Why Labor Day is the Hardest Working Day for Some People

Walk in the city someone built for you and say. “Thank You.”
Drive on the road someone paved for you and say, “Thank You.”
When people serve you–do not forget to say “Thank You.”


In 1882, the idea for a Labor Day holiday was first introduced to the United States, and it became a Federal holiday in 1887. In those years, hands in the fields or the factories did the majority of labor in the country. According to Webster’s Dictionary, “labor” is defined as:

Physical or mental exertion; work, toil, or the process of childbirth.

What is interesting is that both labor related activities were first mentioned in the Torah.

“To the women He said, ‘I will greatly increase your suffering and your child bearing; in pain shall you bear children.’”—Genesis 3/16

“To Adam He said, ‘By the sweat of your brow, shall you eat bread.”—Genesis 4/2

According to Wikipedia, the highest number of employed people in our country are in the retail sales (24%). Since Labor Day is the second busiest event (after Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving), these hard working women and men work long and exhausting hours for the rest of us to enjoy our days off. 


When I started working at the age of 15, I was a laborer—first a toolmaker, then an auto mechanic. (And later, I became an engineer.) You can read more about my humble start in the workforce in my first book, “The Mortgage Game: The 5 C’s and How to Connect Them”.

After we moved to Israel, on my first day of work, I held a welding torch in my hands, and I managed the construction of large steel industrial projects later on. In the United States, my first job was working as a handyman for a general contractor.


All of this was a while ago. Today, many Americans’ jobs are spent at desks in front of computers. Even work done by robots is overseen by people.
I work long hours and it does not feel laborious, while what my colleagues and I do is stressful. The only pain I suffer from is emotional, when I sometimes cannot help my clients get a mortgage.
To whom then does Labor Day apply to?


The holiday belongs to the hardworking women and men who work in the fields to bring food to our table. To the cleaning ladies and men who help us enjoy our lives, or those who work in restaurant kitchens, to feed us after our hard day at work in our offices.

It also belongs to Mothers, who (thanks to the miracles of modern medicine) have less pain, but who really labor to bring beautiful children into our world full with beauty.

As far as the rest of us are concerned, we are just getting a free ride. Enjoy it (and spend money to help improve the economy).



The photo portraits are my humble contribution to the hard working laborers.

  1. To the woman who controlled traffic in front of our house during the road repair.
  2. To a gardener I met in Palm Springs.
  3. To a seller of the San Francisco Chronicle who works on West Portal.
  4. To a young executive chef in Santa Fe (unfortunately the restaurant closed).
  5. To a contractor I met on Fillmore Street.

Do not keep me as a secret.


Best Wishes,


How to Be the Best at Whatever You Do


Doing is easy–becoming takes an effort.


On our recent trip to The Sea Ranch, I was reading, “Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing” by Philippe L. Gross and S.I. Shapiro. It was a gift from my daughter Tamar, and was perfect for the tranquil environment of the location.  The Taoist philosophy of Chuang-Tzu is a Chinese concept signifying the way, path, route, or doctrine. It can help one look deeper into one’s own heart—

“Leap into the boundless and make it your home!
Great understanding is broad and unburied; little understanding is cramped and busy.”Chuang-Tzu

The book is a description of the photographic experience from the Taoist point of view and contains quotes from many famous photographers. 


“I never look for a photograph. The photograph finds me and says, “I’m here!” and I say, “Yes. I see you. I hear you.”—Ruth Bernard

In my classes about the mortgage business, I usually start with a Russian proverb, which loosely translates to:

“The prey runs to the hunter.”

One needs to become a hunter first in their heart and in all their being, before one can to be called a hunter.



We are currently seeking new loan originators. During their interviews, some candidates start by talking about their experience. I usually stop them and ask, “Tell me about who you are before talking about what you know or what you do.”

To put on a uniform, to have a diploma, or to own the best equipment, does not make one the best in their chosen occupation. Believe in your heart and many hours of practice and learning can make the difference.
It took me years of taking pictures before I could call myself a photographer. It is very different to define who is the best in the art of photography. How can one compare? I’ve seen works of many great photographers from whom I’m trying to learn. As far as the mortgage business is concerned, I strive to be one of the best by focusing on finding solutions.


