Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Case for Humor in the College Classroom

From the Archives - I published this article in The Huffington Post:
As college professors nationwide prepare for a new academic year, my message for them is simple: Lighten up! Your students just might engage and learn.  
I never dreamed of being a college professor. Does anybody? When my third grade teacher asked us about our dream job, Molly said an astronaut; Evan, an actor. Perry: Obtain a terminal degree and lecture on legal morasses. 
Continue reading The Case for Humor in the College Classroom

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Speaking with High School Students from Across the Nation

Fun time this week working with NEXUS Summer Program students.  Everyone received a copy of 99 Motivators for College Success.  
NEXUS provides teens with on-campus academic and career development alongside immersive experiences in self-discovery including socio-emotional coping strategies, on leading college campuses throughout America.  

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lessons Learned from Sports

It was great meeting and speaking with the Atlanta After-School All-Stars this week!  In the early 1990's, I worked with the Miami ASAS Chapter, then known as the Inner City Games, and led by Olympian Bob Beamon.

This article is from the archives. I wrote it for the 25th Anniversary program, honoring Bob Beamon for the Greatest Track & Field Feat in Olympic History (Long Jump in Mexico City, 1968)


by Bob Beamon and Perry Binder, 1994

Sometimes when I get home after a particularly hectic day, I'll put on some jazz and take out my African drums to strike up a beat. As I close my eyes, my body succumbs to the rhythmic vibrations of pounding drums. With the stress of the day draining off, I kick back and try to reflect on where I've been and where I'm going. Sometimes my mind wanders back to Mexico City and 1968; but mostly, I think about today and tomorrow, one day at a time.

I work up a good beat and follow the flow. This morning, I went to an elementary school to talk with a few hundred children about precious opportunities. The kids cheered when I showed a replay of the jump. That got their attention. But then one kid laughed when I confided that I couldn't read a book at his age. He didn't mean anything by it, but it's hard to know sometimes who listens closely to the lessons of the past - who we can reach and who remains lost in America's school corridors and neighborhood back alleys.

As a kid growing up in Jamaica, Queens, I could barely find a positive role model in the neighborhood. The money and fancy clothes flashed around by local drug dealers and pimps were tempting and offered a quick way out. The message of sacrifice offered by parents, guardians and teachers who toil anonymously in the trenches was brushed aside to satisfy the appetite of the moment. When a young man today wonders if he'll live to see his twenty-fifth birthday and our babies are having babies, it's easy to identify such an overwhelming sense of resignation on our nation's street corners.

The statistics are mind blowing. Nationwide, an estimated 270,000 firearms are brought to our kids' schools every day. While a recent United Way survey identified that non-profit groups reach out to an estimated 15,000 "at-risk" youth in Dade County, Florida, another 120,000 needy kids aren't getting proper attention. Let's get one thing straight - in some way, all of our youth are at risk. Before we can isolate what makes children tick, their parents must first discover what makes themselves function effectively. Before parents can instill a sense of pride and dignity in a child, before we can talk about molding model citizens, mothers and fathers must feel good about who they are. A stable home life is the first priority our country must address before we can consider the active role that athletes can play in developing healthy minds and bodies.

Obviously, each kid is not going to cross the finish line first, but as Baron Pierre de Courbertin of France (the inspiration behind holding the modern Olympic Games) stated: "The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part; the important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle."

Ultimately, the lesson for our youth to gather is that it is not imperative to take home the gold medal. Champions are not made on the field or track; champions are made according to your accomplishments and abilities in every day life situations. The same tools that I used to succeed athletically can be applied to succeeding personally. Just as practice in long jumping made me successful, practice in whatever your profession or hobby may be will make you equally as successful. A sound work ethic will offer a framework for a youth's self-worth and the impetus to stand up and scream: "I am a Champion!"

One key to my athletic accomplishments, however, is that someone was eventually there to give me an opportunity. Whether it was Larry Ellis, my high school track and field coach, or Ralph Boston, Mr. Long Jump, a helping hand guided me to focus out distractions and concentrate on honing my skills.

While an Olympic jump gave me notoriety and stature, that success does not define who I am. But sports did give me a backdrop of discipline to apply each day. This stable force helps me to face the realities of keeping up with today's rigors. Our children must be taught such lessons from sports - how to set realistic goals, stick to them, work through them and redefine them to stretch their talents to new heights.

Because as the image of an eternal Olympic torch burns an indelible message of hope and respect in our hearts and minds, the flame is beginning to flicker. The fire in our neighborhood streets is simply suffocating the spirit and dreams of every kid who is taken for granted and not given an opportunity to flourish.

