Author Archives: randy

Coming for the January 7, 2022 First Friday Book Synopsis – Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown, and Rule of the Robots by Martin Ford


Jan. 7, 2022 FFBS

First Friday Book Synopses
Friday, January 7, 2022
7:00 am, CST

Randy Mayeux provides thorough synopses of the content of useful, best-selling business books. He provides a comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout, that concludes with his own lessons and takeaways from each book he presents.

What we know, we know because we have learned.

And, our learning begins with the thoughts we think, and the words we read and hear.  And, of course, the observations we make.

And, one good way to keep learning – some would argue the best way to keep learning – is to learn what is in the best books.
I hope you can join us!

January 7, 2022 –

(Hybrid Meeting:  Park City Club and Zoom – Details about registration for the in-person session coming soon.  So, mark your calendar now, and more info will follow soon.

1. Rule of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Everything by Martin Ford.

2. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown.

What to expect:
Two fast paced synopsis presentations. You will receive a synopsis handout to download for each of the two books, delivered the day before the event, via e-mail.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO READ THE BOOKS IN ADVANCE! – No pre-reading of the books required!

If you are like many, you do not have time to read all of the books you would like to read. The First Friday Book Synopsis is designed for you.

Our synopses are comprehensive, thorough, and they will give you plenty of the key content from the book. You will learn, and be able to ponder the ideas in a useful way. And, even if you have read the book, my synopsis will help you remember more of what you read.

I hope you can join us.

Download the two Synopses Handouts for the Friday, December 3, 2021 First Friday Book Synopsis (over Zoom) — Impact Players: How to Take the Lead, Play Bigger, and Multiply Your Impact by Liz Wiseman, and Stop Overthinking by Nick Denton

We are in Year #24 of our monthly gatherings.

 FFBS, Dec., 2021

You are invited
First Friday Book Synopsis,
Friday, December 3, 2021, 7:30 am (Central Time), on Zoom.
I hope you can join us!

Impact Players,cover

Click on image to download the two synopsis handouts


Well over 100 people have been joining us on our “Remote” First Friday Book Synopsis gatherings. We have had participants from all over the country. Please share this word far and wide — all are welcome!

You are invited!

This Friday, December 3, 2021 – Zoom

Two Book Synopses: 

1. Karl Krayer to present: Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present (Mental and Emotional Abundance) – March 1, 2021 by Nick Trenton.

2. Impact Players: How to Take the Lead, Play Bigger, and Multiply Your Impact by Liz Wiseman. Harper Business. 2021. – Randy Mayeux to present this synopsis.

Where: on ZOOM
When: This Friday, December 3, 7:30 am (Central Time)
The presentation will conclude shortly after 8:30 am
Speaker: Randy Mayeux will deliver both synopsis presentations.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 898 9822 0119
Passcode: 507154


We are all set for Friday’s Remote First Friday Book Synopsis.

#1 — Download, and print both synopses handouts by clicking here.

If you have ever attended our event, you know that I am handout intensive. You really will be able to follow along better with physical copies of the handouts in front of you. So, if you have a printer, please print the handouts.

#2 — Come on in for conversation whenever you can. I have enabled the “enable join before host” button. You will arrive in the waiting room, and be let in quickly. So, you can come in, and talk to folks. I will plan to join the meeting around 7:00, and we will begin the program right at 7:30. And, I will not “end the meeting” for a while after, if you want to continue conversations with others after we officially conclude.

#3 — Here is the info, with the link to join the gathering:

Randy Mayeux is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting

Randy Mayeux is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: First Friday Book Synopsis, December 3, 2021

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 898 9822 0119
Passcode: 507154

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Reminder: The cost of this remote meeting is “free.”

But, if you would like to contribute to participate, Randy would welcome you to send $12.00 directly to him through PayPal. Click here for a direct link to “donate” through PayPal.

(Note: you can also send money through Zelle, at Randy’s e-mail address).

(Randy’s e-mail address for PayPal, and Zelle, is ).

Please help spread the word far and wide; help make this a success.


You might want to read this post. It has a printable one-sheet reminder on how to make the most of your remote learning experience.

Remote Learning 101 – Read this before attending your learning session.

