Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pour Your Heart Into It Book Review


Just finished a book by Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO from Starbucks. The book is co-authored by Dori Jones Yang (Hyperion, 1997).

Although the book is was written over ten years ago, the message that Schultz delivered is still relevant today. Working for more than the bottom line, loving the work, developing a mission, living the mission, always thinking of delivering a top of the line product and exceptional service to the customer, and believing in your self and your vision.

These are all messages that all levels of professionals need to hear over and again. It is easy to see why Starbucks has become the phenomena that it has - which is exactly the vision that Schultz had for the company from the very beginning. He wanted to share the espresso drinks that he enjoyed while traveling abroad with people living in America.

He started with one dream and developed it into a national vision. It is a good book with a good message and is worth being dusted off and brought down off the back of the book shelf.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain Book Review


I usually only review business topic related books, but I recently read a book called The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (HarperCollins Publisher, 2008) that has so many life lessons scattered amongst the pages that I had to include a review of the book here.

Many of the lessons apply to personal as well as professional living. The book is story of a family that experiences several tragedies all of which are related to the reader through the perspective of the family dog. The owner of the dog is a race car driver and explains to the dog, "But a racer should never be afraid of the rain; a racer should embrace the rain."

And, that by changing one's mood, one's energy will also change. The narrating dog tells the readers up front that he believes he was meant to be born a man and even though at the time of the story, he is a dog, he believes when he dies, he will return as a man.

The dog's name is Enzo and he takes the readers through his experiences when he is accidentally left at home alone for several days without food or without the ability to go outside. Enzo also tells of the anguish he felt when his favorite old stuffed toy got put into the washing machine and all of the good smells were washed away. He admits later that he liked the new feel and smell of the toy even better.

He also relates the pain the family experiences from the illness and ultimate death of the wife and mother of the family.

At the end of the book, the dog relates his feelings up to his death and then tells readers what happens to him after death.

A number of cliches' that hit the mark because of the context they are written in include,
"Yes: the race is long - to finish first, first you must finish."

"My intent, here, is to tell our story in a dramatically truthful way. While the facts may be less than accurate, please understand that the emotion is true. the intent is true. And, dramatically speaking, intention is everything."

"No race has ever been won in the first corner. But plenty of races have been lost there."

Every now and again, we all need to have a new perspective on life and work. This book gives readers that and more. Take a read and let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Girl on Top Book Review


Those women looking for a great read and great advice on getting their career in shape and coming out on top of their game, Nicole Williams' new book, Girl on Top Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success (Center Street, 2009) is the perfect book for you.

It is only 194 pages and it is packed from page one to the end with usable advice for both dating and for growing one's career.

The author carries the innuendo-ish title throughout the entire theme of the book. Williams uses everyday language including one F bomb to tell young and not so young professional women how to get what they want out of their job.

The author is a professional career coach and from one who has worked in several different environments with varying levels of women only need to know how to type attitudes, this book and Williams' advice is a breath of fresh air.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Profession of Love for Books

Over the weekend, I purchased several new books. A few are newly published and are now sitting on one of my to read stacks and a few were used and will be added to one of my many contemporary author collections.

As I was looking through my reading stacks today I just felt the need to share my love of books with others. I have always had this strong connection to reading. I have books stacked all over my house. I carry books in my cars just in case I get stuck in traffic or have to wait in the car for someone I might be able to read for a few minutes.

I generally take a book or two to dinner with me, on airplanes, on the beach, on hikes, and even on walks, I might have to take a short break to catch my breath and it makes for a good time to read. Much to my husband's despair, I have to pack one bag with my books when we travel.

I don't how I would react if I suddenly found that I could no longer read. My father-in-law made a comment one time when he was staying with us that I have books in every room of the house including the kitchen and the basement.

I had a stack of cookbooks in the kitchen. At the time, my washer and dryer were in the basement so of course I had to have a bookshelf there so that I could grab a book to read while waiting on a load of laundry to finish.

My father-in-law also asked if I had read most of the books. What a silly question. I have read all or part of every book I own. The only exceptions are the sci-fi books that my husband reads and collects. I read some of the genre but not a lot of it.

