This Blog's Purpose

The purpose of this blog is help people improve their Mind, Body, Soul (relationships) and their Money.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Books I've Read in October (2011)

Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries From the Rest of Us.

By Erik Calonius

Summary: Erik Calonius, a former journalist for the prestigious Wall Street Journal talks about people and in particular businesspeople, who see opportunities where others see problems and chaos. The author discusses the insights gained from interviews with the likes of Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and those intimate with Walt Disney.

My Opinion: This book gives a lot of insight into how visionaries think differently than others. It also piggybacks off of some of Malcolm Gladwell's findings in Blink while also contrasting from those findings. Anytime you begin a book with a story about one of my favorite entrepreneur's Richard Branson, you have my attention. Mr. Calonius struggled to hold my attention though by going into too many studies, data and statistics in Chapter 9.

Key Point: to paraphrase Ovid - "Fortune & Love Go to the Bold."

Triggers: 30 Sales Tools You Can Use to Control the Mind of Your Prospect to Motivate, Influence and Persuade.

By Joseph Sugarman

Summary: What makes a kid want a Schwinn bike instead of a Huffy, or makes a customer pull out their wallet to buy a "limited edition" rather than "come back later" to "maybe" buy a standard edition at some unspecified point in the future. What makes you want the brand name shoe that the super-star basketball player wears rather than the generic. no-name tennis shoe with all the same basic features at a fraction of the cost? Answer = Triggers.

My opinion: After you've finished the 3rd or 4th Chapter you quickly realize that Mr. Sugarman is either an excellent salesman, a masterful storyteller or possibly a little bit of both. Mr. Sugarman's stories are witty, compelling and keep you turning the page. This man who apparently made his fortune selling calculators in the 80's and BluBlocker sunglasses in the 90's brings a lot of wit & humor as he explains several different ways to "trigger" or convince a prospect to buy. Throughout the book he tells great stories - from the time he calmed a near panic at an airport by showing confidence and knowledge to the time when, as a little kid, he tried, unsuccessfully, to impress the girl next door by tying her up and setting the garage she was in on fire!

Key Point - know what motivates your prospect.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Books I've read in September

The Sales Advantage - By J. Oliver Crom & Michael Crom

Summary  - This is a book for people interested in learning how to sale or at least learning how to improve the sales process.It goes from the pre-approach and initial contact to the close and follow-up process. In addition the book gives tips on how to improve sales compared to average sales tactics.

My opinion - I believe this book gives up a lot of unique techniques & strategies that can help the average salesperson become an extraordinary sales superstar. Ultimately it comes down to caring more about the potential & current customers than you do about the sale.

Key Point - Show the client that you share more for their bottom line than you do for your own.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Books I've read in August (2011)

Rich Dad's - Before You Quit Your Job

Summary: If you've read more than a handful of business books in the last several years you've likely heard of Rich Dad, Poor Dad books. Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad book made it very clear that people rarely get rich being someones employee. In this book Mr. Kiyosaki makes clear the steps necessary to take before quitting your job and becoming a full-time entrepreneur.

My Opinion: Ever since becoming a follower of Dave Ramsey, I've become a little bit leery of Robert Kiyosaki who's business philosophy is the exact opposite of Dave's. That being said, they are apparently friends (can you say Millionaire Secret Society?) which led me to give Rich Dad Poor Dad another try. Honestly, I liked this book , rather than advising to go into debt to succeed, he talks quite a bit about how he's failed in business. He also talks about how learning from failure ended up leaving to success. He's a very talented storyteller in my opinion.

Key Point: Just because you hate your job does not mean you should become an entrepreneur.

You need to be a little Crazy - By Barry Moltz

Summary - Mr. Moltz has started a business, failed, started a new business (or two) and lived to tell his tale. In this book he talks about what to expect - which is basically expect the unexpected - when attempting to start a business.

My opinion - This book was an interesting break from the typical entrepreneur book where a set formula is given to succeed. Mr. Moltz brings to light the fact that most businesses end up failing and includes a polarity (possibly a majority) of business stories with not so good endings to keep new entrepreneurs grounded in reality and not the fantasy world of instant success that is often heralded but rarely achieved.

Key Point - 'treppin ain't easy - put another way - if you read too much Inc. & Entrepreneur and think that investors are just giving out suitcases of money to the next guy with any idea - it's time to think again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Books I've read in July

1) How to Work a Room - By Susan RoAne

This is a book about overcoming shyness to help promote you business or professional pursuits. Ms. RoAne teaches the proper way to hand out business cards, how to overcome the fear of rejection and a few words or Yiddish as she goes through.

