Are Tomatoes a Fruit or a Vegetable? (And How to Use the Tomato Strategy to Win Against All Odds)

Are Tomatoes a Fruit or a Vegetable?
Are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable?

1. Botanical Scientists Say:

Anything with seeds is a fruit. Tomatoes have seeds in them. So they are a fruit.

2.The Cooks Say:

Not so fast. If we just go along with the seeds, cucumbers, corn, green beans and walnuts would come under fruits too.

Practical definition of an object comes from how it is used, not from what it has. From function – not form. Because tomatoes are used in savoury and not in sweet cooking – and are never served as desserts, they are not fruits. They are vegetables.

3. What does the law say?

Its 1883 and USA has enacted the Tariff Act. Taxes are imposed on imported vegetables. But not on imported fruits. Edward Hedden is the collector of port of New York. And he levies taxes on imported tomatoes.

So in 1887, the Nix family sues Edward Hedden for levying taxes on a fruit.

In 1893, the case reaches the US Supreme court. Both sides bring out their dictionaries and expert witnesses. After some consideration, the Supreme Court makes its decision:

Tomatoes are vegetables!

(The US Supreme Court gives a reason saying that in common speech, tomatoes are vegetables. But critics say that if taxes were levied on fruits only and not on vegetables, the Supreme Court would then claim that tomatoes are fruits.)

Final verdict:

in USA at least, tomatoes are vegetables by law. Scientifically, you can call them fruits. But in supermarkets, you’ll never find tomatoes placed near apples and bananas and other such fruits because practically, tomatoes are used as vegetables.

(In essence, there is no final verdict. We will always have dinner table discussions debating whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables.)

Notwithstanding if tomatoes are fruits or vegetables; did you know that tomatoes are one of the most popular plant foods grown?

Tomatoes Soaring Popularity

If you consider tomatoes as fruits, it’s the highest produced fruit in the world. Bananas – the number two fruit – lag behind tomatoes by a mighty 25%!

And if you consider tomatoes as vegetables, only potatoes, beans and sugarcane (for sugar) beat tomatoes in production.

That’s an astounding achievement considering:

1. Besides tomato soup, tomatoes aren’t the sole main ingredient for any other dishes

2. When you ask people what their favourite fruit or vegetable is, you will never ever hear tomatoes!

Tomatoes have become this popular not because they’re liked by all. But because they’re not unliked by anyone! Tomatoes are the best # 2 out there. They are the ultimate sidekick. Tomatoes popularity lies in going with everything.

Just like Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln Uses The Tomato Strategy to Become the President of USA

Lincoln Memorial at Washington DC

Its 1860, and the Republican Party in USA has to select their presidential nominee.

Every one thinks that William Seward – the senator from New York will win the nomination with ease. He is the most popular candidate by far.

There are a few other candidates too. Notable amongst them are Edward Bates of Missouri and Salmon Chase of Ohio. One comparatively unknown candidate from Illinois joins the race too: Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln knew that he wouldn’t be able to become the favourite choice of the majority of the delegates. Many delegates are too loyal to Seward, Bates and Chase already. But Lincoln also knows that no candidate has majority backing either.

So Lincoln decides on a strategy to become the number 2 choice of the highest number of delegates! His strategy is to give offence to no one. He wants to leave the delegates “in the mood to come to us, if they shall be compelled to give up their first love.”

So while Seward, Bates and Chase concentrate only on their core constituency, Lincoln travels the country – willing to go anywhere to give speeches. For eg: When Seward is on a trip to Europe and Cooper Union in New York is looking for a Republican to give a speech to its audience, Salmon Chase declines the invitation thinking that he can make no in-roads in New York – Seward’s state. But Abraham Lincoln jumps on the chance in a jiffy!

The Fight For the Nomination

Lincoln - Seward - Chase - Bates

May 18, 1960 comes. It’s the day when Republican delegates nominate their presidential candidate. A candidate requires at least 233 votes to win. In the first round, the results are:

  • Seward: 173½ votes
  • Lincoln: 102 votes
  • Chase: 49 votes
  • Bates: 48 votes

Seward has the lead with a very good margin. But things change quickly during the second round when people start changing their votes to select one sole winner.

In round 2, Seward receives 184½ votes – hardly moving ahead. But Lincoln makes huge strides and receives 181 votes – only 3½ votes behind Seward. Both Chase and Bates lose ground and the match is now between Seward and Lincoln alone.

But over the years, Seward has made quite a few enemies. And not many people like him outside his core constituency. Where as, Lincoln has spent a lot of time making sure he is the number 2 choice of the majority of the delegates. And so, in round 3, Lincoln quickly gains the lead and crosses 233 votes to become nominated as the Republican Presidential candidate!

After the Republican delegation, many people are shocked and surprised to know that Seward – who is a house hold name – lost to Lincoln who is comparatively unknown. Many think that Lincoln won due to trickery.

But Lincoln wins because he adopts an approach of becoming the best number 2 man out there and offending no one. His competitors – although more well known than him, lose because even though they have more friends, they have more enemies too.

“Lincoln was considered less radical than Seward and Chase, but less conservative than Bates. He was less offensive than Seward to the Know Nothings, but more acceptable than Bates to the German-Americans.” – Doris Kearns (Historian and author of “Team of Rivals – The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.”)

