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Archive for the ‘Personal Interest’ Category

David Ogilvy Continues to Teach Us – We Sell or Die

It still so true we should repeat it at the start of every new year.

FIRE — SPARK OF GENIUS

Did fire influence  the evolution of the human mind?

Thomas Wynn is the author of this article which appeared in the December 2012 issue of SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE.

The next time you find yourself lost in thought while gazing at a fireplace ablaze or even a solitary candle flame, consider this: Being mesmerized by fire might have sparked the evolution of the human mind.

It’s well-known that fire enabled the survival of early humans by providing warmth as well as a means to cook food and forge better weapons. Yet research into cognitive evolution — a field  of study that brings together psychology, anthropology, neuroscience and genetics — suggests that fire’s most lasting impact was how our responses to it altered our brains, helping endow us with capabilities such as long-term memory and problem-solving.

FIRE — led to a profound change in how our brains regulate time

Archaeological evidence suggests that the controlled use of fire began with Homo erectus who emerged nearly two million years ago. For those early hominids, a fire at night served as a light source and a way to deter predators. John Gowlett, a University of Liverpool archaeologist, argues that this innovaton led to a profound change in how our brains regulate time. After the sun goes down, our ape cousins spend the entire evening asleep or inactive in nests. But the creation of artificial daylight enabled the hominid brain to adapt and evolve to the point where humans now remain alert and active for over 16 hours a day.

Psychologist Frederick L. Coolidge of the University of Colorado further argues that fire altered the quality of sleep. During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the most vivid dreaming occurs and the brain consolidates long-term “procedural memories,” which allow us to retain skills and repeat previously learned tasks.

The downside is that REM sleep is accompanied by a form of near paralysis known as muscle atonia — not the state you want to be in if you’re surrounded by animals that want to eat you. Using fire to keep predators away would have made it safe for early hominids to indulge in more REM (modern humans spend 25 percent of sleep in REM, compared with up to 15 percent for apes and monkeys), improving their ability  to learn multistep tasks such as tool manufacturing.

Fire might also have improved our ability to think about many things at once and relate them to one another. This “working memory” is an essential trait for imagining and executing complicated plans. Psychologist Matt Rossano of Southeasten Louisiana University speculates that small social groups first achieved  this altered mental state some 100,000 years ago around the campfire.

Focusing on a specific object — in this case, fire — is a way to achieve a meditative state. The brain regions that activate to trigger meditation overlap extensively with the regions governing working memory. And, since meditation also has benefits for health, Rossano proposes that evolution would have favored those who were good meditators, allowing them to pass their ability along to their progeny.

By regulating attention, our ancestors were able to make contingency plans — in which alternative responses to problems were planned in advance. These attributes gave us a marked advantage in the face of competition from archaic humans such as Neanderthals; they also underpin our ability to cope with the huge variety of tasks required by modern life. The most enduring tool that fire ever made might just be the human mind.

Now that I have a better idea of how we learned to think…. Think about how you can solve the problem of how to survive. Now may be the right time for you to consider a business of your very own.

      Here’s a business of your own that you can start with very little money and you can operate right from your home. Very little cost! it’s a no-brainer. The business is MAIL ORDER. The internet allows you to sell a product or service anywhere in the world for very little out-of-pocket cost and with the newest edition of my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE to guide and show you  the way, it’s easier than ever.

As a reader of my postings I would like to offer you a way to get started and save you $10 to boot.

This book has been described by many experts in the field as a Complete Guide to Starting Your Own Home-Based Business
you will learn:

  • HOW TO GET STARTED
  • HOW TO  FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
  • HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE FROM THE START
  • HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  • SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  • 14 SURE FIRE CHECK-OFF LISTS  THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS
  • and included in this revised edition: COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO  SUPER CHARGE YOUR MAIL ORDER BUSINESS

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can order it direct from the publisher for only $25.95 and no charge for s&h.

Send check or money order for $25.95 along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601


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

Career Changing Takeaways! Life and Business Truisms.

Quotations, Rules, Aphorisms, Pithy Tips, Quips, Sage Advice, Secrets, Dictums and Truisms…… In Business and Life

My good friend, Denny Hatch one of the truly great business and marketing writers has recently published a collection of takeaways from his e-newsletter, BusinessCommonSense.Com

I like it and you may possibly find it career changing. Here is a sampling to give you a flavor of Denny.

