Way back in 2005, AKA the Dark Ages, I was a regular reader of a book blog called Grumpy Old Bookman. It was written by a curmudgeonly, quite cynical, idealistic, seasoned-with-age man who wrote, reviewed and thought about books in a profound and enlightening way. The GOB, as he was sometimes acronymed, had a large readership and was one of the most popular book blogs on the Web. I would say he is a representative of the First Golden Age of Internet Blogging.
One of the more significant things he wrote was that all financial success in the book writing business is a result of sheer luck. Disturbing on the hand, but motivating on the other for those of who think perfection is what drives book sales.
The GOB kept writing-- faithfully and frequently-- up until November 25, 2007, when he said he was taking a sabbatical.
Well, the GOB is now back, taking up where he left off with book news and observations. I hope he will be talking about his nearly five-year hiatus, and how he feels the world of books has changed since he took his break. It's a bit of Rip Van Winkle story, though I'm sure the GOB has not been asleep the entire time.
BTW, I found out about the resumption of posts as I was cleaning up the old Internet bookmarks on my computer. Kudos to the GOB for retaining his old URL.
In other news about folk I have followed in the past, Gary Vaynerchuk, erstwhile wine blogger and would-be mega consultant on all things Internet marketing, recently posted a curious video about his desire to become the owner of the New York Jets football team.
According to business books, this is called the Big Hairy Audacious Goal, an accomplishment that seems impossible to achieve but by its very audaciousness and desirability motivates a person or a business to work hard every day towards it.
Gary is a communicator and a person who likes to stir the pot. In this video, he says that the day he succeeds in buying the Jets football team will be the worst of his life, because he thrives on struggle, work and process rather than results.
Fair enough. But I was more interested in a comment to the video, which I quote here:
Even the pursuit of goals, in which you are finding joy, is a chasing after the wind. One thing is true of us all, in 50 to 75 years it's unlikely that anyone will even remember our names or who we were. There is more to all of this than the chase or achievements. Remember 1 thing, it's not our story, we are not the stars but supporting actors in the bigger story. Are you sure you are playing the role you've been asked to? Don't waste it.
This person is referencing the opening chapters of the book of Ecclesiastes, the narrative of a man who has done it all and realizes it's not worth it. True wisdom is knowing and fearing God.
Gary has made it clear his motivation for working hard is personal fulfillment and family. In 50-75 years he hopes his grandchildren will see him on the videos he's made, and be proud and inspired to love and work for their own families. Good for him.
For me, meaning is everything. I'm with the commenter. I wish I could see the big picture and know the exact role I'm supposed to play in the cosmic drama. And despite imperfect views, I continue on in that spirit.
My Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to someday Know God. Impossible, yes, but motivational for sure.