Posts in eBooks
An Inside Look at my New eBook: The 6 Fastest Ways to Supercharge Your Career

Today I'm pleased to announce the launch of my new eBook "The 6 Fastest Ways to Supercharge Your Career".  It's a fast, down-to-earth look at the formula that has worked for me and countless others.  

The best news: you can't buy it but you can get it for free!

Seriously... keep reading for more information.

This eBook answers one question that I hear over and over again: "what am I doing wrong since I don't seem to be getting ahead in my career?"  As so many have approached me with that question over the past 3-4 years, I decided to compile and curate my ideas.  I'll keep meeting with whomever wants my face-to-face advice but if you don't live here in Jersey, that may be difficult.  With this eBook, you don't have to wait for an appointment.

The 6 Fastest Ways is organized into the following sections:

  1. The State of Careers Today: data about how the workforce is changing faster than at any other time in history.  
  2. Taking Inventory- The 6 Questions You Should Ask Before Your Next Job Interview: I coach you through a series of questions that every job seeker  should answer in order to be 100% prepared for their next gig.
  3. The 6 Habits Explained: my secret sauce of staying on top of your professional game.
  4. Conclusion & Thank You: a wrap up of the book's key points.

Subscribers to my mailing list will receive the eBook today.  What I like the most about the book is that it's a personal story of how I was tapped at age 35 to lead a high school here in Jersey.  

For everyone else, all you have to do to get your copy is subscribe for free via the box below:

I think that you'll enjoy The 6 Fastest Ways as much as I enjoyed preparing it for you!

Get Rid of Digital Clutter Once and for All (new eBook)

"I wasn't sure who that text message was from..." said my friend Jeanne.  It turns out that I had messaged her about a social engagement only to find that she didn't know who it was from.  As a result, the message was ignored.

Because my iMessage settings were cued up to send messages via an old email address that I never use, she was confused.  Our "conversation" via iMessage broke down as a result.  My bad.

Such is the case when you have too much digital clutter on your computer and in your head.  Digital clutter is much more common than we realize.  By "clutter", we mean any of the following:

  • Too many email addresses (or emails for that matter... can you relate?)
  • More apps that you can possibly use for your smartphone
  • A laptop or desktop computer that's slowing down because there isn't enough memory left 


And so it goes.  I'm not passing judgment on my friend Jeanne or anyone else wrestling with digital clutter.  Heck, I struggle with it daily.  Actually, that's why I'm sharing something special with you today.

If you watched my YouTube video on six tips for simplifying your digital life, you got a sense of six practical ways that you can streamline and clean out the clutter of everyday life.

So here it is, free for you for a limited time.  "6 Tips for a Simpler, Smarter Digital Life" is roughly 10 pages long and elaborates on my six points from the video.  You can download it here.

In "6 Tips", I share both personal experiences and also research pertinent to the following:

  1. How impactful digital clutter can be to your everyday life.
  2. What you can do about it TODAY.

"6 Tips" isn't gospel.  If you have six tips of your own, I'd love to hear them. My tips are simply that- my experiences that have made a huge difference in how I live and work.  People have told me that they make a difference in their life too so that's why I felt compelled to compile them in an eBook. 

If you like the book, let me know via email: mike@speakdigital.org or via Twitter.  

If you enjoyed this post, why not join the Speak Digital Network?  This is my free mailing list which gives you a backstage pass to my thoughts on digital life from a simple point of view.  We don't share your information with anyone, ever.

Apple's Recommitment to Education and What it Means for Schools
Last week, Apple held a special event in New York City that was thought to be a snoozer- textbooks, publishing and related items.  Watching the keynote of the event (watch it here on Apple's website), the response was a surprising bit of "wow"!  Textbooks don't seem so boring after all.

What did Apple announce that was so significant?

  1. iBooks2. Apple's version of the Kindle Reader now is richer than ever, with more features and an expanding library.  It's free and available in the iOS app store.

  2. iBooks Author. This new Mac-only app is free, user friendly and allows just about anyone to create and then publish e-books to iBooks.  I've tried it for a few hours and think that this will be a game-changer.  Apple just shifted the ability to publish content from the large publishing companies to any teacher or school who has the desire to do so.  Let's say you're a master teacher and have perfected a lesson plan.  Now with iBooks Author, you can literally publish your material and share it with the world.  The distance between what a teacher knows and what a student can learn just got thinner.

  3. Textbooks. Now with its own section within iBooks, textbooks get some extra love.  Not only is the price low but the consumer (read: student) owns the resource.  No more handing back at the end of the year an outdated textbook that you can't write in.  As an educator, this is significant.  Imagine you teach current world issues and your textbook is still featuring photos of the previous President of the United States.  Now, your book will offer current photos, updated speeches and dynamic video content.  This isn't Harry Potter we're talking about- it's here and now and possible in every school on the planet.

  4. iTunesU. The educational portal for iTunes now has its own app for portable use.  You can subscribe to college-level courses and take the content with you wherever you go.  This is now going to be opened up to high school courses as well.


I can't emphasize enough how Apple has just shifted the game of education.

From large companies to individual teachers and students.

From affluent-only schools to anywhere-anytime schools.

The best of education is now able to be created by anyone and enjoyed by any student.  Not surprisingly, Apple has convinced the three largest publishers to join in the revolution.  They have hitched their wagon on Apple's iPad success and it just might work.  This recent data confirms the usefulness of iPads in raising student test scores.

So what's the catch?