Action Summary:

  • If the competition is stiff, and you’re not the first one on the scene – instead of trying to become the number one choice of people, position yourself to become the best number 2 choice out there.
  • Because everyone else will be vying for the number 1 spot, the competition for the number 2 spot will be next to nothing.
  • To become the best number 2 out there, you have to implement the strategy of increasing your reach without offending anyone.


In USA, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is the day when most number of tomatoes are sold in the year. How come? Because everyone makes sandwiches out of Thanksgiving leftovers. And they need tomatoes for these sandwiches!


Avis Ad

Avis became the no.1 car rental company because of their “We’re No.2 so we try harder” campaign. And they kept on using the same campaign for a long time even after they had become no.1!

Mind Pendulum

Christiaan Huygens - Dutch Mathematician
Christian Huygens – Did his invention pave the way for the biggest revolution the world has ever seen?

Christiaan Huygens is a very smart over-achieving Dutch physicist and mathematician. He helped in the development of modern calculus. He discovered Saturn’s moon Titan. He was the first one to observe the Orion Nebula through a telescope and drew its sketch.

What’s more, Chris is the one who formulated what is now known as the second law of motion… the net force on a body is equal to its mass multiplied by its acceleration. (But Chris formulated it in a quadratic equation. Isaac Newton reformulated and generalized the law, gave it a catchy name, and made it popular.)

But the one thing Chris is best known for is the invention of pendulum clocks! The pendulum clock – invented during the Christmas of 1656 – was a major timekeeping breakthrough. In fact, it was world’s most accurate time keeper for more than 270 years – from 1656 all the way to 1930s! (Since then, the world has switched to the much more accurate quartz clock standard – invented in 1927. But that’s another story.)

Sympathy of Two Pendulum Clocks

In 1665, Chris – now 36 years old – was severely ill. While lying in bed, he noticed something wondrous. The two pendulum clocks on two opposite walls in his room always swung so that each pendulum was precisely opposite the other. Even if he intervened and disturbed the rhythm – the pendulums always synched back up the same way on their own and within 30 minutes. Chris described this phenomenon as “the sympathy of two clocks!”

The World Synchronizes Itself

Since then, many others have observed this synchrony in nature.

  • Biological scientists have found that many species of fireflies synchronize and flash together.
  • There are 10,000 pacemaker cells in your heart. And each of them could have their own beating rhythm. But they don’t. All of these 10,000 cells synchronize together – making sure your heart beats coherently.
  • Scientists have found that the menstrual cycles of women living together often synchronize.
  • Behavioral psychologists have found that huge crowds always clap in synchrony. Next time, try disturbing the clapping rhythm in a crowded room by being half a second late. You’ll find the entire room of hundreds of people match your claps within a few seconds!

Understanding synchronization has led to new technological breakthroughs too! For example, understanding and developing a system of synchronized light waves led to the invention of laser (used in everything from printing to eye operations today)!

But the biggest breakthrough due to synchronization is happening in the world of neuroscience! Some neuroscientists now believe that what distinguishes conscious-ness from other forms of brain activity is the synchronized firing of the cells involved at specific frequencies close to 40 cycles a second.

Synchronizing & Optimizing Thinking Patterns

Can you imagine the potential of forcefully synchronizing your conscious thought by firing specific frequencies to… improve your mood…become more confident… accelerate intelligence… improve your concentration powers… remain more alert and energetic?

How to Synchronize Brain Waves

The question arises: how do you actually synchronize your brain thought waves to a specific frequency? And this time, the solution doesn’t come from scientists. Rather, it comes from a very unexpected source: the Tibetan Zen monks!

Herbert Benson – a professor at Harvard Medical School – heard rumours about how Tibetan monks could control their rates of metabolism and their body temperature simply by meditation.

In 1979, when the Dalai Lama came to visit the Harvard University, Herbert Benson asked him about it. The Dalai Lama assured that these rumours were true. And also promised to help Herbert out in his research. In 1982, Herbert Benson visited India to meet a few of the Tibetan monks and involve them in experiments to test the rumour out.

The experiment: In a monastery in northern India, thinly clad monks sat down in a chilled room where the temperature was 40 degrees Fahrenheit. These monks entered into a state of deep meditation using a yoga technique known as “g tum-mo.” Long cloth sheets soaked in cold water (49 degrees Fahrenheit) was then placed over the monks shoulders.

If you or me were placed in such a situation, we would shiver to death. But steam began arising from these sheets on the monks’ shoulders. And within an hour, the sheets were dry!

A monk prepares to go to an advanced stage of meditation while his vital signs are measured.

Realize that conscious thought arises in the cerebrum part of our brains. While rates of metabolism, body temperature and other automatic body functions like breathing and heart beats are managed by the brain stem (medulla). The medulla works 24/7 without our conscious interference – whether we are awake or asleep.


But these Zen monks had apparently found a way of firing specific thought frequencies that interfered with the subconscious medulla!

Further research showed that anyone could learn these deep meditation techniques. But it would take as many as 20 years to master them.

By deconstructing the meditation process, it was found that these monks entered into deep states by the power of focused thought and the use of “mantras”. Mantras are phrases that you repeat over and over again that help you in meditation.

Sidenote: In India, where many villages don’t have any electricity and no hot water, kids are taught to brace themselves against cold showers by repeating the mantra “ra-ma-ra-ma-ra-ma-ra-ma.” Apparently, the phonemes “ra” and “ma” help in generating body heat.

Ah-ha! The short-cut solution was to make use of sound waves to trigger specific thought waves!

