Thursday, 30 June 2011

When the draft is finished

I’ve just completed the second revision of Mr Stephenson’s Regret, my historical novel about the railway pioneers George and Robert Stephenson. What I need to do now is put it in a drawer (well, not reopen the file) for another six weeks, resisting the temptation to tinker with it in the meantime or to assume it’s finished without that final cleared-head re-read. But it’s as hard as fighting the temptation to check your new-born baby is still breathing in the quiet of the night. 

The sensible thing to do, of course, is to get straight on with something else; stop thinking about the other. But I am unfocused; my mind has no fixed abode. And I’m lazy – no, not quite so much lazy as torpid.

It’s not that I don’t have plenty to do. Next week I have a meeting with a producer in Manchester to talk over some ideas for a radio play. I really need to get these ideas down in writing, at least in summary if not in pitch form; but I can’t impel myself to start it yet (don’t you just hate writing pitches? ). Then there’s my on-going collection of stories to add to. And of course developing ideas for a new novel. If I could just get myself round to doing any  of this… 

What is at the root of this procrastination?  I suppose it’s a combination of lingering on the old project, temporary fatigue, and the tyranny of the blank page. If only I had the discipline of prolific Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, who famously would dot the last dot on one manuscript and immediately pick up a fresh sheet to start on his next if he had not completed his quota for the day. Trollope combined his work as an author with a senior position at the Post Office. He would write on a specially-made portable desk as he travelled on train journeys for his day job. At home he rose at 5.30 am and wrote for three hours, keeping a watch on his desk to ensure he kept to his target of 250 words every fifteen minutes. He also kept a diary recording the number of pages he’d written each day. This part-timer managed an output of 47 published novels. Mind you, in this contemporary cartoon I came across, he seems to have found time for playing with a doll while sitting on some of those books he wrote. 

Anthony Trollope
I don’t think I’ll ever have the discipline of a Trollope, nor the confidence of Shakespeare, who supposedly never bothered with redrafts. It is said that Shakespeare never blotted out a line, though to be fair Ben Jonson’s response to that was, ‘Would he had blotted a thousand’.

Oh, I’ll get round to filling those six weeks with something or other vaguely productive before I start out blotting out some of the lines of Mr Stephenson’s Regret. Come to think of it, I’ve made a start with these 500 words. I knew there was some reason for keeping a blog.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Could you sign it for me?

I have an article in the Summer issue of The Author (the quarterly magazine of The Society of Authors) about the strange practice of book signing. The title given by the editor is A sign of what? Here is the original version of the article, which is a tad longer than the version featured in the magazine.

It has always felt strange to me, at talks and readings, to be asked to autograph one of my books. My slight embarrassment as I do the deed and hand back the book is not false modesty, more a conviction that the buyer must surely regret the request when they see how my crabbed signature has besmirched their nice white flyleaf. I really do feel each time that I’m committing a minor act of vandalism, not quite on the scale of Joe Orton’s pornographic amendments to library books, more like sticking a finger in somebody’s wet cement – it will be there forever, calling attention to its own defacement.

I have stood in line myself to buy books after listening to a favourite author, but don’t recall ever presenting one for signature. I guess I’m in a minority; from my experience nine out of ten at such events feel their purchase is incomplete without an inscription (well, four out of five; ten hand-in-pocket customers at one gig is relatively rare for me). I suppose for some it is their way of getting up close and personal with the author, but if it’s a conversation they want, don’t they realise this is the worst possible time to start one? Can’t they feel the impatient breath of the next book-clutcher in the queue as they relate at length the anecdote that my story has stirred from their memory? Can’t they see my eyes stray to a place behind their shoulder, how my expression of empathy is weakened by the apology in my smile? Perhaps the subtlety of my body language is lost as I’m simultaneously sending reassuring non-verbal signals to everyone in the room about what an approachable guy I am and how I’d be a pleasure to meet.

