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Ben’s Album #2 on iTunes Comedy Charts

January 19th, 2018

I’m super excited to announce my new comedy album is out and currently at #2 in the iTunes Comedy Charts!

 

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“Unstoppable: My Life So Far” Quotes

January 11th, 2018

I recently read “Unstoppable: My Life So Far” by Maria Sharapova (and Rich Cohen – which is the reason I started reading the book). Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“By toughness, Yudkin meant persistence, the quality that makes you lock in and focus when asked to do the same thing a million times. If you ask most kids to do something, they will do it once or twice, then get restless, shut down, and walk away. To be great at anything, Yudkin believed, you had to be able to endure a tremendous amount of boredom. That is, you had to be tough.” (17)

“You have a good day, it’s a good day. You put together a string of good days, you have a good career.” (46)

“If you don’t have a mother to cry to, you don’t cry. You just hang in there, knowing that eventually things will change – that the pain will subside, that the screw will turn.” (47)

“That’s what people do not understand about tennis. You do not have to be the best player in the world to win. You only have to be better, on that day, than the person across from you.” (50)

“What made my career possible? IT was not all those times he embraced challenges and said yes. Way too much credit is given to the art or act of saying yes. It was all those times he said no that made the difference. Up to this point, yes – beyond this point, no.” (68)

“At the moment of temptation – by which I mean the appearance of an easier path – he always said no. ANd he did not despair about it. Because he’s determined, and because he believed.” (68)

“Anyone can be composed and cool while winning, when everything is going according to plan. But how do you deal with a losing streak? That’s the big question – that’s what separates the professionals from the cautionary tales.” (117)

“Without those parents, you would not have the Williams sisters or Andre Agassi or me. The tennis parent is the will of the player before the player has formed a will of her own.” (127)

“Having a two-year-old around when you play a big match is great because the two-year-old is interested but does not really care, and that not caring, that happy not caring, reminds you that, in the end, all of this is nothing. There are champions now; in ten years, there will be different champions. It’s fleeting, so have fun – that’s what you get from a two-year old.” (158)

“As hard as I practice, I have learned that doing nothing is just as important as doing everything.” (161)

“I know what losing does to you. I’d learned its lessons on tennis courts all over the world. It knocks you down but also builds you up. It teaches you humility and gives you strength. It makes you aware of your flaws, which you then must do your best to correct. In this way, it can actually make you better. You become a survivor. You learn that losing is not the end of the world.” (195)

“Winning fucks you up. First of all, it brings all kinds of rewards, which, if seen from the proper perspective, reveal themselves for what they really are: distractions, traps, snares. Money, fame, opportunity. Each laurel and offer and ad and pitch takes you further from the game. It can turn your head. It can ruin you, which is why there are many great players who won just a single Grand Slam, then seemed to wander away.” (195)

“It’s the first big test of a long career – yes, you can win, but can you win again? That’s an even tougher task. The history books are littered with names of athletes who got that single big win but never got a second Grand Slam. One-hit wonders. Not because they were not great, or won by luck. But because they never figured out how to adjust after everyone else has made their adjustments.” (202)

“What sets the great players apart from the good players? The good players win when everything is working. The great players win even when nothing is working even when the game is ugly; that is, when they are not great. Because no one can be great every day. Can you get it done on the ugly days, when you feel like garbage and the tank is empty?” (247)

“I’ve worked harder with Sven than I’ve ever worked in my life. That’s how it has to be when you get a little older. You need to go twice as hard to look half as natural. You need to double your effort to get the same result. In other words, practice is everything.” (268)

“There is no perfect justice, not in this world. You can’t control what people say about you and what they think about you. You can’t plan for bad luck. You can only work your hardest and do your best and tell the truth. In the end,it’s the effort that matters. The rest is beyond your control.” (288)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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“Are You Anybody?” Quotes

January 10th, 2018

I recently read “Are You Anybody?” by Jeffrey Tambor. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book here.

“Yo-Yo Ma once said that you have to have fire in the belly to be an artist. Same goes for being an actor. It’s not enough to want to be an actor, you have to have that fire. One of the things that provided that fire for me was that moment with my family. I loved my dad, but I was going to prove him wrong. I woke up each morning with a mission, with fire in the belly.” (8-9)

“There are three kinds of Jews: Orthodox Jews, who only read Hebrew; Conservative Jews, who read Hebrew and English; and Reform Jews, whose only requirement is to sing show tunes.” (12)

“I keep a photograph folded in my wallet of a little Jewish boy being marched out of the Warsaw ghetto at gunpoint. When I lose my nerve, I take the photo out and look at it. I am that boy. We are all that boy.
A reporter once asked me if I put my Jewish roots in my performances.
“All my characters are Jewish,” I said.” (24)

“A late friend of mine came up to me one day with tears in his eyes and said, “I used to be somebody. Now I’ve become somebody else. God help me, what have I done?” (27)

“When I do my talk, I choose a moment in the evening to have the audience close their eyes and imagine someone in their lives who is having a bad time of it, someone who is failing. I caution them not to use themselves, because it’s too close and it’s hard to be objective.” (29)

“The very definition of being an actor is: Don’t keep your nose clean – your mission is to get into trouble and stay there.” (29)

