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The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary [NOOK Book]

Overview

Seize the chance to be extraordinary.

Who has made the biggest difference in your life? Whose words and actions have uplifted and motivated you to excel? Chances are it was someone like Fred the ...
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The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary

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Overview

Seize the chance to be extraordinary.

Who has made the biggest difference in your life? Whose words and actions have uplifted and motivated you to excel? Chances are it was someone like Fred the postman--so outstanding in his service that Mark Sanborn realized this mail carrier could be an example for any person wanting to be extraordinary.

The “Fred factor” is summarized by four principles that will release fresh energy, enthusiasm, and creativity in your career and life:

• Make a Difference
• Build Relationships
• Create Value
• Reinvent Yourself

You, too, can apply The Fred Factor to enrich the lives of customers, co-workers, friends, and family members, as well as reach new levels of personal success yourself. Sanborn also shows how to discover and develop other “Freds.

Why not become a “Fred” yourself? You will turn the ordinary moments of life into extraordinary opportunities to make a difference in the world.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Soundview Executive Book Summaries
How to Turn the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary
Fred is the ordinary-looking postal carrier with a small moustache who delivers mail to motivational speaker Mark Sanborn's house in the Washington Park area of Denver. But he is no ordinary U.S. Postal Service worker. According to Sanborn, he is the kind of worker who exemplifies everything that is "right" with customer service and business in general, and is "a gold-plated example of what personalized service looks like and a role model for anyone who wants to make a difference in his or her work."

Not only did Sanborn get the best postal service he had ever experienced when he moved to Fred's route, but he also got a perfect example of superior service to illustrate his presentations to business leaders throughout the United States. According to Sanborn, anyone can be a Fred and live an extraordinary life as well.

Four Fred Principles
After examining the factors that make Fred the Postman such an extraordinarily committed service person, Sanborn honed them down to four principles that can be applied to improve anyone's life and work. These principles are:

  1. Everyone makes a difference. Some might see delivering mail as monotonous drudgery, but Fred sees the task as an opportunity to make the lives of his customers more enjoyable. Regardless of whether an employer hinders exceptional performance, ignores it, or does not adequately recognize it, only the employee can choose to do his or her job in an extraordinary way. Sanborn writes, "Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional."
  2. Success is built on relationships. Indifferent people deliver impersonal service. Sanborn writes that service becomes personalized when a relationship exists between the provider of the service and the customer. The quality of the relationship determines the quality of the product or service. Leaders succeed when they recognize that their employees are human, and employees like Fred the Postman succeed when they recognize their work involves interacting with other human beings.
  3. You must continually create value for others, and it doesn't have to cost a penny. Replace money with imagination. Sanborn explains that the object is to outthink your competition rather than outspend them. The most critical skill that contributes to employability is the ability to create value for customers and colleagues without spending money to do it. Substitute creativity for capital. Mediocrity is your silent opponent and can diminish the quality of your performance as well as the meaning you derive from it.
  4. You can reinvent yourself regularly. If Fred the Postman can excel at bringing creativity and commitment to putting mail in a box, you are probably capable of doing as much or more to reinvent your work and rejuvenate your efforts. Sanborn believes that "no matter what job you hold, what industry you work in, or where you live, every morning you wake up with a clean slate. You can make your business, as well as your life, anything you choose it to be."


Fred Sightings
Sanborn points out that Freds can be found everywhere, and there are more Freds out there than he once thought. One Fred is a woman at a hotel who helped Sanborn out in a pinch by taking his coffee-stained pants home with her overnight to personally wash and press for his departure the next day.

Another Fred he describes is a flight attendant who made a 6:15 a.m. flight from Denver to San Francisco more enjoyable for passengers by lightening the usual announcements with her unique sense of humor: "If you are having a hard time getting your ears to pop, I suggest you yawn widely. And if you are having a hard time yawning, ask me to tell you about my love life." Sanborn explains that she took some risks and had some fun, and as a result, her "customers" the passengers had fun, too.

Another Fred who Sanborn describes is a hotel worker who lent him $30 when he had no cab fare for his ride home. Sanborn explains that this Fred knows that the way to move through life joyfully and successfully is by focusing on what you give rather than what you get. Freds do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.

