Tag Archives: Great Design

Great Design

Flawless Recall: Memorizing Spanish Days Of The Week, For Students And Teachers by Alexander Van Berg

Flawless Recall: Memorizing Spanish Days Of The Week, For Students And Teachers has just been published, and this book is interesting.  The paperback version is short, it’s $10, and it’s full color.  It’s roughly 38 pages and mostly pictures, so you could almost call it a “picture book”, but it’s for all ages.  In my opinion, it’s the sort of thing that’s perfect as a small gift for new students of Spanish – for Christmas or any other gift-giving occasion.

The book description probably has the best summary:

Flawless Recall: Memorizing Spanish Days Of The Week is a refreshing and highly effective take on a very old subject: English speakers memorizing the days of the week in Spanish.

Part educational and part mnemonic insight, part riddle and part whodunnit, part comical and part cautionary tale, part celestial and part sinister, and part quixotic and part horrifying, you will never look at Monday morning the same way again!  Most importantly, once and for all, you will remember the days of the week in Spanish!

As a minor rest stop in the Flawless Recall series on the Spanish language, you will analyze the same simple story, forwards and back, several times over.  Afterwards, your mind will thank you as it sinks its teeth into the extremely tractable content.

Memorization is involuntary once you read this short, easy, breezy, and unforgettable Flawless Recall book!  You are now one step closer to conversational Spanish!

Right now the book is working its way to the different marketplaces.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BLFYBHNV

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BLPBB7TT

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flawless-recall-alexander-van-berg/1142630724

https://books.apple.com/us/book/flawless-recall-memorizing-spanish-days-of-the-week/id6444242339

https://books2read.com/daysoftheweek

Great Design

Flawless Recall Expansion Book: Memorize Irregular Conjugations Of QUERER, For Students And Teachers by Alexander Van Berg

Flawless Recall Expansion Book: Memorize Irregular Conjugations Of QUERER, For Students And Teachers has been published, and in a fitting tribute to the Spanish verb querer, the book will be available for FREE, or as close to FREE as each individual marketplace will allow!

This represents an unbeatable value for anyone who has already learned the original, foundational system in Flawless Recall: Universal Memorization Method For Conjugating Regular Spanish Verbs, and for new students of Spanish, it makes the value proposition even more alluring.

A very motivated student could learn the foundational system in the original book, read this expansion book for free, and then start writing memorization content for any irregular verb that he’s interested in.

The book is currently working its way to the different marketplaces.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BJF6KF1STEST

https://books.apple.com/us/book/flawless-recall-expansion-book-memorize-irregular-conjugations/id6443878756TEST

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flawless-recall-expansion-book-alexander-van-berg/1142529427TEST

https://books2read.com/querer

Great Design

Flawless Recall: Memorizing Spanish Demonstrative Pronouns & Demonstrative Determiners, For Students And Teachers by Alexander Van Berg… A Handy Visual Chart for 99¢

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BH2LKSC4/

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1302901522/flawless-recall-memorizing-spanish

Spanish demonstrative pronouns (e.g. este, esta, esto, etc.) and demonstrative determiners have always been too easy to get confused and too asymmetrical for my mind.  I drew up a pretty good chart that really helps with that, and I found that it’s surprisingly easy to take something as small as a couple of visual charts and offer it for sale.

Great Design

Flawless Recall Expansion Book: Memorize Irregular Conjugations Of SER, For Students And Teachers by Alexander Van Berg

My third book is currently being published.  My first follow-up book covered the Spanish verb estar, and this second follow-up book covers the Spanish verb ser.  Both of these expansion books utilize and extend the foundational system in the original book.

Considering estar and ser are loosely related, conflated, and easily confused, I figured it made sense to publish distinctive works on this pair of frequently used verbs.  And so in a way, these two expansion books are worth more than the sum of their parts.

In my opinion, this book has some of the best mnemonics and visualizations yet.

