Monday, October 24, 2016


On Becoming a Businesswoman… Advice from Her Dad
I just read that 60% of Americans hope to own their own business, but only 10% do. Women world-wide and over 60 may be similar.

A successful European businessman, Patrick Gruhn, recently published a fine book, Good Business, written primarily for his daughter. Though she is not likely now over 60, his ideas apply to would-be entrepreneurs of all ages.
Gruhn favors cooperation versus competition in business. Believing that women tend toward nurture, men toward battle, he wants more women in entrepreneurial positions. Written daily over a period of 500 days, his book seems to have over a thousand good ideas. We’ll explore some here.

Generate Value for Others and for Yourself
Fundamentally, business is the exchange of value for value. "Ultimately, by creating value for others, you will create wealth for yourself." To do so, you need to have a vision. You should have a passion for your work. Look for the area of overlap between their needs and your skills.
Gruhn quotes Steve Jobs, “It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Jobs’s premature death only underlines this. Allocate your time to what matters most. Pace yourself. Life’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Strategy: Playing the Long Game
“Play your life like a game of chess.” Plan ahead. To thrive in the long run, reduce friction. Minimize unnecessary conflict. Avoid micromanagement of others.
We are advised to hedge our bets, not put all our eggs in one basket. However, having too many irons in the fire means none gets really hot.
You’ll often hear, “Don’t throw good money after bad.” Not your investment, but what your prospects are, really counts. The same goes for your “investment” in personal relationships.

Be Prepared for the Changing Tides

The late U.S. President John F. Kennedy noted, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”  At high tide, it is hard to distinguish the true winners from the others. “It is only when the tide goes out that you can see who’s been swimming without shorts.”

Stick to it. Be reliable in speed, quality, and outcome of your efforts. Say what you’ll do and do what you say.

Eleventh-century British King Canute is said to have demonstrated to his fawning courtiers that even he could not control the tides.
Heed the maxim, “This, too, will pass.” No trend lasts forever. Stay lean. Minimize debt to reduce the risk of going broke.

Don’t Limit Yourself
Much of our limits are due to hypnosis. Clear your mind. “When the student is ready, the master will appear, and when the master is ready, the student will appear,” Gruhn quotes. Readiness is key.

Gruhn urges you to stand out: “They laughed at me because I was different. I laughed at them because they were all the same.” He advises his readers to accept advice only from those who have truly succeeded.

What’s Your Management Style: Hard or Soft?
Perhaps a woman will usually be more comfortable with being relatively non-confrontational, although if you are naturally tough, you can go with that style. However, a softer approach has its strengths and is less wearing on its practitioner and its recipients.
Gruhn writes, “…effective leadership hinges on your ability to make people choose to follow you.” Else, you have to rely on command, a subset of force. With orders, you get at best what is ordered, neither more nor less.

At Work: Be Effective! Be Efficient!
Effective is getting it done. Efficient is getting it done economically. Ideally, you’d be efficiently effective. The adage “haste makes waste” alerts us to the tension between speed and quality.

Information: Dig for the Words You Need to Hear
People will give compliments freely. They rarely give criticism, especially to those above them or those from whom they hope to get favors. Dig for the diamonds of truth. Collect information and opinions, but weigh opinions carefully, considering the motives of those who offer them.


Building a successful business will require making connections that are not immediately apparent. “Think of making a deal like having a dance. Someone is going to lead and the other is going to follow, and you better make sure that it is you who leads and be very careful not to step on anyone's toes when you do it. The reputation of the bad dancer usually spreads quickly, and you might find yourself standing in the corner alone with nobody to dance with."

As Frank Sinatra Sang, “Luck, Be a Lady”
Luck plays a role in success, sometimes a big role. But to become you’ve got to be playing in the game, “you’ve got to be in it to win it,” as the New York State Lottery slogan goes. An unknown source wrote, “The harder I work, the luckier I become.”

