Small Business Help 4 Free

Last August, after Amy Woods and I launched, we consulted with business anaylst Sharon Geltner at Palm Beach State University’s Small Business Development Center in Boca Raton.

We are letting you all know that she’s now available for consultation in Palm Beach Gardens, as well. Due to popular demand from north county businesses, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will now offer FREE social media consulting from the PGA campus of Palm Beach State College (PBSC) – Administration Building.

Sharon Geltner

Sharon critiqued our North County Current Web site and our facebook page, and implementing her suggestions helped us give it a more professional look.

Personally, I owe Sharon a Big Thank You… I can say that she forced me to go to a deeper level with WordPress, and I am not a PHP person. I learned about sticky posts, and that my WordPress theme has a spot for quick edits, helping me really clean up our site. I also learned a lot more about Plugins and Widgets. It wasn’t all that bad, and didn’t take me so long once I tackled the projects (so there is hope for you, too!)

She advised us to tweak our bios and headlines (I am still resisting on the headlines. my bad…)

SBDC, hosted by PBSC in Palm Beach County, offers professional expertise consulting and workshops to small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them succeed in both the domestic and international marketplace. All SBDC services, including help in the areas of finance, business plans, incorporation, taxation, publicity are social media, are FREE.

Sharon will be in Palm Beach Gardens on Thursdays, starting Jan. 5. Phone for your appointment now, through Ted Kramer at 561- 862-4784 or email Sharon at

Now, a bit about Sharon: She has won awards for newspaper reporting, publicity, corporate communications, videography and online media campaigns and her clients have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, and Check out her You Tube video, “The Fat Lady Has Not Sung: Why the Internet Needs the News,” about how search engines rely on daily newspapers.


Sharon is president of Froogle PR; an Internet marketing, online reputation management and SEO firm.

Christmas tree

Cameron at Tree Towne

I finally had to put my friend, Isabel’s, small Christmas tree away (a godsend for two Christmases). Lights were dead, and dust was yaythick, and the kids will want to see a real tree for Christmas.

So, since there were only two trees left at Publix (and rather brown looking at that), I decided to go to Tree Towne, and was met by Cameron Vanderee, who had both arms clad in wreaths like bracelets. “Want a wreath?” he asked. No, I said. “I want a tree. Help me pick one out, and give me tips so that I can spread the word.”

About Cameron: He’s been coming to Florida with Tree Towne for 8 years, since he was 19 years old. It’s a kind of vacation for him. When he’s not doing Christmas trees, he works in construction. Cameron is from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Tree Towne has a variety of trees. This year, it had Frasers, Douglas Fir, Grand Fir and Noble Fir. On this lot (in Boynton Beach), Tree Towne had trees up to 13 feet, but, people have ordered trees up to 20 feet. It will sell 10,000 trees this Christmas, Cameron told me.

I said, not for me. No wreaths. “Give me something no taller than you and something that will last through Christmas.”

He told me to buy the Fraser. In his opinion, it lasts longer, has a nice scent and is priced reasonably.

So, I asked, how do you tell if it’s fresh?

He broke a tip off of one of the ends, and said to see if it looks like it still has some green left in it, and some sap. I hadn’t thought of that one.

Run your hand along one of the branches, and the needles should not come off (I knew that already).

What about the other trees? Some people like the Douglas Fir because they like the puffiness of it, he said. The Grand Fir (from Oregon) has a slight citrus smell to it. The Noble Fir is similar to the Fraser and holds its needles.

Any tricks to keeping them green? Cut off the bottom of the trunk a little. Keep it watered (obviously), he said, and when you water it the first time, some people claim that warm water helps. It’s supposed to open up the tree cells.

Tree Towne sells something for that purpose, and some people put aspirin or sugar in the water…

I tried the warm water routine, but he picked me out a nice tree….

Tree Towne has a north county location in Jupiter at Indiantown Road and Old Dixie HIghway.

