Showing posts tagged mike byster

Mike’s Five Favorite Typewriter Trivia Facts

1.  Mark Twain’s "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" was the first novel written on a standard typewriter.
2.  The longest common word using just the top letters of the keyboard is strangely enough TYPEWRITER.
3.  The longest common word using just your left hand is STEWARDESSES.
4.  The longest common word using just your right hand is LOLLIPOP.
5.  Even though most people are right handed, 56% of typing is done with the left hand.


The Haves and Have-Nots

With all the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations going on around the country, I decided to research if the wide range between the upper level earners and the lower level earners really justified.

According to the AFL-CIO, who researched 299 corporations in 2010, the average CEO earned approximately $11,400,000.00 in 2010.  A lot of professional athletes and entertainers also earn that much so I felt like that would be a representative number of the higher end earners.  For the lower level earners, I used the poverty level for a family of four in 2010 (which is $22,350.00).  That means the average top level earner makes 510 TIMES more than the average lower level earner in this country.  That far exceeds the difference for any major country on Earth.   Many people have just accepted that as a way of life, but I started to think, what if the top or the higher end of other things besides salary had a 510 times difference than the lower end people, what would the country look like?

What if there was a 510 times difference in height between the small and tall?  One of my mother’s closest friends is 4 feet 9 inches tall and is one of the smallest people I know.  If tall people were 510 times taller than her, there would be a lot of 2,422 feet 6 inch people walking down the street. How would you like to have to sit behind one of the tall people the next time you go to the movies?

How about appetite?  At one end of the spectrum, you have people who eat like a bird. At the other end, you get people who eat like a horse.  The person who eats like a bird may eat 1,200 calories a day.  Using our formula, the person who eats like a horse will devour 612,000 calories in a day.  In fast food terms, that is the equivalent of 1,133 Big Macs a day.  Why do I have a feeling Old Country Buffet would be running their business in a different manner if the horse people started lining up for dinner?

Golf probably would be nowhere near as popular.  While Tiger Woods or other top golfers would still shoot their rounds of 70, you better bring a lot of reading material if you are stuck playing behind the guy who is shooting a crisp round of 35,700.

At the recently completed New York City Marathon, the winning time was an amazing 2 hours 5 minutes and 6 seconds.  I highly doubt that the citizens of New York would be thrilled if the streets were closed for 44 and a half days so the back of the pack people could finish the race.

So, the next time little Jimmy from school says to your child: “My dad is a thousand times stronger than your dad or a thousand times smarter than your dad,” you can say without worry that little Jimmy just exaggerates.  But, if Jimmy says to your kid:  “My dad is a thousand times richer than your dad,” find out what Jimmy’s dad does for a living before you open your mouth.

- By Mike Byster (Math Genius, Educator, Author of Genius, Inventor of the Brainetics Math and Memory System)

How Teaching Our Children to Worry Less Can Lead to a Happier Life

I was watching a golf tournament recently where golfer Lee Trevino was putting on the eighteenth green to win the tournament.  He missed the relatively short putt and eventually lost in a playoff game.  The announcer said the pressure must have gotten to him. He probably wouldn’t sleep for a few nights worrying about the missed putt because he did not win the 1.4 million dollar first prize and had to settle for “only” 800,000 dollars. He said it best when asked if he worried while on the golf course.  He said, “Pressure is playing a hole for five dollars when you only have two dollars in your pocket.”  People worry all the time and it is unnecessary and unproductive.

My seventh grade son worried for the last month if he was going to ruin his straight A average by getting a B in social studies.  He worried for hours on end and when report cards came he ended up with straight A’s.  He is only in seventh grade.  I tried to tell him just do your best and I will always be proud of you, but sometimes that does not resonate because other kids are so worried about their grades and he feels their pressure.

Academic success is very important, more so in this day and age than ever before, but everything has to be put into perspective.  I remember shaking during a test because I was so nervous and I would not be able to recall material that I knew and would do worse on test because of nerves.  I would love to relive my high school and college years spending time enjoying my youth instead of spending countless hours freaking out about the consequences of making a couple of mistakes on exams.  I teach kids and adults how to be prepared for tests and how to make your mind more powerful and work more efficiently and reach your full potential, without putting pressure on themselves.

A few years ago I spent the day speaking to students at one of the top high schools in the Chicago area.  During lunch, I was talking to the head of the math department and was telling her how impressed I was with the high school and asked her if the administration had any major issues.  She said, “Our biggest problem is how to stop student suicides. These kids are under so much pressure to succeed.”  This really saddened me because kids need to believe that if they do the best they can in this world, they will be okay.

My friend sent his three children to another top performing area high school and he told me that on parent/student orientation day the auditorium was filled with parents and excited but nervous incoming freshmen.  The principal said that before he said anything to the students he wanted to talk to the parents first.  He asked, “How many of you think you have a happy life?”  Almost all of the parents raised their hands.  Then the principal asked, “How many of you went to an Ivy League college?”  Everyone put their hand down.  He then said, “You see, you don’t have to go to an Ivy League college to have a happy life. Please don’t make your kids believe they have to be in the top 1 percent to be happy or successful.”

After all of the observations in life that I have made about the negative effects of worrying constantly is that it leads to everything but good. In life, there are a ton of factors that cause everyone to worry, and that’s normal. It’s  something that everyone has to deal with at one point or another, but something to stride for would be to take all of the worries that life has given to you and not let it dominate life’s pleasures. So take a moment, put the family, friends and everything else into perspective and put them as priorities to think and care about, while taking the worries and keeping them to a minimum. We only live once on this Earth, and worries should not consume any part of the privilege of living.

By Mike Byster:


Breaking Down Walls: Celebrating Ray Bradbury’s Determination and Perseverance

It is the dream of millions of kids to become famous in the world of fine arts.  The competition is fierce and the odds are even more stacked against you to get noticed if you have no connections from friends or family members in the field you are pursuing.  You have to be incredibly talented to develop into one of the best authors in the world when you spent your entire youth traveling around the country with your family as your father was trying to get work as a power and telephone lineman.  Those were the odds Ray Bradbury fought against.  We lost a great one the other day when he died at the age of 91.

His most famous work was Fahrenheit 451, which he typed the entire manuscript on a typewriter that he rented for ten cents a half hour at UCLA’S Powell Library.  He family had many financial burdens and he was unable to attend college, so he got his education from the library.

When people become world famous from humble beginnings they usually take one of two paths.  Some people try to distance themselves from where they came from and enjoy their new found fame.  Others remember the difficulties they had and try to help others trying to overcome the odds. Sadly, it seems like most people take the “distancing themselves” path.

In December 2011, when publishing rights were to be renewed for Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury was persuaded by Simon and Shuster to allow the classic to be published in electronic form.  Bradbury agreed only on the condition that the book was able to be digitally downloaded by any library patron.  To this day, that is the only book in the Simon and Shuster catalog where this is possible.

You rock Ray.  Rest in peace.

[written by Mike Byster - author, educator, mathematician and inventor of Brainetics]


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