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The Tao of the Entreninja

I have been working away in my laboratory for the last few weeks, cooking up a new book about what I have learned in my short tenure as an entrepreneur. As is the case with almost everything I start, I just woke up one morning and thought to myself, "I think I want to write a book about running a business like a Ninja." This book is the culmination of that thought.

I am stoked about the book for three reasons:

A. It meets my first Fundamental Law of Literature: keep it short.

2. I was able to provide illustrations throughout the book. I am sure you will be amazed at how much my artistic hand has developed since 4th grade.

D. When it was finished, I read through it, and I smiled at my work. If it makes me smile, then it has a chance of making you smile.

I hope you enjoy it!

Pscychopathic Deviates

Yesterday, while getting the results of my psychological evaluation (I had to have a psych exam for an application), I was told a piece of news that I have known for a long time: I am not normal. As a culmination of hours of multiple choice tests, the Minnessota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (a 380 question survey), Rorschach testing, and an hour of consultation, it has been scientifically confirmed that I am not normal (it must be comforting to all of my family, friends, former students, former teachers, co-workers, and employers to have this confirmed in such an empirical way.) Actually, to put it the way the Psychologist described it, “You have elevated levels of PD.”

“What is PD?” I asked.

“Psychopathic Deviate.”

Yes, I have elevated levels of psychopathic deviant behavior.

I am quite shocked that it took such an extensive battery of tests to reach that conclusion. When driving into the clinic, I was sitting at a stoplight waiting to turn left. The sign said, “Turn on green arrow only.” The light was green in the lanes next to me, but I didn't have a green arrow. It was still red, but I turned anyways. Always have. Always will. As long as it is safe. I think this observation could have saved 4 hours of testing and a slightly boring interview. Oh well. Read more »

The body runs on calories. The mind runs on ideas. The heart runs on desire.

We live in a culture that is excessively focused on the body. We try to find ways to manipulate the body, to make it strong and “healthy”, and we are told that if we have a strong and healthy body, we can do almost anything.

This is stupid. I have seen weak minds and unhealthy bodies do amazing things that no full-time gym member could ever accomplish. They conquered their challenges, not with a perfect body, but by having a strong heart. Read more »

A public apology to Tom Fisher

My roommate in college was named Tom Fisher. He was tall, an "uber nerd" (his words, not mine), and annoying. He also became one of my best friends.

He was annoying because of the following reasons:

1. He cheered for the Denver Broncos.
2. He studied philosophy.
3. He talked about philosophy when all I wanted to do was play Super Mario Brothers 3.
4. He wore Transformers T-Shirts BEFORE they were cool.
5. He used a Mac.

I ridiculed my roommate for all of these characteristics, as any good friend would do. Today, however, I am making an official apology to Tom Fisher for one of those criteria. I publicly apologize to Tom Fisher for ridiculing his use of a Mac. Read more »

I trust leaders, not stories

When someone gets told to do something that they do not want to do, they usually complain. In the complaining, the stories get changed. How do I know this? Two reasons. One, because I have done it before. Two, because it happens almost every time I correct a student.

It happens something like this. I tell a student to stay after school for twenty minutes because they were continually disruptive in class. The student mumbles under their breath and gets mad. Later that day, they go home and tell their friends, “Mr. Hollowell was so rude and inconsiderate. I got up to go use the bathroom, and then he yelled at me and told me to sit down and he gave me a detention. Can you believe he made me stay after school for twenty minutes just because I needed to use the restroom?” Actually, Billy, you have to stay after school for 20 minutes because you were a complete train wreck in class, and your final disaster was getting out of your chair in a disruptive manner and pushing two students on your way out of my room. You do not have a detention for going to the restroom. You have a detention for being a moron. Read more »

Why I work in a closet

Recently, I was given an option: go work out in an open space with plenty of leg room, ventilated air, and easy access to what I needed, or I could go work in a small closet that offered none of these amenities. I picked the closet.

Several factors converged to inspire this decision. Read more »

Haiti 2010: "Come See My People"

Music By Danielle Rose

There is so much to tell you, but I can't. The video is my best attempt to describe how awesome it was to be in Haiti. The people are beautiful, the land is beautiful, and the trip was awesome.

We visited a few schools. When asked what is the biggest challenge that a school faces, the answer was always the same: feeding the children and paying the teachers.

There are miracle workers at some of these schools. I saw a teacher with nothing but chairs in her room (and hungry children sitting in the chairs), but the students were more disciplined and more learning was occurring than in any of my best days as a teacher.

The people love soccer. It is in their blood. Soccer truly is the universal sport. The clip at the beginning of the video is from a "senior vs. sophomore" soccer game, and the little kids are cheering for the sophomores after they just scored a goal. Let's just say that I went crazier than I ever had for a touchdown at Notre Dame stadium. It was bananas.

They need help to feed their kids and pay their teachers. If you want to help out, you can send money to our fund that we started. Our goal is to raise $50,000. The money goes straight to the kids and families you see in this video, and many are refugees of the recent earthquake. There is no middle man. This is not the Red Cross. The money gets wired directly to the school to help the kids and to support their learning. Shoot me an email if you want more information at tony@tonysclassroom.com

The head of the school told us: "You can't develop a country without education."

The world is my classroom, and I learned so much from the people of Haiti.

My next adventure

A lack of money breeds ingenuity

When you do not have money, you must get creative. If you don’t have money to get what you want, then you need to find ways to get what you want without the money. No, you don’t steal, but you begin to analyze the situation, to do the unusual, and get creative.

Every school, business, and person should understand this fact: a lack of money breeds ingenuity.

Money is not the biggest barrier to attaining a goal. The biggest barrier to attaining a goal is a lack of raging desire: a deep, pulsating desire to do something, to create something. When you have this raging desire but lack sufficient money, then you begin to get creative.

You learn to buy used goods. You don’t take no for an answer. You beg and plead your case to anyone who will listen. Things just start happening, and it is all happening without money.

Ingenuity is being born because you wanted to do something but didn’t have the money. If you have been in this situation before, you know it is so much fun! Read more »

The Street Stops Here

This is the best movie I have ever seen.

It's about a basketball team in the inner city of Jersey. The school is a financial mess. They don't have a gym. The kids come from broken homes.

And they have won 23 state championships in 30 years.

If you care about education, you want to watch this movie. If you are a coach, you want to watch this movie. If you are an athlete, you want to watch this movie. If you are a human being, you want to watch this movie.

If you think miracles don't happen anymore, you must never have watched this movie. Buy it (proceeds benefit their school), watch it, and then tell other people about it. The movie website is http://www.thestreetstopsheremovie.com/

My favorite quote: “I seem more annoyed at your failure than you do.”

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