OBAMA DOUBLED DOWN ON THE BATTLE AGAINST ISIS

Obama “doubled down” on the battle against ISIS. What does it mean to “double down” and what kinds of expressions are used in military politic? Read the article (alone or with your Cambly tutor) and practice military-related expressions like Draw up plans, deploy, sweep into, coalition, bombardment.


[World News★★]Obama Just Doubled Down On The Battle Against ISIS

[W022b] Obama Doubledowns_1

(P1) WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US military has drawn up plans to significantly increase the number of American forces in Iraq, which now total around 1,400, as Washington seeks to bolster Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State, US officials told Reuters on Friday.

(P2) The United States aims to help advise and train Iraqi and Kurdish forces battling Islamic State fighters who swept into much of northern Iraq.

(P3) According to a statement from the Pentagon, “The commander-in-chief has authorized Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to deploy to Iraq up to 1,500 additional US personnel over the coming months, in a non-combat role, to expand our advise and assist mission and initiate a comprehensive training effort for Iraqi forces.”

(P4) This deployment will “accommodate the training of 12 Iraqi brigades,” including 9 from the Iraqi Army and 3 from the Kurdish Peshmerga, the paramilitary of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.

(P5) The decision was made “based on the request of the Government of Iraq, US Central Command’s assessment of Iraqi units,” and “the progress Iraqi security forces have made in the field.”

(P6) This doubling of the US’s ground presence in Iraq would come at a time when the American-led coalition in the country has made ambiguous progress in the fight against ISIS. Heavy aerial bombardment against ISIS positions outside of Kobane have managed to prevent the group from taking over the fiercely contested town, which sits on the Turkish-Syrian border.

(P7) Here are the latest positions of US airstrikes against ISIS, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Military Edge project:

[W022b] Obama Doubledowns_2

(P8) But ISIS is consolidating its gains in the heavily-Sunni Anbar Province of western Iraq, where it has carried out massacres against the Albu Nimr, a Sunni tribe whose militia had been fighting against jihadists in the region since 2004. And last month, Obama reportedly sent a letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, suggesting that cooperation against ISIS could help smooth the way to an eventual nuclear deal.

WORDS: 324

SOURCE: HTTP://WWW.BUSINESSINSIDER.COM/R-EXCLUSIVE-US-MAY-SIGNIFICANTLY-HIKE-NUMBER-OF-TROOPS-IN-IRAQ—SOURCES-2014-11

VOCAB: [W022B] OBAMA DOUBLEDOWNS_VOCAB

TO PRINT: [W022B] OBAMA DOUBLEDOWNS

Discussion Questions

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What was the decision made by the Pentagon (P2-3)? What is the purpose of this measure taken?
  3. What does the author mean by “Obama just doubled down”? What kinds of risks are we talking about here?
  4. “Obama reportedly sent a letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, suggesting that cooperation against ISIS could help smooth the way to an eventual nuclear deal. (P8)” Explain what this sentence means.

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WHAT I LEARNED FROM SPENDING 31 DAYS UNDERWATER

How would it feel like to live in a deep ocean? Fabien Cousteau talks about his underwater adventure in a TED talk.

Practice new expressions like wondrous, hold secret, gauge, predator, prey, in the blink of an eye and describe the ecology of deep ocean to your friendly Cambly tutor.


[TED] Fabien Cousteau: What I learned from spending 31 days underwater

In 1963, Jacques Cousteau lived for 30 days in an underwater laboratory positioned on the floor of the Red Sea, and set a world record in the process. This summer, his grandson Fabien Cousteau broke that record. Cousteau the younger lived for 31 days aboard the Aquarius, an underwater research laboratory nine miles off the coast of Florida. In a charming talk he brings his wondrous adventure to life.

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// <![CDATA[

(P1) I have a confession to make. I am addicted to adventure, and as a young boy, I would rather look outside the window at the birds in the trees and the sky than looking at that two-dimensional chalky blackboard where time stands still and even sometimes dies. My teachers thought there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t paying attention in class. They didn’t find anything specifically wrong with me, other than being slightly dyslexic because I’m a lefty. But they didn’t test for curiosity. Curiosity, to me, is about our connection with the world, with the universe. It’s about seeing what’s around that next coral head or what’s around that next tree, and learning more not only about our environment but about ourselves.

(P2) Now, my dream of dreams, I want to go explore the oceans of Mars, but until we can go there, I think the oceans still hold quite a few secrets. As a matter of fact, if you take our planet as the oasis in space that it is and dissect it into a living space, the ocean represents over 3.4 billion cubic kilometers of volume, within which we’ve explored less than five percent. And I look at this, and I go, well, there are tools to go deeper, longer and further: submarines, ROVs, even Scuba diving. But if we’re going to explore the final frontier on this planet, we need to live there. We need to build a log cabin, if you will, at the bottom of the sea.

