Thursday, May 8, 2014

Two Months in China!

It's pretty hard for me to believe too: I've been here in China already for almost two months!  CRAZINESS!  
I'm happy to say that any culture shock has worn off, and I'm a 'regular' local now.  I am nearly done with levels 1 and 2 of my Chinese lessons, and in four weeks, I will begin levels 3 and 4.  I can read about 150 characters now, and can write about 75 of those.  In terms of speaking: I actually can manage just fine now in supermarkets, in taxis, when trying on clothes, and in general just walking around.  My strive is to complete level 8 over the next ten months and take and pass the HSK 3 Chinese proficiency exam at the very least, nd best case, to take and pass HSK 4.  If I pass HSK 4, my Chinese level is good enough to attend a university here and/or work in a Chinese business environment.  

In some interesting news, I found out that all of my published books are available on China's Amazon.  It's called  That was a pleasant surprise, particularly because many of my English students have been asking where they can buy my books.  I thought they would have to get them shipped via Amazon from the states, but no!  They are available here apparently.  That's cool.  

I must admit that I do miss home.  It's weird that I am not going to be in New York City this summer.  Not going to be in Maine.  Just here, in Shanghai, in a place that is essentially landlocked because the rivers are unswimmable and even though the ocean is about an hour away, I don't really want to swim in it.  I'm hoping to take a flight to Sanya this summer with a fellow English teacher/SCUBA diver.  It is absolutely gorgeous there.  

I want to actually do traveling here, but as of yet, I haven't been able to find the time to get away.  I have had more important things to do here on my 'weekends' (which are Wednesday and Thursday).  Things like: 

a) my accounting.  It's weird having an account at home in the US and another bank account here.  I am getting paid for some things back home, and it goes into my home account.  Then, I am also getting paid from my work here into my Chinese bank.  Paying bills is interesting because it's essentially like I have two separate lives.  I can't use the home account to pay bills here unless I withdraw cash, which I don't want to do, because the fees are steep.  I also can't use my Chinese paycheck to pay any bills back home because they are not linked in any way.  I could do wire transfers, but again, it's pricey.  So I run my life back home separately from my life here, which is certainly requiring a lot of creativity.  In this sense, I do look forward to my eventual return home: I look forward to returning to just one bank account. And one Quickbooks checking account.  

I bought a bike yesterday.  Sort of like a 'hooray' gift but also doctors orders.   I had an MRI of my left leg again (it only cost $55 US, amazing right?  Makes me reconsider our own medical system indeed.  I'm not a fan of Obamacare, but how awesome that a guy with no insurance can get an MRI for a mere $55 USD?!----though the average income here in China is far less than in the US, so that too much be taken into consideration).  Anyway, my leg.  I have been having trouble running for over a year now, and everyone thought it was a hamstring problem, or maybe something with my meniscus.  The MRI results: both my meniscus and my hamstring are totally fine.  No injuries at all.  So the pain, the doc says, is from overexertion, i.e. because my left quad is much less built up (i.e. atrophied) than my right quad.  So he told me he thinks the pain will go away if I can build up my quad strength.  And so I shall.  I bought the bike (with the help of one of my awesome English students--a medical student who also helped me at the hospital--named Samantha) as a way to build up my quads without running.  It's something I wanted desperately anyway, but didn't feel it was a necessity.  Yesterday, I bought it, and rode it 5 miles back to my apartment, and let me tell you--it was a necessity!  How much fun it was.  I forgot how much I missed my mountain bike back home.  I went to a local bike shop (Giant brand retailer) and found the least expensive one for 600 RMB (RenMinBi).  But it was like a citibike, and had caliper brakes.  Suddenly, this Italian guy and his girlfriend came in, and he bought a fancy new one for 3000 RMB.  I asked what he is doing with his old mountain bike---the one he rode their with.  Selling it!  So I had my first business transaction in Italian.  Just 400 RMB and then I had the bike shop owner (Chinese guy) put on a new rear tire, add a bike pump, do a tune up, and sell me a helmet.  No one wears helmets here, but honestly, I don't care.  I still remember when my dad got hit by a car while on his bike.  His helmet is the only thing that kept him alive: he hit head first.  Besides, I feel cooler with the helmet.  Weird, I know, but I do.  

