The item below is from a 1999 press release that Smartfellows Press never released. To begin with, it was too long for the people we needed to reach to look at. We saw no point in trying to shorten it to an acceptable length because our pithy preliminary inquiries told us that there was zero media interest in the subject.
To create interest in material like this the merit of what is said doesn't count unless the person who says it does. Here you get boxed in by the appalling necessity to heap praises on yourself and to do it in a way that appears to be coming from an objective source. Everyone involved in the process knows better. It's strictly a matter of form to give the public the illusion that the press did its job of checking the facts. We did not know then that it was an illusion. An independent reporter checking the facts was crucial to how we wanted to use the press release to promote Iago in Brentwood.
This experience taught me why authors and independent publishers need literary agents and publicists like Lucianne Goldberg to represent them. No one in the media checks the facts behind claims that people they don't know make in a news release. As far as the media decision makers are concerned, a press release without the name of someone on the approved agent list is junk mail.
Why take a day or even an hour to check the facts when a "reasonable" assumption based on experience will do and a deadline is forcing a speedy decision? You will see the irony of this institutional mindset in the aborted press release. Apply it to the way the media reported daily developments in the O.J. case and to what Mark Fuhrman did to become a New York Times best-selling author. See what you get. Most importantly, take your time.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RAISE YOUR IQ?
If you don’t have an intelligence quotient of 171 like Norman Schwarzkopf and F. Lee Bailey, you probably believe that you never will. That, according to an “ordinary guy” with a rare IQ comparable to Schwarzkopf’s and Bailey’s, is not necessarily true.
You may not know the name Jasper Garrison, but Jack Telnack, the father of the Taurus, and other famous, automotive innovators do. In 1985, Ford Motor Co. divided its entire management team into small work groups to solve a complex logic problem. With 15 oblique and disjointed clues to work with, they had to match the names of nine men with the nine defensive positions on a baseball field. Careers rose and fell based on how quickly they plugged in the names. The Taurus Studio’s Modeling supervisor was so impressed with the exercise that he gave it to his five Master Modelers and two of his Sculptors. Unseen by anyone at the time was a flaw in the problem that invalidated the “right answers.” Jasper Garrison discovered the flaw.
Until now, Garrison’s part in Ford’s decision to scrap the baseball exercise has been one of the auto giant’s best-kept secrets. His breakthrough came when he went over the arbitrary time limit and challenged assumptions that the executives were told to accept. He is certain that many of them would have also gotten the real answer to the problem if they’d been free to do what he did. As the creator of a lead-time reduction process that is now in use worldwide, he knows whereof he speaks. If you’ve ever seen a 1986 Taurus, a 1993 Probe or the interior designs of some of Ford’s other award-winning cars, you’ve seen some of his other work. He’s the guy who transformed the “potato” that the original Taurus was into the Motor Trend Car of the Year it became.
How did he do it? The same way he got into the field of automotive design in 1965 (not counting the act of Congress that gave African-Americans their first competitive chance to enter the profession). Garrison scored first out of 500 candidates on a standard aptitude test. At the start, when most of his competitors zoomed ahead, he faltered. Fearing a battery of trick questions, he reserved judgment on the first “right answers” he saw until he was sure he had worked through every possibility. He made mistakes that most people would not have made but kept his focus on getting all of the answers right in the end and on his confidence that he could. He didn’t have enough time to even see them all, but he had more than enough time to see that he got off to the right start.
As a test-maker in the Army Reserves in 1968, he learned why that strategy he stumbled on a few years earlier had worked so well. He says, “The joker who makes the test is like a bad cop planting evidence to fool people who think that what they’re seeing is on the up-and-up. He almost always gets away with it because hardly anyone knows the truth. The easy questions that everyone gets at the beginning are the ones that are going to set you up for the answers you will and won’t be able to see later on.”
As a proven, world-class problem solver, Garrison was the first African-American in the history of Ford Design to win an “Outstanding” performance review and to achieve the rank of Master Modeler. He is the automaker’s first African-American Electronic Math Model Design Leader in Engineering and the first to win an “outstanding” performance review in that capacity. Many of his ideas have been incorporated in the most advanced design and engineering math modeling software available today.
Notwithstanding his success, he warns that there is a disheartening downside to seeing demonstrably correct answers that most people miss: “From time to time you are bound to be out of step with popular wisdom. When you try to explain what you’ve found, chances are, you’ll get looked at like you’re crazy or laughed at like you’re an idiot. To get anywhere with your discoveries you need a sponsor—like Jack Telnack or Norman Schwarzkopf."
I should have said Dominick Dunne or Lucianne Goldberg.