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C. Clayton "Author of The Re-Discovery of Common Sense!" (Tucson AZ)

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The Cartoonist's Workbook: Drawing * Writing Gags * Selling
The Cartoonist's Workbook: Drawing * Writing Gags * Selling
by Robin Hall
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It was More Fun Then Work in the End!, 30 July 2008
Before I finished my third book (The Re-Discovery of Common Sense) I decided it needed cartoons to visually explain some ideas (a picture is worth 1000 words) and provide humor to a tough subject. I started checking with hiring a professional artist (or student artist) to do the work. It quickly became clear the task would be time consuming, expensive and I may not get what I wanted in the end.

First, it would be difficult to find someone who would be able to take what was in my mind and transfer it to a cartoon

Second, it became painfully clear it would be expensive (even with a student artist). I wanted around twenty five cartoons drawn.

Third, some individuals wanted to discuss contracts and usage.

My best option was to learn how to draw cartoons myself. I figured it would be less expensive (only the cost of books and art supplies), and frustrating and I would get exactly what was in my brain. It would take some time to become proficient, but it sounded like a fun project. I was fortunately right.

The Cartoonist's Workbook and a couple other books helped me learn how to draw cartoons good enough to put in my latest book.

Robin Hall's common sense approach to teaching drawing made the challenge fun. There were also a tremendous number of different sketches in the book that helped jump start ideas for potential cartoons.

Robin Hall provides many excellent sections that helps teach drawing techniques. Some the sections that I found especially helpful were: The Expressions section, The Useful Outdoor References and The Gag Situations.

After finishing my sketches, I used Adobe Elements software to polish up the work. I was very pleased with the final cartoons that went into my book...and there have been many positive comments about the cartoons from people who have the book!

This is a great resource for learning to draw cartoons!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking


The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
by Julia Cameron
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Releasing Creativity!, 30 July 2008
Much creativity is lost between the time we are young children and when we become adults. The school system, societal influences, and even maturity itself eventually whittles away the artist in most people.

Julia Cameron systematically addresses subjects to release the enormous creativity we all have. I found the book useful for stimulating an artist's though processes. Improving one's creativity is a key element in developing the right brain for Critical Thinking.

The Artist's Way validated several ideas that I had picked up through the years. I have been fortunate to have a very creative family. My sister has created amazing miniatures for many years. After retirement my father became an amazing wood carver ( I have a ship he carved on my mantle in the living room) and my mother an excellent painter (some of her painting are displayed prominently around my house).

This book's twelve week system is a good common sense approach to using the right side of the brain much more effectively. The book chapters each focus on twelve subjects. They are: Recovering a sense of safety, identity, power, integrity, possibility, abundance, connection, strength, compassion, self-protection, autonomy and faith.

There are many great ideas to ponder in the book. For example, in the chapter: ecovering a sense of Power, Cameron writes:

"Remember that creativity is a tribal experience and that tribal elders will initiate the gifted youngsters who cross their path. This may sound like wishful thinking, but it is not. Sometimes an older artist will be moved to help out even against his or her own wishes. "I don't know why I'm doing this for you, but..." Again, I would say that some of the helping hands may be something more than human."

Some people may like the considerable connection to the universe (or God) that Cameron uses. Others may not. However, the force of the universe is something that no man or woman completely understands and it does seem to govern many of what happens in our lives (Karma etc). Accepting there are things that we don't understand and striving to have these forces on our side is a good thing!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking


A Whack On The Side Of The Head: How You Can Be More Creative
A Whack On The Side Of The Head: How You Can Be More Creative
by Roger von Oech
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open the Doors to the Mind by Lubricating the Hinges!, 30 July 2008
Roger von Oech deeply understands that the creative juices flow best when people are relaxed and having fun. He does this by creating a common sense book that has easy to read, and powerful exercise to help tap into the creative nature that we all have.

The book is a key element in critical thinking. It focuses on developing the left brain, right brain crossover. I found the book refreshing, fascinating and insightful.

The title says it all. The format is user friendly, the exercises are engaging and the cartoons are hilarious. The book firmly pushes anyone who reads the book out of his or her box to become a better critical thinker!

The topics are fascinating. They include: Opening mental locks, Learning how to think, Making the strange familiar, Challenging the rules, Play is frivolous, The fools and the rules and many more.

