Networks Are Golden

For international readers, allow me to explain: I am an American but I have lived in China since 2004. My city of Chongqing, often abbreviated as CQ, is pronounced Chong Ching to rhyme with Wrong Ring. CQ is a megacity of 30 million people in south-central China, on the Yangtze River. I’ve come a long, long way – 13 time zones to be exact – from my original hometown of Rolla in south-central Missouri, on the Little Dry Fork creek. Depending on how loosely you define “city”, one could argue that CQ is the world’s largest city. In my quest for a simple life, I publish these observations and admonitions from my 18th-Floor Homestead. Some would call these articles drivel; I prefer to think of them as words from the future – 13 time zones in the future if anyone in my hometown is reading this.

Business and Publishing Updates:

Mind Fleet: Mind Fleet is beginning a new phase of promotions. A number of talented and experienced content producers have been recruited to produce videos about the company and products, then place them on popular social media platforms. Look for Mind Fleet videos appearing soon on a platform near you, produced by Alice and newest Mind Fleet team member, Niki Hu. CS is already looking forward to being a movie star. In case of confusion when watching the videos, CS will be the young, handsome, energetic one. The older guy, looking tired and slightly panic-stricken, will be me. Hope to place some “foreign movies” from Miles and Dougal soon also.

Niki Hu

Success Mindsets: The business entrepreneur anthology that I contributed to was released on October 26 and is working its way up the Amazon bestseller charts.

Last week, I received this email from the publisher:

Great news! Our promo push is in full swing for Success Mindsets and we’ve already scored #1 Best Seller in the Entrepreneurship category on Amazon!


Alinka Rutkowska, CEO Leaders Press

Maybe I will soon be able to add “best selling author” to my credits.

Kon-Tiki2: From snowy Norway, Torgeir continues to write about his 2016 drift voyage adventure on the South Pacific. This week, however, he surprised me with screenshots from the book of his 2006 raft adventure on the Tangaroa. In his book he mentions me! Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we became friends and were exchanging emails while he was still on his voyage. Imagine it. An American teacher in Zhengzhou, Henan writing to a Norwegian sailor on a raft in the middle of the Pacific. Interesting. Looking forward to seeing the complete manuscript for the 2016 voyage.

3 Torgeir photos:

Diary of a Country Girl: Lulu (Fu Dilu) has completed the 31 chapters of the first draft of her book, a memoir of her childhood adventures. Now, she goes back to page one and starts the revision process. This step is what famous author Stephen King calls “killing your darlings”. No author likes to delete any part of their work but it must be done. Hope we will have the finished produce ready to publish soon.


The 18th Floor Homestead: My next book is in the galley stage. That is when you print the manuscript on paper and read it very carefully as a last check before it goes to publication. I always feel like Ernest Hemingway in this phase, complete with my Hemingway-approved tennis visor. Hope this shook (publisher-speak for “short, helpful book”) will be out soon. Something new will be added with this book. In addition to self-publishing it as an ebook on the most popular Western platforms like Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, and others, I will be conducting an experiment by printing it as a paperback book. Let me know if you want a copy. Leave a comment or email me directly at

Now, as a sample of my next latest-and-greatest book, here is an excerpt from The 18th Floor Homestead.

Networks Are Golden.

Networks can make your life simpler. Why am I including social networks in a book about reinventing a simple life? Because building and maintaining a strong social network will eliminate many conflicts, complications, and uncertainties in your life. One fundamental issue in modern life is based upon the questions of “Who can I trust?” or “Can I be confident this information is true?” If persistence is one of the characteristics of successful people, the human capital equivalent of persistence is long-term, trusted relationships.

Those relationships truly are golden. Modern society offers greater independence and mobility than any period in history. Ironically, our cities offer the opportunity to live a hermit’s existence with only a few tenuous social connections. Never forget your tribal DNA that a mere few thousand years of civilization has not changed. We are social animals. We have a deep drive for acceptance and kinship. Hunter/gatherers needed it to survive; so do we. Life without relationships is a life without color. Simplify, smooth, and enrich your reinvented life with a strong support network.

Think about the friends that you have had in the past. Remember the classmates, neighbors, teammates, and coworkers that you spent so much time with. You know them; they know you. Those people should be your support network in your reinvented life. In a simplified life, you need a small group of trusted individuals – your tribe. Their input is more reliable than information from other sources that have their own agenda or commercial motives.

Imagine a situation where a manager says to you, “Find some good people to complete this particular project.” Before you start the advertising/interviewing process, your first thought should be to contact your network. These are trusted individuals who might be able to offer some suggestions to assist you in finding the best person to hire. Their recommendations may not lead to a solution but should be explored first. Why? Members of your network have no financial motivation and they are only trying to help you. Also, your network group may know of situations that are not public information; they may be able to connect you with the best people directly, thus shortcutting the process. Sometimes, the network’s response will not be immediate but it is always beneficial to have a group of scouts who know about you and your needs as they go through their own lives.

Likewise, imagine that your boss comes to you and says, “I’m sorry. The company is closing. You don’t have a job after today.” In that case, you should also think first of your network. A few calls to say, “Do you know of a job opportunity that would be suitable for me?” may lead to some useful suggestions or even a direct connection to a promising new situation. Even after you leave school or a work project, your network remains one of your most valuable assets. This will be true thirty days or thirty years after you leave.

In both scenarios, you get relevant, trusted recommendations from your network. Networks are extremely valuable these days when we seem to be surrounded by glib strangers. We don’t know who to trust or which source of information is accurate and unbiased. An old saying tells us, “Lovers come and go, but friends last forever.” The same is true for networks.

It doesn’t have to be only about a work situation. You can contact your network to ask for information about a holiday trip, a new project, or a recommendation about a health or financial issue. Ask your friends. They are the ones that you can trust when they offer advice.

Please note: In your reinvented life, network recommendations will not replace ability. If you need a pilot or a surgeon, you must be certain that the person you select is competent and skilled, rather than just a friend of a friend. But start with your network. You can be sure their suggestions are intended to help, even if they don’t have immediate connections or knowledge. Remember also the old adage “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem seems like a nail.” Each person in your support group has their own perspective and current issues. Listen respectfully to their ideas and recommendations but do not act unless you decide they are the best course of action for you in your present situation.

Action steps: Ask yourself what you can do to renew old connections? What can you do to strengthen existing relationships? What new friends can you include in your network? Make a quick, friendly call to stay in touch. Meet a friend for a cup of coffee (with no agenda). Try actually talking instead of both of you playing on your phones. Enjoy lunch with your old Wednesday group. Take one step today. Do one thing every day to help someone in your network. Do it before you need your network’s support.

And, as always, I will end with the reminder that one of the most impactful things we can do to control our destiny is to carefully choose who will be the people closest to us.


Is there someone you should add to or remove from the people you spend the most time with? Why not do it today?

One thought on “Networks Are Golden

  1. Hi Randy, glad to read your new blog. There are so many good news, congratudlations for your best seller book, and hope for your new book 18th floor homestead. I want a copy hhha. Your essays always make me think about simple life, and the stress anxiety also push me forward. I need to stop for a while sometimes and enjoy the happy time.
    Hope you well.
    Hi Bonnie. Thanks for your kind words. As soon as we get the new book in paperback form, I will be happy to sent one to you.

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