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Archive for October, 2012

HABITS – Why we Make the Same Mistakes in Life & Business Over and Over

It’s Entirely Due to Habits You’ve Formed Over the Years!

Understanding habits can help you radically transform your life and boost your company’s profits, Charles Duhigg, an award-winning investigative reporter with the New York Times, argues in his new book. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business examines daily life within a matrix of oft-overlooked habits that account for more than 40 percent of the actions people peformed daily, according to one study he cites.

That study looked at everything from Proctor & Gamble’s marketing of Fabreze odor freshener to how a down-and-out chronic smoker retooled her habits and became a fit, successful professional.

Most of the choices we make each day may feel like the products of well-considered decision-making, but they’re not,” Duhigg writes. “They’re habits.”

“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision-making,”

The key to changing habits? Understanding “the habit loop,” Duhigg says. This three-step process consists of a cue, or trigger (for example, you awake), a routine (you shower) and a reward (you feel clean and alert).

“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision-making,” he  writes.

Understanding this loop, Duhigg says, is what helped ad man Claude C. Hopkins transform Pepsodent toothpaste into “one of the best known products on earth” in the first half of the 20th century.  His ads in the 1930s explained “tooth film,” coating on teeth that everyone gets, as a trigger, with brushing as the routine and a more beautiful smile as the reward. Pepsodent spiced up the reward with citric acid, mint oils and other chemicals to enhance the cool, tingling taste, Duhigg says. Bingo. The power of habit.

“To modify a habit you must decide to change it.”

“Everything we know about habits, from neurologists studying amnesiacs and organizational experts remaking companies, is that any of them can be changed, if you understand how they function.” Duhigg writes. “However, to modify a habit you must decide to change it.”

Duhigg says he first became interested in the science of habits eight years ago as a reporter in Iraq. There he discovered an American officer in the small city of  Kufa conducting an “impromptu habit modification program.”  He asked the mayor to keep food vendors out of plazas to deprive potential rioters of dinner.

“People looked for the kebab sellers normally filling the plaza, but there were none to be found,” Duhigg says of one tense afternoon. “By 8 p.m., everyone  was gone.”

The description of the ripple effect new habits can start is telling. Duhigg says aluminum company Alcoa’s profits hit record highs under future U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s leadership thanks to his obsessive focus on one set of habits: worker safety.

That created he writes, a virtuous “loop” within the whole vast company: Unions embraced measuring individual productivity because it helped determine when the manufacturing process was posing safety risks; managers endorsed workers’ autonomy to stop production lines when they became overwhelming because it was the best way to stop injuries before they occurred.

The book The Power of Habit is published by Random House. These excerpts come from the review written by Bernard Vaughan and published in the Chicago Tribune earlier this year.

If you are struggling to make ends meet… don’t fall into the HABIT of blaming others like your boss or the economy or the powers that be in your state’s capitol or in Washington, D.C.

Now is the time to go into your own business where you never have to worry about your boss letting you go or your company outsourcing your job overseas.

Thanks to the world wide web the mail order business is booming and it’s never been easier to BECOME YOUR OWN BOSS. You don’t have to pull up stakes and move to find a new job. Start your own profitable business right where you live. Keep your overhead low by working from home or garage and all the profits are yours to keep.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE will show you step-by-step everything you need to know to get started in this lucrative field. It’s a complete guide to starting your own home-based business.

Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman has written this guide to success in direct response and mail order. You’ll learn:

  • HOW TO GET STARTED
  • HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
  • HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START
  • HOW  TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  • SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  • 14 SURE-FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS
  • HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SELL ALL OVER THE WORLD right from your own home.

This book is sold on a 100% GUARANTEE OF SATISFACTION OR YOUR MONEY BACK!

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from AMAZON at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can Save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 with FREE SHIPPING. Just send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601 U.S.A.

For orders outside the continental U.S. contact Superior Press.

The Reading Device: A Short History — From Scroll To Screen

Centuries before e-books changed the way people read, the codex (bound books as we know it today) replaced the scroll.

This short  history of the reading device first appeared in the September 4, 2011 issue of THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW under Lev Grossman‘s byline.

With the codex book, for the first time, you could jump to any point in a text instantly!

SOMETHING very important and very weird is happening to the book right now: It’s shedding its papery corpus and transmigrating into a bodiless bibliographical equivalent of the rapture. if anything we may be lowballing the weirdness of it all.

The last time a change of this magnitude occurred was circa 1450, when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type. But if you go back further there’s a more helpful precedent for what’s going on. Starting in the first century A.D., Western readers discarded the scroll in favor of the codex – the bound book.

