Great Books!

Ifferisms–They’re Everywhere!

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” -from Ifferisms by Dr. Mardy Grothe

He’s made it fun and inviting, this book of aphorisms all marked with a common beginning—the word “if.”

Dr. Mardy Grothe has gathered 1800 or so “ifferisms” like the famous one above to provide entertaining mental twists best appreciated a few at a time. These gems—also known as epigrams, maxims, and truisms—offer brief observations that tell a kind of truth about the human experience.

I totally agree with these words from Dr. Mardy in his Introduction: “Whatever they’re called, succinctly phrased sayings have a honorable place in intellectual history.” Well, they certainly found a place with me and fellow writer Patricia Katz when we took time to get acquainted with them. For the benefit of all writers, here are three gems we picked out.

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” – Elmore Leonard

 “If you have that unconquerable urge to write, nothing will stop you from writing.” – Theodore Dreiser

 “If you force yourself to think clearly you will write clearly. It’s as simple as that. The hard part isn’t the writing; the hard part is the thinking.” – William Zinsser

Feel free to persuse the book, pluck out your favorites, and savor every gem. Ifferisms: An Anthology of Aphorisms that Begin with the Word If, available at and at

 What is a Deliberate Pause and Why Should You Care About It?

 A deliberate pause is a conscious moment in which you might ask “why are things the way they are?” followed by “how could life be better?”

Larry Robertson has identified this natural inclination to pause as the critical factor that sparks truly fresh ideas. In his consulting work with entrepreneurs, he has analyzed how they seize a series of deliberate pauses to catalyze seismic changes—ones that allow humanity itself to progress.

Robertson’s A Deliberate Pause (the book) reveals the power of a deliberate pause (the action) while unveiling surprising truths about entrepreneurship itself. Through example, exploration, and analysis of more than 200 entrepreneurial leaders, the author shows how you can adopt a deliberate pause in your life.

 He shows how you, too, can develop an entrepreneurial mindset to better your own life and the world itself.

 Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and a featured contributor, summarized it this way: “What distinguishes humans from other life forms, one thing at least, is entrepreneurship. It is in every human being and everything human.”

 That’s why you should care!

 A Deliberate Pause: Entrepreneurship and its Moment in Human Progress by Larry Robertson

 Available at:  Amazon and Barnes & Noble and

How to Sell to Men Without Wearing a Low-Cut Dress Delivers in a Dynamic Way

Deborah Gardner has trained hundreds of salespeople in how to present themselves well to get results in a sales situation. In How to Sell to Men Without Wearing a Low-Cut Dress, she delivers hard-hitting, effective ideas to women who sell to male buyers—ones that don’t require applying the old “low-cut dress” strategy and risking their reputations.

Throughout this book, Gardner instills skills and knowledge for women to win the business and the big bucks—and be proud of their accomplishments along the way. Filled with findings, stories, and information gleaned from interviews, it ultimately succeeds in inspiring better working relationships between the genders. More practical than seductive, How to Sell to Men Without Wearing a Low-Cut Dress keeps its promises in a dynamic way!

Available at:  Amazon and Barnes & Noble

The Definitive Biography of George Ferris Inspires!

A biography written to spark innovation and pride among America’s future engineers, Circles in he Sky: The Life and Times of George Ferris  has boldly achieved that and more.

Its author Richard Weingardt, an accomplished engineer in his own right, applies his research skills, engineering knowledge, and genuine interest in humanity to this easy-to-read chronicle about George Ferris—the man who designed, constructed, erected and operated the Ferris wheel.

More than a century later, this young man’s genius has instructed the building of massive Ferris wheels worldwide. The original built in 1893 and demolished 13 years later has been replicated in forms large and small. (Appendix C provides full details of how Ferris’s original wheel was constructed.)

Amazingly, though, the 265-foot-high wheel that debuted at Chicago’s Columbian Exposition still holds the record for accommodating the most passengers, 2,160, in one revolution. Only the 682-foot-high Beijing Great Wheel (to open in 2009 or 2010) comes close to that capacity at 1,920 people.

I especially like this biography for how it weaves in the influences of Ferris’s colleagues, family members, even his nemesis Daniel Burnham, who’d challenged American civil engineers to come up with a structure that would rival Paris’s Eiffel Tower. Captivating photographs throughout bring Ferris’s engineering marvel into visual focus. How appropriate that author Weingardt himself is photographed in front of the London Eye Observation Wheel—a structure revealing how its inventor’s influence has soared beyond the heights of even Ferris’s lofty imagination. Ferris’s family has called it the “definitive biography of George W. Gale Ferris, Jr.”

Circles in the Sky—it’s an enjoyable, informative read filled with glory, mystery, tragedy and most of all, inspiration!

Author: Richard Weingardt P.E.

Publisher: American Association of Structural Engineers (c) 2009

Available at

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