Archive for Great Stories to Read and Hear

Which came first: Daylight Savings or Standard Time?

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Listen to StitcherFor most of us, it takes a week or two to find and switch over all our clocks back to Standard Time.

For some clocks, it’s no more complicated than spinning the minute hand one full turn.

Digital clocks are more challenging.  Usually, several buttons must be pushed in the right sequence before the numbers start moving.  And once the numbers start moving, it’s not easy to slow them down and stop precisely at the right time.  Maybe you under-shoot or, worse yet, over-shoot the correct time, only to discover your digital clock doesn’t have a reverse gear.

Invariably, we find a clock or two hiding someplace.  The slyest clocks of all may be the ones in our cars.  You forget about them until you turn the key or push a button.  Suddenly, their digital displays appear, one hour off from what they should be.  Whatever you do, please don’t reset the clock while you’re driving.  That may be a bigger crime than texting or talking on your mobile phone while driving.

By this time, I’m sure you’ve got lots of questions about Daylight Savings Time and Standard Time, starting with which came first and why did time need to get “standardized” in the first place?

The answers are not what you think and “time” is a lot more interesting that you would think.

So listen and enjoy what you’ll learn about standardizing and saving time.

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Make Millions Flipping Houses! Not So Fast…

Now You Know
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I’m sure you’ve heard the same advertisements that are flooding my local airwaves.

“Come to my free seminar, learn my one-or-two-or-three-step program for flipping houses and before you know it, you’ll be making big bucks in your spare time without investing a dime of your money!”

Before you pick up the phone and sign up for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, listen to what I’ve got to tell you about these get-rich-quick programs.  Flip houses and make millions!  Not so fast…

And as you listen, keep in mind that the majority of these programs aren’t doing anything illegal or wrong.  All they’re trying to do is get you to buy their books and sign up for their programs. Whether you make money or not flipping houses isn’t their first and foremost concern.

One thing you’ll learn very quickly is there’s always another course you have to take or book you need to buy,  And – no surprise here – each successive course and book costs more than the last one.  It’s called “upselling” and it’s usually applied with lots of pressure.  Recognize the tactic when it gets used on you and deal with it appropriately.

The formula for “flipping houses” is simple:  Buy Low and Sell High and Do It Quickly.  Sound familiar? Sound easy to do?  Think again.

House-flipping works if you can somehow flawlessly do all the following.

  • First, persuade a homeowner to sell their house to you for 20% or 30% less than what it’s worth.  Remember that profits are “made” when you buy and “earned” when you sell.  Maybe there’s something in all those books and courses that will make homeowners want to sell for less only to you, but don’t count on it.
  • Next, do some cosmetic fixing up on a shoe-string budget that makes the house look like it belongs on the cover of Architectural Digest. Replacing carpets and appliances, painting the house inside and out and patching a leaky roof will take a lot of time and even more money, despite what you’ll hear at the free seminar.
  • Last but not least, pound a “For Sale” sign into the lawn and get out of the way as droves of buyers fight over who will pay the highest price to buy the house.  Houses sell quickly only when they’ve got a bargain-basement price tag.  There’s no other reason, believe me.  And “Selling Low” isn’t one of two-or-three easy steps of house-flipping.

Have some people made a lot of money in the real estate business?  Of course they have, just like some people have made a lot of money writing software or building bridges.  And they did it the old-fashioned way:  they worked long and hard at it.

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Why do Auctioneers talk that way?

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Ever wonder why auctioneers talk the way they do?  Are they just showing off?  After all, not many people can talk that fast.

Or is there a reason for the rhythm and cadence they use?  Are they trying to create excitement that will make you want to bid on something (that you might not want)?

How do auctioneers earn their paychecks?  Does that have something to do with it?  Check this podcast out.  Give it a listen and see if you find the answers to these questions and more.

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Is it ‘Grit” That Makes It Happen?

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What is it that motivates people to be successful, recognizing that there are all sorts of answers to the question of what it means to be successful.

Where does that motivation come from?  Could it be taught or learned?

Better yet, Is it a something that our classroom teachers can learn when they’re being trained and then taught to their students?

Some will argue that discussing how to achieve a high level of personal or societal success is a colossal waste of time.  The reason is the race will always be won by the fastest, the student with the highest IQ or the student whose parents bought him or her a computer when they were 2 years old or sent them to a private school rather than the run-down public school down the street with too many kids in every class.

But maybe there’s something else that explains why some people stick it out and stay committed to accomplishing their goals.  And when you think about those people, do you think of the word, “Grit?”  Can you think of some people who are “Grittier” than others?

Ted TalksThis podcast is one of our best.  It starts with Angela Duckworth explaining her theory that it’s this thing called “Grit” that sets successful people apart from others who might not be so successful.  But she’s not so sure that “Grit” can be taught and learned.  For that, we have to journey to rural New Hampshire and listen to an Elementary School Teacher tell us whether “Grit” is the real deal.

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What’s a ‘Liberal Arts’ Education worth?

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Today’s educational mantra focuses exclusively on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  Higher education, in particular, emphasizes majors in these fields and little else.

Is there value anymore in “Liberal Arts,” that is, studying classic literature or art or becoming a skilled writer or speaker?

The answer, I think is, “Of course, there is!”  The reason is most of the “stuff” that’s taught today in our schools will be outdated in just a few years.

Most of the jobs that today’s students will be doing in 20 or 25 years don’t exist today.  So, wouldn’t it be smarter for us to “educate” our students rather than “teaching” them something that won’t ultimately be useful for them or society?

Another way to ask this question might be, “Wouldn’t it be better to help students learn “how” to think creatively rather than teaching them ways of doing things that won’t matter in the not-so-distant future?”

Give this episode a listen for a different perspective.

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