Amy Sutherland Shamus Verbotomy

News on The James Gang’s create-a-word game Verbotomy

Amy Sutherland is the author of a great new book titled “What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love and Marriage“. In it she tells of her experience using exotic animal training techniques on her husband. After all, if they can train a seal to balance a ball on its nose, surely she could train her husband to pick up his socks. Well guess what? It worked! And hence the verb “shamu” was born. It means to “use animal training techniques on humans”, which exactly what Amy is going to do this week at Verbotomy.

Amy Sutherland (www.amysutherland.com), has offered a treat, or should I say a reward, for most creative player of week: A signed copy of her latest book: “What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love and Marriage”. We will be offering this prize the top player of week during our “Shamu Week”, which runs from May 19 – May 25, 2008.

Amy Sutherland

About What Shamu Taught Me

While observing exotic animal trainers for her acclaimed book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, journalist Amy Sutherland had an epiphany: What if she used these training techniques with the human animals in her own life –namely her dear husband, Scott?

The next time her forgetful husband stomped through the house in search of his mislaid car keys, she asked herself, “What would a dolphin trainer do?” The answer was: nothing. Trainers reward the behavior they want and, just as important, ignore the behavior they don’t. Rather than appease her mate’s rising temper by joining in the search, or fuel his temper by nagging him to keep better track of his things in the first place, Sutherland kept her mouth shut and her eyes on the dishes she was washing. In short order, Scott found his keys and regained his cool. “I felt like I should throw him a mackerel,”she writes. In time, as she put more training principles into action, she noticed that she became more optimistic and less judgmental, and their twelve-year marriage was better than ever.

What started as a goofy experiment had such good results that Sutherland began using the training techniques with all the people in her life, including her mother, her friends, her students, even the clerk at the post office. In the end, the biggest lesson she learned is that the only animal you can truly change is yourself.

Full of fun facts, fascinating insights, hilarious anecdotes, and practical tips, What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage describes Sutherland’s Alice-in-Wonderland experience of stumbling into a world where cheetahs walk nicely on leashes and elephants paint with watercolors, and of leaving a new, improved Homo sapiens.

About Amy Sutherland

Amy Sutherland is the author of Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched and Cookoff. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Her feature piece “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage,” on which this book is based, was the most viewed and most e-mailed article of The New York Times online in 2006. Sutherland divides her time between Boston and Portland, Maine.

The winner will be chosen based on the final stats on the Verbotomy Weekly Author Ranking for the week starting on Monday May 19, 2008.

Johnny Bunko plays Verbotomy with Dan Pink

News on The James Gang’s create-a-word game Verbotomy.com

We spent a week at Verbotomy playing with Dan Pink’s Johnny Bunko and the Six Career Secrets that no one ever told you. It was a lot of fun and we learned a lot! Like the fact that there is no plan! And that in the long run, persistence trumps talent…

And naturally we created a gaggle of funny words to describe the things we should, and the things we shouldn’t do, acccording to the Johnny Bunko Lessons. At the end of the week Petaj and Arrrteest snagged the top spots and each of them won an autographed copy of Dan’s book.

You can check all the words we created by clicking on the links and definitions below. And if you want, you can still play with Johnny. You can create a word and vote for your favorites. So give it a try! Maybe you’ll invent a word to describe your next big career move!

Thanks again to Dan Pink.

Be creative,

James

Lesson #1: There is no plan.

See: Do you think I should stick to the plan?

Do you think I should stick to the plan?

DEFINITION: v. To stick to your plan even though you’ve realized it’s dumb n. A stupid plan, especially if it’s a career plan suggested by parents, teachers or guidance counselors who want you to be something that you’re not.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

Lesson #2: Think strengths, not weaknesses.

See: The boss says I’m fast-tracking…

The boss says I'm fast-tracking...

DEFINITION: v. To focus on your weaknesses, rather than your strengths. n. A person who is obsessed with their perceived deficiencies, and works hard to ensure that everyone else understands and appreciates their failings.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

Lesson #3: It’s not about you.

See: There is no “U” in “Team”

There's no

DEFINITION: v. To temporarily suppress your own need for self-aggrandizement. n. A team member who works very hard to share their responsibilities and workload, but in the end always tries to claim exclusive credit for any work done.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

Lesson #4: Persistence trumps talent.

See: Find your inner cockroach

It's time to find your inner cockroach

DEFINITION: n. A person who succeeds not because of their talents, but because they just won’t quit. v. To firmly believe in your talents and never give up on your goals, despite the huge obstacles, snide comments, and repeated setbacks.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

Lesson #5: Make excellent mistakes.

See: I just asked the boss to date me

I just asked the boss if she'd date me...

DEFINITION: v. To make a mistake from which the benefits of what you learned exceed the costs of the screw-up. n. An excellent mistake.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

Lesson #6: Leave an imprint.

See: What are you doing to the cubicles?

What are doing to the cubicles!?

DEFINITION: v. To create an impression that you have made a positive contribution, especially when related to career activities. n. A personal mark or imprint which proves that you have done something that matters.

Create a Word | Top Words | Vote for Favorites

More from Dan Pink…

Johnny Bunko

For more career tips and the latest from Dan Pink, see:
“The Adventures of Johnny Bunko” by Dan Pink.