Unemployed? Now is The Time to Improve Your Thinking Skills

If you checked out the business section in the Philadelphia newspaper this morning, you probably spotted the main article about John Maketa (one of the authors of Now You’re Thinking!).  The article talks about how the authors worked with Pearson Foundation and We Give Books to help donate 12,000 books to 3 military charities.  In addition, the author notes that now more than ever, critical thinking is essential for career growth.

Unemployment numbers are still astonishingly high, and many people have been out of work for years.  This is the time to re-evaluate your thinking.  The article notes that Now You’re Thinking! provides a concise guide to understanding the RED Model of Critical Thinking so readers can learn to Recognize their Assumptions, Evaluate Information, and Draw Conclusions.

In addition, readers can then go online and learn their thinking style through theMy Thinking Styles assessment.

The article goes on to explain how today’s employers are finding a large gap between the critical thinking skills of applicants versus what is needed to compete in the ever-changing business world.

To read the full article by Theresa Hegel, click here.


(photo credit to Kim Weimer / Staff Photographer)

Thinking Differently About Teaching People with Dyslexia

For years, educators have struggled with how to help students with dyslexia learn to read at the same pace as their classmates.  Dyslexia is a type of learning disability that affects the way letters are visually perceived.  Letters such as “m” and “n” are easily confused, while other letters are flipped horizontally or vertically by the brain. ZWriting resized 600

As a result, individuals with dyslexia struggle to distinguish letters and words as quickly as individuals without the learning disability.  Dyslexia affects as much as 5-10% of the world population, and educators have learned to modify their teaching style to help their students.

However, Christian Boer may have revolutionized the world for people struggling with dyslexia.  He has created a new font that makes small adjustments to each letter that helps illuminate the differences between similar letters.

Watch the video below to learn more about the new font “Dyslexie”:

What problems are you trying to solve today?  

12,000 Books Donated to Military Families via the Now You’re Thinking! Campaign

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Now You’re Thinking! campaign to donate books to military families via Pearson Foundation and We Give Books: http://wegivebooks.org.

We are proud to announce that thanks to your help, we have donated nearly 12,000 books to three phenomenal charities that benefit military families: The Mission Continues, Pat Tillman Foundation, and United Through Reading.

For each of the children’s books you read online, we donated one hardcover or paperback book to one of these charities.  Whether you read one book or 1,000 books for the campaign, we are eternally grateful.  You made a difference!

Thanks to your support, United Through Reading will be able to provide more options for soldiers who want to videotape themselves reading a book to send to their children back home.  The Pat Tillman Foundation will donate the books to community centers and libraries near military bases, and The Mission Continues will use the books to rehabilitate a community center or library through one of their amazing service projects.

As we’ve noted before, reading to your children consistently at a young age creates a foundation for future critical thinking skills.  Each book you read online for the Now You’re Thinking! campaign will help support children’s literacy and critical thinking ability.  Thank you so much for your support!


Panera Bread- Feeding the Needy by Thinking Differently

If you’ve visited the Panera Bread location in Clayton, MO, Portland, OR, or Dearborn, MI, you might have noticed something strange about the menu.  There are no prices. 

nonprofitx largeThat’s right, no set prices for menu items.  These 3 locations are actually non-profit community cafes called Panera Cares where customers choose what they would like to pay.

If you have money to spare, you can pay more than the typical price for your meal, but if you have nothing to offer you can still eat.  The cafe is not a “soup kitchen,” though, it is a way for members of the community to help one another when in need.  If someone cannot pay at all, they are not denied a meal, but they are urged to donate their time. They are also using the store as a way provide job/skills training to disadvantaged youth.

The 3 locations were chosen strategically.  They were placed in reasonably affluent neighborhoods with access to public transportation, which has allowed for a diverse clientele.

At these 3 locations, Panera Bread Foundation has found that about 20% of people pay more than the retail price for their meal while 20% pay less.  About 60% of people pay roughly the original retail value.  Within a few months of the first store opening, Panera Cares turned a profit (which they reinvest in skills training).

Who would have thought that removing the price from a menu would result in people paying more than the item is worth?  This is a great example of an organization thinking differently about how to approach a problem like feeding the needy.

Panera already donates between $100-150 Million in products each year by donating their “less fresh” baked goods to charitable organizations.  The Panera Cares cafe is just one more example of how this organization continues to take care of the community through healthy meals, discounted or free items, and skills training.

Kudos to Panera for “thinking differently.

How can you make a difference today?

