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The Simple 7 Step Process to Build Your Reading Program

I got my hands dirty today. It’s been a long time since my fingers were almost black. It felt good, though, to get my hands back in it.

The Simple 7 Step Process to Build Your Reading Program

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body ~ Joseph Addison

If you’re wondering what I was doing, take a look at Leaders Read and Readers Lead, where I give you a 7 Point Plan help you jumpstart your reading habit and develop a more disciplined approach to reading everything you’ve decided you want to read.

Since this Sunday is National Book Day, why not use it to reignite your reading habit, books or otherwise? And, if you feel like just laying back and reading for pleasure, visit The Novels I’m Reading, a compendium of some great books in the Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre.

“Get crackin'” … with the spine of that book you’ve been meaning to read!


Rip Off that Mask. Let’s See Who’s Really Responsible for All of This?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed how it’s possible for different cultures to produce equally profound results.

H ow do you create a mindset where everyone takes full responsibility for their actions and refuses to blame outside forces for failure or disappointment?


Déjà vu all over again?

How often have you heard that phrase banging against your skull … and how often was it telling you …

“I’ve been here before.”

“Didn’t we already solve this problem?”

“Why does this subject keep coming up all the time?”

Why do these issues keep resurfacing?

We’ve been talking about culture and accountability over the last few weeks, and as I’m sure in your experience, you’ve already discovered how often so many of these issues continue to be the same challenges year after year.

They’re constantly resurfacing, often in disguise as a different issue altogether … but really, the same ‘ol, same ‘ol.

Have we become dumb and dumberer?

Why do these same issues keep popping up like whack-a-moles?

Continue reading to see who to hold accountable for what happens next …


Leaders Read and Readers Lead. Let Me Help You Get Started.

I got my hands dirty today.

I t’s been a long time since my fingers were almost black. It felt good, though, to get my hands back in it.

pug dog reading the newspaper and having breakfast in bed

It felt good to rummage around in there, traversing rather methodically, sometimes bouncing around without a real plan but enjoying the motion and the smell.

What is he doing anyway?

I was reading the newspaper.

Yes, it was newsprint all over my hands and fingers.

It’s been a longtime since I’ve read a newspaper … on paper.

I subscribe to 3 daily newspapers and countless magazines, all of which I read for years … on paper.

Since the E-revolution and my first kindle in 2007, I’ve converted to the paperless versions.

Keep reading to receive a simple 7 Step process to help you develop and manage your reading program.

But, I kinda miss the paper

I’m fully committed to the paperless approach to the world and am almost 100% of the way there.

Keep reading to learn the 7 steps to jumpstart this process


Are You Ready to Start Your Own “Bonfire of the Vanities?

More than 500 years ago, the Bonfire of the Vanities purged sin and excess.

Objects like cosmetics, artworks, mirrors and much more were burned in the town square. What are you going to throw on your own bonfire?


Bonfire of the Vanities

Bonfire of the Vanities


Is it Time to Start Your Own Bonfire?

Barely 500 years ago, Girolamo Savonarola was an outspoken and strident critic of the current order, angrily vilifying the worldly possessions that tempted people to become sinners.

He was ultimately excommunicated from the Catholic church, condemned for heresy, stripped of his priestly garments, hanged, and his body burned in the town square in Florence, Italy, a stark and ignominious ending to a life committed to vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Tom Wolfe wrote his first novel on this subject

Tom Wolfe, the esteemed American writer, published his first novel in 1987. (It was originally produced in the serial style of Charles Dickens, with 27 articles appearing in Rolling Stone magazine beginning in 1984.)

Wolfe was determined to expose the outlandish excesses of New York society in the 1980s, which were top of mind for many Americans in the same year that Oliver Stone’s infamous movie, Wall Street, starring Michael Douglas, was released.

The Bonfire of the Vanities

There is a compelling message in Wolfe’s novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, a phrase taken from the infamous public exhibitions that Savonarola instituted in Renaissance Florence 500 years ago.

Don’t miss the chance to consider what you’re tossing on YOUR bonfire


What is Winston Churchill’s Productivity Secret?

Churchill Image: I am an optimist2“How did you get so much done?”

You’ve probably heard the question many times, asked of interview guests the world over …

“If you could interview anyone, living or not, who would it be?”

For me, that’s an easy question.

Winston Churchill.

What if I could only ask him one question?

I could ask him a million questions and talk with him for days, but if I’m only given one question, here’s the simple one I’d ask:

“How did you get so much done?”

Winston Churchill lived to the ripe age of 90

Today, Sunday, November 30, is the birthday of Winston Churchill.

He was born 140 years ago in 1874 … and died 50 years ago next month … yet his talent and prodigious output remains striking to this day. He has always been one of my favorite historical characters … and for many reasons.
Continue reading to discover Churchill’s secret


5 Great Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Reads for the Summer

Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre

Join the Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Club.

The Mystery-Thriller-Suspense fiction category

Are you looking for some great reading for the summer?

If so, you’re in the right place.

First and foremost, I love these books.

I am constantly asked by friends and family for author and book recommendations … something they can take on vacation, take to the beach or read on an airplane. They always want something where they can be immersed in a clever mystery, catch a wave of suspense and maybe a suspension of their reality.

