New book about enjoying life

Authors Sylvia Weinstein Craft, left, and Lisa Spiller (Photo by Anna Dorl)

Whether you’re in discussion with family members, friends, co-workers or the person you hope will hire you, the art of communicating effectively will always serve you well.” This is the fifth rule under Part Three of Platinum Rules for Enjoying Life, a bright new book by Sylvia Weinstein Craft and Dr. Lisa D. Spiller. Both women with accomplished careers are longtime friends who became inspirational authors. Together, they’ve brought a heartfelt idea to fruition through experiencing life and sharing what they’ve gleaned with the world.

As Oyster Pointer’s publisher and editor, Craft directs and creates the flow of words and stories that guide the heart toward happy thoughts. At Christopher Newport University (CNU) and beyond, Dr. Lisa Spiller, distinguished professor of marketing, emerita in the Joseph W. Luter, III School of Business, spent 31 years empowering students as an inspiring teacher, mentor, advisor and role model.

Craft and Spiller’s familial-feeling friendship is palpable and sisterly, bringing a smile to the face of anyone who watches them interact. Spiller spoke of Craft as “one of [her] star guest speakers for decades when she would come to CNU,” whom she met in the 1990s after hearing her name in professional circles. “And over the years, we got to know each other. We became such good friends. We’re so much alike,” says Spiller.

“You talk about enjoying life? Sylvia has really helped me to enjoy life,” Spiller says, regarding her friendship with Craft. “She has been here, every turn, helping me enjoy life.” Craft echoes the same: “Lisa’s abounding energy and marketing knowledge enriches my life beyond words.”

The legacy began with the positive influence of Craft’s columns within Oyster Pointer issues, going back about 30 years. Spiller says, “I suggested that Sylvia amass them, create a collection and offer it as a self-help book.” Craft agreed and proposed the book could be a collaboration between the two of them, which Spiller would eventually bring back to her.

Spiller’s work before retirement from CNU comprised mainly of authoring scholarly journal articles and multiple academic textbooks. Following her retirement, she was happy to dive back into what she remembered as an idea that began around 20 years ago. Upon Spiller’s retirement, Craft says, “Lisa said to me, ‘It’s time to write that book!’ And I said, ‘Okay, let’s do it!’”

From conception to publication, Platinum Rules’ impact on the world was already being felt before it was published in October. The editing and writing processes went hand in hand, with many of the book’s bare bones embellished from Craft’s columns with the authors’ shared perspectives. The process involved collecting the columns, condensing the material and bridging connections through words. Lisa’s sister, Cathy DiSalvo, edited the content, offering suggestions and insight.

The layout of the book separates five sets of rules into themed sections, including “Rules for Enhancing Relationships” and “Rules for Enjoying the Seasons.” Each short rule concludes with its passage’s biggest takeaway, emboldened and passionately punctuated. And each emphasizes the essence of positivity. “That’s something I strive to do in my columns, to make it all positive,” Craft says. “There’s too much negativity in the world today, so think positively and make things happen.”

When Platinum Rules was ready for a publisher, the authors contacted David Hancock of Morgan James Publishing. Hancock was previously featured in Oyster Pointer and knew Spiller during her years with CNU.

Spiller and Craft intend for their book to be “a gift you can give to anyone — any stage, any age,” according to Spiller. The two emphasized their desire to share the appreciation and advice gathered over the rich lives they’ve lived so far with their devoted families, friends and associates. Platinum Rules is expected to be the first book of a trilogy.

The book bears the image of a dragonfly, first seen on the front cover and then throughout. The co-authors agreed on the symbolism it represented toward life and the act of living and finding happiness. “A dragonfly reminds me of my Bill,” Craft says, remembering her late husband. “Seeing a dragonfly feels like Bill is watching over me.” “To me,” says Spiller, “seeing a dragonfly — it feels like life.” The book’s dragonfly illustration was drawn by one of Craft’s four daughters, Lorri Hanna, who included a heart just under the creature’s head.

“Former CNU president Paul Trible charged everybody to lead lives of significance,” Spiller says, “Yet there was never a rule book or a guidebook for how to do that. This book does that.” She emphasized its encouragement to “make it a good life, one you are proud of and one when you leave this world, you will have left a better world — a mark on the world.”

“That’s what this book is about, and that’s partly why we wanted to write it. We wanted to leave our mark together,” the co-authors say with smiles.

Platinum Rules for Enjoying Life
Sylvia Weinstein Craft, 757-873-4523,
Dr. Lisa D. Spiller, 757-880-9276,

About Anna Dorl 33 Articles
Anna Dorl grew up all over the United States as a military brat, and she now calls Virginia home. She is a graduate of Christopher Newport University with a degree in communication studies, with minors in writing and film studies. Since graduation, she’s worked in journalism and education. When she’s not writing, Anna can be found hanging out with her dog, Stella, and watching spooky movies.