Chocoholic Alert

I used to be a vanilla person. Until Sunday. Now, I am a chocolate convert.

This past weekend, Nov. 20, on our day off and our nature walk rained out, we ended up at the Festival of Chocolate at the Palm Beach Convention Center, “working.” Ha!

The last afternoon of that two-day event found us at the stage of the Chocolate Game Show Experience, where a member of the audience, Adam Blow of Stuart, volunteered to try chocolate-covered alligator gerky. He was shaking his head while chewing with that faraway look in his eye, thinking about what he was eating (my guess). Leaving the stage, he took a long swig from his water bottle.

“Wasn’t bad,” he commented…

You could get your own gator at Chateau Confections’ booth, Double Dare You, where Donna Moore’s unusual items dipped in chocolate had already sold out (except for the alligator gerky, $2 a piece). Those popular items were chocolate covered crickets ($1 a piece), chocolate-covered bacon ($28 per pound) and chocolate-covered potato chips (a bag of potato chips, 8 to 12 ounces, $8). If you want these items, email Moore at

Jennifer Rochelle of Boynton Beach tried on Chateau Confections’ lips ($3 each).

And speaking of lips, nearby was a lip-balm-making booth. Here’s the recipe says, Elizabeth Guillermo of West Palm Beach. You need to get your hands on some cosmetic oil, she said, because that’s the base. Then, for a very small container worth, you add ¼ tsp. of vitamin E, ¼ tsp. of vegetable oil and ½ tsp. of powdered chocolate. Refrigerate. Dab on lips. Yum! Chocolate!

Cute as a Cupcake is based out of Lake Worth and its owner is Stacey McCollum. She makes cupcakes, obviously, and for more than a dozen, she’ll deliver from Broward to Martin Counties. Her adorable and delicious cupcakes start at $2.75 for one and $25 a dozen. Right now, pumpkin-and-spice cupcakes with cream-cheese frosting are the rage.

Cute as a Cupcake’s Stacey McCollum

We all know Sloan’s – there are several local locations in Palm Beach County. Sloan’s will also deliver holiday baskets locally, said Ilaria Tagariello. The baskets contain two quarts and two pints of ice cream. Some other sweets she suggests for the holidays are dipped chocolate strawberries or apples. Chocolate is sold by the weight starting at $3 a pound, and the baskets of ice cream start at $50. Sloan’s Palm Beach Gardens is at Downtown at the Gardens, Suite 1106, 11700 Lake Victoria Gardens Avenue. The phone number is (561) 627-4301.

Sloan’s will deliver holiday ice-cream baskets.

Over at Rocky Mountain Chocolate, owner Brian Almon gave us a taste of his pralines, $19.95 a pound. Buy one pound and get a half-pound free. Here’s how he suggests eating it: microwave some for 10 to 15 seconds and then serve it over your favorite ice cream. He likes Blue Bell vanilla. You can reach Almon at or (407) 465-1002.

Melt it up and put it on your ice cream.[
Over at the Dove booth were sweet and savory items. For a taster, Dove had a dip made from its Sweet N Spice Cocoa Rub, $10. You make it with 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup sour cream and season it with 2 to 3 teaspoons of the cocoa.

Also featured were Sweet n Smoky Chocolate BBQ, $12; Chocolate Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette, $12; and Chocolate Chipotle Spiced Nut Clusters, $25. For these, call Stephanie Weinberger at (856) 465-4080 or http:/

Dove’s chocolate dip

Mary Lou Atkinson, of A Slice of Heaven and Cake & Candy Designs, was packing up when we got to her. She had taken part in the cake decorating competition. She and the other bakers were given two hours to decorate, she said. And, Wow! What a job she did! Her cake was chocolate hazelnut (chocolate hazelnut liquor was mixed in the cake batter), with a chocolate hazelnut ganache between the layers, with a chocolate butter-cream icing and chocolate ganache swirls (I think I have that straight. I was busy eating, while she was talking). Two of her costumers’ favorites: French strawberry mouse and her amaretto cheesecake, the six-inch size is $13.99.