Apparently the actor Steve Martin responds to fans asking for an autograph by handing them a card that reads, ‘This certifies that you have had a personal encounter with me and that you found me warm, polite, intelligent and funny.’

At a book event, or at least at the larger ones, there seems to be an unspoken assumption that you must buy and be seen to buy the author’s latest offering as a kind of admission ticket to the presence. (Perhaps not so unspoken; there’s a book-signing scene in Alice Munro’s short story Fiction where an assistant is inspecting the line to check that everyone’s book has the requisite gold sticker to certify the book was bought in store.) Having made the purchase and joined the line in order to speak to the author, it may seem impolite not to ask for the book to be signed. It validates the encounter and ritualises a shared pretence that the author is somehow special.

Otherwise, what would be the point? I suppose writing a message above the signature helps to memorialise the event for the reader. I will often write something like Well met in Middlesbrough, though I check carefully these days, remembering the awkward incident over the book bought as a present for a cousin in Canada. The spelling of names is another obstacle to be negotiated (I mean theirs, not mine; not that you can tell with my handwriting). A few specify they want no salutation or message, only the signature. Why? What is the value added? Do they seriously view the book as a collector’s item? Do they expect to recoup their losses on eBay?

I don’t know how long philography (aka autographing-hunting) has been practised, but it’s obvious that Shakespeare didn’t get many requests, otherwise there wouldn’t be all that doubt about who wrote the plays. I can imagine Lord Byron signing a few copies the morning he awoke and found himself famous; he was probably the first literary celebrity of the modern ilk. Certainly the passion to have one’s book signed seems to belong to the celebrity not the literary culture.

In his popular 1960s classic on social theory The Image, Daniel Boorstin wrote that, ‘A sign of a celebrity is that his name is often worth more than his services.’ The commercial truth behind that statement is evident more than forty years on, with publishing a particularly striking example. The bigger the (television) name the longer the queue in the bookshop. It may be the only time Katie Price ever goes into one. (And I hear she’s about to make an attempt at the Guinness Book of Records for the most number of books signed.) I wonder if she ever opens any book other than the ones she autographs for fans; or if she explores beyond the flyleaf of those that carry her name.

I wonder too what will happen to book-signing when print finally gives way entirely to the ebook. Will we all have to perfect virtual signatures to append on request to our virtual books? I’m off now to create one for mine. It’s my great chance for... not fame: legibility.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Google is a whirlpool looking for a new fool

On the face of it, the internet, search engines, and Google in particular have been a great boon to writers and others who do research as a necessary part of their work. Indeed, who would deny it? Remember the old days when you camped yourself in the library for hours on end, leafing through books that often delivered scant reward – insufficient or out-of-date information – or fiddled with spools of microfiche for that elusive news article? No question, we should be duly grateful for the luxury of sitting at home (using the same machine that we use to set down our work) with the ability to trawl the world’s resources rapidly and at no great expense. But are we being allowed to make the most of this wonderful opportunity?

Until recently, I had assumed that Google’s stupendous page rank algorithm was giving me the best, most authoritative, most useful selection from the vast sources of information on offer, provided I got my search terms right. That was before I became aware of the argument presented in Eli Pariser’s new book The Filter Bubble which reveals that Google, far from facilitating an expansion of my world view in proportion to the expansion of available resources, is in fact limiting me by my own previous choices. Pariser calls this a bubble; I prefer to think of it as a whirlpool, sucking me into its ever-decreasing circles.

Until recently, I had assumed that the spread of results I got from typing a query into my Google search box would be exactly the same as another’s results, provided we both entered the same search terms. It has taken Pariser to explain to me that this is not true. Apparently Google uses 57 signals – ranging from where the browser is located to what items I have searched for before – to decide what site-links it is going to offer me. The process is concentric because the more I use the internet for everything from information gathering to purchasing the more Google gets to know about me, and the more bounded I become by the range of options it presents that are in easy reach.