“I have a theory that we come into this world with a set of sealed orders. It’s not just our physical DNA, but a sort of spiritual DNA. You could call it your purpose or your groove or whatever word you like. Joseph Campbell called it bliss. George Saunders calls it “one’s primary reason.” Whatever you call it, it’s your obligation to yourself to find it. It’s not a whim, nor a wish, buta need. It wakes you up each morning with almost a sickness in your stomach to get on with it.” (42)

“If you comment on it, you kill it. If there’s a hat already on your head, why in God’s name would you put another hat on top of it? The audience doesn’t like to see you wink.” (48)

“Jack was adamant about this one: You must come to the first rehearsal off book – with your lines memorized.” (49)

“Forcing us to confront the text made us get ready in thought and character. We had begun the process. We weren’t waiting for his direction. We were co-creators. It wasn’t about learning the lines, it was about learning the part.” (50)

“About two weeks into the four or five week rehearsal period, Jack would leave. Let me repeat: the director would leave. For a week.
We were blocked, which means we had all the stage movement learned, and were up on our feet. He’d say, “Okay, see you in a week. Start running it.” That’s it. No advice, no notes. Not even a wave at the door. We would rehearse with the stage manager while he was gone.
I’ve never seen any other director do this, but it worked extremely well for him. He believed in his cast, and he believed in the play, and he believed in his process.” (50)

“He taught me to seek out other mentors in my life and career who would also give me confidence.” (51)

“There are actors in those local companies who kill in show after show, and they never leave because they are already doing exactly what they want to do.” (61)

“If you don’t get better in the first two weeks of your acting class, for which you’ve plunked down a good amount of money, get the fuck out of there as fast as you can.” (82)

“When people ask me for one salient piece of life advice and I tell them, “Adore everything,” they are usually disappointed. But it’s a true thing, and you should do it.” (95)

“Orson Welles put it: “You have to make the actor believe he is better than he is. That is the job. More than confidence, give him arrogance. He really has to think he’s great, that he is extraordinary.”” (100)

“I start every single day reading. This is my ritual: I make a cup of coffee before bed and put it on my nightstand. This routine goes all the way back to my college days. When I wake, I drink the cold coffee and read for thirty minutes. I don’t get out of bed until I’ve completed this sacred ritual.” (113)

“I like to say, Judith is so good she gets a Tony when she goes to the theater.” (123)

“By the mid-1980s, I had a recurring role on a top television show, and people were noticing me – and I noticed them noticing. Under that gaze, I became not myself but this actor with this built-in expectancy. It’s what happened when I first did Sly Fox in front of Larry Gelbart. “Wait till you see the kid” ruined me. I was trying to be perfect to impress people, but that’s not where the “good stuff,” as they say, comes from. To find your purpose – or your “primary reason,” as George Saunders so aptly describes it, or as we used to say in the ‘60s, your “thing” – I believe you first must be willing to wreck it.” (141)

“The author Henry miller said his teacher told him he knew what he sounded like when Miller tried to write well, but what did it sound like when he tried to do it badly? And that’s when Henry Mill said he found his “voice.”” (142)

“Errors are essential and need to be welcomed. They are the opposite of perfection and yet can lead to genius and revelation.” (142)

“In movies and television, the director might have you do many takes of a scene until it’s done, and then say, “now do one for yourself.” Inevitably – ask any actor – that’s the take that’s full of play and creativity and joy and is the one that has the most freedom and life. On the Transparent set, Jill Soloway starts us with that take. That is, indeed, our premise.” (144)

“Dopamine and serotonin flow through the body when you play. It makes you joyful and fearless. When you submit to the eyes being on you, the work ceases to be play and becomes something else, something rigid, something expected.” (144)

“There is no such thing as a straight line to success, in life, in love, or in career. You’re going to fuck up somewhere along the way. You might make a bad decision, a stupid choice, an ill-informed move. You might choose to do something good, but for the wrong reason. You might choose something bad for the right reason.” (151)

“Milton said, “You’re a good boy. You’re the first one off book. You’re the first one to rehearsal. You like to please people. That’s a good thing, and a bad thing.”” (161)

“The crazy part is, the audience doesn’t know you’re in their thrall. You’re in thrall to no one and nothing, to something that doesn’t even exist. And that thrall is the death of spontaneity and invention.” (169)

“I think this ability [to eliminate any sense of subservience to the audience] is not just a necessity, but it is one of the keys to the kingdom. To be clear, dear reader, the phrase is “fuck ‘em.” It’s not “fuck them.” It’s not “fuck you” – especially not “fuck you,” never “fuck you.” It’s “fuck ‘em.” It really should be written fuckem actually. It’s an attitude – not of hatred or aggression – but of freedom from self-censorship and the need to please.” (169)

“It’s not that you don’t give a shit – you do give a shit. It’s not that you’re relaxed; it has nothing to do with relaxed.” (171)

“It’s not being unafraid; who’s not afraid. It won’t slow your heart rate down; in fact, it will increase it because “fuck ‘em” brings more tasks and makes you use even more of the colors on the palette. It won’t make you happy; who’s happy? I’m the Jewish son of Russian Hungarian parents – it’s not even an option.” (171)

“It will make you more effective when you put down the heavy luggage being a good boy or girl; that’s when your talent will come through.” (171)

