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Ben To Record 3rd Comedy Album Sep 24 in NYC

August 11th, 2017

I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be recording my third live stand up comedy album (to be released by Comedy Dynamics) at The People’s Improv Theatre in New York City on Sunday September 24th.

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE

FULL PRESS RELEASE

Comedian Ben Rosenfeld, a Russian born Jew based in New York City, covers such topics as his being raised by loveably insane Russian immigrant parents, American politics through an outsider’s perspective and his recent decision to get married – mostly to make his jokes more relatable.

Ben’s second album, “The Russian Optimist,” reached Amazon’s Top 5 best selling comedy albums. Now Ben returns to record his third live stand up comedy album, “The United States of Russia.” If you like your laughs sprinkled in with intelligence and thought provoking points, you’ll love Ben’s newest hour.

There will be two shows – 7PM and 9PM – both at The PIT Underground. Doors open 20 minutes before showtime.

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE

 

BIO

Ben Rosenfeld creates smarter comedy for smarter people. Ben’s comedy blends his family’s experience as Russian Jewish immigrants in America with his philosophical beliefs, political observations and unique characters.  Ben has appeared on FOX’s Laughs, CBS This Morning, National Geographic’s Brain Games, NPR Weekend Edition, SiriusXM Radio, Rooftop Comedy and been featured as TimeOut New York’s Joke of the Week.  He has twice headlined at Caroline’s on Broadway, hosted at the Lincoln Center and performs nightly in New York City.  Ben has two comedy albums, Neuro Comedy (2012 – iTunes | Amazon ) and The Russian Optimist (2016 – iTunes | Amazon | Google Play – released by Comedy Dynamics / New Wave Entertainment) – which has been an Amazon Top 5 Best Selling Comedy Album.  Ben also created the illustrated coffee table book, Russian Optimism: Dark Nursery Rhymes To Cheer You Right Up, an Amazon Top 5 Best Seller in Humor Books.

 

Ben’s record label is New Wave / Comedy Dyanamics. They are the largest independent stand-up comedy production and distribution company, producing Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History for History, Animal Planet’s Animal Nation with Anthony Anderson, the new scripted comedy on Seeso, There’s … Johnny, History’s Join Or Die with Craig Ferguson, MTV2’s Wild ‘N On Tour, Hulu’s Coming To The Stage, and MTV’s Spooning with…Zac Efron. The company has worked with a wide-range of established and emerging comedic talent including Kevin Hart, Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Jim Gaffigan, Katt Williams and many more. Comedy Dynamics is available on most streaming platforms including: Hulu, Roku, iOS, Amazon, and Android.

 

Comedy Dynamics Records’ album Louis C.K. Live At Madison Square Garden won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album in 2016. In total, eight of Comedy Dynamics’ albums produced between 2013-2015 have been Grammy-nominated.

 

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE

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“Dialogue” Quotes

June 19th, 2017

I recently read “Dialogue: The Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage and Screen” by Robert McKee. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“Character talk runs along three distinctly different tracks: said to others, said to oneself, and said to the reader oa audience.” (3)

“All talk responds to a need, engages a purpose, and performs an action. No matter how seemingly vague and airy a speech may be, no character ever talks to anyone, even to himself, for no reason, to do nothing. THerefore, beneath every line of character talk, the writer must create a desire, intent, and action. That action then becomes the verbal tactic we call dialogue.” (3)

“The theatre, for example, is primarily an auditory medium. It prompts audience members to listen more intently than they watch. As a result, the stage favors voice over image. Cinema reverses that. Film is primarily a visual medium. It prompts the audience to watch more intently than it listens.” (10)

“When characters look down the camera lens and whisper something secret and personal, it’s usually a self-serving tactic to win us to their side (HOUSE OF CARDS).” (13)

“In a separate file, list every fact in your story, and then rank them in order of importance to the reader/audience. As you rewrite and polish your work, you may realize that certain facts need to be stressed and repeated in more than one scene to guarantee that the reader/audience remembers them at a critical future turning point. Other less important facts need only a single hint or gesture.” (24)

“Somehow the writer must send the reader/audience’s attention in one direction while he smuggles a fact in from another.” (26)

“The moment a story-goer recognizes a shared humanity between herself and your characters, she not only identifies with them but also transfers her real-life desires onto their fictional desires.” (28)

“The scene is false and its dialogue tinny because the writing is dishonest. The characters are not doing what they seem to be doing. They seem to be reminiscing, but in fact they’re mouthing exposition so the eavesdropping audience can overhear it.” (39)

“The most important trait of all: talk. She speaks like no one we have ever met before. Her language style not only sets her apart from all other cast members but also, if the writing is masterful, from all other fictional characters.” (41)

“The greater the pressure in the scene (the more he stands to lose or gain in that moment), the more his actions tell us who he really is.” (42)

“The greatest difference between the screen versus stage and page, therefore, is not the quantity of dialogue but the quality. The camera and microphone so magnify and amplify behavior, that every phony glance, every false gesture, every affected line looks and sounds more amateur than the worst dinner party charade. Screen acting calls for a naturalistic, believable, and seemingly offhanded technique. To make this possible, screen dialogue must feel spontaneous. When forced to deliver ornamented dialogue, even the finest actors sound ludicrous, cueing the audience to react with “People don’t talk like that.” This holds true in all genres, realistic and nonrealistic, in television and film.” (62)

“Suspense, simply put, is curiosity charged with empathy.” (81)

“Challenge yourself with this question: How could I write this scene in a purely visual way, doing all that needs to be done for character and story without resorting to a single line of dialogue?” (91)

“Effective dialogue executes six tasks simultaneously:
Each verbal expression takes an inner action.
Each beat of action/reaction intensifies the scene, building to and around its turning point.
Statements and allusions within the lines convey exposition.
A unique verbal style characterizes each role.
The flow of progressive beats captivates the reader/audience, carrying them on a wave of narrative drive, unaware of the passage of time.
The language strikes the reader/audience as authentic in its setting and true to character, thus maintaining belief in the story’s fictional reality.” (97)

