Monthly Archives: December, 2014

Setting Your Goals for a Happy New Year!

One of the things that I do every year during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is to set new goals for the coming year.  Admittedly, I don’t always reach my goals, and I consider it a pretty successful year if I reach 75% of them. I’m not a slave to my goals, but I do like the guidance and definition that they provide. There are lots of opinions about the best way to set goals and even on whether or not it’s really best to set goals, so I recognize that what I am going to share may not work for you, but here are a few things that have helped me.

  1. The Process of Reflection is Invaluable—As I make decisions about the goals that I am going to set for the coming year, it forces me to reflect, both on the past and on the future. I look at the goals from the previous year or years and ask myself things like: Did I reach this goal? If not, why not? Does it matter? Was it a worthy goal?  I also look forward and ask myself things like:  Do I want to continue pursuing this goal? If I reached it this year, should I set a more aggressive goal? A more attainable goal? Is there something that matters more to me than this goal? All of these questions, and more, enable me to really evaluate what I have accomplished, where I am going, and whether that’s REALLY what I want. It’s been stated that an organization is perfectly aligned to produce the results that it is getting, and the same is true for individuals. It’s likely that you are living the precise way you need to in order to reach the results you are getting. If you want to get different results, it’s likely that you need to change behavior. Reflection can help clarify that.
  1. Set a Variety of Goals—Don’t just set financial goals. Don’t just set work goals. Don’t just set new experience “bucket” kind of goals (life is meant to be more than one fun escapade after another!). Set goals that have to do with improving yourself, relationships, health, skills, and things like that. Set both process goals, which are things that you have more control over, as well as production goals, which can be more susceptible to outside influences. For example, the goal to clean my garage every week is a process goal. I have a lot of control over whether or not I do that. My goal to win the Rotary Club Golf Scramble is a production goal (actually, it’s a fantasy, but that’s another story). The point is that you need a variety of goals.
  1. Review Your Goals Constantly—I will let you interpret what “constantly” means to you. However, to me it means…daily. I know, that seems like overkill, but that’s the rhythm that works for me. There are people who say that you need to set your goals for 5 years, write them down, and then basically forget them because writing them down will cement them enough in your mind that you will essentially move toward them. To them, setting annual goals and reviewing them regularly is working too hard without getting any different result. Other people suggest setting nothing more than 90 Day goals because if you can’t achieve it in 90 Days, it’s too broad a goal. Some people say you need 5 year goals, 1 year goals, and 90 day goals. My response to those suggestions is a resounding:  “Maybe.”  However, no matter what your time period—I think it’s very important to review them constantly. Otherwise, it’s too easy to get off-track or to lose track.
  1. Schedule Time to Make Progress—Goal or no goal, most of us don’t get anything done unless there’s a set time when we’re going to do it. We live by the appointment, right? When someone says, “Let’s get a cup of coffee together,” it doesn’t mean anything unless you agree on when and where. Otherwise, it’s just talk. That’s the same with achieving your goals. You can set a goal of reading ten new books in 2015, but if you don’t schedule a time to read each day or each week, it’s very unlikely that you will reach that goal. If you just say, “Oh, I’ll read when I feel like it,” my guess is that you won’t feel much like reading much of the time.

Those are a few of the things that I’ve learned that help me to set helpful goals. I’m curious to know what some of you have discovered about setting goals. Let’s hear back from you!  In the meantime—Happy New Year from SGR and Happy Goal Reaching in 2015!

Mike Mowery

Written by:
Mike Mowery
Chief Operations Officer, Strategic Government Resources

Learning to Learn—and then Continually Learning

I think I better understand why it is important—imperative—to have a true learning society.

I’ve just read the first chapters of the book Creating a Learning Society: A New Approach to Growth, Development, and Social Progress by Joseph E. Stiglitz and Bruce C. Greenwald. It is one of those “academic, to-the-point” writings. And it is excellent.

First, read these excerpts from the book:

Not only Creating a Learning Societyis the pace of learning (innovation) the most important determinant of increases in standards of living, the pace itself is almost surely partially, if not largely, endogenous.
Development entails learning how to learn.
In reality, more firms operate well below their production possibilities curve.
There are large gaps between “best practices” and “average practices.”
Most firms are forever “catching up.”
America seems to have learned how to learn.
How do we move economies to the frontier, and how do we move the frontier out.
There is always a knowledge gap.

