Talent Is Overrated by Geoff Colvin.- It is generally believed that people’s natural talents are what turn them into world-class performers. But, in fact, as this book shows, talent has virtually nothing to do with performance. True world-class performance is built over a long period of time using deliberate practice – i.e., zeroing in on the critical aspects of a skill with laser-sharp focus, practicing them repeatedly, and getting quality feedback. Colvin argues that, with the proper motivation, you, too, can use deliberate practice to improve in any field.


“Reefer Madness” Is Back.- You’ve been hearing and reading so much about CBD and THC medicinals – products from hemp and marijuana plants that have been recently legalized and supposedly provide all sorts of health benefits. Here’s a concise explanation of the two from a colleague I trust.

The latest issue of The Barefoot Writer


* The “Golden Goose” of Writing* The Secret to My Lucky Life as a Freelance Copywriter

* 3 Penny-Pinching Marketing Tips to Attract Your Dream Clients



The Culture Map; Breaking Through the Invisible Barriers of Global Business by Erin Meyer

There is something that feels contrived about this book. These broad generalizations are fun to talk about, but the reader wonders if they are actually true. Is it really true that Americans prefer candor and even bluntness in most areas of communication but not for criticism?

Also, there is a great deal of variance within any cultural group. My partner Bill is very Japanese in his mode of expression, preferring subtlety and indirectness to my preference to make my point as simply and directly as possible.

That said, the thrust of this book is true: Different cultures have their own styles of communicating – passing along information, giving feedback and criticism, giving compliments, and persuading others of their ideas.

Americans precede anything negative with three nice comments. The French, Dutch, Israelis, and Germans get straight to the point. Latin Americans and Asians are steeped in hierarchy. Scandinavians think the best boss is just one of the crowd. It’s no surprise that when these people try to talk to each other, chaos breaks out.

I thought that after more than 40 years of living internationally and doing business in dozens of countries I’d have all of this figured out by now. But I haven’t.

In Personality Plus, Florence Littauer argues that there are four basic temperaments:

  1. Popular Sanguine
  2. Perfect Melancholy
  3. Powerful Choleric
  4. Peaceful Pragmatic

She also argues that knowing your temperament and those of others you interact with enables you to live a fuller, freer, richer life.

I don’t like these sorts of ideas, but I tested myself and found that my strongest tendency is as a Powerful Choleric with secondary Popular Sanguine aspects. It turns out to be scarily true.

5 Easy Theses is the promising title of a serious book by a man (James M. Stone) who has academic, government, and business credentials. But it was too dense and difficult to read. I gave up after the first thesis and skimmed the rest.

Stone’s idea for the book, though, is good: sensible ways to solve five big problems – the budget deficit (and federal debt), inequality, education, health care, and financial sector reform.

His solution for the budget deficit (the one I read) is to somehow force Congress not to enact projects or programs they can’t fund, to cease unnecessary tax deductions for big businesses (the gas industry, the farming industry, etc.), to get the Social Security Administration to stop expanding its coverage as the average mortality increases, and to repeal all corporate and personal deductions for taxes on debt.