These days, I'm a book author and financial blogger on jlcollinsnh.com, but it wasn't always so. I started selling flyswatters door-to-door and picking up empty pop bottles from the side of the road for the 2-cent deposit. Gimme a break. I was eight. My first real job was scrubbing out big metal ice cream cans. I was 13. It paid $1.25 per hour. From there: Busboy, dishwasher, order-puller, grocery bagger, stock clerk, produce clerk and gas station pump jockey back in the day when someone pumped your gas, washed your windows and checked your oil (ask your grandparents). Mail clerk, tree-trimmer, landscaper, ad agency founder, account executive, ad space salesman, investment officer, entrepreneur, consultant, sales trainer, speaker, writer, radio talk show host and magazine publisher. Pretty much in that order although I've done some more than once. And I may have forgotten one or two. My work has taken me to most U.S. states as well as Canada, Germany and England. One of my few regrets is that I've never had an international posting. But I've had the good fortune to see a bit of the planet on my own: Mexico, Canada, Ireland, Wales, England, Greece, Crete, Puerto Rico, Tahiti, Venezuela, Curacao, Scotland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Paris, India, Kashmir, Goa, Nepal, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Eleuthera, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Barbados, Antigua, Martinique, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Chile, Prague, Guatemala, Galápagos. Pretty much in that order although I've visited some more than once. And I may have forgotten one or two. I've traveled by plane, train, bus, boat, subway, taxi, hired car, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, hitch-hiking, foot, horse, donkey and elephant. Not only traveled by elephant, but herded rhinoceroses by elephant back in Nepal. My degree in English Lit is from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. They still send me alumni letters mostly, I think, hoping I've become rich and famous. I'm working on it. Here's my favorite cartoon: The visual is two guys in a corn field, up on racks dressed in shabby clothes. Straw coming out from their shirt cuffs and pant legs. They are serving as scarecrows. One is looking over at the other and saying... "English Major. How about you?" A pal of mine once said I had won the family lottery. He is right. My wife Jane and I have been married for 34 years. Our daughter Jessica graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Rhode Island. She currently serves in the Peace Corp.
--This text refers to the paperback