My opinion - I think I learned a lot from this book and immediately began adopting some of the techniques Ms. RoAne teaches in this book. I also realized that I had been approaching networking groups with the entirely wrong attitude.

Key Point - You never know who knows who. Approach everyone with sincere interest and try and learn more about them & their business before talking about yourself and your business.

2) Bootstrapping Your Business - By Greg Gianforte w/ Marcus Gibson

This is a book for bootstrappers - those unique entrepreneurs who DON'T go courting for venture capital firms to give them money in exchange for controlling interest in their idea. For those who want to start a business where both bosses and board members are absent this book may be for you.

My opinion - I really enjoyed this book. It was full of a combination of advice and real-life case-studies on how entrepreneurs overcame obstacles to make millions based mainly on their own investment.

Key Point - before you spend all your money on an untested idea - see if people will buy the product or service in advance.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Quote 32 - George Washington

“As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”

George Washington

Friday, July 1, 2011

Quote 31 - James Earl Jones

"The goal wasn't to be a millionaire or to be a Hollywood star. That was not the goal. The goal was something about - the goal was to find the goal, but I knew where it was"
- James Earl Jones

Books I've Read in June (2011)

Les Brown - Live Your Dreams

First, I must say I'm a little bit biased since Les Brown is by far my favorite motivational speaker. In Live Your Dreams Mr. Brown talks about the challenges he faced - especially as a child and adolescent - and how he conquered those challenges and became the great public speaker he is today.

My Opinion:
I absolutely love the book. Mr. Brown tells his personal story and while relating his own tale of personal triumph he teaches us how to take on the challenge that is life as well. The only minor criticism I have is that he takes a small dig at his own twin brother toward the end while trying to make a comparison. He could have easily found another example or left the comparison out altogether.

Key Point:
The key point of this book, in my opinion, is that in order to be successful in whatever it is you want to accomplish in this world "You have to be Hungry!" as Mr. Brown likes to say.

A Return to Love - By Marianne Williamson

The world seems to be a dichotomy of fear and love. If you turn on any TV today it seems that fear is currently winning the war. Ms. Williamson's goal seems to be to turn the tables on fear, in favor of love. In this book the author mainly talks about her experiences with a book/self-study course called A Course In Miracles which apparently talks in a very different way about both Christ and the ego.

My opinion:

If you've listened to any of my podcasts you will have likely noticed that I close each podcast with a quote from Marianne Williamson. The quote I close with is in this book (pg 190-191 of the paperback) so you can guess where my opinion lies. I learned a lot about Williamson's (and the course's) opinion of what the purpose of the ego is. This book is very spiritual but, towards the end becomes a little too focused on the metaphysical.

Key Point: 
The ego is an illusion and ultimately the only true enemy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Quote 30 - Freud

"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection"
- Sigmund Freud

Friday, June 17, 2011

Quote 27 - Churchill

"A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality."
- Winston Churchill

Friday, June 10, 2011

Quote 26 - Tony Robbins

"One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular"
- Tony Robbins

Friday, June 3, 2011

Quote 25 - WIlliam Ross Wallace

“Every man dies - Not every man really lives.”

- William Ross Wallace

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Books I've read in May (2011)

See You at the Top - By Zig Ziglar

Over 30 years old, this is Zig Ziglar the motivational speaker's first major book about motivation and inspiration still remains a classic. Mr. Ziglar talks about a number of topics in the stairway to your motivational equivalent of the "top" whatever that might mean for you. From Self-Image to Desire.

My opinion:

Mr. Ziglar is one of the best motivational speakers in the country without question. He's not that bad of a motivational author either. My only minor complaint for the book is: toward the books' end when Mr. Ziglar begins to preach on every thing from gay marriage to prayer in school.

Overall it is a great book though, lots of stories and jokes and illustrations that Mr. Ziglar provides makes the book easy to read and enjoyable.

Key point: You can have whatever you want in this life as long as you have other people get what they want.

The Power of Story - By Jim Loehr

In this book Jim Loehr the author of "The Power of Full Engagement" talks about how the story we tell ourselves... about ourselves (self-image) affects our lives. Mr. Loehr and his company the Human Performance Institute  (aka HPI) work with primarily with athletes but also with military, police officer groups and professionals to improve their performance. He talks about how if you have a "faulty story" say for example "Men can't be trusted because, my Dad left my mom, my husband left me and I don't really trust my current boyfriend because I know he's probably cheated on me" you may project that faulty story into other places such as unjust bias towards male direct reports - failing to give them the respect they deserve due to baggage you have towards males in general.

Mr. Loehr's solution is to tell a different, more positive story if your story has always been somewhat negative or even incorrect in order that you will be able to make positive change in your life.

