Updated on 09.16.11

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #37

Trent Hamm

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well.

1. Ninite
I spent some significant time setting up a computer for someone this week. This tool made that task drastically easier by giving me a single installation package to put a bunch of basic programs on this computer. Firefox, iTunes, AVG, SpyBot, AdAware, Picasa, Flash, PDF Creator, and several others – all in one installation.

I actually made a customized install program to keep on a thumb drive for future use using Ninite. Incredibly useful idea and great execution.

2. Lauren Zalaznick on the conscience of television
The interesting argument here is that television (and other forms of media consumption) directly reflects the moral, political, and social needs of the audience. Of course, when you stare at your own reflection, you begin to see certain things more deeply and your view of it shifts.

It’s a really interesting idea.

3. Gandhi’s seven deadly sins
These seven statements made me think about my life and the choices I’ve made.

“Seven Deadly Sins:
Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Thoughtful stuff.

4. Martin Lindstrom on how Whole Foods (and other grocers) prime you to shop
This is an excellent and well-written article that sums up beautifully the different tactics that grocers use to convince people to buy more than they need to.

The use of Whole Foods specifically here is a great choice, revealing how they’re not really very different from any other grocery chain.

5. Alfred Montapert on the ramifications of choices
Every single time we make a choice, there is some consequence from it. When we spend fifty cents on one thing, we now don’t have that fifty cents to spend on another thing.

“Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” – Alfred A. Montapert

Our success relies on making a lot of tough choices that lead us down a path to something greater.

6. Steven Johnson on the source of good ideas
Good ideas come from collaboration and community. People interacting with one another and sharing ideas pushes everyone there further forward than they would have gone on their own.

With my closest friends, I usually try to talk about the things that challenge me the most – issues of politics and religion and parenting. We push each other to a better understanding of all of it.

7. Orchard in Bloom, Louveeciennes (1872) by Camille Pissarro
Last week, I mentioned how much I enjoyed Pissarro’s paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago. I spent some time looking at a large number of his paintings online (with my daughter on my lap) this week, and this was my favorite.

Orchard in Bloom, Louveciennes by Camille Pissarro

Great paintings make me yearn to be in that place, even if that place is ordinary. This certainly fulfills that criteria.

Thanks to cliff1066 for the image.

8. Anne Herbert on libraries and money
A great book will get you through the most uncertain of times.

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” – Anne Herbert

I wouldn’t want to imagine a world with no libraries.

9. I Loved My Friend by Langston Hughes
It speaks for itself.

“I loved my friend
He went away from me
There’s nothing more to say
The poem ends,
Soft as it began-
I loved my friend.”

– Langston Hughes

10. Peanuts dancing to Linus and Lucy
After mentioning that I’m learning how to play “Linus and Lucy,” several people wanted to know why the song sounded familar to them.

It’s from the 1962 special A Charlie Brown Christmas, which I’ve seen more times than I can count.

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  1. Steven says:

    I, too, call it the idiot box. I was actually surprised by her statistic that the average American watches 5 hours of TV a day. A DAY!? Wow!

    Imagine what we could accomplish if we just turned off the stupid TV. And our computers. And our cell phones…

    If we used that time to do something productive, I can’t even imagine how much better off each of our lives would be. Five hours a day!? Geez!

  2. valleycat1 says:

    #1 Steven – One problem with statistics like that is that it’s usually an average, and I believe this often-quoted one is from a poll of people who were reporting how many hours their TV is on in a day (a lot of people use one as background noise and aren’t actually just sitting in front of one watching it). Those people who literally have the TV on every waking hour (I have several friends who do this, even when hosting guests) heavily skew the results.

    And I find the title of that talk misleading. TV may reflect the nation’s conscience or zeitgeist, but it doesn’t have a conscience. Simply put, as Trent would say, programming that gets on the air reflects what the industry and advertisers (consciously or subconsciously) think will sell more products.

  3. deRuiter says:

    Whole Foods, and every other store which wishes to stay in business, engages in marketing and display. A multi million dollar business can afford to hire sophisticated, talented, educated people to market their products and to create displays which encourage the buyers to buy. Fashion is totally unnecessary, but Ralph Lauren and his ilk spend millions to display and market things not so useful as food. Think of RL’s country scenes, models perched on horses they don’t know how to ride, golden retrievers, log homes, polo matches. All marketing and display!

  4. deRuiter says:

    The whole point of selling anything is to take money from people who have it and give them in exchange things which you have but do not want so much as you want their money. Trent doesn’t offer two articles a day out of the goodness of his heart, he is offering them in exchange for as many “hits” as possible which are then turned into money as the “hits” are “sold” in a fashion to those who advertise on his site. If Trent cranks out interesting articles, he makes money (marketing and display). If he doesn’t offer a good product in a display which people want to read, he doesn not get money. Businesses, from the yard sale or corner hot dog man, to Ralph Lauren, Microsoft and Apple, are in business to first make money for owners / shareholders. They display their merchandise and market it in order to exchange the merchandise for money. Whole Paycheck takes advantage of snob appeal and the lack of sophisitcation of the public with their cornball pseudo farm market approach. Clever of them. Go to a real American farmer or farm stand if you want real food, but you won’t get local tomatoes in January, bananas ever, or totally symmetrical fruit and vegetables which you will get at a large chain grocery.

  5. Andrew says:

    Nitpicking alert! “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is from 1965, not 1962.

  6. Brittany says:

    Nitpicking alert! I live in America, Deruiter, and there are bananas growing right outside my window.

  7. deRuiter says:

    OK, Brittany, in your minute corner of America there are bananas for sale in the farm market which are locally grown, you’re one up on me. I wish I was where you live instead of facing a bleak winter in the NE!!!! If you want bananas in most of America, you can’t buy local bananas at your farm market. You must pay mega corporations to lug bananas from tropic climates inpensively and in the purchase price you pay for bananas included not only the money for banana cultivators and harvesters, cost to transport the bananas to and inside America, and money for stores to display and sell them, to cover all the spoilage and a profit for those who own the companies which do the work. We can have cheap bananas in America, all corners of America, because of the sophisticated marketing and displays of stores, and the strength and efficiency of American big business.

  8. Diane says:

    I love Linus & Lucy! In my book it’s the ultimate happy music. I used to work at Nordstrom, back in the days when there was live music every day in every store. One of our pianists would play this for me on Sunday mornings. First he’d do a Gospel set, including my favorite hymn. To indicate that the set was over and that he was heading back toward the “official” playlist, he’d play one last song for me: Linus & Lucy. To this day, it never fails to make me smile.

  9. Creede says:

    If you’re a fan of “Linus and Lucy,” check out the version on the inimitable Béla Fleck and the Flecktones’ album “Jingle All The Way.” Fleck does a version on banjo that sounds both very familiar and weirdly different. You’ll also get the most unusual version of “Jingle Bells” you’ll ever hear, with Fleck and the Flecktones joined by a group of Tuvan throat singers. It’s a Christmas album for people who love Christmas albums, and it’s a Christmas album for people who hate Christmas albbums.

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