(Note: endogenous means having an internal cause or origin; growing or originating from within an organism).

Here’s what I think the book is saying:

  1. There is a current “best” in any and every field. Call this the “frontier.”
  2. The vast majority are not operating at that current best.
    “Most firms operate well below their production possibilities curve.”
  3. This gap between best and less-than-best is true for individuals, companies (and specific departments within companies), and entire countries.
  4. The person/firm/country that is behind the “best” will inevitably fall further behind the best.
  5. The “out-in-front” are “moving the frontiers out,” while all others are simply trying to get closer to the frontier that the leader has already reached.
  6. Even those at the frontier, the best, are not the best in every single portion of their operation.
  7. Thus, the need is to learn to learn, to keep learning, and as you learn, keep moving toward the frontier or arriving at the new frontier (which will not remain the frontier for all that long).

The book has much to say about how governments can help empower such learning, or can in fact clamp down and make it harder to practice such learning processes.

In other words, learning to learn, and continuing to learn, is now the survival skill of the age – for individuals, for companies, and for entire countries and societies.

Randy Mayeux
Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

Why We’re Hard-Wired to Be Disgruntled

My wife made me read an article in the Dallas Morning News Points section a couple of weeks ago. She doesn’t make me do this often—but when she does, I’m usually glad about it.

Here’s the article. It is worth reading: Andrés Martinez: Cheer up, life has never been better.

Main point: things really have never been better. As bad as it seems, don’t kid yourself—things are pretty wonderful!

He reminds us:

You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? That’s right: Let’s stop whining already—at least for this holiday season. We’re so spoiled we can’t really relate to how bad previous generations had it.

But, it’s the ending of the article that really grabbed me. Read this, carefully:

So why, if life is better all around, do we whine and complain endlessly as if we live in the worst of times? The answer is: Our success allows us to constantly update our expectations. When my flight is three hours late and the Wi-Fi is busted, I couldn’t care less what it took to cross the country in previous centuries. We are all prima donnas that way. Even in China, young middle-class consumers whine as well, instead of counting their blessings that they didn’t suffer through Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

I’ll concede, very grudgingly, that all this whining can be a good thing. As Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (to be released in February), writes, we’re hard-wired to be disgruntled. It’s the only way we achieve progress. Evolution requires us to demand more and better.

This explains why we keep following Moore’s Law, shrinking the size and upgrading the capabilities of everything around us, technologically, and otherwise.

What will you/we “demand to be better, and then make, better” in 2015? That’s the personal, and the business question for all of us to ponder for our holiday break.

Randy Mayeux
Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

Merry Christmas from SGR!

Emerging Generations in Local Government – 21

We’re continuing our series in the Cookingham Connection with a perspective from an emerging leader in local government. You heard what Town Manager Pete Olson had to say about Cookingham’s 21st guidepost. Now hear it from the perspective of Ryan Adams. Ryan is the Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Irving, Texas. He holds an MPA from the University of North Texas.

Guidepost #21:

Always think of the City in which you work as your city.  Participate in civic movements for its betterment and, above all, live in your city.

In the time I’ve taken to reflect on L.P. Cookingham’s 21st guidepost, I’ve had to reconcile the fact that I’m not in strict adherence to its instruction. I do not live in the city in which I work. The last part of the guidepost sticks out more than any other, giving almost direct instruction, and indicating this is what Mr. Cookingham felt was the cornerstone of the tenet.

If you don’t live in your city, can it truly be your city? I also have to wonder if the directive to live in your city is relevant for the current state of local government management. Is it relevant for this generation of managers? Is it applicable to the new context of urban, suburban, and rural governments?

It stands to reason that emerging leaders could find this advice difficult to follow. Those new to the profession understand that even in the best of circumstances, a one-city tenure as long as Cookingham’s (19 years in Kansas City) won’t be the norm. In a thirty year career, an up-and-coming manager could reasonably expect to change organizations 4-5 times, perhaps more as opportunities to grow arise and new professional challenges emerge. The manager would be well aware of the effects that uprooting a home and a life so often could have on his family for instance.

Spouses being forced to changes commutes or careers, children changing schools, a close network of friends and family growing distant. In many cases, moving won’t be avoidable when a new position is taken. In other cases however, moving is avoidable, and in those cases, one is forced to balance the needs of the job versus the needs of the family.

