Yearly Archive: 2008

Glory in the flower

Florence is a city that celebrates all the seasons. In May, the weather moves immediately from the high spring of April to high summer. Daytime temperatures soar to 27C and stay there. Right now, on the gently sloping hill around Piazza Michelangelo, with its spectacular views of the city, there is a glorious iris show. The annual event, first held in 1957, showcases thousands of specimen plants. Stone pathways lead past mounded beds exploding with the familiar blue, white, purple, and yellow blooms in various combinations but there’s also black and chocolate and a triple iris that’s as big as...

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In today already walks tomorrow

It was Dan Quisenberry who famously said, “I have seen the future. It looks like the past, only longer.” I hate to quarrel with the ace relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, whose submarine-style delivery dominated the 1980s, but the future is getting shorter all the time. Fifteen years ago, when I was working with Don Tapscott on the best-seller The Digital Economy, Don said the most important message in the book was for people to get on the Internet. Now, the web is ubiquitous. Ten years ago, Research in Motion – the subject of my next book –...

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Yankee go home

What is it about Canadians that we are so smitten with American celebrities we will sit agog, listening to their canned remarks? When David Gergen came to town last week much was made of Gerry Schwartz, Chairman and CEO of Onex Corp., arriving late and having no seat – such was the drawing power of Gergen, advisor to four American presidents. A chair was found for Gerry, just another rapt member of an audience who could have known all of Gergen’s profundities simply by watching CNN where he appears on late-night panels so often that he must have a cot...

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A love story

In case you missed it, here’s a link to the online version of the ad promoting Fantasy in Florence that ran in last Saturday’s book section in The Globe and Mail. This marks the first anniversary of publication and a suitable time to celebrate the book’s position as #1 in books about Florence.

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Resurrecting Eaton’s

I have just three words to those folks at Sears who are considering a relaunch of the Eaton’s catalogue: Don’t do it. When I wrote my 1998 book, “The Eatons: The Rise and Fall of Canada’s Royal Family,” I discovered a whole new market who’d never before bought my books: sixty-year old women. Put me in front of an audience of 200 retired school teachers, and after my speech, I’d go to the back of the room and sign 150 books sold by a local bookstore, unheard of levels of interest. These women of a certain age had shopped at...

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The land that feminism forgot

The pulchritudinous women chosen by Silvio Berlusconi to serve in his cabinet should surprise no one. The resurrected prime minister of Italy, back for his third time in office, is renowned for flirting, making rude gestures to policewomen and remarking on the number of girlfriends he’s had despite the fact he’s married. The four females picked for cabinet include a showgirl, an actress, another who is best known for her short skirts and a Miss Italy contestant. In fact, Berlusconi’s style fits perfectly into the Italian way of life where women are admired far more for their beauty than their...

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The business of books

If I were to guess when the National Business Book Award went off the rails, I would pick 1999 when Ingeborg Boyens won for “Unnatural Harvest.” The topic was genetic engineering and the book was about science, not business. Since then, there have been many books nominated that should have won but have not. And there have been many other books that shouldn’t have been nominated but went on to win. Gord Pitts is a good example of an excellent author who has been nominated a record four times and should have won at least once but hasn’t. (Conflict of...

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Keep on truckin’

Shortly after establishing this blog a year ago when Fantasy in Florence was first published, I realized that the question asked most often was: Where can I buy your book? As an author, this is always a frustration. You like to scream, “In a bookstore, what do you think?” But I hold my tongue and make suggestions. As part of being helpful, I decided to put a link on this site to one of the online possibilities, so I checked out chapters.indigo.ca and discovered delivery took three-to-five weeks, far longer than it would take to read the book. By contrast,...

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