“It’s an attitude. It is confident.
It applies even in the quotidian routines of everyday life. A friend of mine used to being his day by aying, “I’m going to work to get fired today.” That was his version of muttering through the peephole. He assumed an attitude that said, “Fuck it. Fire me if you don’t like it.” It freed him to do his work unfettered by fear.” (172)

“This is how you get a role. You walk into an audition with this attitude: “If you were to pay me, this is how I would do this role. If you agree with that, hire me. If you don’t agree with that, adjust my performance. If you don’t agree with that…then let’s part ways as professionals and move gently on with our lives.” It’s called an audition, a word that literally means a “hearing,” not a do-you-like-me or do-you-think-I’m-talented or do-you-think-I-have-a-future-in-show-business.” (175)

“My attitude showed them that I had confidence, a word I take very seriously. Con = with; fidence = loyalty to oneself. Loyalty to oneself. Fuck’em. And confidence spreads in the room: if the actor is confident, the director is more confident as is the producer and, oh boy, the casting director, and maybe, just maybe, the guy doling out chili on the set.” (175)

“I met them in the office of the high priest of ABC for this high-pressure pitch meeting. My partners started to do their spiel, and I could see they were being timid and it was not selling. I thought, Fuck it, my mom just died. I just didn’t feel like being cowed and afraid that morning – so I grabbed the script and read a long paragraph, acting it with everything I had. Their mouths were hanging open. By the time my partners and I got down to the lobby, we got the call: the network bought it. They bought my confidence more than even the concept.” (176)

“Brian Grazer told me the best thing: “This is what a career sounds like: No, no, no, no,no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, yes, no, no, no, no, no, no.”” (186)

“I tell my students, “If you are any good, you will be fired.” I must have made it sound good, because I regularly receive emails from students who tell me they can’t wait to graduate and get fired. If you’re ever stuck at a dinner party with actors and the conversation lags, just ask, “have you ever been fired?” and you will be regaled with stories of dismissal for the rest of the evening.” (187)

“Pay attention. God is in the details, as every good writer knows. People are not generalities or abstraction; they are a collection of specifics, detail upon detail upon detail. In observing those details, you will discover this axiom: People are ridiculous.” (216)

“It’s my theory that you don’t get a role by just reading a part well. There’s a moment in a reading where you get a role, and you have to hit that moment.” (225)

“The thing that I loved about doing The Larry Sanders Show was that not everyone got it at first. The writing was remarkable – Garry never went for the easy joke, he went past the joke to the character reveal. If you were a writer who got that, you excelled.” (228)

“As a young actor, I would plan my performance in my office or in my room. I would get up the next day to shoot, and I would get in my car and will the world away. It was as if I had a body prophylactic on. I wanted nothing to affect me. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I didn’t want anything. And when I got to whatever set I was working on, I presented this pristine, rehearsed, performed character. I didn’t just learn my own lines, I learned everybody’s lines. I showed up two and half hours before curtain and ran through the entire play.
What Garry was doing was a revelation, just as it had been when I first saw him on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show years earlier. With Garry, you didn’t hide; you brought the day – what was affecting you right then, right there – no hiding, you brought “the day.” It was like the crossroads of jazz and existentialism, as composer Ben Sidran once said, by “being yourself in the moment” and “open to what comes next.” (233)

“There’s a wonderful thing that happens when you know you’re a day player. I think everyone should go to work every day thinking they’re a day player. You know that at the end of the day, you can go on to the next job or you can go on safari. There’s a certain liberation to that.” (241)

“I’ve noticed something that happens to me when I teach. My life gets better. I get better. Not my acting per se, but my life. It’s what Milton and other teachers had said to me: when you teach, you’re basically talking to yourself.” (267)

“To be an actor, I believe, you have to be personal and you must act as if your life depends on it.” (267)

“Acting and comedy are about saving lives. My dad used to say, “be useful. This was useful.”” (268)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

The post “Are You Anybody?” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“Black Privilege” Quotes

January 9th, 2018

I recently read “Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It” by Charlamagne Tha God. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book.

“Opportunity truly does come to those who create it.” (xx)

“When you stop complaining about where you are physically and start focusing on where you are mentally, that’s when you will start to transcend your circumstances.” (1)

“When I’m stuck, I reconnect with my core. That means getting on a plane to Charleston and then heading straight to Moncks Corner. I will literally drive to my mom’s house and go sleep in my old bedroom.” (30)

“When I can reconnect with the dreams my younger self used to have, whatever little drama or doubt that was getting me down quickly becomes irrelevant.” (30)

“During the cultural revolution in China, wearing glasses often got people killed because they were a symbol of elitism>” (40)

“Fuck your dream (If it’s not really yours.)” (98)

“It’s critical that you be able to tell the difference between someone telling you “Fuck you dreams” in order to get you on the right path or simply telling you “Fuck your dreams” because they’ve already given up on their own.” (105)

“You can talk about all the magazines and blogs you’ve read, or discuss what rappers are dissing each other, but ultimately sharing your own life is what will take you to the next level. Honesty and intimacy is what forges a real connection with the audience.” (132)

“Very few things will center you and recharge your spirit like caring for your child.” (136)

“I don’t keep any personal items in my office. Because you just never know.” (When they might fire you) (141)

“When someone offers to help you, tell them exactly what you want. Don’t beat around the bush. If you’re not crystal clear about what your ask is, chances are you won’t get anything.” (148)

