Tuesday, June 24, 2014

5 Questions with Ray Moynihan, author of "Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals"


What's this book all about for people who haven't heard?

The  book is about the making of the new big blockbuster medical condition -a condition called "Female Sexual Dy sfunction". It reveals how drug
companies are actually helping to construct some of the basic scientific
building blocks of this condition - in order to help build markets for their
new products.

How did the book come about?

I have been an investigative journalist reporting on the business of
healthcare for many years - and I became interetsed in the way part of drug
company marketing strategies were aimed at "creating the need" for their new
products. One of the ways they help to "create the need", is by shaping
perceptions of the conditions their drugs target.  In about 2002 I attended
a "medical education" seminar on female sexual dysfunction, and I realized
there was a big fascinating story here.

What's the main idea you want people to realize?

That marketing is merging with medical science - and that when they hear
claims about sexual disorders and dysfunctions being widespread- they need
to be a little skeptical.

What's the response been to the book?

Very positive. all over the world. The only important criticism that I have
seen has come from the association representing the pharmaceutical industry
in Australia. They accused me of using sex to sell something.

What's next for you?

Growing some vegetables, playing some music, doing some more dancing,
hanging out at the beach some more, and getting on with the journalism.

Monday, June 23, 2014

5 Questions with Simon Maier, author of "Speak like a President"

What's a quick tip to speak more like a president immediately?
Have one proposition and stick to it.

Which president was the best speaker? Clinton was excellent, Lincoln wasn't. George W Bush was actually extremely good too (as a speaker) but got little credit. That will change. Washington was excellent, but had problems with his teeth. Kennedy was fabulous and had a terrific writer (Ted Sorensen) working with him. FDR was measured and very good. If you want one only, then I'd pick Kennedy.

What's the greatest speech you've seen? A speech made in 2009 by Stephen Fry. And, as an option, a speech made by James Rubin who was President Clinton's Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Chief Spokesman for the State Department. A third option was a speech made by Lord John Browne as CEO of BP. Barack Obama’s speech on November 10th 2009 at Ford Hood was extraordinary rhetoric. Brilliant – and that’s probably the greatest I’ve ever seen and heard from a politician.

What's a big mistake a lot of new speakers make?
Not understanding the people who comprise an audience, not knowing what your audience knows or doesn’t, not knowing what an audience needs or wants. Not understanding period. The other big mistake is that business speakers use vast quantities of PowerPoint. PowerPoint doesn’t make a bad speaker good or a dull subject more interesting. None of history’s great orators used PowerPoint. Also, many new speakers think that speeches are for themselves, not their audiences.

What's the best way to get back an audience if you're losing their attention? Tell a story that's relevant to your proposition and one that you know unequivocally will press people's buttons - and make it one that amuses; if the story’s slightly tilted against yourself, then that helps.

5 questions with "The Laws of Charisma" author Kurt W. Mortensen

Do you have any tips on how you can try and feel and radiate confidence when you're not really confident?

Lack of confidence can be summed up in one word: fear. Fear can be defined as a magnified doubt. All worries, questions, concerns, insecurities—can ultimately be traced back to fear in one form or another. Fear breeds doubt and doubt destroys confidence. You need to make sure that your confidence is bigger than your doubt. What does your audience really sense in you? Are you afraid to exercise confidence and charisma? The desire to overcome your fear needs to be bigger than the fear itself. When you are afraid, that fear will breed doubt and suck the energy right out of you. While it is okay to have fear, you must be able to handle and manage that fear. When you doubt yourself, doubt your abilities, others will doubt you and your charisma.

For people who are not very charismatic at all, what's a good easy way to get the ball rolling?

The challenge is that most think of charismatic people as movie stars, CEO’s, politicians, or even religious leaders. Sure we born with a few of the skills, but the studies show charisma can be learned. Remember with charisma that people want to be around you and be influenced by you. I would have an honest moment with yourself and choose the one area that is causing people not to want be around you or influenced by you. Find others in the workplace that that have that skill you want and watch how they use it with others.

Who is the most charismatic person you've met and what specifically made him or her so charismatic?

When I think of charisma, I think of Anthony Robbins. He is the author of Unlimited Power and made famous by having everyone in his audience walk on fire. You probably have seen him on an infomercial promoting personal development programs. Stop and watch him and you will see the definition of energy and charisma. He can engage an audience for 4 straight days and those events will last very late into the evening. He is so powerful, engaging and charismatic that his audience does not realize they have been with Tony for over 12 hours. His transfer of vision and hope cause him to be charismatic.

What is the biggest breakthrough you've made in your life in terms of getting to the next level of charisma?

