Even Monkeys Have Tipping Points

By Mark Bowser

*Photo by Jamie Haughton

The Japanese monkey known as Macaca fuscata had been studied for decades. Scientist had been observing them in their natural habitat. 

In 1952, scientists decided to change the game a little. On the island of Koshima, the scientists began dropping sweet potatoes into the sand. They were curious to see what the monkeys would do with them. The monkeys loved the taste of the sweet potatoes but they were not too fond of the dirty sand all over their food.

One day, an eighteen month old female monkey the scientists had named “Imo” decided that she was going to wash her sweet potatoes in a nearby stream before she ate them. The scientists watched intently as Imo carried her sweet potatoes and began scrubbing the sand off of them.  She loved the taste of the now clean sweet potatoes.

Imo then went on to teach her mother as well as the other young monkeys around her own age on how to clean their sweet potatoes too. Pretty soon, there was a whole group of the monkeys that were cleaning their sweet potatoes in the nearby stream before they ate them. This went on from 1952 to1958. 

Then, a very curious thing happened. As more and more monkeys began washing their sweet potatoes, it appeared that the monkeys hit a tipping point in their community.  All of a sudden, almost all of the monkeys on the island of Koshima were washing their sweet potatoes. 

Then an even more amazing thing happened when all of a sudden monkeys on other nearby islands began washing their sweet potatoes too. How did that happen? It wasn’t as  though any monkeys from Koshima swam to the other islands and began presenting seminars on how to clean sweet potatoes. It just happened!  But how?

We may never know how or why monkeys on the other islands began practicing the same cleanliness. But, we know that communities do hit tipping points. And we do know that some products will become the next fashion trend and some videos go viral.

It appears that thoughts have energy kind of like radio waves. Have you ever been thinking of something and a friend calls you on the phone and starts talking about the exact same thing? It is kind of freaky, isn’t it?  But, it happens. 

If one monkey named Imo can change an entire monkey community … then what can we do if we put our minds to it to change our community?  Just some food for thought. 

Come visit us at our main website of http://www.MarkBowser.com. Also, please check out Mark’s podcast “Let Me Tell You a Story with Mark Bowser.”


Skinny-Dipping with the President

By Mark Bowser

In his book The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told, Rick Beyer tells a fascinating and surprising story about our sixth president John Quincy Adams. What makes this story so shockingly charming is that it seems so uncharacteristic for the son of John and Abigail Adams.

John Quincy Adams was a very reserved Christian man who always strove to live life in a proper way … well, most of the time. For you see, our sixth president had a passion for skinny-dipping.

President Adams loved to take a walk from the White House down to the banks of the Potomac River where he would shed his clothes and go for a refreshing dip before the days’ activities.

One day, the President took one of his servants with him by the name of Antoine and asked him to row him across the river. The President’s plan was to then swim back across the river. Well, just like many good plans, the unexpected sends them a rye. The wind began to pick up fiercely and it capsized the small, leaky, row boat tossing both men into the river. The two were able to, but not without some struggle, swim to the opposite bank. The fifty-eight year old President was worn out from the strenuous adventure.

Then, a problem arose. Antoine discovered that he had lost his clothes in the middle of the river. President Adams gave his clothes to Antoine so that he could go and get them a carriage in order to take them back to the White House. So, what does a naked President do while he waits for his ride? According to his diary, President John Quincy Adams got in some “naked basking on the bank.” Now you know. Thanks for reading today.

*Mark Bowser is the host of the popular “Let Me Tell You a Story with Mark Bowser” podcast. Subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform.

*Mark Bowser is the author of several books including “Sales Success” with Zig Ziglar and “Some Gave It All” with Danny Lane. Visit his website at http://www.MarkBowser.com

A Picture of Ann

By Mark Bowser

Recently, I read a story on social media that touched my heart. It was about a veteran of the Vietnam War. I have a soft heart of appreciation for all our veterans, but there is a very special place in my heart for our heroes who served in Nam. One of my closest friends, Danny Lane, served our country in that terrible place and earned two Purple Hearts among other medals for that service.

