Monday, June 29, 2009

There's Power in Numbers

I spent my Saturday night speaking at a Female Enrichment Forum presented by Dr. Amy Hymes, an organizational psychologist that hosts events to empower and equip women to achieve a higher level of success. During my speech, I shared what it means to “Get Radical” and gave some real world examples of how women are stepping out of their comfort zone to decide what they want and then becoming bold and courageous enough to go after it.

The energy in the room was incredible. There’s something exhilarating about getting together with a group of people who are focused on continually getting better and improving themselves. Everyone should be a part of a group like that. Whether it’s a professional group, a social group, or just a group of friends who make a point of getting together and helping each other succeed. It’s an opportunity to learn from others, get new ideas, and create a larger network of people who can have a positive impact on your life.

One of the exercises the group did was to define what success meant to them. I LOVED that because I’m a firm believer that true success is self defined. It can’t be defined for you – not by your parents, your friends, society, or celebrities. Some will say Donald Trump is successful. Others will say Mother Theresa. The question is: What do you say?

Only you can say what your “success” looks like. And only when you get clear on what that definition is for you, can you begin to take the steps to get exactly what you want out of your life.
This seems like a great time to share with you 2 of my upcoming teleclasses. These classes provide a chance to get together with people who are focused on continually getting better and improving themselves.

Get R.A.D.I.C.A.L. Teleclass
Want to move forward and make changes in your life but not sure how? Interested in clarifying your goals and developing a plan to go after them? This 4-week teleseminar shares strategies for helping you take charge of your professional and personal life. More Information and Registration

Overcoming Underearning
Based on the bestselling book Overcoming Underearning by Barbara Stanny, this 5-week teleclass explores the 5 Step Plan to a Richer Life. Information, strategies and homework exercises will help you to dig deeper to uncover the blocks and barriers that keep you from achieving your financial goals. More Information and Registration

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson Radically Changed the Music Game

(CNN) — Michael Jackson’s impact on pop culture is indelible. But perhaps his biggest legacy will be how he changed the music industry.

“As a performer he changed history … his singing, his songwriting, his choreography, his dancing, his business acumen,” said Howard Bragman, a public relations expert who worked with Jackson to launch the singer’s shoe line with L.A. Gear.

“He rewrote the history of the entertainment industry in his time,” Bragman said.

Jackson crossed color lines and broke down barriers between musical genres. He followed in the footsteps of Elvis and the Beatles to create a transnational fan base that prefigured the era of globalization. And Jackson became a canny power broker who helped lead artists from stage performers into major boardroom players.

“That gets lost in the last five and 10 years, with all the litigation battles — what he did the first 30 years to set the landscape for these other artists,” said James Walker, an entertainment attorney. “Michael transcended race before Michael Jordan, before Oprah, before Tiger Woods, before Barack Obama.

“You can’t underestimate what his did for black artists — and artists as a whole — as a business man,” Walker added.

His 1982 album “Thriller” has sold an estimated 50 million records worldwide — a record that, considering the decline of record sales in the wake of new media, is likely to stand for some years to come.

“Records just don’t sell that much anymore. The industry has changed. … Now it’s in shambles because of technology,” said Gideon Yago, head of the IFC Media Project and a former correspondent for MTV News.

Videos that accompanied the album became landmarks that set the industry standard, as MTV and cable television began to proliferate, creating ready outlets for a growing marketing tool. At the time, Jackson’s label had to fight to get onto MTV, which then featured only rock artists.

“Walter Yetnikoff (former president of CBS records) drew a line in the sand and said, ‘We believe in this guy and you’re going to play his videos or we’re going to pull all our videos,’” Walker said.

“What he did was so cutting-edge regarding videos; he defined the video age as we know it,” said Tommy Mottola, who succeeded Yetnikoff as head of CBS.

Though his personal finances were in disarray at the end of his life, Jackson made some canny business decisions at the height of his power — most notably buying half the Beatles music catalog in 1985 for $47.5 million.

