The Back Story: Watson’s Way

The Back Story: Watson’s Way

How the great recession felt, like a frozen ridge

Connecting the Story

Recently, I spoke to more than a hundred business people about my inspirational book, Watson’s Way. At first glance, it isn’t self-evident how a story written primarily for middle and high school kids is actually a business book, in disguise.

The Frozen Ridge

It’s not just business people who recall, without any fondness, the 4th quarter of 2008 and the 1st quarter of 2009. That’s when everyone learned about big banks and insurers that had made idiotic investment gambles resulting in a new government phrase, “too big to fail.” The markets weren’t too big to fail, however, and subsequently tanked over those 6 months. My work life really felt like the picture above: frozen, hostile, inconceivably challenging. I was the Managing Principal for much of the state, with a national investment company, responsible for sales management, recruiting, training and compliance for more than 40 professionals, as well as nearly $500M. Most other firms utilized four field leaders to cover the four roles I held. Several of those under my watch went rogue, I suppose, partly from the pressure they felt. One even engaged in a well-hidden and devastating betrayal. Our family also went through two enormous personal crises during this period. Physically, I carried around a huge bloodclot in my leg. In a word, that time was awful.

Redemption on 4 Legs

Throughout this time and the years that followed, we were the “persons” to Watson, our shelter dog. When he passed suddenly in the summer of 2011 and I began the process of writing what ended up becoming this book, nearly all of the life lessons that came from Watson had an application within the business world. Even though the lessons were simple, it didn’t mean they were simplistic:

  • Live with intention
  • How to be patient when all you want to do is bark
  • Stand up for what you believe in, even when it costs you
  • Find reasons to laugh, especially when there isn’t much to laugh about
  • Try new things, even when it makes you uncomfortable
  • Give…and forgive, even when it hurts

Ageless Life Lessons

Certainly, publishing Watson’s Way represents a labor of love by those in our house, who were blessed to have been his persons. But that was never the intent, to just create a love legacy. The lessons nestled within this book have relevance to parents, as well as their children. And…these inspirational tales (tails) speak truth, warmth and perspective to those in business, just as much. We all need to hear stories of beauty, resilience, humor and humility. Our humanness is enhanced and centered, by simple lessons from a dog.

What was your experience during the “Crash of ’08-’09”? How were you impacted? Does that time impact you still? If so, in what ways?

Engage here.


photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

Brave Reviews

Brave Reviews

I just discovered a great resource, Brave Reviews, for learning about many good books out there, reviewed by Jason Brueckner. It’s not that there aren’t a bunch of people reviewing books already; there are. Plenty. It’s just that I really like Jason’s reviewing approach, style and choices.

The short course on Jason: he studied at Malone University in Canton, Ohio where he double majored in Bible & Theology as well as Youth & Sports Ministry. After getting married, he moved his family to Chicago, Illinois and commuted out to Wheaton Graduate School. There he earned, “by God’s grace,” a Master’s in Biblical Exegesis. While his degree isn’t as cool as mine [Systematic Theology, which everyone knows is better], I asked Jason if it would be alright to share his story with you. Delightfully, he agreed! Here’s the full course:

I really appreciate the opportunity you’ve given me to share! I know the importance of the internet and how viral contagious ideas can be. In a great sense, that is why I started Brave Reviews. When you have found a good idea, it can transform your life and the lives of your neighbors and cities and so forth. Books are ideas that have been poured out onto pages so to be shared with others. We need to hear new ideas so to grow, so to transform (check out Colossians 1:10).

Why do I give of my time to Brave Reviews?

I got sick and tired of only seeing people who don’t like a book sit down and put together a review. Brave Reviews exists as a trustworthy corner of the web where people can find unbiased reviews of contemporary texts. I do not believe in a “bad book.” Whether it is a romance novel or a hotly-debated theological text, we as learners should be having conversations with a variety of genres. So now you should be asking what a person who would not give a book a poor evaluation is doing reviewing books for others. The calling of Brave Reviews is two simple tasks:

    1. Let followers know what books are available. Our audience is just like anyone else; they are over-committed and over-compassionate. In other words, you love people so much that you have not given yourself adequate time to stay up on what is being published. Brave Reviews is like an alarm clock for followers that alerts them of new and noteworthy texts.
    2. Let followers know what books are for them. How many times have you heard, “Yeah, you should really pick this book up. It’d be great for you in your field!” If we had a book for every time we heard that! Our second task is to be a filter for these new books. It is important to know what is being published in general, but it is vitally important for your own growth to know what is being published in your area of expertise. For example, Brave Reviews will be doing a review of a new NLT Study Bible that is not yet in stores and that is important for everyone to know about! But, you may be deeply immersed in the world of business so you’d want to probably pick up a copy of Doing Virtuous Business. As professionals in our own skill sets, we must know what books are available for us specifically and Brave Reviews will assist in providing that filter.

It’s a brave task, I know, but in this world of mass media it is a much worthy adventure.

If you would like to both help Brave Reviews spread the word and enter into a drawing (we are giving away books, Starbucks gift cards, and more!), head over to and enter into the giveaway.

Thanks for getting to know us a bit!

God bless him, Jason even agreed to look 0ver my books! Perhaps someday one or both will land on his awesome site, Brave Reviews! And I was just joking about my degree being better, Jason… ;-)


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