Having Prospered, Give Appropriately
Once you’ve got enough, be generous! Avoid the takers, embrace the makers, doers, earners and sharers. As for your own friends and loved ones, empower growth, don’t enable dependency.
The Good Life
“The paradox is that we work towards having the good life, but then we get too busy to enjoy it,” Gruhn warns. You have to work out the right balance for yourself.
“Life is not all about business. It’s not all about work and it’s not all about money.” Though money is nice, “achievement is its own reward.” Seek to be proud of the person you see in the mirror.

Questions: What business have you considered running? What have you done to get started? Please join in the conversation.
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, now receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, care discussed at their website here.


Published in somewhat edited form at

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Audience Revolution (Iny, 2015)

         You have written your book, gotten it published, obtained some favorable reviews, given a few talks here and there, and gotten some press. Despite that, you have sold a hundred or fewer copies, just like the overwhelming majority of non-celebrity, first-time authors.

Where did you go wrong? Like me, you thought, build it and they will come, write it and they will buy it. As recently successful author, program developer, marketer Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing explains: one must build one’s audience first.

Makes sense, actually. Celebrities have successful memoirs because they already have big audiences, and unless the book is a dud, they are going to sell myriads, or at least a whole lot.

Iny’s book is THE AUDIENCE REVOLUTION: The Smarter Way to Build a Business, Make a Difference, and Change the World.  It lives up to its title. Well, maybe “change the world” is a bit premature.

Iny has a great line: “failure is only failure if it happens in the last chapter. Otherwise, it’s a plot twist.” This 2015 Easter morning, minister Joel Osteen spoke about one of the messages of Easter: it’s not over just because it seems to be a failure; something better beckons. A sage is said to have remarked, when asked what is universally true, “This, too, will pass.” We must persevere.
Those of us who have not yet built an audience can still do so. In the next chapter of our lives, we should take Iny’s advice: examine our passions, find what others have asked of us already, and look for the intersection of these that marks our best choice for making a contribution others will value.

This book offers a link for a site with a video and worksheets to help in this exploration.


Excerpted from my Write Your Book with Me, available from and other online booksellers as well as from Outskirts Press, its publisher.

WRITE YOUR BOOK WITH ME: Payoffs = Plan x Prepare x Publish x Promote by [Cooper Ph.D., Douglas Winslow]

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Author Success Guide by Bareham (2013)


Steve Bareham, the author of eBook author success guide – 1:
Self Publishing eBooks, lists not 4 Ps or 5 Ps for success, but 12 Ps:
·      Product: What are you offering? What is it worth?
·      Proof: Be sure you are better than your competitors in meeting readers’ needs.
·      People: Who wants or needs your book? What are they like?
·      Perception: How attractive are your book, your ads, and your writing?
·      Position: What is your USP, your Unique Selling Proposition? What’s “best” about it?
·      Price: Bareham believes the $0.99 ebook is on the way out. Amazon favors $2.99-$9.99, and the market is willing to pay more for “how-to” books than for other types.
·      Problems & Pitfalls: Try to predict and avoid them!
·      Promotion: “…pretty much everything that you do to boost sales: your website, your blog, participation by you and others in reader forums, reader reviews, advertising, video, etc….”
·      Pro-active follow-up: Get opinions from your readers.
·      Place: Where your books can be found, obtained.
·      Processes: Ease of purchase, guarantees, etc.
·      Persuasion: Ethos, pathos, and logos…credibility, emotion, logic.
Bareham (2012) has separate sections in his guide on using the following to promote your books:
·      YouTube videos
·      Website
·      Weblog (blog)
·      Sample chapters given away
·      Audio book format
·      Social networks
·      Book reviewers
Near the beginning of his eBook author success guide, he admonishes us to:
·      Keep writing, as the more books you publish, the better known you become and the more your books will sell.
·      Keep promoting yourself and your books.
·      Solicit 5-star reviews from likely providers.
·      “Understand viral leveraging.”
·      Use apt “tags” on your Amazon book descriptions. 
·      Avoid a book title that is too cute. [It can get lost among Amazon’s 10 million, he warns.]
·      Consider the substantial advantages of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

·      Get to know and use GoodReads.

