Tracey: I have a tremendous guest Mike Capuzzi. I connected with Mike, Jeff and Lancaster had me on the Lancaster Connects podcast. As soon as it was done, just like what wonderful and tremendous people do, it's all about the people you meet. We're going to talk about the book she read. He connected me with Mike. Mike, welcome.
Mike: Tracey, thank you very much. You are an awesome guest. You are a tremendous guest on my podcast a few weeks back, and I don't say that lightly. I texted Jeff afterward. I said, “Thank you. That was a great interview.”
Tracey: That's what we do here with our tremendous tribe. We pay it forward and introduce other tremendous people. For our audience, I want to tell you a little bit about Mike Capuzzi. He's an author, a nonfiction book coach, and a short book publisher for business owners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs looking to leverage the power of being a short helpful book author. Are you beginning to see the connection between us?
Since1998, Mike has helped thousands of business owners market their businesses smarter. Bite-Sized Books is his book publishing company, founded on his proven formula for creating short helpful books, he calls them Shooks, for business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders.
Shooks are the ideal type of book to publish because they're easy and fast to create. It can be read in about an hour and offer helpful ways for readers to connect with the author. At the end of this episode, we're going to talk more about this. Mike is also the author of nineteen books, including two international Amazon number-one bestsellers, The100-Page Book and The Magic of Short Books. He's also the host of the Author Factor podcast, where he interviews business owners and authors, and shares his best tips, wisdom, and insights on how they write and leverage a nonfiction book in their businesses. Mike, I'm so excited to have you share with our guests.
Mike: I'm looking forward to this. Thank you very much.
Tracey: You're welcome. My father wrote the book Life is Tremendous. He gave a speech called The Price of Leadership, probably one of the most listened to, recorded, and downloaded speeches. In it, he gets to the heart and the grit of leadership. He talks about the price of leadership and there are going to be four things that you as a leader are going to have to be paying to be a leader and not a leader in name only. The first one he says is loneliness. We've all grown up here in that. It's lonely at the top and heavy is the head that wears the crown. Mike, can you talk to our audience about what loneliness has looked like in your journey as a leader or maybe a time you were in it? What recommendation or resources you would give to one of our listeners who perhaps is in that season right now?
Mike: First of all, it was your father's book that I have. It's a tremendous short book, Life is Tremendous. If you recall, I bought boxes of those books 10 or 15 years ago. I used them as business gifts when I first learned about it. You guys are also in Pennsylvania. That's where I'm located. I thought that was cool. Your father's book Life is Tremendous is a great example of a short helpful book. Specifically to your question, honestly, I'm an introvert. Loneliness is not a big deal to me but I understand what it means in a bigger context. I thrive as an introvert, getting energy from being alone and being quiet and stuff like that versus being proud. In the context of what your dad was sharing and what you're talking about here, maybe isolation would be a better word that I would use these days. We know it's very easy as a business owner or as a corporate leader to be isolated and to shut yourself out of opportunities to brainstorm and network with other people, or hear other people's opinions, whether you think you have it all or you know it all or for whatever reason, location or whatever.
It's a dangerous trap. Being an introvert, I can find myself like, “I can do this alone. I can do it alone.” I can't believe I'm going to say this but now, when I need some feedback, I go to chatGPT and ask it a question like, “What do you think of this idea?” This is the question we asked one of my inner-circle friends, but now with the technology, it is so simple to do that. It's something to be aware of when you're in that spot.
In a business context, it hasn't been a bigger deal. Personally, I've had instances in my life. The biggest challenge is like working through that and realizing it's hard. It's like having to go workout when you don't feel like working out. You have to force yourself to either reach out, open yourself up, or seek out someone that can help you, and be open to that. In the business context, one of the most powerful things we can talk about it more is having your inner circle, your own Mastermind group, someone you can text on the phone or pick up on the phone and say, “I need some help. I need some feedback. I am struggling with this,” whatever it might be. To me, that is key to that factor of loneliness.
Tracey: You said another word could be isolation. Loneliness is not always bad. There are times when we need to un-chart or be in the quiet and stuff. I love that you brought that up. Each of these terms is a moral. It's neither good nor bad. There's a good loneliness and a bad loneliness. Isolation is always a bad loneliness because that's not how when are in the creative space and need help. We're meant to do a cord of three strands. It is not easily broken. I love that you share that. For all our introverts out there that are using chatGPT, that is so funny. I hadn't even thought about that.