Sanborn explains that if you want more Freds in the world, be a Fred. Throughout the rest of The Fred Factor, he describes how every individual can make a difference, and offers numerous difference-making strategies to help readers influence the world in a positive way.

Why We Like This Book
The Fred Factor presents a compassionate look at how every action we take can be made more significant if we take the time to reinvent our work and rejuvenate our efforts. By providing a look at the normal people who do extraordinary things in their daily activities, Sanborn presents heart-warming business lessons that expose the value and endless possibilities for improving life and work that come from loving others. Copyright © 2004 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

From the Publisher
The Fred Factor is a powerful, poignant parable of success. It’s about going the extra mile and always doing more than is expected. It is revolutionary, yet simple. It is life changing.”
--Brian Tracy, author of Focal Point and Goals: How to Get Everything You Want—Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385513647
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/20/2004
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 66,353
  • File size: 227 KB

Meet the Author

MARK SANBORN is an international known author, motivational speaker, and the president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He gives nearly one hundred presentations each year on leadership, team building, customer service, and mastering change. Mark and his family live near Denver, Colorado.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The First Fred

Make each day your masterpiece.
--Joshua Wooden, father of John Wooden

I first met a "Fred" just after purchasing what I called a "new" old house. Built in 1928, the house was the first I'd owned and was located in a beautiful tree-lined area of Denver called Washington Park. Just days after I moved in, I heard a knock on my front door. When I opened it I saw a mailman standing on my porch.

"Good morning, Mr. Sanborn!" he said cheerfully. "My name is Fred, and I'm your postal carrier. I just stopped by to introduce myself--to welcome you to the neighborhood and find out a little bit about you and what you do for a living."

Fred was an ordinary-looking fellow of average height and build with a small mustache. While his physical appearance didn't convey anything out of the ordinary, his sincerity and warmth were noticeable immediately.

I was a bit startled. Like most of us, I had been receiving mail for years, but I had never had this kind of personal encounter with my postal carrier. I was impressed--nice touch.
"I'm a professional speaker. I don't have a real job," I replied jokingly.

"If you're a professional speaker, you must travel a lot," said Fred.

"Yes, I do. I travel anywhere from 160 to 200 days a year."

Nodding, Fred went on. "Well, if you'll just give me a copy of your schedule, I'll hold your mail and bundle it. I'll only deliver it on the days that you are at home to receive it."

I was amazed by Fred's conscientious offer, but I told him that such extra effort probably wasn't necessary. "Why don't you just leave the mail in the box on the side of the house?" I suggested. "I'll pick it up when I come back into town."

Fred frowned and shook his head. "Mr. Sanborn, burglars often watch for mail building up in a box. That tells them you're out of town. You might become the victim of a break-in." Fred was more worried about my mail than I was! But it made sense; he was the postal professional.

"Here's what I suggest, Mr. Sanborn," Fred continued. "I'll put mail in your box as long as I can get it to close. That way nobody will know you're gone. Whatever doesn't fit in the box, I'll put between the screen door and the front door. Nobody will see it there. And if that area becomes too full of mail, I'll just hold the rest of it for you until you come back into town."

At this point I started to wonder: Does this guy really work for the U.S. Postal Service? Maybe this neighborhood had its own private mail-delivery system. Still, because Fred's suggestions sounded like a terrific plan, I agreed to them.

Two weeks later I returned home from a trip. As I put the key in my-front door lock, I noticed my doormat was missing. Were thieves actually stealing doormats in Denver? Then I saw the mat in a corner of the porch, concealing something. I lifted the mat and found a note from--who else?--Fred! Reading his message, I learned what had happened. While I was gone, a different delivery service had misdelivered a package sent to me. The box had been left on somebody else's porch, five doors down the street. Noticing my box on the wrong porch, Fred had picked it up, carried it to my house, attached his note, and then tried to make the package less noticeable by placing it under the doormat.

Not only was Fred delivering the mail, he was now picking up the slack for UPS!

His actions made a huge impression on me. As a professional speaker, I am particularly adept at finding and pointing out what's "wrong" with customer service and business in general. Finding examples of what's "right" or even praiseworthy is much harder. Yet here was my postman, Fred, a gold-plated example of what personalized service looks like and a role model for anyone who wants to make a difference in his or her work.

I started using my experiences with Fred as illustrations in speeches and seminars that I presented across the United States. Everyone wanted to hear about Fred. Listeners in my audiences were enthralled, whether they worked in the service industry, at a manufacturing company, in high-tech, or in health care.