“You can never – even if the situation blows up in your face – hurt yourself by helping others.” (151)

“Success is a process: there are no cheat codes, no life hacks, no shortcuts, and no half steps. Opportunity always comes before money, but sadly a lot of us don’t recognize it unless there’s a paycheck attached. Don’t make that mistake.” (153)

“When you’re just starting out, put yourself in the position to be a part of the process, and THEN get that money.” (153)

“If you want to see a person’s true character, watch how they treat people who seemingly can’t help them.” (153)

“Too often we’re given bad advice on what it takes to get from where we are to where we want to be. We’re taught that the only accurate sign that we’re moving toward success is making money. We get caught up sweating the results instead of embracing the process. Even though embracing the process is the only way you’re ever going to get what you want out of life.” (157)

“Tommy Buns was telling them to slow down and focus on the work in front of them, no matter how small the job might seem, instead of immediately looking forward to the big scores. If they couldn’t even put the weed in the bag first, how were they going to go out and become major players/” (157)

“You’re supposed to be busting your ass for “nothing” when you’re in your twenties. And sometimes even your thirties. That doesn’t mean you’re being exploited. It means you’re building up the skills, connections , and reputation to eventually build a platform on your own.” (160)

“If hard work is the best quality an intern can display, ambition is definitely one of the worst. That doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious… but I guarantee their employers weren’t too aware of that ambition when they were interning. They all knew how to keep that ambition in check until the time was right” (163)

“In order to be a great intern, you must have blinders on and stay focused on the work that’s in front of you, instead of the work you want to be doing down the road. This is because the program directors, managers, producers, and supervisors don’t care about your dreams. They’re focused on their own. So don’t waste their time making noise about what you want or what your master plan is.” (163)

“Your only value to them is the work you put in. If you’ve handled your internship correctly, when it’s time to move on, your superior should come to you and say, “So, what are you trying to do with your career?” And when you tell them, it should be their first time hearing your plans.” (164)

“I’d rather take less money now if it helps set me up to get more in the long run. I’m focused on creating opportunity for myself, not wring every last penny out of a deal.” (166)

“I asked Paul, “Tell me how people who’ve achieved fame manage to fall off?” “Their attitudes and managers,” he replied. “Bad attitude speaks for itself, But you know, you get these managers that speak for you and they take a bunch of your money and they create drama where there is no need for it,” he told me. “The most dangerous thing they do is gas up the talent. They make you feel like you’re bigger than the company, which you never are. I don’t care how famous you are, or how much press you get, you’re never bigger than the company. And if a manager makes you feel like you are, they’re doing you a great disservice.”” (171)

“Measure your success by the opportunities you’re presented with and the opportunities you’re creating for others. Not the amount of zeroes in your paycheck. When that’s your sole measurement, you’re going to come up short in the end.” (172)

“Being active on social media can amplify the work you’re already doing, but it is not work unto itself.” (174)

“He just had that combination of charisma and work ethic that made him stand out despite his surroundings.” (178)

“Too many radio jocks and writers don’t share their true opinions because they’re more concerned with making friends in the industry than being advocates for their audiences.” (216)

“Opening up was the turning point. Instead of dissing me, they began to root for me. They wanted to walk my journey with me.” (219)

“It’s insane to expect to be further along in life if you’re still acting and thinking the same way that you always have.” (243)

“There are a lot of people whose main talent is their ability to coach.” (262)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book.

The post “Black Privilege” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“Win Your Case” Quotes

January 8th, 2018

I recently read “Win Your Case: How To Present, Persuade, and Prevail – Every Place, Every Time” by Gerry Spence. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book.

“Our ability to feel has been supplanted by that tyrant called the intellect. We think. We do not feel. From the time we were children our left brain has become so completely dominant and our native feelings so rejected that we can no longer call upon them to reveal the truth, for the truth is most often a feeling.” (25)

“Logic and reason often become but tools used by those in power to deliver their load of injustice to the people.” (29)

“I tell lawyers that none of us is celver enough to choose the right words, the right vocal intonation, the right rhythms in our speech, the right facial expression, the right hand and body movements, and to choose them simultaneously, word after word, sentence after sentence, unless we are telling the truth as we perceive it, yes, as we feel it.” (31)

“That truth includes the revelation of our feelings. Yes, we care. Yes, we’re afraid. We may be inexperienced. We’re taking risks – risks that we may be rejected, even cast out. But we are open and honest about who we are and what we feel. In the end, our candor and caring cast a dazzling, if humble light on our presentation that leaves all of our shortcomings in forgotten shadows.” (32)

“Owning our feelings. When we stand before a jury or any other decision maker without owning our feelings we hide the most important part of us.” (32)

“Often we don’t have to identify our feelings for the jury – to say, “I feel angry,” or “I feel afraid,” or “I feel lonely” or sad, or confused, or lost. But when we are in touch with our feelings they’ll show through.” (32)

“To move others we must first be moved. To persuade others, we must first be credible. To be credible we must tell the truth, and the truth always beings with our feelings.” (32)

“Spontaneity is the key that unlocks the doors of the listener, because that which is spontaneous is honest and is heard as honest.” (35)

“When we’re tied to our notes, or worse, when we’re frozen in the words of a memorized script, the sounds, the language, the whole dramatic movement is lost.” (35)

