803-January 26, 1849)

How Everything Happens

October 31, 2006

Action! Nothing Happens Until Something Moves by Robert Ringer

Like most people, I became acquainted with Robert Ringer through his first best-selling book, Winning Through Intimidation, published in the thick of the filthy Me Decade of the 1970s. In one way that book was a big disappointment: It did not live up to its title. It was reallly about not being intimidated. Which also made it a better book.

Several books later, Robert Ringer is back with something I think many people need to read.

Over the past decade, I have beccome increasingly and consciously aware of a remarkable tool that is not only at my disposal, but is available to every member of the human species. It isn’t that I was not previously familiar with this tool; on the contrary, I have employed it quite effectively throughout my adult life. What has changed is my heightened awareness of its preeminent role in steering the course of events.

The tool I am referring to is action.

Ringer then elaborates on various types and combinations of action:

Truth-Based Action
Value-Oriented Action
Value-Based Action
People Taxes and Action
Freedom and Action
Self-Disciplined Action
Adversity and Action

Each of these are illustrated with real-life examples from Ringer’s many entrepreneurial (and daily life!) adventures. Some of these examples do not show Ringer in the best light — which is very comforting! If someone as well-known and sucessful as Ringer can still make mistakes, we should be less hard on ourselves as we inevitably make our own. (Perhaps Ringer, if not in a book then on his website, can do All The Mistakes I’ve Made, so we can all learn more about what to avoid!)

Two particular points in the book I liked were the section on Dignity (as in Keeping One’s) and the chapter on a brilliant concept he calls “people taxes.” Within the chapter on people taxes, the section “Never Confuse Good Intentions with Bad Consequences” is singularly wise.

Ninety-nine percent of this book is very practical, down-to-earth advice. Ringer devotes one percent to the inexplicable, surprising, and confounding weirdness that suffuses life. Unlike the subjects of SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless, by Steve Salerno — which I am still reading — Ringer delivers meat, not bait. Act: Get this book.