Just part of Atkinson’s killer cake

Atkinson’s cakes and candies can be found at Antonio’s Deli, 14137 US Highway One, Juno Beach. Here’s her Website:

Chocolate deserves to be celebrated, say Aileen Mand, ex Disney producer, and her husband, third-generation chocolatier Edgar Schaked. Looks like others agree. Presale tickets for the West Palm Beach event numbered more than 6,000. So, that weekend, festival visitors (the proverbial kids in the candy shop) bought little chocolate-chip coins for $1 each as currency in exchange for chocolate goodies offered by festival exhibitors. The goal was to promote local businesses, Mand said.

Go here for other local vendors

Photography by Carol Korpi-McKinley

Baram on Iraq

A week ago, I was asked by the Shiny Sheet to cover a talk by Amatzia Baram, professor emeritus in the Department of Middle East  History and director of the center for Iraq Studies at the University of Haifa. The gist of his talk: The United States needs to know what’s going on at the local level in the Middle East. I was limited in length, and there were other points he made that  I found interesting, and I wanted to get them down. (The original story is cut and pasted at the end of this post.)


Baram said he knew who the key players were in the instances he brought up in the story below, because he had read their papers (He added that he knows how to read Arabic and Persian), and he understood that the Grand Ayatollah Abul-Qassim al-Khoei could have been our ally. Khoei was against the same things we were. We didn’t realize that, and when Khoei asked us for help, we chose not to. So, said Baram, we missed a big opportunity after the Gulf War to really contain Hussein and foster a real friend in Iraq — if we had helped Khoei then, we would have avoided all our recent troubles in Iraq.

Baram recounted this interesting story: Immediately after the Gulf War, Khoei, who had agreed to lead the revolutionaries against Hussein at that time, sent his eldest son, Majid, to ask the Americans to allow them to go behind American lines to gather up Hussein’s weapon caches. Easy for the U.S., but very dangerous for them…

Majid never got to discuss it with the Americans. The French didn’t know what to do with him. They shuffled him to the English, who sent him to London. And Majid got stuck there for years. The U.S. did not allow the revolutionaries to gather up the cache, and the rest is history — Hussein repressed the revolt, tens of thousands of people were killed and two million Iraqis fled for their lives.

Khoei was arrested by Hussein. He was eventually allowed to return to Najaf, but he was placed under house arrest, and died in 1992 — Baram said he thought he had been poisoned.  Majid finally returned to Iraq in 2003, and was murdered shortly after.

Baram came up with two solutions that would help the U.S. gather information on a local level in Arab countries. He said that if the United States hired its young people and sent them to positions in the Middle East, they’d quickly understand what happens on the local level.

He also said it would be helpful if U.S. businesses set up in the Middle East. He recognized the fact that business owners are fearful, but, he said, that does not have to be. Employ locals, and train them to management positions within the company. No way, he said, would the powers that be on the local level let anything negative happen to those providing livelihood for their community members…

Following is the original story…

… It’s like an IED that is still exploding, and you have to be one step ahead, explained  Baram.

IED.  Here’s his translation: “Identity, Economy, Dignity.”

The United States, he says, faces a complicated situation in the Middle East and it is torn between its ideals and its core interests, which don’t always coincide. Nevertheless, it must make choices. And, in his opinion, although U.S. experts meet with political leaders and the military in Arab states, they often don’t understand what’s going on at the grass-root level.

The revolt in Egypt, he explains, is about the economy and dignity.

“An Egyptian worker works hard and is hardly paid enough. He knows those on top are skimming, and becoming super rich while he’s getting super poor and he can’t get out. He feels like he’s being squeezed like a lemon.”

It’s about identity in Iraq. “In 1991 — the first revolt — the major revolt against a dictator in the Arab world in our lifetime — rested 95 percent with identity. It was in Iraq in 1991. That was the Gulf War, and, of course, Kuwait should have been liberated, but after the war ended (February 1991), the guns fell silent.”

