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Praise For Adapt or Perish from Business, Education, and Military Leaders


"Afraid of change?  Read this book.  It will pave the way for solutions in both your personal and business life.” 

Mel Bartholomew

Engineer, inventor, and

author of  Square Foot

Gardening – the largest

selling gardening book ever!


“Every transitioning veteran would benefit greatly from reading the chapters on military lessons for business and transitioning from the military and personally assessing how your salient points apply to them individually. You've provided them wise counsel.”

Lt Gen F. L. Hagenbeck

former Superintendent,

 United States Military

Academy, West Point


“Adapt or Perish is a must read for anyone seeking a fulfilling career and not just a job! I highly recommend it.”

Jeannette Frett

Chief Talent Officer

Howard University


Adapt or Perish offers the kind of advice that is valuable to everyone from the newly diploma-ed job applicant to the senior professional with a lifetime of work experience.  It is a roadmap for those who understand they must change the way that they embrace change itself.  Well then, what are you waiting for?  Ready... Set... Read!”

Stuart Manis

Director of Sales

and Marketing,

Kramer Consultants


“Adapt or Perish is a treasure chest of practical information on how to navigate personal careers through various challenges. It has an easy to grasp layout and it’s well written. Any business person will find it indispensable. I highly recommend it.”

Emil Stempel

Professional Engineer


Adapt or Perish is an impressive breadth of topics covered by knowledgeable industry experts sharing their insights, aha moments and research. This is a must read for those facing transition and more important for those managing people that have been through transition. I appreciated the chapter on “Generation Trends” and was able to relate it to personal, social and work situations giving me a new perspective of how to better influence, motivate and build teams; for example, the benefits of pairing generations within a team.  The reference list of supporting material is likewise impressive and adds credence to the material presented in the book.  It is unlikely I’ll read all of the references and, after reading this book, likely won’t have to.  Thank you for this wonderful compilation in Adapt or Perish.”

Donald Baddorf

Vice President,

Investment Solutions


“Find out what it takes to succeed in the new normal. From managing social media to managing your career, from understanding generational tendencies to managing risk, this book is a road map to a successful future for individuals and organizations.  Filled with valuable charts and easy exercises, it will help you take control and move forward.” 

Eugenie R. Brown

VP Business Development


“You capture the essence of what it means to survive dealing with job loss and achieve ongoing success in life. I especially enjoyed the sections referring to professional responsibility, motivating people and resiliency. Furthermore, the personal references spoke to me such as ‘make happy moments’ and ‘I’m going to be OK.’ Thank you team!”

Marilyn L. Burtt, MBA


“Change is one characteristic that separates the good talent from the great talent.  As an executive recruiter, the companies I work with want people that can adapt to change and do it quickly. The blend of the authors’ experiences and coaching is valuable for all levels of an organization, including CEOs. I will encourage the people I work with to read this book. The title says it all.” 

Brad Remillard

IMPACT Hiring Solutions


“So many ‘self-help’ books preach, ramble, and simply leave us with a sense of having wasted our time. Adapt or Perish is a rare combination of identifying the key areas of need yet keeping it light and interesting. It is a book you can easily read in an afternoon that might change your life forever. It features subject matter experts who succinctly shared their expertise and provided tangible exercises, which showed me what well-developed thought was given to this book.”

Cindy Pickens

Founder, CaféNet

regional networking



Adapt or Perish is a great collection of valuable information from very credible sources. Bringing together the wisdom of so many renowned experts provides information in a single resource that generally requires sifting through dozens of books.”

Nancy Salzman, Esq.

Dean, Extended Education

Brandman University


“I think Adapt or Perish will be a very valuable read for managers at all levels including small business.”

Lt. Col. Gene Wolf 

 (Former Commander)

Squadron 40 California

Wing - Civil Air Patrol

Auxiliary U.S. Air Force

“Change is a constant theme in business and this book gives us answers! What a refreshing set of topics and talented authors. A must read for any entrepreneur or executive.”

 Mark J. Kohler

CPA, Attorney,

Author of  What Your

CPA Isn't Telling You


“This step by step guidebook takes you through the process of embracing changes in business. It provides you with useful tools and tips for personal development by finding the ideal position.”

Gwen Bernal,

Human Resources Executive


Adapt or Perish could also have been titled Thrive or Perish. Each chapter in this book has great information and ideas about how to make the changes necessary to succeed in the current business environment. There is red meat here for business owners, C-level executives, directors, and managers as well as those seeking their next position. I highly recommend Adapt or Perish for all who want to succeed in our changing business environment.”

