Tell me your biggest creative block:

Social Media Just for Writers

Frances Caballo is the author of Social Media Just for Writers. She has a great blog with lots of tips that you can read here.

Frances has a background in communications. She previously worked as a reporter and later as a communications director for a regional and then a national nonprofit.

Social-Media-Just-for-Writers-227x300What is your book all about?
My books helps people to become their own social media marketing expert. I provide step-by-step instructions on how to customize a Twitter or Google+ profile, on curating applications, and even on some offline marketing techniques. People have told me that it helps the beginning to intermediate social media user.

What is your personal philosophy, in work and in life?

Integrity comes before all else. Always be authentic and never lie.

How did you get started?

Frances Caballo: I fell in love with social media. I never started out wanting to have a career in social media. But my career was in communications and when social media came about, I fell in love with it. I’m the type of person who becomes easily bored by my second year on a job. Social media never bores me.

Why did you decide to write the book? What are you trying to achieve with it?

Frances Caballo: When I would teach workshops, the final question students would ask was, “Is there a book that covers this?” There wasn’t a book that held people’s hands through the process of setting up and customizing accounts so I wrote one.

What sort of person should read your book?

Frances Caballo: Anyone, whether they consider themselves writers or lawyers, will benefit from my book. (I’ve had reviewers tell me this.)

What are the biggest pitfalls and things to avoid?

Frances Caballo: People make so many mistakes in social media. Some use profanity and others instigate arguments or resort to name calling. None of that belongs in social media communications.

What is, for you personally, the most exciting topic in your book and why?

Frances Caballo: I think it’s the chapter on Google+, which I compare to Hemingway. I love Google+ because it’s still new and I love to keep up with the changes.

What advice would you give to young people who are just starting up a new company? What would be your top 3 tips?

1. Commit to keeping current with your industry.
2. Remain curious.
3. Overdelight your customers.

Who else inspires you in business, and why?

Frances Caballo: Guy Kawasaki … he’s authored 12 books and reached such a zenith in his knowledge of social media. He’s nothing short of awesome!

If you would like to learn more you can visit

Stop Your Paycheck Addiction

Eric Deeter grew up in Topeka, Kansas. In the fourth grade Eric’s parents had him tested to try to find out why he wasn’t doing well in school. The results came back, and they told his parents he was a philosopher – their polite way of saying dreamer.

One day Eric decided to do something different. He got the idea to start my his business as a carpenter and handy man, even though he had absolutely no experience in running a business. How hard can it be? Eric thought. I’ll just find people who need stuff fixed and do the work and they’ll pay me. He admits he didn’t even know enough to be scared of his own ignorance.

He struggled, but he survived. His wife joined him in the business and a few years later and they ended up specializing in decorative and faux painting. They’ve now been in business for seventeen.

Eric is writing a brand new book called Stop Your Paycheck Addiction: Start Your Own Business & Create Your Own Success. He took time out to share his story with The Awesome Department.

What is your book all about?

model2700Eric Deeter: “My book is about learning to think like an entrepreneur. There’s an expectation put on us from early childhood that we will grow up one day to be good employees. Our schools seem to be designed to turn out throngs of eager workers looking for good jobs with benefits and most of all – security. Once we start working as an employee, our regular paycheck is an addiction that keeps us toiling in a job we may not really like.

Entrepreneurs have to learn how to get rid of the employee mindset and embrace risk and the possibility of failure.

My book is about how to make the shift from thinking like an employee to thinking like an entrepreneur. It also has practical tools and instructions about how to start and run a business. But it’s not a book of checklists. I write in a conversational style, as if I were sitting with you talking over a cup of coffee. I do write about one of the best pieces of advice I ever received: how to figure out what to charge for your work. We became truly profitable in our business once we implemented this pricing strategy.”

What is your personal philosophy, in work and in life?

Eric Deeter: “The core value of my life is that I’m a follower of Jesus. This relationship percolates through every part of my life, including the way I do business.

I believe a successful business serves well, and we strive to serve our clients and always have in mind what is best for them. Sometimes we’ve even told prospects not to hire us and then advised them how to best solve their problems.

Zig Ziglar was fond of saying, You can have anything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want.

