Better Retirement Lesson

by | Dec 20, 2010 | Archives

Here is a better retirement lesson.

We can have a better retirement and pinnacle career because of sacrifices made in the past.

A reader just sent me this note:

I must say Gary, I always enjoy your articles and this one is a favorite. The last time I wrote you I had lost pretty much everything in the material world after being ripped off of that area in life. You offered the simple advice to take your time and it will happen again. I new this, but was caught up in the sorrow, anger and disbelief that this had happened and all my hard work had been destroyed….seemingly. I sat back after your response and reflected on what I had left and realized that I still had me life, and my wife. These were the most important things in my life and I felt relieved to know this. That was the beginning of my journey back. Right now I happen to be in Bucaramanga, Colombia and have made the contacts I need to start a new business here that will not only benefit my family and myself, but I can employ some of the local people and create a business that will be a source of happiness for the community and the familys it touchs. It sure feels good to have these long forgotten or misplaced feeling. Anyway, My biggest concern now is learning Spanish! Knowing this I hope to attend your Spanish language course and meet you as well in the near future.

This led me to think about a lesson I just gained about being “Steady on a Course” and the sinking of this ship, an event I learned was of some importance to me.


According to  Over a seven-day period, from December 18 to 24, 1941, nine Japanese submarines positioned at strategic points along the U.S. west coast attacked eight American merchant ships, of which two were sunk and two damaged. Six seamen were killed. It was the first and only time during the three years and eight months of war to come that more than one Japanese submarine appeared at the same time off the American coast.

Twelve I-type submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s 1st Submarine Squadron had taken up position in Hawaiian waters by the evening of December 6, 1941, anticipating an attack on U.S. Pacific Fleet ships if they broke out of Pearl Harbor the next day. So successful was the December 7 surprise attack that for two days not a single American ship was spotted at sea.

As a finale to the seven days of attacks on west coast shipping, early on Christmas Day all eight Japanese subs (I-9 had been ordered to Panama on December 20) were to select a choice mainland target and fire all of their 5.5-inch deck gun ammunition at it, then withdraw to the Marshall Islands. That did not happen. According to a postwar Japanese monograph, orders from Combined Fleet headquarters in Tokyo canceled the operation for fear of retaliation by U.S. anti-submarine forces, which they announced had become ‘very severe’ within the past few days. Only I-17 carried out such an attack, shelling the oil refinery near Santa Barbara late in February.

I came across this holiday miscellany because our daughter Cinda has been studying our family history.  I started digging out some old family photos to review with here and one was the picture above of the Absoroka torpedoed Christmas Day 1941.

I wondered, “what’s that about.”  So I Googled “Absoroka Torpedoed.”

This linked me to The California State Military Museum Preserving California’s Military Heritage California and the Second World War The Attacks on the SS Barbara Olson and SS Absoroka.  The Museum’s page on this attack in US coastal waters said:   On Christmas day 1941, the Japanese submarine I-19, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Narahara Shogo, torpedoes and misses the lumber schooner BARBARA OLSON steaming toward San Diego.

Later that day, off Point Fermin near San Pedro, the I-19 torpedoes, hits and damages the McCormick Steamship Company’s 5,695-ton American lumber carrier ABSOROKA, but the ship is towed and beached at Fort MacArthur.

By 10:30, the freighter was off Point Fermin, whose famous 77-year-old lighthouse was clearly visible less than a mile away. Manning a coast artillery gun position on the point just below the lighthouse, Army Sergeant James Hedwood and his crew watched the ship as it passed. “We were looking at the lumber schooner when suddenly we saw a fountain of water spout 100 feet into the air at the stern,” Hedwood recalled. The boat spun around some 220 degrees from the force of the blow, “ending up with its stern to sea and its bow facing toward land.”

One month later, in the January 26, 1942, issue of LIFE magazine, movie actress Jane Russell was featured in the full-page “Picture of the Week,” standing in the tremendous hole in Absaroka’s hull created by the Japanese torpedo. In the picture she is holding a poster that warns: “A slip of the lip may sink a ship,” with the words “may sink a ship” crossed out and the words “may have sunk this ship” written in.


I Googled some more and found that Jane Russell photo.

