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Reality Distortion Field

by Randall Craig on June 1, 2010

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: , ,

I recently had the privilege of attending Book Expo America, the world’s largest book convention. In attendance were thousands of book-sellers, publishers, authors, distributors, and suppliers. There were panels with CEO’s discussing the future of the industry. There were technical sessions, keynotes, and workshops. And there was an incredible reality-distortion field that seemed to have descended everywhere.

  • The large publishers were trying to justify high ebook prices as a reflection of “value”. (The truth: large publishers have a cost structure that requires the support of high prices.)
  • Independent booksellers were trying to position themselves in a “curatorial role”, selecting and discovering books for their “collection.” (The truth: all but a handful of booksellers will end up just like horseshoe cobblers and record stores – gone.)
  • Most people were straining to find a way to maintain the “literary culture.” (The truth: for better or worse, our culture is now post-literary – books are sold from skids in Costco, online at Amazon
    and Apple, and people consume their information via YouTube and blogs – not newspapers and books.)

It was fascinating to observe people repeating the same things to each other, wishfully hoping that through repetition, that the industry could be as they wanted it to be.

These are the dynamics and challenges in the publishing industry, but each industry and organization has its own conventional wisdom and sacred cows. What are yours?

This week’s action plan: Blindly accepting the conventional wisdom, resisting change, and ignoring “disruptive” technologies and players is easier when you are doing it with others who have a stake in the status quo. This week, move beyond the reality distortion field, and identify the “wisdom” that everyone seems to take for granted. And if necessary, challenge the status quo from an outsider’s perspective. (There is probably a book about this…)

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)


Intellectual Health Food

by Randall Craig on August 19, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Learning, Make It Happen Tipsheet,

Tagged as: , , ,

Where did you pick up your current attitude to learning? The quick answer is your friends, family, school, and work colleagues. Looking more widely, you probably were influenced by TV, movies, your favorite author, and the culture in general.

Too often, it is mindless TV shows, complaining friends and family, and your day-to-day work responsibilities. What type of intellectual nutrition are you currently eating? You can’t change what you are, but you can change what you become. Here are some “health food” ideas for your mind:

  • Read a challenging non-fiction book. It can be history, science, philosophy, or a business best-seller. Even better, join a book club where the books are discussed with others.
  • Attend a lecture (or lecture series): This can be on any particular topic, so long as it challenges you to think.
  • Widen your perspective: Visit the local museum or art gallery, and book a guided tour.
  • Travel to another country on vacation, instead of the usual spots
  • Learn another language.
  • Sign up for a personal interest course or a professional certification.

While these types of activities can have a profound impact on you as an individual, they will also impact your work performance – and your personal relationships.

This week’s action item: We always consider “Junk food” as undesirable, yet we often feed our mind with nothing better. This week, swap the bad for the good. Add one (good) thing to your list of to-do’s, and choose one (bad) thing to drop.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)


Career Intensity

by Randall Craig October 3, 2006

An athlete’s training schedule holds an important lesson for those looking to develop a successful career. At the beginning, an athlete may run 5 miles in one hour. As they get better, they move their time down to 55 minutes, then 50 minutes. At this point, they decide to add a 6th mile – which […]

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Balancing Act – Chapter One

by Randall Craig May 30, 2006

How do you find Balance, when you are in the middle of the biggest project of your career? Often the answer is that you cannot – and sometimes the answer is that you should not. The reason why can be found in any good mystery book. During the first chapter or so, the plot is […]

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