Richard Horstmeyer, MD

Past President of

Experience Unlimited


“This book addresses the ongoing challenges of adapting to change without fear of failure in an ever increasing social media presence within an electronic age of information.  The in-depth insight of adapting the vision of the business model, continuous strategic planning coupled with the importance of the selection leaders are addressed in a compelling manner for a world ever so transitioning to a transactional based global economic model.  A must read.”

Col(R) Edward G. Carson

Chief Executive Officer,

 Growth Management and Constructive Changes, LLC


“This book will give new and seasoned business professionals insightful strategies for adapting and thriving in a constantly changing global marketplace.”

Beverly Jones

Higher Education



Adapt or Perish is a book for everyone who would like to succeed in this fast changing world. Look for the opportunities that exist in the change, embrace it and become the leader of tomorrow.”

Sushma Rajput

Toastmasters Founder's District Public Relations Chair, Div F 2010-2011


“Adapt or Perish is a comprehensive collection of wisdom and advice from some of the nation's leading experts on change.  Their perspectives on successfully leading organizations through an environment of shifting landscapes equip the reader to effectively adapt in business, leadership, and in careers.  Where continuous change is now the new normal, Adapt or Perish is a guidebook on change management that deserves to be in every executive's library.”

Frank Borst,

President & CEO at

Masterpiece Consulting

Look Busy!

By Mark Fierle

A few years ago I was asked to speak at the national convention of Certified Management Accountants (CMA). These are accountants who specialize in manufacturing. They recognized that manufacturing Companies  in the USA were changing with lots of manufacturing jobs moving to other countries. Here’s what I told them. This goes back awhile but I think you will get the point. During the 50’s the Catholic Cardinal of New York, Cardinal Spellman, was in his office one day. He heard a knock on his door. An aide came in and said, “Cardinal, there is a man at the door, says his name is Jesus. What should I do?” 

The Cardinal thought for a moment and said, “Look busy!”

In those days, before the high tech computers of today, offices were staffed to the hilt and looking busy was a good thing.

That advice may have worked then but looking busy doesn’t get it done today. Here are a few things you can do today:

  • Take an interest in how your company runs. Become knowledgeable about the areas that are having problems and do a study on how these problems can be rectified. Take them to the powers that be and show in a well thought out manner the alternatives you have come up with. Note: there should be more than one.
  • Ask questions about problems that are open ended. Start with words like what, where, when, how and why. Be motivated by the answers you get.
  • Volunteer to head or be a part of a committee to get new ideas to solve. This may require some of your off hours.
  • If committees are not your thing, do a case study on your own.

          These are just a few things you can do. For more read our book Adapt or Perish. It’s coming out next Spring and will give you many insights from the authors that have done these things to make a difference in their companies. In today’s world it’s a whole lot more meaningful than the “looking busy” of the 50’s.

Are you willing to stick your neck out?

By Mark Fierle

“Taking risks is advisable – at times,” author unknown.

I wish I knew who said this as I’ve tried to live my career with it in mind. Certainly one trait of high achievers is the ability to calculate and manage risk.

It is here that many of us fail to act or just plain play it safe. Generally this inaction is due to the uncertainty of doing something different in uncertain times.

The result could be the loss of many opportunities that could have otherwise been realized.

Inexperience is one reason people are uncomfortable in the role of risk taker. Often it is the resistance to change on the part of the experienced that fuels the uncertainty. Almost like, well this is the way it’s always been done.

Here are a few thought’s that may help you in developing a new comfort zone in these uncertain days.

  • Keep yourself open to new and different ideas. Guard against becoming attached to the way things are done, people you associate with, even your job. That may be difficult but learn to detach your self. In order to take and assess chances you must be able to let go.
  • Challenge yourself all the time is one way to maintain flexibility. As a mentor of mine, famous Square Foot Gardener Mel Bartholomew writes, keep asking questions like “is this the best way?” or is this the best it can work? What else can I/we do? Is that the best decision? Suppose it doesn’t work? And so on. Similarly why? And how come? are good queries that open up the mind to fresh thinking and help you recognize new trends that may call for changes in the way we have always done it.
  • Start on a small scale- this will help you tolerate change. In other words take small risks before you take big risks. Take on a little more, volunteer for something difficult, organize a mastermind group.
  • If things don’t work out the way you planned don’t be discouraged, consider it a learning experience. Eventually you will build up a success record.
  • Ask what is the worst that can happen. Map out the scenario. If your conclusion is that the risk is too great then don’t do it

The ability to innovate successfully is a major factor in propelling one’s career. Author’s Steve Amos and Dr. VaNessa Vollmer have some great ideas on leadership in their chapters- check them out in the book Adapt or Perish on the shelves this Spring.