Mike: It's a friend. It can be a real crutch or whatever. When you're brainstorming an idea or creative idea, I'm all about that. I was brainstorming a new idea and I needed some data and some feedback on some of the ideas. It's scarily amazing how good some of that stuff is.
Tracey: Even Google, we’re researching that part. I want to pull all the data, but that's your best friend. There are a lot of scary science fiction movies out there like this where all of a sudden, I look at you and I'm like, “What would you do with Mike? Where did he go?” We’ll use the good side of technology and not the bad side of things. I love it. Thanks for unpacking that.
The next topic he talked about is weariness. It's a lot running a business, having a family, taking care of elderly parents, seeing loved one's crossover, and staying the visionary because you're running an entity. You have all those authors looking to you and saying, “How do I take this book to the next level?” How do you combat weariness?
Mike: We could spend an hour talking about that. If you're a person of faith, that is a foundation that you can always go back to and lean on that. I would also say all of us have an opportunity to up our personal health. Any of us do. I don't care if you're a world-class athlete or not. There are things we can do, and I've gotten very serious personally. I’m coming up on three years.
In the last few years, coming up in November of 2020 when I went in for a physical. I got some not-horrible stuff but just some blood work that my doctor was like, “This is not looking good.” I finally start to get serious about it and research and understand what those numbers could mean, knowing that heart disease and stuff like that is in my family. Since November 2020, I've missed walking my daily multiple-mile walk by maybe 3 or 4 days, which I never thought I could do.
I had a friend of mine that used to walk every day. I was like, “How do you do that?” Now I'm in that mode but I've gotten serious. I always knew about it. We know we should be doing X, Y, and Z. We know we shouldn't be eating X, Y, and Z and eating A, B, and C. Again, it's the loneliness isolation factor. Sometimes you got to draw a line in the sand and say, “Enough is enough.” I hope that the path I'm on now as far as my health is staying healthy and focusing on that. I hope I can be consistent with that because that's a big challenge.
Weariness for me, if I'm physically feeling good. It doesn't mean you won't become weary. God has given us a lot of natural abilities like sleep. Food is medicine. I believe all this. I believe so much of that can have a huge impact on how you feel, specifically weariness. I'm not sure if that's what you're thinking.
Tracey: The weariness of the soul, you hit on with loneliness. That's where your Mastermind group comes in and ministers to you, but we're still flesh and blood. We're mere mortals and we have the death clock. Sorry, I know it's motivational but the minute you're born, it's a point under one each of us to die. I love that you talk about it. You mentioned the word crutch. I heard this in a sermon while I always driving to work. They said, "People say, 'your faith is a crutch.'" He goes, "It's not a crutch. It's a hospital." I love that because that gives you.
The Bible is pretty clear about gluttony and overindulgence in certain things and health. We don't worship it but in the same token, we want to run the race strong. You can't do that if you're not physically strong. I reclaimed my health about five years ago. I saw Joyce Meyer in Hershey. I think she’s 80 now and she was pushing 75. She stood up on stage, and she had lost 20 pounds. She looked phenomenal. She's like, “I got a coach. If I'm going to finish the race strong, I got to take care of the shell.” I'm like, “There you have it.”
That's incredible but isn't it interesting? You said it. We know sugar is bad. We know you have to exercise and burn more than you take in like a bank account. You have to put in more than you take out. Otherwise, you're bankrupt. How did I gain weight? It's a scientific formula, but isn't it funny that it takes something where we finally then go, “Time to take action?”
Mike: Scarily enough, a majority of people, even when they get those wake-up calls, come on. We're not going to go down any rabbit holes here but there has been wake-up call after wake-up, whether it's in the world or personal. What I find amazing my dad is 81and in good health. He lives in Florida and we talk several times a week. He was a college professor and a very contrarian type. Not a typical academic but regardless, we have these deep conversations about why humans are so good at not the things they ought to be doing and consciously doing that. It's a very interesting thought when you think about it.
Tracey: I love that. That's cool. You said, contrarian. That's one of my favorite books. Steven Sample was the 10th president of USC. The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership I wonder if your dad read that. It's very much the same thing. We got free will and we're intrinsically self-oriented. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. When your body is craving or telling you these things, you've got to master that old flesh side that rears up.
