Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

July 16, 2015

Abundance Juice ala Jeff Walker

He was publishing a free investing newsletter in the 1990s. The owner of a competing website emailed him, asking to know how he created stock market charts displayed on his site. And these charts were his site's only unique differentiators.

Should he give away his advantages so easily?

Jeff Walker reasoned with himself thus:

... if I had figured it out, he would certainly be able to. And why put him through the day of tedious trial-and-error that I went through to learn how to do it?

Frank Collar, the rival site owner, in turn, offered to help Jeff publish a paid newsletter. 

Abundance-based mindset or scarcity-based mindset, your choice to make.

Foresight ala Jeff Walker

Elsewhere I've read that at extreme high speed, race car drivers "drive for the daylight," ( meaning they get their orientation from the far horizon ) and "drive through their windshields."

Here's a similar idea by Jeff Walker in "Launch," page: 151.

... when you're on a bike hurtling down a steep mountain single track, you dont' want to look at the trail directly in front of your wheel. That's a recipe for disaster. It means you'll always be reacting at the last second. Sooner or later you'll come to an obstacle where you won't be able to react quickly enough.

Therefore, the author advises: extend your vision as far out as possible. Look beyond any corner/bend. Look through or above trees that may be blocking your view.

Jeck Welch, of GE, once remarked that all successful CEO's have sort of a sixth sense that help them "see what is around the corner."

All great brains think alike? ;-)

Caveman Hardcore Inventing

"Hardcore Inventing" written by Robert Yonover, the inventor of RescueStreamer now deployed in all navies and air forces of the world, contains extremely inspiring ideas for entrepreneurial innovators.

After Peter Drucker's "Innovation and Entrepreneurship," we all know entrepreneurial innovation must be "simple".

How simple?

According to the authors, it should be ape-level, caveman-level simple.

In their primitive conditions, our primitive ancestors innovated "quickly" as their survival depended on it. They used only "materials at hand" and scavenge these resources by "carefully observ[ing] [their] surroundings".

July 15, 2015

Lack Of Imagination -- Neuroticism Declines with Age

Actually I don't really know "Neuroticism " even as an English word. I just take it to mean a combination of nervousness, paranoia and superstition.

I stumbled upon the Big Five of Personality- OCEAN : Openness to experience, Conscientiousness Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism, and had to look up on its technical definition.

Wikipedia defines it as

Neuroticism: (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident). The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control and is sometimes referred to by its low pole, "emotional stability".

I read around on the web and found some articles claim that neuroticism declines with one's age.

Even Wikipedia claims in one article that

Males however, tend to gradually decrease in Neuroticism from childhood to adolescence into adulthood.

I don't want to call this lack of imagination or perspective.

I prefer to call this lack of experience or lack of memory/recall.

Haven't they seen old people, both genders, become more afraid of falls, strangers, loud noises, various real or imaginary ailments as they grow old?

July 11, 2015

Entrepreneurship is not a silver bullet for the economy. Technology is not a silver bullet for the productivity ...

Entrepreneurship is not a silver bullet for the economy.

Technology is not a silver bullet for the productivity of the economy.

You are right.

Henry Ford — 'Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.'

Use Of Imagination --- Fast Track Slow Lane

Space shuttles explode. Once in a while.

Bridges collapse. Once in a while.

Trains go slow. Once in a while.


Causes could be

Something Else

Lack Of Imagination -- Robots and Human Pets

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says humans will be robots' pets

When Robots Rule the World

But why would a robot want to have a pet? And if it did want one, why would it choose a human? We would just be way too high maintenance, ...

No other species on this planet keeps a creature from another species as a pet. When was the last time you saw a giraffe taking a tortoise for a walk? Or a gorilla keeping a white mouse for companionship?

I suspect Mr Wozniak has lost the plot somehow. ...  "I got this idea (about robots taking over) a few years ago, and so I started feeding my dog fillet steak and chicken every night because 'do unto others'."

Now this really is a bit rich, coming from a man whose company treats many of its Asian workers with scant regard. If Mr Wozniak were a "do unto others" person, he would surely make sure that the workers in, for example, the factories that manufacture Apple products in China were treated more humanely.

Lack of Imagination --- Beating Computers and Software

The New Silk Road,  Hardly an oasis, Kazakhstan turns geography to advantage as China builds a “New Silk Road”
Nov 15th 2014

As Chinese manufacturers move inland, getting their products to European markets has become more complicated. The journey back to the coast and halfway around the world by sea takes up to 60 days—an eternity for the latest iPads and other “fast fashion” products. Kazakhstan offers a backdoor route. Trains from Chongqing in south-west China to Duisburg in Germany, 10,800 kilometres (6,700 miles) via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland, supposedly take just 14 days.

Computers will think and decide like this:

days_on_route_1 = 60
days_on_route_2 = 14

if days_on_route_2 < days_on_route_1

Humans, especially those well-versed in Chinese culture, on the other hand, may have read Sun Tzu and they may know better.

July 9, 2015

Some Exams We Prepare for at EssayKKN

Singapore    JC/ GCE A     GP    Essay 

Aims of this exam : Future-ready skills such as "argumentation, communication, critical thinking and writing skills"... "challenges and opportunities present in the 21st century" ... "the realities of the world ... the aspirations of humanity"

Deliverables : 500 to 800 words in 90 mins. Only 1 out of about 12 essay titles!

Marking/Grading: Total=50; Language=20; Content=30

Singapore    GCE O     English    Essay, Free Writing 

Aims of this exam : "to use accurate and consistent spelling, grammar and vocabulary," "to generate and select ideas for writing and representing," "to develop, organise and express ideas coherently and cohesively,"                

Deliverables : 350 to 500 words in about 60 mins. Only 1 out of about 5 essay titles!

Marking/Grading: Total=30; Language=?; Content=?        