  • Do not inadvertently leave the original of your resume in the office copier.” —  Denny Hatch
  • Never invest in any idea you can’t illustrate with a crayon.” — Peter Lynch
  • If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” — Jack Welch
  • My goal is to goad people into saying something that ruins their life.” — Don Imus
  • You do not get a second chance to make a first impression.” — Famous aphorism, origin debatable
  • A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” — George S. Patton, Jr.
  • A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” — Henry Ford
  • Imitation is the sincerest form of collective stupidity.” — W. Carroll (Bill) Munro
  • The definition of a consultant: When you hire a consultant and ask him what time it is, he borrows your watch and tells you the time. Then he keeps the watch and sends you a bill..” — Walter Weintz
  • In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman.” — David Ogilvy
  • There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” — Sam Walton
  • The computer is a moron.” — Peter Drucker

Are you as inspired like me at this glimpse into the mind of Denny Hatch? Let me share with you his thoughts about my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. 

The newly revised edition is “the definitive guide to starting your own successful mail order business.”

Mail Order Expert Fred Broitman has written a complete guide to starting your own home based business.

You’ll learn:

  • How to Get Started
  • How  to Find Great Products
  • How to Make Your Business Profitable From The Start
  • How  to  Price Your Product or Service for Biggest Profits
  • Secrets of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads
  • 14 Sure-Fire Check off Lists that Guarantee Huge  P rofits

and in this newly revised and up-dated edition:

  • Complete Up-to-Date Information on How to use the Internet to Super-Charge Your Mail Order Business

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of 39.95 + s&h or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher by sending your name, address and check or money order for only $29.95… no charge for s&h. Send to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago. IL 60601.

Book is sold on a 100% Money Back Guarantee of Satisfaction

Darwin vs Creationists – All in Favor of Darwin Say Eye. The Eyes Have It!

New research suggests vision arose only once and earlier than expected, before 700 million years ago.

Until recently it was possible, even plausible, to think that the faculty of vision had originated several times during the course of animal evolution. New research suggests not: vision arose only once and earlier than expected, before 700 million years ago.

David Pisani and colleagues from the National University of Ireland have traced the ancestry of the three kinds of “opsin” protein that animals use, in combination with a pigment, to detect light. By comparing the genome sequences of sponges, jellyfish and other animals except sponges, but including a flat, shapeless thing called a placozoan. Some time after 755 million years ago, the common ancestor of ourselves and the placozoa duplicated a gene and changed one of the copies into a recognizable opsin.

Placozoans still have just that one kind of opsin, and it lacks the key amino acid change at position 296 that makes light detection possible, so Dr. Pisani concludes that the last opsin common ancestor, dubbed LOCA, had no vision. But on the other branch, the common ancestor of ourselves, insects and jellyfish made the change to light detection, then experienced two more duplications some time between 711 million and 700 million years ago to give the three kinds of light-sensing opsins we still possess today.

That vision was a single evolutionary innovation is a discovery that would have suprised an earlier generation of evolutionary biologists, who contrasted the compound eye of the insect with the the camera-like eye of human beings and imagined several parallel inventions. But some years ago it emerged that  the very same gene, called Pax6, commands the development of the insect eye and the human eye, hinting at a common origin. Still more surprising, a version of a Pax gene was then found directing the development of simple eyes in jellyfish. So the single origin of vision has become gradually more plausible.

All this would come as a relief to Charles Darwin, who worried about eyes, because their perfect complexity seemed to defy gradual evolutionary assembly: What use is half an eye? In 1860 he wrote to the American botanist Asa Gray: “The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder, but when I think of the fine known gradation my reason tells me I ought to conquer the odd shudder.”

In fact, the anatomy of eyes shows every gradation between simple light-sensitive spots and full cameras. The detailed genetic evidence of descent with modification from a single common ancestor further vindicates Darwin and has largely silenced the Intelligent Design movement’s use of the eye as a favored redoubt.

After the duplications that led to working opsin molecules, there seems to have been a long pause before complex eyes appeared. The first lensed eyes  that fossilized belonged to the trilobites which dominated the Cambrian oceans after 525 million years ago. Andrew Parker of Oxford University argued in a book a few years ago that newly perfected eyes explain the sudden appearance of many kinds of hard-bodied animals, the so-called Cambrian explosion. With predators hunting by sight for the first time, prey needed protection and mobility, so an arms race led to a plethora of new hard-body designs.

Just as eyes suddenly enabled our ancestors to see the world around them, so the capacity to read genomes enables us to see deep into the past. Long before LOCA there lived a creature called LUCA, the last universal common ancestor. It was only about 50 years ago that the unity of life became apparent for the first time. The molecular biologist Frances Crick, surveying the experiments that were deciphering the genetic code in bacteria, animals and yeast cells, and seeing that they were all converging on the same universal cipher, concluded that there is only one kind of life on the planet: that plants, animals and microbes must have once shared a common ancestor.

This wonderful scientific article first appeared in the Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2012 written by Matt Ridley.