The great news is that high profile athletes are anxious to offer their time to find solutions. From Nate Archibald in Harlem to James Worthy in Compton and everyone in between the two coasts, athletes are coming to the rescue of young people in vast numbers. The simple point is that we have the ability to attract a kid's attention. Let's use our gifts constructively.

The boys and girls growing up in America are the wind beneath my wings. They are my motivation for rising each morning with an inspired outlook. So tonight, my eyes are open as I allow the drum beat to guide my thoughts about yesterday and today. About Mexico City. About some anonymous kids marking time by hanging out on the corner. About tomorrow's journey.

My beat is strong and fluid now, yet it seeks interpretation and clarity. It reaches out for your understanding and support.

The beat goes on. It simply has to.

1994 Bio: Perry Zane Binder is a sports radio talk show host on WSBH in Miami Beach (Love of the Game).
c 1994-2018 Perry Binder

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

99 Motivators - Student Summer Programs

Taking on 7'4" Mark Eaton, NBA Defensive Player of the Year
Looking forward to speaking with rising 9th graders in June, and rising 12th graders and college freshmen in July and August.

Our Greatest Barriers to Success:

   - Lack of curiosity
   - Fear of change
   - Fear of failure (see photo!)
You need a game plan, but no matter what you do in life, you always will have your education.  

 99 Motivators for College Success is dedicated to any person who walks into a college classroom, and dares to dream about a better today and tomorrow.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Rod Serling's Inspiring Graduation Speech - 50 Years Ago

Have you ever watched Twilight Zone re-runs on TV? Serling, who wrote 92 of the 156 scripts, had a flair for the written word. Part of his childhood was spent in Binghamton, N.Y., where I attended college.  The influence of upstate New York is evident in a handful of his scripts.  Twenty five years after his own high school graduation, he returned to his alma mater to deliver one of the most inspiring and timeless speeches you'll ever read.

Excerpt from Binghamton High School Commencement Speech, 1968:

... always do the things that you believeDon't become monuments—sway with the wind. Change opinions, if the change is natural and believed. But believe in something and fight for those beliefs. Honor them by your commitment. Further them by your effort.
And what a wondrous and what an incredibly grand world you might build for your children.  Now this millennium may not be in sight, let alone in reach. The route to it may be pretty damned close to impassible.  It may be as distant and as complicated to reach as the moon or another solar system.  BUT IT IS THERE! It's there for the taking, the asking and the fighting. And the rhetorical question—are you tough enough—I think is already answered by simply the look of you and the feeling that's in the room.  Indeed, you're tough enough. And you're also human enough and sensitive enough and caring enough.

Full text:

Monday, April 30, 2018

Motivational Graduation Speech for High School and College

Your Graduation Inspires Me

When I participate in graduation ceremonies, I often imagine delivering my own speech to the graduates, as if I were the commencement speaker:

Good morning chancellor, president, deans, faculty members, staff, students, friends, and family members.  And to the graduates:
Every one of you is special.Every one of you is a productive member of society.Every one of you is what inspires ME - because…Every one of you has a story to tell.I just wish I had the time to hear every one of them, and to be there as your career paths unfold.
You have already accomplished a huge milestone on that journey.  The biggest step though was just showing up.  That’s it.  The secret most people don’t get until it’s too late.  Just showing up as young freshmen was a threshold event.  Trying something which may be hard for the first time.  Experiencing new things, even if it’s unknown whether the objective is attainable.
To me, the greatest barriers to success, however you define that, are a fear of the unknown, a fear of change, and a fear of failure.  But you need a game plan, and hopefully you can lean a little on what you learned in school to figure out that route.  No matter what you do in life, you always will have your education.
I hope you made some lifelong friends here.  Frankly, I learned more about life from my peers than from my professors.  And I hope you got more than knowledge from your profs because you can get that from a book.  I’m hoping you gained insight on whatever subject, and then stamped your own original perspective on how to resolve issues and solve problems.
Many times the things you do won’t work.  And you will fail at some things you try.  That’s just a fact of life.  Abraham Lincoln once said:  “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” 
And you will make mistakes.  A lot of them!  Both in your careers and your lives.  That’s just another fact of life.  But that’s okay.  The trick is figuring out how to deal with setbacks.  Your family and friends will always be there for you.  And your education will continually serve as a foundation to get you back on track.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “We are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of our own minds.”  Graduates, each of you must unlock your mind and blaze a path built on reason and purpose.  Life is too short to spend it bouncing around like a random and aimless ball in a game of Pong.®  And whether you are 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 years young, it is never too late to test the boundaries of your dreams. 