America better understands the identity issues in Iraq today, but it came with a cost, he says.

“Hussein’s army was destroyed in the Gulf War, but the United States didn’t know who was leading the revolt (against Hussein, which started one day after the Gulf War ceasefire). The Grand Ayatollah (Abul-Qassim al-Khoei) was your secret friend.”

He had been asked by the revolutionaries to be their leader, and had cautiously agreed. “He was anti-Saddam and his whole philosophy. He wanted very little from the Americans, but it was crucial that he get it. He wanted the Americans to allow his men to go behind the American lines and get Saddam’s weapon caches. And the Americans said no.”

That was a true tragedy and “it was because a lack of knowledge,” he says. “You must know more than you do about grass roots, and Who’s Who in every Arab country in the Arab world.

“If Iraq’s identity issues were understood at that time, America would have saved 4,500 (soldiers’) lives, a trillion dollars, and would have had Iraq as its friend.”

Fast forward, Syria. It’s about identity, and then, economy. “The Sunni are revolting against the Alawite tribes,” he says.

In Libya, it’s about identity and economy. “The United States didn’t know who were the revolutionaries against Gaddafi. Some are Al Quaida, and now, there’s talk of reintroducing sharia. As is Egypt.”

With growing frustration and no forward motion, identity becomes the issue and Islam wells up — from moderate to very radical Islam — because Islam looks like the solution, he says.

And this can be dangerous and lead to more instability in the Middle East. “America needs good judgment and to find a balance between its interests and democracy. This is a crucial time for American policy. My practical advice: America need to know more than it does.”




North County Current

A quick announcement…

On Friday, June  10, Palm2Jupiter, the little niche paper that I wrote for this past year folded. The writers (Amy Woods, Lee Hinnant and I) don’t want to give up! So (by the following Monday), I “renovated” our old paper into an online “paper,North County Current and the three of us began to fill it up.

This logo is clickable!

We are officially up and running, and I’d love it if you’d go take a look and let me know what you think. Click around, link to us, subscribe if the spirit moves you…

I’ll continue to do real estate, homes, health and science. Amy will cover the nonprofit world, and Lee will handle news and events. At least, that’s the plan!

Also, I’m thinking I can put the “Articles” there and the “Back Stories” here, which might be kind of fun!

Thanks for your interest in my sites. Just want you to know that I appreciate you…



Off screen with TV interior designer Krista Watterworth

You turn on the TV to that reality show on home decorating, and immerse yourself in a whirlwind of (someone else’s) hammering, speed shopping, plastering and putting on the finishing touches.

And just one hour later, the room is completely finished!

How do they do it? Wouldn’t it be lovely if your own decorating and renovating projects went so smoothly and quickly?

Well, welcome to the home-decorating version of instant gratification, says interior designer Krista Watterworth, 40, who freelance-designs for TV production companies (right now, her shows include DIY Network’s Vanilla Ice Project, a redo of the rapper’s Wellington investment property, and a new Food Network show, Restaurant Impossible, on restaurant-renovation projects).

Krista Watterworth

In her regular (off TV) business, it takes a year or two to design a home from start to finish, she said. “But for TV, you see it as a mess one day, and the next day, it’s completely redone. There’s something really fun about that.”

For a bathroom, for instance, tearing it out and putting it all back together again takes about 10 days, and the only way to make that happen is in pre-production and ordering — ready-to-go, ready-to-install.

She brings her computer with her when she’s doing a show and all her AutoCAD designs. And she has a big crew. That helps.

“For my next show, I’m laying out flooring, 1,700 square feet of it in two days. You can just imagine.”

All of that super-speed designing and renovating, and she has to look good with that power drill while keeping her own home in order. Watterworth lives in a townhome in Admiral’s Cove, with her husband, Eric Alterman, a start-up social-media networking pro who commutes to work in Manhattan, and their children, Griffon, 2, and Skylar, their brand-new baby.