IELTS     Writing    Data Description, Essays, Letters

Aims of this exam : Task 1 (Academic): Can you describe information presented in graph, table, chart or diagram etc and present the description in your own words? Task 2 (Academic): Can you formulate and develop a position in relation to a given question or statement, providing evidence, examples, and reasoning? Task 1 (General): Can you respond to a given problem with a letter requesting information or explaining a situation?  

Deliverables : Task1 : 150 words in 20 mins. 1 out of 1 given topic!

Deliverables : Task2 : 250 words in 40 mins. 1 out of 1 given topic!

Marking/Grading:Out of 9 according to these requirements: Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Vocabulary, Grammatical Range and Accuracy.

Singapore    PSLE     English    Essay, Continuous Writing   

Aims of this exam : "generate and select relevant ideas, organising and expressing them" nicely, "use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation," "use a variety of vocabulary appropriately, with clarity and precision"

Deliverables : 150 words or more in about 50 mins. 1 out of about 3 essay titles!

Marking/Grading:Total=40; Language=?; Content=?

Timeless Essay RootOutlines

Persuasive or Argumentative

What is the topic about? Can you define terms, vocabulary, concepts?

What are the sides to the argument? For, against, integration/synthesis/combination, transcending, or your own unique point of view?

What is your stand, for or against ?.

Show pros and cons of each side.

Show sound reasoning, valid logic, reasonable conclusion.

Show solid evidence. statistics, quotes and examples. solid facts, and undeniable examples as proof.

Finish strong. End convincingly.

"Persuasive" means trying to persuade readers towards your case, and to change the reader's perspective.

Sample: Should cigarette smoking be banned?

Absolutely. Many people die from lung cancer and heart disease each year from smoking. So I honestly think it should be banned and I'm 13 years old. My grandfather died of lung cancer about 6 years back and it just causes a great sense of denial and emptiness if you lose someone close at the hands of nicotine.


It can look a lot like a debate between friends.

What issue, theme, idea or concept are you explaining to your intended audience?

To make things clear: make use of comparison and contrast, definition, example, cause and effect.

Make use of evidence, proof, facts and reasoning to back up your thesis statement.

Analytical Essay is a type of an Expository Essay. But it has more depth, more balance and more perspectives. It examine many specifics.

Sample: How to download HD or MP3 from the home page?

To do this, you need to download a free program called Ummy Video Downloader. Installation instructions can be found here. After you have installed the extension, you will see a "Download" button under each video. Click it and select "HD via Ummy" or "MP3 via Ummy". Attention! This method is only available to Windows XP/Vista/7/8 users.


Just reuse the structure of any famous classic story.e.g. Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aesop's Fables, etc.

What characters are there in your story?

What is the setting?

How does the plot unfold?

Involve the reader by making the story as vivid as possible.


Aesop Fable. Any short story or a novel. Walt Disney stories. Tom and Jerry, Mickey Mouse, Snow White


What thing are you describing? Paint a picture with words, in your reader's mind. Makes the story or image seem clearer and more real to the reader.

Show, through the use of colorful words and sensory details, not tell.

Appeal to senses of sight, sound, smell, touch/ texture, taste.

Specific details alone are not enough. Give us information that we can easily grasp and perhaps empathize with. Evoke emotions and feelings. Help readers connect with you on an emotional level as they read. Appeal to the reader's emotions, with a result that is highly evocative. Make sure your readers gain a vivid impression imbued with your emotion or perspective.

Your choice of details, your choice of words are clues to your feelings about the thing you are describing.

Sample:  What does an owl look like?

Owls have short, thick bodies, strong, hooked beaks, and powerful feet with sharp claws, or talons. Most owls have feathers on their legs and toes.  The feathers protect them from  the cold. There are tufts of feathers that stick up like ears on an owl's face.  But they aren't ears at all!  In fact, nobody knows what they are for.  How strange. An owl's large ear openings are on the sides of its head.  The stiff feathers around the eyes act like an antenna.  They reflect sound toward the ear openings. The owl has a curved beak. The eyes are very large.  These eyes point forward, unlike the eyes of most birds.  For this reason owls can watch an object with both eyes at the same time.

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We will even teach you how to find or make new ones all by yourself!

We don't waste time teaching what you already know.

We find out your natural strengths and help these strengths come to the center brilliantly.

We have analyzed the types of writing for PSLE and their marking schemes. This insight helps us cut short your kid's study time drastically.

Our speciality is never running out of ideas.

Your brain cannot shrink to its original size once you study with us even for a few hours!

RootOutline: Perspectives and Framing, Introduction, Body, Conclusion

RootOutline: Perspectives and Framing

What do you know about the reader or audience? Their background knowledge, their assumptions, their points of views?

Can you pinpoint shared interests and goals? Can you highlight common grounds?

Can you relate your viewpoint to theirs?

RootOutline: Introduction

Start the story in an interesting way.
Tell them what your going to say? Or be coy and just make a few hints to whet their curiosity?
Make an outline of things you are going to say?
Go straight into the heart of the matter?.

RootOutline: Body

Details and more details.
Examples, dialogs, conversations, actions and movements.
Comparisons and contrasts. Similarities and differences.
Essence and minor trivias

RootOutline: Conclusion

A finality, a closure? Can the reader feel that things have come to a completion? Nothing more to happen?

Invention in Essay Writing

According to the canons of rhetoric, there are 5 parts or steps in rhetoric.
  1. Invention
  2. Arrangement
  3. Style
  4. Memory
  5. Delivery
Invention means knowing what to say, having ideas and visions. It covers creativity, brainstorming, perspective-taking and perspective-making, reframing.

This kind of skill is essential in any subject or career: liberal arts, social sciences or any hard core science.

Our speciality is never running out of ideas.

