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Soothsayers

                  Writers like Charles Bukowsky and comedians like Lenny Bruce and Howard Stern presaged the end of privacy. They sensed how difficult it was becoming to lead private lives and rather than hide from it they protected themselves by exposing their weaknesses. It’s not a coincidence that Stern’s book is called Private Lives. These comedians were like prophets who taught us how to be comfortable about exposing ourselves. By exposing their sins and shortcomings, these prophets tested the public. And the public embraced them. First they exposed their drinking and gambling and adultery. Then they exposed their cowardliness. And the more they exposed themselves, the better their audiences liked them. In 1997, …

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Ode to a Drinker

When the spirit leaves Form arises When the spirit leaves Form arises When the spirit leaves Form arises So the master said It should be noted After fame arrived After the drinking After the shouting After the fucking And the sorting After the sweet Numbing Pleasure of Sorting Was No Longer Needed

Mediocre Thinking

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.

Matchstick Man

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.

Winner Take All? The Yin and Yang of Negotiating

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.”

Continue ReadingWinner Take All? The Yin and Yang of Negotiating