10 Books That Will Change the Way You Think Forever

October 7, 2015

Sometimes it’s a lecture. Sometimes it’s a particular teacher’s words. Sometimes it’s a lesson from a parent or a friend, or even a life experience that explodes your conception of what’s possible in the world or what’s possible in you. And sometimes it’s a book (or ten) that changes how you think forever.

To live is to learn, and to read is to learn fast from the experience of others. At HighExistence, we’re pretty into non-fiction books. We’ve written about every type of book; from philosophy to positive psychology to personal development and Taoism.

Speaking from experience, we think that this list of ten books by influential writers and thinkers in every field from psychology to economics just might change how you think about the world, work, other people, and yourself.

Reads that change your ideas on the world

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (Incerto)We gravely underestimate the impact of luck and random events on our lives, using terms like “skills,” and “determinism,” when “luck” and “randomness” are the elements actually at play.

In this book, Nassim Nicholas Taleb cites real-world examples to whip the veil of certainty from our eyes and explains that life is mostly governed by chance. Read this one for an enlightened view on why life is non-linear and not always fair.

Read the 15 minute Blinkist version of Fooled by Randomness here for free.

The Wisdom of Crowds

The Wisdom of CrowdsSure, groupthink can be dangerous, but under the right circumstances crowds can make surprisingly intelligent decisions and even produce better results than the experts or the smartest individuals in those groups. If the group is full of independent thinkers who have no problem pooling intelligence for the common good, you’ve reached the apogee of collective brilliance.

In this book, James Surowiecki summons examples from popular culture, psychology, and biology, and more to illustrate this idea’s implications on how we vote, decide, do business, and move through the world.

With Blinkist you can just read the key lessons of The Wisdom of Crowds for free.

Books that transform your thoughts on work

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others DieSuccessful stories, advertising campaigns, and ideas with staying power share the same recognizable characteristics: they’re simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, and emotional — and they tell a unified story.

In this book, Chip & Dan Heath explore why some ideas stick and others don’t, and how you can make yours more velcro than slip ‘n slide.

Not enough time? Read the insight’s only in Blinkist’s book summary of Made to Stick.

A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the FutureRight brain aptitudes have been historically undervalued and dismissed, but as we move from the Information Age into the Conceptual Age, they’re becoming the future’s superpowers.

What business is increasingly discovering is that while analytical, left-brain thinking is still important, it isn’t insufficient on its own. Being innovative, creative and empathetic are traits that help us succeed professionally, while also increasing our personal well-being.

In this book, bestselling author Daniel Pink takes you on a journey that details the capacities of the two hemispheres and why appreciation for the right side, with all its inveterate skills in design, empathy, and humor, is growing.

A smarter you in 15 minutes: read the Blinkist version of A Whole New Mind for free.

Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative Company

Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative CompanyRoutine work and innovative work are both important to a company’s success. But truly recognizing the differences between the two and understanding where each is most useful? That is invaluable.

Stanford professor Robert I. Sutton offers insight on the nature of innovation and experimentation, failure, and creative freedom. It’ll blow up everything you thought you knew about creativity and offers ways to put more innovation back into your business via expectation setting, hiring choices, and strategies for dealing with both failure and success.

Prefer just getting the top insights? Read Blinkist’s version for free here.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates UsLet’s talk for a second about extrinsic motivation: based primarily on rewards and sanctions that come from outside the self, extrinsic motivation is useful on a short term basis. In the long run, though, it’s passion and dedication that characterizes intrinsic motivation and truly fuels the search for meaning and success.

The second on this list from Daniel Pink, Drive teaches you about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, what influences each sort, and how you can build awareness of intrinsic motivation to improve your productivity and inspire others in kind.

Just want the tips to become more motivated? Read Blinkist’s summary of Drive here.

Reads that adjust your opinions of other people

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingBoth introverts and extroverts have qualities that can be extremely valuable to the people in their environments, but these personalities need different spaces and treatments to bloom to their full potential.

