To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink – Discover How Improvisational Skills Can Help You Move Others

Daniel H. Pink’s new book is “To Sell Is Human-The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.” Pink is the bestselling author of “Drive,” and “A Whole New Mind.”

Pink says that today, we’re all in sales regardless of our career or role. Parents cajole children and lawyers sell juries on a verdict, as examples.

The old ABCs of selling (“Always be closing”) are reinvented as Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity. They show you how to be, but you also need to know what to do. Honing your pitch, learning how to improvise and serve, complement the new ABCs of selling; and help you move others.

Following are three methods to hone your improvisation abilities; which ultimately teaches listening skills and the art of hearing offers, which are critical for anyone who wants to move others…

1. Hear Offers. Belief is growing that salespeople good at improvising can generate ideas, inject changes quickly and easily and communicate effectively and convincingly during sales presentations.

Pink says that estimates put one-fourth of our waking hours dedicated to listening, yet we profoundly neglect this skill. For many of us, the opposite of talking isn’t listening, but waiting. As others speak, we typically divide our attention between what they’re saying now and what we’re going to say next; which results in doing a mediocre job at both.

The changing face of selling discourages sales scripts and the mindset of solely overcoming objections. Today, the idea of turning people around may be less valuable and perhaps less possible than ever before.

Improvisation theater isn’t based on overcoming objections, but rather hearing offers, which hinges on attunement-leaving our own perspective to embrace the perspective of another.

The exercise “Amazing Silence,” demonstrates the concept well. Here, one person reveals to another, something important to him. The person receiving the message must maintain eye contact the entire time and can respond only after waiting fifteen seconds before uttering a single word.

Those fifteen seconds can seem long and disturbingly intimate; which is the exercise’s purpose. Pink says, “Listening without some degree of intimacy isn’t really listening. “It’s passive and transactional vs. active and engaged.”

Once we listen in this new, more intimate way, we begin hearing things we might otherwise miss. Listening this way during our efforts to move others helps us realize that what seems outwardly like objections are often offers in disguise.

To master this aspect of improvisation, we need to rethink our understanding of what it means to listen and what constitutes an offer.

2. Say “Yes and.” Improvisation theater urges actors to say “Yes and,” vs. “Yes but,” which is ultimately a “No.” This second principle of improvisation depends on buoyancy, particularly the quality of positivity; a positivity that’s more than avoiding no, and surpasses simply saying yes. “Yes and” is a powerful force. It’s a more inclusive approach vs. “Yes but” which acts as a barrier. “Yes and” anticipates possibility, providing a set of options, not futility. “Yes and” isn’t a technique, but becomes a way of life.

3. Make Your Partner Look Good. Today’s information equality means buyers and sellers are evenly matched (thanks to the Internet). Pushing for win-lose seldom produces a win for anyone and results in mutual defeat.

Pink honors Roger Fisher (famed coauthor of 1981’s “Getting To Yes,” based on principled negotiation), and Stephen Covey (author of 1989’s, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”- Habit 4-“Think Win-Win”); both men died in 2012.

Improvisation provides fresh thinking and a way to share Fisher and Covey’s worldview. It updates it for time when many of us are desensitized to “win-win,” because we’ve heard it excessively, and experienced it rarely.

Improvisational theater is based on making your partner look good. Helping your partner shine helps you both create a better scene. Improv shatters the either-or, zero-sum mindset; and replaces it with a culture of generosity, creativity, and possibility.

Making your partner look good requires clarity, which enables the capacity to develop solutions that nobody previously imagined.

Pink participated in an exercise called “I’m Curious.” Here, partners choose a controversial topic, which encourages opposing pro-con positions (i.e. Should Marijuana be legalized?). Each person takes a side and tries to convince the other of his or her point of view. The other person can only respond with open-ended questions (not veiled opinions).

The idea isn’t to win but to learn. When both people see their encounters as learning opportunities instead of a desire to defeat the other side, results are better. The conversation becomes more of a dance vs. a wrestling match. Improv never tries to get someone to do something. It’s creativity not coercion.

Train your ears to hear offers, respond to others with “Yes and,” and always focus on making your partner look good. Pink says that opportunities will emerge.

Author Daniel H. Pink endorses the classic book. “Improvisation for the Theater,” by Viola Spolin, which features more than two hundred improv exercises. To help master your improvisation skills; and learn more about Viola Spolin, visit:

Should You Obey a Law That Forbids Worshipping God?

“I would rather die than to obey a law that prohibits worshipping God,” says Sarah, age 8. “I love God with all my heart. You should do what’s right. Obey what’s right, and you will be fine.”

Thank you for your incredible statement, Sarah. I’m amazed and challenged by your love and devotion.

“I would pray three times a day in the morning, at lunch and at suppertime,” says Lindsay, 11. “I would have a quiet time in the morning and at night.”

You’re in good company, Lindsay. The prophet Daniel prayed three times a day. His custom became the focus of a plot hatched by people who were jealous of his position in the court of King Darius.