(P3) And so there was a great curiosity in my soul when I went to go visit a TED [Prize winner] by the name of Dr. Sylvia Earle. Maybe you’ve heard of her. Two years ago, she was staked out at the last undersea marine laboratory to try and save it, to try and petition for us not to scrap it and bring it back on land. We’ve only had about a dozen or so scientific labs at the bottom of the sea. There’s only one left in the world: it’s nine miles offshore and 65 feet down. It’s called Aquarius. Aquarius, in some fashion, is a dinosaur, an ancient robot chained to the bottom, this Leviathan. In other ways, it’s a legacy. And so with that visit, I realized that my time is short if I wanted to experience what it was like to become an aquanaut.

(P4) When we swam towards this after many moons of torture and two years of preparation, this habitat waiting to invite us was like a new home. And the point of going down to and living at this habitat was not to stay inside. It wasn’t about living at something the size of a school bus. It was about giving us the luxury of time outside to wander, to explore, to understand more about this oceanic final frontier.

(P5) We had megafauna come and visit us. This spotted eagle ray is a fairly common sight in the oceans. But why this is so important, why this picture is up, is because this particular animal brought his friends around, and instead of being the pelagic animals that they were, they started getting curious about us, these new strangers that were moving into the neighborhood, doing things with plankton. We were studying all sorts of animals and critters, and they got closer and closer to us, and because of the luxury of time, these animals, these residents of the coral reef, were starting to get used to us, and these pelagics that normal travel through stopped. This particular animal actually circled for 31 full days during our mission. So mission 31 wasn’t so much about breaking records. It was about that human-ocean connection.

(P6) Because of the luxury of time, we were able to study animals such as sharks and grouper in aggregations that we’ve never seen before. It’s like seeing dogs and cats behaving well together. Even being able to commune with animals that are much larger than us, such as this endangered goliath grouper who only still resides in the Florida Keys. Of course, just like any neighbor, after a while, if they get tired, the goliath grouper barks at us, and this bark is so powerful that it actually stuns its prey before it aspirates it all within a split second. For us, it’s just telling us to go back into the habitat and leave them alone.

(P7) Now, this wasn’t just about adventure. There was actually a serious note to it. We did a lot of science, and again, because of the luxury of time, we were able to do over three years of science in 31 days. In this particular case, we were using a PAM, or, let me just see if I can get this straight, a Pulse Amplitude Modulated Fluorometer. And our scientists from FIU, MIT, and from Northeastern were able to get a gauge for what coral reefs do when we’re not around. The Pulse Amplitude Modulated Fluorometer, or PAM, gauges the fluorescence of corals as it pertains to pollutants in the water as well as climate change-related issues. We used all sorts of other cutting-edge tools, such as this sonde, or what I like to call the sponge proctologist, whereby the sonde itself tests for metabolism rates in what in this particular case is a barrel sponge, or the redwoods of the [ocean]. And this gives us a much better gauge of what’s happening underwater with regard to climate change-related issues, and how the dynamics of that affect us here on land. And finally, we looked at predatorprey behavior. And predator-prey behavior is an interesting thing, because as we take away some of the predators on these coral reefs around the world, the prey, or the forage fish, act very differently. What we realized is not only do they stop taking care of the reef, darting in, grabbing a little bit of algae and going back into their homes, they start spreading out and disappearing from those particular coral reefs. Well, within that 31 days, we were able to generate over 10 scientific papers on each one of these topics.

(P8) But the point of adventure is not only to learn, it’s to be able to share that knowledge with the world, and with that, thanks to a couple of engineers at MIT, we were able to use a prototype camera called the Edgertronic to capture slow-motion video, up to 20,000 frames per second in a little box that’s worth 3,000 dollars. It’s available to every one of us. And that particular camera gives us an insight into what fairly common animals do but we can’t even see it in the blink of an eye. Let me show you a quick video of what this camera does. You can see the silky bubble come out of our hard hats. It gives us an insight into some of the animals that we were sitting right next to for 31 days and never normally would have paid attention to, such as hermit crabs. Now, using a cutting-edge piece of technology that’s not really meant for the oceans is not always easy. We sometimes had to put the camera upside down, cordon it back to the lab, and actually man the trigger from the lab itself. But what this gives us is the foresight to look at and analyze in scientific and engineering terms some of the most amazing behavior that the human eye just can’t pick up, such as this manta shrimp trying to catch its prey, within about .3 seconds. That punch is as strong as a .22 caliber bullet, and if you ever try to catch a bullet in mid-flight with your eye, impossible. But now we can see things such as these Christmas tree worms pulling in and fanning out in a way that the eye just can’t capture, or in this case, a fish throwing up grains of sand. This is an actual sailfin goby, and if you look at it in real time, it actually doesn’t even show its fanning motion because it’s so quick.