How does she do it? Her background certainly provided a good basis, she said.

Growing up in an Italian family, she applied to home decor what she learned from her mother’s expert cooking. When she talked about what she does to a room, it’s all about recipes. And she honed her skills by studying at the Parsons School of Design, followed by earning a master’s degree at The Actors Studio. Then, while she pursued a modeling career, she kept at her decorating, by staging and styling rooms for parties and entertaining.

Those were the perfect ingredients for a career as a TV interior designer. “I really combine the things I love. The vitality of camera work – the real time of it, even though we are taping, I love that, and I love homes. Each room has character, and that ties into acting.

Since the whole premise of home and garden shows is based on the idea that everyone loves to look inside someone else’s home, here’s a peak into Watterworth’s family home in Admiral’s Cove. It had been her husband’s bachelor pad, and before that, it was her in-laws’ good-weather getaway.

“A lot of people want to work with what they’ve got – I had an entire show about that, Splurge and Save,” she said. “It was all about maybe buying one good piece, refurbishing old furniture and designing around what you already have rather than fighting it.”

So, she took that tack in this home, which, she believes her family will soon outgrow.

“The leather couch was my husband’s, and I think it looks like it came out of a gentlemen’s club or a law firm, but I worked with it and chose the wood colors in the kitchen based on that — cabinets with rosewood finishes and rubbed bronze hardware. They have a Mediterranean feel, but they go with what we have.

“My husband also had the rustic farm table and the Oriental rugs. They are really beautiful and have a traditional feeling, so I used them, but softened it, adding the wrought-iron console and art of the Manhattan Bridge. We decided to keep the house neutral, and not go to contemporary.”

Which is exactly opposite to advice she gives to people wanting to stage an investment home, where going contemporary is the key.

That’s what she did with the million-dollar Wellington home she staged for Vanilla Ice, with a $7,000 budget for furniture and accessories from Pier 1 Imports.

“We carefully chose items that were modern, and didn’t go global tribal. We wanted a clean and simple look, so that anyone with any style taste could envision living there. But it had to be warm and comfortable, too.”

And here’s another tip. For those, like Watterworth, who have growing families and will need a bigger house fairly soon, open up your floor plan, she advised.

“We had a traditional sunroom with sliding doors. I enclosed it, putting the sliders on the outer wall and carried the Saturnia marble floor out, and I closed off a portion of the living room to make another bedroom. I took the wall down between the living room and the kitchen, too.

“People want open-concept living. That’s how we live today. We don’t wear suits and hats anymore. The 1950s and ‘60s were more formal with closed-off rooms. Now, it’s open and you create spaces in the larger room defined by purpose – ‘Here’s where we sit. Read. Eat.’”

And although Watterworth’s husband and in-laws have enjoyed Palm Beach County for years, Watterworth is just now getting into it.

“If I had my druthers, I’d live in Boca next to my sister-in-law, so she could babysit,” she said. “But I love it here. It’s close to the beach. I love Jupiter. It’s quiet and family-oriented and my husband and I have made great friends here.”


All sorts of characters at the Hatsume Fair (celebrating the first buds of spring), some dressed as anime characters.

Looking across the lake to the main museum…

The two on the right were dressed in character, but I’m not sure about the character… They were carrying little pocket-size dolls that they dressed to resemble.

This young woman said she was not dressed as anyone.

and aren’t these girls adorable?

just some nice greenery and a waterfall.

Couldn’t ignore the drums…

Doctors’ Burger Club

Hamburger facts (according to the USDA): The good (high in protein), the bad (high in cholesterol), and the ugly (fast food burgers are high in calories).

So, these docs, members of Palm Beach Burger Doctors, play it safe, because they stick to high-end hamburgers and eat them in moderation.

David Lickstein, a Palm Beach Gardens plastic surgeon, known as The Godfather by fellow burger doctors, founded the club.

“A couple of us used to get together to hang out and we were always talking about where to get a good burger,” he explained. “Then, the Today Show featured Burger of the Month Club in New York, and we knew we had found our calling.

