We creatives can’t sidestep the importance of “knowing our stuff.” I’ll include some info related to the fundamentals of certain fields – whether it’s writing, design, entrepreneurship, blogging, or whatever field might be of interest to you.

Image: openculture.com

8 Books for Your Best Work (+ Publishing Insights)

Image: openculture.com

Image: openculture.com


To be a business artist, you’re called to shape your hours and days in ways that support your taking regular action on the work that matters.  Whether you work from a corporate office, a living room table, a home studio, or a small business – your patch of the planet awaits. Stand up for them. That’s your quest in the coming year.

This coming year, thousands of us are taking a quest to do business as unusual.

I never venture on a quest without a book, and this coming year I am keeping several books in my questing back pack.  8 of them I share with you here in this first of a 2-part series.

More than book recs, I also give you perspective on the myriad publishing and marketing paths to help you foresee where publishing fits into your best year.  Read more

Prioritize your get-better-at projects

William Copperthwaite in his handmade yurt.

William Copperthwaite in his handmade yurt.

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” – allegedly said by John Ruskin

A golden boy novelist wants to rewrite his novel so it intrigues readers from beginning to end, but he can’t figure out the point of view.

An executive wants to become a dynamic speaker as part of her next-act venture in the field of leadership, but the stage daunts her. 

A husband-wife team of consultants wants to move from the stage to the screen and scale their programs online, but the translation confounds them. 

An engineer wants to build a more meaningful business that still provides for his growing family, but he doesn’t know where to start.

You likely know the scenario. You have great passion for a project, but beyond passion lies considerable uncertainty. Left unchecked, uncertainty eventually overrides passion, and you’re paralyzed.

Those projects get pushed to the back burner if they even make it to the stove. Or else you dawdle and wander with unclear goals for a few months or years.

But what if behind that uncertainty is in part a skills gap? What if behind your lack of confidence is simply a lack of skills – which you can change while having fun? Read more

The art of expanding visibility amidst challenge

art_messAlicia had a big art exhibit approaching in two weeks.

Large finished canvases lay stretched in two rooms of her studio in upstate New York, where she and her husband had moved seven years earlier.

While Alicia prepared one of her final canvases, their three-year-old boy had wandered off into another room. By the time she had come out of her artistic flow to search for him, she found the gleeful boy in the next room covered in paint and sprawled on one of her canvases. Two others were ruined.

How she responded and the perspective she has gained in the past several years reflects the wisdom I am seeing and hearing among numerous business artists.  Read more

Shop window gerryfoto.de

Own how the world sees your creative genius. 

Shop window gerryfoto.de“It is not generally acknowledged or discussed, but the personality we project to the world plays a substantial role in our success and in our ascension to mastery.” – Robert Greene, Mastery

A young Sally Hogshead’s genius wanted to stand out. Her brother’s intellectual genius got him into Harvard. Her older sister’s athletic genius sent her to the Olympics to earn swimming medals. 

And Sally’s creative genius? It didn’t emerge in dance. In her WSJ and NYT best-seller How the World Sees You, she tells aSallyHogshead story of freezing on stage during her solo performance. 

Her teacher had told her, “Sally, you’re not a great dancer, but you do have a certain spark.”

Her genius didn’t emerge in pre-algebra. She shows us her seventh-grade report card in which the pre-algebra teacher comments, “There is a fine line in math between being creative and being erratic. I will continue to support Sally in using her creativity but becoming more consistent in her work.”

Spark. Creativity. Erratic. Her creative genius wasn’t getting a fair shake doing pirouettes in a taffeta dress or using the 4-quadrant Cartesian coordinate plane.

Unlike many people defeated by failures and feedback, Hogshead didn’t give up trying to find the right forms for her genius to emerge, and she didn’t discount the world’s teachers. Quite the contrary.

Held in check, the world, it turns out, holds up a mirror to our genius. 

Whether you’re a speaker or spiritual seeker, a painter or business artist, there’s an oft-overlooked level of knowledge essential to hone on the path to mastery.  

