The Carnegie-Morrissey Connection

​Yesterday Elise and I had this text exchange:

I’d been sick the entire day and all I did was lay around reading, snacking, and napping. After this exchange I ending up thinking about all of these business plans I have. In addition to that brilliant scheme for middle-aged shower products, I have pretty well developed ideas for the following:

  • a luxury spa designed for working women
  • a cleaning service with citizenship support for recent-immigrant cleaners
  • a tinder-like book recommendation app
  • a plus-size bicycling and outdoors clothing line

I’ve been obsessing over business ideas for the past five or six years, part of my long thinking process as I was deciding to leave my comfortable corporate job. During that time I read a ton of business books, some good, some bad, but the business idea craze was definitely kicked off by Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup. I started to compose a post about this book but then I had a vague recollection that Elise and I had already discussed it. Sure enough, it’s in my email archives back from 2013.

​Sweet! I’m so glad I had record of this conversation. These diatribes we’ve been writing to one another for 10 years have created such a great trail of breadcrumbs!

Anyway, so now that I know we both had the same point of reference for this book, I went to my Kindle archives to see what I’d highlighted in the book. I was surprised that despite how influential this book has been to my thinking, I barely highlighted any passages and the ones I did were not particularly meaningful. I flipped over to look at popular highlights (things other people highlighted) and that helped a little bit, but not really. I need to go back and reread the book. I kind of resent having to do that — I’ve got a whole thing about re-reading books. Re-reading books, even good ones, pulls me away from something new I could be reading. (I think that’s leftover PTSD from my days working in books — there was always so much pressure to be reading the newest thing that it felt sinful to go backwards in any way.)

But it made me think about a feature I’d like to figure out — as long as we’re making our CPBs digital, we should take advantage of the medium and make it collaborative.

Right now we each have a CPB going in Evernote, and we’ve shared them with one another which means that I can see Elise’s and she can see mine but there’s no obvious way to comment or highlight on one another’s entries. At least not that I can see.

I’m going to mess around with it to see what we can figure out.

In one of Elise’s recent CPB captures, she quoted Dale Carnegie — “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.” — which is a great line, but every time I see it I immediately think of The Smiths song “I Know It’s Over”. One, I loved The Smiths (so dramatic) and two, that song in particular was one of my favorites. I used this quote in my high school yearbook.


So I wanted to make note of this in Elise’s CPB. There’s no obvious way to do that — I was looking for something like the comments you can create in Word, like a little bubble with the author noted. So I just wrote my comment in next to Elise’s and marked it in red, like so:

This is kind of a sloppy hack though. Elise doesn’t get a notification about my note; she has to be randomly reading through her entries to notice it. Does anyone know of a more elegant solution?

7 thoughts on “The Carnegie-Morrissey Connection”

  1. 1. I am in love with your yearbook picture. High School Vicky was so cute! (Not that you’re not cute now, of course.)
    2. I too have had many business ideas over the years, some potentially viable (starting a small independent book publishing company, way back before self-publishing was a big thing), some less so (beef-flavored cigarettes, for those red-meat-loving smokers). I remember reading The $100 Startup when the company I worked for was possibly going under, and I was having no luck finding other full-time employment. I don’t remember the book much and would like to read it again, though I don’t think it would apply to my life at the moment.
    2.5. I don’t have the rereading issue you have. I like rereading favorite books. I just reread The Time Traveler’s Wife and plan to reread The Secret History (for the fourth or fifth time, I believe) at some point this year. I really want to reread The Goldfinch too, but it’s so long. That is one where I feel like it would detract from my ability to read something new, because it would take so long to reread. The audiobook is a massive 32 hours.
    3. I love (love!) the idea of a digital collaborative CPB. And no, I don’t mind that you left a comment in mine–it was a great surprise, actually. I hadn’t thought of doing that myself. I don’t think I got a notification about the note, just a notification of the chat you sent me telling me about the note. I just left a comment in yours today. Did you get a notification?
    4. I need to listen to the Smiths more. Haven’t heard them in years. Did I ever tell you about the one Morrissey concert I went to? It was completely nuts. And to bring this back round to books, did you read his autobiography that came out a few years ago? I’ve heard that was completely nuts as well.

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    1. here’s another idea: how about we both simultaneously re-read The Secret History? I loved that book and would be curious to read it again. I wonder if we could get more out of it with some collaborative process. I don’t want to overload you with new projects but that’s kind of how my brain gets. I want to do more more more more. God, that sounds annoying.

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      1. I’m in for a joint Secret History reread! You doing Kindle or paper? I think I have a hardcover of it somewhere but might go Kindle for highlighting purposes.

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      2. Kindle! It’s almost always my preference. There’s only 1 person ahead of me on the library copy so I should have it soon. Let me know when you’re ready to go.

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      3. Oh yeah, and about the comment on the CPB. I did not get a notification and probably wouldn’t have noticed it for years if you hadn’t told me and I went to look for it. Let’s just agree when we comment that we’ll send a chat or other note about it. Maybe we’ll figure something better out along the way. I like it.

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      4. I would also at some point be up for a joint re-reading of Stephen King’s On Writing. I’ve been meaning to go back to that one for a long while now.

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  2. This is my LEAST favorite part of weebly. Not being able to edit comments. I had a typo in one of my earlier comments too and it drove me crazy. I guess it’s a good exercise in just letting shit go.

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