retail news in context, analysis with attitude


Michael Sansolo and I want to thank you for the overwhelmingly positive reaction we got to yesterday’s announcement that our new book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies,” will be available exclusively to MNB readers in time for Christmas. (It’ll be available to the general public in early March 2010.)

We’re very excited about this project, and have been working on it for over a year - it is an extraordinary feeling to come to the home stretch on a process like this, and we’re thrilled to share it with the MNB community, which has been so supportive over the years.

In case you missed yesterday’s email, in THE PICTURE we look at the plots and characters in more than 50 movies - ranging from The Godfather to Young Frankenstein - to explore lessons that can be learned in leadership, management, marketing, and surviving the workplace. If you’re interested in getting a copy, just go to: >

And, to respond to queries that Michael and I have gotten...yes, we’ve developed a killer presentation based on the book that we’re already scheduled to do at a couple of conferences next year. We’d love to do it for you...if you’re interested, just shoot me an email for details: .

On to other less self-serving subjects...

Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but this report from National Public Radio caught me by surprise:

“European astronomers have found 32 new planets outside our solar system, adding evidence to the theory that the universe has many places where life could develop. Scientists using the European Southern Observatory telescope didn't find any planets quite the size of Earth or any that seemed habitable or even unusual. But their announcement increased the number of planets discovered outside the solar system to more than 400.”

More than 400 planets have been discovered outside our solar system? That’s extraordinary...

Back when I was in school, we only knew about the planets in out solar system, and even that information was wrong, as it turned out, since Pluto wasn’t actually a planet. When it came to other planets, we had only our imaginations and Star Trek as reference points. We could dream that one of those planets could be Vulcan or Kronos, but it was all dreams...

Now, not only do we know of more than 400 other planets, but that information is shared with not even a shred of wonder. It is all so matter of fact.

The really cool thing is that we don;t even have pictures of these planets. We only know of their existence because of the magnetic pull of these planets on distant stars, which can be measured by instruments here on earth. (How amazing is that?)

But since we don’t have pictures, our imaginations can still run wild. Which is wonderful, because even in a time when we know so much, there is so much more than we do not know. Maybe there is a Vulcan out there somewhere...

Michael Connelly’s new Harry Bosch novel, “9 Dragons,” is a worthy addition to one of the best recent series in American mystery fiction. This one finds the Los Angeles detective dealing with unfamiliar physical and emotional terrain - he has to travel to Hong Kong to rescue his daughter when she appears to have been kidnapped as a way of getting him to curtail a murder investigation in LA.

Bosch always has been better at unraveling mysteries than dealing with the intricacies of his own emotional life, and “9 Dragons” finds him in a vulnerable and unfamiliar position. Connelly, as always, writes with brisk and detailed authority. And “9 Dragons” is definitely worth picking up. Or downloading. Whatever is your pleasure.

Wines of the week:

• 2007 Cimicky Trumps Shiraz from Australia’s Barossa Valley - a wonderfully fresh and spicy wine that Mrs. Content Guy says is one of her new favorites. (About $20.)

• 2007 Cline Cashmere, which, as befits its name, is oh so smooth. (About $15.)


That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday.

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