Search Results for: label/David Letterman

Anatomy of an Apology

In his first apology he really didn’t apologize for what he said but rather defended himself and even took shots at the ones he was apologizing to for making a big deal out of a possibly inappropriate joke he told that was the reason he was apologizing in the first place. Make sense?

I may have to read that sentence again myself. Slowly. During this first apology, one of the things David Letterman explained was that the criticism he was receiving was based, at least in part, on a simple misunderstanding that could easily be cleared up. When he joked that Todd and Sarah Palin’s daughter was getting ‘knocked up’ by Alex Rodriguez during the 7th inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, he thought people would know he meant the Palin’s 18-year-old daughter, not the 14-year-old daughter who was actually at the game and who was therefore “erroneously” assumed to be the one he was referring to.

As a parent, I would have felt a whole lot better if he was referring to my 18-year-old and not my 14-year-old, wouldn’t you?

Letterman also explained he’s told other jokes that he’s not proud of. Again, just the kind of reasoning to help things simmer down in a hurry.

Surprisingly, this first apology wasn’t received well by the Palins and others. Even women’s groups not known as staunch Palin supporters expressed dissatisfaction.

So five days later Letterman apologized again, but this time he really meant it. Somber newscasters declared this second apology attempt as “heartfelt” and “sincere.” The first apology was an obvious mulligan. In a blame reversal that even Bill Clinton would envy, a number of commentators took the time to criticize Governor Palin for inflammatory words of her own in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show when she said it would be wise to keep Willow away from Dave. Matt didn’t like that. Not at all. But as a hard nosed journalist that’s his job. And think about it. Palin did have her nerve picking on a helpless 62-year-old television icon, going so far as to make a statement that could be construed to indicate that she thinks he is a dirty old man, when expressing outrage over what was said about her 18-year-old daughter – though not the 14-year-old Willow as was previously mentioned.

Robert Schlesinger opined in his U.S. News and World Report blog that in her statement Palin had equaled Letterman for “cheap and classless jokes.” I might agree with Schlesinger but it’s still not clear she was joking and if it is determined she was, it was only one joke, not jokes.

So during the same week that protestors have taken to the streets in Tehran what does this compelling news episode teach us about apologizing? Just maybe, we ought to be straightforward, heartfelt, and sincere the first time out of the chute as opposed to a face-saving, self-serving, self-righteous, and sarcastic approach. Most of us know that’s easier said than done. So if we can’t pull off the contrite and clear method it seems that blaming the person we’ve wronged for putting us in a position to botch our apology is a good backup plan … it worked just fine for David Letterman after all.

The Runaway Pastor

I’ve worked in the publishing industry for more than 25 years now and have been blessed to have my hand on a number of bestsellers. I tried counting that exact number up the other day and I know I’ve missed a few – and maybe not accounted for some returns or remainder sales – but I think I’ve worked directly on at least 18 books that have sold more than a million units and somewhere close to 70 that have topped 100 thousand units. Okay, sounds like I’m bragging, but really, I want to make a point, which is: I have a fairly decent feel for what will work in the marketplace.

That’s what surprised me so much about publisher response to a book I represented as an agent, The Runaway Pastor, by a friend from my college days. Responses were tepid at best – and there was definite resistance by some. A few thought it was written as a negative indictment of ministers, the ministry, and the church. One publisher even waggled a finger at me! I spoke with a few general publishers who weren’t aware that anyone in America goes to church, so they weren’t convinced there is a market.

I admit, I was a little worried when David first asked me to give it a read. I was afraid that I would find the material poorly written and would have to figure out a diplomatic way to tell him that. But the book was very well written, exceptionally well for a first time fiction author. But what I thought the book really had going for it was a raw – but kind – honesty that gave it a couple of amazing “hooks” for several audiences. Because one thousand ministers leave the ministry every month:

  • I thought this book would strike a nerve with pastors – duh!
  • I figured most regular church attenders have been impacted by this career exodus, and that would make it a book of acute interest.
  • I assumed sociologists – particularly those who observe religious patterns in America – would find it fascinating.
  • I was certain that professors at Bible colleges and seminaries – and others who provide academic and professional development for ministers – would consider this must reading for themselves and those they work with.
  • I even suspected that some critics and skeptics of the church and Christianity might find the title intriguing.

