Hello! Welcome to MarkFord.net
This is the open-for-inspection half-way home for my writing!
What you’ll find here are essays, stories, book chapters, poetry, and journal entries, as well as words and images from others that I want to share.
The bulk of the essays will be about business, wealth building, and personal productivity. But there will also be things I’m equally or more interested in, such as art, education, economics, physics, philosophy, psychology, neurobiology, fitness, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Since much of what you’ll be reading here will be early drafts of work meant for publication I welcome any comments or suggestions you might have that will help me strengthen them.

Your business is struggling. You are not sure what the problem is. Everything you look at is okay, but not great.

You have made suggestions in the past, some of which have been followed, others ignored. There has been some improvement here and there but nothing substantial. You know what it feels like when your business is in a groove. Your business is not in a groove.

What do you do?

Here’s an idea I got from John Forde, the copywriter, with some post-conversation embellishments of my own.

John’s idea is to makeover you business in seven days. John points out that there is genius in limiting the change to 7 days because it forces you to pay close attention to the most important things.

The model for the 7 day business, John suggested, are the reality shows where some expert comes into some situation – a house in need of repair, a love affair gone wrong, a hair saloon in decline – and fixes it.

I thought it would be fun to explain this idea using one such show I’ve seen and enjoy: Hell’s Kitchen – in which Gordon Ramsay, the celebrity chef, spends a week in a troubled restaurant and completely revamps the place in that short amount time. Then do the same thing with your business.

Click to continue… How to Fix Your Business in Seven Days









Date Comedy

Posted by Robert Mankoff

Tad Friend writes this week about Anna Faris. His article is called “Funny Like a Guy,” and it discusses whether Faris’s style of humor can succeed in a movie industry that caters to adolescent males.

There is no doubt that there is a gender gap in humor—whether in Hollywood, standup, or cartooning. Our regular contributors include Roz Chast, Barbara Smaller, Kim Warp, Liza Donnelly, Victoria Roberts, Carolita Johnson, and Emily Flake, a newcomer who has a great cartoon in this issue:

Continue Reading “Date Comedy”…

There we are
Head to head
Mouths open
Eyelids shut
Bumpity Bumpity In the back seat
Of Dorsey’s
Land Rover
Gabrielle And Miguel
And Kathy
Sandy too
And that guy
Who picked and
Picked his nose

Bumpity bumpity
In that rickety car
Riding the rutty road
From en brousse
Back to our little house
In old N’djamena

(Before the sun rose Pascal woke us, whispering,
“Patron! Patron! Les camions sont arrivés! C’est
l’heure à partir!” And so I stumbled out of bed,
looked back at you and there you were in your bra
and panties, legs and belly bare, stretching, as if we
would live forever.)

In the scented darkness
We listened to our comrades
Tell their histoires in French
While crickets chirped gladly
In the dew dappled grass
Announcing with fervor
The awakening day
And we knew then that what
We had blithely started
Was quickly unfolding
And that what lay ahead
Was nothing that we feared

When the sun rose everything stopped
While it lit up the savanna
Glittering on the fields of grass
And glowing on the tumbleweed Ficus trees and jacarandas

For all of that morning through the grasslands
We drove on, looking for little wonders
And found them, one by one, to our delight
And then suddenly we saw the lions Two prides there were lying in little clumps
In the shade of a leafy canopy
Of acacia, looking so like kittens
Placid, almost meek, they looked up at us
As we eased our truck just up beside them
Rolling down the windows we spoke to them
First with the respect royalty merits And then, as they ignored us, more boldly
And finally shrieking like hyenas
We got the king to lift its lofty head
And it seemed to me I was his master
Fearless, I opened the door and stepped down
And in one heart stopping moment he rose
Turned toward me and before either of us
Took our next breaths I was back in the car

We roared away, billowing dust
Knowing how all jackals must feel
Alert and in love with life and laughing
An hour later, riding home, we fell
Into some needed sleep, head against head
Dreaming not of lions but miles and miles
Of sun-lit, spiraling-out savanna

And still today when I see this photo
I can remember how the sunlight felt
On my face, half-asleep


February 29, 2012 in Essays

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary


I never wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. In fact, I never wanted to climb anything.

Still, I couldn’t say no again. Dr. Al Sears is a good friend and an important client. And I’d been demurring on all sorts of hiking and climbing invitations from him for about two years. Besides, since the event was eight months in the future, it was hardly more than a note on my calendar. It wasn’t real. It was subject to cancellation. What did I know about Kilimanjaro?

But even then, I never had any illusions that I would actually like it.

There is a lot to talk about here – including the fact that within 48 hours of accepting Al’s invitation, I had invited two other people to come with us. One was a colleague. Another was a high-school chum.

Why did I bring two more people to the party?

For one thing, it allowed us to have a climbing group of our own. We could plan our own itinerary. We could have our own cabins. But mostly, I felt that by bringing together three people whom I liked and admired we could all have an experience that was more than just a climb. And I was right. Our group of four becomes fast friends – and I think that friendship will endure, because the deepest friendships are always forged in misery.

More about that misery a little later… Click to continue… Kilimanjaro

Thoughts to Ponder

February 28, 2012 in Humor

Thanks to John McHugh for this:

Number 10
Life is sexually transmitted.

Number 9
Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

Number 8
Men have two emotions : Hungry and Horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich.

Click to continue… Thoughts to Ponder

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