In God They Trust?: the religious beliefs of Australia's Prime Ministers 1901-2013

I am absolutely intrigued by Roy Williams' new book In God They Trust?: the religious beliefs of Australia's Prime Ministers 1901-2013. The eccentric religious lives of Australia's political leaders has interested me ever since I stumbled upon Al Gabay's utterly fascinating The Mystic Life of Alfred Deakin in the mid 1990s. Deakin was a Theosophist, Spirtualist and occultist, part of a thriving alternative religious scene in Nineteenth Century Australia.

Roy Williams will be at Ashfield Library in August to talk about the book, and I am sure it will be a fascinating lecture. He will also be selling and signing copies.


Authors at Ashfield: Roy Williams

Thursday August 28, 2014 - 1:00pm
Roy Williams talks about and signs copies of his new book In God They Trust?: the religious beliefs of Australia's Prime Ministers 1901-2013.
Book for sale and signing
Level 6 Ashfield Civic Centre

This is a free event.

Please come, and bring some friends. 

7 Day No Complaining Challenge

Only a flower-strewn path for me for the next week

 I'm not really a whinger. I was never really encouraged to be, as a child. Complaints and grumbles were met with a stark diapproval by parents and grandparents. So in adulthood I manage to maintain a reasonably sunny exterior and try to avoid giving voice to the multitudinous mutterings of discontent that go on in my head 24/7.

In spite of all that, I still think I waste a lot of my time, and my happiness, with complaints voiced and unvoiced. I gossip, I whinge, I condemn others and I find fault. And on reflection not once have those miserable thoughts improved my life. On the contrary I have lost hours and days to dark moods inspired by the emotional and psychological energy I gave to my perceived slights and problems.

I have over the years learned to channel this energy of complaint into more productive and useful outcomes. If there is something that is genuinely bothering me I attempt to bring it to the attention of someone in power who can actually change it. I also do this in a pleasant and casual way. If something has made me angry, or I am expecting a particular outcome, I have learned to give voice to that expectation to the person who can actually make it happen. This helps make matters clearer, and I am always pleased by the outcome. If people know what you want they have a tendency to give it to you. I don't raise my voice or become involved in pointless conflicts and I always choose my battles wisely. I don't do online arguments or Twitter wars. I allow others the right to their own opinions, and I have surrendered the need to constantly prove myself right.

I also do my level best not to tell people when I am feeling ill (I fail regularly at this), and I have stopped telling people I am sooo busy when they ask how I am. Complaint is rarely charming and often boring, and I do still feel the need to please others with my presence. 

But STILL I grumble. I get together with friends and bitch, I save up juicy stories of outrage and wrongdoing for when my partner gets home, I wish someone would close that damn door.  I recognise, also, that complaints can be directed quite irrationally at particular people, whatever scapegoats we have selected for our own fury. This is unhealthy and unbecoming, and when I indulge in it I always end up feeling so disappointed in myself.

Some years ago I read a fascinating book called A Complaint Free World by Will Bowen and I was most taken with it. His idea was that, every time we complained about something, we should move a rubber bracelet from one wrist to another, so making ourselves conscious of just how often we do it. I tried this, but by mid-moring my wrists were red-raw and all the hair on my forearms had been torn out by the constant tugging off of rubber bracelets. So I gave up and kept on with my complaining ways.

Now, I have been motivated by the wonderful Simple Life Habits podcast I just heard on giving up complaints for a week. So, from now and on through the next 7 days I am giving up comlaints. Not a word of ill-content will pass my lips for 7 whole days. Let's see how I go.

Networking books: great guides to meaningful connection

The age of social media has proved that many of us ache for connection, and that the “virtual” world provides an opportunity for people to meet and communicate in ways that weren’t possible even six or seven years ago. We can reach out and be in instant contact with people we have admired for years, including authors, notable teachers and entertainers. And while Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and all the others can be misused, I think that, on balance, their influence on the world has been tremendously positive. Never have so many people been able to stay in touch with people from all over the world ad from all points on their life journey. May it all continue, I say.

Social media has also caused us to think more carefully about that dirty word ‘networking’. Just saying it conjurers up images of forced business meetings and the frantic exchange of cards while craning over the person’s shoulder to see if there is anyone more important standing behind them. But I think the social net has changed that, and the way that people think about ‘strategic relationships.’ It’s possible that we have ushered in a new, more democratic age in which people are interested in others in really profound ways, ways that reject the usual social measurements of status, success and perceived power.