The king signed a decree that guaranteed a luncheon with the royal lions if you prayed to any god or man other than the king. In other words, whoever violated the decree would become lion lunchmeat.

Daniel’s custom was to pray with his window open toward Jerusalem. It would have been very easy to justify closing the window during the 30 days of the decree. Daniel could have said: “Can you please shut the window? It’s kind of breezy in here today.” Not Daniel. His pattern never changed.

The rest of the story is well known. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, but the lions suddenly lost their appetites. This miracle apparently impressed the king, who issued another order: “I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom, men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.”

Sara, 10, is on target when she says, “You should set a good example for other people to know God, and not worship something else.” Amy, 11, adds, “It is better to die for a true God than living and worshipping a false god.”

Yes, Daniel is an example. Do you suppose he knew God would shut the lions’ mouths? Nothing in the Bible indicates he knew anything of God’s plan to turn the lions into house cats during his overnight stay in their den.

“If you believe in the real God, no matter what happens to you, you will not get hurt at all because God and his angels are always with you. That is having faith in God,” says Salar, 10.

Uh, excuse me, Salar. How do you explain the death of first-century Christians who were devoured by lions in the Roman Coliseum?

Obviously, it was God’s purpose to show unbelievers the courage and peace of Christians as they looked past death into the glories of heaven. As Stephen the evangelist was being stoned to death, he said: “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).

The Scripture records that there was a young man named Saul who consented to Stephen’s death. Later, that young man’s name was changed to Paul — the Apostle Paul. At the time of Stephen’s martyrdom, who would have ever guessed that one of the men consenting to his death would become God’s chief agent for spreading the gospel throughout the world?

“I think that if Jesus was able to give his life and die for us, we should be able to stand up and say that we will not obey a law that forbids us from worshipping him,” says Alyssa, 12.

Point to ponder: Laws that coerce people to worship false gods or the true God should not be obeyed.

Scripture to remember: “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men'” (Acts 5:29).

Question to consider: If a law were passed forbidding the worship of God, would you obey it?

Family Films at the 2017 Florida Film Festival

Though focused primarily on programming for adults, in keeping with its annual tradition, the Florida Film Festival also offers a family programing sidebar with intriguing new independently produced movies that you probably won’t find at the local cineplex. In addition, the Spotlight Films category contains two kid-friendly offerings that take a look at children in diverse ethnic settings.

Family Programming at 2017 Florida Film Festival

Albion: The Enchanted Stallion

In its Florida Premiere, this adventure features a 12-year-old girl (Avery Arendes) who encounters a mysterious black stallion that leads her to the magical world of Albion. Only she can bring peace to those who live there and save the entire race of people from the evil General Eeder (John Cleese). Filmed in Bulgaria, Florida, and Michigan, this movie features exotic locales and kid-friendly comedy in an imaginative coming-of-age story suitable for the entire family. Directed by Castille Landon (who also plays the part of a young warrior), Albion: The Enchanted Stallion stars Jennifer Morrison, Debra Messing, Stephen Dorff, Daniel Sharman, Liam McIntyre, and Richard Kind. Run Time: 103 minutes. This film is unrated.

Big Booom

This claymation short gives a brief history of humanity and the world as seen through the eyes of Russian director and writer Marat Narimanov. Told in just four minutes using one single shot, viewers can see this eco-friendly film (one of three related shorts by Narimanov) making its Southeast Premiere when it screens before the full-length feature Supergirl. This film is unrated.


This documentary introduces audiences to 12-year-old Naomi Kutin, an Orthodox Jewish girl from New Jersey who is breaking worldwide records in powerlifting. Although she seems to be a normal girl, going to school, studying the Torah, and spending time with friends, she’s simultaneously struggling to maintain her title as the strongest girl in the world who can lift three times her body weight. Her ever-present mismatched knee socks and sweet smile belie the determination and courage of this one extraordinary supergirl. Directed by Jessie Auritt. Run Time: 80 Minutes. This film is unrated.

Family Friendly Spotlight Films at 2017 Florida Film Festival


Based largely on the true story of the film’s star, Menashe Lustig, this drama explores family life in the heart of New York’s Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. Within this ultra-Orthodox community, a mother is required to be present in every home with children. So when Menashe’s wife dies, tradition demands his young son be removed from his home to live with a married relative. The film looks at the final week before the wife’s memorial service, when father and son spend their last few days together. The movie was shot secretly within the Hasidic community that it depicts. Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein. Run time: 81 minutes. This film is unrated; in Yiddish with English subtitles.


This documentary chronicles three inner-city Baltimore girls in their senior year of high school at The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. Members of the Lethal Ladies dance team, Blessin Giraldo, Tayla Solomon, and Cori Grainger look ahead to next year in college (where each will be the first in her family to receive a higher education) while currently working on the Bowie State step competition. Directed by Amanda Lipitz. Run time: 83 minutes. This film is rated PG (for thematic elements and some language).

For more information about the Florida Film Festival, visit the official website.