Finally, I want all of you gathered in front of me to please lose the title of “former” student, because you will be my students for many years to come.  And I expect in return that I can become your student, as I learn about your professional successes, trials, and tribulations.
Every one of you is special.Every one of you is a productive member of society.Every one of you is what inspires me – because...Every one of you has a story to tell.
What will your next journey be?

Excerpt from 99 Motivators for College Success

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The 5 Best High School Graduation Gift Books

What's the lamest high school graduation gift you've seen? How about a good book instead, for college prep or just for pure fun. Hey, I had to sneak my book onto this list.

The Best High School Graduation Gift Books

via Amazon Lists

Friday, March 9, 2018

Panelist: IP Issues with Creative Assets on the Blockchain

Had a great time this week, speaking about "Smart Contracts" and IP issues in using cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin), for artists to sell their work in a secure manner - and without a middleman controlling royalties (e.g., not using Spotify, and selling songs directly to consumers).  So instead of a Business-to-Business model, it is a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) model.

Thank you to GSU Creative Media Industries Institute and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute for putting this panel together.

Fun and informative for me, and hopefully for all.

Click here for Video Recap of Panel (2:59) and 

Links to my Technology Law for Entrepreneurs class.

Monday, January 29, 2018

10 Motivators for Professional Success

With the new year in full swing, it's time to work on growing professionally...

1- Don't let anyone crush your professional dreams. However, the riskier your dream, the better your backup plan must be. 
2- Live life with no regrets. Sometimes doing the “wrong" career thing may be the right thing for you. Just be prepared to deal with the consequences.

Continue reading 10 Motivators for Professional Success

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Overheard from Perry's Former Students, 99 Motivators for College Success Book

"Way Too Kind" Testimonials, Given in Advance of Book

Professor Binder cares about his students and our world. He makes you think and ask yourself: How can I apply this to my reality and bring about justice? Zyna A

Perry provides a means of learning which applies to everyone in the classroom. There's a difference between being in class and wanting to be in class. Every lecture I attended, I can honestly say I wanted to be there. Stephanie B

Perry's teaching style is unusual, and his classes were one of the main reasons I decided to go on to law school. Allen B

Perry's unique and humorous ways of relating to his audience have inspired me to enhance my presentations when teaching classes at work. Though I cannot use his Pawn/Porn Shop example, I have found myself channeling Perry to make dry topics a lot more interesting. Jason B

On Professor Binder’s class project, I searched through a sea of county real estate records, discovered a family estate dispute on a piece of neighborhood property, wrote a legal letter to the parties involved, and got an A on the project! Aubree L B

Perry doesn't bore you with repetitive slideshows; each class he has a stand up lecture that is truly interesting and very engaging! His real life examples of the material being taught are often hilarious, especially coming from Perry's hilarious, yet ingenious perspective! For extra credit, I created a video and posted it on his Facebook wall about a particular case. David B

Professor Binder ensured there was never a dull moment of class because he truly cared about teaching and motivating his students to learn. I will never forget coming back from surgery and the first thing he does is start the class on a welcome back chant for me. Kevin Cl

Perry's class was more than just another class for me, it was a decision making catalyst, and had a huge impact on my future. His classes were the ones that I felt passionate about and never bored. Kevin Cr

Mr. Binder is the Michael Jordan of teaching. I say that because he isn't the best at any one thing when it comes to teaching but he is above average in all categories from knowledge, to humor, to understanding the college student. His humor made me interested, and I like how he would try different approaches in class. Harlem D

Professor Binder’s exuberant attitude towards the subject matter really motivated me to be engaged in his lectures. Ari E

Perry is so entertaining in the classroom that one often wonders why he hasn't taken up comedy as another career. But where he truly shines is in creating a sense of mutuality--and in doing so makes his students feel like we are part of an experience, not a top-down lecture. Jennifer F

Professor Binder's classes bring humor and real world events into one place. He will paint a picture of an event and have students envision what he is talking about and give feedback on what they were thinking about. He has a knack for finding ways of getting every student in his classes involved and feeling good about being in class and reassuring his students that going to class after all is not as bad as it may seem. Bobby F

I appreciated Perry’s commitment to helping my classmates and me go beyond our limited backgrounds and cultures and blossom into informed and caring professionals. My experience in his “Perry-Legal” course was a wonderful introduction into the world of the legal profession. Thanks for your help in unlocking my “rubber room.” Anthony G

