Tuesday, October 26, 2010

5 Questions with Robbie Burns, author of The Naked Trader's Guide to Spread Betting

What's the book about for those who haven't heard of it?   
It's about learning to use spreadbetting as an extra tool for those who already invest or trade their money in stocks and shares. Spreadbetting is considered as a tool for city slickers but the book is designed to take the fear out of it for newcomers and describes how to do it simply.
What's spread betting for those who are not completely sure?  
It's the same as buying or selling shares in the market except you are in effect putting on a bet with a bookie rather than buying or selling real shares in the market. But the benefits include being able to make money from shares going down as well as up - very useful in turbulent times - and it is tax free!
What's the best tip you'd give to a new spread better?  
Take it very slowly and carefully at the start and ensure you know exactly what you are doing before moving to larger stakes.

What's a big mistake newcomers to spread betting make? 
Using all the credit offered which leads to overtrading. For example a £1,000 deposit could give access to trading in £10,000 worth of shares. This could lead to losses that the new trader can't cover.

What projects are you working on next?    
A third edition of the bestseller Naked Trader.



Friday, October 22, 2010

5 Questions with Todd Jensen, author of On Gratitude

What inspired you to put this collection together and how'd you go about getting all these celebrities to participate?
Being human, I enjoy the same joys and calamities that we all do. Like most people, I clung desperately to the joys, the things I thought I’d figured out, knew for sure, and would enjoy forever. And then, the wheels fell off the wagon of the cart in really grand fashion. Life became a sad country-western song. My response: moping, counting the lack, tallying the loss. A wonderful friend of mine, Lorelei Butters, was there for me in those dark hours and said, “No matter what you’ve lost, you’re still the richest man I know.” I agreed with her – after arguing the point for about six months. And then I really embraced what she said and came to this realization: “Life’s blessings were always there; I wasn’t.” Once I started being fully present and fully engaged in the present moment, I started seeing and hearing and feeling life in different ways. I’ve worked as a journalist for almost 20 years, but even the work started happening in different ways. On Gratitude is the result of a very blessed man who, slow learner that he is, finally caught up with the idea of truly giving thanks. All that’s required, really, is to shut up and listen; that’s when the most beautiful stuff happens.

As to how I got all the celebrities to participate, the simple answer is: I asked. Used to being caught in the crosshairs of paparazzi or engaged on a purely commercial level – they’re selling a movie and we’re selling ad pages, for example – I think many of the celebrities quite enjoyed the opportunity to really speak from the heart. The songs they sing in On Gratitude are profound and moving, silly and sacred. Each conversation was a blessing.

Which tale of gratitude in this book was most touching to you?

This is a little like asking me to choose my favorite egg from the omelet. I will say that Samuel L. Jackson’s candid stories about finally walking through the “right” doors after years of loitering in darkness moved me very much, as did Sheryl Crow’s gratitude for not only surviving breast cancer but for how the diagnosis itself stopped her mind and corrected her course. Ray Bradbury’s declaration that “love is the answer to everything” is also something by which I firmly abide. But I’ll never forget interviewing Alicia Keys the day before the book was due to my publisher. Miss Keys has a very busy schedule and, as a father of six and a yoga teacher, a youth baseball coach and a freelance journalist, so do I. The only time we could make the interview work was right in the middle of a big game for my 8-year old son’s baseball team, which I coach. In the middle of the fourth inning, I snuck off to my minivan, hit record, made the international call, and had the most exhilarating, illuminating, intimate conversation imaginable. That woman is the personification of grace. And in the distance, my son played ball with joy and ferocity. Not much better than that, really. 

Do you think society is becoming more grateful or less grateful?