Your brain cannot shrink to its original size once you study with us even for a few hours!

Self-Belief in Essay Writing

Believe you are creative and brimming with ideas. Assume you already have enough knowledge about this essay, this topic.

If you still feel clueless, keep faith. Keep believing that you know lots of things about this topic but you are unaware of your own knowledge.

It is very likely that you don't yet see how to relate your own knowledge about the world to this essay topic. 

Reading List at EssayKKN

Read them carefully.

Just as we selected merely "Twelve Essays to Make Any Exam Easy, from 2,000 Years of Examples,"  we got this short list from hundreds of available books on writing and essay-writing in particular.

Thinking Creatively in Essay Writing

Let's be honest, frank and lazy. Why do we need to sweat our brains to write at all?

The very first of the five canons of Rhetoric is "invention", which means having good ideas to express.

Cassius Longinus on The Sublime listed five sources that produce sublimity or greatness in writing. The very first one is “vigor of mental conception.” Lifeless, feckless ideas, stories cannot and will not shake, grip, capture any hearts or minds.

Here come a few short sets of practical, battle-tested methods to get inspirations:
  1. Think of opposites.
  2. Make a matrix of attributes of the thing you want to have ideas about.
  1. Use 3 random nouns.
  2. Use random words, pictures or objects.
  3. Combine them in any random ways.
  1. Invite Sherlock Holmes, Andrew Carnegie etc and ask for their ideas.
  2. Imagine you are that thing.
  3. Imagine you are at that place.
  4. Imagine that thing has already happened. How do you feel now?
  1. Speed write. Write without any thought or plan. Preferably with your non-dominant hand!

Twelve Essays to Make Any Exam Easy, from 2,000 Years of Examples

There are only four types of essays : Narrative, Expository, Argumentative, Descriptive, NEAD for short. If you write just 3 essays for each type sincerely, honestly and methodically, meticulously and in-depth, you will do well for any type of essay in any type of examination.


  1. A memorable lesson of leadership that I learned in high school
  2. The first time I realized I was in love
  3. The first time I failed an exam


  1. Learning a craft
  2. Stereotypes
  3. Making good decisions in life


  1. Should smoking be declared illegal?
  2. Is bullying natural?
  3. Should the death penalty be abolished?


  1. A dream I could never forget
  2. When robots take over all our jobs
  3. My favorite movie theater

Common Signal Words in Academic Writing

Writing Better Essays by Chris Baker and Ross Vermeer

Common signal words used in academic writing, page-30 

words that signal an additional point:
  moreover, in addition, and, also, additionally, furthermore, as well

words that signal an effect or consequence:
   as a result, thus, consequently, therefore, so

words that signal stages in an sequence:
  first, then, next, lastly,  finally

words that signal an example: for example,
  for instance, such as

words that signal a conclusion or summary:
  in short, in conclusion, to summarize, to sum up

words that signal similarity:
  similarly, in the same way, likewise, equally

words that signal difference: however,
  in contrast, but, yet, nevertheless,  though

words that acknowledge an alternative or contrasting idea or opinion:
  while, although, despite, in spite of

July 8, 2015

IELTS Task1 Graphs

Writing Better Essays by Chris Baker and Ross Vermeer

Describing Visual Materials, page-56-58

The following graph shows levels of corporate information technology expenditure in the USA from 1960 to the early years of the 21st century. As you can see,there was a dramatic increase in IT expenditure in the late 1990s...

Subject                             Verb                               Object
The following graph          represents/illustrates        an increase in...
The chart below               shows/depicts                 changes in...
Figure 1.2                      highlights                       the rate of...

Vocabulary for describing trends and data
Noun phrase                                 Verb                      Adverb or adverbial clause
Levels of investment                       rose                  significantly during this period.
The percentage of...                        fell                   sharply/steadily.
Government spending                      continued           at this rate.

Adjectives                                    Nouns
A sharp/sudden/marginal          rise/increase
A slight/continuous                  decline/reduction/fall
An unexpected                       fluctuation

Sentence Style Beyond Basic: Yitzhak Rabin

Three Ways to Go beyond Tough-Guy Kernel Predictive Sentences, page-44

Building Great Sentences by Brooks Landon

  1. Add conjunctions or connectives to it.
  2. Add subordinates to it.
  3. Add modifiers to it.

Brainy Tough-Guy-Farmer Style

Elements of Expression by Arthur Plotnik, page 112

Some scholars believe that over-use of kernel/basic predicative sentences is suitable only to uneducated farmers, do-or-die Rambo's, bounty-hunting Clint Eastwood's and so on.

Then what about this extract of speech by Yitzhak Rabin condemning settlers who sanction murder:

"You are not part of the community of Israel. You are not part of the national democratic camp which we all belong to in this house, and many of the people despise you. You are not partners in the Zionist enterprise. You are an foreign implant. You are an errant weed. Sensible Judaism spits you out. You placed yourself outside the wall of Jewish law. You are a shame on Zionism and an embarrassment to Judaism."

You cannot say the speaker here is under-feeling, under-thinking, under-calculating or under-sophisticated. His sentences are simple, even his words are. But the speech as a whole does not sound simplistic. Why?

Four Principles for Cumulative Sentences

Building Great Sentences by Brooks Landon

Four Principles for Cumulative Sentences, page 58-63

  1. Add
  2. Add direction of modification or direction of movement
  3. Downshift in levels of abstraction
  4. Add greater texture of density of information.

Importance of Processing Information or Imagination

Building Great Sentences by Brooks Landon

Importance of Processing Information page-123-125

Writers should "reveal their distinctive individuality, their personality as sound thinkers, through their writing." They need to present information to readers, but they should also show how they "process" the info they are sharing with their readers.

Writers devalue themselves whey they operate like "a security camera in a convenience store."

