Author Interviews

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The company you want to work for is profitable. It dominates its competitors. Customers love its products. There’s just one problem: The organization’s culture is a disaster. Its employees hate their jobs, and that’s how you’ll feel if you go to work there. If you don’t learn about the firm’s culture before accepting a position, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

We had the opportunity to talk to organizational consultant Sheila L. Margolis about the top things job seekers should consider before accepting a position and what potential employers should look for when hiring new talent. Read the rest of this entry »


getAbstract had the opportunity to talk to information technology professional and Data Crush author, Chris Surdak, and ask a few questions about big data, what companies actually do with the data they collect and how your company can succeed in this new information age.

getAbstract: Is everything we do online really being monitored all the time? How much data do people produce daily?

Chris: Absolutely everything that we do online is being monitored all of the time, although not all companies are doing this.  It should be obvious which companies do capture our data. They are organizations that provide us with services without charging us for them. Think of Facebook, Google, Amazon, Waze, etc.  These companies provide us with tremendous capabilities, apparently for free. However, the real costs to us is our privacy. These same  companies are worth hundreds of billions of dollars because we give them our data, and they turn it into value and, eventually, money.

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We all go through ups and downs at work. It’s normal to have unproductive days and days when you don’t seem to get anything done. But when does it become a problem? How can you turn things around?

getAbstract had the opportunity to talk to performance expert and Love It, Don’t Leave It author, Beverly Kaye, and ask a few performance questions every employee wants the answer to.

getAbstract: What are the top skills every employee should have to improve job performance?

Beverly: For starters, communication seems like common sense, but the truth is, common sense is not common. Verbal, written and listening (often not included) are key to building relationships and improving performance. Knowing what to say, when to say, and how to say is truly a science. Employees who take the time to learn the art of both public speaking, as well daily communication will find it helps dramatically to change the dynamic of a position. Due to technology, written communication has become the new first impression. Find programs that double check grammar! Employees should never fear to start over to retrain their written skills. The most important, and often forgotten form of communication, however, is listening. The old saying “We have two ears and only one mouth for a reason” has never been truer.  Every employee should have the ability to listen…not just to what is said but to the words between the words.

Awareness is another rarely considered, but critical skill for employees. Employees should be aware of time, of areas for self-improvement and the changing climates of their industry.

Finally, patience is integral to employee success. Everyone succeeds on their own time schedule, and in unique ways. Employees need to plan for future success but be flexible to the reality that life does not always go as we planned.

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When you think of the next 12 months, do you think of projects you want to start or changes you’d like to make?

If your answer is yes, keep reading. getAbstract had the opportunity to chat with professional development gurus Jason and Jodi Womack. They explain how to get unstuck, Get Momentum and take that first step to success.

getAbstract: We all have many goals we want to achieve. How do you prioritize?

Jason and Jodi: The definition of “goal” simply means “the object of a person’s ambition or effort.”

Our book, Get Momentum, helps people make consistent progress on their big, ambitious goals by focusing their effort productively.

In reality, you can only have ONE priority at a time. The most important thing is what you’re choosing to do right now.

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In his new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, Bill Treasurer doesn’t mince words. Leadership is hard, and sooner or later every leader faces a situation that is literally a kick in the behind. Throughout the book, he drives home one point: If you want to become a better leader, you have to learn from those situations – you have to learn from your mistakes.

getAbstract had the opportunity to sit down with Bill and discuss his new book.

getAbstract: The moment we read the title of your new book, we were intrigued. Why did you call it A Leadership Kick in the Ass?

Bill: Even before I wrote Leaders Open Doors, I pitched an idea to my publisher of a book called Leadership is Freaking Hard. And it resonated. There are a lot of books that give you the idea that leadership is all this flowery attractive stuff, but if we get real about leadership, it’s freaking hard. As we were talking about that title, we thought it was too playful, and so we changed it to A Leadership Slap in the Face. Leadership is often a wake-up call; leaders go through startling experiences that are humbling – you fail, you mess up, you have a giant misstep. Those events are critical to the formation of you as a leader. They give you the seasoning, experience and wisdom you need.

As we were shaping the book, we shared experiences and we’d often say, “You know, I was facing this situation and I’ll tell you it was a real kick in the ass.” After a while we thought, “Why don’t we just call it what it is, A Leadership Kick in the Ass.”

I did get permission from my 80-year-old mother. [Laughs] I said, “Mom, we’re thinking about calling the book A Leadership Kick in the Ass, what do you think?” And being a New Yorker she said, “You know, Bill, ass isn’t really much of a swearword. You even hear it in PG movies.” So, we thought it was edgy enough to get attention but tame enough that readers will know our aim isn’t to offend them in any way.

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getAbstract: How did you conclude that fear is the number one obstacle to managing change effectively?