“These risks of doing something in the moment are the risks we should take.” (39)

“We are being trained not to hear anything but what the voice of Big Brother (the corporate overlord) wants us to hear. We are being trained not to tune in to ourselves but to tune ourselves out and tune in the programs that Madison Avenue prepares for us, so that we, the New Indians, as it were, will voluntarily give up whatever we have in exchange for the trinkets and beads and booze that the corporate overlord wishes to sell us from the company store. In short, we have become deaf mutes of a kind.” (41)

“Never intentionally set out to frighten an opponent. If we can hold our opponent’s fear to a minimum it will be that much easier to defeat him.” (51)

“But if we turn on the dogs, turn on the fear, concentrate on it and feel it, we’re taken into a different world. Something happens to the dogs when we face the dogs. They being to slink away. Embracing fear we leave fear powerless. Fear becomes afraid of us.” (52)

“The only appropriate method to deal with fear is to own it.” (52)

“Once I understood that simple shift in paradigm from one who gives his permission to be defeated to one who withholds it, everything about me began to change – my voice, my posture, my self-esteem, my confidence, even my walk. One is either prey, victim, sufferer, wounded, loser, and casualty, and is devoured, or one is unconquerable.” (56)

“Changing one’s vision of the self gives birth to a new person. The question is no longer why am I being defeated/ No question is asked. The indomitable self radiates from the person and beams out in a sort of invisible halo of power. It is more than charisma. It is awesome to behold, like a roaring river. It need not take on the thunder of the orator. It is often quiet and easy, but the power is there – a sense that to conquer the person one would have to kill him with an ax.
Things change in the presence of such a person. Doors open. Respect is given as automatically as a smile returns a smile. Possessing such power, the person can be humble, and gentle, and loving, because refusing to give permission to be defeated, a simple, transforming state of mind, no longer requires the false accouterments of power – bravado, arrogance, and conceit. This power which is achieved by retaining what has belonged to us all along – our refusal to give our permission to be defeated – is complete and perfect in itself.” (57)

“It makes little difference how we deal with fear in the courtroom or any other room. Once it is dredged up from the murky, roiling depths and spread out in the sunshine it changes. It becomes something that can be dealt with because we have given ourselves permission to face it, and magically it loses its power. Once we understand that to be afraid is not synonymous with being a coward we can put its power to work for us. It will explode into action, into spontaneity, into emotional muscle, and into the caring and commitment we gather to win.” (59)

“If we understand that anger is most often the product of injury, then don’t we also understand that anger is a secondary emotion – that the hurt, the pain came first, after which anger rushed in to take its place? Indeed, the anger will not diminish until we have relieved ourselves of the hurt.” (61)

“If we understand that anger has been seeded by hurt, is it not more useful to deal with the hurt than with the anger? Our hurt is not threatening to the person who hurt us. But our anger is. Anger begets anger.” (61)

“But if I say to you, “That hurt me,” the response of the other is more likely to be, “I didn’t mean to hurt you, or I wish I hadn’t,” and the war may come to an end.” (61)

“We do not like angry people. But in the same way, we do not trust people who should be angry and who are not.” (63)

“When I walk into the courtroom I see the judge for who he is – an ordinary man with extraordinary power.” (70)

“Every courtroom I enter belongs to me. The judge and the opposing lawyers, indeed, the hostile witnesses, are my guests.” (72)

“The best way to tell the story is always from the inside out. It’s hard to tell our story until we know it – that is, until we’ve felt it – heard it with our third ear, seen it with the eyes of our client, until we have been gripped by it in deep places, and have finally lived it.” (94)

“Why do we need a theme for our case? It usually contains the essence of our story – the quintessential statement that continues to emerge from out of the chaos of words, that redirects us to the cause when the arguments lead to other places and fuzz our focus. The theme speaks of the underlying morality of the case – what is right or what is wrong. It is the final argument in a single phrase.” (95)

“Without a powerful theme we will win no wars, win no cases, sell no products, and advance no causes.” (96)

“The stories that each of us have experienced, although with differing details, are the same in their substance. For every story we hear we inhabit part of that story as our own.” (100)

“Before you can expect people to reveal their feelings, their biases and prejudices, we must first be willing to reveal our own – openly and honestly.” (116)

“Research reveals that something like eighty-five percent of jurors make up their minds in the case by the end of the opening statement.” (128)

“In the courtroom the contest is often simply over the credibility of the lawyers.” (129)

“Often we use the first person in telling the story. A certain power rises up out of a first-person narrative that cannot be duplicated in third-person story telling. And it is easy to move in and out of the first person.” (132)

“We think in pictures – not abstractions.” (146)

“If we know the story inside and out, if we’ve written and rewritten it, outlined it, and, with heroic tenacity, outlined it again, magically we will become spontaneous. We do not deliver a memorized statement. We do not read from notes. We simply have a loaded mind computer with a narrative that includes an outline, a beginning, a middle, and an end, and – trusting the wonders of the mind to now tell the story in an exciting and compelling way – we will give a winning opening statement.” (147)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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“How To Win Friends” Quotes

January 5th, 2018

I recently read “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like them, buy the book.

