When I was a kid, a famous circus came to town. My mother arranged for me to meet The Human Cannonball. He was pretty impressive. And I happened to have in my hand a toy Arabic sword, the old-fashioned kind with a wide, curved blade, four inches across and made of smooth flat white plastic. The equally flat handle was a snazzy red. The Cannonball shook hands with me and then offered to sign my sword. Wait. What? I could actually get his autograph? Cool! To a small town boy like me, he was like a god among men. This was going to be my first celebrity autograph, ever! I handed him my weapon and he pulled out a pen with some sort of wide black ink flow and scrawled his name big across the pristine blade and gave it back to me. Wow. I was thrilled.
Until I got home and realized that the sword would look better with the autograph on the handle, not the blade. So, I went back into my room, got out a variety of erasers and soap and some washcloths, and went to work on the signature, completely removing it from the blade. I then meticulously redid what he had written, but now, in a much smaller size, onto the handle, tracing carefully the sort of flamboyant cursive script he had used. I was so excited when I ran into the kitchen to show my mom how I had moved the man's autograph to a better position!
I clearly didn't grasp fully enough the concept of an autograph. And, now I realize that, maybe, I still don't. My mother explained that the only autograph was when the man's own hand held the pen that put the ink onto the surface being signed. When I erased that ink, I had destroyed the autograph. It was gone. I then had just written his name on the handle, exactly as I could have done had I never met him at all. Oh. My shock at this realization was visceral. So, to be a real autograph, the guy (or lady) has to hold the pen (or pencil, or paint brush - I got the extension of the pen idea, just fine - I thought) and actually use it to touch the object being signed. That's what makes for an autograph!
Or, perhaps not.
Have you ever heard of a signed ebook? It's being done. When ebooks first came out, I wondered what would happen to the time honored custom of author autographs. Of course, we all had dancing in our heads visions of iPads and Kindles and Nooks whose backs would be absolutely covered with tiny little author signings, presumably in permanent, indelible ink, as the closest possibility. Nope. Wrong again.
One of the most innovative companies now publishing and selling ebooks, ZolaBooks.com, is currently making signed ebooks available, and I can tell you that it's no mass produced, fake signature thing. They recently sent me an iPad loaded with new tech and apps designed especially for this, so that I could help them test personalized author signatures for ebooks.
Zola is an innovative publisher, seller, and community of readers that's pioneering some new dimensions for the experience of literature in our new tech world. They approached me a while back and asked me to join an amazing group of, otherwise, highly respected authors to offer them exclusive ebook rights on a few of my own titles. So I gave them the rights to True Success, If Aristotle Ran General Motors, and the most incredible long term project I've ever done, a look through the ages at what the deepest thinkers have said about life success, a book called The 7 Cs of Success, which is available only in ebook, at this stage, and only at Zola.
A few days ago, I wrote about the recent climb of El Capitain, and how Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson acted in accordance with seven universal conditions for success in pursuing their astonishing achievement. I listed this framework of ideas that I refer to as The 7 Cs of Success. And lots of people have asked me where they can read more about them.
I first discussed The 7 Cs at depth in the book True Success, and then took a different look at them in the follow-up study, The Art of Achievement. But the most comprehensive examination of them ever is in the exclusive ebook The 7 Cs of Success. In it, I start with Lao Tsu, in the Tao Te Ching, and Confucius, in the Analects, and work my way forward through the history of deep and practical philosophy on how we can best make our lives matter and attain our greatest dreams. There is no real science of success that works like chemistry or botany, despite what many people say, but there is a powerful art of achievement. And it's this art that many of the great practical philosophers have outlined throughout human history.
In The 7 Cs of Success, I explore the deepest and most useful thoughts of the two great Chinese sages; plus the insights of the classic statesman of Rome, Cicero; a Muslim Mystic, Hadrat Ali; a Spanish Jesuit, Balthasar Gracian; the quintessential American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson; and a contemporary Japanese billionaire - go find out who he is. What's wild is how much such different thinkers have in common. And yet, their distinctive nuances can help us to realize exactly what we need to be doing right now to craft the comprehensive success and the satisfying future we want.
I'm writing about them today because Zola has given me an opportunity to be one of the first authors in the country who can personally sign ebooks, one at a time, in the new tech version of the old fashioned mode. They've developed a way to do this, and are having me prototype it for them and try it out. So if any of you guys want to explore The 7 Cs of Success in the book by the same name, or in True Success, or if you want to see the different but complementary framework of ideas in If Aristotle Ran General Motors, Zola is offering signed versions of those books right now, in order to make it possible for me to use an iPad and my index finger (unless you request, for example, a thumb) and do a personal signature on the book, or books, for you.
Any of you who have been reading my blog posts for a while will know that I don't really do the self-promotional "Buy my book" stuff you so often see online. But this is a crazy opportunity for me to learn how to sign books using cutting edge technology and for you to get a signed book available nowhere else. So if you'd like to try this, go to www.Zolabooks.com/tom-morris and click whatever you prefer. The drop down right above the price will get you a signed copy.
So, go experience this now, if you'd like, by using the links above or clicking
And let me know what you think! But please don't figure out how to move the signature you get to another place in your ebook book. I still can't guarantee that would count as an autograph. Best Wishes. Tom