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The two paths to fame

There are two paths to becoming famous: You can be either very good or very bad. Guess which path is the easiest.

There were examples of both recently.

Wednesday was the public memorial for Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. He devoted his life to flight. He got his pilot’s license before he could drive. As a pilot, astronaut, engineer, and professor, he not only achieved humanity’s greatest dream, he helped produce innovations that benefit all of us. His achievements have earned himself a permanent place in history.

Then, there are the producers of “Innocence of Muslims.”

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How not to be an “Ugly American”

At my work, a writer from India will be here for training during the next two weeks. So, my coworkers and I will be entertaining her and being good hosts.

As Americans, we like to think of the United States as The Greatest Country on Earth. Part of being great is being polite. So, I’d like to share a few tips on how we can avoid becoming “Ugly Americans.” Since a growing number of companies have teams spread across different continents, learning to get along globally isn’t just good manners, it’s good business.

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Humor: Answers to annoying questions that people ask writers

I found the following on Facebook. This is from Graphospasm on DeviantArt.

Here are my answers…

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Evaluation: Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech

Now, it’s President Obama’s turn. As with Governor Romney’s acceptance speech, I’m not going to talk about the political issues or do any fact-checking. I’m just looking at how effectively President Obama gave his speech.

The challenge incumbents face in a reelection is that they start off on defense. They must convince voters to keep them in office. Their entire record for the past term is up for scrutiny, and every stumble is a target for attack. In contrast, their opponent is an unknown. If enough people are dissatisfied with the way things are, they will be tempted to get rid of the old and try something new. This is why in my lifetime, three presidents failed in their reelection campaigns (Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush).

The best defense is a good offense, and that was the approach President Obama used in his acceptance speech.

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How to apologize

I just finished reading an excellent book, Good Self, Bad Self by Judy Smith. She is a crisis management expert who is the basis of Kerry Washington’s character in the ABC series Scandal. She shows how personality traits like ego, ambition, and accommodation can lead people to success, but also cause tremendous downfalls. She not only provides well-known examples like Tiger Woods, Bernie Madoff, and Dennis Kozlowski, she shows examples from the setbacks of ordinary people. Her advice can benefit the (in)famous and non-so-famous alike.

One of most useful pieces of information she shares is how to apologize. Tiger Woods is one example of how an apology is an important first step in rebuilding a tarnished reputation — but only when it is done sincerely and properly. Here is what Judy Smith teaches about giving an apology.

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