They often want to see a few bad guys get their butt kicked, maybe the hero gets the guy or gal … usually something so they don’t have to think very hard.

It’s the perfect escape from the tasks and turmoil of our everyday lives and a chance to get away from it for a few hours.

Sound familiar?

You can also visit the Mystery Fanatics Page Click Here for the 5 Great Summer Reads


Leadership | “Did Jamie Dimon Steal Your Leadership Book?”

Dude. You didn't steal my bookA young friend of mine called last week.

“Hey, did Jamie Dimon steal your book?” he asked, referring to the The Essential Hallmarks of a Good Leader recently published.

“No, he certainly didn’t steal it,” I said. “He might have read it since you can get it for free right here? Why would you think he stole it.”

“Okay,” he replied. “I guess he didn’t steal it then … but is there any chance he might have written it?”

Funny guy, huh?

Who is Jamie Dimon?

As you probably know, Jamie Dimon is the Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase, with an enviable track record as a visionary executive leading large and complex financial organizations.

And, no, he didn’t write The Cornerstones of Effective Leadership … but I was eager to see just what my friend was referring to … and more importantly, what Jamie had to say about the characteristics he thought were the most important to being a successful leader.

What does Jamie think?



Who wants to see some bad guys get their butt kicked?

Get ready for Fiction Fridays … because we’re going rogue!

We’re going rogue…. on Fiction Fridays!

I intend to roust your senses, pillage your serenity and stimulate your discovery of the good, the bad and the only fiction genre where a ranch breakfast is a steel metal jacket dipped in cordite.

We’re going to mix it up … on Fiction Fridays … and talk about the books which fill the Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre.

They sire rabid fans and beget a rogue’s gallery of unaccountable tough guys, a few cerebral types and shameless sidekicks. That’s going to be part of Fiction Fridays … starting now!

Are you a fan of the Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre?

Most of us who love this genre are passionate about our favorite characters.

We’re looking for great stories, new authors, undiscovered gems and the unexpected twists and turns that keep these books at the top of the best seller lists.

No PC sensibilities, no hand holding, no singing kumbaya around the campfire.

Some days, a little street justice and a big-time ass-whuppin’ is just what we need. (more…)


Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction | John le Carre’s last interview

FRiction FRiday | Tom Clancy Redux | Dead or Alive

What have I gotten myself into? Lately, Dead or Alive

Don’t forget that I’ve just forged through two, 1,000 page books, Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, and now Clancy’s tome

Gimme a break this time, okay?

Don’t worry

You’re in the right place

I’m glad you’re here, though

and don’t worry if it seems like you landed on the wrong planet



com”>FRiction FRiday

to have a little fun and settle in for the weekend by uncovering a few more of our favorite Mystery-Thriller-Suspense novels

[All names in Bold Italic

 BLACK for authors, titles in GREEN, characters in ORANGE

except URL references in RED


By the way, don’t forget to —————————————————

John le Carre’s last interview

Some of you may have seen The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), and thinking, wow, that’s some spooky sh**

But did you know that John le Carre is a pseudonym

I didn’t

for David John Moore Cornwell? He was actually a spy for MI5 and MI6 in England and left the service to write novels once this blockbuster hit

Next on my shelf will be his latest, Our Kind of Traitor, which reportedly is the “old” John le Carre



Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction | Tom Clancy returns

FRiction FRiday | Tom Clancy is Back | Dead or Alive

Wow, FRiction FRiday is here again? How did I get stuck with all of these tire stoppers anyway? Yeah, I know I got a break with Jack Higgins 18th Sean Dillon novel, The Judas Gate … always a quick but fun read … but before that, Ken Follet’s Fall of Giants was almost 1,000 pages … and now Dead or Alive is 850pp? How can I finish one of these every week, I mean, I’ve got to work for living … don’t I? Yes, Lary, you do!

I’m glad you’re here, though … and don’t worry if it seems like you landed on the wrong planet. Sword Tips is still about Building a Business and improving your leadership performance, productivity and success … but we also take a little time every FRiction FRiday to have a little fun and settle in for the weekend by uncovering a few more of our favorite Mystery-Thriller-Suspense novels.

[All names in Bold Italic … BLACK for authors, titles in GREEN, characters in ORANGE … except URL references in RED.]

By the way, make sure you sign up to get all of these and other updates sent directly to your inbox every week. Jump in to add your comments and questions, too, so we can share what we know and what we’d like to know. Remember, we don’t have to agree … I fully respect your right to be dead wrong! Just kidding … kind of. ;>)


Dead or Alive? Usually, pretty dead!

I’m almost halfway through Tom Clancy’s Dead or Alive, his first novel in 10 years. It brings back Jack Ryan, now a retired U.S. President along with various members of Rainbow 6, the efficient but deadly special ops team formed many books ago. Dingo and Chavez and their brethren are in the same Sean Dillon strain of “take no prisoners”.

Once again, it’s refreshing to see how quickly conflicts get resolved without psychobabble and political mumbo-jumbo. Get er’ done and move on. We don’t get to do too much of that in real life, do we? … but it’s a delicious delicacy, isn’t it, to see how much gets done when you follow the straightest line between two points without fanfare, distraction or PC worship.

The “4 Corners of the Globe” Plotline

Speaking of the “shortest distance between two points”, (more…)