Today is Thursday.  The last of my days off.  I have Chinese writing class from 9am- 12pm tomorrow morning, and then work from 1 - 9.  The job is becoming a routine now: I no longer have questions about where I need to be or what I need to do.  Well, with one caveat: every month, I get loaned out to a few of the other Wall Street English centers in the city for a day.  It's actually pretty cool, because it means I get to see another part of the city on the company dime, haha.  And with my bike, I can tour the city on my down time much farther than I could on foot and far more efficiently (I can see more) than by subway.  

I lost my iPad the other day.  THAT sucked.  But here's something very interesting I learned.  After a day, I realized I can live without it.  It's something I cherished so much, but when I lost it, I realized I could live without it.  On the other hand, my ex girlfriend Louisa: I didn't cherish her while I had her, but as soon as she was gone, I realized I couldn't live without her.  It's hard to believe that it's been a whole two years since Louisa and I broke up.  Or rather, until I started ignoring her and she broke up with me.  I have tried for two years to show her how much I care about her (even flying to Germany twice) but it didn't work.  Nothing worked.  I thought quitting my law job in NY, traveling Europe for two months, and moving to China would cure my pining for this girl, but it hasn't.  I didn't think it possible that someone could have left such an impression on me that two years later, I a) still haven't met anyone even close to as awesome as she is, and b) still can't get her out of my head.  I am hoping beyond hope that by the end of this summer, or the very least, the end of 2014, I am no longer thinking of her.  But unfortunately, I find it hard to believe I can ever meet anyone as amazing as she was.  She was my dream girl... and I didn't even realize it until she was gone.  Idiotic me.  Sucks, sucks, sucks.

In positive news, I'm excited to report that my business partner Ronnie and I signed a new contract with a new sales agent in Los Angeles for our film, "You Can't Kill Stephen King"   US DISTRIBUTION THIS OCTOBER BABY!   I also signed another contract with Bob Madia to be my co-writer on two new screenplay stories I have developed.  One is called "Fins" and the other is called "L/K/V".  What are they about?  Not a chance will I tell you, haha!  You'll find out when they are on the big screen!

Anyway, I'm gonna go out and ride my bike around a bit.  It's a sunny day today, or at least, as sunny as it can be with so much pollution.  Oh Shanghai, how I love you, haha.

Monroe Mann, Esq, MBA <--my consulting and coaching firm <--my travel blog

Check out my new books "Battle Cries for the Hollywood Underdog" & "Romantic Suicide" on Amazon and  Read also my bestselling books, "Guerrilla Networking", "Time Zen", and "The Theatrical Juggernaut"!
Join my inspiring email list at and watch my music videos at

Friday, March 1, 2013

New Book & Come See Me Speak Monday

Hey Awesome Person You!    

(and the third one is an inspirational kick in the pants just for you):    

a) NEW BOOK: Yay!  My new book is now available everywhere.  It's called "Battle Cries for the Hollywood Underdog - Motivation &amp; Inspiration for your Journey to the Top" by Monroe Mann &amp; Lou Bortone.  If you want to check it out on Amazon, just go to Amazon, and type in the title.  Enjoy!     

b) COME SEE ME SPEAK MONDAY: "Agents, Managers, &amp; Entertainment Attorneys-- What the heck do they do?"  There are about 20 FREE seats left in the 250 seat auditorium at the New York County Lawyer's Association in Manhattan for this special event.  I am part of an inspirational 5-person panel kicking off at 7PM, this Monday, March 4th with after party and DANCING following.  Yeah!  You MUST RSVP here:;page=event_Detail&amp;itemID=3226&amp;dateID=20130304    

Copy that link, paste it, and then click on 'register' at the end of the first paragraph (it's small, but it's there).      If anyone wants to come at last minute and hasn't registered, text me: 646-764-1764 and I will see if I can give you one of my reserved seats.    

c) GET OFF YOUR ASS!  Take some time this weekend to stop watching tv; stop playing video games; stop taking naps; and START: kicking ass.  Seriously, we all have dreams. Some of us do something with them; others just let them languish in our brains as our souls slowly rot.  Take some time to revise (or write) your 5-year plan--yes, write it down--on all aspects of your life: money, love, career, education, health, etc.  I will be doing it too.  And then, figure out what you can do this weekend to get started on that path to glory.  And then DO IT!  DO SOME MAJOR STUFF THIS WEEKEND DAMNIT!      Remember: it's the unreasonable man who changes the world; not the one who follows the rules. Game on.    

