Will Trump Be the Sage One?

Only one person can save us from the dangerous belligerent in the White House.

And that person is Donald Trump.

How screwed up is that?

Will the president let himself be pushed into a parlous war by John Bolton, who once buoyed the phony case on W.M.D.s in Iraq? Or will Trump drag back his national security adviser and the other uber hawks from the precipice of their fondest, bloodiest desire — to attack Iran?

Can Cadet Bone Spurs, as Illinois senator and Iraq war vet Tammy Duckworth called Trump, set Tom Cotton straight that winning a war with Iran would not merely entail “two strikes, the first strike and the last strike”? Holy cakewalk.

Once, we counted on Trump’s advisers to pump the brakes on an out-of-control president. Now, we count on the president to pump the brakes on out-of-control advisers.

.. “On one side, you have a president who doesn’t want war, who simply wants to do with Iran what he has done with North Korea, to twist the arm of the Iranians to bring them to a negotiation on his terms,” said Gérard Araud, the recently departed French ambassador. “He thinks they will suffer and at the end, they will grovel in front of his power.”

But in a way, Araud said, the face-off with the Iranians is more “primitive and dangerous” because, besides Bolton, other factions in the Middle East are also “dreaming of going to war.”

“Even if Trump doesn’t personally want war, we are now at the mercy of any incident, because we are at maximum tension on both sides,” said Araud, recalling Candidate Trump’s bellicose Twitter ultimatumsin 2016 when Iran’s Revolutionary Guards held American sailors blindfolded at gunpoint for 15 hours.

Given their sour feelings about W. shattering the Middle East and their anger at Trump shredding the Iran nuclear deal, Europeans are inclined to see the U.S. as trying to provoke Iran into war. This time, the Europeans will not be coming along — and who can blame them?

I’m having an acid flashback to 2002, when an immature, insecure, ill-informed president was bamboozled by his war tutors.

In an echo of the hawks conspiring with Iraqi exiles to concoct a casus belli for Iraq, Bolton told members of an Iranian exile group in Paris in 2017 that the Trump administration should go for regime change in Tehran.

And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!” Bolton cheerily told the exiles.

When Bolton was the fifth column in the Bush 2 State Department — there to lurk around and report back on flower child Colin Powell — he complained that W.’s Axis of Evil (Iran, Iraq, North Korea) was too limited, adding three more of his own (Cuba, Libya, Syria). Then, last year, Bolton talked about “the Troika of Tyranny” (Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela). His flirtations with military intervention in Venezuela this month irritated Trump.

The 70-year-old with the Yeti mustache is an insatiable interventionist with an abiding faith in unilateralism and pre-emptive war. (The cost of our attenuated post-9/11 wars is now calculated at $5.9 trillion.)

W. and Trump are similar in some ways but also very different. As Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio notes: W. was interested in clarity. Trump wants chaos. W. wanted to trust his domineering advisers. Trump is always imagining betrayal. W. wanted to be a war hero, like his dad. Trump does not want to be trapped in an interminable war that will consume his presidency.

Certainly, the biographer says, Trump enjoys playing up the scary aspects of brown people with foreign names and ominous titles, like “mullah” and “ayatollah,” to stoke his base.

But Trump, unlike W., is driven by the drama of it. “It’s a game of revving up the excitement and making people afraid and then backing off on the fear in order to declare that he’s resolved the situation,” D’Antonio said. “Trump prefers threats and ultimatums to action because that allows him to look big and tough and get attention without doing something for which he will be held responsible. This is who he is at his core: an attention-seeking, action-averse propagandist who is terrified of accountability in the form of coffins arriving at Dover Air Force Base.”

David Axelrod, who had the military briefing about what a war with Iran would look like when he was in the Obama White House, said: “I’m telling you. It’s not a pretty picture.”

He says he is not sure which movie Bolton is starring in: “Dr. Strangelove” or “Wag the Dog.”

If part of your brand is that you’re not going to get the U.S. into unnecessary wars,” he said, “why in the world would you hire John Bolton?

Seth Godin: Life, the Internet, and Everything

I’m thrilled that almost everyone I meet has no idea who I am and what I do. Because I don’t want lots of people showing up and saying, “I read this, I read this, I read this. Can I have your autograph?” That’s not the point. The point is, will someone come up to me and say, based on what I learned from you I taught 10 other people to do this, and we made something that mattered.

.. Whereas, the other way to think about it is, how few people can I influence and still be able to do this tomorrow? Because if we can influence just enough people to keep getting the privilege to do it, then tomorrow there’ll be even more people. Because we’re doing something genuine that connects, as opposed to doing something fake that’s entertainment.

.. Oprah Winfrey problem, which is that every writer who wanted to make an impact 15 years ago dreamed that Oprah would pick them.

In a media-saturated world, we want to get picked. Like you, every day people show up to me and say, “pick me, put me on your blog.” If you would just talk about me, then my art will reach everyone I want to reach. But if we distinguish that from Darwin, the first lizard that crawled out of the mud and started walking on legs didn’t say to the media, “please pick me so that more for walking lizards could come along.” That’s not the way it worked; it’s bottom-up. So what I say to people is, I’m not in charge of what’s good. I don’t get to pick what’s a purple cow, what’s remarkable — anything. The world is, the bottom is, everybody, I’m on the bottom too, everyone is. So tell 10 people. There are 10 people who trust you enough to listen. And if you tell your thing to 10 people, if you send your e-book to 10 people, if you do your sermon to 10 people, or show your product to 10 people and none of them want to tell their friends, and none of them are changed — then you failed. You didn’t really understand what was good. But if some of them tell their friends, then they’ll tell their friends, and that’s how ideas spread. It’s this 10 at a time — 10 by 10 by 10. How do you put an idea in the world that resonates enough with people if they trust you enough to hear it. Then it can go to the next step and the next step.

.. I don’t have employees, so that way I don’t have meetings. I don’t spend time on Facebook and Twitter because that would be a huge suck of my time, and I could deny that I was wasting time, because everyone does it. The challenge for me with technology is this leveraging me in a way that makes me uncomfortable — that puts me in a spot where I have to dig deeper to do the work that I’ll be proud of. If that’s what it does, that’s what I want.

MS. TIPPETT: So your answer, if it’s harder, what did you say? If it’s challenging…

MR. GODIN: Right. If the leverage makes it harder for me to do that thing I’m defining as art, then I want to do it. The Kickstarter project I did — I did it because it was interesting, not because it was a financially important thing.

MS. TIPPETT: To raise the money for The Icarus Deception?

MR. GODIN: Right. But it wasn’t to raise money; it was to raise a tribe, to get 4,500 people to say, “we haven’t read it yet, but we trust you, go write it.”

.. Now those are pretty high stakes. And it meant I didn’t have any excuses left. I couldn’t say, well my editor wouldn’t let me do it, or my publisher wouldn’t let me do it because they weren’t a factor. It meant that these people trusted me and gave me a tool that could bring it straight to them. That raises the stakes.

.. the opportunity for each of us to be artists is that it’s precisely when you are doing something that no one has done before that you are not going to get the loudest applause, that you will not get picked. And that then requires us to develop some different kinds of internal resources. Right? I mean, how do we internally have faith in what we care about?


100 of the most powerful marketing words.

1. Guarantee

2. Sale

3. Unconditional

4. Promise

5. Risk-free

6. Pledge

7. Now *

8. Expires

9. Quick *

10. Instantaneously

11. Immediately

12. Soon

13. Hurry *

14. Instantly

15. Suddenly *

16. Going-fast

17. Minute

18. Second

19. Last

20. Bargain *

21. Easy *

22. Best-seller

23. Satisfaction

24. Simple

25. Smooth

26. Painless

27. Light

28. no-fuss

29. Cinch

30. Straight-forward

31. Success

32. Ironclad

33. Safe

34. money-back

35. Protected

36. Privacy

37. Tested

38. State-of-the-art

39. Invite-only

40. Fresh

41. Hand-crafted

42. Small-batches

43. Pristine

44. Spick-and-span

45. Brand-new

46. Premium

47. luxurious

48. Wealthy

49. Secret

50. Limited

51. Rare

52. Few

53. Edition

54. Unique

55. Exotic

56. Select

57. Authentic

58. Model

59. Revolutionary *

60. Extraordinary

61. Amazing *

62. Remarkable *

63. Startling *

64. Sensational *

65. Magic *

66. Miracle *

67. You

68. Improvement *

69. Results

70. Announcing *

71. Start

72. Stop

73. Running

74. Deal

75. Introducing *

76. Offer *

77. Compare *

78. Challenge *

79. Wanted *

80. Discover

81. Release

82. Soon

83. Dazzling

84. Ravishing

85. Brilliant

86. Honeyed

87. Compelling

88. Ultra

89. Plethora

90. Unicorn

91. Zesty

92. Cosmic

93. Supernova

94. Killjoy

95. Bulletproof

96. Staggering

97. Titanic

98. God-speed

99. Smashing

100. Triumph

The psychology of selling.

An in-depth look at why people buy what they buy.

At the most basic level, it’s important to understand that most people buy for one of two reason — they buy to move closer to pleasure or to move further away from pain.

.. People don’t buy a cherry red Maserati because it’s the logical thing to do — they buy it because it’s makes them feel something.

The same can be said for a $10,000 speaker system or a $500 pair of Denim Jeans or a $300 plate of caviar or a $1,000/night stay at a luxurious resort.

These decisions aren’t logical, they’re emotionally driven.

.. So, when selling a product that is pleasurable to your customer, be sure to consider triggering their emotions. Make them feel something.

.. People justify their purchases with logic.

In the previous section we discussed that when people make purchases to move them closer to pleasure they will make their buying decisions based off emotion.

.. When Mark goes out and makes the emotionally charged decision of spending $60,000 on a brand new Maserati, sooner or later he will have to answer the question, “Mark, why the hell did you spend a small fortune on a cherry red Maserati?”

This is where the concept of logic enters into the picture. Generally speaking, while people make emotional buying decisions, they will justify their purchases with logic.

.. People buy because other people buy.

.. There is a reason products “trend” on Amazon, they become increasingly popular as more people use them, wear them and show them off.

.. what’s very interesting about this concept of trust is that 84% of online shoppers are now trusting product reviews as much as recommendations from their actual friends.

.. As a marketer, be very aware of what your customer’s are saying both online and offline about your product or service. Not to mention, create products or services that are easily-shareable to strengthen their chances of going viral.

.. Ask your customers how they feel when they use your product. Pay extra close attention to the words and emotions they describe. Recycle their words and feelings and enhance them in your marketing messaging.

..  You need to find out the logic behind buying whatever you’re selling. I would start by asking your customers the following question — our product is kind of expensive, why did you spend your hard earned money on it? Their answer(s) will be heavily factual. They won’t say “because I love it and it makes me feel good”. They’ll be more likely to say something like “because it had features A, B and C and because it solved this specific problem.” Yes, this question will be a bit abrasive, but it is important. It puts the customer in the hot seat much in the same way if they were asked by a friend or family member. Once you’ve established the logical reasons for buying your product or service, this should also be included in your marketing messaging.