Everyone knows that music affects your emotions and moods. Some science also shows that listening to Mozart improves your intelligence. So could we take the power of sound one step ahead and use it to synchronize our brain waves?


The Rise Of Young Alexander

1. Alexander’s Education

Would you refuse to tutor the son of a King?

Philip of Macedon has a young son named Alexander. When Philip announces that he is looking for the best private teacher in the entire kingdom to tutor his prince son, there is a huge beeline of teachers outside his palace.

Isocrates, who had studied with great philosophers such as Socrates and Gorgias puts his name forward. But is rejected.

Speusippus, who succeeded Plato at the Platonic Academy, puts his name forward. And is willing to quit his position at the Academy to teach Alexander. But he is rejected too.

Philip rejects many other teachers. Because he wants the best teacher for his son. And he has heard that the best teacher in the entire kingdom is Aristotle. But Aristotle does not put his name forward.

What’s more, when Aristotle is approached to be the tutor of the young prince, he flat out refuses!

Philip dangles a carrot in front of Aristotle: along with unimaginable riches, Philip would also rebuild Aristotle’s hometown of Stageira, which had been razed down. He would also free all the slaves who were citizens of Stageira before it was destroyed – so as to repopulate the town. But yet Aristotle rejects the offer.

Philip than uses the stick: Aristotle would be exiled if he did not teach young Alexander. And yet Aristotle stubbornly rejects the offer.

So finally Aristotle is asked: what are his demands? What would it take for him to accept the position of a tutor to young Alexander?

And Aristotle says: he wants complete control without interference in how he teaches Alexander. He would not come to the palace to teach Alexander. Alexander would have to come to him. And most importantly, he would not teach Alexander alone and in private. He would only teach the young prince if other students are in the same classroom as his.

This is unheard of. Not focusing your entire attention in teaching the next king? Giving other kids equal status as to the prince? But no matter what is done to persuade Aristotle, he does not budge from his demands. Let him teach Alexander with other students, or not at all.

Aristotle knows that without competition and challenges from fellow classmates, he would not be able to bring the best out of Alexander.

Everyone knows the greatness Alexander achieved. But not many know the greatness his fellow classmates achieved.

Ptolemy, Cassander and Seleucus were all Alexander’s classmates. They became Alexander’s generals and helped him in his conquests. But what happened to them after Alexander’s untimely death?

  • Ptolemy founded the Ptolemaic Dynasty in Egypt.
  • Seleucus re-united Persia and created the Seleucid Empire.
  • And Cassander, perhaps the classmate who challenged Alexander the most, went on to rule Macedon and Greece.

Moral: Greatness rots in isolation. You need competition to bring the best out of you.

2. Alexander’s Quest to Find the Safest Path in an Uncharted Territory

Alexander’s generals are arguing over the best course of action to cross a hilly terrain. The path is uncharted. And the enemy could be lurking in hidden crevices anywhere. Or even worse, what if Alexander and the army came out just to find the enemy soldiers waiting for them on the other side?

So the generals are debating as to which uncharted path to take to reach an unknown territory. Everyone is disagreeing with everyone else. And Alexander’s usually smart generals can’t come to a decision.

So Alexander disregards all of his generals suggestions. Instead, he simply calls a poor sheep herder from that region and bribes him to show the safest route.

Moral: when in doubt, go to the the folks who have expertise in that particular problem, no matter how lowly they are thought of.

3. Alexander Earns His Soldiers Loyalty

Alexander is crossing the fatal Gedrosia dessert in Asia. This is the same desert where, legend has it, Queen Semiramis had lost 20,000 of her men. The desert is unforgiving. Scorching heat. Lack of food and water. It makes men drop like flies.

Even Alexander’s brave men are not spared. They start dying of dehydration in the 60 day march.

On one very hot tiring day, some soldiers find a little bit of water in a ravine in the desert. They fill it up in a helmet and take it to Alexander. But before drinking the water, the thirsty Alexander asks them: is it enough for all the soldiers?

The soldiers reply that no, it is not enough.

And so Alexander drains the water to the ground.

Moral: Do what is in the best interest of other people. Sacrifice for them and they will follow you.

4. Alexander and the Prophecy of the Gordian Knot

Alexander, along with his armies, reaches the city of Gordium in Phyria. There he is shown the chariot of the ancient founder of the city, its pole lashed to the yoke by means of an intricate knot. The knot doesn’t have any loose ends.

The Oracle has prophesied that he who unravels the knot will go on conquering entire Asia. Many have tried, and all have failed to unravel the Gordian knot.

At first, Alexander attempts to untie the knot like everyone else – by trying to find a loose end. But while others before him gave up when they could not find the loose end after hours of attempt, Alexander has different ideas. When it becomes apparent that there is no loose end, Alexander draws his sword and slices the knot in half.

Shortly afterwards Asia is united for the first time under his rule.

Moral: Sometimes it’s better not to get too tied up in a problem. Leap for a bold solution!

5. Alexander vs Darius

The year is 331 b.c. Alexander is still to become “Alexander the great.” Alexander has to fight a war against the king of Persia – Darius.

The war is very unbalanced and tilted in the favour of the Persian king Darius. Alexander’s army is outnumbered 20:1 in the battle against Darius. Furthermore, the Persian army is better equipped too. They have chariots and fancy weaponry.

