Walter Mosley has written more than 34 acclaimed books, including the bestselling mystery series starring Easy Rawlins of Devil in a Blue Dress fame. Throughout his career, he’s also been the recipient of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. His work has been seen on the page, on the big screen, on the theater stage and soon on the small screen (He’s teaming up with Jonathan Demme to co-write a pilot for HBO based on his newest private eye, Leonid McGill). I caught up with Walter when he was visiting Nashville to promote the paperback publication of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.
A Fading Art
The other day I wrote about the power of the handwritten note. It’s a fading art. In a growing digital universe, it’s rare to receive a scripted letter any more. (As a tip for marketers or for anyone who craves differentiation, it’s a great way to stand out.)
Generations from now, what will be left of our writing? I’m not sure. I’ve had friends unexpectedly pass away and wished I still had some of the emails that were routinely deleted. You could argue that today’s technology will ensure the endurance of the written word. That’s also true. With the ease of copying files and digital lockers, we won’t likely lose a manuscript to history. Perhaps the casual email and note, which at the time seems insignificant, is in a different category. I think much of what appears mundane at the time will be lost.
The other evening I had the great pleasure of attending the 16th Annual Books for a Better Life Awards at the TimesCenter in New York City. The Awards were given to the best self-improvement books of 2011. Nominated titles fall into ten categories–all designed to inspire and improve our lives. The proceeds from the event benefit the New York City – Southern New York Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for research, support services, and educational programs.
I was there as a member of the publishing industry and supporter of the event, but I was also honored to be inducted into the Awards Hall of Fame. This is a very special recognition for me as it marries two things for which I’m passionate about: inspirational books and a cause that’s close to my heart because I’ve watched friends suffer with MS.
Alex George’s A Good American is a book you may not have heard of yet. If not, you undoubtedly will. It is a spectacularly written novel receiving rave reviews, and it continues to pick up steam. In recent weeks, the book has been named:
- #1 Pick for Indie Next List, February 2012.
- Amazon “Best Books of the Month” List February 2012
- Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, Spring 2012
- Barnes & Noble Top Staff Pick for Fiction, February 2012
- Midwest Connection Pick, February 2012
- #1 “Title to Pick Up Now” for O Magazine, February 2012
One of the biggest problems in business isn’t failure. It’s failing too slowly.
The biggest failure of all is never failing at all. If you never fail, you are playing it too safe. You are taking zero risk. A culture with a fear of failure is a culture doomed tofailure. Others in the marketplace will pass you by, and it may be too late by the time you realize it.
Failing quickly is much better than failing slowly. Have you ever been in a business and known something was going to fail? For whatever reason, the project marches onward. Meanwhile, everyone who touches it knows the project is doomed. Yet on it goes, sometimes for years. I’ve seen some huge, expensive projects continue when, if someone would just do a reality check, the decision to kill it would be obvious.