This is a great book for anyone who is ready to open doors to their mind and become more creative. It lubricates the door hinges that may have become a little rusty over time!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking


The Einstein Factor
The Einstein Factor
by Win Wenger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational, Insightful, Powerful and Encouraging!, 30 July 2008
This review is from: The Einstein Factor (Paperback)
This book argues convincingly that one's intelligence can be improved by using image streaming and other methods. Win Wenger has worked in the area of accelerated learning for 25 years before he wrote this book. My personal experience has convinced me that accelerated learning has significant credibility.

For example; during an MBA program I took back in the late 1980s I had a sixteen week Micro Economics class taught by Dr. Gertmenian (affectionately called Dr. G) who believed in accelerated learning. In those short sixteen weeks he taught us the basics of micro-economics, macro-economics, and spice it with religion, law and investing. It was one of the toughest, most fun sixteen weeks I have ever had.

Dr G. explained the faster one learns, the more is retained. I found this to be true in my own life on many occasions. When have little time on a subject of interest, we are much more focused on the things that really matter. Consequently, we retain the important points. And, our brains aren't cluttered with less significant issues.

The Einstein Factor Image provides a wealth of ideas on how to improve ones mental abilities using accelerated learning. It does this by providing compelling examples of how the geniuses of yesterday and today were/are able to do what they do by using methods such as image streaming.

Wenger's upbeat tone encourages everyone to tap into their genius potential. It makes this read insightful, powerful and encouraging.

For example, in the Are You a Genius Chapter Wenger states: "Over the years, my studies have led me consistently to the conclusion that geniuses are little more than ordinary people who have stumbled upon some knack or technique for widening their channel of attention, thus making conscious their subtle, unconscious perceptions."

We all have amazing critical thinking abilities that frequently go untapped. This book, and others like it help many people to begin to realize their potential genius...or at least consider it. It won't be right for everyone. No book ever is. But, it is an important work.

The book is well researched, interesting and educational. It provides many common sense ideas for strengthening the brain. Investing time at the gym to get into physical shape is important. Equally important is investing time strengthening our brains to become more intelligent!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking


I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It
I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It
by Barbara Sher
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Roadmap to Success!, 30 July 2008
I Could do Anything if I Only Knew what it Was provides practical common sense guide for determining what career you should decide on. In other words it helps you discover what makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.

The book is informative, refreshing and extremely useful. There are many rich topics for anyone who isn't sure what he/she wants to be when he/she grows up! Some of the topics are: What are you suppose to be doing?, Fear of Success: Leaving the Ones You Love Behind, I Want too Many Things, I'm all over the Map, Help! I'm not Ready to be Born Yet, How to Live an Extraordinary Life and much more.

Besides excellent topics there are fun exercises and explanations to learn what makes you tick.

For example, I wasn't sure if the book could categorize me very well, but it did. I have many varied types of interests and the book validated who I am and what I enjoy doing.

Barbara Sher called us Scanners. These are individual who want to taste everything. She goes on to say "To scanners, the universe is a treasure house full of a million works of art, and life is hardly long enough to see them all." Sher notes that career aptitude tests tend to miss scanners. This book provides some great recommendations to be successful by not changing.

The thread throughout the book is to be true to whom you are and mold a career around yourself! This is an excellent book for anyone who is ready to make a decision on finding their dream career!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking


Future Shock
Future Shock
by Alvin Toffler
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Accurate!, 30 July 2008
This review is from: Future Shock (Paperback)
I read Future Shock immediately before reading Alvin and Heidi Toffler's latest book: Revolutionary Wealth. I am fascinated with thoughtful predictions of the future. Knowing the accuracy of the predictions he made about the future in Future Shock (which was first Published in 1970) would provide a good indication of how accurate he would be in Revolutionary Wealth.

I found the book extremely interesting, insightful, and well researched. It was scary at times, but upbeat at others. It discusses where we are headed as a society (from a 1970 perspective), and what lies ahead. It covers subjects such as: the throw away society, the fractured family, education of the future, the diversity of life styles, the origins of over choice, cloning and much more. Many of these topics are today's headlines...not bad for peeking into a crystal ball back in 1970!

At times I caught myself thinking "There is nothing new here; Toffler is just eloquently describing today's society." Then I realized when the book was written.

Toffler has an amazing ability to look at the very beginning of trends and then extrapolate a future out of those trends. His predications come from interviews with many world experts. Toffler then uses his critical thinking skills to integrating everything he has learned. From this knowledge he constructs a vision of the future. Not only that, he provides options we should consider to create a positive future for ourselves.

