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A Unexpectedly Brilliant Tool for Organization


In previous posts, I’ve recommended the online task manager Todoist for Getting Things Done-style organization. All the key features are available for free (though I subscribe to get the advanced features, paying $29/year). In March 2013, they introduced a tool called “karma,” a sort of ongoing game or rating based on how well you do at tracking and completing tasks. At the time, I must have thought it sounded to hokey or decided that the idea of having a productivity “score” was lame, because I didn’t start using it until five or six months ago. Since then, I’ve been a little amazed that it actually seems to work: I’m more productive, more focused, and more diligent specifically because of Todoist karma.

How can what basically amounts to a simple counting game help get more work done? By setting reachable goals and inspiring involvement. (For a more thorough consideration of the connection between games and motivation, read A Surprising Source of Insight into Self-Motivation: Video Games.)

Let’s look at how that works. Here’s a screen shot of my karma as of today (click to zoom):

My Todoist karma


See the gray vertical lines, one for the last 7 days and one for the last 4 weeks? Those are my targets. I’m trying to complete at least that many tasks to keep on track, which is to say at least 5 per weekday and at least 25 per week. These are the default settings, which are actually great for me, but you can change them to whatever you want.

If I keep to these targets, my karma keeps going up, and my daily and weekly streaks (shown at the bottom) accumulate. (For more on motivation and winning streaks, see “Harnessing a Winning Streak.”)

As you can see from my streaks, I wasn’t able to keep on top of tasks in the same way as usual over the holidays, so I missed my targets several times up through the New Year, resetting the impressive streaks I had built up before Thanksgiving. Karma does have an important “vacation” feature (you just tell it that you’re on vacation, and it won’t expect you to get much done until you turn vacation back off). It also doesn’t expect you to get anything done on weekends (though you can change it so that you’re “on duty” any days of the week you like).

Todoist karma levels

The rewards to attending to karma are minimal: your graph keeps going up, you build up your streaks, your score improves, and every once in a long while you “level up” to a new karma category. This may not sound like much inducement to get things done, but if you think about it, it’s very similar to a video game, and video games are notoriously addictive: you have a score, levels, goals, specific challenges … it’s not easy, but it’s not impossible … in a word, you’re engaged.

Another thing I like about karma that initially seemed like a drawback is that it mainly just tracks the number of tasks you get done rather than trying to deal with priority or importance or size. This makes it simple to use–pretty much automatic, in fact–but it also rewards breaking big goals down into small tasks, which is an excellent motivational and organizational technique. If you enter “redo flooring in dining room” in as a task, it’s a good bet you’ll never get it done. On the other hand, if you start with tasks like “Find out what kind of wood flooring options are out there” and “Measure dining room and write down dimensions,” then you’ve got a great basis for accomplishing something.

The way karma helps me the most is in setting a number of things to get done. My task list is probably thousands of items long, set up in many different categories with different priorities. To be productive, I have to get at least a few of those things done each day. Often what happens is that I’ll get to evening and have completed, say, three tasks (this is outside of my work task list, which I maintain separately). Being conscious of my Todoist karma, I’m aware that I can do two more to maintain my streaks and increase my score, or give up for the day, lose points and get my streaks reset. It’s nearly always possible to get two small tasks done, however, and so I generally do them, and this keeps my attention on what I have to do and also encourages me to do just a bit more each day. That’s exactly the level of quiet, private encouragement I need.

In short, if you’re in need of an elegant, easy-to-use, effective, and free task management system, you’ll have a hard time doing better than Todoist–and if you use Todoist, you should consider using the karma feature to engage more enthusiastically with all the tasks in your life.

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Wait–Eating Lots of Fat Is GOOD for Your Heart?


Cholesterol molecule

The common knowledge about heart health is that fat is the enemy. In recent years we’ve tweaked that idea with the concept of “good fats” in moderation, but basically “low fat” has been the wisdom we’ve heard from doctors, the media, and the government.

Peter Attia is a surgeon with an extensive background in mathematics and statistics who has been intensively researching heart health, weight loss, and many related physiological processes for the last several years. The problem, Attia, says, is that the actual scientific research points in completely the opposite direction: it fingers carbohydrates, especially sugar, as the heart killer, the clogger of arteries and generator of flab. Fat, according to the research he’s talking about, is not just benign–it’s crucial, because we still need a source of energy in our diet, and if we cut out fats and carbohydrates we have nothing left but protein, which isn’t a great source of energy and is comparatively very expensive to boot.