I love the feel, the smell, holding them, turning the pages, and all of the physical aspects of books. But, the thing I love the most are the words, the story, the problem, the solution, the questions and the answers, the fantasy and the reality that books bring to one's mind.

It's the beginning, the middle, and the end that makes every book a worthy read. I love books, I love to read, and I'm not afraid to profess those facts to the world.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

National Bookstore Day

Publishers Weekly magazine announced the National Bookstore Day is scheduled for November 7 this year.

Start making plans now to visit your local new and used bookstores. I couldn't live without going to the bookstore at least once a week. I spread my business around too. I visit the big chain stores regularly but I also visit the used bookstores that are still left.

We have a very large flea market in our geographic area and my husband and I walk through and buy used books for our various collections from those vendors.

My secret dream is to own my own bookstore and coffee shop and sell new and used books, CDs, magazines, and newspapers.

So take some time on November 7 and go into your favorite bookstores and buy a book....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Becoming a Category of One Book Review

Book Name: Becoming a Category of One
How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison
By: Joe Calloway
Publsiher: John Wiley & Sons, 2003, 2009
243 pages

While Calloway's book is a revised and updated edition of his 2003 release, the information he provides is not any different than any other marketing or set your company apart from the others book.

The social marketing phenom om that has hit over the last two years is missing entirely. The most unique part of the book is that Calloway suggests that a company should develop their own category and by default that company would be number one in that category versus competing with other companies in the current categories.

The problem is that Calloway gives examples and case studies of what he feels are category of one companies, but he does not really give steps on how to create the category. He only details what a category of one company would do to become number one in a category of one.

The book is an easy read and includes a good chapter on branding. He reiterates that a company's brand is not created through advertising, public relations, or even product design. Brands are created by the customer's perception of a company. The customer creates the brand.

It is a good book for someone just starting a new company. The book does provide foundational theories for how to compete, what good customer service is, and how to be an exceptional company.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Good Reading Skills Vital to Success

International Literacy Day is September 8, 2009. Take a moment to think about how many times you read something each and every day. How many times do you read the newspaper, look up a phone number or address, look up directions, read instructions on how to take medications, read through all of the legal stuff sent through your credit card companies, or just reading the ingredients in a particular food or cleaning product?

What would it be like to look at a book and see just a bunch of letters and not be able to form the letters into meaningful words?

It would devastate me. My mother had low reading skills and even lower math skills. She was born in the hills of Kentucky and only got a minimal education.

I've worked in adult education with a GED and reading program and I can tell persons who cannot read or read very well are in great emotional pain. They hide the fact they cannot read more than any other factor in their lives.

So on this International Literacy Day, donate a new book or books to a local literacy program, they desperately need books. Or, offer to become a literacy volunteer, they desperately need volunteers.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged Final Review

I've posted several Atlas Shrugged (Plume, 1957) reviews at http://www.suite101.com/ so my final review here is just to talk about the message and example delivered by the fictional story.

The story is a solid example of what could happen if the free enterprise system that the United States is built on where to be governed out of existence. Too much regulation, too many restrictions, limits on production, laws that destroy rather than protect are all practices that would stifle competition and obliterate the rights of all entrepreneurs.

In the back of the book, the author Ayn Rand writes about herself and said, "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

The book is a big read with an even bigger story.

Read my other reviews at:

http://classic-american-fiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/atlas_shrugged_delivers_timeless_message

http://marketingpr.suite101.com/article.cfm/atlas_shrugged_book_review

http://americanfiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/ayn_rands_timeless_writing_style

Friday, August 21, 2009

Reader's Digest Filing for Chapter 11

Earlier this week the publisher of Reader's Digest announced that it will file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 protection.

It is one more disappointment in the magazine world with magazines falling off the rack faster than any one reader can keep track of. I've had numerous subscriptions just this year alone disappear because the magazines have closed their editorial doors.

The Wall Street Journal on August 18, 2009 reported (Chapter 11 Is Next Page for Reader's Digest, by Shira Ovide and Mike Spector), "The move also is a low point int he storied history of Reader's Digest, a onetime staple of coffee tables and doctor's offices that at it speak three decades ago sold 18 million copies a month. Circulation now is less than half that."