I’ve no way to measure that in any scientific way, but I can say the world around me is becoming more grateful. If like attracts like as so many spiritual leaders currently suggest, I can say my life story supports that. The love that you take is equal to the love that you make. I am well-loved by some very wonderful, grateful people – my parents, my friends, my wife – and so I’m inclined to tell you that society is becoming more grateful. I can also tell you that there are some folks much smarter and cooler than I, scientists at UC Berkeley and UC Davis, doing amazing research about why gratitude matters and how even a casual gratitude practice – keeping a short journal just a couple of times a week for a few months – leads to great increases in one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health and happiness. (Check Dr. Robert A. Emmons’ amazing book, Thanks! How the Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, for more on that). If you’re unsure how to start or maintain a gratitude list, I’ve written a blog about it on my website: http://www.thegratitudelist.org/index2.php?v=v1#/info2/1/

How can having more gratitude in your life improve it?

If you count the things you’re missing or that you’ve lost, then you’re living with what you don’t have. If you count what you’ve got, even if the list is as modest as “this heart that beats, this pen I’m holding, this opportunity to try,” you’re immediately in a different and better place. And one of the keys to living gratefully I’ve found – a sentiment echoed by Alicia Keys, Forest Whitaker, Jeff Bridges, and countless others in On Gratitude – is to give. There is no shortage of human beings on this planet who have much less than you do, much sadder stories than you do, whose most fundamental needs are not close to being filled. Find those people. Connect with organizations that honor those people. Volunteer. Serve. In your giving, you become grace and that, very naturally, leads to gratitude.

What are you most grateful for?

The list is ever-evolving. At the moment, I’m grateful for the relationships in my life, which bring me incredible joy and, also always, the opportunity to grow, to push past my own edges, to become more than I was. I’m grateful for my good health, which was significantly challenged earlier this year. I’m grateful for the Marx Brothers, who remind me constantly that silly and sacred may be strange bedfellows, but always share a pillow. I’m grateful for the amazing community that this book has invited into my life and continues to expand. I’m grateful for the opportunity to teach, a gift of which I am very mindful. (I believe we are all teachers, whether we mean to be or not, which is why self-awareness is a journey always worth taking). I’m grateful for the poetry of cummings and the jazz piano of Mehldau and the sketches of my 8-year old and the embrace of my wife and the wild intelligence of my 12-year old and I’ll never get tired of watching the waves. Also, I love crème brulee.

Website: <http://www.thegratitudelist.org/>
Trailer: <http://www.youtube.com/user/ONGRATITUDE>
Amazon: <http://www.amazon.com/Gratitude-Bradbury-Kendrick-Celebrities-Thankful/dp/1440505942/ref=sr_1_cc_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1288017679&amp;sr=1-1-catcorr

Thursday, October 21, 2010

5 Questions with Grant McClintock, author of Flywater

What did it mean to you to have Tom Brokaw do the forward?   
Having Tom Brokaw agree to write an introduction was obviously very important to me and very generous on his part. To tell you the truth, he was a sort of dream candidate for the job and one that I never for a minute thought would accept the invitation. We did have one connection. Jack Hemingway (Ernest's son) wrote the introduction to a fly fishing book I did in 1994 (also entitled FLYWATER). Jack was a great friend and fishing pal. He was also friends with Brokaw. In fact Tom read the eulogy at Jack's funeral. So we did have some secondhand connection. What made Tom Brokaw important? He is a nationally recognized figure and (for the most part) greatly respected and he's a avid fly fisherman who loves the sport for all the right reasons. I think his introduction reflects that.

What's your favorite fly fishing destination? 

My favorite fly fishing destination would have to be Montana. I've been summering there for years. I know the rivers and love them. I stay in Helena, so my home river is the Missouri which is an exciting and challenging tailwater. I also love to fish the Big Hole and the Madison. Plus I like to explore the small streams no one has heard of. All that said, I guided on the Smith River for a number of year and for beauty and fishing only the Black Canyon of the Gunnison comes close.

Which picture is your favorite from the book? 

The cover. I had waited at Pelican Point on the Missouri for about about 4 hour. Terrible light. Just as I was ready to pack up, the sun peaked out and illuminated the red mountain to the left and everything came together at once. I felt blessed

What areas in Canada are prime for fly fishing?    