“99 times out of 100, people don’t criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may be.” (32)

“Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself.” (32)

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.” (39)

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. “A man show his greatness,” said Carlyle, “by the way he treats little men.”” (39)

“As Dr. Johnson said: “God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days.” Why should you and I?” (42)

“Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” (42)

“There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do an
Ything. Did you ever stop to think of that? Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.” (43)

“The desire for a feeling of importance is one of the chief distinguishing differences between mankind and the animals.” (44)

“Many people who go insane find in insanity a feeling of importance that they were unable to achieve in the world of reality.” (47)

“Schwab said, “There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”” (48)

“Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.” (54)

“The only way to influence people is to talk in terms of what the other person wants.” (57)

“Before you speak, pause and ask yourself, “How can I make this person want to do it?” (58)

“Thousands of salespeople are pounding the pavements today, tired, discouraged and underpaid. Why? Because they are always thinking only of what they want. They don’t realize that neither you nor I want to buy anything. If we did, we would go out and buy it. But both of us are eternally interested in solving our problems. And if salespeople can show us how their services or merchandise will help us solve our problems, they won’t need to sell us. We’ll buy. And customers like to feel that they are buying – not being sold.” (65)

“The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition.” (66)

“Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.” (70)

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” (74)

“If the author doesn’t like people, people won’t like his or her stories.” (75)

“Every time he went on stage Thurston said to himself “I am grateful because these people come to see me. They make it possible for me to make my living in a very agreeable way. I’m going to give them the very best I possibly can.” He declared he never stepped in front of the footlights without first saying to himself over and over: “I love my audience. I love my audience.”” (76-77)

“Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.” (84)

“He said I was really human when I smiled.” (88)

“Everybody in the world is seeking happiness – and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts.” (89)

“Jim Farley discovered early in life that the average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together.” (93)

“Principle 3: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” (99)

“Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.” (108)

“Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.” (112)

“Principle 6: Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.” (123)

“Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right.” (127)

“There’s magic, positive magic, in such phrases as: “I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let’s examine the facts.” (133)

“From James Harvey Robinson’s enlightening book The Mind in the Making:
“We sometimes find ourselves changing our minds without any resistance or heavy emotion, but if we are told we are wrong, we resent the imputation and harden our hearts. We are incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs, but find ourselves filled with an illicit passion for them when anyone proposes to rob us of their companionship. It is obviously not the ideas themselves that are dear to us, but our self-esteem which is threatened….” (135)

“Principle 2: Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never say “You’re wrong.”” (141)

“Say about yourself all the derogatory things you know the other person is thinking or wants to say or intends to say – and say them before that person has a chance to say them.” (143)

“If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” (151)

“In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing – and keep on emphasizing – the things on which you agree.” (157)

“A magic phrase that would stop arguments, eliminate ill feeling, create good will and make the other person listen attentively: I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.”” (177)

“A person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one.” (184)

“Because he had singled out a specific accomplishment, rather than just making general flattering remarks, his praise became much more meaningful to the person to whom it was given. Everybody likes to be praised, but when praise is specific, it comes across as sincere – not something the other person may be saying just to make one feel good.” (221)

“Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.” (222)

Liked the quotes? Then buy the book.

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“Captivate” Quotes

January 4th, 2018

I recently read “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People” by Vanessa Van Edwards. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“First impressions are fundamental to everything else I can teach you.” (3)

“Once you join up with your colleagues, friends, or acquaintances, it is incredibly challenging to get out and meet new people. The best thing to do is wave or give your friends a quick huge when you arrive, and then say you will circle back to them. You can hang out with them as the crowd thins out, but capitalize on your fresh energy at the beginning of an event to hit the Social Zone.” (28)

“The best place to start working a room is right where people exit the bar.” (29)

“The absolute easiest thing you can do to improve your first impression is to keep your hands visible.” (42)

“Whenever possible, keep your hands above the desk in a boardroom, on the table during a coffee meeting, and out of your purse during an event.” (42)

“Power Posing” is when we raise our arms over our head, expand our chest, and tilt our head up.” (45)

“Whenever you are talking to people, use your Launch Stance:
Keep your shoulders down and back.
Aim your chin, chest, and forehead straight in front of you or slightly up.
Keep space between your arms and torso.
Make sure your hands are visible.” (46)”

“The best conversational sparks were:
What was the highlight of your day?
What personal passion project are you working on?
Have anything exciting come up in your life?” (59)

“To remember someone’s name: Repeat it back right away. Then spell it out. Tie the name to someone else you know with the same name. If it’s a unique name, tie it to a word that most closely resembles it.” (69)

“When donors are told that they are above-average givers (even if they are not), they in turn donate more to become above-average givers.” (79)

“Being a highlighter is about constantly searching for the good in people. When you tell people they are good, they become better. When you search for what’s good, you feel great.” (82)

“Being memorable is not about bringing up your high points. It’s about highlighting theirs. Don’t try to impress people, let them impress you.” (83)

“Being an amazing listener is not just about what you hear, it’s how you respond to what you hear.” (84)

“He found that his most successful messages mentioned at least three commonalities he had with the person.” (86)

“One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is inadvertently pointing out differences while trying to connect. Whenever you say a version of “Not me!” you are handicapping your connection from the start.“ (89)

“One study found we are more likely to help people who are dressed like us.” (90)

“I typically end most of my great meetings with a single question: Can I help you with anything?” (98)

