Book reviews & reading

Our Deepest Fear

September 16, 2013
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our deepest fear

The lines below written by Marianne Williamson in her book, A Return to Love, published in 1996. The verse has also been incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela, as having been included in his inaugural address. Over the years, these words have inspired millions. These words have been inspiring me since I first came across them in 1999. They powerfully speak to the fact that many of us live our lives not so much afraid of failure, but afraid of achieving our true potential. We feel comfortable ‘flying below the radar’, so as not to attract attention and possibly criticism, rather than spreading our wings and seeing how far we can fly. I hope they challenge you to always shine at …

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31 Dragon-Slaying Quotes from ‘Do the Work’ by Steven Pressfield

September 12, 2013
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The Dragon of Resistance

I have just finished reading the book ‘Do the Work‘ by Trinidadian-born author, Steven Pressfield. This short, powerful read, written in the no-nonsense style of a manifesto, is designed to prepare you to face the dragons that stand in the way of you accomplishing your highest goals. What are these dragons? They are the ones we all face when we attempt to do something we believe in. Among them are fear, self-sabotage, procrastination and self-doubt. They say “present, please” every time we attempt to pursue any important objective—from conquering addiction, to learning how to play a music instrument, to getting over an ex or preparing for a marathon. Whenever we decide to abandon the status quo to become our better selves, …

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‘Call Me Ted’ Book Review

April 12, 2013
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Call Me Ted

  In 1984 – when my parents were one of the first cable subscribers on a tiny Caribbean island – I had no idea that CNN was a fledgling cable network. It is easy to assume that rich, powerful, outspoken Southern billionaires such as Ted Turner have always been so. Not quite. Ted Turner was once a rambunctious, badly behaved boy who was chucked off to boarding schools at a very tender age, expelled  several times, and repeatedly physically abused by a controlling alcoholic father. Despite his harsh childhood, there is no pity party in his autobiography ‘Call Me Ted‘. He tells the story of his challenging younger days with brevity and a matter of fact quality. And …

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‘Night’ Book Review

April 12, 2013
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Night

  Night is Elie Wiesel’s autobiographical account of holocaust survival. Summon your courage and brace yourself emotionally for the coming onslaught of cruelty inflicted by Hitler on European Jews through an incredibly dark moment in human history. The first thing that struck me was the purity of autobiographical account being told by Eliezer, a 14-year old Jewish boy living in Transylvanian town of Sighet. As the war raged and the Nazi atrocities mounted, the Jews in that town lived ignorantly contented lives – optimistic that war would soon be over and with a feeling of blissful insulation from its terrors. Elie Wiesel’s language is plain, devoid of embellishment and his voice throughout the book is matter-of-fact. There is no colorful …

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‘The Good Earth’ Book Review

April 12, 2013
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the good earth

  Published in 1931, “The Good Earth” is the first in “The House of Earth” trilogy. The book was awarded the Pulitzer prize in 1932, and its author, Pearl S. Buck went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. This is the beautifully written story of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer with a deep and enduring love for his land. The story spans his lifetime from young adulthood until his old age near his death. The setting is rural pre-Revolution China. The language is simple and dispassionate. The characters are flawed but richly presented. The themes are universal, timeless and filled with irony. It is a story of the passions that drive all human beings to achievement …

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‘Tuck Everlasting’ Book Review

April 12, 2013
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Tuck Everlasting

  A ten-year old girl, a toad and a family who stumbles upon everlasting life. ‘Tuck Everlasting‘ is a magical book that grapples with that age-old topic of human fascination – immortality. Winnie Foster meets the Tuck family who have drunk from a spring that gives eternal life – and Winnie has the chance to drink from that spring too – and live forever. There are also other themes explored in a remarkably mature way: greed, deception, temptation, murder, loneliness, the perfect cycle of life and the true meaning of friendship. This is the kind of story that will allow younger readers to reflect upon life and to develop their ability to reason by taking the consequences of …

