4 Ted Talks for Business Executives that Are Worth a Watch

You can learn a lot from a well-done TED presentation.  Rather than searching through TED presentations online trying to find a good one, we’ve got some helpful recommendations for aspiring executives.  Check out the TED talks below for some useful advice that may just transform your career:

  • Carol Dweck: The Power of Believing That You Can Improve.  Want to reach your full potential?  In this talk, Dweck encourages you to view yourself as capable of growth, rather than static in this regard.  This mindset shift will help you grow not just professionally, but personally as well.

  • Richard St. John: 8 Secrets of Success.  In an effort to discover what creates success, St. John spoke to over 500 successful people.  After his conversations with them, he determined that successful people share 8 traits that set them apart from their more average-performing peers.  Watch this video if you’d like to be inspired to even greater achievements.

  • Seth Godin: How to Get Your Ideas to Spread.  If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll definitely want to check out this TED talk to discover how to spread the news about your product or service.  In this talk, marketing guru Godin explains why when it comes to getting our attention, bizarre—or even bad—ideas are more successful than boring ones.

  • Roselinde Torres: What It Takes to Be A Great Leader.  Leaders and managers will get a lot out of this talk.  In it, leadership expert Torres, explains that after observing leaders for 25 years, she’s discovered that there are 3 simple questions leaders must ask themselves if they want to thrive in the future.  Torres also explains that great leaders dare to be different; they don’t just talk about it, they actually do it. 

Thought For The Day

“Experience by itself is not science.”

Edmund Husserl


5 Strategies for Saving Money

Experts recommend that people have 6 months of living expenses saved.  Yet unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans (62%) have less than $1,000 saved.  This can be especially concerning when unexpected things occur like unemployment, hospitalizations, or automotive troubles.

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t have much put aside for the proverbial “rainy day,” we have some tips to help you grow your savings:

  1. Create A Budget.  A budget helps you to see exactly where your money is going.  For instance, you may not have realized that cutting out your daily latte habit could result in an additional $150/month.  Alternatively, you may discover that by parking just a little farther from the office, you could save an additional $1200/year.

  2. Have Savings Transferred Automatically.  A lot of people find that they don’t miss what they don’t have.  Consider having a percentage of your paycheck automatically deposited into a savings account.  You can even start small at first and then—say, if you were to get a raise—increase the percentage you’re saving over time.

  3. Set Goals.  Vague goals (“I want to be better prepared for the future.”) tend to be less successful.  Instead, calculate exactly how much you want to save and when you intend to save that amount by.  Seeing an actual dollar amount in print with an accompanying time frame will help you to stay motivated.

  4. Raise Your Insurance Deductibles.  Perhaps you kept your deductible low because you never had a lot of extra money in savings.  Your new financial outlook—and growing savings account—will change that.  Consider increasing your deductibles which can save you as much as 25% on insurance costs.

  5. Minimize Shopping Trips.  Do you find yourself frequently traveling to the grocery store mid-week to pick up items you forgot?  Research shows that people who do that pick up twice the number of items that they intended.  Instead, make a list, go to the store just once a week, and keep to the list.

Object-Oriented Programming: Working with Files in C++

So far, we have learned how to write something to the standard output, or read something from the standard input.  For this, we have used cout and cin, respectively.  Today we will learn that cin is an object of a class called istream, and cout is an object of class ostream.  These classes are provided by the C++ library, for performing output and input of characters to/from files.  Another class used for a similar purpose is fstream, a class used for both reading and writing from/to files.

In order to work with files in C++, header files <iostream> and <fstream> must be included in your C++ source file.

The first operation we should do when working with files is opening a file.  In our program, a file is represented with a stream, an object of one of the three classes we've mentioned.  Opening a file associates the stream object with an actual, physical file.  We can open a file for writing purposes by using fstream and ofstream classes.  If we want to open a file for reading purposes only, we can use the ifstream class.

All of the three classes we have mentioned have an open() method.

void open(const char *filename, ios::openmode mode);
The parameters are the name and location of the physical file to be opened, and the mode in which the file should be opened.  Some of the modes are:
  • ios::in - open for input operations.
  • ios::out - open for output operations.
  • ios::binary - open in binary mode.
  • ios::app - all output operations are performed at the end of the file, appending the content to the current content of the file.
  • ios::trunc - if the file is opened for output operations and it already existed, its previous content is deleted and replaced by the new one.
An interesting and useful feature is that all these flags can be combined using the bitwise OR operator.
ofstream myFile;
myFile.open("exampleFile.bin", ios::out | ios::app | ios::binary); //open exampleFile.bin in binary mode, and append data


Writing to files and reading from files is very simple - the logic is the same as with the standard input/output, we just have to use stream objects other than cin and cout.

ofstream myFile("example.txt");
if (myFile.is_open())
    myFile << "First line.\n";
    myFile.close(); //method for closing the file, available in all three stream classes
else cout << "Error - couldn't open file";
Writing to a file is equally straight-forward:
string line;
ifstream myFile("example.txt");
if (myFile.is_open())
    while (getline(myFile, line))
      cout << line << '\n';
else cout << "Error - couldn't open file"; 

5 Tips for Enhancing Your Creativity

Would you like to have ideas strike in the middle of the night?  Or to take a shower and suddenly develop a solution for a problem that’s been bothering you?  While we can’t guarantee those results, we can help you to develop your creativity so that similar inspirational moments are far more likely to occur!

  • Meditate.  According to a study in Frontiers in Psychology, meditation encourages creative thinking.  Calm your mind by sitting quietly, closing your eyes, and engaging in deep breathing while focusing on your breath.  Just 5-10 minutes a day may help you spark new insights.

  • Switch Your Schedule.  Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, try switching up your schedule from time to time by pretending to be the opposite.  Researchers suggest that this can enhance creativity because, “At off-peak times we are less focused, and may consider a broader range of information.  This wider scope gives us access to more alternatives and diverse interpretations, thus fostering innovation and insight.”

  • Dream.  Have a problem that you could use insight on?  Try dreaming about it.  Simply set the intention to have a dream that offers up a solution or useful information and then, don’t worry about it.  Continue to set the intention until you successfully have the dream.  Many people swear by this method for obtaining creative insights.

  • Go for a Drive.  Interestingly enough, creative ideas often are sparked in the car.  According to Jonathan Schooler, a professor of psychology at UC Santa Barbara, we experience the most creative ideas during tasks where it’s relatively easy for the mind to wander.  He suggests that highway driving is a perfect for this!

  • Expect to Be Creative.  Rather than tell yourself that you’re not creative or that you just aren’t an ideas person, expect more yourself.  Start believing that you are innately creative and good ideas will come to you.  Research shows that people who have positive expectations of their abilities experience greater success.