Finances may also weigh heavy in making the decision to live in “your city.” There are several small communities in Texas where the median home value is 5-6 times the annual city manager salary. The city managers are simply priced out of their own towns. As a profession we also have to recognize the fact that during Cookingham’s tenure as City Manager of Kansas City, city managers were typically men, and typically the breadwinner of the household. Gender changes in the workplace, leading to greater salary equity in the household, have had the logical result that city managers may not be the highest household earners. Though I’m not yet a city manager, I am a walking testament to that fact. As an accountant, my wife knows that the bacon I bring home won’t quite match up to hers in the near future.

A final thought: given that there is an expected change of 4-5 organizations within a career, it makes sense for emerging managers to remain flexible in determining where to live. This sentiment is compounded if the emerging manager lives within a large metropolitan area.

Given the growth of not only 1st tier, but 2nd, 3rd and Nth tier suburbs since the time of Cookingham, a person could spend a career in different cities, all within an hour’s drive of each other. Furthermore, many people within large metropolitan areas live in one city, work in another, and spend their free time in neither of the first two. In the metropolitan ecosystem, a person’s attachment and affection isn’t tied to the city where they sleep or own a home.

Should the evolution of the family, the workplace, and the metropolitan dynamic change how we view this guidepost? My response is wholeheartedly yes. It should change how we view the guidepost, how we apply the guidepost, but not the guidepost itself.  Cookingham knew, just as we all know, that we form attachments to those things that are near to us. The ideal circumstance for each of us is for the cities in which we live, work, and play to be the same. The ability to live in your city is desirable, perhaps the most desirable circumstance for a manager. However, making the decision to live in your city will always be weighed against a myriad of other factors.

Up to this point, I’ve not spoken on the first portion of Cookingham’s 21st guidepost. This portion directs you to make the city yours and give more than just your professional efforts in its progress and improvement. At the heart of the guidepost, I think we are instructed to connect to the soul of the city. Do this even if you aren’t fortunate enough to live there.

  1. Foster a connection to its people. Instead of calling a resident to address an issue, visit them and see the problem from their eyes. Shop locally before heading home and meet the businesses and business owners outside of an official capacity.
  2. Be involved. The first post on this guidepost had great advice—coaching youth recreation, fundraising for charities, serving on a civic board.
  3. Make commitments that tie your wellbeing to the wellbeing of the city. Ensure that as you thrive, the city thrives and vice versa.
  4. Participate in significant events. Significant events tie the members of a community together though a common experience.  When you were a kid, your grandparents likely didn’t live with you and very likely didn’t even live in the same city or state. But they were there for all of your life’s important events. They were there for your birthdays, recitals, football games, kindergarten Christmas performances, graduations, etc. Did you ever question that grandma and grandpa weren’t invested in you? The same is true for your residents. Celebrate the successes and suffer the challenges with them and you will be one of them.

Even if you can’t reside in the city in which you work, by being present when it’s important, connecting to its people, and understanding the soul of the city—you can certainly live there.

The Cookingham Connection blog series is published in partnership with Emerging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). ELGL members are local government leaders with a passion for connecting, communicating, and educating.

Have You Developed a Well-Educated Mind?

Acquaint yourself with your own ignorance.

Isaac Watts, Improvement of the Mind
Quoted in The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer

Every now and then, we should remind ourselves of the basics.

Though there are a lot of reasons for reading—to escape, to journey, to be entertained, to be amused—one reason to read is to fill gaps in our knowledge. We read to learn stuff we do not yet know.

The Well-Educated MindI recently discovered a book that reminded me of this: The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer. There are books to just read through nice and fast, and there are books to read slowly. I am enjoying reading this book slowly.

The author reminds us of the foundational three-stage process, first proposed by Aristotle. (So much of what we know comes from Aristotle). She reminds us that there are three “stages” in the education process:

  • Stage 1 – the grammar stage – You simply absorb information; you do not evaluate it.
  • Stage 2 – the logic stage – You analyze information, deciding “whether information is correct or incorrect, and make connections between cause and effect, historical events, scientific phenomena, words, and their meanings.”
  • Stage 3 – the rhetoric stage – You learn to express your “own opinions about the facts you have accumulated and evaluated. So the final years of education focus on elegant, articulate expression of opinion in speech and writing – the study of rhetoric.”

