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New Year = New Chapters and Beginnings

By: on September 13, 2015 in Advice, Book, Mission Critical SQL Server

Hello everyone. The Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah, starts tonight at sundown. I’m leaving to visit family in a little bit for the next few days, but I wanted to write a quick note. I’ve never really seen the secular New Year celebration (you know, that little ol’ January 1 thing) as the beginning of a new cycle for me; it’s always been Rosh Hashanah for me, even before I had my Bar Mitzvah when I turned 13. Not only is Rosh Hashanah the beginning of the new year because it leads up to one of the most important holidays (if you can call it that … heh) – Yom Kippur.

It has been a crazy year to say the least since this one began, but I am very happy with the way year 5775 ended, and I am really looking forward to 5776. If you just look at our Events page, you can see the dance card for both Max and myself is pretty full this fall. I’ve got a few more things to post, and those will be up soon. I’m working on 2016 dates for many things including user groups (some to be hopefully announced soon) and some classes here in the USA. Besides the book being completed soon, I’m looking forward to what’s coming down the road. No hints – wait and see!

The next week or so before Yom Kippur is a time of reflection for me (as it should be). I recently read a good blog post on apologizing related to Yom Kippur, but it has great takeaways for how to deal with apologizing in any situation. Especially in business where things can go south from time to time, own it. Be sincere. Many of us give hollow apologies because we think it helps; often times it does not, and can even make things worse. That is how you lose customers and ruin relationships. I’ve been around many insincere people in my life, and choose not to associate with them.

I’m told my facial expressions are entertaining, and I know I’d make a bad poker player. People can tell when I’m not happy, and if I was ever lying, chances are, you’d know it. Being brutally honest (as I can be often) is not something everyone can handle, but sometimes you shouldn’t sugarcoat things. In business and in life, sometimes being brutally honest is not the best approach (even if it should be …), so there are other ways you need to approach things. At 43 (nearly 44 soon), I’ve learned when to use those soft skills. That’s one of the ways you need to be in business. Tough, firm, honest, fair, and kind are not mutually exclusive concepts. People need to learn in business to not take things personally. The right business decisions are difficult sometimes and real people understand that. Others take them as a slight.

Bottom line: say what you mean, mean what you say, and honor your word (or contracts …). Too many people do not do that and do whatever the heck they want, which is why those qualities I mention – tough, firm, honest, fair, and kind – are hard.

Speaking of being honest and sincere, the thing I am most sorry for is the book. It weighs on me a lot. I am not sorry for doing it (some friends and family may think otherwise given how much of my time it’s consuming as of late), not for its content, but how long it’s taking. I’m now up to a Table of Contents of 30 chapters (!), including 2016 (both Windows and SQL Server) content, and it’s going to be killer. Come hell or high water, it’s going to start to be edited (properly – tech editor, not me) next month. I should be done all primary writing by PASS Summit, and at that point, it’s letting the editing and production process take its course. Someone said this to me in e-mail recently:

You need to get it done, get it done right—& know when it’s done … It deserves the attention you’re giving it.

But there’s also a point of letting it go – and I’m ready to give proverbial birth to it. ProTip: don’t ever write a book if you have any perfectionist genes. 🙂 So for everyone who has already purchased or is considering purchasing it, I am sincerely sorry for it taking so long. I’m not going to give you any lame excuses or sob stories. I’m not going to go into anything personal or professional which may or may not have affected its writing and production. I’m man enough to stand up and own this, both the good and the bad.

In hindsight, I could (maybe should) have done another 300 pager a few years ago via a publisher, but it wouldn’t be what this is going to be and I would have been ultimately not happy with it – again. I felt my 2008 book, as much praise as I get from people for it, had a lot of compromises.

As I’m writing and doing mental math, the reality is I may even come in somewhere between 1500 and 2000 pages when all is said and done. There will be a lot to digest, so if you’re looking for a beach read, this will not be the book you are seeking. 2000 pages is anywhere from 3 – 10 books for most people. That should give you an idea as one of the things why this is taking a bit longer. The scope is enormous, and maybe I bit off more than I should have (hindsight and all that), but I’m thrilled at how it’s all finally coming together. I had a huge epiphany recently about a few chapters that were vexing me for the longest time. I always say go big or go home, and I’m doing just that.

My one main goal besides writing a great book is making sure that I can maintain it going forward (hence the update subscription). Most books unfortunately – my past ones included – are hard to update. I’m never reinventing this wheel again. Since both Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 are not RTM yet, the first major update once this is done will be getting the finalized 2016 content in. We don’t have RTM dates for either, but hopefully by mid-next year, there will be some nice updates to include.

Anyway, this took a turn I had not intended, so back to matters at hand. I will not be working the next few days (nor on Yom Kippur), so for those of you celebrating, I wish you a L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu, and for everyone else, see you on the other side.


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