“You must remember this. A kiss is just a kiss.” Those are part of the memorable lyrics in the classic tune As Time Goes By.

Unfortunately, in today’s rush-rush society, we don’t remember much of anything.

At least, that’s the premise of a Sept. 16th NY Times article entitled Britney? That’s All She Rote.

Reporter Jenny Lynn Bader points out that Britney Spears forgetting the words she meant to lip-sync at the MTV Video Music Awards ws not just a monentary brain malfunction, she “joined the absent-minded ranks” of many other Americans who are “products of a culture that does not enforce the development of memory skills.”

The culprits? Bader says, “With cellphones, we don’t even kneed to know phone numbers anymore. With the rise of Web search engines, facts we once kept in our brains are now at our fingertips. Oration and recitation, once staples of the American school system, have largely been phased out.”

That’s exactly what former Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin said the morning after his opening keynote address at this year’s Maui Writers Conference.

The night before, Merwin had enthalled an audience of 1000 people with his lyrical reading of his Pulitzer-prize winning poetry. Merwin, a former resident of New York City, now lives in Maui with his wife Paula, choosing to nurture his creative nature by immersing himself in its tropical environs.

Merwin proved that anything can be a source of poetry as he shared a moving poem about a beloved dog that had gone missing and a poem written about the sound of torrentail rain on their roof. Everyone in the room was completely caught up in his waterfall of words . . . a unique and treasured cultural experience.

The next morning, I had the distinct privilege and pleasure of sharing breakfast with W.S. Merwin and his wife Paula in the presenters’ lounge overlooking Wailea Beach. He is much too humble to talk about this himself, however his wife told me that when they travel abroad, thousands of people walk miles to hear him.

We pondered why poetry seems to be valued so much more in other countries. We conjectured that one of the reasons is that U.S. schools don’t require students to study poetry anymore. Do you remember being assigned a poem and having to recite it from memory in front of your class? I do. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m able to remember hundreds of quotes and recite them on command in my presentations. I’ve had practice.

Comedian Henny Youngman said, “I have a photographic memory. I just haven’t developed it yet.”

Most of us don’t have photographic memories. The good news is, it’s not too late to develop it. The NY Times article claims that, “Contemporary scientists have discovered that memorization exercises can stave off dementia, introducing a new world of neruobics. Memory needs a workout as much as the abs do.”

The next time you see a quote or a short poem that stops you in your tracks, take the time to write it down and commit it to memory.

In my Concentration programs, I share two Focus Pocus secrets to polishing your memory skills (and remembering IS a skill, just like driving a car or playing the piano.)

The first secret is to repeat the quote or poem out loud in an exaggerated, rhythmic phrasing. Remember how we learned our A, B, C’s and nursery rhymes in a cadence? “Jack and Jill . . . went up a hill . . .” When you put words in a beat, you make them easy to repeat.

The second secret is to recite the quote or poem out loud without looking at your “notes” while walking. If you stay seated and repeat the sentence in your head, memorization becomes hard work.

By moving around and reciting the quote or poem out loud, you’re energizing and focusing your attention and aligning your right-left brain. This means you’ll be at your mental best and the physical activity makes this fun.

Furthermore, your ability to recite relevant quotes and provocative poems from memory will spice up your conversations and presentations and keep you mentally sharp. Such a deal.

Were you required to memorize quotes and recite poems in school? Did you dread it? Are you now grateful because quotes and poetry have become an important part of your life? What do you do to keep mentally sharp?

Be one of the first three people to respond with your memory tip or favorite quote or poem . . . and I’ll send you my 1 hour CD on Concentration: Focus Pocus depsite Distractions and Interruptions free.

Or, call 1 800 SAM-3455 for a special discounted You Can Concentrate package which includes my critically-acclaimed book ConZentration (which Stephen Covery called “fascinating”), a quiz to test your concentration skills, and a one hour CD you can listen to in your car or while working out.

