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.

Mediocre Thinking

March 29, 2012 in Briefs

I am more tolerant of mediocre thinking when it is sincerely expressed than I am of more extraordinary thinking when it is expressed simply to impress.

79-year-old Phil Warren from the UK spent 62 years to build this incredible fleet of 432 ships.

All vessels are built entirely of matchsticks and boxes of wooden matches. The collection includes nearly 370 American and 60 British ships.

Although now he has now reached 79 years of age, he began creating his first boat in 1948, when he was only 17.  This uses a razor blade, tweezers and sandpaper to carve the pieces and  boxes, then sticks with balsa wood glue. In total more than 650,000 used matchsticks to create an amazing collection of 1:300 scale models. Even 1,200 aircraft made even more realistic appearance to dress the decks of aircraft carriers.

Sid had done it. He had convinced the IRS agent to forgive the mistake my partner Joel and I had made. He had spent three weeks with the guy, working mornings, golfing with him in the afternoon, and taking him out to dinner.

If the IRS had stuck to their ridiculous position, it would have cost us $10 million. But Sid’s logic and diligence and charm had persuaded one of its bulldogs to do the right thing.

A month later, Sid’s bill crossed my desk. It was for $85,000. “That’s odd,” I thought. “I could have sworn Sid was billing us by the hour.”

Had he done so, the bill would probably not have exceeded $15,000. Still, $85,000 was a small price to pay for the service he had provided. I signed the invoice and sent it on to Joel.

The next day, Joel called me into his office.

“You saw his bill.”

“Yes, I signed it.”

“I saw that. But you know he was supposed to bill us by the hour.”

“Yes, I know. But what he did was worth a lot more than eighty-five grand.”

“Maybe so, but that wasn’t our deal.”

I shrugged.

“We have to bring him in and negotiate the amount.”

“Okay.”

“But we have to plan this thing. We have to rehearse.” Click to continue… Winner Take All? The Yin and Yang of Negotiating

Here is a great op-ed piece by funny man Bill Maher in last weeks NY-Times:

“When did we get it in our heads that we have the right to never hear anything we don’t like? In the last year, we’ve been shocked and appalled by the unbelievable insensitivity of Nike shoes, the Fighting Sioux, Hank Williams Jr., Cee Lo Green, Ashton Kutcher, Tracy Morgan, Don Imus, Kirk Cameron, Gilbert Gottfried, the Super Bowl halftime show and the ESPN guys who used the wrong cliché for Jeremy Lin after everyone else used all the others. Who can keep up?”

 

To-Do Lists

March 23, 2012 in Briefs

The great thing about writing to-do lists is that the process itself is motivating. There is no doubt in my mind that I am three hundred percent more productive since I began doing it. But there is a problem. It takes time to write a good to-do list and it takes effort. Unless you are careful, the list making will drain vital energy from you. If you write your lists in the morning and they are extensive, you may not have the energy afterwards to launch into an important project. Thus, it is better to write to-do lists at night.

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