“When you look at his royalties and his copyrights, he’s probably got a half a billion to a billion (dollar) catalogue,” Walker added.

The current value of his estate is unclear. His debts stood at about $500 million, according to a Wall Street Journal story earlier this month.

As the music industry model moved more toward live events in the face of dwindling album sales, two billionaire businessmen stepped in to bank of Jackson’s comeback with a series of concerts scheduled in London.

Tom Barrack, head of hedge fund Colony Capital, teamed with Philip Anschutz, owner of AEG Live, to plan a third-act comeback for Jackson, with a sold-out 50-date stand at AEG Live’s O2 arena scheduled to begin next month. Future business plans included a world tour, a Broadway musical and even a “Thriller” casino.

“You are talking about a guy who could make $500 million a year if he puts his mind to it,” Barrack told The Los Angeles Times in an article last month. “There are very few individual artists who are multibillion-dollar businesses. And he is one.”

Billboard magazine estimates $85 million in ticket sales from the sold-out concert series. Additional packages, merchandise and secondary market sales could have raised the total to $115 million. AEG Live declined to comment.

“There will be a process put in place for ticketing (refunds). I don’t know what it is at the moment,” said Lucy Ellison, spokeswoman for O2 stadium. “We’ll leave it for his family to say what they want to say before we discuss ticketing information.”

Jackson was expected to earn $50 million from the London shows.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Can You Tell the Truth?

It can be as simple as: Do you like this dress?
Or as complicated as: Am I doing a good job?

Everyday, we are presented with opportunities to tell the truth and be honest. And every day we choose not to. Why? For a variety of reasons:

We don’t care.
We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
We don’t think it will make a difference.
We just don’t have the guts.

Example #1:
I was always amazed at the number of people who complain about a coworker not carrying their own weight, having a bad attitude, not being a team player, or not being open to other’s ideas or a different way of doing things. Yet, when the complaining employee has the chance to review this employee (as either their manager or during a 360 review), they put none of this down - instead, they give them high marks and great comments.

Example #2:
You knew before you got married that your fiancĂ©’s credit card debt was high. You also knew that your fiancĂ©’s spending habits demonstrated that more emphasis was placed on the here and now versus planning for a future. But when asked to share with your future spouse any concerns you have – before saying “I do” - you remained silent.

Example #3
Your friend or family member is constantly worried about their health. Their doctor has told them to lose weight, get their blood pressure under control, and that they are pre-diabetic. Yet, when they say they’ve done everything they can to lose the weight, you just sit and nod in agreement – even though you know they haven’t been on a walk, joined a gym, put down those fried foods or gave up sugary drinks.

I’ve been told I’m too honest. I’ve had family members walk away from a conversation. Friends jaws have dropped at some of the words that have come out of my mouth. Some people have even come to me because they are looking for truth and honesty.

My question is: What’s too honest?

I thought when someone asked you a question or was soliciting your opinion, they wanted the truth. So why are they so surprised – or agitated – when I give it them? I think it's because very few people in this world tell the truth and most people in this world aren't used to hearing it.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don't Forget to Have Fun!

With all the talk of goals, success, dreams, and working to get what you want out of life. There's one very important thing you shouldn't neglect...or forget. Having some FUN!

In the middle of all that we do to advance in our careers, build our businesses, deal with our families, focus on our finances, and getting healthy and fit, we need to make sure we find the time to sit back, chill out, and do something that makes us laugh, relax and enjoy the moment.

That's what I did tonight when me and my hubby went to see Beyonce in concert (my ears are still ringing)!

Here are a couple of pics and a couple of short video clips of Say My Name and Irreplaceable. By the way, I'm definitely an amateur when it comes to video taping!

And remember...HAVE FUN!

The Joy Fit Club

One of my favorite segments on NBC's Today Show is the induction of people into the Joy Fit Club. These are people who have lost and kept off a significant amount of weight -- 100 pounds or more -- without surgery.

