Spilling the Secret

Tonight I spent an hour on live radio with Dr. Lisa Allen, with whom I spent a delightful hour a month ago talking about The Go-Giver. Tonight, though, we were talking about The Secret Language of Money. I got to talk about: why money is like food (hint: it should be simple, but isn’t); how we each pack a concealed gun when we enter the ape colony; why we think we need to earn twice as much as we do (regardless of how much that is); how my mom spending $20 on a piano tuning when all our family had to our name was $22 changed my life; the two things you need to do in order to embrace abundance; what is the single most important key to creating health in your financial life. And yes, that last one comes right at the end. ☺ You can hear the whole thing...

Vows

Exactly one year ago, almost to the minute as I write this, Ana and I were being married. Yes, today is our first wedding anniversary — and as fate would have it, we are on opposite sides of the globe! It couldn’t be helped: Ana’s in Singapore speaking at an international conference on network marketing, and I’m in Massachusetts scribbling away on a new book on leadership due at the publisher’s Sept 1. Happily, Skype makes full-screen, real-time audiovisual visitation possible. We had all sorts of plans for renewing our vows — Hawaii? La Jolla? the Caribbean? Kazakhstan? (just kidding on that last one) — but as it turns out, we are renewing our vows in none of those exotic places. Instead, we are renewing them in an even more exotic place: Right here. Right now. At the center of our wedding ceremony, at St. James Episcopal Church in Greenfield, Massachusetts on August 8, 2008, Ana and I spoke vows to each other that we had each composed just a few days earlier. Here they are, as we say them all over again: John to Ana This week we discovered that a beautiful little cardinal had died at the edge of our yard, and you were grief-stricken. Scripture claims that when any event befalls even the smallest sparrow, God knows it, and while we mortals may not know it, I believe that you feel it. You are the most tender-hearted person I have ever known, and I love you for this more than numbers can calculate or sentences parse. You are brilliant; you are gorgeous; you are multitalented; you...

“A Quite Extraordinarily Good Book”

I don’t typically print other people’s reviews of my books in my blog. But for this one, an exception. In today’s edition of The Washington Times there is a wonderful review of A Deadly Misunderstanding by veteran foreign correspondent (and three-time Pulitzer nominee) Martin Sieff. You can read the full text here — but Mr. Sieff’s review is so articulate and impassioned that I feel compelled to reprint it in full below: Book Review: From Enmity to Friendship A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide By Mark D. Siljander HarperCollins, New York, $24.95, 260 pages Reviewed by Martin Sieff | Friday, August 7, 2009 The Washington Times As the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, the issues of global war and peace hinge to an unprecedented degree on the vast chasm between the Christian and Muslim faiths. Mark D. Siljander’s remarkable new book, therefore, could not be more timely. Books preaching interfaith good will and reconciliation, of course, are not new. But when Mr. Siljander’s work wins the enthusiastic pre-publication praise of former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese of the Heritage Foundation, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, it is clear that something exceptional has appeared. Mr. Siljander, a Reagan Republican, devout Christian, former Evangelical and former House member from Michigan, does not disappoint. A good and extraordinary man has written a quite extraordinarily good book. Mr. Siljander’s work is riveting on many levels and in many different ways. It is an autobiographical voyage of discovery about a decent and devout American politician...

Chicago Style

Once a month I get a treat in my IN box: a link to the latest Q&A entries to The Chicago Manual of Style Online. You might not think answers to readers’ questions about grammar, syntax and formatting would be much fun. But they are. I spend $30 a year for my online subscription to CMOS, in part because I actually consult the thing when I am confused about some particular of grammar, syntax or formatting. But mostly I pony up the thirty bucks each year because I just love that monthly Q&A. Two examples. Hope you enjoy ’em. (If you do, hey, consider subscribing.) Q. I read a lot and have been working on a novel of my own for a while now. In most of the materials I read the authors use “had had” and “that that” quite often. For example: “He had had the dog for twelve years and everyone knew that that was the real reason he didn’t want Animal Control to take it.” I doubt there is any actual rule against this, but I find it to be unattractive on a purely aesthetic basis and try to avoid it like the plague when writing. Is there anything to this or am I just weird? A. As you can see here, correct isn’t always pretty. So you aren’t weird; you’re a writer, and one of the things that makes you a writer is that you’re sensitive to ugliness. Once you’re sensitive to clichés, you’ll be all set. Q. Hello Grammar Goddesses, After looking through all my style guides (including CMOS, of course), I now know...