Richard Nisley


Passion Knows No Bounds
History - American Released - Aug 27, 2017

This review is from: Man on Wire (DVD)

“Passion is something that knows no bounds,” says Philippe Petit, the man who strung a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and stepped out on it, performing before a crowd of awestruck New Yorkers—one-quarter mile below. This documentary of his breathtaking exhibition was made after the Towers were brought down by terrorists. The tension one feels watching this film, of the painstaking planning and of the event itself, is quite palpable. Philippe Petit’s story of dreaming big and overcoming impossible obstacles is timeless. The Frenchman’s charisma and enthusiasm spills off the screen. If ever there was a film to motivate people, to free them of their fear of failure and dare them to seek their dreams however difficult, this is it. Listening to Petit for 30 minutes you begin to believe with enough passion anything is possible.

I first learned of Philippe Petit during an interview on CNN mere days after the Towers came down. The French wire walker was on a program with American George Willig, “The Human Fly.” Willig likewise became famous in connection with the Towers, by scaling the South Tower in 1977, three years after Petit’s daring wire walk (on August 7, 1974). Listening to them talk about their achievements, it was apparent that once they got their idea—despite the very real possibility of landing in jail, never mind falling to their death—there was no turning back. The idea possessed them.

For Petit, it was a long journey, consuming a number of years, of several flights back and forth across the Atlantic, of finding ways to get some 400 pounds of equipment and three accomplices past a network of security, and most important of all, of finding a way to get a three-quarter-inch cable strung from one tower to the next, plus four guy-wires necessary to stabilize the cable, and secure it safely on both ends, without being detected. The task was as much an engineering feat as it was a test of Petit’s ability to actually step out onto the wire and perform his routine without a safety net. The lively documentary shows how he did it, and says much about his character. “To me, it’s so simple that life should be lived on the edge of life,” says Petit. “You have to exercise in rebellion, to refuse to taper yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a challenge—and then you are going to live your life on a tight rope.”

THE PACESETTER

This review is from: The Pacesetter (Paperback)

What does the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Miami Beach, and the Lincoln Highway have in common? All three were the creations of Carl. G. Fisher (1874-1939), a promoter and business tycoon with the vision, energy, determination and wealth of his good friends Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford, but, alas, not with their well-thumbed niche in American history. Finding Fisher a prominent place in the history books is the avowed purpose of this book, written with clarity by one of Mr. Fisher's cousins, Jerry M. Fisher.

Like many captains of industry who rose to wealth and power early in the 20th century, Carl Fisher left school at an early age and worked in a variety of low-paying jobs before making his fortune. From the beginning, he exhibited boundless energy and a lust for life that inspired confidence in investors and eventually United States presidents. The Indiana native's early years were closely associated with the automotive industry. He made his fortune with Presto-O-Lite, the first effective automobile headlight. He created the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a place for auto makers to improve their product through competition. Ever civic minded, he worked tirelessly to raise private capital to build the nation's first transcontinental highway–the Lincoln Highway (the "Father Road" to John Steinbeck's “Mother Road” — Route 66).

The 1920s were Fisher's high-roller years. He hosted parties that would be the envy of Jay Gatsby, fished and gambled off the coast of Florida, drove exotic cars, played polo and raced speedboats, spent millions on a whim, and made a second fortune converting a mosquito-infested mangrove swamp into Miami Beach. The stock market crash of 1929 ended Fisher's run as a free-wheeling tycoon. By the mid-1930s he was bankrupt, drinking heavily, and in poor health. He died in 1939 not as a broken man but rather as a lonely man.

HOW TO SUCCEED WITH TRYING

This review is from: How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules for Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients (Hardcover)

There are rainmakers and there are rainmakers. There are rainmakers operating at the senior level of management who make deals involving acquisitions and mergers entailing tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in company assets, and there are rainmakers who deal on the retail level who call on small, medium and large companies trying to make a sale. This book is about the latter. These are the salespeople who knock on doors for a living, who need that bonus check to make ends meet, who operate under the old adage, If you don’t sell you don’t eat.

When I was in retail we were taught the five steps to making a sale: (1) greet the customer (2) determine the need, (3) discuss benefits, (4) overcome objections, and (5) ask for the order. Simple, effective, artless. The really good salespeople, however–the 20 percent of the sales force that generated 80 percent of the business–worked hard and mastered the art of selling. And that’s at the heart of this book: mastering the art of selling. And it is an art, as surely as the Van Gogh hanging in the museum—a joy to behold.

I like this book for many reasons, but I like it mainly because the author, Jeffrey J. Fox, keeps it simple. Effective selling, the kind that can turn a business around, is hard work but it’s not complicated. Fox walks you through what it takes to succeed. Among the points I particularly liked: (1) customers are people too; treat each customer as you would treat yourself; (2) prepare: 90 percent of all sales calls are won or lost before the salesperson sees the customer; (3) selling is problem-solving: show how your product will make them more money; (4) it’s not about lunch; it’s about getting the customer’s commitment, getting the bill, and getting on to the next appointment; (5) salespeople welcome objections because they know objections are simply the way customers express their desires; (6) be nice to everyone; business can come from unexpected places; (7) never knock the competition: to do so is to impugn the intelligence of the customer; (8) return calls ASAP—rainmakers are not too big, too important, or too busy for anyone; (9) your job is to listen to your customer: turn off smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices before you meet with a customer, and (10) don’t talk with food in your mouth; bad manners are off-putting: they signal insensitivity to others, an overly self-interested person, and an incomplete education. Be a model of decorum: acquire good table manners.

I knew people, good people, educated people who, for a variety of reasons, wound up in sales and didn’t like it. They either failed or barely eked out a living, forever dissatisfied with their lot in life. Why? Because they felt selling was beneath them. All the good sales people I knew, educated or not, were not proud. They worked hard, mastered the art of selling, and lived full, dignified and satisfied lives.

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