“About 35 to 50 percent of your personality is wired into your genetic makeup. Your upbringing, another factor you have zero say in, also shapes you considerably.” (130)

“5 Love Languages:
Words of Affirmation: People with this love language express their care through spoken or written word – love letters, texts, and verbal expression of love.
Gifts: People with this love language express their care through small gifts or tokens of appreciation – jewelry, candy, or flowers.
Physical Touch: People with this love language express their care through touch – hugs, cuddles, pats on the back, loving embraces.
Acts of Service: People with this love language express their care by doing things for others – cooking their spouse dinner, running errands, or crafting something for them.
Quality Time: People with this love language express their care with their time. They want to simply be in the presence of the people they care about” (158)

“As a conversation starter: Have you ever heard about the 5 Love Languages? I’m reading this book about it and was curious if you had heard of them. Then you can get into a great conversation about which they think they are. I love to try to guess my friends’ and colleagues’ and have them guess mine.” (163)

“Power can be measured as the amount of resources you have to give others.” (176)

“Most people’s choice make sense to them. When they don’t make sense to you, it’s usually because you are being driven by a different primary value.” (184)

“Story telling: Start with a hook, champion a struggle, utilize provocative words.” (205)

“Always use the word “because” when asking for something.” (217)

“The best “because” benefits the listener. What’s the payoff? What’s the end result? What’s the advantage?” (217)

“Skill solicitation is when you ask people to self-identify based on capability: Is anyone good at _? Do you know anything about _? I need someone who is strong with _.” (221)

“Sharing our most vulnerable stories is a courageous act that channels intimacy with others and builds lasting relationships.” (231)

“Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, share a vulnerability, or admit a weakness, they bond you to people.” (236)

“Perfection is a strange bast. We strive to be perfect so others will like us but don’t like people who try too hard to be perfect. THe pursuit of perfection not only makes it nearly impossible to connect with people, it also makes us unattractive.” (240)

“We all have weaknesses. The right people will like you for them.” (241)

“The more a student smiled at their classmates, the more their classmates smiled back at them. This made them feel liked, which made them like that student even more.” (264)

“The key to being popular: Like more people.” (265)

Did you like the quotes? Then buy the book here.

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“Steve Jobs” Quotes

January 3rd, 2018

I recently read “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.” (55)

“Markkula emphasized that you should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.” (78)

“Among Xerox’s visionaries was the scientist Alan Kay, who had two great maxims that Jobs embraced: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” and “People who are serious about software should make their own hardware.” (95)

““Jobs thought of himself as an artist, and he encouraged the design team to think of ourselves that way too,” said Hertzfeld. “The goal was never to beat the competition, or to make a lot of money. It was to do the greatest thing possible, or even a little greater.”” (123)

“”I’ve learned over the years that when you have really good people you don’t have to baby them,” Jobs later explained. “By expecting them to do great things, you can get them to do great things. The original Mac team taught me that A-plus players like to work together, and they don’t like it if you tolerate B work. Ask any member of that Mac team. They will tell you it was worth the pain.”” (124)

“The journey is the reward.” (143)

“It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy.” (144)

“You have to be ruthless if you want to build a team of A players. “It’s too easy, as a team grows, to put up with a few B players, and they then attract a few more B players, and soon you will even have some C players,” Atkinson recalled.” (181)

“If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away.” (190)

“The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say, “Bye. I have to go. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.” And they go hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.” (190)

“A great company must be able to impute its values from the first impression it makes.” (220)

“When it came time to announce the price of the new machine, Jobs did what he would often do in product demonstrations: reel off the features, describe them as being “worth thousands and thousands of dollars,” and get the audience to imagine how expensive it really should be. Then he announced what he hoped would seem like a low price.” (235)

“Steve created the only lifestyle brand in the tech industry,” Larry Ellison said. “There are cars people are proud to have – Porsche, Ferrari, Prius – because what I drive says something about me. People feel the same way about an Apple product.” (332)

“If something isn’t right, you can’t just ignore it and say you’ll fix it later. That’s what other companies do.” (374)

“The older I get, the more I see how much motivations matter. The Zune was crappy because the people at Microsoft don’t really love music or art the way we do. We won because we personally love music. We made the iPod for ourselves, and when you’re doing something for yourself, or your best friend or family, you’re not going to cheese out. If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much.” (407)

“One of Jobs’s business rules was to never be afraid of cannibalizing yourself. “If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will.” (408)

“There’s a classic thing in business, which is the second-product syndrome,” Jobs later said. It comes from not understanding what made your first product so successful.” (430)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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“Eisenhower: A Life” Quotes

January 2nd, 2018

I recently read “Eisenhower: A Life” by Paul Johnson. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“The report should have made unnecessary the subsequent investigation, marred by acrimonious disagreements between the police and the attorney general. But unfortunately, little of it was reproduced in the press. What Ike learned from this episode was the absolute necessity to keep journalists well informed and friendly, and the lesson was one he applied with outstanding success throughout his public career.” (14)

“MacArthur would dismiss Ike as “the apotheosis of mediocrity” and “a highly literate nincompoop.” (17)

“He was offensive minded, and he always concentrated on the opportunities rather than the difficulties in any given situation.” (20)

“His formula was simple: careful, conservative dress, uniform freshly pressed. Always stand erect. Square your shoulders. Hold your head high. Speak bluntly but clearly. Use homely expressions. Look the camera straight in the eye.” (29)