Then I was astounded to read at the museum site a three paragraph quote from my grandfather! The page said:  On board, Seaman Joseph Scott was the first to see the sub that got Absaroka. “It was midmorning and all hands were up, when I looked off to starboard and saw a whale,” he recalled. “At least I was about to say ‘look over yonder, a whale,’ when I changed my mind and yelled, ‘There’s a Jap submarine!’

She was coming head-on. Then her periscope went up and she shot a torpedo. I’ve seen torpedoes coming at me before. ‘They’ve wasted that one,’ says I. Sure enough it went wide, but right on its heels came another. ‘Oh, oh, that’s bad,’ says I, because I could see this one was going to get us.

“In those other torpedoings, as I recall ’em, there was always a bang or blast and a bump,” Scott continued. “But this one was a sort of slow jar, with nothing but a rumble because she hit well below the waterline.”

Further searching revealed a photo of the survivors leaving the Absaroka after the attack. Here was gramps… front row right side… the guy (really) in the white hat.


My grandfather was a seaman all his life… starting as a fisherman’s apprentice in Lossimouth Scotland at age 14.

In WWI he was a British naval officer (center).


Here he is front row center…next to the man with the dog.

So I was further astounded to read at the California Museum page:  Scott’s reference to previous experience with torpedoes was no exaggeration. At sea since his early 20s, the 48-year-old veteran had had four ships torpedoed out from under him on four consecutive voyages during World War I.

Five times… my grandfather had been torpedoed and we never knew.  Just one story that he had once spent an entire day floating in the ocean.

Here is the lesson that can help us have a better retirement.

Clear and exact communication between the helmsman and officer on the bridge is essential to safe navigation and ship handling. Subsequently, a set of standard steering commands, responses by the helmsman, and acknowledgement by the conning officer are widely recognized in the maritime industry. The helmsman repeats any verbal commands in order to demonstrate that the command is heard and understood.

There are two types of commands… rudder commands.

“Midships” (Bring rudder angle to 0 degrees)
“Check your swing” (Counter steer to stop the movement or swing of the ship’s bow)
“Hard rudder” (Used infrequently, such as emergencies, when maximum rudder is required)
“Right or left standard rudder” (~20 degrees. Varies per ship)
“Shift your rudder” (Steer the same number of degrees but opposite rudder angle)

Plus there are two course commands:  “Steady as she goes” (Steer as needed to continue current heading) and “Steady on a course” (Steer as needed to bring ship on desired course).

My grandfather was torpedoed five times… spent plenty of time underwater and he never even mentioned it to me.  He just kept “steady as she goes” and lived a good and full life.

The global economy will have its ups and downs and at times may seem torpedoed.   Don’t let this throw you “underwater”.   Embrace the change. Come “Midships” or “Check your swing” and “Steady on a course”.  You are alive and free and have incredible technology t help you have a better retirement and a pinnacle career.


Seven P Secrets of Self Publishing

When you write, you can work anywhere. 


Here I am working poolside in the winter, at our Florida farm.

gary scott

Here I am with our hound Ma, working during the summer at our North Carolina farm.

Learn how to earn everywhere, while living anywhere you choose.  I have been able to earn by writing in Hong Kong, England, the Isle of Man, Dominican Republic and Ecuador to name a few of the places I have lived.   Anywhere I am,  I am  able to work.

All I need is my laptop.

That’s all you need too… a laptop to be free!

Before computers, a pencil and pad did the job.

Freedom is just one benefit you can gain from a laptop business.

Another benefit is income.   Writing has brought me both our farms in Florida and North carolina, free and clear… plus a lot more.

Another good example of earning potential is my friend Hugh Howey.   He was working for $10 an hour in a book store when he self published his novel Wool, typing in a storage room during his lunch breaks.

Soon he was earning over $100,000 a month on  This helped secure a six-figure book deal from Simon & Schuster, and an option for film by Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner and Alien.

That’s what he’s doing now.

Hugh Howey

Hugh and I playing chess (he beats me badly).

Writers like Hugh are great inspirations.

A couple of years ago Hugh  left Florida, and moved to South Africa.  He had a sailing catamaran built for him and now can sail the world while he continues to write.