So the idea is to eat enough fat to feel sated and to keep consumption of carbohydrates, especially sugar (and especially especially high-fructose corn-syrup, a.k.a. HFCS) low.

If you find yourself thinking that Attia is some kind of obsessed weirdo with unscientific ideas about fats, I suspect you may change your mind if you read some of the in-depth, highly analytical posts on the subject he has on his Web site, (It’s just an informational site, by the way: he’s not selling anything.) Though come to think of it, it might make the case a little more clearly and effectively if you just take a look at the guy. Does he not look like he understands something about weight loss, heart health, and physiology?

Dr. Peter Attia

So I encourage you to take a look at his site. If you’re concerned about cholesterol, which was the main thing that got me interested in Attia’s writing, here are a few key points as I understand them:

  • Cholesterol is an important material our body uses to repair cells, and without it we’d die–yet as we know, it can cause heart attacks, strokes, etc.
  • Almost every cell in our body can manufacture cholesterol, and the great majority of cholesterol in our bloodstream is cholesterol our bodies have made.
  • Very little of the cholesterol we eat stays in our body: most of it isn’t absorbed. (Attia explains the how and why of this at length.)
  • Therefore, the amount of cholesterol we eat doesn’t have much to do with heart health at all.
  • By contrast, carbohydrates–especially sugars–tend to cause cholesterol to embed itself in artery walls and build up there, a condition called Atherosclerosis.
  • It’s not the total amount of cholesterol in a person’s bloodstream that indicates danger of Atherosclerosis, but rather the number of cholesterol particles, because the particles can be different sizes and carry different amounts of cholesterol, and it’s the smallest ones that are most dangerous.
  • The usual “cholesterol test” most of us have been given measures only the total amount of cholesterol and are therefore fairly useless in predicting Atherosclerosis and related conditions.
  • Less common tests that measure the number of cholesterol particles in our blood are much better indicators of heart health. (By the way, yes, “good” versus “bad” cholesterol still comes into play.)

Don’t take this from me, because I’m no expert: Attia has a lot more information on it at his site. However, I’m hoping the above conveys the idea well enough for you to decide whether or not you’re interested in hearing more about it on Attia’s site. He’s obsessed with this topic, and for good reason.

I’m not saying, by the way, that I know all this to be true and accurate. However, I’ve found the evidence compelling enough to have shifted from a low-fat diet to a low-carbohydrate (and high-fat) diet over the past couple of months. Since medical tests have revealed I have the beginning of plaque buildup in my arteries, in a way I’m literally betting my life that Attia’s right. If he is, that would explain why greatly limiting my cholesterol intake didn’t seem to help my cholesterol count, and why years of eating just the kind of diet the traditional “wisdom” on the subject dictates led me to the beginnings of Atherosclerosis.

An important, related note: if you do switch to a much lower-carb, higher-fat diet, please, please do so in a way that takes into account your carbon footprint. Red meat, for example, makes a much worse impact on climate change than plant-based foods–unless you’re getting pastured or grass-fed meat, which is close to carbon neutral . It doesn’t matter if you’re as healthy as a horse if ten years from now you and your family are drowned in the latest superstorm, or are starving due to a global famine brought on by changing climate, droughts, floods, and pests. I don’t mean to be a wet blanket here, but it’s important for me to mention it. If you’re interested in becoming part of the solution to climate change rather than the problem, check out the things I’m posting at and consider switching to much more local food sources; see .

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Climate Change Posts: Eating Oil, Carbon Pie Chart, and Hope


Elsewhere on the Internet, I’ve been slowly learning something about climate change and working on ways to make a positive impact on that catastrophic, immediate problem. My blog at is about finding inspiration and motivation to make a positive impact on a daunting and horrific problem. Here are some recent posts for anyone who can spend a few minutes taking a closer look at what’s going wrong and what we can do about it.

I’ve also started a Twitter list of useful sources of climate change news and information at .

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My new blog site: Face Climate Change


I’ve made it a practice in recent times to try to avoid taking on new projects. This is difficult for me, because I love coming up with new approaches to doing things, trying new strategies, and creating things, but at the same time it’s essential, because starting too many things means making it difficult to finish any of them.