We don’t advertise or talk about the fact that we put our clients first. We just do it. And they see it because it shows up in the little things–we show up on time, we return calls, we’re neat and clean in the way we work. These things set us apart because so many small business owners don’t do these things.

How did you get started?

Eric Deeter: “We got into the decorative painting business by accident. A photographer friend asked my wife to paint a photo background in his studio. She brought a sample into the doctor’s office because the receptionist asked, “What are you doing these days?” Both the receptionist and the doctor hired her to do decorative painting in their houses.

I started putting my book together because my wife said, “Don’t just talk about it, sit down and start writing.” I’ve always dreamed of writing a book. I’d dream about it and talk about it from time to time. My wife’s prodding was what I needed to get going.”

Why did you decide to write the book? What are you trying to achieve with it?

Eric Deeter: “My wife and I’ve met people through the years who spoke into our lives and gave us encouragement or taught us something about how to do our business better, often changing the whole course of our lives. I realized the lessons I’ve learned to become an entrepreneur could have that kind of life-changing effect on someone else.

I’ve never seen a business book talk about the kind of mindset and attitude an entrepreneur should have.”

What sort of person should read your book?

Eric Deeter: “My book is for entrepreneurs who want to start a new, small business as well as those who recently started and are looking for ideas to be better in their business.

I think my book will be of the most benefit to entrepreneurs who will be working on their own or with a small team doing something they’re passionate about. My book isn’t about how to start a small business and grow into a big business. This book is based on my experience and we never grew our business beyond a small business.”

What are the biggest pitfalls and things to avoid?

Eric Deeter: “Make a plan and a budget for your marketing. And test your results. Find out what works and keep doing it.
One year we spent a boatload of money on advertising. We bought into someone else’s plan because we didn’t have a marketing plan of our own. Our ad was in a resource book given to “high-end” home owners. We got absolutely nothing. No calls, no leads, no jobs.
Don’t delegate management of your money or your marketing for your business. ”

What is, for you personally, the most exciting topic in your book and why?

Eric Deeter: “I have a chapter titled, Your Brain is Your Only Asset where I discuss some of the shifts in thinking an entrepreneur has to make. I talk about the power of asking good questions and I talk about how vital it is to take responsibility for your life.

One of our mentors told us years ago, “This business will change your life.” The great thing about being an entrepreneur is that you can learn to choose the way you change your life. Success in business isn’t just about money or fame – it’s about you becoming the person you want to be.”

What advice would you give to young people who are just starting up a new company? What would be your top 3 tips?

1. Define your big WHY. What is your reason to start a business? Go back to the drawing board if your answer is to make lots of money. Don’t get me wrong, you want to make money. But without a bigger reason than that you’ll likely come up empty in the end. If your WHY is to do something you’re passionate about or to make a difference in the world, you’re on the right track.

2. Learn everything you can about how to run your business. Don’t just read one book or attend a seminar. Spend some time getting different perspectives and then make your own plan.

3. Kick fear in the butt and get started. Most of us will dither around in the learning and planning process because we’re afraid to start. You’re never going to know enough before you start, and there are lessons you can’t really understand until you’re in the thick of running your business. So, at some point, you’ve got to jump in and do it.”

Who else inspires you in business, and why?

Eric Deeter: “I’ve been inspired by Robert Kiyosaki’s books. Rich Dad / Poor Dad began a shift in my thinking that moved me from thinking like a “self-employed” employee to thinking like an entrepreneur.

Robert and Cherrie Duensing, owners of Best Regards Bakery in Kansas City are two people to inspire me. Robert went to great lengths to make the absolute best cookies out of the very best ingredients. He’s passionate about his business and has a drive to constant improvement for himself and his business.”

You can follow @ericdeeter on twitter, read his blog, and get updates about his new book here.

5 Keys to doing Business with The Right People

Colin Myles is from Galway in Ireland. He has written a new book called 5 Keys to doing business with the Right People. You can also read his blog here.

What is your book all about?

Colin Myles: “5 Keys to doing business with the Right People is to assist people to do business with others who believe in win/win. A win for you is a win for them.

You are simply looking to do business with people who:
1) Tell the truth.
2) Are reliable.
3) Give you more in use value than you pay out in hard cash.
4) Have a servants heart.
5) Are excellent timekeepers.

I expand on each of these keys so the readers can build up a profile of the best people to engage or partner up with.”