Hugh explained it like this: And that’s the miracle of working as a writer: I can do it from anywhere and everywhere. The past few years, I’ve done a lot of writing from airplanes and airports while on business trips abroad.  SAND was entirely written overseas while traveling through seven different countries; I think it’s a better story because of those inspirations.  In upcoming years, I may be writing near your home port.

Hugh’s a super star writer and his success could not happen to a more deserving and talented person.  He pours enormous energy into being worthy of his readership.  But you do not have to be a million dollar a year earner or a traveler to benefit from writing.

The good news is… you do not need a huge success to have a rich and fulfilled lifestyle.  Self Publishing can bring you a life that most people only dream of, as a journeyman writer, instead of a super star.

May I hastily add that the path to stardom begins as a journeyman… so the journeyman’s path brings success without stardom… but can also lead to stardom.

What most success stories like Hugh’s rarely explain is the many hours of writing that was devoted before their self published book sales soared.   Hugh, like most writers were journeymen first.  Stardom came later.

Here are sevens secrets that can help you become a journeyman writer. 

The secrets are a writer’s armory of tools that allows almost anyone to create successful publications for income, freedom and fulfillment.

Take Merri’s and my publishing business as an example.  

Merri and I are not writing stars.  We are journeymen who have for more than 40 years, year in and year out, earned solid income writing and self publishing dozens of publications about multiple subjects.

Some years that income has been more than solid… over a million dollars.  Yet in terms of stardom, we are hardly known.

In a moment you’ll see why that’s fine for us and probably will be for you too.

First some history.

Merri became involved in self publishing over 40 years ago… first helping a veterinarian publish a book on a very specific market… animal acupuncture. Then she showed a needle point artist how to sell more books to an even more specific audience… “needle point enthusiasts”  about her needle point work to an audience larger than the population of the city she lived in.  This led Merri to eventually become Executive Editor of an award winning magazine in Florida.

My story allowed Merri and me to work and live from Hong Kong to London to Europe to Eastern Europe, then the Caribbean and then Ecuador… making millions in the process of following our adventures… having fun… while helping a large readership adapt to a rapidly changing world.

That’s what self publishing can bring, profit, adventure and fulfillment, a great feeling of worth and wonder.

Self Publishing has created exactly the lifestyle we desire allowing us to span the world and work with meaning and purpose.

Self Publishing has become a new business art form. 

The seven secrets can help you start your own self publishing business now.

Everything in publishing is new and exciting and changing.  Publishing is being recreated by the wonderful power of destructive technology.

Everything is new… except the seven secrets. 

Change in the publishing industry is disturbing many.   We love this evolution due to these seven secrets we call the 7Ps.  The 7 Ps are so fundamental to writing and publishing that new technology enhances rather than reduces their power.

The First P is Passion.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it AND create income with self publishing.  This can be your direct ticket to the kind of fulfillment you’ve always wanted.

Whether you want to travel the world or live as a recluse, work 12 hours a day or not work much at all,  you can set your schedule to succeed, if you’re willing to learn these seven secrets.

You can start part-time with any dream, passion, and budget.  Once you’ve created a product, you’ll enjoy the “multiple effect” of producing profits over and over again.

So the question is… What do you love to do?

What’s Your Passion:  An example is that thirty years ago, a client of Merri’s had a passion to help people who were in pain?  He published a series of pamphlets explaining various chiropractic disorders in very simple terms.  For example: “What Is Whiplash?”

The pamphlets contained solid information, but were simple 5″ x 7″ brochures with drawings and explanations. He sold them with a rack to chiropractors, who put them in their offices for patients to read.  These little self-published items sold year in and year out for decades.

There are thousands of ideas of this sort that can lead to big business.  It’s just a matter of defining and then acting on your passion.

Although I can work when I please and go where I wish, for me the most important reason for being a publisher is the satisfaction it brings. 

I love the projects I take on, so work doesn’t feel like, well… work.

What do you love?  If you love golf, then you can write and sell publications about golf.  Love travel, fishing, dogs, dolls, or art?  Write and sell publications in these fields.

Are you concerned about crime, war, poverty or environmental issues?  You can publish information products that help reduce these concerns.