One supreme goal of writing is to "reveal the nature of the writer's mind at work, a process in which the writer wants readers to value the writer's thoroughness,accuracy and logic, but also writer's unique way of looking at and understanding the world." Stop writing like "an unthinking and unfeeling security camera."

Look at the opening sentence of Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Sharer"

On my right hand there were lines of fishing stakes resembling a mysterious system of half-submerged bamboo fences, incomprehensible in its division of the domain of tropical fishes, and crazy of aspect as if abandoned forever by some nomad tribe of fishermen now gone to the other end of the ocean; for there was no sign of human habitation as far as the eye could reach.

The narrator has "a very active imagination, and loves to use it to make stories out of what he sees."

If you are endowed with a fertile imagination flaunt it for the benefit of the world !!!

Sincerity First

Elements of Expression by Arthur Plotnik

Sincerity, page 115, 183

  1. Use anything, say anything only when, only because you truly feel them inside.

  2. "The cunning use of figures arouses a peculiar suspicion in the hearer's mind,a feeling of being deliberately trapped and misled. That is why the best use of a figure of speech is when the figure goes unnoticed." ---- Longinus

  3. "False enthusiasm is a display of passion, hollow and untimely, where none is needed ... For writers are frequently carried away by artificial emotions of their own making which have no relation to the subject matter. Like drunkards, they are beside themselves, but their audience is not ... " ---- Longinus, page 110

  4. Don't use quotations simply because it is easy to find them online. "A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool" --- Joseph Roux

  5. Study with sincere feelings. Savor, chew on it, not wolf down. Sip, not gulp down. Feed, let it sink to the very fibers of your inner core. Your style will be changed forever.

Wake-up Images and Why Shakespeare?

Wake-up Images

Elements of Expression by Arthur Plotnik, page 101

"The Chinese yak is a lovely long-haired animal, like a cow on its way to the opera." Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux.
"The startling and amazing is more powerful than the charming and persuasive ..." To be convinced is within your control. Amazement is beyond your control. ---- Longinus, page 110
"A camel is a race horse designed by a committee."

Why Shakespeare?

Elements of Expression by Arthur Plotnik, page 7

Average American commands 20,000 words, and about 4 minutes of attention.
Shakespeare used about 18 000 words, and has gained four centuries of attention.

Impressionistc Overview of Cassius Longinus

Elements of Expression by Arthur Plotnik, page 110

  1. "five sources most productive of great writing ... vigor of mental conception ... strong and inspired emotion" word choices, word arrangement, and rhetorical devices.
  2. "The startling and amazing is more powerful than the charming and persuasive ..." To be convinced is within your control. Amazement is beyond your control.
  3. "Those who aim at greatness try to escape the charge of feeble aridity and are somehow led into turgidity,believing it 'a noble error to fail in great things'"
  4. "... amplification [occurs when] .. fine, well-rounded passages succeed one another, increasing the effect at every step ... Greatness implies distinction, amplification implies quantity; the former can exist in a single thought, the latter always involves length and a certain abundance."

Entertaining Fluff-Free Guide to Better Essay Writing

How is an essay graded in whatever exam?
  1. Ideas: relevant, sound, fresh, deep?
  2. Sentence Variety: length, pattern/structure, rhythm
  3. Word Variety: length, difficulty, pattern/structure, idiomaticity.
  4. Paragraph Variety:length, pattern/structure, rhythm
  5. Rhetorical and figurative devices.

In short, to do well with school essays, first have good ideas and second, use good language.

Then, "good ideas" is a matter of minutes if you are a natural born trickster. You will always have interesting or reasonable things to say, whatever tight spot you are in. Even if you are not born that way, you can acquire a good bag of tricks in a matter of days.

But "good language" is a matter of months or years. You cannot "experiment" your language use in exam time.

Let's see what happens when you attempt to experiment with language and fail. In real-life, such errors are amusing but in exams, it's altogether a different matter.

Let's begin with Sentence Variety. What is wrong with the following:
  • We are interested of painting.
  • This is the story what our neighbor told us.
  • No matter which she says, they are not convinced.

Will you be rewarded for your adventurism, or be punished for your daring but sloppy grammar? Be honest with yourself.

Now let's do experiments with Word and Idiom:
  • Be very careful in these markets. A miss is as good as a kilo meter.
  • Although the poor girl gave him her heart, the guy left her wickednessly.
  • At the close of the day, what we do for our customers will be recognized.
Experiments with Paragraph Variety, and Experiments with Rhetorical and Figurative Devices are left to our readers for exercise.

The gist: we can wing or bluff with Ideas. But not with Language: not with Sentence Structure/Grammar, not with Words and Idioms, not with Paragraph Organization, etc.

How We Provide Feedback at EssayKKN --- 4

IELTS, Task2

Question: Development in technology has brought various environmental problems. Some believe that people need to live simpler lives to solve it. Others, however, believe that technology is the way to solve these problems. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

[View1= Live simpler. View2= Use more techno.]

[P1 = ] It is true that recent advances in technology could create numerous environmental issues. As a result, some environmentalists suggest that people should change the way they live [and live ] as simple as possible to help reduce this. In my opinion, I believe that technology can be applied in various means to safeguard the environment. [You seem to support V2. Whatever V you support is fine. Just state your stand clearly.]

[P2 = ] There are many reasons why many prefer to live in non- luxurious lives in order to reduce environmental problems. Firstly, driving cars inevitably produce toxic fumes which cause air pollution. If people walk instead of using cars, particularly for short distance travel to town, this will save fuels as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Secondly, modern day lifestyle is full of comfort and convenience with availability of various domestic appliances and household electronics. Some green thinkers advice to live a life without these facilities as this would reduce energy consumption which further save[s] the world's limited natural resources. My view is that cars and domestic appliances are not for luxury as they are basic facilities to ensure a good quality of life.