Steelhead in BC is the best in the world. I have fished the Sustat a couple of times and the fish and enormous. I have also been to the Thompson which was beautiful and has an incredibly strong run of fish.  At the other end of the country, the Gaspe Peninsula is a real wonderland for fly angling. No doubt one of my favorite destinations. The Bonaventure is as beautiful as any river I've seen.

Do you plan to write some more fly fishing books?

Still mulling that over and I'm open to suggestions.

5 Questions with Paul Fersen , author of Great Hunting Lodges of North America


What inspired this book?
I'm lucky enough to work for the Orvis Company that specializes in the
wingshooting and fly-fishing lifestyle. One of our primary goals is to be a
complete resource for our customers on where the best hunting and fishing
can be found. Creating a book that shows how spectacular these places are is
something we wanted to do, not only for hunters, but for everyone. These
lodges not only offer great bird hunting, but in many cases are great
destinations for families to experience the outdoors in a number of ways.

The book has some stellar pics, which is your favorite?
That's a very hard question, particularly for someone who loves doing this.
All of them make me want to load up and go, but as a lover of great hunting
dogs, the picture of the Chesapeake Retriever on page 83 epitomizes the
intensity and desire in a great dog. Also the picture on page 46 showing the
two dogs working above the clouds on top of the canyon rim in Idaho. I was
there last fall and this picture really brought it back for me.

What's your favorite hunting destination?
That's like asking which of my children is my favorite. All these places are
spectacular, but interestingly if I had to choose one it would be hunting
quail in south Georgia. Probably because I was raised there and something
about that country simply stirs my soul.

What's a destination that is great that a lot of people don't know about?
People hear Montana and they think of great trout fishing, but bird hunters
are well aware of the incredible hunting out there. The country is so vast
and the opportunities so great. I was out there a few weeks ago hunting
sharptail grouse in a sea of grassland that stretched endlessly into the
distance. The mountain range in the distance was over 100 miles away. It was
remarkable. Places like that give me a feeling of insignificance which I
find oddly comforting.

What book are you writing next?
I'm working on a plan to write a book with a gentleman named Mike Stewart
who owns one of the best hunting dog kennels in the country. What makes it
unique is he imports British Labradors and employs British training methods,
which are very different from standard American training. He's become
somewhat of a celebrity and I want to document his methods in a book that
not only offers the training method, but entertains with stories and
pictures of these great dogs in the field.

5 Questions with the author of A**holeology



What's the difference between an a-hole and a douchebag?
Douchebags are destructive. They don't think twice about their actions. He thinks of only one person in all situations; himself. Douche bags will lie, cheat and steal to get what they want. An asshole is assertive and aggressive but not malicious. 

Which a-hole do you most admire?
Myself. It's the asshole thing to do. But if I had to pick another a-hole I'd go with Denis Leary. 

What are some of the best attributes of an a-hole?
An asshole never takes no for an answer. He keeps going until he gets his way. Also, an asshole is always in control of the situation. 

What's to an a-hole having longevity in doing what he or she does?
Success. As long as it keeps working the asshole will keep pushing forward. Also, few people will take an asshole to task. Unless they too are an asshole. Then it's war. 

What are the biggest benefits and drawbacks of being an a-hole?
The benefit is a life getting exactly what you want and never having to live with regret. A drawback is that the asshole is often misunderstood.

5 Questions with Kurt Mortensen, author of The Laws of Charisma


What’s the most important law of charisma?
It would depend on the situation, but I feel the most important thing about influencing others and radiating charisma is having heartfelt passion.  You can tell when you meet a passionate person.  People are drawn to them because deep down people want to be passionate about something and when they see that passion in your eyes, you become more charismatic.  They sense that you can help them and improve their lives.  This does not guarantee everyone will like you, but they will respect you for your conviction and your passion. 
Passion is very contagious.  When you transfer this passion, the people around you start to radiate that passion.  They perform better, if it is at work, it is no longer work.  They become more proactive, more willing to work as a team and become more optimistic.  When you have tapped into this passion you become more determined and it increases your persistence.  It starts to become a burning desire and consumes you and it radiates to others.  A word of caution, just because you are passionate does not mean you can forego learning the skills you need to be successful.  It is a critical piece of the charisma pie, but you still need more pieces of the pie to radiate powerful long-term charisma.

Who's the most charismatic leader out there and the most charismatic person you've met?
There are many leaders that contain many of the traits of a truly charismatic person.  It is become more difficult to find the complete package.  One charismatic person I have met and admire is Jim Rohn.  He had the ability to connect with anyone, make you feel like you are the most important person in the world and exuded pure passion.  His message inspires hope, courage and motivation to succeed.
Another example would be Jack Welch.  Jack Welch is a great example of visionary charismatic leadership.  He transformed GE with his ability to create, deliver and inspire vision.  He was known for never compromising and what he said, he meant.  In the 80’s Jack Welch had the vision of streamlining GE into a more competitive company.  He created a vision to eliminate inefficiency and cut corporate red tape.  He had everyone buy into the concept that every company under GE should be number one or number two in their industry or sell the business.  Initially he had his critics, but his vision, charisma and convictions turned his goals into reality.  Welch pushed people to perform, but he also would hand out some great rewards.  He went on earn great respect not only from GE, but from all of corporate America.

What's one of the most charismatic things you've done in your life that you're particularly proud of?
I have spent my life monitoring successful people.  I always wanted to know what makes them tick and why they do what they do.  The thing that makes me tick and what I proud of is the ability to train and teach these vital life and success skills.  I have developed charisma over the years to train others in a seminar setting to not only see the importance of these skills, but to actually learn and implement the ability to influence and have charisma.   These skills are changing lives and changing financial future.

What's one tip you could give someone to instantly improve their charisma levels?
The first thing to focus on would be the ability to create an instant connection with people.  We have all met someone who, after just a few seconds of being in their presence, felt an instant connection or bond with them.  We have probably all met someone whom we instantly did not like and did not want to be around.  When you can develop rapport, when you can connect with anyone, when others feel comfortable around you, then you can enhance the charisma process.  They will pay more attention to you, they will want to be influenced by you and it is easier to get them to open up.  This rapport is when 2 (or more) people synchronize mentally, physically and vocally.  If you disconnect, it will take over an hour to repair that connection.  How do you come across to others?  Can you instantly develop a rapport with someone?  This is a vital skill of charismatic people – to instantly synchronize with someone without even thinking about it.

Rapport creates trust and puts us on the same wavelength as the person or audience.  You have seen rapport before, I know it has happened to you.  Remember when you met a perfect stranger and just hit it off?   Finding plenty to talk about, you almost felt as if you had met before.  It just felt right.  You become so comfortable that you could talk about practically anything and you lost track of time. You developed such a strong bond with that person that you knew what she was going to say.  Everything just clicked between the two of you and you felt very close to this person.  It could be a physical attraction, or it might just entail being on the same wavelength.  You feel your ideas are in sync and you enjoy your time together.  This is rapport.

For people who are monotone and non-charismatic by nature, is there something that they can do to improve their charisma?
When people are monotone or don’t understand the power of their voice – it will drain their charisma.  Your voice is your calling card.  Your voice must exude confidence, courage and conviction.  We judge others by their voice:  arrogant, nervous, weak or strong.  If you sound uncertain and timid, your ability gain charisma will falter.  Charismatic voices have a soothing volume, varied emphases, good articulation, and a pleasing pitch.  Your voice will either connect you with your audience or disconnect with them on a subconscious level. 
What does your voice trigger in people?  What words to you use that are repelling people?  The way you package your words and how you say those words can create energy, excitement and vision.  The right words will captivate and the wrong words will devastate.  The right words in the right tone can help you create a connection and you will become more influential.  Your voice must be interesting and easy to listen to in order to help, rather than hinder, your ability to gain charisma and influence others.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

5 Questions with Eric Zweig', Author of Twenty Greatest Hockey Goals

Which goal is your favorite from the list?