The Long Game: How to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world by Dorie Clark – Here are my five lessons and takeaways

The Long Game• In The Long Game, my goal is to lay the process bare and to share the unvarnished reality behind what it takes to build long-term success.
• The Long Game is intended to be a clarion call on behalf of long-term thinking.
• The truth is, none of us can predict the future. But we can certainly identify goals we want to head toward, or potential vulnerabilities we want to avoid.
• Long-term thinking protects us during downturns (of all kinds), because it keeps us moving toward our most important goals. …We need to be nimble, and adapt when circumstances change. But long-term thinking is what undergirds everything and enables us to make those adjustments.
You have to study what’s worked before and what you wish to emulate, and then determine where you want to do something different.                                                                                                                                    
• Playing the long game—eschewing short-term gratification in order to work toward an uncertain but worthy future goal—isn’t easy. But it’s the surest path to meaningful and lasting success in a world that so often prioritizes what’s easy, quick, and ultimately shallow.  
• Playing the long game means being patient enough to wade through that self-doubt and persevere.
All of us can learn to delay gratification and enhance our self-control. In other words, all of us can become long-term thinkers.
• …the foundational skills necessary to become a long-term thinker: a willingness to say no, because you’ll never achieve your own agenda if you don’t have room to set one in the first place; a willingness to “fail,” understanding that what most people call failure is simply useful data you’re gathering; and a willingness to trust in the process long enough to see results.  
• The only goal of this book has been to show you how to think, and act, for the long term, to make that possible. Now it’s up to you.
Dorie Clark, The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term


I presented my synopsis of The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World by Dorie Clark at the November First Friday Book Synopsis. The book provides a clear call to the long game, to being a long-term thinker in a very short-term world.  And it provides some very specific ways to become just that.

I especially appreciated one strong suggestion;  when you meet a new person, in any setting, but especially in any networking setting, you should ask nothing from that person for at least a year:  “no asks for a year.”  In other words, first build the relationship; slowly.  Play the long game!

As I always do, I include in my synopsis a number of elements to help us capture the key content of the book:

What is the point? Here it is for this book:  In this pandemic era, we seem to be hit hard by the short-term realities.  But, this, as always, is the time to take the long view, and plan for the long game.  Taking the long view is the only view to take.

Why is this book worth our time? Here are my three reasons for this book:
#1 – This book is a career-counseling tutorial.  It will help you map out the next chapter(s) of your career.
#2 – This book is a networking tutorial.  Knowing how to meet people, and how to build long-term (long-game) relationships, can really make a difference.
#3 – This book tells you that you may have more to discover – about yourself; about what you can do, what you can accomplish.  So, get to it.

I always include a few pages of Quotes and Excerpts from the book – the “best of” Randy’s highlighted Passages.  Here are the best of the best from this book:

• We’re stuck in permanent “execution mode,” without a moment to take stock or ask questions about what we really want from life.   
• The secret, I knew, was to find a way to earn money that didn’t depend on my physical presence—to stop  
• “Through my career, I’ve come to know hundreds of CEOs, and not one of them—I mean, zero—has ever disagreed with the concept of equality.” pg. 14
• When all the incentives point toward short-term revenue goals, that’s what executives optimize for. “The result of that,” Jonathan says, “is that you can lose by winning.” 
• There’s a great quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that goes something like: we measure ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others measure us based on what we’ve done. This makes sense, of course. But it’s awfully frustrating when there’s a gap between what we know we can accomplish and what we’ve done up to that point.   
• Everything takes longer than we want it to. Everything. … I’ve made my peace with patience, because everything meaningful I’ve done has required far more time than I wanted or anticipated.  
• Trying to do it all means nothing of substance will ever get done. 
• The first step is understanding that the key to a meaningful life is to set our own terms for it.  The other step is understanding that we can attain almost anything we want—but not instantly. If we’re methodical, if we’re persistent, and if we take small, deliberate steps, we can arrive there. The going may be slow at first, but the advantages of those actions, compounded over time, can lead to stunning results.
• You can’t pour more liquid into a glass that’s already full. …Without time to reflect, an ominous possibility looms: What if we’re optimizing for the wrong things?
• 96%—claimed they don’t have enough time to do long-term strategic thinking. Really? 
• A McKinsey study shows knowledge workers spend a full 28% of their time processing email.  …an average of sixty-two meetings per month. …it breaks down to about two or three meetings per workday.
• …Meanwhile, our real work—the work we get evaluated on, and that actually accomplishes something—is what gets sandwiched in between. 
• So why can’t we stop? …being busy, at least in the United States, signals high social status.   
• “The average person has mountains of inefficiency in their day, things that they put up with and they don’t even realize it, because they’ve given themselves permission to work as long as it takes.” 
• “You don’t need time to have a good idea,” he told me. “You need space. And you can’t think appropriately if you don’t have space in your head. It takes zero time to have an innovative idea or to make a decision, but if you don’t have psychic space, those things are not necessarily impossible, but they’re suboptimal.”   
• Saying no is the ultimate weapon in the battle to become a long-term thinker—and it is a battle. 
• If you feel anything less than ‘Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!’—then say ‘no.’” 
• If you’re going to be great at anything, it comes at a price. The trade-off that most companies refused to make was accepting that in order to be great at something, you had to be willing to be bad at something else. 
• Saying yes to everything means being average at everything. 
 • The problem isn’t saying no to terrible, boring opportunities: those are easy to dismiss. The problem—for me, and most professionals—is knowing how to balance competing priorities when the offer is quite tempting.   
• When you’re unsure of where your interests lie—or you feel like you used to know and have lost touch—go back to first principles and think about what inspired you at the beginning of your journey. Sometimes we just need to remember what got us started in the first place.   
• Too often, we tend to look at where we are right now, and say, “Where can I go from here?” But that’s asking the wrong question. If you start with your present situation, you’re limiting yourself out of the gate to what seems attainable. 
• But if you push when you’re able and you do the hard work of carving out 20% time, you’re often in rare company—and your experience has the potential to be transformative. 
• Some people suddenly become willing to experiment when things have gone badly. That’s the wrong time.  
• There’s a well-known saying: we overestimate what we can accomplish in a day, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year. …it’s even more true that we radically underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade.
• Sometimes, if the opportunity in front of you lines up perfectly with your goals, you might want to strategically overinvest.
• “It’s really hard to identify what the number one thing you should be working on is, because you can only really figure that out in hindsight.” 
• You’re more effective when you work in cycles than if you slog forward, repeating the same tasks every day.  
• You can write one hundred articles a month, but if they’re all on your own blog and no one knows who you are, it still won’t land you a book deal or a consulting contract.
• And it’s true that turning someone into a genuine friend takes a serious investment of time. …it takes about fifty hours of exposure to move someone from acquaintance to casual friend, another ninety hours to move them up to actual friend status, and more than two hundred hours to turn someone into a close friend.  
• What if someone attacks you, or doesn’t like your ideas? That’s not impossible, but the far more common problem in your first couple of years is actually the opposite: complete and total silence.
• I tell participants in my Recognized Expert course that they have to be willing to do the work of sharing their ideas publicly for at least two or three years before they start to see any results.
• If one hundred people reject your work, that’s a pretty clear message. But one or two or ten? You haven’t even gotten started.

Here are a number of the key points I made from this book:

  • About Dorie Clark
  • especially known for and respected for her “Respected Expert” course
  • published in many top business publications
  • Prelude: Long-term, in a pandemic-survival era?
  • The real issue, he said, was “what’s likely to change unexpectedly and bite any long-term thinking in the ass.” Was long-term thinking even relevant anymore?
  • Randy’s Observation:
  • This is a book about making money while keeping your sanity and your health.
  • This book is part inspiration and motivation, and part tutorial…
  • Grasp this difference:
  • The secret is understanding the crucial difference between failure and experimentation—because if you’re learning, you’re not actually failing. 
  • Where is your focus?
  • In other words, we have to get smart about what we focus on.
  • To become a better, sharper, and more strategic thinker, the first step is clearing away the nonessentials.
  • Say no to terrible offers; say no to middling offers/opportunities; say yes only to the great, very best offers… (Anything less than a nine out of ten on your excitement scale, or even a ten out of ten, becomes a “no”).
  • But the question remains: in a world of choices, what should we focus on?
  • Who do you admire?
  • But I’ve met a few super-successful people that are calm, collected, unbothered, and give you their full attention. …Changing our perspective on whom we admire is a powerful first step.
  • But, of course, even if we respect people who have total discretion over their schedule and plenty of time for what’s most important, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to become them. 
  • Tips
  • Just work from your calendar; don’t develop and use a to-do list that will overwhelm you…
  • Whatever is not important at all, you don’t schedule it at all.
  • Decide where you will spend your time; and with whom…
  • Give yourself a deadline – set a firm date!
  • “Whatever it is,” says Sam, “whether someone wants to write a book, launch their own business, travel on their own, or whatever, I’ll just say almost unequivocally: if you do not have a date on the calendar, it is not getting done.” — “A precommitment needs to have metrics if it’s going to succeed.”
  • Think in Decades
  • Think in Waves…
  • Experiment when you are strong; not when you are desperate
  • Keep learning — Remember: don’t stop learning. Soon, it’ll be time to start the cycle over again so you don’t stagnate.
  • You need (lots of) at bats!
  • Just begin!
  • For any activity where you feel nervous or averse, find one small way to begin.
  • A big step to take
  • Decide what to be bad at – in other words, decide to be good at only what you want to be really good at.
  • the most successful companies were the ones who were unafraid to choose what to be bad at. — “Choosing to be bad is your only shot at achieving greatness. And resisting it is a recipe for mediocrity.” 
  • So, how to decide (what to do with your time)? — Four questions can help you determine whether something is worth doing:
  • What is the total time commitment?
  • What is the opportunity cost?
  • What’s the physical and emotional cost?
  • Would I feel bad in a year if I didn’t do this?
  • Optimize for meaning (not for money)
  • One possible alternative—a great one, if you feel clear about pursuing it—is to optimize for meaning.
  • Then…if you don’t (yet) know – optimize for interesting
  • “Whenever you have a choice of what to do, choose the more interesting path.”
  • When it comes to optimizing for interesting, what’s really interesting isn’t a goal that feels manageable. It’s working toward a goal that’s remarkable.
  • “optimize for interesting” and follow your curiosity.
  • Maybe optimize for extreme goals
  • we need to choose extreme goals—
  • So…
  • Embrace 20% time – personally. – (Google News and Gmail were products of 20% time experimentation).
  • The truth is, it’s challenging to carve out 20% time. — You have to make the extra effort, fight against other pressures on your schedule, and create your own openings. 
  • Four key Career Waves in becoming a recognized expert in your field:
  • Learning
  • Creating — The key is to make yourself “findable” by the people you’d most like to do business with.
  • Connecting
  • Reaping.
  • Three types of networking:
  • short term, long term, and infinite horizon.
  • It’s short-term, transactional networking that gives the whole enterprise a bad name, and I’m going to suggest we avoid it whenever humanly possible.
  • When we network for the long term or with an infinite horizon—that is, when we set out to make friends and build relationships, rather than simply get something—it feels entirely different.
  • The strategy I follow personally, and recommend to others, is no asks for a year.
  • Networking done right isn’t about what it can get you today or tomorrow. It’s about what kind of life you want to live and surrounding yourself with the kind of people you want coming along on that journey.

Dorie Clark’s top five ideas from this book (chosen by Dorie Clark herself):

  • Decide what to be bad at.
  • Adopt 20% time.
  • Embrace “Heads Up” and “Heads Down” modes.
  • No asks for a year.
  • Understand the deception phase. (no progress; no progress; no progress; then, boom progress! – Doubling; exponential growth. Thanks to Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler)

And here are my Five Lessons and Takeaways

#1 – We all need to spend time just thinking about the long haul.
#2 – Do get very good at something.
#3 – We will need to develop deep expertise, but then experiment again – think in waves.
#4 – Do not take advantage of others; you will feel dirty; they will feel resentful. (No asks for a year).
#5 – Be patient; keep at it; be patient.

I read this book, presented my synopsis, and realized, I’ve got some work to do.  I need to adjust my thinking.  And, I need to get more serious about working on and in my “plan.”

Not only do I have to take the long view; I have to work the long view.

This is quite a helpful, useful book.  I highly recommend it.


  • a footnote – Google Derek Thompson’s article (in The Atlantic) on “Hot Streaks in Your Career Don’t Happen by Accident: First Explore, then Exploit.” And, revisit Range: How Generalist Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein.


My synopsis, with the audio recording of my presentation, and my comprehensive, multi-page handout, will be available soon on this web site.  Click here for our newest additions.

We have many synopses available. Click on the buy synopses tab at the top of this page to search by book title.

My synopsis of We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is Today, Thursday, November 18, 12:30 pm, over Zoom – Come Join Us – (And, here is the synopsis handout)

Click on image to download handout

Click on image to download handout

If you have an open lunch time window Today, Thursday, November 18, 12:30 pm (CST), I am presenting my synopsis of We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 12:30 (CST) for the Urban Engagement Book Club, sponsored by CitySquare, on Zoom.

This is an important book on gender equality. It is clear; to the point. I think you will find this a learning experience. You will learn!

I encourage you to download my synopsis handout, print it out, and follow along.

Come join us on Zoom.

Urban Engagement Book Club
Thursday, November 18, 2021 – 12:30 pm (CST)
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Synopsis presented by Randy Mayeux
We conclude shortly after 1:30.
(This event is free).

And, here is the Zoom link to join our gathering. 

