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Decades of Entertainment: The Wisdom and Wonders of Author Gene S. Jones


Nationally acclaimed game show host, creativity coach, producer and author Gene S. Jones has entertained and inspired audiences for more than four decades. His innovative career includes many years spent as a professional fire-eater and juggler, magician, and television sportscaster. Jones also served as Associate Editor of the Guinness Book of World Records, which led him to create the GIMME A HINT! Trivia Game Show. Since 1986, he's hosted that uniquely formatted game show over twenty-five hundred times nationwide while also teaching creativity seminars and ghostwriting custom speeches for corporate and private clients.


Gene S. Jones’ latest release, Consolidated Wisdom, is a 368-page compendium featuring more than 1500 of history's most profound phrases spanning the past 5000 years. Organized into 20 chapters by category, each chapter’s quotations are accompanied by the author’s insightful commentary. The book’s final two chapters offer a comprehensive summary of the book and introduce a Wisdom Meditation method that provides readers an opportunity to apply the book’s vast wisdom to their daily lives.








Tell us a bit about you.


Something happened to me when I was a freshman at the University of Michigan. I took a creative writing course because there was an English requirement. Little did I know that course would revolutionize my life. Each time the teacher gave us a topic to write about, she simply said: “There are no rules…just write!”. Being granted such freedom was intimidating at first, but once I got used to it, my whole approach to writing…and life in general, changed dramatically. From that year on, I’ve lived a creative life that has led me to a fascinating array of experiences. I started saying “Yes” to life and never looked back. The first big change I made was walking down to the campus radio station and starting a Blues music and talk show. Then I started writing public service announcements and movie reviews. Soon I was writing commercials for a local radio station. This led me to the local concert promoter who hired me to MC major concerts. My first big assignment was to MC for James Taylor. The promoter then hired me to produce smaller concerts for the University of Michigan. For one of those events, I hired an international vaudeville troupe that had just arrived from England…just to spice up the intermission between bands. They asked me to be their MC for the evening, and then hired me as their business manager. When the troupe flew me over to Europe to observe their European company, they taught me how to juggle. When I returned home, they taught me to eat fire.

A year later an agent hired me to do a solo show at Bowling Green University. Amazingly, my fire-eating performance made the front page of a local newspaper. The agent used that article to book me a tour the next fall, so all of a sudden I was a solo entertainer on the road. That lasted for four years until I applied for an arts grant from the state of Michigan. The grant included funds for a trip to California to research the roots of vaudeville, as I wanted to meet the owner of the Society for the Preservation of the Variety Arts in Los Angeles. It turned out to be a marvelous place, and the owner offered me a job working there, so I moved to Los Angeles and stopped touring. The Variety Arts Center was a mecca for entertainment nostalgia, and soon I was producing weekly variety shows in the vaudeville format with Michael Feinstein as my pianist. The club was closed on Mondays, so I started a Jugglers Forum for jugglers to gather and share stories. I also taught newcomers how to juggle. That got the attention of the International Jugglers Association, who asked me to MC their next annual convention. In 1980, I was elected President of that organization. In 1982 I produced their annual convention in Santa Barbara, CA, and in 1983 I produced their annual convention in Purchase, NY as part of PepsiCo Summerfare. While serving as president, I heard numerous complaints from jugglers who submitted applications for Guinness records - that they were being ignored - so I decided to contact the Guinness book on their behalf. The publisher, David Boehm was very receptive to my inquiry and asked me to create guidelines for juggling records, which I did. Mr. Boehm soon began sending me out to judge record attempts nationwide, and then began offering me as a spokesperson for the Guinness Book both in his office and on television shows around the USA. After a few years, he promoted me to Associate Editor of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1986. This was a part-time job scheduled around my production and performance schedule.


When the New York jugglers convention ended in 1983, I decided to permanently settle in New York City, where I established a special event production company: Royal Production Services…a company I still manage today, albeit with a very different profile. Two specialties of my company in the 1990s was the writing and production of elaborate murder mystery events…and building haunted houses. Throughout my 40 years of running Royal Production Services, I was constantly writing murder mysteries, comedy sketches, custom speeches, and roasts in addition to designing large theme events. In 1986, a client reading my resume noticed I was also working for the Guinness Book of World Records, so he asked me to produce and host a game show for his corporate event. Saying yes to that request once again revolutionized my life, as my first game show caused an unexpected sensation and I immediately received more than a dozen game show host bookings. It took a few years to hone my performance style into the GIMMEAHINT! Trivia Game Show, but that eventually became my passion, and from 1986 until 2023 I hosted more than 2500 shows. As you will learn later in this interview, that game show actually led to the writing of Consolidated Wisdom.