“That was about a year and a half ago, and we made a ten-year commitment to find the best burger in South Florida. We started in Palm Beach Gardens because we work at the Gardens hospital, but we are slowly increasing our radius.”

The burger docs meet once every four to six weeks, because of health considerations, club members admitted, and, for a while, they kept a low profile, for culinary and professional reasons.

“At first, we didn’t want anyone to know who we were, but that’s long gone away,” Lickstein said, adding that an occasional burger is really okay. “My wife cooks fish and chicken, so this is my only burger during the month.”

Club members rank burgers from various restaurants from best to worse, but each doctor has a different idea about what makes a good burger. Some, for example, like their burger doctored up with cheese.

“We don’t talk about it until we are halfway done, but a lot of looks go around,” Lickstein said. “And Darryl Miller is the toughest critic.”

Lickstein put Café Boulud’s burger at the top of his list. “We went back. It’s still very good,” he said.

And he notes, there’s a big difference between a five-dollar burger and a 20-dollar burger, but, never-the-less, in his opinion, the Grease Burger Bar on Clematis has a very good burger.

It all comes down to the quality of the meat, and the better burgers, he’s found, are ground on-site every day. The combination of lean meat to fat has a lot to do with tastiness, too.

His final words, concerning the burgers and health, are just what you’d imagine: “Be reasonable about what you eat and don’t go overboard.”

The Godfather’s right-hand-man, Darryl Miller, was sitting just to The Godfather’s right. A Palm Beach Gardens cardiologist, he works at Cleveland Clinic.  “They call me the Connoisseur,” Miller said.

Concerning his daily diet, he eats fish and salads at home, and a burger is unusual. “In limited amounts, red meat is okay,” he said. “My philosophy in life is moderation.”

He seconds Lickstein’s choices: Café Boulud and Grease. “It’s all about the intense flavor. Products off the shelf are pretty generic. To stand out, it’s got to be unusually good, and these two places fit in that category.”

William Gans, a urologist who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, and is nicknamed “Big Willy G,” is a charter member of the club, which now has16 members.

Gans doesn’t eat burgers at home, and mixes up his diet, he said, eating beef, chicken and pasta. “Moderation is the key to eating. And going to the gym,” he prescribed.

His favorite burger was at Asian Fin, but he can’t pinpoint why. “I can’t dissect it. I just enjoyed the whole thing.”

Brett Rosenberg, a Jupiter endodontist with the code name B MAN, was another founding member who said unashamedly, “I love hamburgers.

“The burger club members are a good group of guys and this is a good way to get away from our wives once a month. You can print that,” he said.

The group is no longer incognito, he adds. “Restaurants give us special treatment – a private rooms, specialty burgers and other perks.”

He, too, eats very healthy at home, with a diet that includes fresh vegetables and very little red meat, however, he said: “I’m not aware of any studies linking eating beef with dental health.”

For best burgers, he votes with The Godfather and The Connoisseur: Boulud  (because it’s high end and has style) and Grease (traditional classic pub burger).

Noah Weisberg, the Burgermeister, is a Mohs surgeon who practices at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center and Jupiter Medical Center. Normally, he eats normal food and this is a nice indulgence, he said. His personal favorite burger is served at Grease. “Sometimes, the ambience, or the lack thereof,  plays a part in the equation. I liked the atmosphere at Grease. It was casual and enjoyable, and it’s a good burger.”

Jeffrey Garelick, called GI, a Palm Beach Gardens gastroenterologist, said that eating burgers gives him expertise in all things gastronomic, and he didn’t mind being quoted on that. “I don’t think any of us eat burgers on a regular basis, but it’s nice to get together once a month and have a treat.

“We eat very little beef at home. My wife is a wonderful cook, and our kids eat ethnic food –curries and Asian things. Once a month, a burger is okay.”

Grease serves up his favorite burger, which, he said, is cooked perfectly and the size is perfect, too.

