The thing about advice is that it's easier to give than to receive. In order to accept advice you have to admit there may be someone who knows something you don't know. If you think you already know everything you need to know then being confronted by something you do not know is a shock to your system. You know? 


On the other hand, perhaps just knowing what you don't know is an alternative. “Too often we fall into the delusion of thinking we know a lot more than we really do, commonly known as 'illusory superiority.' This can often make us stubborn in our beliefs and unwilling to accept new information. Ultimately, it stagnates our growth.” (


What brought this subject into my pointy little noggin was a magazine article full of great advice on a number of subjects. It caused me to remember the best piece of advice I got from my father. Big Don said: “The most valuable thing you own is your word. If your word is worth nothing then you are worth nothing.” 


Sometimes advice can seem simple. Have you ever ordered a steak in a restaurant and it was not cooked to your liking? A server at a steak house advises: “Don’t just say medium rare. Give your server a description of what the middle of the beef looks like — like all pink from edge to edge or all red. Everybody’s got a different idea of what the middle should be.” 


Wonder what wine would go best with that steak? Well, according to a master chef: “ If you like a certain wine, drink it. Don’t follow rules. A red can be really good with fish and chicken dishes. Everybody’s got different tastes.” 


All of us like to watch what we spend, so advice on how to monitor our cash flow on a casino visit could provide some insight. According to a casino gambling expert: “The only way to leave a casino with a small fortune is to arrive with a large fortune. Obviously, the odds are against you. Go to a casino expecting to have fun, not to win. Leave the ATM and credit cards at home, and bring just the amount of money you are comfortable losing. Slot machines are like electronic crack to beginners because they are so easy to play. But they have the worst odds.” 


If you are going to Las Vegas to lose your money, some advice from a flight attendant could make your airplane ride a bit more pleasant. “If you’re a person who’s queasy, don’t sit in the back — you feel the turbulence most behind the wing.

The bulkhead seats — the three rows that separate first class from coach — are the coldest in the summer, and the hottest in the winter. Never walk barefoot on a plane. People from everywhere have walked that aisle.” 


If the flight does result in illness, when you visit a doctor remember this advice. A physician in Reno, NV suggests: “Wash up before your appointment. Bathing is important. Cologne is unwelcome.” 


Also in the health field, a dentist counsels: “Your toothbrush is probably too big, too hard and too old. You need a small brush with extra-soft bristles. A small head is easier to maneuver in your mouth so you can reach all tooth surfaces. When toothbrush bristles wear down, the tips become sharper and more irritating. Replace your toothbrush or the head of your electric brush once a month.” (


Every once in a while some advice comes along that has a bit of a humorous side. Here's a piece of advice that falls into the “Don't-kill-the-messenger-I-just-report-the-news” category. This advice is for ladies who have a significant other with a beard. The advice is “kiss your dog.” 


According to a study: “Men with beards harbour more germs in their whiskers than dogs carry in their fur. The alarming news follows a study that found every sampled beard was crawling with bacteria, and nearly half had bugs that were hazardous to human health. By contrast, a number of the dogs tested proved to have lower levels of microbes.” 


To be fair, this study has its detractors. They cite pogonophobia – the irrational fear of beards. Keith Flett, founder of the Beard Liberation Front, casts doubt on the report. “There seems to be a constant stream of negative stories about beards that suggest it's more about pogonophobia than anything else.” (


The bottom line? There is plenty of advice out there, but it's up to you to decide  whether to take it or not. Always remember the Persian proverb: “One pound of learning requires ten pounds of common sense to apply it.” 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and