It is amazing enough to predict the future relatively accurately. By providing us with options, Toffler completed this masterpiece of writing.

Some of the predications Toffler made didn't come to pass. That's to be expected. There are so many that have come to pass that it makes this book a powerful work.

Flash forward:
When I read Revolutionary Wealth I paid close attention to what is in store for us in the next 30 years. Once again Toffler hits a home run. The future will be amazing and we have more control than we think to make it great!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking

Revolutionary Wealth


Future Shock
Future Shock
by Alvin Toffler
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Accurate!, 30 July 2008
I read Future Shock immediately before reading Alvin and Heidi Toffler's latest book: Revolutionary Wealth. I am fascinated with thoughtful predictions of the future. Knowing the accuracy of the predictions he made about the future in Future Shock (which was first Published in 1970) would provide a good indication of how accurate he would be in Revolutionary Wealth.

I found the book extremely interesting, insightful, and well researched. It was scary at times, but upbeat at others. It discusses where we are headed as a society (from a 1970 perspective), and what lies ahead. It covers subjects such as: the throw away society, the fractured family, education of the future, the diversity of life styles, the origins of over choice, cloning and much more. Many of these topics are today's headlines...not bad for peeking into a crystal ball back in 1970!

At times I caught myself thinking "There is nothing new here; Toffler is just eloquently describing today's society." Then I realized when the book was written.

Toffler has an amazing ability to look at the very beginning of trends and then extrapolate a future out of those trends. His predications come from interviews with many world experts. Toffler then uses his critical thinking skills to integrating everything he has learned. From this knowledge he constructs a vision of the future. Not only that, he provides options we should consider to create a positive future for ourselves.

It is amazing enough to predict the future relatively accurately. By providing us with options, Toffler completed this masterpiece of writing.

Some of the predications Toffler made didn't come to pass. That's to be expected. There are so many that have come to pass that it makes this book a powerful work.

Flash forward:
When I read Revolutionary Wealth I paid close attention to what is in store for us in the next 30 years. Once again Toffler hits a home run. The future will be amazing and we have more control than we think to make it great!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking


How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling
How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling
by N/A Alan Rigg
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Critical to Not Becoming a Sales Organization Road Kill!, 24 July 2008
In the late 1800s an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto was studying the distribution of wealth in European countries. He discovered a predictable imbalance in the distribution of wealth. He found that approximately 80 percent was controlled by approximately 20 percent of the population. This was later known as Parato's Principle or the 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 rule is an observable natural phenomenon. It governs many scenarios in life in which 80 percent of the results come from 20 percent of the inputs. Thus, it can be applied in many situations and with many professions. There is a beauty and elegance to life that repeats itself again and again. The 80/20 rule is one of these rules of thumb that reflects human nature, and how the world operates.

Understanding the 80/20 Rule is important. What is more important is the ability to apply the 80/20 Rule to real life situations and create positive results. Alan Rigg has done just that!

How to Beat the 80/20 teaches sales managers how the 80/20 rule is hurting their organization and what to do to increase sales dramatically. Alan Rigg argues convincingly that 80 percent of the sales typically comes from 20 percent of the sales force. In other words: "All salespeople are not created equal."

Savvy sales managers can improve on this statistic by carefully screening applicants and then cherry picking the right individuals for their sales force. Besides creating a stronger sales force, this book teaches how to improve sales significantly!

Some of the important topics that Alan covers are: Why salespeople perform differently, the attributes needed for sales success, recruiting myths, forecasting, how to develop an effective compensation plan and a great deal more.

The book is equally excellent for people who are considering a sales profession. If you have a high aptitude for sales this may be the career for you. If you don't have the aptitude then there may be other careers you would be more suited for.

With all of the downsizing and outsourcing today, this book provides knowledge to increase a company's competitive advantage. These skills are critical so a sales organization doesn't become road kill!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking


The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
by Malcolm Gladwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars How else can we use the Tipping Point to Improve the World?, 24 July 2008
Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book The Tipping Point that it is possible for ideas, messages and behaviors to spread rapidly. Gladwell argues convincingly that to change an entire population it is not necessary to change everyone, only a small percentage of people.

The book's concept is powerful and explained very well by Gladwell. Only one slight critique. The book could have been much shorter. It provides more examples than necessary to get the point across. Having said that does not take away from the important (and useful) ideas that the book explains!

The point at which the ideas, messages or behaviors of a population changes rapidly is known as the tipping point. Similar to an epidemic, contagious behavior is caused by a small percentage of people.

