Review of The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough

Recently, I read David McCullough’s, The Wright Brothers. I recommend this book to anyone interested in reading about people who overcame insurmountable odds (including gravity) to change the way the whole world operates. They started as sons of a preacher, bicycle mechanics. They did not have billions to fund their endeavors. They started a company in their garage, the ultimate side gig, that changed the world. Click on one of the pictures below if you are interested in buying this book.

This was a fantastic book! In writing this book, David McCullough again shown his masterful ability to present history in a compelling way. 

How does this all relate to dads? David McCullough describes it best on page 18 of his book. A friend was speaking with Orville Wright, talking about how Orville and Wilbur epitomized the American Dream, of how someone with no special advantages could become someone who changed the world. Orville responded that he did have a special advantage. He grew up in a family where “there was much encouragement to intellectual curiosity.”

That should be a lesson to us all. Rather than spending all of our time in the pursuit of entertainment, we should spend a portion of our time encouraging our children’s intellectual curiosity. We should help our kids understand the world, and if not understand the world, we should help our kids understand to how to examine and analyze the world. Who knows what they may be able to accomplish.

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The Pros and Cons of Doing Online Surveys for Money

A common suggestion is getting paid to take online surveys. This was something I tried for a couple of years. I didn’t make a whole of money doing it. I made a little bit of money doing it. There were some things I liked and some things I didn’t. Over the course of about 3 years, I used 3 different online survey services and made about $200.

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Pinecone Research is an invite only service. I was lucky enough to get an invite, but once I started using it, I decided I didn’t like it. As you took surveys, you earned points. The site offered a lot of high-end products that could be purchased with  The problem was that everything on the site cost so many points that you would have to spend hours every day to get enough points to “buy” something worthwhile. At the end of the day, I did not see this as a great way to earn extra cash. If you have extra time and want to get some fancy things without spending money on them, this is not a bad way to go. If you’re looking to make some extra money, keep looking.

E-rewards was another service I used. I used it off and on over the course of a year and a half. This service did not allow you to get cash. It allowed you to get gift cards to places like restaurant.com, airlines, and for magazines. I stopped using this service because I felt like my return on time spent was not worth it. I didn’t think that the amount of points I was getting for each survey completed was worth the time I spent on each survey. On top of that, I was not really interested in the rewards they offered. The best reward I got was a one year subscription to the “Entrepreneur” magazine.

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Opinion Outpost was by far the best service I used. I was able to exchange my rewards for cash or on websites that I actually use, like amazon.com. In the end, though, I stopped using Opinion Outpost because I did not feel like the return I received on the amount of time I spent was worth it. I would get about 50 cents for every half hour I spent–not a very good wage.

My opinion is that if you’re looking for something to fill your time, you want to get something but you don’t want to spend money to get it, or you really only have a free half hour every day, online surveys are great. But, I decided it wasn’t worth my time. I decided that I could get a better return on my time, by spending my time with my family, developing new skills, learning new things, or working on other projects.

Have you used online surveys? What do you think about them? How have they worked for you?