[P3 = ] Despite [the] above arguments, I believe that  technology can also be applied in several means to tackle the environmental damage. One effective solution would be the development of recycling technology. By this means, old glasses, metal and plastic products are being transformed into new forms, which prevent illegal dumping of waste and contamination of safe water supply. Another possible solution would be the latest development in renewable energy farms. For example, use of solar panels and other methods of renewable energy production which protect natural resources to be depleted in a long run.

[P4 = ]  In conclusion, although some people think a simple living in order to reduce environmental impacts caused by using modern technology, I strongly believe that application of these new technologies can certainly safeguard our planet.

[P2 = home technos; P3= recycle+ solar etc. Analyzed this this way, seen this way, you will agree that the easiest, safest way to increase your score is to have more ideas. What about pollution at land, in sea, in air? noise? Their teach solutions. ]  

[Open intro more strongly, firmly. Finish even stronger.]

[Thank you. I'm just to busy right now. I am writing code to answer such question automatically ;-) ]

How We Provide Feedback at EssayKKN --- 3

IELTS/ Academic

"Technology"  Development in technology has brought various environmental problems. Some believe that people need to live simpler lives to solve it. Others, however, believe that technology is the way to solve these problems. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

It is undeniable that technology is responsible for damaging the environment in several ways. Although some people think that the best way to address these issues is to live as simple as possible, I believe that breakthrough technology itself can solve these problems. [V1 and V2, you support V2.]

On the one hand, some people argue that the only way to tackle technology-induced environmental problems is by removing the causes of these problems. The main reason is that factories and vehicles produce emissions and exhaust fumes which contribute to global warming. In addition, people are using several kinds of labour-saving devices which consume too much electricity generated from burning fossil fuels. They also point out that  manufacturing technology creates large amount of waste, and throwing away of broken or unwanted electronic devices is also a big issue because most of them contain hazardous materials like lead and mercury which can contaminate land, water and even food chain. Therefore, they think that the most effective solution would be living simply not by producing and using any technology.[ not-so-simple life styles -> production -> wastes -> env problems. So shall we uproot the root cause? Life style as the root of all env evils?]

Nevertheless, I believe that new technology would be the best way to address these environmental problems. Firstly, technology helps us develop and produce new materials and devices that are sustainable and do not harm the environment. For example, introducing electric cars or solar cars would be the most effective way to solve air pollution caused by carbon emission. Secondly, production of electricity from renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, nuclear energy and invention of energy efficient devices could be a solution to save natural resources which are running out in the near future. Finally, using appropriate recycling method and technology to dispose electronic wastes could solve the land pollution problem. [1. new materials and devices 2. new energy 3. recycle. Very good.]

In conclusion, I believe that it is simply unrealistic to get back to the old paths because it can have an extremely negative impact on our living standards. In my opinion, new technologies can help reduce environmental problems caused by technological advances. [You go back to your support of V2. Good, a clear finish.]

[I am happy with your essay. you 'll do well in IELTS. You get about 7.1 band if I am the grader.]
[No problem, so, no solution. Only 2 ways to improve.]

First, have more ideas and compressed them. Say, now you pack 4 suits (1 cause-effect chain in Para2 and 3 way-outs in Para3 ) in 1 suitcase. What if you pack 20 suits instead? Try, the quality will shoot up.

Second, up your style. 1, weed out filler and weak connectives. 2, use more active, energetic verbs, more descriptive, vivid nouns and adjectives.

I will not rewrite this essay b/c it is enough. But next time, I am going to press you on these 2 points: compressed content and vigorous, compact style.
Thank you.


IELTS Task 2
 Q: improvement in health, education and trade are essential for the development of poorer nations. However, the governments of the richer nations should take more responsibility for helping the poorer nations in such areas.

To what extent do you agree or disagree.

[question analysis == 
health+education + trade for poorer nations.
richer nations take more responsibility]

[ Ideas that crop up in mind right away (1) What about self-help? (2) No saint. Win-win only will be sustainable.]

It is undeniable that public services such as healthcare, quality education and business opportunities are important for poor countries to develop in many aspects. While I agree that wealthier States should contribute more to support those areas, I also believe that individual country should take several steps to improve their essential services to citizens.

There are many reasons why I think the rich nations should provide a greater level of support to the countries in need. Firstly, these economically strong nations possess technological advances and human resources to help establish infrastructure. For example, new town plans and road networks could be established in order to provide consumers' demand and free flow of goods within the area. Secondly, there are many trained professionals and experts who could advise and  lead the educational institutions in developing countries. Finally, support money and grants and international investment from richer part of the world can be used in areas to improve literacy rate and unemployment which are common problems facing third world nations.

[It is in their self-interest to help poorer nations. They should do it as a form of investment. ]

Nevertheless, I disagree with the view that poor nations could expect long term comprehensive support from richer nations. Because there are many ways these disadvantaged countries could strive for on their own instead of waiting for more international aids. One effective means is to maintain law and order within the country. By this mean, local and international businesses would find a way to succeed. If there is no political stability, there would be no investment from multinational companies which would fail to create jobs for local people. Another possible means is to open foreign policy as fair and flexible as possible which is highly essential for further establishment of global trade.

[Even in the very high-tech Silicon Valley, companies do not die or live by technology, not by knowledge, not by assets and resources, not by wit and strategy. "Culture eats strategy for lunch," everyone agrees. The same goes for countries. A country where law and order reigns, where justice is served and shown to have been served, where love and self-respect work hand in hand, where dreams materialize in one's life time ... shall not live poor for long whether anyone helps her or not.  So it is in rich countries' self-interest to help such a country. It will go with or without their help! ] 

In conclusion, the richer countries should provide various types of aids to the poor, however, the government of poorer nations also have responsibility to welcome[use] these upcoming international aids [effectively].

