Interview with Ervin Ackman

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a blue-collar suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. My father owned an automobile body and paint shop. My father was a model of human character. The spirit of hard-working individualism was reinforced throughout the community. My expectations of our country, its status as a force of good for the world and what it could accomplish gave me great pride to be an American. As I watched with disappointment the slow decline it was obvious that we had lost our ability to compete in every aspect and as I was taught, if something is wrong it's your responsibility to fix it. With a passion for doing the right thing engrained in me from my formative years, I have a hard time sleeping at night until we fix our country. The book is about how to do that with a solution already available.
When did you first start writing?
I have always enjoyed putting my thoughts down in writing as far back as I can remember. Most of my writings have been for internal consumption until recently.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is a true story about the "incredible story of Project Socrates". In fact that was the original title. Project Socrates was a major breakthrough in systematically achieving and sustaining competitive advantage based on superior ability to acquire and utilize technology. To create the system, Team Socrates had to develop an automated system capable of mapping the entire universe of all technology, or any slice, with tools to strategically maneuver in the technologyspace for competitive advantage. Since technology is based on the laws of physics, it is a closed set which can be structured and digitized. This capability is a major leap from what I call primitive "hunting and gathering" of technology, to the automated innovation era. Where this capability was deployed with incredible results, its results were also, ironically, a force of its own demise as a government program. After decades of exploiting U.S. domestic markets our U.S. allies began to realize their vulnerability when U.S. producers were enabled with System Socrates. Because of their pressure President George H. W. Bush abolished Project Socrates leaving the U.S. domestic market to foreign competitors with proven ability to outcompete U.S. producers. Had System Socrates been deployed, as President Reagan planned, we would have avoided the crisis and decline of the U.S. I think our readers should understand this story and realize it is not too late as Socrates Generation-3 is being built and deployed to resume its original mission of restoring U.S. competitiveness.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords in my view is the prototype for the next generation of the publishing industry. The traditional publishing industry has been great but has served its purpose and it is time to move on. New technology has made it obsolete. I'm not talking about the product, hard back written book, being obsolete. Those are precious and will be around for a long time. But it's the process to publish that has been changed whether eBook or tradition printed books. Without Smashwords it would have taken months to get the book published and the messages in non-fiction books, like mine, have a shelf life dictated by constant change in the real world. We can no longer endure the time it takes to publish in the traditional way.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Mine is a non-fiction book with an urgent message. Getting that message out so that everyone can hear and then getting back the comments from readers is what makes it all worthwhile. We truly have a solution for our country's problems that impact everyone. Making it right will be my contribution.
What do your fans mean to you?
I know what you mean by "fans" and no disrespect intended but it is not for me to label anyone as "my fan". I feel that would be presumptuous. If someone likes my work and wants to consider themselves a "fan" that is their choice and would then be my good fortune. These people who like my work are the emotional fuel for getting done what we must do. What I write about in the book is what we, including fans and friends, will do for the benefit of all humankind.
What are you working on next?
Thanks for asking. The next book is what comes after execution of Project Socrates as the platform for all planning and decision-making in the US and allied countries. We are in the midst of major world change and System Socrates was designed, built and deployed as the mechanism for executing that change. In the Socrates guided transformation process, among other things, new leadership naturally emerges along with new leadership structures. It's like re-inventing a nation by holding onto the fundamental foundation of universal constants and guiding principles that never change while resynchronizing systems and processes with upgrades to work smoothly in the new reality. The new leadership understands this as our founding fathers understood it when they took the leap and re-invented governance and applied it to a new nation that turned out to be the U.S.A. They too started with the basic universal truths but put them to work in advanced systems and processes as they knew them at that time. The foundation principles are the same but the capabilities of systems and processes today are much better. The leadership of this transformation will be the "Founding Fathers II" and that is the title of the next book.
Who are your favorite authors?
Great question. There are so many good authors it is hard to select a few and as I have matured, so has my taste for reading. Throughout my lifetime I have generally preferred fiction and adventure like those of Ian Fleming (shows my age), Arthur Haley, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler and Bernard Cornwell. Then there are the classics like Ayn Rand's Fountainhead. Currently I have become interested in documentaries and biographies of presidents. I like Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln classified as a historical narrative.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend my time with my family as much as possible. I even like to include them in my work by having them review it at various times mainly for level of interest. I also maintain an exercise regimen. I used to run but the pounding took its toll on my bottom three vertebrae. For the last several years I have done my cardiovascular exercise riding a bicycle. That has helped me physically and also provided a wardrobe of event tee-shirts. I was a high school and college athlete but found that while I liked participating, I am not a good spectator. So I keep track of who is doing well but do not watch sports very much on television. Instead I like to do my yard work and keep the house and vehicles in working order.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I guess you can call it a story. I am sure I did other writings before my masters thesis but that was the one I remember most. It was on the European Common Market, in its formative phase. Again, I expose my age. I have thought about it occasionally as we look at the EU today and wish I had it to do over. I think I could have done a better job. But I got a good grade and my degree was awarded.
What is your writing process?
There first must be an inspiration. The more compelling the better. Mine was very compelling and once that happened the rest was not difficult for me. In my first book, which is the one I just published, I began from a personal need to understand Project Socrates and Ronald Reagan's program to restore U.S. competitiveness. It was clear to me that we, the U.S., had slipped in ability to compete and no matter what else we do, if we are not competitive, we will not survive. I started by chronically the events that took place from Project Socrates birth, research, design and development to its completion, deployment and results. As a highly sensitive government project that required mental shifts just to understand while being implemented in a strong "maintain the status quo" environment (Washington D.C.) there were many conflicts to expose that will hold reader interest. With the first draft completed, I circulated it to various "readers" consisting in friends, business associates and one or two that I barely knew to get responses from multiple perspectives. I received comments that resulted in a series of revisions. Then I hired a structural editor who changed the flow. Again, very helpful. The last edit was done by a technical writer. That was the final and included sentence structure, grammar and spelling. From there I hired a service to format the manuscript for eBook publishing and here we are today.
Published 2013-10-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

President Reagan’s Program to Secure U.S. Leadership Indefinitely: Project Socrates
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 89,920. Language: English. Published: October 22, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Development / economic development
The book is about President Reagan's Project Socrates, MIchael Sekora, its creator, the system they built to ensure America's future and its revival today. System Socrates supported the highest priority government and commercial programs with incredible success. But incoming President George H. Bush rescinded Reagan's executive order to make Socrates permanent sending the US back into a tailspin.