PREACHING & Show it (just don’t tell it): The famous TED talk where Bill Gates let loose a jar filled w/ mosquitos.


POVERTY & What people keep getting wrong about Appalachia

by Elizabeth Catte, The UK Guardian Newspaper, 2/6/18


Cora Hairston, in West Virginia, photographed by Roger May. Hairston’s father surrendered his body in both life and death to coal, writes Elisabeth Catte.
Photograph: Roger May

… I’d invite you to perform an image search for “Appalachian photography” through the search engine of your choice.

If your results are similar to mine, you’ll find an overabundance of stark black and white portraits – a stylistic choice often made by photographers to signal that we are of the past and lost to progress – and images of white people experiencing extreme poverty and suffering because of it.

My search engine helpfully prompts me to narrow results by adding “hillbilly”, “trailer” and “inbred” to my search terms. Every time I perform this search, I notice a new element of its grim ratio. Today, for example, I calculated there are three times more images of white people in coffins than living people of color in my search results.

The visual archive made for us is a mournful one, which stands in sharp contrast to the vivid images of youth captured by Kentucky-based photographer Meg Wilson. There is a stillness to images favored by the press, a photographic trick that confirms a narrative of our complacency and presents Appalachia as the dominion of the barely living. Wilson sets us in motion, in color, and full of life. I can see myself in her images and sense a connection to my place and history that does not occur when I gaze at those image results.

This sad tradition is enduring. Even long after the election, Appalachia continued to receive the morbid interest of the national press that, in its endless quest to discover how poor people swung an election, only succeeded in raising a question far more complex: why so many Americans needed it to be true when it wasn’t.

As I detail in my new book, the media enshrined communities with low voter turnout as the beating heart of Trump Country. There has also been a journalistic disappearance of nonwhite people in the region, seemingly to satisfy a narrative fetish about the white working class and their anxieties. And that’s before questioning why so many readers on both sides of the political aisle used a memoir (Hillbilly Elegy) written by a venture capitalist (JD Vance) to decode the political choices of the region’s poor.

Read more at …

POWER MISUSE & “The key to not misusing power is to be constantly vigilant of the way one’s leadership affects others” #PNorthouse

Quote: “The key to not misusing power is to be constantly vigilant of the way one’s leadership affects others” (Northouse, 239).

Northouse, P. G. (2012). Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

PUBLISHING & The Inevitable Death of Traditional Book Publishers

by Kallen Diggs, Huffington Post, Aug 12, 2016.

…For most traditional publishers, selling 5,000 books is considered a success. You can even get on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list with as little as 3,000 book sales and strangely on the New York Times bestseller list with as little as 2,000 book sales. Unfortunately, most authors do not sell more than 500 books.

Although, how much money would an author earn from selling 5,000 copies in a year?

About $6,000.

Living on a $6,000/year salary would classify you as poor in developed countries.

How about earning a $30,000/year salary as an author? Well, with a traditional publisher, you would need to sell 25,000 books.

How about $60,000/year salary? You would need to sell 50,000 books.

These findings may startle you, but it is the unfortunate reality.

Moreover, this is why I strongly believe this Generation Y era marks the beginning of the end for traditional book publishers.

These publishers are getting desperate because their exploitative tactics are not working as effectively as they did in the past.

It is no surprise why they are offering six to seven figure book deals to bestselling self-published authors.

Traditional publishers are so desperate that they are trying just about anything to stay relevant and in business.

For several years, Penguin-Random House owned Author Solutions, the parent company of many self-publishing companies and imprints.

Perhaps, you may have a book or considered signing with one of the following:

Self-Publishing Companies

  • AuthorHouse
  • iUniverse
  • Xlibris

Self-Publishing Imprints

  • Archway Publishing (Simon & Schuster)
  • Westbow Press (Thomas Nelson)
  • Balboa Press (Hay House)
  • Abbott Press (Writer’s Digest)

I am almost certain that you are familiar with one or more of those self-publishing companies or imprints. Can you now see the eagerness and involvement of traditional publishers in this alternative arena?

Harper Collins recently launched an imprint to attract indie authors. Their new imprint, Harper Legend, is seeking fiction manuscripts from eBook authors about topics related to spirituality, self-help, and fantasy.

Several months ago, Hachette entered a binding agreement to buy Perseus Books (an indie publisher with 10 imprints).

Although, Penguin-Random House recently stepped away from the self-publishing arena with the sale of Author Solutions several months ago.

Is Penguin-Random House convinced that they can thrive without having an indie or self-publishing imprint? Or will they (at least) grant favorable contract terms that are more reflective to indie publishers’ contracts? We will find out eventually.

The definition of a traditional publisher will definitely change within the next 15 years. This is indeed a good thing, especially for authors.

In today’s era, a traditional publisher cannot do much for you. Moreover, they probably will not do much for you unless you are a big name like J.K. Rowling or Jack Canfield.