In Quiet, writer and researcher Susan Cain reveals the differences between introverts and extroverts, how the “extroversion ideal” of the last 150 years has transformed the workplace into an extrovert’s dream, and how the talents of the two personality types can be combined for a stunning degree of success.

Read this one to get in touch with your inner introvert and learn how to honor it in others.

Read the key lessons from Quiet in 15 minutes for free on Blinkist.

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and HappinessLook at acid washed jeans, the atom bomb, and Miley Cyrus and it becomes woefully apparent: we as humans make the wrong decisions all the time.

We don’t always do what’s best for us. Why? Sometimes we have too little or overly complex information, or we act on gut feelings rather than reasoned plans. Sometimes we succumb to temptation, and sometimes we’re manipulated by external forces.

Thaler, leading behavioral economist and advisor to Barack Obama, shows how nudges, or subtle changes in context that make it more difficult to make a poor decision, can help us achieve our goals.

Read the big takeaways from Nudge in 15 minutes on Blinkist for free.

Books that change how you perceive yourself

Mindset: How You Can Fulfill Your Potential

Mindset: The New Psychology of SuccessAs little children we adopt a mindset, fixed or growth. Shockingly enough, this one selection defines how we’ll feel, what we believe ourselves capable of achieving, and what we’ll risk for the rest of our lives.

Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford, teaches us about how to identify our mindset, confront our own attitudes and ideas, and develop a growth mindset to realize our potential to the fullest. Read it to have your ideas about who you are and your own potential changed forever.

Learn how to fulfil your potential in just 15 minutes with Blinkist’s summary of Mindset.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and ReligionWhere does moral judgment come from? If you answered something like “firm rationale,” you’re wrong. Moral judgment actually springs from our ephemeral friend, intuition. Intuition works rather like a lawyer, justifying moral judgments to others and ourselves, supporting our reputation and self interest.

The Righteous Mind exposes how it is emotion and intuition, not reason, that drives moral judgment, showing us how understanding the moral foundations on which our interests are based can benefit us in decision making.

Learn the most important ideas in The Righteous Mind for free with Blinkist.

Found something that fascinates you? For a more filling serving of what each of these books has to offer, you can read the condensed, 15-minute versions of each of them in the Blinkist library for free.

This piece was originally published on Blinkist.

12 Common Phrases That Can Destroy Your Professional Image Unknowingly

October 6, 2015

Work by Casey Imafidon

There are certain actions that can hurt your professional career. In order to go the long haul with your career, you’ll need to steer clear of the wrong actions, comments, or phrases. You should be focused and disciplined, even if it’s tempting to use these kinds of excuses. Here are 12 phrases that have the potential to destroy your career.

1. “It has always been done this way.”

Things are never static. It is wrongful and uncreative to assume that doing things a particular or a singular way is the definitive way to getting the job done. Try look for ways to better a situation rather than look for excuses to stay on one track.

2. “There is nothing I can do.”

Of course there is something you can do—it is just that you are not inventive and willing enough. Using this kind of negative phrase could give off the impression that you are pessimistic, passive and despondent.

3. “That meeting was really bad.”

This is a personal opinion, and your opinion should be kept to yourself when it comes to these types of things. Plus, how can a meeting be really bad when you are in attendance? Perhaps you didn’t do enough to make it exciting and productive.

4. “Can we get it over with?”

This phrase means you are not willing to be bothered or engaged in such a business activity. Every issue that comes your way should be addressed with an optimistic attitude.

5. “You guys!”

Such phrase can be said casually during a friendly conversation, but not during a professional conversation. Phrases like this are slang, which could demean your professionalism. It would be best for you to use a phrase like “your organization” or “your team” instead.

6. “It’s not fair.”

Instead of complaining and whining, why don’t you deal with what made you feel treated unfairly in the first place? Nothing is actually fair in our world, and you have to be prepared for that in your professional career.

7. “This is a silly idea.”

When did you become the most seasoned professional to condemn and affirm ideas? You can’t be judgmental and condemnatory as a professional. You have to offer an alternative or assert a recommendation rather than pushing an idea aside and saying it is silly.

8. “I am too busy.”

