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Dr. Danny Brassell
Episode 820th October 2021 • Dead America • Ed Watters
00:00:00 00:55:09

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Dr. Danny Brassell Biography

A highly-sought after speaker, trainer, and coach known as “Jim Carrey with a Ph.D.,” Dr. Danny Brassell has spoken to over 3,500 audiences worldwide and authored 16 books, including his latest, Leadership Begins with Motivation. He is the co-founder of www.theREADINGhabit.com, the world’s top reading engagement program.

As a thank-you for listening to Danny's interview with Ed, Danny would like to give listeners a complimentary ecopy of his book "Read, Lead & Succeed," as well as two digital trainings. Just go to www.freeREADINGtraining.com


https://freereadingtraining.com/frt

https://www.lazyreaders.com/

The World’s Leading Reading Engagement Program

ReadBETTERin67Steps.com

DannyBrassell.com

Danny@DannyBrassell.com

YouTube.com/DannyBrassell

@DannyBrassell     #DannySpeaks

FaceBook.com/DannyBrassell

LinkedIn.com/in/DannyBrassell

instagram.com/realdannybrassell



Transcripts

Gareth Davies:

Hello, good evening. Good morning. Good afternoon, wherever you may be around this wild, wacky and sometimes disturbing world of ours. Yes, that's the intro to the Mindset podcast, a weekly attempt to open eyes and shedding light on what's really going on in the world, all done by ripping apart the media madness that masquerades as news. Join me, Gareth Davies. Every Sunday on the

Ed Watters:

Well, we have come to the end of this season of Dead America podcast. We are super excited for our next guest, and we will get into our episode shortly. Before we do get into the episode, we do have a few announcements that we want to share with you. At the beginning of each episode, we share our podcast promotions with you with sadness, we regret to tell you that Gareth Davies of the

Ed Watters:

To overcome, you must educate. Educate not only yourself, but educate anyone seeking to learn. We are all Dead America. We can all learn something. To learn. We must challenge what we already understand. The way we do that is through conversation. Sometimes we have conversations with others. However, some of the best conversations happen with ourselves. Reach Out and challenge yourself.

random speaker:

Our speaker today hails from Los Angeles, California. For the past two decades, Dr. Danny Brassell has served as an educational advisor to students ranging from preschoolers to rocket scientists. While he has held numerous titles and worked with leaders from a variety of fields and disciplines, Danny always considered himself first and foremost a teacher. Known as America's leading

Ed Watters:

Today I'm super excited, with us we have Dr. Danny Brassell. Danny is America's leading reading ambassador. Also, he is dubbed Jim Carrey with a PhD. And my personal opinion, he's a true advocate for the real American person, or just the person all around the world. Danny, welcome to the Dead America podcast. Could you please introduce yourself and let people know just a little bit

Danny Brassell:

Well, thank you so much for that kind introduction, Ed, and I really appreciate all that you're doing. To celebrate the positivity. There's too much negativity in the world today. So I'm grateful for your podcast. Anyway. You know, it's kind of ironic that I'm known as America's leading reading ambassador, because I grew up hating reading. My father was a librarian, and I always

Ed Watters:

Well, thank you so much for what you do, Danny, it's remarkable. Really, I could only come up with one question. Where was Dr. Danny Brassell when I was a kid?

Danny Brassell:

Thank you for that, Ed, because that's, that's kind of what I was looking forward to I, I joke with people that you know, in high school, I remember a teacher forced us to want to read The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. And no offense, to that book a lot of people love that book. But the book is about Hester Prynne, and she commits adultery. So she has to wear an A on her

Ed Watters:

Yeah, you know, poverty doesn't keep the children's literacy development held back. It's the number of books that they have in the home that matters. And you were raised in a home with a lot of books, and you can see the results. Myself, I was raised in a environment that wasn't really into reading or doing much of anything, but partying, drinking, and getting, you know, stupid

Danny Brassell:

Oh, gosh, Ed, that's, that's a tough question. And everybody loves to ask me that one. I know it's, it's, it's something where there's different parts of your life. So I have one of the world's top reading club websites online. It's called lazyreaders.com, and a free subscription for anybody who wants to subscribe. Basically, once a month, I update it with 10 book

Ed Watters:

Yeah, you know, I, I interview quite a few authors, and I get to read so many books now. And if you develop yourself where you're reading literature from several people, it's a great thing. The thing that got me reading was The 5000 Year Leap. And it's a great book, it's a great read, I couldn't put it down I

Danny Brassell:

What, what was it about that book that gets you so excited? If I may ask that?