In a time in which many people are interested in cultivating, ad being part of a tribe of 1,000 true fans, social media guru Guy Kawasaki has talked about the death of social climbing. Nobodies, he says, are the new somebodies, and now is the time we took an interest in everyone we encounter.

I do crave meaningful connection with others, and I appreciate the new and interesting people I meet online. Perhaps I will never meet many of them in real life, but I have established some lovely virtual friendships with genuinely interesting and engaging people – you know who you are! The World Wide Web has enabled me to make meaningful links with readers, peers, people from my past, famous authors and even, crucial for the freelance writer, editors.

And I have begun to think more deeply and more strategically about that old fashioned idea of networking. I learn slowly that supporting others and making yourself available to them is essential and helps to build stronger relationships. That is why I would like to let you in on a little secret. I want to share with you three books that have changed my world enormously and are the three I insist people read who come to me for advice about establishing a writing career.

Some of the language in these books can seem a bit cheesy, especially for Australian readers – remember they are addressing a mainstream business community, for the most part. But be forgiving, and be alert, because each of them contains a tremendous amount of wisdom and good advice. I literally use the three of them constantly, and as soon as I finish I go straight back to the beginning and start again.
I can honestly say that these books and their techniques for community building have improved my life, my career, my friendships and even my wellbeing. I urge you to read them with an open mind.

1.    Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi – This is the book that many say changed the face of modern networking. The impossibly energetic Ferrazzi explains how he changed his life through the careful building of strategic relationships. He concentrates on establishing mentors and incorporating the important people in your life into all aspects of your life, no matter where they might fall on the work-friendship-family-social spectrum. He encourages people to become involved in t heir community, to support the work and goals of others and to introduce friends to each other. My main takeaway? Never waste a spare moment – get out your phone and start sending messages to people who haven’t heard from you in a while.

2.    Platform by Michael Hyatt – Hyatt was a publishing legend who struck out on his own. This book is the one I think that every creative professional must read. Indeed, anyone who is seeking to establish a name for themselves in their chosen work could afford to put some of his advice into action. Intensely practical, Platform goes through, chapter by chapter, all of the things you need to do to “build your platform” (a wonderfully archaic idea that has been revived) and start attracting people’s attention. Read my full review here.

3.    Guerrilla Networking by Jay Conrad Levinson and Monroe Mann – No joke, applying the techniques from this book has given me more work and helped me establish more important relationships than any other. It deserves to be better known and, though it was written before the age of social media, its techniques are even more useful and applicable now. It teaches us to share info about our projects and what we are going to do, to be daring and willing to try new things and to build influence through solving other people’s problems (something Keith Ferrazzi also teaches a lot).  My main takeaway? Create a fabulous reputation for yourself so that people seek you out, rather than you chasing after people.

Jin Ping Mei on the Web

I am intrigued by the White Rabbit Gallery's selection for its September bookclub. They will be doing the Jin Ping Mei, a book I have never really known much about but which I remember selling as a rare book in the 90s. I think I am going to take the challenge and attempt to tackle this lesser-known Chinese classic. Here are some resources I have found online that may help the adventurous reader:

A Resource List for self-promoting writers

Here it is! The definitive list of books, websites and podcasts for self-promoting writers and publishers.
Actually, this list is helpful for writers of every description.


Platform by Michael Hyatt - The basic essentials of how (and why) to build a platform. This needs to be read by every writer. 

Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk - Why you should be using Youtube and why now is the best time ever to be an author.

From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur by Stephanie Chandler  - Written by a woman who walks her talk, this is the book that explains how to take the knowledge and status gained as an author and apply it to other money-making possibilities. This book made me feel incredibly excited about my future.

The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin - The master's latest book, this one tells us we're all creating art and instead of just talking about it we need to get it out the door for other people to see.

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi - This book made me realise how essential and effective networking is. Especially for authors! 

Guerrilla Networking by Jay Conrad Levinson and Monroe Mann - Really effective techniques for building strategic relationships and filling your life with inspiring, influential and fascinating people.