(P9) One of the most precious gifts that we had underwater is that we had WiFi, and for 31 days straight we were able to connect with the world in real time from the bottom of the sea and share all of these experiences. Quite literally right there I am Skyping in the classroom with one of the six continents and some of the 70,000 students that we connected every single day to some of these experiences. As a matter of fact, I’m showing a picture that I took with my smartphone from underwater of a goliath grouper laying on the bottom. We had never seen that before.

(P10) And I dream of the day that we have underwater cities, and maybe, just maybe, if we push the boundaries of adventure and knowledge, and we share that knowledge with others out there, we can solve all sorts of problems. My grandfather used to say, “People protect what they love.” My father, “How can people protect what they don’t understand?” And I’ve thought about this my whole life. Nothing is impossible. We need to dream, we need to be creative, and we all need to have an adventure in order to create miracles in the darkest of times. And whether it’s about climate change or eradicating poverty or giving back to future generations what we’ve taken for granted, it’s about adventure. And who knows, maybe there will be underwater cities, and maybe some of you will become the future aquanauts.

(P11) Thank you very much.

WORDS: 1,683

SOURCE: HTTP://WWW.TED.COM/TALKS/FABIEN_COUSTEAU_WHAT_I_LEARNED_FROM_SPENDING_31_DAYS_UNDERWATER

VOCAB: [V022] UNDERWATER_VOCAB

TO PRINT: [V022] UNDERWATER

Discussion Questions

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the speech in your own words.
  2. Why is Cousteau so fascinated by the ocean (P2)?
  3. “And the point of going down to and living at this habitat was not to stay inside. It wasn’t about living at something the size of a school bus. It was about giving us the luxury of time outside to wander, to explore, to understand more about this oceanic final frontier. (P3)” What kinds of things was Cousteau able observe? Explain with details.
  4. Where is Cousteau’s passion and dedication to these underwater adventures coming from (P10)? Do you have something you love so much that you want to dissect into its innermost core?
  5. What are your overall thoughts on Cousteau’s adventure?

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// ]]>

AMAZON’S WEIRD NEW ROBOT SPEAKER

Amazon released another “intelligent personal assistant” last week. The gadget itself is interesting, but it’s getting more attention for its ‘cheesy advertisement’. Is it really that bad???

Read the article (alone or with a tutor) and watch the video. See if you can apply these technology-related expressions to your favorite electronic devices: gadget, bark, activation, command, handy.


[Technology]Amazon’s Weird New Robot Speaker

[T022a] Amazon New Robot Speaker_1

(P1) On Thursday, Amazon introduced what might just be its weirdest gadget yet. It’s called the Echo. Essentially it’s a Wi-Fi-connected speaker you can talk to, sort of like Siri or Google Now. To wake it up, just bark the activation word “Alexa.”

(P2) You can ask Echo questions and issue all sorts of commands, per Amazon, like:

– Set an alarm for 8 a.m.

– How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?

– Play music by Bruno Mars

– Will it rain tomorrow?

– Add gelato to my shopping list.

(P3) Echo syncs with a companion app in Fire OS and Android, and you can also stream other music services outside of Amazon via Bluetooth, like Spotify or iTunes. It relies on something called far-field voice recognition to hear you from wherever you are in the room, but blah blah blah—don’t take my word for it. Let this Cool Dad casted by Amazon explain it in this handy video; bonus points if you make it through the whole thing:

http://youtu.be/KkOCeAtKHIc

WORDS: 170

SOURCE: HTTP://WWW.FASTCOMPANY.COM/3038173/AMAZONS-WEIRD-NEW-ROBOT-SPEAKER-DADSPLAINED

VOCAB: [T022A] AMAZON NEW ROBOT SPEAKER_VOCAB

TO PRINT: [T022A] AMAZON NEW ROBOT SPEAKER

Discussion Questions

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. (P1) What is Echo? What do you need to do to activate the machine?
  3. What things can you do with Echo? What things would you like to do with Echo?
  4. Do you think you’ll buy Echo if it’s available in your country? Why or why not?
  5. What do you think of “intelligent personal assistants” developed by different companies? What potential do you see in this technology?

Did you like this article? You can connect to Cambly tutor by clicking the image below, or simply send the article’s link to the tutor when you begin your class.

If you are new to Cambly, put in bell as your referral code and it will give you extra 15 minutes to have a full experience of Cambly class!