     Excerpted from my own guide, Write Your Book with Me.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Review of DATA DRIVEN, by Jenny Dearborn

Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.

"The Holy Grail of data analytics, at least with respect to sales, is to increase the effectiveness of the individual. When individuals are more productive, motivated, engaged, and happy, the organization will be more successful. The real power comes when big data gets personal." Thus does Jenny Dearborn, Senior Vice President and Chief Learning Officer for software giant SAP, describe the value of what she covers here.

I requested a copy of this book from a friend who was involved in its preparation. I have long had an interest in statistical analysis, and my recent venture into entrepreneurship, through my small business,, made me curious about what such analysis could do for marketing and sales.

When I previewed the book, by examining the ratings it got on Amazon reviews, I was a bit surprised to see not only a series of five-star ratings each with typically a couple of reader endorsements of the value of the enthusiastic review, but also one two-star rating, with nearly a dozen statements of the value that the readers had obtained from that rather negative review. This strong difference of opinion grabbed my attention, and I sat down to read the book, which took about four hours. I'll summarize what the author has done, and then I'll tell you why I think there were such divergent evaluations.

The book is a well written combination of story and analysis, handsomely presented by the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., with numerous graphs, charts, and tables and a comprehensive index at the end.

The story starts with our heroine, Pam Sharp, in her new position as Chief Sales Officer of the mythical Trajectory Systems, meeting with a subset of the relevant individuals she manages, to discuss how to overcome the deficiencies that have caused a disappointing sales year. Each department head has a story that clears that department from responsibility for the disappointing results.

Clearly, Pam has got to find a way to analyze what has gone wrong, to convince her subordinates of her analysis, and then to determine and implement the policies, strategies, and tactics needed to turn things around.

Author Jenny Dearborn provides non-technical explanations and fictional examples of four uses of data analytics:

1.   Describing quantitatively what happened
2.   Diagnosing what went wrong
3.   Predicting what lies ahead
4.   Prescribing what to do.

Describing can be done with familiar statistical and graphical techniques.

Diagnostic analytics involves trying to determine why something has happened, typically relying on methods of showing relationships between variables, such as outputs versus inputs. Very often correlations are highlighted, but only some of these reflect causation. Others are coincidental or are products of being influenced by a common third factor.

Predictive analytics answer the question, "What could happen?" Dearborn points out this analysis may include "statistics, modeling, machine learning, and data mining." For technical details, she directs the reader to books such as Siegel and Davenport’s Predictive Analytics. Here and elsewhere she does not require the reader to understand mathematical equations, but she does give appropriate references.

Prescriptive analytics involves using mathematical models to determine the optimal choice among various options, and can be as simple as using multiple linear regressions or as complex as the kind of machine learning that is sometimes used for email programs to distinguish spam from desired communication.

As the story progresses, Pam and her group overcome some organizational and personal obstacles to implement, and then demonstrate the value of, data analytics.

One of the early challenges is to obtain the appropriate data. Dearborn lists the following advice:
·      "Cast a wide net."
·      "Consider exclusions."
·      "Be sensitive to the sensitivities (and politics)."
·      "Marshall the right human resources."
·      "Communicate your needs."
·      "Be patient."

The team's mythical mathematician consultant, Henry, describes the various pitfalls that erroneous data or hasty generalization can create.

The rest of the book shows improvement in sales revenue and the use of these techniques to help the sales representatives upgrade their own performances. While not technical in nature, the description does explain in detail how to implement the results of data analysis to further the goals of the company, the departments within the company, and the individuals.

The book will not in fact help small businessmen such as myself, because we lack the data that make data mining and analysis worthwhile. Somewhat larger organizations might well benefit from hiring a consultant to set up such a system and to implement it. Larger organizations still might find this book useful to introduce members of the affected groups to the possibilities and methodology of analytics and a proposed data analytics system. Even major corporations may have use for this book, depending on their current state of awareness regarding data mining and analytics.

