Dare to prepare: Over 40 years in law, sports, business and politics, Baltimore attorney Ron Shapiro has worked with and advised an incredible variety of people. In his just-released book Dare to Prepare, he says he's found that the secret ingredient for getting into the winner's circle is simply methodical preparation, whether you are an executive getting ready to do a deal or make a speech; a pitcher studying opposing hitters and keeping a meticulous notebook of their strengths and weaknesses; an international trade negotiator who knows all about the issues and the people before sitting down at the table; or a surgeon who rehearses like a classical musician.
Deep down, you know you should do it, he says. But how often do you wing it and fly by the seat of your pants because "Gosh, I don't have time. ... I've done this before. ... I know what I'm doing"?
In Dare to Prepare, successful people such as wine guru Robert Parker, investment legend Bill Miller, pianist Leon Fleisher, Goldman Sachs partner Lisa Fontenelli, broadcaster Bob Costas, firefighter Ann Marie Tierney, New York Mets manager Willie Randolph and many others share the way they apply discipline in preparing for career-changing games, deals, meetings and interviews. Cal Ripken Jr. played thousands of games in the major leagues but prepared for each as if it were his first, says Shapiro, who has represented the Orioles' Hall of Famer.
Tess Monaghan returns: Laura Lippman, one of crime fiction's most gifted and consistently praised authors, has the 10th novel in her Tess Monaghan series, Another Thing to Fall, coming out in early March. Lippman, who lives in Federal Hill with her husband, David Simon, impresario of HBO's Baltimore-based video novel The Wire, places her favorite private eye in the middle of a fictional television production, Mann of Steele - a new series set here. Initially, Monaghan's job is to baby-sit the series' rising young starlet, but murder soon arrives. In classic Hollywood tradition, everyone has an angle. Lippman's last novel, last year's What the Dead Know, won widespread critical acclaim and the 2007 Quill Award for Best Mystery.
Pratt branches closing for renovation: On Saturday, Feb. 2, the Edmondson Avenue Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library at 4330 Edmondson Ave. will be closing for a more-than-year-long renovation. The $1.2 million "makeover" for this 55-year-old branch will include new shelving, carpeting, furniture and circulation desk, the addition of a computer lab and the conversion of the basement into a public meeting room. The branch will reopen in the summer of 2009. In the months ahead, the Pratt's Reisterstown Road Branch at 6310 Reisterstown Road will also be closing for more than a year-long renovation. As in previous renovations, patrons can use the Pratt's Bookmobile and visit several nearby Pratt locations.