How To Combat Childhood And Teen Obesity

Here’s the problem. Kids are getting fatter and fatter.

Our kids, your kids, everyone’s kids. It is a problem that is well-documented: Researchers say a combination of too much television and video games, cuts in school physical education programs and a sugary, high-fat diet have left kids dangerously out of shape.

Fifteen percent of school-age children are estimated to be obese, and the American Heart Association reported recently that more than 10 percent of U.S. children from ages 2 to 5 are overweight, up 7 percent from a decade ago. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey released a couple of years ago found that nearly 23 percent of children ages 9 to 13 weren’t physically active at all in their free time. They found the prevalence of children who were overweight tripled between 1980 and 2000.

Stephen R. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and environmental health at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center said “In African Americans and Hispanics the prevalence of overweight children is as high as 20 percent.”

What’s the solution?

Some experts suggest, along with improved dietary patterns, interventions need to emphasize reducing the amount of time children and teens spend watching television and playing video games.

But this is much harder than it sounds.

A recent US report F as in Fat, concluded than 45 percent of Americans aged between 12 and 17 played video or computer games or used a computer for two or more hours every day. Furthermore, the US state with the highest percentage of overweight children also had the highest percentage of children spending four hours-plus in front of a screen every day.

Inactivity is one of the leading risk factors in developing type 2 diabetes so encouraging kids to incorporate more physical activity every day, in any form, is a priority.

Here’s a way to combat the growing problem: call it “operation get off the couch.”

The idea is simple. Teens love computer games right? And we know that prohibition doesn’t work. Ok, encouraging already technology obsessed children to get ‘into’ computer games might seem like a bad idea.

Unless, of course, the game is LIVE.

Live gaming replicates the compelling action of computer games, and ensures children remain active, whilst still having fun.

Nicole Lander said participants are always amazed at how much like real gaming it is.

“They really feel as though they are playing their favorite computer game – even the gaming guns are the same!” Nicole said.

Live gaming combines the excitement of role-playing, team-building, and adventure, and stimulates kids both mentally and physically.

Participants are equipped with gaming guns that utilize harmless infra-red beams, much like a TV remote, to target other gamers as they enact various scenarios in safe, outdoor locations.

The game involves no mess, or risk of injury from harsh paintballs, and all ages, genders, and levels of fitness are accommodated.

Andrew Roberts was 15 years old when he started playing.

Just like online gaming everyone selects their own codename; Andrew’s is “Reaper.”

“I loved it. It’s a good way to keep fit while having a good time,” said Andrew.

“I have lost about 40 to 50kgs [88 to 110 lbs] in about 18 months playing every second weekend,” he said.

“The longer scenarios, and more running sometimes all adds up in the end, to all of us being tired at the end of it. So it works,” he said.

“Kids are too busy using their imagination, and having fun to notice that they’re getting a great workout,” Nicole said.

“The best thing about it is they’re involved in something they enjoy, while getting active at the same time,” she said.

Tips for Writing That Novel Inside You

1. Write something. Anything.Think about your idea. It doesn’t have to be clearly formed. You don’t have to have the entire plot mapped out in some massive diagram with PowerPoint presentation, you just have to have an idea. So as you sit there staring at that blank Word document wondering what on earth you think you’re doing, write something about your idea. It could be the start of the novel, a scene in the middle or even the last chapter (ala J.K. Rowling). If you literally sit there and make yourself write, something will come. It may be bollocks, but then they always say the first draft of anything is crap. Give yourself permission to be rubbish, don’t judge too harshly, just write. At this stage, the only person that’s going to see this other than you is God and he’s busy trying to sort out the Middle East. Aim for 2000 words. If you get to 1000 and can’t do anymore, don’t beat yourself up. When you come back to it, reread what you’ve written and you may well be surprised by what’s there. At least, I hope you are or this piece didn’t do what it said on the tin and you will be mad with me.

2. Keep Going. The trap I always fall into is to keep going back to the start and rereading from the beginning, mainly because this is easier than carrying on. This is fine when you first start but I find when I keep doing this, I never progress. You continually rewrite what’s already written, never getting much beyond the first few chapters. So, write more new material, as much as you can. Even if the hoovering suddenly seems a lot more appealing.

3. Don’t write yourself into a dead-end. Sometimes I get stuck. Where is the story going? What does my main character do now? How do I transition from where I am to where I want to be? The trick here is not to stand up, swear and curse the day you ever thought you could do this and abandon your writing. Try and write yourself out of it. Otherwise, you won’t want to come back to carry on. You will dread returning to the computer because you know you are at a dead-end. So, get yourself out before stopping for the day if at all possible. I know, easy to say, harder to do but I promise you’ll feel good if you get out of the hole.

4. Get to the End. Once you get going, you may find the words just flow which, of course, is the optimal place to be. Keep writing, get those 80,000 plus words down. 80,000 words! What the hell! No one told me it had to be 80,000 words. Finish it. When you’re done, give yourself a pat on the back. Maybe even have a bottle of wine to celebrate. You deserve it, because you have just completed your first novel and that is a fantastic achievement.

