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    BK's Executive Managing Editor grudgingly answers all your questions about publishing and the whole wretched industry.

    • David Marshall

      Why a "Moment of Silence" Before BK Staff Meetings?

      Created by David Marshall

      I should know the answer this one since I've been an employee at Berrett-Koehler, but I don't. At the beginning of formal meetings (Editorial Meeting, BK Staff Meeting, Management Meeting, Publication Board, etc). we start with a moment of silence. I never encounterd this practice at any other company I've worked for though the years, but I find it somehow calming to take a deep breath and clear my mind and settle my body before starting the gathering. What is the origin of this practice at BK?

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    • Jeevan Sivasubramaniam

      Mark Levy Asks Me About Life, Chickens, and Jimmy Hoffa

      Created by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam

      Author Mark Levy asks:

      1. What is the meaning of life?
      2. Why is there something and not nothing?
      3. What came first, the chicken or the egg?
      4. Why do good things happen to bad people?
      5. What is the sound of one hand clapping? 
      6. Where is Jimmy Hoffa buried?

      From time to time I am asked these questions by elders, leaders, statesmen, the Dalai Lama, and Miley Ray Cyrus.  The answers are, of course, simple:

      1. The meaning of life is a life of meaning.

      2. There's always something and not nothing because even nothing is something. (A bit like the words of the immortal Geddy Lee : If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.)

      3. The egg came first.  All chickens lay eggs but not all eggs come from chickens, so the only logical conclusion is that of all given possibilities, the chicken arrived first.

      4. Good things happen to bad people because, unfortunately, bad things happen to good people.  Good things also happen to good people and bad things also happen to bad people -- the universe must balance out all things.

      5. That depends on what the one hand is clapping.  Clapping, by it's very nature, is an activity that requires two components so a single hand can't clap by itself. Or you can just say that the sound of one hand clapping is very much the same as the sound of a rabbit yawning.  Yeah, figure that one out, silly Zen Buddhists.

      6. Where is Jimmy Hoffa buried? Who said he was dead?

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    • Jeevan Sivasubramaniam

      Question: How Much Does Steve Work?

      Created by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam

      A BK community member who did not wish to be identified asked me the following question:

      "I get emails from Steve at ridiculous hours and times -- including on the weekend.  However, whenever I talk to him, he always seems to be full of energy and well-rested.  How many hours a week does Steve put in anyway?"

      The answer to that question would involve me giving away a  company secret.  Steve actually doesn't work crazy hours, he just sets his computer to Italian time so that all messages seem to go out with date stamps that suggest that he's working incredibly late in the evening or incredibly early in the morning.  Most of the time, Steve can be found relaxing with a cigar and a copy of the Wall Street Journal ("The NY Times is for polly-annas and communists," he often says) by his infinity pool at his Four Seasons Residences penthouse in downtown San Francisco.

      Alright, yes, Steve works insane hours from his home office in Pinole. He works six days a week for about 12-14 hours a day. I have worked with Steve for over a decade now and there's no sign of him letting up. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen him come bouncing into the office in the morning only to find out that he never went to sleep the night before.  Really.

      It's quite disgusting, in my opinion. I just wish there was some way to package and mass-produce whatever it is that drives him -- imagine the money I could make selling that on the open markets!  Unfortunately there's no way to bottle belief, faith, and mission -- but I'm working on it.

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