Now I know the publishing industry is distressed and not as many books are being acquired – and new-author fiction has always been a high risk venture. But I still assumed this book proposal would sell quickly. I’ve got other projects that have been selling in short order. So when The Runaway Pastor didn’t have a taker within three months, David and I got back together and decided I would put this out as a micro-publishing project under one of my imprint names. He made me nervous – again – when he said his wife Shelly could design the book cover. I’ve seen a lot of author-directed book covers in my day and many have been awful. But I think she did a bang up job!

So voila. The Runaway Pastor is now available on Amazon and I think it is going to do great over time. I think it may get picked up by a major publishing house. I think it will generate a lot of publicity. In fact, David got an extended note from one person who reviews books for ministers:

I read The Runaway Pastor word for word, cover to cover this weekend and as far as realistic fiction is concerned, the book is nearly too realistic. The book reads so well also, causing the reader, especially one who may be prone to run away from it all, to consider the outcomes of running, to consider the options of seeking help, to muster the courage to wake up and tend to his/her inner life, his/her marital life, his/her emotional life. The book is a wake up for the Church as well. To consider its expectations of pastors as real or hyper-unrealistic, to consider a pastors marriage as something to be cultivated, to consider a pastor’s life as more precious than the goods and services the pastor offers. David Hayes, in my opinion, has a winner of a book which I hope helps pastors seek the help and guidance they need. The events surrounding Pastor Trent and his wife Natalie’s brokenness are all too real.

I’m not going to give a spoiler on how the story ends here. Just let me say that this book is a great tale of loss and redemption. A very clever storyline. Always respectful of the church, the ministry, and a life of faith. By the way, David knows whence he writes of. No, he didn’t run away from it all, but he did experience a significant bout of ministerial burnout – and survived it! In fact, he pastors a church today.

The nature of my business doesn’t require that I give a sales pitches on this blog – so I’m not real good at this – but I would encourage many who read this to strongly consider ordering a copy of The Runaway Pastor from Amazon right now.

(Publishers who are thinking maybe they should take a look at this … you know where to reach me! LOL)

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Jerusalem: A Biography – Montefiore’s History of the Holy City

Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore

A look at 3500 year history of the Holy City – from King David to today.

Most of us know that in 1493 Christopher Columbus sailed the “deep blue sea.” But one of his key motivations for sailing west to secure the riches of India never made it to our childhood textbooks. It can be found in a section of his letter to Ferdinand and Isabella that is often redacted: “before the end of the world all prophecies have to be fulfilled – and the Holy City has to be given back to the Christian Church.” It is usually taught that the Spanish monarchs commissioned Columbus to beat the Portuguese in the search for the west route to India. But what is left out is that the drive behind the commissioning was they felt exactly the same way as Columbus – they needed more gold to fund a new Crusade to the Holy Land.

That is just one small glimpse into the unique, amazing, incredible, and fascinating history of Jerusalem – from King David to the Six Day War; from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the concurrent rise of Jewish and Arab nationalism to the Israel-Palestine conflict – woven throughout Montefiore’s exquisite narrative on the history of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem has seemingly always been at the center of international politics and intrigue. In the 3000 years of Jerusalem’s known history, it was exclusively Jewish for 1000 years, Pagan for 300 years, Christian for 400 years, and Muslim for 1300 years. In all that time no group has secured or held the Holy City without bloodshed. Today it is the capital of two peoples and revered among three faiths. It is a never-ending clash of faith and civilization – and for many Muslims and Christians the place of the ultimate battle and of Judgment Day.

I picked up Jerusalem because I wanted a comprehensive history of the Holy City, particularly due to the fact that Jerusalem is such a focal point for contemporary international political debate. I thoroughly enjoy every minute of this 700-page book that is filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly – and a surprising amount of humor. I might not have agreed with all of Montefiore’s biblical exegesis during the history I am more familiar with due to my Old Testament and New Testament studies, but it didn’t matter because what I wanted was a sweep of the history and got it – three thousand years of faith and compromise, beauty and slaughter, and hatred and coexistence.