Moreover (and this I suppose I did know, but never really thought through the implications) Google is not in the business of providing me with the best information; it is in the business of delivering me to its advertisers, sponsors and funders – the ones who pay the piper. The most obvious example is the sponsored links that appear on the top of one’s results page (perversely, I avoid these); but Google has much more subtle ways of using the data I have previously provided to get me to places based on their commercial imperatives rather than my intellectual curiosity or professional need. Because their behaviour marketing is invisible, and because I’m generally unaware that my choices are being made for me in this way, I am off my guard to a degree that I would not be if I was, say, reading a newspaper with a known political viewpoint, or speaking to a consultant whom I know has a vested interest in selling me his product or service. Google can fool me into thinking I’m making the decision without such influences, and that makes me the greater fool.

And of course it’s not only Google that’s doing it. For me, Amazon is another major whirlpool, as are iTunes and a number of others whose filters and ‘recommendations’ are drawing me into a subterranean version of my world where increasingly what I see are distorted or manipulated versions of my own reflection.

As a consumer, I may welcome some guidance to my purchases based on my known preferences – it can save time and effort, and help me get to things I might want or didn’t otherwise know existed, though it also reduces the opportunity for serendipitous pleasures – but as Pariser argues, what might be good for consumers is not necessarily good for citizens.

Nor does it make the best use of the global promise of the internet, which has the potential of widening our horizons and putting us in instant touch with treasures of learning previously unobtainable. It’s a misuse of the most powerful instrument of our age. We have embarked on a world-wide adventure but  we have put ourselves in the hands of a navigator we can’t really trust. There are oceans to explore, but the more we sail on them, the greater the perils of the whirlpool.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Can a writer trust peer reviews?

As part of an earlier post I recommended a couple of writing and peer review sites that can be useful as a testing-ground for manuscripts. While my advice holds good (and I am going on to describe a recent personal experience) I want to repeat my caveat that you need to develop a thick skin to submit your work to scrutiny in such a public way, but I also want to add that not all advice is good advice (including mine, I daresay).

I have been looking deeper into a couple of sites, reading peer reviews of other people’s writings, and one thing I have noticed is the wide range of critical standards applied. Not to put too fine a point on it, some peer criticism sucks. More than a few times this week, I have shaken my head over rank bad reviewing. In certain cases, if the writer was to follow the guidance given they would be heading in entirely the wrong direction – despoiling, not improving their work.

As well as specifically bad advice, there is reviewing of a non-specific negative sort which must surely knock a writer’s self-confidence, perhaps persuade them to give up altogether. (Hey, I’ve written negative reviews too, but I try hard to be specific, and for an inexperienced writer always aim to find something constructive and encouraging to say). One contributor to a writing forum I subscribe to has suggested that some negative reviewing is driven by jealousy. Perhaps in other cases there is a factor of territorial supremacy; as Gore Vial has said, It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.

The opposite problem to the negative review is what I would call the non-critical gush (Brilliant... They’d be mad not to publish... I gave it five stars...) and I have discovered this to be more prevalent than the negative stuff. It seems to me there are three possible sources of non-critical gush:

1.    The indiscriminate. Some readers cannot really tell the difference between good writing and bad, so they gush to be on the safe side.

2.    Family and friends. They stand by their man, or woman. Such puffery is even more common for reviews of published work (most notoriously, customer reviews on Amazon) than for unpublished material.

3.    Scratch-my-backers. I have witnessed this happening openly on forums set up around the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and on other competition sites that rely partly on peer voting. Even where it is not openly stated that one person’s good review will be reciprocated, there hangs an unspoken threat that if you are perceived to be trashing someone’s work you are likely to get trashed in return.  

