Share a Quote

Okay, so I am still a newbie at this blogging stuff, but heck I’m havin fun and if both of you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.  :  )

I have to admit I just LOST this entire post due to operator error, and am re-crafting this blog with less zeal this time around.  Dang it!  Anyone relate here?

On my July 17th post I said I would commit to posting to my blog each Thursday.  Now here is a new commitment.  Each Tuesday, until I come up with a better idea, I will post one of my favorite quotes and share my opinion/insights on the quote, how it relates to my life, Solution Tree and MRL, life in ‘education’, you and me, etc.

I just finished dinner at the Boston Copley Marriott Concierge’s  Lounge, eating free food (not), drinking an expensive glass of wine (not worth the price), and reading the latest edition of FORBES Magazine.  This is a quote that struck me as a bit different, but it also is what gave me the ‘Share a Quote’ idea.

So here we go.

The definition of a pioneer is a guy with his face in the mud and an arrow in his back.   If we haven’t thought (of) it, and it’s working, then we’ll copy it and try to make it even better.  There’s no shame in it.”

Bill Marriott

I personally buy into the CASE theory (Copy And Steal Everything) as long as it is not plagiarism or just plain wrong.  But, we all need to be our own judges here, and listening to our conscience.

P.s. I did write this Tuesday, but another operator error caused it not to go out until Wednesday….dang it.

Vacation sanity

This week I have been on vacation with my family in VT.


Mountain biking at Von Trapp Family Lodge

One of the balances I always struggle with is work while on vacation. I know that many people just shut down all together, put on an auto-reply and disconnect. I tried that once for four days a couple of years ago, leaving my laptop and cell phone behind.  It took me at least half a day to clear my head, and I reached for my phone a dozen times within the first two hours.  My wife got an emergency phone call from my office about a medical issue with of our key leaders, and then somewhere in the middle of the fourth day my brain kicked into work mode and all the things that awaited me upon return.  Can’t say I got the full four days out of disconnect, but the wow was the e-mails that awaited. Ouch.

So this week I tried a new approach.  I have chosen to get up early, do work until 11:00 then shut down for the rest of the day. Heck with three teenagers and an eleven year old I usually have to wake up a couple of them at 11:00 to get their days rolling.

The system seems to have worked great.  Low stress of thinking about work, lots of family time, and my emails are way under control.  I feel connected yet certainly feel engaged with the whole family.  But this is my system, and it may work for you, but you have to find your own. The family deserves to have their time.

I consider our work at Solution Tree and MRL too important…and fun…to not be connected.  I like work, and heck it is my vacation too!


It all starts with a book!!!

To advance the work of our Authors.  This is our mission statement and we LIVE BY IT. So to work with us you need to be an author and you need to be our author.  So  how does one become an author and why are our authors’ books constantly receiving national awards?  Well here is the process led by Mr. Douglas Rife, President Solution Tree Press, and outlined by Ms. Kari Gillesse, Associate Acquisitions Editor.

When many people pick up a book, they see only the finished product: A beautiful glossy cover and chapters bound together. But the cover and binding are just one part of the process of how an idea becomes a book. Here’s how it works at Solution Tree.

Good books begin with good ideas, and the point at which authors send those ideas to us varies. Sometimes, authors come to us with a general overview of the idea for their book, and so we’ll ask them to start writing and submit a few sample chapters to us so we can get a better feel of the content. Other times, authors have a complete draft of their book ready to share with us. And finally, sometimes we approach authors to write for us if we are familiar with their work and we like what we’ve read and/or heard. Such books often grow out of conference presentations, journal articles, and even conversations we have had with the author. On average, we receive about 55 unsolicited manuscripts a year (mostly sent to us through the “Publish With Us” section of our website), and we solicit about 35 from authors with whom we have current connections or made contact. Of all submissions, we publish 30-35 books a year.

Whether a manuscript is unsolicited (authors bring their manuscript to us without any prior invitation from us) or solicited (we approach the author to write for us), we want to make sure that the manuscript is research-based with practical strategies for K-12 educators. In other words, we want to be sure that the content aligns with the type of book we publish and fits with our mission, vision, and goals. At this point, unsolicited manuscripts that do not fit this criteria are rejected, and authors of solicited manuscripts are given another chance to rewrite and resubmit.

We then send the draft out for double-blind peer reviews by other educational professionals in the field for whom the manuscript would be appropriate. Since neither the author nor the reviewers know the identity of each other, this process gives us honest feedback about the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses. When the reviews are in, Douglas Rife and I measure reviewers’ feedback with our own perceptions of the manuscript’s ability to fit into Solution Tree’s publishing niche. If we (and the majority of reviewers) think the manuscript has merit and can make a worthy contribution to the field, we present the manuscript to the editorial board, who then votes to determine whether Solution Tree will publish it or reject it.

Following the editorial board’s approval, we issue a contract to the author for his or her manuscript. The author’s complete manuscript will be sent out for an additional round of peer reviews, and then we send the feedback and editorial suggestions to the author. The author submits a revised draft to us, and then it is transmitted to production, where the manuscript will undergo more editing and revisions, copyediting, reference checks, permissions assessments, and formatting. Our designers will create a beautiful cover and our team will write marketing copy for the book at this point, too. Once these steps are complete, the book is sent to the printer, where it will be bound and shipped to our warehouses. From the point the manuscript is transmitted to the point where it is shipped to our warehouse as a finished book, the process takes about seven months.

