The First Jedi

The First Jedi, my first novel, has just been published in both paperback and Kindle formats. But, why would you want to read it? Read on.

  1. To my knowledge, it ‘s the only SW novel written that is set in this present universe, at our present time. If I ‘m wrong about this, please correct me. If I ‘m right, this fact makes it kind of unique. No more galaxies far, far away; the Jedi have come to town.
  2. It ‘s a piece of adult writing. Now calm down, I don ‘t mean erotic. I mean that the language employed and issues explored are not fit fare for the kids that read the comics and watch the cartoons. Yes, I know that some adults enjoy these media too. I doubt, however, that children need exposure to suicide, alcoholism, therapy, depression and some of the other topics I touch on here.
  3. Although I call The First Jedi a novel, there ‘s a bit more to it than that. A large part of it is autobiographical and covers real(ish) events that happened to me in 2008/9. I ‘ve provided as much proof of these events in the endnotes as possible. They centre round a university course that I designed and delivered about Star Wars, the nuclear explosion of publicity that ensued, and the subsequent toxic fallout.
  4. I ‘m a professional development consultant by trade. The course content consisted of my attempts to tease out lessons on applied psychology and ethics from the Star Wars scripts. Parts of the novel grapple with this intersection between real science and sci-fi mythology.
  5. The heart of the novel gives an account of this course from a fictional outsider ‘s viewpoint and how his messed-up life was altered by it, although not necessarily for the better. My greatest pleasure when writing it was watching the character of this antagonist, my nemesis Mark Gil-martin Black take shape. Baddies have more fun; baddies are more fun.
  6. I ‘ve had a bit of fun with the novel too in creating weird chapter titles and sprinkling obscure references throughout. Sometimes reading a novel or self-help book can prove a very passive affair. What better way to spice it up and activate the brain than to offer a little bit of mystery along the way?
  7. The different sources I ‘ve employed in the novel, often without much in the way of explanation, are supposed to add to this sense of puzzle. Does this epistolary format add to the aura of factuality? Or am I an unreliable narrator? What is real here and what is make-believe; serious or playful? And, in a novel about Star Wars, can there be a difference?

Once you start to read The First Jedi, forever will it dominate your destiny. Click The First Jedi to view and purchase it.

I Have the Power

I gave a brief rundown of my BizCamp Newry 2012 thoughts in my last blog. I mentioned my top talks and promised to share with you my own. It was called ‘I Have the Power: How to Expand Your Business Power-Base’. Very He-Man.

This was the blurb. “In this talk I ‘d like to introduce three sources of business power: expertise, celebrity and persuasion. I ‘ll explain ways by which entrepreneurs use them to expand their power-base to raise their business profile, influence potential clients, and increase profits. I ‘ll suggest business contexts in which each works and give advice as to how BizCampers can put them to use starting tomorrow.”

Here are the highlights.

As entrepreneurs, we can’t use the power of:

  • Violence – force/punishment is one of Alvin Toffler’s three types in Powershift, along with wealth and knowledge
  • Position – domination and submission require hierarchy, and are inflexible/non-transferable

Expertise

Instead entrepreneurs can use the power of expertise, which requires us to know what we know, and prove the value of that knowledge in society. Expertise is objective and is developed by:

  1. Qualifications both academic and professional, the more formal the better
  2. Publications papers, dissertations, articles, reviews, and blogs
  3. Education explain to others how to do it, ‘out teach your competitors ‘ (Rework)
  4. Demonstrations show that you’ve done it yourself to a high degree of proficiency
  5. Tradition prove that you’ve been taught or mentored by the best, lending you ‘credibility by association’

Charisma

But power is not just about what you do, it is also about who you are and how you are perceived. So my second source is the subjective power of charisma. In order to achieve this power you must become:

  1. A narcissist – You must love yourself, your business, your product/service, basic, no excuses!
  2. An entertainer – Customers want an experience as much as a thing, so satisfy them emotionally as well as economically.
  3. A product – As the medium is the message, so the entrepreneur is the product. ‘Decommoditize‘ your product (personalise it so it can ‘t be copied), so it is inextricably associated with you (Rework).
  4. A celebrity – Not only have celebrities become businesspeople, there is a growing chance that successful entrepreneurs, financially successful investors, and top level CEOs of major corporations will become celebrities. After all, they can regularly dominate the global business scene, and top the daily business headlines and coverage of financial markets.
  5. A persona – Personas are not just for David Bowie and Jim Morrison; Richard Branson and Bill Gates have carefully crafted public images that merge brand with their personal style.

Push and Pull

I gave a quick description of the two main interpersonal persuasion types: push power (logic and assertiveness) and pull power (empathy and storytelling). The point is NOT to use the one with which you feel most personally comfortable. Rather, you use the one that best fits the occasion and client.

Finally I mentioned a couple of books that might prove interesting: The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Green and Influence: Theory and Practice by Robert Cialdini. (Please read my Amazon review of Greene’s book and add to the discussion.)

Discussion during and after my talk was lively. I especially want to thank Maureen Black from Smart Forward, as well as Marie McStay and Mark Finlay (two BizCamp Newry speakers whose talks I’m sorry I missed) for their much appreciated audience input.

I’d be delighted to receive input from you too whoever you are. You’ll find me at Castle Greyskull. Or here.

More likely here.

Jedi Knight Training Event in Belfast!

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This exciting 1-day workshop is a joint venture between me (Allen Baird of Sensei Learning and Performance) and Rory O’Connor of The Creativity Hub.

In 2008, I designed and delivered the UK’s first university course teaching Jedi Skills. Held at Queen’s University, where I am a tutor, the 1-day workshop gained coverage in The Guardian Education Supplement, The Times Higher Education Supplement, The Times Online, The Daily Telegraph, The Irish News, The News Letter, and BBC News Online. Called Feel the Force: How to Train the Jedi Way, we were also featured on international radio and local TV.

Our new event is timed to coincide with the Invasion Belfast II event held at W5 in the Odyssey in October this year. Continue reading “Jedi Knight Training Event in Belfast!”

Of Jedi Celebrities and Star Wars Actors

You know you’ve made the big time when a piece about you appears in the North and South Belfast News website. A Feature article entitled Carving Out A Path To Creativity For All asks some personal questions of yours truly, who it describes as ‘South Belfast’s most photographed guest lecturer’. Accolades don’t come much bigger than this. Meanwhile, in a galaxy not too far away… Continue reading “Of Jedi Celebrities and Star Wars Actors”