The only one that I can see is the $500 barrier of entry.  To take advantage of all of these initiatives, a student has to use an iPad.  I say, "no big deal".  Having used an iPad for over a year, I can say that it's a revolutionary device. The distance between teacher and student no longer has the screen of a laptop to obscure collaboration.  This means fewer video games during class (oh yes, that happens in every 1x1 program that I've seen) and a better distribution of class content than ever before.  Schools need to find creative ways to finance the use of iPads for its students.  I realize that this is easier said than done.

David Sparks of MacSparky has the best summary of Apple's event that I found in prep for this post.  Like all things that Apple commits itself to, their education initiatives will take time to evolve.  They might not be perfect but if anyone can improve education, it's Apple.

This should be fun.
Six Months into the iPad Experience
The hype for the iPad was almost too much to handle.  The rumors about its shape, operating system and practicality all contributed to a masterful job on the part of Apple.  Even its name was a surprise until it debuted with the help of uber-magician Steve Jobs.

You just wanted one!

Imagine a major computing company staking part of its future on a product that didn't seem to have a niche market of competitors.  If you're Jobs, who has the guts of a burglar, you simply smile.  To call the iPad a success would be an understatement as it sold 300,000 on the first day alone.  Since then, it has dominated the tablet market to the tune of nearly 8 million sold since then.  8 million units sold to the tune of between $499-$829.  That's a lot of dough.

When I was issued an iPad by work, I had mixed feelings.  Like Michael Hyatt of Thomas Nelson Publishers, (read An Elegant Solution in Search of a Problem) I liked the device but found it totally  different from my omnipresent iPhone.  The iPhone changed my life (not even remotely kidding) but the iPad felt somehow unnecessary.  It was supposed to be about "media consumption" rather than content creation.  Now, after six months, let's evaluate what I call the "iPad Experience".  Has it lived up to the hype? Read on to find out.

Core Functions

Unlike the iPhone which allows you to do virtually anything from Skype to text to ... well, about anything that 200,000 apps allow you to, the iPad is based on what I describe as core functions.  I use it to manage my calendar, to listen to podcasts and to stay up with the news.  That's it.  I don't use it to take notes (impractical) and my ADD is too strong to only use it to read books.  I'm sure others use their iPads differently but it's important to settle in on whatever core functions are important for you.

Multitasking

The iOS 4.2 update with multitasking was very significant for me and meant that the iPad was faster, more usable and constituted a more iPhone-like experience.  The keep a download going while I do something else or listen to Pandora sounds like a small detail but the 4.2 upgrade made the iPad a more luxurious (and practical) device.

Apps Worth a Try

There are so many app reviews on the internet so I won't go into the benefits of the following, but here are my top seven:

OmniFocus: sure it's expensive but really, one try will convince you to manage your To-Do's with OmniFocus.

Twitter: free and user-friendly.

iBooks: incredible syncing with iPhone version; a fun way to read ebooks.

Ambience: terrific sounds app with audio from nature and various spots around the world.

Informant HD: like the iPhone version only larger and more useful; beautiful calendar manager.

DropBox: free app with spectacular syncing across platforms; useful for cloud document storage.

Keynote: I use this in my classroom to walk around the room with my class notes.

Honorable Mention: Nozbe is almost there as a solid To-Do manager.  Looking forward to future versions with bigger buttons.

iBooks

iBooks is a clever app that allows ebooks to be shared across your iPad / iPhone platforms.  I've read several ebooks and while the iPad feels a bit heavy, the cross-platform usage makes up for it.  Can't wait to see how future iPads improve on this app.

Commuting with the iPad

A big part of my life is my commute to and from work. Rather than waste the time, I listen to podcasts and audio books.  The iPad is perfect for this as it allows a larger screen for video content and a simple way to organize my podcasts for each week.  I create a new playlist each week with the casts that I want to hear.  (e.g. Week of December 27)

Portability

There's nothing like lying on the couch and puttering  around on the iPad.  You can't do this with as much ease on a laptop.  The iPad shines when you need to surf the net and want to relax in the process.

Conclusion

While I had a slow start with my iPad, I recently had to go a few days without it.  I really missed it and found my MacBookPro somewhat bulky in its absence.  I love my iPad and even though it's not perfect, it's elegant and fun. The more you use it, the better your productivity will be.

What's your iPad experience been in comparison to mine?
Review of eBook, "Where the !@#% did my day go?"
Most of us flirt with GTD.  We've read the book, attended the seminar and told others about David Allen.  When you finally meet someone who's actually made GTD a career, it's worth taking notice.

Matthew Cornell is one of those entrepeneurs and is one of the more thoughtful GTDers out there.  His consulting practice is the real deal as he helps people implement Getting Things Done in their personal and corporate lives.

I recently read his latest eBook, "Where the !@#% did my day go?  The Ultimate Guide to Making Every Day a Great Workday" and found it to be very useful.

As Matthew points out in the opening, "This guide teaches you everything you need to know to successfully adopt a daily planning practice."  From the use of simple inboxes to a helpful Q&A about planning in general, Matthew then walks a participant in what he calls a One Week Challenge.  He figures that most of us can't stick with something for very long.  A week should do the trick and  Where the !@#% did my day go? takes readers to the next level in terms of their productivity.  He even includes sample designs of daily to-do lists and planning templates.

I recommend Matthew's work and this recent eBook is another example of GTD in action.  Pick up your copy here.
eBooksMike StPierre