What is your personal philosophy, in work and in life?

Colin Myles: “Everybody is selling something to earn a living. Whether it be time to gain a paypacket at the end of the week or a product or service to earn a profit and pay yourself.

I believe the golden rule is a good philosophy to live by: Do unto others as you want done to you

Also for those starting out, simply master what you are doing so that you become known as an expert in your field. Trying to be a jack of all trades just doesn’t work. The market will pay you according to the value you bring to it. So if you bring something that is only half-done expect the market to pay you accordingly.

I believe that constant learning is a key factor in one achieving success. Read books, articles and trade magazines to stay on top of advances in technology and business ideas. Its easier to ride the crest of the wave than busting your gut to catch up.

Also get plenty of rest. A tired mind leads to poor decision making and poor decisions lead to mistakes. Mistakes can cost you both in money and reputation.”

How did you get started?

Colin Myles: “About four years ago I mentioned to one of my associates in our business group that I was writing an e-book. That’s as far as I got, writing the title and chapter headings. Then the kindle explosion happened and decided it was time to stop procrastinating and start publishing.”


Why did you decide to write the book? What are you trying to achieve with it?

Colin Myles: “Simply to assist people in not wasting two valuable commodities they have, time and money. You can not claim back time and in these times money is tight for everyone.

So by sharing the 5 keys if I can assist people to use these as a criteria for choosing who they give time and money to, they can save themselves a lot of heartache and financial pain.

Also for business owners to read it and use it as a mirror and ask themselves: How many of these keys am I using to open up or turn away business.

What sort of person should read your book?

Colin Myles: “Everyone! It’s a great guide for start ups and a great read for business owners to reflect upon.

Talking to associates, I know plenty of people who lost business because they never showed up to an appointment or phoned to change the date.

I heard the story of one person who told a car dealership he was getting national TV to film him pushing his expensive car into the sea because they were trying to wriggle their way out of the guarantee. Guess who stuck to the guarantee. No business wants that kind of publicity.”

What are the biggest pitfalls and things to avoid?

Colin Myles: “Some so called experts sometimes fall short because they never mastered their craft. If you are not an expert don’t say you are.”

What is, for you personally, the most exciting topic in your book and why?

Colin Myles: “Consumers starting to engage with the right people and those who are falling behind starting to understand they need to implement the 5 keys to stay the distance in the arena of business.”

What advice would you give to young people who are just starting up a new company? What would be your top 3 tips?

Colin Myles:
1) Master your craft.

2) Learn more about people than you do about your product or service.

3) Build a master team of like minded people.

Who else inspires you in business, and why?

Colin Myles:Michael O’Leary who took Ryanair from a just about viable business to one very profitable one today.
Steve Jobs who showed us that simplicity and elegance of design are key to success.
Anyone who has overcome their fear, self doubt and stalling to strike out on their own.”

If you would like to read 5 Keys to doing business with the Right People you can order it directly from Amazon.

My Ted Talk – How to live your good ideas


Here you can see my Ted talk from TedXlinz in Austria, called How to live your good ideas.

If you like it, please share it with everybody.

Here are some questions and answers about the talk. If you would like to contact me directly to ask a question then please email

Q) I like it, where can I find out more?
A) Many of the ideas in my Ted Talk come from my new book “The Awesome Department”. It has 34 different ideas, just like the ones in this Ted Talk. You can get the book:

Kindle version from the USA: The Awesome Department for Kindle.

Paperback version from (USA) here: The Awesome Department paperback

Kindle version for Europe: The Awesome Department for Kindle Europe.

Paperback version for Europe: The Awesome Department paperback

Q) Are schools really “Machines for Sameness”?
A) While teachers work REALLY hard, and many schools do an amazing job, there is an obsession with standards and sameness.

It is perfectly OK to work to the same standards, and in many places this is needed. It is important that, perhaps, everyone in the class learns to speak the same language, read the same alphabet, and agree on the same socially acceptable norms. But in some cases there can be a stronger need for the maverick, the stand-out, the different.

A sports star must push themselves further to be faster than everyone else, not the same speed.

The artist must paint the most beautiful picture, not the same picture.

The virtuoso must play the song with more passion, not the same amount of passion.