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WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE WORST GUY I EVER DATED

A romantic relationship is something that no one ever fully understands. When describing them, you wouldn’t call a “date” an “appointment” and you wouldn’t say your date was “cancelled” if you were “stood up”!

How can you transform your sets of phrases to be more conversational? Practice relationship-related expressions like flame out, flirt with, cut someone down, temperamental, tantrum, vent about with a friendly Cambly tutor!


[Life★★★What I Learned From the Worst Guy I Ever Dated

[L022c] Worst Guy I dated_1

You know you’ve had one. So what did he teach you?

(P1) “Attempting to drink myself into coma at an airport hotel. The &%$!-head didn’t show.”

My friend Hannah* was texting me from Australia, where she’d flown (22 hours!) to reunite with her long-distance boyfriend. It was 3:00 A.M. in Sydney. This wasn’t good.

(P2) “Put down the Shiraz and sleep!” I texted back. “The &%$!-head isn’t worth it. Tmrw new beginning!”

Hannah, 27, was a bit of a wounded soul who had a tendency to attract players. She had confided enough worrisome details about the Australian banker that I’d long suspected heartbreak was coming: He had “complicated feelings” for his runway-model ex and often referred to Hannah as his Friend With Benefits. Worst of all, she admitted, he made her cry “sometimes…OK, a lot.” But there was something about him—an action-hero, try-anything-twice dauntlessness—that she couldn’t resist. Hey, I was no fan of the guy, but even I could see it.

(P3) Hannah woke up the next afternoon with a hangover—and a determination to have an Australian adventure all by herself. “As much as I hated him,” she told me recently, “I can see now that if it weren’t for all the crazy stuff he challenged me to do, like skydiving and traveling to places with no plumbing, I would’ve gone right back to work, crushed. I still cried for three weeks, but I did it while driving solo around New South Wales with the windows down. I have to thank him for that.”

(P4) It’s true. The Hannah I know today is confident and adventurous, not the delicate flower she was before what we now call “the Aussie affair.” And she’s with a guy who shows up for her—not just at the airport but emotionally too.

(P5) A disastrous relationship, whether it flamed out years ago or is still in progress, can hold invaluable lessons. Here, five women share what they learned from the worst guy ever:

(P6) I LEARNED THAT… A good partner wants you to succeed.

“I had always dreamed of being a comedian, and I was flattered when Paul, the manager of a comedy club where I was interning, asked to hear my material. Pretty soon we were writing jokes together, then dating. But the more I succeeded, the more he criticized me—and the more he flirted with other girls. I even wondered, If I focus less on my career, more on Paul, would things be right again? One morning I called my mother and sobbed about how bad my relationship was. She said, ‘Natalie, you said you weren’t happy. That’s all you need to know.’ I broke up with him that day. As terrible a boyfriend as he was, Paul taught me that any guy who cuts me down for dreaming big is not the one for me.” —Natalie, 26

(P7) I LEARNED THAT… How a man treats his mom matters.

“I dated a lawyer who had a temperamental relationship with his mother. He told me that when he got accepted to law school, she gave him a treasured copy of Black’s Law Dictionary, handed down to her from her father, who got it from his father. But then, after he and his mom had a huge argument, he tore up the pages in front of her. He told me this like he was proud of it, like he had stood up to her. I wrote it off as family dramatics, but the more we dated, the more he revealed his irrational, tantrum-y side to me. One evening, as we were making dinner, I made a little suggestion and he threw a bag of cranberries on the floor—splattering red everywhere—then walked out and left me to clean up the mess. I finally realized that how a guy treats his family is a pretty good indication of how he’ll treat you.” —Anna, 31

(P8) I LEARNED THAT… We seek the love we think we deserve.

“I met Bob when I was 22, and fell hard. He was a macho, messed-up guy: He ate raw eggs. He shot himself in the thigh with steroids. He drank Bud Light while lifting weights and wore his hat backward. But when two broken people get together, it’s not a resurrection of Jerry Maguire—no one completes anyone. You both just tear each other apart in new and awful ways. He slept with a coworker. I accepted his marriage proposal and then rejected it. One night while we were driving, I finally called us quits. Bob pulled over, took out a gun from under his seat, and said if I broke up with him, he would kill himself. Long story short, I called 911, the cops came, and Bob is still alive; our relationship, thankfully, is not. If I could offer my 22-year-old self some advice, I’d tell her: (1) Go for nice, not passion. Drama works only in the movies. Nice lasts. (2) Threats and intimidation should never be part of a relationship. Really, it’s violence. (3) Do not date anyone who eats raw eggs, shoots himself in the thigh with steroids, or drinks Bud Light while lifting weights.” —Lizzie, 35

(P9) I LEARNED THAT… A man will always tell you who he is. All you have to do is listen.