My opinion: I would say this book was at time a little hard to read it didn't flow very well in certain areas. The book does have a lot of areas where you can take a moment to write down objectives and take action to change your story which is good. Overall I would say this book could have been about 50 pages shorter and accomplished the same goals.

Key point: If the story you tell about yourself is not the same story you would want eulogize you need to make some changes that bring you closer to your ideal eulogy.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Quote 24 - Emerson

“A man in debt is so far a slave."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, May 20, 2011

Quote 23 - Zig Ziglar

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing--that's why we recommend it daily."
Zig Ziglar

Friday, May 13, 2011

Quote 22

“First-class players lose to second-class players because
second-class players sometimes play a first-class game”

- Siegbert Tarrasch (famous chessplayer)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quote 21 - Colin Powell

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

- Colin Powell

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Books I've read in April (2011)

Ulysses by James Joyce

This is apparently one of the first and one of the best in the 'stream of consciousness' genre of novels.

My Opinion:

I couldn't finish it. To be quite honest, I couldn't even make it to the 100th page. The book was somewhat confusing to me due to the fact that the majority of the story is dialogue but there are no quotation marks anywhere (at least in the version I was reading) within the text. This was my second time trying. I'll plan to wait until I have ample free time (say a month) before I try a third time.

The Tipping Point - By Malcolm Gladwell

In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell's first book, he talks about how certain things - diseases, poverty, crime, fads-of-fashion & even the American Revolution in a sense - can spread dramatically through the nurturing or neglect of three types of people. The book also goes in depth looking at what can be done to help spread these things and what can be done to prevent their spread as well.

My opinion:

I've read three out of his four books thus far and I would have to say this one and his more recent book Outliers are a toss-up when it comes to which is more entertaining and informative. I haven't yet read What the Dog Saw. Mr. Gladwell has a way of crafting what would normally seem to be boring and dry statistical & historical analysis - into colorful and informative stories that keep the reader engaged and entertained.One of the most interesting concepts I picked up while reading the book was the "broken window rule"; the idea that if people don't care to repair broken windows in a neighborhood, people likely don't care about more nefarious aspects of the neighborhood as well such as violence, drugs, grafitti...etc.

Personal Development for Smart People - By Steve Pavlina

In this book, internet personal development star Steve Pavlina explains his seven principles of personal development then goes on to give examples on how his principles can be applied in everyday life. Specifically, he talks about mastering the concepts of Truth, Love & Power in his own life and how others can apply these same principles.

My opinion:

This book is good yet different. Pavlina talks about many different things in this book including how he got into video-game programming, how he met and learned from his wife and why he switched from video-game programming to the personal development/self-help arena. A lot of his advice is helpful but, it definitely has a new age 'bend' to it so if you find yourself a more conservative reader beware.

MM Ep. 22: Failing Forward

Friday, April 29, 2011

Quote 20 - Ann Landers

Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other.  ~Ann Landers

Friday, April 22, 2011

Quote 19 - Gallagher

I wish there was a knob on the TV so you could turn up the intelligence.  They got one marked "brightness" but it don't work, does it? ~Leo Anthony Gallagher

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

Quote 17 - Ronald Reagan

QUOTE – “I recently learned something quite interesting about video games. Many young people have developed incredible hand, eye, and brain coordination in playing these games. The air force believes these kids will be our outstanding pilots should they fly our jets.

- Ronald Reagan during a speech, Aug. 8, 1983

Friday, April 1, 2011

Quote 16 - FDR, Mark Twain

Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society. 

  - Franklin D. Roosevelt

" The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin."
- Mark Twain

Books I've read in March (2011)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - By Stieg Larsson

In the conclusion of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Millennium trilogy-  Lisbeth Salander is literally in the fight for her life after being mortally wounded with an assailants' bullet in her skull. When she awakes in the hospital she soon realizes her would be assailant, a family member, is in the same hospital only a few doors down. As she plots for a way to escape from the hospital and the authorities, a super secret section of the Sapo (Sweden's equivalent of FBI/CIA) is plotting as well...only they have a plot to put Salander's story to an end for good.

My opinion:

A great rebound and improvement from the 2nd book in the series. I'll be honest, at first it was a struggle to read this book. The first 100 pages seemed to me predictable and formulaic and I basically thought I could predict the remaining outcome of the book. HOWEVER around page 110 - 120 Mr. Larsson throws a curve-ball into the plot that peaks your interest and holds it until the books' conclusion. Mikael Blomkvist comes to the rescue as Mr. Larsson explores a corrupt government agency in their attempt to suppress a decades-old crime.

