‘Chicken Soup’ author back with book on managing success

Do you remember Jack Canfield, the author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books?

He’s back, and this time he has teamed up with noted entrepreneur, businessman, and business success author Steven L. Blue on a new book called “Mastering the Art of Success” (Celebrity Press). At least the copy I have features Blue as a co-author. He indeed did write a chapter, along with Canfield and 43 other authors in this self-help book about being successful. It’s written in the inspirational, multi-author style of the Chicken Soup books.

One of the clever marketing ploys for the book, from what I can see in my Google searches, is it’s printed in multiple editions with Canfield partnering with several of the contributors, listing them as co-authors. Blue’s publicist found me last summer and sent a preview copy.

I’m glad they did.

This is unlike any other book about success I’ve ever come across. You get the benefit of 45 authors from around the world, each an expert in their own field. Because the book is done in the Chicken Soup format with each author getting a chapter, the book is easily digested a few inspirational and educational bites at a time.

Canfield has the opening chapter and talks about the importance of networking and relationships. He urges you to build a mastermind group (a group of mentors and peers) that you can meet with regularly to talk about things of a mutual interest.

Blue is an innovator and talked about his trademarked Innovation Potential program. It involves unleashing the creativity of each employee and creating a time and space where each person can think and develop new products, procedures or solutions to problems they have on the job.

He is a firm believer that anyone can be taught to be creative, even the old dogs. Those that can’t or won’t be taught need to be replaced with those who can. He estimated that 99 percent of the brainstorms go nowhere, but the 1 percent that do pay huge dividends. He said it brings high risk and higher rewards and requires a firm commitment from your whole team to make it work.

This book is chock full of great ideas and programs designed to teach you not just how to be successful but how to manage your success and instill the entrepreneurial/creative spirit within your sphere of influence.

A lot of the concepts in the book are not new. What makes this a worthwhile read is the way the concepts are explored and the different angles or perspectives given to them. Sometimes you need a simple reminder and other times a change of perspective will do the trick. Then again, there are some things you might find new an enlightening that you haven’t thought of before. The important thing is this book helps you learn and grow as a person and in your profession.

If there is one thing I have learned on this journey called life is that you should never stop learning. Your education does not stop once you get out of school. In many ways, that is when your real education begins. That’s when you learn what your life is all about. School teaches you what to do. Life teaches you how to do it. We call that experience. I believe that experience is nothing more than learning to adapt.

Things change all the time. Successful people learn to adapt to the changes. The very successful people lead the change. For example, Apple made the iPhone. That’s leading change. The rest of the industry – and the world – has learned to adapt.

When I was a child, there was no such thing as a personal computer. They were just taking hold while I was in high school and college. Since then, there has barely been a day go by that I have not used one. I’ve learned to adapt. We all have. If you don’t have or use a computer, you’ve learned to live in a world dependent on them. You’ve learned to adapt.

Personally, I like to think I’m the kind of person who leads change. It’s kind of like being a legend in my own mind. The truth is, I’m an adapter. When I started in this business, we put film into cameras. I’ve had to adapt to the digital age. We used to print out stories and photos and cut and past them to large grids we called paste-up sheets. Now it’s all done on computer. We’ve adapted.

The game-changer for newspapers, however, is the Internet. For the past 20 years newspapers have been trying to figure out how to successfully move from a print product to a digital one. Actually, we know how to do it and for the most part we do it really well. The problem is we like to eat … and pay our mortgages and buy clothes and fuel our cars and, well, you get the point.

We have not learned how to monetize our digital product at a level that allows us to live. People have grown accustomed to having their news for free online. Advertisers will not spend nearly as much money to be on a website as they will to be in print. So, we keep printing our papers waiting for someone to successfully flip that switch that allows us to turn off our printing presses and do everything on the great Information Superhighway.

In the meantime, I will draw inspiration from things I have learned from reading “Mastering the Art of Success” and try to find ways of making our product better and more relevant to the people of Fort Bend County. I can promise you that changes are coming. I invite you to be a part of that change. If there is something you would like to see in the Fort Bend Star, please let me know. What would make this paper more relevant to you and your neighbors? This is your chance to help lead change. I can be reached at jsouthern@fortbendstar.com.

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