In the classical world, the scroll was the book format of choice and the state of the art in information technlogy. Essentially it was a long rolled-up piece of paper or parchment. To read a scroll you gradually unrolled it, exposing a bit of the text at a time; when you were done you had to roll it back up the right way, not unlike that other obsolete  medium the VHS  tape. English is still littered with the words left over from the scroll age. The first page of a scroll, which listed information about where it was made, was called the “protocol.”  The reason books are sometimes called volumes is that the root of “volume” is volvere, to roll; to read a scroll, you revolved it.

Scrolls were the prestige format, used for important works only: sacred texts, legal documents, history, literature. To compile a shopping list or do their algebra, citizens of the ancient world wrote on wax-covered wooden tablets using the pointy end of a stick called a stylus. Tablets were for disposable text — the stylus also had a flat end, which you used to squash and scrape the wax flat when you were done. At some point someone had the very clever idea of stringing a few tablets together in a bundle. Eventually the bundled tablets were replaced with leaves of parchment and thus, probably, was born the codex.

But nobody realized what a good idea it was until a very interesting group of people with some very radical ideas adopted it for their own purposes. Nowadays these people are known as Christians, and they used the codex as a way of distributing the Bible.

One reason the early Christians liked the codex was that it helped differentiate them from the Jews, who kept (and still keep) their sacred text in the form of a scroll. But some very alert early Christians must also have recognized that the codex was a powerful form of information technology — compact, highly portable and easily concealable. It was also cheap —- you could write on both sides of the pages which saved paper — and it could hold more words than a scroll. The Bible was a long book.

The codex also came with a fringe benefit: It created a very different reading experience. With a codex, for the first time, you could jump to any point in a text instantly, nonlinearly. You could flip back and forth between two pages and even study them both at once. You could cross check passages and compare them and bookmark them. You could skim if you were bored, and jump back to reread your favorite parts. It was the paper equivalent of random access memory, and it must have been almost supernaturally empowering. With a scroll you only trudge through texts the long way, linearly. (Some ancients found  temporary fixes for this bug — Suetonius apparently suggested Julius Caesar created a proto-notebook by stacking sheets  of papyrus one on top another.)

Over the next few centuries the codex rendered the scroll all but obsolete. In his “Confessions”, which dates from the end of the fourth century, St. Augustine famously hears a voice telling him to “pick up and read.” He interprets it as a command from God to pick up the Bible, open it at random and read the first passage he sees. He does so, the scales fall from his eyes and he becomes a Christian. Then he bookmarks the page. You could never do that with a scroll.

Right now we’re avidly road-testing a new format for the book, just as the early Christians did. Over the first quarter of  this year — e-book sales — were up 160 percent. Print sales — codex sales — were down 9 percent. Those are big numbers. But unlike last time it’s not a clear-cut case of a superior technology displacing an inferior one. It’s more complex than that. It’s more about trade-offs.

On the one hand, the e-book is far more compact and portable than the codex, almost absurdly so. E-books are also searchable, and they’re green, or greenish anyway (if you want to give yourself nightmares, look up the ecological cost of building a single Kindle). On the other hand the codex requires no batteries, and no electronic display has yet matched the elegance of clarity and cool matte comfort of a printed page.

But so far the great e-book debate has barely touched on the most important feature that the codex introduced: the nonlinear reading that so impressed St. Augustine. If the fable of the scroll and codex has a moral, this is it. We usually associate digital technology with nonlinearity, the forking paths that Web surfers beat through the Internet’s underbrush as they click from link to link. But e-books and nonlinearity just don’t turn out to be very compatible. Trying to jump from place to place in a long document like a novel is painfully awkward on an e-reader, like trying to play the piano with numb fingers. You either creep through the book incrementally, page by page, or leap wildly from point to point and search term to search term. It’s no wonder that the rise of e-reading has revived two words for classical-era reading technologies: scroll and tablet. That’s the kind of reading you do in an e-book.

The codex is built for nonlinear reading — not the way a Web surfer does it, aimlessly questing from document to document, but the way a deep reader does it, navigating the network of internal connections that exists within a single rich document like a novel. Indeed the codex, is optimized. The contemporary novel’s dense, layered language took root and grew in the codex, and it demands the kind of navigation that only the codex provides. Imagine trying to negotiate the nested, echoing labyrinth of David Mitchell‘s “Cloud Atlas” if it were transcribed onto a scroll. It couldn’t be done.

God knows, there was great literature before there was the codex, and should it pass away, there will be great literature after it. But if we stop reading on paper, we should keep in mind what we’re sacrificing: that nonlinear experience, which is unique to the codex. You don’t get it from any other medium — not movies, or TV, or music or video games. The codex won out over the scroll because it did what good technologies are supposed to do: it gave readers a power they never had before, power over the flow of their own reading expeience. And until I hear God personally say to me, “Boot up and read,” I won’t be giving it up.

My personal thanx to Lev Grossman for this wonderful essay printed in the New York Times Book Review.

Speaking about books: If you have always thought about how great it would be to run your own business, you need to get: HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. As a reader of my blog postings you can save $10 from the cover price sold everywhere for $39.95.