Check out some of their inspiring stories and transformations:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Are You Above the Line or Below the Line

This was an article I wrote for my last newsletter. It sparked some great feedback so I thought I'd put it on my blog as well.
It is inevitable. You can't avoid it. You've either experienced it. Are currently experiencing it. Or will experience it in the future. What is "it"?

"It" is something going wrong on your project, your team, with your performance or in achieving your business (or personal) goals.

Whenever something like this happens, you only have two options in how you respond. You will either respond Above the Line or Below the Line. The decision you make will be critical to how successful you will be in moving forward from the situation to seek a resolution.

One of the best business books out there is The Oz Principle: Getting Results through Individual and Organizational Accountability by Roger Conners, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman. Based on the concept of accountability, the authors challenge anyone dealing with "it" to respond Above the Line.
The dictionary defines accountable as "subject to having to report, explain, justify; being answerable; responsible". Beginning with the words "subject to", this definition implies that there is little choice in the matter and that accountability is confession oriented - viewed as a consequence of bad performance or something going wrong.

Now, check out the authors' definition of accountability: A personal choice to rise above one's circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results. If you accept and act on this definition, you are Above the Line. What does that mean? Take a look:

How to react Above the Line:
See it
Own it
Solve it
Do it

How to react Below the Line:
Wait and See
Cover Your Tail
Finger Pointing
Confusion/Tell me What to Do
It's not my job
In other words - the blame game

How does this play out? Here are two examples:

Situation #1:
An employee has several meetings with his supervisor about his poor performance, lack of planning and timeliness, and inability to be proactive. When this reaches the critical stage where the employee could lose his job, the employee begins to explain the real issue: his boss isn't giving clear instructions. Other departments aren't providing the needed information causing him to miss deadlines. Also, one of his co-workers has it out for him and has not been very helpful in providing the data needed to complete his reports.

Situation #2
An employee has several meetings with his supervisor about his poor performance, lack of planning and timeliness, and inability to be proactive. When this reaches the critical stage where the employee could lose his job, the employee begins to explain his next steps: he will be sure to follow-up on each stage of all projects to make sure he is following instructions. He will meet with other departments regularly to ensure they work together to get the information needed so that deadlines would be met. Finally, he would set aside personal feelings about co-workers and focus on building a working relationship based on respect and the common goal.

Can you guess who reacted Above the Line?

What about you? When something goes wrong - whether it's in your professional life or your personal life - how do you respond? Does your actions line up with what's Above the Line or what's Below the Line?

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

How Long Do You Chase a Dream?

Everybody has a dream.

Whether it's to raise a child that makes a positive contribution to society, to start a business based on your passion, to work with or start a charity that helps those less fortunate, to reach a certain position at your company, to get an education, to get in shape, write a book, direct a movie, or be an actor.

One of the questions I always talk about with my friend Tawana is how long do you chase a dream? Until things aren't going your way? Until the money runs out? When you experience disappointment after disappointment? When you get rejected? When you give your all and it still isn't enough? Do you keep going? Do you change course? Do you give up?

My hubby owns a recording studio and record label and he's been working with a young woman with a dream. A dream to share her musical talents with the world. But she hasn't just been dreaming. She's been working her butt off.

Let me just say that anyone who thinks the entertainment industry is easy isn't in the entertainment industry! I've watched her experience some serious disappointments and setbacks, but she continues to move forward, more determined than ever.

And now, her dreams are starting to come true. Jamie Jones will release her first album, Celebrity Music, on June 30th (YEA!). Her sound is a mixture of who she is and the music she loves - pop/rock/hip hop and R&B.

To celebrate, she's having a CD release party on Sunday, June 28th at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. If you're in the area, come celebrate with us!

Introducing Jamie Jones:

So, to answer the question:

How long do you chase a dream?

Until it comes true!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

The Myth of Multi-Tasking

What are you working on?