You may want to watch this video for more inspiration:

Q) What can schools do to be different?
A) There is so much you can do to be different. One of the easiest things to try is to let students pick their own textbooks. Instead of giving all 30 of the students in your class the same book to read, give them a different one each, or a choice of several. Then get your students to present and share the best parts from each text book and teach one-another.


Here is a photo of some of my students from my “Blue Team” class, each presenting a different book. Some students prefer to read books in English, some in Danish, but they share the insights from each text book with one another.

Q) How can I get your education for free?
There are lots of ways to join my classes completely for free!

I currently teach 3 classes in Odense, Denmark. They are:
Multimedia Design and Communication
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
E-concept Development

If you would like to apply, please send an email to Morten Lassen. His email is Morten is a really nice guy, and he will help you with any requests or questions you may have.

My lessons are taught in English.

Courses start twice a year, with a Summer start and a Winter start.

EU, Nordic and Baltic citizens

If you are a citizen of an EU or Nordic country tuition is free.
Also for foreigners with a permanent residence permit the tuition is free of charge.

Erasmus students

Tuition is free of charge and you may borrow books at the academy.

Non-EU citizens

Due to regulations from the Danish Ministry of Education, there is a tuition fee for foreigners from a non-EU country.

If we accept your application, after having seen your diplomas, you need a residence permit for Denmark.

Please notice that you must pay tuition fee for first semester before you can apply for a student’s residence permit. Tuition fee for the following semesters must subsequently be paid in advance as well.

The Tuition fee is 45.000 DKK per semester – tuition fee only includes teaching – additional costs for books, study trips etc. have to be paid separately by the student. Additional costs are maximum 5000 DKK per semester.

Scholarship possibility for non-EU citizens

The Danish parliament has launched a scholarship program for non EU citizens. There are only very few scholarships available, and only applicants nominated by the academy can get into consideration. The applications will be forwarded by the college. The application deadline for the scholarship is 25 April.

To find more information about these scholarships please click here.

Q) How else can I get your classes for free?
There are lots of other great ways to get classes for free, regardless of your eligibility to my 3 main courses. I also have a great program of free mini-courses that are completely open to the public, from any country and any background.

Innoevent – Come and join a week long innovation event – Open to the public, to businesses, and to everyone around the world.

Cup Of Tea Social – Come to our unique, one-off events. Open to the public and completely free. We have guest speakers from all over the world.

Take the 6 Step Awesomeness boost – Learn online for free via email.

There will also be lots of other events around the world that are free and open. I will update you with details if you join the facebook page here

Q) Did you really get your students to jump off the Stratosphere Tower?

A) Yes!

Q) Can you really encourage students to be different?
A) Yes. Take a look at this presentation from one of my students, Neil Harbisson, who attended one of my lectures in 2003. We worked together with ideas that would change his life, into a cyborg. You will see that all you have to do is to play with ideas and you can change lives.

By Men or By the Earth

Tyler Coulson is from rural Illinois. He graduated with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law and then practised corporate bankruptcy and banking with the fifth largest law firm in the country, based in Chicago. In 2011, He left corporate law and walked across the United States with his dog, Mabel. His new book By Men or By the Earth tells his fantastic story.

The Awesome Department: What is your book all about?

Tyler Coulson : “By Men or By the Earth is three stories woven together, they are: 1) the story of my cross-country hike, 2) the story of law school and law practice during the Great Recession, and 3) the story of writing By Men or By the Earth. (Meta, I know.) It’s about the “how” I hiked across America, but also about the “why” and the “what happened”. There are few experiences that are more transformative than an epic hike of 3000+ miles, and I put it all into the book in simple, brutal terms.”

The Awesome Department: What is your personal philosophy, in work and in life?

Tyler Coulson : “With every thought, decision, or action, you should do everything in your power to limit, or to eradicate entirely, any unjustifiable harm that you would otherwise cause to another person, living thing, or the planet. This is the “Golden Rule, Re-Written By An Attorney”. I’ve tried very hard to live my life by this rule since about half way through my Walk. As a result, I’m a lot less well-off financially but a lot happier person than I was before.”

A0if40KCcAAdEgIThe Awesome Department: How did you get started?