Oh, one last thing: you guys should consider taking hip hop and house dance classes---it is SO much fun.  Plus, tap, contemporary, and ballet.  I take classes every Thursday night and Sunday afternoon/night at Broadway Dance Center in Manhattan.  I am actually becoming a really good club dancer, and it's so thrilling!  Plus, great exercise, and you get to meet some really great friends in the classes.  Check it out:    Only $18 for each 90-minute drop-in class.  I hope to see you in class (and in the clubs) with me soon! I'll be at Hang Time down on Mercer street this Sunday night.    

ROMP ON!  Meet you at the top!  
and thanks for your continuing support.  
-Monroe Mann, Esq, MBA, Me  Facebook me. :)    

P.S. - Call for free consultation: career, business, financial, and life coaching.    
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Friday, December 2, 2011

How to Get People to Do What You Want

The following discussion post is the result of one of my recent PhD assignments.  As many of you know, I am pursuing my PhD in psychology through Capella University.  I thought it was general enough to be of interest to you guys.  Enjoy. 

DISCUSSION QUESTION: How would you instruct an individual to be more or less conforming, compliant, or obedient? Support your approach with citations from the text and resources you have used.

BY: Monroe Mann
DATE: December 2, 2011

Both the Milgram (1963) experiment and Kassin, Fein, & Markus (2008) explain that in order to get someone to do what you want to do, the easiest (and most assured) way of doing so is to slowly chip away at their defenses. In other words, it is very difficult to make someone do a full 180 in one fell swoop; it is far easier to get someone to make small 1 degree changes in succession. This is one of the key reasons why the Milgram experiment worked--the experimenter asked the subjects to give the shocks in small incrementally-larger amounts. Had the experimenter simply said, "Give the learner an XXX level shock," the subjects would in all likelihood not have complied.

Before discussing ways to avoid falling victim to unwanted compliance, it is important to first understand some of the key compliance and persuasive strategies that psychologists have proven to work effectively. Kassin, Fein, & Markus (2008) provide a number of these strategies that can be used to help secure compliance with your wishes:

a) WORDS: simply by putting the word 'because' in your request, you will increase the likelihood of the other person's compliance. Further, by making your request as odd as possible, you also increase the odds that the target person will stop his thought processes and actually consider what you are requesting.

b) RECIPROCITY: No one likes to be in someone else's debt. In other words, if someone gives you a gift, you are in all likelihood going to reciprocate in some way, in an effort to even things out. Therefore, if you want someone to do something, you might want to give that person a gift first.

c) FOOT IN THE DOOR: Get someone to COMPLY with a small request first, and then they will be more likely to later agree to the more important real request.

d) LOW-BALLING: Get someone to AGREE with a small request first, and then turn around and increase the size of the original request, and the person is likely to feel an obligation to go through with the transaction anyway. Notice that low balling and foot in the door are virtually the same, except in the latter, you only need 'agreement' whereas in the former, you also need 'compliance'.

e) DOOR IN THE FACE: This is the opposite of the foot in the door. Instead of securing compliance with a small request and following up with a larger request, this technique starts with a HUGE outlandish request, and upon rejection, follows up with a smaller (real) request. An example might work with a girl: if you first invite her to marry you, she will likely laugh and say no, but then, when you ask her to dinner, it doesn't seem so bad. :) The same technique is the punchline to a joke I once heard. A college student writes home to her parents: "I'm sorry, and I don't know what to tell you, but I'm pregnant, I crashed the car you let me borrow, I was arrested for attempted murder, and I need you to bail me out of jail. Actually, none of that is true. I just wanted you to know I scored an F in biology. -Jenny" This technique is also sometimes called the 'high ball' technique.

