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Vince Poscente is an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, founder of The Goal Acceleration Institute, and author of both The Ant and the Elephant and The Age of Speed. His specialty? Helping people achieve big goals in less time. Given that in just four years, Poscente himself trained to go from recreational skier to an Olympic speed skier competing in the 1992 Albertville Olympic Games, we’re thinking he’s pretty well qualified to tell us a thing or two about just going for it, achieving our dreams, and living the lives we want. So, with our interest in his theories piqued, we went ahead and did – probably just what he would do we called him up, and asked him for an interview. He said yes. So, in the spirit of Poscente, we set the clock to five minutes… And without further ado, let’s ready, set, go!

gA: Can you tell us a little about your background and explain how you believe your past got you to your present?

VP: Well, I’ll try to keep this as succinct as possible. What I’m best known for is having gone from recreational skier to an Olympian – who, at my peak, ranked 10th in the world – in just four years. This achievement alone is proof that I somehow put together an effective formula for reaching big goals fast, in this case the Olympic Games.

Being able to take that achievement and “formula”, and apply it to any number of unrelated goals and objectives – for both myself and my clients – is something I’ve since dedicated my life to. And I must say that it’s very nice that recognition of this unique gift has afforded me a bunch of honors and just an amazing ride through life that’s included being inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame in both Canada and the U.S., with people like Ronald Reagan, Zig Ziglar and Og Mandino, and becoming a New York Times best-selling author. But ultimately, it’s given me the opportunity to have that sense of contribution in helping other people not only reach their goals, but be real clear on what those goals are. Today, companies have the pressure to reach big objectives, and people working for those companies are feeling overwhelmed. My job is to eliminate that, so that individuals can have more fun, and corporations can achieve their big ambitions fast.

gA: How would you describe the two books of yours that we’ve created summaries of for getAbstract?

VP: The Ant and the Elephant is a personal development book, told in parable format; the ant being the metaphor for the conscious mind, and the elephant for the subconscious. The theory is that when you align your ant and your elephant, then things get easier and more fun; in other words, it’s less arduous to get to where you want to go. But if you have a conscious intention, your ant will head in one direction and your subconscious agenda may be on a completely different path, thereby creating a self-destructive course.

Ultimately the book lays out a formulaic plan on how to align your ant and elephant, whilst being an entertaining read at the same time.

On the other hand, The Age of Speed is more of a case study, a concept book about the world we live in. Contrary to how some have perceived it, the book is not about having more speed in your life, but rather how we can thrive in a fast-paced world without feeling like we’re overwhelmed. (Actually, the subtitle is Thriving in a More Faster Now World, so I don’t know why some readers have misinterpreted the intent. But that’s another note.) I wrote The Age of Speed to have a better perspective on how technology is impacting us – how the distractions can take us down, and how multitasking is a real issue. We’re all feeling like we’re just trying to cope, and we can’t cope our way to excellence and a higher level of results.

gA: How do people’s decision-making habits determine their lives?

VP: Look, I’m not this guy that put on a cape and became a super hero that was able to go to the Olympic Games. I’m just a regular guy. I grew up in a small town in Canada. The only difference is that I got to the point where I realized I had to engage. And – I know it’s easy to say – but life is more difficult than the Nike slogan: Just Do It, which is essentially paramount to saying, “If you want to stop procrastinating, stop procrastinating.” Of course there’s the psycho-babble behind that in terms of why are we holding our self back? Why are we limiting ourselves? Why are we not engaging? And that – in essence – is the exploration that I have chosen to dedicate my entire life to. But in the interim between now and my finding the key, we have to be able to ask – and answer – the question: how will I engage in a different way? And in answering t h a t question you can replicate a customized solution over and over and over again, applying it to any number of situations as they arise. With that said, we are all creatures of habit. So, therefore, we are creatures of decision-making patterns. But if we want a life with more wealth – not just money – but more free time, more experiences with family or loved ones, and so forth – what needs to be different to shift from the “now” where that doesn’t currently exist? In other words, if you don’t have it right now the way you want it, what needs to be different? These are the questions I pose and urge my readers to answer.

gA: We’re running out of time. Can you give us one more?