“On our first date I asked Alan, ‘What would your exes say about you?’ He twisted his face and said, ‘That I’m mean.’ I should have ditched him then and there. But my thinking was, I’m different—this sexy, chivalrous guy wouldn’t be mean to me. Then, several months into our relationship, I got a scarily heavy period and rushed to the ER to find out that I was having a miscarriage. When I called Alan, he didn’t pick up, didn’t return my panicked voice mails, and I went through a terrible night in the ER without a shoulder to cry on. Five days later he showed up with a dozen roses and a string of dog-ate-my-homework excuses: His phone died. He overslept…I threw the roses in the trash and told him to leave and never come back. The truth is that Alan told me who he was on day one; I was just too wrapped up in my fantasy of who he was to listen.” —Jennifer, 34

(P10) I LEARNED THAT… Your love life shouldn’t be a project.

“My first boyfriend out of college was going through a divorce and working long hours as a corrections officer. Every night after his shift ended, I would listen to him vent about work; in return he gave me… nothing. He never asked me about my day or how I was feeling. I told myself that he wasn’t a bad person, just a bad boyfriend; I was sure he’d change if I stuck around long enough. Then one day at 6:00 A.M., he called me, crying, because he’d gotten a DUI. When I picked him up, I realized how pathetic I was. I had a master’s degree and was dating a balding man-child who drove drunk and didn’t make time for me. I broke up with him that week. I’m happy to say that I’m now with a guy who looks out for me as much as I do for him. He isn’t a project; he’s a partner.” —Kate, 25

(P11) AND NOW FOR THE GOOD GUYS

Real women say, “I knew he was a keeper when…”

“…I was homesick and he showed up at my apartment with a framed picture of my hometown, Detroit.” —Chelsea Appleby, 28

“…he drove an hour from his house to pick me up at 6:00 A.M. after my night shift as a nurse, just so I wouldn’t have to take the train home.” —Jill Jankovich, 33

“…he called my mom to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. It was the first year we were together. She’d just texted him, so it was totally natural, but I hadn’t even called her yet!” —Abbie McCoy, 26

“…he teared up at his gran’s birthday. He sees his mum and gran as strong and accomplished; I feel so fortunate that he thinks I’m worthy of that esteem too.” —Kelly Pirie, 31

WORDS: 1,358

SOURCE HTTP://WWW.GLAMOUR.COM/SEX-LOVE-LIFE/2014/11/WHAT-I-LEARNED-FROM-THE-WORST-GUY-I-EVER-DATED

VOCAB (testing-kr only): [L022C] WORST GUY I DATED_VOCAB

TO PRINT (TESTING-KR ONLY): [L022C] WORST GUY I DATED

Discussion Questions

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. How did the Australian player change Hannah (P2-5)? How was she before and how is she now?
  3. The author points out a several things to look out for when judging if a guy is a keeper (or not). Which one do you empathize with the most (P6-10)?
  4. What are your own standards for judging whether the guy is a keeper?
  5. For guys: do the same principles hold true when you date a girl? How is it different? Why do you think the difference exists?

Did you like this article? You can connect to Cambly tutor by clicking the image below, or simply send the article’s link to the tutor when you begin your class.

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HOW IGNORANCE HELPED UGG BOOTS BECOME BIG

The founder of UGG Australia says a “healthy dose of ignorance is the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur and building a big brand.” Do you agree with his somewhat contradictory statement that ignorance is an essential quality of a successful entrepreneur?

Practice using important business-expressions like virtually, catch on, blissfully, have faith in, be enthused with with a friendly Cambly tutor.


[Business★] How Ignorance Helped Ugg Boots Become A Multimillion-Dollar Company

[B022a] Ugg Boots_1

(P1) When starting a new business, you probably think you’d want to know everything. But as it turns out, ignorance can actually be beneficial.

(P2) According to Brian Smith, founder of Ugg Australia and author of “The Birth Of A Brand,” a healthy dose of ignorance is the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur and building a big brand.

(P3) At Ugg’s genesis in 1979, Smith knew virtually nothing about running a business. With a mere $200, he was able to order six sample pairs of Uggs, which he presented at a convention in New York. However, no one saw the boots catching on and he walked away without selling a single pair.

(P4) Yet a blissfully ignorant Smith still had faith in the success of the idea. “We didn’t care we still hadn’t made a single sale, we were too enthused with how rich we would be,” he explained at the 2014 Small Business Summit in New York last month.

(P5) Smith quickly realized that Americans saw sheepskin as a delicate, fragile material and were afraid to wear them in rain and snow the way Australians would, making the concept a hard sell at first. Still, Smith kept persevering, selling the boots door to door at California surf shops and out of the back of a van during surfing competitions.