Such phrases could make the other person feel irrelevant. You do not have to act more important than something or someone else. Learn to foster positive relationship. Try saying, “Let us discuss this by 4 p.m. Could you perhaps stop by my office later in the day?”

9. “I will try.”

Such a phrase already signals a possibility of failure. It is better to admit if you can follow through or not. Also, using negative phrases could mean you are the kind of person who doesn’t commit him or herself to anything worth going for.

10. “You should have…”

This phrase is more of a fault-finding phrase rather than a problem-solving phrase. It sounds like you are thrilled about the person’s failure rather than his or her success. You shouldn’t try to make anyone feel guilty or judge them for their mishaps. Focus on how you can improve the situation by saying, “to ensure we get things done, make sure you bring this to my attention immediately.”

11. “The new guy/lady is so hot!”

This phrase can be taken for a sexual innuendo. It is okay to appreciate another person’s beauty or handsomeness, but that expression should not be done in a professional environment so as not to make others feel uncomfortable in the workplace.

12. “Do you believe what he/she said?”

If you are uncomfortable with what someone said or did during a particular situation, why don’t you confront the person directly and question their words or actions? You don’t need to gossip or make utterances about the persons action behind their back.

CLICK HERE to see the original story

CMS proposes $5 billion cut in lab test fees

October 5, 2015
The CMS will begin paying the same as private insurance rates for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests starting January 1, 2017, according to a proposed rule announced Friday. The move could result in a large cuts in payments to laboratories.

Medicare paid between 18% and 30% more than other insurers for some lab tests, an HHS Office of Inspector General report found.

The agency projects savings of $360 million for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests in 2017 as a result of the change, and a $5.14 billion savings within the first 10 years of the rule’s implementation, according to the proposed rule.

Medicare’s current fee schedule for lab tests has been in place since 1984 and remains largely unchanged, according to the agency. Under the current system, each lab determines its own payment rates on the basis of prevailing charges for lab tests in its region.

The program pays approximately $8 billion a year for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests.

The change was called for in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA), which also requires clinical laboratories to report on private insurance payment amounts and lab test volumes.

“Modernizing Medicare’s payment for clinical lab tests is another example of our commitment to spending health care dollars more wisely,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, deputy administrator and chief medical officer at CMS. “This demonstrates CMS’ dedication to collaborating with private payers to improve the delivery system.”

Medicare-enrolled laboratories are a mix of national chains that perform a large menu of tests and small regional operations that concentrate on a specific population, such as nursing home residents. Physician offices also perform some tests that are reimbursed by Medicare.

Laboratories would collect private payer data from July 1, 2015 through Dec.31, 2015 with reports due CMS by March 31, 2016. CMS will post the new Medicare rates by Nov. 1, 2016; these rates will take effect on January 1, 2017.

CMS will take comments until November 25, 2015.

CLICK HERE to see the original story

How to Speak Clearly

October 2, 2015

Note:  After hearing Biomeds struggle with delivering talks, speeches and presentation in a clear and effective manner, I found these tips for better speaking.  Use them – they work!    Pat

Speaking clearly and efficiently can make it much easier to get your ideas across. You’ll need to slow down your speech, enunciate your syllables, and practice your diction. Take the time to practice speaking, and correct yourself if you mess up.

Method One of Three:
Slowing Down

  1. Take a deep breath. Calm yourself down before you start speaking, so that your lungs won’t run out of air. Distill your thoughts #do not spill them. If you dive into speech without taking time to ground yourself, you may speak more quickly and slur your words. Take the time to center yourself, and proceed mindfully from there.
  2. Articulate your words. Pronounce each syllable individually. Syll – a – ble. Take it very slowly, at first, until each sound is clear and distinct. Gradually speed up your speech and decrease the space between words until you are speaking normally.[1]

    • Make sure you actually stop the air for consonants like ‘t’ and ‘b’. Differentiate between your vowels.
    • Don’t expect to speak with perfect clarity right away. You may need to practice this for several hours each day, and you may need to practice more to master difficult words.
    • Practice when you’re alone and in the car, or walking down the street; when cleaning, or knitting, or standing in front of the mirror. You can slow down your syllables in conversation, but you may make more progress if you devote some serious time to honing your speech.
  3. Speak more slowly. It can be incredibly helpful to give your words an extra second or two to fully come out of your mouth. Pausing also works, because pausing allows the person you’re speaking to, to digest all of the words you’ve just said.[2]

Method Two of Three:
Honing Speech Mechanics

  1. Practice your grammar. If you use poor grammar, your thoughts and ideas may not come across as clearly as you’d like. Speak as though you’re composing an essay or a letter: with patience, poise, and precision.