The magazine got its start over 87 years ago (1922) and provided its readers with condensed versions of articles from other publications.

The magazine had versions published overseas and eventually expanded into condensed books and a slew of other publications.

According to The Wall Street report, the company was sold in 2006 and tried to expand its web operations. The company owns nearly 100 titles including Every Day with Rachel Ray.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The World According to Twitter - Book Review

Book Name: The World According to Twitter
Author: David Pogue and his 50,000 followers
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc., 2009

David Pogue is a technology columnist that writes for the New York Times, has authored or co-authored over 50 computer books, and is a correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning. His newest book provides readers with the results of his non-scientific recent Twitter test.

Every night at around 11 p.m. he posed a new question on Twitter and then waited for the responding tweets. His Twitter book consists entirely of the tweets he received to his questions - 95 questions in total and 2,524 tweet answers are in the book.

A sample of the questions include:

"What's your brilliant idea to improve the modern automobile?"
"You know it's time to look for a new job when..."
"Tell us the story of your tattoo."

Pogue tells readers that it takes about a week of using Twitter to actually "get it." He demonstrated how powerful it was by tweeting during a talk he was giving and asking his followers for a cure for hiccups which he got many answers within seconds of posting the question.

While most of the questions included in the book are of the pastime or Twitter -tainment nature, it does demonstrate how Twitter can be used for serious business applications.

Asking the Twitter world for input on problems, products, techniques, processes, or other business related issues can generate instant feedback from around the world - granted some good and some not so good.

For example, if you are designing casual wear jewelry and want to get a quick idea of what consumers are wearing as everyday pieces, asking the Twitter world what their favorite everyday piece of jewelry is or made of can generate a whole list of products to produce.

Pogue did include some interesting Twitter stats - 80 percent are over the age of 25, two-thirds have college degrees, and are high wage earners. Tweet that to your marketing group.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Atlas Shrugged Book Review - Part 1

I've been reading a phenomenal book by Ayn Rand called Atlas Shrugged. It was first published in 1957 by PLUME. It has gotten renewed attention of late because of the message it carries. The book is a work of fiction, has been a bestseller for over 40 years and according to the book's back cover is an "epochal novel" and "intellectual landmark."

The paperback copy of the book I have is mammoth in size coming out at 1,168 pages. I am about 600 pages into the book. Rand has taken a fictional story built around what she calls, "progressive social policy" and relates how men who govern in her fictional United States tell themselves they do so for the good of everyone all the while destroying the free enterprise system.

There are laws passed with names such as "The Equalization of Opportunity Bill", "The Preservation of Livelihood Law", "The Fair Share Law", and "Public Stability Law". There are federal organizations controlling science and engineering. One organization is called the Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources and another called the State Science Institute.

The book is filled with drama, demise, destruction, romance, backstabbing, manipulation, all of which builds a good story. Add to those factors that the reader could almost believe the fictional events are taking place in today's society with government controlling auto manufacturing and wanting to control the country's health care system.

There are moments of lightheartedness. Rand continues to ask the question, "Who is John Galt?" which in her fictional world, is a meaningless question that people ask to indicate there is not a plausible answer to the condition the world is at any given point in the book.

The vivid and well defined characters of the book make the plot move quickly while at the same time making the long read seem shorter.

Rand certainly had a way with words. She also had an uncanny sense of the human factor and psyche. So far it has been a great read. I'll keep you posted as I continue my way through the rest of the story.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Green Movement Continues

I am, like many others, an avid fan of the green movement. As such I've been reading about green in magazines, newspapers, enews, and of course the green books published over the past two years.

John F. Wasik, his bio is below, has written a new green book titled Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream, for which I am getting ready to read for review.

With the author's permission, I've posted a recent article he has written about green building saving the housing industry. The article is below and I hope you take a minute to read it.

How Green Building Can Save the Housing Industry By John F.Wasik,
author of The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream

Green is gold. Why didn't home builders get this idea? They could be building new homes again, employing millions, making inner cities and suburbs habitable and bring down the cost of housing for everyone.

Home building needs to join the 21st century and apply the best, efficient technologies to lower costs and reduce energy and resource consumption. But the vast majority of homes have been built using the very best 19th-century, stick-built/balloon frame methods. That's got to change if we want to revive the bedrock of the American Dream.