So, the objection that this book does not show how to do data analytics is valid, but this was not the goal of the author. Nor does it give a real-life demonstration of the value of these methods. Rather, the book will serve to help convince a certain class of readers of the value of such techniques and perhaps induce them to obtain the expertise to apply them to their own situation, to become “data driven.” 

Saturday, October 8, 2016


The Internet provides unprecedented opportunities for Jorge Olson’s Three Cs: Communicate, Collaborate, Commercialize. Get known, liked, trusted. Form partnerships. Give value for value.

The key: be generous, unselfish in your self-promotion, as Olson (2009) writes:
…the notion of promoting yourself by being unselfish is very powerful, and you will be an expert by the time you are done reading this book.… Being unselfish is nothing new in business or politics, especially among seasoned salespeople. In sales, you place the customer first. This is an example of unselfish promotion.

To help others, you have to understand their needs and wants. They will then appreciate what you do for them, because what you choose to do will be suitable, appropriate to their wants and needs. Unlike most people, you will be spending somewhat less time thinking about yourself and somewhat more time thinking about them.

By writing, you establish a link, a connection with people that lasts at least as long as it takes them to read what you have written, and which may stay in their minds much longer. You have usually given them something of value, which may make them want to reciprocate.

Writing helps you add to your promotional toolbox, which includes Internet marketing, articles, social networking, public speaking, business cards (some people use several different types), books, press releases, videos, webinars….

The key is that you give before you get.

For business owners, Olson (2009) posits Internet Marketing Rule #1: Don’t build a self-indulgent website. Writers can profitably heed this, as well: promote your book or books on your website, but give the visitors something more: excerpts, deals, related information on the books’ topics, colorful and interesting graphics, information about writing or the book industry. Give value to get eyeballs.

Olson’s Internet Marketing Rule #2 --- Build Value: “you have to provide what people look for, information, entertainment, collaboration, or commerce.” Build the website for the visitors’ benefit. They say, “Content is king.” Valuable content, that is.

As an author, you will likely have an author website, which is your main website, and websites for each of the books you have written. Give stuff away. Collect email addresses. Make sure they know how to reach you.

For more details on unselfish self-promotion see Olson (2009).


Excerpts from my recent opus Write Your Book with Me. More information about working together is at my coaching-writing-editing site,

Planning on Living to 98?

Do you want to live to be 98? My mother lived that long. She enjoyed almost all but her last year. Do you think you’d still enjoy life into your 90s?
I just took a very brief MetLife insurance Company test on the Internet, and based on that, I’ve got a 50% chance of reaching 93 and 25% chance of 98. Surprise! How about you? Here’s the link to the MetLife Life Expectancy Calculator. 
Interestingly, the test does not ask about health status directly, but it requests blood pressure, height, weight, gender, marital status, drinking, smoking, and exercise. Nothing about familial longevity. The test just gives estimates, averages. Its goal is to alert the user to how much longer he or she will live, and how much longer retirement funds need to last.

Even the Average Woman in Her 60s Will Live a Couple More Decades
If you don’t want to take that little test, you can note the numbers provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Their tables indicate that white women 60 to 70 years old now can expect on average to live to 85 to 86…and you’re above average, no? You are if you’ve been paying attention to your health, avoiding obesity, limiting alcohol consumption, exercising, and not smoking. These factors raised my own life expectancy from 86 for the average white male my age (73) into my 90s. Healthful practices could do the same for you.
Women tend to live longer than men. Race plays a role. Asian-Americans have longer life expectancies, African-Americans shorter. Family genetics also plays a role, as will your current health status.
Rather than its being “later than you think,” you probably will live longer than you expect. It’s time to consider these elements of a successful extended retirement: health, wealth, relationships, activities, adjustments.

