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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Quotes On Reading, Books, Writers & Publishers


I recently enjoyed taking in a copy of The Delights of Reading: Quotes, Notes, & Anecdotes, by Otto L. Bettmann. I found this book, published a few decades ago, on the wooden shelves of Strand Book Store in New York City. It is a treasure!

Behold a sampling of the hundreds of quotes filling the pages of this well-researched tome:

“A bibliomaniac is one to whom books are like bottles of whiskey to the inebriate, to whom anything that is between covers has an intoxicating savor.”   –Sir Hugh Walpole

“Books are the carriers of civilization.  Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.  They are engines of change, windows on the world, ‘lighthouses’ (as a poet said) ‘erected in the sea of time.” –Barbara W. Tuchman

“Books are a refuge, a sort of cloistral refuge, from the vulgarities of the actual world.” – Walter Pater

“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it.  I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint… What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.” –Henry David Thoreau

“No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.” –Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

“Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiple the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, and interesting.” --Aldous Huxley

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writing so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.” –Socrates

“A room without books is a body without a soul.” –Marcus Tullius Cicero

“A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life.” –Norman Cousins

“A library is that venerable [place where men preserve the history of their experience, their tentative experiments, their discoveries, and their plans… in books may be found the recipes for daily living – the prescriptions for the mind and the heart.” –Georges Duhamel

“The multitude of books is making us ignorant.” –Voltaire

“To buy books would be a good thing if we also could buy the time to read them.  As it is, the act of purchasing them is often mistaken for the assimilation and mastering of their content.” –Arthur Schopenhauer

“The enormous multiplication of books in every branch of knowledge is one of the greatest evils of this age, since it presents one of the most serious obstacles to the acquisition of correct information by throwing in the reader’s way piles of lumber in which he must painfully grope for the scraps of useful matter, peradventure interspersed.” –Edgar Allen Poe

“What refuge is there for the victim who is possessed with the feeling that there are a thousand new books he ought to read, while life is only long enough for him to attempt to read a hundred.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Writing is both mask and unveiling” –E. B. White

“I have never found, in anything outside of the four walls of my study, an enjoyment equal to sitting at my writing desk with a clean page, a new theme, and a mind awake.” –Washington Irving

“Henry James joyously engaged in the act of writing.  A good day’s writing gave him a sense of strength, of control over chaos, a victory of order and clarity over the confused battle of existence.” –Leon Edel

“To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man.” –Aristotle

“A good novel cannot be too long nor a bad novel too short.” –Ellen Glasgow

“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.” –Samuel Johnson

“The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.” –John Steinbeck

“Some day I hope to write a book, where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away.” –Clarence Darrow

“Books won’t stay banned – Ideas won’t go to jail.” –Alfred Whitney Griswold

“Every burned book enlightens the world.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We all know that books burn, yet we have the greater knowledge that books cannot be killed by fire.  People die, but books never die… Books are weapons… make them weapons for man’s freedom.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

“I conceive that a knowledge of books is the basis on which all other knowledge rests.” –George Washington


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Do Our Libraries Lend Us The Truth?



In the past decade there have been 5,100 challenges to books in schools and public libraries, according to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.  How should schools and public libraries respond to such requests in a way that balances rights and realities?

Let’s say a library carries a communist manifesto and the good people of a very conservative state like Texas ask the library to remove the copy, on the grounds it encourages people to abandon capitalism, that it’s simply un-American, subversive, and anti-patriotic propaganda.  Should the library give into the demands of a few – or even a majority, even if it risks hurting donations and funds to the library?  

We’d hope the library would have a backbone and encourage people not to be scared of ideas or information that may contradict the standards of the majority.  Some libraries may fold, not able to withstand the consequences of going against the loud protests of its constituents.

What if the library stands firm but protesters decide to hold boycotts or to steal copies of books they object to?  How does an educational institution respond to bullies and thugs?

What happens when a library won’t even acquire books it knows will be met with derision by a certain segment of the population?  The public wouldn’t even know that its library punked out before there was even a debate.

We ask a lot of our public libraries and schools.  We not only ask that they make smart and efficient decisions regarding their resources – funds, space, and employees – but that they have knowledge, courage, and vision to acquire books and materials that will best serve the community. Sometimes the role of the teacher or librarian is to share opposing views or alternate paths, to weigh the views of the minority and to give voice to the forgotten, hidden or abused.  To get people to live a full and balanced life requires that we expose them to everything and to let the best ideas of the day meet the existing needs and demands of the moment.

