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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires

How to spot a millionaire



I just finished reading a book I first came across 10 years ago. To my great surprise, it stood the test of time pretty well.

And, with the january credit card bill looming over the horizon, it might be a good time to start reading it.

21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires is an easy read packed with interresting ideas.

Author Brian Tracy does a good job of synthetizing the information and it probably is one of his best books.

There's no big insider secret, but rather logical and sound advice on how to become wealthy.

The downer is: it takes time and effort. But hey, as my friend Franco says: if it looks to good to be true, it probably is.

I will not give the 21 secrets here as I encourage you to read the book, but here are 2 phrases that caught my attention:

What kind of a world would my world be if everyone in it was just like me?

You will be the same person in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Cashback



Once again, I owe my buddy Ben in Switzerland for the growth of my cinematographic culture.

A couple of weeks ago, he FedExed me a fantastic movie by director Sean Ellis.

The flick is Cashback.

In my humble opinion, it is one of the great movies of 2007.

Great story. Great actors. Great images. Great music. Funny. Intelligent. Romantic. Stunning.

But why describe the film when you can watch the trailer on the official Website?

If you want to learn about the making of, visit: http://myspace.com/cashbacklefilm

Monday, December 24, 2007

Hijacking the Christmas Spirit

picture by Danny Hammontree


Let me hijack the Christmas spirit for a few seconds and toss away all the clutter (gifts, parties, drinking, etc.) to reach the core: celebration, sharing and peace on earth.

Let us take a moment to realize how fortunate we are and think of how we can share our blessings with others less fortunate.

For 2008, let's try to find alternatives to the wars we are waging.

To kickstart the reflexion, let me quote former U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Now, let's delve into the raw the numbers:

The Pentagon suggesed that the cost of the conflict in Iraq would be approximately $75 billion per year over ten years. In accepting the Niwano Peace Prize on 8 May 2003, Dr Priscilla Elworthy, of the Oxford Research Group said, “We must compare this $75 billion to the costs of building international security in other ways.

a) in the year 2000 world leaders estimated that it would require $25 billion to $35 billion annually to raise levels of health and welfare in Africa to Western standards.

b) Unesco estimates that all the world’s children could be educated if we were to spend $7 bilion dollar per year for ten years.

c) Clear water and sanitation could be provided for everyone in the world for $9 billion annually.

d) HIV and Aids now claim 5,500 lives a day around the world – more that the Black Death, and twelve million children in Africa have been orphaned by the disease. Kofi Annan has called for $10 billion annually to address the Aids epidemic.”

(thank you Mr Richard Branson for shedding a light on this one.)

And finally, no world peace speech would be complete without a few words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama:

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another. If you wish to know that you are safe, cause others to know that they are safe. If you wish to better understand seemingly incomprehensible things, help another better understand. If you wish to heal your own sadness and anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another.

Those others are watching for you know. They are looking to you for guidance, for help, for courage, for strenght, for understanding and for assurance at this hour. Most of all – they are lookinf for your love.”


On that note, let me wish you all the best for the holiday seasons, and big dreams for 2008!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Zoonosis

When a pathogen leaps from some nonhuman animal into a person, and succeeds there in making trouble, the result is what's known as zoonosis. It's a word of the future.

The word Zoonosis is unfamiliar to most people. But it helps clarify the biological reality behind the scary headlines about bird flu, SARS, other forms of nasty diseases, and the threat of a coming pandemic. It says something essential about the origin of HIV. It's a word of the future, destined for heavy use in the 21st century.

Ebola is a zoonosis. So is bubonic plague. So are yellow fever, monkeypox, bovine tuberculosis, Lyme disease, West Nile fever, Marburg, many strains of influenza, rabies, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and a strange new affliction called Nipah, wich kills pigs and pigs farmers in Malaysia.

The preceding excert is from National Geographic Magazine (October 2007).

They have a fascinating article on how we exchange diseases with animals and how globalization (and mostly the ease to travel averywhere) will have a major impact on our health.

And if the subject interrests you, you must also read Jared Diamond's Pulitzer Prize book Guns, Germs and Steel.

And you thought that extreme sports were dangerous...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Giant Speed Queen



While reading Richard Branson's biography Losing My Virginity, I came across an old lady. Her name is SS United States and she is the fastest ocean liner ever built.

She truly was an impressive ship : she weighted 52,000 tons and needed 240,000 horsepower to shift her.

The speed record she set was impressive : an average of 35.6 knots (40 miles/h).

She was built in 1952 at the cost of $79 millions - not a cheap date!

She won the Blue Ribband for the fastest transatlantic crossing.

At 990 feet long, she's the largest ship ever built in the US.

She carried numerous celebrities.

She now rests in Philadelphia.


For more info