The story I read online was about an Army veteran named Richard. Richard also had been shot in Nam. A sniper had left his mark on Richard for the rest of his life. Over the years, Richard didn’t talk very much about his time in Nam. I find this a very common experience with veterans. Danny never spoke much about his time in Nam either until I was able to convince him to allow me to work with him in writing his story in the book Some Gave It All. My uncle was a co-pilot of a B-25 during World War II and he never spoke much about his war experience either. It wasn’t until I had a project in one of my history classes in college that he opened up about his experience. Can you imagine, living with something in your memory that is so terrible that you can’t talk about it? Yet, that same terribleness visits you regularly in your dreams. We must never forget the sacrifice our veterans have made for us. It has become a cliché but it is so true — freedom isn’t free!

Richard had a special picture of his time in Nam. Something that meant so much for our young men that were so far away from home was the USO shows with Bob Hope. Richard had a grainy 8 x 10 inch black and white photograph of superstar Ann Margaret that he had taken at one of those shows.

Years later, Ann Margaret was scheduled to be signing books at a bookstore near where Richard and his wife lived. Richard decided to go to the book signing to tell her how much those shows meant to him and his fellow soldiers. Richard knew there would be a large crowd so he showed up very early for the 7:30 PM signing. He found himself the second person in line.

Before Ms. Margaret arrived, the bookstore employees told the crowd that she would be signing only her new book — nothing else. Richard understood, but was disappointed because he was hoping that she would sign his old photograph too. “Oh well,” he thought. “At least I can show it to her and let her know how much the USO shows meant to all of us.”

When it was his turn, he handed his book to Ann to sign. Then, he pulled out his photograph. Immediately, the bookstore staff butted in and said she wouldn’t be signing that. Richard looked at them and said, “I understand. I just wanted her to see it.”

As Ann looked at the photograph, her eyes moistened with emotion. She said, “This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their country and I always have time for ‘my gentlemen.’” Ann gave Richard a big kiss and posed for several pictures with him. It didn’t matter that there was a long line of people waiting. Richard was one of her “gentlemen” from Viet Nam.

Later that night at dinner with his wife, Richard was very quiet. His wife asked him if he wanted to talk about it. Richard looked into the face of his loving wife and with tears in his eyes he said, “That is the first time anyone ever thanked me for my time in the Army.”

Freedom is definitely not free. We must never forget the sacrifices our men and women of the armed services have made in order to keep us free. So, here is to you Richard, Danny, Uncle Bill, and all our veterans. Thank you for your service.

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Audio Podcast Episode: There is Always Hope in the Midst of Depair

Enjoy this latest episode of the “Let Me Tell You a Story” podcast.

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There is Always Hope in the Midst of Despair

By Mark Bowser

In his leadership book, Resilient Leaders, Major General Robert F. Dees tells a fascinating story about the perspective of Admiral Chester Nimitz during World War II. On the evening of December 7, 1941, Admiral Nimitz found himself at a concert. Trying to give himself a few minutes away from the reality of what had happened earlier that morning at Pearl Harbor, he let the music soak into his soul. But, how do you put the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor out of your mind?

Shortly, he found that desire to be waning and then completely fading as a phone call came his direction. And, no ordinary phone call at that. President Roosevelt himself was calling. The President informed the Admiral that he had been selected to be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Now, the aftermath and the rebuilding of Pearl Harbor and the American fleet had been put squarely on the Admiral’s shoulders. Would those shoulders be broad enough for the task ahead?

When Admiral Nimitz arrived at Pearl on Christmas Eve, he not surprisingly found the atmosphere on the base to be quite gloomy. And why shouldn’t it be? The attack had devastated the American Navy and it’s personnel. The next day, the Admiral was given a tour of the cause of the despair including the sunken vessels which had become the final resting place for 3,800 American heroes.

At the end of the tour, the Admiral was asked what he thought of the destruction. The Admiral’s response was shocking. It wasn’t one of despair. It was one of optimism, hope, and future victory. Admiral Nimitz looked at the young helmsman who had asked the question and he said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make … God was really taking care of America. One, the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning when most crewmen were on shore on leave. Otherwise we might have lost 38,000 sailors. Two, the Japanese never attacked the dry docks we will use to repair our ships allowing them to be repaired quickly, and three, the Japanese did not attack our fuel supply.”