“Dialogue concentrates meaning; conversation dilutes it.” (98)

“Authors set traps for themselves when they create characters with excessive, unconvincing self-awareness.” (100)

“The problem of melodrama, therefore, is not over-expression but under-motivation.” (103)

“1) The more emotional people become, the shorter the words and sentences they use; the more rational people become, the longer the words and sentences they use.
2) The more active and direct people become, the shorter the words and sentences they use; the more passive and reflective people become, the longer the words and sentences they use.
3) The more intelligent the person, the more complex his sentences; the less intelligent, the briefer his sentences.
4) The more well read the person, the larger hsi vocabulary and the longer his words; the less read, the smaller his vocabulary and the shorter his words.” (111)

“When conflict builds and risk soards, people get emotional, active, direct, monosyllabic, and dumb.” (111)

“Badly written dialogue tends to be literal; it means what it says and no more. Well-written dialogue, on the other hand, implies more than it says; it puts a subtext under every text.” (116)

“If your dialogue does not suggest unsaid thoughts and feelings below its surface, either enrich it or cut it.” (116)

“With rare exceptions, a scene should never be outwardly and entirely about what it seems to be about. Dialogue should imply, not explain, its subtext.” (120)

“Aristotle argues that the deepest pleasure of theatregoing is learning, the sensation of seeing through the surface of behavior to the human truth beneath.” (127)

“When scenes fail, the fault is rarely in the words; the solution will be found deep within even and character design. Dialogue problems are story problems.” (144)

“The more complex the psychology of a character, the more distinctive hsi dialogue must become. In other words, originality in character design finds its final expression in character-specific dialogue.” (148)

“A distinctive writing style pays off when a creative personality embraces a broad and deep knowledge of the human condition.” (150)

“Language is the medium of conscious thought; image is the medium of subconscious thought.” (152)

“When you write off the top of your head, all characters sound alike and the sounds they make irritate like fingernails on a blackboard. Their grating voices fake life and then fill the sham with irredeemably false dialogue – out of character, out of scene, void of feeling, void of truth.” (152)

“The guiding tenet of public speaking is, “Think as a wise man but speak as a common man.”” (160)

“As a dramatic character pursues his quest, he has sense enough to step back and realize that his struggle could get him killed. Not the comic character: His core desire blinds him. His self-deluded mind fixates on his desire and pursues it, wildly unaware. This lifelong mania influences, if not controls, his every choice.” (170)

“All stories dramatize the human struggle to move life from chaos to order, from imbalance to equilibrium.” (183)

“Character talk is the final result of everything that went before, a surface manifestation of the layers of life beneath the words. The stronger the inner scene, the more powerful the dialogue.” (198)

“What makes a comic character comic is mental rigidity. He pursues his all-absorbing desire as if myopic to any choice beyond it.” (213)

“Desire intensifies in the comic character to the point of obsession. This fixation holds the character so tightly in its grip he cannot deviate from it. All aspects of his identity are bound to it; without it he is no longer comic. What’s more, this obsession blinds him. He is driven to pursue it but cannot see the mania in himself. To us, he’s a crazed neurotic; to him,his obsession is normalcy.” (214)

“A few comic protagonists, such as Woody Allen’s Alvy Singer in ANNIE HALL and Larry David’s Larry David in CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, constantly dissect their obsession, phobically alert to any sign of neuroses. But what they do not gasp is that addictive self-analysis is itself a blind obsession. The more seriously and persistently these two guys self-psychoanalyze, the more hysterical they become – in both sense of the word.” (214)

“The comic protagonist’s blind obsession usually comes nested inside otherwise normal traits that anoint him with believability, dimensionalize his personality, and make him one of a kind. The art of comedy, however, imposes certain limitations on dimensionality, for this reason: Jokes require objectivity. Laughter explodes the moment two incongruous ideas suddenly clash in the mind. If their illogicality is not instantly recognized, the gag sputters in confusion. Therefore, the mind of the reader/audience must be kept sharply focused and uncluttered by compassion.” (215)

“We welcome feelings in drama, but in comedy, empathy and compassion kill the laughs. For this reason, comic protagonists, almost without exception, have fewer dimensions than their dramatic counterparts and virtually none at the subconscious level of conflicted inner selves. Instead, comic dimensions pit appearance against reality, the man the character thinks he is versue the fool we know him in fact to be.” (215)

“Comic energy comes from three primary sources: defensive emotions, aggressive emotions, and sex.” (220)

“To the comic writer, empathy spells death. Compassion kills laughs. Therefore, comic technique must keep the reader/audience cool, critical, unempathetic – on the safe side of pain.” (227)

“The writer must clearly establish the character at the positive or negative of a value early in the story, so that the audience can understand and feel the arc of change.” (243)

“When the balance favors content over form, when minimal words express maximal meaning, dialogue gains its greatest credibility and power.” (269)

“As Philip Yorder put it: “Do not drown your script with endless dialogue and long speeches. Every question does not call for a response. Whenever you can express an emotion with a silent gesture, do so. Once you pose the question, permit it to linger before you get a reply. Or better yet, perhaps the character cannot reply; he or she has no answer. This permits the unspoken response to hang in midair.”” (280)

“Rewriting bad dialogue is the fastest, most efficient way I know to train your talents.” (291)

“Ask, “If I were my character in this situation, what would I do?” Create out of your own being, but not as yourself, as your characters.” (292)

“Whenever you are stuck, get back on track by posing the questions below from each and every character’s point of view: Background desires, objects of desire, super-intention, scene intentions, motivation, scene driver, forces of antagonism, scene value(s), subtext, beats, progression, tactics, turning point, deep character, scene progression, text, exposition, characterization.” (294-295)

Liked the quotes? Click here to buy the book here.