Back home in Denver, I occasionally had a chance to share with Fred how his work was inspiring others. I told him one story about a discouraged employee who received no recognition from her employers. She wrote to tell me that Fred's example had inspired her to "keep on keeping on" and continue doing what she knew in her heart was the right thing to do, regardless of recognition or reward.

I related to Fred the confession of a manager who had pulled me aside after one speech to tell me he never realized that his career goal all along was to be "a Fred." He believed that excellence and quality should be the goals of every person in any business or profession.

I was delighted to tell my postman that several companies had created a Fred Award to present to employees who demonstrated his trademark spirit of service, innovation, and commitment.

And one fan of Fred once sent him a box of homemade cookies in care of my address!

On the first Christmas after Fred became my postman, I wanted to thank him more formally for his exceptional service. I left a small gift in the mailbox for him. The next day I found an unusual letter in my box. The envelope had a stamp on it, but it wasn't canceled. That's when I noticed the return address; the letter was from Fred the Postman.

Fred knew it would be illegal to put an unpostmarked letter in the box, so even though he personally carried it from his house to my house, he had done the right thing by placing a stamp on the letter.

I opened the letter, which said in part, "Dear Mr. Sanborn, Thank you for remembering me at Christmas. I am flattered you talk about me in your speeches and seminars, and I hope I can continue to provide exceptional service. Sincerely, Fred the Postman."

Over the next ten years, I received consistently remarkable service from Fred. I could always tell which days he wasn't working my street by the way the mail was jammed into my box. When Fred was on the job, all items were neatly bundled.

But there was more. Fred also took a personal interest in me. One day while I was mowing the front lawn, a vehicle slowed in the street. The window went down and a familiar voice yelled, "Hello, Mr. Sanborn! How was your trip?"

It was Fred, off duty, driving around the neighborhood.

After observing his exemplary attitude and actions, I concluded that Fred--and the way he did his job--provides a perfect metaphor for high individual achievement and excellence in the twenty-first century. Fred--and the countless other Freds I've met, observed, or been served by in numerous professions--inspired me to write The Fred Factor. It contains the simple yet profound lessons all the Freds around the world have taught me.

Anyone can be a Fred! That includes you! The result will not just be extraordinary effort and success in your work. You'll find yourself living an extraordinary life as well.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 41 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2008

    Calling all Freds!

    The Fred Factor is a fable about a postman that teaches Four Fred Principles. They are: 1. Everyone makes a difference. Some might see delivering mail as monotonous drudgery, but Fred sees the task as an opportunity to make the lives of his customers more enjoyable. Regardless of whether an employer hinders exceptional performance, ignores it, or does not adequately recognize it, only the employee can choose to do his or her job in an extraordinary way. Sanborn writes, 'Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional.' 2. Success is built on relationships. Indifferent people deliver impersonal service. Sanborn writes that service becomes personalized when a relationship exists between the provider of the service and the customer. The quality of the relationship determines the quality of the product or service. Leaders succeed when they recognize that their employees are human, and employees like Fred the Postman succeed when they recognize their work involves interacting with other human beings. 3. You must continually create value for others, and it doesn't have to cost a penny. Replace money with imagination. Sanborn explains that the object is to outthink your competition rather than outspend them. The most critical skill that contributes to employability is the ability to create value for customers and colleagues without spending money to do it. Substitute creativity for capital. Mediocrity is your silent opponent and can diminish the quality of your performance as well as the meaning you derive from it. 4. You can reinvent yourself regularly. If Fred the Postman can excel at bringing creativity and commitment to putting mail in a box, you are probably capable of doing as much or more to reinvent your work and rejuvenate your efforts. Sanborn believes that 'no matter what job you hold, what industry you work in, or where you live, every morning you wake up with a clean slate. You can make your business, as well as your life, anything you choose it to be.'

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2011

    Even the ordinary can become exceptional

    Mark Sanborn begins with the story of his postman, Fred, who cheerfully introduces himself to Sanborn the day Sanborn moves into his new home. Upon learning that Sanborn travels frequently, Fred suggests that Sanborn give him a copy of his schedule so that he (Fred) can hold is mail because "burglars often watch for mail building up in a box." Fred later drops a UPS package that had been incorrectly delivered to a neighbor's address. There are many more examples in the book, too, both of Fred and other "Fred's" who Sanborn came into contact with. What exceptional service from something as ordinary and mundane as mail delivery!

