Local Car Historian Bob Elton Presents A Brief History of Chrysler Corporation

Monday July 7, 2008: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

The story of Chrysler Corporation is an epic story of bold, ambitious men, horrible mismanagement, bad luck, gritty perseverance and the will to never say die.

Local car historian Bob Elton presents a fascinating introduction to this once great auto empire. This lecture holds particular relevance, considering the current economic outlook facing automakers today.

This event is held in conjunction with the Main Street Area Association’s July 11 Rolling Sculpture Car Show and cosponsored by the Main Street Area Association. Mr. Elton is one of the founders of the Rolling Sculpture Car Show. Check that out this Friday to see some amazing automobiles.

Guerrilla Marketing

The summer doldrums are upon us, but not if you are a consultant, a salesperson or own a business. Now is the time to plan for year-end goals.

Jay Conrad Levinson has written a series of books devoted to Guerrilla Marketing, a term he coined to describe strategies for marketing, advertising and getting more business.
He has compiled many great ideas, some you’ve thought of and lots you probably haven’t.
Have you explored and exploited using inexpensive new technologies to generate new business leads? Want some ideas on generating more referrals? Tried any new prospecting techniques?
The Ann Arbor District Library has several of his books including Guerrilla Marketing, Guerrilla Marketing For The New Millennium and Guerrilla Marketing Weapons.
Pick one up, make someone else mow the lawn, get in a hammock, have some lemonade, then plan your work and work your plan to meet and exceed your year-end goals.
You’ll be glad you did in December!

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In the News, Give Your View

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Liquor licenses have been in the news of late in Ann Arbor and the City has recently been granted 807 "downtown development area" liquor licenses. The City Council Liquor Committee would like your input on how best to proceed with these new licenses and they're holding a Special Public Meeting, Wednesday, May, 21, 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

The underlying rationality of your irrationality

Irrationality is big these days. First came Tim Harford's The Logic of life: The rational economics of an irrational world. Next, at the top of Amazon's business bestseller list, comes Predictably irrational: The hidden forces that shape our decisions. Human foibles, apparently, keep a few writers gainfully employed.

Both books helps explain the funny things we do using a field that's been gaining some press lately: behavioral economics. Behavioral economists demonstrate an underlying method of our madness: sure we're irrational, but predictably so. From Harford's chapter on marriage as a "market-based transaction" to Ariely's discussion of why we pay $4.00 for a cup o'Joe, you may be surprised to find out just how logical - and common - your illogical actions can be.

Print is dead. Long live print!

With all of the latest news about electronic books, one can be forgiven for thinking that print books are in their death throes. Free ebooks and Kindles and digital libraries, oh my! Nonetheless, the good money is that print books are not going extinct anytime soon. In fact, general skepticism of the ebook reading experience aside, good money is actually on ebooks boosting sales of "pbooks."

Allow me to offer some examples. Take Amazon's Search Inside the Book feature (an awesome tool, if you haven't tried it). According to Amazon, sales of books that could be searched increased by 9% when the feature was launched. And despite suing Google for scanning books from the great libraries of the world, publishers are jumping at the chance to make digital previews of their books available via Google Book Search. Now why, pray tell, would publishers partner with Google on scanning if they didn't experience some benefit like, oh, increased print sales?

All of this is to say that the printed word isn't going the way of the dinosaurs in the near future. Of course, we shouldn't be surprised given books' long and storied history.

Microsoft & Yahoo - Together at last?

How can your friendly neighborhood business correspondent pass up a story like this? Microsoft has just made a $44.6 billion bid (yes that's a "b") to buy Yahoo. The move comes following search giant Google reporting pretty sad earnings for the final quarter of last year.

The bid is an aggressive move by Microsoft to gain dominance in an area where they're lagging: online advertising. Google's expertise is search, but they make their money in internet advertising. And they're really good at it. But with its tepid recent earnings and Microsoft's latest move, could the Google juggernaut be in danger of hitting a wall, or at least a bit of molasses? What do you think?

The R-word

The R-word - recession, that is - has been bantered about a lot more recently. With job losses, a pitiful housing market, and the subprime mortgage crisis, its prominence isn't overly surprising, nor is politicians' desire for a bit of economic development. It also is not surprising that people aren't really in a spending mood right now, which further risks bringing about the R-word. In hopes staving off said recession, the House has passed a "stimulus package" that could result in a $600 check appearing in your mailbox. Providing that the Senate agrees, that is.

A $600 check does sound mighty nice. But the question is, will you spend it? The "stimulus" part of the economic stimulus depends on us going right out and buying that new ipod or laptop. Of course, with the economy as rotten as it is, some might want to save it for a rainy day.

So, what if you got a big, fat $600 check in the mail? Would you save it? Spend it? If so, on what? Let's see if Congress' plan is really going to work.

'Tis the season to abolish the IRS

If you check out Amazon's business bestseller page, you'll spot an as-yet-unpublished volume on the so-called fair tax leading the pack. Even if you're not a tax policy wonk, you may have heard the term. And you likely heard it from Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee, who wants to implement such a plan.

Fair tax proponents want to eliminate the IRS and the income tax. They want to replace them with a nationwide sales tax of about 23%. The advantages of the tax, supporters say, is that it's much simpler and won't discourage saving. Not so fast, say critics. The less fortunate among us spend more of our income, so the tax ends up being regressive, even if you include rebates for the poor. Still, with tax season in full swing, many Americans may invite a simpler tax system, even if it's not quite perfect.

Want to learn more? Boortz & Linder, authors of the new book, have delved into this topic before. You can check out their first book from us!

On frankenfoods and international trade

The European Union's in trouble! And with the World Trade Organization, no less. A deadline is looming for the EU to lift its ban on genetically modified foods (GMOs), affectionately called "frankenfoods." The EU says that the foods are dangerous. The United States, among others, thinks that the ban is just convenient way to protect EU farmers from competition. Thus, as any good American would do, the US government sued, via the WTO.

Europeans are deeply skeptical of GMOs, claiming that there are adverse health effects and the risk of contaminating other crops. Many people beg to differ, claiming that there is no evidence that GMOs are unhealthy. Ultimately, then, the debate boils down to whether, in a world where free trade among countries is the norm, an individual country has the right to block genetically modified foods from their markets.

Of course, there are plenty of other ways of dealing with GMOs than outright bans. Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, for instance, thinks producers should say whether a food GMO ingredients. But the question is, what do you think? Should the EU be able to ban genetically-modified foods? Should the US do the same? Should we label foods, as Kucinich suggests? Other thoughts?

The monthly horror that is your cell phone bill

If you're an NPR listener, you might have noticed a veritable media blitzkrieg for Bob Sullivan, popular columnist for MSNBC business exposé blog The Red Tape Chronicles. Recently, Sullivan has appeared on Marketplace and Fresh Air. Could Talk of the Nation be next?

Sullivan has been plugging his new book on something near and not-so-dear to all of our hearts: hidden fees. Whether they be from your bank, your credit card company, or your cell phone carrier, fees seem not only like a way of life for consumers, but a viable business model. And a source of higher blood pressure. Gotcha Capitalism details these pocketbook-draining schemes, and how to avoid them.

Of course, you've already proven yourself an intelligent consumer. You can avoid all sorts of hidden fees from bookstores and credit companies alike by checking out the book from us. Providing you return it on time, of course!

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