How We Provide Feedback at EssayKKN --- 2

University students tend to focus on one specialist subject. However, some people think that universities should encourage students a range of other subjects in addition to the specialist one.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this?

It is sometimes argued that universities should offer a variety of additional subjects to their students rather than providing an academic excellence in one major subject. I completely agree with this view for the following reasons.

The main reason why I think students should learn multidisciplinary areas on top of their main course is that this would certainly broaden their study skills and the scope of knowledge in many ways. Firstly, learning can sometimes be boring if a student focus solely on a same core subject on a daily basis. This may undoubtedly reduce motivation and cause many distractions and unexpected failures in their course works. Secondly, basic concepts of some subjects are interconnected and this could facilitate better understanding and in depth analysis of main courses they are majoring in. Finally, the more the students learn, the greater the concentration and attention to details which could further enrich a student's ability to perform well at actual examinations. 

The other possible reason for studying other subjects along with the main university specialist subject is to improve employability in this modern competitive world. There are many graduates who [are quite hard to] cannot find suitable graduate jobs in recent years. Nowadays, many employers are looking for not only essential criteria but also for desirable qualifications in a job applicant. For example, a graduate in psychology who have additional qualifications in working with young children or special needs is more likely to secure a job than others who only have degree in psychology. That is why, I am not convinced that universities should allow their students to concentrate only on the main specialist subject of choice.

In conclusion, although some university students dedicate to their main specialties, I agree with the idea that tertiary education system should allow students to fulfil their career opportunities  through various additional courses in parallel to specialist subjects.

[Students with a plan/outline also change their minds. But then it means new ideas are better , stronger that the ideas in their original plan. So it's important to have a plan first. Then we can ignore it profitably. ]

[Next time, please also include your outline, eg.
  1. broaden study skills and scope of knowledge
  2. interconnected and depth
  3. exam performance
  4. better chance to get jobs
... ]
Thank you.

"Competing for the same job" Nowadays, more and more older people are competing with younger people for the same jobs. What problems are caused by this situation and what are the solutions?

In recent years, elderly people are increasingly likely to compete with younger generations in the job market. This trend could cause some negative consequences, but there are steps to mitigate these problems by the government and employers. [Here, you should outline the problems and the solutions.]

As both older and younger people are trying for the same post in the work place, several related problems can be anticipated [What are they? This is the Body, no intro, just go straight.]. The serious problem is that there would undoubtedly be increasing unemployment rate and its consequences [This is not a zero-sum game. We can expand the pie for all, both young and old alike. Number of jobs is not fixed. This number is limited ONLY by a society's imagination and drive.]. Some employers might prefer to employ people who are well experienced and who have good decision making and problem solving skills, and there is no doubt that younger people are less likely to get the jobs in such workplaces. In other workplaces, managers do not want to employ elderly people who have lack of modern technological knowledge, which is vital for today’s job market. [Old folks have their own advantages and so do young folks. Employers who have fixed preferences are dumb!!! Just yesterday, I read Warren Buffet: "It is hard to teach old tricks to young dogs" etc.]Consequently, there would be growing age discrimination in the work place which is unfair and also against equal rights.
 Nevertheless, there are potential ways to tackle such problems. Firstly, government should create greater job opportunities for the public. If there were many employment opportunities, people would not definitely need to compete for the jobs. [Job creation is not only the government's duty.] Secondly, government should force employers not to discriminate people according to their age because every body should have access to same employment opportunity. Finally, employers should create appropriate and necessary training opportunities for employees of any age, so that they can have the skills they need for the work place. [Only 3 solutions!??? Entrepreneurship? ]

In conclusion, various measures can be taken to solve the problems that are certain to arise due to increasing competition between older and younger generations in the work force.

(271 words)

When I advised you yesterday, I hadn't read this book. Read very short summaries here on this site.

How We Provide Feedback at EssayKKN --- 1

"Writing Task 2 Some people believe that government should subsidies on fruit and vegetable to make healthy food cheaper. Others think that government should tax unhealthy food. Discuss both views and give your opinion."

[You are improving, great . Now I share with you the Pre-Writing Thinking Technique No . 1. ]

[The question is to choose between A and B.

A= encourage good so that it becomes easier/cheaper for people to do good.

B= punish bad so that it becomes tougher/costlier for people to do bad.

This is mankind's eternal dilemma! So, some wise guy/lady somewhere must have thought this through already. Let's be lazy and pick their brains. ]

[Usually this happens in religions. ]

[And this is not like killing. Every religion says, if you kill other humans, you will be punished this way or that. Here the person concerned is hurting themselves. What have religions said about such self-destructive behaviours, and self-nurturing behaviours? Say, having self-discipline?

How will my God/Goddess reward me if I try to keep promises to myself? How will they reward me if I keep failing is this aspect?]

[And this is about food and health. What have you read about this stuff in newspapers etc? So much, right?]

[So, there must be lots to write about! Cheers! ]

[Healthy foods may be more available with gov subsidies, still people may choose bad diets!!] [This realization swings me to the other unpalatable but more practical option.]

government should subsidise green growers and traders

1 support money from authorities encourage farmers to grow more healthy fruit and vegetables.

2. This increases availability of healthier products, which in turn have positive effect on food prices.

3. For example, government funding on cauliflowers  and cabbage across the county of Lincolnshire helps lower the retail prices compared to those of other counties within the UK.

4. Financial support to green growers to upgrade their traditional farms to modern farming where they can effectively use fertilisers, pesticides and machines.