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“Anything You Want” Quotes

June 9th, 2017

I recently read “Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a new kind of Entrepreneur” by Derek Sivers. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“Revolution is a term that people use only when you’re successful. Before that, you’re just a quirky person who does things differently.” (10)

“If you think revolution needs to feel like war, you’ll overlook the importance of simply serving people better. When you’re onto something great, it won’t feel like revolution. It’ll feel like uncommon sense.” (10)

“Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently doing what’s not working.” (11)

“The way to grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers. Just thrill them, and they’ll tell everyone.” (17)

“Watch out when anyone (including you) says he wants to do something big, but can’t until he raises money. It usually means the person is more in love with the idea of being big-big-big than with actually doing something useful. For an idea to get big-big-big, it has to be useful. And being useful doesn’t need funding.” (18)

“Never forget that there are thousands of businesses, like Jim’s Fish Bait Shop in a shack on a beach somewhere, that are doing just fine without corporate formalities.” (23)

“As your business grows, don’t let the leeches sucker you into all that stuff they pretend you need. They’ll play on your fears, saying that you need this stuff to protect yourself against lawsuits. They’ll scare you with horrible worst-case scenarios. But those are just sales tactics. You don’t need any of it.” (23)

“When you build your business on serving thousands of customers, no dozens, you don’t have to worry about any one customer leaving or making special demands.” (25)

“Have the confidence to know that when your target 1 percent hears you excluding the other 99 percent, the people in that 1 percent will come to you because you’ve shown how much you value them.” (27)

“No business goes as planned, so make ten radically different plans.” (30)

“Never forget why you’re really doing what you’re doing. Are you helping people? Are they happy? Are you happy? Are you profitable? Isn’t that enough?” (35)

“Your company should be willing to die for your customers. That’s the Tao of business. Care about your customers more than about yourself, and you’ll do well.” (39)

“It’s another Tao of business: Set up your business like you don’t need the money, and it’ll likely come your way.” (40)

“Even if you want to be big someday, remember that you never need to act like a big boring company.” (51)

“In the end, it’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have. To have something (a finished recording, a business, or millions of dollars) is the means, not the end. To be something (a good singer, a skilled entrepreneur, or just plain happy) is the real point. When you sign up to run a marathon, you don’t want a taxi to take you to the finish line.” (59)

“Being self-employed feels like freedom until you realize that if you take time off, your business crumbles. To be a true business owner, make it so that you could leave for a year, and when you came back, your business would be doing better than when you left.” (71)

“Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller were at a party at a billionaire’s extravagant estate. Kurt said, “Wow! Look at this place! This guy has everything!” Joseph said, “Yes, but I have something he’ll never have… Enough.”” (81)

Liked the quotes? Click here to buy the book.

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“Powerhouse” Quotes

April 14th, 2017

I recently read “Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency” by James Andrew Miller. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, get the book here.

Bill Haber:
“In any business on earth – I always say to people – nobody will ever leave you for money, and nobody will ever leave you over titles. People will only leave if they have no loyalty to you.” (20)

Bill Haber:
“Even though we were all young, we realized that in American capitalism you can’t make any real money unless you own your own company.” (24)

Ron Meyer:
“Once an agent represents a big star like Sly, people believe you know something – even if you don’t.” (122)

Paul Brickman:
“I was impressed by his (Tom Cruise’s) confidence. Once he stopped himself in the middle of a scene, chose a different approach, and started again – a rather bold move for a nineteen-year-old actor.” (138)

“Among the most influential words of advice young Lourd ever got was from his grandfather: When you get a job, be the first one into the office in the morning and the last to leave at night.” (245)

Michael Wright:
“The curse of Salieri is knowing enough to know what great is and recognizing that you’re good at something, but not great.” (283)

“For most of these people, the ones I really respect and like, the currency that matters most is story. It is still about story for these filmmakers. If you walk in with a great story, they don’t care what your job is or your title.” (285)

Bill Haber:
“For any agent, the minute you become more important than your client, your company is finished.” (415)

Peter Guber:
“All change is anxiety provoking – good change or bad change. How you handle that anxiety can shape your clarity around a decision.” (431)

Tom Pollock:
“Mike left because he knew there are good agents and there are old agents, but there are no good old agents.” (457)

Rick Nicita:
“Remember, nobody signs on for a thousand years. Another agent rule is “Every client is leaving you. The only issue is when.”” (493)

David Oyelowo:
“I’ve always felt that my agents are my employees. I pay them a wage whenever I work, and on that basis, they work for me and their job is to help me realize my goals. I think a lot of actors think they work for their agents; they are so happy to have an agent and give too much weight to the direction in which their agent wants their career to go. My goal every day is to outwork my agents so that they are inspired to work harder for me. I don’t think there’s any agent who wants to feel like they have to put dead weight on their back and try and sell it to the world.” (639)

Sam Gores:
“The bigger an agency gets, the more it loses a bit of its focus, and then one day it ends up as just another media business.” (694)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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“Peak” Quotes

April 13th, 2017

I recently read “Peak: Secrets From The New Science of Expertise” by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, get the book here.

“In this new world it no longer makes sense to think of people as born with fixed reserves of potential; instead, potential is an expandable vessel, shaped by the various things we do throughout our lives. Learning isn’t a way of reaching one’s potential but rather a way of developing it.” (xx)

“Sometimes these books leave the impression that heartfelt desire and hard work alone will lead to improved performance – “just keep working at it, and you’ll get there” – and this is wrong. The right sort of practice carried out over a sufficient period of time leads to improvement. Nothing else.” (xxi)

“We live in a world full of people with extraordinary abilities – abilities that from the vantage point of almost any other time in human history would have been deemed impossible.” (7)

“Research has shown that, generally speaking, once a person reaches that level of “acceptable” performance and automaticity, the additional years of “practice” don’t lead to improvement.” (13)

“Purposeful practice has well-defined, specific goals.” (15)

“Purposeful practice is all about putting a bunch of baby steps together to reach a longer-term goal.” (15)

“This is a fundamental truth about any sort of practice: If you never push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will never improve.” (18)

“Generally the solution is not “try harder” but rather “try differently.””(19)