In a very interesting book, “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Malcom Gladwellpoints out that those who achieved real success in life, like the Beatles, Bill Gates, and others “practiced” for at least 10,000 hours before their success was recognized by others. After 30 years in the mortgage business and close to 60,000 hours of practice, writing two books on the subject (the second one is currently with the Publisher), I finally might be getting there.

However, I still need your help to pay my mortgage.


One of my photography teachers, Stephen Burns, told me “Less is more”. The images in this email, which I took at The Sea Ranch, follow this concept.

Do not keep me as a secret.



Best Wishes,

Manny<br />

Beauty is in The Eye of The Beholder

The mirror on the wall will not tell you if you are beautiful. You have to know it in your heart.

*All beautiful images in this e-letter were created by my beautiful wife, Elfa.*


I do not know about you, but when I am on vacation and have an opportunity to relax, I start seeing the world with open eyes and notice only the beauty. It is Sunday morning in The Sea Ranch, where I have been staying for 5 days in a beautiful house on the bluff with my wife and beautiful daughter, Alona.

Outside the window, I see a foggy sky and grey ocean with grey rocks. I just came back from photographing amazingly beautiful grey images. Flocks of beautiful grey pelicans are flying in front of our window.

Last night, a group of seven beautiful deer came to eat by our house and then joined us (outside) to watch a beautiful movie on the TV. Yesterday, we spent many hours strolling in a beautiful forest. Days before, we walked on a trail along the beautiful ocean, surrounded by the beautiful nature.

Here, we met our neighbors—a beautiful couple who divide their time between beautiful Paris and The Sea Ranch.

We had our anniversary dinner in the beautiful St. Orres Restaurant. It is located outside beautiful Gualala, a small town next to The Sea Ranch.


While here, I finished reading a beautiful book by Anita Moorjani—“Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing”. It is a life story about a young beautiful woman, who had “died” from cancer and came back. Her near death experience helped her to get rid of cancer and also changed her outlook on life. This book inspired me to write this letter. The book was given to me by my beautiful friend and Doctor of Oriental Medicine—Dr. Angela Wu, who helps beautiful women to conceive and bring to this beautiful world, beautiful children. She is the author of the book, “Fertility Wisdom: How Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help Overcome Fertility”.


Tomorrow, we are driving back to our beautiful house in San Francisco, in the most beautiful city in the world. I am going back to work with our beautiful employees.

You might suspect that this beautiful vacation with too much oxygen in the air affected my brain. It might have. Did I forget about the regulators who I was complaining about in my previous newsletters? Or the banks, that create problems for borrowers—are they also beautiful?


I am sure that people, in spite of the circumstances they work in, are beautiful. At the same time, the adverse conditions help me to come up with beautiful mortgage solutions for my beautiful clients.


The beautiful photos pale in comparison with the real beauty found in nature. We like to visit The Sea Ranch so much that on Labor Day, we are coming back with our other beautiful daughter, Tamar. She is helping me write my next beautiful book, “The Marriage Game”. Stay tuned.

Do not keep me as a secret.


Best Wishes,


What To Do When A Relationship Hits A Bumpy Road

Successful marriage is hard work. Are you doing your best?



Yesterday, August 8th, we celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary in my wife Elfa’s favorite place—The Sea Ranch. Our daughters, Alona came from Paris and Tamar from L.A. Some people asked us how we have managed to stay together for so long and keep a loving relationship. What is out secret? To answer this question, I decided to write a book, “The Marriage Game: The 7+ C’s and How to Connect Them”.
You might notice that the title is similar to my previous book, “The Mortgage Game: The 5 C’s and How to Connect Them”. Not only are the titles similar, but I am also using “The C’s”, which in this care are: Communication, Cooperation, Commitment, Compromise, Creativity,Compassion, and Caring. (It was actually our daughters who came up with this idea to use words which start with the letter C, as I did in “The Mortgage Game”. Then there are the additional  “C’s”, as per my wife Elfa’s suggestion,Copulation and my contribution, Cuddling.) Though we both worked hard and with joy to keep our marriage a success, the main credit belongs to my wife and partner, Elfa. She also agreed to partner with me on this project as well. I started to write this book on our trip in The Sea Ranch and am planning to finish it before the end of the year.