    I liked how Sanborn lays our four "The Fred Principles" (which can apply to both personal and professional interactions) as a guideline to be exceptional like Fred.

    After reading this well-packaged and example riddled book, I do feel more empowered and inspired to live a more meaningful life by helping others. This is why I recommend the book so highly.

    Who are the "Fred's" in your life? Are you one of them?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2010

    Easy & Simple Read - Unchanging Principles

    Mark Sanborn relays a very solid principle that we could all use a refresher on - doing our very best because it is the right thing to do. God has gifted us with unique talents and personalities, but no matter what we are called to do for a living we can bring Him glory by putting our heart into all that we do. "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." By letting your light shine, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The #1 Key To Success

    The book is good. The message is better. I have gotten pretty high in the sector of my employment. I am of average intelligence compared to my colleagues. But I put passion into what I do. I take every situation with a student, parent, or faculty member and give it my complete focus. I make every effort to be a Fred. This book is very practical and offers a one-stop solution towards greatly improving your prodction (and future) at work. Take the extra step and always follow through.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Turn the ordinary into the extraordinary!

    The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn is based on the author's experience with a mailman named Fred who always went the "extra mile" to provide exemplary service to his customers. The book takes Fred's approach and outlines it in a way that the reader has a sense on how to become more productive and have more fun doing their job.
    The basic outline of the books is that there are 3 parts. The first section discusses how Fred influenced Sanborn with how he went about his job. The second instructs the reader on how to become a "Fred." The third turns "Fred" into an acronym to describe how the reader can turn others into "Freds."
    The subtitle is "How passion in your work and life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary" and the book clearly shows that. Overall, the book has a strong message and good tips to survive in the workplace. I myself have never held more than a summer job, but I think that the advice Sanborn gives can be used in daily life as well. If you think your job sucks and you can't handle it anymore, I recommend this book. It will change the way you look at work and how you should be doing it.

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    Learn how bring out the "Fred" in you!

    What do you think it takes to be a Fred? You must remember that no one can prevent you from being extraordinary. Mark Sanborn throughout the novel claims that a "Fred", is not born, but created. A fabulous novel, which depicts things that factor into the reasons why many people are unhappy at work.
    Four of the major factors of work that all people come to realize after reading this novel are that everyone makes a difference, the only question at the end of the day is "What kind of difference did you make?", and that everything is built on relationships. This novel increases your value for the people in your life and the others all around you. Definitely pick up this novel, before I give too much away, it is a great read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Positive Results From Fred

    In 2007, I had an organization that was struggling. As a HR professional, the company asked if I would conduct leadership training for the site. The class was small at only 4 participants so I was able to give them my full attention. As part of the curriculum, I included Mark Sanborn's book, The Fred Factor. <BR/><BR/>One of the participants was really enthused about the book. Weeks and months after the class, he would approach me during my visits to point our "Fred" related things that he had accomplished. Indeed, he bought the book for all of his managers and they formed a loosely knit "Fred" club. <BR/><BR/>My review and recommendations for this book boils down to this. Of the 4 participants, only one remains. That is the, as I call him, "Fred Head". Not only is he still gainfully employed, he was been promoted not once but twice! <BR/><BR/>I highly recommend this book. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR Author

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2008

    Truly a 'feel good' book

    The Fred Factor is a motivational book written by Mark Sanborn, a professional speaker. Relating many unique experiences with his mailman Fred, Sanborn encourages everyone to promote and cultivate enthusiasm and creativity in their daily lives by outlining his own perspective on customer service in his inspirational book. Sanborn has enthralled untold audiences using his exceptional storytelling skills, skills which resonate throughout this book. Although a rather quick-read, The Fred Factor carries a very deep message on how our words and actions can impact the lives of others. The Fred Factor has dramatically changed the lives of many. In fact, several companies have actually created a Fred Award to present to employees who have demonstrated Fred¿s trademark spirit of service and commitment. As the Daily Saint reports, ¿This book is straightforward and relatively short so the busy stay-at-home mom or commuting executive will find it a good fit.¿ The Fred Factor is truly a confidence booster and a `feel good¿ book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2008