Class with Mr. Binder is truly a college experience like no other! With his innovative teaching style and the way he communicates to his students, you cannot help but learn and absorb his lessons with ease. My college experience was made much better because I took his class! Gabe H

Two essential lessons that Perry's class taught me are: important information is everywhere if we spend the time to look closer; and it's more meaningful to find humor in our daily lives than to live with fear, pessimism, or divisiveness. Those lessons go a long way toward finding happiness and reaching the success that we all imagine. Thomas H

Being in Perry’s class brought excitement to the legal system, as his methodology to teaching and learning processes were always relayed by humor. It showed that there are more engaging ways to learn law without necessarily having to read and research alone - by relaying real-life situations with laughter and enthusiasm. Frank J

Having Perry as my professor, you never knew what to expect. He may be quiet and subtle at the beginning of your class and standing on the desk dancing around by the end. Thanks to Perry, I am able to handle a lot of the "unexpected" twists and turns that are found in so many of the cases and with so many of the clients. Jane G

Professor Binder's class was simply amazing - there's really no other way to describe it. Hands down, it was my favorite class. His teaching style coupled with his humor made the class so interesting and kept us engaged the entire time. The best part was that he actually motivated his students, making us WANT to learn and succeed. Anita K

Professor Binder is an amazing professor as he teaches in ways that students find interesting and will always remember. It was because of Professor Binder that I was inspired to go to law school and am forever grateful for taking his classes. Nina K

Perry Binder is the only Professor I have known that practically encourages his students to yell out " Yo Prof" in class. He is charming and witty, keeping his class entertained with jokes and funny mannerisms. The class is engaged in discussions and learning new things about the law and how it relates to everyday life without even realizing it. Jaskirat K

Professor Binder keeps his class interesting and fun. You will laugh, be entertained and learn so much about law. I never knew that law could be fun until I had Professor Perry - he is the best! Mindaugas J

Taking Perry's class is the best way to spend a summer! If there's one thing I learned from his class, it's: Don't serve the coffee too hot! Taylor N

I took Perry Binder’s class my freshman year of college. Although it has now been over a decade, I remember his class as the one I most looked forward to because of his passion and knowledge of the subject, magnetic charm, and outgoing personality. Today, I consider Perry a friend and his determination has encouraged me to continue my education throughout grad school. Sherlene N

Perry Binder was not only a Professor, but a Mentor. Expect the unexpected - his courses were never dull, making sure students were always personally challenged. His classes were not about memorizing material, but taking it and applying to real-life scenarios. To date the best Professor I have had. Lizette O

Professor Binder’s class was a great bridge between an undergraduate program and a law school. Any prospective law student should definitely consider enrolling the courses conducted by Professor Binder. David P

Dr. Binder is a brilliant mind whose contagious unbridled enthusiasm, coupled with captivating antics, make his class educational and fun - while providing a true Socratic learning experience. I highly recommend his class to anyone, especially those considering law school. Caveat Emptor: Beware, not all professors in law school teach like him, so don't be fooled! Kash R

Perry would often tell us, ‘It's good to be the judge.’ After taking two semesters with him, both full of inspiring stories, fascinating reads, and guaranteed laughs, I would have to disagree - it's good to be the student. Jasmine S

Perry’s sense of humor and vast amount knowledge truly inspired me to learn and achieve at higher levels. He has a gift of being able to teach in a way that provides you with the ability to remember the lesson for years to come. I have a sincere thankfulness for the desire to never stop learning - that is priceless. April S

To have shared a classroom with Perry was not only a learning experience, but a trajectory for life. One that influenced our family onto better things, including my daughter becoming an attorney. Vincent S

Taking a class with Professor Perry Binder may look like a typical law class from the outside, but once you experience his enthusiastic teaching style which blends insightful real world scenarios with theoretical legal precedents, you will depart every class looking forward to the next one. His witty, intelligent, and often comedic presentation of information not only grabs your attention while in class, but encourages you to find practical application of the legal world in our daily lives. Jason T

Perry’s enthusiasm was contagious and my cheeks would be sore from laughing after every class! Each lesson was followed by real life examples and he had an awesome way of putting a hilarious twist to them. I wish I would have just gone to Perry Binder University! I took every single undergrad class he taught. Kevin W

Professor Binder’s class was the one that I looked forward to most on Mondays. It opened my mind to both the challenges and rewards that exist in the legal field and influenced me to pursue a law degree. Ashley W