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Courier Article by Sean Davis
Sunday, July 25, 2010

Unique Situations, Shifting Tides Call for Changing Tactics

It has been a rocky half-year, and the changing tides of the coming months pose potential for problems of their own. Between electronic, economic and real world threats there are so many variables at play in our modern life that it is sometimes difficult making heads or tails.

With recent alleged claims of foreign espionage and electronic clandestine maneuvers, it is unclear how growing international threats may be headed off. Richard A. Clarke poses his solutions in "Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What To Do About It." Clarke, a seasoned Washington insider, exposes the dangerous underbelly of the new age of spying and trickery and the dangers we face as a nation. Compared to seemingly much weaker nations we would fail because of our reliance on the electronic infrastructure. We must find new and effective ways to approach these situations and even preempt their ever happening.

Perhaps illogical and unpredictable solutions are in order. In "The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home" Dan Ariely looks at many of the ways the world approaches situations in a seemingly irrational way. From online dating to why we are so willing to help an individual rather than many people Ariely examines how individuals profit from seemingly irrational behavior. One example the author uses, LEGOs as a teaching tool, is something we see regularly at the library. The kids in the program come to some interesting places through the open-ended space of their creative minds.

One area in which young minds need defined spaces however, is that of personal finance. Most parents come to a place in time where they must make a choice as to how an allowance must be meted out. As "Piggybanking: Preparing Your Financial Life For Kids and Your Kids For a Financial Life" by Jeff D. Opdyke shows this is only the tip of the teaching iceberg. How often and how much is often determined by the local societal factors, and should often change dependant upon certain changes in the growing child's life. Included with the basic 15 Rules of Kids and Money are lessons in saving, earning and investing.

One case of positive growth and investment is In "Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose" by Tony Hsieh, the company's CEO tells his story of creating not only a successful company, but also one that is considered one of the best places to work. Hsieh gives examples of successes and failures and shows what has led him to the success he has known. The author recommends finding happiness in one's work, and I am sure many people could agree that this is a wonderful thing to have.

The Dalai Lama would agree with the happiness statement, and would further argue that only through true universal kinship can we hope to survive the world to come. In "Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World's Religions Can Come Together" the highest Lama lays out his plan for bringing the people of all the world's faiths to one place. He makes the point that the globalization we have all profited from will lead us into a place where cultures collide. Only through understanding and harmony of peoples can we hope for continued happiness and improvement of all mankind. Acceptance and even celebration of the world's many different customs and beliefs can help us understand ourselves, regardless of whether we agree with others' beliefs or not.

Such differing opinions on varied topics indicate one essential truth: every scenario is unique. Whether through logic or by irrational happenstance, we must equip ourselves to be ready for whatever comes our way. With a world so different yet strangely the same, if we equip ourselves with a broad sense of understanding, we can create a better place for generations to come. And be prepared to deal with those not so altruistically bent.