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Brexit bodes ill for US Presidential Elections June 29, 2016

Uninformed decisions tend to have unpredictable outcomes. Few foresaw the Brexit referendum results which have divided a nation along not only national lines but also demographic lines.

With most Brits ill-informed about the real impact of leaving the EU, most voted according to self-interest rather than national-interest priorities. Higher educated, higher income, younger, unmarried, foreign-born Brits voted to remain in the EU, while older, poorer, married and the less educated voted for perceived changes in leaving the EU.

Sadly the 48- to 52-percent vote split has further divided the nation. And in line with recent trends, the losers appear less-inclined to accept the democratic process than they would if they were the winners. Scotland is considering a second independence referendum and there are rumblings about Northern Ireland breaking away and joining the Republic of Ireland. Canada and Ireland are seeing a noticeable increase in immigration applications from the UK. Apparently gone are the days of agreeing to disagree but abiding by the democratic process.

Over the pond, we've witnessed the impact of a divided nation with Republicans and Democrats so far apart that we've seen almost 8 years of broken dysfunctional government and a president resorting to executive action to get anything done. And if the vitriol between the presidential candidates is anything to go by, the chasm appears to be widening. Far too many voters are ill- read more

“Gig Economy” poses major challenges to traditional workers June 29, 2016

Almost 90% of Americans don't know what the "gig economy" is, yet 40 percent of American workers are predicted to be independent contractors by 2020, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center and Intuit.

For the lesser-informed, a gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.

Besides the more obvious impact of loss of those lovely employee-related benefits, such as paid annual leave, paid sick leave, subsidized group health and retirement insurance, there are the versatility implications of rapid learning curves and frequently changing work environments.

A generation or two ago, you found a job, learned the ropes, put in 40 years of loyal service and retired with a gold watch and company pension. Now it's different.

With rapidly changing business cycles, organizations don't want a large, high-overhead, permanent work-force, expensive to maintain and expensive to trim. They want the flexibility to hire skills when they want those skills and for just as long as they need those skills.

Hence the rise of the self-employed independent contractor, the hired-gun ready to take on a temporary assignment. But not as easy as it might at first appear - this morphing from an employee mentality to self-employed mentality. Ask anyone who has transitioned from the world of employment to the uncertainty of the self-employed.< read more

In Search of "Disruptive Thinkers" March 9, 2016

The US Marine Corps is asking an unlikely source for help. Commandant General Robert Neller has put out the call for "disruptive thinkers" Marines who live outside the box, who love to challenge the status quo, and who are often viewed as trouble makers.

Neller wants nothing short of a cultural revolution -- a new era in which Marines are encouraged to come up with solutions, and leaders serve as advocates to accelerate those ideas to decision makers.

Here's the link if you missed the article -- http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2016/03/04/commandant-looks-disruptive-thinkers-fix-corps-problems/81279544/

Pretty strong stuff this. And perhaps something that's needed across the entire societal spectrum, from Government, to corporations and right down to our education system. There's been far too much of "we do it this way because we've always done it this way." At least the Corps is admitting it has "groupthink" problems. What about our educational system? And equally dysfunctional, our immigration system? Continuing to do things "because we've always done it that way."

But there's the rub. Where does disruptive heckling, complaining and whining stop, and disruptive thinking start? We've all seen those ignorant dumbasses that want to change the status quo to suit their own ignorant, read more

Protect Your Children from Common-Core Teaching March 2, 2016

Report: Requiring kindergartners to read -- as Common Core does -- may harm some.

The Common Core State Standards call for kindergartners to learn how to read, but a new report by early childhood experts says that forcing some kids to read before they are ready could be harmful.
Two organizations that advocate for early childhood education -- Defending the Early Years and Alliance for Childhood -- issued the report titled "Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose." It says there is no evidence to support a widespread belief in the United States that children must read in prekindergarten or kindergarten to become strong readers and achieve academic success.

The researchers found that:
* Many children are not developmentally ready to read in kindergarten, yet the Common Core State Standards require them to do just that. This is leading to inappropriate classroom practices.
* No research documents long-term gains from learning to read in kindergarten.
* Research shows greater gains from play-based programs than from preschools and kindergartens with a more academic focus.
* Children learn through playful, hands-on experiences with materials, the natural world, and engaging, caring adults.
* Active, play-based experiences in language-rich environments help children develop their ideas about symbols, oral language and the printed word -- all vital components of reading.
* We are setting read more

Perceptions about Public Schools in America June 23, 2015

Perceptions about Public Schools in America

It is said that perception is truth.

And it is the perception of many people outside the educational community that education in the USA is in need of reform, largely due to the perception that schools are not producing the educational results necessary for the current and future needs of this country.

In his book, The Reckoning, David Halberstam states that there are two real weaknesses in America's attempt to be competitive in the new era of international economic competition the US public school system and the low literacy rate. He quotes studies that concluded that if a foreign power wanted to undermine the United States of America, it would only need to give it the public school system it already has.

Accurate or not? It's still a perception and perhaps there's more than an element of truth in this perception? Or are we not confusing a stagnating school system with stagnating students?

Let's look at the facts.

In our agrarian school calendar, American public school students attend school on 175 to 180 days for an average 5.5 hours of instruction per day. This is similar to most other countries. Yet students in the USA are on the skids.