(image source credit to Tim A. Parker of USA Today)

Read a Children’s Book Online to Support the Pat Tillman Foundation

The story of Pat Tillman is one familiar to most Americans.  A man who was selfless, brave, and honorable.  A man who gave up a lucrative career and future with the NFL to serve his country and paid the ultimate price.  If you’ve read any of the stories about Pat Tillman from his friends and family, you know that he was anything but ordinary.  He was the kind of man who did things because he wanted to, and not because he wanted to receive recognition, praise, or awards.

He put the interests of others ahead of his own, and even in death his legacy continues through the Pat Tillman Foundation.  In 2004, the family and friends of Pat Tillman created the foundation as a way to honor his life and continue his service.  They are focused on providing educational support and resources to veterans, soldiers, and families of service members.  Since 2004, the Foundation has given away $2.2 Million in scholarships alone to the Tillman Military Scholars.

There are a few ways to support the Pat Tillman Foundation.  One is to donate to the organization online here:  http://www.pattillmanfoundation.org/donate/.  You can also text Tillman to 5-0-5-5-5 to donate $10.

In addition, you can support the Pat Tillman Foundation’s educational support programs by participating in the Now You’re Thinking! campaign to donate 10,000 books to military families.

All you need to do is read as many free online children’s books as you can at http://wegivebooks.org/nyt.  Make sure you select the Now You’re Thinking! campaign!  Here’s a quick video that shows how easy it is to donate a book:  http://youtu.be/wYReetQVKKo

There are only 5 days left to participate in this campaign, so please join the campaign today and read a book on behalf of the Pat Tillman Foundation!

Support The Mission Continues By Reading an Online Children’s Book

If you watch the news enough, you may be convinced that today’s soldiers enlist in the military only for the educational/financial benefits and often return from duty unable to return to “normal” life due to post traumatic stress disorder or physical injuries.  If you hold that viewpoint, you haven’t seen the amazing work done through The Mission Continues.

The Mission Continues was established based on the belief that one single characteristic is universal among soldiers- a desire to serve.  When soldiers return from deployment they still have that same core desire to serve their country in some way that makes a difference.  These young men and women are leaders.  They sacrificed for their country while on active duty and plan to continue making America stronger once they return home.  The Mission Continues provides a place for those soldiers to organize and serve their community through service projects.

In addition, The Mission Continues provides the opportunity for civilians to volunteer alongside soldiers so they can interact and get to know today’s soldier as well as thank them for their service.  Since its founding in 2007, The Mission Continues has completed 302 service projects across the country.  These projects often honor a fallen soldier and provide the opportunity for civilians and soldiers alike to preserve the memory of those who have given their lives for our freedom.

If you would like to volunteer to support one of the service projects through The Mission Continues, click here.

Also, you can support their organization through the Now You’re Thinking! campaign to donate 10,000 books so they can restock libraries, schools, and community centers in need.

All you need to do is read as many free online children’s books as you can at http://wegivebooks.org/nyt.  For every book you read, we will donate a book on your behalf.  Make sure you select the Now You’re Thinking! campaign!  Here’s a quick video that shows how easy it is to donate a book:  http://youtu.be/wYReetQVKKo

Help Support U.S. Soldiers Read to Their Children

With only 5 days left to participate in the Now You’re Thinking! campaign to donate children’s books to military charities, we wanted to highlight one of the great organizations that will benefit from your support- United Through Reading.

Last week, the authors of Now You’re Thinking! had the honor of meeting many U.S. soldiers at BWI airport’s USO office and handed out free autographed copies of their book.  Heather Ishikawa, John Maketa, and Judy Chartrand honored the soldiers who had just returned home and thanked those soldiers who were preparing for their next deployment.  They were also able to see many soldiers take advantage of the United Through Reading program in person.

With United Through Reading, soldiers who are deployed have the opportunity to read a children’s book to a video camera and have that video tape sent to their children at home.  The program provides the opportunity for families to stay connected through the power of reading, while children are comforted by seeing images of their parent read aloud.  Since it was founded in 1989, United Through Reading has connected over 1 Million parents and children through reading.

While meeting with the United Through Reading team, we met one soldier who was getting ready to record a book for his daughter.  He said “When I kissed her goodbye she asked if I could read her one more bedtime story tonight. I guess now I’ll be able to do that.”

Pearson and the authors of Now You’re Thinking! couldn’t be more proud to support such an amazing organization.  Our campaign hopes to donate 10,000 more books to the United Through Reading library so that more children will be able to watch their parent read aloud to them despite being deployed.

Want to help?

All you need to do is read as many free online children’s books as you can at http://wegivebooks.org/nyt.  Make sure you select the Now You’re Thinking! campaign!  Here’s a quick video that shows how easy it is to donate a book:  http://youtu.be/wYReetQVKKo

Win a Free Copy of the Book Now You’re Thinking! Here’s How to Win!

By now you’ve heard about the newest critical thinking book on bookshelves- Now You’re Thinking!