[B022a] Ugg Boots_2

(P6) Uggs finally caught on with a mainstream audience, but Smith then discovered that they’re a seasonal product, and only turned a profit in the winter. Still, he kept at it, working odd jobs through the summer and concentrating on Uggs when the weather cooled.

(P7) But when looking back on the brand’s early years, Smith believes his initial ignorance to these issues is what kept him motivated. “Had I known about all these barriers and roadblocks, I would have given up,” he tells Business Insider. “But the ignorance is what made it happen. If I didn’t have that ignorance, you wouldn’t know about Ugg today.”

(P8) While it’s important to be prepared before jumping into a new business, Smith’s blind faith in Uggs forced him to find a way to make it work no matter what. Had Smith let the fear of running a seasonal business keep him from starting, he would have missed out on building a multimillion-dollar company.

WORDS: 374

SOURCE: HTTP://WWW.BUSINESSINSIDER.COM/IGNORANCE-IS-HELPED-UGG-SUCCEED-2014-11

VOCAB: [B022A] UGG BOOTS_VOCAB

TO PRINT: [B022A] UGG BOOTS

Discussion Questions

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Why does Brian Smith say that “a healthy dose of ignorance is the key to becoming successful entrepreneur”?
  3. Do you agree with Smith that “[his] blind faith in Uggs forced him to find a way to make it work (P8)? Why or why not?
  4. How much is a “healthy dose of ignorance”?

Did you like this article? You can connect to Cambly tutor by clicking the image below, or simply send the article’s link to the tutor when you begin your class.

If you are new to Cambly, put in bell as your referral code and it will give you extra 15 minutes to have a full experience of Cambly class!

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HOW TO BECOME SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU

Professor Cal Newport of Georgetown University says “Don’t follow your passion. Let your passsion follow you.” Did you follow your passion when you had to make a career choice? Or are you still deciding what to do with your career life?

Learn and practice key business-related expressions like flip a coin, contrary to, have leverage, beyond comfort zone, resonate with~, cutting edge with a friendly Cambly tutor.


[Business★★] How To Become So Good They Can’t Ignore You

[B022b] So Good They Cant Ignore_1

When asked for advice, comedian Steve Martin likes to say, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

(P1) Whether you’re just starting out in your career or trying to get to the next level, your goal should be to master your craft to the point where people can’t help but notice. In his book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You,” Georgetown University professor Cal Newport shares his insights on how people can achieve their goals and use their skills to create a fulfilling and passionate career. Here are five steps to becoming so good they’ll have to pay attention.

1. Don’t follow your passion.

(P2) Being passionate about your work is a great goal. However, “following your passion” is not going to get you there because it has two fundamental problems. The first is that “follow your passion” assumes that people have a pre-existing passion they can identify and use to make career decisions. However, most people have no idea what they want to do and can end up feeling lost.

(P3) The second problem lies in the assumption that if you really like something, then you’ll really like doing it for a job. “We don’t have much evidence that’s true,” says Newport. “If you really study people with meaning and passion in their work, it has little to do with whether the topic of their job matches their pre-existing passions.” He gives an example of amateur photographers or bakers who open up businesses but end up facing extreme financial difficulty that leads to unhappiness. “That’s because having work that you love is a lot more complicated than, ‘Hey, I like this thing! If I do it for work, I’ll like my work!'” explains Newport.

(P4) Don’t follow your passion. Instead, “let your passion follow you, in your quest to become so good you can’t be ignored,” says Newport.

2. Find a skill and career path to pursue.

(P5) Now that you understand the dangers of blindly pursuing your passion, you need to build skills. “Try something that’s interesting to you,” Newport advises. “It doesn’t have to be your one true passion or calling.” If you’re stuck between two paths, flip a coin. The only criteria you should have for your career is that it fits your values and rewards skill with more options and flexibility.

(P6) Contrary to popular belief, there are no set skills that are intrinsically more practical than others, he says. Even if skills don’t seem directly valuable, you can make up for them by making yours more rare or by reaching a high level of expertise. For example, many people look down on English majors for being impractical. But if you can become very good at a particular type of writing, that makes you stand out, says Newport.

(P7) Don’t worry about loving your job from the start. Newport believes that passion is a side effect of mastery. “If you study how people end up passionate about their work, the most common answer is that their passion developed over time, after they built up skills that are rare and valuable,” he says. If you don’t feel your engagement or interest in your work growing as you work on the skill, you’re probably not developing the skill fast enough, not becoming rare or valuable enough, or you didn’t choose a field that matches your values. If you recognize this, don’t be afraid to switch career paths.