“Jim Hagerty, Ike’s press secretary at the White House, said that “Being President Eisenhower’s press secretary was as easy and likeable a job as you could possibly imagine.” He made things cozy. At his very first press conference, he told the reporters: “You are quasi members of my staff. Part of the team.” (29)

“Ike went on the record with this definition of an intellectual: “A man who takes more words than is necessary to tell more than he knows.” (66)

“The United States at midcentury was unarguably the most powerful nation on earth. It was the largest petroleum producer in the world and supplied more oil than the rest of the world’s nations together. It harvested one third of the world’s grain and half its cotton. It was the world’s largest producer of phosphates, iron ore, zinc, lead, copper, salt and precious metals, including uranium. It had 90 percent of the world’s natural gas production… Almost half of the world’s manufactured goods came from the United States.” (77)

“Ike did not exactly choose to mislead people about his abilities, but when they underrated him, he certainly made no attempt, as a rule, to correct their impression. He seems to have found it convenient and useful for people to get him wrong. He chuckled within himself.” (82)

“Ike recorded in his diary: “No one should be appointed to political office if he is a seeker after it.”” (93)

“Ike consistently misled the press not so much on specific matters but in giving a general impression that he worked much less than he did. He felt that if he made reporters believe he spent as much time as possible on the golf course, they would not push him too hard on particular issues and would et him get away with vagueness.” (95)

“Things are often unsure. “Deliberate ambiguity and deception” were the key. He wanted as many options as possible all the time, and he got them.” (103)

“Ike summed up: America is a rich country. Provided we can avoid war, keep tension low, and avoid absurdly high defense budgets, we will prosper, sure enough.” (108)

“Ike was not color conscious. He was not exactly color-blind either. He tended to take the view that acute color problems usually grew out of wide disparities of wealth and that rising prosperity would reduce them to a tolerable level. His job, as president, was to keep the wealth flowing, to ensure that it was widely distributed and that Americans sw the system as, broadly speaking, “fair.” (118)

“He thought the United States was known in the world for its military strength rather than its uniqueness as a democratic haven of freedom. The military strength, and imprudent leadership, could lead the country into interventions all over the world, encouraged by the arms lobby and the military chiefs who were its puppets, and the result would be an overextension of resources and economic ruin.” (120)

“Ike said that someone had to defend the economy as a whole because “it is the nature of our government that everyone, except for a thin layer at the top, is working knowingly or unknowingly, to damage our economy, the reason being that they see the need for more and more resources for their own service or agency, and the valuable results that can be achieved through added effort in their own particular element.” (122)

Liked the quotes? Click here to buy the book.

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2018 Comedy Goals

January 1st, 2018

For the past nine years, I set goals at the start of the year and then review how I did at the end of the year [see 2017201620152014, 2013201220112010 and 2009]. I’m not sure if this is actually working anymore, as the goals have been pretty similar the last few years and I only look at this post the first and last day of the year, but at this point it’s a tradition, plus I do think subconsciously it helps, so here go my goals for this year.

One thing I’m doing differently this year, I’ve put “process goals” (aka things I can control) in black, and “goal goals” (aka thing that depend on other people as well as me) in grey text. There’s an extra line break in between the two.

I have more goals this year (15 up from 11 last year) and then whittled down my top 4. If I nail 3 out of these top 4 goals, and don’t achieve a single one of the others, I’ll consider it a very good year.

Performing

  • Perform 600 times this year, including 400 club spots
  • Go on 30 acting auditions, get 3 callbacks
  • Perform at 8 college shows
  • Do a stand-up set on TV that airs in its entirety (not a stand-up clip show)
  • Do two acting gigs (non-stand up) that air on TV

Writing/Producing

  • Create 40 new minutes of material that I try on stage, turn 15 of those minutes into “A” jokes
  • Submit 5 writing packets
  • Sell a TV show
  • Have a consistent entertainment writing job for 8+ weeks

Learning

  • Take two acting classes
  • Read 25 books

Financials

  • Get my new album, The United States of Russia, to hit #1 on the iTunes or Amazon comedy sales rankings
  • Earn $40,000 from entertainment related business income

Misc

  • Average weight 174 pounds or less
  • Do my morning routine 4 out of 7 days every week

Top 4 Goals (Out of 15)

  • Create 40 new minutes of material that I try on stage, turn 15 of those minutes into “A” jokes
  • Sell a TV show
  • Do a stand-up set on TV that airs in its entirety (not a stand-up clip show)
  • Get my new album, The United States of Russia, to hit #1 on the iTunes or Amazon comedy sales rankings

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Mission Statement

New York Comedy World strives to be a one stop show for everything in the New York Comedy scene…It is a site where you can purchase tickets to some of New York’s best Stand Up venues…We also sell tickets to New York’s best Improv, Sketch and One-Person shows…

There is a Comedian Resource section…This is a place where comics may be able to see choices in Comedy Schools, Seminars, Open Mics, New Talent Showcase & Industry Showcases…It also features Gigmomma, a new and innovative site that matches performers with people looking for talent…

It is also filled with additional content…You will find info on stand up comedy festivals, great podcasts, featured articles by great columnists about the comedy business. And some very funny videos…We hope you enjoy!