Retail Truths: The Unconventional Wisdom of Retailing

I’ve written about Amro music in the past, so when Pat Averwater, CEO, told me that his brother Chip wrote a book titled, Retail Truths, The unconventional wisdom of retailing, I was intrigued. I’m not familiar with any other music instrument retail owners writing business books about retailing. If you’re out there, please let me know. It's important to keep in mind that music instrument retailing, when done right, is a business which follows many of the same principles as any other successful retail business. However, for me, it’s fun reading these principles knowing that an MI dealer wrote it. We all know folks who have opened up a music retail store, just to get into NAMM, or get a discount on their favorite pedal. What Chip discusses are real-life retailing principles of success learned over 4 generations of music retailing. No doubt if I learned the principles in Chip’s book when I…

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Write My Business Plan? I would rather have root canal instead.

When I was about 14, I went into business as a guitar teacher. The business model was pretty simple. I played guitar in front of kids and asked if anyone wanted to learn how to play guitar. Before long, I was in business. I didn't think much of needing a business plan at the time. I was having too much fun. Besides, my schedule was pretty filled up with students. But alas, today starting, running, and eventually selling a business is a bit more complicated. I have written many business plans in my life. I have always found the process very helpful, and even therapeutic. I get excited about my ideas. I love to share my ideas. Because it's an iterative process for me, writing allows me to noodle my ideas and engage in conversations with the people I'm relying on to help my ideas come into fruition. Your desire to communicate…

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To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop

I love to buy books. I must confess it gives me a thrill that's difficult to deny. Years ago I would wait for the book to arrive via UPS.  I enjoyed opening the box, smelling the newly printed pages, even enjoying the feel of the book. Flipping through the pages I would try to quickly find where the choice kernels were hiding. Today my fascination is with Kindle. One click and it's on my iPad. Within seconds I have the book. While it's true I lose out on the physical sensation of the book itself, the immediate gratification is a strong conciliation prize. Do I have a compulsive shopping disorder? Compulsive shopping disorder or Oniomania derived from the greek Onios- for sale, and Mania- insanity, was first termed by Dr. Emil Kraepelin, a German psychiatrist in 1915. Mental health care professionals view it as a pathological impulse. The pathology comes from…

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Math. The Exterior Component of Music

If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. Albert Einstein I have always been intrigued by the relationship between music and math. It's well known that Albert Einstein loved playing his violin.  Musical structures are mathematical in nature. Music theory is numeric in nature and its vocabulary can be directly translated to the language of math. Many musical concepts have mathematical counterparts. 1 & 3 1- Music notation is strictly ordered- The major scale is arranged with 5  full tones and 2 semitone intervals. 2- Rhythm requires a logic to count bars and longer phrases. 3- Strings vibrate at certain frequencies. 4-Sound waves can be described by mathematical equations. 5- Stringed music instruments require a certain shape in order to resonate with the strings in a mathematical fashion…

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How to Define Your Life Purpose: Insights from Dr. Ben Michaelis

Viktor Frankl, in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” tells about his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp. Throughout the book, Frankl quotes Nietzsche’s words: “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.” Frankl’s powerful story of survival poignantly shows how having purpose and meaning in life--a “why” to live for--was the difference between those who lost all hope and died, and those who continued to live. (Read our post on “Man’s Search for Meaning.”) Dr. Ben Michaelis, psychologist, author and speaker, echoes the importance of having a purpose and how that purpose is an essential driving force in our lives. In his book, “Your Next Big Thing: Ten Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy,” he compares purpose to a guide, a “North Star that will lead you, follow you, and carry you when the days are dark and all seems lost” (Chapter 4: Discovering…

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Organize Your Mind. Organize Your Life.

Ever wonder why making money decisions is so difficult?  Because money is not organized. It's not structured. It's filled with emotion. Let's face it. Financial lives can be messy, even if you are a neat freak. It's more than keeping your desk organized. All though it is a good start. Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in economics for his research on the way the people's decisions depart from the strict rationality assumed by economists. Kahneman says that we are quick to jump to conclusions because we give too much weight to the information that's right in front of us, while failing to consider the information that's just offstage. He called this tendency "what you see is all there is.1 In other words, out of sight, out of mind. To accomplish this we literally have to come up with an organizing money structure which begins in our mind, necessary…

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How to give financial advice to women

I just finished reading, How to Give Financial Advice to Women and plan on reading How to Give Financial Advice to Couples by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. The book was written for financial advisors who want to better understand female and couple psychology to connect and communicate more effectively with their clients. But non-professionals, both men and women, can also benefit from the read and glean important insights on ways the financial services industry is evolving...

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The Secret Language of Money. How to Make Smarter Financial Decisions and Live a Richer Life

When Doris Duke was born, the newspapers called her “the richest little girl in the world.” Miss Duke was the only daughter of James Duke, the founder of the American Tobacco Company and Duke University. I met Miss Duke in the late 1980s during a consulting assignment. Over the course of several years, we developed a close relationship. We kept in touch till 1992, when all communication was abruptly terminated by her butler, Bernard Lafferty. Shortly after, I learned that Doris had died. Though Doris was the heiress of the Reynolds tobacco industry and was the wealthiest woman in the world, she died alone. At the end of her life, her circle had shrunk to a few servants and a group of doctors and lawyers she had known only a short time. As she signed her last will with a shaky hand and turned her fortune over to her butler, not a…

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Pain Free- Stopping Chronic Pain

 The subject of pain is the number one conversation at my local Y, where I go for my morning swim. Here's the typical conversation- Jaimie- Hey John, how are you doing? John- I had surgery years ago, and can no longer swim because of severe shoulder pain. Physical therapy didn't work, and it's a bummer. Jaimie- Check out this book called Pain Free. It worked for me. It shouldn't be surprising that so many people experience pain. It's estimated that 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any give time.1.  I was one of them. In 2008, I began going to the Egoscue Westchester clinic in NY, under the direction of Greg Heinemann and it has worked wonders for my sciatica. My primary reason why I settled on Egosuce therapy?  I got tired of running to the Chiropractor,  and for Acupuncture treatments, all the time. Egoscue therapy can be done at home, whenever…

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Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman is professor emeritus of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School He shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences and is notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, behavioral economics.* He is the author of the best selling book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Kahneman's book presents his current understanding of judgment and decision making, which has been shaped by psychological discoveries of recent decades. In short, subjective judgments are biased. Here are a few of his ideas you can chew on. "A general limitation of the human mind is its imperfect ability to reconstruct past states of knowledge, or beliefs that have changed. Once you adopt a new view of the world (or any part of it), you immediately lose much of your ability to recall what you used to believe before your mind changed." Observe how your narrative changes once the…

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