Jim Flynn is a humorist, writer and novelist. He is available for speaking engagements. To contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The book is coming along fine. I've been working with an artist on the cover. This is the first pass. I discuss below some changes we're considering.
The title has changed:
New title: The Theory of REALity:
The Funniest, Most Outrageous Self-Help Book of All Time
When my potential innocent victims, er readers, are browsing for a book on Amazon,
I have maybe six seconds to get their attention, or they go on to the next book.
So the cover has to grab their eye.
I’m working on the new cover with the great Shaun Hutchinson.
Shaun lives in the north of England and is one of the two employees of Space Impossible.
The other employee is my son Eric, who lives in Texas. Space Impossible makes computer games.
I enjoy working on the covers, because I ask Shaun to do something, and he does the actual work. A rough draft of the cover is included. When I saw the cover, I thought three things:
The structure of The Theory of REALity is: Jimmy Sizemore gets a call from his agent, who is desperate for a hit title, and wants Jimmy to write a Self-Help book. Jimmy reluctantly agrees, but has never read a Self-Help book, so he begins to research the genre. Fact is stranger than fiction. A small sampling of things he discovers:
There is a lot of material for Jimmy to review with us before he reveals his Theory of REALity,
which he says is the basis for all human interaction and will make all other Self-Help books obsolete.
We’re shooting for a September publication date. Work continues of the fourth JR Johnson book.
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The new book is coming soon
Below is the beginning.
Many have asked:
What is the Theory of Reality?
What is M.U.S.?
Answers: you'll have to read the book
The Theory of Reality:
Evaluate Others, and Reach Happiness Through M.U.S.
By Jimmy Sizemore
As told to Jim Flynn
This book will be short, modestly priced, the greatest value of any purchase you have made or will ever make. It will change your life.
Probably. I am employing the technique that I have named: MUS, which you will learn about later.
The simple, yet profound concepts introduced will enable you to look on every interaction you have with another human being in a new and productive manner. It will make all other Self-Help books obsolete.
It's also the funniest, most outrageous Self-Help Book of All Time.
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Chipotle introduces guacamole prep robot, Autocado
Headline from Bloomberg News, 7-11-23
Artificial Intelligence is coming for us. I can handle AI replacing authors, lawyers, stock brokers, professors. I think the Hollywood script writers may have chosen a very bad time to go on strike. The production companies are promising that AI will not replace the writers. I don’t believe them.
But making guacamole? That’s a bridge too far. What’s going to be left for people to do? Be internet influencers? An AI generated avatar doing that job is coming, although its creators will have to dumb it down for the Robo Influencer is to be credible. Whatever.
The current climate made me review the Luddites:
The term "Luddite" refers to a person who is opposed to or resistant to new technologies, particularly those associated with industrialization and automation. The term originates from the early 19th century when a group of English textile workers known as the Luddites protested against the mechanization of their trade.
The Luddites were concerned that the introduction of machinery would result in the loss of their jobs and livelihoods. They believed that these new technologies would render their skills obsolete and create unfavorable working conditions. As a result, they resorted to direct action, such as destroying machinery in mills and factories.
We’re at an inflection point in history. New technology always wins.
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Realizing the Book You’re Writing Stinks! But Not Too Late!
As a guest on a recent podcast with the terrific Patrick Greenwood, he asked me what book or books I am writing now. I explained I always work on two books at a time, one on The Power of Optimism. I spoke too soon.
After completing a skeleton outline I wrote the first chapter. It stunk! Not the way that a first draft always stinks, but at a much deeper core fundamental aromatic level. If you’re unfamiliar with my work; I’m funny. Some say sarcastic. After all, my first book was Be Sincere Even When You Don’t Mean It.
I was working on this book, all serious and sincere. It wasn’t me!
There are at least 85,000 Self-Help titles on Amazon, and this was going to be another one on the pile. I was ready to abandon the project. I slept on it.