“In all of my years of research, I have found it is surprisingly rare to get clear evidence in any field that a person has reached some immutable limit on performance. Instead, I’ve found that people more often just give up and stop trying to improve.” (21)

“Purposeful practice in a nutshell: Get outside your comfort zone but do it in a focused way, with clear goals, a plan for reaching those goals, and a way to monitor your progress. Oh, and figure out a way to maintain your motivation. This recipe is an excellent start for anyone who wishes to improve – but it is still just a start.” (22)

“To keep the changes happening, you have to keep upping the ante: run farther, run faster, run uphill. If you don’t keep pushing and pushing and pushing some more, the body will settle into homeostasis, albeit at a different level than before, and you will stop improving.” (40)

“Although the specific details vary from skill to skill, the overall pattern is consistent: Regular training leads to changes in the parts of the brain that are challenged by the training. The brain adapts to these challenges by rewiring itself in ways that increase its ability to carry out the functions required by the challenge.” (45)

“There is no such thing as developing a general skill. You don’t train your memory; you train your memory for strings of digits or for collections of words or for people’s faces. You don’t train to become an athlete; you train to become a gymnast or a sprinter oa marathoner or a swimmer or a basketball player. You don’t train to become a doctor; you train to become a diagnostician or a pathologist or a neurosurgeon. Of course, some people do become overall memory experts or athletes in a number of sports or doctors with a general set of skills, but they do so by training in a number of different areas.” (60)

“The main thing that sets experts apart from the rest of us is that their years of practice have changed the neural circuitry in their brains to produce highly specialized mental representations, which in turn make possible the incredible memory, pattern recognition, problem solving, and other sorts of advanced abilities needed to excel in their particular specialties.” (63)

“The superior organization of information is a theme that appears over and over again in the study of expert performers.” (72)

“The main purpose of deliberate practice is to develop effective mental representations.” (75)

“In every area, some approaches to training are more effective than others.” (85)

“If there is no agreement on what good performance is and no way to tell what changes would improve performance, then it is very difficult – often impossible – to develop effective training methods.” (85)

“You generally find that the best performers are those who have spent the most time in various types of purposeful practice.” (95)

“Nobody develops extraordinary abilities without putting in tremendous amounts of practice.” (96)

“First identify the expert performers, then figure out what they do that makes them so good, then come up with training techniques that allow you to do it, too.” (103)

“Once you’ve identified the expert performers in a field, the next step is to figure out specifically what they do that separates them from other, less accomplished people in the same field, and what training methods helped them get there.” (106)

“Once you have identified an expert, identify what this person does differently from others that could explain the superior performance.” (108)

“But an hour of playing in front of a crowd, where the focus is on delivering the best possible performance at the time, is not the same as an hour of focused, goal-driven practice that is designed to address certain weaknesses and make certain improvement.” (111)

“This distinction between deliberate practice aimed at a particular goal and generic practice is crucial because not every type of practice leads to improved ability.” (111)

“There is no point at which performance maxes out and additional practice does not lead to further improvement.” (113)

“If you are not improving, it’s not because you lack innate talent; it’s because you’re not practicing the right way. Once you understand this, improvement becomes a matter of figuring out what the “right way” is.” (122)

“The distinction between knowledge and skills lies at the heart of the difference between traditional paths toward expertise and the deliberate-practice approach.” (131)

“Deliberate practice, by contrast, focuses solely on performance how to improve it.” (131)

“Professional schools focus on knowledge rather than skills because it is much easier to teach knowledge and then create tests for it.” (137)

“If your mind is wandering or you’re relaxed and just having fun, you probably won’t improve.” (151)

“For the amateurs it was a time to express themselves, to sing away their cares, and to feel the pure joy of singing. For the professionals, the lesson was a time to concentrate on such things as vocal technique and breath control in an effort to improve their singing. There was focus but no joy.” (151)

“Daniel Chambliss concluded that the key to excellence in swimming lay in maintaining close attention to every detail of performance, “each one done correctly, time and again, until excellence in every detail becomes a firmly ingrained habit.”” (153)

“It is better to train at 100 percent effort for less time than at 70 percent effort for a longer period.” (154)

“To effectively practice a skill without a teacher, it helps to keep in mind three Fs: Focus. Feedback. Fix it. Break the skill down into components that you can do repeatedly and analyze effectively, determine your weaknesses, and figure out ways to address them.” (159)

“With writing, he studied the work of experts and tried to reproduce it; when he failed to reproduce it well enough, he would take another look at it and figure out what he had missed so that he would do better the next time.” (160)

“When you first start learning something new, it is normal to see rapid – or at least steady – improvement, and when that improvement stops, it is natural to believe you’ve hit some sort of implacable limit. So you stop trying to move forward, and you settle down to life on that plateau. This is the major reason that people in every area stop improving.” (162)

“The best way to move beyond it is to challenge your brain or your body in a new way.” (163)

“Any reasonably complex skill will involve a variety of components, some of which you will be better at than others. Thus, when you reach a point at which you are having difficulty getting better, it will be just one or two of the components of that skill, not all of them, that are holding you back.” (164)

“With all of this in mind, I suggested to Josh that if he wanted to speed up the pace at which he could memorize the order of a deck of cards, he should try to do it in less time than it normally took and then look to see where his mistakes were coming from.” (164)

“I think that anyone who hopes to improve skill in a particular area should devote an hour or more each day to practice that can be done with full concentration.” (169)

“When you quit something that you had initially wanted to do, it’s because the reasons to stop eventually came to outweigh the reasons to continue. THus, to maintain your motivation you can either strengthen the reasons to keep going or weaken the reasons to quit. Successful motivation efforts generally include both.” (169)

“As long as you recognize this new identity as flowing from the many hours of practice that you devoted to developing your skill, further practice comes to feel more like an investment than an expense.” (172)

“In order to push yourself when you really don’t feel like it, you must believe that you can improve and – particularly for people shooting to become expert performers – that you can rank among the best. The power of such belief is so strong that it can even trump reality.” (172)