Speaking of which, we talk about abandonment. I'm in pet rescue and helping people over the fear of abandonment. Abandonment gets a bad name, abandoning pets and abandoning your marriage. My father talked about abandonment as more of a focus and a pruning, instead of what you like and want to think about or eat, you do what you ought and need to think about.
As you said, "I never thought I could walk." You do it one day at a time. With all the great ideas out there in publishing and I'm sure you get ten million people a year to call you and say, "What about this?" You're looking at stuff and going, "What about this?" How do you stay abandoned and focused on what you need so you can get the best value for your precious time and business?
Mike: I'm pretty good at that. I do believe I am very good at discerning where I should be spending my time and how I should be investing my time. You and I were talking before we hit record. As you get older, you get even more mature and wiser about these things. I have two daughters that are getting ready to graduate college. I try to teach them about trying to understand what's important and what's not.
At that age, young twenties, they're still not getting it as much as I wish they were. There's a focus on stuff that's probably distracting, to say the least. It comes down to what's important to you and what the big picture looks like. For our clients, I have a motto for a book publishing business. It's always about serving the reader. If I can help my clients serve the readers and I can help my clients by serving them, it sounds cliché but that mindset of service and putting that first, before the almighty dollar and before how we're going to make money and all this other stuff, which is important. I'm not denying that. When you have certain mindsets, principles, beliefs, and non-negotiables, it makes that idea of abandonment and what's important and what's not much easier.
Tracey: It's such an important topic. You said it's so good discerning where you should be spending your time and money. That's the one thing then people go, "That's not happening." I'm like, "Where are you spending your time? Who are you having conversations with? What are you reading?" “Nothing.” I go, "That spells nothing." Charles would say that. He's like, "Nothing works unless you work it." You got to get really clear on what that is. I remember when I was twenty as a young woman, they'll get there.
Mike: They're on the path. It's just like your father and mother.
Tracey: Thank God I had the military. I tell people, “If I didn't have the military when I was young. I'd be living in a van down by the river. I'm not kidding.” There's always a military. It works for a lot of us. Thank you for sharing that on discernment and I love that. It gets down to two words. What's important? People will say, “This is important to me.” I'm like, “Where are you spending your time?” “On something else.” I'm like, “You’re telling yourself a lie. That is not important to you.” The proof is in the pudding. The last one is vision. Vision is a beautiful thing. It's got this future aspect. It's highly integrated with leadership. It's the why?
My father was a contrarian. He was very pragmatic. He would always say, “Vision is you don't have to go up to the mountain or be like Nostradamus. Vision is seeing what needs to be done, so this sight, and then doing it. There's what you want to attract yourself but also this beautiful action, strategy, and tactics. How do you vision cast? How do you set the stage for what's nice next for your business? You've been here since 1998, which is phenomenal. How do you forecast what's coming up next for Mike Capuzzi in Bite-Sized Books?
Mike: The first thing is probably being healthy. Therefore, the brain is hopefully being optimized. Your health is there, and I was always healthy. I've gotten better at it. I've been blessed in that respect. Thank God, no major issues. It's like a car. If you put crappy gas in the car, it’s going to run crappy. If you put good fuel, it runs better. That's foundational.
You and I talked about this on my podcast. I'm a voracious reader at 5years old and at 50-something, I'm still a voracious reader. I like to think that input from a lot of different people is very helpful to not only learning new things but being reminded, encouraged, and motivated. I'm also a big fan of quiet time and creative thinking time. It’s like you're saying, “I don't go off.” I'd like to eventually go off into the wilderness.
I'm very good about being very proactive about being quiet, typically outside, oftentimes, with my dog next to me and letting it happen. Letting the brain flow. By the way, I moved it because I was cleaning up my desk. I am old school, pen and paper. I've got a clipboard I use. I take outside with me this newest idea that I've been thinking about, the one I was saying about with chatGPT.
My wife and daughters were moving backup. My daughters are at Penn State, so they're getting ready to move into a new apartment. I had 24 hours by myself and my notes are right over here because it's important, at least for me, to have that quiet time where I can think and visualize like, “What does this look like?” Typically, it doesn't all come at that moment. Can I share a real quick story?