5. If farmers can grow healthy fruits and vegetables with less cost [CORRECTED here], they can set their selling price low which further promote affordability

6. Government should help healthy growers through mass/ bulk purchase orders straight from the farms, preventing the greedy traders to manipulate the prices along the supply and distribution chains

7. the other effective way is to help schools and poor families with green vouchers. By using those vouchers at participating sellers, customers could buy healthy greens with much cheaper prices while sellers can also reimburse the discounted money from the state. This type of scheme makes healthy greens accessible and affordable to schoolchildren and families in need.

7. I believe that government funded projects could be the main answer to keep the healthy food prices down.

government should tax unhealthy products to make healthy foods cheaper

1. People think that if companies need to pay taxes for unhealthy products, retail prices of those products would inevitably increase.

2. this makes healthy products relatively cheaper than unhealthy foods. And  as a result, people tend to choose more of healthy ones

3. By receiving taxes, governments can support more to green growers

4. Popularity of unhealthy foods would invariably reduce as there will be extra money added to the original cost of a product. For example, taxable cakes and muffins are much more expensive than healthy apples

4. Unhealthy foods have a huge burden on health system. That is why, government should collect tax them . This is the same principle why petrol is taxed as petrol cause environmental pollution

4. Tax money can be used in further development of transport infrastructure which is essential for smooth transportation  across the countries. This may also help to cut down trade prices

5.There is a close link between government tax system and food prices.

6. to pay taxes on products which have detrimental effects on health might be an effective solution to maintain a comparatively lower prices for healthy products as people always looks for the price differences between products rather than health benefits.

[I hate punishment in general, even the ones meted out to bad folks. But here, supply-side "nudges" are unlikely to work. Can we make green food more POPULAR, APPETIZING? If not, the more workable option is taxing unhealthy foods. ]

[My advice is extremely CUSTOMIZED. What I tell you is good only for you, only for now. (1) Your English is good. Just avoid careless mistakes, or check/edit your work in real exams. Thus, I am sure that if you have an idea, you can write it out well. (2) You also seem to have good knowledge.

Thus, I emphasize only "getting ideas" with you. Please be understanding: I don't teach/treat people the same way all the time. ;-)


IELTS/ Task2
"The number of companies that are selling their products across the countries is increasing. Does this phenomenon have more advantages or disadvantages ?"

Disadvantages: threats to local businesses 
Foreign companies spend more money on advertising, sales and marketing
Eg, coca cola over locally produced soft drinks
2. Loss of traditional skills due to availability of ready made goods

1. Employment opportunities 
2. Training opportunities 
3. Companies pay Taxes to be used in essential services
4. Competitive pricing
4. Improve Quality of life through famous luxury brands

It is true that a growing number of international trading companies have expanded their businesses around the globe in this modern world.  Although this trend is associated with some drawbacks, many believe that benefits of such global trade far outweigh its shortcomings.

On the one hand, increasing popularity of international trade causes several disadvantages to local businesses in many ways. Firstly, there could be a financial risk for small companies in a host country. As international Giants can invest more money in sales, marketing and advertising campaigns than domestic companies, local people tend to buy more of foreign products than locally produced ones which might even lead to a bankruptcy and disappearance of family-run businesses. For example, many tend to choose coca cola rather than local soft drinks in many countries. Secondly, some nationalists argue that traditional skills such as weaving, pottery making and cookery skills could also be lost due to increasing availability of  innovative, convenient and attractive products from other countries.

On the other hand, the rising number of companies that generate sales between nations offers many benefits, particularly to a host country. One main advantage is that these new businesses invariably create employment opportunities for resident workers. Both young graduates and experienced adults could obtain valuable job experience and trainings which could further improve their employability elsewhere around the world.Another positive point of this open market economy is that governments can collect  taxes from foreign companies which can effectively  be used in provision of essential public services. In addition, competition between various companies sometimes benefits to consumers in terms of better price, greater quality products and more reliable after-sale services. 

In conclusion, there could be some negative outlooks to the growing  number of international companies, however, this change is undeniably associated with numerous positive impacts on local people.

I can improve this in 2 ways. How do you want me to do it?
First, I can improve it in terms of ideas.  Then it will be MY IDEAS, MY ESSAY. Not yours. To do it yourself, you should learn some thinking tricks. eg.
  1. When trade spreads, civilization+ business practices + technology + knowledge spread too.
  2. Such spread is good for mankind as a whole. But not always good for nation state as there will be winners and losers. We don't have World Government. When Nation A becomes poor and dependent, Nation A's Government and people suffer, not the whole mankind.
  3. Thus protectionism is natural and forgivable.
  4. BUT protectionism has a short expiration date. A nation cannot practise it for ever.  E.g. for how long can Singapore/Myanmar wait before producing their own drugs and medicines, rifles and tanks, etc?

Second, I can improve it in terms of language and very very small thinking tricks. Here I don't use my reading/experience / knowledge. I stick to the student's major outline, but add very small details and improve the language. Just a small example:

your 1st para = " It is true that a growing number of international trading companies have expanded their businesses around the globe in this modern world.  Although this trend is associated with some drawbacks, many believe that benefits of such global trade far outweigh its shortcomings. "

Mine = "A growing number of international trading companies have expanded their businesses around the globe in this modern world. We can get Coke and Pepsi, Toyota and BMX, Lenovo and Samsung in any country on the globe. This trend bring loads of benefits to the host populations such as better prices, better product quality and innovative products. At the same time, this tends pose some serious threats to them as well, such as unemployment, loss of income and declining living standards. "

There are no ends to mind tricks. We/you need to do just  a few ;-)

July 5, 2015

Denial vs Reframing -- Part 2

King Henry of Shakespeare's "Henry V" play, must be an expert either in denial or in reframing. No matter how bad a situation, he saw something good in it. He would even insist that he would be disappointed if the situation changed into something some other character wished for.

Normally, if we pay court to a girl with a foreign tongue, we would wish either that we speak her language better or that she speaks our language better. King Henry is way different from the rest of us. He's always glad with the way things are, right at any moment. He accepted any situation as it was and found his way forward from there.