Alexander realizes that it would be very hard to win against the Persian army. There is no way that Alexander could take on the might of Darius’ forces. So Alexander gives just one simple order to his soldiers:


Every soldier in Alexander’s force has one clear mission, one clear target: Darius. They go after that one target in full force when the war begins.

Their focus takes the Persian wing that protects Darius by surprise and Darius soon realizes what Alexander is up to. He flees to save his life. Seeing their commander and king run away, the other generals and soldiers flee too. And Alexander, with poor equipment and outnumbered soldiers, wins against the mighty Persians.

Alexander becomes “Alexander the great.”

Moral: Focus your energies. And you can move mountains.

How To Manufacture a Hit

There are more than 5,000 artists in De Fen Oil Painting Village in China who create knockout copies of popular original paintings day in and day out.  Each of them earns close to $300 a month.  At this rate, they’ll have to work for 8,330+ years to make as much money as an original Van Gogh painting sells for.

1.The Story of Chelm Justice

Eons ago, there is a small town named Chelm somewhere in Europe. To bring order in the city, the people of Chelm elect an impartial judge. One day, filled with rage, the town cobbler kills one of his customers.

The cobbler is bought up in front of the judge who sentences him to die by hanging. This is really bad news for the town. One townsman gains courage to stand up and speak: “If Your Honor pleases, you have sentenced to death the town cobbler! He’s the only one we’ve got. If you hang him who will mend our shoes?”

“Who! Who?” cry all the other townsmen in Chelm together.

The judge thinks for a while, nods in agreement and reconsiders his verdict. “Good people of Chelm,” he says, “What you say is true. Since we have only one cobbler it would be a great wrong against the community to let him die. As there are two roofers in the town, let one of them be hanged instead!”

Action Summary:

  • Be unique.

2. Michael Jordan vs Joe Kleine

Michael Jordan of Chicago Bulls Slam Dunking the Ball

Its 1996 and Chicago Bulls wins the NBA basketball championship.

  • Michael Jordan earns $80 million that year (including endorsement deals).
  • Joe Kleine – a player on the bench of the same winning Chicago Bulls team – makes a total of $272,250 that year.

Same winning team. But a difference of a whooping 293:1 in their earnings!

Action Summary:

  • Be the best at what you do.  Because the difference between #1 and #2 is growing wider in all the fields!

(But what if you aren’t the best in your field? Read on…)

3. Boring Dennis Rodman vs Exciting Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman – another basketball player – plays for LA Lakers.  For years, he puts up impressive rebounding numbers on the scoreboard.  But yet he goes totally unnoticed.  And does not making his millions.

He is definitely no Michael Jordan.  Nowhere as good.  And nowhere as popular!

But one day, Dennis changes all that.  No he doesn’t magically become as good as Jordan.  But he colours his hair red!  The only basketball player to do so!

Dennis Rodman: Before & After. Black boring hair hid him in the pack. Red exciting hair made him rich and famous!

He colours his hair red and everyone starts noticing him.  The media start following him.  Pretty soon – he becomes very popular.  And earns millions of dollars worth endorsement deals! And also attracts the attention of Carmen Electra!

Still nowhere near as rich as Michael Jordan.  But he does a lot better than before!

Just because he took the courage to do something different, something unique and stand out from amongst the crowd!

Action Summary:

  • Create your own personality.
  • Do something bold and outrageous.  Something whacky.  To stand out from the crowd.

4. Manufacturing a Hit Car

Henry Ford’s Model-T that makes him the richest person in the world

Many folks mistakenly believe that Henry Ford invented automobiles.  But that is far from truth.  When Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company, there are 14 other car manufacturers in the state of Michigan.  And 87 car manufacturers in the whole of USA!  Very stiff competition.

But while all the other 87 car manufacturers are trying to learn from each other to advance their field, Henry Ford takes a different approach.  He goes outside his industry to find ideas.

And an idea he finds from the meat packing industry!

Henry studies the Chicago meat packing industry to see how their productivity is so high.  And learns that each worker only does one specific narrow task. Workers don’t move. They stand in their station. And a pulley system is used to move the meat from one working station to the next where the worker would do his one specific task efficiently.

Henry Ford copies this assembly line system for the manufacturing of cars too. And revolutionizes the automobile industry – becoming the richest person living in the process too!

Action Summary:

  • Look outside your field of interest. Most revolutionary ideas come from merging 2 fields.
  • Copy hit ideas from other industries.

5. Manufacturing a Hit Comic

Kevin Eastman is brainstorming with his friend Peter Laird about comics in 1983.

While brainstorming, they ask a question: what could they do to improve their chances of coming up with a hit comic? And the solution they come up with is ingenious!

They start counting their inspirations.

1. Cerebus the Aardvark is a surprising cult comic of the time. Its about a pig superhero who drinks and cusses. But is very smart. Misfit animal superhero.

2. Ronin by Frank Miller is also a hit comic of the time. Ninja movies are doing well too. Ninjas.

3. Daredevil is another hit comic. It’s about a blind mutant whose other senses are heightened beyond normal human ability because of radio active exposure. Mutants.

4. The New Mutants is another comic they are inspired by. It’s about teenage mutant superheroes undergoing training.  Teenage mutants.

Eastman and Laird mix all of these 4 inspirations together. And come up with teenage mutant ninja misfit animals undergoing training.

They come up with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!  Which becomes a huge hit!


