The Book List That is Transforming Me

I am in a great mood today!  We finally received some rain where I live in Texas!  Praise the Lord and nothing short of it.  There was quite a lightning show leading up to some solid precipitation.  So, being that I am in a good mood, I am diverting from talks of our nation’s budget!  No reason to spoil it!

We will keep with the theme of books.  Over the last year, I have been on a book reading tear!  I used to be the guy who barely read the necessary books for class.  Now, I can’t get enough.  My current employer does an excellent job with developing leaders among its entry level team members. This week, it has been suggested we talk to each other about three of our favorite books.  I will expand on that by sharing what I have read in the last year.

The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn.  Fred was Mark’s mailman who went above and beyond his “job requirements” to make a significant, lasting impact.

Make It the Big Time Where You Are by Frosty Westering.  The best concept from the book is: There is no such thing as the Road to Success because there is no “success destination.”  But there is Success Road and you are already on it.  Enjoy it!

Growing the Game: The Globalization of Major League Baseball by Alan M. Klein.  Fascinating how America’s Pastime is also celebrated around the world.  Also explains why the Royals are the Royals, why the Dodgers are the Dodgers, and how Asian cultures do baseball their own way.

The GM by Tom Callahan.  Golf author takes a successful hack at the game of football.  Former Giants GM Earnie Accorsi is shadowed in his final season as General Manager.  I am still trying to get a hold of Earnie so I can host him at the next Monon Bell Game (which he references in the book, WAF)!

Meat Market by Bruce Feldman.  Love Bruce on ESPN.com.  I love him here too as he shadows recruiting guru Ed Orgeron during his HC stint at Ole Miss.  Goes well with ESPN 30 for 30’s “Pony Excess,” the USC scandal, the Ohio State scandal, the Miami scandal…

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge.  Opened doors in my life and taught me about how Satan attacks us daily.  Plus, why it’s okay to the urge to do dangerous things like walk around in a powerful Texas thunderstorm.

The Pursuit by Dexter Yager and John Mason.  Overcoming story.  Partners well with Frosty’s book (above).  Yes, I too own an Amway business!  Almost as many one-liner inspirational excerpts as this next book…

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  If you haven’t read it I don’t want to spoil it for you.  Just know, there is plenty to go around because we all want different things and we all define success differently.  Abundance mindset is more fun than scarcity mindset.

The Slight Edge by Leo Weidner.  Admittedly, I meant to buy a different book.  However, Weidner’s balance of coherent scientific positions and uplifting stories kept me hooked.  I write in a journal on a regular basis because of this book.

America’s Financial Demise by Ethan Pope.  Just keep following this blog ya’ll…

The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino.  Before you judge me or the cover of the book, read it as I currently am.  It is framed in the story of a man who is blessed with secrets to selling success on one powerful night in Bethlehem.  I’m on the Scroll Marked II for the next week.

Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.  I am also currently reading this one on a credible recommendation.  I am finishing it tomorrow.  Satisfied customers are not enough…

One the Radar:

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by (the) John Maxwell

WIN by Frank Luntz

Fathered by God by John Elderedge 

Recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them!  Comment below, please!

Today’s History Lesson Kiddos

In 1933, Exectuive Order 6102 removed the U.S. dollar from the gold standard to what would become fiat currency.  It was signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt (D).  It made the New Deal agenda possible.  It was the beginning of our nation’s excessive spending history.  Nixon (R) contributed as well.

“FDR ends gold standard” http://goo.gl/LV8XS 

And if you would like…

“Nixon ends gold standard.”  http://goo.gl/tnrtb

In 1935, Social Security Act, also signed by Roosevelt (D), initiated entitlement programs to follow.  For example: Medicare in 1965 signed by LBJ (D), Medicare Prescription Drug Act in 2003 signed by G. W. Bush (R), loan to JPMorgan Chase with promise to purchase Bear Stearns in 2008 carried out by the Federal Reserve, and finally American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 signed by President Obama (D).

Result: a NEW American economy.  No longer does our economy look like or operate as a free market system.

Action: Do some research folks…  See you out there.