    • Avoid speaking in run-on sentences. If you let yourself ramble, your listeners might miss the point. Try to break up your thoughts into comprehensible chunks.[3]
  2. Expand your vocabulary. One apt word can be much clearer than a flurry of circumlocution. Try to find exactly the word you need &ndsah; then use it effectively. Be careful not to use words incorrectly or out of context; you may obscure the clarity of what you’re trying to say, and you will not be taken seriously.

    • The caveat: you’ll need to make sure that the people you’re speaking to also know these words. Keep audience in mind. Use simpler words, when possible.
    • Reading is a great way to expand vocabulary. Read books, articles, essays; read things that fascinate you, and read things that you wouldn’t normally read. Whenever you come across a word that you don’t know, look it up.
    • Try keeping a list of useful, powerful words. The more you use them in context, the more natural it will feel – and the better your word-selection may become.
  3. Think before you speak. If you prepare your words, you may run less risk of slipping up. Even if you don’t plan out the exact words that you’re going to say, you can take a moment to think through your ideas and clarify them in your mind.

    • Silently say the words to yourself before you say them aloud. This might help you ensure that you’ve gotten the pronunciation right.
  4. Speak with inflection. Questions should ascend in pitch at the end. Statements should inflect somewhat deeper, with finality. Notice which syllables and words get emphasis. Try exaggerating your inflection, the way you would if you were reading a story to a small child.[4]

Method Three of Three:
Exercising Diction

  1. Practice saying tongue twisters. If you work on phrases that are difficult to pronounce, you may find it easier to speak clearly in everyday conversation. Start slowly, and gradually work your way up to a normal pace. Identify problem syllables: if you notice that you have trouble enunciating your “B” sounds, try saying tongue twisters that play on the “B” syllable.[5]

    • For “B” words, try: Bill had a billboard. Bill also had a board bill. The board bill bored Bill, so Bill sold his billboard and paid his board bill. Then the board bill no longer bored Bill, but though he had no board bill, neither did he have his billboard!
    • For “D” words, try: Did Doug dig David’s garden or did David dig Doug’s garden? or Do drop in at the Dewdrop Inn.
    • For “F” sounds, try: Four furious friends fought for the phone or Five flippant Frenchmen fly from France for fashions.
    • For “J” sounds, try: James just jostled Jean gently or Jack the jailbird jacked a jeep.
  2. Repeat the phrases over and over. Start very slowly and clearly, enunciating each syllable: “Five flipp-ant French-men fly from France for fash-ions.” Get faster and faster while maintaining clarity. If you trip over words, stop and start again. With determined practice, you may learn to conquer difficult syllables.
  3. Be confident in your speech. Don’t be afraid to speak loudly and clearly. Reciting anything that someone else has written—poems, books, tongue twisters—is great for practicing confidence. Follow through with your words: finish as strong as you start! Be sure of what you intend to say, and the meaning will shine through.[6]

    • If you tend to mumble or slur your words, it can be difficult to break from the pattern and speak clearly. When you recite words, try to forget about the fact that you are speaking. Focus only on the words, their meaning, their beauty. Try not to overthink it.[7]


  • Keep it simple. Sometimes, a simple explanation is all you need to speak clearly.

  • Try listening to yourself using a voice recorder. This may help you determine what you need to work on.

  • When you are speaking: open your mouth bigger, and over-articulate the word. It’s like singing: you need to open your mouth. You may not realize it, but opening your mouth expresses your voice.

  • Practice in front of your friends and family. See if they understand you better once you’ve been practicing for a while.

