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Why you should study algebra or practice piano—even if you hate it

I have four kids and all of them play the piano. After years of lessons, my oldest son is quite good. He won’t win any competitions, but he has mastered some very complicated pieces and is a lot of fun to listen to. He likes the piano and often plays for fun. I can’t remember […]

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The marketing secret I learned from a Russian pianist

Every two years, Salt Lake City (where I live) hosts The Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. It’s very difficult to qualify. You have to be insanely good. Then the competition begins. First, participants submit a 30-minute recording of two solo works of “contrasting styles” to the judges. If your recording passes muster, you’re invited to […]

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Why pigeons don’t move when you get close to them

Imagine visiting a friend who lives near a busy highway, under the flight path of the airport, or next to railroad tracks. As you talk with each other, you notice the noise, but your friend doesn’t seem to. It’s so loud that you’re baffled by their (non) response. Surely they hear what you hear. So […]

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The critical lesson baseball players know, but marketers often ignore

Last night I went to a baseball game. The home team lost. And while it would have been nice to see them win, it was still a beautiful night to watch some baseball. This was the view from my seat: Like I said, a great night for baseball. One of the pitchers had a wicked […]

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Be remarkable: forget purple cows and think donuts covered with Coco Puffs

Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the idea of standing out. Getting noticed. Achieving notoriety. Being remarkable. Seth Godin is famous for creating the idea of The Purple Cow. A very boring thing (cow) that is different in a fundamentally remarkable way (its color). Godin’s challenge to his readers was to be […]

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How to make the perfect Lemon Berry Savarin (but not really)

Do you ever browse the cookbook section of your local bookstore? I practically drool over those delicious looking entrées and desserts. There’s a reason why cookbooks include beautiful pictures of the finished food items and simple step-by-step instructions on how to make them. You get excited by the end result. But getting from a dozen […]

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Why Stradivarius violins sound better—it’s not what you think

You’ve no doubt heard of Stradivarius violins. They’re so well known in the music world that they’re often just called “Strads.” Antonio Stradivari lived from 1644 until 1737 and was famous for making the very best violins, cellos, harps, and violas in the world. There are about 650 original Strads around today. And all of them are […]

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Connect with customers like an Arabian queen, here’s how…

Thanks to Disney (and probably Robin Williams) you are no doubt familiar with the story of Aladdin’s Magic Lamp. You’ve also heard of Sinbad the Sailor, either from watching Saturday morning cartoons or one of the dozens of movies and TV shows about him. And you’ve probably heard of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves—even […]

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You may lose an important marketing tool if you don’t read this

About ten years ago, Science (the journal) published an interesting study that looked at how framing a question impacted decision-making. Study participants were told that they would receive money for helping with the research. Something like: “You will receive £50.” Then they were asked to choose between two options. They could either keep £30 or […]

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The 1961 discovery that still impacts whether you sell today

In 1961, a military analyst named Daniel Ellsberg conducted two famous experiments. He had a large jar that contained 90 balls. 30 of the balls were red while the rest of the balls were either black or yellow. The 60 black and yellow balls were added at random so there could be 30 of each […]

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