If our eyes hadn’t developed over the millions of years to give us the gift of sight not only would I not have been able to write HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE, no one would be able to read it.

Lucky me…Lucky you, especially if you have the need for some part time income or maybe even a new career.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE has been described by experts in the field as “the definitive guide to success in the mail order/direct response business.”

Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman will lead you step by step into a business that you can run from your home. No need to spend rent on an office or open a store. With the power of the Internet you can sell your product or service all over the world.

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 OR SERVICE FOR BIGGEST PROFITS

SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS

14 SURE-FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS

and included in this new edition…COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SUPER CHARGE YOUR MAIL ORDER BUSINESS.

The book is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfacton 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 order direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and free shipping. Send check or money order along with your name and address to:
SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601.

Real vs. Artificial Christmas Tree Debate

Real and artificial trees both have their share of pros and cons.

Here are a few things to consider if your family celebrates Christmas and is choosing between a real and artificial tree:

  • As with the paper industry, Christmas trees are a managed agricultural crop. Farmers replant multiple new trees for every harvested tree to ensure the continued sustainability of this renewable source.
  • Tree farms stabilize soil, protect water supplies, and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. In addition, Christmas trees are often grown in soils that could not support other crops.
  • There are about one million acres dedicated to growing Christmas trees. Each acre provides for the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.
  • Real trees are grown in all 50 states, and evergreen tree farms employ more than 100,000 Americans every year. In comparison, more than 85 percent of artificial trees sold in the U.S. are imported from China.
  • Artificial trees don’t need watering, don’t shed pine needles, and aren’t sticky. Transportation from tree farm to home isn’t an issue, and they stay beautiful throughout the entire holiday season.
  • While artificial trees cost more initially, they include a stand, often need no skirt, are available pre-lit, and can be used year after year. However they require yearlong storage space.
  • Both real and artificial trees can trigger allergies — whether from the release of pollen on real trees or accumlated dust on artificial trees.
  • Nearly 90 percent of real trees are recycled for landscaping, playground material, hiking trails, fish and wildlife habitats, and more. Artificial trees are nonrecyclable and nonbiodegradable. However, gently used artificial trees are welcome donations at most charities or resale shops.

Interested to learn more about Christmas trees check out www.ChristmasTree.org

If loss of income during this holiday season due to layoffs or companies outsourcing or even shutting down has left you in a position where you and your family are not in a festive holiday mood, I can understand why bells jingling and carolers carolling make you want to say “Bah Humbug”.

There’s not much I can offer you that will bring a smile back this season but I can help you to make sure that next year will be much different for you and for your family.

About 25 years ago I wrote a book about the mail order business. It’s a business I learned about from working with some of the wisest mail order advertising people in the world. These men and women took me under their wing and taught me everything they knew that made them successful and in many cases wealthier than they ever thought possible

Everything they taught me allowed me to start my own mail order advertising agency that has now grown to become Chicago’s largest independently owned mail order advertising agency and now I want to share these secrets with you.

My book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is now in its third printing. It has been described by experts in the business as the definitive guide to mail order success. If you would like to start a business where there is no need to open an office or a storefront but instead work right from your home with no overhead then this book on MAIL ORDER is for you. In this newest edition there is a complete guide with up-to-date information on how to use the power of the internet to make your new business a success.

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 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 $29.95 with no charge for s&h. Send check or money order along with your name and address to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago, IL 60601.

Sold on a 100% guarantee of satisfaction or your money back.

7 Quiz Questions to Boost Your Educational IQ

Don’t Know Much About History?… Boost your educational IQ with these 7 quiz questions!

Research shows you can make learning easier — you just have to know what works and what doesn’t.

  1. True or False: Intelligence is fixed — either you’re good at learning or you’re not.
  2. True or False: In a pinch, pulling an all-nighter can be an effective way to learn new material quickly.
  3. Your son has a high-stakes college interview coming up. To quell his anxiety, he should:
    (a) Pych himself up by reminding himself how important it is to do well.
    (b) Focus on trying to calm his physical reactions, like a racing pulse. 
    (c) Set aside 10 minutes before hand to write about his fears.
  4. Your kid needs to learn some Spanish for a class trip. To make the new vocabulary stick, she should:
    (a) Space out study sessions over several weeks.
    (b) Spend a few hours cramming on the plane.
  5. Next  week your daughter has to give a big speech. The best way for her to prepare is to:
    (a) Look over her notes a few  times.
    (b) Quiz herself, trying to recall the material from memory.
    (c) Read out loud from her presentation outline.
  6. Your son just started music lessons. To motivate himself to practice, he should:
    (a) Promise himself a favorite video game if he completes his practice schedule.
    (b) Choose pieces of music that he enjoys playing.
  7. Your son just made the golf team but needs to improve his putting. Which is the most effective way for him to practice.
    (a) Practice for an hour each day without pausing.
    (b) Ask a golf pro to point out his errors and help fix them.
    (c) Hit the course with a less experienced golfer to bolster his self-confidence.

