Who is this Penny Collector?
And what does he want?
Steve Nazarian is The Penny Collector. A writer, a blogger, a speaker, a husband and a father, Steve created this site to make the world just a little bit better. You can BUY THE BOOK, or READ THE BLOG. or just hang out in THE COMMUNITY. No matter what you choose, we're glad you're here and we hope you tell your friends.-----
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As many of you know, my family recently moved from Upstate NY to Charlotte, NC. One of the hardest things for us to leave was our amazing neighborhood. Sure the houses were nice and the streets were well maintained, but people are what make up a neighborhood, and what we left was simply the best there is.
I am not a baker. That said, I do know a little bit about making bread, and the history of the practice. As you scan the shelves at you local grocery store and marvel at the variety of choices before you, it is important to understand how bread today is very different than it was 100 years ago, and all the time before that. […]
I am an Eagle Scout. There, I said it, and at 48 years old I’m finally over the feeling that admitting said accomplishment might result in some kind of machismo-rooted mockery, or worse… a wedgie.
As most people know the motto of the Boy Scouts is “Be Prepared.” Certainly the Boy Scouts have no exclusive claim to the idea of preparedness, but I will give them full credit for instilling the idea in me. I wrote about this idea (sort of) in my book The Penny Collector in a chapter called Hoard In Moderation. If you’d like to read that chapter (and you haven’t bought my book – shame on you), comment below and I’ll send you a PDF.
Last week I was reminded of two stories of preparedness constructed and executed by two exceedingly smart and beautiful women… my wife and my mother. […]
Robert Burns, the eponymous Scottish poet, penned a verse oft quoted in modern times, but few know the origin.
The line to which I refer is from a poem called To A Mouse,
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew
In colloquial use, the word “schemes” is typically replaced with “plans,” but the result is the same… […]
The other day I dropped my eleventh-grader off to take the PSAT. As we drove the mile and a half to the high school, I blurted out the one thing I remember from my SAT prep course thirty years ago. “Scan-Discard-Select-Move On.”
In addition to all the content we covered, this was the lion’s share of the strategy I was taught, to conquer this all-important measure of my seventeen-year-old brain.
After exclaiming the one thing I remembered from three decades past, my daughter (as is often the case) looked at me like the alien creature she believes me to be. However after wiping the sour look off her face she asked, “tell me more about that.” […]
I recognize the title is odd, but I assure you the story I am about to tell involves both a honeydew melon and terrorism. Last week I saw an article about the Ozark Mountains Turkey Trot Festival.
This reminded me of (and was no doubt the inspiration for) the very best episode of a 1970s-1980s TV sitcom called WKRP in Cincinnati. The episode to which I refer, originally aired on October 30 (my brother Doug’s birthday) 1978. IMDB.com describes the episode as:
Feeling left out by all the recent changes, Mr. Carlson decides to launch his own Thanksgiving promotion. With the aid of Herb and Les, the Big Guy turns a routine turkey give-away into a comic catastrophe.
What ends up happening is this. In an attempt to make an annual turkey giveaway more exciting, the station owner arranges to drop turkeys from a helicopter flying 2,000 feet above a shopping mall. If you’re not familiar with the show or the episode, the clip is just below. […]
My son Lawrence is an accomplished photobomber. If you’re taking a picture and Lawrence is anywhere in the vicinity, you can be sure he’s going to find his way into your pic.
According to Urbandictionary.com:
Sarah: hey why is jimmy in the background of our prom picture?
Ryan: idk, he must have photobombed it at the last second.
A few years back, we attended a mass given by our new bishop at my sons’ school. My daughter Charlotte really wanted to get a picture with the new bishop, so after mass, she and her friend Erin waited in a long line.
Since the bishop was the first new one in the diocese in more than three decades, everyone seemed interested in meeting him, so Charlotte and Erin had to be very patient. When their time came, they shook hands with the bishop and then asked for the photo op. I had been waiting off to the side, camera at the ready. […]
There is a concept in business strategy known as “n-minus-one.” Simply put, the idea is you should always staff your company, office, or team with every needed resource, minus one.
For example, let’s say you run an accounting firm. You land a new contract and the analysis of the engagement calls for a team of twelve accountants and auditors. The n-minus-one concept says the team will actually be more successful if you implement a team of eleven.
It may be counter-intuitive, but I have found this to be not only true, but also applicable in situations well beyond the workplace.