As it stands now, while you may have the most up-to-date flat-panel TVs, computers, cellphones and audio equipment inside your home, the basic way that most homes are built hasn't changed much in more than 170 years.

That's right. As microprocessors double in speed every 18 months, cellphones are becoming just as powerful as laptop computers and you can connect to nearly anyone on the planet through the internet, the box you live in is antiquated beyond belief and costs you more every year to heat, cool and maintain.

To change this deplorable situation -- and revive real estate, building and banking -- it will require a change in attitude. Think of your personal living space as ecodynamic. It could adjust to the exterior environment cybernetically, tell you when the cheapest electricity is available and program the entire house to use less energy.

Is this something out of the new Star Trek movie? Hardly. Ecodynamic homes are not only being built, they are being assembled. That's an important distinction.

Rather than building everything on site with framing and two-by-fours, modular units are pre-made to exacting specifications in factories, then loaded on flat-bed trucks and assembled on site. This not only cuts the construction time and cost from one-third to one-half, it eliminates tons of waste that end up in landfills. The end-result is energy-efficient, low-maintenance and will produce energy and conserve water.

An ecodynamic home is always working for you to reduce costs. It saves water in cisterns, prevents heat from leaking out in the winter and keeps a breeze flowing in summer. You use less energy because the house's computer is constantly monitoring conditions and directing resources to where they are needed. Don't need to heat or cool a spare bedroom? The system will know and cut your bills.

Sounds good so far, but aren't these homes really ugly trailers? Throw that image out of your mind. They are loaded and secured onto permanent foundations and can be stunning.

Take a look at architect Michelle Kaufmann's "Smart + Wired Home," a house so innovative it's now on display at Chicago's Museum and Science and Industry. It's an elegant example of a modular, green home that was factory built and constantly monitoring itself with its own eco-computer system. A flat-panel display in the living room can display a graphic that shows the cost of energy that moment, how much of it the house is consuming and the amount of electrons being produced on rooftop solar panels. If it makes more energy than you consume, you sell it back to the power company.

The Smart + Wired Home costs nine times less to heat and three times less to cool than a standard home of the same size. The gorgeous, spacious interior is full of low-voltage lighting, fixtures made of recycled materials and lets in generous amounts of light.

But this is not just a home for museums as Kaufmann hopes to mass produce these homes. If she succeeds (I'm rooting for her), she could become the Henry Ford of home builders. Make houses on assembly lines and their costs will come down as economies of scale will be realized. And because they are modular designs, you can easily change the layout or add on extra modules if you need to expand at a cost much lower than stick-built contracting.

What will it take to make green modular home building a major industry? Policymakers will need to implement tax incentives over the next two decades, reward new home-energy technologies with grants and shift tax dollars away from wasteful road building projects into places like the inner city where decent, affordable housing is in short supply.

Some of this is already being seeded through the Obama stimulus plan and budget, although a comprehensive, long-range plan is needed. The upcoming energy/climate change bill would be an ideal place for these ideas. If we get really good at ecodynamic design and manufacturing, we'll be able to export these products to places where durable, inexpensive and green housing is desperately needed: China, India, Africa.

Back in the U.S., homes needn't be so capital intensive and push people into foreclosure and bankruptcy. They can be clean, green and affordable. They can pay us back when they produce energy. To accomplish that, we will need to re-envision the American Dream. Home is where the heart is. Now the political will needs to follow if we're to make home ownership widespread and sustainable.

©2009 John F. Wasik, author of Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream

Author BioJohn F. Wasik, author of Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream, is a personal finance columnist for Bloomberg News and the author of several books. His most recent book, The Merchant of Power, was praised by Studs Terkel and well reviewed by the New York Times. Wasik has won more than fifteen awards for consumer journalism including the 2008 Lisagor and several from the National Press Club. He has appeared on such national media as NBC, NPR, and PBS. He lives in Chicago.
For more information please visit http://www.johnwasik.com/

Monday, July 13, 2009

Books by Ayn Rand

I just started reading Ayn Rand's books, The Anthem, Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. The last two are very in depth with thousands of pages so it may be a while before a review appears.

