Value Less selling-out is becoming a new American Standard and tradition. We can watch as businesses that have grown over 40 or 50 years into excellent success stories of American Value are bought up by Financial Investors whose pulse is a military drum circulating cash.

depression-1250870_1280Investors know how to make money At any cost.  The sellers of great businesses know how to take money with no concern for cost. Where did the sellers forget the pride, the hard work, the dreams, and the love that they poured into creating their success story?

If I can make an observation It appears to me that forgetfulness begins With getting closer to death and losing value for this world. It is sensing your mortality and making a decision to do everything that you think money makes possible before you die.  Of course there is another choice; staying on the path you have followed with pride and doing what feels right as you enjoy the rest of your life peacefully with self satisfaction.

Unfortunately a good number of business owners do the former. So I recently watched one local business called the Mae Volen Center Change its name To  The Volen center Distancing itself from its founder. Then I noticed That the buses bringing senior citizens to and from the center where more recently labeled Adult Daycare,  yet in a small corner small corner words still said  “Volen Center”  (but small enough to be missed).

My mother-in-law had gone there for years and years to spend time with other seniors like herself.  She entertained them as well as being one of them and they all had a great time. Functional but aging seniors forgot they were old there!  But now it sounded like a place for people who are incontinent and needed care like little children.  All I could picture when I saw the new name “Adult Daycare” was adult diapers. I don’t know if they have new owners but I suspect it’s a near happening. Why else would you take away such a good name that meant so much to so many people and bury it in a depressing generic title? Will it be one of the casualties of valueless sales?

Then early yesterday,  I saw on the news that Amazon bought Whole Foods. What will play-1538331_1280this become? Amazon Is the marketplace takeover of the century. They are rapidly becoming a worldwide Monopoly for the sale of nearly any item, in my impression. They turn the supplier, creator or manufacturer into meaningless junk as they dictate the price by stomping on competition. Do you think this is good long term? If you do look at what has happened to America!  Jeff Bezos is the genius Of taking over the market By losing money until you put your competitors out of business. Investors would call it earning market share. I do not see him as a great businessman. I see him as another tyran soldier who goes to war and wins by killing off enough of the “enemy,”  competition.  He now rewrites history by having his name plastered in the history records Of tyrants Who are now called Heroes Because of their power, influence and money.

What will happen to Whole Foods under Jeff Bezos? Let me guess he’ll hire a lots of employees give everything a personal touch and be sure we have the finest quality food just as Whole Foods started out to become and even at better prices…… surprise me Jeff!

I don’t think you’re going to buy that Story And neither will I. Who knows what he will do with it.   It certainly won’t be what it was or what it could have become. Not that I think Whole Foods Is the best thing coming or going; It is too expensive for most people unless you live in one of the wealthy neighborhoods that it tends to locate to. However, it was a positive dream that drove people to think less toxins and better health!

So what is missing in these two business transactions? I think it is a fact that businesses light-bulb-1002783_1280start with a great idea,  are inspired by love, pride and soul and if they keep running that way they become a success. I have been down that road.  Success meaning that all people benefit and the business owner finds himself or herself reasonably profitable.

But, why do they have to sell their soul when it’s time to sell? How did they forget all that inspired them, does money make that happen? I think it is the fear of death and the desire to buy as much cocaine like living as you can before death comes to visit. To me it is pathetic and a sign of the downward spiral that America is going through. However there is always hope in youth and the rebirth of expectations fueled by the belief in invulnerability and immortality.

Perhaps the cycle of business and life Is tied together In ways that only years can make visible. Perhaps there’s a better way.  If there is, most don’t see it.  A majority of frustrated Americans trusted in that vision when they voted for Trump. Right or wrong most believed he had too much money to be concerned with its accumulation. They sport-562154_1280hoped that here was the dreamer who wanted to achieve something good, something spectacularly good filled with pride, something filled with greatness, something he had not achieved solely by making money. Let’s hope that the dreamers are right and not the people who sell their success stories for one last futile dream they believe money will buy before they die.



Achieving Your Dreams – Attitude

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium.  It is about how to achieve your dreams and as you will see much of it comes from attitude.  One of my favorite quotes is “Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude.”   See what you think……

Hey You, Jew Boy!

Steve Kogan and I were classmates who liked to play pool, when we were 12 years old.  His father was a rich man who picked me up in his big Cadillac to spend the day with Steve.  Some people who lived near me liked to call it a “Jew Canoe.”   It was of course a derogatory term.  On the way to the hotel he said something like, “You like the car, Joe?”

I said, “Yes it is pretty amazing.  I have never been in a car that felt like my mom’s living room.”  We were never allowed in the living room unless it was a special cadillacoccasion; after all the furniture was only for company.  The furniture was covered with clear plastic to protect it from the inevitable accidents kids cause.  It was good furniture,  the kind that took you years to pay off, as I understood.

