Just Ask Leadership. Connections.

My blog friend Conrad led me to his friend G L Hoffman and his blog ‘What Would Dad Say.” One of GL’s posts was an interview with his friend and author Gary B Cohen. I was very impressed with the interview, and via the comment columns established a bit of a relationship with Gary.

In those exchanges, I had promised Gary that I would get a copy of the book no sooner the Indian edition came out, and after five months, I did.

The book is named, ‘Just Ask Leadership’ and makes fascinating reading. While it is primarily aimed at Managers, I found it interesting purely from the effective idea generation aspects of what Gary writes about. Combined with what I learnt about the story behind the adventure that Gary had in getting the book published and his own personal story, the book has had a tremendous impact on my understanding of the process of communicating and generating ideas.

I could not but help go down memory lane with some things in the book triggering off old incidents in my Management days, but more to the point is how relevant the book is even now for me.

I am taking this opportunity to recommend this book to those who are interested in effective interpersoanal relationships and also to impress on my readers my other fascination about connections. Just see from where I went to where and where I have landed now! Amazing is it not?

Do I Have A Chance In The USA?

My friend Jerry had posted a blog in Indiana and I had commented on it. That was the first indication that I may give serious consideration to emigrating to the USA. Later, he posted another blog about a forthcoming meeting where he was to talk about his book. I emailed him requesting for a transcript and he replied – I quote him, “What, do you mean? Can’t you simply hop on your private jet and fly here? :)” I replied that I would first settle in the USA, make my money there and then would buy my private jet.

Another friend, who is now an American citizen has been very disappointed that I never gave serious consideration to following him there. As an incentive to suggest ways of making quick money in the USA, he recently sent me the following note. He said that I was inventive enough to get into some scrape somewhere and do what the following seven people did.

It’s time again for the annual “Stella Awards!”

For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald’s in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?

That’s right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratchier handy.

Here are the Stella’s for the past year:

Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn’t notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor’s hubcaps.
Go ahead, grab your head scratcher….

Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn’t re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count ’em, EIGHT days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner’s insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish.

Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000
for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish.
Keep scratching. There are more…

Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella’s when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor’s beagle – even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner’s fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a
pellet gun.

Grrrrr, scratch, scratch.

Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

Hang in there; there are only two more Stellas to go…
Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000, oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

1ST PLACE: (May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please)
This year’s runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32 – foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver’s seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner’s manual that she couldn’t actually leave
the driver’s seat while the cruise control was set the Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Are we, as a society, getting more stupid?
Maybe it’s our courts. Yeah!

Most of you have got a rough idea about me by now. Do you think that I stand a chance in the USA?

Susan Squire, Author And Person Of Her Word.

I take my readers to my post ‘Matrimonial Commitments’ of October.

If you go down the post to the comments, you will see a very clear comment from Susan Squire, the author of the book on which I had based my post.

After the exchange of comments, Susan and I exchanged some emails in one of which she promised, perhaps in a humorous way, that if indeed I bought the book, instead of borrowing it from a library, she would send me free of cost, her earlier book ‘For Better for Worse’. Keeping the spirit alive, I sent her proof of my having bought the book and lo and behold, today, I received by courier, her gift – an autographed copy of the book.

I also take you to my later post ‘Ground Zero Mentality’ in which, Jerry Davich quoted me as “”Earlier this year, he tried explaining to me how our long-distance relationship, despite such geographical and cultural distances, is for “a purpose which will unfold eventually.”

I have no doubts whatsoever in my mind that Susan’s gesture, and my using this post to publicly express my gratitude as well as my appreciation for her keeping her word, and the long distance relationship that has become possible due to the blogworld between the two of us too, will be for a purpose which will unfold eventually.

What do you think?

Ground Zero Mentality.

I wonder how the rule of ‘Six degrees of separation’ responds to events that evolve due to the logic of search engines and the internet. Sometime soon, I intend experimenting to find for myself if this is really true in real life.

Earlier this year, I was searching for something in the internet and what promised to be an interesting site popped up as an alternative. I went to that site and discovered a fascinating man in a remote part of the USA. He is Jerry Davich, a journalist/writer who has just co-authored a book with Dennis Berlien. In a way, the contents of the book is perhaps, likely to augment the law of six degrees of separation. I do not know. I however intend to find out and shall post about it after I read it.

Since then, we have been on email correspondence on a number of issues and to what extent our relationship has impressed Jerry has been brought to my notice by his very flattering article in the Post-Tribune of December 3, 2008.

I am grateful to Jerry for the nice things that he has said about me and am in separate correspondence with him on the subject. I just wish to impress on the readers to this post that the sentiments expressed about me, by Jerry are equally reciprocated by me about him.

The point of this post however is not to blow my trumpet about our Mutual Admiration Club. It is that Jerry has hit on a phenomenon that had not occurred to me till I read his article.

The phenomenon that he talks about, is not peculiar to his patch of green. It is very much part of mine too and I suspect that it is universal in its validity. I am only an amateur writer. Otherwise, I would have been writing for some news paper rather than blog to see my writing on print! Jerry however has hit the nail on its head as only a professional can. It is worth reading many times over and I have done my bit by linking it twice here.

I hope that Jerry’s article will lead to some introspection and I look forward to some interesting comments from all those who care.