How to Sell an Encyclopedia to an Alien

Have you ever found yourself thinking: “Man, I really wish I had an encyclopedia”?

No? Neither have I.

And yet, there are people who think printing a 1000-volume encyclopedia is a really great idea.

They’re putting it into practice as we speak.

As far as I know, encyclopedias serve two purposes:

1: For people who want to fill out their bookshelves so as to demonstrate how well-read they are (thereby demonstrating they’re not).

2: For itinerant salesmen to have something to sell.

I mean, isn’t it sad?

You go to view a house for rent, it’s all great and empty and clean – nothing lingers of the previous tenants – except for the entire 24-part encyclopedia they left on a shelf.

Ok, so I’m being snide: of course an encyclopedia is useful.

But I’m pretty sure that only a very small percentage of owners will ever open a volume.

Which begs the question: Why the hell would someone want to print out Wikipedia?

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The Key to Their Hearts + More Sales

Back in the day when my dad was courting my mother, they used to go to Scheveningen, to the Kurhaus beachfront hotel.

Most nights, there was a Hungarian pianist playing,  called Sandor Vidak.

And every time my future parents walked in, Sandor would do something special.

As soon as he’d notice her, he would stop playing whatever he was in the middle of, and start playing ‘her’ song.

I don’t remember which song it was, but I imagine it must have been special.

No surprise: She’s an impressive appearance – nowadays as she was then.

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La-di-da, dun-di-dun, It's Julia, the Half-a-nun

Have you seen this nun in your neighbourhood?


Ok, I’m going to do something I’m not supposed to do.

Ima get religious on yo ass.

Nah, just kidding. No religion and no politics in this space.

But I do want to talk about this nun I saw on the web the other day.

On some talent show in Italy, in her plain, dark-grey skirt suit and headgear, necklace with crucifix and all.

A real nun.

Boogying it out like you wouldn’t believe.

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What You Want – Not Need: The Best Night's Sleep You've Had in a Long Long Time

Ran into that woman with the dog again yesterday.

Told me she had actually been looking around Google, trying to find a good manual for training a dog, but she couldn’t find anything that fit the bill.

Amazing result: someone actually followed free advice.

No, not because my worldview is wrong: free advice is still, largely and wholesale, undervalued and unused.

The actual reason she went and looked for a training manual is because of ‘pain’.

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I'd Like to Order One Night Stand, Please

No, it’s not what you think. I don’t even do one-night stands.

What happened is some guy on the internet wanted to purchase some bedside furniture.

Except he made the tiniest typo – a space where there shouldn’t be one – and his statement turned into something completely different.

Have you seen this typo in your neighbourhood?

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But That Deaf Dumb and Blind Kid Sure Climbs a Mean Rock Wall…

Yeah, if you’re below 30, you probably don’t get the reference to The Who’s rock opera Tommy.

And no, I didn’t go climbing blindfolded.

But last week the sun was right there up top on the crest of the wall, and I couldn’t see a damn thing when looking up.

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Ooh – My Favourite: Big Boys Making Big Mistakes

I read a lot. Really a lot. It’s part of my work.

I’ve tried speed reading a few times, but never found a system that works for me.

Until last week, when I found a brand new site called Spritz.

These guys built a system so effective, I was speed reading at 600 words per minute almost instantly.

And, without any learning curve whatsoever.

Amazing. I WANT that app.

And quite likely, so do you, and millions of other people on the planet.
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I Wish I Could, But I Can't – It Wouldn't Help

Talked to a friend last night about this mentorship program of mine.

He insists I shouldn’t offer it as a 3-month course, but instead offer reviews as one-off purchases.

That way the threshold is lower, the investment is in reach of more people, and I should be able to sell more of them, right?

Correct. I could put it up as a special offer and probably sell more of them.

Could. But won’t.

Several reasons.

For one thing, ‘selling more’ is not my goal.

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Does My Ego Look Big In This?

Sure do love it when people make progress. Like Jimmy for example, who just finished his first month of membership and sent me this:


“Your reviews were excellent and there’s a gold mine of information in much so that I found, to my chagrin, that I can’t just skim them and apply the findings..they merit careful study and proper application…so you can guess what I’ll be doing during my lunch times for the next few weeks…so long Murakami… ”


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This Frigging Rock Will Not Get the Better of Me

Once again, I’m hanging off the side of some mountain, somewhere south of Granada.

And once again, I ask myself: What in the hell am I doing here?

There’s no way up. There’s down, but – nah. Not yet.

I grapple, find a tiny ridge for my fingertips and clutch almightily.

Brice yells from below: “Your legs! Don’t try to hang from your hands – use your legs!”

I look at my feet – two pointed, hard-rubber shoe-tips, precariously placed on a 2cm-wide ridge. My legs tremble.

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