Every once in a while, though, something comes along that is too important to ignore, and I need to step up and invest some real effort. Today that thing is climate change: it’s happening much more quickly than most of us imagined, and the results are more immediately devastating. For example, Vermont came very close to being hit by two tropical storms just a little more than a year apart. Vermont. This is a state where there are, generally speaking, no hurricanes, volcanoes, mudslides, earthquakes, tornadoes, tropical storms, or Lyme Disease–except that now we seem to be getting everything on that list except for volcanoes and full-blown hurricanes (though I don’t blame the occasional small earthquake on climate change, just so you know).

Looking at the problem, I see one particular way in addition to changing my own habits and environmental impact in which I might be able to be of some real help, and that’s in teaching principals that can help spread personal responsibility and courage and habit change skills, applied specifically to climate change. That’s what the new site is all about. I hope that if you have any interest in the topic at all, you’ll visit the site, comment, suggest resources, ask questions, or help move things forward in any way you’re willing.

My first post went up this morning: Where We’ll Find the Power to Fight Climate Change.

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Things I Love: Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000


Even though it’s not usual fare for this site, I’ve been thinking that it might be helpful for me to from time to time talk about something I have or use that I can strongly recommend. I’ve done this for Scrivener in “How Tools and Environment Make Work into Play, Part I: The Example of Scrivener” and “Would Scrivener Make You a Happier Writer.” Here’s a brief discussion of something you may find useful if you do a lot of typing (I do a lot of typing): the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000.

What I like about this keyboard:

  • It has an ergonomic rather than flat or simply curved layout, which helps me stave off hand and wrist injuries.
  • The two main sections of the keyboard are split, which makes my hands stay on their sides and forces me to type properly. I learned to type through multi-finger hunt-and-peck, so a little rigor really helps me stay in the groove of typing the “right” way–and thus more quickly and accurately. My typing speed is about 80 wpm on this keyboard, which is a little faster than without it. (After all, it’s important to be able to type quickly if you’re going to write prolifically.)
  • It has a number of useful buttons and gizmos, like a zoom slider, multimedia buttons, calculator button, Internet button, e-mail button, and a bank of programmable buttons.
  • Both the wrist rest and the keys feel really nice to me. I’m always a little disappointed when I go back to my older ergonomic keyboard, which I have set up on another computer.
  • It looks cool as long as you’re into black. I know that’s not important, but it’s nice to have. Who in the name of all that’s holy ever decided that “putty” would be a great color for computer devices?
  • It’s the only keyboard I’ve ever seen (though I’m sure not the only one existing) that comes with a piece that elevates the front of the keyboard for a reverse angle–instead of angling the keys up in the back like so many keyboards with feet do. My understanding is that lifting up the back of the keyboard is asking for repetitive motion injuries, while a reverse angle is ergonomically ideal.
  • It’s pretty cheap for a terrific keyboard–less than $40.

I understand and sympathize if you’re one of the many people who’s used to propping a keyboard up in back and/or who is very uncomfortable with an ergonomic layout. About these things, I can just say that my experience was that I got used to the new setup within about a week when I changed over years ago, and I’m very much willing to go through that kind of temporary inconvenience to permanently guard against injuries.


  • Honestly, none so far. Maybe it would be nice to have an easy way to label the 5 programmable function keys, but that’s just getting picky. It’s a pretty nice piece of equipment for the typing-conscious.
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Organization: Where Do I Start?


Recently I pulled together some key ideas to use when getting organized into a post, “Organization: Useful Principles,” and I promised to follow up with links to organization posts on this site and with a book recommendation.

I’ll start with the book recommendation, which is David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Allen offers an extremely well-designed approach to organizing task lists and taking care of items on that list: you can get more information on his book in my post “Useful Book: Getting Things Done.”

As to articles on this site, here are some that I hope you might find especially useful:

Task organization
Don’t Use Your Inbox as a To Do List
Weed Out Task Lists With the 2-Minute Rule
My Top 1 Task
Why Tasks Lists Sometimes Fail 

Attitude and emotions
Effective Organization and Filing Are … Fun???
Relieving Stress by Understanding Your Inputs
4 Ways to Make Sure You Get a Task Done 

Organizing papers
Why bother organizing papers?
The Eight Things You Can Do With a Piece of Paper 

Digging Out, Cleaning Up, Uncluttering, and Getting Organized: Let’s Start With a Link
What Our Garage Sale Taught Me About Decluttering My Mind
Some Tips for Getting Rid of Things

How I’m Keeping My E-mail Inbox Empty
Free Online E-mail to Help You Keep a Clean Inbox
My Empty E-mail Inbox, 10 Weeks Later 

General principles
Organization: Useful Principles
How Exceptions Cripple Organization
Why Organization Improves Motivation, and Some Organization Tips
Little by Little or Big Push?

Photo once again by Rubbermaid Products

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Useful Book: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit, which came out in February of this year, stands apart from anything I’ve ever read on the subject of habits, in more than one way. Personally, I’m much more interested in the impacts on individuals than on figuring out how to use habits to, for instance, increase your company’s bottom line, a topic that takes up a substantial piece of Duhigg’s book. At the same time, Duhigg writes engagingly, constantly bringing in surprising pieces of information, and I was easily carried through reading the whole book. This isn’t a tough read.

There are a lot of facets to habit development, but Duhigg focuses on the mechanics in a revealing and practical way. While this is a bit of a spoiler, I don’t think you’ll enjoy the book any less if I tell you in advance that he breaks habits down into three pieces: cue, routine, and reward. We’ll talk about this in more detail in other posts, but the short version is that the cue is the thing we’re used to responding to (e.g., passing the doughnuts on the weekly shopping trip, arriving home from work, feeling angry); the routine is what we usually do (buy a doughnut, sit down in front of the TV and turn it on, yell at the dog); and the reward is the need the habit developed to fill (a few moments of uninterrupted pleasure while eating the doughnut; a means of disconnecting from the cares of the day; no longer feeling powerless).

Duhigg talks about this habit loop first in terms of how we individually take part in it, then goes on to explain how Starbucks has used it to develop employees who are much more likely to cheerfully serve you your latte no matter what goes wrong and how Target used it to increase shopping in their store from new parents. He then expands the subject to change in society, describing how habits helped drive the Civil Rights movement, for example. Finally, almost as an afterthought, he lays out a very clear and useful process for changing a habit.

Whether your interest is improving a business, changing your own habits, or just understanding better what makes people tick, I highly recommend this book. It doesn’t begin to cover everything we need to know about habits–for instance, where ingrained problem emotional patterns like negativity or alienation begin, or the importance of belief–but the material it does cover is useful, well-researched, and interesting to read.


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Inclusivity and Exclusivity in Fiction: Where Are the Female Villains?


My friend James Maxey recently invited fellow Solaris writer Rowena Cory Daniells to guest post on his blog, and her blog post explores the problem of there being very, very few powerful female villains in literature. I don’t know if this idea surprises you, but it does me. First of all, I hadn’t realized there were so few, but she’s right: when I try to think of some, I come up with Disney villains, Madame Defarge and then not much else outside children’s stories, though of course there are always exceptions to this kind of thing.

Second, though, it surprised me to be told that a certain group being underrepresented as villains was a problem. Yet I think Daniells is right on the money: the lack of powerful female villains seems to reflect attributing relatively little power to women. Not only do women seem to be less likely to tote around guns, for instance, but they also seem less likely to shoot you even if they have them.

I recommend the post for anyone interested in inclusivity in fiction: you can read it at .


Book Yourself Solid: A Book on How Integrity and Passion Make for Successful Marketing


Michael Port’s bestselling marketing book for service professionals, Book Yourself Solid, doesn’t really break new ground, but it’s a profoundly useful book if you are a service professional trying to get more business and are willing and able to love what you do. The most powerful thing about the book is that it asks extremely productive, basic questions that we often don’t consider when trying to market ourselves, questions that put a high value on integrity and connection not just for their own sake, but as basic forces to find and book new clients. I learned a lot from Port.

With that said, there are also some serious problems with Book Yourself Solid. The most obvious is that it’s relentlessly self-promoting. Port uses “Book Yourself Solid” as a brand identity that he then plasters over page after page, referring to Book Yourself Solid Certified Professionals and the Book Yourself Solid Writing Strategy and whatnot. He even refers to fairly common marketing strategies with the BYS brand. Honestly, I don’t know if this is a shortcoming of Port’s marketing understanding or if I’m just outside his target market. Actually, he speaks repeatedly and meaningfully about the importance of knowing who is and is not a good client for you, emphasizing that every service professional has personal strengths and a personal style that will be great for some clients and not a good fit for others, but for himself, he seems to throw the net very wide. He doesn’t filter his readers: he tries to convince them they’re his kind of people. Actually, maybe that does filter his readers, because perhaps the people who believe in the hard sell and money for its own sake quickly get tired of his assumptions and give up on the book.

Regardless, although I was willing to sample Port’s e-mail newsletter and so on, I quickly unsubscribed once I realized how energetically he was spamming himself, and I expect to stay away from most of his other materials, too. In my particular case, he has managed to sell one book and get me to advocate for it, but he’s probably ruined his chances of selling me anything else. Not that he needs my money!

As for me, I’m entirely behind the idea that our work should be driven by our passions and by wanting to bring some meaningful value to those we serve. I just have trouble being bombarded over and over with blatant marketing messages. I was going to say I “can’t stand” that bombardment, but the fact of the matter is that I can and did stand it in order to get all of the good information out of that book.

And there is a lot of good information, especially the broad strokes and deep questions. Port offers a way to rethink a business from the ground up that takes the stress, distastefulness, and self-centeredness out of self-promotion while bringing in new clients. In some of the details, the book isn’t as strong, though here too there’s a lot of good material. I was impressed, for example, at how on the mark the social media section was, considering how changeable that world is.

The writing section, on the other hand, has some bad gaps and even some misinformation. For instance, there’s no mention of the fact that electronic querying for magazines is very common now; the SASE method is still described, and while that still applies for some markets, it seems a bit out of date.

Considering how strongly I would recommend this book to any service professional who wants to build up business through integrity and offering great value, I seem to have a lot of complaints about it, but let me mention one more: Port’s special article of faith. He states repeatedly that he believes that if you feel called to offer your services to the world, then there are people out there who need them. I have to say that I think this is dangerous bunk. Why dangerous? Because it suggests that you need to just do what you want to do, and the market for it will magically appear. I feel strongly that creating useful and valuable things in the world is accomplished by starting with the need itself, not with what you want to supply.

Fiction writing is a great example: for instance, just because I write and love a story doesn’t mean that there’s anyone else out there who wants or needs to read that story. Just because I love to write a particular kind of fiction doesn’t mean that there’s a market for that kind of fiction. Port seems to be promising unlimited success for everyone regardless of what they want to do, and some people who dive in regardless of whether there’s anyone who needs them will be sadly disappointed, because people don’t spend their money on just anything.

If you want to follow your passion without regard to what other people are wanting and needing, that’s fine–just don’t expect anyone to pay you for it.

With that said, I don’t think Port’s creed ruins the book, because it seems to me very close to the truth, which I’d say goes something like “Work hard at what you love and pay attention to what others need, and sooner or later you’re likely to find a place where the two meet.”

Overall, Port’s book was tremendously useful to me, even when it was being mildly annoying. If you’re working on building a business, I hope you’ll give it a shot, spend some real time thinking about the questions he raises, and see if it doesn’t help take you to the next level.

A side note: A lot of photos of business gurus are laughable in terms of body language, and this book cover is no exception. Michael, get your hands out of your pockets and uncross your ankles! If you don’t know why I’d say that, check out this book.

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What’s the Essential Job of Parenting?


Recently Janine and I attended a series of six weekly classes (with substantial homework assignments) taught by parenting advisor Vicki Hoefle. Our children are wonderful, but we were running into problems like computer overuse with our teenager and getting our two grade school children out the door on time. Before we knew anything about Vicki’s work, I would have expected some helpful tips, useful insights, and gentle tweaks to our parenting. What I wouldn’t have expected was to hear–and quickly come to believe–that I’d been basically doing it wrong … and that I was not alone.

Wait, but I’m a good parent!
It’s very difficult for me, and I think for a lot of parents I know, to consider the possibility that we could be screwing up on a basic level. Sure, no parent is perfect. Ideas like “Ah, I should have been more involved here” or “In future, I’d better limit that” are perfectly comfortable for me. What’s not comfortable is to have to grapple with the idea that although I view parenting as one of the most important things I could do with my life, and although I’ve put great thought and effort into being a good parent, I was misunderstanding something as basic as what my job as a parent was.

This isn’t to say I haven’t been a good parent. I love my kids, and I make sure they know it. I go out of my way to spend time with them, to support them, and to listen to them. I help make sure they have good food, a stable home, fun, safety, and good schools. I try to guide and advise them to help them become better and more capable people. Isn’t that enough?

In a way, sure: my kids are great. At the same time, it’s not exactly on the mark: there’s an important understanding I (and virtually every other parent I know) had missed. That understanding is about who should be in charge. It’s not the parents: it’s the kids.

Parenting isn’t about telling our kids what to do
What’s the essential job of parenting? If you had asked a few months ago, I would have said something like “To love, support, teach, protect, and provide for our kids.” I also would have thought it was a pretty great answer. So where does it fall short?

To answer that question, I have to think about the thing that Vicki pointed out to us at the very first class: when they’re 18 or thereabouts, in most cases, our kids will be going out on their own. As of that moment, we will no longer be able to do things for them, teach them much of anything, or protect them from the world. By the time our kids leave home, they will need to know how to do everything we currently do for them and everything we expect them to do for themselves, as well as a bunch of things that we adults already do for ourselves and they will have never had to do before.

They have 18 years to learn everything. Go.
The list of things to know includes how to do laundry, how to cook, how to choose healthy foods, how to eat at regular times, how to get enough sleep, how to get up on time, how to be reliable, how to solve problems without anyone else’s help, how to act in a crisis, how to spend money, how not to spend too much money, how to earn money, how to save money, how to make and keep friends, how to resolve arguments and disputes, how to drive, how to navigate, how to keep a home clean even if you’re very busy, how to limit games and television so that they don’t get in the way of things like school and work, how to tell whether or not other people are trustworthy, how to deal with unexpected setbacks … and on and on and on. The complete list is probably too long to even fully imagine.

As competent adults, we know how to do a huge number of things, a lot of which we never even let our children try, sometimes because we don’t think they can do it and sometimes because it’s our job to do. (Do you let your children pay the gas bill without oversight? Hire their own lawyers? Take themselves to the hospital? I don’t either, although there are ways for them to learn how to do all these things without having to be abandoned by us.) As a result, young adults out on their own often make huge blunders with money, love, cleanliness, health, school, work, friendships, and in other areas. Sometimes they find their way through and eventually get good at these things. Other times they find an unhealthy status quo, like staying away from other people because they’re too nervous about negotiating relationships, or bossing everyone around, or bingeing on doughnuts every Friday night, or avoiding getting a serious illness or injury checked out because they don’t know how they’ll pay the medical bill, or ruining their chances at a great job and getting stuck with a lousy one.

Some of basic principles I took away from Vicki’s classes were these: let children do everything they’re capable of; let them find their own way; and help them learn how to do the things they can’t yet do.

Not all there is to it
There’s much more to what I’ve recently learned about parenting, especially in terms of what problems with kids’ behavior are really about and how to respond in a way that addresses the real issue instead of just trying to fix the situation. I’ve had to let go of a lot of my previous assumptions about parenting, though the principles of love, involvement, and support have only been strengthened by this process. If I tried to explain everything our family has gone through in the past six weeks, you might not even believe me. I will say, though, that our family is much, much happier and more functional than I could have imagined we’d be. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re making steady progress.

How can I say this in strong enough terms?
I’ll try to express this as effectively as I can: I don’t think I know a single family with children at home that does not need what Vicki is teaching. Not a single one. I know some outstanding parents, and I suspect those outstanding parents would get at least as much–if not more–out of learning from Vicki as the average person.

When I say “need what Vicki is teaching,” too, I mean that any time, effort, and expense put into this education will pay off many times what was invested.

Just so you know, I have no affiliation with Vicki’s operation and don’t get anything for talking her up. The reason I’m so enthusiastic about promoting her work is that I think it is desperately needed.

Vicki has begun speaking more widely just recently, as her youngest child (of five) has just left the nest. This is good news for people who, unlike Janine and me, do not live in Vermont and would not previously have had direct access to her. Even more usefully, she has a book, Duct Tape Parenting, coming out in August. (She already has a for-Kindle-only book out called Real Parents, Real Progress, but it’s more of an extended preview of what she’s offering than a real resource in itself. Actually, it’s perfect if you wonder if there might be something to what I’m saying but don’t really believe me that it can make an enormous difference in your life yet. Invest the five dollars in the book and see whether you agree it’s worth pursuing.)

I’d suggest that if you can think of anything important that you’d like to improve in your relationship with your children, whether it’s a problem kind of behavior or anything else, that it would be well worth your time to look into Vicki’s site or her books. I’m sure there are other people in the world who have as deep and useful an understanding of parenting as Vicki, but I’ve never run across any of them, and they’re not the parenting experts I’ve heard of before. Prove me wrong if you can that Vicki’s take on parenting is something we desperately need.

Photo by Bindaas Madhavi

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