It seems to me that the most sensible way to deal with the vagaries of peer review is to take everything in the round. Try not to be carried away by a couple of great responses to your work, or cast down by a couple of negative ones. Rather, what is the aggregate? Also, while everyone’s opinion counts (we may not all be critics, but most of us are readers/potential customers) look very carefully at the quality of these reviews and, frankly, take more notice of those reviewers who seem to know how to string some words together themselves, and who have something detailed and specific to say. Also, when submitting parts of your work for peer review, choose something that you have specific issues with, some hypothesis that you want to test out.

Which brings me to my personal example. As regular readers of this blog may know, I have been working for a while on a historical novel, Mr Stephenson’s Regret. I submitted the third draft of the novel to this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and managed to get to the semi-final, which I was pleased about, but privately I have not been entirely happy with this version of the novel, and even during the judging process have been working on a revision. Specifically, it has been my feeling that the reader does not get close enough to my central character, Robert Stephenson. For the new version I switched to first person, making Robert not just the central character but the narrator of the story. This device has helped me bring Robert much closer, more intimate, but the downside has been losing some flexibility in point of view, and some logistic problems in telling necessary parts of the story where Robert was either not present or too young to be a credible narrator.

A week or three ago I decided to put the opening chapters of the new version to the test of a peer review with the specific objective of checking these factors out. I uploaded the opening chapters to a site called YouWriteOn.comThe way this site works is that you accept a reading assignment for someone else’s work, sent to you randomly, and receive a reading credit when you have written a review, so that your work is then sent randomly to another member for review. I like the ‘blind’ nature of this system, and think it’s fair that you should have to put some work in to get your own work reviewed.

I have been delighted by the reviews of the sample, not just because they were generally favourable, but because a couple of them specifically picked up on the points I was trying to test around the strength of the central character and the POV logistics. As a result of the experiment, I have decided to return to the original third person structure of the novel, but to apply what I have learned in writing the first person version to my revision of the work. Without constructive peer review I might never have got to that point, and might not have been re-energised to take the task on, as I’ve just given myself a few more months’ hard labour.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Quotes about Working

At last, the final section of quotes from my book 1000 Great Quotations for Business, Management & Training.

An updated version of the book is newly available as part of my Almost Free Kindle titles both in the UK and in the USA.

If you don’t want to work, you have to work to earn enough money so that you won’t have to work.

Frederic Ogden Nash, US humorous writer, poet (1902-1971)


Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I’m not there, I go to work.

Kenichi Ohmae, Japanese management consultant (b. 1943)

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.

Richard Bach, US author (b. 1936)

Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.

Katherine Whitehorn, British journalist (b. 1928)

Work is not man’s punishment. It is his reward and his strength and his pleasure.

Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, known as George Sand, French author (1804-1876)

If you do not feel yourself growing in your work and your life broadening and deepening, if your task is not a perpetual tonic to you, you have not found your place.

Orison Swett Marden, US editor, author (1850-1924)

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

Thomas Alva Edison, US inventor (1847-1931)

My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.

Indira Gandhi, Indian Prime Minister (1917-1984)

Good work is always done in defiance of management.

Robert Woodward, US journalist (b. 1943)

It’s not enough to be busy. The question is, what are we busy about?

Henry David Thoreau, US essayist, poet (1817-1862)

No race can prosper till it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.

Booker T Washington, US educator (1856-1915)

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.

Robert Frost, US poet (1874-1963)

A man who works with his hands is a labourer; a man who works with his hands and his brains is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.

Louis Nizer, British lawyer (1902-1994)

There is no easy method of learning difficult things. The method is to close the door, give out that you are not at home, and work.

Joseph Marie De Maistre, French diplomat, author (1753-1821)

In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it; they must not do too much of it; and they must have a sense of success in it.

John Ruskin, British author, art critic (1819-1900)

The superstition that all our hours of work are a minus quantity in the happiness of life, and all the hours of idleness are plus ones, is a most ludicrous and pernicious doctrine, and its greatest support comes from our not taking sufficient trouble, not making a real effort, to make work as near pleasure as it can be.

