Ant or Grasshopper?

Would you rather live as the ant, or the grasshopper? Before we answer that question, perhaps we should question the question. We all grew up with this idea, that there are two ways to live. You can live like the good, modest, industrious and frugal ant, and sock away crumbs for the future. Or you can live like the irresponsible and spendthrift grasshopper, dancing and fiddling away the days in sensual pleasure and artistic elation, without a care for the future. In some ways the imagery of this fable has done us more harm than good. Does it really have to be an either/or thing? Sure, it’s good to be responsible and frugal. It makes sense to prepare for the future. But look at the ant’s lifestyle! Do you really want to be a cog in a gigantic ant colony, pushing little crumbs of dirt around, day after day, for the rest of your life? Let’s face it: you are neither an ant or a grasshopper. You are a human being. What does that say about the disposition of your...

Peeking Behind the Page

Yesterday in an interview with Glenn Garnes I was asked, were the characters in The Go-Giver based on real people, or wholly fictional? “Half and half,” I told him. “Yes, it’s fiction, but there are bits and pieces of real people there—and also bits and pieces of real-life dialog and events.” Glenn got such a kick out of some of these behind-the-scenes Go-Giver reality tidbits, I thought I’d share a few here: In chapter 2, Pindar tells Joe about a conversation he once had with Larry King. This conversation is a nearly verbatim account of an actual conversation Bob Burg had with the real Larry King, backstage in the green room, when they were both speaking at the same event. A few pages later in chapter 2, Pindar tells Joe, “The majority of people operate with a mindset that says to the fireplace, ‘First give me some heat, then I’ll throw on some logs.’ Or says to the bank, ‘Give me interest on my money, then I’ll make a deposit.’ And of course, it just doesn’t work that way.” The fireplace-and-logs image was something Bob Burg and I had both heard from Bob Proctor. After the book came out, I was poking around in the classics of the success literature (while writing John Assaraf’s The Vision Board Book) and discovered that Proctor had gotten it from his teacher, the great Earl Nightingale. And what about Pindar himself? The Chairman is in fact a thinly veiled Proctor. (See? The names are even similar!) It was only after the book came out that I remembered this additional thread: when I was nineteen I studied...

Why Money Is Like Tofu

Having a fun time doing interviews this week. I don’t usually post my interviews here on the blog, but two in a row nudged me to share them with you. This evening, I spent an hour with Dr. Lisa Van Allen at “Boundless Riches” on TalkShoe, chatting about my parents; how I met Bob Burg; how I love to spend my spare time (hint: cooking with Ana); my three rules for writers; how The Go-Giver happened; my next few books (including one coming out next month); how my wedding turned out to be a celebration of the publication of my next book; why money is like tofu; the five laws of stratospheric success, and which one gives people splinters; who’s behind Pindar; and this and that. Here, you can click on it and here it right here: This coming Tuesday I’m on with Glenn Garnes at Relationship Marketing Center on BlogTalkRadio — I’ll post a link to that one after it’s recorded and online. [Note a week later: here it is.] Let me know how you enjoy the Dr. Lisa interview! And, sorry: if you want to know how money is like tofu, you’ll have to listen to the...

To Break or to Bend

Many years ago, I was teaching an adult class in macrobiotic philosophy. After class was over and the students picked themselves up and shambled off to their next class, one woman stayed behind. When the room was empty, she came up to me and said, “You’ve lost a child, haven’t you?” I was stunned. She was right: I had lost my first son to an illness when he was not quite one year old. But how did she know? My mind raced back over the previous ninety minutes. There was nothing we’d talked about in class that remotely related to the subjects of parenthood, bereavement, infant diseases, or anything else I could think of that would have conveyed even the slightest clues to that buried bit of personal information. “I just knew,” she said, and I realized that, looking at her, I just knew too. How? I don’t know. But it showed. Adversity changes you. It doesn’t simply add an experience to your memory banks, it engraves itself onto your being and alters forever who you are. This is true not only of death and bereavement, but also of such experiences as divorce, disappointment, loss of a friendship, discovery of one’s own deep error, reversal of fortunes, frustration of an ambition, failure or collapse of an enterprise. I sometimes tell new distributors in our network marketing business that we won’t consider them truly in the business, genuinely committed and in for the long haul, until after they’ve had their first crushing disappointment. Hearing myself say those words sometimes makes me cringe, because it sounds a bit brutal—but it’s the...