Ed Watters:

Well, they lay out the principles, what is it 28 principles, I believe it is. And the, the book covers the beginnings of our great nation. You know, I'm into history, knowing where we came from, and why we're here and how we got to this place. And this really goes before America was formed, and really looks at the depth of why we were formed. And that's the fascinating thing that I

Danny Brassell:

That's wonderful. Ed, I love it you and I share an interest about, I'll read anything I mean, the book I'm reading right now is American Caesar by William Manchester. It's a biography on General MacArthur. And it's kind of odd. The reason I picked out the book was I love David McCullough's biography on President Truman, of course, President Truman fired General MacArthur and so I

Ed Watters:

Yeah, I have a podcast episode, Breaking chains, because of 56. Nice. And we actually go over the signers of the Declaration of Independence it is remarkable. And a lot of people don't think of those individuals that brought this country to its greatness. They like to point out the bad, the negative, but you know, we all experience negative in our growth. And we have to come to

Danny Brassell:

Well, again it goes back, Ed, to working with my kids and realizing that Heck, my kids, my kids aren't going to be interested in reading if I'm not interested in reading. And so really where it started was when I was a kid, this is gonna date me I couldn't wait for 12:15 every day, because that's when Paul Harvey would come on the radio and Paul Harvey would read The Rest Of The

Ed Watters:

Amen. You will love that book. It's not large, but it's a great read and very inspirational.

Danny Brassell:

Love it.

Ed Watters:

You know, talking about these books that inspire I did not realize what impact comic books actually have on people reading. Right. You know, I was listening to one of your podcasts that said, that actually made the literacy rate go up back in the 70s. I believe it was?

Danny Brassell:

That was in the six, yeah, in the 60s, there was a study that the year that the Fantastic Four comics came out that literacy scores actually improved in America and it's, It's funny, Ed, because when I do corporate trainings I always ask the audience is what was your favorite book growing up. And I'm not kidding, at least 70% of the audience will say, Superman, Batman, Fantastic

Ed Watters:

That's very true. You know, you are a big supporter of Reading Is Fundamental. Of course, absolutely. This is lovely. I went and I checked out their website, and some of the information that I found out on this website people is just fascinating. I did not realize, 25 million children in the U.S. cannot read proficiently, that hurts. And I think that stems from our educators. Now,

Danny Brassell:

Yeah, Yeah, Carol, Carol runs the branch of Reading Is Fundamental in Southern California. She's absolutely wonderful.

Ed Watters:

Yes, one of the things that Carol said she talks about the reading by nine concept. This is when children switch from learning to read, to read to learn, and that's about fourth grade area. And I did not realize how much of an impact that, that time in my life really had on my educational development, my ability to take in what was being said, and read because I did not have a

Danny Brassell:

Yeah, I mean I love speaking to educators I always tell them you have a choice every day you can be Darth Vader or you can be Ben Kenobi you can be the the darkness or the lightness. And I became an educator because I wanted to inspire kids because I truly believe that at some point in my life I'm going to teach the person that saves the planet hopefully I had something to do with

Danny Brassell:

awards banquet, he said, you know, some, some kids you can yell at, and some kids, you got to talk to Danny, he's one you got to talk to. Everybody, everybody's motivated a little bit differently. And I mean, there's nothing easy about that. It's very tough. But, you know, there's a great line by Tom Hanks in the movie League of Their Own, where he's talking about baseball, because baseball is

Ed Watters:

Yes. So, Danny, how do you see the education? How has it changed from back in the 70s? When I was in school, to now?

