Sunday, June 17, 2007

Louis J. Norman II

Louis J. Norman II:

A Candid Q & A

By: Joseph W. Norman

My father has his Masters and the better part of his Doctorate in Chemistry. Throughout my life, his advice has been a staple influence, helping me become who I am today. Some of his thoughts and beliefs are featured below in a candid Q & A session.

VIP: What is your definition of success?

LJN: My definition of success has changed as I have grown older. When I was younger my definition of success was closely tied with money and the acquisition thereof, thinking that money would buy success or happiness. As I have gotten older I have come to realize that the more important thing is to achieve a balance between the acquisition of money and time. Money’s only real use is to allow you to enjoy the time that you have in any way that you choose. Almost everything that a person enjoys doing with their time requires a certain amount of money. The key is not to spend so much time acquiring the money that you don’t have any time left to enjoy the real reason that you wanted to acquire the money in the first place. It can be very easy to forget just why you wanted to acquire the money if you focus too much on its acquisition.

VIP: Who are a few people you would like to meet? Why?

LJN: I would like to have met Albert Einstein and the author, Robert Heinlein; both probably for the same reason. Einstein was able to conceptualize ideas about how the natural world worked that no one had every thought of before and Heinlein (a Science Fiction author) did the same thing with plausible futures and imaginary worlds. To have conversed with them and gotten a feel for how their minds worked would have been fascinating.

VIP: What are your modes of relaxation, i.e. hobbies?

LJN: Reading would top the list both technical material to increase my knowledge about subjects that have a bearing on my profession and ‘who dun its’ and spy thrillers for the fascination of the plots. Gardening because of the satisfaction of starting with little seeds and doing what is necessary to help them become table fare. Hunting and fishing for the enjoyment of being in the woods or on the stream. I also really enjoy eating what I take and I have a simple rule, if I am not going to eat it, I will not take it. But if one realistically calculated the cost of game or fish on a per pound basis when you factor in gas, lures, shells, and equipment, filet mignon in the grocery store would be a better buy.

VIP: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

LJN: I never really had a feel for what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew it would involve science in some form. Science fascinated me from a very young age and for me
chemistry turned out to be the vehicle that I have used to make a living

VIP: What are some of your pet peeves, personally and professionally?

LJN: This is an interesting question because, for me anyway, that which used to bug the daylights out of me when I was younger has become of less and less importance as I have gotten older; particularly as I have come to realize that the things that are really important in life aren’t dependent on other people but pretty much on myself and my attitudes.

There are two simple rules that have taken on greater significance for me as I have aged. I read somewhere a long time ago that there are only two really important rules; one, don’t sweat the small stuff and two, it is all small stuff. When you think about it there is a lot of truth in those simple statements.

One thing that has never changed is my disgust with dishonesty whether it is personal or professional. I have tried to be honest in my dealings with myself and other people and I have not always been successful but that is the goal. I have always known that integrity is like virginity, you only have it once, and once it is lost you can never get it back so don’t loose it in the first place. (Integrity that is)

VIP: What is some advice you would give a young person just getting out of college?

LJN: This one is easy. I have been preaching it to my three sons for several years. I don’t care what you do for a living but do something that you love and can be passionate about, because if you do what you love you will get good at it and sooner or later you will be paid well to do it. If you don’t love it you will never get good at it.

VIP: What are some of your favorite books?

LJN: Currently I am enjoying anything by several authors of thrillers and ‘who dun its’ such as; Perri O’Shaughnessy, Sue Grafton, Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwall, Kathy Reich, and John and Faye Kellerman.

On a more serious note a recent book by Steve Allen called “Dumbth:” The Lost Art of Thinking, is worth consideration.

VIP: Favorite quote or saying?

LJN: Something I heard as a teenager that takes on much deeper significance with age: “Be true to yourself.”