Mike: I sent you a box of our books. This is a very cool story just to exemplify this. This is no lie. I forget the exact date June 30th or July 1st of2022. A good friend of mine and I had this conversation. He is pretty proactive about trying to make the country back on a good path. I'll leave it at that and he's doing a lot, and I'm very motivated by what he does.
I got on a phone call with him to say, “This is awesome what you're doing. What can I do?” I'm not an outspoken person. I'm not going to be out there banging. I'm not that. He said, “You have a platform. You help others and bring people books.” This was right before July 4th, 2022.I had this thing in my feeling. I remember sitting outside that day with my dog. This idea came to me for a new book and more of a compilation book, where I'm bringing on what turned out to be thirteen military veterans. I mentioned this to you.
This idea came to me on July 4th,just a quiet and peaceful time outside. Here's the chill part and you probably know this, where you live in Pennsylvania. I'm sitting here thinking, "Is this a good idea?" My wife was even outside with me. I'm like, "This idea of a book called I Love America. I'm thinking I'm going to feature people who have this love for America and want it to be a better place and all that.” A Bald Eagle flew over my house. I swear. I'm in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Bald eagles are not common but they're there. I'm trying to get my phone. You talk about a sign from God or above. As soon as I saw that and had I not been out therein this mode. On Veterans Day, which was November, and a couple of months later, I Love America, the first book came out.
Tracey: I love that confirmation but you got to be quiet and watching. Sometimes we're so noisy with their self-thought about, “I got to figure it out.” Let it come to you, the creativity and the confirmation, and stop blocking your creativity and blessing pipeline. That is awesome.
Mike: It doesn’t always happen that way. I wrote about it in the book. It's in the book. I'm like, “This is for me.”
Tracey: It doesn't always happen that way because we're not meant to be doing everything. The little bits that you get told to do, then you go and do that. Who knows? We may not write as much as John Maxwell or C.S. Lewis but that's okay. Every now and then, if we put something out there for people to digest, we’re doing our part to add to the collective body of wisdom. I love that. We talked about loneliness, weariness, abandonment, and vision. Bonus points for vision casting with your dog. For our audience, I think you knowhow I feel about this. When you put God, nature, and dogs together, get ready. It's like the trifecta.
Mike: How cool is that?
Tracey: I don't want to get cat hate.
Tracey: I have three cats too. Don't send me any nasty emails. I love my cats. I have one right here now. They just listen. They're just looking at me. Loneliness, weariness, abandonment, and vision. Mike, what else? is there anything else? We talked a lot about leadership, things you've gone through, things you've changed, and the impetus for change. Is there anything else that we have not touched on?
Mike: Here's what I came up with. It’s very applicable. It's pretty mature to share where I'm going with this. I wrote down two words relative to something new I want to work on. It's very applicable to this conversation and a word of encouragement for the audience. The two words were influence and impact. I've focused in the last five years primarily almost 100% of my time on using books. That type of media is a way to allow business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders to share their influence and impact it.
It goes even beyond that. I would say for a lot of people tuning in, especially if you are at a season in your life where maybe most of it is in the rearview mirror. You haven't necessarily shared what you've done and what you can do. There are people out there that would love to hear and read, whatever it might be.
I would have encouraged people to think about that. It's not necessarily about making money or business. There's so much wisdom and things that all of us have done that maybe it's technical. I help people write books. That's a technical thing. Maybe it's about beating cancer or whatever. I worked with a doctor who helps people with osteoporosis. Whatever it might be. I would encourage you, if you feel like it's there and you haven't ever done a book, to talk to Tracey or me. Share that. Share it. It's cool.
Tracey: It is. Charles would say that. We talked about that in the show, “You're the only one that's been through this. You are a genius in something in your life because only you went through it.” To not share that is selfish. You were put to go through it, not to break you down and strengthen you, but so you can be an encouragement to other people.
All those books people are writing these books. There's a reason people write books and a reason people love digesting books. You grew up loving books. I grew up reading to earn money and on a need to know but you can cultivate a love of reading later in life, just like picking up golf or going to skydive. I published a gentleman's book that was 92. It's never too late to hone this skill and your appetite.
If people don't love reading, it's because they haven't been open to it. It's like when people scoff at the Bible, I'm like, “Have you ever read it or looked at it?” “No, but I've heard.” You can judge anything you want but if you say that to me, what does that even matter to you? There are so many books out there. The Wisdom of the Ages is out there. As you said, I would encourage it.