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‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ Book Review

April 12, 2013
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the count of monte cristo

  Published in 1846 as a serial novel, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is truly an epic tale – 117 chapters and 1,200 pages long. Translated from the original French, and set primarily in post-Napoleonic France, it tells the story of Edmond Dantes. We witness Edmond’s transformation from wide-eyed 19-year old sailor, about to become captain of his own ship and marry beautiful Mercedes, the girl of his dreams, to a prisoner, a victim of treachery forgotten in a dungeons of the infamous Chateau d’If, to one of the most enigmatic and multi-layered characters ever written – fabulously wealthy, awesomely powerful and patiently bent on the cleverest, darkest revenge. Spanning the course of 24 years, this is a …

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3 Things To Do Before Picking A Fight

April 11, 2013
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Copyright Erin, username 3RiiN at deviantART.com

  Fight or Flight – Silence or Violence When someone disappoints us, it isn’t always easy to stop and figure out what went wrong. We are far more likely to jump to conclusions, blame the other person, then either silently fume or angrily drag them over the coals. This is the beginning of conflict. To many of us, every possible confrontation has only two options: fight or flight. Although we know better, many of us are often too afraid to speak up. We choose to sweep the issue under the carpet to avoid the threat of being embarrassed. We may resort to dropping subtle hits, changing the subject or becoming withdrawn. We default to silence rather than broach a topic we …

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2013 Reading Challenge

March 17, 2013
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Books I Have Read for 2013 So Far

A few years ago, I set myself the goal of reading 50 books per year (I’ve written about it before here, and here, and here). Late last year, a friend of mine mentioned reading an article in Marie Claire about the female Bain & Co. Chairman. Amber said this fascinating woman, Orit Gadiesh, reminded her of me. I read the article, and found that Ms. Gadiesh manages to read 100 books per year while successfully chairing one of the most successful consulting practices in the world, traveling extensively and having a family.  Inspired anew, and after a rocky start, I finished 2012 having read 58 new books. For 2013, I decided to up the ante, and increase my goal to 75 books. I have been doing …

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Anna Karenina: The Beauty and Tragedy of Life

March 3, 2013
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Anna Karenina by Lucio Palmeri

Anna Karenina has been on my must read list for many years. I have been keeping lists – and book lists in particular – since my first summer journal at eight years old. The epic Russian novel appears at the top of many top ten novels lists and has been referred to as “flawless” and “the greatest novel ever written” by two of the most celebrated novelists of our time. I have owned a copy of Anna Karenina for about ten years. If I have made any attempt at all to read it, I have never gotten much past the first sentence, which is one of the most iconic quotes from the book “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy …

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A Century of Wisdom: 34 Quotes from the World’s Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor

November 26, 2012
By
old watches

Monday, November 26, 2012 – Alice Herz Sommer celebrates her 109th birthday. Living alone in a small London apartment, this amazing woman is the world’s oldest living holocaust survivor. A former concert pianist, Alice has been playing the piano since she was five years old. Using only eight fingers, Alice still practices for hours every day. Alice’s story is a testament to the power of the human spirit. She and her six-year old son survived two years in the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt, escaping almost certain death. She has witnessed unspeakable cruelty, watching hundreds go to their deaths in the gas chambers or through sickness and starvation. And yet, this living hero has never stopped smiling. This ever-laughing centenarian credits her …

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Considering the Balanced Scorecard Approach

November 12, 2012
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The Balanced Scorecard Approach

“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind…” William Thompson As the leader of a relatively young organizational unit, I am always looking for innovative ways to measure and improve overall performance and achieve strategic goals. A few months ago, I stumbled upon the Balanced Scorecard approach. The Balanced Scorecard Approach in a Nutshell The Balanced Scorecard approach was developed around 1990 and a result of the extensive research of Robert Kaplan and David Norton. They developed a methodology of translating organizational strategy into a balanced framework …

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