Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Getting Your Minds Straight

Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner articulated his theory of multiple intelligences (MI) in 1983 with his landmark book Frames of Mind, in which he describes seven human intelligences: logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. His intention, in part, was to expand our narrow definition of what it means to be intelligent. He has since added an eighth intelligence, naturalist, to account for our environmental awareness. MI has become a mantra for many American educators over the past three decades, as many elementary and secondary school curricula incorporate diverse means of assessing students' educational development.

With Five Minds for Future, Gardner now seeks to expand our definition of our mindset. He considers these five "minds" interdependent and indispensable to future innovators and leaders:
  1. The Disciplined Mind - Applying thinking based on established scholarly disciplines
  2. The Synthesizing Mind - Choosing vital information from diverse fields in cohesive, comprehensive ways
  3. The Creating Mind - Posing new questions and offering new solutions that build on established disciplines and passes the scrutiny of authoritative entities
  4. The Respectful Mind - Reacting sympathetically and constructively to divergent cultures
  5. The Ethical Mind - Striving toward good world citizenship

The book reads well for those seeking a theory and less so for those seeking practical applications; however, Gardner’s research, especially for the first three minds, is worth reading.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

If Storytelling Is Important to You ...

If you agree with me that people connect with each other--and, therefore, do business with each other--based more on emotional than on empirical grounds, then you'd want to master the art of storytelling. The National Storytelling Network (http://www.storynet.org/) and the International Storytelling Center (http://www.storytellingcenter.net/) exist for such a purpose.

To get started with a book on the subject, read The Story Factor: Secrets of Influence from the Art of Storytelling, second edition by Annette Simmons (Basic Books, 2006). If you're new to storytelling, which is an indispensable skill for managers of anyone and salespeople of anything, you'll like the simple theory and examples clearly described in this book by a master storyteller. Simmons identifies six stories to learn and techniques to employ them: Who I Am, Why I Am Here, The Vision, Teaching, Values in Action, and I Know What You Are Thinking. The book makes for entertaining and educational reading.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Another good review came in for my fourth book on writing, How to Write Fast Under Pressure (www.amacombooks.org/book.cfm?isbn=9780814414859). The critic, Mayra Calvani, for BlogCritics.com, writes:

I found the book well structured and the writing straightforward and enjoyable. Vassallo uses clear examples and metaphors to demonstrate his ideas and techniques. It is a quick read, too. If you work in business and have to write fast under deadlines, I prompt you to get a copy of this book. But How to Write Fast isn’t only for business people, and most writers will benefit from this method.

Here's the link: http://blogcritics.org/books/article/reviews-in-brief-how-to-write/

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The Englewood Review of Books published a positive review of my latest book, How to Write Fast Under Pressure. (www.amacombooks.org/book.cfm?isbn=9780814414859). The reviewer, Chris Smith, writes:
Two of the most helpful facets of How to Write Fast Under Pressure were the “Three Big Questions” which Vassallo offers to clarify the direction of a writing project, and the “common energy stoppers” that would interrupt the flow of a writer’s work.

Here's the link: http://erb.kingdomnow.org/brief-review-how-to-write-fast-under-pressure-philip-vassallo-midweek-edition/

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where's the News?

Paul LaRosa has something to say about the likely demise print newspaper. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and virtually every other newspaper give away their content online at no charge, and these days we can read the news in the bathroom by simply pushing a button on our smartphone. Many people are getting “news” from blogs, webcasts, and other online sources, so why drop a buck or two at the newsstand when the news is readily and freely available in the palm of our hand?

What does this mean for our getting news less focused on entertainment and more concerned with the facts? The trend is pointing toward more biased news coverage than ever before. The media rushes to judgment on critical issues (think healthcare or terrorism) and obsesses over irrelevant issues (think the Colorado-boy-not-in-the-helium-balloon case or the endless attention to Michael Jackson's death).

LaRosa should know what he’s talking about. He is a veteran journalist who wrote for the New York Daily News, an author of four crime books, and a TV news producer. For his story, click here: www.paullarosa.com/blog/?p=1077&cpage=1#comment-340

Friday, December 04, 2009

Encouraging Website for Writers

My interview on BookBites (www.blogtalkradio.com/bookbitesforkids) was featured on Zabowska's Blog, an excellent website for developing writers (http://szabowska.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/developing-thick-skin/). The blog offers tips designed to improve writers' attitudes, help them establish a writing routine, kindle their creativity, and spike their productivity.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Book Bites Interview Now Online

I had a great time being interviewed by Suzanne Lieurance today for her Book Bites (www.blogtalkradio.com/bookbitesforkids/2009/12/03/book-bites-for-kids-special-editionphilip-vassallo). In the 30-minute talk, Ms. Lieurance asks relevant questions of interest to school-aged as well as workplace writers. I was glad about having the chance to talk about the key aspects of the writing process and confidence game called writing.