In the middle of 2007, I was interviewed by Stephane Grenier for his book, Blog Blazers. The book came out this week, and it’s a nice resource for understanding the approach top bloggers take to their trade. (Examples of interviews include Seth Godin, Steve Rubel, and JD Roth.)

I am publishing my own interview here, with a few tweaks. And I talk a lot about how to have a successful blog.

But my favorite thing about this interview is that it captures a moment in time: when I was blogging full time and making six-figures. I had just sold equity in my blog and was about to spin off my company, Brazen Careerist. My days were spent in a coffee shop, interviewing people about their ideas, and blogging.

It sounds like a great life, and in fact, it was nice. I didn’t realize it was great though. I was in marriage counseling, not making good progress. And I was anxious that I was not doing enough with my blog. I wanted to do better in everything.

And that’s the instructive part, to me: That there were a lot of good things about what was going on at that time, but I didn’t focus on them. I focused on what I wanted next.

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New evidence from famed happiness researcher Richard Easterlin shows that women are happier than men in early adulthood, but at age 41, this switches, and men are happier later in life. Easterlin says this gap comes from frustration over an inability to get married. Because most people want to be married, and if you want to be married but you can’t get married, you are unhappy.

Intuitively it makes sense that younger women marry more easily than younger men— young women are hot, and they are out-earning their male counterparts, while young men are suffering a masculinity crisis. However as everyone ages, the men earn more money and the women have flabby thighs.

But I don’t think the issue is, as Easterlin says, marriage. I think the real issue is children. Having kids complicates a woman’s life in ways that are not so difficult for men. It’s true that men today are more involved in parenting than ever before, but still, children affect women so much that they don’t start earning less than men until they have kids.

Here’s the deal with parenting: men believe they are doing a great job of parenting no matter what they’re doing, and women always think they could do better. So a woman does better in marriage and career early-on, but when she adds kids to the mix, her self-esteem is challenged (second-guessing her parenting) and her ability to support herself is challenged (she earns less money) and she becomes increasingly dissatisfied.

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I will be on a live call today with Guy Kawasaki and John Jantsch. You can sign up to be on the call here.

John is the force behind the Duct Tape Marketing blog, which is a great example of how to use a blog to grow a whole business. Today, his blog looks like an empire.

Guy Kawasaki has a very popular blog that I link to a lot, and he’s author of a bunch of books about entrepreneurship, one of which we are talking about on this call: Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition.

Remember the post about how I got dumped and still made it to a meeting with a venture capitalist in Menlo Park?

But that’s not actually the end of the story. I got back to my hotel, which, you may recall, I did not even need because I was not staying overnight in that area, and I sat on my bed and cried. Normal. Right? I mean, I did just get dumped.

But then I had to go to a party. For those of you who don’t hang out in Menlo Park, which might be 99% of you, there are no real parties there. For one thing, the ratio of men to women is about 1000 to 1. And the ratio of men with life-of-the-party social skills to women is about 1,000,0000 to 1. So all parties in Menlo Park are actually networking events. The line between work and friends is blurred there more than anywhere else in the world. Most people are very high performers, so they can choose to work only with people they want to be friends with. And most people there work all the time, so they have to tell themselves work is not work—otherwise, when would they be doing their personal life?

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The question “Did you vote?” is viral. It feels good when someone asks me that question, and I feel good asking you: Did you vote?

It feels good because voting tells everyone that you care enough to leave work—not always easy—and do something that contributes to the greater good. You should ask that question today–it's a great way to connect.

Here’s what last week was like: On Sunday I flew to Detroit and gave a speech at the Public Relations Society of America. Then I flew back to Madison on Tuesday and met with an investor who only wanted to talk about my blog even though I want him to put more money into my company. Then the farmer slept over Tuesday night, and drove me to the airport at 4 a.m. so I could fly to Ft. Lauderdale to give a talk the Electronic Recruiting Exchange. On Thursday morning I woke up at 4 a.m. again and flew to San Francisco and took a car to Sand Hill Road, venture capital mecca of the universe.

In the car, I called the farmer for fifteen minutes of fun. I should have been preparing for the venture capital meeting. But I was so tired, and I told myself the call would make me perky for presentation edits.