I have read The Anthem and I've visited the Ayn Rand Institutes's web site plus any background information that I've been able to find over the past week or so.

She appears to be a great and prolific writer. Her concept of Objectivism was way ahead of her time. Some of her writings appear to be more relevant today than when she wrote them.

I'll keep you posted (that's kind of a pun) on my progress....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Women on The Most Wanted List at Many Companies

A great new book called Womenomics (Harper Collins, 2009) by co-authors Claire Shipman and Katty Kay details new research that proves that women are “the hot commodity” in the workplace.

Women executives have proven to be better leaders, create higher profits, maintain a higher level of organization, and most important, they can use both sides of their brains.

A few new terms introduced include "pink profits", "asset-to-estrogen", "a new all" and the title itself, "womenomics."

Women are in big demand and the authors propose that it is a good time for women to ask themselves what they want at work and then ask their bosses for it. Flex time, or less time at the office, guilt free time off, or working from home some of the time are benefits that companies are starting to realize make good motivators and are received by women as benefits.

It is a great book with some really great statistics about women in the workplace.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Books About Books

Being an avid reader for most of my life, my recent discovery of all of the books about books and the books of lists of books have proven a pleasant surprise. The lists of books I'm working on now are off of a few of the lists of 100 best books provided by author Rachelle Rogers Knight.

Her book called Read, Remember, Recommend, a Reading Journal for Book Lovers, Bibliopages, 2007, is kind of a journal for readers. You can build your list of favorite books along with notes about the books and about your favorite authors.

The lists of 100 best books provides readers with author names, titles, year the book was published, and columns for readers to mark if they own the book, would recommend the book if they want to read it or want to own it.

The different 100 best lists are from sources like New York Magazine, Oprah's Book Club, National Book Critics Circle, Feminista Journal, Time Magazine, and The Modern Library.

I've decided one of my top goals before I age to the point that I have difficulty reading and difficulty hearing books on CD is to read at least half of the Time Magazine and the Oprah's club lists.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Earth Day Participation

Earth Day is April 22 this year. I have been seeing signs all over town promoting events and school participation. It is refreshing to see that even in a tough economy and with everyone feeling so uncertain about the immediate future that teachers and school administrators and our county's park system is still taking part is such a vital event of unity.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

New Technology Offers Great Fun

I just purchased a Flip video camera and will soon be posting video blogs. It is so easy to use and so easy to transfer the video to the computer. It has a fold out USB plug that pops the camera right onto the computer.

Technology that is easy, meaningful and full of fun. It is small, works on batteries, and inexpensive. Check it out online or at your local electronics store...

Check back here soon for new vid-blogs....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Great New Book That Makes Me Feel That I Can Belong

A great book that has really touched a part of me is The Fearless Fish Out of Water How to Succeed When You're The Only One Like You by Robin Fisher Roffer.

The author talks about how she has always felt like a fish out of water and never really belonged to any one group. She is a successful best selling author and CEO of Big Fish Marketing and works with high profile clients such as A&E, Bravo, and CNN. 

I have also always felt like a fish out of water. I was raised in a family that put more emphasis on marriage and raising a family than believing that a person can be and do anything they want in life. 

I on the other hand have always thought out side of my traditional upbringing and wanted to move to New York City to become a famous writer. Small town America residents were not supposed to think and dream so big.  So that always put me on the outside looking in. 

One of the author's paragraphs struck an especially nice chord for me, "accepting yourself for your differences, showing your strengths, celebrating your style with grace and confidence, and learning to let others shine a light on you-you'll become the inspiration you were meant to be."

Or how about, "Standing out can be lonely. It has its challenges. But it's also an exceptional opportunity." 

"Apologize for who you are and others will see you as someone to pity."

"Accept yourself and others will follow."

This book is filled with inspirations that really took me by surprise because they spoke directly to who I have been most of my life.

Pick it up and read it and let me know what you think....

Monday, March 02, 2009

Check Out My New Book

My first book has been released and is available for sale on amazon.com and authorhouse.com. The book is called Making the Media Connection Topic, Timing and Type of Media.