Mike: Everything is out there. Everything has been written. There's new technology or something that has, but as far as the fundamental stuff, it's there. That's why your dad's book was such a great resource for me years ago because I love to read. There are times when a short book makes so much sense and there's a lot of very powerful short books.
I 100% agree with you. The other thing I would share and you know this as well as I do. When you put a book out there, for example, 99 out of 100 times, you will never know how it impacts someone. You don't know that. One percent of the people will leave a review on Amazon or write you an email or something but I can guarantee the numbers are much bigger.
I'm always blown away on my podcast when I'm interviewing people and I don't know somebody. They get on and say, “Mike, your book inspires me to do something like this. ”That's happened so many times. I didn't know that. I would say think about that because it's not about the reviews, although they’re nice. You're helping people and you don't even realize you're helping people.
Tracey: The seminal people took 50 years plus. When you pull up Aristotle or Aesop's Fables or the greats from so many years ago, you're like, "Look at this. It's like I know them." If they hadn't taken the time to write it down, the Bible is the number one bestseller of all time. If his apostles and disciples, if Matthew, Mark, Luke, and all the prophets in the Old Testament had not taken the time to write it down, what would we have?
The storytelling is beautiful but why not do both? Take your stories and write them down because you may not be around to tell that story or you may get canceled and you don't get to tell yours and anything. A book can be given out there. You talk about handing books out to business people and entrepreneurs. Charles would say, "Don't get people your business card because they'll throw it away. Give them a little book because they're not going to forget that." There you are with the little book. Mike, how do people get a hold of you? I hope we've inspired some of our business leaders. You've done so much. Time to get your little book out.
Mike: Thank you. Our publishing business is Bite-SizedBooks.com but with you're blessing, I'm going to offer your audience a gift to read three of my short books, The Magic of Short Books, which has been an Amazon number one bestseller off and on for the last three years, The Magic of Working Together and The Magic of Gratitude. These are three little short books that your audience can grab digitally so they're up online hidden if they go to my primary site which is MikeCapuzzi.com/magic. I call it my Magic Kit. They can grab those three books.
Tracey: I love this because sometimes people go, “A short book, that makes me look less than. ”I'm like, “No. ”You can write 500 other books but get this first. It's like getting in your PhD. Write something and get it done, then you can get twenty more and write 700-page dissertations. Just get it done. What is the stats? I told you this in the show,72% of the people don't make it past page 50. Bite-Sized Books is the answer.
Mike: I believe so. This doctor who's an osteoporosis surgeon got his short book done. He's like, “My colleagues are telling me I need to write the big book.” I said, “Rather than write this big book that no one is going to read, write 4 or 5 shorter books.” As soon as I said that, he was like, “That's the way to do it.”
Tracey: For our audience out there, when people say, “No, write this,” look at them and say, “How many books have you published?” I'm like, “I'm just going to go with the people that have published and listen to them.” As you said, they're quick, easy, and affordable to print. They're very affordable. It's no different than putting in your little marketing piece, but it's a meaty marketing piece that can change somebody's life. It’s a big deal.
Mike, I can't thank you enough for being here and sharing with us. I love what you're doing. I love that you're close. I look forward to many more. I love the influence and impact sessions with you. I want to thank you for sharing what you did in leadership. It greatly helped me and inspired me. I know you did to our audience too.
Mike: Thank you very much. You were a great guest, so I'm glad. Hopefully, it was able to meet halfway there.
Tracey: You're welcome. To our tremendous tribe out there, thank you so much for being part of everything that we're doing. We couldn't do it without you. If you like this episode, please be sure and hit the like and subscribe button. We'd be honored if you would leave us a review. Also, make sure you connect with Mike Capuzzi. The purpose of this is not just to tune in but also to connect and have valuable resources.
Never forget, as my father said, “You'll be the same person five years from now that you are today except for two things, the people you meet and the books you read.” You just met the tremendous Mike and he gave us some tremendous book. You can go to his site and download three of them, so you'll be triple tremendous. Everybody, thanks so much again. Keep on paying the price of leadership. We're right there with you.
The Magic of Short Books
Life is Tremendous
The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership
I Love America
Wisdom of the Ages