No matter how dark the situation may appear, there is always light that can vanquish the darkness like a light-switch being flipped on in a room. Admiral Chester Nimitz was a leader who saw light and not darkness. We can do the same thing. This is Mark Bowser. Thanks for reading today.

*To Book Mark for your next conference or training seminar, then please contact him at http://www.MarkBowser.com or email info@MarkBowser.com.

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Go Around Your Obstacles Like General MacArthur

By Mark Bowser

In September 1943, General Douglas MacArthur executed one of the most successful military campaigns in history. It was called Operation Cartwheel. Operation Cartwheel was a brilliant strategy that won the war in the Pacific during World War II.

The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was only part of the Japanese strategy. It was step one in a two-step process to conquer the Pacific and the Japanese were well on their way to accomplishing that goal.

However, the Americans threw a wrench into the Japanese goal with the battle of Midway in June 1942. By winning at Midway, the Americans halted the Japanese advance in the Central Pacific, but the South Pacific was a different story. In the South, the Japanese controlled the Solomon Islands and New Guinea. If they could not be untrenched there then it would be near to impossible for the Allies to win in the Pacific. MacArthur was given orders to stop the Japanese advance and to drive them out of the Solomons and New Guinea and place an Allied foothold in that area of the world.

In order to accomplish that objective, MacArthur would have to deal with the Japanese base at Rabaul on the island of New Britain. The problem was that the Japanese had one hundred thousand troops on the ground at Rabaul. On top of that, the small island was supplied by hundreds of Japanese aircraft. Oh, there was one more problem.  The South Pacific also had one of the largest groups of Japanese Warships. The area appeared to be invulnerable .

From this foothold, the Japanese were in perfect position to launch an invasion of Australia. This was utterly unacceptable to the Allied Forces. The Philippines had already fallen and Australia falling was unthinkable.

MacArthur Became convinced that a head on Allied invasion of Rabaul would be suicidal. So, what did he do? He went around it. That’s right. He went around it.

Step One of Operation Cartwheel was to use the Allied air forces to attack the Japanese landing fields on Rabaul with the goal of destroying the Japanese aircraft and making the air fields unusable.  Accomplishing this gave MacArthur the unimpeded Allied air cover he needed in order to move northward.

He then landed troops on two small islands north of Rabaul. This eliminated the possibility of the Japanese being able to replenish supplies or troops to Rabaul. MacArthur was then able to push northward until the Americans controlled the region. So, what happened to Rabaul? By June 1944, the Japanese troops on the stranded Rabaul were literally starving to death.

So, what do you do with an obstacle that’s in your way? Yes, you can choose to try to bust right through it …or, you can take that insurmountable obstacle and handle it the MacArthur way. Go around it and choke it off. By doing this, your obstacle has no power over you. Thanks for reading today.

*Check out Mark’s popular podcast “Let Me Tell You a Story with Mark Bowser.” Subscribe today at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, and other popular podcast platforms.




One Vote Saved a Nation

I thought you might enjoy our latest podcast episode titled “One Vote Saved A Nation.” It is an inspiring story from the beginning of this great nation which makes politics today seem tame.


Have a great day. God bless

Mark Bowser

P.S. podcast is also available on Spotify, Google, and other popular podcast platforms.

An Ear at the Keyhole

By Mark Bowser

If not for the courage of a Mrs. Lydia Darrah we would all be speaking with an accent and flying a different flag on the fourth of July. During the American War for Independence, she and her family had the uncomfortable responsibility of boarding some British officers in her house. Stationed was the more appropriate word. Some officers had been assigned to live in her house and for all sense of purposes, Mrs. Darrah had no choice in the matter. But, how fortunate for us that they were there in that house. For if not, most assuredly the Continental Army would have been destroyed if not for her actions.

One night, one of the British officers in her house ordered that she make sure that her family were in bed and asleep at a given hour. She was told that British Commander in Chief, General William Howe, was coming to her house and she was instructed to quietly let him in and show him to the officer’s quarters when he arrived. And, she was to be ready to show the General out when he was finished with his business.