Protect Your Health
The elements of the life expectancy calculator give you a heads-up on what’s important for preserving your health: weight, blood pressure, exercise, alcohol, and smoking. Nothing you can do about your genes. Make sure to get medical check-ups regularly and heed the advice of medical professionals. In addition, make changes to your home and habits to reduce the likelihood of falls. Improve your nutrition. Walk more.
If you live in the U.S., you’ll probably be getting Medicare after 65 [some with low incomes will have Medicaid] and you will likely add an insurance supplement. Note that “affordable” medical plans have significant deductibles, charges that you will pay before the insurance coverage kicks in, and there often are co-pays. Research this or get some professional advice or do both.

Don’t Run out of Money
You’ll want to supplement your Social Security and other retirement funds. Part-time work might be suitable. Work can make your week more varied and interesting.
Investments usually include savings, home ownership, stocks, and bonds. [I prefer Exchange-Traded Funds, ETFs, index funds that just move with market averages and have minimal management costs.] Diversification is key, as is getting advice from someone knowledgeable but who does not have a conflict of interest. Don’t invest in anything you don’t understand.
Withdrawing funds from a tax-deferred retirement account? The U.S. government requires its citizens to calculate the minimum yearly withdrawal based on a life expectancy of 100. Withdrawing more will have you run out sooner.

Maintain and Enhance Personal Relationships
Tend to your friendships and family ties. Perhaps there are little disagreements or slights you can decide to ignore. Sometimes I meet with friends and family by driving to a restaurant midway between our homes. I’ve just started to make “telephone dates” with too-distant friends and family members, setting mutually convenient times to chat. I wish I’d started that sooner.

Relish Your Free Time
Your free time can be a blessing or a curse. With health and wealth, your options will be many. Without both, you’ll need to be more resourceful. Poor health can be very limiting, but not having much money needn’t be. Inexpensive activities include volunteering, local travel, and most hobbies.

Is It Time to Hit the Road?
Traveling often requires both health and wealth, especially the farther and longer the trips. You may want to find a partner to share these trips with.

Consider Downsizing
Freeing up some of your money and reducing your home-maintenance time by moving to smaller quarters can make good sense. Keep in mind whether you are likely to need extra room for visitors or aides.

Provide, Provide
The good news: you may well live longer than you expect. You should heed the title of Robert Frost’s poem, “Provide, Provide.” Take steps now to enhance your health, wealth and personal relationships to enjoy these after-60 decades.

What is your life expectancy now? How are you planning to have enough free time, money, and health to enjoy it? Please join the conversation.
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic for over a decade due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, as discussed at their website here.


Presented in a shorter, further edited form at

Saturday, October 1, 2016

How to Get Maximum Publicity in Minimum Time

Steve Harrison of Bradley Communications Corporation gave a web seminar, a webinar, having this title. I listened raptly as he presented over an hour of useful information for free, followed by a twenty-minute pitch for services his company offers.

Harrison started out in journalism, having majored in English in college. He soon joined his brother Bill Harrison in publishing the Radio and TV Interview Report, started in 1987, and the Harrisons and their Bradley Communications Corporation have by now coached over 12,000 authors and speakers, helping them to obtain successful promotion of their books and presentations.

The company’s mission is simple: to help you achieve your mission. Among the successful authors that they have helped obtain widespread dissemination of their works are Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, whose Chicken Soup… line of books have sold over 500 million copies. Another author they helped to succeed is Dr. John Gray, whose Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus relationships book and associated activities have made him a millionaire many times over. They also coached Robert Kiyosaki, whose Rich Dad, Poor Dad book also rocketed into a highly successful worldwide publishing orbit.

Publicity is better than advertising because it is free, more credible, and tends to multiply, as media coverage leads to more media coverage. It’s almost viral.

Publicity makes you an expert. This then increases traffic to your website, word-of-mouth recommendations, distribution, social media buzz, buyers for your product, and makes you sought out for speaking engagements and interviews, giving you the opportunity to raise your fees and product prices and generate even more publicity. You establish a virtuous circle, where success leads to more success. “The rich get richer.” Well, less poor anyway, as most books lose money.  