Some business gurus believe the secret behind n-minus-one is how the remaining team members are required to hustle just a little more to get the job done. The resulting momentum and frantic energy will drive the eleven accountants to do the work of twelve. While hustle and momentum may have something to do with it, I believe n-minus-one works for another reason entirely… flexibility and the room to maneuver. […]
This post was originally published in March of 2015 as part of a series called 500 Words To Save The World. Given the political maelstrom in which we find ourselves in 2016, it struck me as worth re-issuing. As the Irish statesman Edmund Burke aptly said,
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Do whatever you must to avoid being one fitting his description.
One day I received an email from my library informing me that my card was about to expire, however if I had used it within the last year it would automatically be renewed, no further action necessary. By simply using something, I was permitted to keep using it. […]
I know I am not alone in this. As the last weeks of summer have begun to give way to the beginning of the school year, I have been glued to Netflix, watching the oddly compelling story on Stranger Things.
If you have not watched any of this eight-episode Netflix original I will not ruin it for you here. However, if you spent any time as a kid in the 1970s or 1980s, loved Stand By Me, or The Goonies, or Close Encounters… you will absolutely flip for Stranger Things. […]
Friday morning as I was making breakfast for my kids, my daughter was doing her daily “flip around” the major cable new channels.
My daughter Charlotte may be the best-informed sixteen-year-old in America. She makes a point of watching all the different news channels with their respective “leanings,” so she can get a clear picture of what each side is saying about the other. She does not take any one source of information on faith but instead requires multiple points of reference before deciding her own truth.
Back when there were still more than a dozen candidates for president, she read all of their most recent books… all of them. However, what I’m going to talk about today has nothing to do with politics. […]
I am writing this on day seven of an eight-day vacation with my bride of seventeen-plus years, and my three sons, aged 15, 14 and 12. We have enjoyed amazing adventures and wonderful family moments, but as is the case in all families… there are limits to how much togetherness one can truly tolerate. Lucky for us this vacation appears to be just the right length.
From the day they are born, all children test boundaries. When our first child was born in 2000, my Father (who at that point had 30+ years of experience as a pediatrician) offered us only one piece of parenting advice. Holding our day-old daughter in his arms, he looked up thoughtfully and said,
“Make no mistake about it… you start raising your teenagers, today.”
As our oldest grew, and we added to our family at a brisk pace, and the sage words of my Father echoed in my ears every time I was tempted to give in to the boundary testing antics of our four children. […]
As I sit and watch the political ping-pong, zing across the inter-webs like so many Sneetches, I have done my level best to stay out of the fray. If the experience of my forty-seven years has taught me anything, it is that another’s point of view has never been swayed by a single pithy comment, image of Willy Wonka or rapier-like jab.
No matter how smart you think you are, and no matter how clever your delivery; odds are at least one-third of the universe thinks you (and your opinions) are equivalent to the hind-end of some slovenly livestock. […]
I have written before about my elementary school, but I will recap with a single sentence. It was a freaky 1960s experiment where all the rooms were shaped liked hexagons and the classrooms had no walls.
One of the things I remember vividly from my years at Harris Hill Elementary, was a movie we watched called, For The Love Of Fred. For this film to have burned itself so clearly into my mind, it must have been shown with great frequency. Either that, or my unofficial position as school’s “projector whisperer” exposed me to more viewings than most. […]
When I was in my thirties, I had a conversation with an old friend from high school. We were talking about our respective kids, and all of their activities when she said, “You know, my dad was a successful lawyer and my brother and I had everything we needed, and most of what we wanted. Your parents managed to do the same for you and your siblings, but they were always there.”
A bit confused I turned and asked, “I always thought of your parents being there for you, what do you mean?”
She continued, “Yes they were, emotionally and financially, but what I meant was… I don’t remember a cross-country, meet or a track meet where your parents weren’t there, cheering you on from the sidelines. I was well provided for, but my parents were rarely there.” […]
This story first was first published more than two years ago, but it is one of my very favorite for Independence Day. How better to celebrate the birth of our nation than with an inner tube race down a local creek. Enjoy!
I love Independence Day. Christmas is a fine holiday for sure, and Thanksgiving has its positive attributes, but from the time I was about eight years old, the Fourth of July has been my favorite.
Maybe it’s the idea that all Americans have the same stake in the celebration or the fact that each year, my parents granted me a little more personal independence, but make no mistake – parades, picnics and fireworks served up in the early July heat are my idea of a good time.