5. Put it away. Leave your book alone for at least 6 weeks. Don’t look at it, don’t touch it. Do all those things you wanted to do when you were writing it. Yay!

6. Review and edit. When you’ve given yourself some time to recover, come back to your novel and start to read. It will feel strangely exhilarating. Some bits will be utter crap but other parts will surprise you. I found myself thinking ‘wow, did I really write this, that’s actually pretty good.’ It’s a great feeling. Sort of like getting drunk and fooling around with a total stranger some bits are good, others…not so much. Now get your manuscript up to as good a place as you can. Be ruthless, take at least ten percent out of it. Needs to be tight, not flabby.

7. Send to friends/people whose opinions you respect. Once you’ve got it as good as you can, send to 5-8 friends or others you respect and ask them what they think. Tell them to be honest and ask for constructive ways to make it better. You don’t want to hear ‘I thought it was good/bad.’ You want reasons. Ask specific questions like ‘do you like the main character, is he/she believable? Is there too much/too little description? Secondary characters, like/don’t like, why? Also ask what’s good, what did they like? Some points you will agree with, some you won’t. Don’t get all shirty when they tell you the main character is about as sympathetic as typhoid, it’s always about making it better.

8. Send to strangers. Once you’ve done another few drafts incorporating the comments you receive it’s worth trying to get people you don’t know to read it. Strangers? I don’t want strangers reading it, what a ridiculous suggestion! What if they hate it? Then what? Websites like are a great way of getting complete strangers to read your work and give you an honest opinion that friends sometimes won’t.

9. Get it out there. Now it’s polished and edited to the absolute best it can be, start sending out to agents/publishers. Good luck! If you get that six figure deal as a result of reading this, let me know so I can send you my bank details for my percentage.

Some of the tips here are from Stephen King’s excellent book On Writing which if you haven’t read, go buy it and heed its message. It’s from the master. Here endith the lesson.

Leadership Styles in Change Management – The Leader’s Mood Drives a Staggering 30% of Performance

How do you provide a change management leadership style that connects with people and motivates them when they are stressed out by the current economic climate?

How do you lead your people through change and identify the most effective strategies for managing change that are appropriate to these difficult conditions?

A new focus on leadership has been defined and articulated by Daniel Goleman – and he calls it “Primal Leadership”. This refers to the emotional dimension of leadership – the leader’s ability to articulate a message that resonates with their followers’ emotional reality and their sense of purpose, and thus motivate them to move in a specific direction.

To my mind this is of considerable interest and relevance to those of us working with companies who are going through change.

Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee in 2002, first introduced the concept in a book of that name. Their work draws extensively on research into Emotional Intelligence or “EI”.

Here are the key themes:

The importance of Primal Leadership

In the current climate of uncertainty people need leadership that offers a measure of re-assurance and certainty of conviction about the direction in which they are being led.

This is important because people cannot work effectively if they are experiencing emotional turbulence. Their ability to get work done depends on their emotions being under control. A leader has to address those often unconscious and unexpressed fears along the way in order to help people keep them under control.

A study of 3,871 executives and their direct reports shows that HOW a leader leads in terms of the emotional resonance they do or don’t generate matters for 2 reasons:

(1) A big part of the culture and “general feel” or “emotional tone” of what it is like to work in an organisation is determined to a very large extent by the leader.

(2) The leader’s style determines about 70% of the emotional climate which in turns drives 20-30% of business performance.

The leaders emotions infect the organisation – the importance of resonance.

The central finding of EI research is that emotions are essentially contagious, and thus a leader’s attitude and energy can “infect” a workplace either for better or for worse.

With this in mind the authors stress the importance of resonance, which is the ability of leaders to perceive and influence the flow of emotions (including motivational states) between themselves and others they work with.

One of the keys to achieving resonance is empathic listening. [See “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey]

Self awareness and the 4 building blocks of primal leadership

The 4 building blocks of primal leadership are:

(1) Self-awareness

(2) Self-mastery [or self-management of emotion]

(3) Empathy or social awareness

(4) Relationship management

“Self-awareness is actually the fundamental ability of emotional intelligence, and probably the most ignored in a business setting.” Goleman

Emotions are contagious – from the top down

In an interview [with Stephen Bernhut in “Leaders Edge”, Ivey Business Journal May/June 2002] Daniel Goleman said:

“First, you have to reach within yourself to find out your own truth, because you can’t be resonant if you’re clueless, if you’re pretending, or if you’re just trying to manipulate people.”

You have to speak from your heart, and you have to do it in a way that speaks to other people’s hearts. So it takes authenticity. And if you can articulate a positive goal, that is, stay optimistic, enthusiastic and motivated in delivering that message, then what you’re doing is spreading that message and those moods and predisposition to the people you’re talking to. Emotions are contagious, and they are most contagious from the top down, from leader to followers.