History is filled with incidents of society changing its mind.  Abortion, gay marriage, birth control and women being able to vote were all illegal a century ago. Blacks couldn’t ride in the front of a bus.  And on and on.  Beliefs, politics, and business strategies change.  Laws change. Librarians and school administrators know that they can’t lobby for a particular ideology or political party when determining its book collection.  It has to be neutral, open-minded, and secure in the notion that truth always wins out.

We don’t suddenly become a communist country because we read a book on it any more than one becomes a killer or rapist after reading a thriller.  That isn’t to say books don’t influence, because they do, but they do for a reason.  Books seed ideas to its readers, but it’s up to the masses to choose, over time, what it will do with its knowledge. The more that more people know – about anything and everything is the best way for a society to grow, live well, and pursue higher goals.  To leave it in the dark and to demonize things without reason and debate is where things turn for the worst.

Ok, so it’s easy for me to say these things without looking at specifics, but let’s examine it all.  No matter what’s in a book, it’s up to the reader to determine its value, its worthiness, its accuracy.  What we need to do is educate readers on how to read – how to question, analyze, and understand what’s being fed to them. A smart reader will not be easily fooled by public relations tactics, hidden agendas, unsubstantiated data or knowing the difference between fact and opinion.  

Further, the best way to counter ideas that we disagree with is to have a fact-based opposing document. If you disagree with a communist manifesto, write a book supporting capitalism or trashing communism.  Write a negative review of a book.  Protest peacefully – not one’s right or access to read the book – but against the views stated in the book.

Is there any book that should be banned or not acquired by a library?  It gets tricky and we need to distinguish things.  If a book has not been acquired by a library because it has to choose one book over another and it would sooner invest in books that support positive things vs. one saying Jews must be killed or that women should accept domestic violence, you couldn’t blame the library.  But then when it chooses not to include books that show alternate viewpoints political positions, or lifestyles, you begin to get concerned.  We try to distinguish that a book encouraging violence or breaking the law lacks the same merit or right of having books on atheism, communism, and gay love. but we cannot really make such distinctions. we must let ideas be available for all to see.

I lean towards saying a library should include everything.  Equal access to all ideas is the only way to encourage good values and to both start and conclude a debate against alternate viewpoints.  If a book says kill blacks and serve God by torturing gay people we would be repulsed by such ignorance, hatred, and vile.  But I would not support a library from removing such a book.  It needs to be there, at the extreme end of a spectrum of tolerance.  If you remove them, the book on communism fills the edge.  Remove that, and soon the book that says it’s okay for a woman to wear pants instead of a dress will become the edge. Eventually, we’ll all fall over this edge.

I know those who read this will likely agree with me.  How could you not?  You’re intelligent and likely one who values ideas, reasoning, and truth. But how many of you will stand up for the book that says nasty, vile, hate-filled, or politically incorrect stuff?  There’s a difference between support, indifference, and opposition towards -- or for -- something.  

For books – all books – in order to support their power to help us discover and see the truth we must allow all books to exist and to have access to the shelves of our soul.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Interview With Male Empowerment Author Dr. Jeffrey Rabuffo


New Book By a Doctor Of 40 Years Shows Men How To Live A Healthier and More Satisfying Life


Men don’t live as long as women but they run most Fortune 500 companies. Men are far more likely to go to prison and women are often the object of sexual harassment.  No doubt, there are many physiological and psychological differences between men and women – and different social expectations and perceptions have been placed on them, sometimes by them. When it comes to men, circa 2015, who is lobbying for their needs and looking after their health and well-being?

Jeffrey Rabuffo, MD, FACS, a recently retired urologist who estimates he has helped over 100,000 male patients over the last 40 years, has stepped up to be an advocate for men. He discusses important subjects that he feels are neglected or misconstrued by the media and public at large, including men’s health, relationships, parenting, and overall lifestyle in a new, provocative book, Dr. Jeff’s The Life of Men: Love, Sex, Myth, Medicine…and Political Correctness.

I have the honor of working with the author to promote his book for the public relations firm that I work for. His book is eye-opening.

“After many decades of practice as a urologist it became very apparent that men don't have the support and education they need to be knowledgeable about men's health,” says Dr. Rabuffo. “Many people think that men have no interest in caring for themselves, but my experience taught me that most of the time, they just don't have the knowledge. During my practice years, I spent hours talking to men and more importantly listening to them. Men have a lot to say about what they think and about what society thinks of them. I think they just lack a vehicle to express themselves. So I have undertaken this venture to provide education and guidance to men. Not just about their health, not just about prostate cancer, but about the issues of life that apply to men.”