Leads to:

Cerebus the Aardvark + Ronin + Daredevil + The New Mutants = Inspiration for the hit comic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Action Summary:

  • Mix 3-4 hot trends and create your own hit.
  • “Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research.” – Wilson Mizner


Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird took a loan to publish the first issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But they didn’t just sit and wait for the sales to roll in.  Instead, they took massive action and sent out 180 press kits to all the media stations!


Action Summary:

  • Even hit products require backup from marketing.  Your product may be awesome.  But if no one knows about it, how will it ever become a hit?

Easy Trick to Achieve All Your Goals

The Experiment


Are you up for a personal experiment? Don’t worry; it’s a very easy experiment.

All you have to do is take a look around you and count all the things in blue you can see. Could be the jeans you are wearing, a pen, maybe the colour of your chair, the water cooler… count as many things as you can. Done? Now try to remember them while we take a slight detour…

The Detour


In 1953, a survey was conducted with the graduating class of Yale. The question in the survey?

“Do you write down your goals?”

The response showed that only 4% people wrote down their goals.

In 1973, 20 years after the initial survey, the researchers track down the surviving members of the class of ’53 to see how successful they were. And what they found astounded them. 4% people who wrote down their goals were worth more than the other 96% put together!

The research showed that writing down goals work like magic. But why does it work?

For the answer, let’s get back to our little experiment…

Back to the Experiment

Remember all the blue things you counted around you in your room? Are you ready to narrate them one by one?

Ok – now, without turning around, can you start naming the “brown” things you saw around your room 2 minutes ago?

If you are like most people and don’t have photographic memory, you won’t be able to name more than 2-3 brown things. But you’ll be able to name 8-10 blue things.

How come? Because before you turned around, you had a goal of counting blue things. And your mind was focused on counting blue things – not brown things. It filtered out all the brown things.


Writing down goals is nothing but a filtering device for your brain. You will focus more on the things you’ve written down as your goals. And you will jump on them when they present themselves as opportunities.

Action Summary:

  • Write down your goals – monthly as well as long term goals – and you’ll achieve them.
  • Read your goals list every day to help your brain focus better.

How To Eradicate Poverty (Without Doing Charity)

1. The Indian Experiment to Eradicate Poverty

Poverty in India

“Everything that is rewarded grows.”

India had been strafed and divided with the caste system since centuries. The society is divided into 4 sections.

  • Brahmins are the teachers and the priests.
  • Kshatriyas are the warriors.
  • Vaishyas are the merchants.
  • And Shudras are the agriculturists and service providers.

The caste system is hereditary. So who you are depends on who your father is. If you are born in a Shudra family, you couldn’t join the army.

Dalits are a sub-part of Shudras. They are the folks who do all the unwanted jobs like cleaning the streets. They are the people who become the “untouchables.” If someone touches a Dalit, he is expected to go and have a bath immediately. (This may have started out as a means to prevent diseases from spreading and becoming epidemic as Dalits had the worst jobs. But the act of not touching sank its roots deeper until the Indian society broke down.)

Soon, Dalits are banned from being educated or entering places of worship! Thousands of Dalits suffer from centuries of poor treatment. This mistreatment persists even after the caste system is abolished in India.

Indian Constitution Seeks to Change Things

And so, when India gains its independence in 1947, the leaders decide to make things right.

The folks who frame the Indian constitution believe that Dalits are historically oppressed and denied respect and equal opportunity in the society. The quickest way to help them achieve equal status in the society is by educating them.

But many of these Dalits can’t even afford education. So the Indian Government decides to create a schedule caste and schedule tribe quota. 22.5% of all the seats in Government schools and colleges should be reserved for these Dalits. They are to be educated for free!

Situation After 61 Years

After 61 years of independence and quota education system, you would think that there wouldn’t be any person claiming himself to be a Dalit left in India today – right?

But things haven’t worked out that way.

Instead of their numbers going down, their numbers have actually steadily increased every year since independence and gone way up!

In 1991, there are 150 million Indians who claim themselves to be of the schedule caste quota. In 2001, the number rises up to 230 million Indians!

2. Why You Can’t Eradicate Poverty By Giving Away Money

Indian Child With a Slate

Eradicating poverty from the world is a good goal to have. But cutting cheques and providing special favours to the poorest people of the society doesn’t work in eradicating poverty at all!

In fact, all it’ll do is make people find ways in making sure they don’t get too rich – so that they can take advantage of the free welfare cheques and free education!

Because everything that is rewarded grows… if you reward poverty, how can you expect it to wither away?

3. The Smart Charity Philosophy

“Don’t help people who need it, help people who deserve it.”
– Jim Rohn

4. Give a Man a Fish…

Teach Fishing

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” – Chinese Proverb.

Your job is to teach a man how to fish only when he is willing* to learn. And when he is willing to pay the price to learn.

*But how to build the desire in the hearts of poverty ridden people to raise their hands? To become willing to learn? To become willing to pay the price when they are already poor?

5. The English Experiment to Eradicate Poverty

King Arthur

A millennium ago, England is a small inconsequential island of barbarians, misfits, castoffs and losers. They are no where on the map in world affairs.

But that starts changing because of one Welsh monk: Geoffrey of Monmouth.

To instill pride in his countrymen, Geoffrey writes the book “The History of the Kings of Britain” that chronicles the lives of various British kings spanning close to 2000 years before 7 AD.

In it he narrates how Brutus – a descendant of the Trojan hero Aeneas (of Homer’s Illiad) first settles in Britain. And how Ceasar himself invades Britain. Geoffrey also tells us the tales of King Lear and Cymbeline and a few other Kings.