My book is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction or your Money Back.

Save $10 by ordering it direct from the publisher for $29.95, no charge for shipping and handling! Send check or money order for $29.95 U.S. along with your name and address to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N.MICHIGAN AVENUE, SUITE 1032, CHICAGO, IL 60601. Orders outside the U.S. must add $3.95 for shipping.

How To Start Your Own Blog – It’s Easier Than You Think

GETTING STARTED!

The  first rule of blogging: THERE ARE NO RULES FOR BLOGGING!

Blogging is no different than any other kind of writing even the fact that at some point you may hope to monetize your work … and to do that you need to attract people to your site. Lots of people. The more followers of your blog postings, the more reason advertisers will want to appear there  to sell their goods and services so let’s get started.

The information that follows comes from my good friend Denny Hatch who is one of the true gurus in the business of writing. He pens a monthly column in TARGET MARKETING MAGAZINE. More about Denny later.

If you are sitting and looking at a blank computer screen (or a blank piece of paper), you’ll never get started. I am reminded of the great wit, writer and actor of the 1930’s and 40’s. Robert Benchley (1889-1945), grandfather of Peter (“Jaws”) Benchley. One day under deadline and suffering from a severe hangover, Benchley was sitting in his room at the Algonquin Hotel in New York staring at a blank piece of paper in his typewriter. To get started he typed the word “The”.

Benchley rose from his chair, walked to the window and, glancing at his watch, realized the gang of regulars was assembling for a splendid lunch of booze and bon mots at the legendary Round Table downstairs — Dorothy Parker, Groucho Marx, George S. Kaufman, Alexander Woollcott, New Yorker editor Harold Ross and others.

Benchley returned to the typewriter and stared at the “The” for a long time. In a burst of inspiration, he completed the sentence. It read, “The hell with it.” Whereupon he took the elevator down to join the party.

Ted Nicholas on Getting Started

Ted Nicholas is a legendary direct marketer, entrepreneur, publisher, copy writer and teacher. In his classic book, “The Golden Mailbox,” he wrote:

  1. Clear your mind. For some persons, this might mean lying down for a few minutes before going to work. For others, it could mean jumping in the pool or jogging around a track. Frolic, spend time with someone you love or go dancing. Do whatever comes naturally to you in order to have a clear mind for creative purposes.
  2. Never write when you’re tired. You’re not going to try to drive or operate machinery when you’re tired. Don’t try to write when you’re fatigued.
  3. Never write when you’re busy. If there are other demands pressing on you, tend to them first. I don’t think anyone can write well when watching the clock. Don’t try to write if you have appointments later in the day or errands to run.
  4. Don’t write in bits and pieces. Once you’ve turned on your creative energy, you need to keep it flowing. I don’t stop until I complete a draft. I try not to stop even for meals.

A Kitchen Timer

The late Gene Schwartz, who wrote powerful mail order/direct mail copy that sold millions of dollars worth of books (many published by himself), once told me to get a kitchen timer and set it on the desk next to me. He said:

Punch in 4-4-4-4. That’s 44 minutes and 44 seconds during which you’re working. Period. All you do is work, write, do research, deal with correspondence, design, whatever. When the timer goes off, get up and shut the alarm sound off. Take a break. Walk around, stretch, get a cup of coffee, clear your head. When you’re ready to go back to work, hit the 4-4-4-4 button again and dive in.

I follow Gene’s advice. It keeps me sane and refreshed.

Hemingway on Writing

When Ernest Hemingway finished a book, he would stick the manuscript in a drawer and come back to it a few weeks later. Most of us under deadline do not have this kind of time. however not looking at a piece of paper or a computer screen for 12 or 24 hours or longer and then going back to it for edits and rewrites can be beneficial. In “A Moveable Feast“,  Hemingway wrote:

I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped  when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day…I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped; learning, I hoped; and I would read so that I would not think about my work and make myself impotent to do it.

Denny Hatch is a freelance direct marketing consultant and copywriter, and author of Denny Hatch’s Business Common Sense e-newsletter at www.businesscommonsense.com.

If you’d like a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success, it’s yours for the asking; just send an email to: Send me a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success

How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire – The Movie!

A Complete Guide To Starting Your Own Home Based Business

A Complete Guide To Starting Your Own Home Based Business

Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman has written this definitive guide to success in direct response/mail order. If you would like to start a business that you can operate from your home no matter where you live then this book on MAIL ORDER is all you need to get started.

You’ll learn:

  • HOW TO GET STARTED
  • HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
  • HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START
  • HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  • SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  • 14 SURE FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS
  • HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SUPER CHARGE YOUR BUSINESS

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available on-line from AMAZON at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or as a reader of this blog you can save by ordering it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and FREE SHIPPING. Send check or money order to: Superior Press 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601

Sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction or Your Money Back!

Worthwhile Books