Mr. Kogan said, “Life is all about making money!  That’s how you get a nice car like this and build a successful department store, as I have done.”   My dad had a different opinion so I was a bit shocked but I kept quiet.  My dad had taught me that millionaires like Mr Kogan, had stress,  heart attacks and misery.  The love of money was the root of this evil, he said,  and the helping people was much more important.  I was proud of my dad,  he had been a medic in WWII and had gone out unarmed in the battle field to help those who were critically wounded. He was a community leader who started businesses and when they made money,  left to start another.  We were not wealthy like Mr. Kogan.

Mr.Kogan said, “We are going to stop at my Department store on the way over to the hotel where you can spend the day.  I always am there just as we open to make sure all my workers are there and everything is running well.  In Puerto Rico,  running a great business was a magical trick as siestas and a laid back style of life were the common routine.  After all, the midday sun was scorching and it put me to sleep as I sat at my student desk studying for my classes.  The fan helped but only the very wealthy had the newfangled device called air conditioning.  So getting people to work all day was not very easy.

Mr. Kogan pulled the car to the curb in front of a impressive glass window filled with fashionably dressed manikins.  Big letters that appeared to be sculpted of stone floated above the chrome and glass doors.  There they  formed the words, “New York Department Stores.”  We had arrived.  Mr. Kogan opened the doors for me and Steve  and carefully led us across the street to avoid the hazards of  the cars and horse drawn wagons full of tropical fruits and vegetables. As we entered the store, which did have the magical thing called air conditioning,  the sounds of the wagon drivers calling out “Mangos, Avacados, Canepes,”… faded in the distance.

It was 1956 and we were surrounded by man made weather.  It was magical!  My whole body breathed a sigh of relief as the early morning heat and humidity vanished like steam from a shower.

In front of us was a vast room with counters that seemed made of the finest decorative materials,  which at that age I could not name,  but could appreciate.  On each counter was glass display cases filled with beautiful watches, jewelry and cosmetics.  Further in the distance you could see hanging signs alerting you to new fashionable clothing and shoes.  Behind each counter as far as the eye could see, stood an employee looking up at Mr. Kogan as we entered.  For a moment it was almost like looking at an army standing at attention as the general entered for inspection.  I was a little awestruck and a bit uncomfortable, not knowing what do do.

Mr. Kogan looked down at me, noting my discomfort and grabbed my hand with his left hand leading me forward down the long and seemingly threatening isle.   He then looked up and smiled at all his employees and began to walk slowly down the long isle calling out  good morning to each and every one of them by name.  They all smiled and greeted him  and some of the women reached over to hug him.  The long isle was no longer threatening. It was transformed into a sea of friendly faces at a party that was just about to start.  I my heart felt funny and my eyes moist but I was not quite sure why.

After a long slow walk with lots of brief and warm conversations, some in Spanish and some in English  (both of which I spoke)  we ended up in the back.  We entered a small simply furnished room with desks,  fling cabinets and a few people talking on phones.  Through the open back door we could see the loading dock where workers were unloading a truck.  Mr. Kogan showed us to some well worn leather chairs and went out back to greet the delivery men.

He came back in a few minutes and sat down across from me and Steve and said, “So Joe,  how do you like my department store?”

I thought for a moment as my head was swimming with new experiences.  I said, “I think it is very impressive!  My dad has a few optical stores and I am very proud of him, but this is huge and awesome.”

Thinking about my dad’s concern for the stress and misery that can come with money, I want to ask him a question too.

I said, “Mr. Kogan,  what is it that you like best about your business?”   He looked at me and his eyes seemed to mist over as he smiled and he said, “I would never miss a day of walking into the store as it opens!  I love all my employees and the greetings that we share every morning. There is nothing in the world worth more.  On the other hand, it is a great responsibility and at times it raises my blood pressure and keeps me from sleeping.  You see, the store not only takes care of me and my family but it clothes, houses and feeds my hundreds of workers.   I am in many ways responsible for the lives of all my workers.  If I fail,  they fail, and they may lose their homes and everything they have worked so hard to achieve.  It is a great responsibly.  As you get older you will discover that most things in life are dual edged swords.  One side helps you cut down sugar cane to sell and prosper but the other side can cut off you hand if you are not careful. ”

He smiled and again seemed to be looking a thousand miles away.  Then he looked back at us and said,  “Okay kids lets go!  You are going to have a great day at the El San Juan!”

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill | Free PDF Download eBook Edition

This is among my favorite books.  I hope your will read it!  Here in a link to a 100%  free E-Book copy.  Why read it?  It can truly change your life by helping your understand the  potential of changing your thinking!

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill | Free PDF Download eBook Edition | 

Think And Grow Rich, one of the great books to inspire us! Read this interesting article by Robert-preneur’s blog.


A woman thinking

Desire backed by Faith knows no such word as impossible.

Every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage.

– Napoleon Hill

I never read Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich. I judged the book by the cover believing that it was probably materialistic pablum only useful to sales people trying to develop positive thinking habits to consistently close deals and make big bucks – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Being successful in sales does require a strong dose of integrity, self-confidence and positive thinking, but I didn’t see the relevance to someone like me who was an educator and not motivated by wealth accumulation. I made a mistake.

The two quotes above sound like words you would see on inspirational posters that have no practical effect in the life of the individual who glances at them. The mind responds positively to such thoughts until…

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