Getting a manuscript published is a competitive process, but a rewarding one, too. It’s amazing to see the work of our authors making a real difference in so many students’ and teachers’ lives around the world.

Ultimate Cliffs Notes

Okay, I have to be honest, my degree is in business not education, and before Solution Tree I spent 14 years in higher education administration not K-12 public education.  So, some might say when I began to run Solution Tree I did not have a solid understanding of the K-12 market.  Some might be right. 


I quickly hired a consultant, drew from my non-profit background, went to a lot of conferences, read as many trade publications as I could fit in, but still felt woefully uninformed.


Oh how do I wish I knew ‘then’ what I know now.  And the ‘then’ is the newsletter Marshall Memo.


Okay this next part I copied from his website, but I know it all to be true. 

Note: I am not getting paid to share this information, and I have never met Kim Marshall. I did have to email him once to apologize after I promoted his newsletter to 2,000 people at one of our events and he was unexpectedly swamped with free issue requests.  Not nice.

Kim Marshall

      Kim Marshall

The Marshall Memo, published since 2004, is designed to keep principals, teachers, superintendents and others very well-informed on current research and best practices in  the field.  Kim Marshall, drawing on his experience as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, consultant, and writer, lightens the load of busy educators by serving as their “designated reader.”

To produce the Marshall memo, Kim subscribes to 64 carefully-chosen publications and looks through score of articles each week to select 5-10 that have the greatest potential to improve teaching, leadership, and learning.  He then writes a brief summary of each article, provides e-links to full articles when available, highlights a few striking quotes, and e-mails the Memo to subscribers every Monday (with the exception of a one-week break at Christmas and a two week mid-summer vacation).

Kim Marshall rocks, and the newsletter is well worth the price of subscription.  We can all learn a lot from the Memo on how to help educators…and that is why we do it.

Referability Habits

Every quarter I attend my own professional development from an organization called Strategic Coach.  I travel to Chicago and sit in a room full of entrepreneurs from around the country and Canada who blow me away each and every time we’re together.  I feel like the guy who goes to the Doctor and is told he is burning the candle at both ends.  The patient responds, “I know that, and I am here for more wax.”

The class I’m in now is currently lead by Strategic Coach Founder, Dan Sullivan.  Very creative, passionate and successful.  Dan has been at this since 1974 and has a tremendous number of tools to share business owners, and words of wisdom to ponder.  Today he hit us with one that has had as much impact on me as any I have heard in the past four years.  He titled these Referability Habits, meaning that if you do these four things, people will refer and extend more opportunities your way.  I actually think these are life habits.

  1. Show up on time
  2. Do what you say
  3. Finish what you start
  4. “Please” & “thank you”

How great would it be if people knew you or I were to always live by these four simple habits, and we could count on others to do the same?  I fail miserably too often with these four simple habits, and this realization makes me kind of ill.  I have some work to do here.

I’ll be back with my next post Thursday….PROMISE.

You happy?

IMG_5620Last night, laying in the most recent hotel bed, I was going through the pile of magazines that moved from my home to my backpack and this TIME cover story caught my attention.  The Happiness of Pursuit: Americans are free to pursue happiness, but there’s no guarantee we’ll achieve it.  The secret is knowing how-and where-to look.

My first thought was how lucky we truly are to be Americans and are free to pursue happiness.  I’m at a TWR Board meeting where we broadcast ‘Hope To The World’.  Places where people have to hide their radios and not share their thoughts in fear of persecution and potentially death.  But that is another blog.  Second thought was that I guess we are all really looking for happiness.  Some of us have it, and I’m one of the lucky ones, and others are desperately searching.  I personally find happiness in helping those who are searching.

Here are a few of the snip-its from the article. Take em for what they are worth…and that is one writer’s opinion, based on chosen research.

  1. Kinship:
    1. Marriage does contribute to bliss; it’s a better predictor than having money or children.
    2. 80% of young people who say they have a good relationship with their parents are also happier with life in general.
    3. People who dwell on the past and future are less likely to be happy than people who concentrate on the present.
  2. Work and Money
    1. A bad job is better than no job: previously out-of-work people are happier even if a new job has poor pay and hours.
    2. Workers making $150k are twice as likely to say they’re very happy as people making $20k.  (DUH!  Maybe 7 times)
    3. When people lose a job, their sense of well-being plummets, more from the loss of social status and self-esteem than from the lack of income.
    4. People who care about other people’s incomes are typically less happy with their lives.
  3. Society
    1. Republicans are happier than Democrats; Republicans are also more likely to be married and religious.
    2. Though studies have found that women report being happier than men, that effect fades outside developed countries and in places with poor gender equality.
    3. Homeowners aren’t any happier than renters.  They are more likely to experience stress and pack on extra pounds, perhaps as a result.


  • ‘Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product.  Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is to deliberately map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively.’  Eleanor Roosevelt
  • ‘Every man is a suffering-machine and a happiness-machine combined.  The two functions work together harmoniously with a fine and delicate precision, on the give-and-take principle.’  Mark Twain
  • ‘Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims.’ Ayn Rand
  • ‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.’ Steve Jobs

Personally, I believe all happiness, and success for that matter, comes with sacrifice.  If you or I didn’t personally make the sacrifice, than someone before us did.  Guarantee it.

As for work, I love my job…that is why I do it.