Books and titles and other miscellany

My publisher and I are close to figuring out the new title of the Book-Formerly-Known-As-Mosaic. In theory, my latest round of edits was due back October 1st. But after making a certain quantity of changes, I had to stop. Eventually, not having a title becomes a problem for editing. While the bulk of the manuscript is going to be the same no matter what I call it, a good title echoes through the text. You name check it every few pages or so as a way of pulling together the book as a coherent whole. When you don’t have a title, you can’t do that. So once you’ve addressed obvious problems, it’s just inefficient to keep editing without it. You know the work you do you’ll have to undo.

My piece on dealing with colleagues who use time as a weapon ran at Fast Company.

According to a new study, small talk doesn’t help women in negotiations, but it does help men.

I’ve been reading Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. I generally read it before bed. It works for winding down. Slow, with lots of references to national income and inflation and private capital and such topics that don’t get the heart racing (usually). I begin to suspect, about 160 pages in, that a lot of people who claim to love it or hate it have not read it all the way through. I suspected the same thing after reading Lean In.

Richard Branson was in the news a week or so ago with talk that his personal staff (of 170!) could have “unlimited vacation.” But wait, there’s a catch: “The assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel 100% comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!” So there’s that. I suspect that unlimited vacation winds up looking a lot like my vacation policy. I travel a lot, and take time away from the office when I wish. But I am almost never completely unplugged. I rarely go more than 48 hours without doing something work-related. If I don’t do it, no one else will. I don’t mind that trade off, but for those who view vacation as a time to be completely separate from work, this policy will probably not be all it’s cracked up to be. (Hat tip to reader Nicola for sending me the BBC story).

My little girl turns 3 this weekend. The birthdays have been coming fast and furious! Fortunately, everyone has wanted a party at a place that “does” parties and basically takes care of everything. I am very happy to sit back, relax, and pay the bill at the end.

5 thoughts on “Books and titles and other miscellany

  1. If I ever have a salaried employee in this new venture of mine, I’ll have the unlimited vacation policy. But- I’ll lead by example! I am a firm believer in taking real vacations and trusting the people you delegate to call you (or email your personal email) if (and only if) there is a true emergency. That worked great for me in my last two jobs. Here’s hoping I get to test it out as the owner of a business!

    1. This policy is actually really empowering for employees as well. The manager I am currently doing contract work for has been out of the country for 3 weeks and 2 of those were personal vacation so she’s been totally out of communication.

      At first I was freaking out a little (after all, I’m just the hired help with no strategic “projects” to own like I did as an FTE) but she trusts me, and she gave me a list of things to follow up on and make progress, and it’s been really fun. I’m almost sad she’s back on Monday 😀

      If you have built trust with your team, it can also be really good for them to grow and be more confident in assuming responsibility.

  2. Great musing on the relation of the title to the shape of the book as a whole! I’m going to excerpt for my running list of helpful hints for writers–a great help to dip into when I’m feeling stumped or uninspired.

    1. @Gwen – thanks. I’ve seen a few books where the title totally looks slapped on, and it always bugs me. Granted, here I am putting on a title after I’ve written the book (while thinking it would be called something else) but I hope it won’t look so obviously patchworked.

      1. “a good title echoes through the text” Do you have a sample from the book that illustrates this in its current form? If we can get a peek at how this works now with Mosaic, we might be able to help with another round of suggestions that might edge you closer to finding a new title you love.

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