Oren Lifshitz, a Palm Beach Gardens dermatologist, said he has two code names. “I’m from Pittsburg, so I’m The Pitts Burger and I’m also the O Man, which stands for the Original Pitts Burger.”

Basically, he said his family eats a very diverse diet. “Chicken, fish, pasta, whatever we can get the kids to eat.

“I feel everything is okay in moderation. As a dermatologist, I don’t say don’t go outside, but wear sunscreen. I feel the same way about dietary experiences.”

His favorite hamburger place is Three Forks. “The meat is extremely lean, and at the same time the burgers are juicy and perfectly seasoned.”

Rommel Francisco, a Palm Beach Gardens orthopedic surgeon with no code name is relatively new to the group. This was his third meeting.

“I’m a rookie at rating hamburgers,” he admitted. He also said red meat is his favorite food and the more grease, the better.

“Beef is a good source of iron. I don’t care about the heart. Let the cardiologists deal with that. I just want my patients to heal and red meat is a good source of nutrition and for the healing of the bone. It helps build up blood count, so that patients can avoid transfusions, and keeps them from getting anemia.  Protein from meat will help with healing.”

His favorite burger is at Grease, “for all around tastiness and greasiness.”

written for Palm2Jupiter

Do you believe in magic?


Such interesting stuff I read about magic and luck the other day.

Luck is what you make of it, and in a way totally different from what the old saying infers.

To know about luck, the psychologist Richard Wiseman, based at the University of Hertfordshire, said, understand a little about magic.

(How would you like to make your living talking about luck and magic — He also studies humor? — Some guys have all the luck!)

He also throws lying and the paranormal into the fray.

One of the things that struck me, was what he said about something called unintentional blindness.

Have you ever seen a magic trick up close? The handkerchief that skitters across the ground for example? Well, it’s not about smoke and mirrors. This one is all about a string…

But you can’t see it when you don’t know about it.

Same thing with luck, he said. Those that have it know, somehow, about the string. They are not blind to it…

So, is all this about deception or perception? In a way. The better you are at detecting those nuances, the luckier you are. At least, that’s the conclusion I’ve drawn after looking through his website.

“There are only two types of person who cannot become lucky,” Wiseman said. “There’s the person who is happy to be unlucky, for whom misfortune is a central part of their identity. And there’s the person who’s not prepared to put the work in; there’s a lot of effort involved in applying the principles.”

Lucky people he says, have the following in common:

Principle One: Maximize Chance Opportunities
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.

This is the one I sort of measured with that unintentional blindness thing. It seems that lucky people sort of see that string.

Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches

Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.

Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune

Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.

Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on ill fortune, and take control of the situation.

For one of his studies, he gave participants two problems. He said they would either receive a hard problem to solve or an easy problem to solve. Some people thought they had the easy problem and so worked hours on it to solve it, handing it back, saying they had the easy test. Others thought they received the hard test, worked on it for a few minutes and handed it back, saying they had received the hard test.

Read about what he says about connections and the small world phenomenon, too, and, of course, don’t miss his section about  laughing…

I think I want to go take his course!

Ps: did you miss the gorilla? People do miss it, said Anjana Ahuja, in The Times article from 2004.

That writer went on to tell of a bar brawl happening right next to hm that he missed completely.

That’s common, said Wiseman.

Now back to the  gorilla:

Wiseman explains in his book Did You Spot the Gorilla? , the gorilla is a why-didn’t-anyone-think-of-that-before insight, a flash of brilliance that seems obvious once unleashed. Examples include Ikea— the idea of funky, cheap self-assembly furniture — and Post-it Notes, which stickered their way into ubiquity after an enterprising employee realized that the weak adhesive he had unintentionally developed might have a use after all. Other recent gorillas include the Anywayup Cup, a non-spill beaker for toddlers, and easyJet, the no-frills airline that has utterly changed the way we think about air travel.

You’d think a gorilla wouldn’t be all that hard to spot, wouldn’t you?