Archive for March, 2009

By Alisa Johnson

With all the glitz and glamour, it’s hard to remember that celebrities are just regular people, too. Before they were famous, they went to school, had part-time jobs, and possibly even had dreams besides stardom. And while certain celebrities decided to give up on those dreams once they made it big, others have continued to pursue worthwhile causes, educating themselves and proving their worth beyond their high profile images. These ten celebrities aren’t just good looking and talented, they’re also incredibly smart and driven.

  1. Jenny McCarthy: Former Playboy model–she was Playmate of the Year in 1993–Jenny McCarthy dominated the B-list entertainment industry as the big-chested blonde with an irreverent sense of humor. Over the next ten years, McCarthy hosted Playboy TV’s Hot Rocks, MTV’s Singled Out, E! TV’s Party at the Palms and The Jenny McCarthy Show on MTV. She continued to pose for and work for Playboy, but in 2007, McCarthy became known more for her autism activism than her crude movie roles and modeling gigs. After her son Evan was diagnosed with autism in 2005, McCarthy became a highly visible advocate for autism awareness and often criticized childhood vaccinations for their alleged role in causing autism. McCarthy served as spokeswoman for Talk About Curing Autism in 2007 and 2008, has written a book on autism advocacy, Louder than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, and contributes to FHM magazine.
  2. George Clooney: George Clooney has been a celebrity since he started acting as Dr. Doug Ross on ER, but he belongs to a family of Hollywood royalty. His aunt was the legendary singer and actress Rosemary Clooney, who was married to Academy-Award winning actor Jose Ferrer. Over the years, however, Clooney developed from a TV star to a blockbuster movie star and sex symbol into a serious actor and director who has worked on award-winning projects like Good Night and Good Luck and Michael Clayton. Besides nurturing his career in the entertainment business, Clooney is well-known for his activism in bringing awareness to Darfur and other disadvantaged, war-torn regions in Africa. In January 2008, he was named by the United Nations as a Messenger of Peace and by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for his involvement in bringing awareness to Darfur. He has collaborated with writer and Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel, his father Nick Clooney, fellow actor Don Cheadle, and others in various film and activism projects on behalf of the people in Darfur.
  3. Ben Affleck: Another movie star-turned activist, Ben Affleck first became a real celebrity when he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting. Though he took smaller roles in films before Good Will Hunting, after he shared the Oscar with Damon, Affleck was able to find work in more high-profile projects, like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. In 2007, Affleck won praise for directing and co-writing the screenplay for Gone Baby Gone, which starred his younger brother Casey Affleck. In addition to his film career, Ben Affleck is a political and social activist who has campaigned for Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama. He has even hinted that he may one day consider running for government office, and in 2008, Affleck began backing advocacy projects that seek to bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis in the Congo.
  4. Brooke Shields: Brook Shields has been in the spotlight since she began modeling at 11 months old. As a young teenager, she appeared on the cover of French, Italian and American Vogue magazines, and in Calvin Klein ads. Shields’ most famous child role was as Emmeline Lestrange in The Blue Lagoon, and she was a People’s Choice Award winner four years in a row in the early 1980s. In 1983, Shields enrolled in Princeton University and graduated in 1987 with a degree in French Literature. Shields is still considered an in-demand actress and maintains a high profile presence in the entertainment industry.
  5. Ashley Judd: Actress Ashley Judd suffered a dysfunctional childhood as she traveled around the country with her mother Naomi Judd and half-sister Wynona Judd, as they pursued their musical careers. Judd, however, eventually attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in French and minors in Anthropology, Art History, Theater and Women’s Studies. Ashley Judd has appeared in movies like Ruby in Paradise, Natural Born Killers, and De-Lovely, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. Today, Judd continues to act and is a strong supporter of women’s rights and animal rights.
  6. Adam Sandler: Most Americans know Adam Sandler as the goofy SNL graduate who stars in comedies like Click, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, and The Wedding Singer. His rambunctious style combines toilet humor and physical comedy, but Sandler has also demonstrated serious acting skills in films like Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me. Sandler is also head of his own production company called Happy Madison Productions, which produced Joe Dirt, Little Nicky, The Master of Disguise, and more. In addition to enjoying huge commercial successes, Sandler also spent time as a serious performing student at New York University, graduating with a BFA in 1991.
  7. Reese Witherspoon: Reese Witherspoon is one of the highest paid actresses in the entertainment industry, and is known as a do-it-all force who produces, acts and serves as a spokesperson for companies like Avon. She has won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. Before becoming a movie star, however, Witherspoon acted in films as a child, including The Man in the Moon, her first big role. After acting in other films and TV movies, Witherspoon attended Stanford University and majored in English literature before dropping out to pursue her movie career.
  8. Angelina Jolie: When Angelina Jolie first became famous, she was known for her publicly sexual relationship with Billy Bob Thornton, penchant for knives and blood, and gothic appeal. When she won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Girl, Interrupted, her award was nearly overshadowed after she kissed her brother during the ceremony. Over the years, however, Jolie continued to receive critical praise and box office success for her movies, including the Lara Croft movies, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and A Mighty Heart. She has evolved to become a high profile advocate of various humanitarian causes and has been named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and received the first ever Citizen of the World Award from the United Nations Correspondents Association. As a Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie has traveled to Pakistan, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and Sri Lanka, and has given speeches at the World Economic Forum, a National Press Club luncheon, and other events.
  9. Claire Danes: As a teenage actress, Claire Danes was the poster child for 90s angst and one of the most influential and successful young actresses of the time. She attended the elite Dalton School in New York and later won a Golden Globe for her role in the TV series My So-Called Life, starred in Little Women, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and others. Danes is the granddaughter of the dean of the art and architecture school at Yale University, and for two years, Danes enrolled at Yale as a psychology student before dropping out to pursue her film career. She is still considered a thoughtful, intelligent actress who stars in successful films like Shopgirl and The Hours.
  10. Lily Cole: British model Lily Cole doesn’t fit the models-are-stupid stereotype. Cole graduated from the selective Latymer Upper School in London. As a teenager, she signed with the modeling agency Storm Models and has worked with top fashion professionals like photographer Steven Meisel and designers like Alexander McQueen. She has been the face for Rimmel, Tiffany & Co., and other brands, and has even appeared in a Marilyn Manson film called Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll, in which she plays Alice. She was also accepted into King’s College at Cambridge in 2007 and began studying art history there in 2008.