So, she writes:

“Learn facts; analyze them; express your opinion about them.”

If you think about the brilliant simplicity of this process, you see how we get into trouble. If you start analyzing and expressing your opinion before you fully know the information, you are skipping a rather major step.

This book provides a terrific reminder about what a well-educated mind is like.

And, back to the Isaac Watts quote, every time I read something and say to myself “I did not know that,” (which is plenty often!), the more I feel like I am acquainting myself with my own ignorance.

Randy Mayeux
Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

Bridging the Generations in Local Government – 21

We’re in the 21st week of our Cookingham Connection series today as we hear from Pete Olson. He is the Assistant Town Manager for the City of Yorktown, Indiana,  a position he has held since July 2009. Prior to that, he was the city’s Deputy Town Manager. He holds an MPA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Guidepost #21

Always think of the city in which you work as your city. Participate in civic movements for its betterment, and above all, live in your city.    

I thought I had the writing of this article finished. Then I read the latest PM magazine on my way to Michigan for some quality in-law time and I had to go back and reflect on life in the fishbowl. Specifically the “On Point” feature asking four current managers the question, “What’s one thing your job doesn’t allow you to do that you wish you could do?” Three of the four individuals spent their time discussing the very public nature of our profession and how that impacts personal time, personal life, and the guarded nature of personal relationships that managers may build. I don’t think any of the individuals meant it to be negative, but yet, as I read the responses, I wondered aloud, “are we too connected to our communities?” It is true our names appear in the papers, are heard on the radio, or our neighbors see us on TV. I, like most managers, realize that being known is a simple fact of life; it’s also important to remember that sometimes that incidental contact is the only contact an individual or family will have with their government.

In my fifteen years of professional management I have always chosen to live in the community in which I work and would not change that. The people I work with and work for are my friends and neighbors; they are people that I respect and love. I have chosen communities that would be considered rural or suburban by most people’s definition. Perhaps you gravitate toward those types of areas when you grew up in a place where the rival football team was a two hour bus ride away and you counted more cows than houses on the trip. But it also could be that smaller communities have a family feel. You are able to sympathize and empathize with people and their struggles as well as celebrate their victories and accomplishments.

There are both positives and negatives in being a part of a community, whatever the size. A quick trip to the store might mean an extended visit with a citizen or two. A bike ride to the local ice cream shop might mean an encounter with an individual or family that is having an issue.  It also means that the drive to work could offer opportunities to notice problems in town that can be dealt with before they become public issues. Living in your community is a clear sign that you are in tune with the day-to-day small issues that can sometimes get lost when dealing with policy decisions, budgets, and the like. In today’s world of social media notification, Google alerts, and constant connectivity, there are tools that may not absolutely require the necessity of living within the confines of your city or town in order to manage it. However, connecting on a personal level with issues affecting your neighbors is critical to gauging the pulse of the community. You can’t get that solely from a text message or Facebook post.

Now that being said, I won’t lie, my wife and I go grocery shopping at 7:00 AM on Sunday morning. It is quality time for us and even more amazing is how empty the store is at 7:00 AM on Sunday morning. The point being that there are times when I choose to try to act inconspicuous—avoiding interaction to save time or to minimize risk of chance meetings. While I don’t advocate arranging your schedule to always avoid interaction, I believe most people would understand and appreciate your need for space.

I will also tell you that we have chosen not to have kids and therefore my attendance at school events is limited. In the communities in which I have chosen to work, the school is a focal gathering point for the town. I can appreciate that managers who are parents may get questions or become the point of an unsuspecting “we’ll ask the Town Manager, because they know all the rules or laws off the top of their head” type questions. I believe it is in most public servants’ DNA to help, but is there a way to provide direction in your interactions in these situations that might pay off huge dividends in the long run? As we all know, government has many facets. If during these interactions we are able to educate folks on the proper department for answering questions, the public becomes more educated and able to solve the problem directly. Again, my point is that you are the face of a town or city government, but you aren’t the end-all to government questions. Sometimes people just need a little nudge in the right direction to deal with issues.