On a side note, I finally decided to read a little bit more about the author. I was surprised that he basically lived the role of Mikael Blomkvist in real life. He helped found a magazine called Expo in Sweden very similar to Blomkvist's Millennium - which is focused on exposing crimes of racists, fascists and the far-right. He passed away on November 9, 2004. Herr Larsson you will be missed.

SuperRich - By Russell Simmons

Don't let the title fool you. SuperRich is not a 5-step guide to becoming "rich" in the material sense. It's much more an effort by Russell to expose those who might be grasping for material wealth an unexpected guide to spiritual wealth. Mr. Simmons talks a little bit about helping start Def Jam records and also doing a lot of the heavy-lifting in making a once extremely niche music genre  "rap" - aka - "hip hop"...popular to the mainstream. But the vast majority of the book talks about yoga, meditation and one of India's holiest books the Bhagavad Gita.

My opinion:

I liked the book overall. However, it would have been nice if Mr. Russell gave a little more insight to his business success since that is likely what lured many to purchase the book. That being said, as someone who meditates daily myself, I found the book helpful in instruction on how to improve the quality of a mediation practice. The biggest takeaway I got was focus on the journey not the destination. His own personal 'translation' of parts of the Bhagavad Gita helped me understand that book a little bit better as I've read the book before but have been confused by some parts.

Escape from Cubicle Nation - By Pamela Slim

In this book, Ms. Slim a professional coach - goes over step-by-step on the instructions as to how to achieve freedom from the shackles of the corporate world and navigate through the exciting and sometimes scary, world of entrepreneurship. She explains how she started her blog of the same name  after being asked by several corporate employees "how did you do it" when they saw she was running her coaching business by herself. She also explains how to find opportunities, how to plan out your business and also how to convince friends and family that you aren't just blowing all your savings on an expensive hobby.

My opinion: 

By far the best book I've read so far this month for an entrepreneur. In the contention for best book so far this year but, that will be decided come December. Ms. Slim covers every aspect of moving from a stable 9-5 job to a unstable yet exciting job where you make your own hours and are your own boss. The book is chock-full of examples from fellow entrepreneurs and bloggers who also made the jump and had good and sometimes bad experiences doing so. If you are really serious about quitting the corporate world, buy this book.

Blink - By Malcolm Gladwell

Mr. Gladwell explores in detail the nuances of first impressions and the split-second decisions we make based on those first impressions. This his second book which was followed by Outliers - which focused on how those we consider excellent become excellent - this book focuses on how snap judgments can oftentimes be absolutely correct judgments. It also delves into how sometimes snap judgments can be horribly wrong and even at times deadly.

My opinion:

After reading Mr. Gladwell's third book Outliers and being extremely impressed, Blink only goes on to solidify Mr. Gladwell's reputation for excellent research woven into intriguing storytelling. If you ever wondered if your "hunch" about someone was right...Gladwell shows proof that often times it is in fact correct. I enjoyed this book for the most part but at times the truth that Gladwell exposes raises concern; especially to someone whom, like Gladwell, shares ancestors from the African continent and thus is exposed to many snap judgments that are not helpful to the one being judged simply because of the color of one's skin. That being said, the book gives the reader many reasons to "trust their gut" while also giving situations when it might be a better idea to second-guess said "gut".

Friday, March 25, 2011

Quote 15 - Robert Schuller

Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. 

- Robert Schuller

Friday, March 18, 2011

Quote 14 - JFK

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a health body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity 
-John F Kennedy

Monday, March 14, 2011

10 Things you can do to get a workout... without going to the gym

I personally love my gym. It has a pool, a basketball court and even a workout movie theater where I can watch a movie while I'm on the treadmill!

That being said you might hate the gym, everyone judging you, dropping weights while you're trying to focus and  let's not even mention the smell. Well if you hate the gym but want to get healthy here are some tips to get a workout without going to the gym.

