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There’s only one rule of show business, or writing, and that’s don’t be boring.

Joyce Carol Oates has been recognized as a literary treasure for more than 50 years. Her work has been honored with many distinguished awards, including the National Book Award for her novel “them.” She’s also won two O. Henry Awards, the National Humanities Medal, and the Jerusalem Prize.

Oates published her first book in 1963 and has since published 58 novels, as well as a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. She is a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley where she teaches short fiction.

Here are my Favourite takeaways from viewing Joyce Carol Oates Masterclass Session on The Art of Short Story:

David Baldacci, the New York Times–bestselling author of 38 adult novels and 7 children’s books that have sold more than 130 million copies. His work has been translated into 45 languages, published in 80 countries, and adapted for film and television. Most of David’s novels are part of a series such as The King and Maxwell series, The Camel Club series, The John Puller series, The Will Robie series, and The Amos Decker series.

Here are my favourite take aways from watching David Baldacci’s Masterclass Session on Mystery and Thriller Writing.:

It’s not like there’s a science to being creative. Just do what works for you and keep going forward.

I am a super fan of two of Shonda Rhime’s Hit TV Series, How to get away with murder (with Viola Davis) and Scandals (with Kerry Washington). While watching these series, I was always amazed by the suspense in the show, and I wondered how they wrote the plot and how it is even possible to write a script that good with the twist and turns in every episode. If you have not seen both shows check them out, they are outstanding. When I subscribed to Masterclass, Shonda Rhime’s session was one of the first I had to see, and she did not disappoint.

Shonda Rhimes was born in 1970 and raised in Chicago, Illinois. The daughter of intellectual and supportive parents, Shonda grew up telling stories. She strove to become a novelist but turned her focus to film and television writing later in life. Shonda majored in English and film studies at Dartmouth College and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She wrote the HBO television movie, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999), her first professional credit, and penned two feature films thereafter, including The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004).

Go write. Prove yourself to be a writer. Nobody has to pay you in order to write. You have to just find the time and do it.

The starting point in journalism is that there are no boundaries. Everyone has their own version of the truth. But there are facts. There is reality. And as a reporter you can come up with the best obtainable version of the truth.—Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward is an associate editor of the Washington Post, where he has worked since 1971. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first in 1973 for the coverage of the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, and second in 2002 as the lead reporter for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

Bob has authored or coauthored 18 books, all of which have been national nonfiction bestsellers. Twelve of those have been #1 national bestsellers. In listing the all-time 100 best nonfiction books, Time magazine has called All the President’s Men, by Bernstein and Woodward, “perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history.

Here are my favorite take aways from viewing Bob Woodward’s Masterclass on Investigative Journalism:

You become a writer by writing. There is no other way.

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than 40 books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. Her latest book of short stories is Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales (2014). Her MaddAddam trilogy— the Giller and Booker prize-nominated Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009), and MaddAddam (2013)—is currently being adapted for HBO. The Door (2007)is her latest volume of poetry. Her most recent nonfiction books are Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (2007) and In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (2011).

Her novels include The Blind Assassin (2000), winner of the Booker Prize; Alias Grace (1996), which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Robber Bride (1993): Cat’s Eye (1988): The Handmaid’s Tale (1985),now a TV series with MGM and Hulu: and The Penelopiad (2005).

Atwood’s works encompass a variety of themes including gender and identity, religion and myth, the power of language, climate change, and “power politics”. Atwood is a founder of the Griffin Poetry Prize and Writers’ Trust of Canada. She is also a Senior Fellow of Massey College, Toronto.

Atwood is also the inventor of the LongPen device and associated technologies that facilitate remote robotic writing of documents. Margaret lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

If you really do want to write, and you’re struggling to get started, you’re afraid of something. What is that fear?

When you’re starting out as a writer, it’s not useful to dwell on your shortcomings.—Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite non-fiction writers, his book Outliers: The Story of Success had a significant impact on me as regards the 10,000 hours rule in particular. Since I read the book, I have been obsessed with becoming the hardest worker in the room.

Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer at the New Yorker, where he has worked since 1996. He is the author of five nonfiction books on sociology, psychology, social psychology: The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009), David and Goliath (2015) and Talking To Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know (2019). All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers.

The Tipping Point has been named one of the best books of the decade by the A.V. Club and by the Guardian. In 2005, Time magazine named Gladwell one of the 100 most influential people in the world. David Leonhardt, in the New York Times Book Review, wrote that “Malcolm Gladwell is as close to a singular talent as exists today.” In a review of Gladwell’s popular podcast, Revisionist History.

The News & Observer wrote, “If there’s such a thing as a storytelling gene, Gladwell has some super-evolved DNA mutation. He might be the best storyteller on the planet.”

Here are my favourite take aways from watching the Malcolm Gladwell’s Masterclass Session on Writing:

The adversary is not the person across the table; the adversary is the situation.

While many believe that negotiation is a battle, Chris sees successful negotiation as a collaboration rooted in empathy. Chris is the CEO & Founder of the Black Swan Group, he is the author of Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. He is a former FBI lead international kidnapping negotiator.

Here are my favourite takeaways from viewing the “Art of Negotiation” MasterClass by Chris Voss:

If you’re going to write… you have to be willing to do the equivalent of walking down a street naked. You have to be able to show too much of yourself. You have to be just a little bit more honest than you’re comfortable with…”

The Dictionary of Literary Biography lists him as one of the top ten living postmodern writers. Born in England, Neil lives in the United States and taught for five years at Bard College, where he is a Professor of the Arts. He is married to artist/musician Amanda Palmer.

Today, as one of the most celebrated writers of our time, his popular and critically-acclaimed works bend genres while reaching audiences of all ages and winning awards of all kinds. The Graveyard Book is the only work ever to win both the Newbery (US) and Carnegie (UK) Medals, awarded by librarians for the most prestigious contribution to children’s literature, and Neil’s bestselling contemporary fantasy novel, American Gods, took the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, and Locus awards, as did his young adult novel Coraline.

The Emmy-nominated adaptation of American Gods renewed for a 3rd season on Starz and most recently, Neil scripted an Amazon/BBC six-part series based on the novel Good Omens, which he co-wrote with the late Terry Pratchett.

Here are my favourite take aways from watching Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass Session on Storytelling:

What you’re doing is lying, but you’re using the truth in order to make your lies convincing and true. You’re using them as seasoning. You’re using the truth as a condiment to make an otherwise unconvincing narrative absolutely credible

Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein started Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P) with Andy Berlin in 1983 and won their first award from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the Mill Valley Film Festival. Jeff and Rich went on to win Lions across every award and brand category, bridging an unprecedented variety of styles. Their work has included advertising campaigns like “got milk?,” the Budweiser lizards, Hewlett-Packard’s “Invent,” the E*Trade chimpanzee, Polaroid’s “See what develops,” the NBA’s “I love this game,” Nike’s “Skateboarding,” and SEGA’s “SEGA!

Since 2000, GS&P has excelled at creating work that transcends media. In 2019, Jeff and Rich were honored with the Cannes Lion of St. Mark—the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Most recently the agency received Cannes Lions for “Lessons in Herstory” (an AR project that rewrites history to include women), “Dalí Lives” (a deepfake experience that brings Salvador Dalí back to life), “I Am a Witness” (the first emoji for a social cause), the “Dreams of Dalí” VR experience, Chevrolet’s Chevy Sonic launch with the rock band OK Go, and the Cheetos Museum.

Nobody reads advertising. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad. – Howard Gossage


One of the skill set I am looking to get better at is writing and this blog is an experiment in getting better. James Patterson is one of the most prolific writers in the world with over 300 million books sold worldwide and he was the first person to sell 1 million e-books. To be the best you need to learn from the best, hence have been watching a lot of Masterclass Sessions, especially the writers and business executives.