f) THAT'S NOT ALL FOLKS: In this reverse of the "door in the face", you would first make an inflated request, and then, soften it up and reduce the perceived size of the request by offering a discount or a bonus. In this case, the price remains the same, but you increase the value by adding additional items or nicknacks. This is like the 'high ball/door in the face' technique, but a) the starting amount here is at least somewhat reasonable, and b) the amount does NOT change (as it does in the high-ball). g) AUTHORITY: If you can come across as a person of authority, people will tend to obey you. If you can act like you are a true authority figure, that will help. If you can wear a uniform that conveys authority, that will help. If your name or title bring with them a nature of authority, that too will help.

h) SOCIAL IMPACT THEORY: Latane (1981) believes that social influence is a result of three factors: 1) the source's strength, 2) the source's immediacy, and 3) the source's number. The strength of a source "is determined by his or her status, ability, or relationship to a target. The stronger the source, the greater the influence." (Kassin, Fein, & Markus, 2008). Immediacy simply refers to how close the source is in time and space to the target. Finally, number means that the influence of a single source will increase with the addition of more sources up to a total of FOUR. Beyond four, the effect was negligible.

Therefore, if someone wanted to be more or less compliant, here are the factors he must consider:

a) be aware of the words someone says--to be less compliant, don't let words like 'because' influence you;

b) be aware of the effects of receiving something from someone else--to be less compliant, be suspicious whenever someone gives you a gift or does you a favor, and do not feel obligated to satisfy the social norms of society, i.e. reciprocity;

c) be aware of the various sequential request strategies (foot in door, low-balling, door in face, and that's not all)--the more aware you are of these techniques, the less likely you are to succumb to their effects.

d) be aware of the authority of the person making the request--to avoid blind compliance, truly consider the source's authority, and whether he really has the authority to make the particular request he is making.

e) be aware of the source's strength--consider who the person is who is talking to you if you want to be sure you are not being influenced solely because of the person's relationship to you;

f) be aware of the source's immediacy--to avoid becoming blindly compliant, consider where the source is in relation to you when making his request; also consider the surrounding events in terms of the time period in which the request is being made.

g) be aware of the source's number--if there are 2, 3, 4, or more people 'pressuring' you to do something, do not succumb to what is often known as 'peer pressure' or sometimes the 'tyranny of the majority'. Stay independent and trust your judgment. (Kassin, Fein, & Markus, 2008).

Kassin, S., Fein, S., & Markus, H. R. (2008). Social psychology. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371-378.
No Rules, No Excuses, No Regrets (r)
-Monroe Mann, Esq, MBA, ME

P.S. - google me. amazon me. youtube me. itunes me. imdb me. facebook me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Word on Confidence & Chutzpah


Years ago, I would walk down the streets of Manhattan and see women WAY "out of my league" (whatever THAT means) walk by me, and I wanted so much to be with these types of girls. I never was.

One day, about 10 years ago, I said, "DUDE, man up! The only way you are going to get a gorgeous girlfriend is by talking to gorgeous girls!" So, from that moment on, as soon as I saw a pretty girl, I approached. Without thinking. Even just to say, "Hi". Sometimes, it was really awkward. More often than not, she said hi back, smiled, and a conversation was off and running.

THE KEY: I never said hi with any expectation. My mission was just to approach and say hi--as soon as I saw her. And wow, it changed my life around, because my confidence in ALL AREAS of life have skyrocketed as a result of that.

You can apply this to all areas of your life.  If you are scared to do something, make it a habit that as soon as you starting thinking, "Oh no, I can't do that," you FLIP THE SWITCH and automatically do that thing.  At first, it's super hard, but honestly, once you get the hang of it, it becomes really easy.

Using this technique, I acted my way into the Cannes Film Festival; I had a one-on-one cocktail with Ed Norton at a party in Manhattan; I got CAA agent Jim Toth (Reese Witherspoon's husband) on the phone and talked to him for 20 minutes about Rachel Bilson and my wakeboarding film; and this list goes on and on. 

Years ago I realized something.  Confidence is not acting without fear.  It is acting DESPITE your fear.  So suck it up, put your shoulders back, put a smile on your face, and... APPROACH!

Hope this helps!
-Monroe Mann, Esq
Author, "Guerrilla Networking" (with JCL), "Time Zen", "The Theatrical Juggernaut", and the upcoming, "Romantic Suicide."
Check out my motivational album "Get Off Your Ass" on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby

Saturday, June 4, 2011

How to Reduce Your Credit Card Interest Rates.