Mrs. Darrah did as was instructed, but then decided to do something so daring that every school child should learn of her name. Realizing that something devious was going on, she gently slid off her shoes as not to make any noise, and snuck upstairs in her stocking feet. She then placed her ear at the keyhole in the door leading to the room where General Howe was conducting his business with the other officers. What she heard horrified her spirit. The British were planning an engagement to surprise Washington and capture him and the entire Continental Army.

The next day, Mrs. Darrah got General Howe’s permission to go beyond the lines of the British army in Philadelphia in order to get some flour ground at a mill. She proceeded to walk twenty five miles to where the Continental Army was positioned. She spoke with an officer and fervently pleaded with him to let General Washington know of the British plan. Because of her daring courage, the British plan was foiled and Washington and the Continental Army lived to see another day … and eventual victory at Yorktown. God bless Mrs. Darrah. Thanks for reading today.

*Subscribe today to Mark Bowser’s podcast “Let Me Tell You a Story with Mark Bowser.” Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, and other popular podcast platforms.

One Vote Saved a Nation

By Mark Bowser

I think many times that we believe that 2020 presidential election was the only controversial, contentious election that we have ever had in this country. Not so. Not even close. In fact, the 2020 election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was mild when compared to some we have had in this country.

I am thinking of one election in particular. It took place way back in the beginning of this great nation. The election of 1800 had in one corner the sitting president of the United States John Adams. In the other corner was Adam’s own vice president Thomas Jefferson.

In those days, the presidential candidates did not run officially with a vice presidential candidate on the same ticket. Whoever got the most votes became president and whoever got the second highest votes became vice president. So, it wasn’t uncommon to have a president of one party and a vice president of another party.

If you think dirty campaigns are just an element of recent times as well, then think again. The election of 1800 was down deep and dirty. The newspapers ran attack ads almost daily against the candidate they disliked. Adams was called names such as a hermaphrodite. If you aren’t familiar with that word like I wasn’t … then I will let you look it up. Trust me, it isn’t very polite.

Jefferson was called a man who was dangerous and an atheist. It was an ugly campaign.

In the end, Jefferson got more votes than Adams. It appeared that he was going to be the next President of the United States. Oh, but not so fast. The electoral college ran a little differently back then and the states that backed Jefferson in the general election had backed his vice president of choice Aaron Burr as well. Jefferson and Burr were tied in the electoral college. So, who was the next president of the United States?

Since the electoral college couldn’t decide the election, the election was now tossed to the House of Representatives to decide the next commander in chief. The representatives from the Federalist party who had been in Adam’s camp so despised Jefferson that they threw their support behind Burr.

As Burr begin to see the votes come in for himself, he realized that he had a chance to become president instead of vice president. He then began to negotiate, persuade, beg, promise his way to more votes from other house members.

Each representative didn’t vote independently. Each state voted as a unit. One vote for each state. On the first ballot, two states were tied, Burr won six states, and Jefferson had won eight states. Jefferson was short one vote from winning.

The next few days were as tense as cloud cover in the Smoky Mountains. Thirty-two ballots later and the country was still in the same place. The country expected the worst. For some, including President John Adams, thought it would end in a civil war.

Finally, a patriot stepped forward to save the infant nation. The state of Delaware only had one member in the House of Representatives. His name was John Bayard. He would vote alone to decide for his state. Bayard decided to save the nation from an early, bloody civil war. He abstained from the next ballot. Without his vote included, the election went to Jefferson and Thomas Jefferson became the third president of the United States. So, now you know. Thanks for reading today.

*Mark Bowser is the author of several books including “Some Gave It All” with Danny Lane, “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Nehemiah on Leadership,” and “Sales Success” with Zig Ziglar.

He is the host of the podcast “Let Me Tell You a Story with Mark Bowser” which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, and other popular podcast platforms. Subscribe today so that you don’t miss another inspiring episode.

You can reach Mark at his website http://www.MarkBowser.com.

Latest Podcast episode: How to Win at Sales, Success, and Life

Latest episode of the “Let Me Tell You a Story with Mark Bowser” podcast

*also available on other podcast platforms