James Patterson was born in 1947 and raised in Newburgh, New York. He studied English at Vanderbilt University, and found work as a junior copywriter at the advertising agency, J Walter Thompson Co, where he devised the iconic slogan, “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid.” While he became CEO and chairman of the company’s North American division in ’88 and ’90, James also pursued a career in novel writing.

He found critical success with his ’76 book, The Thomas Berryman Number, but it wasn’t until ’93 when he released Along Came a Spider that James met explosive commercial success. Today, he is the world’s best selling author and holds the distinction of writing more #1 New York Times Best Sellers than any other writer in history. James has sold more than 300 million books worldwide and is characterized by unadorned prose, thrilling fast-paced plots, and bite-sized chapters. 

Do NOT sit there like ‘Oh I don’t feel like it today. I don’t feel like it tomorrow’. Feel like it! Do it! Force yourself.—James Patterson

Here are my favourite Takeaways from watching James Patterson’s Masterclass Session on Writing:

Presenter: Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx.
Title: Sarah Blakely teaches Self-Made Entrepreneurship
Favourite Insights:

  • Self Taught, Still Owns 100% of Company,
  • Started her business with $5,000
  • Cross-trained as a Stand-Up Comedy act to gain confidence,
  • She hustles and advocates staying scrappy.
  • Grew organically as the Spanx brand did not advertise for the first 16 years.
  • In 2012, according to Forbes Magazine, she became the youngest self-made female billionaire at age 41

Sara Blakely had no fashion, retail, or business leadership experience when she invented Spanx in the late 1990s. All she had was $5,000 and an idea. Back then, while hawking fax machines door-to-door in the Florida heat, 27-yearold

Sara had to wear pantyhose (a dress code enforced by the company she worked for, Danka). While Sara liked the control-top element of the hose, she didn’t like the seam that showed through her open-toed shoes. She decided there must be a way to have one without the other.

Paul Krugman won the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his groundbreaking work on international trade and economic geography. He is the author or editor of 20 books and more than 200 papers in professional journals and edited volumes. Paul is a Professor of Economics and Distinguished Scholar at the Graduate Center’s Stone Center at City University of New York (CUNY).

Paul is one of the founders of the “new trade theory,” a major rethinking of the theory of international trade, for which he also received the John Bates Clark Medal in 1991 from the American Economic Association, a prize given every two years to “that economist under forty who is adjudged to have made a significant contribution to economic knowledge.

It’s never been more important to educate yourself.

In his Masterclass.com session, paul teaches economics and society. He shares insights on the financial crises, health care, taxes, international trade, urbanization, and globalization.

Here are my favorite take ways from watching Paul Krugman’s Masterclass session:

Dan Brown is the author of numerous notable novels, including The Da Vinci Code, which has become one of the bestselling novels of all time as well as the subject of intellectual debate among readers and scholars. Brown’s novels are published in 56 languages around the world with over 200 million copies in print.

The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books.

Here are my favourite takeaways from watching Dan Brown’s Masterclass.com Session on Writing Thrillers:

To thine own self be true. 

It sounds like a famous-last-words-type claim, but if anyone has the cred to make it, it’s Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Disney is turning profits like no other entertainment company in history—and the company’s rise over the last 15-odd years coincides exactly with the tenure of Bob Iger. 

A onetime TV weatherman, Bob landed a job at ABC in 1974 and steadily worked his way up the ranks of the network, mostly in the sports division, before becoming head of ABC Entertainment in 1989. 

Five years and a few rungs up the corporate ladder later, he became President and Chief Operating Officer of ABC’s parent company, which was purchased by Disney in 1996. Bob was promoted to President of Walt Disney International in 1999, then to President and COO of The Walt Disney Company as a whole in 2000. In 2005, Bob was selected to succeed Michael Eisner as CEO of Disney, and in less than a year he had mended a fraught relationship with Steve Jobs (more on that later), acquired Pixar Animation Studios, and begun a wholesale transformation of not just Disney, but the entertainment industry as a whole. 

Here are my favourite takeaways from watching Bob Iger’s Masterlass.com Session on