So, why give more of your profits to a publisher who will not do much for you?

Most traditional publishers have excellent international distribution. Although, what if the majority of your sales were based in the United States?

You would not need a publisher to establish contractual agreements with Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Ingram, or indie bookstores. All of these outlets work with self-published authors.

Besides international distribution, I invite people to explain why traditional publishers would still be the best choice. The credibility argument is dying nowadays. Publishing with Penguin-Random House may give you credibility, but it will not necessarily give you as much credibility as your competition.

If a self-published author sells 30,000 books and you (as a traditionally published author) sold 5,000 books, who is more credible in the public domain? The fans are voting in the form of book sales.

By 2030, traditional publishers will die or be predominantly run by imprints that favor indie and self-published authors.

My advice to you: Do not be the average author. Learn the art of sales. After all, that is what matters in the end. Focus on selling more books.

Read more at …

POST-CHRISTIAN & A working definition by The Barna Group

It may come as no surprise that the influence of Christianity in the United States is waning. Rates of church attendance, religious affiliation, belief in God, prayer and Bible-reading have all been dropping for decades. By consequence, the role of religion in public life has been slowly diminishing, and the church no longer functions with the cultural authority it held in times past. These are unique days for the church in America as it learns what it means to flourish in a new “Post-Christian” era.

Barna has developed a metric to measure the changing religious landscape of American culture. We call this the “post-Christian” metric. To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals must meet nine or more of our 16 criteria (listed below), which identify a lack of Christian identity, belief and practice. These factors include whether individuals identify as atheist, have never made a commitment to Jesus, have not attended church in the last year or have not read the Bible in the last week.

These kinds of questions—compared to ticking the “Christian” box in a census—get beyond how people loosely identify themselves (affiliation) and to the core of what people actually believe and how they behave as a result of their belief (practice). These indicators give a much more accurate picture of belief and unbelief in America…

Post-Christian Metrics

To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals had to meet nine or more of the following factors . “Highly post-Christian” individuals meet 13 or more of the factors (out of these 16 criteria).

  • Do not believe in God
  • Identify as atheist or agnostic
  • Disagree that faith is important in their lives
  • Have not prayed to God (in the last week)
  • Have never made a commitment to Jesus
  • Disagree the Bible is accurate
  • Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
  • Have not attended a Christian church (in the last 6 months)
  • Agree that Jesus committed sins
  • Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
  • Have not read the Bible (in the last week)
  • Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
  • Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
  • Have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
  • Bible engagement scale: low (have not read the Bible in the past week and disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate)
  • Not Born Again

The Most Post-Christian Cities in America: 2017,” The Barna Group, 7/11/17. Read more at …

PREPARATION & Want To Have A Successful Career? You Can Learn A Lot From Surfers

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: As an avid surfer for many decades, I concur with this article that points out only 8% of surfing is riding the waves and the other 92% is preparation. Read this article to learn more leadership lessons from a wonderfully enjoyable hobby.

Want To Have A Successful Career? You Can Learn A Lot From Surfers

by Antonio Neves, Inc. Magazine, 8/17/17.

But something I find particularly fascinating about surfing is that surfers spend only eight percent of their time riding waves. Eight percent!

The way surfers talk about their sport, you’d assume the vast majority of their time is spent shredding waves. And it’s easy to get that impression watching surfing highlight reels.

The reality is that surfers spend most of their time not riding waves. This is by no means the sexy or adrenaline-fueled part of surfing, but it’s oh so necessary.

Before a surfer even comes close to riding a wave, there are a lot of steps that need to happen that most of us are unaware of.

This includes waxing the surfboard; transporting the surfboard to the beach; putting on a wetsuit and getting into sometimes frigid water; paddling often against a strong current, out to where the waves are; then waiting and waiting some more until a wave comes – that is, assuming the weather is even in your favor that day.

When the wave finally comes, sometimes another surfer will beat you to it. That means waiting it out for the next one.

When another wave comes, maybe it’s a too small – so you decide not to take it. You continue to wait.

Yet another wave comes, but this one’s too big and you decide to pass on it. More waiting.

Then a just-right wave arrives and you decide to ride it – only to immediately wipe out and get smashed down hard into the water.

More paddling and waiting.

Finally, another perfect wave arrives, and this time you ride it for all of 5, 6, or 7 seconds. An amazing ride.

Then, you paddle back out and wait all over again.

With surfing, all we tend to see are those elusive amazing rides. Rarely do we hear about everything else it takes to prepare for that moment when it finally arrives.

In many ways, this is a great metaphor for life and business, particularly when we’re struggling or feel stuck…

Read more at …

PROCRASTINATION & “Time is the enemy of impact.” #quote

“Time is the enemy of impact.” – Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 7/30/18 (while thinking about leadership missteps I have known, and committed).