Acting as a leader in a way that primes positive emotions in people

In the same interview, Goleman suggests that first of all, you need self-awareness, to know what’s happening with your own emotions. You also need to use your self-awareness to sense what’s right and what’s wrong in a situation, to use your deep values to guide you in what you do from moment to moment.

You need to be able to manage your emotions… and to keep yourself in a positive state, to have a good time with people as well, along with getting the job done. Of course, you also need empathy.

And then finally, you need to put that all into practice by acting as a leader in a way that primes positive emotions in people, because that’s the state in which they’re going to work best.

In my view this is inspiring stuff and offers deep insight and fresh perspective on key aspects of the leadership of change management.

Properly applied in a change management context, this emphasis on primal leadership is exactly what a people-oriented leadership style needs to deliver when employing the holistic and wide view perspective of a programme based approach to change management.

6 Tips for Your First Jab at Creative Writing

The world of creative writing is an ever expanding one as stories or genres continue to evolve in a natural reaction to the changes in time. Having confirmed writing skills, however, is not enough to succeed in creative writing. Having passion for it is more important than having technical expertise. Love for creative writing, and not adherence to the grammatical elements, is what will ultimately guide you to doing things properly and successfully.

6 Tips for Your First Jab at Creative Writing

Don’t Stop Reading – It’s impossible to become a writer, much less a creative writer, without being a reader first. Discovering your love for writing shouldn’t stop you from further devouring reading materials but should instead encourage you to diversify your taste. If you want to become good in creative writing, you need to broaden your horizons. Don’t limit yourself to reading one genre because this can only provide you with limited knowledge. If you want to improve, read everything that you can get your hands on.

Don’t Stop Learning – You can ask Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Dan Brown, and JK Rowling, and all of them will surely tell you that they’re not perfect writers and will never be. No one can be perfect in any way, and if you allow your writing to stagnate, readers will soon get bored with your work. Of course, before you can continue learning about creative writing, you first have to acknowledge the fact that your writing is definitely imperfect. Get past your ego if you want to be a successful creative writer.

Choosing a Topic – You’ve heard countless people tell you that to be a successful writer, you need to write about you know, and that’s true. But more importantly than that, you have to write about something you love or something you hate, just as long as it’s a topic that arouses passion in your heart and brings your pen aflame! If you find something that interests you but you don’t have adequate knowledge about then research it by all means! Research, research, and research, until you can safely say that you’re writing something you know and love.

Build Your Vocabulary – True enough, Ernest Hemingway earned fame by using poignantly – but sometimes brutally – simple words for narrating events in his stories. But building your vocabulary surely wouldn’t hurt, would it? Broadening your vocabulary and discovering its etymology can be one of the ways for you to develop a story idea or an effective way of setting the tone or mood for a particular chapter. But more important than that, building your vocabulary will reduce the instances when you can’t just quite say the word you want but it’s already in the tip of your tongue.

Don’t Let It Get Away – If an idea suddenly occurs to you, and it seems excellent for a future story, write it down. If you’re walking down the street and you suddenly think of a good dialogue for your characters, write it down. Don’t let anything get away because the human mind is a tricky thing, and it might be impossible for you to recall exactly what occurred to you just three minutes ago. Good story ideas are a dime in a dozen, but great ideas are definitely few, and who knows if what you’ve written down will one day become one of the latter?

And last but not the least, NEVER STOP WRITING. Don’t make publication of your work the ends and means for your writing. Write because you love to write!

Brothers Who Share the Spotlight – Catch the Baldwins on Satellite TV

In total, there are four Baldwin brothers. And, as fate has it, all are actors. The Baldwin family itself is actually quite large, with a grand sum of seven children-the three sisters, however aren’t in the acting biz. You can catch the blue eyed brothers Alec, Daniel, William and Stephen, on satellite TV. Although the success of each brother’s career has varied and quite a bit, they have all been in some notable movies. So to enjoy the goodness that is the Baldwin brood, sit back and scan the channels or rent some HD DVD’s.

Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the bunch. He is also probably the most well known. He has starred in a range of movies, plays and TV shows. Plays featuring Alec include Serious Money, A Streetcar Named Desire and Macbeth. His filmography includes Beetlejuice, Glengarry Glen Ross, State and Main, Cats and Dogs, The Aviator, and Running with Scissors. His latest success has come about on the small screen. He plays the inimitable Jack Donaghy on the NBC hit 30 Rock starring Tina Fey. Baldwin has received a number of Academy Award nominations and has won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance for his role on 30 Rock; he also won a Golden Globe in the same year (2007). Alec Baldwin is also known for his controversial political views. He is an animal rights activist and writes for the online blog The Huffington Post. You can catch Alec on the small screen in full HD glory in this latest season of 30 Rock.

Daniel Baldwin is probably best known for his role on Homicide Life on the Street; in the series he played the detective Beau Felton. His character was killed off after three seasons. Daniel went on to perform in a series of TV movies such as Family of Cops and Twisted Desire. He also had parts in Mullholland Falls and Trees Lounge. Daniel Baldwin has continually struggled with drugs and weight. Both his battles have been documented on reality TV shows.

