Summer Improvement

By Greg Bloom, Online Communications Director

One of the great benefits of the modern age is the ability to access wisdom and knowledge that others have gathered and apply that knowledge to our own lives. Countless brilliant authors, poets and sages have contributed to an endless plethora of useful knowledge that, once understood, can add immeasurable value to our life experiences.  Personally, I really enjoy reading or listening to audiobooks that can have the effect of improved efficiency, creativity, health or spiritual satisfaction in my life. These are a few of the books that I have embraced as key influencers on my perception of the world.

1.Napoleon Hill, “The Law of Success”
 Of all the great thinkers and books I have consumed, I must admit that Napoleon Hill has proven to be the cornerstone of my appreciation for the self-improvement
genre. Nowhere else can you find a more comprehensive volume of hidden-in-plain-sight knowledge that can greatly benefit your life. With critical lessons such as “the habit of doing more than paid for,” “the art of pleasing personality” and “concentration,” this book is a must-have for any person pursuing the self-improvement arts.

2. Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
Often considered the greatest self-improvement book of all time, this book lets us in on the master key of success in our relationships with other people. The secret, this book says, is that arguing to prove your point-of-view is useless. The trick is to understand that your opponent thinks what they do for a reason. The trick is that one must show the person that they validate their opinion for a legitimate reason. The role then is to tell let them that they must understand how that their experience may be an expanded view of reality that incorporates their own opinion. Again, this is a cornerstone book for anyone seeking a path of dramatic self improvement.

3.Daniel Goleman, “Social Intelligence”
Daniel Goleman, whom some consider created the modern self-improvement genre with his groundbreaking work, “Emotional Intelligence,” has recently released a book that is sure to have just as much of a revolutionary impact in the self-improvement world as its predecessor. The key idea it presents is that the mental interaction between two individuals  is not only an abstract process but a physical one; our brains are creating a physical connection among neurons between two individuals across space and possibly time. This book is a profound, groundbreaking work in the exciting new field of social neurology.

4.Robert Greene, “The 48 Laws of Power,”
Dubbing himself a “hyper-realist,” Greene has often been called hedonistic, Machiavellian or even plain evil. This book nonetheless provides invaluable knowledge. The knowledge I gained from this
book is that it provides colorful historical anecdotes for all lessons it advises. Citing such historical figures as Napoleon, Galileo and Sun Tzu, this work is a manifesto of the opaque laws of material power.

These are a few of the many outstanding books to get you started in the world of the self-improvement genre. All can be found in both print and audio book formats. I personally like to listen to all of them successfully and re-listen as often as possible. 
I also suggest reading the print versions as often as possible to enhance recollection using visual mind-recall tactics.

I Am Not Jane Fonda

By Sara Koniniec, Lead Photographer    
I do not look beautiful while I work out. I don’t really even have time to work out. Does that stop me from going? Nope! I still haul my rear end to the gym as much as I possibly can.

It’s tough trying to find time to fit a one-hour gym trip into an already booked schedule. But let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, it is worth it!
Exercise Gives You Energy.
In the famous words of Elle Woods: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” It sounds crazy, but working out actually makes you happy! When you’re happier, it helps you get through your day easier.
Exercise Allows You to Slack Off on Your Diet.
Just a little bit. If you are exercising regularly, it is not going to be the end of the world if you have no time to eat healthy. You don’t have to feel as guilty when you grab a bag of chips. I like to think I am an avid healthy eater, but sometimes when I just don’t have time to grab some veggies, I’ll grab some chips.
Exercise Gives You a Sense of Accomplishment.
This is my favorite part of making it to the gym. If you have a packed day and feel like you haven’t accomplished anything you set out to do, it’s nice to know that you at least finished one thing. This is especially true when at the end of the week you notice that you look like a rock star.
Exercise Keeps You Healthy.
Duh! This is a no-brainer. However, your life will be a lot easier if you don’t have to fight off a cold in addition to dealing with your daily schedule. It helps you in the long run, too, with benefits that include a healthier heart and lungs.
Exercise Gives You Time to Think.
I know this sounds crazy, but sometimes I do some of my best thinking when I’m doing sit-ups. Everyone needs time during his or her day to either think through an existing problem, or just think about nothing at all!
My favorite exercises when I can’t get to the gym include a ten-minute workout and an at work workout.
Exercise puts a sense of balance in my life that I could not live without. While I may not look like Jane Fonda, I sure as heck feel like her after I’m done working out.