His book is an in-depth narrative about men – who they are and what makes them who and why they are. He hopes that men will start to make better informed healthcare and life choices as a result. Call it a male-empowerment movement.

“I am focusing on the quality of men’s lives,” says Dr. Rabuffo. “I am doing this because I noticed that men don’t get the attention and education that they need to care for themselves and their families. Men are protectors and providers and for understandable reasons they take care of their families but rarely think about themselves.”

Dr. Rabuffo tackles these timely, emotionally- and politically-charged topics:
·         Why men’s prostate cancer and diseases deserve the same level of funding and attention as women’s breast cancer.
·         Why men must take control of their health and well-being - -and how to do so.
·         What really makes men men – it’s not what you think – it is not just sex.
·         What men really need and want from their relationships.
·         How men truly perceive and interpret the world.
·         How culture wars are destroying boys.
·         The weakening and strengthening of father-son relationships today.
·         The war on men – and the wussification of society.
·         The cultural myths that eat at us, such as the expendability of men.
·         The business of medicine and why the system is sick.

One of his book’s sections, The Doctor Is Out, shows the major ramifications of the state medicine is in. He examines what “managed care” actually means – including the difference between healthcare and health insurance, the struggle between patient-centric care and date- or matrix-centric management. He looks at what is driving medicine – science, insurance, lawsuits, profits, politics and bureaucracy. “The business of medicine has produced a medical-industrial complex, Big Pharma, big corporations, and an American apparatchik bureaucracy which is being augmented by new governmental overlays,’ says Dr. Rabuffo. “Is this the best we can do? It seems to me that the shortsightedness of policymakers, pundits, and the press create a public ambiance absent of projected, long-term ramifications.”

Dr. Jeff’s The Life of Men also addresses these topics:
·         Why men are so misunderstood and how masculinity is under siege.
·         The unspoken roles women play that lead men to cheat on them.
·         6 ways men can seduce their wives to have more sex with them.
·         Why men need to organize, speak up, and advocate for their needs.
·         An exploration of the role humor, tears, and bullying play in the lives of men.
·         The burdens and challenges men face as their traditional role is turned upside down.

“My goal here is to explore the realities and complexities of the life of men,” concludes Dr. Rabuffo. “I do not want to act like the woman putting the man down, and I don’t want to be the whining man crying, ‘I need help. What are you going to do for me?’ The genders should be allies, not adversaries. This book is not an attack on women or the women’s movement. We should be asking, ‘What are we, men and women, going to do about it?’ Let’s first recognize the situations; then form plans for what can and should be. We need a “Testosterone Movement.”

For more information, please consult: www.DrJeffSays.com.

Here is an interview with Dr. Rabuffo:


1.      Are men simply misunderstood by society?  Men are definitely misunderstood by society. Most of society tends to view men as uncaring and macho, only thinking about sex and acting like a warrior. Men are really sensitive creatures who can express tenderness. In TV and movies, men are frequently portrayed as idiots, incapable of functioning in a normal world. They can’t mop floors, do dishes or do laundry, and they can only go food shopping with a list created by a woman. Just watch an episode of the show Family Guy to see how men are being depicted by the media. Men are usually characterized as very strong, protective individuals, which is a reasonable view of men. However, men are also stereotyped as being socially challenged; having no manners and never wanting to get dressed up to go out. This is not an accurate representation of men.

2.      Why does the cover of your book say, “The book no woman should be allowed to read?” This is really a marketing tool used to employ reverse psychology. We are actually hoping that women will be piqued by this and want to read the book. They need to read it, in fact, women play a vital role in how men are viewed, and in turn, how men see themselves.

3.      Is there a mythology about men that hurts them? Absolutely. Men are completely different from women. Men have different skills and brain activities, but rather than seeing these differences as differences, society tends to view male characteristics as inferior to female. Women definitely are the gentler people, but this is a reflection of their genetic and hormonal makeup. If you do not recognize that men are programmed differently than women, then you will see men as bumbling clots.

4.      Do men need to organize to pursue their rights like women have? Women are definitely organized. They like to hang out with one another. Talking to each other is one of their favorite activities. Women tend to spend time together in this groupthink that has led to fostering women’s thinking. This is a terrific advantage women have. Men on the other hand tend to be more solo, spending less time in clubs and organizations that promote themselves.

5.      Why has the role of men been diminished? I think this is an outgrowth of the women’s rights movement. A while ago, women were not considered equal to men and the women’s rights movement created the idea the women are created equal. I think it started with women’s suffrage. The birth control pill has given women tremendous freedom. As a result, they are now able to pursue just about any job they would like. I think the rise of the women’s rights movement has led to the development of a subgroup of women who believe that women are superior to men, resulting in the inferiority of men. It’s almost as if women are insecure and need to downgrade men in order to feel more secure.