1.       Do Situps – sit ups are so simple yet go good for firming up your mid section they help strengthen both your hip flexors and abs. 
2.       Chair or couch crunches – if sit ups are little too much for you can always replace them with crunches which also work your abs. Simply curl your shoulders towards your neck, you either have your legs slightly bent against the ground or set your legs on elevated couch or chair while you watch TV.
3.       Push ups – push up, ease down – push ups are great to work your pectoral muscles and triceps they also help develop your deltoids as well. All you need is a flat steady surface – this is another exercise you can do while watching a movie or TV.
4.       Climb the steps at your office or home - instead of the StairMaster at the gym you can use steps at your home, office or any other public building with steps. If you live in Philadelphia you can just visit the Art museum multiple times a week to stimulate your body and your creativity as well as channel your inner Rocky.
5.       Play intramural sports – This is a great way to get active and get closer to friends and/or make new friends in the process. Sometimes you'll need to convince a friend or two but, many leagues allow small groups and individuals to join.
6.       Walk over to co-workers in the same office instead of calling or e-mailing – I personally get at least 50 -100 e-mails a day sometimes from people who sit just a few feet away from me. I’m sure if you use e-mail you probably get an endless amount of it to. If you simply take the time to walk over to a coworker about a project instead of e-mailing, you’ll save the time of writing an e-mail and burn calories as well.
7.       Do Jumping Jacks at home  - Jumping jacks – called star jumps in United Kingdom - are easy to do and great to get your heart pumping.
8.       Go biking – If you’re a spoiled Midwestern American like me, you probably drive just about everywhere to do just about anything but, you can always just jump on a bike to get to most places as well. If you within a few miles of work, try biking there when the weather is decent.
9.       Jog – I’m not going to lie this is my least favorite exercise because I usually hit a wall and stay there but if you can break through the wall the benefits are awesome. According to if you run regularly you can combat depression and obviously help you lose fat even belly fat.
10.   Go hiking – find a trail and go for a walk. According to the benefits include – decrease in blood pressure, weight loss, relieves back pain and it’s free! Bring some bug spray though. 

So those are 10 tips to get a workout without buying a gym membership. Do you know of some better ideas? Was this at all helpful? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks for reading. 
Always consult your family physician to find out what level of physical exercise works best for you.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quote 13 - Bernadette Peters

You’ve gotta be original, because if you’re like someone else, what do we need you for?

-Bernadette Peters

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Books I've Read in February (2011)

Your Business Is His Business: It's Where Favor Takes You   This book is directed towards businesspeople and those in the ministry who want to improve their business or their place of worship. Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter knows a lot about business, she is one of the most successful if not the most successful female franchisee in the country with 137 fast food restaurants under her company's control. She credits most if not all of her success in business and in life to her faith in God.

My opinion - outstanding. Although the book is only 104 pages long ( I read it in about 48 hours) you can sense from the first few pages that this is a woman of intelligence, faith and nobility like few others in the world we live in today.

The Brand Within: The Power of Branding from Birth to the Boardroom (Display of Power Series)
Mr.  John and three of his friends started the urban fashion company FUBU (For Us By Us) back in the early 90's. At first they started selling custom designed clothes out of duffel bags but by the late 90's wearing FUBU was the thing to do for both famous rappers and hip hop stars to America's youth in general. In this book Mr. John speaks how 'branding yourself" or becoming "Brandish" as he puts it - is so deeply important. Everything from the shoes you wear to how you smell to what you post on facebook or twitter shapes the Brand that is you. Mr John also talks about his time on the show Shark Tank.

My Opinion - I enjoyed this book as it shows the reader that you don't necessarily need an MBA or college degree to reach your dreams - Mr. John never attended college. Instead, you just need an idea and the persistence to achieve. One great tip that I definitely took away from this book is to paraphrase "Think Global, Start local"

Action Has No Season - By Michael V Roberts  I want to be like Mike - Mr. Michael Roberts that is.  In this book the St Louis area businessman talks about what one needs to do in order to succeed in business - I'll give you a involves action. Mr. Roberts talks about some of deals amongst a variety of businesses that include stand-alone shopping centers, TV networks and even a unique cellular company that he and his brother Steve. Mostly though, Mr. Roberts goes over what potential entrepreneurs can do to become successful full-time entrepreneurs.

My Opinion - Mr. Roberts does a great job of motivating readers and balancing that with experiences from his own life. He also talks about politics, being a good conversationalist and so on. Overall I love the book, but towards the end, newspaper clippings and a few speeches take on the final third of the book. Overall the advice is sage and Mr. Roberts knows more than a little bit about starting a business and keeping it running smoothly as he and his brother run dozens of businesses that make up a $500 million dollar empire.

I'm currently reading through the 3rd book in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  novel series and should hopefully have a review ready for next month.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Quote 12 - Madam C J Walker

I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations....I have built my own factory on my own ground. "
Madam C J Walker

Monday, February 21, 2011

Malcolm X's eulogy (spoken by Ossie Davis)

I listened to this again, Mr. Davis does a much better job than I could ever hope to:

MLK's last speech

This is Dr. Martin Luther king's final speech. In it he alludes the the looming possibility of his death - the next day he was assassinated.

Quote 11 - Martin & Malcolm

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?
- Martin Luther King Jr.

I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.
-Malcolm X

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quote 10 - Jackie Robinson

 "Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life."

- Jackie Robinson