One of my local Nashville friends, Louis Upkins, is someone who is filled with energy and ideas. Whenever we get together, I am energized. Louis has worked with some of the biggest names in business, sports, and entertainment. He wrote a thought-provoking book called Treat Me Like a Customer, which encourages business people to treat their families at least as well as their customers. In a world that seems to be accelerating faster and faster, he has timeless advice on balance and lessons of success that really matter.
I spent some time with Louis talking about these principles and what he has learned from a life spent with fascinating people.
“You may hit me. You may knock me around and knock balls out of the park. But I am always going to get back up and keep coming at you.” — R.A. Dickey
How many of us have this type of attitude no matter what trials we are facing?
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk and have lunch with Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey. It was our first meeting, but I had already met him in the pages of his new book, Wherever I Wind Up. His story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. When I finished the book, I flipped back to the beginning and re-read the words in the quote above. R.A. captured the essence of his life in those sentences and his ability to persevere through almost anything.
Make innovation a study and you inevitably will run into one name: Jeff DeGraff. Dr. DeGraff is a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He’s been called the Dean of Innovation. Before moving to Nashville, I lived in Ann Arbor and had the opportunity to meet him and see him in action. Jeff has worked with some of the biggest global corporations including Apple, Visa, GE, Coca-Cola, and Johnson & Johnson.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Jeff when I visited the University of Michigan. He has created an innovation laboratory called the Innovatrium.
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.
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