Tyler Coulson : “I wrote By Men or By the Earth because I got thousands of emails from people all across the country who were going through some of the same things I was before the Walk, and I thought they might like to know that they aren’t alone. I think that most people, at one point or another, think that it would be nice to just walk away from all the problems of the world. Well…you can’t. If you walk far enough, you run out of land, but you’re still there. Your problems, too. So I wrote the book for anyone who has ever wanted to walk away from a bad relationship, from student loans, from hostile work environments, from modern culture, from…everything. It’s not possible to escape these things, but it is possible to learn how to deal with life a bit better.”

The Awesome Department: Why did you decide to write the book? What are you trying to achieve with it?

Tyler Coulson : “By Men or By the Earth is inspiring. It’s difficult for me to admit that, because it’s hard to think of one’s self as “inspiring”. But my departure from corporate law and my cross-country hike resonated with people. I didn’t really understand why or how at the time, and I’m not sure I understand it now. But I know that people respond to By Men or By the Earth. I told the story honestly, often brutally honestly. I don’t paint myself in the brightest light all of the time–I’m honest about the country and about myself. It’s difficult for some people to accept when they read it, but ultimately it’s a more rewarding experience. There’s no marketing, no gimmicks, and no nonsense in it–it’s the simple, honest story of a flawed man in a flawed system struggling to make something of his life. And, you know, that’s still my story. I think that’s everyone’s story, more or less.”

The Awesome Department: What sort of person should read your book?

Tyler Coulson : “Anyone who has ever wanted to walk away from a problem should read it. Anyone who has ever wanted to escape modernity, or who has been trapped by student loan debt, or who went to law school or who is thinking of going to law school. Anyone who works in a professional environment. Anyone who has gotten trapped in a bad relationship, or in a relationship that wasn’t bad but was…less than great. Anyone who loves the outdoors. Anyone who has to believe that there’s still a chance to do something beautiful, and who knows that heartbeats are the only thing that we can really own and spend. And, obviously, anyone who knows that a dog is man’s best friend.”

The Awesome Department: What are the biggest pitfalls and things to avoid?

Tyler Coulson : “The biggest pitfall in life, I think, is becoming pathologically afraid of failure. That’s something that happens to lawyers pretty frequently. It’s because our training is in risk management–that’s what lawyers do, mitigate risk. But risk is just a rule of the Universe, as is uncertainty. So failure will happen. The most important thing to avoid is becoming paralyzed with fear of failure, defining your life in a binary system of black/white, success/failure.

As far as writing goes, the biggest mistake I’ve made was initially relying on a crowd-sourced editing platform populated primarily by attorneys. The first go-round of the book ended up with a great deal more material and way, way, way more commas than it needed. Thankfully I got over that.”

The Awesome Department: What is, for you personally, the most exciting topic in your book and why?

Tyler Coulson : “Obviously, I think the most exciting topic in my book is the hike itself. I mean, it’s truly epic–even though that word has been used to death in the last few years. 3200 miles across the country is just epic, Homeric. Looking back on it, I’m shocked that I lived to tell about it.”

The Awesome Department: What advice would you give to young people who are just starting up a new company? What would be your top 3 tips?

1) Go to a market; don’t start a company because you like doing something, start a company only because there is a need for the product/service.
2) Manage overhead; lower costs at every possible opportunity.
3) Be excellent at what you do.

The Awesome Department: Who else inspires you in business, and why?

Tyler Coulson : “Right now, I am most inspired by Alison Monahan and Lee Burgess. The legal industry is changing and Monahan and Burgess are actively trying to be a part of shaping it; their Catapult legal conferences help young attorneys get the tools they need in this rapidly changing industry, and it’s a real inspiration to see people trying to make positive change rather than reacting negatively to awful conditions. ”

If you would like to learn more about walking across America, take a look at

You can also read Tyler’s book here on Amazon.

Losing the Mask – Overcoming the fear of failure

Diane Karchner has a background in corporate business with 20+ years of experince, where she mentored and coached young people who went on to greatness in their careers. The most amazing thing she ever did, besides having kids, staying married for so long, and surviving corporate America, was to walk through the pyramids in Cairo, irritate a guard at the Kremlin, and kept a garden alive through one complete season.

Diane has a new short book out called Losing the Mask: Overcoming the Fear of Failure.

The Awesome Department: What is your book “Losing the mask” all about?