This is Act 5, Scene 2 of the play.

Ô bon Dieu! Les langues des hommes sont pleines de tromperies.

What says she, fair one? That the tongues of men are full of deceits? 

Oui, dat de tongues of de mans is be full of deceits; dat is de princess. 

The princess is the better Englishwoman.—I' faith, Kate, my wooing is fit for thy understanding. I am glad thou canst speak no better English, for if thou couldst, thou wouldst find me such a plain king that thou wouldst think I had sold my farm to buy my crown. I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say, “I love you.” Then if you urge me farther than to say, “Do you, in faith?” I wear out my suit. Give me your answer, i' faith, do; and so clap hands and a bargain. How say you, lady?

EssayKKN too specializes in teaching reframing and undaunted spirit to young and mature students alike.

Denial vs Reframing -- Part 1

In Henry V | Act 3, Scene 6, the English king's army was vastly outnumbered and the French ambassador was even demanding ransom from the king. The Duke of Gloucester could not help voicing his fear-driven wishes and hopes.

In these lines, King Henry spoke like US Civil War General USS Grant, reframing a desperate situation into something more encouraging.
Go bid thy master well advise himself:
If we may pass, we will; if we be hindered,
We shall your tawny ground with your red blood
Discolor. And so, Montjoy, fare you well.
The sum of all our answer is but this:
We would not seek a battle as we are,
Nor, as we are, we say we will not shun it.
So tell your master.

I shall deliver so. Thanks to your Highness.

I hope they will not come upon us now.

We are in God’s hand, brother, not in theirs.
March to the bridge. It now draws toward night.
Beyond the river we’ll encamp ourselves,
And on tomorrow bid them march away.

EssayKKN specializes in teaching reframing and undaunted spirit to young and mature students alike.

July 4, 2015

Low-risk Aggression at EssayKKN

James Lacey and Williamson Murray's "Moment of Battle: The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World" is a great book. Their recount of Midway naval battle proves a great page-turner.

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz's directive to his subordinate, Admiral Raymond Spruance, caught our fancy in particular. The key instruction here was "calculated risk." In business terms, it means you should not spend a cent if you are not certain that you can earn back more than that cent.

The authors explain that such instruction would be rather constraining to typical commanders, but not to Spruance. They admired Spruance for his imagination, ability and discipline to be aggressive while at the same time, to incur only low risks to his own fleet.

Our team at EssayKKN derive great inspiration from these words. Can we think up and execute low-risk but aggressive and effective actions for customer acquisition? Well, let's see ...

Shall We Pivot with EssayKKN?

T-Direction is a great web app, decidedly simple, just covering two main use cases:

  1. Ask us to write anything. We will send back the finished essay into your Inbox in less than a week.
  2. Write anything and send it to us. Our feedback works just like an X-ray scan.It shows you where you are unforgivably weak, where you can reap big benefits with very small effort.

However, as I wrote in previous posts on this blog, kids apparently hate to write essays, and parents also do not seem to appreciate essay skills undergird many essential life skills.

Anyway, I decide not spend much for customer acquisition.

We still have many great features to do on our todo list:

  1. Let users show their cute pictures.

  2. Let users show off how witty and eloquent and creative they are.

  3. Let users write bite-size.

  4. Let users write as a team.

  5. Let users play educational and yet entertaining games. Turn the dreadful essay into a fun game!

  6. Make the app accessible to mobile phones.
We still have many great technologies to embed into that app:

  1. Can we let a robot teach in place of a human teacher?

  2. Can we let a robot read the essay and feedback sensibly?

  3. Can we let a robot urge on the writer, in place of a human teacher?
Well, our team at EssayKKN know full well that in the 3-D Chess, there is always a good move to make next, and that in the 24-D Universe, there will be many more moves we can make at our leisure and for our pleasure! Enjoy the journey with us.

July 3, 2015

Kids Who Hate Essays Until They Become Generals and Ministers for Kings

Kids who hate essays, hate them until they become generals and ministers for their kings.

Are we exaggerating?

Check with James Lacey and Williamson Murray's "Moment of Battle: The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World." Focus on the Midway naval battle. Focus on how senior Japanese officers over-ruled a junior officer's suggestion/hypothesis.

Check with Hugh White's paper in Patrick M. Cronin's "The Impenetrable Fog of War: Reflections on Modern Warfare and Strategic Surprise." See what the king's ministers do when they don't like to think up new "policy responses"

The kids hate thinking when at schools.

They go on hating thinking when at their king's court.

Well EssayKKN is here to help. Enjoy the ride with us.

July 2, 2015

National Identity, Product Identity, Personal Identity

First I read an article titled "It's Over" in Psychology Today issue of May/June 2015. It is about breakup recovery and contains a sidebar titled "Rejection Relief"  on page 85. Here are the first two, or most important suggestions:

  1. Reconnect with yourself: Who am I? ... How should I spend my time?
  2. Cultivate Self-love: ... being compassionate and gentle with yourself ... kind and forgiving ...

Second, I read about building a national identity. These two readings remind me of what I have kept reading in psychology and branding/positioning.

It's all the same.

When you know who you are, and you are proud of it and you want to continue with it, you get a strong sense of identity.

Such an identity,whether national, organizational or personal ,come from what you stand for (your values), what you want to accomplish (your aspirations) and from how you overcome obstacles.

Soul-searching and identity-seeking always do us good.

When the chips are down, when you are against the wall, as in the breakup article, you only have yourselves to rely upon to re-build your lives. Know yourself, your values and your aspirations to lead a worthwhile life.

Who are you?

What do you stand for?

What do you want to achieve? How do you want to be perceived / remembered?

We at EssayKKN are also thinking about our product identity.