I spent much of last week in the UK doing book publicity for What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. I had a great time, and hopefully got a few new UK readers. A few musings from the road:
One of my favorite things to do while traveling is visit art museums. Yes, this was officially a business trip, but why not squeeze in some fun, too? When I was in LA last year I made sure to visit the Getty, and in London, I spent some serious time in the National Gallery, which was a few blocks from my hotel. I found several painters whose work I wasn’t familiar with; Joachim Beuckelaer’s The Four Elements in particular kept me circling back around to look at all four works. I recently read Michael Pollan’s Cooked, which divided cooking techniques into water, air, fire, and earth — so it was fascinating to see how Beuckelaer had divided fish, fowl, barbecued meat, and produce into such categories centuries earlier. (A missed opportunity, perhaps, for Pollan to make an artsy reference in his book, though the overlap wasn’t perfect, so perhaps not).
Sleep deprivation is inevitable on overseas trips. I must have slept some on the flight to London, as I know time doesn’t pass as quickly as it seemed to. But I never felt asleep. Chalk it up to the strangeness of the human brain. Then the next night I woke up at 2 a.m. and never went back to sleep.That wasn’t as bad as it seems, since I had to be up at 4 a.m. for my first radio interview anyway. I guess “before breakfast” really means before breakfast in this case!
Fish and chips makes peas seem tasty. I also love English bartenders’ honesty. I was about to order one sort of beer when my bartender told me that “frankly, I find that one revolting.” Good to know!
Most bizarre interview moment: BBC Wales radio. The host asked me how I found time to write a book with three kids. I told him I had childcare. He said “some people are probably screaming at the radio right now, saying that’s cheating!” I remain mystified by this comment. If I was a dentist, would it be cheating if I didn’t bring my three kids to the office with me daily?
Best pop culture question: From the host on Bloomberg Pulse. Simon Cowell is quite successful, and he says he wakes up at 11 a.m. My answer: great if that works for him! But he’s about to become a dad, and if he has anything to do with that child’s care, ever, he’ll have to learn how to be effective while waking up a lot earlier.
Bloomberg’s studio has all kinds of awesome fish tanks.
Red magazine is fabulous. This is a UK women’s lifestyle and career magazine that doesn’t exist in the US, but should. They sponsored a talk I gave to an enthusiastic group of about 60 women in the cafe of a Waterstones book store, and gave out a great gift bag. I just wish some of the lotions had been less than 100 mL, so I could have carried them on the plane (I try never to check bags…).
It was great to get home, though the first full day I was back was a doozy. We all went to the zoo, and within minutes of getting there, my 3-year-old elected to launch himself over the rail by the goat exhibit, I guess attempting to do a somersault over the bar. He slammed his head into the concrete barrier, making a deep gash which bled, as head wounds do, in a dramatic fashion. He spent the afternoon in the ER and got 2 staples in the back of his head. He’s quite a trooper, though, and managed to score 2 goals in his first soccer “game” (such as it is for 3/4-year-olds) the next day.
And, some happy book news: The audio of the whole What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast book hit #1 for business and #4 for audiobooks, overall, on iTunes this weekend (it may have changed by the time you click that link, but oh well!). Thanks so much for listening!
Photo note: Hard to see in the thumbnail, but that’s a double-decker bus going behind the iconic phone booths.