 

Whether you’re enrolled in a business school degree program or desperate for a review of b-school basics as you start your own company, it’s hard to pass up free study materials. These 100 ebooks on marketing, management, ecommerce, and finance are all free and worth checking out.

Basic Business

These foundational courses focus on basic business skills like earning money, understanding your relationship with the customer, and more.

  1. Art of Earning Money: In the Art of Earning Money, you’ll learn how to turn a business idea into a stable business.
  2. Strategic Marketing Process: This book can show you how to boost performance by reworking your business strategy.
  3. Business Plan Success: Get tips on setting up a solid business plan.
  4. Focus: The Key to Success: As a business manager or owner, you’ll need to be able to focus and have perspective at all times.
  5. Business Correspondence: Learn professional correspondence etiquette here.
  6. Instant Loyalty Strategies: Understand customer loyalty strategies here.
  7. Biz Success: This business book is a great introduction for beginning business students.
  8. Closing the Sale: Whatever kind of business you’re in, learn how to close the sale.
  9. Instant Strategic Alliances: Find out how strategic alliances can boost your business
  10. Business Writing: Learn the 7 principles of business writing here.

Management

Become a better manager with these courses, which cover topics in psychology, change management, and more.

  1. BMA’s Change Management Articles: Get tips on change management in this book.
  2. Instant Testing and Measuring: Learn how to manage a marketing team here.
  3. Conquer Your Fear of Change: This change management book will help you learn the strategies needed to take your business in a new direction.
  4. Best Management Quotations Vol. 1: Get inspired to be a better manager by reading this book.
  5. The Removal of Distracting Thoughts: Become a better manager by learning to remain focused.
  6. How to Speak and Write Correctly: Brush up on effective communication here.
  7. Introduction to Management: Contents in this tutorial include management history in the U.S.; planning, organizing and leading groups; supervision; and more.
  8. Management Learning and Training: Learn management basics here.
  9. How to Turn Challenging Situations Around: Learn how to positively manipulate a situation.
  10. MBA Operations Management: Chapters here include Process Planning and Design, Inventory Management, and Enterprise Resource Planning.

E-commerce and Internet Marketing

Review the cutting edge techniques necessary to master online business.

  1. 3 Vital Steps to KickStart Your Web Business: Daniel Sudhakar’s book helps you "avoid all the mistakes that start-ups make."
  2. Breaking Into Internet Marketing: Get an introduction to online business and Internet marketing here.
  3. Secret Twitter Manifesto: This ebook will show you how to use Twitter to its maximum potential as a marketing tool for your business or brand.
  4. E-business Starter Kit: This manual claims to have everything you need to start up your online business.
  5. Webmaster Business Masters Course: Learn how to navigate the start-up phase of an online business.
  6. Advertising and Promotions: Learn about advertising law, public relations and more.

Finance

Here you can review accounting, investments and other business finance guides.