Diane Karchner : “Most of my life I feared failing – or more clearly, I feared what others would think of my failure. So, I created a mask to wear – not literally – but I hid behind a perception I had created for others to see. In this way, they would think me more competent than I really was – or less fearful. It turns out that wearing a mask eventually makes you more unhappy than hiding behind it, because you are never fully alive. Losing the Mask is about the journey I took, and that everyone can take, to become themselves and pursue their own God-given dreams.”

The Awesome Department: What is your personal philosophy, in work and in life?

Diane Karchner : “To fully live the life God created me to live, and to be full of joy in the doing.
To always look for the good in people. To never forget that treating others the way I want to be treated is never, ever a bad thing and will always have good results – eventually.”

Losing-the-Mask-225x300The Awesome Department: How did you get started?

Diane Karchner : “I have always been a writer. In my head, I was always creating the sentences and paragraphs that would describe what was happening, or how something looked, or what I was feeling.

I learned to write well in the early days of my business career because a mentor advised me that a communicator, someone who could connect with people through words, would always be in demand. I wanted to be in demand!

After going through some major career stresses, I realized that to be really happy, I needed to pursue this natural drive to write. So on January 1, 2013, I started writing. On June 8, 2013, I published. On June 9, 2013, I started writing again. ”

The Awesome Department: Why did you decide to write the book? What are you trying to achieve with it?

Diane Karchner : “There was no other way to tell the story that got me from where I was – full of fear – to where I am today – full of fears but more resilient as a result of taking some risk. I knew there were others struggling with this. I needed to help. This book will not changed the world. That was never my intent. But I think the book can change a life, or two, or three. And that, to me, feels right.”

The Awesome Department: What sort of person should read your book?

Diane Karchner : “Anyone seeking the confidence to get beyond a fear that is holding them back from pursuing a dream, especially if it is one that they have been sitting on for years.

A friend of mine decided that she needed to leave her company to pursue a dream she had for years and years. She wanted to open up a hot dog stand that served unique blend of flavours and sauces, and a technique of layering the ingredients the way they have always done it where she grew up in rural West Virginia. She has had several taste-testings to date, and is working on design her cart.”

The Awesome Department: What are the biggest pitfalls and things to avoid?

Diane Karchner : “I don’t have a specific example, other than my own life. The thing I often did to myself, was to step out and take a small risk. If I failed, it took me an inordinate amount of time to try again. That was dumb. If you have the guts to risk a little, doing it again immediately builds the resiliency to keep trying. Risk, resiliency, failure, success – all interlock and are interdependent. I didn’t realize that for a long time!”

The Awesome Department: What is, for you personally, the most exciting topic in your book and why?

Diane Karchner : “The most exciting topic is definitely the description and analysis of what voices people listen to that affect their own self-worth.

Some people listen to any voice that harps on and on about how to fit in, to be accepted. This just makes them like everybody else. We want to be ourselves, but we fear not fitting in.

This is my favourite part because the mentality of fitting in is so prevalent in our culture today, driven by consumerism that screams of the need for the next best thing on the market – you are a loser without the right car, perfume, house, dress.

Your dreams are unique to you, so they need to be pursued no matter what ‘everybody’ else thinks, says, or sells.”

The Awesome Department: What advice would you give to young people who are just starting up a new company?

Diane Karchner : “Follow your gut even if it seems completely different than convention, completely different than what has been done before.

Don’t be scared to fail. Failure builds resilience. Resilience gives you confidence to keep running on. Seek wise counsel in areas where your gut tells you are weakest. BUT know that even the wisest counsel is not perfect. The dream is still yours, so keep your decisions true to your dream. ”

The Awesome Department: Who else inspires you in business, and why?

Diane Karchner : “Authenticity inspires me in a person, and in a business. Someone who is comfortable in their skin creates immediate trust.

A business that is true to its vision, stays tied to its roots, and doesn’t try to be something it is not, always intrigues and draws me.

Brene Brown‘s work in shame and vulnerability are some of the best work in that area. I reference her book, Daring Greatly, in my book. She is also on a great TED video.

Seth Godin is one of the most masterful in building confidence with simple business language and lessons. His blog, and Linchpin, are two of my favorites.

War of Art by S Pressfield This is a must read!

Anything by Brennan Manning brings God’s perspective into growth in the area of self-worth.