One of the strong selling points of this series of Flawless Recall books is it provides enough instruction so that you can eventually generate your own custom expansion content for any irregular verb that you like.  And for the ambitious student or teacher, they could possibly take the entire system, and look at adapting it to a completely different language.

The book is currently working its way to the different marketplaces.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BHNZ4WSV

https://books.apple.com/us/book/flawless-recall-expansion-book-memorize-irregular-conjugations/id6443567341

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1142359150

https://books2read.com/ser

Great Design

The Claim (2000), Extremely Underrated And Much More

American poster for The Claim (2000).

 

I was very impressed the first time I saw The Claim, which wasn’t that long ago.  I had never heard of this film, and at 6.3 on IMDb, this has to be one of the most underrated films on the site, after filtering out more minor works.  I’d have to rate it at least 9.0 out of 10, and I don’t say that lightly.

The Claim is various complex stories wrapped up in a very simple story.  The simple story being an old, cruel America finally being replaced by a more effective and newer, old, cruel America.  (And of course, all of these iterations of America would finally get us to the relatively advanced America we live in today.)

Although American politicians and the United States military demarcated America’s boundaries, all of that land would only become America through the confluence of various inviolable determinations, and this is captured brilliantly in The Claim.

There were always two manifest destinies, or at least two facets to the ill-defined term.  The simple story in The Claim is a haunting story.  The original victors of the geographical manifest destiny are rendered extinct by ushers of the chronological manifest destiny.

I’m not sure why, but this film has not received the attention that it deserves.  I believe it should be inducted into the US National Film Registry as important and compelling Americana.  And all of this is made just slightly more strange by the fact that it was a co-production between Canada and Britain.

I purchased the DVD and I watched it for a second time with Spanish audio.  It transferred very well with Spanish audio, although some of the Spanish translations do not do justice to the original English lines.  The film definitely holds up over time, and my guess is that it delivers in any language.

Great Design

Flawless Recall Expansion Book: Memorize Irregular Conjugations Of ESTAR, For Students And Teachers by Alexander Van Berg

I released my first book last month, and now I’ve released a follow-up to it – Flawless Recall Expansion Book: Memorize Irregular Conjugations Of ESTAR, For Students And Teachers.

This follow-up book is very, very interesting because it demonstrates how the original system for regular Spanish verbs can be re-used, to a significant degree, for different irregular Spanish verbs.

To anyone who’s struggled with this aspect of Spanish, and wanted to finally memorize these conjugations, I can’t recommend these books enough!

Right now the book is working its way to the different marketplaces.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BFCVN3NX

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flawless-recall-expansion-book-alexander-van-berg/1142239905

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1305006085/flawless-recall-expansion-book-memorize

https://books2read.com/estar

Given that irregular Spanish verbs tend to be even more jagged and chaotic than regular Spanish verbs, a good memorization system really makes sense.

The common teaching style in schools tends to revolve around rote memorization, and the analogy here would be traveling in Japan from Tokyo to Kyoto.  Rote memorization is like crawling there with a heavy ball and chain shackled to your ankle, while a good mnemonic system is like taking the bullet train.  Yes, the bullet train still takes time to get there, but it gets there a lot faster than crawling, and more importantly, it’s also reliable.

Great Design

Flawless Recall: Universal Memorization Method For Conjugating Regular Spanish Verbs, For Students And Teachers by Alexander Van Berg

Well, I finally broke down and wrote a book.  These days the process is seductively simple.  You can write any book you want, in a Word document if you want, and then publish it pretty much everywhere through a service like Draft2Digital, for free.

An eBook and a print book are making their way to all the marketplaces right now.  Amazon takes a little bit longer due to their gating procedures, but right now the book is actually available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B9Q9S6GS, minor eBook outlets, and also intermittently at Barnes & Noble:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B9Q9S6GS

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1288226705/flawless-recall-universal-memorization

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flawless-recall-alexander-van-berg/1142006254

https://books2read.com/flawlessrecall

This book provides a reliable way to finally memorize regular Spanish verb conjugations across 18 tenses.  (In this book, the subjunctive and imperative “moods” are called tenses just for simplicity).