Danny Brassell:

Well, in many ways, it hasn't changed at all. I mean, we still have in, in traditional public schools, you'll see, you know, our, our school calendars based on the Russian farming calendar, of the 1840s. I mean, that's not a lot of progress. You know, I think if you just go by sheer numbers, one of the things that I share with people is in the last 25 years in America, that the

Danny Brassell:

tells me, we need to do better. And there's, there's not one single approach. There's 20 different approaches. I mean, I've seen magnet schools that are fantastic. I've seen public schools that are fantastic. I've seen charter schools that are fantastic. I've seen vocational schools that are fantastic. trying a single approach with every kid isn't always what works. And so that education is

Ed Watters:

Yeah, you know, advancement in the skill that we present that definitely changes throughout the years. And we really have this, kick about not listening to other people, when it comes to education values. So I noticed, you tend to listen to a lot of different people and take in a lot. So absorbing all of these different opinions on education, how education be, should be presented, all

Danny Brassell:

Of course, however. I mean, probably the best thing I've learned, Ed, is that I don't know that much. You know, UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden said, it's the things you learn after you know it all that matter the most. And he's absolutely right. I've been, especially in this past year with the pandemic, my two words have become grace and humility. Because it's amazing to me, I

Ed Watters:

Yeah. Yeah. It can be frustrating that's for sure. But, you know, challenges, like you said, that's what builds us and those real go getters. They tend to excel. So your a mass media veteran, you hosted a TV show People Make A Difference. What was that like?

Danny Brassell:

I loved it. I, again, I think, you know, if you watch the news, or social media, it's inundated with negativity. And I, for some reason, especially here in America, we let you know, I've spoken all around in America and the most conservative in most parts of America. And I always tell people, you know, America is not Fox News or MSNBC. Most Americans are pretty sensible people.

Ed Watters:

Yeah. And what we speak, we learn. Very interesting. So you lived and taught in Compton, California?

Danny Brassell:

Yep. South Central, L.A. Compton is my hood.

Ed Watters:

Now, that is fascinating. You have a story about some kids. And they, they were troubled kids, but they were learning through a rap song.

Danny Brassell:

Yes. Well, I was when I taught eighth grade special education. It really wasn't special education. It was 16 boys that nobody else wanted to teach eight African American eight Latino and if their life wasn't miserable enough they got stuck with the substitute teacher and I used to. I used to sing with them every day and they, they hated it. They're like, man, I hate this man. I

Danny Brassell:

not everybody's going to go to college. And I don't think that's the purpose of the education system. I think the purpose of the American education system, you know your history, first of all, it's, it's not guaranteed in the Constitution, that you're entitled to a public education. And to me, the purpose of an education is to produce a productive citizen, you know, and this is one of the things

Danny Brassell:

we make all these judgments. This is something that everybody in America has to get passed the bull for, we got to stop judging one another, you know, and we need to learn how to be able to disagree with one another without being disagreeable towards one another. And it's horrible to say, but you know, your history, If you look at the best moments in American history, it's usually we rally after

Danny Brassell:

about. It's a positive thing. And that's really what I'm trying to do in the world is just get people thinking in a positive way and realizing we're all in this together.

Ed Watters:

Yes, and we all experience bad things. Mm hmm. When we rally together and try to help people grow. It's like building our weakest link. Yeah, that's the thing. Let's help people grow instead of tearing them apart and tearing them down. If people are doing bad things, they need to be put in check. And they need to be educated about why it's bad. And a lot of people, they want to

Danny Brassell:

Well, you should watch, there's one show I always recommend to people is I watch CBS Sunday morning, every Sunday morning and it's always these amazing stories. I mean, I read positive things. I'm not going to read the negative things I like to read, you know, I read a story a couple of years ago about a mosque in this small town in Texas, the mosque, there was an arsonist that

Ed Watters:

Yes, I agree 100%. You know, you, you talk about the same type of attitude. This, this kind of segues into this. Book reports and whatnot. It's kind of it, it doesn't make children learn, they hate it. And you say people like Oprah make it fun. So why?

Danny Brassell:

Yeah. No, so I disagree. I think book reports do help you learn. They help you learn how to hate book reports. I mean, it, it, they turn off so many kids on to reading, and I always mention I'm like, you know, Oprah she turns people on to read at, when she suggests a book, she doesn't say okay, after you read this book by Toni Morrison, I want you to get out a piece of pen and a

Ed Watters:

Yes. You know, another, another thing about that is we tend to have book smart people. If, If you're book smart, that's one thing, but putting it into execution and seeing what the book doesn't teach. that's priceless. Yeah. How do we put those two together?