In that car, on that call, the farmer dumped me.

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To manage your image effectively, you have to think constantly about how other people will perceive you.

Are you wondering if you’re good at image management? Ask yourself how you responded to that first sentence. If you said to yourself, “I am not consumed by what other people think of me—I have enough self-confidence to just be myself,” then you are probably bad at image management.

Because it’s not so cut and dried as either being ruled by everyone else or just being yourself. In fact, managing your image is mostly just making sure that people see you as your true self and don’t get side-tracked by things that easily derail our perception of other people.

Here are three ways you need to manage your image and you might miss these opportunities if you’re not paying attention:

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Part of knowing where to steer your career is knowing what is changing in the landscape. In ten years, Gen Y will have taken over middle management. Maybe in five years, if my own office is any indication. But I am sure that Gen Y will run the show differently. And no matter your age, the more prepared you are for what’s coming, the more likely you will succeed in working with the new middle management regime.

1. Middle management will work longer hours.
Generation X is known for leaving work early to be with kids. There are a lot of forces driving this. First, Gen X was raised as latchkey kids, and as parents, we are very cautious about repeating this. So maybe we go overboard. Neil Howe and William Strauss call Gen X the “extreme parenting” generation, because the women are spending more time with their kids than any generation in history.

Generation Y will not parent as much. First, this generation was raised by helicopter parents, and not everyone thinks that was a great idea (although I think it’s fine). So Gen Y is likely to pull back a bit in the parenting realm. Additionally, we already see evidence that Gen Y is laid back when it comes to parenting. For example, an Xer is more likely to make junior eat green beans and a Gen Yer is more likely to think junior will eat veggies later in life without any childhood nagging.

What this adds up to is that Gen Y will feel like it’s okay to stay at the office during a school play. Gen Y will feel like it’s okay to work through dinner sometimes. The guilt factor for parenting will be lower than it is for Gen X. And this makes intuitive sense as well: Gen Y has more self-confidence all around than Gen X does because—and now, the world is circular—if you have good parenting, you grow up with good self-esteem.

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There are so many lists of books to read before you die, or before you turn 30, or before your job sucks the life out of you. But you probably wouldn’t need to depend on a list from someone else if you could just figure out how to pick your own.

The best way to get good at picking books to read is to know when you’re picking badly. And, believe it or not, this does not have as much to do with the quality of the book itself as it does with whether you are the wrong person to be reading that particular book. I’ve learned this by watching my own history of picking bad books. Here are the five biggest missteps in my literary life:

1. Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock
I was a latchkey kid with no TV. On top of that, we lived in a rich neighborhood where not a lot of other families had working moms, so kids were not allowed to come to my house, and there was no one to drive me to other kids’ houses. That circumstance put me at the library on most of my after-school days. I read a lot of great books; kids who hang out with librarians get the inside track.

But left to my own devices, I’d often pick up some Nancy Drew books. I started with number one—The Secret of the Old Clock. And I never stopped. I liked that they had an order, so I always knew which to pick next, and I could read them with only partial attention because every book was really the same story.

The reason they were such a waste of time is that what I was really looking for was a way to vegetate, escape my own reality and not have to think so much. What I was really looking for was a good TV show. I should have just told my parents. “Normal kids have a TV and we need one too, because I keep reading about the constipated relationship between Nancy and Ned and it’s bad for me.”

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At the start of our road trip to his cousin’s wedding in Illinois, the farmer says, “I have a present for you.”

He pulls out a book that is wrapped in the paper that wrapped the last present I got him: Lolita. Which he reads every time he sleeps over at my house. I knew that he would be too embarrassed to buy it himself because he is still unsure whether it is literature or porn.

He is a good gift giver. It is a romance novel: The Rancher and the Rich Girl, by Heather MacAllister.

“I found it at the library,” he says. “The story is exactly like our story.”

It’s true. The rancher does not want to be romantically involved with the woman, but he is great with her kid, and she wants to use her money to make the rancher do what she wants. Even the riding around the farm together, with her holding him too closely.

I like her immediately, and I start skimming the book, but then I am frustrated: “Where’s the sex?”

“Page 165.”

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