This quiz ran earlier this year in Parade Magazine under the byline of Annie Murphy Paul. If you want the answers, click here to take this quiz on-line.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is a complete guide to starting your own home based business.

Have you the desire to own your own business? Become your own boss?  Never again worry about being laid off… or concerned about your company downsizing or outsourcing your job? If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you need to send for a copy of my book: HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE. It is a complete guide to starting your own home based business.

Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman has written the definitive guide to success in direct response/mail order. If you would like to start a business that you can operate from your home then this book is what you need to get started.

The new edition has the most complete up-to-date information on using the Internet and Social Media for big profits right from day one.

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 OR SERVICE FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  • SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  • 14 SURE FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE SUCCESS

Ms. Bethany Michael’s recently posted this Amazon review of the book. She says:
This book gave me a ton of ‘stimulating and thought provoking ideas’ as promised! Broitman carefully and thoroughly offers step by step ‘how-to’s’ cover the general and miniscule tasks required to create a prosperous and lucrative mail order business. The book was very easy to read and engaging the whole way through because it gets to the point and answers all the questions I had…and some I didn’t  even know existed. The illustrations/charts in the book avoids the fluff that some of these other books in this genre often disappointingly include. This is a must-read if you’re interested in growing your own business and dedicated to setting up a plan. Broitman gives the readers secrets that are truly priceless.”

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction.

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 $29.95 with no charge for s&h. Send check or money order along with your name and address to SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago, IL 60601.

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.

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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 Protect Yourself and Your Privacy On-Line

THERE IS RISING CONCERN OVER SCAMMERS and PRIVACY ON THE INTERNET!

This weeks posting is devoted to helping you to protect yourself while on-line, whether communicating via email, Facebook or Twitter, accessing your bank, or making purchases through on-line merchants. Always remember that it is ultimately up to you to maintain and protect your own privacy!

Keeping your software up-to-date isn’t just a question of adding new features to your programs. It is also a critical part of protecting yourself on-line. But that doesn’t mean just having the latest version of your chosen anti-virus program. Your computer’s operating system and the programs that run on your computer must be up-to-date, too. Never ignore prompts to update your operating system or applications with critical security fixes. When updating your Microsoft operating system, only do it using Windows or Microsoft Update Tools. Macs have a similar updating program that prompts users when it’s time to make an update. All other software programs should be updated via that company’s website to ensure safety.

For years scammers have used email to dupe their victims into sending money or divulging sensitive information. While that’s still a problem, scammers are increasingly turning to social networks, such as Facebook, and using your friends against you. The message, which can appear as a direct message or a post on your Facebook wall, is designed to look like it came from your friend’s profile. A request for money or a free treat from your favorite store presented by a friend can be compelling or a tempting offer but before clicking, you should ask yourself a few questions.

  1. Does the request sound reasonable or is the offer too good to be true?
  2. Is this really something my friend would request/send/write?
  3. Does the language have awkward phrasing or a lot of typos?

If any of those questions raise a red flag, don’t click the link. If you really want to verify the message, contact your friend directly about the request or offer.

When visiting a new website, you should always take a moment to scan the site’s URL  (Uniform Resource Locator) that is displayed in a bar at the top of your Internet browser. That URL, is the address of the website and should be scrutinized for typos or other irregularities to make sure they are not just a clever imposter. Most URL’s will begin with the familiar ‘http’ before the site’s address. News, entertainment and other general interest websites all use this format for their URL’s. But if money is to change hands or you’re asked to share sensitive information such as your Social Security Number, look for a URL with an extra letter. Make sure  that when providing sensitive information that the Web address starts with ‘https‘ instead of ‘http‘. That little ‘s‘ stands for secure, meaning the website has additional security and you are less likely to have your information compromised.

If you use Twitter you’re probably familiar with so-called shortened URL’s which are a method for streamlining a link so it  can fit in Twitter’s 140-character limit. While it  is handy for sharing information, it can be dangerous. Even if you know the person who has posted the link, it’s a good idea  to  proceed with caution. Take the time to expand the link before clicking on it.

Never assume that mobile applications (apps) are safe. Smartphone users who want to use mobile banking should only use apps provided by their financial institution. Third-party apps may not have the same privacy protections as apps offered by your bank and many continue to run even after you exit them. This increases the risk  that keystrokes and touch screen selections will be intercepted. Security on mobile devices will get better but for now don’t do it!

Following these guidelines will make all your on line dealings safer and protect you from scammers.

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