William Baldwin started his career as a fashion model– although he does have a degree from Binghampton University in political science. He later moved on to films and television garnering critical success with his role in The Squid and the Whale. His earlier works include Flatliners, Backdraft, Bulworth, and Fair Game. He currently stars in the TV series Dirty Sexy Money.

Finally, we come to the youngest of the bunch, Stephen Baldwin. Here’s an interesting tidbit: in high school Stephen was a successful opera singer. He then went on to star in a handful of movies including the Unusual Suspects, The Beast of War and Bio-Dome. In 2002, Stephen participated in the ABC reality show Celebrity Mole Hawaii; he returned later on to do Celebrity Mole Yucatan. In 2006 Baldwin published a personal memoir detailing his conversion to Christianity. Today Stephen does a conservative radio talk show and works promoting his faith through the Breakthrough Ministry.

The Baldwin clan is certainly a varied bunch, but they are all quite talented. Catch up with this gifted troop by tuning in to your satellite TV feed-you’re bound to catch one of their many movies and TV shows. You can also see four of the brothers sans Alec in Born on the Fourth of July.

Searching for My Ancestors Through DNA and a Family Tree: Pleasant, But Unexpected, Surprises

I wouldn’t characterise my family as a very close family, but I had always shared a lot of hobbies and interests with my grandparents on my mother’s side when I was young. They saved a lot of family photos and movies dating about as far back as when photography was first possible, and they had big boxes of family letters. My grandfather, William Frank Sweany, was a novice photographer and filmmaker who knew how to splice old movies well and who kept a big collection of his work. However, he was officially a top accountant for Weirton Steel Corporation.

My grandparents collected art and old postcards. One of their boxes of papers contained lots of postcards from travels by various family members who ventured across the world and another box contained the letters that we wrote to each other when we were far away. My grandparents liked to read books as well as the news. At one point in around 1990, my grandfather purchased a book about the Sweeney family tree, his own family. Still, the information in that book was nothing like what one finds today in books now available online and on various websites. There’s no doubt that if my grandfather had lived today, he would have subscribed to one of those websites that permit researchers to explore their family trees as well as their DNA after sending for a test kit.

I recall the day we gathered around a giant poster board on the dining room table. I began to sketch a tree with branches in pencil, as I would later trace it in ink. Then I put my grandparent’s names in the middle: William Frank Sweany (a variation of Sweeney) and Freda Agnes Craig. The two of them were ecstatic about my interest in our family history and pleased about sharing the family names that they could recall. We managed to write about sixty names on the family tree. They wanted to give me all of the information they could remember before they forgot it. Although they didn’t know everything that I know today, the exploration process and the storytelling was remarkable. Getting as much information as I could from my grandparents was genuinely delightful. If only I could have shared with them what I know today!

Daniel Sweeney/Sweaney (1842-1931) of Ohio was one of the great patriarchs. All I knew was that he was of Irish descent and that he had fought the Civil War in Company B’s 80th Infantry from Ohio. With the power of the internet search engines, I later discovered newspapers which further revealed that he was a handsome war hero who married a pretty socialite by the name of Abbigail Lawrence Huber (1846-1916) from Pennsylvania. Daniel Sweeney will always be remembered for his love of country and his willingness to give whatever it took to keep the nation united. He was an old-fashioned Superman. There now happens to be a lot of information in the newspapers about this couple who had a total of 18 children. Likewise, their children had plenty of progeny, but as the years passed, future generations had fewer offspring. My grandfather (who was Daniel’s grandson) only had one daughter named Jacquelyne Sweany, perhaps because they wanted to send her to an outstanding university or trade school, which was part of the American dream those days.

Freda Agnes Craig, my grandmother, told me about her brother Thomas Craig who was an outstanding musician who supported himself by playing in Nashville, Tennessee. When he was growing up, he filled the house with guitars, harpsichords, and other instruments. Numerous women thought Thomas was a handsome man, but no one I know of caught his heart. I doubt I will ever comprehend the songs he wrote and played in Nashville, but I think he must have been quite proficient at having made a living with his music. His parents were quite disappointed when he left Ohio to go to Nashville since they didn’t understand the importance of an artist’s dedication to music. I only had the opportunity of meeting Thomas once, soon after we created the family tree on posterboard because I insisted upon travelling to Tennessee to meet with him as well as a few other relatives in Hohenwald.

When we got to Hohenwald, my grandfather took me through the woods nearby to see the ghost town of Riverside. There was nothing left but abandoned buildings in the woods. We entered what might have been my great grandfather’s old store, which I can faintly recall. It had been abandoned during the Great Depression of 1929 because it is said that my great grandfather’s customers could no longer pay for their purchases. The store was quite different from today’s stores since it was much smaller with everything inside glass cases or on shelves behind the cases. From the store, we moved on to an abandoned graveyard, probably dating back to the early 1800s, where he pointed out the two graves of my great-great-grandparents (on my grandmother’s side) who lay there side-by-side without tombstones per their request. It once had been a beautiful graveyard before the Depression prompted everyone to move away. Although I asked my grandfather to put a monument there and he had the means to do it, he had promised them never to add one, a tradition that I found to be quite strange.