Being involved today can have many different meanings. It can mean volunteering as a coach/official, raising funds for the local charity, sitting on a church board, or just being out and visible at various community events. The important part is the feeling that your city is indeed “your city”. Your friends and neighbors will feel your commitment in whichever causes you choose to involve yourself. Your time is limited. I don’t believe there is an expectation that you need to be involved in every cause or issue, but being involved at any level in any cause leads to a stronger and more vibrant community. And, after all, isn’t the betterment of communities why we chose to be municipal managers in the first place?

The Cookingham Connection blog series is published in partnership with Emerging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). ELGL members are local government leaders with a passion for connecting, communicating, and educating.

Execution: The Forgotten Part of Leadership?

I think that there may be a shift taking place along the leadership horizon from an overemphasis on vision back to a neglected emphasis on execution. As I listen to what leaders are talking about to their staffs, and what they are putting the focus on in their organizations, I notice that more and more of them are putting a larger emphasis on the execution side of the equation.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the importance of vision. We need it. Too many organizations lack a compelling vision that unifies them, and leaders must accept the responsibility to inspire a shared vision that creates passion and excitement about the future. However, as has been said, “Vision without execution is just hallucination.” If we have created the impression within the organization that execution takes a backseat, then we may have oversold the importance of vision just a bit.

The key has to be keeping a balance. There must be a balance between vision and execution, between leadership and management, and between change and continuity. It has to be both/and—not either/or.  Neglect either vision or execution, and sooner than later, your organization will stop showing the signs of health—and they will be replaced with the telltale signs of a floundering team.

So what does it take to keep the balance between execution and vision? I suppose in some ways it’s like riding a bicycle: you have to keep pedaling. Vision expires and executions requires. As the leader, you are not the sole source of vision, nor must you be the fountain of vision. However, you cannot delegate vision. You have to include others, but no one can legitimately initiate vision without you. Vision runs through your office. Whether you are good at it or not, and whether you enjoy it or not, letting your organization run without fresh vision is like running your car on empty—responsible leaders just don’t do it.

At the same time (and, I do mean at the same time!) you have to give execution the attention it requires. It requires establishing clear expectations and scheduling regular inspections. As someone I heard say recently, “Don’t expect what you do not inspect.” Sounds impossible, right?  It’s not, but it requires discipline and establishing a culture of doing, not just talking. The most helpful advice I’ve held on to when it comes to getting things done is a simple proverb that can be paraphrased like this: “If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.”

There’s never a perfect time for getting things done. Execution always has to be done in a context of being understaffed, overworked, and underfunded. If you wait for those things to be perfect, you’ll never get anything done. That’s the shift I hear leaders starting to make. The excuse that we can’t because…and the dream of “we would if we could” is giving way to the grittiness of execution. That is the freeway to success that great visions drive on.

Mike Mowery

Written by:
Mike Mowery
Chief Operations Officer, Strategic Government Resources

Emerging Generations in Local Government – 20

We’re continuing our series in the Cookingham Connection with a perspective from an emerging leader in local government. You heard what Assistant City Manager Michelle Crandall had to say about Cookingham’s 20th guidepost. Now hear it from the perspective of Ben McCready. Ben is the Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Rock Island, Illinois. He holds an MPA from Northern Illinois University.

Guidepost #20:

Keep your personal contacts with other city managers. The greatest compliment you can pay them is to ask how they handle a certain problem.

In a typical week, one million people migrate to call the world’s urban areas home. To think that all this occurs in a “business as usual” environment couldn’t be further from the truth. Just as the buildings and boundaries that define cities are constantly in flux, so too are the organizations and individuals a community relies upon most. As City Manager Michelle Crandall explained in her post last Friday, over our careers we build relationships with mentors, colleagues, and friends through shared experiences. Over time, mutual successes, challenges, and even failures build a foundation of trust and respect, enabling us to communicate clearly and ask the most important questions without hesitation. When well-maintained, this foundation is invaluable, permitting us the benefit of hearing what we need to, when we need to, from someone who has “been there”. When faced with challenges, it is far more preferable to rely on well-established connections than a desperate attempt to rekindle a neglected relationship.

The Mentor:

    Just like a city, the relationship with a mentor is ever-evolving. The mentee must recognize that context plays a role in every response. A mentor is not a static individual, they too learn and are shaped by experience (especially considering the fact that local elections continually change the landscape in which they operate). This, perhaps, speaks most directly to the words of Cookingham, for while an aspiring professional may have many questions, the wise mentor learns from their own responses as well. By maintaining the relationship, we afford those we respect the most an opportunity to share in the continual process of career development. While the willingness to ask is essential to beginning this relationship, the willingness to listen is key to its continued growth. By continually asking the right questions, we truly discover what a mentor has to offer.