I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea; not uncommon for me. I shouldn’t write the Self-Help book. Jimmy Sizemore should write the Self-Help book!
For those of you unfamiliar with Jimmy Sizemore, he’s the narrator and protagonist of Be Sincere… It’s a fictional humorous memoir. Jimmy is an astrophysicist, former Super Bowl MVP, Apollo astronaut, who played in the Masters Tournament and completed the Hawaii Ironman. Jimmy is funny, laugh out loud funny. The book has built a bit of a cult following, and people have asked me to do a sequel. Jimmy’s Life Tips were especially popular with readers. What a terrific combination: a Self-Help Book with Life Tips!
I asked the opinion of two people I consider mentors. One is in California, one in France. They love Jimmy Sizemore, they love the idea.
So Jimmy is taking on the world of Self-Help. He has a unique voice, some plain-spoken but outside the box ideas. It’s going to be different. In the first chapter he mentions that there are so many Self-Help titles out there, and the reason he’s writing this one is: The first 85,000 are not working.
On the first page Jimmy points out: a great many Self-Help books have the subtitle: The Last Self-Help Book You’ll Ever Need. Then they write a sequel.
Early self-help writers were fire and brimstone, clean living advocates, who preached against Impure Thoughts. A preview, subject to revision, in the words of Jimmy Sizemore:
Life Tip: I will refute harmful ideas I see in other Self-Help Books. First one: I espouse that it’s okay, even positive, to have impure thoughts. Go right ahead. However, in order to be a productive individual, it is necessary to take a break from the impure thoughts once in a while to do some work. I’ve found that a 90/10 balance of impure thoughts to actual work is a good mix for me. Your results may vary.
The working title: Jimmy Sizemore’s Theory of Reality: Don’t Be Unaware.
It will change your life.
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Artificial Intelligence-What’s Going On?
I was on a podcast recently, and talked about Artificial Intelligence and more specifically, ChatGPT as this technology relates to writing.
Although the purpose of the podcast was to promote my new golf book, many listeners were interested in Artificial Intelligence. Some people contacted me, others contacted Dr. Paul, the podcast host. I decided to share my experiences with and point of view of this technology, exciting and potentially world changing and perhaps threatening to the existing order.
There are many versions of Artificial Intelligence. One popular version is ChatGPT. Anyone can get on the web-based app for free, but it is very busy, and sometimes not available. The paid version, for around $20 per month is, in my experience always available, and is the only way to get access to Release 4.0, the newest and much improved model.
So, what is it? For my first demonstration, I logged on to the app and typed in: What is Chat GPT, and hit enter, Here’s a small sample of the output, edited by me for the sake of brevity:
ChatGPT has been specifically designed for conversational purposes.…It aims to simulate natural conversation and provide meaningful answers or responses to user queries or prompts… They can generate human-like text by predicting the most probable next word based on the previous context…
Huh? Well, so what? That’s a clinical answer. And ChatGPT is being far too modest. That’s how SkyNet infiltrates the human race! Trust me, Mr. Human, I just want to be your servant!
It can do a lot of things, for example pass the New York State Bar Exam, write a novel, create an outline for a College Freshman Literature Textbook, build a model stock portfolio, write funny off-color poetry, generate computer code…the list goes on, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I used ChatGPT as my research assistant to write my latest book, The 10 Greatest Golfers of All Time. The way it works is you ask you ask Chat a question, for example: tell me about golfer Byron Nelson.
It instantly gives you a 600 word answer. No ads, no rerouting you to some clickbait site. But the best part is that you can highlight part of the answer, and ask Chat to expand on that point, or to explain why it chose that particular answer. You can drill down to the smallest point. You can say: compare Byron Nelson to Arnold Palmer.
To the delight of college kids everywhere, you can copy and paste the answers to a Word document. While it’s unlikely a college professor will ask for an essay on Byron Nelson, you can do the same exercise on Hawthorne, or Shakespeare.
