A Chance Encounter, A Career “Missed,” And A Book Giveaway

Earlier this week, I ran into a guy at the Y who upon seeing me said brightly, “hi Talbot.”


Because while remembering something of his STORY, I didn’t remember his name.  Turns out it’s Joe.

The STORY I remembered about Joe is that he is a writer for a Muscle & Fitness magazine.  Cool job.  It made me remember the days when, in my mid-20s, I’d have give anything to become a writer of a magazine such as World Tennis or Tennis — two periodicals much changed from their heyday in the 70s and 80s — Tennis is primarily in digital form with a print edition six times a year and the World Tennis brand and name is online only.

Back to this YMCA encounter.  Joe, who is Roman Catholic, told me that he had been to the Good Shepherd website and actually watched a sermon.  The sermon he saw was from 2018’s How To Tell A Mountain From A Molehill series.  I was flattered, though of course I’d have preferred he see something from Missing Peace or Greater Love.

Anyway, I mentioned the release of the new book (no, he didn’t have to drag it out of me).  “What’s it called?” he asked.

“Simplify The Message; Multiply The Impact,” I answered.  Again, this was NOT like pulling teeth.

And then he said the most interesting thing.  “That’s like marketing these days.  My editor just told me that.  Stay away from confusion, keep it simple, and people will know what you’re saying.” 


I told him that’s why Nike’s logo is peerless, why Google’s home page is matchless, and why you can’t order a hamburger at Chick-Fil-A.  They do one thing — chicken! — and do it better than anyone else.  Even in church land, it’s why cluttered logos say nothing by trying to say everything and why Elevation’s mark says it all by saying only one thing.  Simplify to multiply.

We agreed it was a nice title for a book, a helpful concept in magazine writing, and an idea that is increasingly relevant as the world becomes ever more complicated.

And then, just before he left, I darted out to my car and picked up a copy of Simplify The Message that “just happened” to be there, and gave it to him.

You can get your own copy of Simplify The Message here or wherever books are sold online.