Changing others by using contagious behavior has significant implications. Much can be accomplished by focusing efforts. Instead of trying to change an entire population, only a small percentage of people need to be convinced to change.

In one story about a tipping point, Malcolm Gladwell discusses how behavior of criminals in New York City was changed. This was done by understanding human behavior and implementing tactics to improve it.

In the 1980s and early 1990's the poor neighborhoods of Brownsville and East New York and their streets had every conceivable violent and dangerous crime. Crime was spreading like a virus. To combat it New York needed a stronger vaccine--in essence, an anti-crime preventative.

A common solution for lowering crime is adding more police and jails. However, this only treats the symptoms of the problem. It does nothing to address the cause of crime nor does it lower it.

To solve its crime situation, New York City implemented what is now known as the Broken Windows theory. It was the brainchild of James Q. Wilson and George Kelling who used their Critical Thinking skills to solve a major problem. Their Broken Windows theory states that if a window is broken and left un-repaired then people walking by will assume no one cares and no one is in charge. Graffiti, public disorder and aggressive panhandling are the equivalents of broken windows. They were evidence of the virus that was inviting more serious crimes in New York City.

In other words, when a place is messy, people add to the messiness. That was the root cause of the crime in New York City. The solution that the Broken Windows theory provided was to clean up the city. Then, people would have an inclination to keep it clean. That in turn would reduce the serious crime. The discovery of this simple solution has some startling implications.

The Broken Windows theory solution was put into effect in all of New York City when Rudolph Giuliani became mayor. He appointed William Bratton as chief of police. Both Giuliani and Bratton believed that by controlling the minor and seemingly insignificant quality-of-life crimes they could create a Tipping Point for dropping the crime rate.

Giuliani and Bratton executed a policy to fix all broken windows, stop panhandlers, and paint over graffiti. They literally had the streets cleaned up.

For example, Bratton's police officers arrested people for not paying their train fairs. Although a small crime, these actions sent a signal to the criminal community that crime (any crime) wouldn't be tolerated by the authorities. The offenders were taken to police stations and checked for other outstanding offenses. Seven out of ten had outstanding offenses against them.

In another example, when gang members painted their graffiti overnight on trains, the authorities had the trains re-painted by the next morning. The gang members saw their hard work created overnight eliminated. This helped break their will to paint graffiti.

The broken windows theory worked. Crime dropped precipitously. People started caring; they felt someone was in charge. They began taking better care of their city.

Overall, a great book with powerful concepts. One Burning Question remains after reading this book:

Where else can we apply The Tipping Point to improve the world?

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking


Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
by Malcolm Gladwell
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Critical Decision Making Tool!, 24 July 2008
Sometimes decisions need to be made quickly. All of our knowledge, education, experience, reasoning, intuition, common sense and confidence must come together rapidly.

Malcolm Gladwell calls quick decision making thin slicing in his book: Blink. Thin slicing is the ability to focus on a small set of critical variables to make a quick decision rather than consciously considering every possible variable.

Many decisions are time dependent. Weighing the amount of information needed before making a decision, against the time available is a challenge.

Examples of when thin slicing is needed: combat, avoiding a car accident, or anything requiring an immediate decision. Another common name for thin slicing is thinking on your feet.

Gladwell does an excellent job of explaining what happens in these situations. For example:

"...in interviews with police officers who have been involved with shootings, these same details appear again and again: extreme visual clarity, tunnel vision, diminished sound, and the sense that time is slowing down. This is how the human body reacts to extreme stress..."

Besides the excellent examples given in the book, here is a classic example of using thin slicing.

Thin slicing was used on multiple occasions during the US space program. Gene Kranz (a flight controller on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs) writes about the need for quick accurate decisions in his book: Failure is not an Option.

Endless intensive simulations were run with the controllers, flight crew and others before every launch. Everyone's skills had to be razor sharp during the actual missions. Decisions had to be accurate and made in real time. There was little, and sometimes no room for error. Lives were at stake. Risk was part of their business.

Gene Kranz sums up how he gained his skills to be a top flight director when he said:

"The flight director's ultimate training comes at the console, working real problems, facing the risks, making irrevocable decisions."

Although we may not be faced with life and death decisions, we will (on occasions) have to make quick decisions. The better our skills and Critical Thinking are, coupled with training and quickness, the more prepared we will be to make sound decisions in the blink of an eye!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking


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