Tuesday, June 2, 2009


As I promised in the essay two postings back, I'm going to explore more about the impact and potency of single sentences. And this will not be the last time. I already have one e-book in mind that would include 100 sentences that can be used to inspire, enrich, and make life a lot more fun. Part of the reason I am focused on this right now is the phenomenon that greeted me when I emerged from a twelve year prison sentence last year. I had disappeared off the planet, as far as most people knew, and yet was kept alive on the Internet by dozens upon dozens of quotes of mine that popped up when searches were done on Google, Yahoo, MSN, even Amazon.com--it sure surprised me to know I was still alive and well and having an impact on people's lives!

Now, as you know if you've been following this blog, I not only love words, but do tend to go on a bit, sometimes on and on. But conversely, I also developed during my broadcast journalism days, the ability to boil some complex set of facts down into their essence. I'm not talking here about talking points, or sound bites, which often miss the major pieces of information. I'm talking about finding what is really important in a large body of information, and presenting that in a short, impactful way.

For example, Charles Dickens' most famous opening line, possible the most quoted beginning of a book in history, from A TALE OF TWO CITIES:

     "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Doesn't that say it all, tell you the very essence of what was going on in those turbulent days of The French Revolution?  And yet, most people don't know, and this includes even people who have read the book, that this is just the beginning of the opening sentence. In fact these twelve famous words constitute just 10% of the opening sentence, which contains a total of
120 words!  But their rhythm and power make them one of the most quoted phrases in

Some American songwriters are really good at this, too. In my prosperity seminars, I would often play the great Johnny Mercer-Harold Arlen tune as sung by Bing Crosby:

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with mister in-between.

Isn't that a perfect rendition of the concept of positive thinking?

Or in a statement about changing times, from Cole Porter's Anything Goes:

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything goes.

How's that for a comment on morals going to hell in a handbasket?

And when it comes to romance, George and Ira Gershwyn created a masterpiece that
talks about two people coming from two completely different places:

You like potato and I like potahto, You like tomato and I like tomahto....

Look at the current hot social media platform, Twitter. By limiting messages to 140 characters, everyone is challenged to boil things down to the essence. Now some people consider this part of the frivolization of the culture (I think I just coined a phrase there), as
MTV was accused of being when it introduced the quick cuts and fast pacing of its music videos. And that is sometimes a valid criticism, but forcing people to put things into a short amount of verbal expression can lead to bursts of brilliance, too. Look at Haiku.

One of my most popular quotes from Moneylove is:

“The strongest single factor in prosperity consciousness is self-esteem: believing you can do it, believing you deserve it, believing you will get it”

And I just heard from a bestselling author on financial matters who says he's planning to use that quote in his next book.

When people ask me what the most amazing thing I noticed after emerging from 12 years of incarceration, I answer that it is The Internet, and particularly my presence on it despite my absence from society. Come up with something that strikes a chord with people and it achieves a sort of immortality, it goes on and on. This is the magic of The Internet, where I just watched a great dance number featuring Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell from nearly seventy years ago! Even pre-Internet parts of the culture have a new, longer-lasting life.
By the way, this is considered the best duo dance routine ever filmed, so I'll include the clip as introduced by Frank Sinatra. These were indisputably the finest tap dancers in the world--ever!

I'd like to close by leaving you with three sentences I may include in my e-book collection (make sure I have your email address if you want to be notified when it's available later this summer):

"My fondest wish is to keep doing exactly what I'm now doing, but be able to afford it."

"The best unemployment insurance you can have is learning how to make money without a job."

"You should be as picky about the ideas you let into your head as you are about the people you let into your bedroom."

Feel free to bounce these ideas around in your head, or discuss and debate them with friends. There will not be a quiz.

And if you want to find out more about using healthy dark chocolate to become more healthy, wealthy, and wise--just get in touch at jerrygillies@gmail.com.

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