Commenting on my recent post about my book The Language of Excellence, Marshall Martin said that even years later his business vocabulary still includes "ceremonialism, majoring in minors, indispensable man and I-65 North" among other phrases. 

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Those who haven't read The Language of Excellence are probably wondering what I-65 North has got to do with it. I use “I-65 North” as a metaphor about business. It is also the name of my publishing company. 

Business is a journey; one that involves constant change and where success is determined through the eyes of those who judge us. The role of a leader is to get people moving in the same direction toward a common destination with a clear understanding of the rules of the road for getting there. I-65 North conveys the idea of a journey with everyone traveling in the same direction—north. North is analogous to the idea of upward progress (the pursuit of excellence).

While the destination of the business journey is set and communicated by an organization’s leader, individuals are not robots. If you are on the team, it is because the organization believes in you as an achiever, but many things shape how each member of the team performs in pursuit of the destination. There is not one performance style that has a monopoly on success. The analogy of the interstate conveys this flexibility. Individuals determine their own rate of speed on the journey north, provided they do not go so slow as to impede others or so fast as to recklessly endanger others. As an individual within the organization, however, you cannot go south, east, or west. You as an individual are in control. It is your vehicle, but the leader sets the direction and destination.

Business is a journey. The role of the leader is to get everyone traveling in the same direction.


For more about The Language of Excellence at a discounted price for bulk purchases go to For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Listening for 900 Miles

Last week I drove 900 miles from Naples, Florida, to Franklin, Tennessee. I hate driving. However, this particular trip went by quickly. Why?

I purchased an audiobook before starting my road trip. The book turned a normally unpleasant fourteen hours into an enjoyable listening experience. It was one of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher mysteries and had a little more splattered brain matter and destroyed knees than I prefer—but then there were a couple of drivers I encountered during the trip that I would have liked to introduce to Jack Reacher in a dark alley.

If you are planning a driving trip anytime soon, consider purchasing the audio version of my book The Claret Murders. Even if you previously read the book, you will enjoy having the mystery and the Nashville flood experience brought to life through the voice of the reader. The audio version is available on or iTunes. Did you know there is talk of TV and movie rights? If you missed it, you can read the announcement for release of the audio edition by going to

While I don’t recommend reading it while driving, I hope you will soon read The Language of Excellence if you haven’t already. It is my fifth full-length book and the first focused on business. I am particularly happy that the book is being talked about as a breakthrough for its clarity and simplicity in its treatment of leadership and management issues. The CEO of LIVESTRONG said it teaches you how to deal with almost anything business or life will throw at you. The book is available in print and eBook formats on Amazon, other online bookstores, and through your favorite bookstore. The Language of Excellence is the perfect gift for someone about to graduate from college or for those already in the business world in pursuit of long-term durable success. To purchase from Amazon go to
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Tom Collins’s books include his book on leadership, The Language of Excellence, and his mystery novels including Mark Rollins’ New Career, Mark Rollins and the Rainmaker, Mark Rollins and the Puppeteer, and the newest mystery, The Claret Murders. For signed copies, go to the author’s online store. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders, go to The eBook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes’ iBookstore.