Stott Steinberg: The fact that we’re all capable of successfully innovating our way to the top – and all it takes is one simple shift in mindset to do so. Research shows the leading barrier to ongoing business success isn’t time, money, or resources: It’s resistance to change, and lack of risk tolerance. As fast-moving and unpredictable as today’s world is though, we’re all forced to adapt on a daily basis. Haven’t taken a good look at your shifting schedule or priorities lately? Surprise – chances are, you’re successfully changing and innovating every day already. If everyone is capable of innovating, the only thing stopping you from getting ahead consistently is your own sense of perspective. As we discovered, fear comes in seven flavors. Learn to conquer them and you’ll soon find out – the possibilities are endless.

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This fall, getAbstract is connecting readers with top business authors. Every #TakeoverTuesday, you’ll be able to talk to a new author, ask questions and learn more about the author’s upcoming projects. Join us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn – getting relevant business information has never been so easy!

The first author to take over is Lisa Earle McLeod, founder of McLeod & More and Sales Leadership expert for Forbes. We had a chance to talk to her first and ask some questions.

getAbstract: Lisa, what’s the one thing every business leader should ask?

Lisa Earle McLeod: The key question every leader needs to ask is do we have a Noble Purpose or do we just sell stuff? The answer is directly linked to your profitability. The data is clear, organizations with a Noble Purpose – a purpose that focuses on improving life for their customers – outperform organizations that are focused on hitting financial targets. I created the concept of Noble Purpose six years ago after my research with sales teams revealed that salespeople who sold with Noble Purpose – who truly wanted to make a difference to customers – consistently outsold the salespeople who were focused on sales goals and money.

getAbstract: That sounds counterintuitive. Shouldn’t a salesperson’s motivation be to “sell stuff”?

Lisa Earle McLeod: The words noble and selling are rarely seen together. Most people believe that money is the primary motivator for top salespeople and that doing good by the world runs a distant second. That belief is wrong. If you have a Noble Purpose, the odds are on your side. If you’re just selling stuff, you’re going to be in for a very tough time.

getAbstract: This might be the first time some of our readers hear about Noble Purpose. How popular is this concept?

Lisa Earle McLeod: Noble Purpose is catching on because it works. Early adopters like our clients Hootsuite, Flight Centre and G Adventures put the language into the business vernacular. For example, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes regularly talks about their Noble Purpose: “We help our customers transform their message into meaningful relationships.” During the time we worked with their firm, Hootsuite doubled revenue. Noble Purpose was the jumping-off point for a growth strategy that has delivered attention-getting results. The media is starting to cover it as well. In 2014, The Wall Street Journal quoted Merrill Lynch leader John Theil’s annual address to his team where he asked 13,700 financial advisers to “find their Noble Purpose.” In 2016, WSJ did a piece about how we (McLeod & More), use Noble Purpose to increase employee engagement. Purpose is not new. What’s new is the process we’ve created to take it from concept into tangible business strategies.  Our clients are getting big results, that tends to get people talking.

Do you have more questions for Lisa? Connect with her on social media this #TakeoverTuesday.

Curious about our next author takeover? Don’t miss Jason Womack on October 4.


Ever feel like a hamster on one of those little wheels, running furiously but going nowhere? You try to focus on work but you can’t help thinking about what’s for supper or when to squeeze in a workout or who’s going to watch the kids Saturday night. Your mind always seems to be racing.

Well, the authors of One Second Ahead would like to suggest that your participation in drama and chaos is strictly optional. You’re not obligated to feel overwhelmed, powerless and distracted. Rasmus Hougaard, with Jaqueline Carter and Gillian Coutts, believe that properly training your mind using specific techniques will boost your productivity and peace of mind. getAbstract recently connected with the authors for a quick Q&A.

What is “mindfulness” and why is it vital in a corporate environment?

In simple terms, mindfulness is a set of tools and techniques designed to enhance mental effectiveness. Specifically, mindfulness training techniques skillfully applied to the workplace enhance focus, creativity, communication, team work and a sense of well-being. These are vital skills for team success and organizational results.

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getAbstract: In which area or industry do you expect the next big exponential business idea?

Peter Diamandis: By definition all of the various exponential technologies (Computation, Sensors and Networks, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, Synthetic Biology, 3D Printing and Robotics) will be driving exponential business opportunities and the creation of “unicorns” in the years ahead. Some of the significant opportunities that are getting the most traction for 2016 include re-inventing Healthcare through genomics and big data and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality. This will change many aspects of our life from retail shopping, to human-to-human interaction, to the elimination of screen technologies. Leaders in this area include Magic Leap and High Fidelity. Without question, the most powerful force for change will materialize from the application of artificial intelligence: A.I. is entering every aspect of our lives from self-driving cars, to a future where every device is “smart,” and will enter the consumer retail business in 2016 with a vengeance.

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How is the Answer



When it comes to transforming your organization, good intentions will only get you to the starting line. The “whys” and “whats” of change management are significant, of course, but turning theory into practice requires direction. Therein lies the critical difference between Vlatka Hlupic’s The Management Shift and other books that promise to retool and revitalize your culture. Hlupic, a professor at the University of Westminster and founder and CEO of London’s Drucker Society, provides the “hows,” so you can enhance performance and sustain success.