F.A.M.E. -- The 'F' in FAME stands for 'Financial Advisor'

by Monroe Mann, MBA

Guess what?  You are probably needlessly paying more in credit card interest than you legally have to.  And by simply reducing your interest rates, you will end up with more money in your pocket at the end of each month.   Sounds great, right?

Well then, just follow these three simple steps, and voila, your interest rates should drop:
a) Take out one of your credit cards from your wallet/purse.
b) Call the customer service number on the back.
c) When someone answers the phone, say these words, "Hi, I am calling about lowering my interest rate.  May I please speak to someone about that?"

If you do this with each of your credit cards, the odds are in your favor that they will have the authority to decrease your interest rates on the spot.  How do I know this works?  Because I have done it numerous times.  In fact, I did this just today with my Capital One credit card, and had one of my interest rates reduced by over 5%.  This is a significant amount if your balance is high.  This is still a significant amount even if your balance is low--cause why should you pay for interest you don't have to pay?

Are there exceptions to this three-step system?  Yes, of course.  Sometimes I call up and they say, "I'm sorry, we don't have any interest rate reduction offers at this time."  In that case, ask to speak with a supervisor.  Often, the front-line customer service reps are not authorized to reduce your interest rate, but a supervisor can.

You might be wondering: "Why would they agree to reduce my interest rate?"  The answer is simple: they want to keep you as a customer.  By lowering your interest rate, they encourage you to pay off more of your credit card balance.  The more of that balance that is paid off, the more likely you will again use that credit card to make purchases.  The more often you use that credit card to make purchases, the more interest income the credit card companies will make.  See--they are not lowering the rates just to be nice; they are lowering the rates in an effort to woo you as a customer.  If you close the account due to a high interest rate, they will lose you as an interest paying customer.  They would rather appease you in the short term than lose you in the long term, and that's just good business no matter what country you are from.

If after all your efforts, they still say no--do not give up.  Just wait two months, and call them again, and ask the same question.  I can virtually guarantee that eventually, you will receive an interest rate reduction if you keep asking.

Sometimes, the interest rate reduction is permanent.  Sometimes it is only for a short period of time (three to seven months).  If you receive a short-term reduction, be sure to mark in your calendar when the interest rate is scheduled to increase again--that's your cue to call them back again and--once again--ask for an interest rate reduction.

One other strategy: if you do receive a short-term reduction, work your butt off to pay off as much of that credit card balance as possible during that time.  With the lower rate, your payments will have more bang for the buck, and when/if the rate jumps back up again, you will end up paying less overall because the balance is now much lower than it was when the rate originally was reduced.

I hope this is helpful!

The Science of Stardom - Part IV

Part IV - The Foundation of Stardom & The Four Pillars of Stardom
by Monroe Mann
(c) 2011 by Monroe Mann

The Foundation of Stardom

In Part III, I provided a theoretical foundation for my theory of stardom.  That being said, time to get to the main event here: the science of stardom. 

First off, the talent is NOT why someone succeeds or does not succeed.  It is merely one ingredient.  And frankly, as far as I am concerned, the foundation is NOT amazing talent.  Talent, folks, is assumed.  Either you got it or you don’t, and frankly, it doesn’t matter whether you do or not.  Case in point: how many movie, tv, and rock stars do you know of who you think absolutely stink?  Well, somehow they made it.  Think about that for a moment and then… case closed.  Clearly, they had something else.  Yes, the right attitude and business sense (as I have always said), but more importantly, they probably had a large enough fanbase.

You see, your fanbase is what assures your stardom; not your talent.  Your talent is merely what will get you a fanbase.  And in fact, in many cases, you don’t even need talent to have a fanbase.  Check out the folks on all these reality shows: they display no talent, and yet, they sure do have a fanbase.

Bottom line?  The foundation of stardom is YOUR FANBASE.  And everything you do from this day forward needs to be the development of that fanbase.

The Four Pillars of Stardom

However, a fanbase alone is—as I said—just the foundation.  You still need to build up your career, and this happens by building what I call the four pillars of stardom.