I think the GREATEST moment in the book is Paul Henderson's Goal in 1972, which I watched in school in grade four. It's harder to pick my favourite, though! Maybe either one of Wayne Gretzky's (breaking Espo's record in 1982 or scoring against Calgary in 1988), Mario Lemieux's in the 1987 Canada Cup, or Darryl Sittler's in the first Canada Cup in 1976. The U.S. "Miracle on Ice" was pretty great too.

Have you gotten any reaction from fans on what they think of the list?

There hasn't been much time yet to get fan reaction. The fans who called in when I was interviewed on the 590 recently offered many of their own most memorable moments, and I'm glad to say that most of them were on my list!

Which goal almost but just barely didn't make the list?

There were sort of two ... which kind of explains why neither made the list because I couldn't decide which one should! One was Mark Messier's hat trick for the Rangers against the Devils in Game 6 of the Eastern Final in 1994 after he "guaranteed" the Rangers would win. But, I couldn't decide if that was bigger, or if Stephan Matteau's that actually won the series in double overtime in Game Seven was the one I should actually use. They sort of canceled each other out, I guess.

What's most prettiest goal off the list?

The out-and-out prettiest is probably Peter Forsberg's shootout goal to win the 1994 Olympic gold medal. Bobby Orr's Stanley Cup winner in 1970 was a nice play, and, of course, has that great picture! Wayne Gretzky's OT goal against Calgary in 1988 was a perfect shot.

Who's the most clutch goal scorer you've ever seen?

Mike Bossy scored some big goals and was a great scorer. You always felt like Wayne Gretzky would come through when it mattered most. But, given that I grew up in Toronto, I think Doug Gilmour's performance throughout the entire 1993 playoffs was probably the grittiest performance I've ever seen over an extended period of big games.

5 Questions with Jim Gray, author of "How Leaders Speak"


What's the biggest mistake a lot of new leaders make when they speak?

They put far too much pressure on themselves. They try to be perfect, and there’s no perfection when it comes to communicating with others. The best thing new leaders can do — anyone, really — is to focus on the audience. Serve your listeners with excellence and humility, and you can’t go wrong.

What do you think makes a great speaker?

Authenticity. Audiences can spot insincerity and self-obsession a kilometre away, and they loathe it. Listeners want speakers who are real, who can share something meaningful and personal about themselves. We’re all human. We’ve all made mistakes. Leaders who relate where they went wrong in the past don’t lose respect, they gain it.

Who's the best speaker you've ever seen?

Ron Ellis, the former Toronto Maple Leaf star.

What's the best speech you've ever seen made?

I saw Ron speak on the subject of mental illness at a reception in Toronto in January, 2001. To this day, it remains the best speech I’ve ever heard. It was stunning. Ron has suffered from depression, and told his story in a quiet, dignified way, without any trace of self-pity or self-aggrandizement. The speech was more like a conversation, which is what all great presentations are like. Ron made it about his listeners. When he spoke, we were absolutely still, transfixed. I’ll remember that speech to my dying day.

What's a quick way or quick tip you have for someone to improve the way they speak?

Do three things:

  1. Learn the first 90 seconds of your presentation cold, so you can concentrate on your relationship with your listeners and get off to a nice, relaxed start.
  2. Speak slowly, especially in the early going. You’ll look smarter.
  3. Have fun. It’s a privilege to address others openly in a democratic society. Celebrate it. Honour it.

5 Questions with Adam Fergusson, author of WHEN MONEY DIES

What was behind naming the book "When money dies?"
In 1923 when the German mark had depreciated from 4.2 to the dollar to 4,200,000,000,000, that currency was effectively dead.  the title "When Money Dies" is deliberately in the present tense because the lessons which the German hyper-inflation teaches us about safe-guarding the value of our money still apply today.  (The title's initial letters WMD have nothing to do with Weapons of Mass Destruction, devastating as inflation can be!)