    Small book with deep powerful message for anyone and everyone

    Have you ever done a good deed not because it was the right thing to do but because something inside you just made you do it, like a subconscious action that automatically came into action? Then you should be proud to know that you are one of the few Freds that make ordinary moments into extraordinary ones. As the author, Mark Sanborn puts it, there are people known as Freds that are normal people like you and I but they do what they do with heart. That is the secret. Sanborn uses his long time postal carrier as the main Fred example. Fred was a humble mail man that looked out for every one of his customers. He even picked up old newspapers that were out on people¿s lawns to make the house look better. That wasn¿t part of his job but he did it because he cared about the little things. The Fred Factor teaches a power message on how to find Freds, become Fred-like, reinventing one self, and much more. This short read is one of the best books anyone can pick up and quickly read but will have life changing results and every minute read with be worth while.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2008

    Fredtastic

    The Fred Factor is probably one of the MOST helpful books to ever read. Even though I am just finishing High School, it helped me to get through the last couple weeks. It helps give a reason to be passionate about what I am doing. It has helped me to get better pay at my job. Since I have started reading my book I have gotten about a 20% increase in pay. I have been more joyful, and more bold, with what I do and my customers really seem to enjoy my new character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2008

    Motivational and Inspiring

    'The Fred Factor' is a motivational book which uses many examples of outstanding customer service as well as outstanding generosity the author has experienced in everyday life to provide models of how we can change the world in small, simple ways. I enjoyed reading the book and it urged me to improve the way I interact with people I encounter every day. I especially recommend the book to anyone who has a job involving customer service in any way, as the book is highly focused on dealing with customers and coworkers. My only criticism is for the author to focus less on the customer service aspect of being 'Fred-like' and to be more in-depth on how 'Fredness' can be applied to living life. However, I would recommend this book to anyone, regardless of employment, and believe it can change the way people view their everyday life. It is a very motivational read it is easy to understand and apply the suggestions in the book to anyone's life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2005

    I can be Fred, You can be too

    We all have run into a Fred in life. That nice person who always makes us feel welcome and important, who goes the extra mile. They are certainly few, but they are cherished indeed. I can be a Fred. After reading this book I want to be one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2004

    No good deed left unpunished

    The book is excellent. I also went to hear him speak. I enjoyed the principles and the stories. I personally aspire to that level of greatness, and I am always reading motivational books and try to practice what I read. It is true when others say this book makes a difference. I was recently released from employment at a major college district in the southwest because I was 'too cheerful'. My level of service that I was providing was 'too much'. After all they are not a 5 star resort or anything. What a reason to get let go. It all worked out though because I now work in a better job in a position of leadership where I am appreciated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2004

    'God works all things for good--even our daily jobs!'

    If ever there were a 'feel good' book, that is, one that you're just glad you had the chance to pick up and read, this is it! Sanborn teaches us to appreciate what we miss in the ordinary course of a working day--the little things¿that mean much to others¿and even more to God. Just as we take for granted the beauty of a flower, and yet fail to see the intricacies of the tiny elements that make it special¿so too, we fail to appreciate the many ramifications of what we are¿and what we do¿in the service of God. This book teaches us to look at life from God's perspective--not ours. It reminds me of another wonderful book ¿WITH JOSPEPH IN THE UNIVERSITY OF ADVERSITY¿ which in a similar way helps us to see that God is working all things for good in the lives of His children. The adversities, the mundane job we think we have--all things. RECOMMENDED

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2004

    Discovering our Fredness

    The Fred Factor is an extraordinarily affecting book because it shows how a truly ordinary individual can have such an incredible impact far beyond the boundaries of their actions themselves. Fred is as ordinary as they get - a postman - but what he does is go beyond the call of duty to enrich the lives of those he comes in contact with and, as in the movie, 'Pay it Forward', his positivie actions create positive actions and so on and so on. Mark Sanborn has done us all a service by making us 1.) aware of Fred's story and 2.) showing that Fred is not alone, that there are many, many Freds among us and finally, how we too can embrace our inner Fredness. This is not a deep book but it resonates with a deep message of how doing for others has impact and consequences well beyond the recipient of the 'doing' and as importantly enriches the doer's life as much as those to whom it is done for.

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    Posted February 8, 2011

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    Posted September 24, 2010

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    Posted August 12, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2011

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