Month: January 2012

What Editors Do

By Shawn Coyne | 9 Comments

A month ago, just before the Christmas break, I ran into a friend and former colleague. Obviously late for an appointment, she had that thousand yard stare of the warrior just back from the front. We gave each other a hug and asked about each other’s spouses and kids. Neither one of us threw out publishing’s “we have to get together for lunch or a drink” fake intimacy shtick. We had a great time working together but we both knew that we’d probably never do so again. I don’t represent her kind of books and she has no interest in…

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What I Learned in the Ad Biz, Part Three

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

Here’s a concept from the world of Mad Men that has served me (and saved me) many times over the years: The idea of “new business.” When I worked in the ad biz in New York many moons ago, we had to account for our hours every week on a time sheet. The creative department was divided into ten or twelve groups, each with four or five two-man teams—writer and art director—with a creative director as each group’s boss. A creative group might have four or five clients that it was responsible for. On your time sheet you’d see something…

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Today’s Boys: Tomorrow’s Warriors

By Callie Oettinger | 5 Comments

They were “just boys” or “babies” or “young.” Often in war stories, it is the men who are at battle, but the boys who go to war. Those deciding and those fighting are men and boys, as are those leaving and those returning home. Lieutenant General Samuel Vaughan Wilson, retelling a Civil War story told to him as a child, by his “Auntie Mamie,” who spent much of the Battle of Saylers Creek “crouched on a pile of last fall’s potatoes there on the floor of the basement” in Lockett House, which was in the middle of the battle, and…

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Quotidian Setbacks

By Shawn Coyne | 11 Comments

There are days when Steve and I feel as if we’ve entered the real life publishing version of Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci’s movie Big Night.  Have you seen this movie?  It’s the story of two brothers from Abruzzo, Italy, who’ve come to America in the 1950s to open their dream restaurant.  They call it Paradise and open it somewhere on the New Jersey Shore. The chef of Paradise is Primo (played by the impeccable Tony Shaloub) and the front of the house is run by Secondo (Stanley Tucci at his neurotically mannered best). Primo is a perfectionist. His food…

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What I Learned in the Ad Biz, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

Advertising is a much-reviled industry (selling us junk we don’t need, etc.) Let me not be last in line to heap my own scorn and derision upon this hell-spawned profession. That being said, my own time as a copywriter (I worked for Grey, Benton & Bowles and Ted Bates in NYC) was more valuable than a Ph.D. from Harvard. I also met some of the best and most interesting people I’ve ever known, many of whom remain friends to this day. So what did I learn in the ad biz?  First lesson (see this post from 2009): Nobody Wants To…

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War Is ?

By Callie Oettinger | 7 Comments

Wars—and the ways they are remembered and shared—are unique. There is no one experience—from the child watching it on the news to the service member fighting within it. “The war is what A.D. is elsewhere: they date from it.”

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Why is “The War of Art” $60.00 on Amazon?

By Shawn Coyne | 14 Comments

My wife and I need a new car. The one we have now has served our family well, but it’s starting to have quirky issues and occasional breakdowns. It’s in that prime moment when the warranty has run out and we just have that sinking sensation that it’s only a matter of time before we get stuck on a highway somewhere in the middle of the night when all three of the kids have to go to the bathroom. And not the easy bathroom situation either. My gut tells me that the geniuses in Detroit have the whole “planned obsolescence”…

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“Beware the Saboteur!”

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

My friend Kate tells this story: I was visiting my friend Bob Gilbert, who among many other talents was a fabulous boat builder. This was at Harvey Swindall’s boatyard in Ventura [California], where Bob was building a 92-foot yacht based on the plans for the famous ocean racer Bloodhound, which had been built originally in the 1870s at the Fife Boat Works in Fairlie, Scotland. The new Bloodhound’s keel had been laid. The ribs were in place. Bob showed me around, pointing out all the little details of construction, which he, being a master builder, had gone to incredible lengths…

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By Callie Oettinger | 1 Comment

S+O+B=Three letters that appear in almost every war story, in the same order, but with dozens of different meanings. SOB=Love and Respect

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George Peper, Bill Murray and Broderick Crawford

By Shawn Coyne | 9 Comments

For quite a while now (almost two years), Steve Pressfield and I have been tossing drafts of one of his manuscripts back and forth.  It’s just about ready to share. I think we’re on draft nine or ten, not sure. I bet Steve knows how many we’ve burned through, but he doesn’t bitch about it. He’s a pro. Anyway, in a few months we’ll have a lot more to say about that book. For now I only bring it up because the concept of the book we’ve been working on reminded me of a story. And as Martha Stewart would…

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