Now you have a chance to win a free copy of the book for yourself!  We will give away 20 free copies of the book Now You’re Thinking! to some of the gracious supporters of our We Give Books campaign!

Here’s how to enter:

1)  Go to http://wegivebooks.org/nyt and create a login.

2)  Join the “Now You’re Thinking! Campaign” and read free children’s books online (for each book you read, we will donate one book to a great military charity).  Here’s a quick video that shows how easy it is to participate:  http://youtu.be/wYReetQVKKo

3)  Read 20 or more books under the Now You’re Thinking! Campaign.

4)  Use your mouse cursor to hover over your username in the upper right hand corner of the screen.  That will show how many books you’ve read for the Now You’re Thinking campaign.  Take a picture of that information and post it on the Now You’re Thinking! Facebook page (or email it directly to breanne@nowurthinking.com).


5)  On Saturday, October 1st, we will hold a drawing and send a free copy of Now You’re Thinking! to 20 lucky individuals who entered the drawing by showing us they read 20 or more books for the Now You’re Thinking! campaign!

It’s that simple!  Doing the good deed of participating in this charitable campaign may pay off with a free copy of Now You’re Thinking!

So, how many books have you read for the campaign so far?

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Decisions: Khan Academy

Have you ever tried to help a sibling, child, or friend with their homework?  Salman Khanwas asked to help his cousin Nadia with her math problems in 2004, and he turned that simple request into a non-profit organization that has helped 38 million YouTube viewers worldwide.

Salman is a 33 year old from New Orleans who just wanted to help his cousin and other family members learn math.  Before I talk about his “Extraordinary Decision” I should be clear that I don’t consider Salman “ordinary” in any traditional sense of the term.  He received a perfect score on the math section of the SAT’s, holds degrees in mathematics, electrical engineering, and computer science in addition to an MBA from Harvard.  He’s wicked smart! However, he was an average person in the sense that he was holding down a full time job and he just wanted to help his cousin learn how to solve math problems.

Salman began remotely tutoring his cousin online and over time realized it would be more efficient to record his lessons and post them on YouTube.  As the popularity of his videos grew, he realized the need for “free education” provided in a simple, direct, and relaxed approach.  Today, Salman has produced over 2,000 ten-minute videos on YouTube ranging from elementary school mathematics to college level calculus (where was this when I was in undergrad?).  He averages 35,000 hits per day and has big plans for the future of Khan Academy?  Monetization, right?


Khan has received several offers to sell his videos and the Khan Academy and turned each one down.  The organization itself is a non-profit.  Khan could likely retire today based on the offers he has received.  Google has even contributed $2 Million to translate the videos into additional languages.  The possibilities are endless.  Individuals in the most remote areas of the world can receive world-class tutoring with the click of the mouse.  It’s amazing.

As if the story isn’t extraordinary enough already, consider the fact that Salman has been named one of Fortune Magazine’s “Top 40 under 40″ (a prestigious list of rising entrepreneurs) and even Bill Gates said he uses the Khan Academy to teach his kids.

What I find truly extraordinary is his perspective on selling Khan Academy:

“I’ve been approached several times, but it just didn’t feel right. When I’m 80, I want to feel that I helped give access to a world-class education to billions of students around the world.”

As far as his long-term vision, he says:

“I see Khan Academy becoming the world’s first free, world-class virtual school where anyone can learn anything–for free.

The videos are just part of the vision. We hope to build out the adaptive software to cover all the topics that the videos cover. We also intend to develop simulation games to give more nuanced and applied understanding of concepts.”

I am amazed and inspired by Salman Khan’s brilliance, innovation, and philanthropy.

Salman Khan decided to think differently, and he is changing the world.

How did you make a difference in the world today?


A Big Thank You To Our Hero- “RayJ”

You may be wondering who RayJ is.

No, we’re not referring to the actor/singer/reality TV star, we’re referring to the “RayJ” who has read a whopping 200 books online at http://wegivebooks.org/nyt.  Thank you, RayJ!  You have single-handedly given 200 hardcover or paperback books to great military charities that will in turn use those books to support U.S. soldiers’ families.

How many books have you helped donate to The Mission Continues, United Through Reading, and Pat Tillman Foundation through the Now You’re Thinking! We Give Books campaign?

You can see the Top Readers here:  http://www.wegivebooks.org/campaigns/nyt.

Remember, you can read as many online children’s books as you want at the Now You’re Thinking campaign, and for each one you read, we will donate a book on your behalf to one of the 3 military charities listed above.  Read one today…read 20 today….or be like RayJ and read 200 today!

Our goal is to give away 30,000 books to military families, and we need your help to meet that goal!

Will you commit to reading a book for Now You’re Thinking today?










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