Would you like to help the world be a more spiritual place?  Publish a newsletter, write a book (or hire someone to write it for you), record a tape… publish something that enlightens people.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it and earn income by publishing for ereaders, print on demand, CDs, lists, bound books, or any format you choose.

Be immersed in your passion and get paid well for it. 

This is why stardom is not the main goal for most writers and self publishers.  Extra income, more freedom and fulfillment are usually more than enough enough.

The seven Ps are:

#1: Passion

#2: Problem

#3: Person

#4: Profitably Priced Product

#5: Prospecting Pathway

#6: Promise

#7: Presentation

The first time I exposed others to the secrets in Self Publishing was in a weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.  We offered the camp for $1,500. 80 delegates enrolled.  People from all walks of life attended—chiropractors, businessmen, investors, doctors, realtors, inventors, airline pilots, engineers, and housewives.

Merri and I were so overwhelmed by the response, we decided to make it available to a larger audience.  We created a written course based on our current self publishing activity called “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.”  Then we recorded the weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.

Thousands have used the course as it has evolved over the decades.

Writing to sell is one of the most powerful forms of marketing  and marketing is what we do in every aspect of life… every day. 

The heart of all events requires marketing.  We market ourselves, our business, our thoughts ideas and beliefs all the time.  In business, marketing covers strategic planning, product design, packaging, distribution, advertising, public relations, promotions and sales.  Marketing is the process by which anything and everything, product, service, idea, person is introduced and promoted. Without marketing, you may be or have something great, but no one knows it.

All marketing begins with writing… whether, a speech, picture, video, movie, advertisement, announcement, banner,  jingle, song… the birth place is in the written word.

Why words are better than cash.

You can turn words into cash.  Mix in a little wisdom and deliver benefits.  The value of honest word’s never deflate.  A dollar, decades ago, was worth 15 greenbacks today… or more.   Useful, wise words, even hundreds of years aged… are often worth more now.

Take these 153 year old words: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Has time diminished the value of these words?

Sometimes Merri’s and my writing led us into incredible adventures.


Here I am with Merri and an Ecuadorian Yatchak deep in the Llanganatis Jungle creating a shamanic tour.


Yet during the pandemic we have been able to continue sitting away from the madding crowd in our cabin on Little Horse Creek and at our Florida farm.

There is a possibility that Merri and I know more about writing from home than 99.9% of the people in the world.  We have been at this for over 50 years now and thousands have taken our online correspondence course on how to create your own self publishing business.

A writing business not only creates unusual profit opportunity now… but can create income for a lifetime!

The course “Self Fulfilled” shows how Merri I and have created riches and a lifestyle beyond our wildest imagination and shares steps you can take to create a profitable and fun business.

This course shares how we have done this… what we did right… what we did wrong… how you can get started and what you can do much better than we have.

To help you start, I have created a special streamlined offer… our course on how to be a self publisher with all the frills removed at a 75% discount.

Self Fulfilled is normally $299.  Thousands have paid that price.  The streamlined course is only $79.

GUARANTEED. Even At This Low Price, We’ll Still Accept All the Risk!

We completely guarantee the program.

Order Self Publishing: Your Complete Business Plan for becoming a self publisher and take a full 30 days to put it through its paces. That way you can follow my simple process and start seeing the results for yourself.

If you’re not completely convinced that this information is so powerful that it can help you quickly develop income through writing to sell—all you have to do is let us know and  you’ll receive a complete refund of every penny of your investment.

Fair enough?

Our publishing business has brought us more wealth, satisfaction, fun and friendship than we ever imagined possible. And now we want to share our knowledge and secrets with anyone who has a desire to experience this way of life.

Whether you are an engineer, doctor, housewife, business owner, or retiree… self-publishing offers a way to make a six- or seven-figure income by turning your passion into profit.

Don’t miss this special opportunity.  Order Self Fulfilled How to be a Self Publisher today if you want to cash in on the satisfying, profitable and exciting lifestyle that publishing can bring despite and in fact because of trouble in the world.

Self Fulfilled Special $79 

Self Publishing 2021 discounted to $79 - using coupon code SELFPUB at checkout to immediately save $220 off the regular price of $299.


Gary Scott