Howie’s Hot Five for… 15 December, 2011

Final one for the year…so we couldn’t resist a couple of ‘best of’ recommendations…

5. 39 years and 4 kids later…

You are now (finally) a lawyer my good Sir.

For those of you thinking what the hell do I do with my life… meet Duncan McKee.

Big Duncan first walked into the gates of Victoria University when the Vietnam War was still going…  He went to too many parties and drifted off…met his wife at a party (her husband had died in a car accident and had one child ), they fell in love and went on to have four kids -and he kept bashing away at his Uni studies  – missing one exam to help in the home delivery of his second child.

This week at 57 years of age he finally graduated with an LLB.  He said he was one of the only students to take notes with pen and paper…

Source: Stuff

4. Three Simple Steps to Make Money from Your Passion…

If you’re feeling a bit bewildered with jobs and vocations give Zen a visit…

Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives

(people follow this blog to simplify their lifestyle…cool man)

And we liked a column from this week’s Zen: Living off your passion...
(N.B. It’s the end of the year (tether for some) and combined stats from NZ, Australia and the US that put those who hate their job anywhere between 60-80% of the workforce)
3 Steps to live off your passion

1. Separate passion from reality  – First up brainstorm your idea  or passion projects in a positive way.  Most people do the opposite cos as humans our first reaction is to ‘critique’ an idea or get negative….instantly come up with all the reasons it won’t work.
So whiteboard your idea positively as a serious business concept… in a totally non critical way.

2. Be the Expert you already are;  Big barrier is a belief that you don’t know something well enough to get paid for it… Wrong! If you dig something so much you have actually diligently kept at it – you know more than most.  Find what you have specialised in and identify why people want this and pay for it.

3. Do the impossible;  We are conditioned to think you can’t build a career out of what you love… proof is so many people in jobs they simply persevere with … and some who completely hate their jobs. 

Big idea: Surround yourself with people who are already doing it… living off what they love doing!
2nd Big Idea: You have to get paid – $1-$100 that’s what takes it from a hobby to your life’s vocation.

Source: Zen Habits

3. Self publish or be damned…

The Book: The Mill River Recluse

The Plot: A Wealthy Vermont Widow who bestows her fortune on town residents who hardly know her.
Rejections: 100 publishers

Decision: Digitally Publish herself….just to get some readers and feedback you understand.

Price: 99 cents (very strategic price this- enough for readers to take a punt on)

Outcomes: Success? 400, 000 sold, on several best-seller lists and attracting requests from foreign publishers, movie studios and audio book publishers.

Self publishing success is taking off with 12 authors selling over 200, 000 copies and 30 authors over 100, 000 copies of self published books via Kindle…. with e-book sales forecast to hit $2 billion in 2013.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

2. The Night Circus

Our book of the year – and there’s been several ( The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides is one other) but the one really stealing our heart is….

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern! 

The book came about in 2005 due to the National Novel Writing Month – where you challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in one month – ‘no plot no problem’ approach.

Erin’s book was rejected by 30 literary agents…. then when she got an agent the book sold in a week and the buzz started up she got an unheard of 7 figure advance and a first printing of 175,000 …it’s now sold in 30 countries.

The Plot – magic and romance in 19th century England… centered around an incredibly elaborately designed circus.

“The circus arrives without warning.’ (the first line) … and she doesn’t mess about from there it’s ‘inventive and haunting… and very ‘filmic’ so the rights have been snapped up and everybody’s waiting… it’s just very well written!

1. The Ukulele Album …

Who would have thought one of the original leaders of ‘grunge’ (so old fashioned that term now) would put out a Ukulele album… my album of the year … or the one I kept returning to amid the deluge… For me this was sparse and emotionally brittle and one I found I played as an album (rare)

To quote Pitchfork “You either instantly know you need 35 minutes of this (Ukulele songs) in your life or are already backing slowly away.” “They are casual, sweet, and disarmingly unaffected…”

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