The Best Decline Letter of All Time: Edmund Wilson

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Edmund Wilson

Edmund Wilson

Edmund Wilson, recipient of both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal for Literature, was one of the most prominent social and literary critics of the 20th century.

He realized, like most uber-productive people, that, while there were many behaviors needed to guarantee high output, there was one single behavior guaranteed to prevent all output:

Trying to please everyone.

He had a low tolerance for distraction and shunned undue public acclaim. To almost all inquiries, he would respond with the following list, putting a check mark next to what had been requested… Read More

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Facebook Bankruptcy Template

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The following is an e-mail I received from Paul Colligan, which inspired me to finally take the leap and get Facebook under control. To tame the beast and use it, instead of having it use me. I hope you find it useful, or at least entertaining.

Paul, if you mind me putting this up, please do let me know.

Short version:

Moving to a “Fan Page” model at Facebook to make more sense of things. Would love you as a “Fan” here –

http://budurl.com/paulfanpage

Long version:

It’s not you, it’s me …

REALLY

When I joined Facebook, I didn’t think it all the way through.

And now I have to do something drastic …

(and it’s going to take a couple of weeks)

By mixing business and personal in the same account, here on Facebook. I was no good to anybody. Here’s a few highlights:

* Personal friends and family who weren’t interested in my business found themselves with lots of marketing messages. I’m amazed at anyone who ’stayed a friend” – but that’s another note all together.

* Business partners, associates, etc., got a bunch of confusing personal updates when they were trying to get work done. So much for “Market to Message Match.”

* I couldn’t “use” Facebook like a normal person (with 4000+ “friends”) and here I am trying to figure out what Facebook means and how normal people use it …

So, here’s what I’ve done about it:

* I’ve asked my assistant to unfriend EVERYBODY in Facebook and send them this note. The best man in my wedding is on this list – so please don’t feel offended.

(I did figure I wouldn’t unfriend Heidi – too many implications there)

* I’ve sent you all this note.

* I plan on “refriending” my friends and engaging in active business dialog at the “page” discussed below – I think it will turn out to be the best of both worlds.

You have three options:

Option 1-
I’ve set up a “page” at Facebook where I’ll be focussing on the “Business” and “New Media” side of Paul. You can see it here (please click to become a “Fan”). It should be a fun place to meet up and chat.

http://budurl.com/paulfanpage

To encourage others to become a Fan, I’m hosting a special Webinar on Facebook for free where I’ll walk through every stop of this process and share what I’ve learned along the way.

Details will be emailed to everyone who has “fanned” me on that page through a Facebook update.

This will be the most appropriate action for most of you.

Here’s the link one more time –

http://budurl.com/paulfanpage

Option 2 -
If we really are friends (i.e., you know my kid’s names) feel free to friend me again on Facebook – I’ll respond shortly.

Also know that I’ll be seeking to replenish my friends list very soon anyway, and I’ll eventually find everyone again – but feel free to speed up the process.

Option 3 -
I’m sure this move will offend a few. Please understand it is certainly a drastic move – but one I needed to take.

Didn’t mean to offend – sorry if I did.

+++

Yup, wacky …

This social media stuff is fascinating. I look forward to (and, I’ll be honest, equally as much) using Facebook like “everyone else” and sharing with those interested what I learned along the way.

Thanks for understanding.

Paul

For those interested in seeing my 2nd-round Facebook attempt, which has worked like clockwork and turned out to be both more fun and more useful, take a glance at Tim Ferriss 2.0.

If you own a business or brand, the analytics alone are worth the effort of setting it up as a complement to your existing profile.

Use your tools. Don’t let them use you.

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On The Shortness of Life: An Introduction to Seneca

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Samurai and Seneca agreed: comfort with death brings better living. (Photo: Kalandrakas)

“We don’t beat the Reaper by living longer. We beat the Reaper by living well.”
-Randy Pausch (1960-2008), The Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon

This week, one of my friends died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was in his early 30’s.

Several hours after I learned of his passing, I received an e-mail from my parents: the 10-year old daughter of a dear high school coach had been diagnosed with liver cancer. The Reaper does not discriminate. Too often, we spend time focusing on the trivial with people who contribute nothing but their own self-interest.

How do we balance protecting time with protecting relationships? How do we conquer guilt and do what is truly most important?

