I got this book free of charge when I screamed "me, me, me" at a KPI event where Michael Serwa was speaking. If I am totally honest, I found/find Michael lacking in humility - that is, he is a little pompous a.k.a. cock-sure so I wasn't sure if I would like the book.
Yes, the tone does go from confident to cocky at times but I think there were tiny glimpses of humility in his writing. I think the bravado is definitely a front.
The book is a good and brief summary of a lot of self-help books. I read it in a couple of hours at a cafe. Even if you have read a tonne of literature you would still enjoy this book because it's Michael's own take on things. He says he hates writing but I think he writes rather well.
These were my favourite bits from the book:
Pg. 39: I like what Zig Ziglar said: "Money isn't the most important thing, but it's reasonably close to oxygen on the (gotta have it) scale".
Pg. 43: I remember mentally high fiving the Universe after seeing the size of that guy when I opened the door for him. I love that analogy of mentally high fiving the universe! I do it all the time but have never thought about it like that. I am totally going to start using the phrase.
Pg. 46: I like what Wayne Dyer said: "Friends are God's way of apologising for your family."
Pg. 60: The world belongs to people who are proactive. This is so true and people need to meditate on this phrase.
Pg. 62: The bamboo tree takes five years of watering before it shows anything above the ground at all. Five years! But when it starts to grow, it grows up 20 metres in one year. Many things in life are just like this tree. How freaking awesome is that analogy. I wonder if Michael thought of it himself, lol.
Pg. 82: ...out of all the things that can sell us short image is the easiest one to fix. True, very true!
Pg. 121: The power of imagination is huge.
When Michael talked about taking stock of all the things you appreciate at the end of the day, I thought about how I appreciate the fact that I can just take an afternoon off to read a book (or even do nothing) whenever I want. Then I thought about how I appreciate my husband and my immediate family so incredibly much.
In summary, cocky or not, Michael is a smart and well-grounded guy. I like his style. Get his book:
I read this book on a holiday/business trip to the Chicago. It's the tragic story of a brother and sister that get separated at a very young age and the path leading to their reunion.
It's a good book but certainly not as good as A Thousand Splendid Suns.
There is one story line in the book that completely doesn't fit into the main plot - I didn't understand why the relationship between the Greek guy and his semi-adopted sister fit in with the plot of Abdullah. Khaled Hosseini should have just focused on what I thought was the main story.
I also found the ending very dissatisfying. I love reunions but I felt robbed of a reunion because the second party in the reunion couldn't "fully participate" - you'll find out what I mean when you read the book.
A bloody good story. At the end of every chapter, I immediately wanted to read the next. This book has even the subtle nuances of banking down to a T and not only that, it makes them exciting! Seriously, I want to see the movie.
I have one rule when it comes to reading, if my interest hasn't been piqued after the first 20 pages then I won't bother. There wasn't a single chapter in the books that didn't leave me wanting to read on. It was a very engaging story and what made it even better is how realistic it really is - small things like Nick not being able to navigate the Deal Team folders are so typical.
I also liked small bits of knowledge like the connection between maths and music or the arts, most people don't know that - I certainly learnt something new here.
There's lots of clever writing and dialogue in the story; for instance, I loved the analogy between reading Ryan and a nursery school book in extra large print. That was very clever.
I also loved the balance that Jamie brought to the whole Ryan saga.
The one thing I thought was incorrect was the statement about Vice Presidents being a low position in banks. VP at Goldman Sachs, for instance, is a reasonably high position and the sort of work that Alfred was doing would typically be done by Associates. However, I did see that they didn't have Associate as a position in the book. Overall, I enjoyed this book.
An amazing story. It's written from the perspective of a young girl who's grown up with a physically (not sexually) abusive father who beats the mother and expects more than the best from his children.
He is overtly very religious and gives a lot to charity but he is deeply troubled. He thinks the beatings he gives are deserved and never seems to regret it.
The only reason I don't give this book a 5 out of 5 is that I have read Half of a Yellow Sun by the same author and it's a much more detailed and enthralling story. That said, this one engaged me from start to finish and is well worth a read.
Ms. Adichie really knows how to weave a story. Here are some of my favourite lines:
Of her brother: "His seventeen-year-old face had grown lines; they zigzagged across his forehead, and inside each line a dark tension had crawled in."
Of her and her brother's relationship: "We did that often, asking each other questions whose answers we already knew. Perhaps it was so that we would not ask the other questions, the ones whose answers we did not want to know."
