Randall Payleitner

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Questions I ask Before I Read a Book: Who Endorsed it?

The effective endorser list of people on a book has two main reasons for existing: (1) to have experts in a field lend a credible voice to a work and (2) to get those same experts/influencers excited about your book ahead of time. Ideally it’s not just a list of famous/semi-famous people willing to write something.

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Book Review #14: The Cubs Way

The book is a five-year journey focusing on character, specific types of talent, problem solving, timing, and hard work. It’s a behind-the-scenes scrapbook of the breaking of a 108 year “curse.” If you don’t care about baseball, you probably won’t care too much about this book—but it’s remarkably light on baseball strategy and heavy on purposeful team-building.

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School Libraries and the Most Important Thing a Kid Can Do to Improve Their Life

I recently came across an instance (and since then, a few more instances) of a school district announcing plans to change their school librarians' focus away from books/reading and changing them into "Innovation Specialists." Uhhhhhh. What?! ...This trainwreck of an idea is still unfolding....

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What I Learned From the Seven Most Important Books I’ve Ever Read

When we read certain books at certain times in our lives they smack us right in the face. Had I read some of these books a few years earlier or later, they would have objectively been just as good, but perhaps they wouldn’t have had the impact on me that they did then.

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Book Review #12: Originals

The idea of this book, as far as I can tell, is to help the reader begin to see themselves as one who values originality. We ought not stifle it, run from it, belittle it, or talk trash about it, or else we’ll be relegated to the bin of history where the Polaroid camera, the Segway, and the video rental store reside.

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Editing and Writing Aren’t the Same Skill

Then I experienced being edited. I honestly don’t remember any specific changes that editor made to any of my pieces, but I do know they got shorter, clearer, and less inside my own head. Even though I didn’t realize it then, I think that’s when I decided (somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain) what I wanted to do. But was it writing or was it editing? And what was the difference?

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Where Books Usually Lose People

I was going to start writing about how to keep a reader interested in your book. How to make sure that page one is interesting enough for them to turn to page two, etc. But instead I thought it’d be more fun to flip the coin over and look at the places most readers usually check out… And then encourage the bookmakers of the world to address them with each aspect of their books.

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Book Review #11: Three Days in January

Two of the top 10 greatest speeches ever given by U.S. presidents were given within three days of each other. Eisenhower and Kennedy were politically, generationally, ideologically, and culturally opposed and yet they understood the magnitude of the day, the seriousness of the foe in communism, and the need to preserve one of America’s greatest strengths: the peaceful transition of power.

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