My grandparents didn’t live to find out about their genetic heritage, but years later, I opted to get a DNA test of my heritage. There had been rumours that we had a little American Indian blood running in our veins. These rumours weren’t the case, according to my DNA test, which revealed that I was 47.9% English, 42.6% Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, 6.2% Italian, and 3.3% Eastern European. I had my mother tested and discovered that she, too, had some Italian ancestry (2%), but was mainly Irish and English. Still, my father Wallace Morgan Williams Jr had a little more Italian DNA than my mother as his grandmother was discovered to be Fannie Lupo.

Fannie was a direct descendent of Ambrose Lupo, a famous composer and violinist born in Milan, Italy. He emigrated to England in the 1500s, leaving his wife and sons behind in Venice, to work as a musician for the king. It is said that he sent money to his wife and that his sons later followed him to play the violin for the king. How strange it was when I made this discovery, especially since my son Giovanni had asked to learn how to play the violin as a child. I wouldn’t have expected to find another musician in my father’s family line, especially since I am without musical talent myself.

Ambrose (Ambrogio) Lupo made a significant impact on the musical scene in England. One can find information about him in many books. Much of the story is speculation, but he is said to have been the violinist who worked the longest for the king and to have been a great composer. Although many doubt Ambrose Lupo’s Italian origins, his numerous descendants find that they do indeed have Italian DNA.

My father’s mother had always been a mystery. Fannie Lupo (1884-1937, Walker County, Georgia) died suddenly of a medical condition at the young age of 53. All memories of her had been erased after her husband Carl C Williams (1882-1954), another one of my great-grandfathers, married a second wife. To my knowledge, she had only had one son, Wallace M Williams Sr, who was my great grandfather on my father’s side. Little did anyone know that she descended from the talented Ambrose Lupo, whose progeny remained in England and emigrated to both Australia and America, where they landed in Maryland. This forgotten woman, whose name was never pronounced by anyone in my presence, descended from quite a talented family that had lived in England during the Renaissance. Quite a few Protestant preachers were in her family line, and that would be another interesting story. I can only imagine that they loved reading, learning, communicating, and giving advice to people in the ‘new’ colonies after they immigrated.

In my father’s family (that of Wallace Morgan Williams Jr), there were three ship captains from the British Isles. Captain John James Corker (1565-1657, Wiltshire, England) was the father of William Corker (1584-1677). John James Corker died in Jamestown, Virgina, in 1657. His descendent, Sarah Branch (1660-1713) married James Lupo (1655-1713) during the 17th century while the new nation was still a Colony. It was the Lupo family that had various influential Protestant preachers in their line. For instance, Laban Lupo (1750-1806) lived on the Isle of Wight in Virginia. He and Catherine Price had five sons who eventually moved to Robeson, North Carolina, in the early 1800s.

Discovering explorers such as ship captains in my family came as a surprise! It has also been a pleasure to know there were some scholarly men. There is less information about the women of the past, but I hope people will find more information about women in the future. Some of them were teachers, while others were homemakers. It seems like they had many children to raise, although a few of them had small families. There is not much evidence that women in my family focused on their careers. However, my great-grandmother on my mother’s side (William F Sweany’s mom) raised 13 children alone with her laundry services after her husband died during the Spanish Flu Pandemic. My grandmother, Freda Agnes Craig, was required to quit her job after she married because my grandfather wanted her to care for the house and her daughter.

My father’s side of the family was quite interesting: My paternal grandmother, Zelda Crane, was a quiet, soft-spoken woman from a religious family. Her silence and inability to express emotion might have been mistaken for her not having cared, but I now understand that she merely had a difficult time expressing affection. She had always assured other family members that we were related to Stephen Crane, the renowned American writer, and I had my doubts when I first received this news, just as I had previously had doubts about being a Native American. To my surprise, my family tree intersected with the genealogical tree with the family of Stephen Crane, so I think there is a good chance she was right.

Some Cranes immigrated from the British Isles to New Jersey. A man by the name of Henry Crane (b. England) had a son by the name of Stephen Crane in England in 1620. This son was not the famous American writer. However, he married Esther Norris in Monmouth, New Jersey, between 1663 and 1700. This Stephen died in Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey in 1709. His son Nathaniel Crane was born in Elizabethtown, Essex, New Jersey, in 1702. Likewise, William Crane (1716-1784), the son of Nathaniel, lived with his wife Mary Wheeler (1721-1788) in Cranetown, Essex, New Jersey. This William Crane had a son named William Crane Jr (1742-1826). William and Elizabeth Gregory (b. 1780) had a son named William Crane the 3rd (1785-1850) who married Ophelia Arphie Suggs (1791-1881). They had a huge family as well as John Jackson Crane (1824-1894) who was to be one of my very great-grandfathers.

