What Michael Bloomberg Taught Me About Business

Michael Bloomberg is the billionaire founder of the financial services data and media company, Bloomberg. He was also the 108th Mayor of New York. He’s confident, outspoken and has strong views on how to start and run a business. I learnt about them in his autobiography. Here are the highlights:

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Love Life, Love Poetry

A young Pablo Neruda

I don’t naturally lean towards poetry, I prefer the straightforwardness of prose. At the same time, I know that poetry, like music, can affect me in ways a novel or film never could. So, I’m always on the look-out for entry points to poetry, and I recently found one in the works of Pablo Neruda.

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Negotiate Like A Top FBI Hostage Negotiator

“Who has control in a conversation, the guy listening or the guy talking?

The listener, of course.

That’s because the talker is revealing information while the listener, if he’s trained well, is directing the conversation toward his own goals. He’s harnessing the talker’s energy for his own ends.”

Chris Voss

That’s what Chis Voss, formerly the FBI’s lead international hostage negotiator, writes in his excellent “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It”. His insights shatter the idea that good negotiators engage in a battle of wills against their counterpart. If there is a guiding principle in the FBI’s elite negotiating team it’s that you have to remove yourself from the equation.

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My Favourite Books/Movies/Apps Of 2018, What’s Yours?

The year is almost over, so it’s time to send my list of favourites for the year: books, magazines, movies, TV and apps. I’m sure I’ve missed much, so let me know what you liked, and if I get enough, I‘ll send out a readers list!

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How To Create An Enduring Bestseller (6 min read)

Do you remember the films “The Flintstones” starring John Goodman or  “The Santa Clause” starring Tim Allen? How about “I Love Trouble” with Julia Roberts or “The Shadow” with Alec Baldwin? Well, they all came out in 1994 and they all made more money than a certain Continue reading “How To Create An Enduring Bestseller (6 min read)”

What People Initially Thought Of Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings (novel)

I recently came across a review of Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings books when they were first published in 1954. Of course, today the books are regarded as some of the best fiction ever written and have spawned oscar-winning movies. But this review from 1954 featured in a British magazine, The New Statesman, was scathing: Continue reading “What People Initially Thought Of Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings (novel)”

My Recommended Summer Reading List

The sun is out, summer is here, it’s time to read some great books. Here are my recommendations:

Fiction and memoirs

Educated by Tara Westover. I’m in the middle of this book based on a true story. Imagine a girl raised in the mountains by deeply conservative religion parents. That means no modern medicine, no secular education, no revealing clothes and no TV or music. The mountains were not Afghanistan, but the US and the parents were Mormons. Then throw the girl, the author Tara, into modern world when she starts university.  An incredibly insightful book of how our society operates, revealed through the eyes of someone who has never experienced it before. Continue reading “My Recommended Summer Reading List”

Never Before Had Europe Been Overshadowed By Four Giants – Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman

That’s how John Julius Norwich characterises the early 1500s in his book Four Princes. The four were all born in the 1490s  and went on to shape Europe for centuries to come:

      • King Henry VIII ruled England. He broke from the Papacy of Rome, established the Church of England, created a superb administration and transformed the navy.
      • King Francis I ruled France. He was the Renaissance man. He brought Leonardo da Vinci from Italy to France. He transformed the Louvre from a medieval fortress to a vast Renaissance Palace. He made French, rather Latin, the official language of the country.
      • Suleiman the Magnificent ruled the Ottoman Empire. He created a single code of law, expanded the number of schools and was extremely tolerant. He gave artists professional status and encouraged every form of artistic creativity by attracted artists from all corners of Europe whether Muslim or Christian.
      • Holy Roman Emperor Charles V combined rule in Germany, Spain and parts of Italy to create a new heart of Europe. Under his rule, European rule expanded to the New World defeating the Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of Peru. 

But these highlights mask the violence and divineness of religion that was unleashed during the period. Continue reading “Never Before Had Europe Been Overshadowed By Four Giants – Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman”

How To Eat Your Way To 100 Years Old (3 min read)

There are so many books and articles about the right diet that it can be bewildering. There is the GI, Atkins, Paleo, Ketogenic, Dukan, Scandinavian LCHF, Banting, Bulletproof, South Beach and I’m sure many more diets.

All of these have there strong advocates and so it’s hard to decide which one to opt for. Thankfully, I came across the work of Professor Valter Longo,an expert on ageing, at USC Davis School of Gerontology. His work focuses on diets that can help you live longer and healthier, rather than diets that focus on weight loss and six-packs and is featured in his book , The Longevity Diet. His approach is based on five pillars: Continue reading “How To Eat Your Way To 100 Years Old (3 min read)”