The Colleagues:

    In a recent NPR segment the host discussed relationships, specifically how our longest relationships in life are typically those with our siblings. From a professional standpoint, it is apparent that it will be my peers, colleagues, and classmates I share this profession with the longest. Although we share similar motivations, as local government leaders we should not limit our connection to a group project, shared employer, or happenstance. Local government provides the same core services, yet each community uniquely tailors the provision of those services to its own circumstances. Without a willingness to discuss our successes and failures, we do a disservice to those we serve, operating without the benefit of shared knowledge. The connections with our colleagues should never wither at the expense of any hesitation to simply reach out and “ask”.


    Last Friday Michelle Crandall’s words couldn’t have been more spot-on: “The local government profession is one that presents challenges and stresses that often times only those also in the field truly understand”. While I have addressed the relationship with peers, something must also be said for recognizing a friendship. Friendships provide an opportunity to share not only frustrations, but an opportunity to listen. The ability to speak safely without fear of judgment is crucial to maintaining personal well-being in this dynamic career. As friendships form, veteran and aspiring professionals undoubtedly find true value in knowing that our concerns are not our own. There are, in fact, others who ponder the same dilemmas and have “been there” themselves.

In this incredible profession, where success is ever more dependent on our ability to balance the proven and innovative, it’s astonishing to realize how relevant L.P. Cookingham’s Guideposts remain. There are few things in the world of local government that remain so applicable to a veteran and emerging leader. In closing, I would echo Crandall’s call to action—“Start building and keep building strong professional relationships.” They are indeed an investment that not only benefits ourselves, but the organizations and communities we serve. While relationships with mentors, colleagues, and friends are ever-evolving, those we depend upon to help guide us may be one of the few constants we encounter in this exciting career.

The Cookingham Connection blog series is published in partnership with Emerging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). ELGL members are local government leaders with a passion for connecting, communicating, and educating.

As You Eat More Chikin and Eat More Kale, READ MORE BOOKS!

News item:

A Vermont T-shirt maker has been granted a trademark for the phrase ‘Eat More Kale,’ a decision the state’s governor on Friday hailed as a victory for ‘the little guy’ over a ‘corporate bully.’

 Bo Muller-Moore, who lives in Montpelier, had been ordered to cease using the phrase on T-shirts and other merchandise by the fried chicken chain Chick-fil-A, on the grounds it violated its trademarked slogan, ‘Eat Mor Chikin’.

From ‘Eat More Kale’ Guy Beats Chick-fil-A In Trademark Battle

It turns out the kale guys won the battle—they can use the phrase Eat More Kale. Good for them.

I’m not going to weigh in on what’s best for you. I do suppose a case could be made that you should

Eat Mor Chikin
Eat More Kale

I definitely think we should all Eat More Blue Bell Ice Cream (OK – probably not much more).

But I think I can say this with confidence: You would probably do yourself a favor if you commit to


Different studies and surveys pretty much reveal that people, on average, don’t read very many books. One survey I once read said that the average male college graduate, after graduation, reads only about one full book a year.

Oh, the book lovers read a lot of books. If there were three people in a room, a never-read-a-book-person, me, and Bob Morris, our average would be very high. I read quite a few books a year. But Bob reads many, many, many more books. So, in a room of three, with Bob in it, the average would be off the charts.

But there aren’t that many people like Bob out there.

(And, by the way, we’ve now learned, thanks to big data connected to all versions of e-books, that a lot of people only read a few pages/chapters into the books they buy. We sort of suspected this—now we know this).

So…here’s your challenge. We’re getting close enough to next year, 2015, to start thinking about what we could accomplish next year. Here’s my challenge:



Recreate your book reading for 2014. How many books will you have read this year? Now, for next year, add to that number. READ MORE BOOKS next year than you read this year.

Chick-fil-A does not tell us how many chikins to eat; they just encourage us to eat more chikin. The kale folks don’t tell us how much kale to eat; they just encourage us to eat more kale.

So, I won’t tell you how many books to read. I just encourage you to READ MORE BOOKS.


That is all.

Randy Mayeux
Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

%d bloggers like this: