The Hedgehog Principle

SPECIAL MASTERMIND AUDIO! Click the play button to listen:

Jim Collins’ Good to Great book is a classic Buzzy Book – it has all the characteristics we look for:

1. Attracts Your Target Client
2. Establishes Your Credibility
3. Demonstrates Your Style
4. Calls the Reader to Action

Here are my insights on the concept of the book structure, (Collins based the book on what sounds like a horrifically boring platform – statistical data analysis – could you do this?) and 2 chapters:

  • Good is the Enemy of Great
  • The Hedgehog Principle

Statistical Data Analysis – Are You Kidding Me?

If I rang you up today and recommended you read a fat book based on the statistical data analysis of a dozen or so companies that significantly outperformed the stock market, I’m going to bet that you would not rush off to buy it and lock yourself in a room for 3 days to scour this weighty tome, distilling the empirical factoids to find a competitive edge for your business. Would I be right?

But, I’m also going to bet that this fictional experience wasn’t needed as you are already not only familiar with Jim Collin’s Good to Great book but have either read the whole book or at least a handful of the key chapters.

Que the voice of that movie trailer guy…

“In a world…” where it feels like everyone is pitching how to write a book in a weekend (the big business card) or how to write a book in a day, or a fortnight, my next big launch will be “How to Write a Book in a Nanosecond.”

I can just hear the hitch hiker serial killer in Something About Mary shouting – you can’t put out 6 minute abs – nobody works out in 6 minutes – it’s 7 minutes SEVEN MINUTES!

What if the missing ingredient is you actually writing a really GOOD book?

What if you wrote a book that did the four Buzzy Book requirements above and earned you the respect and power of your target audience, one that you could sit proudly behind at an autograph table – or get through a 1 hour interview with a professional journalist on a business television show – and people would recommend THAT video on YouTube in the tens of thousands of views?

What if you could take the core idea in your Buzzy Book – and spin of a powerful, in-demand keynote speech as well as 2-3 other books with more niched down applications of the main idea and applied it to a hybrid target market and you got – rich and powerful?

I call this Stealing the Ball – and Jim Collins did it with a book based on statistical data analysis.

And, you can too.


Silence of the Butts

Rick Butts CT Scan photoand if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south,

and if I ever lose my mouth, I won’t have to talk no more.

Friends, I’d rather write about most anything else, but it’s come to this. If I don’t tell you what’s going on now it’s going to look pretty strange around here – and strangely silent.

You are probably not going to hear my voice for 2-3 months. Here’s why:

I will begin chemotherapy treatment on Monday October 6th for 7 weeks & radiation treatments 5 days a week for 7 weeks

I’ve been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in a swollen lymph node in my neck. 3 years ago I got the same diagnosis after they removed a lump on the other side of my neck, but cancer cannot start in a lymph node and they were unable to discover the source.

(To read about the epic near death experience I had post surgery check out my post

This time they found the source in a microscopic group of cells where my tonsils used to be decades ago.

The Ear, Nose, and Throat surgeon didn’t want to remove El Lumpo as it’s wrapped tight around the big artery in my neck, and because he believes that if I take radiation and chemotherapy treatment, El Lumpo will “melt away” and they source will die, too.


I thought I was out of the woods after 3 years cancer free, and I won’t lie to you, I’m taking this pretty hard. It’s extremely inconvenient to get sick, and my calendar did not have a place for 2 months of radiation and chemotherapy.

The last 5 years I’ve struggled with a mysterious chronic fatigue, anemia, and a difficult arthiritic pain in my whole body. They thought I had Crohn’s Disease and after taking Plaquinil for 2 years, they one day decided, “nah, that’s not it.” But, they never decided on anything else. They did diagnose me with Crohn’s Disease, so I’ve got the joy of dealing with that in my spare time.

Cancer is Not Enough?

Seems like I’ve spent much of my life in the dentist chair since I as a farm boy growing up without flouride or much passion for flossing. So, they have not just recommended, but insisted that I have the rest of my bottom teeth extracted before they begin treatment.

I repeat, I am going to have to have all my healthy bottom teeth removed – and I am not allowed to get implants or any kind of dentures to wear during the 2 months of treatment. I’m in shock about this because I don’t see how I’ll be able to talk without bottom teeth.

The radiation is supposed to wreak havoc on my throat anyway, and most people end up with a feeding tube as they cannot swallow and lose interest in food as the treatment destroys the taste buds and saliva. So, from their perspective I will be taking some time off from chewing anyway.

As I sit here typing this I’m really searching for what to say – or spell. I won’t be able to make audio or video content, and it’s unlikely I’ll be able to do phone consulting, or do the coaching sessions in the Wisdom Thesis GOLD mastermind group.

I’m going to be limited to what I can write.

The Wisdom Thesis, The Speaker Machine & The Buzzy Book

Strategically, it’s clear to me that the way forward for my business is based on my greatest discovery, The Wisdom Thesis. I’ve created a new business name Wisdom Thesis International LLC, an Idaho Corporation (that brings the state of Idaho up to nearly 100 businesses now!)

Since my primary function in the days ahead will be to type and move my mouse, I’m gearing up to deploy a full business site at This will serve as my primary business site, and the launch point of the new book The Wisdom Thesis – In Search of a Darn Good Subtitle.

The site will provide licensing for The Wisdom Thesis, certification for facilitating the model in consulting, and products and services for the 2 primary functions empowered by the WT – the Buzzy Book and my course on paid keynote speaking, The Speaker Machine.

My Big Discovery About Writing

Recently, I wrote a couple of articles for the members of The Wisdom Thesis GOLD Facebook Paid Group. The articles were both on topics I’ve covered in The Speaker Machine and Buzzy Book, and from my perspective the ideas were not really new but a restatement of principles, techniques, and strategies I’ve talked about many times.

Some long time members of my programs are in the GOLD group, and they remarked at how much easier the written version of these strategies were to understand. Looking back on them I think they are right!

So, I will be adding a good deal of new and useful content as I re-release these programs by adding written companion material, exercises, tools and graphics. This I will be able to do in lieu of going back and adding more audio or video – and I believe this is going to make these already good programs even more solid. With the written material they will be easier to actually implement and follow.

The Days Ahead

So, I invite you to check out what I’ll be producing in the days ahead, and take this opportunity to rest up from hearing my voice and seeing my face on video. Thanks in advance for your support, as always, and of course, I am grateful for your prayers and kind words. I’ll need them.


When You’re Running in the Wrong Direction, More Speed Won’t Help

running in the wrong direction“When You’re Running in the Wrong Direction, More Speed Won’t Help” is a quote I developed around the idea that most people initially believe the answer to nearly everything is to just try harder. When it isn’t you end up making this worse.

When I was a long haired rock and roll musician traveling the highways of our land it happened more than a couple of times that I’d get off the road to refuel or resupply, and then get back on the highway in one of those ultra-flat areas of the US like Oklahoma, or Kansas, or Winslow Arizona and accidentally go the wrong direction.

From the second I made the fatal error I was driving back East instead of West to Las Vegas or LA – running in the wrong direction. Pushing the gas pedal harder will not increase my success, or pull me our of a slump, it’s just making things worse.

The Difference Between a Great Manager and a Great Leader

In the “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” Stephen Covey talks about the difference between a manager and a leader.

Envision a team of workers trying to slash through a heavy growth jungle. As they sweat and toil and flail away the manager makes sure they all have plenty of water and sharp machetes. He helps them continue to press and stay productive, tracking their progress and refining the work.

The leader is the one who takes a ladder and climbs above the tallest tree, and shouts down, “Wrong Jungle!”

When we operate on assumptions from the past, outdated information, or even from fantasy and illusion, it’s easy to blame our own performance and suspect that if we just hit it harder we’d get better results.

“To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Abraham Maslow

I’ve been accused of bailing on projects from time to time – and it’s true that I have. I simply refuse to ride a sinking disaster all the way to it’s final resting place on the bottom. I’ve had my share of hanging ons – usually for co-dependent reasons, embarrassment, or fear, or the crazy hope that SOMETHING was going to float this deal, and it sucks to hit bottom.

As one business friend said about bankruptcy. The problem is when you hit rock bottom, you don’t just hit the bottom, you go so much further down that zero! This refers, I’m sure, to going wildly in debt for our sins and failure to recognize and ACT on the truth in time.

So, before you:

Take it up a notch

Hit it harder

Get a bigger hammer

Pour more money into it

Focus 110%

Step back and consider the reality of what you are trying to do, how you are trying to do it, what your assumptions will be about what will happen when it’s done, and if you might even be in the wrong jungle this time.

When You’re Running in the Wrong Direction – More Speed Won’t Help!


Have you recently avoided a disaster or calamity by seeing things were going wrong?

Are you pushing really hard now on some project – and wondering if it’s really going to fly? Why?

Please tell me in the comments below. I read them all and I’ll give you my 2 cents.

How Does Your Website Look on iphone, iPad, Android and Tablets?

Last week I had a very special guest on The Catalytic Companion Coaching Club call – WordPress Custom Child Theme Designer Rachael Butts is not only a talented professional, but she is my own custom creation (aka daughter.)

So many of my clients had questions about how to get their websites to look good on smart phones, tablets, and other non-traditional computer monitor screens that I asked Rachael what she knew. Turns out – a lot! This is a great interview that gives you a chance not only to find out what a “responsive wordpress theme” is – but what to expect and how to talk to your WordPress designer to get it to do what you want.

We look at some really interesting websites and try to focus on the “visibility professional” or idea entrepreneurs like writers, speakers, consultants and media personalities who need to look GREAT online and also need the flexibility and ease to publish our ideas. Please leave your comments or questions below for Rachael Butts and then beat feet to her website to see her amazing gallery of designs and creations.

rachael butts rick butts wordpress responsive themes

Rick Butts with Rachael Butts in the studio before the interview

Rachael Butts is a custom WordPress designer who specializes in creating custom child themes.

She is a featured designer for Woo Themes, for Studio Press’ Genesis Themes and is also a featured writer for SteamFeed and Code Poet.

Check out her design gallery and great blog at:

Rachael Butts on Facebook:

Rachael Butts on Twitter:

Meet Me at Robert Plank & Lance Tamashiro’s Product University LIVE

Join me for Product University!

June 7-8, 2014 Salt Lake City Marriott at City Creek
75 SW Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

robert plank lance tamashiro rick butts

Now we’ll explain social media traffic using interpretive dance…

I’m really excited to be joining Robert Plank and Lance Tamashiro at Product University LIVE, a 2 day training event in Salt Lake City Utah, June 6-7, 2014.

As you already know I am a BIG fan of Robert and Lance, and use several of their products and have made a LOT of money with their great training products. When I heard they were going to do a LIVE event that was just a short hop away in Salt Lake City, I signed up.

The hardest part of being in any business today is GETTING NEW CUSTOMERS. Everything else is doable. You can write your book, create your speech, make your products and setup a dandy sales funnel, but, here’s the big question:

“How do you get people who have never heard of you to see what you are about, like you, and trust you enough to buy from you, when they are already busy?”

The answer is – learn to get traffic.

I’m a civilian (attendee) at this program, but I’d love to see you there and kick around ideas about online marketing and in particular driving massive traffic, which these guys do and I’m eager to learn more about in these turbulent changing times.

Click the link below to find out more about the program and if you register to go, please let me know as soon as you can!

Click Here for More Information about Product University

Join me for Product University!

June 7-8, 2014 Salt Lake City Marriott at City Creek
75 SW Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Why I’m Moving All My Writing to Amazon Kindle


The numbers are staggering and the opportunity for writers is unparalleled in human history. When ebook sales exceeded physical book sales a couple years ago on they didn’t just creep up, they blew by like the road runner leaving Wiley Coyote (traditional publishing) in the dust!

I’ve been looking for the best way to move forward, affiliate program, merchant account, shopping cart, fulfillment, viral marketing for lateral sales, and there it was, staring me right in the face – lets me just write.

And, while I knew this before, I never really saw how the pieces of the puzzle fit together on Amazon, to make a lot of money. It took an epiphany from a kiwi named Geoff Shaw to wake me up – and tell me the most important part – exactly what to do.

Shaw has created the single best educational program I’ve purchased online in years, and if you are a writer, or wanna be one, you simply have to stop whatever you are doing and grab this powerful resource and dive in.

This wildly underpriced treasure of content and specific how to for big league, sustainable success on Amazon is called Kindling.

To get Geoff Shaw’s amazing Kindling Course click here now

What I Like Best About The Amazon Kindle Training Program

I can’t find a photo of Geoff Shaw, so I don’t know if he is ugly bugger or handsome as Brad Pitt, but I want to give him a hug. We are brothers of different mothers because he tells the truth, from experience and pulls no punches about failed strategies, and lightweight quick-money sprays that IMers have been touting – and instead relentlessly beats one idea loud as a drum – BE GOOD and WRITE GOOD BOOKS!

Everyone is looking for an easy button, a cheap hack or shortcut, and guess what, in the digital reality we find ourselves in now you can’t get away with that crap for more than a few minutes. Amazon is the biggest retail platform and if you publish junk – everyone will know it quickly – and we will hate you for wasting our time.

He also makes it clear that Amazon has been purging PLR and public domain turds from it’s pages faster than Lindsay Lohan gets arrested. The recent 2000 word brain fart outsourced erotic fiction books strategy is being clobbered as we speak. Amazon is serious about quality. (Sorry to use turd and fart in the same sentence, but it had to be done.)

It would be easy for Shaw to just fuss about what doesn’t work and then throw us some new strategy to go out and try – but he doesn’t do that. Kindling gives you precisely clear proven strategies that he and his customers are using right now to generate scary amounts of money from:

Fiction, Romance, Erotica, Recipes and of course non-fiction how to books as well as a new type of non-fiction book model he has created and perfected that is so easy you don’t really have to be a writer to put together one of these truly useful resources, and profit from it.

Why Did Rick Butts Buy (and Study the Kindling Course)

That’s an easy question, I am an American living in the Eastern European country of Ukraine, and my big goal is to make 100% of my income in a non-linear (no appointments, no phone calls, no schedule) passive revenue business model that leveraged my creativity and writing skills, and let me delve into a variety of topics far afield from speaking, writing and marketing, that I am known for now.

Geoff promised he’d show me that in the program and man did he deliver!

I’ve got the Kindling membership site open at least 2 hours a day when I’m online, because it’s my swiss army knife of answers and how-to’s and doggone it, there are some really inspirational success stories, not boasting about Paypal screenshots

Should You Use a Pen Name?

Have you have suffered the “who am I?” PR/Branding identity crisis? Have you ever wondered if you should just publish some of your work under a pen name? Well, my friends I”ve seen the light and the answer is YES!

Shaw shows you precisely what to do to grab a hot market and maximize it with multiple books for the same target reader, and the back end marketing solutions (like should each pen name have a blog? Twitter account? Disguise? Decoder Ring?)

The course wastes no time in idle narcissistic navel gazing about how or what to do. I hate courses where they tell you “here are 5 email auto-responders, here are the pluses and minuses, and you choose what is best for you.” Fooie! Tell me what you use and why and exactly what you do so I can do it too and forget about it and get back to writing GREAT BOOKS and making money – and living the author lifestyle. Pass the borscht!

I’ve got 5 pen names, and mapped out a strategy for maximizing the books in all 5 markets (hey, one of them IS Rick Butts, and he has put 5 books on Amazon already – see the sidebar of this site?)

John Locke’s book about selling a million ebooks on Kindle was cool and very motivating. He told us he created a fiction series where one character returned again and again for adventures, and that by pricing his books at 99 cents the reader, fed up with paying $10 for the latest hardcover fiction book digitally, thought, “hey it probably sucks, but it’s only 99 cents” – then as he said – I’m no Steven King, but my books don’t suck. A lot of people return and buy them all. With 10 books in his series he gets your $10 a wee bit at a time.

Great strategy, right? But he didn’t really tell us how to do that. Or show us examples of others who were doing it. He didn’t give us videos that show us how to search on’s amazing resource site for marketing research. He didn’t give us interviews with people who were doing it – what they had learned and exactly what sold – price points and how to market.

Geoff Shaw’s Kindling course gives you all that – and a ton more.

To get Geoff Shaw’s amazing Kindling Course click here now

Formatting Your Ebook For Amazon Kindle

I was pulling my hair out – and that must be done with tweezers at this point – trying to figure out the best way to create my books, and then publish them in a format that would upload easily into the KDP publishing website so it didn’t look like bad code. I’m a Mac guy and was using pages, then Open Office, and trying Google Docs, and all my ebooks were different. They did have one thing in common, they looked crooked and janky on a Kindle Reader.

Geoff covers, with a clear written and video tutorial, the divine simplicity with which even a luddite like me could easily convert all 14 of my books into a dandy format, that published clear and clean on KDP – using FREE SOFTWARE!

Now I use the same free resource to write all my new books – and amigos – I’m writing up a storm now that I know where it’s going and what to do with it. My inner writer is having a blast and my creativity has never been so high.

Geoff Shaw Personally Answers Emails – With Real Answers!

Forget pesky support forums or the customer frustration systems most people use. Geoff invites his customers to simply email him our questions. I am midwestern by birth and would rather limp forever than ask for help unless the bone is sticking out – but I gave in and asked Geoff the dreaded format question – and sent him a screen shot of my janky output in the Kindle Previewer. He replied as soon as the sun came up down under and even followed up to help me.

Being able to email this guy, with his experience and know how, is easily worth the crazy low price of the course alone.

What Else is in Kindling?

Everything. No, really, everything. I was going to publish the Table of Contents here on my blog but thought I may get in trouble, but you will be blown away by the amount of topics covered – oh yeah – I almost completely forgot.

The Kindle Launch Formula

The original course was Geoff’s Kindle Launch formula, a specific highly effective strategy for putting a new book on Amazon Kindle and getting it to rise in Amazon’s rankings, right to the top, where buyers searching these categories will see it whilst they surf and buy it. When you hit this positioning in your market the numbers can be crazy good!

The entire Kindle Launch Formula is inside the Kindling Course, as is a ton of other great topics to inspire and educate. This course is a solid value and if you don’t get your money’s worth from your first few hours of going through the material – you should forget writing completely.

Geoff’s style is no-nonsense, except there is some non-sense. I still don’t know what some of the New Zealander words mean but I can guess that a waffle is not a good thing for your book to be. And a wanker, well, you know.

You may not like the basics style of the audio player, and you may wonder why some of the written content more resembles a sales letter, until you realize you are actually LISTENING and READING and remembering what you hear and read. Geoff has a background as an effective copywriter, and his writing and his teaching is direct, to the point, and spot on perfect for me. He just tells me what to do and not do and constantly, I mean constantly, repeats his mantra of writing good stuff, that will make you money for years.

To get Geoff Shaw’s amazing Kindling Course click here now

An Actually High Functioning Facebook Group!

When you pay the pusillanimous one time price to join Kindling, you will also get added to the Facebook group for the course, This is the best Facebook group I’ve ever been a part of. These are really cool working writers, from beginners, to experts, who are talking about what they are up to, sharing resources, and having ebook fun, getting all mavericky and stuff up in there.

Where Does Rick Butts Go From Here – and Why is He Speaking About Himself in Third Person?

I’m converting all my books into Amazon Kindle format books and lining them up into sales funnels. I’m an experienced internet marketer, (the good kind) and I am using Geoff’s very “now” strategies for using my books to sell other books, my courses or training materials, and to capture the reader’s email address as a highly targeted lead – and offer them affiliate opportunities that related directly to their interest.

“Biscuits and gravy Dr. Marvin. Dr. Leo Marvin” – from What About Bob?

To get Geoff Shaw’s amazing Kindling Course for a one time low price – click here now

Please leave your comment below if you have purchased Geoff Shaw’s Kindling course, or your thoughts on the ideas and strategies (and humor) in this article. Thanks! Rick Butts