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, British Prime Minister (1848-1930)

The law of work does seem utterly unfair – but there it is, and nothing can change it; the higher the pay in enjoyment the worker gets out of it, the higher shall be his pay in money also.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known as Mark Twain, US author (1835-1910)

Work seven days a week and nothing can stop you.

John Moores, British entrepreneur, philanthropist (1896-1993)

The Encyclopaedia of Famous Last Words does not contain the entry, ‘I wish I’d spend more time at the office.’

Monday, 6 June 2011

Quotes about Wisdom

Here's the penultimate section of quotes from my book 1000 Great Quotations for Business, Management & Training.

An updated version of the book is newly available as part of my Almost Free Kindle titles both in the UK and in the USA.

We can be knowledgeable with other men’s knowledge but we cannot be wise with other men’s wisdom.

Michel de Montaigne, French essayist (1533-1592)

Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.

William Cowper, British poet (1731-1800)

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.

H L Mencken, US journalist (1880-1956)

That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.

John Stuart Mill, British philosopher, economist (1806-1873)

The believer is happy. The doubter is wise.

Hungarian proverb

An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight. The truly wise person is ‘colour-blind’.

Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian theologian (1875-1965)

Albert Schweitzer

If one is too late to think, too vain to do a thing badly, too cowardly to admit it, one will never attain wisdom.

Cyril Connolly, British critic, author (1903-1974)

Be wiser than other people, if you can, but do not tell them so.

Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, British statesman, letter-writer (1694-1773)

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Quotes about Winning

Here's the next section of quotes from my book 1000 Great Quotations for Business, Management & Training.

An updated version of the book is newly available as part of my Almost Free Kindle titles both in the UK and in the USA.

If it doesn’t matter who wins, then how come they keep score?

Vince Lombardi, US football coach (1913-1970)

He who hesitates is last.

Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts’, probably lost.

Martina Navratilova, Czech/US tennis player (b. 1956)

The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.

Joe Paterno, US college football coach (b. 1926)

If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games for you.

Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant, US football coach (1913-1983)

Desire is one of the immense advantages that the underdog often has: simply wanting to win more than the top dog does.

William Bridges, US engineer, researcher, educator (b. 1934)

Please don’t ask me what the score is, I’m not even sure what the game is.

Ashleigh Brilliant, British philosopher, author (b. 1933)

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you’re still a rat.

Mary Jean ‘Lily’ Tomlin, US comic actress (b. 1939)

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Quotes about Voice

Here's the next section of quotes from my book 1000 Great Quotations for Business, Management & Training.

An updated version of the book is newly available as part of my Almost Free Kindle titles both in the UK and in the USA.

The ability to express an idea is well nigh as important as the idea itself.

Bernard Baruch, US statesman, businessman (1870-1965)

The man is only half himself, the other half is his expression.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, US essayist, poet (1803-1882)

A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.

Nelson Mandela, South African statesman (b. 1918)

Nelson Mandela

No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. When that expression is of value they become leaders.

Warren Bennis, US academic, management author (b. 1925)

Friday, 3 June 2011

Quotes about Vision

Here's the next section of quotes from my book 1000 Great Quotations for Business, Management & Training.

An updated version of the book is newly available as part of my Almost Free Kindle titles both in the UK and in the USA.

Some things have to be believed to be seen.

Ralph Hodgson, US poet (1871-1962)

If you think big enough, you’ll never have to do it.

Walt Disney died six years before the opening of Walt Disney World. At the opening ceremony, two Disney executives were sitting together. One said, ‘Too bad Walt couldn’t have been here to see this.’ The other responded, ‘You’re wrong. Walt did see this, that’s why it’s here.’

True wisdom consists not in seeing what is immediately before our eyes, but in foreseeing what is to come.

Terence, Roman dramatist (185-129 BC)

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.

Jonathan Swift, Irish clergyman, poet, satirist (1667-1745)

No man that does not see visions will ever realise any high hope or undertake any high enterprise.

