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It’s fair to say we all have a place either in our homes or offices that we hope others won’t see. Whether it’s a crammed closet, junk drawer, three-car garage with no cars in it, musty attic boxes or sagging basement shelves, we all have some place that doesn’t pass Martha Stewart muster. We have just accumulated too much stuff.
When I saw that the 2008 rate for a speech by Larry Summers was $45,000 to $135,000, I got to thinking.
Out of curiosity, I started prowling the various Web sites of speakers' bureaus and came to six conclusions:
- It seems everybody in the world is available for speeches. Included are political and show business stars, second and third bananas, and hundreds upon hundreds of people I never heard of.
- All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
- I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
- I was a damned fool. I was as much a nobody as anybody else and could've picked up some dough if I'd just asked.
- If someone invites you to make a speech, think about asking for an honorarium at the very least, if not a fat fee, plus expenses. For Colin Powell, expenses include a private jet along with his $100,000 fee.
- The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.
American shoppers love deals. We love bargains. We love to save money. We love coupons. Those free standing inserts (FSIs) loaded with discount—or “cents-off”—coupons that clog our newspapers every Sunday and give hernias to the delivery people are there for a reason: They move merchandise. In 2006, 270 billion coupons were distributed—roughly 2,500 for every household in the U.S. Wait in line at any supermarket checkout counter and you will see shoppers happily redeeming them. Kristina Davis of Marietta, Georgia, told Steve Lohr of The New York Times that by clipping coupons from the Sunday paper and redeeming them at the supermarket, she saves 30% to 40% every
EDITOR’S NOTE: I am delighted to welcome as a guest columnist Robert Yoegel, vice president, online publisher at North American Publishing Co., the parent company of Business Common Sense. —DH The story of Allison Stokke, the California teenager is hot … this nice little girl in sports bra, short-shorts and firm grip on a pole has taken the Internet by storm. And she did it to herself. Or maybe she did not do it to herself—did somebody else do it? Check out the “Allison Stokke” hyperlinks at the end of the story and judge for yourself. Crazes and Crazies The latest craze online is known as social networking, which
Grandpa Bill is on the hill With someone he just married. There he is at ninety-three, Doin’ what comes naturally. —Irving Berlin, Annie Get Your Gun, 1946 On Dec. 29, 2006, my wife, Peggy, and I had just made a shopping list for the New Year’s Eve dinner that we would be serving. The centerpiece was to be a standing rib roast. The following morning, I opened the The New York Times and came across a story by Andrew Pollack and Andrew Martin titled, “F.D.A. Says Food From Cloned Animals is Safe.” The most disturbing paragraph: Opponents hope to bring Congressional pressure to bear