I would highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who’s wanted to accomplish that goal, but has struggled to do so.  If that sounds like you, keep an eye out for this book at your favorite marketplace!

Before I designed this system, I had spotty recall on maybe just a few tenses.  I’m now able to write out the entire 18-tense conjugation chart purely from memory, and I also have a better understanding of what the tenses actually are.  (If you’re counting, that chart has upwards of 200 or more facts, and those facts are not conveniently packaged.)

Academically speaking, this represents a canonical and accessible implementation of a relatively difficult goal: State-of-the-art mnemonics properly fitted to language learning.  I would characterize this book as a seminal publication.

The print book will soon be available (through standard vendors) for physical bookstores, libraries, schools, and universities to order, so if your local book centers would benefit from this type of book, be sure to suggest it to them.

Great Design

Three Simple Hacks That Have Always Worked For Me

#3:   Keep an extra supply of new, unused SIM cards.  Over the years, extra SIM cards have saved me countless time, effort, and headaches.

 

#2:  When watching something, and when they’re available, always turn on subtitles for a language you’re learning (or willing to learn).

 

#1:   I use an unorthodox financial transaction scheme that helps me stay on top of everything more easily.

Whenever I have to manually pay a bill online, and it requires me typing in a certain amount by hand that is not copy-and-pasteable, I don’t type in the exact amount.  I type in the next dollar up, plus a penny.

The reason for the rounding is it removes almost all possibility of human error.  I helps me think less, and the overpayment is meaningless and gets accounted for in the next bill.

But there is actually another reason for the scheme beyond even that.  I custom code the following types of financial transfers by the trailing cents:

*.01   bill

*.02   bank transfer

*.03   ??? (haven’t used in a long time)

*.04   ??? (also haven’t used in a long time)

At one point I had up to four coded transaction types.  I can’t remember what the last two were, but the first two I still use.  When I check my bank account balances, I can see and verify what’s going on, at a glance, with a high degree of confidence.

Sure, there’s a 1 in 100 chance that a different type of transaction might end in the same number of cents, but this has happened to me maybe once in all the years I’ve done this.  Plus, the odds drop even further once you systematically adjust other transaction types as part of the same scheme.

Great Design

Things Worth Remembering

This Christmas, get yourself a gift that promises not only to reward you, but to keep on rewarding you indefinitely.

I was intrigued a while back by several products on the market.  One was a relatively new DVD titled The Secrets of Mental Math.  It’s exactly what it sounds like.  The instructor is clearly a student and an expert in mental math techniques, and he goes over the best methods and techniques that would be accessible to the average person.  This is not a hard DVD to watch, but many will probably get more out of it with multiple viewings.

The other product, fittingly, was from the era of audio cassette tapes: Kevin Trudeau’s Mega Memory (“As Seen On TV!”).  The analog nature of the tapes sort of romanticizes what the product reveals.  And that is that the human mind was an analog picture recorder, analog emotion archiver, and analog pattern matcher from the very beginning.  We go through school and learn digital ideas and digital techniques (e.g. 2+2=4), but it’s never anything that the mind stores in its “native file format”, which is analog.  As someone who had never heard of the techniques presented, it really, really impressed me!

These products will yield different rewards to different people.  It’s something that you can take and use as much or as little as you like.  I believe at the very least – and the Mega Memory tapes touch on this – these products work to un-calcify the mind.

Finally, in my opinion, it’s a crime that these subjects are not mandatorily taught in high school.

So if you received any gift cards this year, and you aren’t familiar with the above subjects, reward yourself richly and check those products out.  I doubt you’ll regret it.

Great Design

3 Stock Market Ideas Contrary To Conventional Advice

A popular user post courtesy of reddit's wallstreetbets. Tattoo commemorates one user's massive gains of several hundred thousand dollars on an underdog stock.
A popular user post courtesy of reddit’s wallstreetbets. Tattoo commemorates one user’s massive gains of several hundred thousand dollars on an underdog stock.

 

Above I’ve posted an image from a user post in reddit’s wallstreetbets.  If you’ve been following financial news at all, you’ve surely heard about the frenetic run-ups in various underdog “meme stocks”.  These stratospheric gains have materialized due to massive crowdsourced interest in bidding these stocks up, which in turn has led to complicated secondary effects that have pushed the prices up even further, and this has made some people a lot of money.  In some cases, near-bankrupt companies are able to sell additional stock at those highly-inflated prices, rake in an unusually large amount of proceeds, get out of dire straits, buy some time, regroup, and inch closer to a self-fulfilling prophecy where that company might actually be valuable in the future.  I would definitely not recommend this line of investing for most people, but I think it’s genuinely noteworthy because of the sheer audacity of the movement, its disregard for conventional wisdom, and its discovery and belief in a new idea – whereas previously, people were simply set in their ways and couldn’t see anything of interest.

With that said, in my opinion, conventional stock market commentators, gurus, and authors have largely overlooked some of the best and simplest ideas for the average DIY stock market investor.  Below I’ll list 3:

1.)  Don’t just learn about stocks – learn about options also.  The stock market is never perfectly priced, which is why people buy certain stocks.  They buy them because they’re betting the price will rise, and that’s generally to say those stocks are mispriced.  Likewise, options can be mispriced, and this leads to a second area of potential profit.  Additionally, options can help people shape their risk and their bets more accurately.  Stocks are like a hammer, which is a useful tool, and options are like adding a bunch of extra tools to the hammer.

One of the most common things a retail investor does is buy stocks and then hold them indefinitely.  That investor is literally leaving money on the table each and every year by not selling call options for the stocks that they own.

In my opinion, one of the greatest sins committed by stock market gurus is this sin of omission.  It’s almost a crime when they don’t mention anything about simple option strategies that would bring in easy, ultra-low-risk money for many investors.

2.)  Strongly consider starting out in a Roth IRA or standard IRA.  The reason is pretty straightforward.  These IRA accounts only allow you to deposit $6,000 per year, only allow 3 day trades per week (until you’ve built up extra funds), and disallow the borrowing of stocks (which carries unlimited risk).  Thus, you’re much less likely to lose your life savings in the blink of an eye, before you’ve even had a chance to get the hang of the stock market.  In that sense, IRA accounts create very useful guardrails for those new to the stock market.

There are penalties for early withdrawals from an IRA account.  However, if you were planning on doing this for your long-term financial health anyway, that generally wouldn’t be an issue for you.

Although this entire second point sounds like common sense, to the point you’d expect it to be an axiomatic rule-of-thumb, I can’t say I’ve ever heard it promoted anywhere.

3.)  If you’re looking to day trade, and you’re not 100% certain that you’re a superstar day trader that can generate a ton of money right away with high certainty, give strong consideration to doing it in an IRA account.

This is completely unorthodox.

To start, you will first need to build up additional funds to access full day trading privileges.  A minimum of $25,000 is the FINRA requirement.  The reason to go through all this trouble to day trade is two-fold:

First, profits in Roth IRA accounts are 100% tax-free, except for the very obscure UBTI, which you probably won’t be dealing with.  (Standard IRA accounts have their major tax advantage on the front end.  Roth IRA vs a standard IRA is a big decision, but the point is both offer a major tax advantage.)

Second, tax accounting for day traders is a nightmare.  This is beyond what most people would ever want to spend time on, and so you will be spending money having someone else do it for you.  But, if you can make your day-trading profits completely tax-free, no IRS return will ever necessary for those funds (barring extremely obscure exceptions like UBTI).