I get asked this question a lot. From family, friends, and business associates. Each time I’m asked, I roll off a list of projects that I’ve either just started, am working on, or finishing up – sometimes up to 10 things. But a funny thing has been happening over the past several months. Whenever someone asks me that question, my answer has been the same. As in the same projects. They are all still in progress.

That led me to a startling realization. Nothing was complete. Done. Finished. Over with. In the can. Wrapped up.

How could that be? I haven’t been sitting around, twiddling my thumbs. Yet, months and months have gone by and I am still answering that question by rolling off the same list of projects. Is that possible? What is the problem? I feel like I should have been further along - if not done with some of these projects. Yet, I'm not.

Then, I took a look at the number of projects that were ongoing and tried to piece together the time I’d been spending working on each one. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that when I set aside time to work on something, I wasn’t really working only on it. I was checking email, answering calls, stopping to do a quick thing such as editing a letter or updating information on an upcoming teleclass or program, or getting sidetracked with “research” (which is a nice word for surfing the Internet!). In essence, I was multi-tasking.

Now, multitasking is a big buzz word that corporate America loves. Look at many job descriptions or job ads and you'll see that word as a descriptor of the type of person they are looking for. It means: doing more with less, getting it all done, able to handle a fast paced environment, doing many things at one time, or executing several task simultaneously.

And we have embraced this concept in all its glory.

Do you have multiple computer programs open at one time? Do you have multiple Internet pages open? Is your email always open and popping up a notify window when you receive a new message? Do you switch from project to project? Are you in meetings but working on something unrelated? Is your work constantly interrupted by people coming to your office, yet you keep working while talking to them? Do you talk on the phone while answering emails? Do you work on multiple projects during the same timeframe? Are you on a conference call or webinar and working on unrelated tasks?

These may seem like small things, but they can be very distracting and end up extending time on some projects versus saving time. And while you may get things done – they may not be done at its best, as you were not giving it your full attention.

That’s what has happened to me. While I’ve been so focused on accomplishing all my projects, I really should have been focused on finishing one project and then moving on to the next. What is my lesson learned?

Multi-tasking is a myth.

Why do I say that? Check out this quote from Dave Crenshaw:

When most people refer to multitasking they mean simultaneously performing two or more things that require mental effort and attention. Examples would include saying we’re spending time with family while were researching stocks online, attempting to listen to a CD and answering email at the same time, or pretending to listen to an employee while we are crunching the numbers. What most people refer to as multitasking, I refer to as ’switchtasking.’ Why?

Because the truth is we really cannot do two things at the same time - we are only one person with only one brain. Neurologically speaking, it has been proven to be impossible. What we are really doing is switching back and forth between two tasks rapidly, typing here, paying attention there, checking our ‘crackberry’ here, answering voicemail there back and forth back and forth at a high rate. Keep this up over a long period of time, and you have deeply ingrained habits that cause stress and anxiety and dropped responsibilities and a myriad of productivity & focus problems. It’s little wonder so many people complain of increasingly short attention spans!

Who is this man? He’s the author of The Myth of Multitasking. And I think he’s on to something. I’m going to be incorporating his strategies into the way I manage my work. That way, when someone asks me “What are you working on?” My list will be extremely short. And it will constantly change – because my projects are now being completed.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Oh, You Thought ______ Would Be Easy?


  • difficult to bear or endure
  • demanding the exertion of energy
  • calling for stamina and endurance
  • difficult to accomplish or resolve

I didn't think training for a half marathon would be easy....I just didn't think it would be that hard.

I didn't think starting a business would be easy...I just didn't think it would be that hard.

I didn't think getting my Master's Degree a couple of years ago would be easy...I just didn't think it would be that hard.

I didn't think my four weeks at Fitness Ridge would be easy...I just didn't think it would be that hard.

I could probably go on and on with a list of things I've done or am doing that I didn't think would be easy...but had no idea it would be that hard.

