Thursday, September 12, 2013

Publishing’s Extinction Is Coming, But Not Yet

One of the things I concluded from a recent trip to Niagara Falls and the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada is that the way things are today is not at all how they will be in the future.

I don’t know what life will be like down the road or even if there will be life at all, but I’m certain that history proves things change often and dramatically. Almost all of the things that mean something to us will not mean a thing to future generations.

For instance, when talking to my two young children about how the dinosaurs once ruled the earth and then mysteriously perished some 65 million years ago, I realized that humans have only shared a small portion of the world’s long history.

Humans were not around until a few million years ago. That means billions of years on Earth existed without humans. The last ice age, in North America, was less than 20,000 years ago, so when we think of “modern humans” our history is brief and only stretches back fewer than a thousand generations.

When I took hold of the Niagara Falls, I learned that they used to flow from a spot seven miles away but over time have moved over and now are controlled by humans so the flow can be managed and even harnessed for energy.

The Earth is a huge, changing ecosystem. It seems against the odds that humanity will survive. If war, disease, and famine don’t do it, nature will. We don’t have to wait for the sun to die. Asteroids, aliens, or other natural catastrophes could take hold of the planet.

Not a very cheerful thought.

Of course, we remain optimistic that God, luck, or technology will intervene and save us from our destiny. We just hope or assume that the apocalypse won’t happen in our lifetime or that of our children and grandchildren.

But the world is evolving on all levels. Earth influences human behavior and human influence the Earth. Our actions have consequences and our abuse of the environment is leading to changes in sea levels, food production, and the ozone. We’re in a race with time to develop the science and technology to unite and protect Earth or to relocate humans to another habitable place.

All of this sounds like a sci-fi movie, and maybe it is, but the reality that our world is changing can’t be overlooked or ignored.

As writers, we may be experiencing out own extinction or dinosaur movement. The commercial side to publishing is threatened by free or severely discounted content. It is threatened by the shift away from a physical book. It’s threatened by an overload of content that can’t possibly be consumed at a profitable or practical rate.

I know my fate. I practice an act that will die some day. Writing will disappear. So will blogs and books. We will evolve into other modes of communicating, just as humans did for their entire existence except for the past millennia or so. And as much as I cherish and value the written word, I understand that there will be other modes of communication and many will likely be superior to our present form, just as we believe our present way of life is better than it was 200, 2,000, or two million years ago.

Words and books mean everything to me, and someday they will mean nothing. I will be forgotten. And there will be a time where my existence won’t even be recorded or verified. It’ll be as if I never was.

But I exist now.

And I mean something to someone.

And my time is not over just yet, so I remain curious, optimistic, and hopeful of what still could be and how I might contribute to a new world.

I know I’m the dinosaur. But extinction has not yet come. Tomorrow still holds promise and value. I live to write another day -- and to question, create, dream, and debate.

One day my words will not even be understood by others. Their existence could be destroyed by so many things, or they simply could go out of style. But you understand me, right now, in this very moment. 

My goal is to touch others, make them think, and unite us on a questioning journey, even if that very journey could eventually lead to our extinction.

Book Excerpts
In Search of Ethics: Conversations with Men and Women of Character by: Len Marrella

Who will accept the job of educating the next generation, supporting their pursuit of living a moral life? The ethical person will create solutions to the social, political, and environmental issues of our time and set us on a positive course for the future. How we deal with our urgent problems now will dictate how we handle long-term problems and issues of the future. Ethical conduct is an essential pre-condition for society. We must, individually and collectively, always strive to do the right things for the right reasons, to live our values, to show through proper example and through exposing our values that we can shape the world.

If you judge yourself but the actions or thoughts of peers then you have failed to be a peer to them.

Stay away from the garbage of life. Don’t major in minor things… Always give more than you expect to receive.

In what direction are you presently going? Do you really want to go there? What will you do once you get there?

Success is the ongoing process of striving to become more. It is the opportunity to continually grow emotionally, socially, spiritually, physiologically, intellectually, and financially while contribution in some positive way to others.

The quality of our lives is determined not but what happens to us, but rather by what we do about what happens.

Life is like the lottery, but you’re not limited to just one ticket, one drawing.

People can do virtually anything as long as they master the resources to believe they can and to take effective actions… they can chance, they can grow, they can stretch themselves, they can do things they never thought possible, that their greatest fears and limitations are self-imposed.

Belief or value systems guide us, yet many people lack a clear idea of what is important to them, picking and choosing what they’re willing to adhere to or support. We are not fully aware of or clear on what is right for them, and others. But we need a fundamental moral grounding. By suffering an internal conflict or lacking an infinite vision of proper action, we feel paralyzed. We will only invest in the achievement of something we believe is worthy of attainment. Discover what you want out of life, what you’re willing to do to pursue it, and what you want to give back to others. Take conscious action to direct your life.

Examine where your personal beliefs come from, identity what they are and seek to fill in the missing blanks.

Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us…

There is no such thing as failure…

Whatever happens, take responsibility…

It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything…

People are your greatest resource…

Work is play…

There is no abiding success without commitment.

Set a goal. Put a price tag on it. Go for it.

Values are belief systems that have global effects. SO by making changes in values- we can make profound changes in our entire life.

Power is the ability to change your life, shape your perceptions, to make things work for you and not against you. Real power is shared, not imposed. It’s the ability to define human needs and to fulfill them- both your needs and the needs of the people who you care about.

You are the only one who decides how to feel and act based upon the ways you choose to perceive your life. Nothing has any meaning except the meaning we give it.

People who succeed do not have fewer problems than people who fail. The only people without problems are those in cemeteries. It is not what happens to us that separates failures from successes. It is how we perceive it and what we do about what “happens” that makes the difference.

In every man and woman’s life there comes a time of ultimate challenge- a time when every resource we have is tested. A time when life seems unfair. A time when our faiths, our values, our patience, our compassion, our ability to persist are all pushed to our limits and beyond. Some people use such tests as opportunities to become better people- others allow these experiences of life to destroy them. 

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“The ancestor of every action is a thought.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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