You can get Diane’s book, Losing the mask, here.

The Undefeated Mind

Alex Lickerman is a physician, and assistant vice president for Student Health and Counseling Services at the University of Chicago. He is also been a practising Buddhist.

He is also the author of The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self

Eastern philosophy has met Western science in a uniquely harmonious blend within Alex’s mind and heart. He combines his expert knowledge of the most up-to-date scientific studies with the accumulated wisdom of 2,500 years of Buddhist thinking.

Alex has given talks at medical conferences, appeared on television programs and radio shows across America.

Alex has been quoted in Crain’s Chicago Business, The Chicago Tribune, Men’s Health, and TIME. You might also have seen his articles in Psychology Today, The Huffington Post and many more.

9780757316425_p0_v2_s260x420The Awesome Department: What is your book all about?

Alex Lickerman: “In The Undefeated Mind, I draw on the tenets of both Nichiren Buddhism and new scientific research to argue that resilience isn’t something with which only a fortunate few of us have been born, but rather something we can all take action to develop. Offering a set of guidelines not for solving problems but for establishing a life state that makes all problems solvable, The Undefeated Mind details nine principles we can all use to dramatically increase our ability to withstand adversity.

In telling the stories of patients who’ve used these principles to overcome suffering caused by unemployment, unwanted weight gain, addiction, rejection, chronic pain, retirement, illness, loss, and even death, The Undefeated Mind shows readers how they too can make these principles function within their own lives, whether they have any interest in practising Buddhism or not.”

The Awesome Department: What is your personal philosophy, in work and in life?

Alex Lickerman: “Happiness comes from inner strength, which comes from wisdom. Cultivate wisdom in yourself and approach everyone compassionately. Don’t seek to live an easy life. Seek to become strong enough to enjoy the difficult life you have.”

The Awesome Department: How did you get started?

Alex Lickerman: “I always wanted to be a writer (more of fiction than non-fiction) but an editor found my blog online and asked me to write up a non-fiction book proposal related to the material I was writing about there. Resilience has always been a core interest of mine, so it became the topic of the proposal. That editor ultimately ended up turning the proposal down, but then another house picked it right up.”

The Awesome Department: Why did you decide to write the book? What are you trying to achieve with it?

Alex Lickerman: “The book contains the advice (and supporting research) I give to patients all day long in my medical practice. Why is one person brought to tears by a runny nose and another faces terminal cancer without blinking? I found myself trying to figure out the answer to that question one day after seeing two patients in a row with those exact problems.

Buddhism, at its core, is practised to allow people to become indestructibly happy, which it argues can only happen when people are invincibly strong.

It’s a message I believe in more than almost any other and what I want to share with the world. Luckily, the research supports the idea that strength can be gained and resilience can be learned.”

The Awesome Department: What sort of person should read your book?

Alex Lickerman: “Anyone going through a rough time because he or she is facing a daunting obstacle and anyone aiming at a lofty goal who feels discouraged should read this book. It’s not filled with platitudes or fluff, but rather evidence-based interventions that anyone can use to make him or herself genuinely stronger, more resistant to stress and discouragement.

The most powerful stories I have I tell in the book, about how one patient managed to lose weight and keep it off, how one overcame a drug addiction, and how one faced her own death with equanimity.”

The Awesome Department: What is, for you personally, the most exciting topic in your book and why?

Alex Lickerman: “Accept pain. We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to avoid legitimate pain. It causes us to engage in behaviours that are far more detrimental than the pain we’re trying to avoid (alcohol and drug abuse, for example) and even more importantly, perhaps, prevents us from engaging in behaviours that will enable us to get what we really want. Learning to endure pain rather than escape it is probably the single most resilience-building lesson we have to learn—and probably the most difficult.”

The Awesome Department: What advice would you give to people who are just starting up a new company?
1) Set your expectations for how difficult it will be beyond the level of difficulty you expect (interview others who’ve done what you’ve done to set your expectations correctly).
2) Be prepared to endure discouragement and pain.
3) Let go of strategies that don’t work.”

If you would like to download the first chapter of Alex’s book, The Undefeated Mind, click here.

Alex’s websites are:
Get his book from Amazon here.

It’s not about YOU, it’s about BACON!