But hard does not mean impossible. It's simply means that it will take effort, dedication, an unyielding commitment to get to the finish line, and a constant reminder of how you will feel, what life will be like, and what you will gain from actually doing what it is you said you would do. When you find yourself faltering, second guessing, or wanting to give up, all you have to do is take a deep breath (literally), recommit, suck it up, and get it done!

Training for a half-marathon? Hard.
I'm running more and longer than I've EVER done. I'm dealing with knees that would cuss me out if they could talk. I keep hoping that it will stop raining because I'd rather run outside than on a treadmill. And of course, I have the repeated nightmare of not finishing the race in time and getting scooped up by the dreaded bus!!!!

BUT, I'm committed and prepared to suck it up, do what I need to do and get it done.

How? I've rearranged my schedule to get my runs in. I bought a few new workout pieces (it helps to look good when you're grunting and breathing hard). And I have found an unwavering support group. I'd like to introduce them to you - Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Kirk Franklin. Thanks to The Black Album(Jay-Z), I Am...Sasha Fierce(Beyonce) and praise and worship with a hip-hop flair (Kirk Franklin The Fight of My Life) on my iPod, putting one foot in front of the other is a little bit easier.

And starting a business?
No question it's hard. Everyday I ask myself - do I really want to keep doing this???

But I'm committed and am prepared to suck it up, do what I need to do and get it done.

How? By remembering that what I do helps people succeed in the goals they have set for themselves. That I help people tap into their passion and purpose and move forward in living a life that gives them fulfillment. And that I really love what I do and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

But there are the bad days - not getting a client I really wanted to work with, having a proposal turned down, or not being selected to speak at an event. However, those days are followed by ones where I get the new client, win the proposal and am selected to speak.

And getting a Master's Degree? H-A-R-D!
My commute to class form my job was 90 minutes (in terrible Washington, DC rush hour traffic). I was also completing my coaching training program and I had several books due to my publisher over the course of the three year program. But what did I do?

I stayed committed, sucked it up, did what I needed to do and got it done.

And Fitness Ridge? Hard would not even begin to describe my 4 weeks there.
Going to Utah was THE most physically challenging thing I have ever done in my life. My body did things I never thought possible - 2 hour hikes, followed by another 4 hours of exercise, and consuming 1,200 calories of healthy meals a day. But through the body aches, the hunger pains (which actually subsided after the first week), and the desert heat, you know what I did?

You guessed it...I stayed committed, sucked it up, did what I needed to do and got it done.

What about you?

As you can see, I left a "blank" in the title. That's just for you. What can you put in that space? What's hard for you right now? Is it your marriage, your job, losing weight, finishing that degree, getting out of debt, or starting your own business?

Whatever it is - now might be the time to recommit, suck it up, do what you need to do and get it done.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Read Any Good Books Lately?

I love words - written and spoken. Always have, always will. And anyone who has spent even a short amount of time with me would agree 100%. Several years ago, I gave away hundreds of books and, as you can see from this photo of a small section of my bookshelves, I still have over a hundred.

What do I read? Everything! I have eclectic taste and one day you might see me reading a romance novel, the next day a business book, followed by a management book, then a biography or a book about money, health or fitness. I'm also constantly checking out the bestseller list of fiction books.

And let's not even talk about magazines. I subscribe to at least 10 - everything from Shape, Self, Reader's Digest, Fortune Small Business, Travel & Leisure, Ebony, O - The Oprah Magazine, to Best Life (I know...I know...that's a magazine for professional men on success) but I ordered it for my hubby and he never got around to reading it, so I started. It's actually been a great way to gain a better understanding of men, what's on their mind, and what drives them.

Not only do I love to read, I get a kick out of telling other people what to read. And sometimes, my hints are not so subtle.

When I came across the book Skinny Bitchin the Chicago O'hare airport during a 2-hour flight delay almost 2 years ago, I read it in 24 hours and then immediately gave up eating meat and dairy the next day. What did I do next? I sent out about 25 copies to my friends and family and demanded that they read it. And of course, I badgered them until they did!!!