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What do Ted Leonsis, Crackberry, and Little MissMatched all have in common?

They’re all been inducted into the 2006 POP! Hall of Fame – which honors individuals and entities that have captured the public’s interest because of their originality. Previous winners have included Freakonomics, Java Jacket, Daddle, and Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.

I believe the best way to corner a niche is to create a niche. And the best way to create a niche is to coin a one-of-a-kind approach.

These people and products are examples of how anyone and anything can break out if you pleasantly surprise people with something they haven’t seen and heard before.

1.Treadmill Dance. The band OK GO catapulted from obscurity into the spotlight with their innovative dance routine on, you guessed it – treadmills. After 56 takes and much bumping and bruising, the “Treadmill Dance” was born, creating a word-of-“mouse” phenomenon which, through the distribution power of YouTube has been viewed by over 100 million people.

2. Ted’s Takes. This Vice Chair of AOL has decided to pro-actively control his public image rather than passively leaving it to chance. By blogging daily, he’s posted snippets of his celebrity-filled life and strategically linked to other high-profile entrepreneurs such as Mark Cuban. The result? He now receives up to 15,000 visits a day and his “take” on life shows up first when he’s Googled. As a bonus, he says, “I have moral authority and credibility with employees and people in the industry that I’m not just talking about Web 2.0, I’m living it.”

3. Little MissMatched. Capitalizing instead of complaining about the “lost sock phenomenon” by selling funky mismatched socks, gloves and mittens in has catapulted this online retailer into a multimillion dollar company. Their slogan? “Nothing matches but anything goes.”

4. POPera. Pop + Opera = SALES! Combining popular tunes – ala Josh Groban and II Divo – to make a how that is sure to make it big. As soon as you create a never-before-seen word, you don’t just have a clever title, tagline or brand, you have the beginnings of a business empire.

5. MasterCard – “You’re on my fantasy team.” Why did Colts quarterback Peyton Manning earn $11.5 million in endorsement income this year? Partially because of his ad-libs for Master Card in which the commercial director simply asked him to repeat what he frequently hears from fans. Speak in your target market’s language and they’ll identify with you.

6. Heinz. Yes, even packaging can POP! How many times have you pounded a ketchup bottle against your palm trying to get that thick tomato paste out? In what has to be the “Duh!” moment of the decade, someone at Heinz had the bright idea to redesign the bottle and turn it upside down so it sits on its cap. Voila. Problem solved.

7. Metronatural®. This trademarked Half & Half Word captures and communicates the dual draw of Seattle – it’s a thriving metropolis surrounded by majestic natural beauty. Thanks to POP! fan David Zinger for alerting me to another catchy city slogan “Keep it Querque” for . . . what else but Albuquerque?

8. Spot the Tot. 500 children a year are run over in their own driveway by people who inadvertently back up over them. A movement launched to prevent these tragic deaths is called “Spot the Tot” — a classic example of how “Cliff-Noting” your campaign into a clear, concise message increases the likelihood people will remember and follow its important advice.

9. Crackberry. This clever “Alphabetized Word” alludes to the addictive qualities of Blackberry (just ask the hundreds of thousands suffering from “Blackberry Thumb“). You don’t have to be a creative genius to come up with a new word. Write down 10 words that describe your pet project. Now, run them through the ABC’s, changing the sound of the first syllable to match the corresponding letter. Want another example (and a close runner-up in this category?) What do you call a cubicle with a view . . .that’s right, viewbicle.

10. No Child Left Inside. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, (a clever play on the words Attention-Deficit Disorder) pioneered a back-to-nature movement to reconnect children with the outdoors and developed the perfect name that “plays off” the No Child Left Behind legislation. Just as a jazz pianist riffs off common chords to create new music, POP! artists riff off common slogans to create new variations.

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Want to schedule an interview with Sam? Contact Cheri Grimm in Sam’s California office at 800 SAM-3455 or email