Choices Make the Difference in Future Success

By VaNessa Vollmer

Some companies have gone through a branding process, have achieved financial success, and became a household brand. However, when the market place changed they did not make choices that aligned with the new trends. 

Does anyone ever wonder why a famous film company did not embrace newer digital technology earlier and leverage their brand name with the technology shift? How do you think that recognizing this trend earlier could have impacted their busness? What do you think that they could have specifically done different? How can being aware of this paradigm shift be effectively implemented in other organizations?

Are you feeling buried or planted?

When people feel buried or overwhelmed by everything that is going on in today’s economy consider the difference between feeling buried versus being planted.

When people feel buried they may feel like they don’t have much help or much hope for what they are dealing with. However, when they feel planted, it offers new opportunities for potential growth with the hope of something wonderful to sprout, grow and eventually blossom. It is this hope and optimism that facilitates our continued success even through the most challenging times.

If you see someone who is overwhelmed, perhaps you could share some of your sunshine for their garden. It’s a slight paradigm shift, however one that can grow endless possibilities.

Connecting All Our Lives

By Marisa Fierle

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.” 
-H. G. Wells, English author, historian, & utopian (1866 – 1946)

I’ve heard people say before that we only have “one life so why not live it to it’s fullest?”…and for some reason that’s always made me sad. It makes me feel rushed, stressed, and emotional, yet disconnected…not inspired and motivated at all! If we ONLY have one life…what’s the point of connecting to anything? Why plant new connections in life? Why plant anything?! What’s the purpose…? But, I guess that like gardening, there is something satisfying about creating new life. Whether it be in the form of a child, a new friend, or a brand new garden. Creation opens your eyes to new lives…and in turn…creates immortality.

And as I sit here and close my days of my southern california life, and picture my new life in South Carolina, I realize that one life is not dying…one is being created. Nothing can take away what I’ve learned here in Southern California over the past 28 years….it will always exist no matter where I go. And when H.G. Wells urges me to adapt or perish because it’s inevitable, I shouldn’t think “well…we’re all going to die, so who cares,” I should continue to plant and grow to create memories, life-lessons, beauty, and life, because once you plant a life, it will always exist even when it dies.

What’s Around the Bend?

By Mark Fierle

If you have read my book bio, you know that as a Master Gardener one of my interests is vegetable gardening. In addition landscape design is also high on the list.

One of the secrets taught in design classes is to create a mystery in your landscape, something that will pull a visitor to the next part of your garden.

In career/ job search the same lesson applies. In this case it’s creating an interest on the part of the prospective employer so that they will have you come back for successive interview sessions.

How do I manage this? After all, my work ( resume) is an open book (as it should be).

Good question I say and let you know it is very simple. Learn to ask meaningful questions. Our book Adapt or Perish and it’s co-authors have included a number of chapters on the subject. In a minute I will give you a few references.

However the key is to change the focus from you to them. The only reason they are speaking with you is because they have something that needs to be done. Your job is to find out what it is and have them determine that you are the best one to do it. A key way to do this is to ask these questions:

  • How can I help you?
  • What are you doing now?
  • What do you like about it?
  • What changes would you like to see?
  • What key areas would you like me to focus on in the first 90 days?

This creates a dialogue rather than a monologue.

For a better reference read my chapter on the Seven Step Interview process or co-author John Hall’s chapter on developing a Case Study.

I hope you get the concept that focus on gathering information by asking questions will enable you to, along with preparation, make the best possible case for the company to hire you.

Thus take the mystery out of What’s Around the Bend!

Common Mistakes of Job Hunters

By Mark Fierle

Over the years, I have found several areas where candidates mess up and actually talk their way out of positions that hold promise for them. Today I will go over three.

One of the biggest mistakes people make during recession times is listening to negative news. They hear there are millions of people in the job market and think what chance do I have to find something- if nobody else can? They get discouraged. On the other hand while others are looking for millions of jobs- you are only looking for one! My advice is just look for that one job- not the millions that the crowd is searching for- you may be surprised.