  • When in a conversation, take some time to ask if the other person understands what you’re trying to say. If they don’t, try rephrasing what you just said.

  • Singers learn to press their tongue into the back of their lower teeth and keep it there, except when using words with letters that require you to move your tongue (such as “L,” “T,” and “M/N” sounds). This allows air to move more clearly through your mouth without your tongue getting in the way. But be careful when using this tip: you could be focusing too much on the form of your mouth. and not the words you are supposed to be saying.

  • Always speak at an appropriate volume.

  • Always be confident about your speech.

  • Don’t overthink it when you speak to others. You may end up making the situation worse. Try to be natural; try to think about exactly what you are saying now, not about what you need to say next. Get into a flow.

  • When practicing with the pen to help you enunciate, don’t choke on the pen. Make sure the pen is long enough that it does not move, slip, or fall into your mouth by accident. Remember to place your pen alongside your mouth horizontally: this will be better for pronouncing certain syllables, and it will reduce your risk of choking or gagging on the pen.

ONC’s final 5-year Health IT Strategic Plan: 10 things to know

October 1, 2015

HHS’ ONC has released the final version of its Health IT Strategic Plan for 2015 through 2020, which aims to modernize the country’s health IT infrastructure to boost the use of electronic information and improve overall health.

Here are 10 things to know about the 50-page strategic plan.

1. The strategic plan has four overarching goals:

  • Advance person-centered health and self-management
  • Transform healthcare delivery and community health
  • Foster research, scientific knowledge and innovation
  • Enhance the health IT infrastructure of the country

2. The plan outlines how the federal government will support the effective use of information and technology to achieve these goals, but makes it clear that IT in and of itself is not an end goal; rather, it should be used to advance the other strategic priorities of the plan.

3. While the federal government is spearheading these initiatives and the plan focuses on federal strategies, the ONC says the goals require collaboration from private stakeholders and state, territorial, local and tribal governments. Additionally, participation from all stakeholders in the healthcare industry — from individuals to caregivers to payers to academic institutions — is necessary to advance the ONC’s mission.

4. The plan outlines key health IT principles to achieve the strategic goals, such as focusing on value, being person-centered, respecting individual preferences, creating an environment of continuous learning and being responsible with the country’s money and trust.

5. Industry leaders offered their support for the strategic plan. Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, said in a statement: “The incorporation of person-centered health as a core goal of the final Federal Health IT Strategic Plan…is a significant and positive step toward the kind of patient- and family-centered healthcare system this country needs. We commend ONC for recognizing that patients, families and caregivers must be able to access, understand, use and share health information in order to achieve a healthcare system that delivers better care, better health and better value.

“By laying out the vision, goals and collective efforts that federal agencies will pursue over the next five years in concert with public and private organizations, the Strategic Plan will help sustain momentum in advancing patient access to tools that can help them understand and manage there are, communicate effectively with providers and participate in efforts to enhance coordination of care across settings and providers.”

6. The Premier alliance also issued a statement from Blair Childs, senior vice president of public affairs, in support of the plan and its intended goals. “Premier strongly supports consumer access to health data in private, secure and meaningful ways through the use of apps and other tools that better enable achievement of health and wellness goals. Ultimately, we share the future vision of the ONC to enable applications to securely integrate and exchange information, including data in EHRs as well as health apps that consumers may use to access and share health data with providers.

“Second, we are encouraged by the ONC’s desire to improve the workflow and automation of quality measures collection and processes as part of a comprehensive strategy to support population health. More automated measures collection and analytics capabilities, as envisioned in the plan, will go far to improve overall efficiencies and free providers up to spend more time doctoring to patients, and less time doctoring to administrative measures collection.

“Last, we believe it is critical that the ONC fast track work to finalize interoperability standards necessary for capturing and exchanging information across IT platforms. In many respects, these standards are the essential foundation for every strategic goal outlined in the plan.”

7. Several initiatives complementary to the plan are already in effect, such as the Blue Button initiative, which encourages patients to download their health records online, and the Precision Medicine Initiative, which President Obama kicked off during his 2015 State of the Union Address. Such initiatives will be carried on alongside other projects to advance toward person-centered care and a stronger health IT infrastructure.