The four pillars (and this is what I figured out when watching the Justin Bieber movie) are: Belief, Connections, Influence, & Resources.  First I’ll explain the four pillars, and then I’ll explain how Justin Bieber’s rise fits into this theoretical framework like a cookie cutter.

  1. PILLAR ONE IS BELIEF: You need someone who believes that you are the greatest thing on the planet and who supports you one-hundred and ten percent.  Not a he’s pretty good type of belief but rather an I unequivocally believe in his greatness and that he is the next big thing! type of belief.
  2. PILLAR TWO IS CONNECTIONS: You next need someone who already has the first pillar who also has connections with people with influence and resources.  You see, a lot of people have connections.  The question is, “what type of connections does this person have?”
  1. PILLAR THREE IS INFLUENCE: You next need someone who has the first two pillars (belief and connections), but more importantly, influence.  In other words, what good is a huge supporter who has powerful connections if that person has no influence over those powerful connections?  You need someone who believes in you, who also knows powerful people, and who has the power to influence those powerful people.
  1. PILLAR FOUR IS RESOURCES: Finally, you next need someone who has the first three pillars (belief, connection, and influence), and also resources.  In other words, what good is a huge supporter who has influence over powerful connections if ultimately those powerful connections do not have the resources to help promote, market, and ‘manufacture’ your platform for stardom?
Bottom line, it doesn’t matter how strong your foundation (i.e. your fanbase) if you lack any of these four pillars. 

Here are some examples:

a)      You can have a team that has belief, connections, and influence… but if you lack the team member with resources, it doesn’t matter how much the team is behind you—you simply cannot sustain your drive to the top.

b)      You can have a team that has belief, connections, and resources… but if you lack the team member with influence to make things happen and get the ball rolling, you will remain mired in a hope and a dream.

c)      You can have a team that has belief, influence, and resources… but if you lack the team member with connections, then you’ll have no one to influence.

d)      You can have a team that has connections, influence, and resources… but if you lack the team member with belief in you, then you’ll have a ready-made machine, with no one inspired to put it in motion on your behalf.

Now, some of you may have realized something.  What is a fan?  In my opinion, after watching this Bieber movie, a true fan is simply someone who... a) has an unequivocal belief in your greatness, has connections, has the ability to influence others, and resources to show their support.  In other words, a fan is someone who thinks you’re awesome, has lots of friends, the ability to turn their friends onto you, and the money to buy your CDs, movies, tshirts, books, etc. 

Think about all this for a moment, and you’ll realize that it makes complete and perfect sense: who is at the top of the media ladder?  You are.  Next?  The fans.  And therefore, the fans are pretty powerful.  That’s why they are the foundation of stardom. 

Next comes the four pillars.  And think about all this a little more: each pillar (i.e. each member of your team) must first and foremost become a FAN before they can become any of the other pillars.  If you have any member of your team who does not first satisfy the test of the first pillar, i.e. unequivocal belief in your greatness, then that team member is essentially useless.   For example, what good is someone with connections without a belief in your greatness—for without that belief, they will not use their connections on your behalf.  Nor will they use their influence.  Nor will they particularly use their resources to help you. 

Anyone and everyone who is on your team must first believe 110% in your awesomeness, and believe that you are going to be the next big thing. 

If not, then you are wasting your time with that person or those people, because they are never ever going to get off their ass and actually do something for you.

Coming up next—what I have been promising the whole time: explaining away the ‘luck’ that everyone claims was responsible for Justin Bieber’s rise to the top.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Is Angelina Jolie lonely?

by Monroe Mann

If you ever feel lonely (particularly my fellow showbiz friends on the drive to the top), read this article (link below) about Angelina Jolie, & the fact that she doesn't have many close friends.

The saying goes, "It's lonely at the top."  Well, folks, guess what: "It's also lonely on the way to the top."

The article ends: "... a dearth of friendships is often one of the costs that many high-achieving women pay for celebrity & success."  The same applies to men.  And the same can apply to romantic relationships too.

So, if you are single or without hundreds of friends on your drive to the top... take heart!  This is just part of the burden your career path requires you carry. 

But (I wouldn't leave you without a 'but'!), I want you to smile.  Why?  Cause it'll be worth it in the end. :)

Here's the article: