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Kelley Blue Book Used Car Guide: Consumer Edition January – March 2016- Review

Cars have become a 21st-century necessity in many cities around the world.  The convenience of efficiently traveling to and from at a whim is what sustains the automobile industry.

Over the years, many new models and designs have been manufactured with each superseding its prior version.  The advances in technology and manufacturing efficiencies have secured consistent demand and production of these beautiful hunks of metal.

People are willing to pay top dollar to car manufacturers that have proven their particular make and model is worth the investment.  The primary economic balance of supply and demand drives the prices up, or down, for luxury cars to ordinary everyday commuter vehicles.

The supply chain for automobiles, like all supply chains, is the manufacturing and delivery processes from start to finish.  From the raw material suppliers and auto shipping companies to the consumer, like the circle of life – the auto industry supply chain is a pulse that dictates the sales price of a vehicle.  Everyone has to get paid, and each piece of the chain is looking to make a profit.

Even the consumer is seeking to invest money in a car that retains its value.

Consumers want to know:  What is the value of my car?

Kelley Blue Book Used Car Guide Consumer Edition January March 2016That is exactly what the well-known industry experts, Kelley Blue Book (KBB), try to address in their January 2016 Consumer Edition on Used Cars.  Like most assets, cars depreciate over time.  Vehicles, in particular, have an exceptionally fast depreciation schedule.  From the moment you drive off the lot, your car is no longer worth its original value.

Several factors cause this rapid decline in car value.  It is the same factors that make the resale value of your vehicle different depending on who you sell it to.  Kelley Blue Book does a great job at explaining the differences and why.  For example, you will get more money if you sell you used car to an individual as opposed to a car dealer as a trade in.

The gap between original list price to resale value ranges from car to car and year to year.  In the well thought out guide, KBB covers all the resources a car owner could need over the span of the last 15 years of various makes and models.

The increased value of cars today is due to the advances in design, technology, emission requirements and safety requirements.  All of these factors are called value added factors, however; over the years, there have been other factors that contribute to increased costs in vehicles that do not add value.

Most of these non-value added costs increase due to the increased manufacturing and shipping costs.

Why are these cost rising?   Well, that is a bit of a loaded question.  KBB addresses this in their write up on car values.  In manufacturing, there is what is called variable costs.  These values fluctuate based on production volume.  Fixed costs are also included in the cost to manufacture cars but are constant.  Together, fixed and variable costs make up the total cost of a product.

When there are increases in fuel costs, the effect is felt throughout the supply chain, from raw materials to delivery to the dealerships.  It is the job of the manufacturer to constantly be looking for ways to reduce costs, which will create a higher profit margin.

As a car owner, reselling your vehicle comes with a lot of questions.  Thankfully KBB addresses many of these issues.  Finding a qualified buyer is challenging, and if you have a unique collectable car, you might need to go beyond your local geographic range.  In that case finding a local car shipping company near you is an option to transport a vehicle to a buyer.  For example, in Dallas, you can only search for auto shipping Dallas and pull up several suitable car shipping company options.  The added cost of shipping your vehicle can either be included in the sales price or paid by the buyer. (more…)

Categories: General

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Harry Potter and the Power of Friendship

Since the release of the first book in the Harry Potter series, The Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling’s magical world has taken our muggle world by storm. The books’ great popularity were capped with the success of a movie franchise and millions of books sold. There is no denying that it has been one of the most impressive youth book series’ since C.S. Lewis’ penned The Chronicles of Narnia.

So what makes the Harry Potter books so great? In the very first story we learn what the whole series is going to be built on. Besides the wonderful world that is created through places like Hogwarts (Harry’s Wizardry School) or the powerful description of characters like the Dursleys, there is a great theme that connects the magical world into magic we can have in our lives.

Harry builds friendships with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger in the first book and those are key to the whole series. All three characters are perfect examples of misfits, similarly to the way we all feel like misfits in our daily lives. Harry is an orphan, Ron is poor and red headed, and Hermione is from a non-magical family. There stories leave each of them feeling like they may not belong at Hogwarts, and that they may never really be good magicians. However, these three twelve year old kids are able to band together and defeat a powerful sorcerer named Voldemort. It is the classic David versus Goliath plotline, but what makes it special is that in the climax of the story all of the characters need each other to survive. Each of them realizes their own skills and what makes each of them great. They are also all willing to sacrifice for each other to make sure that their friends survive. (more…)

Categories: Kids Books

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Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by its Most Brilliant Teacher by Richard P. Feynman- Review

For the general public, the topic of physics usually sends people running in the other direction.  Physics is typically not considered easy reading.  Scholars from all throughout history have spent countless hours studying and grasping the concept of physics and how it applies to our lives.  Scientists, for the most part, have the ability to take their intellectual stance and make things sound unnecessarily complicated.  Take for example your high school physics or biology books; there was a reason people fall asleep in those classes.  It isn’t that the topic is not interesting; I mean what is more exciting than learning about dissecting a fetal pig?  The monotony comes in the way the information is presented in the text and through the lectures.

Enter stage right, Richard P. Feynman.  Richard has done what no one in the history of science has even thought to do or take the time to do. He has created a collaboration of lectures into easy reading pieces on the ever dreaded subject of physics.  Yes, I did just combine the phrase “easy reading” with the word physics.  Mr. Feynman as cracked the code and made the complex ideas of physics into a simple concept that can by intellectually digested by the normal IQ.

Feynman was a celebrated professor at the California Institute of Technology and was a Nobel prize-winner for developing the quantum field theory1.  His work on physics gave him multiple opportunities for lectures and public speaking on the complex subject of physics.  During his time on this earth, he took every opportunity to do just that and is why he is known today as one of the most respected physicist minds. (more…)

Categories: 10 Easy to Read Books

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