Have you ever heard of the “keyhole problem?” A great career marketing executive once told me about this and I thought I would share it with you.

Seems a person goes door to door (does anyone do that anymore?) looking for a job. They approach a company’s door and before entering to apply, look through the portal’s keyhole. They look inside and see a bunch of busy and seemingly happy people going about their work. Thinking there are no openings, they go away without entering. Again they are discouraged.

They have ignored the fact that while everything looks fine, maybe it isn’t. Perhaps some employees are not doing a great job, are about to get fired or any number of reasons changes need to be made. The applicant who just walked away might be the person that can turn the company around. Many opportunities can be missed by not asking the question: How can I help you?

Probably the biggest mistake a candidate makes is being honest with someone who’s biggest lie is being objective! Talking too much leads to this. It’s what I say is talking yourself out of a job. The best thing you can do during an interview is come prepared.

In our book Adapt or Perish! my co-authors and I have written many chapters on this subject.

Rekindling The American Dream

By Mark Fierle

With our latest and what seems greatest recession (at least in the past 70 years), for many it appears that the American Dream has slipped away.

Some have given up getting their so called dream job. For many who had one, it appears to have slipped away. With the recession millions of experienced workers have seen not only their jobs dissolve but also their homes, nice cars and retirement portfolios.

The recent college grad, after a long search, finds nothing and mopes around like Dustin Hoffman in the 60’s movie The Graduate trying to figure out what they are going to do now that they are out of school. Pretty sad we may say.

As dismal as prospects may appear, much of the perception is the result of attitude. We think we deserve better, and we probably do. Has our generation developed the attitude that traps them into the “I deserve mode?” Deserve it or not here are two strategies and tactics that can help you cope with today’s economic mess:

  • First get your attitude together. Emulate that “can do” attitude of our prior generations. Our dream job doesn’t have to be the next job or even the one after that. Plan five years ahead. Take a job now where you can take on the hardest assignments in the organization. These are the ones no one else wants. Then work your butt off to get them done. It will show them what you can do. You might even surprise yourself.
  • Second get money and title off your priority list. This is especially important when you are unemployed and start looking for opportunity where your background, experience and education can benefit a company, if not now, maybe later. Of course, you want to get the most now, so earn it. Even if you are experienced, most jobs available today go to those who are currently employed. Don’t be picky. I can think of a lot of undesirable jobs I took that turned out to be great after I did a great job. In my research I find that many successful people have had a similar experience. The key is focus on doing a great job now and not what will come later.

For a more complete discussion, read the new book Adapt or Perish and watch that American Dream re-kindle itself.

Five Ways to Adapt to Changing Times

By Mark Fierle

An adage: The paths of our lives are filled with peaks and valleys. When we are on the top of our paths we become so self satisfied that we tend to ignore the things of importance. When we are in a valley, we feel a sense of abandonment and again we can focus only on what is directly ahead. Remind us, as you do in nature that above the tree line in the mountain-tops are barren and only in the valleys can we find the opportunity for true growth.  — Author unknown

  1. Learn to adapt and get comfortable with change. We are all somewhat different than we were 10 years ago so let’s get comfortable with today and tomorrow. Maybe we can even learn something new. By the way do you text? Do you tweet? Do you facebook?
  2. Make two lists- one of your skills, two of things you have done over the course of your life that you are most proud. If you start at the most recent and go backward you will probably recall things that you hadn’t thought of in a long time. This can make us feel good about ourselves when we are the most down. These lists can even be helpful when you get that interview and are asked – why should I hire you? It pays to learn to speak comfortably about yourself and the things you have done that benefits your company or organization.
  3. Learn to speak and write like an expert. When you are looking for work or thinking of changing professions in these down times- these are two skills that companies are thirsting for. You see, both help get our and their message across! Take some writing classes and join Toast Masters. Get an article published, write a book.
  4. Become an expert on something of value. You will be surprised who calls you for advise on the subject or asks you to make a presentation to the Board or to a large group. They may even pay you money for your knowledge and you know money is almost as good as cash!
  5. Learn to be “customer service” oriented. That is, give more and expect more. Step up your volunteer work- you will be surprised who you run into in these endeavors.

How To Create Successful Leaders

Adapt TV host Lee Pound interviews Dr. VaNessa Vollmer, organization development coach, on how to create leadership success in companies.

For more information on the Adapt or Perish book, go to