I Wouldn't Do That If I Were Me: Modern Blunders and Modest Triumphs (but Mostly Blunders)


“He finally had time to…”
Zillions of cartoonists have reinvented this desert island cartoon. What’s your LOL caption? Complete the sentence and submit to Your Weekly Staff Meeting. (There may be prizes!)

Jumpstart Your 2023 Creativity

OK, I admit it. I read the comics every day in the online editions of the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register. (I only read the funniest strips. My opinion: comics are trending towards unfunny, unfortunately.)

My favorite annual Christmas gift (Thank you, Joanne!) is the page-a-day Cartoons from The New Yorker 2023 Day-to-Day Calendar. The cartoon below is hilarious! The camper in the tent asks, “Do you hear something?”

And when a great humor book comes along, I laugh my way across every page. Proverbs 17:22 (NIV) reminds us, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Comics, cartoons, and LOL books all share a DNA that inspires me: CREATIVITY!

Example: Are you creative enough to write an original punch line for the classic desert island cartoon? There have been zillions—but they keep coming. The creativity of many cartoonists and authors is stunning. So…when Jason Gay’s new book arrived last month, I savored it …slowly…miserly measuring out each chapter…as if I only had one treasured book on that lonely desert island. I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were Me: 
Modern Blunders and Modest Triumphs (but Mostly Blunders)

by Jason Gay

This is the perfect book for the new year. Good medicine for the soul. Enjoy it—chapter by chapter, dose by hilarious dose—but warning! This Wall Street Journal sports writer sometimes shifts the gears in his clown car and very personal and poignant stories pop out. You’ll love this book!

MARS. Jason Gay predicts that we’re all going to wind up on Mars. Traveling there, you’ll receive “an insane amount of frequent flier miles.” It’s a long flight, but you can “look out the window” or “read the in-flight Mars Rocket magazine. It’s, like, eleven profiles of Elon Musk.” And this: “When you get to Mars, the jet lag is going to be unbelievable. I’m just warning you.”

Good news! “There will be pickleball, because those pickleballers are everywhere now.” And—this is a surprise!—“There are probably board meetings” to discuss septic systems and elevator problems. “Life is too short,” admits the author. “I’m not raising my hand for any Mars board subcommittees.”

ATTN: SWA SURVIVORS. If you survived a flight (or did not) during Southwest Airlines’ cancelled flights debacle, you’ll appreciate Jason Gay’s chapter, “Fighting While Flying.” He writes, “Somewhere along the way, flying stopped feeling like travel and started resembling . . . the internet, in real life.” (So true!) He suggests “doses of perspective” including:
• “Assume your flight is going to be a terrible experience.”
• “We need to widen the category of reasons we can ban people from the sky.” (Example: “Passengers who take off their socks.”)
• “Stop the window screen patrol” and “Recline humanely.”
• “Loud typing.” (He’s been shushed more than once while working on a column!) And: “Can we please take it easy on the jerky?”

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. Before you read this chapter—and to exercise your creativity competencies—make a list of the proper gift for each year of wedded bliss (Years 1 to 51). I had no idea that the rules have been updated! Here are some hints:
   • 7th Year: Phone charger
   • 10th Year: Typing lessons
   • 34th Year: Book about submarines
   • 44th Year: Tire jack

PUBLIC SPEAKING. Apparently, even after reading Public Speaking (one of my Top-10 books of 2021), I have more to learn. Jason Gay says he “had the shocking honor of addressing the graduating class” at his college alma mater. (He thinks the invite was actually meant for another person named Jason!) But he does dispense timely wisdom: “The main goal of any speech is to stop talking.” (He lists 23 short keepers. Give this book to your pastor!) 

