Best Selling Author

Television Producer and Executive

Adjunct Professor at the NY Stern School of Business

Like hunger, you know when you haven’t had enough sleep. We usually don’t get enough sleep on weekdays: a combination of working longer and workplace anxiety.
The only way you are going to get more sleep is to sleep later or go to bed earlier. Now sleeping later is prob¬ably not an option, so if you decide that you are going to sleep earlier, here’s how to make it work.

What are you doing before you go to sleep? You need to pick a time you want to be asleep, then start heading there at least an hour before.

Get a good cue. What’s going to remind you that the wind-down hour has started? Find something that is the reverse of your morning routine. For example, you have to be out of the shower by 10:30.

Turn everything down, lights, noise and even yourself. Start to move more slowly. If you act sleepy, you’ll become sleepy.

Distraction. Use whatever works best for you to detach completely from the day’s events. The goal is to break free of the records re-playing in your head.

Try to avoid television shows that are fast paced. The cutting and scene changes will increase your adrena¬line and wake you up. If you do watch TV, opt for something story based or lulling, like a nature documentary.

If tomorrow seems like an impossible day, write down what you have to do and then leave it. This is one of the most repeated pieces of advice because it works. When you write down your thoughts, you engage more than one portion of your brain in the matter and have a decidedly better feeling of control over events.

There are lots of hypnotic and sleep inducing sounds you can download or buy on CD. They help slow down your brainwaves.

Remember, you’ve had a bad night’s sleep in the past and the world didn’t end. The hardest thing to do is keep yourself from thinking about not sleeping. You do that by thinking of something else—and that’s not easy, but like any exercise, the more you do it, the better you will become.

“How Is Technology Helping Students Now In School As Opposed To When You Were In School? What Advances Have You Noticed While Teaching And The Progress Of Students In Their Field?”

As a professor at NYU, I have observed the biggest impact technology has had is on research time. The internet has dramatically reduced the amount of time that used to be spent digging through publications.

Email has created an efficient supplement to classroom communication, particularly with topical information that can be shared without having to wait until the next class.

While powerful visual tools are now routinely used, they have had the effect of reducing student’s verbal skills and their ability to convey information concisely. The art of selling yourself or your idea in an engaging conversation or fun story needs to be fostered more.

This segment with Darren ran on NBC NY and has over 35,000 hits on YouTube:

How to tell when someone is lying may be one of the most researched topics of all time. I found this out during production of a TV show in which I was trained by the FBI in lie detection. While many people can lie with no nervous tells or galvanic skin response, there are three signs to look for that are common to all liars:

Contradictory head movement. Watch to see if the person is nodding their head when they are saying no, or shaking their head when they are saying yes. Moving our heads to indicate affirmative or negative feedback is deeply subconscious. You’ll often see a political candidate say “Yes, I totally agree with such and such” while they are shaking their head “no.”

Too much detail. We start this one when we’re kids, telling elaborate stories about amazing dogs and invisible people to try avoiding getting in trouble. This habit tends to follow us into adulthood.

Defensive body movement. Crossed legs, an arm across the body, shoulder turned, feet askew—anything that protects the liar. The opposite may also be the case, with a person freezing into an open position to prevent defensive body language.

Remember when you found out there was no Santa, tooth fairy, or Easter Bunny? Oh, and remember when you found out that there was no safe place for your money? I remember the fantasy that if I had $100, the best thing I could do was split it up, so that some of it was in stock, some bonds, maybe the rest in something really cool like cash or gold. Well today the Dow is down, gold is down, and the dollar is down. Tomorrow they’ll all go up. Then the next day they’ll all go down. The explanations make for comical headlines, “Stocks Slide Ahead of Fed” is today’s explanation for the Dow being down a hundred points.

Did you know drug dealers prefer Euros? I mention this out of the blue because as explanations go, this one was pretty good for explaining why the Euro suddenly made a comeback. A box of €500 notes worth a million dollars weighs 4 lbs while a box of $100 bills worth a million dollars weighs 22lbs. But I hear that occupation is a bad way to go.

So it struck me as I was looking at a list of the top grossing movies of all time, 9 of the top 10 were either Sci-Fi or Fantasy. Then I looked at the top 20, and see that 19 or the top 20 are Sci-Fi or fantasy. Keep expanding the list to 50, 46 are sci-fi or fantasy. Now it’s easy to extrapolate that if we could invest in movies, or we ran a studio, it would simply be a matter of only making science fiction and fantasy films, but that would leave out the possibility of bad ones. There could be a lot of bad ones and we wouldn’t be any better off.

The research above, the list, we should assume are just the good ones. By good ones I just mean they’re the ones most people went to see. So let’s see what they have in common. Here are the top 10 all time worldwide gross¬ing movies according to Box Office Mojo (I’m leaving off the list #2 Titanic). Avatar, The Lord of the Rings (Two Tower and Return of the King), Pirates of the Caribbean (Dead Man’s Chest and At the World’s End), Alice in Wonderland, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter (Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince and Sorcerer’s Stone). We didn’t even get to Star Wars but they’re next on the list.

We can see right away from our mythology that all these movies follow the classic Hero’s Journey that Joseph Campbell explained so well. And of the types of journeys, there are two kinds, the one you undertook yourself, and the one that you suddenly found yourself drafted into. Frodo didn’t ask for that ring, Harry Potter was born with a power, Alice fell down the hole and so forth. So the journey the hero didn’t ask for seems the one most people are interested in.

It’s also pretty easy to tell the good guys vs. the bad guys in these movies, and after some bit of struggle, the good guys always win and in doing so make a great contribution to the state of affairs in the world. So now what? The world runs on big business, and there it’s not so easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Or is it?

If we looked at the companies in our 401k, does it seem that some companies have some clear values and others do not? Are some making a contribution to society? Are those that have had great powers put upon them sud¬denly using their powers decently? There are many ways we can chose where we put out money, time and effort. I have learned that the rational approach—being neutral, diversified and getting the advice of experts turned out to be like believ¬ing in Santa. It didn’t work. And if we look back in time with a little honesty, it never really did work.

So I’m taking the lessons I learned from the most successful movies and putting my stock in the sci-fi approach. Because in the time it took to write this, the Dow went from being down a hundred to back up a hundred. The reason? Fed Takes Small Easing Step on Weaker Outlook.