 

Is “Consolidated Wisdom” your first book?


My book Younger and Wiser: Peaceful Words for a Troubled World was published in 2020 and is still available on Amazon.


How would you describe your new book?  


Consolidated Wisdom is a very eclectic yet practical book with a lot of heart that’s filled with an abundance of valuable wisdom. It contains brilliant quotes by many of the greatest minds known to the civilized world…from ancient history until today. The quotes and phrases in the book apply to every aspect of life and reflect the diversity of human existence. There are more than 1500 quotes by more than 700 contributors. I spent a lot of time organizing the chapters by category to make the book easy to read and navigate. Interestingly enough, much of the wisdom from ancient history still applies to contemporary life. Consolidated Wisdom contains valuable information for all walks of life and also covers some unconventional subjects to expand the horizons of all those who read it.

 

You’ve had quite a varied career, what was it that prompted you to write this particular book?   


During my 35 years of hosting the GIMMEAHINT! Trivia Game Show, I almost always threw in questions about my favorite phrases. Therefore, I was constantly on the lookout for great quotes. When I began winding down my career as a game show host, I realized I had accumulated a rather large collection of quotes over the years. The more I studied those quotes, the more inspired I became to share them with the world. Once I decided to create a book, I embarked on a three-year quest to unearth the best quotes of all time. My research journey led me to explore and sort through thousands of quotes. Organizing the best quotes into a cohesive book proved to be a rewarding project that enriched my life. Now my goal

is to enrich the lives of others.


It looks like quite an endeavor; how long did it take you from start to finish?


It took more than three years and the reading of more than100 books, as my curiosity about the people who created the quotes led me to read numerous biographies and historical accounts about the worldwide rise of civilization.

 

What would you like readers to take away from Consolidated Wisdom?


To sum my goal up in just a few words: To enrich the lives of those who read it.


The subtitle of the book: The Ultimate Book of Quotations for Success, Happiness and Health provides insight into the purpose behind writing Consolidated Wisdom. My primary goal is to provide readers with gems of wisdom they can put to use in their everyday lives. In practical terms, Consolidated Wisdom is designed to be a valuable resource and reference guide for anyone planning to write a speech or a term paper, make a business presentation, solve a problem or resolve a relationship issue. The chapters on creativity and the arts are particularly useful for writers.


To me, the best wisdom is actionable wisdom. That’s why I included a chapter of Wisdom Meditations at the end of the book. That chapter provides protocols readers can use that directly apply wisdom from the book to their individual challenges and problems. The sagacious use of actionable wisdom leads to better decision-making, which leads to better outcomes. The ultimate goal of Consolidated Wisdom is to help people live happier, more fulfilling lives.

 

You describe the book as “comfort food for the mind.” Can you elaborate on that?


I’ve discovered that good wisdom phrases seem to massage the mind, especially when they apply directly to a person’s life situation. That’s why I formatted Consolidated Wisdom into chapters by category; so readers can go to the arenas of life that attract them. Everyone has a different set of needs and desires, so each reader will select a different set of categories.


To facilitate this, I added a brief How To Navigate This Book section immediately after the Introduction. There are a number of features in the book designed to make it easy to read and pinpoint specific interests…such as the sections titled Great Minds Think Alike. People who have previewed Consolidated Wisdom have told me that the beauty of the phrases and quotes feeds their minds in a very comforting way…hence the phrase ‘comfort food for the mind’.

 

Is there another book in the works? 


Definitely. In fact, my next book is almost finished. Consolidated Wisdom features the best quotes of others. My next book titled MODERN WISDOM will feature my own original wisdom quotes compiled throughout my adult life. At present, it’s about 200 pages. I’m hoping to have it ready for publication in early 2025 …possibly in time for Christmas 2024. I have another book planned for late 2025 or early 2026 titled The Nine Pillars of Creativity, which details the nine foundational traits needed to live a creative life. It’s based on the principles I’ve followed to create my career and generate creative flow in my life for the past fifty years.


A free introductory download outlining those nine principles will be on my new website that’s currently under construction: genejoneswisdom.com. That website is schedule to be online by the end of April.

 

 



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