Thursday, July 19, 2012


While reading the New York Times Business Best Sellers recently we were struck by the titles of the Top 10 books and just felt the need to comment. I loved the fact that the book, STEVE JOBS (Mr. Innovation himself, my comment, not the sub-title) was in the #1 position followed by IMAGINE by Jonah Lehrer, a great book stressing that creativity is not a gift but rather a thought process that can be learned. This is something that we as co-authors of DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE! and creators of the concept of rewiring ® totally believe in.

Then in third place is THE POWER OF HABIT which fits in with innovation and rewiring and shows that you have to change old patterns to create new ones...regardless of your age or stage of life! In #4 position is the book UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES by Edward Conard about Bain Capital. It’s not the content that caught our attention but rather the title. We believe that if you don’t get creative and break some bad habits and add some new habits there can be unintended consequences, personally, financially, socially not to mention emotionally.

So it’s interesting that the 5th book title is THINKING, FAST AND SLOW by Daniel Kahneman which discusses how we make choices at work and play; a perfect response to the books that came before. What couldn’t be better in this trend of titles is Brendon Burchard’s book, THE CHARGE at #6 which presents 10 human drives that help people achieve happiness and success. Now that theme is very near and dear to us since we present the top 85 reasons why people work, which we call Drivers in DON’T RETIRE, REWIRE!

THE PRICE OF INEQUALITY by Joseph Stiglitz at #7 brings you back to reality with the focus on the consequences of America’s growing inequality and argues that this inequality is not inevitable. This all ties back into changing habits, rewiring mindsets and action, and basically taking charge. We hope you see an interesting pattern here –or are even creating one of your own!

We laughed when we saw #8 SCREWED by Dick Morris, an exclamation that many may be feeling when they see a book list of titles that focus on change. Let’s face it, we need to undertake change to make our lives, our businesses even the world, a better place. By this time I couldn’t have asked for a better book #9, HOW WILL YOU MEASURE YOUR LIFE by Clayton Christensen, which is about finding meaning and happiness!

And then the culmination was #10 END THIS DEPRESSION NOW! by Paul Krugman. It wasn’t the message that interested me but rather where this title came in the list of 10. After reading the titles of the first nine books you could be feeling depressed, or energized and ready to rewire!

The above was just a little game we played for ourselves, but don’t you begin to wonder what would happen if we really did change some of our habits and used our drivers—our motivators--- to help us make choices and really took charge of our lives so we didn’t feel SCREWED.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

…And She Never Mentioned Sex!

You can imagine how stunned and dismayed we were when a friend recently said “only young people are creative.” We couldn’t believe that she actually felt that way! We are true believers in ageless creativity and asked her, what about Grandma Moses, Colonel Sanders (founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken) and the architect, Philip Johnson? They were all up in years when they were achieving great things!

“Does that mean an older person can’t be creative?” we asked. She tried to back pedal but we didn’t let her up for air. “So you think every young person is full of innovation and creativity?” Well not always, she mumbled. Truth is we know many young people who don’t have a creative bone in their body! Yet somewhere in the last twenty or thirty years, it became standard to assume that brilliance was the exclusive territory of the young. Wrong! There have been many flashes of creativity, even works of brilliance generated by those not typified as fresh or new. Let’s face it, a 60, 70, even 80 year old person can look at life with an experienced eye that can lead to all sorts of creative possibilities. And yes that usually happens when the person themselves are flexible and open to change.
Authors and composers often maintain their creativity well beyond what is considered normal “retirement age.” Herman Wouk, author of The Caine Mutiny and The Winds of War, might just have celebrated his 97th birthday in May but just a few days earlier the 96-year-old novelist had sold his latest novel to Simon & Schuster. The book entitled, The Lawgiver follows the production of a movie about Moses through “letters, memos, emails, journals, news articles, recorded talk, tweets, Skype transcripts, and text messages!” Talk about innovation and using the latest in technology and social media! And this from a man in his 90’s!

Ray Bradbury, the science fiction fantasy master, recently died at 91. Although slowed in recent years by a stroke that meant he had to use a wheelchair, Bradbury remained active, turning out new novels, plays, screenplays and a volume of poetry up until the end. He wrote every day in the basement office of his Cheviot Hills, California home and appeared from time to time at bookstores, public library fundraisers and other literary events around Los Angeles.

And what about LeRoy Neiman, artist of bold life and bright canvasses, who died at age 91? He once told an AP reporter, "I just love what I do. I love the passion you go through while you're creating, and the public's "very thoughtful and careful studied and emotional reaction of what you're doing."

Then there is the composers we all know and love, like Handel, Bach, Liszt, and Puccini who continued to produce new scores well into their 70s. And think about this--when they lived the life expectancy of a male was around 40-47 years old.

But we think that the award for creative longevity goes to Jean MacLeod, Britain’s oldest romantic novelist. She spent her 101st birthday, 2 years ago, beginning her 130th novel. She said at the time that money was never her motivation for writing. She simply loved knowing that people were enjoying what she wrote. That was reward enough. The money earned was a simply a bonus. And the most amazing part is that she never mentions the word “sex” in any of her novels. Love, romance, tenderness, but not “what goes on in the bedroom.”

So have you let your creativity dry up? Or are you someone who still wants to find your creative bone? We believe that this is all a part of the Rewiring® process; but a lot depends on your attitude and how hungry you are to make it happen.

You don’t have to write, compose music, or even do something that is creative by traditional standards. What we are saying is don’t be put off by thinking that creativity belongs to the young. How you define creativity is up to you but if you want to take that piano lesson, take it, If you want to sketch, go out and buy a sketch pad. This is a way to rewire your life and your brain at the same time. Using your imagination engages your brain and actually keeps you healthier and more engaged with life. What could be better?

Think about taking a class in the Fall; or how about going on a learning vacation? Don’t forget about your local library or YWCA to hear a speaker on a topic of interest. And remember it is NEVER too late to discover a hidden talent or two. Do it for yourself.