Make Your Stories Better

I had dinner last night with two of my oldest friends. Rick, Terry, and I first met in 1982, when we all belonged to the same karate school on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. For the next several years, it was a central part of our lives; we saw each other, in and out of the school, all the time. Thirty-nine years later, we still get together. Not often – about once a year – and always for dinner at the same restaurant. Interestingly, our dinner conversations are almost entirely confined to […] Click to read more…

Lessons From 500 Newsletters

You hold in your hands (sort of) the 500th edition of this newsletter. I published the first one in September of 1999. Just to put into perspective how long ago 1999 was, in that same year, Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France; Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” went to #1; and Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was just an annoying, self-important adolescent (okay, not everything has changed). But I have learned quite a few things in the course of publishing 500 newsletters. So, I thought I might share a few with you […] Click to read more…

It’s Good To Be King

According to the Data Storytelling daily newsletter published by Chartr (hey, they’re statisticians, not good spellers), my first name – Michael – was the most popular boy’s name in the U.S. in 44 out of 45 straight years. That’s correct. Beginning in 1954 and running through the next four-plus decades with just one exception (David, in 1960), Michael took first place more than any other name over the past century. Not that I find this surprising. Throughout my entire K-12 education, I was rarely the only Michael in any of my classes, a truth borne out […] Click to read more…

Goldilocks Newsletters

I don’t know who was more startled – me or the duck. Either way, neither of us was expecting the other. I was walking around the side of my house, headed to the backyard. As I approached a small bush, a duck flew out from underneath. That seemed odd. So, I took a look under the bush and … surprise! Eight, big blue eggs sitting right there. The eggs were strikingly beautiful. And yet, as I soon discovered, not nearly as tasty as one might have thought. (I’m kidding; don’t write to […] Click to read more…

What’s Your Value Imbalance?

Did you hear the recent story about Shaquille O’Neal? Apparently, and according to the … let’s say, “journalists” … at Inside Edition, the retired basketball star was jewelry shopping at a store in Atlanta, when he overheard a young man talking with the salesperson about layaway terms for an engagement ring. So, Shaq pulled out his credit card and paid for the ring. I love that story – and not just because any video involving Shaq is an opportunity to gawk at how insanely large he is. It’s just nice to […] Click to read more…