  1. Budget Breeze: Learn new budgeting strategies for your business. Includes budgeting forms.
  2. Best of Wealth Anthems 2008: Discover ways to build wealth.
  3. Enhance Your Financial Intelligence: Better manage your finances and investments with this guide.
  4. Don’t Get Business Credit: Learn about business credit cards and loans.
  5. Bankruptcy to Go Ebook Kit: This book outlines the 102 things you need to know before you file bankruptcy.
  6. 10 Mistakes We Make at Networking Events and How to Avoid Them: Become a better networker by reading this guide.
  7. Solving the Money Puzzle: Personal Finance Made Easy: Get more finance and budgeting support here.
  8. The Gilded Age: Listen to or read Mark Twain’s famous work to better understand the pitfalls of a wealthy society.
  9. Financial Accounting: Learn accounting principles, financing assets, and more.
  10. Principles of Accounting: This book covers inventory, investments, property and equipment, liabilities, and more.
  11. Introduction to Finance: Contents in this resource include Capital Budgeting, Financial Calculators and Investing.
  12. Public Finance: Here you will learn about the financial intents and restrictions of government.
  13. Principles of Finance: Learn about returns, the value of money, and more.
  14. Accountancy: Get an overview of assets, liabilities, creditors, and more.

Human Resources

From recruitment and hiring to understanding group dynamics, these HR books can strengthen your company.

  1. The 10 Most Common Mistakes in Hiring: Learn how to hire the right employees after reading this manual.
  2. Human Resources Management and Leadership: Develop skills in performance management, staff development and general HR management.
  3. How to Build Relationships that Stick: This book helps you nurture mature relationships.
  4. Understanding Words, An End to Anger and Conflict: Get valuable anger management and conflict resolution tips here.
  5. Managing Groups and Teams: Learn how to effectively manage a team.
  6. Organizational Theory: This human resources management ebook goes over organization structures.
  7. Introduction to Psychology: By reading this introductory psychology book, you’ll have a better understanding of how your employees respond to different situations.
  8. Organizational Leadership Study Guide: Topics covered here include moral leadership, organizational behavior, change theory, and innovation.
  9. 10 Things They Never Tell You When You Start Work and Why: Help new employees adjust by reading this book.
  10. Social Psychology: Learn about the social mind, personality, and group dynamics here.

Marketing and Advertising

Review marketing and advertising techniques here.

  1. The Ten Critical, Must-Have Marketing Techniques: Increase your sales by following these ten steps.
  2. Affiliate Marketer’s Handbook: Get tips on promoting affiliated products online.
  3. BMA’s Advertising and Promotions Articles, Vol 1.: The BMA’s book on advertising can help you learn new strategies for your business.
  4. Creating Compelling Customer Value Propositions: This book teaches you strategies for understanding your company’s value and communicating that value to customers.
  5. How to Fix Customer Satisfaction at Your Company: Increase your return and recommend rate with the help of this guide.
  6. Instant Press Advertising: Learn all about this advertising strategy.
  7. 12 Simple Ways to Promote Your Website: Tim Priebe shares tips on website promotion.
  8. 5 Tips for Successful Small Business Marketing: Small business owners get focused marketing tips here.
  9. 10 Ways to Write More Effective Ads: Write better ads that reach your customers here.
  10. Advertising for Results: Get tips on writing headlines, gathering materials, coming up with an advertising plan, and more.
  11. All About Marketing: Learn about inbound and outbound marketing.
  12. Marketing Research: This guide can help you understand different techniques for marketing research.
  13. Visionary Marketing Innovation: Here you’ll learn how to improve marketing information systems.
  14. Marketing: Here you will find an overview of marketing principles like market research, marketing ethics, and consumer behavior.
  15. Communication Theory/Propaganda and The Public: Learn how the public reacts to marketing and propaganda.
  16. Advertising: Lessons from this book include Television, Radio and Print Advertising, and Strategies.

International Business

Check out these books and resources to better understand international business concepts.

  1. Basics of International Economics: Get the basics of international economics here.
  2. International Financial Reporting: Learn about international balance sheets, cash flow statements, and more.
  3. Managing Groups and Teams/How Do You Manage Global Virtual Teams?: Learn skills in managing global teams.
  4. The Information Age/Globalization: Discover information and security issues that affect globalization and international business.

Business Law and Ethics

Make sure you’re running an ethical, lawful company by reviewing these guides.

  1. 7 Infamous Resell Rights Questions Answered: Learn more about resell rights in this manual.
  2. Introduction to Philosophy: Learn about ethics here.
  3. Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Law: Business students get a crash course in business law here.
  4. Marketing Ethics: This specialized resource focuses on marketing ethics.
  5. U.S. Corporate Law/Introduction: Learn about partnerships, limited liability companies and more.

Economics

Here you can check out introductory and upper-level economics resources.

  1. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations: Read Adam Smith’s infamous book here.
  2. Principles of Economics – Carl Menger: Review the principles of economics according to Menger here.
  3. Macroeconomics and Microeconomics: Get lessons on demand and supply, market systems, and profit from this e-resource.
  4. Essential Principles of Economics: Here you’ll learn about game theory, monopolies, cost and supply, competition, and more.
  5. MBA Lectures in Macroeconomics: Get MBA-level instruction on business cycle, international economics, inflation, and more.
  6. The Demand and Supply of Public Goods: Dissect Neoclassical economic theory here.
  7. A History of Economic Thought: Review the economic theories of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Keynes and others.
  8. The Power to Tax: Here you’ll learn about a "revenue-maximizing government" and what that can mean for business.

