What I’m Reading: 3/30/2014

These are the highlights of what I read, watched, and listened to this past week: For Pleasure Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard (book) 60% of the way through Can You Hack Charisma? by Teresa Chin (article) When she was working on a story for Forbes and felt she had a reason for introducing herself to people, for example, she noticed she would hold an upright stance—more so than when she approached someone at a party. Her personality didn’t change, just her internal sense of comfort, and the way her actions appeared to others. change the exterior first, which will affect the interior. 
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Multiply Strengths vs. Improve Weaknesses

The school of thought goes like this: “Focus on your strengths to see exponential growth. At best, improving your weaknesses leads to marginal growth.” The idea’s touted all over the internet. Here’s one or two places. Check your Google for others. In theory this sounds fine. By sticking to your strengths, you’ll “produce” (in the broadest definition of the word) more for the world, at a higher quality, with greater satisfaction. Versus struggling through tasks which require a disposition you don’t have, or skill sets you haven’t acquired. For example, in all likelihood I will never become a terrific programmer
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What I’m Reading: 3/23/2014

Highlights of my reading, listening, watching this past week: For Pleasure Prayers for Rain by Dennis Lehane The last Lehane book on my list to read. 12 Rules for Learning Foreign Languages in Record Time — The Only Post You’ll Ever Need by Benny Lewis Silicon Valley’s Youth Problem by Yiren Lu In a follow-up interview: “Can you tell me more about the angst you describe in Silicon Valley? Those of us on the outside might think that angst does not belong in the same sentence as, say, $100,000 starting salaries. The angst I’m describing has nothing to do with money in
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First Impressions Stick

It’s human nature, I think, to believe your first impression. The one made the second someone walks through your door, and puts their hand into yours. Humans are predisposed to look for evidence that corroborates what we already believe, not find reasons why we may be wrong. So if you come into your first Hollywood production company as a intern, big-eyed and cash-money green, that’s how people will see you. For a long time. If you come into a studio as an assistant, they may never see you as executive material. Not that it doesn’t happen — of course it
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What I’m Reading: 3/16/2014

These are the highlights of what I read, watched, and listened to this past week: Books Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard I’m only about 50 pages in.I’ve been stymied by recent script reading/work, so haven’t contributed enough time between work tasks and at night as I’d like. It was tough digging into Leonard’s writing at first, but since so many crime novelists attribute him for their style, I’ve stuck it out and think I’m over the hump. Will probably need another two weeks to finish.  Articles The Math of Hit TV Shows by Amy Chozick Why a Failed Pilot Actually
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When It Was Time to Stop Working for My Father

Last week, I talked about how to recognize when it’s time to leave your organization. If they’re telling you: “Don’t try new things.” “Toe the line.” “Do what worked before.” Then it’s time to go. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Of course, quitting your job never is. This is the story of quitting my first job after college… working for my father. I worked for my father for about two years, starting in the winter of 2008. It was one of the best learning and life experiences I could ask for. In hindsight, we opened the first restaurant, Shogun
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If You’re Looking for Permission You’ve Come to the Wrong Place

One of my favorite interviews of all time (and thanks to the handcrafted Aux Hook-up in my car, I listen to many) is Bryan Elliot’s interview of Seth Godin, for the Icarus Deception. In the interview, Seth says — and I’m going to paraphrase here: “The excuse that, ‘My boss doesn’t give me permission’ is a bad one. Why should he? You’re not asking for permission, what you’re saying is, ‘Can I go do this thing, and if it works, I’m going to take all the credit, and if it doesn’t, you’ll take all the blame.’ Who would agree to
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This Is What I Accomplished with All The Time in the World

For an extended stretch of time two years ago,  I had A LOT of time to write. It’s called “unemployed.” I had finished a Production Coordinator job. I wasn’t great at being a Production Coordinator — you in fact, need to know things about Production in order to Coordinate — which I did not. Nor did I possess a passion for physical production. So no surprise THERE when I wasn’t asked to join the next project. (The indignation of some interns and temps, when they’re not asked to stay on for full employment, baffles me. If they didn’t try to
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It Took Me 4 Years to Build a Regular Poker Game – And Why That’s Okay

The second time my roommates and I hosted a poker game in Los Angeles, four people showed up to the apartment. Three of them — including myself — lived there. The fourth, he was interning (like us), was car-less, and lived in a hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Armed with a bag of Doritos and pretzel thins, he took a 45-minute bus ride to arrive at our doorstop… to find that everyone else flaked. An hour later and the Doritos eaten, we gave him a ride back to his hotel. How hard was starting a small poker game? How different
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The ONE Thing My Friend Taught Me… That Changed My Career, Relationships, and Happiness

I keep a mental list of things I’m awful at: Cooking Making the bed Writing long lists Only one thing really held me back, in my career, personal life, and relationships, though. In college, when I saw how my friend used this one strategy, it was like a strong punch of sobriety after a night of too many cheap vodka shots. It’s effect in this year alone: I earned more money (almost a $10,000 yearly increase), created my first Hollywood tracking board, and developed a more valuable network of colleagues. I’ll get to all that. First, though – back to
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