“If you stop believing that you can reach a goal, either because you’ve regressed or you’ve plateaued, don’t quit. Make an agreement with yourself that you will do what it takes to get back to where you were or to get beyond the plateau, and then you can quit. You probably won’t.” (173)

“One of the hallmarks of expert performers is that even once they become one of the best at what they do, they still constantly strive to improve their practice techniques and to get better.” (183)

“The creative, the restless, and the driven are not content with the status quo, and they look for ways to move forward, to do things that others have not.” (206)

“Progress is made by those who are working on the frontiers of what is known and what is possible to do, not by those who haven’t put in the effort needed to reach that frontier.” (206)

“People do not stop learning and improving because they have reached some innate limits on their performance; they stop learning and improving because, for whatever reason, they stopped practicing – or never started.” (225)

“In the long run it is the ones who practice more who prevail, not the ones who had some initial advantage in intelligence or some other talent.” (233)

“Since we know that practice is the single most important factor in determining a person’s ultimate achievement in a given domain, it makes sense that if genes do play a role, their role would play out through shaping how likely a person is to engage in deliberate practice or how effective that practice is likely to be.” (238)

“When preparing a lesson plan, determining what a student should be able to do is far more effective than determining what that student should know.” (251)

“The best among us in various areas do not occupy that perch because they were born with some innate talent but rather because they have developed their abilities through years of practice, taking advantage of the adaptability of the human body and brain.” (256)

Liked the quotes? Get the book here.

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“The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” Quotes

April 12th, 2017

I recently read “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!” by Al Ries and Jack Trout. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“The basic issue in marketing is creating a category you can be first in. It’s the law of leadership: It’s better to be first than it is to be better. It’s much easier to get into the mind first than to try to convince someone you have a better product than the one that did get there first.” (3)

“Regardless of reality, people perceive the first product in the mind as superior: Marketing is a battle of perceptions, not products.” (8)

“If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.” (10)

“If you didn’t get into the prospect’s mind first, don’t give up hope. Find a new category you can be first in.” (11)

“When you launch a new product, the first question to ask yourself is not “How is this new product better than the competition?” but “First what?” In other words, what category is this new product first in?” (13)

“Forget the brand. Think categories. Prospects are on the defensive when it comes to brands. Everyone talks about why their brand is better. But prospects have an open mind when it comes to categories. Everyone is interested in what’s new. Few people are interested in what’s better.” (13)

“When you’re the first in a new category, promote the category. In essence, you have no competition. DEC told its prospects why they ought to buy a minicomputer; not a DEC minicomputer.” (13)

“It’s better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.” (14)

“Once a mind is made up, it rarely, if ever, changes. The single most wasteful thing you can do in marketing is try to change a mind.” (16)

“If you want to make a big impression on another person, you cannot worm your way into their mind and then slowly build up a favorable opinion over a period of time. The mind doesn’t work that way. You have to blast your way into the mind. The reason you blast instead of worm is that people don’t like to change their minds. Once they perceive you one way, that’s it. They kind of file you away in their minds as a certain kind of person. You cannot become a different person in their minds.” (17)

“There is no objective reality. There are no facts. There are no best products. All that exists in the world of marketing are perceptions in the minds of the customer or prospect. The perception is the reality. Everything else is an illusion.” (19)

“When you say, “I’m right and the next person is wrong,” all you’re really saying is that you’re a better perceiver than someone else.” (19)

“A company can become incredibly successful if it can find a way to own a word in the mind of the prospect. Not a complicated word. Not an invent one. The simple words are best, words taken right out of the dictionary.” (27)

“The most effective words are simple and benefit oriented. No matter how complicated the product, no matter how complicated the needs of the market, it’s always better to focus on one word or benefit rather than two or three or four.” (28)

“The essence of marketing is narrowing the focus. You become stronger when you reduce the scope of your operations. You can’t stand for something if you chase after everything.” (31)

“You often reinforce your competitor’s position by making its concept more important.” (35)

“You tend to have twice the market share of the brand below you and half the market share of the brand above you.” (41)

“It’s sometimes better to be No. 3 on a big ladder than No. 1 on a small ladder.” (43)

“Before starting any marketing program, ask yourself the following questions: Where are we on the ladder in the prospect’s mind? On the top rung? On the second rung? Or maybe we’re not on the ladder at all. Then make sure your program deals realistically with your position on the ladder.” (43)

“Marketing is often a battle for legitimacy. The first brand that captures the concept is often able to portray its competitors as illegitimate pretenders.” (54)

“Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.” (56)

“Any sort of couponing, discounts, or sales tends to educate consumers to buy only when they can get a deal.” (64)

“When you try to be all things to all people, you inevitably wind up in trouble. “I’d rather be strong somewhere,” said one manager, “than weak everywhere.”” (71)

“The full line is a luxury for a loser. If you want to be successful, you have to reduce your product line, not expand it.” (77)

“The target is not the market. That is, the apparent target of your marketing is not the same as the people who will actually buy your product. Even though Pepsi-Cola’s target was the teenager, the market was everybody. The 50-year-old guy who wants to think he’s 29 will drink the Pepsi.” (82)

“One of the most effective ways to get into a prospect’s mind is to first admit a negative and then twist it into a positive.” (89)

“Marketing is often a search for the obvious. Since you can’t change a mind once it’s made up, your marketing efforts have to be devoted to using ideas and concepts already installed in the brain.” (90)

“The law of candor must be used carefully and with great skill. First, your “negative” must be widely perceived as a negative. It has to trigger an instant agreement with your prospect’s mind. If the negative doesn’t register quickly, your prospect will be confused and will wonder, “What’s this all about?” Next, you have to shift quickly to the positive. The purpose of candor isn’t to apologize. The purpose of candor is to set up a benefit that will convince your prospect.” (91)

“History teaches that the only thing that works in marketing is the single, bold stroke.” (93)

“Failure to forecast competitive reaction is a major reason for marketing failures.” (99)

“When people become successful, they tend to become less objective. They often substitute their own judgement for what the market wants.” (105)