Jobs and Career

Manage your job search here.

  1. Your Layoff and the Law of Attraction: "Secrets of the Hidden Job Market": Janet White’s book helps you transform your perspective when searching for a job.
  2. Secrets to Successful Job Hunting in a Sluggish Economy: Discover tips on standing out in a recession.

Entrepreneurship

These books can help you start up your own company.

  1. The Woork Handbook: Learn how to design your own web page when you’re first starting out by dissecting this guide on CSS, HTML and Ajax.
  2. Buy Anything Wholesale Guide: Save your newbie business money by buying wholesale.
  3. Don’t apologize for SmallBusiness: This book aims to pump more self-worth into the small business owner.
  4. Home Business Success: Turn your home business into a lucrative company.
  5. Studying Strategy: Learn new ideas in strategic management here.

Niche Business Ebooks

From sports marketing to law firms, these niche books feature a more specialized perspective.

  1. How to Increase Profits for Your Law Firm: Victoria Ring’s ebook helps attorneys build business.
  2. Business information management: Learn about information management systems and business principles.
  3. Consumer Behavior in Travel and Tourism: Those in the hospitality industry can learn about consumer behavior here.
  4. Marketing and Football: This sports marketing book focuses on soccer.

Miscellaneous

Review business ebooks on social responsibility, sales pitches, and more.

  1. Prospecting and the Sales Pitch: This book may help you better your sales pitch.
  2. USPS Shipping Overseas – How to Ship Internationally: Learn how to ship overseas to customers and vendors.
  3. Corporate Social Responsibility: This British class focuses on social responsibility standards.
  4. Starting and Running a Business: This guide will explain the steps you need to take to start up a business.
  5. Writing a Business Plan: Learn about writing plans for marketing, operational systems, and more.
  6. Professional Customer Service: Step up your commitment to customer service after reading this book.

Breaking into the business and getting published is a completely different story than it was in the pre-Internet age. Now, writers have more opportunities but also face higher competition as websites pop up to let them promote work and make contacts. These 50 social sites, however, are some of the best for serious or aspiring writers who want to make their online presence count.

Professional Development

Develop your career by making professional contacts on these sites.

  1. WriteWords: Here, writers can find jobs, join groups, learn about special events and more.
  2. Media Bistro: Members of Media Bistro receive all kinds of helpful professional advice and connections, and the bulletin board community has tips and information about going back to school, pitching, legal advice, and more.
  3. Tip’d: Learn how to manage your money and your writing career or business by logging on to this social media site.
  4. MySpace: On MySpace, you can create a customized website for your services and brand for free.
  5. LinkedIn: LinkedIn has a strong base of users intent on networking and building up their professional contacts.
  6. Ryze: Ryze is a business networking site that may help you find a job, especially with technical writing.
  7. Meetup: Use Meetup to find like-minded individuals, groups and professionals in your area who want to meet up in person.
  8. Tribe: Tribe is another group-focused social media site that lets you find individuals with your interests and your goals.
  9. Virb: Set up your own page to promote your work, unleash your creativity and meet other writers and artists.

Collaboration and Feedback

Here you’ll find writing partners for serious projects and for getting feedback from your drafts.

  1. StoryMash: This "collaborative creative writing community" lets you earn money for chapters written on the advertisement-driven site.
  2. Xomba: Network with other writers looking for online side projects and collaborative writing here.
  3. Booksie: Poets and short story writers share their pieces on this site for networking, promotion and feedback.
  4. AllPoetry: Post your poems on this site to start networking via groups, chats, forums and contests.
  5. Storywrite: Enter contests, post your stories, keep your copyright, and join groups to meet other writers.
  6. Critique Circle: Submit stories to have other members critique your work.
  7. Writeboard: Writeboard is a shareable, web-based writing tool for collaborating, saving your drafts, and organizing pieces.
  8. StartupNation: If you’re looking to build a business out of your writing, meet other entrepreneurs and search for a business partner here.
  9. Xing: This professional networking site can be helpful when trying to find a partner.
  10. Ning: Start your own social network for your group projects with Ning.

Marketing

Market your work and your brand on these sites.

  1. 1000 Keyboards: This site allows writers to submit their work, collaborate, meet readers, and more.
  2. Book Marketing Network: Here authors and publishers connect.
  3. LibraryThing: LibraryThing lets writers and bookworms talk about their favorite books, join groups, and meet up locally.
  4. The Web-Savvy Writer: Promote your book online with this community-driven site.

Forums and Message Boards

These forums and message boards provide inspiration, give tips for getting published, and introduce you to others in the industry.