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 871 8581 2415
Passcode: 539416

{Note: click here to see the line-up of books for our gatherings throughout the year.}


Here is the more complete Zoom info.

Randy Mayeux is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: UEBC, third Thursdays, 2021
Time: November 18, 12:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 871 8581 2415
Passcode: 539416

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Hope you can join us.

UEBC, 11,2021

Here is the New York Times list of best-selling business books for November, 2021 – Atomic Habits by James Clear is back at the #1 spot

Atomic HabitsThe New York Times has (finally; the latest in the month I’ve seen) published its list of best-selling business books for November, 2021.

Atomic Habits by James Clear is back at the top of the list.  I have followed this list for many years, and there has never been a book at, or near, the top as long as Atomic Habits has been throughout the pandemic month.  Maybe presonal habits and work habits have been a big concern during the COVID era.

Of the ten books on this month’s list, we have presented synopses of five of them at our First Friday Book Synopsis events.  I have presented Atomic Habits, Dare to Lead, and Extreme Ownership.  My former colleague, Karl Krayer, presented his synopses of Thinking, Fast and Slow and Grit.

In addition, I presented my synopsis of Maid at the Urban Engagement Book Club, sponsored by CitySquare.  This monthly book gathering focuses on books dealing with issues of social justice (racial equality; poverty; homelessness…).

I presented my synopsis of this book early in 2019

I presented my synopsis of this book early in 2019

The Brené Brown has been on this list for quite a long time.  And the Daniel Kahneman book has been on the best-sellers list since Abraham Lincoln was president. (OK – not quite that long…).  It is, by the way, quoted in many, many other business books; this has been a very influential book.

Here is this month’s list of best-selling business books.  Click over to the New York Times site for links to reviews of a few of these books.




#1 – Atomic Habits by James Clear
#2 – Vanderbilt by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe
#3 – Maid by Stephanie Land
#4 – The Daily Laws by Robert Green
#5 – Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
#6 – Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnman
#7 – The Perfect Day to Boss Up – by Rick Ross with Neil Martiez-Belkin
#8 – Grit by Angela Duckworth
#9 – I Will Teach You to be Rich, Second Edition by Ramit Sethi
#10 – Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin


You can purchase our synopses presentations from the buy synopses tab at the top of this page.  On that page, you can search by book title. And click here for our newest additions.

Each synopsis comes with my comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout, plus the audio recording of my presentation delivered at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas.

Thinking Fast and Slow

Perennial best seller

On Teaching and Learning, in Life, and Within Organizations (part 2) – (Reflections on Learning Organizations, filled with Fellow Learners)

I am still learning - Michelangelo at age 87 - continuous education concept on a slate blackboard against red barn wood

In business management, a learning organization is a company that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself.  The concept was coined through the work and research of Peter Senge and his colleagues.

A learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.
David A. Garvin, Building a Learning Organization

Create a climate for learning.
Dan Weston, Business Consultant and Coach, Dallas, TX


Yesterday, I wrote:  You might need a coach, advisor, consultant counselor… but, you also might need a teacher.

I included these lines:

My job is to teach.
For the people I teach, their job is to learn.

I’ve had a conversation or two about this since I wrote that post.  And I think I understand the need for teaching and learning more fully.

The idea of a Learning Organization is this:
an organization does not yet have everything right.  The people do not yet know enough.  There is always the next new thing to learn.  And, not only do they need to learn that next new thing to learn, they need to keep their learning muscles in top shape.

Start here:  a Learning Organization requires both… Teaching… AND Learning.

Being able to keep learning is as important as learning any one specific new thing to learn.  Maybe more so.

And, for leaders, they need to model the learning role.  If the top leaders are seen as energetic, fellow learners, that will serve as a powerful example for all in the organization to strive to keep their learning muscles in top shape.

Therefore, an organization needs to provide plenty of learning opportunities.  Scheduled times of learning, which in and of themselves teach important insights, while also cultivating the hunger to keep learning among all within the organization.

A Learning Organization is an organization filled with people who are avid, energetic, open-minded, fellow learners.

Thus, as Dan Weston put it, leaders and members throughout the organizaiton have to create a climate for learning.

A climate for learning.
With plenty of active, energetic fellow learners.
With continual opportunities to keep learning.
Coupled with self-initiated sessions of learning.
With all always seeking to find the next new thing to learn.
And then, putting those new things learned into practice.

Do this, and you will be ready to take the next steps into the future.

Leave any of this out, and your claim to be a learning organization is just wishful thinking…

"Keep Learning" -- It's right there on our bookmarks - Click on image for full view