SILENCE! Maybe my favorite short chapter was “Interview with a Man Who Lost His Phone on the First Day of Vacation.” (True story! He interviews himself. Hilarious.) Learnings:
• No iPhone camera? No problem. “Not every parenting moment needs to be exhaustively chronicled.”
• Instead of nonstop listening to podcasts, “I had to retrain myself to do chores in silence. Make the bed, put away clothes, clean the bathroom—these things had to happen in silence, like I was in trouble at a monastery.”
• “Also, I read a book.” On the plane ride home, he read another book. The interviewer notes, “Never see that anymore.” Jason: “The passenger next to me called for a flight attendant. She was concerned.”

OR MAYBE… my favorite chapters (three!) were about Baxter, his cat—and I’m not even a cat guy. (LOL: Must-read!) Or maybe the chapter, “Sitting Still”—the poignant tribute to a friend who died a year ago. Can you get teary-eyed reading a humor book? Yes.

NOT ACTUALLY FAIR. Is it fair for one author (a sports writer, even) to be gifted with such exuberant creativity and humor? Not really, but bravo to Jason Gay!

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” I will read this wonderful book again.

To order from Amazon, click on the title for I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were Me: Modern Blunders and Modest Triumphs (but Mostly Blunders), by Jason Gay. Listen on Libro.fm (4 hours, 28 minutes, read by the author). And thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy.

P.S. When I read Jason Gay’s 2015 book, Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living, I wrote, “I can hardly wait for Little Victories 2.” Now…I can hardly wait for his next book.

1) To enjoy Jason Gay’s hilarious sports (and more) insights, read the Wall Street Journal columns on his 2023 resolutions, his “22 More Rules for Thanksgiving Family Touch Football,” and this Jan. 4, 2023, poignant piece, “Football Can Wait for Damar Hamlin”). Do you have the right balance of humor and hoopla! to spark your team’s creative juices?
2) I reviewed three “humor” books in 2021, including A Comedian’s Prayer Book, by Frank Skinner. In 2022, I reviewed Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life (And how anyone can harness it. Even you.) The authors describe four styles of humor. What’s your style? What’s the upside (and LOL side) of studying humorists, cartoonists, and funny sports writers? How do you exercise your creativity muscles?   

Mastering 100 Must-Read Books – Part 2: Books-of-the-Year

Book #13 of 100:
Leadership Briefs

For your team meeting this week, inspire a team member to lead your “10 Minutes for Lifelong Learning” session by spotlighting Book #13 in Mastering 100 Must-Read Books

Xenophon’s Cyrus the Great:
The Arts of Leadership and War, by Xenophon
(Larry Hedrick, Editor)
Books #6 through #21 feature 16 books that I named the Book-of-the-Year from 2006 to 2020. When Peter Drucker was asked for the best book on leadership, he responded: “The first systematic book on leadership—the Kyropaidaia by Xenophon, himself no mean leader of men—is still the best book on the subject.”
   • Read my review.
   • Order from AmazonXenophon’s Cyrus the Great
   • Listen on Libro (6 hours, 31 minutes)
   • Download the 100 Must-Read Books list (from John and Jason Pearson)

Many of my reading colleagues tilt towards the skinny management books, not 295-page tomes. But this is neither. This is readable. This is exciting. Leadership, coaching, mentoring, innovation, psychology, motivation, crisis management, social styles, cultural hiccups. Plus: stunning acts of kindness. And generosity—AMAZING generosity. The case studies in generosity (on and off the battlefield) will shock you. Wow.

Watch for my “Zoom Review,” March 7, of The Four Workarounds: Strategies from the World’s Scrappiest Organizations for Tackling Complex Problems, by Paulo Savaget (Pub. Date: March 7, 2023, 304 pages). Pre-order from Amazon. David Schmidt and Jason Pearson will join me on Zoom with their color commentaries. Visit the Pails in Comparison blog for a short list of books on my 2023 review list. 

PEARPOD | TELLING YOUR STORY. Even serious work can be communicated with humor. (We buy insurance from a gecko!) As you position your story in 2023, consider how the four social styles and the four humor styles will respond to your communication strategies and tactics. Check-out our book, ReBrand: Workbook + Coloring Sheets For Ministry Branding. We can help you. Contact Jason Pearson at Pearpod (Design, Digital, Marketing, Social).

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