6.      How are men viewed?  We are in a time of change in the cultural definition of masculinity, a period in which maleness is being projected as no longer acceptable.  When men or boys were projected as strong, independent, and responsible citizens, their behavior tended to emulate those characteristics.  If men are now shown as powerless, foolish, careless clods those characteristics too will be copied, won’t they?  Of course there are many factors influencing each individual, yet the more we portray men as bumblers and incompetents, the more bumbling and incompetence we should expect to see.  If men internalize these skewed and altered images of themselves, their self-image changes; consequently their behavior reflects the change.  They become the studio gofer.

7.      Do you think there’s a cultural war against boys? Yes, I think there is, but I don’t think it’s a defined war, I think it’s a cultural idea, more like folklore. Boys are very different than girls, and I think the difference is not recognized as good. I think boys are a lot more active and energetic and they have a constant war going on between their amygdala and the frontal cortex. This gives society the idea that they are uncontrollable creatures. So they need to be corralled so they can function better in school society, which is mostly run by women. The drugs that are used to control boys are reprehensible, but some people feel if they can calm them down (i.e. sedate them) and they will study better and get better grades and make the school look good that it is a good thing.

8.      How is medical care failing men today? Men don’t get the attention and support they need. I always use prostate cancer as an example. The incidence and death rate of prostate cancer and breast cancer is very similar. The research money for breast cancer is double that of prostate cancer. Some of the statistics regarding mammograms are very similar to the statistics regarding PSA and biopsies. The common thread even though the statistics are similar, is that breast cancer is a lethal disease and prostate is not. Therefore, the thinking goes, prostate cancer should not be attended to, because after all, people think men will not die from it. If you believe that then how can you explain 30,000 men that die from prostate cancer annually? To make a better point, there are women’s health segments in hospitals and insurance health insurance. Men’s health and healthcare doesn’t really exist.

9.      Why is masculinity a disease? I go back to the difference between the sexes. The differences are biologically determined. We have chemical messengers that direct us into different directions. However, for many reasons men are not seen as men, but as an aberration. The male gender is different; there is a developed prejudice that men are lesser beings. So if you take a normal male who is aggressive, active and can’t sit still in school, the idea seems to be not to recognize his boyhood, but to medicate him and try to control his behavior so that it would be more feminine, i.e. more thoughtful, more tender, better behaved. I think some people see masculinity as something that needs to be cured.

10.  What hardships do men face? I think the major hardship that men face is that society does not recognize them as men. Take for example, what we all refer to as “the affair.” When a celebrity or prominent military man is discovered to have an affair it appears that his character is dissected in the media. I think this is because most men are viewed as only wanting sex and not really capable of loving somebody. But the truth is that men have a need for intimacy and closeness just like women do. The problem is they express that through sex. Whenever I see a news story about “infidelity,” I often wonder what the woman’s role was in that relationship. Women are usually viewed as the victim. You rarely hear both sides of the story.

11.  How do they cope with them? I think men tend to keep their feelings to themselves. So I think they hide from the societal issues. Sometimes to confront these issues would be to confront the woman. That is not politically correct behavior. It is not manly to admit that your feelings are hurt, or that you have something that bothers you. Men have been trained to keep their feelings to themselves, sort of a John Wayne syndrome. So I think it’s fair to say that men usually cope by avoiding the issue publicly.

12.  What’s the side of men you want to expose? I think you want to expose that men have emotions and all that goes with it. Human beings have emotions. They laugh, they cry, they feel pain, they feel isolated, they get depressed, they feel joy in the celebration of holidays. Somewhere in society it appears that men are not labeled with that ability. Men are the creatures that help everybody else express their emotions.

13.  Why do men have the image of being alcohol-fueled, sex-crazed, sports fanatics? I think that might be a harsh description of how men are. For sure, men like to get together with their buddies and bond. And they like sex for sure. And they definitely like sports. But remember men have testosterone. This testosterone causes behavioral patterns that are different than a female’s. The high testosterone does lead to high sex drive, but that doesn’t mean sex-crazed. Sports are the way men compete and express testosterone-driven aggression. And beer is a manly drink. Everyone knows women drink wine. Guess that’s why men eat doughnuts and women eat croissants. It’s the chemistry. And actually, women like sex too. They just hide it better.