What were your thoughts on the endorsement of your book by Warren Buffet?   
A dream come true.  However, although Warren Buffet is known to have this book, his endorsement of it was only by report.
Your book has become a cult classic during the financial crisis, with copies being sold on eBay for up to $1000. How do you feel about the huge response it has gotten?      

The success of its republication after 35 years is both gratifying and humbling.  That the work is now being published in nine languages must be a measure of the world's worries about inflation - but I hope also of people's fascination at an astonishing story of what can go wrong when a government loses control of its finances.

What's the biggest lesson the US economy can learn from your book?
The need rigorously, sometimes courageously, to maintain the value of the dollar and the people's trust in it.  Soft political options are tempting but dangerous.  An economy may urgently need stimulation; but (as we realize in Britain) repudiation of debt through deliberate inflation may prove too high a price to pay for avoiding the consequences of economic profligacy.
What's next for yourself?

I am a writer and historian.  I have a play and a musical comedy on the stocks.  I fear that "When Money Dies" could not easily be adapted for the stage.

5 Questions with Palmiro Campagna, author of The UFO Files


What was the most interesting part about writing this book?

I started writing this book as an offshoot to my first on the history of the Avro Arrow.  The same company building the Arrow, AV Roe Canada, was building a saucer for the US Army and Air Force.  That said, I have had an interest in UFOs since about 1966 when I read Frank Edward's book Flying Saucers Serious Business.  I was quite intrigued.  As I uncovered files in the Natinal Archives of Canada on the UFO subject, I decided to put together a book using these records as the facts contained therein seemed a bit different in respect of some cases.  My aim was to provide as much factual nformation as based on archival records, as possibe.

What are some of the main misconceptions people have about UFOs?

I am not sure about the word misconception.  UFOS are attributed as being extraterrestrial when in fact there are many possible explanations.  The key word is possible as there is always enough information missing so as not to be able to make a positive evaluation ne way or the other.  Are they natural phenomena, extradimensional, extrterrestrial etc.  In other cases, I hate to say it but aircraft are mistaken by observers especially under unuaual circumstances.  I do not discuss alien abduction as that is well outside my realm.
Is there a message or idea you'd like to most get across to your readers of this book?

My message is twofold.  Hard sceptics must keep an open mind as it is the way to find out what is really going on.  I have run in to many who are completely dismissive of the subject and will not even entertain possibilities.  On the othe hand, believers need to be more sceptical and challenging of given incidents.  Not to be cliche but the Truth is out there and needs to be uncovered.

What's the most fascinating UFO story you've ever encountered?

The one I like is Falconbridge circa 1975 I believe.  This one involved radar tracking and visual contact by numerous eyewitnesses including military and police, from many different vantage points.  this is a key to the better sighings, multiple sources especially when they include instrumentation like radar.

What new books do you have coming up on the horizon?

At the moment I haven't any but interested readers should check out my boks on the Avro Arrow.  There are two, Storms of Controversy:The Secret Avro Arrow Files Revealed and Requiem for a Giant: A.V. Roe Canaa and the Avro Arrow.

5 Questions with Don Easton, author of Samurai Code


What was the inspiration behind writing this book?

My inspiration for Samurai Code came from a sympathy I have felt for some people who are basically 'unseen' by society. During my 20 years of undercover I met a couple of people who were like the actual characters in the novel (Ophehlia/Melvin). Basically these people need a lot of help but are considered like 'Nobodies' and their disappearance is not missed. In one situation I encountered a criminal organisation who intended to have new members to the organisation murder these type of people as a test of loyalty.

What's been the response so far to it?

The response has been good and I believe the sales are brisk.

When you write do you have a plan on how the story will unfold, or does a lot of it come to you as you go through the process of writing the book?

When I actually write, I prepare a synopsis of the entire story and then write from there. Some times it changes a little to match certain characters who do not like to follow a synopsis (smiles).

What aspect of Japanese culture do you feel is brought out the most in the book?

The Japanese culture is limited in the novel, with the exception of their love for onsens and also a tendency to be very loyal to their bosses.

What's next for yourself?

My next project is to start novel number six. At this time I am still decided on which story to tell.