Whose Emails Do You Read?

Posted by on August 29, 2011

You’re reading this and I’m honored, because you delete far more emails than you open.

Which others do you open?

I know, of course, that you read emails from your closest friends and family. But are there any newsletters, blog posts or subscriptions that you open more often than not? Can you pick a single favorite you’d be willing to share?

I was crafting an altogether different Monday Morning Memo when “ding” my computer let me know an email had arrived. I glanced at the time and said,

“That will be Exley.”

And it was.

I’ve known Richard Exley for 30 years. We met when he was a struggling preacher holding church in a school gymnasium and I was a bright-eyed advertising salesman trying to make a living on straight commission. I never attended his church but we often had lunch together.  Although Richard and I have spoken only about 5 times in the past 25 years, we continue to be important to one another. You have friends like that, don’t you?

Take comfort. Frequency of communication does not equal depth of relationship.

Richard began sending out a daily One-Minute Devotional about a year ago.  Like any good writer, Richard nudges my mind into green fields where it might not otherwise have wandered.

“I don’t like to think of myself as a materialistic person but driving away from the Highway 12 East storage complex I could hardly come to any other conclusion. For nine years I paid almost $40 a month to store things I haven’t used in nearly a decade. Add it up – nine years at $444 a year comes to $3,996.”

Richard’s thoughts interest me because he notices all kinds of things that most people don’t. This was his greeting last Christmas:

“There is not a shred of evidence to indicate that the shepherds were in any way special; nothing to suggest that there was anything in their spirit, or nature, or lifestyle that predisposed them to receive the angelic announcement of the savior’s birth. Which means that God doesn’t just come to religious people in church but to undeserving people the world over, be it lepers or lunatics, shepherds or Samaritans, or even women taken in adultery.”

Sometimes Richard offers grandfatherly advice.

“If you have the courage to follow your heart’s desire you will usually gravitate to your area of giftedness. You may not end up in the most prestigious position, or land the best-paying job, but you will have a more fulfilling life.”

I give Richard Exley 60 seconds each day and I consider it a good investment.

“Don’t mistake recklessness for boldness. Boldness is a calculated risk based on the best possible information.”

“Forgiving those who have wronged us is often a process rather than a single event.”

I asked my friend Richard to record these quotes in his own voice because I wanted to ask your opinion: Is it just me, or does he sound a little bit like Sean Connery? Every time I hear Richard I expect him to say, “Bond. James Bond.”

Now it’s your turn. I want you to tell the rest of us about a daily or weekly email you always open. But just one. Give us a link to it. Tell us what you get from it that causes you to always open it. I’ve told Indiana Beagle to post all submissions in next week’s rabbit hole. But this is the rule: you must select just ONE subscription to share with us. If you send more than one, you will be disqualified.

I’m imposing this strange rule for just one reason: you hear hundreds of e-voices every day. I want you to know which one you value most. When you are forced to choose just one, you will learn something about yourself.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I am tempted to agree.

Come. It is examination day. Send your favorite blog or e-subscription to Jackie@WizardAcademy.org

How many people will do this?

We shall see.

Roy H. Williams

PS – Jeffrey Eisenberg had no idea what I had written to be today’s message when he sent me the perfect counterargument to my policy of selective message consumption:

“We have become information narcissists, so uninterested in anything outside ourselves and our friendship circles or in any tidbit we cannot share with those friends that if a Marx or a Nietzsche were suddenly to appear, blasting his ideas, no one would pay the slightest attention, certainly not the general media, which have learned to service our narcissism.” – Neal Gabler, The New York Times

One Response to Whose Emails Do You Read?

  1. Donnie Bryant

    Great Memo!

    I’m amazed! How did you get the recording of Socrates’ voice? :-)

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