14.  Is it wrong for a man to expect women to think like them and vice versa? Absolutely, it’s wrong. You have two different chemical manufacturing plants creating two different products. The sexes are different by design and I think the error occurs when you try and change people once programmed. By and large they’re just two different creatures. And after all, why would you want to think like each other?

15.  Some say your book attacks women. Does it? Absolutely it does not. What we’re doing here is defining the differences between men and women. As I’ve already said they’re different and to point out the differences does not mean that I’m attacking anybody.

16.  What are the complexities and realities of men that we need to appreciate? The role of men that I define in this book is to be the provider, the protector, and the procreator. This requires an entity that is strong and aggressive to be successful in these endeavors.                But what we need to recognize is their emotional side. Men can be tender, they can cry, they can live intensely. And I’m not talking about sex. You have to recognize that men are very complex individuals. I’ve had thousands of conversations with these guys in my practice over the years. I can tell you they can hurt quite a bit, but they’re very reluctant to admit that publicly. But that doesn’t mean their pain is not as real as a woman’s.

17.  Could cultural changes modify the natural behavior of boys? Yes. People can be reprogrammed. Remember The Manchurian Candidate? That’s a rather harsh example, but the point is that behavior can be modified to a great extent and there are many psychological studies that show that. Can you change the biology? I think that needs to be studied more. But you certainly can change the behavioral response to the biology.

18.  And what of the soft males? It seems to be politically incorrect for boys to be aggressive. They are medicated and sedated so they behave in a more controlled manner. Eventually the neural pathways are created so that they are not the aggressive people that they could be. I think we have a whole generation of medicated children, most of whom are males, who learn that being male is not appropriate. Society needs aggressive males in order to be a society. You need people who can protect and provide. This suggests a certain intensity that would be required to accomplish these goals. Political correctness is diminishing these characteristics. This is a very difficult society that the world has become, and unique, aggressive male characteristics are needed to do the protecting.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Publishing: Young, Cheap, White Talent Rules



Book publishing is a healthy industry that has generated billions of dollars for publishers, writers, bookstores, printers, literary agents, and all those that make up the profession.  But what happens when the book world becomes younger, less experienced, and not as well trained as those who used to run things?

After the triple fallout of The Great Recession, eBook Revolution, and the loss of Borders, the book industry is left with a new generation to run it.

Layoffs and consolidations at publishing houses demanded cheaper and younger talent to come in.  New ideas, youthful optimism and great energy are the clear selling points – but with that comes a lack of wisdom, maturity, and perspective.

In the book retail market there are fewer overall bookstores than there used to be and more books are purchased online than ever before.  Convenience wins but discoverability loses.  Who is there to recommend books to customers?  Where are the bookshelves one can scan to find something they weren’t looking for?

For writers, because of print-on-demand, digital publishing, and self-publishing, there is no barrier to become a published author.  Anyone can put out a book.  No longer is it the wise, aged, and experienced who get published.  Now teenagers can press a button and have a book.  So, though the process of getting published has become democratized, the litmus test for quality is gone too, leaving the market flooded with books that could benefit from editing, a makeover, or even a withdrawal.

Pushing a lot of this is the Internet.  Book marketing, more than ever, has gone to the young.  Everyone thinks social media wizardry is just a click away.  No training required. Just take out a gadget and flick your wrists and there you go – zillions of connections who all want to buy books.

Ok, not exactly.

So, let’s summarize here.  Because of technology, economics, and ego, the quality of book publishing may have weakened from generations ago.  It could be a one-time correction.  The next few decades will see today’s newbies and young ones grow into the positions they already hold.  Each new generation coming in will be better prepared than the current one, improving alongside the technology that is available to them.

A recent Publishers Weekly employment and salary survey revealed some obvious trends regarding the youth movement and salaries.  It also highlighted two disturbing elements of the industry.  Average compensation for men is 40% greater than that of women.  It’s hard to believe, given the majority of publishing employees are women.  The majority of readers are women, too.

Equally disturbing is the enormous lack of diversity in the publishing workplace.  89% are white, 1% are black, 5% are Asian, and 3% are Hispanic. There is no reason for this.  America is 65% white and in NYC, Chicago, and LA, where the majority of major houses exist, ethnic diversity is all over the place except inside a publishing company.  The lack of diversity will only injure publishers because they don’t get insights on how to write and publish for huge ethnic markets.  As readers, we all miss out when it’s just one kind of voice being served to us.

Change won’t happen overnight, even though from 2008 to 2012 it seemed like it did happen quickly, but the publishing world will become older, more diverse, more equitable in its compensation, and smart about how it goes about its business.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015