Book Summary Bites: America’s Financial Demise by Ethan Pope

Book Review: America’s Financial Demise by Ethan Pope

America’s Financial Demise: Approaching the Point of No Return was published in 2010.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who is worried about the current state and future of our government’s finances.  I also highly recommend this book to anyone who is impartial, uninterested, confused, too-busy or blindly trusts our government and leaders.  This book is short (137 pages) and concise (short chapters).  Pope does an amazing job of putting our nation’s financial problems into “laymen’s” terms.  The book is organized into three parts: “The Evidence,” “The Consequences,” and “Closing Arguments.”  Again, very easy to follow.  Dots are connected with straight lines.

I reread a few portions on the book, but not because I was confused.  Either my eyes were about to pop out of my head or I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.  The blatant facts (“The Evidence”) made me mad.  Mad at our 30+ years of fiscally irresponsible leadership, mad at my family, and mad at myself.  The future (“The Consequences”) portrayed in this book looks scary familiar, because some of Pope’s projections have already taken place.  The call to arms (“Closing Arguments”) will inspire you to take action… now!

If you read two or more books at once, I recommend pairing this book with one that is inspiring or happy-feeling.  Further, the brevity of the book does not mean one should fly through it.  I took at full 30 days pace.  The book may be easy to get wrapped-up in.   However, I recommend the reader take there time.  Let information sink in.  Stop.  Think.  Reflect.  Plan.

Hands down recommend this book.  I adamantly urge young Americans fresh out of college to read it as well.  Hopefully, they took a economics course and paid attention.  Admittedly, I know I did not.  For many, this will be the first time to see these kinds of facts, numbers, and projections.  I will breakdown this book further in posts to come.

Some parting advice from me: Do not be afraid or doubtful.  Be brave and active.

How taxes work – I did not make this up. Really, this isn’t original.

I am presenting our system of taxes in this way because I believe it is very plainly illustrated.  It has been in email circulation for years.  The original author is unknown.  The follow excerpt is from America’s Financial Demise: Approaching the Point of No Return by Ethan Pope.

“Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.  If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth man would pay $1.

The sixth man would pay $3.

Seventh man would pay $7.

Eighth man would pay $12.

Ninth man would pay $18.

Tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement – until one day, the owner threw them a curve.  “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.”

Drinks for ten now cost just $8.

Because the group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, the first four men were unaffected.  They still drank for free.  But what about the other six men – the paying customers?  How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his “fair share?”

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33, but if they subtracted that amount from everybody’s share, the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being paid to drink their beer.  So, the owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same percentage, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

Fifth man now also paid nothing (100% or $1 savings).

Sixth man now paid $2 instead of 3 (33% savings).

Seventh man now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).

Eighth man now paid $9 instead of $12 (35% savings).

Ninth man now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).

Tenth man now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of he six men was better off than before; but once they were outside the restaurant, they began to compare their savings.

“I only got $1 out of the $20 discount,” declared the sixth man.  He pointed to the tenth man.  “But he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too!  It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I did!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man.  “Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2?  The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“What a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison.  “We didn’t get antyhing at all.  The system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night, the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him.  But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important.  They didn’t have enough money between them to even pay half the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists, and college-professors, is how our tax system works.  The people who pay the highest taxes get most benefit from a tax reduction – because they paid the most tax in the first place.  Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.  In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.”

Don’t be confused by political rhetoric which leads you to believe the rich do not pay their share.  Those who are not “paying their fair share” are, in large part, the 32.5% of all income tax filers who paying nothing in taxes.  In fact, if you consider my point of view specifically, then you would see I speak from experience.  However, I do not write on behalf of the rich.

Until 2 months ago I was been a student working part time throughout the year,  never earning significant income in the six years of undergraduate and graduate school, and I was lacking motivation to do so.  I am the poor American who has received tax refunds each year.  I am one of the first four guys at the bar.  Yet, I know I won’t be for long.  If and when the government raises taxes for the rich, they will find it won’t be a significant bite out of our national debt.  They will need to tax another group of Americans.  Who will they tax next?  That’s right.  Don’t be one of the many who will ask: where did the tax refunds go?

TJ