Woodrow Wilson, US President (1856-1924)

A man to carry on a successful business must have imagination. He must see things as in a vision, a dream of the whole thing.

Charles Schwab, US industrialist (1862-1939)

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.

Arthur Schopenhaur, German philosopher (1788-1860)

The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision.

Helen Keller, US author, lecturer (1880-1968)

Write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. Where there is no vision the people perish.

Habakkuk 2:2

The entrepreneur is essentially a visualiser and an actualiser. He can visualise something, and when he visualises it he sees exactly how to make it happen.

Robert L Schwartz, US executive, Rolls Royce (b. 1939)

The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps. We must step up the stairs.

Vance Hepner

Vision is the torch of leadership. Shared vision is the spark of great action.

David Williams, British author, presenter (b. 1950)

One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak.

G K Chesterton, British essayist, author, poet (1874-1936)

The great successful men of the world have used their imaginations, they think ahead and create their mental picture, and then go to work materialising that picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this bit and that bit, but steadily building, steadily building.

Robert Collier, US advertising copywriter (1885-1950)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Quotes about Value

Here's the next section of quotes from my book 1000 Great Quotations for Business, Management & Training.

An updated version of the book is newly available as part of my Almost Free Kindle titles both in the UK and in the USA.

What we obtain too cheap we esteem too little; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.

Thomas Paine, British author, political theorist (1737-1809)

Thomas Paine

Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.

Albert Einstein, German physicist (1879-1955)

If you undervalue yourself, no-one’s going to come along and raise your price.

David Williams, British author, presenter (b. 1950)

Steinmetz once charged General Electric $10,000 for chalking an X on a defective machine part. When GE protested and asked him to justify the charge, he sent back this itemised bill – ‘Making one chalk mark - $1; knowing where to place it - $9,999.’

Charles Steinmetz, US electrical engineer (1865-1923)

You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to that hour.

Jim Rohn, US motivational speaker, author (1930-2009)

The individual’s most vital need is to prove his worth, and this usually means an insatiable hunger for action. For it is only the few who can acquire a sense of worth by developing and employing their capacities and talents. The majority prove their worth by keeping busy.

Eric Hoffer, US philosopher, author, longshoreman (1902-1983)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Quotes about Trust

Here's the next section of quotes from my book 1000 Great Quotations for Business, Management & Training.

An updated version of the book is newly available as part of my Almost Free Kindle titles both in the UK and in the USA.

Whether you’re on a sports team, in an office or a member of a family, if you can’t trust one another, there’s going to be trouble.

Joe Paterno, US college football coach (b. 1926)

There’s no such thing as ‘half-trust’. The instructor pilot can’t ‘half’ sit next to you on your fist solo.

Tom Peters, US management author, presenter (b. 1942)

The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him.

Henry Stimson, US statesman (1867-1950)

Set your expectations high; find men and women whose integrity and values you respect; get their agreement on a course of action; and give them your ultimate trust.

John Akers, US computer executive, IBM (b. 1934)

Organisational leaders who are motivated by the common good not only reject the role of the dictator who rules by fear; they also recognize that demagogues who seduce followers with false promises cannot maintain the trust essential for cooperation.

Michael Maccoby, US management author, psychologist (b. 1933)

You can buy a person’s hand, but you can’t buy his heart. You can buy his back, but you can’t buy his brains.

 Stephen Covey, US management author, presenter (b. 1932)

It’s been my experience that the people who gain trust, loyalty, excitement and energy fast are the ones who pass on the credit to the people who really have done the work. A leader doesn’t need any credit; he’s already in the top slot. He’s getting more credit than he deserves anyway.

Robert Townsend, US author, businessman (1920-1998)

I don’t want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs.

Samuel Goldwyn, Polish/US film producer (1882-1974)

Samuel Goldwyn

When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly.

Patrick Overton, US poet, playwright, author, presenter

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, US essayist, poet (1809-1894)

So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?

Luke 16.11