It is not easy to prove that the writer Stephen Crane is one of my distant cousins without getting more DNA samples from the Crane family. To my knowledge, Stephen Crane left no children as he died of tuberculosis in Germany at the early age of 28. My grandmother’s claims are compelling because Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was born in Newark, New Jersey. After his father Jonathan Townley Crane died, Stephen Crane’s mother left him with his uncle Edmund Crane in Sussex, New Jersey. Stephen also had a grandfather by the name of William Crane from Elizabeth (Union County), New Jersey. His great grandfather Joseph Crane was also from Elizabethtown, while his great-great-grandfather Stephen Crane, a participant in the American Revolution, was born in 1709 in Elizabethtown, New Jersey.

It’s unlikely I will ever know the complete truth about the Cranes or other family members. Nevertheless, a heritage expedition is a journey that teaches along the way. Others are welcome to add to the knowledge base, expanding upon discoveries of treasure. Curious future generations are likely to fill in the missing gaps, to find still more treasures, while sharing knowledge of DNA and historical records with others in order to grow the tree’s branches. I’ve enjoyed the journey, so it’s my wish that, at some point, you will make your own flight through the generational branches on the forever-growing tree that connects humankind.

Daniel Craig’s Start in Showbiz

With the release of “Skyfall,” Daniel Craig has cemented his reputation as an exciting and talented addition to the James Bond franchise. His selection was a surprise to fans, many of whom had a tough time getting used to the first blonde actor to take on the role of the suave secret agent. However, Craig’s portrayal of 007 has won audiences over. The success has also garnered up a good deal of interest in his start in the entertainment world.

Daniel Craig began acting at the age of six. His mother was responsible for fostering his interest in the stage with frequent trips to the Liverpool Everyman Theatre. Throughout his younger years, he appeared in several school plays. When he was 16, Craig auditioned for the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. He was accepted in 1984 and subsequently moved to London to focus seriously on his acting career.

As part of the National Youth Theatre, Craig was able to tour Europe and Russia, fine-tuning his acting skills in the process. After four years, he succeeded in gaining entrance to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where further training would introduce him to a new wave of top British actors, including Alistair McGowen, Ewan McGregor, Joseph Fiennes, and Damian Lewis.

The advanced instruction and career contacts paid off. Craig graduated in 1991, and he appeared in his first motion picture a year later. “The Power of One,” starring Stephen Dorff and Morgan Freeman, turned out to be a lackluster adaptation of the popular book by Bryce Courtenay. Thankfully, it didn’t slow down the young actor’s career.

Throughout the 1990s, Craig stuck mainly to television roles in series like “Our Friends in the North” and “Tales from the Crypt.” It wasn’t until playing Alex West opposite Angelina Jolie in “Laura Croft: Tomb Raider” that his movie career really took off. Playing the underhanded treasure hunter-and rival to Britain’s female counterpart to Indiana Jones-led to a role in the Tom Hanks hit “Road to Perdition” in 2002.

Craig’s first award-nominating roles would come in 2004. The first was as sly cocaine dealer XXXX in “Layer Cake.” This frantic, complicated story takes audiences deep into the British Mafia, where favors are owed and respect is earned and burned in a moment. The second was as Joe, a would-be rescuer and witness to a fatal accident in the drama “Enduring Love.” Craig received European Film Award nominations for Best Actor for his work in both movies.

In 2005, Craig starred in Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” the story of the five men hired to kill the assassins responsible for killing 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. Craig starred alongside Eric Banna and Geoffrey Rush in the drama that went on to be nominated for five Oscars and two Golden Globes, and it also won the AFI Film Award for Movie of the Year.

The next year would see Craig’s debut as British spy, James Bond, in the twenty-first official movie in the series. “Casino Royale” wasn’t just the first time a blonde James Bond hit the screen. It was a reboot of the Bond experience, resetting the clock on the spy’s years in service and establishing a new canon for the franchise.

Despite critics and fans struggling to accept these new changes, “Casino Royale” opened to great success. The film has earned just short of $600 million in sales worldwide, and at the time was the highest-earning movie in the series. The studios were shocked when the movie’s popularity was surpassed by “Quantum of Solace” in 2008.

Originally resistant to be tied into a long-term contract, Craig was dismayed when studios put the brakes on James Bond installments while the economy teetered. Unlike other leads for the franchise, Craig did not put his acting on pause during his contract. From 2008 to the release of “Skyfall” in 2012, the actor starred in four major films, including the English version of the popular Swedish trilogy “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” as well as the science fiction favorite “Cowboys & Aliens.”

Looking back on his long and varied career, many wonder how Daniel Craig joined the ranks of Hollywood’s top actors. With his reserved demeanor and knack for staying out of celebrity gossip, Craig certainly seems to have the level of professionalism it takes to make it big. His talent in action, adventure, drama and even fantasy roles show he has the talent to continue making great films for years to come. It’s humbling to realize he got his start on a typical stage in primary school among a crowd of six year olds.