My biggest breakthrough during my life was the ability to influence others. We all influence for a living and need to make sure we have mastered this skill. I learned that the ability to influence others how they want to be influenced was a critical factor not only to success, but with charisma. Long gone are the days of force, the data dump, closing skills and hype. People are more skeptical than ever before and if you don’t know how to influence the right way – there will be no charisma.

Out of the Four Core Qualities of Charismatic People, which one is most difficult to master for the vast majority of people?

The most difficult charismatic quality for most people to master is the ability to communicate and present their ideas. Yes, this would be your presentation skills. The studies show that the ability to give presentations is the most critical skill needed to move up in today’s business environment. Charismatic people have excellent communication skills that captive, inspire and rivet the audience. They can articulate their vision and make that vision come alive in the audience’s mind. Communication includes phone skills, face-to-face interactions, group presentations, negotiations, and even text and email. How are your presentation skills?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Q&A with James Graham-Campbell, author of The Viking World

What can our world today learn from the Viking world?

The Viking Age, from the 9th to 11th centuries AD, was a spectacular period in northern history and its legacy is substantial – and not just in the Scandinavian homelands of the Vikings themselves. All those of Scandinavian blood have their roots in the Viking Age and thus need to learn of their origins to better understand how they come to be who (and where) they are today. As for the rest of us, there is much to appreciate in the many achievements of the Vikings, particularly in their remarkable voyages of raiding and conquest, of discovery and settlement, and of commerce – from the North Atlantic to the Black Sea. Indeed, English-speaking peoples use many Norse words without even realising it – from ‘egg’ to ‘die’!

Which artefact was most impressive for yourself?

The Viking longship is the true symbol of the Viking Age and there is no more impressive experience of the period than entering the Viking Ship Museum in Norway for one’s first encounter with the elegant prow of the Oseberg ship, recovered from a royal burial mound constructed in AD 834. It is in the shape of a snake’s head, turning the vessel itself into a ‘sea-serpent’, with its stern ending in a coiled tail – the cover-image of The Viking World.

What were the Vikings like as personalities?

The ancient sayings or ‘wisdom’ of the Vikings, contained in the contemporary collection of poems known as the Hávamál , reveal something of the attitudes and culture of these Scandinavian peoples who lived a millennium ago – not surprisingly they seem very like us!

What was the most interesting thing you learned from putting together the book?

Two aspects of the Viking experience that interest me most closely are the immense wealth of silver which they accumulated, from their extensive raiding and trading, and the nature of their enigmatic art and ornament. Overall, however, a theme of particular interest to emerge from such a book as The Viking World is the development of the nation-states of Scandinavia from their pagan barbarian past to become part of the Christian civilisation of medieval Europe.

What new projects are you working on?

I have just recently published a survey of Viking Art (for Thames & Hudson) and am now working to complete a project researching the pagan Viking graves from Scotland.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Q&A with Laurelyn Whitt, author of Tether