3. Master that skill through deliberate practice in order to gain career capital.

(P8) Once you’ve settled on a career path, it’s time to master the skills you need to become irreplaceable. Once you do, you’ll gain career capital that you can offer in return for a great job.

(P9) “Until you become good, you don’t have leverage,” says Newport. The more mastery you have over your skill, regardless of the field, the more control and satisfaction it’ll give you in your career. When working to improve your skill, watch out for a common mistake: If you simply show up and work hard every day, you’ll hit a performance plateau and stop getting better. “Many workers build their basic skills quickly at first, but once they’re comfortable, they stop getting better because they’re not stretching themselves,” says Newport.

(P10) To avoid this, you need to use deliberate practice. “People need to train their skills like an athlete, musician, or chess player would,” says Newport. Identify a clear, specific stretch goal based on something that you’re not quite able to do yet, and push yourself beyond your comfort zone to get there. Strive to tackle ambitious projects, ask for brutally honest feedback, and experiment with new ways to develop your skills.

(P11) To make sure you’re on the right track, use money as a neutral indicator of the value of your skill. “People will only give you money if they’re getting value for it,” says Newport. “You know you’re getting better at something if more money is being offered to you.” Newport calls this idea “the law of financial viability.” The point is not that money is the goal, but that money is a great source of honest feedback. If you don’t see people giving you an increasing amount of money for what you’re doing, then you’re not getting that much better at it.

4. Use your mastery to negotiate for more control in your job.

(P12) “Once you’re really good at something, that by itself isn’t enough,” says Newport. “You have to use your skills as leverage to take control of your working life, whether through your work hours, vacation time, or projects.”

(P13) Take control of your career to gain benefits that resonate with you. For example, if you are a television writer, once you have established a strong portfolio, you will have the opportunity to choose the specific shows you want to work on and collaborate with any big name you desire. When your skills become valuable enough, finding clients will never be a problem again.

(P14) The better you are, the more doors will open for you. You’ll have the freedom and flexibility to jump for whatever opportunity seems most promising to you.

5. Find your mission.

(P15) “One way to find great meaning and satisfaction in your work is to end up with a mission that organizes your goals and working life,” says Newport. You don’t need to have a mission to love your work, but it’s a common thing that most people want to pursue.

(P16) However, finding your mission is one of the last steps you should think about. “The most important thing to recognize is that you don’t just start with the mission and go off and pursue it,” says Newport. “If you study people who actually have meaningful missions in their life, they start by getting really good in their field at first.”

(P17) This is because a career mission is similar to a scientific breakthrough — it’s an innovation at the very cutting edge of your field, so you can’t know about it until you get there. Only when you establish strong expertise can you really identify a real, sustainable, impactful mission.

(P18) There’s no way to escape it: You have to get really good at something before big things start to happen.

WORDS: 1,193

SOURCE: HTTP://WWW.BUSINESSINSIDER.COM/BECOME-SO-GOOD-THEY-CANT-IGNORE-YOU-2014-7

VOCAB: [B022B] SO GOOD THEY CANT IGNORE_VOCAB

TO PRINT: [B022B] SO GOOD THEY CANT IGNORE

Discussion Questions

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. “Don’t follow your passion”: What is the point that Newport is making here? How is “following passion” different from “letting your passion follow you”?
  3. Find a skill and career path to pursue”: How does Newport describe the relationship between passion and mastery? Do you agree?
  4. What is “deliberate practice’ (P8)? How is this different from ‘just working hard’ (P9)?
  5. Do you agree with Newport that mastery comes before passion? Why or why not?

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TESCO’S DOWNFALL

Tesco was once the leading data-driven business, but is now confronting harsh times. Are consumers just concerned with getting the product more conveniently at a cheaper price, and not that concerned with what we call “the shopping experience”?

Practice business-related expressions like in disgrace, raise stake in ~, command, gimmicks, stave off, chops with a friendly Cambly tutor.


[Business ★★★]Tesco’s Downfall Is a Warning to Data-Driven Retailers

[B022c] Tesco’s Downfall

(P1) Tesco’s chairman has resigned in disgrace. The company’s market value has more than halved to an 11-year low as it acknowledged overstating profits by hundreds of millions of dollars. And a humbled Warren Buffett, after opportunistically raising his stake in the company after a surprise profit warning, confessed to CNBC: “I made a mistake on Tesco. That was a huge mistake by me.”

(P2) Indeed. Britain’s biggest supermarket chain has not only seen its fortunes erode but its reputation for competitiveness, creativity and integrity collapse. Even before its accounting travails, a former chairman had sharply criticized former CEO Sir Terry Leahy, who had led Tesco to market dominance and worldwide admiration, for leaving a shambles of a legacy. Leahy’s immediate successor resigned in July; his successor from Unilever now confronts more of a turnaround than he had ever expected.

