August 1st, 2006


And now for something completely different ...

Despite having worked in entrepreneurial settings for the past 30 years (my Mom's business, my own business, and my Wife's business), I've never been much of a "business guy" ... while being quite focused and dedicated to the work at hand, the "business of business" has never much interested me, and so I've never been one to seek out business seminars, magazines, or books. As such, Conor Cunneen's Why Ireland Never Invaded America stands rather lonely in my library; while it may not be the only "business book" in there, it certainly has precious little company. So, you might ask, how did I come to be reading this book?

Well, as followers of my main on-line journal know, I've been recently involved in yet another new job search, and have of late been rather obsessively attending things provided by Chicago's Career Transitions Center. Last Thursday, for the early morning session, Mr. Cunneen was the guest speaker, presenting his SHEIFGAB™ motivational structure to our group of desperate job seekers. Mr. Cunneen is an award-winning humorist and business speaker, and he very generously brought along copies of his book for all of us there that morning. Needless to say, I felt it would be impolite to not at least give the book a shot, and found that it was a bit of a confection (think peanut brittle), with nuggets of solid business advice set in a fast-reading humorous story.

As I have so little exposure to the "Corporate Strategy" genre, I can't "contextify" this as I might a book of Sufi stories, or an archaeological site survey, so let me get to "the facts". The book is "about" an Irish-American entrepreneur, Jake Boyd, who is on vacation visiting an Irish cousin (the inexplicably named Finbarr Kozlowski) back in "the old country" for a week's vacation. Jake's company has been struggling, and he's on the verge of throwing in the towel and selling it off. Finbarr, however, is constantly challenging him to look at things in new ways, and, in doing so, presenting 10 "corporate lessons", from the whimsical Don't Believe Your Own Blarney to such key elements as brand name, brand experience, and brand image. Having been an entrepreneur, there were many messages here that would have been quite useful in my previous businesses!

Why Ireland Never Invaded America is available both via Amazon, etc., and from Cunneen's various inter-twined web sites (it's amusing to me as a "web guy" how often you're in a different domain while navigating through his stuff ... although I don't think that's part of the intentional humor!). The book is also available via the new/used vendors, but I feel a bit churlish mentioning it, having been given a free signed copy. Anyway ... this is a fun read, with good "business lessons" ... if you're in the market for some easy-to-absorb marketing advice, this is one you should probably pick up!

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Not a bad day ...

First of all, we just got back from Dojo, and Daughter #1 got promoted to her Purple Belt! This means she just has 4 belt promotions to go (12 in all, with "stripe" promotions), to get her Black Belt (Degerberg has three separate degrees of Brown Belt, so students end up "parked" at Brown for quite a while). If everything goes well, and we can get her there for all her classes, and she does as well as she has been doing, she should be eligible for her Black Belt in just about two years, so there's still a decent chance she'll get that while still in the Kid's program! How cool is that?

The other "not bad" thing that happened today was that my interview at the Japanese Restaurant went very well, and I really do think that I will be being called in for training very soon. They're only needing somebody on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays right now, but in combination with the Hotel gig, I should be fairly busy, if not raking in mad cash (i.e., a restaurant bartender is not doing the sort of volume that a "bar" bartender is doing, so my tips are likely to be moderate). I find it ironic that none of this bartending stuff surfaced until I gave up on it and moved on to the "back to trying to get a professional gig" process. I really do try not to be bitter, but I still am most of the time.

Aside from that it was something like 100° around here today (with humidity pushing the "feels like" number much higher), so, needless to say, it was not fun having to run around to these various appointments ... good thing that the results didn't suck or it would have been a major downer!

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