8. The origins of the plan were borne from the ONC’s Federal Health IT Advisory Council, which gathered stakeholders from across the industry to discuss health IT concerns. The ONC released a draft of the plan in December 2014 based on the input of more than 35 entities and departments participating in the council. From then through February 2015, ONC sought public comment and received feedback from approximately 400 people and organizations. The final plan was released Monday.

9. Starting in 2016, HHS will provide annual updates on the plan in its Adoption of Health IT and Related Efforts to Facilitate the Electronic Use and Exchange of Health Information report. Additionally, ONC plans to regularly update the Health IT Dashboard to offer progress updates.

10. The agency will also collect information and data from the following three populations to help measure the plan’s success:

  • The percent of office-based physicians treating patients seen by providers outside the medical organization and the percent with electronic clinical information from those outside encounters
  • The percent of non-federal acute care hospitals that regularly have necessary clinical information in an electronic format when treating a patient seen at an outside care setting
  • The percent of individuals who experience at least one gap in health information when seeking care

To access the full Health IT Strategic Plan, click here.

Health IT Strategic Planning from the US Government – FREE

September 30, 2015

Guiding the Federal Health IT Agenda

ONC collaborates with the public and private sectors to develop and implement strategies to advance health IT and information use to achieve high-quality care, lower costs, a healthy population, and engaged individuals.

CLICK HERE to access the free resources

10 Things Smart People Don’t Do

September 29, 2015


What do you think when someone is called smart? You probably have an image of an educated and intelligent person in your mind. But being smart is something more than answering the questions right and getting good grades in school. Smart people are often creative, compassionate, grateful and humble.


They know that they are capable of doing great things and they definitely don’t do the following ones.1. They don’t let their past mistakes interfere with their present life
Smart people know that there is no success without some mistakes and failures. Those failures can stand on the way of achieving goals. Smart people don’t let it happen. They leave the past behind because they know that you cannot change your mistakes. But you can learn a lesson from them and see them as an opportunity to grow and to become better.

2. They don’t concentrate on negative things
Smart people believe that thoughts are material. If you have nothing but negative thoughts in your head, your life will be negative, too. Smart people know that life is much better when you use your abilities to dream, create, build, wonder and love.

3. They don’t run away from their problems
Everyone had, has and will have problems. There are problems with work, money, family, health, etc. Smart people face those problems. They look for the best ways to solve them. When they fall, they stand up and keep going. They have the courage to confront their fears and they see every problem as a chance to become better.

4. They don’t care what other people think of them
Smart people don’t let the negative opinion of other people stop them from living a happy life full of joy and success. The world is full of cynics, skeptics and haters. But clever people push them away. They surround themselves with intelligent people who share their values and interests. There is a great thought that if you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.

5. They don’t waste time
Smart people don’t waste time. They develop productive habits that help them work better and faster. They don’t get distracted by meaningless things and unnecessary tasks. They also know that you cannot work all the time; your brain needs some rest once in a while.

6. They don’t expect immediate results
Clever people know that good things happen to those who can wait. Many people today expect to get everything they want the minute they want it. Smart people realize that you need to work hard to get the things you want. Only then you’ll truly appreciate them.

7. They don’t focus on the things they cannot control
Every day we face some things we cannot control such as traffic, rude people, etc. Smart people are calm about those things as they know that negative emotions will harm no one but them in such situations.

8. They don’t waste time on people who discourage them
Smart people surround themselves with other smart people. They find time for their families, friends and acquaintances who share their interests and views. They also realize that they should spend time with negative people as rarely as they can.

9. They are not arrogant
You probably won’t hear from smart people that they are smart. Because they are usually shy about it and don’t feel the need to tell the whole world they are intelligent. They don’t brag about their achievements and rewards.

10. They don’t forget to say “thank you”
Show your gratitude. It is one of the most important things. Smart people know that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They believe in the power of kindness and that a good gesture will come back to them some day.

10 Things Smart People Don’t Do


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