It surprised me to learn that every day over 100,000 media outlets are seeking guests of one sort or another, interviewees who are in some sense experts, due to education, training, or experience. Despite this, most authors and speakers fail to promote themselves successfully, remaining relatively unknown. Jack Canfield has commented that not promoting one’s book is much like giving birth to a baby and then leaving it on someone else’s doorstep. If you have something worth communicating, then self-promotion also serves others.

Harrison described seven different ways in which famous authors and speakers differ from those who remain unknown.

First, the unknowns have tended to talk about their products, whereas the famous have understood that they must direct attention to good ideas. The famous understand the need for a “hook.” A hook is an attention-grabber, a teaser, the kind of headline you see on the cover of popular magazines. On radio or TV a hook might be prefaced with the words “coming up….” What follows can usefully be a statement of how to do something, the countering of a myth, presentation of a prediction, or the proposing of a question, such as, “Is your house making you sick?” (I would add that journalists have a favored set of question starters: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?)

Second, famous authors and speakers give reasons why they need to be covered NOW. They have a timely hook: a season, anniversary, holiday, news event---sudden or predictable.

Third, the famous authors and speakers have not relied on a single hook but have developed multiple, good hooks. Harrison gave as an example a hypothetical book, Nutrition 101. Certainly, one would approach media outlets that are centered on fitness and health, but Harrison gave examples of tailoring the message for those outlets interested in consumer affairs, personal finance, personal relationships, and self-improvement. An example from his talk would be for the author of Nutrition 101 to offer to speak about “five ways to trim your grocery bill” or “how your beloved may be sabotaging your diet.”
Speaking about multiple hooks, Harrison presented the following list of media interest groupings:
·      Small business and entrepreneurial advice
·      Parenting and family
·      Personal finance
·      Relationships
·      Christian
·      Women’s
·      Consumer advice
·      Sales and marketing
·      Psychology and self-improvement
·      Health and fitness
·      Leadership and management
·      Career advice
·      New Age and spiritual
·      Alternative health.
     No doubt there are more, and each of these could be further sub-divided into narrower niches.

Fourth, the famous utilize many different media types to maximize their exposure:
·      Radio        
·      Television
·      Newspapers
·      Magazines
·      Trade-published newsletters
·      Blogs
·      Podcasts
·      E-zines
·      Tele-seminars
·      Webinars
·      Conferences.

Who will become the new Oprah Winfrey? Bloggers may deserve this title. For example, the blog is the 276th most popular website, receiving over 4 million visitors per month. To get your message on such a blog, you can offer a guest post, offer to be interviewed, present a book to be reviewed, give away some chapters of your book, and offer your book as a prize. To be successful doing this, however, you must research the blog, to make sure that what you’re offering is appropriate.

Fifth, the famous have had publicity plans, knowing WHO is their core audience, WHAT they read or watch, and WHEN various topics will seem timely to them.

Sixth, the famous often prepare the ground for their publications and presentations by getting publicity before the book is completed. One good way to do this is through the creation of short, few-minute videos, placed on YouTube, which has become one of the top search engines on the Internet. In 3 minutes one might cover a topic such as listing “the top reasons men are afraid of commitment.” Be sure to include links to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Seventh, the successful have learned that they cannot do this all on their own. There is a lot of work involved, with special skills, data bases, and experience needed. They need the help of professionals, such as the Harrisons and their Bradley Communications Corporation. For  $2500, the Harrison’s will give you an in-depth consultation with one of their consultants, at least four valuable publicity hooks, three half-page ads in their Radio and TV Interview Report, four ads in their publication Experts4Interviews, a 90% discount on attending Steve Harrison’s multiple-day $2000 publicity workshop, and they will shoot, edit, and upload five videos for you. They placed the value of this package at over $5000. Those who are interested in learning more about their program should go to the website .


Excerpted from my recent opus, Write Your Book with Me

See also