Thursday, May 16, 2019

Interview With Author Scott MacDonald On Success & Happiness

Think Like a Dog: How Dogs Teach Us to Be Happy in Life and Successful at Work

Prestige Books/Indiana University Press

 Think Like a Dog: How Dogs Teach Us to Be Happy in Life and Successful at Work

1.      What inspired you to write this book? My son, Ross, rescued Sadie when he was a law student at the University of Texas a few years ago. She was a puppy living in the wild with her mother and was picked up by Animal Control in Beaumont TX. She suffered from several medical maladies including heartworm, which is usually fatal to dogs. As a rescue not familiar with being around people or in a house, she was terrified of everything. Gradually Ross socialized her, but when we accepted a full time job, he sent her to me, his father, to take care of.

Sadie was very much afraid of everything when I took her while living near San Diego. But she was also smart. I took her to the beach the first day she was here with some friends and their dogs. I thought the other dogs would teach Sadie about the beach and dog behavior. Instead, she ran away as soon as she was allowed off leash. She was afraid of the ocean I guess. To my surprise, she ran back to my house – over a m,ile away – even though she had only been there less than a day.

Over time, Sadie figured things out and adjusted; she now knows all the dogs and people in the neighborhood, who has treats, who is fun to play with etc. She also has taken over my home, picking the most comfortable couches to nap on, etc. How did she adjust and become such a primary role in my life and home? As I observed, I thought there were lessons people could learn from her behavioral transition. I took notes and eventually created a book.

2.      Who should read it — and why? Anyone who owns or loves dogs should very much enjoy this book. It is filled with true stores of dog behavior collected from friends, people I have met, and published stories. It is punctuated by clever, professional cartoons and graphics illustrating key chapters and take-aways. It is a fun read and a great gift.The book also provides self-help strategies for people and organizations. Taking keys from canine behavior, chapters are filled with clever advice such as knowing when to bark (aka complain) and looking for treats that add spice to life and make life more enjoyable.

3.      How is it better or different from others in its genre? I am unaware of any other book that offers advice from a dog’s perspective. There are lots of useful ideas and strategies based on well documented research but tied back into the simple lives of dogs.

4.      What challenges did you overcome to write your book? The book is written in 2 voices. Sadie has a distinct voice – simple, direct, uncomplicated, and based solely on her experiences. My voice is more complex drawing on decades of experience running organizations and living in many cities and parts of the world. Writing in two different voices was a challenge for me.

5.      What lasting messages do you hope your readers are left after consuming your book? There are several messages in the book. For example, one of the last chapters is “Leaving your Mark.” Dogs mark the journey as a way of messaging to other dogs and animals. Humans leave their marks too, but humans’ marks can be more long lasting and survive the next rainfall. I challenge the reader, What will your mark be? How can we leave this world a better place?

6.      What advice do you have for struggling writers? I presented this book to several literary agents and a couple publishers but received no encouragement. Everyone was skeptical that a book based on a dog giving advice would appeal to anyone. But I knew someone at Indiana University Press and asked as a personal favor, if they would take a quick look and give me some advice on what to do with the manuscript. The director and the staff fell in love with Sadie and the book and told me they wanted to publish it. So as Sadie advices in the chapter on Persistence, sometimes you can’t accept “no” for an answer; you need to persevere even when discouraged.

7.      Where do you see the book publishing industry heading? The current trend is to Ebooks and the demise of physical bookstores. I think this will change. Younger generations seek experiences over material goods. Shopping malls are replacing clothing stores with restaurants and entertainment. Over time, I see bookstores transforming to experiential platforms and making a comeback. Libraries have made this transition to becoming a center of community activity; bookstores will likely eventually make this transition. I just hope they can survive the short term negative condition.

For more information, please consult:

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Authors cannot succeed without the right attitude

So what is needed to be a champion book marketer?

Should You Promote Your Book By Yourself?

The Book Marketing Strategies Of Best-Sellers

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No. 1 Book Publicity Resource: 2019 Toolkit For Authors -- FREE

Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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