HRAC Newsletter - June 2016 Edition

Upcoming Events

  • 6/11/16 General Body Meeting  -12:00 pm @ 1 Bayport Way, Newport News
  • 6/11/16 Lunch with Brothers  -after meeting @ BJ's Brewhouse, Newport News
  • 7/16/16 Wine Tasting Outing  -Time TBD @ Williamsburg Winery


Quote of the Month

"Be strategic in how you operate.  Think several steps ahead and have a "Plan B" ready to go.  Basically, play Chess while everyone around you is playing Checkers."
-P. David Solimon, Pi Chi '01

Employment Opportunities

Office Manager
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Norfolk, VA
view job here

Email Marketing Specialist
Ferguson Enterprises
Newport News, VA
view job here

Human Resources Manager
Portsmouth, VA 
view job here

Business Analyst
Tek Systems
Newport News, VA
view job here

Digital Marketing Specialist
Ciniva Web Agency
Norfolk, VA
view job here

Good Reads

Eat that Frog!
By Brian Tracy

# Girlboss
By Sophia Amoruso



Have an article to share?  Know of a good book we should check out?  What do you want to see in upcoming editions of the HRAC Newsletter?
Share your ideas here.


General Body Meeting and Lunch

June is here...and with it comes our next quarterly general body meeting.  Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the meeting at noon on Saturday, June 11.  The meeting will be held in Compass Pointe building -at the corner of Oyster Point Blvd and Canon Blvd.  The address for the building is One Bayport Way, Newport News, VA 23606.  Come ready to share your ideas and get an update on what's to come with HRAC!

Following the meeting, brothers are invited to come out to BJ's Brewhouse at the new Tech Center location around the corner from our meeting place.  BJ's Brewhouse has over 120 menu items and 50 craft beers. 

Cookout Attendees Conquer Weather

Rain couldn't bring us down.  On Sunday, May 22, the Hampton Roads Alumni Chapter held its 5th Annual Cookout at Sandy Bottom Nature Park in Hampton. The event, like the previous cookouts, included a pot luck where the chapter paid for the hamburgers, hotdogs, and condiments and each brother in attendance brought a side dish or dessert.

Despite the weather, the chapter had 17  brothers and guests in attendance along with three furry friends.  Thank you to all who attended and helped to make this cookout a success! 

Website Updates

We ask that all current members please review the "Meet the Brothers" section on our website to confirm your information.  Those listed in this section are members who have paid dues for 2016.  Please confirm your contact information is correct.  If you would like to add or change anything currently listed on the site (or would like to provide or update your photo), please contact our VP of Marketing, Kim Green at 

View your Info Here


Wine Tasting Coming in July

In past summers, brothers have visited Saude Creek Vineyards in New Kent and Mermaid Winery in Norfolk.  This year, we are planning to visit Williamsburg Winery and, as we did with the Top Golf outing, we would like to offer discounted tickets to our HRAC brothers.

This event is scheduled for Saturday, July 16, but tickets will be limited!  Please watch for more details on when and how you can purchase tickets. 

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Six Business Lessons from "Star Wars"
A. J. Jacobs

A few years ago, Harvard professor Cass Sunstein (along with Richard Thaler) wrote one of the most influential business books of the decade. It’s called Nudge, and it explored the world of hidden human biases, and how we can use them to make (hopefully) better decisions.

Now Sunstein has turned his attention to a much more important topic: Jedi knights.

Yes, he’s written a book called The World According to Star Wars – an examination of the sci-fi juggernaut from almost every angle: psychological, economic, political, etc.

It’s an unexpected career turn, but it actually makes sense. As Sunstein points out, Star Wars is probably the biggest entertainment phenomenon in the last century, and it has lots to say about the Big Themes of freedom, ethics, family, power and money.

Plus, Sunstein is an absurdly versatile writer. He’s penned books and essays about the constitution, viral marketing, animal rights, South African music and Bob Dylan. He was also Obama’s “Regulatory Czar” during his first term (he met his wife Samantha Power, ambassador to the UN, working on the Obama campaign).

I learned many lessons from Cass’s highly entertaining and enlightening book. As a sample, below are six pieces of business wisdom that Star Wars has taught us.

(Full disclosure: I’m related to Cass – he’s my first cousin once removed. But I’d find his book interesting even if he were from a species native to Naboo).

Improvise like a jazz musician at the cantina

As Yoda says, “Impossible to see, the future is.” Without perfect foreknowledge, improvisation and flexible thinking are absolutely crucial in business.

As Cass says, “The best designers are improvisers. They have ideas, and they shoot off sparks, but they may have nothing that counts as a grand plan.”

Cass recounts a note that George Lucas sent to the writers of the TV show Lost. The note said, “Don’t tell anyone, but when Star Wars first started, I didn’t know where it was going either. The trick is to pretend you knew all along.”

Mix, match and borrow

When George Lucas first conceived of Star Wars, he thought of it as a “Western movie set in outer space.” This is what my friend, the investor and writer James Altucher, calls “idea sex.” The best new ideas are often mash-ups that combine two good (if familiar) older ideas.

Another example: Star Wars is Kurosawa with robots. Lucas has said that the characters of R2D2 and C3PO were inspired by the two bickering peasants who wander the desert in Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s movie The Hidden Fortress.

Rarely do ideas spontaneously generate out of a vacuum. Shakespeare borrowed (heavily borrowed) Romeo and Juliet’s plot from Italian novels and poems, which borrowed in turn from Ovid. Leonard Bernstein transplanted the Romeo and Juliet story to 1950s New York. Lin-Manuel Miranda took Bernstein’s idea of mixing traditional Broadway format with cutting-edge music and came up with Hamilton. And so on.

Get in their faces

There’s no substitute for physical proximity. Show up in person. When looking for a job, make sure you’re close to the decision-makers.

Consider that in 1975, Harrison Ford was an unsuccessful actor. He’d had a small part in George Lucas’s previous film, American Graffiti, but Lucas wasn’t planning on casting any American Graffiti actors in Star Wars.

When acting work was unsteady, Harrison made extra money doing carpentry. So he took a job as a carpenter on the Star Wars set. Lucas spotted him, was reminded of his existence – and gruff charm -- and ended up casting him as Han Solo.

 Use the force

Well, at least a human, scientifically explainable version of the force.

Cass talks about how great athletes appear to have super-human perception. Think of no-look passes in basketball. Or how expert squash players know where the ball is going before their opponent even hits it.

The explanation is pattern recognition. “That might well be the essential skill of the Jedi,” writes Sunstein. “If you feel the Force you can see patterns where other people see merely a blur.”

(Of course, be wary of seeing false patterns, a huge human weakness. We are prone to see the Virgin Mary’s face in a waffle).

 Overconfidence is a curse

One of the many cognitive biases humans suffer is overconfidence, especially if you’re a big corporation. Think of how Darth Vader believed the resistance had no chance against the empire. 

Except when it isn’t

Sometimes you need to be delusionally optimistic, especially if you’re the underdog. Think back to Han Solo, as he steered the Millennium Falcon into a dense thicket of asteroids.

C3PO told him, “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1!.”

“Never tell me the odds,” snapped Han Solo.

A. J. Jacobs is a writer, lecturer, and editor at large at Esquire magazine.  He is also the author of four New York Times bestsellers, including "The Year of Living Biblically" and "Drop Dead Healthy."  Follow him on his website at
Taken from Linked In Pulse.
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