But perhaps the most well known part of his book is, he tells us the story of the rise and fall of King Arthur.

Then in early 15th century, Thomas Malory – a convict who is rotting in a prison in England – resurrects a few of these stories and writes “LeMorte D’Arthur” – the story of King Arthur and his noble knights of the roundtable!

At the same time, Gutenberg invents his printing press. And because of the printing press, LeMorte D’Arthur spreads and becomes a widely read book!

Soon, the little island of misfits, barbarians and losers start seeing themselves in a new light. They start seeing themselves as coming from a nation with a glorious history.

And then they start making some changes so that their reality reflects their history. They build one of the finest navies in the world. They invent the steam engine. And go on to conquer the world!

But here is the twist: not a word written by Geoffrey of Monmouth – who started the King Arthur craze – is true!

People will change themselves if they believe that they can. If they believe that someone in their position has already achieved great feats.

6. The Rich vs Poor Insight

Say No To TV

“Rich people have large libraries, poor people have large TV’s.”
– Dan Kennedy

Give the poor people heroes they can look up to. And they will model after these heroes and change their lives!

Tell them rags-to-riches stories. And they will surprise you by rising out of poverty in record time!

Gift just one autobiographical rags-to-riches book to just one poor person to read. And see how his life changes.

Action Summary:

  • The worst thing you can do to eradicate poverty is start giving the poor people free rides.
  • The best thing you can do to eradicate poverty is make the poor people believe that there were others in their situation that rose above poverty, worked hard and are rich today.
  • Give the poor people heroes. Tell them rags-to-riches stories. These stories will satisfy their hunger a lot more effectively than any free food programs. Because these stories will empower the poor people to earn their own food instead of relying on charity.
  • Gift just one autobiographical book to one poor person today.


The Bangladeshi Experiment to Eradicate Poverty

Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus has perhaps done more to eradicate poverty than anyone else in the world. He started an organization in Bangladesh that gave out loans to poor people who wanted to start their own businesses. But he banded the people who wanted loans into groups. So that the group can motivate the members to work harder. And the group can create peer pressure on the members to pay back the loan on time.

Because of this idea of giving out mico-loans to groups, Yunus’s bank had a 98% rate of loan payback (better than most banks out there)!

Today, Kiva has made the concept of mico-loans a lot easier. You can loan money to poor people with business ideas online. These lenders will send you email updates on their progress. And pay the loan back within 6-12 months.

When Did Noah Build the Ark (And The Benefits of Sacrifice)

“When did Noah build the ark? Before the rain.”
– Robert Redford in SpyGames.

1. The Benefits of Sacrifice

Sacrifice is a 9 letter word that has a negative connotation. People hear sacrifice and they cringe. But there have been very few people who have succeeded without sacrificing.

So lets turn sacrifice’s negative connotation upside down on its head and come up with a positive definition.

“Sacrifice = giving up a thing of less value to gain a thing of higher value.” – Paul Lemberg

Most people are unwilling to sacrifice. They don’t want to pay in advance. They don’t want to move out of their comfort zones and take risks.

But to succeed, you’ve got to sacrifice and put in the work “before” it is needed. You’ve got to dig the well before you get thirsty.

2. Cows vs Humans

Man Sitting on a Cow

Did you know that calves (baby cows) start walking within 2-4 hours of their birth?

Most people are surprised to learn that cows start walking so soon after birth while humans take 8-9-10 months to start walking after birth!

Humans are the only mammals that remain at the mercy of others for such a long time after birth.

But how can that be if we humans are the smartest mammals in the world?

The Human Sacrifice for Smartness

Because our cerebrums are bigger, we have to be pushed out and given birth “before” we have fully grown and can protect ourselves.

But because of these same bigger cerebrums, we humans grow on to be smarter than any other animal.

We gave up early protection for future progress!

3. The Marshmallow Experiment

Melted marshmallows on spoons

In 1960, Walter Mischel of Stanford University conducts a long term behavioral experiment on pre-school kids. He brings the kids one by one in a boring little plain room and gives them a choice:

“You can have this marshmallow right now. But if you wait while I run an errand, you can have two marshmallows when I get back.” And then Walter leaves the room for 20 minutes.

Do you know how tormenting it is for energy filled kids to sit in a dull room with nothing to do but a marshmallow in sight? Some kids grab the marshmallow as soon as Walter is out of the room. Some last for a few minutes before giving in to boredom and temptation. But a few kids are determined to wait it out. They cover their eyes. They sing to themselves. They play with their imaginary friends. Some even try to fall asleep.

When Walter comes back in, he dutifully gives 2 marshmallows to these kids. But the experiment doesn’t end there. Walter then waits patiently till these kids hit high school. And he then goes back to continue his experiment.

He surveys the children’s parents and teachers. And finds that the four-year-olds who had the fortitude to hold out for the second marshmallow grew up to be better adjusted, more popular, confident and dependable teenagers. On the other hand, the kids who had given in to temptation were more likely to be lonely, irritable, shied away from challenges and easily buckled under stress.

When the students in the two groups took the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the kids who didn’t go for instant gratification scored an average of 210 points higher too!

Kids who gave up instant gratification did better in the future!

4. Leveraging a Well


Ram & Shyam are two entrepreneurs both living in a town where the nearest well is 10 miles away.

Ram sees an opportunity. And charges people to get their water for them. He starts earning money from day 1.