Kambili constantly craves to please her father, so when her brother says something to please her dad she notes: "Papa smiled, and I wished I had said that before Jaja had".
Then when she in turn says something to please him: "Then he reached out and held my hand, and I felt as though my mouth were full of melting sugar."
Of her Aunty Ifeoma's eyes: "They were quizzical eyes, eyes that asked many questions and did not accept many answers".
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This book was recommended by a good friend of mine. I liked it but I have to be the first to admit that I probably didn't fully understand the content. Either I've read it at the wrong point in my life or it's too deep for me.
The book is all about enjoying the here and now and focusing less on the past or the future.
Apparently, once you can fully surrender yourself to enjoying now, you become enlightened. Enlightenment is defined as the end of suffering in Buddhism. Tolle likes this definition because it doesn't go on to define what happens when all suffering ends.
By not going into life-post-suffering, people have nothing to fixate on. People like to create an image or a moving of how they want life their life or a future event; they then fantasise about it and obsess over it. This is not the way to enlightenment according Tolle. Enlightenment is not elsewhere, it's here, now and lies inside all of us. You need to tap into it.
I agree that thinking can be a disease when it's compulsive and involuntary. Tolle says the only difference between a mentally retarded person and you is that the mentally retarded person is constantly vocalising his thoughts and fantasies.
Tolle differentiates between one's life and one's life situation. He then goes on to say life is formless and timeless. The formlessness and timelessness of life is a concept that I am still struggling to grasp.
Whatever your present circumstance is, accept it as though you had chosen it and you will be happier. This doesn't mean you won't work your way out of an unpleasant situation but that you won't spend any time thinking about how hard done by you are. Or worse, complaining.
Tolle says some people live their lives through a "pain-body". Everyone has one but only some people live through it. The pain-body shows itself in the form of impatience, irritation, hurt, anger, grief, illness and other negative feelings. The sooner one is conscious that they are being excessively driven by these emotions, the sooner one can gain control. A negative inner state is more contagious than a disease.
Pain feeds on pain and the more negativity you allow into your life, the larger the pain-body grows. Pain can't feed on joy, it finds it indigestible.
"Ego"according to Tolle is the self-defined self. The ego (and everyone has one) is apparently very vulnerable and insecure; it sees itself as constantly under threat even if outwardly confident.
Overall, I took one real lesson from this book: now is all you have so enjoy it! Is there joy, ease and lightness in what you do, in how you live your life? If not: leave it, accept it or change it - anything else is madness. Complaining makes you a victim.
A final question for you: are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess? Think about it.
This is not just a 5/5, I also had to give it a star. I've seen this book on the business bestsellers list for weeks and I randomly decided to give it a go. Boy do I not regret it! If you're planning on doing an MBA save your money: get this book and you'll learn most of what you need to start your business on the right foot.
What I liked the most about this book is that it affirms a standing belief of mine: don't leave enjoyment until retirement, earn now and enjoy it as you go. The New Rich, want money and time and in this world of technology you can absolutely have your cake and eat it too! The Old Rich had tonnes of dosh and very little to time to enjoy it, not spend it, enjoy it.
I already use some of the tools mentioned for automating a business, getting things done faster and delegating but I learnt SOOO much more e.g. I had never heard of fulfilment houses and this knowledge will come in very useful when I go into manufacturing.
The book is so good that I have just purchased the paperback after listening to the audiobook; I have to re-read it - I will pore over every page diligently to make sure I've got it all. Normally, I write out the best takeaways but on this occasion I cannot - every other line is gold dust.
There was a chapter on email management that I didn't find useful but that came very early on and it was relatively short.
There are plenty of tips on how to start a business whilst you're still in employment and how to convince your boss to allow you to work remotely.
On time management I have already implemented one suggestion: I am checking my email in batches and I can feel the efficiency benefits already. I was a prolific email checker because my previous job required it but carrying that into my life as an entrepreneur meant I wasn't getting as much done as is possible.
Want to increase your email efficiency too? This is what I have done:
As soon as I read the bit on virtual assistants, I got one and I am loving this new time saver. My assistant has helped me to effectively 'double' myself so I can focus on tasks that add more value to the business. She's much more efficient than I am at admin.