“When IBM was successful, the company said very little. Now it throws a lot of press conferences. When things are going well, a company doesn’t need the hype. When you need the hype, it usually means you’re in trouble.” (115)

“But, for the most part, hype is hype. Real revolutions don’t arrive at high noon with marching bands and coverage on the 6:00 P.M> news. Real revolutions arrive unannounced in the middle of the night and kind of sneak up on you.” (119)

“Here’s the paradox. If you were faced with a rapidly rising business, with all the characteristics of a fad, the best thing you could do would be to dampen the fad. By dampening the fad, you stretch the fad out and it becomes more like a trend.” (122)

“The most successful entertainers are the ones who control their appearances. They don’t overextend themselves. They’re not all over the place. They don’t wear out their welcome.” (122)

“One way to maintain a long-term demand for your product is to never totally satisfy the demand.” (123)

“You’ll get no further with a mediocre idea and million dollars than with a great idea alone.” (125)

“An idea without money is worthless. Be prepared to give away a lot for the funding.” (126)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

The post “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

“Resilience” Quotes

April 11th, 2017

I recently read “Resilience: Hard-won Wisdom For Living A Better Life” by Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, buy the book here.

“Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.” (10)

“We all need something to struggle against and to struggle for. The aim in life is not to avoid struggles, but to have the right ones; not to avoid worry, but to care about the right things; not to live without fear, but to confront worthy fears with force and passion.” (17)

“What happens to us becomes part of us. Resilient people do not bounce back from hard experiences; they find healthy ways to integrate them into their lives.” (23)

“Don’t expect a time in your life when you’ll be free from change, free from struggle, free from worry. To be resilient, you must understand that your objective is not to come to rest, because there is no rest. Your objective is to use what hits you to change your trajectory in a positive direction.” (23)

“The Stockdale paradox: You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” (30)

“Recognition of the tragic character of life is part of what spurs art, energy, comedy, courage. Would you love people the same if they could never die?” (35)

“Anyone who does anything worthy will attract critics. Begin anyway.” (43)

“Let’s not glorify irrationality, but let’s recognize that if you look rationally at the odds of succeeding at anything worthwhile, you’ll often end up with a rational decision to surrender. To go on anyway, you have to be a little crazy.” (45)

“Those who are excellent at their work have learned to comfortably coexist with failure. The excellent fail more often than the mediocre. They being more. They attempt more. They attack more. Mastery lives quiety atop a mountain of mistakes.” (46)

“If every risk you take pays off, then you probably aren’t actually take risks.” (46)

“Pushing ourselves to grow, to get better, to dive deeper is at the heart of happiness.” (58)

“The most common mistake people make in thinking about the happiness of excellence is to focus on moments of achievement. They imagine the mountain climber on the summit. That’s part of the happiness of excellence, and a very real part. What counts more, though, is not the happiness of being there, but the happiness of getting there. A mountain climber heads for the summit, and joy meets her along the way.” (58)

“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” (59)

“A focus on happiness will not lead to excellence. A focus on excellence will, over time, lead to happiness.” (59)

“That combination – outer service and inner growth – is one of the most beautiful things we can create in a good life.” (59)

“The happiness of pleasure can’t provide purpose; it can’t substitute for the happiness of excellence.” (62)

“Not everyone is, can be, or should be a model for you – even if they are great.” (72)

“If we believe that our heroes are flawless, we being to believe that we, being flawed, are incapable of heroism. In this way, a belief in the perfection of others can inhibit our own growth.” (77)

“Our sense of ourselves shapes what we do. When you claim that identity – whether it’s a logger, a scholar, a SEAL, or a father – you’re also claiming the commitments and expectations and values that go with it, and you’re making a promise to live up to them.” (90)

“Millions of people, in all walks of life and in every endeavor, create distractions and excuses for themselves by focusing on tools rather than on character. They’d rather, as Socrates warned, focus on what they have than on what they are.” (93)

“People like to imagine that they will “rise to the occasion.” They taught us in the Teams that people rarely do. What happens, in fact, is that when things get really hard and people are afraid, they sink to the level of their training.” (99)

“Adults can come to stake their identity on the success they have attained, while losing the very spirit and character that made success possible in the first place.” (101)

“Protecting children from all suffering is, in fact, one of the only ways to ensure that they will be overwhelmed and badly hurt one day.” (102)

“Self-respect grows through self-created success: not because we’ve been told we’re good, but when we know we’re good.” (103)

“Challenging children works best when children are loved – and when they are challenged because they are loved.” (104)

“We often venture most boldly when we understand that our ventures are not all or nothing – when we are confident that we have a safe and welcoming home to return to.” (104)

“Resilience – the willingness and ability to endure hardship and become better by it – is a habit that sinks its roots in the soil of security.” (104)

“The more responsibility people take, the more resilient they are likely to be. The less responsibility people take – for their actions, for their lives, for their happiness – the more likely it is that life will crush them. At the root of resilience is the willingness to take responsibility for results.” (106)

“Fear is a core emotion. A life without fear is an unhealthy life.” (109)

“Focus not on wiping out your anxiety, but on directing your anxiety to worthy ends.” (109)

“Eric Hoffer said this: “There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life.”” (110)

“People who think you weak will offer you an excuse. People who respect you will offer you a challenge.” (112)

“Peter Gomes said that your vocation is “the place where your great joy meets the world’s great need.” (119)

“A spectacle can capture our attention, but it takes meaning to sustain our attention. If we forget this, we are liable to hop from spectacle to spectacle, entertainment to entertainment, diversion to diversion.” (122)

“In the long run, the only cure for boredom is meaning.” (122)

“Some words, to some people, are so uncomfortable that they have to be silenced by any means necessary. What if I’m living my life wrong? What if my faith isn’t true? What if we aren’t the center of the universe. The deepest questions can also provoke the deepest discomfort, the deepest fear, the deepest rage. That often means they’re working.” (130)

“The philosopher shouldn’t offer a way of thinking, but a way of living.” (131)