Shyam sees an opportunity too. But he doesn’t do what Ram does. And doesn’t spend time going back and forth everyday. Instead, he sacrifices money that can be earned today to build a pipeline. When the pipeline is built, Ram is out of business.

Action Summary:

  • Don’t go for instant gratification. Give up things of little value today to achieve your big goals tomorrow.
  • Surefire way to become successful is to pay in advance.
  • Think pipeline. Create systems.


Cows may not be as smart as us humans. But did you know that they have a sixth sense that we lack? Yes its true. Cows can predict when its going to rain. They do this by detecting falling atmospheric pressure (falling pressure affects their digestive system). Before rain storms, they will start finding safe shelters.

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How Napoleon Bonaparte Built an Empire

1.Napoleon’s Secret

Napoleon Bonaparte
How did Napoleon Bonaparte Build an Empire?

Napoleon Bonaparte has carved his name in the history books. Some say he was a masterful soldier. Some say he was a very charismatic statesman. Others say he was the best strategist who ever lived. Yes, he is all of that. But he became “Napoleon the Great” only because of one of his tactics. He created and ruled an empire only because of one secret.


He gave away baubles. What are baubles you ask?

Baubles are small ornaments that have little monetary value. But they have great emotional value attached to them. Napoleon gave Baubles to his soldiers when they achieved a notable feat.

Giving baubles as rewards is the single most important tactic that helped Napoleon establish a humongous empire. This tactic achieved 2 things:

1. Made his soldiers fight harder to earn more baubles.

2. Made his soldiers loyal to him.

Give bonuses and rewards to consumers and you‘ll soon build a business empire too. The consumers will buy your products for the bonuses. And they will stay loyal to you if you provide bonus goodies every so often.

Now that you know that baubles = bonuses and rewards, let us see what kind of baubles should we give away and how to give them away for the best results.

2. E. Joseph Cossman reveals the type of baubles you should give away

E Joseph Cossman is a marketing legend. Wall street journal calls him: “The Messiah of the free enterprise system.” He made more than 1 million dollars through mail order. What‘s more, he wrote a book about it (How I made $1,000,000 in mail order – And you can too!), which became a classic. Yet even he sometimes had trouble selling products.

Spud Guns & Potato
How did Cossman Sell These Spud Guns?

One time, Cossman starts selling spud guns. Spud guns are little toy guns that use potatoes as bullets. You simply dig the barrel of the spud gun into the potato and when you pull it out, a small piece of potato would stay in the barrel.

Cossman sells the spud guns through grocery stores with some success. But he wants to make a lot of money fast. He knows from experience that giving bonuses boosts sales. So he convinces the grocery store owners to buy his spud guns in huge quantities at a discount rate. The grocery owners can then give away the spud guns for free as a bonus when people buy a bag of potatoes, driving the sales of potatoes up.

Unfortunately, the bonus tactic doesn’t work. The groceries don’t sell more potatoes. And the owners ae not pleased with Cossman, from whom they had to buy the spud guns that are now sitting in the stock room gathering dust.

So Cossman tries one more tactic. He convinces the owners to reverse the bonus tactic. For every spud gun people buy, they would receive 1 bag of potatoes for free.

The entire “spud guns + potatoes“ package still sells for the same amount of money. But by reversing the product and the bonus, the sales of spud guns and potatoes go through the roof!

Cossman shows that giving a bonus with your product can indeed boost sales because a bonus provides one more reason to people to buy your product.

But the bonus has to be something that people want. People didn’t want the spud guns. So they didn’t buy potatoes for a free spud gun. But they did want potatoes. And they bought lots of spud guns for a free bag of potatoes.

3. Psychologist Priya Raghubir reveals what kind of baubles you should not give away

Green Pearl Bracelet
Does the Value of the Pearls Change when they are a Bonus?

Priya Raghubir is a social psychologist and a published writer. One day, she decides to observe how people value bonuses on products.

She gathers 2 groups of people to take part in an experiment. The people aren’t told what the experiment is about. One group is given a catalog that features liquor as the target product and a pearl bracelet as a bonus gift. And the group members are then asked to evaluate the desirability and the value of the bonus: the pearl bracelet.

The other group is given a catalog that has the main target product as the pearl bracelet. There are no bonuses. The group members are then asked to evaluate the desirability and the value of the bracelet.

The findings reveal some amazing insight. The second group value the bracelet a lot more than the first group. Their desire to get their hands on the bracelet is also more.

Peoples valuation of the bracelet lowers when it is bundled as a bonus!

Even though bonuses might make more people buy your products, people will perceive the bonus product itself to be of low value. So it might be a good idea to not to offer your own products as a bonus and instead offer some one else‘s products as the bonus.

4. Waiters show how to give away baubles

3 Waiters
How Can Waiters Earn More Tips?

Most waiters have it tough. They earn minimum wages. And they would be under the poverty line if they wouldn’t earn enough in tips. Many experiments have been conducted to see what increases the amount of tips a waiter receives.

Cornell University’s hospitality department conducts one such experiment. The researchers try to determine how rewarding the diners at the end of the meal affects the tips.

The researchers findings surprise them:

  • When the diners are given one single candy after the meal, the waiters receive a healthy tip of 15.1%
  • When the diners are given a bigger reward: two candies after the meal, the waiters receive 19% in tips.
  • But when the diners are initially given one candy and then spontaneously offered another candy just before they pay their bills, the waiters receive a whooping 23% in tips!