I often read “On The Shortness of Life,” one of Lucius Seneca‘s most famous letters, whenever I succumb to social pressure to treat time as less valuable than income, or whenever I find myself agreeing to help those who make unreasonable requests and get upset otherwise.

Seneca’s masterful diatribe hit me like a much-needed sledgehammer, and I’ve included it below. He soon became my favorite Stoic philosopher, and this will help you understand why… Read More

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Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi on Blogging Techniques and Self-Publishing vs. Big Publishers

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Last week, Ramit Sethi and I recorded a private videocast for a select group of readers. The three short videos below, all 2-8 minutes in length, describe our blogging tips and techniques, as well as an examination of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

He and I have both had the privilege and tactical experience of:

1) Building highly-trafficked blogs in a crowded blogosphere of more than 120 million blogs. More important, both of our blogs are well-known for action-oriented readers (For data on this blog’s readers — that’s you! — check this out).

2) Publishing books that reached The New York Times bestseller lists. Ramit’s experience is fresh and most up-to-date from his last three weeks with I Will Teach You To Be Rich, while I wrote The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been on the New York Times business bestseller list continually for 23 months, since its publication in April of 2007.

Here are some of the topics we cover in the a la carte videos:

Currencies Besides Royalties and Direct Income
Google Juice and SEO Misuse
Choosing Post Topics: From Google Keyword Tool to Stumble Upon
Post Length and Publishing Time
Tactical Redating of Posts

Regarding the plug-in I mention for keeping your best content on your homepage, the very smart Lloyd Budd at Automattic explains:

Have your WordPress theme developer to update your theme to take advantage of the simple 2.7 feature “sticky posts” to have articles stay on the front page: http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/is_sticky

Self-Publishing vs. Big Publishers – 5:11

How to Build Traffic – 7:22

More Blogging Tactics – 2:35

In Ramit’s latest post, you will find an additional video on our mutual “false starts” and mistakes.

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No Schedules, No Meetings—Enter Best Buy’s ROWE – Part 2

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(Photo: badboy69)

This is continued from Part 1 of my exclusive first blog interview with the co-developers of Best Buy’s results-only work environment, which has increased output at headquarters 41% and decreased quitting up to 90% in some divisions.

When you take care of your life, do you develop overcomplicated processes for getting things done? Do you spend your free time coming up with systems and programs for buying birthday presents or making dinner or feeding the dog? Do you have regular family meetings to discuss whether or not people are doing heir chores, what the status of those chores is, and what kind of outcomes those chores are expected to achieve?

Why do we spend so much of our business life talking about the business we need to take care of rather than simply taking care of it?
-From “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It”

Some converts argue ROWE is a “simple change”. What’s simple about it?

The change isn’t easy, but the change is simple because it’s based on common sense. To show you what we’re talking about, here are some ROWE conversation starters: Read More

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No Schedules, No Meetings–Enter Best Buy's ROWE – Part 1

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(Photo: yum9me)

Managers often ask me how to use 4HWW within corporate environments.

I now have a new recommendation to add to the previous list: read the new in-depth description of Best Buy’s Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE).

How did a Fortune 100 company increase productivity at headquarters 41% while decreasing voluntary turnover (corporate speak for quitting) as much as 90%?

I’ve been fascinated by this unusual experiment since reading about it in 2005. The best part? It began with a 24-year old new hire named Cali Ressler, not a top-down decision from the CEO.

Cali is now co-author of a new book with ROWE co-developer Jody Thompson, which details how it all happened — and how others can replicate (or at least emulate) its success. Here is an excerpt, followed by a exclusive first blog interview: Read More

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Fireside Chat: Google and Tim Ferriss

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This fireside chat at Google in London was also simulcast to their offices in Ireland, Sweden, and Moscow. It was a blast.

It covered tons of topics never discussed on the blog before: proposed improvements to Gmail (please!), the real original book title, using telephone vs. e-mail, principles and case studies, metrics (including exercise), analysis vs. intuition, the declining dollar and personal outsourcing & geoarbitrage, and much more.

If you’re bored at work, you can listen to the audio while you browse Facebook :) My collection of 55 odd videos on YouTube can be found here if you want more semi-productive distraction before 5pm.

TGIF and have a wonderful weekend!

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