Stay tuned!


So why title a newsletter about such a joyful event in our lives—“What To Do When A Relationship Hits a Bumpy Road”? Because any relationship is a journey through life and there are many bumps in the road.

Actually, the title came into mind while reflecting about what is currently going on in the mortgage business. I am obviously upset that because of the new regulations, my clients have to deal with so many complicated hardships. However, applying my extensive experience in dealing with “bumpy roads” in my marriage, I decided to deal with the current developments in the mortgage business with patience and understanding. After 30 years of being a mortgage broker, it seems that I am also “married” to this business.


I  had lunch recently with my old friend, Ed Sutton, with whom I reconnected after almost 30 years. He is very good at helping people prepare their tax returns. He can be reached at esutton@sutton1040.com / 650-755-1040 or via his website. Ed has been married for 39 years, and when I asked him what he thinks is his “secret” for his long marriage, he answered without hesitation—good communication. I will write about what I think this really means in my new book.



I took these images at The Sea Ranch. Though they are undoubtedly beautiful, you need to come here to have your own experience.

Do not keep me as a secret.


Best Wishes,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

What Do You Think About?

Humans differ from animals by the way they think. Humans differ from each other by what they think about.”



In the courtyard of the Legion of Honor Museum, there is a large sculpture of August Rodin’s The Thinker. On our last visit to the museum, we saw the “Impressionists on the Water” exhibit—a very compact show that features beautiful art by the artists who lived close to the waterways in France at the end of the 19th to the early 20th century, and who became known as impressionists because of the specific way they created their art. It was interesting to see how the curator put together a collection where most of the images had an unusual composition (at least from my photographic eye).

On the way out, I photographed a group of visitors who posed in the front of the sculpture, pretending to show how they think. A friend of mine, Greg Durrett, told me that when he lived close to the museum, he would go there regularly to photograph the “pretending” thinkers.

Earl Nightingale once remarked, “We become what we think about most of the time”.


What we think about is often affected by the world we live in and of course our own personal disposition. We were recently at a friend’s house where a group of men and women discussed the “hot topics” of the day–the Asiana Flight 214 crash in San Francisco and the George Zimmerman trial. Everyone had their own opinion about those stories, but the reference was primarily based on what people read in the newspapers or saw on TV. At the same time, someone commented that one cannot believe everything they read in the newspapers.


Unfortunately, those are the sources which affect our thinking about economic or political decisions as well. When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, there was an overreaction to the events, which at the time were ‘old news’. The purpose of the act was to try to prevent the same type of economic disasters from happening again. The problem was that creating a document over one thousand pages long, and further attempting to implement it, was given to people whose thinking was affected by what happened in the past without any idea how to take care of the future.


The result is regulatory overkill. Since the problems were caused by the actions of the Wall Street firms and large commercial banks, regulation of the loan origination side of the mortgage industry is over-productive. What borrowers need is not protection from phantom predators, but rather solutions on how to make their lives better. In the mortgage business, it is relatively simple to accomplish. Just follow the rules of the 5 C’s that I wrote about in “The Mortgage Game: The 5 C’s and How to Connect Them”. Plus add one more “C”— Common Sense, and many problems will disappear. Unfortunately, this might lead to an increase of unemployment since no one really needs regulators to tell us how to live our lives and conduct our businesses; unless of course, those people are trained to be productive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, There are 3.8 million unfilled employment opportunities in the United States. But removing regulators will increase employment for those who really want to work for a living, such as developers, builders, and anyone involved in real estate related activities and this will turn the world around. (But this might also increase interest rates. Be careful what you wish for.)




We are closing more sales transactions. Every case has its own set of complications. In one of them, I was very pleased when the clients listened to my advice and offered a higher price. Luckily, their offer was accepted. They kept their monthly payments “affordable” by choosing a loan with a fixed rate for 7 years (not 30), and interest rate 3.75%.


I also live by the water and thought that we do not have the same quality of light. As it is in the South of France, I humbly present you some of my images related to the subject.

Do not keep me as a secret.


Best Wishes,

Manny<br />