VP: Sure!

gA: Thanks! OK, so tell us, how do we conquer that little voice of doubt? The naysayer that sits on our shoulder?

VP: Great question! Yeah, the voice of doubt is an interesting little being. First off, give him or her an identity – for me he’s short and green – and then accept that the voice of doubt is completely natural and there must be a reason why the subconscious mind serves it to us. I personally don’t care about what the reason is but I want to combat it when it shows up uninvited. Ultimately, I’ve found, that the shortcut is to simply acknowledge that that voice of doubt is there, and to talk back to it. Say “Thank you for your opinion but that’s not part of my vision. My vision is [insert your elephant (i.e. emotional) buzz here] because that’s what will get me to the endpoint I desire.” I know it might sound stupid, but in that brief, mental dialogue what you’re really doing is acknowledging – but interrupting – the pattern of negativity. And the second you can do that, you’re back on track. Trust me: the second you interrupt the pattern, you redirect the course. And that’s pretty powerful.

gA: I’ll get my cape then!


Mark Zuckerberg is known for challenging himself with some pretty intense New Year’s “resolutions”, such as last year’s commitment to learn Mandarin in a year. This year the young Facebook founder decided to make 2015 the year he begins to read more. Not only that, but he is doing so publically via his new Facebook page A Year of Books (making it pretty difficult to quit!).

“I’ve found reading books very intellectually fulfilling,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.”
Zuckerberg kicked off the project with Moisés Naím’s The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be, and encouraged the 370,000 page followers to read along with him and get involved in a post-read Q&A with the author.

The reason for this choice? “It’s a book that explores how the world is shifting to give individual people more power that was traditionally only held by large governments, militaries and other organizations,” Zuckerberg wrote.

But that’s not all. “Mr. Naím, an economist who has been Venezuela’s trade and industry minister as well as editor in chief of Foreign Policy magazine, is a courageous writer who seeks to dissect big subjects in new ways,” wrote The Wall Street Journal in 2013 when the book was published. “At a time when critics of overreaching governments, big banks, media moguls and concentrated wealth decry the power of the “1%,” Mr. Naím argues that leaders of all types political, corporate, military, religious, union – face bigger, more complex problems with weaker hands than in the past.”

And in case you needed one more incentive, you might be swayed by President Bill Clinton who declared that “The End of Power will change the way you read the news, the way you think about politics, and the way you look at the world.”

Indeed the critical acclaim for The End of Power has been extensive and from a slew of formidable reviewers and viable critics. Now, with Zuckerberg’s endorsement, the book is gaining new attention, and we wanted to make sure that you knew that the summary was available in our library.


Many writers and observers wax lyrical on the über success of men like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and though there are many factors at work that have contributed to their success, many identify their ongoing dedication to learning as a key attribute. A case in point, which Gates recounted for the Wall Street Journal, takes place more than 20 years ago, when Gates, upon meeting Buffett for the first time at what one can only assume was a powerhouse gathering, didn’t indulge in an exchange on boardroom topics but instead, rather tellingly, inquired as to Buffett’s favorite business book, perhaps knowing that this one simple query would not only reveal upon its reading – many of Buffett’s own philosophies, but that it would also expose him to new concepts of his own.

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Although a 40-hour work week may seem like a lot of time to get work done, sometimes you may catch yourself wishing you just had a little bit more time. If that’s the case, the best solution is to improve your processes at work and prioritize your workload.

Nothing halts your progress more than stress so allowing your mind and body to rest and reset can be the easiest way to get back into the zone.

Explore more strategies for time management in the below infographic:

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In this era where TV, movies, video games and cell phones are all the craze, reading books has become a lost art. Children and adults alike are now beginning to loathe the idea of reading a book because their attention span has been eradicated since everything we, as humans, desire is made instantly available to us. In fact, 42% of college graduates and 33% of high school graduates will never read a book again in their life after graduating.

As shocking as this is, there is still hope. Reading is the best mental exercise for improving the mind and is essential for the growth of a child.