  1. Writing.com: Here you can find jobs and contests, and other announcements for writers.
  2. PoetrySoup: Enter contests, meet other poets, and publish your work online.
  3. Editred: On this site, writers can review each other’s work, jump on the forum, and promote their work and experience.
  4. English Forums: Meet friends, share pictures and videos, and get grammar tips on this site.
  5. FreelanceSwitch: Freelancers share job news, writing tips, business advice and more.
  6. Writers Net: This community of writers, editors, agents and publishers actively posts about getting published and more.
  7. Writer’s Beat: Get advice about finding inspiration, chat with other writers, learn new writing skills, and more.
  8. Every Author: This literary community features blogs, a writers’ forum, books section, and plenty more inspiration.
  9. The Artful Writer: Professional TV and film writers connect on this site to catch up on industry news and theory.

Promotion

Promote your work by bookmarking articles and more on these sites.

  1. Twitter: Network, share your pieces, and promote your website or blog all day long on Twitter.
  2. Digg: Make friends on Digg to vote for their articles and submit your own pages.
  3. Facebook: Share your website, links to favorite articles, and services your Facebook profile or page.
  4. delicious: Bookmark your web content, reviews and other material on delicious.
  5. AuthorsDen.com: Readers and writers cross paths on this site designed to highlight new content.
  6. Flickr: Show clients and friends that you’re not just about words: gain a following on Flickr by uploading inspiring pictures, albums from special events and networking parties, and more.
  7. Coffeehouse for Writers: Join this online community to learn about job opportunities, practice your craft, and meet others.
  8. Absolute Write: Gain access to writing tips, classes and other writing resources. This site also nurtures an online community of professionals and writers.
  9. Google Groups: Organized your professional contacts by inviting them to your own Google Group.
  10. Technorati: Register your blog on Technorati and then meet other bloggers and readers who can relate to your topic. It’s great for networking, marketing your writing services, and more.
  11. hi5: hi5 is a social network for friends and colleagues. Send messages, play games, join groups and upload photos.
  12. Jaiku: Jaiku is a microblogging site like Twitter that lets you build up a niche network.

Inspiration and Practice

These community sites provide a space for being creative and honing your craft.

  1. Today’s Woman: Browse famous quotes, submit poems and stories, and more on this site for women writers.
  2. Writer’s Digest: The community section on this site features a forum, Writer’s Block Party for networking and ranting, a critique station, and more.
  3. Gather: Get ideas for stories and articles on this site, where individuals connect to talk about the real issues that matter to them.
  4. Shared Reviews: Here you can practice writing reviews and commentary on virtually any subject. The site also lets you set up your profile and build your own community.

Twitter has become an incredible tool not just for communication, but for improving your life. College students can use it to expand their social circle, promote their side business, keep their coursework organized, and more. Whether you want to achieve your Twitter goals, or just use it as a tool to achieve others, these tools will help you get there.

Twitter Analysis

If your goal is to be popular and influential on Twitter, be sure to check out these tools that will tell you how you’re doing.

  1. Twitter Grader: Learn your Twitter grade, your local Twitter Elite, and find new people to follow through Twitter Grader.
  2. Twitterholic: Check out the top Twitter users and find out your Twitter stats on Twitterholic.
  3. TweetStats: TweetStats offers a graphical analysis of your Twitter stats.
  4. Twitter Friends: Carefully measure your Twitter conversations using Twitter Friends.
  5. Twinfluence: Twinfluence will measure your Twitter influence based on reach, velocity, and social capital.
  6. Tweetwasters: Find out how much time you and other users waste on Twitter.
  7. Tweet-Rank: Learn about the quality of your tweets by finding out which ones won or lost followers.
  8. Mr. Milestone: Get a tweet when you reach various milestones using this Twitter tool.
  9. Retweetrank: Find out how many retweets you and other Twitter users have through this service.

Information Gathering

With these tools, you and gather information for market research, blog posts, and your own simple curiosity.

  1. Tweetbeep: With Tweetbeep, you can set up alerts that will help you keep track of keywords on Twitter.
  2. @myflightinfo: Use @myflightinfo to stay updated on your flight’s status.
  3. Twitterverse: Check out archived timelines and tweets through Twitterverse.
  4. Twitscoop: Twitscoop shares what’s hot on Twitter at any given moment.
  5. Twitbuzz: Twitbuzz tracks the latest conversations as well as popular Twitter links.
  6. StrawPoll: Use StrawPoll to make sharing your opinion as easy as sending an @reply.
  7. Retweetist: This service ranks the hottest links being retweeted on Twitter.
  8. Monitter: Get real time keyword monitoring on Twitter from Monitter.
  9. TweetNews: TweetNews ranks stories based on the amount of related tweets.
  10. TwitterBuzz: TwitterBuzz will tell you what’s being linked to the most on Twitter.
  11. Tweetscan: Set up Tweetscan to make sure you don’t miss any @replies, and to get alerted of your search queries.

Network Building & Management

Find more relevant Twitter users with the help of these tools.