Danny Brassell:

Well, pay attention is what, I mean I, like I watch, I watch how important people treat little people. So I was, I was speaking at an event and there was this famous author. And he was really kind of putting down the, the staff that was there to help him. And it taught me all I needed to know about the guy I don't, I won't buy a single one of his books anymore. Like he's a jerk, you

Danny Brassell:

like to gripe about their, their political leaders and I say, well, that person did something that you and I haven't done Like what? Like they ran. You know, Teddy Roosevelt, former president said The credit belongs to the person that's in the arena. And it's really easy to gripe about things, a lot tougher to be part of the solution and being a problem solver. And so that's really how I try to

Ed Watters:

Well, yeah, that's very true. You know, Danny, once we put that into practice, it's solid. And we can be unstoppable that way, because we, we don't get challenged, we learn.

Danny Brassell:

Well, Ed, how many, how many of your friends have talked about doing a podcast, and they haven't done a dang thing. And here you have already interviewed like, 50 people. I mean, that's amazing. You did something, most people never do anything.

Ed Watters:

Yeah. It's amazing that if you don't practice it, it doesn't happen. And it's not easy. It, it takes a lot of time. And you get a lot of disappointments I'll tell you. But when you turn those disappointments into excitement, because you've touched that one person that reaches out and says, You've changed me, I'll tell you, I won't stop now. I'll just practice I'll hone my skill on

Danny Brassell:

Yeah, you're very authentic. And you're, you've allowed yourself to be vulnerable. One of the reasons I wanted to be on your podcast, Ed, was your, your opening, a podcast where you explained why you were doing it was just so authentic to me. And, you know, there might be people that you touch that you'll never hear from. So that's why you get to keep on producing it. I love it.

Ed Watters:

That's right, Danny. And I'll check out John Maxwell. I like that.

Danny Brassell:

Yeah, you'll like him. He's a great speaker.

Ed Watters:

So let's see, I wanted to touch on one more subject with you. The TED talk. How does it feel to sit or stand on that stage and present to a bunch of people that are very positive?

Danny Brassell:

Well, I, you know, my friends said to me that I've never met a microphone that I don't like. So TED talk was just an honor for me, Ed, and I'm, you know, I coach, you know, when I'm coaching business people, a lot of them want to be better speakers, and I coach them on things. And, you know, I have always never, I'm not nervous at all in front of the big group of people,

Ed Watters:

Yes, that's true. That's what we have to figure out. And that's the positivity that we must push. You know, just to give insight on my background a little bit. My family, I've had several brothers in prison. I had my My oldest brother killed in a high speed car chase with police officers. And most of my life, I've heard negativity about law enforcement and you know, all these, you've

Danny Brassell:

That's, that's wonderful Ed, I mean, I'll give you a perfect example ot that Ed, is I'm, I'm blessed. I'm a visiting distinguished professor at the American University in Cairo. And when I was in Cairo, I spoke to a Muslim school at two in the afternoon 400 parents showed up at this school. And it was like the Muslim Brotherhood, all the guys had long beards, and all the women

Ed Watters:

Yeah, and it's a continued process until you're six feet under. That's right. You know, when you stop learning, you're really going to have a miserable life, because you're gonna feel stuck. That's very important for people to realize where they can go, not where they've been.

Danny Brassell:

Exactly. It's not how you start. It's how you finish.

Ed Watters:

Amen, there you go. So do you have a call to action to people, Danny?

Danny Brassell:

Yeah, as a thank you to you Ed, and to all of your audience, I wanted to, if people go to freereadingtraining.com, again, that's free reading training.com, I'm going to give everybody a complimentary copy of my book, Read, Lead, And Succeed. That's a book, I wrote it for a school principal who didn't know how to engage his faculty. So I said, I'll write you a book. And so every

Ed Watters:

Well, I hope I do too, Danny, it's been a pleasure having you on the Dead America podcast. And, for one, I appreciate you so much, and you're an inspiration to so many. And your kindness is just out of this world. Thank you so much.

Danny Brassell:

Thank you, God bless Ed.

Ed Watters:

Thank you for joining us today. If you found this podcast, enlightening, entertaining, educational in any way. Please Share, Like, subscribe, and join us right back here next week for another great episode of Dead America podcast. I'm Ed Watters your host, enjoy your afternoon wherever you may be.

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