Tag Archives: books

If You Want To Win in Life You Have To Go Little Berserk

“To be a consistent winner means preparing not just one day, one month or even one year –but for a lifetime”
– Bill Rodgers

billrodgers

I have been reading many sports books lately (Open, Sports Gene to name a few). The latest one has been “Marathon Man” about Bill Rodgers. He was a runner who helped to broke running to mainstream and is recommended reading for anyone who runs.

The book is also an eye opening account on how recent phenomenon the jogging phenomenon is. The runners were odd freaks and smoking tobacco was normal. Boston Marathon did not even have water during the early days and Bill Rodgers won the Boston marathon running in oversized Nike shoes. He did it still in 2:09:55. Sports has developed quite a lot, but at the end of the day success is about simple things:

1.Training
There is no shortcut for not putting the miles. If you want to succeed in running, you have to run and run a lot.

“Only ran once – Shit F*** Fart!! about 13 miles at OK pace at 9:00 AM. too tired to run”
From Bill Rodgers training log

2.Strategy
Especially marathon is not only about just letting it go. It is about listening your body, knowing your opponents and knowing your terrain. Bill Rodgers trained on Boston Marathon route constantly and knew it inside out. He was well prepared to win it.

3.Intensity
He was also known as a guy who started out too fast and got burned at the end of the run (recognizing myself here). This handicap also made his great runner. His guts The guy who has the killer instinct will have the final edge. You have to push yourself to limit and then go for the win. If racing does not bring out your intensity, you do not have a change:

“I became intense about the marathon. But I am nowhere near that intense in the rest of my life. In fact, I think running is the only way in which I’m competitive. I have a need to run and sometimes I love it. It’s probably because I wasn’t really good at anything else.”
Bill Rodgers

Or like the late great Steve Prefontaine put it:

“A Lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, push himself even more”

4. Philosophy
Sports is a much bigger thing than just competition. It is a way of life. If I do not get my morning training, I do not only feel the physical withdrawal, I also feel the mental effects. Pushing yourself to the limit has a strong spiritual aspect.

“Training need not be an all-or-nothing battle, involving punishing track practice, grueling calisthenics, and wrenching interval sessions every afternoon. It could be a fun and easy cruise through the gorgeous New England countryside. It could be an act of freedom by which I could step outside myself and my racing mind. A long run in nature could even be a way to connect my physical body with the unseen spirit of the universe.”

5. Community
Although running is a solitary act, you need other people to help and spar you on the way.

“And you can’t do it alone. No one can. Look at Alberto Salazar’s team now. With Bill Squires I learned to work with a group, we all became friends and supported each other. How cool is that? “
– Bill Rodgers

These things are not limited to running, but apply to all aspects of life.

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Anatomy of An Insight: The Self-Destructing Book

Book industry has been shaken by the digital revolution. The act of reading has not become old, but especially the marketing of books has remained pretty much the same. Too often publishers have regarded digital as an enemy instead of embracing its possibilities. Instead of thinking about being in business of great stories, the publishers and writers have been obsessed with physical copies of the books. That is just a one channel for a great story. Digital can bring many other great channels to bring those stories into life and reach new target audience as well.

James Patterson has benefited from digital change and he was the first writer to surpass 1 million sold e-books. Not surprisingly, he is also a former adman. He knows to buy a good campaign when he sees it:

The Self-Destructing Book – Case Study from Self-Destructing Book on Vimeo.

Insight: Patterson´s books are about binge reading. His fans want to read the book in a one go. The self-destructing book expands this behavior and connects relevantly to the themes of the book. The book remains the same, but the environment where you read it has been altered to suit the mood of the book as well.

Starting with the most devoted fans first is a mechanic that gets thrown too often in idea sessions. Usually the biggest problem is that majority of the brands do not really have those hardcore fans or are even tempting to early adopters. In this case gathering to the small devoted minority makes perfect sense.

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Judge The Book By Its Cover

My publisher said that there are two things that determine the success of a book:

  1. The Cover (front 95%, Backcover including the summary 5%)
  2. The Name of the book

Generally author does not have anything to say with either of these. Naturally first I was offended as an author by the comment. However, when I started to analyze my own behavior in library, this made perfect sense. If I don´t know the author, I skim the cover and the title quickly and move on.

I trusted my publisher´s judgment and both books sold well. Although I am marketing professional, my view of the product (myself) was jaded. I had basically drunk my own Kool-Aid for too long. You need people who have non-biased view of your business and brand. Therefore I am a little bit suspicious if same team works for too long with same brand. You start to become too attached to it and the same time distanced from reality. Majority of brands do not live in reality, but in their own imaginary brand universe. One of the most important tasks for the agencies is to connect the brands with reality.

Other important lesson with the books is the short attention span. Your magnum opus will be assessed in matter of seconds, and if you don´t catch the attention immediately, no one will buy it. When people don´t know you, they judge you quickly and based on superficial things. Majority of the people do not want to try new things, they just want to find slightly different versions of things they already like. That is why novels from the same category always look the same and everyone wants to have Nordic crime writer on their roster.

If you become successful author, the meaning of the book´s name and cover diminishes but does not totally vanish. There will always be people who do not know you, although you are New York Times bestselling writer. When you have attracted enough people with your cover and catchy title, eventually your name as a writer becomes the main decision criteria. To get there is a long journey.

For a newcomer, this is important thing to point out. You have to first establish the reference point, before you can show how you are different.

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Why Digital Detox is Bullsh*t?

Recently there has been lots of hype about people going on digital detox. Digital detox means that you stay away from your mobile, computer and social media channels for a pre-determined time and then brag about it afterwards in digital channels.

Talk about contradiction in terms.

Generally people can do whatever they want with their life and time. I am also all for people living without digital devices for real. It is everyone´s individual choice and I celebrate that. Digital detox however is just lame attempt to have the cake and eat it too. The problem is that all this hoopla around people going back to the Stone Age blurs the real story around digital:

Digital devices and Internet has made our life better.

This is true to technological advancement in general. Life is better now than it was hundred years ago. Period. Every year people are becoming healthier, happier and more productive.

Thanks to the technology.

As technology develops people develop as well. Before some Luddite turns up the example of atom bomb, I would like to quote Kevin Kelly from his brilliant book “What Technology Wants”:

“The world does not need to be perfectly utopian to see progress. Some portions of our actions, such as war, are destructive. A bunch of what we produce is crap. Maybe nearly half of what we do. But if we create only 1 percent or 2 percent (or even one-tenth of 1 percent) more positive stuff than we destroy, then we have progress”

This the reason why ads like these make me sick:

Yes, it is annoying if your friend is meddling with his phone during your lunch. Or maybe you are just boring? Or whatever happened to the plain old firm saying: “Stop checking your phone”.

Digital detox and ad like this Coke example spread the message that we are digital slaves not capable of control it. This message is wrong and also destructive.

We are the masters of digital devices and social networks.
We can control them and we can control ourselves as well.
That is why I urge everyone to digital retox.

The more we use new digital devices, connect with each other and are open to the future, the more we will develop as a human beings.

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