Charles Daly


Author: Charlie (page 1 of 29)

The Book Site is Up!

The website for my father’s memoir is now live! Make Peace or Die, a Life of Service Leadership and Nightmares is coming out this November. In the meantime, check out for updates and links to his appearance on Jocko Podcast, ep. 196, which features large excerpts from the manuscript. You can also sign up to get an email as soon as the book launches.

As we get closer to book day, I’ll post more about the book, my dad’s epic life, and the collaboration between us that led to him become a first-time author at 93 and was the source of many conversations I thought he and I would never have.


An Irishman in the U.S Marine Corps Charles U. Daly thinks fighting in Korea will be an adventure and a way to live up to a family tradition of service and soldiering. He comes home decorated, wounded, traumatized, and wondering what’s next. His quest for a new mission will take him to JFK’s White House, the troubles in Northern Ireland, and a South African township devastated by the AIDS epidemic. Chuck’s life is a true story of living up to Kennedy’s challenge to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

At every juncture, he’s had two options: make peace or die. Daly chose to make peace with his fate every time, and that decision has led to him a remarkable life of service.

charles u daly author photo by shay hunston

7 Books on Writing You Haven’t Read

“You can be cautious or you can be creative, but there’s no such thing as a cautious creative..” -George Lois

I assume you’ve read Bird-by-BirdThe Elements of Style, and Stephen King’s On Writing, (all of which are incredible) so they aren’t on this list.

Here are seven unsung gems that have made me a better writer.

Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!) by George Lois

Lois was one of the founders of advertising’s creative revolution in the 1960s and has been called “the real Don Draper” a comparison he hates.

Some of his advice is ad-industry and copywriting specific, but much of it applies to artists in any medium:

“If you want to do something sharp and innovative, you have to know what went on before. Museums are custodians of epiphanies, and these epiphanies enter the central nervous system and deep recesses of the mind.”

He then gives the example of one of his own epiphanies that led to an Esquire cover featuring Mohamed Ali posing as St. Sebastian.

Cassavettes on Cassavettes by John Cassavettes and Ray Carney
Director John Cassavettes looks back on his career and creates a rambling, brilliant, and occasionally self-contradictory creative ethos. Cassavettes is the patron saint of anyone who dreams of creative freedom, following your vision unmolested by “suits” and critics.

One passage that stuck with me:

“I’ve never seen an exploding helicopter. I’ve never seen anybody go and blow somebody’s head off. So why should I make films about them? But I have seen people destroy themselves in the smallest way, I’ve seen people withdraw, I’ve seen people hide behind political ideas, behind dope, behind the sexual revolution, behind fascism, behind hypocrisy, and I’ve myself done all these things. So I can understand them. What we are saying is so gentle. It’s gentleness. We have problems, terrible problems, but our problems are human problems.”

The Spooky Art: Thoughts on Writing By Norman Mailer
It’s full of Mailer’s trademark braggadocio and posturing, but if you can stomach that, he has some excellent advice, particularly for young writers.

He suggests treating writing like a 9–to-5 job. Mailer being Mailer, he also recommends a lot of obsolete drugs like seconal and benzedrine (the former to help you come down from the latter) and boasts of his own tolerance and the good ideas he had on said drugs.

Then, occasionally, he knocks you on your ass with stuff like this:

“Characters in novels sometimes radiate more energy, therefore, when we don’t enter their mind. It is one of the techniques a novelist acquires instinctively — don’t go into your protagonist’s thoughts until you have something to say about his or her inner life that is more interesting than the reader’s suppositions.”

Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction by Patricia Highsmith
Lessons on the mechanics and theory of thriller writing by the author of The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Price of Salt, which was adapted into the movie Carol. One of her most helpful suggestions is to ask of each scene, “what happens?” and “why should we care??

“Writing is a way of organizing experience and life itself.”

A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young
If you’ve worked in advertising, this one is not underrated or unsung.

No matter who you are, this slim volume (something like 30 pages) will improve your thinking and make it possible to have good ideas on command. He emphasizes the importance of a drawdown period where you step away from the problem to make room for the solution.

Young defines an idea thus:

“An idea is nothing more or less than a new combination of old elements”

Write to Sell by Andy Maslan
A new classic in the world of copywriting, this is where I got the 5-draft method for everything I write from fiction to emails. Put simply, it goes like this:
Draft 1 — Rough as rough can be. Just write it, nobody but you has to see it.
Draft 2 — Check your draft against the outline and intended theme.
Draft 3 — Edit for structural issues and paragraph order (this is where I add links in blog posts.)
Draft 4 — Edit for tone and flow. Read it aloud.
Draft 5 — Print and proofread.

Draft no. 4 by John McFee
Speaking of drafts… This one points out the good news/bad news that the first draft takes about as long to write as all the other drafts combined.

The take-home message of every book on this list is basically: get to work! Or, as McPhee writes:

“It doesn’t matter that something you’ve done before worked out well. Your last piece is never going to write your next one for you.”

This post originally appeared in The Startup.

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Email Personalization Guide — Campaign Monitor

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all messaging. Consumers have come to demand and expect relevant and personalized content and experiences both online and offline.

To meet those demands, marketers are striving to leverage email personalization to move from 1: many messaging toward 1:1 experiences that not only meet, but exceed consumer expectations and set them apart from the competition. That’s why it’s not surprising that when asked to prioritize one capability that will be most important to marketing in the future, 33% of marketers answered: “personalization.” Furthermore, 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement, and they see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.

To help marketers slay their email personalization challenges and goals, we created a comprehensive guide that covers basic tactics like personalizing an email subject line, to more sophisticated techniques like using dynamic content or behavioral data based on how consumers are engaging with your brand. Marketers at every level and ability can reap the benefits of sending more relevant and personalized messages that get results.


Read on at Campaign Monitor


Spring Haiku No. 1

Morning light

in your gin glass.

Blood behind my lip.




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Winter Haiku No. 18

Snow dims the skylight.

My silhouette undresses

for yours.



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Winter Haiku No. 17


through venetian blinds.

Stripes on your belly.




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Winter Haiku No. 16

Listening to Tom Waits again,


how to miss you.



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Winter Haiku No. 15

Ice on your steps

in the morning.

How many last chances do I get?




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Winter Haiku No. 14

Winter rain

paw prints in soft ice.




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Winter Haiku No. 13

Long goodbye

in a warm doorway.

Uber driver deducts one star.






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