What was the inspiration of this book?
I suppose there are books that have a single 'external' inspiration. One source, that called the myriad poems within the collection up, out of that place where they wait. That has not been my experience however, with Tether or elsewhere, although I am open to it. Tether is more a record, or reflection, of where I have been and what I have been responding to over a certain period of time - in this case, over the 7 years or so between the completion of my last collection, interstices, and the completion of this one. 
During this time I immigrated to Canada, and there is a thread in Tether that offers a sustained reflection on the phenomenon of borders and boundaries. Borders tend to be dangerous places, where a great deal is at stake, where much can be lost, and where power - in its many forms - is a significant factor. Some of the poems in this thread focus on how both language systems and natural systems are affected by the indiscriminate breaching, manipulation, and re-drawing of borders. I am especially concerned with whether and how these things survive. A number of other poems in this thread consider the present and future of endangered human languages and cultures, as well as of threatened nonhuman species and habitats.
Shortly before I started writing the first of the poems that found their way into this book, both of my parents passed on. So there is another thread interwoven with the first, poems which are taut with the struggle to live with this.  To move past the sense of suddenly being parent-less, and toward what still holds us together.
So themes of preservation and restoration interweave with those of loss and destruction in both threads of Tether. The collection is an effort to appreciate, and better understand, the tenuous yet tenacious nature of the continuities that bind us as individuals and peoples, to one another, and to the natural world.
What has been the reception from readers and colleagues and your friends?
Hmm. I'm not sure I have a good grasp of this, but let me try.       Since many of these poems have been with me for a while, I have had a chance to get them 'out there' - to editors, for publication, and at readings. They tend to be fairly diverse - in form and in subject matter. One thing I have noticed is that their diversity has been embraced. By that I mean that different people have settled on quite different poems, or groups of poems, that they are especially drawn to.  That has been gratifying.
Which part was the most pleasurable to write? Do you feel lost in the moment when you are writing and are very much in the "now"?
I am combining these two questions since the second seems to me to be a way of understanding what you mean by "pleasurable' in the first. Seeing it this way allows what is painful to still be experienced as pleasurable. Certainly, the kind of full immersion you describe in the second question is part of, maybe the whole of, the great delight of writing. My partner likes to observe that the whole house could crash in on me when I am working and I would remain as I was.
But now I am puzzling about 'most' pleasurable, since I don't have any sense of more-or-less associated with this.  I find I cannot write if I don't care; writing poetry is a way of caring. And for me at least they are simultaneous. Of course I sometimes do write without caring, but I wouldn't call the result poetry.
I will, even so, single out a group of poems - mainly because the writing of them was unusual, and something I hope to repeat. "The Medicine Line" sequence is the first poetic sequence I have written. Having realized after the first poem that there was more to be said about this, and that it built directly on what I had just said, I moved on to a second. Then a third, fourth and fifth. (And I am still not sure I am done with it.) The initial drafts of these poems came very quickly, in (what for me is) a blur. A poetic sequence enables a sustained perception - and reception. It lets you dive and not come up for a while. Long poems do the same I suppose. The other thing about sequences is that the poems in them are often a kind of ideal community - able as individuals to stand well alone but also dependent on one another. In this case I was carried to the form by the subject matter - the sequence being a kind of a compressed history of that particular line on the map. I would welcome being carried away like this again. I may even go there on my own.
What new projects are you working on?
Borders and boundary phenomena still have a grip on me, though increasingly they are being contrasted with, and sometimes displaced by, that of horizons. I am completing a new manuscript that examines the significance of the horizon for us as a species, as cultural and historical beings, and as individuals bounded by communities of various sorts. Horizons surround us with the world. They hold us in while drawing us out, but are not fixed. The manuscript explores how horizons contain us without restraining us, and what is lost or gained as a result. It also reflects on their expansiveness, on how they protect and prepare us. All of this is responsive to and informed by place, by particular environments - their history, cultural dynamics, flora, fauna, geology and climate.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Q&A with Diane Sanfilippo, author of Practical Paleo

The book is very thorough and comprehensive, how long did it end up taking to complete?
The hands-on work of the book took me about 8 months, but the time researching and developing the ideas and content took several years leading up to that hands-on time.

Have you received a lot of thanks from people who achieved positive results?
I've received countless emails, over 1200 Amazon reviews, and comments daily on my FaceBook and other social media outlets about positive results. I've heard of everything from massive weight loss, to putting deeply painful symptoms of MS into remission. It's been astounding.

What was the most rewarding part of writing this book?
Meeting readers and fans in person at signing and seminar events has been truly astounding. I get goose bumps every time someone tells me their story of healing, and how my book or my work has helped them in their journey, especially when the advice or prescriptions from their multiple doctors were failing. Just this past weekend I met a woman who was almost in tears when she met me, simply because she felt that my work saved her life. There is absolutely no better reason to do this work than to help even just one other person in that way.

Have some athletes noted successful results from adhering to advice from the book?
Absolutely. The coaches at my own gym are all high-level athletes and have taken a lot from the meal plan I've outlined in the book and have seen gains in their achievements over the past year and a half. Additionally, one blogger in particular named Janelle Pica (of www.primalburgher.com) followed my 30-Day Meal Plan for Athletic Performance and realized pretty quickly that she had been under eating to support her training goals. Her experience was eye-opening and it didn't even require following the outlined 30 days of meals to the letter. As I note throughout the book, it's all about customizing the approach you take to what will suit your own needs and support your goals.

What new projects are you working on?
Oh, so many! I just released my "Healthy Holiday Recipes" eBook that is a free resource for anyone interested and is available on my website (http://balbit.es/healthyholidayebook). Up next will be the release of "The 21-Day Sugar Detox Cookbook," the companion to the first 21DSD book, and then the Beyond Sugar Detox program, which will enhance the amount of resources available to those on the 21DSD program as well as support them far beyond their 21 days. After that, there's a lot more on-deck, but you'll have to stay tuned on social media and on my website to find out!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Q&A with Rea Frey, author of Power Vegan

What is something a lot of vegans miss in their diet that they need to have?

Many vegans assume if they cut out meat and dairy, then all their nutritional bases are covered, but this isn’t always the case. Being vegan comes with a bit of responsibility. You have to do your homework. Unfortunately, our food isn't as nutritious as it used to be (thank you, processed devils!), so you have to be aware of lacking nutrients. Ask yourself: Where do I get vitamin B12? Nutritional yeast and Kombucha. Vitamin D? Shiitake mushrooms and sunshine. Iron? Beans, greens, raw cacao beans, dried fruit, sea veggies, and molasses. Calcium? Seeds (chia and sesame), collard greens, beans, and pseudograins. Popping a vitamin doesn’t always do the trick, so know your sources.