Like many other business experts, Hlupic agrees that the top-down management paradigm is about as practical as a BlackBerry. While it may work for select organizations, the trend toward innovation, collaboration and inclusiveness is undeniable. Hlupic suggests that if you want to remain competitive and profitable, you better empower your people and unleash their creativity and enthusiasm. Hlupic, an in-demand speaker and consultant, spent some time with getAbstract explaining the essence of The Management Shift.

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Recently, we sat down with executive coach, Scott Eblin, to discuss leadership. This time, we turn to the concept of mindfulness, which Scott examines in his most recent book Overworked and Overwhelmed. The topic, which Arianna Huffington termed the “third metric” of success, is extremely timely. In our fight or flight culture, we are beginning to understand that accomplishment can no longer be measured simply by fortune and power. Instead, we must figure in the quality of our life – our health and happiness – as measures of our achievement. But in our 24/7 corporate culture, how can we ensure our net worth and title are in line with our mental health? We spoke with Scott to find out.

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Scott Eblin, is the co-founder and president of The Eblin Group, a professional development firm that supports executives and managers in exhibiting leadership presence by being fully present. The popular coach and speaker has also penned two of our favorite business books The Next Level and Overworked and Overwhelmed, the latter of which New York Times best selling author Marshall Goldsmith says “will fundamentally change how you live each day.” We were lucky enough to have the chance to sit down with Scott recently to discuss his philosophies and how we can overcome the fight or flight feeling so many of us frequently feel.

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Stephen Young, author of the top-selling book, Micromessaging: Why Great Leadership is Beyond Words, is Senior Partner of Insight Education Systems, a management consulting firm specializing in leadership and organizational development services. As a recognized leader in his field, the former Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at JPMorgan Chase frequently consults with senior executives and the management teams of numerous Fortune 500 companies, and businesses worldwide. Indeed, his widely acclaimed seminar MicroInequities: The Power of Small™ has been embraced by over 15% of the Fortune 500 corporations and is being touted by corporate leaders as the new paradigm for diversity and leadership.

Stephen’s work has been featured in numerous business articles including The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review newsletter, and by Oprah Winfrey in several issues of O magazine. In addition, TIME magazine featured Stephen’s MicroInequities program in their annual “What’s next?” in the leadership category.

Inspiring so many powerful players in the corporate and academic worlds – not to mention Oprah – is no small feat, and so we jumped at the chance to sit down and delve a little deeper into the theory of micromessaging and how an awareness of it can help to create great leaders, and in turn impact productivity.

We believe that knowledge of micromessaging is the cornerstone that defines our ability to be an effective leader. Without this knowledge and skill, we merely function as task-driven colleagues or managers. When someone learns how to apply these concepts they are able to alter loyalty, motivation, inspiration and – ultimately – the performance of others.

getAbstract: Could you explain the concept of micromessaging?

Stephen Young: Micromessaging is about the subtle things that we do and say that reveal infinitely more information than simply the words we use. We don’t consciously think about the looks, the gestures, the tone of voice, and all the innuendos that makes us believe we’re doing the right thing.

For example, I could come into the office in the morning, greet you, and do all the right things: shake your hand, and say, “Good morning Hannah, how are you? How was your weekend? How is the project coming along? What about that other situation? Good. If you need my help, I’ll be in my office. It’s good to see you.” Before heading to my office, however, I take a couple of steps to the right to greet one of your colleagues, and you observe me lean back, tilt my head, smile, open my arms, and say, “Hey! Billy, man, what’s going on? It’s good to see you.” And you immediately know that Billy and I are connected, and you and I are not.

So, to your point, neither greeting was wrong, but an important message was conveyed via their delivery.

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Brian Souza is the New York Times bestselling author of The Weekly Coaching Conversation, as well as the critically acclaimed Become Who You Were Born To Be. Today, the founder and president of ProductivityDrivers, is a much sought after keynote speaker, and a highly acclaimed thought leader whose work has been featured in dozens of newspapers and magazines around the world including The European Business Review, Fast Company, and Success Magazine.

Indeed, Brian’s achievements and accolades are highly impressive and they become even more so when you realize that he juggles them while remaining a loyal husband to his childhood sweetheart, and doting father to his two young daughters. And that makes us love him all the more.

With The Weekly Coaching Conversation about to be rereleased in hard back, along with Brian launching a brand new website to complement and build on concepts addressed in the book, we figured the timing was perfect to sit down and catch up.

getAbstract: Your book was an instant New York Times bestseller, and is one of getAbstract’s top 10 most downloaded summaries. Why do you think it’s resonating so well with so many people around the world?

Brian Souza: I believe it’s because the message is new – it’s different – it’s easy to understand, simple to apply, and best of all, it works.

getAbstract: What do you see as the key differentiators?

Brian Souza: I think mainly because it’s fun to read. My goal wasn’t just to educate; I wanted to entertain. Secondly, it’s a quick read – you could easily complete it on a short, two hour flight. Plus it’s packed with tons of actionable takeaways.

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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.

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