It’s a knowledge that involves the world mirroring your genius. And it involves your genius in turn lifting up the world. Read more


Thought Leader Books – Top 5

sheep-slovakia-aerial-jakub-polomskiTo lead means you expose yourself on the front lines. No hiding.

To launch a trade nonfiction book is one of the most powerful ways to lead. And one of the most nerve-wracking. And one of the most rewarding for you and your audience.

I devour and break down some 40 or so trade nonfiction books a year in business, creativity, innovation, design, psychology, writing, publishing, and science. Another dozen books or so of fiction. A handful of books of essays and poetry a year.

I do so to keep myself nimble and to aid our clients in shaping the best books, brands, and offers possible.

By request, I’m reviewing here 5 of the top thought leadership books of the year that have come across my desk. These are 5 books I think give Tracking Wonder’s audience the most value to do what we help you do. They can help you master your work flow & creative cycle and own your place in the world as a thought leader, conversation leader, and business artist.  Read more

In the light by mam

Business not as usual but as art

Into the light by mamnanaimie, flickr

Into the light by mamnanaimie, flickr

A growing band of people want to change the way we do business.

I have been taking stock of them for a few years. They’re not held together by profession or trade. They are painters and contractors, designers and teachers, insurance agents and literary agents.

They own retail shops and resale shops. They operate health care centers and spiritual centers. They produce events and manufacture products. They are lawyers and writers, filmmakers and trouble-makers.

They are clients of Tracking Wonder Consultancy, people who journey through our Live the Quest Learning Expeditions, subscribers to my weekly letter and to this blog. They are the entrepreneurs & artists I have been interviewing for seven years, the social entrepreneurs and NPO executive groups I have spoken to. They are people I’ve not met yet.

A common hunger bonds them.

Read more


Why Crowdfund Your Book Project?


I sneered at the idea of funding a book via “crowdfunding” when I first heard about it a few years ago. But that sneer was a cognitive trap.

Crowdfunding (gathering finances from groups of people) a book trips authors out of the DIY Trap and out of the Prestige Trap, plus its benefits can supersede simply getting money from friends ands strangers.

Some of our Path to Publish clients are developing crowd funding campaigns. So I wanted to offer a brief introduction to the concept and the benefits and also tell you about a special free event and partnership with one of the fastest-growing crowdfunding platforms exclusively for books. Read more

Essential Tools (&Tips) for Digital Publishing

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 8.18.51 AMNot long ago, the closest an author could achieve to creating an e-book himself or herself was converting a word processing document into a PDF and then e-mailing copies to close friends and family members.

Today, though still a burgeoning industry, e-book publishing is becoming creative and fruitful in ways comparable to traditional book publishing. The good news? There are many resources and publishers available online. The bad news is, well, there’s almost too much information.

Opportunities for authors in e-book publishing are boundless and a bit overwhelming. As Digital Book World’s Editorial Director Jeremy Greenfield told me, it’s the Wild West of Publishing.

I keep abreast of developments in digital publishing best I can to serve my clients, you, and myself.  To help you and the authors you care about, here is a roundup of some of the most popular tools (and extra tips) authors can use to write, publish, and distribute an e-book.  Read more

Story Architecture Meets Tracking Wonder

treehouseWhen Jonah Berger was a teenager,

his grandmother gave him a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (2000). The book tells the story about how ideas become influential. The young Berger relished the intellectual journey Gladwell took him on. He was hooked.

Haven’t you read a book and thought, “How did he do that? How did he cast that spell on me? I want to do that!”  Read more

The Story Learning Gap for Authors & Business Artists


Maria AC (ernieland, Flickr)

Maria AC (ernieland, Flickr)

For a long time, I’ve been listening to what business artists and writers need to write their books, and I’ve been surveying what events they can attend.

I’m seeing a gap that may implicitly hold them back. It’s a gap that may create subtle fear in people wanting to write and publish their books. Seeing this gap drove me to create a very different kind of writer’s and author’s event.

Here’s what I mean. Read more