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I hung out with my best friend in Chicago. She's a fitness competitor and shares all of her healthy eating and workout tips on her blog. We made a trip to the bookstore and I picked up several books that turned out to be pretty good reads. Thought I'd share them with you - but this time, they'll be no badgering!

Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life)
by Cathie Black

Every woman dreams of having a wise, funny mentor who understands the challenges she faces. Now, Cathie Black—one of Forbes’s “100 Most Powerful Women” and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business”—offers invaluable lessons that will help you land the job, promotion, or project you’re vying for. You’ll find out how to handle interviews, which rules to break, and why you should make your life a grudge-free zone. Filled with surprisingly candid, personal stories and advice, this is the only career guide you’ll ever need.

Black heads Hearst Magazines, a division of Hearst Corporation. She manages the financial performance and development of some of the industry’s best-known magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Black made publishing history in 1979 as the first woman publisher of a weekly consumer magazine, New York, and she is widely credited for the success of USA Today, where for eight years, starting in 1983, she was first president, then publisher.

How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else
By Michael Gates Gill

In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a mansion in the suburbs, a wife and loving children, a six-figure salary, and an Ivy League education. But in a few short years, he lost his job, got divorced, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With no money or health insurance, he was forced to get a job at Starbucks. Having gone from power lunches to scrubbing toilets, from being served to serving, Michael was a true fish out of water. But fate brings an unexpected teacher into his life who opens his eyes to what living well really looks like. The two seem to have nothing in common: She is a young African American, the daughter of a drug addict; he is used to being the boss but reports to her now.

For the first time in his life he experiences being a member of a minority trying hard to survive in a challenging new job. He learns the value of hard work and humility, as well as what it truly means to respect another person. Behind the scenes at one of America’s most intriguing businesses, an inspiring friendship is born, a family begins to heal, and, thanks to his unlikely mentor, Michael Gill at last experiences a sense of self-worth and happiness he has never known before.

Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell poses a provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky."

Outliers can be enjoyed for its bits of trivia, like why most pro hockey players were born in January, how many hours of practice it takes to master a skill, why the descendants of Jewish immigrant garment workers became the most powerful lawyers in New York, how a pilots' culture impacts their crash record, how a centuries-old culture of rice farming helps Asian kids master math. But there's more to it than that. Throughout all of these examples--and in more that delve into the social benefits of lighter skin color, and the reasons for school achievement gaps--Gladwell invites conversations about the complex ways privilege manifests in our culture. He leaves us pondering the gifts of our own history, and how the world could benefit if more of our kids were granted the opportunities to fulfill their remarkable potential. --Mari Malcolm

The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite
by David Kessler

From Publishers Weekly: Conditioned hypereating is a biological challenge, not a character flaw, says Kessler, former FDA commissioner under presidents Bush and Clinton). Here Kessler (A Question of Intent) describes how, since the 1980s, the food industry, in collusion with the advertising industry, and lifestyle changes have short-circuited the body's self-regulating mechanisms, leaving many at the mercy of reward-driven eating. Through the evidence of research, personal stories (including candid accounts of his own struggles) and examinations of specific foods produced by giant food corporations and restaurant chains, Kessler explains how the desire to eat—as distinct from eating itself—is stimulated in the brain by an almost infinite variety of diabolical combinations of salt, fat and sugar.

Although not everyone succumbs, more people of all ages are being set up for a lifetime of food obsession due to the ever-present availability of foods laden with salt, fat and sugar. A gentle though urgent plea for reform, Kessler's book provides a simple food rehab program to fight back against the industry's relentless quest for profits while an entire country of people gain weight and get sick. According to Kessler, persistence is all that is needed to make the perceptual shifts and find new sources of rewards to regain control. (May) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

And of course, if you're looking for some good summer quick reads, you can always check out one of my fiction books.

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Happy Reading!!!