“If we also reflect on how minuscule our drop of experience is in the vast ocean of human experience – we should stand open to the wisdom that others have to offer.” (136)

“In our security and comfort, we slip quietly into the false expectation that life will afford us complete happiness. We believe that we will move only from pleasure to pleasure, from joy to joy. When tragedy strikes or hardship hits, too many of us feel ambushed by pain, betrayed by the present, despairing of the future.” (137)

“Today, sheltered from the hardships of hunger, disease, heat, and cold that stalked human life for centuries, some people have lost their capacity to deal with real difficulty. Growing up in a protected palace of comfort, they have lost their ability to walk through pain.” (138)

“Readiness is a form of humility, spurred by a recognition of how little we can know or control. Hardship is unavoidable. Resilient people recognize this reality. Then they prepare themselves for it, seeking to meet it as best they can, on their own terms.” (140)

“Think about how hard it is to change your own behavior: to pull yourself out of a rut, to root out a bad habit. And all this difficulty comes when you try to change the single person over whom you have the most power – yourself. Reflect, then, on how much harder it is to change someone else.” (140)

“One of the greatest gulfs in life is between sounding good and doing good.” (142)

“We are ultimately measure by our results, by the way our actions shape the world around us. Without results, all the kind intentions in the world are just a way of entertaining ourselves.” (142)

“To be excellent is to be someone who produces excellence. There is no such thing as an excellent shoemaker who regularly turns out flimsy shoes.” (143)

“If your best is not good enough, make your best better. If you tried hard and failed, then try harder, or find a new way to try until you succeed. Trying hard is trying hard. Success is success. There is a difference.” (145)

“Trying hard builds character, but it is only the achievement that follows the effort that builds true confidence.” (145)

“While the valiant might lose many, many times, the object of the valiant is to persevere until victory.” (146)

“We do two things here. We work hard. And we win. The reason we win is that we work hard. So really, we only do one thing here. If you don’t want to work hard, don’t waste my time.” (150)

“You know the gap between good performers and exceptional performers is not between those who know a lot and those who know a little, but between those who give some of themselves to their practice and those who give all of themselves.” (150)

“The will to win is cheap and common, while the will to train is rare and noble.” (150)

“The magnitude of the challenge x the intensity of your attack = your rate of growth” (152)

“What usually matters in your life is not the magical moment, but the quality of your daily practice.” (154)

“Deliberate attention to pain helps us separate the physical sensation from the suffering we mentally attach to that sensation.” (172)

“Effective self-talk is usually simple. It’s usually brief, even dull. A phrase is often better than a sentence, and a word will sometimes do just fine. Here are some examples researchers have collected from successful athletes: Great job, do it again. Concentrate. Breathe. Stay tough.” (177)

“I can count on one hand the number of people who quit when they were actually doing something. People quit when they started to think about how hard something was going to be.” (179)

“It’s better to tell people, “Worry productively.” … instead of wallowing in your worries, imagine how you’ll respond to them. Practice. Mentally rehearse what you’ll do. Imagine and envision yourself making it through hardship.” (182)

“The naive mind imagine effortless success. The cowardly mind imagines hardship and freezes. The resilient mind imagines hardship and prepares.” (183)

“Of all the personality traits psychologists studied, nothing did more than a sense of gratitude to promote happiness.” (190)

“You don’t have to know what perfect looks like, but you do have to know what better looks like.” (198)

“More often, a closed mind is a product of fear. Certain beliefs are as central to our thinking as the pillars that support a cathedral. We use these beliefs to hold up our own conception of ourselves and to justify our place in the world. We’re afraid that if we question their strength, the world around us might collapse.” (200)

“Everyone call back a memory. Not everyone can reflect on it. If our reflection is thorough, we move from having had an experience to having an understanding of what we’ve experienced.” (201)

“The difference between a life that is happening ot you and a life that you shape is often reflection.” (201)

“Think about a situation. Answer the four questions. Why am I here? What’s going on around me? What am I going to do about it? How will my actions affect others? It’s amazing to see the kind of clarity that this exercise can bring you.” (204)

“Be with people who are the way you want to be. If you want to be excellent, be around people who pursue excellence. If you want to be happy, be around people who are happy. If you are around resilient people, you’re far more likely to be resilient yourself.” (208)

“For veterans, the loss of a sense of camaraderie is often the most painful casualty in the transition from soldier to civilian.” (211)

“Most truly elite performers are accessible, friendly, and humble. He found that these elite performers found ways to make connections between themselves and others, in part because they wanted to learn from other people and to lessen their own blindness as much as possible.” (215)

“When all I thought about was my own pain and how the world had dealt me an unfair hand, I became weaker. When I thought of the needs of my team, my friends, i became stronger.” (218)

“Part of respecting a way of life is passing it on, doing what you can to make sure it doesn’t die with you.” (222)

“The more vital people consider a mission, the more they’ll learn to deal with people who rub them the wrong way. The less the mission matters, the more people are about being around those they like.” (240)

“Don’t do this for me – do this with me. A leader earns devotion by showing devotion.” (246)

“Leaders lead from the front. Never ask someone to endure more than you are willing to endure yourself.” (247)

“Leadership’s responsibility is to work intelligently with what is given and not waste time fantasizing about a world of flawless people and perfect choices.” (250)

“Wise people look for a history of success and failure in a leader.” (250)

“Beware the person who weeks to lead and has not suffered, who claims responsibility on the grounds of a spotless record.” (250)

“Many people try to find balance in their lives first, and then run. Sometimes that works. But a lot of times it’s in the running itself that you find your balance.” (256)

“Life and work are not two enemies battling for our limited attention. In fact, the opposite tends to be the case. When we have meaningful, fulfilling, purposeful work, it radiates through our lives. And when we have happy, secure, loving relationships, they, too, radiate through our lives.
The balance we seek is not that of a seesaw, but of a symphony. Every element of a symphony has a role to play: sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, sometimes silent, sometimes solo. The balance we seek is not for every instrument not be played in moderation at every moment – that’s just a long, boring honk – but for a complementary relationship where each instrument is played at the right pitch and the right intensity, with the right phrasing and the right tempo.” (257)