  1. Twitter Local: With this service, you can see tweets from Twitter users in a specific location.
  2. Twubble: Twubble will expand your Twitter bubble, picking out people you may like to follow.
  3. MyCleenr: Sort your friends by their last tweets, and you can get rid of the inactive and useless accounts you’re following.
  4. Follow Cost: This tool will tell you how much effort it takes to follow someone.
  5. Tweepler: Use Tweepler to organize your tweeps based on whether you’re following them or not.
  6. Just Tweet It: Find Tweeple, tools, Twitter bots and more through this directory.
  7. TweetWheel: TweetWheel will help you discover which of your Twitter friends know each other.
  8. SocialToo: SocialToo will help you keep track of all of the people who have followed or unfollowed you.
  9. Twitoria: Reduce your clutter on Twitter by finding your friends that haven’t tweeted in a long time.
  10. TwitDir: With TwitDir, you’ll be able to search for people, and exploring categories including top followers and updaters.
  11. Who Should I Follow?: Using this site, you can get good recommendations for Tweeps to follow.
  12. Nearbytweets: Learn about all of the Twitter users in a specific area with the help of Nearbytweets.
  13. Twellow: Find Twitter users in a specific industry using this service.
  14. Mr. Tweet: Mr. Tweet is a personal networking assistant for Twitter, helping you find relevant followers.
  15. Qwitter: Qwitter will help you manage your network by sending an alert when a person unfollows you.

Twitter Management

Save your time and cull your Twitter list with the help of these tools.

  1. Summize: Retrieve information on Twitter quickly to search Twitter in real time.
  2. Tweet O’Clock: Trying to reach someone? Tweet O’Clock will help you find the best time to get their attention.
  3. Just Signal: Set up a filter using Just Signal to get only the tweets that discuss the keywords you’d like to read about.
  4. TweepSearch: Put your Twitter network to good use and search your followers for specific parameters.
  5. Friend or Follow: Manage your Twitter contacts and find out who’s not following you back through Friend or Follow.
  6. TwitResponse: TwitResponse makes it easy for you to schedule the delivery of your tweets ahead of time.
  7. TwitterSnooze: Put the pause button on a particular user for a while with Twitter Snooze.
  8. Twitterless: Get notified when someone stops following you with Twitterless.
  9. Twilert: Track specific keywords to receive alerts for using Twilert.
  10. Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck has a groups function that will help you more efficiently follow the people you really want to listen to.
  11. Twalala: Put the mute button on certain people and topics for a while if you are receiving lots of updates you’re not really interested in.

Sharing Tools

Promote your business, connect with classmates, share photos, and more using these Twitter tools.

  1. Tweetburner: Use Tweetburner to share links, and you can track their usage.
  2. Twitpic: Twitpic makes it easy to take mobile phone photos and share them using your Twitter account.
  3. TwitterHawk: Get targeted marketing on Twitter through TwitterHawk.
  4. Acamin: Acamin makes it easy to share files on Twitter with your followers.
  5. Glue: Post links to books, movies, restaurants and more on Twitter through Glue.
  6. Ping.fm: This service will update all of your social networks at once.
  7. TweeTube: TweeTube makes it easy to share videos on Twitter.
  8. twiggit: Use this automated service to share the articles you digg on Twitter.
  9. Twisten.fm: Share what you’re listening to on Twitter through Twisten.fm.

Organization & Productivity

These Twitter tools will make your school and work life a bit more streamlined.

  1. Twittercal: Link your Twitter account and Google Calendar to easily keep up with your events and appointments.
  2. Timer: Use Timer to get reminders about tasks through your Twitter account.
  3. TwitterNotes: Organize your notes using Twitter with TwitterNotes.
  4. Remember the Milk: Use Remember the Milk on Twitter to update your to do list for school or work.
  5. Tweetake: Tweetake will back up your Twitter timeline for archiving and more.
  6. Nozbe: Nozbe makes it easy to add and update your to do list on Twitter.
  7. Toodledo: This popular to do list app integrates nicely with Twitter.
  8. TrackThis: Send TrackThis your tracking number, and you’ll get Twitter messages every time there’s a change in location.
  9. Joint Contact: Get project management productivity on Twitter using Joint Contact.
  10. Tempo: This time tracking tool allows you to send in updates from Twitter.
  11. Tweet Later: Tweet Later offers a great way to set up alerts, schedule tweets, send thank you DMs, and more.
  12. OutTwit: OutTwit will make it easy for you to use Twitter inside of Outlook.
  13. Jott: Jott makes it easy for you to tweet without ever having to type, transcribing your voice message to Twitter.

Life Tools

With these tools, you can work on relationships, life tracking, and more.

  1. MyMileMarker: Keep track of your mileage with info sent via Twitter every time you fill up.
  2. 21Tweets: 21Tweets offers personal coaching on Twitter.
  3. TwtTRIP: Organize your travel plans and find other Twitter travelers on your way with TwtTRIP.
  4. Tweet Answers: Twitter Answers makes it easy to ask questions and get answers on Twitter.
  5. Twtvite: Twtvite is a simple event organizer that will help you create a tweetup.
  6. Vacatweet: Set up an autoresponder for your Twitter account with Vacatweet.
  7. plusplusbot: Share when someone goes out of their way to help you, or otherwise make your feelings known using plusplusbot.
  8. TrackDailyGoals: Use this site and the #dailygoals hashtag to keep track of your goals every day.
  9. ConnectTweet: Put the voices of your group or business together through ConnectTweet.
  10. Tweeteorology: Find tweets about the weather in any location through Tweeteorology.
  11. DreamTweet: Keep a reminder of your dreams and nightmares, and follow the dreams of others through DreamTweet.

