| May 1, 2017 | Reply

As I mowed the lawn on Friday (Conecticut’s first 80-degree day) I was inevitably overcome with the watery eyes and pollen-induced sneezing fits that ruined my afternoon. I caught myself cursing aloud (at no one in particular), and my mind took me back to when I was eleven years old and cutting the grass for the first time – a chore I hated.

There was a teenager in my neighborhood named Mickey who nobody saw much anymore. He had broken his neck diving into the swimming pool and was paralyzed in a wheelchair. It was very awkward talking to Mickey now and we kids avoided him.

On this particular Saturday in 1974, I was mowing the lawn, sweating, sneezing, and cursing aloud (at no one in particular) because I was missing out on the baseball game at the neighborhood picnic. For some reason, shouting profanities dulled my angst and I didn’t think anybody could hear me over the roar or the lawnmower. That day, Mickey heard me.

“What were you swearing about?” he asked me, a few hours later during the picnic. “My father made me mow the lawn,” was my answer. “Wanna make a deal?” Mickey asked me. “Sure, what’s up?” Then Mickey said something I’ll never forget. “How about if I mow the lawn for you from now on and you can sit in this wheelchair for the rest of your life?” Then he smiled.

Mickey died a few years later, from some type of complication, but I see his smiling face a lot when I need some perspective.

When you really think about it, complaining sure is a selfish – and arrogant – waste of time.

Give that a ponder next time you get stuck in traffic, your restaurant service is slow, your kid misbehaves, you stub your toe, or (God forbid) you have to mow the lawn.

“Sometimes You Wanna Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

| April 21, 2017 | Reply

Just about a year ago, I stopped into a Danbury, CT restaurant at happy hour with a few friends. The place, Barbarie’s Black Angus Grill, was fairly new and difficult to get in for dinner, so drinks seemed like a cool way to take a look.

I’ve met so many people in my life that it becomes difficult (especially these days) to remember everybody, so when the owner of the place greeted me at the door with a huge smile, handshake, gangsta-hug, and “hey man, how have you been?” greeting, I was SURE I knew him. I spent the next few hours at the bar, looking back at him, and trying to figure out it. After all, if I did know him it would be embarrassing to ask one of his employees who he was. I never figured it out.

I’ve driven past the place a dozen or so times during the past year, and I always think about “that guy at the door.”

The other night, I decided to take my wife out for dinner and was in the mood for a nice 20-oz ribeye (which I remembered from that Black Angus menu). From the parking lot, I started wondering about “that guy” again, and when we opened the door . . . there he was. Standing in the exact same spot, smiling, offering the friendly handshake and the same “hey man, how have you been?” greeting – this time to both me and my wife!

My conclusion is that I never actually knew the owner, Tommy Barbarie, (great name) but that he possesses that amazing talent for making people feel welcome. To think that he may have greeted every single customer that way, every night for over a year, is nuts. But THAT is what exemplifies an Appreciation Marketing champion!

Forget the fact that the dinner that night was other worldly; I’m just anxious to go back there to shake hands with the owner!

Whether you’re a restaurant owner, a Realtor, an insurance salesman, a doctor, a dentist, or a toll booth attendant. Your business is destined for success if you create an atmosphere like they do at Black Angus Grill.


Memories, Reflections and Feedback

| April 7, 2017 | Reply

Every once and a while I like to do a little reminiscing which might include watching videos of old (70’s or 80’s) songs, looking back at old photographs, or pulling up forgotten files on my computer. This morning I was doing the latter and came upon a whole bunch of testimonials of people who read Appreciation Marketing® back when we launched in the spring of 2009.

What a thrill it was to watch our first published book shoot to #1 on’s national best-seller list, supplanting a pretty good author in Malcom Gladwell and his classic, Outliers, (albeit for only three days).  

In retrospect, for those who haven’t yet read Appreciation Marketing® it may have been inappropriately named. We didn’t hire a professional or run any focus groups (I didn’t even know what a focus group was) and we didn’t really ask a whole lot of advice. We wanted a title with the word “appreciation” in it. We thought first about Appreciation Nation, but thought that sounded too much like a political book. So we typed “Appreciation Marketing” into Google and got back zero hits. Seriously. Zero. So we got excited and that became our trademarked brand. Incidentally, I just tried it again and got back < insert smiley-face emoji here > over 50 million!

So we have it – “Appreciation Marketing®; How to Achieve Greatness Through Gratitude.”

The challenge (there are no problems) is that now it sounds like a business and/or marketing book. It’s really not. It’s a personal development book. Yes, it will help you immeasurably in business but it will also enhance your personal life which, in my opinion, is far more important. Our work is really about helping you to “Achieve Greatness Through Gratitude.”

Anyway, back to the whole inspiration for writing this blog post. I was looking through our customer feedback on and, of course, focused on the ONE negative comment. First off, I’m all about constructive criticism and believe in telling somebody if there’s a problem (in a friendly way) if it might help them to improve. I just have a difficult time understanding people who choose to make nasty comments. Especially if you’re leaving a mean-spirited comment about a book on appreciation and gratitude! I just thought that was funny (in a sad way).

This guy suggested that you should save yourself some time and just read the two words on the sticky note on our book cover.Those two words are “Thank You.” I wonder what his objective was. Did it make him happy? Did he hope it would make us happy? Did he think it would make anonymous readers happy? It probably wasn’t intended to make anybody happy at all. What then? Oh well.

My hope is that you will think about that before you comment on somebody’s Facebook post, or especially on somebody’s business page. What is your motive?

It was interesting advice, nonetheless.

All I can think to respond is, “Thank You!” Oh, and that it might help him to go back and read the rest of the book! Remember that old adage about “judging a book by its cover?”