In mathematics, 29 nations outperformed the USA in 2012, up from 23 in 2009.
In science, 22 nations scored above the USA in 2012, up from 18 in 2009.
In reading, 19 nations scored read more

Learn to Read 3-5 times Faster February 26, 2015

Too much Reading? Too little Time?

ExecuRead Speed Reading & Information Filtering classes now forming.

Join a weekend class in Charlotte NC and learn to read, comprehend and retain information 3 to 5 times faster before you go home. Guaranteed.

$595 and bring a friend or two for just $5 per person.

FIRST CHOICE : Sat 14 & Sun 15 March, 9am to 2pm BOOK YOUR SEAT HERE
SECOND CHOICE : Sat 28 & Sun 29 March, 9am to 2pm BOOK YOUR SEAT HERE

Or call us on 1.888.439.3287 about scheduling a private on-site group course

Learn to filter information and to identify, extract, read, comprehend & remember important business, academic & military intelligence material 3 to 5 times faster with better comprehension, retention & recall. RESULTS GUARANTEED! read more

Another tip to boost your reading / comprehension speed ... January 14, 2015

So you're using your finger to eliminate regressions? If not, go back and read my last post.

Now if you are going to be reading faster, the question is whether your brain can process information at these higher rates. And if the answer here is positive, then we need to look at the delivery system.

Let's talk about your brain. Do you ever have concentration problems? Mind wanderings, distractions, falling asleep while reading? Ever wondered why?

It's a matter of input versus capacity. Let's assume your reading rate is 300 words a minute. (If you don't know your speed, go check it out.) And let's assume that the capacity of your brain to process & assimilate the printed word is 3000 words a minute. (If you don't believe me, go and look at the results of some of my students.) And here's your problem. You're dripping the information into your brain at 300 words a minute while your brain is sitting there wanting 3000 words a minute. So your brain wanders off to think about something else more interesting, or decides to catch 40-winks while you get around to keeping it occupied. And because your brain cannot think about two things simultaneously, while it's thinking about what you're going to do this evening, it's not paying attention to the reading you should be focussing on right now. This is problem #1.
< read more

How to boost your Reading / Comprehension Speed and Save Time. January 5, 2015

Use your finger!

No seriously, try sliding your finger under the words while reading them. Giving the page the finger increases reading speed and enhances concentration and comprehension.

Physiologically, man is a hunter. Our eyes are designed to respond to movement. At school, we used our finger on the page while learning to read. Our eyes learned to track and follow this movement. Then, in the 2nd grade, teacher told us to take our finger off the page. The result -- no tracking movement. So our eyes started wandering laterally, along the line of print, and vertically, up and down the page. It's called Regression and most of us will regress consciously and sub-consciously, some 60 to 70 times per page. Regression kills concentration and comprehension and yet it's a bad habit easily eliminated.

MARSOC Marines whom I've trained can now process reading material at more than 5x the previous rate resulting in a superior capacity to act and a larger well of knowledge and information to draw from.

Eliminating regressions is one of a number of techniques we use to increase reading / comprehension speeds. I'll talk about additional techniques shortly. Suffice it to say, with just 10 hours of coaching over 2 days, my students are averaging a 5-fold increase in reading / comprehension speed.

Interested? See my Course Calendar for upcoming read more

Communicate. Don’t just READ. (ExecuRead Tip #2) November 5, 2014

Communicate. Don't just READ. When reading a book, memo, technical report or intelligence document, the roles of speaker and listener are reversed. You become the audience and the author wants to communicate with you. And there's an essential reading strategy for extracting maximum comprehension and retention out of everything you read.

Step 1. The author wants to tell you what he's going to be telling you. So, PREVIEW the material. Who is the author? What do you know about him? What other material has he published? What's the relevance of the title? Look at the table of contents, the executive summary, visual aids such as graphs, charts, maps and diagrams. Go to the end of the article and read the conclusion and summary. Then read the introduction. Now scan through the document and look for information that appears to link the introduction to the conclusion. You're attempting to identify the framework of the article. The preview serves to trigger background knowledge that you can bring to the article and the preview serves to stimulate curiosity to find out more.

Step 2. The author now wants to give you the information. So READ the material. But focus on the larger ideas rather than detail minutiae. You are adding flesh to the framework that you built in the preview. And larger ideas are easier to integrate into the framework and easier to understand. At the same time, this process is stimulating read more

Communicate. Don’t just TALK. (ExecuRead Tip #1) October 30, 2014

Communicate. Don't just TALK. You have something to say and you have an audience. Don't just talk to them. Because all they'll do is HEAR what you're saying. Communicate with them and they'll LISTEN to you, THINK about what you're saying and REMEMBER what you've said.

So, tell them what you're going to tell them.
Tell them.
Tell them again.
And then tell them what you've told them.

This is the dominant strategy for effective communication -- the most effective way of ensuring that your audience will both understand what you are saying and remember what you've said.

By telling them what you're going to be telling them, you've tweaked their interest. You've given them an appetizer. You've given them the big picture a preview of what's coming and now they will actively WANT more information about the details. They've become active listeners. When you start giving them details, they can relate this to the big picture they already have. They are LISTENING to you rather than simply HEARING your words. They are bringing existing knowledge to the subject. Evaluating your ideas. Applying critical thinking. Because they know where you're going and they can follow your logic and reasoning.

Telling them again is repetition. It reinforces the memory patterns and enables them to "take ownership" of your thoughts and ideas. You are repeating what are, by now, familiar concepts and in feeling familiar with read more