The book addresses tips, techniques and ideas for making a media connection. It is a quick read and contains lots of tried and true techniques for pitching the news from a company or organization to news media.

The tips in the book can be applied to traditional media including newspapers, magazines and radio as well as the new online media such as social networks and online newspapers.

If you decide to purchase it, let me know what you think....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Definitive Resource for Green Business Stategies

Just finished a great book about green business. Green to Gold by Daniel C. Esty and Andrew S. Winston is an easy to read resource guide for learning what the actual issues are and how companies can implement a green initiative.
I've read several books on green. Some have been worth the read and some have not. Some have just been more of the same while others have sparked ideas and motivated me to do more at my small office and convince others in my family to do more at their homes and companies.
This book really got me excited because of the way the authors explained the issues facing now and in the future and then provided a workable solution to building a strategy.
It's a great read. Check it out at amazon.com.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

More Books With Dogs

Since reading Marley and Me last month, I have read two more books that have dogs as part of the main story line. I just finished a book by Dean Kontz (the Darkest Evening of the Year, 2007 Bantam Books) that had golden retrievers as part of the central theme. It was a really good book and he wrapped the story around the dogs expertly. 

And, I just started a book by Nicholas Sparks (The Lucky One, 2008 Hachett Book Group) that has the main character walking across the United States with his faithful companion, a German shepherd. I am only about 50 pages in on this book but the Dean Kontz book was a very good read. Kontz has included a golden retriever in at least one other book that I have read called The Watchers in 1987. 

He and his wife, according to the book jacket, own a golden and it makes sense that it would become intertwined in his writings.  

What is interesting at this time is that I have read three books from very different genres (Marley and Me was based on actual events, one book was a thriller and one is a love story) within the past month and all three have dogs as part of the story line. 

I love dogs and have owned a dog my entire life including several mixed breeds when I was a kid, two black labs, a beagle, two fox terriers, one schitzu, and at present two mini schnauzers.  

It just seems surprising to find so many different kinds of books with dogs in them in such a short time frame. It is a good thing but a surprise nonetheless. 

Oh, by the way, all three books are worth a read and in the dead of winter with so much snow, ice and cold, grab your dog, snuggle up on the couch and read, read, read....

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Marley and Me - Could Have Been Me

I have been reading the book Marley and Me by John Grogan. It is a great book and a very fast read. But, after completing every page, I stop and say "I could have easily written this book about my black lab and all of the adventures we had with him in his 16 years with us."

My family's black lab named Black Bart was arrested, loved to run off and stay the night at houses with female dogs like rottweilers or golden retrievers (and somehow convinced the owners of the female dogs he could be trusted with them when he was not neutered), ran into two different cars, rode several miles in the back seat of our SUV wearing sun glasses when driving through Florida and opened every Christmas gift under the tree one very unforgettable Christmas. 

We loved that dog more than any other dog we ever owned. He really gave us a run for our money and always kept us on our toes. When he opened all of the gifts under the tree, he was actually trying to find the box that I had wrapped a candy cane full of M & Ms in. He found the box which was buried under all of the other gifts. And, he ate all of the candy.

He was only about 3 years old at the time so he lived through eating all of the chocolate as well as accidentally swallowing pieces of wrapping paper, tape and decorative bows. 

He was so smart he could open doors by sticking his nose between the door frame and the knob and turning it. He could do all kinds of tricks. Since his name was Black Bart after the cowboy, we taught him to turn in a circle 3 times and then lay down and roll over on his back when we pointed a finger shaped gun and said "Bang". 

And, we could tell him to pick the red ball out of the green, blue or yellow balls from a set of balls that were the same size and materials. We could also ask him to get the blue ball and he would retrieve it every time.

Plus, he could play hide and seek with my son. My favorite memory is I used to tell my son during his teenage years that I had gotten Black Bart training on drug sniffing and then tell Bart to go in my son's room and look for drugs. 

Bart would actually go in the room and start searching through the closet and through the clothes on the floor and try to get into my son's backpack. 

He was a great dog and we remember him almost everyday and all of the adventures he brought to our lives. Dogs may not be human but they have the capacity to evoke every human emotion imaginable

Give Marley and Me a read and take the time to remember a very special pet in your life.