What the heck happened to Tesco?

(P3) Many analysts and unhappy investors point to Tesco’s ill-fated Fresh & Easy convenience store foray in America just as the global financial crisis kicked in. The failed expansion effort ultimately led to write-downs topping $3 billion. At the same time, dramatically increased price competition by discounters such as Aldi severely undercut Tesco’s “every little helps” value proposition. The company still declines to say whether its systemic supplier-related accounting misstatements better reflect malpractice or malfeasance. Regardless, Tesco’s collective failures feel operational, organizational and cultural. This isn’t simply bad luck.

(P4) But beyond the business clichés of “big bets gone bad” and “not keeping one’s eye on the ball” is the disconcerting fact that the core competencies that made Tesco a marketing juggernaut and analytics icon appear almost irrelevant to its unhappy narrative of erosion and decay. More than any other retailer of scale, Tesco had committed to customer research, analytics, and loyalty as its marketing and operational edge. For example, the supermarket ingeniously succeeded at Internet-enabled grocery shopping in ways that Webvan—remember them?—could not. Tesco was digital before digital was cool. Tesco’s Clubcard loyalty program was launched under Leahy in 1995 and redefined both the company and the industry. As the Telegraph recently observed, “Tesco was transformed into the market leader in the UK—with more than 30pc market share—by being able to respond to the demands of its customers.”

(P5) American supermarkets—notably Krogeradmired and sought to emulate Tesco’s success. Even Walmart—overwhelmingly focused on optimizing its everyday low-pricing supply chain logistics—took Tesco’s command of customer analytics seriously. Practically every retail Big Data and analytics case study over the past decade explicitly referenced Tesco as “best practice.” With the notable exception of, say, an Amazon, no global store chain was thought to have demonstrably keener data-driven insight into customer loyalty and behavior.

(P6) But the harsh numbers suggest that all this data, all this analytics, all the assiduous segmentation, customization and promotion have done little for Tesco’s domestic competitiveness since Leahy’s celebrated departure. As the Telegraph story further observed, “…judging by correspondence from Telegraph readers and disillusioned shoppers, one of the reasons that consumers are turning to [discounters] Aldi and Lidl is that they feel they are simple and free of gimmicks. Shoppers are questioning whether loyalty cards, such as Clubcard, are more helpful to the supermarket than they are to the shopper.”

(P7) How damning; how daunting; how disturbing for any and every serious data-driven enterprise and marketer. If true, Tesco’s decline present a clear and unambiguous warning that even rich and data-rich loyalty programs and analytics capabilities can’t stave off the competitive advantage of slightly lower prices and a simpler shopping experience. Better insights, loyalty and promotion may not be worthless, but they are demonstrably worth less in this retail environment.

(P8) A harsher alternative interpretation is that, despite its depth of data and experience, today’s Tesco simply lacks the innovation and insight chops to craft promotions, campaigns and offers that allow it to even preserve share, let alone grow it. What an indictment of Tesco’s people, processes and customer programs that would be. In less than a decade, the driver and determinant of Tesco’s success has devolved into an analytic albatross. Knowledge goes from power to impotence.

(P9) There’s nothing new or unusual in a one-time business strength turning into an organizational weakness or an industrial irrelevance. But when we’re talking about customer data, insight, loyalty and all the ingredients that—supposedly—go into giving digital enterprises their information edge, then it’s time to get nervous and ask hard questions.

(P10) Is Tesco’s fall from grace a typical tale of shambolic succession and enterprise lassitude as times turned tougher? Or is it a market signal that Big Data, predictive analytics, and customer insight aren’t the sustainable competitive weaponry they’re cracked up to be? The schadenfreude gang may be counting on the former; but datanauts who referenced Tesco to sell their bosses on analytic investments would be wise to consider the latter possibility. Or is it probability?

WORDS: 811

SOURCE: HTTP://BLOGS.HBR.ORG/2014/10/TESCOS-DOWNFALL-IS-A-WARNING-TO-DATA-DRIVEN-RETAILERS/

VOCAB: [B022C] TESCO’S DOWNFALL_VOCAB

TO PRINT: [B022C] TESCO’S DOWNFALL

Discussion Questions

If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What was Tesco known for (P5)? What aspect of Tesco did American supermarkets try to emulate?
  3. What is the main cause of Tesco’s lassitude (P3)? What was wrong with Fresh & Easy?
  4. Explain the author’s conclusion in your own words (P7-9). What is the author suggesting? Do you agree with his argument? Why or why not?

Did you like this article? You can connect to Cambly tutor by clicking the image below, or simply send the article’s link to the tutor when you begin your class.

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