Business & Finance

Use these tools to improve your business and finances through Twitter.

  1. Chipin: If you’re raising funds on Twitter, make use of Chipin to set a goal and let your supporters track the progress of the campaign.
  2. Xpenser: You can Twitter your expenses to Xpenser and they will be recorded for you.
  3. Twittertise: Schedule your tweets and track their clickthroughs with this app designed for Twitter advertising.
  4. TwtQpon: Create simple Twitter coupons for your business with TwtQpon.
  5. CheapTweet: Get all of the deals, sales, coupons and more being discussed on Twitter through CheapTweet.
  6. Tipjoy: Like Chipin, Tipjoy offers a way to create social payments for your cause, content, or people.
  7. SalesTwit: Get contact management for Twitter with the help of SalesTwit.
  8. Tweet What You Spend: Track your cash in a really effective way using Tweet What You Spend.
  9. StockTwits: StockTwits shares the investment discussions on Twitter in real time.

Health

Track your health using these Twitter tools.

  1. Qwitter: Update Qwitter to shame yourself into quitting smoking.
  2. TweetPlot: Use TweetPlot to chart your food and fitness statistics.
  3. Tweetwhatyoueat: Keep a food diary to track what you’re eating every day using Tweetwhatyoueat.
  4. gtFtr: Use the gtFtr tool to record your exercise activity on Twittr.
  5. SugarStats: Track, monitor, and share your blood sugar through Twitter with SugarStats.
  6. FoodFeed: This Twitter-based food log makes it easy for you to track what you’re eating.

Blogging

Bring your blog life and Twitter life together with these tools.

  1. Add to Any: Get your posts shared on Twitter by using Add to Any on your WordPress blog.
  2. TwitThis: Make use of this plugin to send Twitter messages about your blog post.
  3. MyTwitter: Use the MyTwitter plugin to display your Twitter status on WordPress.
  4. Twitpress: Twitpress will send out a Tweet every time you post a new blog entry.
  5. TwitterCounter: With this plugin, you can display the number of followers you have on Twitter.
  6. TwitterFeed: Announce your blog post on Twitter with a customized message using TwitterFeed.

Even if you think you’re a pretty good student or have a good memory, your brain is begging you to work it to its full potential. Getting stuck in the same routine, never exercising and eating junk food are all brain killers that decrease good cognitive function and increase your chances of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s. But with these 50 tips and ideas for flexing your brain power, you’ll be able to boost performance right now and in the future.

Daily Habits

Make a point to exercise, sleep on a regular schedule and socialize with friends and family each day for the sake of your brain.

  1. Sleep right: Healthy sleeping habits, like getting enough sleep and sticking to a regular sleeping schedule, can promote brain health by improving your ability to focus and remember things. Get at least eight hours of sleep to ensure that you reach your REM cycle.
  2. Exercise: Exercise boosts your mood by releasing endorphins, but it also stimulates oxygen intake and "increases levels of brain chemicals that encourage the growth of nerve cells" that help memory, according to the AARP.
  3. Socialize with friends and family: Studies have shown that remaining socially active is very important in reducing your chances of dementia.
  4. Do the daily crossword puzzle: Exercise your brain and maintain cognitive function by doing puzzles and brain teasers everyday.
  5. Read: Read the newspaper, a magazine, books, and online material to keep your brain sharp and to challenge yourself to learn new words and information.
  6. Keep stress in check: Stress affects memory and can also cause tension headaches, so remember to relax and unwind.
  7. Do something new everyday: Whether it’s learning a phrase a day in a foreign language or reading a different kind of article in the newspaper, challenge your brain to explore a new topic.
  8. Subscribe to online puzzles: Make it easy to do a puzzle or brain teaser a day by subscribing to an RSS feed.
  9. Switch up your routine: Even small changes in your daily routine will help you stay sharp and introduce you to new elements and variables while you shop, garden, take a walk, or call a friend.
  10. Eat right: A brain-healthy diet includes low-cholesterol and low-fat foods.

Brain Food

A healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and even a little caffeine are what your brain needs for optimum performance.

  1. Salmon: Cold-water, deep-water fish like salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and "which are essential for brain function," according to Dr. Ann Kulze and WebMD.
  2. Baked and grilled items: The Alzheimer’s Association suggests baking and grilling food instead of frying it to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intake, which can contribute to Alzheimer’s.
  3. Kale and spinach: Darker skinned vegetables like kale and spinach have the highest levels of natural antioxidants.
  4. Flax seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds: These seeds have high levels of Vitamin E, which reduces risk of cognitive decline as you age.
  5. Nuts: Walnuts, cashews, peanuts and almonds are excellent brain food because of their high concentration of vitamin E.
  6. Canola oil and walnut oil: Cooking with canola oil and walnut oil is an easy way to balance your omega-3s and omega-6s, according to Psychology Today.
  7. Beans: Eat beans to stabilize your blood sugar.
  8. Coffee: According to a study reported by the BBC, "coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body," due to its caffeine content.
  9. Blueberries: Blueberries are a popular brain food because they reduce inflammation in the central nervous system and are an excellent source of antioxidants.
  10. Whole grains: Whole grain bread, rice and oatmeal lower your risk of heart disease, which maintains healthy blood flow to the brain. WebMD reports that whole grains also contain vitamin E, fiber and omega-3s.
  11. Avocado: Avocados are rich in monosaturated fat, which promote blood flow. They’re also an incredible source of dietary fiber, vitamins B6, C and E, potassium, magnesium and folate.
  12. Green tea: Green tea contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which help prevent cancer and "may help maintain positive mood states and protect against Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders," reports Psychology Today.
  13. Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and caffeine, which protect the brain and improve your mood.
  14. Eggs: Eggs in moderation can increase your intake of omega-3s and choline, which improves memory.
  15. Strawberries: Add strawberries to ice cream, yogurt or fiber-rich cereal for a bigger brain boost. They are rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C and potassium.
  16. A moderate amount of carbs: Whole foods with carbohydrates give us needed energy, but overdoing carb-laden foods can make you sleepy and sluggish.

Activities and Games

Keep your brain guessing by taking classes, switching up your activities, and trying new games that will form new connectors.

  1. Change the way you tie your shoelaces: Try reversing the hands you use to tie your shoelaces to challenge your brain.
  2. Change up your regular route: Switch up the drive to work or your regular evening walk to test your brain.
  3. Travel: Traveling is supposed to keep your brain in top shape. Neanderthals are believed to have sharp brains because of their nomadic lifestyle, according to The Franklin Institute.
  4. Take a dance class: Challenge your brain to learn new steps and follow along with the music while getting needed exercise.
  5. Yoga: Yoga may help prevent or ease depression and anxiety.
  6. Games for the Brain: Play Sudoku and brain puzzles, trivia games and strategy games to flex your brain muscles.
  7. Concentration and memory games: This group of brain games tests your concentration, memory and matching skills.
  8. Read a mystery novel: Pick up a challenging mystery novel that encourages you to solve the puzzle as you read along.
  9. Babysit: Babysit your grandkids or your neighbors. You’ll be challenged to keep up with their fast pace and games that are probably new to you.
  10. Concentration practice: Did you know that you can practice your concentration skills to improve brain function? Brain exercise through crossword puzzles and Sudoku can help.
  11. Opencourseware: Take a free not-for-credit class online to learn something new, test out your technology skills and challenge your brain.

Things to Avoid

Smoking, junk food, and too much TV are all harmful to brain performance.

  1. Smoking: The Alzheimer’s Association maintains that "smoking interferes with blood flow and oxygen to the brain and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke."
  2. Getting overweight: Being overweight increases your chances of having a stroke, so exercise and eat a low-cholesterol, heart-healthy diet.
  3. Junk food: Junk food is bad for your heart, your weight and your cholesterol, and it’s also bad for your brain. Foods that are high in trans fats "adversely affect cognition," according to LiveScience.com.
  4. Too much TV: Too much TV doesn’t challenge your brain enough, keeps you from moving around and exercising, and can cause headaches.
  5. Routine: Your brain can get in a rut just like your mood can, so play around with your routine to keep your brain guessing.
  6. Too much alcohol: Besides impairing judgment and brain performance during drinking, consistently drinking too much alcohol may speed up the shrinkage of brain volume, leading to dementia and other disorders.
  7. Starving yourself: Maintain your focus and avoid headaches, stress and irritation by refueling every few hours on healthy snacks, like nuts and fruit.

Miscellaneous

From managing your anger and stress levels to meditating, these simple tips will improve focus and keep your brain sharp for years to come.

  1. Getting to the country: Moving to the country, or at least vacationing there once in a while, gives your brain a break from the chaos of urban life, which according to a study reported by Boston.com, "impairs our basic mental processes" and "dull[s] our thinking, sometimes dramatically so."
  2. Anger management: By learning how to deal with problems, the AARP reports, your brain "forms new neural connections" and avoids stress.
  3. Stimulate your senses: Try focusing on only one or two senses, like touch or sound to challenge your brain to make sense of what you feel or hear without help from your other senses.
  4. Get a check up: Make sure your brain is in good shape and not at risk for any tumors or other conditions by scheduling regular doctor’s visits.
  5. Notice more: Instead of focusing on what you’re doing only, open your eyes and notice your surroundings. The more you take in, the more your brain has to process.
  6. Meditate: Clear your mind with meditation, which also reduces stress and helps you refocus on what’s important.

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