Some people don't get Tim Ferris, he is slightly arrogant which I personally found funny but it can turn others off. He chooses to spend all his time traveling and seeing the world and some people seem to take it as though he is telling them to do the same, he isn't saying that. His objective is to give you the tools needed to build a very profitable business and release your labour time at the same time so that you can pursue your own non-monetary interests e.g. charity work, spending time with your kids or indeed travel as he has chosen to do.
For the first time ever, I commented on a 1* comment on Amazon:
If you want to start a business or improve your business but have plenty of free time as well, read this book now!
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
3.75 / 5
A very interesting take on feminism. If you a) have a vagina and b) want to have control over it, then you are a feminist! This is Caitlin Moran's definition and I like it. It's a good definition because many women think being a feminist is radical.
Lots of people forget that not so long ago women could not vote, inherit assets or even work. You did not have the choice; it was all decided in advance for you. If you believe that we should have any of this stuff, you are a feminist.
Every woman is a feminist and the only question after that is just the degree to which one believes in women's rights and fights for them.
Men too can be feminists. I know because I married one! Frankly, I thought that a man had certain very basic expectations of a woman and that to be a good partner I had to fulfill these; being myself was not one of the primary ones. This is why I fervently never expected to get married. I thought that my partner's affections for me would rise with the number of household duties undertaken, the number of times I made his lunches and any other fawning that I could muster. One does not fawn very well.
A few interesting bits from Caitlin's take on life, I paraphrase or give my interpretation of what she says:
Overall: insightful and it is great to know her very balanced view on life and being a feminist. Ultimately, the book said to me: BE YOURSELF!
I highly recommend this book.
Because it's so different to my field of work and study, I felt so much better educated after reading it. Moreover, it's not just the information but the characters are spell-binding; I loved, Ann Trason, Emil Zátopek, Jenn Shelton, Barefoot Ted, Caballo Blanco and of course, the Tarahumara.
Because I loved the book so much, it has inspired these four blogs:
The women went hunting too!?!
You were designed to outrun deer
The "best" running shoes are the worst!
The hardest thing about banking that no one ever talks about
Interesting fact to know for when you get stuck somewhere thirsty and without water: urine is perfectly sterile, nutrient rich and apparently is great for whitening teeth, so give it a good swirl around your mouth before chugging it down!
I couldn’t have landed upon a better read.
This book is awesome. Described simply, it’s about understanding the psychology of other people and therefore learning to treat them better with the intention of getting the best out of them. The book is so good that I had to add it to the recommended reading list in my newly published book, To Become an Investment Banker.
The principles in this book can be applied to raising children, developing employees in one’s company, selling and any other interpersonal interactions. As usual, I will share some of the useful insights that were relayed. The book was also full of interesting examples and anecdotes but if you want these you will need to purchase it.
I believe in the wisdom of older people regardless of wealth or educational background. (Most) old people are precious, you can't buy their life experiences, you can only hope to share in some of them. In this book, John D. Spooner shares a series of letters that he has written to his grandchildren to prepare them for "life"
Both my grandfathers died before I was even two so I took to thinking of JD Spooner as a sort of surrogate grandfather, or papa as his grandchildren refer to him, as I read this book. I won't go into detail regarding all the examples he gave, however, I would like to share the following lessons I got from the book in the hopes that one or two might touch you. These are not exact quotes, they are just notes I took as I listened to the audiobook.
This book is a bible for the ups and downs of modern day life and it doesn't take long to read! The audio version is only five hours.
If you don't get any of the above, get the book, it will be one of the best "investments" you make all year.
Some of my thoughts:
I disagreed with his property investing strategy. He paid all cash when, I think, the genius of property investing in the developed world lies in leverage, using other people's money - but that's another blog on its own.
When he covered bonds, JD Spooner didn't cover index-linked bonds, linkers. He simply said that it is equities that keep up with the cost of living, however, Linkers also keep up with inflation. Perhaps this was taking a step too far into high finance.
In the section on staying in touch with his past, JD Spooner talked about a friend of his from high school that was a plumber in a town that he moved to. He called the guy to help him out with his plumbing. I wondered, how does he feel when he's in touch with people from his past that haven't achieved nearly as much as he has: he's a multimillionaire investment advisor and author of several bestsellers. In this book, "papa" talks about owning several million dollars of Citigroup stock before it tanked and that would only be one stock in an extensive portfolio, I expect. His friends must revere him, how does he relay to them that he's still the same old guy? This is the only query that remained outstanding by the time I finished the book.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
Time allowing, I love to read. If I read anything interesting, I will blog about it here.