The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson - Excellent all-round advice that is simple and achievable for everyone. If you worked your way through  this and did even half of what she details you would find your writing career expanding. 


Some of these may also be available as printed books, it's just that I have read them and used them as ebooks.

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth by Chris Brogan

31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo by Brian Allain

Blog It by Molly Greene

500 Social Media Marketing Tips by Andrew Macarthey

Blogging the Smart Way by Jeff Bullas

and some others...

The Tao of Twitter by Mark W. Shaefer

Ninja Book Marketing Strategies by Tom Corson-Knowles

Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield

Secrets of the Six Figure Author by by Tom Corson-Knowles

How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn

The Art of Being Unmistakable by Srinivas Rao

APE by Guy Kawasaki

How I wrote 2 Ebooks in 21 Days by Glen Stanford

How to Write a Nonfiction Ebook in 21 Days That Readers Love by Steve Scott


Joe Konrath's blog is as simple as they come,  but it works

The Creative Penn

Jeff Goins Writer 


A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

Jane Friedman 

Publish Your Own Ebooks 

Jeff Bullas 



Srini Rao from Unmistakable Creative

The Creative Penn 

Beyond the Book

Unmistakable Creative

Pushing Social

Six Pixels of Separation

The Author Hangout

Blogging Your Passion

Social Pros

Content Warfare Podcast

The Accidental Creative

Social Media Marketing

This is Your Life by Michael Hyatt 

Extra Links:

Another Top 10 List of great blogs for authors

Srinivas Rao on being flexible with your dreams

Make Sure People Read Your Next Blog Post: A handy checklist

We all know by now that it is not enough to simply write a blog post and let it sit there, hoping the world will discover it.
Writing the post is simply the begining of your work. If you really want it to be seen, read and shared you have to embark on a solid week (at least) of promoting it in various ways.
Here is a sample of the checklist I create for each and every blog post I do. Day by day I go to this promotional file and do the next action until I have checked off everything on my list. Doing this increases the page views hugely.
This sample uses a blog post for an event I am promoting. Every day I check these lists and work through them. It pays to do the promotion at different times of the day so you can maximise the chances of people seeing some mention of the post.
I have changed some of the proper names on this list to protect the person's privacy, replacing them with a description of who the person is. Bringing individual posts to the attention of certain people can be very effective, but don't overdo it, and don't be aggressive about it. Simply say "Here is a post you might be interested in," or, more passive still, include them as an @ mention on Twitter. I like to leave it up to them what they choose to do with the information. Some will re-tweet it and pass it on, some won't. It's the luck of the draw, so never expect them to respond. Everyone is busy.
So here it is, my blog post promotion checklist. Feel free to copy it and adapt it to your own purposes:

New blog post promotion checklist –
  • Create a blog post
  • Tweet and alert Sydney Morning Herald
  • Tweet on my main twitter channel @walterm
  • alert prominent local author
  • Send out my Enews with details of the post (these can accumulate tillI have enough)
  • Linkedin
  • Google+
  • Tumblr
  • alert prominent local author
  • Tweet and alert a good friend who is socially active,  influential and retweets my stuff
  • Facebook
  • Tweet again on my main twitter channel @walterm
  • Tweet on my secondary twitter channel @destsaigon
  • Tweet again on my main twitter channel @walterm
  • Google+
  • Tumblr
  • Blog another aspect of the event
  • Facebook Fan page
  • Tell a social media influencer friend about it
  • Twitter 1 person alerting them to it
  • Create an FB ad   

Inspirational Conversation with Tricia Brennan, Ultimo Library, 30th July - 6pm start

This month's Inspirational Conversation has been years in the planning, and our special guest Tricia Brennan is coming all the way down from Queensland especially for the event.
I know it will be a remarkable evening, and I urge you all to come along and hear one of Australia's most inspirational women.

Inspirational Conversations: Enjoying a Full Life
Ultimo Library
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Sydney, NSW
Tricia Brennan is an international author and intuitive counsellor whose client list includes Hollywood celebrities, therapists and corporate leaders in Australia and the United States.She writes about becoming more fully ourselves and developing in order to lead our best possible lives.

In this conversation with author Walter Mason, Tricia will discuss how we can lead more contented lives and take ourselves more boldly into the world.

Book your free spot online here

Music of the Noh Theatre and other things theatrically Japanese

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