“You need intensity tempered by intensity. Work hard. Pray powerfully. Exercise intensely. Laugh raucously. Love completely. And then.. Sleep deeply.” (258)

“For teams, for communities, and for countries – people with a strong sense of the past are often better able to deal with the hardships of the present. Why? Because as long as we’re part of a story, we’re not alone.” (262)

“When you tell a story, you give an event meaning.” (264)

“Death is like the sun. It infuses every part of our lives, but it doesn’t make sense to stare at it.” (270)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

The post “Resilience” Quotes appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

Ben named one of “40 Best Up and Coming Comedians”

March 10th, 2017

I’m excited to announce I’ve been named as one of the “40 Best Up and Coming Comedians” – the list is alphabetical by last name, so you’ll have to scroll down for a while to see me.

My favorite quote from it is, after explaining how I perform “smarter comedy for smarter people” the article goes on to say,  “Don’t worry if you’re stupid. Rosenfeld will still make you laugh.”

The post Ben named one of “40 Best Up and Coming Comedians” appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

Ben’s Headline News Jokes Feb 18-25

March 1st, 2017

Here’s my favorite news jokes I’ve written this week. You can see all of them here (click the “recent” tab).

 

A North Korean university is recruiting English teachers.
Who knew North Korea had a university? Turns out their only major is blind obedience.

A Fifth Grader Texted Police For Help With Her Math Homework.
Of course, if the police were good at math, they wouldn’t have become cops.

The owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons is set to buy Popeyes for $1.8 billion.
Fans would celebrate, but their diabetes are so bad, they can’t lift their hand above their head to celebrate.

Saudi Arabia Broke Records on Oil Exports and Output for the Year.
Unfortunately all that money went straight to the families of the 9/11 hijackers.
Yes it’s been quite a year for Saudi Arabia – they also broke their own record for oppressing women.

A Swedish Company Where Nobody Is In Charge Wants To Prove Bosses Aren’t Needed.
Unfortunately, nobody has volunteered to write that proof.

US life expectancy is so low it’s projected to be on par with Mexico by 2030.
So that’s why we’re building a wall! Trump doesn’t want us learning about and getting jealous of the terrific living conditions of Mexicans.

Government officials in India want to ban excessively lavish weddings.
The new law will ban all weddings that provide flushing toilets.

Ikeas Quick-Assembling Refugee Shelter Lasts Up To 3 Years.
It’s by far their most durable product.

Intense Exercise Can Lower Men’s Libido.
So can intense nagging.

A gamer died while attempting a 24-hour livestream for charity.
He leaves behind a wife, three kids and twelve custom World of Warcraft characters.

A teen was arrested for allegedly having nude photos of himself on his phone.
He was charged with “being too big for his britches.”

The post Ben’s Headline News Jokes Feb 18-25 appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

Ben’s Headline News Jokes Feb 11-17

February 17th, 2017

Here’s my favorite news jokes I’ve written this week. You can see all of them here (click the “recent” tab).

There Is A “Marijuana Bouquet” Delivery Service.
It comes with twelve boxes of chocolate.

Prison guards intercept pigeon carrying cellphone to inmates.
The guard grew suspicious when the pigeon would stop flying every twenty feet to respond to texts.

A pro wrestler hammered a record 38 nails with his head in two minutes.
His new finishing move is CTE.

A flight was delayed 6 hours as airline withheld a $300 spare part.
Delta promptly apologized by losing everyone’s luggage.

A Man Smuggled 22 Hunks Of Gold Out Of a Canadian Mint Using His Anus.
Thus joining J-lo and Beyonce as the only people who can say, “my ass bought me that house.”

According to Research, Dogs Mirror Owners’ Personalities.
So if you have a yappy dog, maybe you’re the one who needs to shut up.

27-Year-Old Woman Became The First Female To Visit Every Country On Earth.
Oh man, I bet her OkCupid profile is intolerable.

Alec Baldwin Hosted the Highest Rated SNL Episode In Six Years.
Enjoy it while you can people. Pretty soon there’s gonna be an executive order making SNL illegal.

Edward Snowden is ‘not afraid’ of his rumored return to America from Russia.
He explained, “I mean, who do you think hacked Hillary’s emails? I’m gonna be Trump’s first competent cabinet nominee.”

An 80-Year-Old Woman Was Unaware Of A Sword In Her Cane Until An Airport X-ray.
Kudos to Homeland Security for stopping the world’s first octage-terrorist.

An App Called Dunzo Will Actually Dump Your Partner For You.
It’s the perfect app for when you have two thumbs and no balls.

Australian sex offenders are set to be housed in a secure area called the Village of the Damned.
Or as it’s more commonly called these days, “America.”

Harrison Ford Almost Crashed into A Commercial Jet.
Then he saw it was a United plane and realized the passengers had already suffered enough.

Disney’s CEO Says There Are Too Many Commercials on TV.
He said, “I’ll elaborate on this more, after these brief commercial messages.”

Taco Bell Is Now Offering Full-Service Weddings In Vegas.
Their basic package includes 100 tacos, 200 chalupas, and 300 porto potties.

Ashton Kutcher blew a kiss to John McCain after saying he ‘was better looking in the movies.’
Ashton responded, “You were better looking in the POW camps.”

 

Melania Trump is reportedly unhappy with her new role as First Lady
She elaborated, “I married Donald so I wouldn’t have to work anymore.”

A Plane hit a deer during takeoff from a North Carolina runway.
In the pilots defense, the deer was using the wrong gender’s bathroom.

 

The post Ben’s Headline News Jokes Feb 11-17 appeared first on Ben Rosenfeld - Comedian.

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There is a Comedian Resource section…This is a place where comics may be able to see choices in Comedy Schools, Seminars, Open Mics, New Talent Showcase & Industry Showcases…It also features Gigmomma, a new and innovative site that matches performers with people looking for talent…

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