Are there any new vegan products which have come out lately you are a fan of?

I’m really impressed by Better Life cleaning products (so safe, you can actually ingest them!). What we eat is so important, but what we clean with, what we wash our clothes with, what makeup we use, what styling products we use… these all contribute to our overall health. In terms of eating, I’ve always been a fan of Garden of Life. I enjoy their Raw Protein products. Vega is always pushing the boundaries as well, especially for those who want to live extremely active plant-based lives. I’ve never found a more complete supplement line for active individuals - Vega has it all.

What would you say is the breakfast of champions for vegans?

Starting your day with a giant green smoothie is one of the best ways to supply your body with easily digestible fruits and veggies, as well as flooding your body with vitamins and minerals. Blending kale, parsley, romaine, apple, lemon juice, banana, chia, hemp or flax seeds and some nondairy milk can wake up the body and “cleanse” after fasting all night. Following that up an hour ater some delicious nondairy pumpkin hemp protein pancakes can’t hurt either.

What are the best sources of protein for vegans?

People so often focus on not getting enough protein as a vegan, but it is extremely easy to bypass the fake meat and get more than you need from natural sources. Remember that all plant foods have protein (50% of most greens’ calories are made up of protein!), and plant-based proteins are cheaper and easier to digest. My go-to list: soaked and sprouted legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, quinoa, teff, amaranth, hemp-pea-brown rice protein, greens, organic, sprouted tofu, and tempeh (for those with no soy aversions).

What new projects are you working on?

I’m currently writing a new book called My Daughter, The A**hole. It is a very comedic account of my first-time pregnancy and foray into motherhood. All the mishaps, emotions, and ups and downs that come with being a new parent are on full display. I guarantee if you've thought about it, I'm writing about it. It's good to be honest about how tough being a parent can be. Each chapter also supplies a recipe for pregnancy, post-pregnancy, infancy and even plant-based recipes for those picky toddler years.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Q&A with Will Buckingham, author of Happiness: A Practical Guide

What's an easy tip to gain happiness?
I’m not sure that there are any easy tips. One of the things I’m interested in is that “happiness” refers to quite a few different things, so it depends what you mean by “happiness”… Different kinds of happiness might require different kinds of “tips” and advice. 

But at the same time, if you have a fairly modest view of what happiness is — if you are not looking for something earth-shattering, or world-changing — then often the things that help with developing happiness are also relatively modest: spending time with friends; being engaged in work that you feel is fruitful and of benefit; a degree of autonomy… and cake. Cake helps.

Of course, there’s also the question of other people’s happiness, because there might be things that you can do that can help others gain happiness, or at least not cause them misery. So ethics always comes into it as well.

Is happiness proportional to gratitude?
I think that gratitude is already a kind of happiness, and ingratitude already a kind of unhappiness. It doesn’t make much sense to me to say, “She’s very ungrateful, but she’s happy…”  So, yes, I think that gratitude is one aspect of the kind of happiness that matters to me. 

Does money make people happy?
In terms of what researchers call “subjective well-being” (which is one kind of idea of what “happiness” might involve), the research seems to suggest that having no money or very little money is a significant cause of lack of well-being. But once you have sufficient money to live on, then the benefits of money—in terms of happiness at least—are subject to the law of diminishing returns. Once your basic needs are met and you have a degree of financial stability, the more you have, the less and bang you get for your buck when it comes to happiness. If, however, you give some of that surplus that isn’t making you particularly happy to other people who don’t have the same surplus, then that might increase your happiness and theirs!

Which are the habits of happy people?
Again, they are often quite simple: friendship, work that feels valuable, time to relax with friends. But, of course, different things make different people happy. I have a friend who is in the habit of jumping out of airplanes, claiming it makes him happy. It seems a strange habit to me, but then, I’m not him…

What makes you happy?
I love writing, and I love teaching: I teach in a university, and whilst universities are very weird kinds of places to spend your time and there’s a lot about them that doesn’t make me very happy (so many meetings!), the teaching is great. I love travel, and playing the guitar, and hanging out with the cat, to whom I’ve apprenticed myself in an attempt to more deeply study the art of happiness. 

What's next for you?
There are a couple of novels on the go, a further philosophy book about hospitality, and a book for children that I’ve just been working on editing, so there’s a lot on at the moment, which I like. There’s a kind of happiness that comes from being absorbed in interesting projects.