Jerusalem was filled with surprises – and not just Christopher Columbus’s fascination with the Holy City. For example, toward the end of the biblical era, I was taken back to learn how influential Herod was in Roman politics – he was close to Antony and Cleopatra, Tiberius, and a major reason Nero made it to the throne. Reading through the Crusader centuries was like reading a novel. I didn’t think it could get any more interesting but then I got to the 19th and 20th centuries when Rasputin, Lawrence of Arabia, Churchill, Tsar Alexander, Hitler, and so many other characters show up – every historical period was fascinating because of the people who kept popping in and out of the story of Jerusalem.

I’m not a historian, but I feel confident in asserting that whatever world history you do know will be enriched by reading this book.

In the Epilogue, Montefiore sketches out the parameters of a peaceful solution to the current political impasse, but does not seem overly optimistic it will be achieved: “Jerusalem may continue in its present state for decades, but whenever, if ever, a peace is signed, there will be two states, which is essential for Israel as a state and as a democracy, and justice and respect for the Palestinians.” That is, of course, the point where readers will agree and disagree for a variety of reasons, politically and religiously.

In closing, I’ll state the obvious. This is not a biblical, religious, spiritual book. Nor is it a political science book. It is a history book, though Montefiore is mostly careful about religious matters and sensitivities and at the end he does give his point of view on achieving peace. You will be disappointed in Jerusalem if you read this to confirm a political or religious interpretation.

I almost forgot to mention. I read this on my Kindle. I wish I had bought the paper and ink edition because of the maps and illustrations.

Montefiore’s own family is part of Jerusalem’s 19th and 20th Century history – and a section of the city still bears his family name. He has also written biographies on Potemkin and Stalin.

Bestselling Books of 2012

2012 was a good year to sell books as an author if your last name was James or Collins.

The January 4, 2012, online of edition of Publishers Weekly provided a chart with three bestseller lists, all dominated at the top by Fifty Shades of Grey (E.L. James) and The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins).

Bestselling Books of 2012
Nielsen Bookscan Top 20
Amazon Kindle Top 20
Amazon Print Top 20
1. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Vintage)
1. Fifty Shades of Greyby E.L. James (Vintage)
1. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (Vintage)
2. Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James (Vintage)
2. Fifty Shades Darkerby E.L. James (Vintage)
2. Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James (Vintage)
3. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (Vintage)
3. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (Vintage)
3. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James (Vintage)
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)1
4. The Hunger Gamesby Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
5. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath (Gallup Press)
6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
6. Fifty Shades Trilogy Box Set by E.L. James (Vintage)
7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)
7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown)
7. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
8. No Easy Day by Mark Owen (Dutton)
8. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
9. Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly (Henry Holt)
9. Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Berkley)
9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)
10. Fifty Shades Trilogy Box Set by E.L. James (Vintage)
10. The Racketeer by John Grisham (Doubleday)
10. No Easy Day by Mark Owen (Dutton)
11. Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly (Henry Holt)
11. Reflected in You by Sylvia Day (Berkley)
11. The Hunger Games Trilogy Box Set by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
12. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson)
12. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central)
12. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown)
13. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (Hyperion)
13. Defending Jacob by William Landay (Delacorte)
13. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (Hyperion)
14. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Crown)
14. War Brides by Helen Bryan (AmazonEncore)
14. The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd Edition by the College Board (The College Board)
15. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)2
15. A Game of Thronesby George R.R. Martin (Bantam)
15. A Song of Fire and Ice, Books 1–4 by George R.R. Martin (Bantam)
16. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)3
16. The Innocent by David Baldacci (Grand Central)
16. Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly (Henry Holt)
17. The Hunger Games Triology Box Set by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
17. No Easy Day by Mark Owen (Dutton)
17. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Amer. Psychological Assn.)
18. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (Little, Brown)
18. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (Bantam)
18. Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly (Henry Holt)
19. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books)
19. 11/22/63 by Stephen King (Scribner)
19. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House)
20. The Racketeer by John Grisham (Doubleday)
20. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Berkley)
20. Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander (Simon & Schuster)
Nielsen/BookScan (week ending Dec. 30, 2012)
Amazon Kindle (as of Dec. 31, 2012)
Amazon (as of Dec. 31, 2012)