Brian Basilico is a nationally recognized speaker, author, trainer and adjunct professor at Aurora University. He knows that on the internet, it’s not about YOU, It’s about Bacon. He brings over 30 years of marketing experience to his award-winning internet marketing company, B2b Interactive Marketing, Inc.

Brian is a syndicated blogger, and has been featured as a guest expert in Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines, as well as various news articles, radio shows and podcasts.

Brian has been working on a brand new book, out in just a few weeks time. It’s a must-have for those who want to learn the WHY, (not just the HOW) of social media. I interviewed Brian about his work and his new book.

The Awesome Department: What is your work philosophy?

Brian Basilico: “Did you ever notice that all the SEO people who claim to make you #1 on Google are not #1 on Google (and they all have GMail email addresses)?

My business is about helping businesses large and small better market themselves on the internet with measurable results. I only work with clients that I feel I can make 3 times what they spend with my company. Integrity is huge. I want to continue developing training materials and books that can help people learn the RIGHT ways to market on line.”


The Awesome Department: How did you get started?

Brian Basilico: “I started out running a recording studio in my family’s basement in my teens. I have worked as a video shooter, editor and producer. I did national jingles and commercials and did all the audio cassettes for Avon ladies across the US. I have developed CD-Roms, DVDs, websites, and various on-line marketing campaigns. I have been and worked for entrepreneurs. I have worked for large national companies (AT&T & Arthur Andersen) as an employee and a vendor. Since 2001, my company works with solopreneurs to Fortune 100 companies.”

The Awesome Department: Why did you decide to write the book? What are you trying to achieve with it?

Brian Basilico: “I wrote this book because I felt it was time. I have been marketing for over 30 years and I have seen the social media revolution evolve quickly. There is a lot of bad and wrong information out there! Everything in this book is things I do for myself first and then successfully implemented for clients. This is not a how-to book, it’s a why-to book. I teach classes at the collegiate level and I could only get small portions of this across in a three hour class. So I felt I needed to give people the details they need to make themselves successful, while debunking a lot of the junk being sold out there as the next big thing!”

The Awesome Department: What sort of person should read your book?

Brian Basilico: “Anyone who is interested in their business, brand, and on-line reputation should real this book. It covers everything from face-to-face networking to building a professional and profitable on-line brand!”

The Awesome Department: What are the biggest pitfalls and things to avoid?

Brian Basilico: “The biggest mistake is people who just post on social media like it’s their own fish in a barrel shoot. They advertise and sell themselves and their products and expect people to comment and share that. People want to be informed and entertained. No one goes on social media saying ‘What do I want to be sold today?’!”

The Awesome Department: What is the most exciting topic in your book and why?

Brian Basilico: “The whole book! People are spewing misinformation about social networking all over the internet about over rationalizing social media success. Relationships are the most important thing in your life and in business. Start them, nurture them, grow them, and embrace them. You never know when someone you meet 1-5-10-20-30 years earlier can be the one that turns you into a sensation and a success!”

The Awesome Department: What advice would you give to young people who are just starting up a new company?

1) Get a mentor – find someone who is willing to invest in you and your success.
2) Be willing to Fail – Failure happens more often than success. You have to have a thick skin and own and learn from your mistakes.
3) You are not all that – there are many more people who know more about what you know than you do. Continue to learn… it never ends!

The Awesome Department: Who else inspires you in business, and why?

Brian Basilico: “I am inspired by people like Seth Godin, Gary Vanyerchuk, Michael Hyatt, and others who push the envelope of building an on-line brand. Locally I have a best selling mentor Al Ritter who wrote the 100/0 Principle.”

If you would like to know more about Brian, and his new book, you can check out these links:

Who Dares, Succeeds! Awesome Department at Wharton

“The values of your book The Awesome Department are quite inspirational.” Says Arabic Knowledge@Wharton, part of the University of Pennsylvania. You can read this exclusive interview on-line here, in their Innovation and Entrepreneurship section.

The Wharton School is committed to sharing its intellectual capital through Knowledge@Wharton, the school’s on-line business journal. Knowledge@Wharton offers free access to:

  • Analysis of current business trends
  • Interviews with industry leaders and Wharton faculty
  • Articles based on the most recent business research
  • Conference overviews, book reviews, and links to relevant content
  • Searchable database of over 1,500 articles and research abstracts