It is my pleasure to tell you about this extraordinary book, Show Me. And, if you haven’t already met the author, Randall Kenneth Jones, I’m delighted to introduce him to you. My friend, Randy Jones, is one of the most creative—and intuitive—people I’ve ever met. His journalistic talents shine throughout the book’s inspiring and witty chapters. These contain profiles and true-life stories of many of the individuals Randy personally interviewed in his role as a business journalist, based in Naples, Florida. Who better to share—and show—the reader the lessons and inspiration learned through these one-on-one interviews than Randy Jones, an energetic and gifted writer originally from the Show-Me State of Missouri?
Randy Jones and I first met a few years ago when he interviewed me for his “Business Class” column in the Naples Daily News. At that point, I was well into my nearly twenty-year career with The Emily Post Institute as spokesperson, author and director. I figured this would be like many of the other hundreds of media interviews I’d experienced. It wasn’t! And Randy was unlike any other writer I’d ever met.
That first meeting occurred at the coffee shop in a Naples bookstore. As his editorial platform grew from his strong desire to promote business courtesy, creative thinking and positive communication, he appeared to be excited about meeting “an etiquette expert.” I recall a sincerely interested interviewer who listened to every word and who made our first meeting so very enjoyable. Randy exuded energy—a characteristic I have now learned is part of his everyday character.
I have since learned a lot about Randy Jones, the marketer, speaker and journalist, and how much hard work has gone into seeking out those he wanted to interview. What perseverance! As a special contributor to the Naples Daily News, he personally pursued his interviewees. From the beginning, Randy was on a quest to learn from the experiences and successes of the movers and shakers in the area. Talk about tenacity; often, it took several tries before he was able to line up an interview. In all, Randy interviewed 86 people for his “Business Class” column. He also spoke with another 25 people who provided further insight and commentary on those profiled.
Randy Jones’s experience as a husband, father, fifty-something-year-old marketer and creative writer has grown into an exciting quest for relevance and meaning in one’s life’s journey—as seen in his personal, often hysterical, coming-of-age stories juxtaposed against the wisdom of those he interviewed.
His subjects have candidly shared their thoughts, ideas, best practices and life stories, and Randy has been able to expertly find a balance between funny, human sadness and solid, timeless advice. The word authentic certainly fits as a “Randy adjective”—and he brings out the true essence of each of his interviewees.
He also found that those he interviewed shared a commonality of being passionate about life. So often, Randy heard that a person’s work and personal worlds were closely interwoven. Another constant theme he ran into was the importance of establishing and maintaining positive relationships. Randy Jones kept hearing that being respectful and honest wins out every time. (Of course, this is music to my ears, a promoter of all things civil!)
Show Me is a fascinating read! The book is chock full of life lessons, presented in beautifully-written true stories amassed by Randy Jones throughout ten years of journaling and four years of interviewing many fascinating, accomplished people. The lives of these people have inspired Randy, and I’m confident they will inspire you, too.
Director Emeritus, The Emily Post Institute
Randall Kenneth Jones and Peggy Post photograph by Charlie McDonald Photography for the May 2014 issue of èBella magazine.