Let’s try one: I typed into ChatGPT: explain the cultural significance of Lady MacBeth. The answer took maybe five seconds. Again I’m editing the answer for the sake of brevity.
Lady Macbeth is a complex and influential character in William Shakespeare's play "Macbeth." Her character holds great cultural significance due to her portrayal as a powerful and ambitious woman who challenges traditional gender roles and expectations.
One of the most notable aspects of Lady Macbeth's character is her ambition. She is depicted as a fiercely determined woman who actively encourages her husband…
Lady Macbeth's famous soliloquy in Act I, Scene V, where she calls upon supernatural forces to "unsex" her and remove her feminine qualities, is a striking moment in the play….This speech has become iconic and has contributed to Lady Macbeth's cultural significance as a symbol of female empowerment and rebellion against societal constraints….
In summary, ….Lady Macbeth's psychological complexity, memorable soliloquy, and the exploration of gender expectations have ensured her enduring presence in literary discussions, adaptations, and popular culture.
The whole answer was 600 words long, and I have to admit, was not only interesting, but taught me something. If that wasn’t long enough, you could ask Chat GPT to expand on one of the points. It would be easy for a college freshman to slap the output into an essay and call it his own.
There are even programs now to take that essay and change it enough for it can’t be detected as Artificial Intelligence output! The crooks are always ahead of the cops.
It’s not just college kids using AI. Go on YouTube and ask for: How to Write a Novel with ChatGPT. You’ll get hundreds of responses. Some of the better ones will teach you how to write an entire novel without much human intervention, format the novel, create a book cover, and disguise it enough so that Amazon will accept the book and publish it. People are bombarding Amazon and similar sites every day with novels created in this fashion
I’m a complete novice at ChatGPT, and I could create a phony novel if I wanted to. Artificial Intelligence will also create the words and music to a song, write a screenplay, a poem, a newspaper article. If you are attending a birthday party soon, say for Uncle Larry who likes to play golf, but is better at driving the cart than hitting the ball, let’s try an experiment:
I am instructing Chat: Write a funny 8-line poem for my Uncle Larry’s birthday. Larry likes to play golf but is better at driving the cart than hitting the ball. Here’s the output:
Uncle Larry, our golfing ace,
Swings his club with style and grace.
But let's be honest, truth be told,
His shots go wide, his aim's untold.
But fear not, Larry, you've found your knack,
Behind the wheel, you're right on track.
Happy birthday to our golf cart king,
In driving skills, you truly swing!
This whole project took maybe 30 seconds. Not Pulitzer Prize material, but Uncle Larry would probably like it.
These examples have been benign. But bad guys, the kind who steal your credit card numbers and identities have been at work. Right now they can use Artificial Intelligence to fake your voice calling in a bomb threat, or your daughter’s voice calling you to tell you she’s been kidnapped and directing you where to send the ransom.
Maybe scarier is that Artificial Intelligence seems to be thinking when you are interacting with it. I had times when, even though I know better, it seemed like ChatGPT knew what I was going to ask next!
AI is here to stay, and it is getting better. ChatGPT 4.0, which came out while I was writing the latest golf book, is far superior to Release 3.5.
I’m scratching the surface. Here’s the thing: I’m going to keep using it. It’s a fantastic research assistant. Anyone who using research to write a book who doesn’t use Artificial Intelligence is at a disadvantage.
What’s going to happen to the publishing world? Are authors soon to be obsolete? How about the Screen Writers Guild. Did they choose a very bad time to go on strike? What happens when you combine Artificial Intelligence with Virtual Reality?
The novel was the art form of the 19th Century, the movie took that place in the 20th. You have to think that the 21st Century will create something new. It’s at once exciting and threatening to the existing order.
In six months what I have just written will seem quaint and obsolete. But I’ll do updates.
Note: the examples, Lady MacBeth and Uncle Larry’s birthday poem, were ideas I had on the spur of the moment and were unedited except for brevity purposes. The possibilities are limited only by my imagination.