The infographic below will breakdown and discuss all the benefits of reading:

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In today’s world, convenience, in any form, is paramount. That is especially true when it comes to reading. Nothing is more convenient than purchasing and reading a book, whether paper or on a screen. Currently, half of the US is in possession of a handheld device capable of being used as an e-reader (iPad, Kindle, Nook, even apps via phones, etc.). Electronic reading continues to grow in popularity because readers enjoy the simplicity of purchasing books, lighted reading at nighttime, and the ease of traveling with a large number of digital books, without the muscle strain. As the technology improves, expect to see more and more readers turn to the world of electronic reading.

Learn more about the rise of e-readers with our infograph…

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In the age of TED and the Internet, we have access to so many of the world’s greatest minds. This, paired with our ever increasingly demanding schedules and the abundance of said minds publishing book after book, it can be difficult to decide which tomes to invest the time in, and which can be skipped. Consequentially, here at getAbstract, we are always looking to our peers, mentors and favorite publications to weed out our must-reads. So we were delighted when one of our favorite magazine’s, Inc., suggested their top five books that are a MUST. In case you missed it, here they are, along with our signature getAbstract take on them.

Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton
Who is He? A Swiss writer, philosopher, and television presenter
Summary: This is not, as you might think, a book about your Facebook updates and what they say about you. Rather, it is de Botton’s musings on the universal concern with what others think about us.
Why Read: “De Botton challenges the reader to honestly assess whether they’re chasing money or happiness–because often the two are mutually exclusive—[but he] claims that the savvy business person knows how to pursue both.” – Inc.
More from this author: The News: A Users Manual, How Proust Can Change Your Life: Not a Novel and A Kinder Philosophy of Success (TED Talk)

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Inc. magazine wants to make sure that you didn’t miss what they consider 5 of the top business books of 2014. Here they are, along with our four favorite quotes from each of them. We delve a little deeper into why we believe these were some of the top business books that were published last year…

Title: The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risk and What to Do About It
Authors: Ian Goldin and Mike Mariathasan
Who are they? Ian Goldin is a professor and director of the 21st Century School at the University of Oxford, which was formed to power new, cross-disciplinary thinking about global problems. Mike Mariathasan is a Senior Analyst in the Economic Policy Section at the Global Governance Institute.
Here’s why it was chosen: With insights from a variety of disciplines, Goldin and Mariathasan address the risks that come from globalization, and suggest how to manage them in our contemporary world.
“Increasing connectivity means growing complexity.”
“Societies ignore systemic risk at our peril.”
“Environmental instabilities can trigger broader systemic risks in food systems, health systems and, as we see in the case of climate change, cities and nations.”
“Resilience is a national and global objective.”
Want more?
Divided Nations
Exceptional People

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Christopher Surdak_Rolf Dobelli_739x230

In October, Christopher Surdak was awarded with getAbstract’s International Book Award for his outstanding Data Crush. The Information Technology veteran has over 20 years of strategy and information management experience and currently works with Hewlett-Packard, for whom he is their global subject matter expert for analytics, E-discovery and information governance.

Big Data is a current “buzz” phrase in business, referencing the unlimited data we now have access to, thanks in large part, to the Internet and social media, which has made it effortless to capture and analyze information.

We recently caught up with Chris to learn a little more about him and, of course, his views on big data.

gA: Hi Chris. Can you tell us a little about your background and what got you interested in data.

CS: I’ve seen the technology evolve over 20 something years. Not just the technology part but how it impacts society and our behavior. Seeing how this was developing about eight or nine years ago, the engineer in me saw something is changing. Something’s different this time, the Smartphones and social media. So I got very interested in where that was going to go I started to see the legal implications and regulatory implications too.

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Public Relations noun plural but usually singular in construction, often attributive.

  • The activity or job of providing information about a particular person or organization to the public, so that people will regard that person or organization in a favorable way
  • The relationship between an organization and the public
  • The business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution
  • The degree of understanding and goodwill achieved

First known use of Public Relations: 1807

As the profession’s or practice’s own name suggests, PR is about relating to the public. In and of itself, PR is therefore social it is relating a story from one person to another and relies on what is now known as virality (thanks, Jonah Berger!). These 2014 buzzwords may have the ring of modernity to so many of us, but to PR professionals the concepts have always been at their very core, even if they didn’t have the vocabulary to name them.

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