Recently the New York Yankees signed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka a seven year contract for 155 million dollars. Mr. Tanaka has NEVER played in a major league game and he will earn as much money in a month as the average person will make in a lifetime. Sometimes the difference between how much a movie star, or a great athlete, or a CEO from a corporation earns and how much many hard working people earn just boggles my mind.

According to the AFL-CIO who researched 299 corporations in 2010, the average CEO earned approximately $11,400,000.00 in 2010. A lot of professional athletes and entertainers also earn that much so I felt like that would be a representative number of the higher end earners. For the lower level earners I used the poverty level for a family of four in 2010 which is $22,350.00. That means the average top level earner makes 510 times more than the average lower level earner in this country. That far exceeds the difference for any major country on Earth. Many people have just accepted that as a way of life, but I started to think what if the top or the higher end of other things besides salary had a 510 times difference than the lower end people, what would the country look like?

What if there was a 510 times difference in height between the small and tall. One of my mother’s closest friends is 4 feet 9 inches tall and is one of the smallest people I know. If tall people were 510 times taller than her, there would be a lot of 2,422 feet 6 inch people walking down the street. How would you like to have to sit behind one of the tall people the next time you go to the movies?

How about appetite? At one end of the spectrum you have people who eat like a bird while at the other end you get people who eat like a horse. The "eat like a bird" person may eat 1,200 calories a day. Using our formula, the eat like a horse person will devour 612,000 calories in a day. Or in fast food terms that is the equivalent of 1,133 Big Macs a day. Why do I have a feeling Old Country Buffet would be running their business in a different manner if the horse people started lining up for dinner.

Golf probably would be nowhere near as popular. While Tiger Woods or other top golfers would still shoot their rounds of 70, you better bring a lot of reading material if you are stuck playing behind the guy who is shooting a crisp round of 35,700.

At the recently completed New York City Marathon, the winning time was an amazing 2 hours 5 minutes and 6 seconds. I highly doubt that the citizens of New York would be thrilled if the streets were closed for 44 and a half days so the back of the pack people could finish the race.

So, the next time little Jimmy from school says to your child: “My dad is a thousand times stronger than your dad or a thousand times smarter than your dad,” you can say without worry that little Jimmy just exaggerates. But, if Jimmy says to your kid: “My dad is a thousand times richer than your dad,” find out what Jimmy’s dad does for a living before you open your mouth.

Want more tips and best practices to improve your memory and mental performance? Order your copy of my book, The Power of Forgetting, at your favorite retailer today or at


About the Author

Mike Byster

Mike Byster is the author of The Power of Forgetting.

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