In both the 2nd and 3rd case, only two candies are given to the diner. But the way they are given increases the tips by an awesome 4%!

The experiment shows that the bigger the reward the better the client response.

And the response can be even better when you surprise the clients with a reward.

Action summary:

  • Give away bonuses and rewards (baubles) to make people buy your products over your competitors.
  • Give away only those bonuses that the consumers really want.
  • Give away some one else‘s products that compliment your own as a bonus.
  • Surprise your clients with bonuses from time to time to make them buy more products from you and become loyal to you.

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Smart Waiters & Dumb Burglars (How To Use Subtle Hints To Get Things Done)

1. Smart Waiters Secret

Waiters Waiting

Late at nights when business is slow, many restaurants adopt a “Sit Yourself” policy – where diners come and select their own tables.

This changes the whole ball game for waiters who make most of their money in tips. Because if a diner comes and selects to sit on another waiter’s table, all the other waiters working in the restaurant may have nothing to do but wait – and lose out on any tips for 30-60 minutes!

So here is what smart waiters do to make sure more people come and sit at their tables instead of their co-workers tables:

When they see someone approaching their door, they go to a table in their area and start wiping it with a towel. They then straighten the condiments and walk away briskly.

9 times out of 10 – the new diner will come and sit at their table – just because of their cleaning and setting up the table in front of their eyes!

2. Power Buy Buttons

Do you want to know an easy way to increase the number of sales on your website? Simply add the picture of the mouse pointer to your buy buttons!

Buy Buttons

Various split tests show that a buy button with the mouse pointer increases response rate by 18 to 45%!

Demonstrate to people where to click, and your click through rate will go up!

3. Burglar Proofing Your Home

Burglars love vacation time when people leave their homes and go on vacations. To prevent burglaries, you could buy fancy sophisticated alarm systems. But here are some extremely low cost ways that are almost as effective as the alarm systems:

Beward of Dogs

1. Put a big dog dish and the largest bone you can find outside the front door. Put up a “Beware of Dog” sign too.

2. Setup a dummy camera next to the entrance of your house.

3. Don’t allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or fliers to build up when you are away. Ask the post office to hold your mail, or ask your friend or neighbor to take them regularly.

4. Invest in automatic timers to switch a few of the lights in your home on automatically during evenings.

Do these simple things so that the burglars don’t get the signal that your home is empty. And it’ll be 95% as effective in preventing burglaries as expensive alarm systems.

Action Summary:

  • Show people that you are prepared.
  • Give them appropriate cues and signals.
  • And they’ll do as you want them to.


The best place to hide your valuables is in the top shelf of your kitchen. Because statistics show that during 90% of the burglaries, the kitchen remains untouched!

Anchoring & Decision Making (Advanced Persuasion Tactics)

1. Selling the Un-Sellable Painting

Who would buy such an exquisite yet expensive painting?

A gallery owner is in a quandary. He has one painting that is un-sellable. No one has bought it since past 3 months that it has been on the wall. People appreciate the painting. They praise its vibrant use of colors and strokes. But when they hear its price they shrink away.

People advice the gallery owner to reduce the price of that painting. But the gallery owner doesn’t budge. Instead, he commissions another painter to create a new painting with the same style and colors – but to make that painting on a much bigger canvas.

When the big new painting is completed, the gallery owner showcases it right next to the original un-sellable painting. And values it at almost double the price of the original painting.


Do you know what happens next? The original painting that didn’t sell for 3 whole months is now sold within a day.

People don’t make buying decisions in a vacuum. They compare it with other available alternatives. In this case, they would now gush over the big new painting. But hearing its price, they would balk. Then they would see a smaller painting with similar style and buy that without a further thought.

2. African Anchoring Confusion

Map of Africa

Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman are two psychologists who conduct a classic experiment.

They ask a group of people: Is the number of African countries in the United Nations greater or less than 10%?

Most people say that 10% is too low. Maybe its somewhere near 25%.

The 2 psychologists than ask another group of people: Is the number of African countries in the United Nations greater or less than 65%?

This time, most people said that 65% is too high. Maybe the correct answer is 45%!

Peoples answer changes based on the first number they are given!

3. Economist Changes the Anchor to Persuade People

Apples vs Oranges Comparison

Economist magazine gives the following pricing options to people who want to subscribe:

  • Website-only subscription: $59.00 per year.
  • Print-only subscription: $125.00 per year.
  • Print & web: $125.00 per year.

Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist himself is confused: why would the Economist offer the same price for print-only subscription as well as for print & web subscription? It didn’t make sense to him.

So Dan started investigating and found out why Economist gave the 2nd print-only option that they knew no one would go for.

He gathered 2 groups of 100 students each and asked them to subscribe to the Economist. To the first group, he made the same offer that the Economist makes. And the results of what people chose are:

  • Website-only subscription: 16
  • Print-only subscription: 0
  • Print & web: 84

For the 2nd group, Dan removes the 2nd print-only pricing option. The results this time are:

  • Website-only subscription: 68
  • Print & web: 32

Economist gives the 2nd pricing option that they know no one will buy because it increases the number of sales their higher priced 3rd option gets!

Action Summary:

  • People don’t make decisions in a vacuum. They make them by comparing various factors with each other.
  • People pick an anchor and base their final conclusion near and in comparison to that anchor. So make sure that the answer you want is close to the anchor point.
  • To persuade people, change their frame of mind by giving them a different anchor point. And they’ll decide in your favour.