How Bankers Can Save the World (8 mins)

Purpose

What is the purpose of our life? We don’t often think of that question, especially when at work. Many of us will say that it is to be happy and healthy. Others may say to have a fun time. For me, it would have to be leaving the world in a better place than when I entered it. This would be at every level from family to work to community to the world. Another related question, then, is what is the biggest problem in the world? Some may say climate change, others income inequality, yet others war and terrorism. For me though, when I think about this I think is the lack trust that pervades our culture. Continue reading “How Bankers Can Save the World (8 mins)”

How To Stop Being Rich and Happy

Derek Sivers

I recently came across a chap called Derek Sivers. He started a multi-million dollar business (CDBaby) and then gave it away. Now he writes, programmes and is a student of life. He’s massive reader, lives a simple life and regularly imparts his words of wisdom on his blog. He also makes lists of “do’s and don’ts”. I loved this one on how to be stop being rich. From Sivers: Continue reading “How To Stop Being Rich and Happy”

My Reading List For Success At Work (Part 1)

shelf-of-books

I often get asked what the best books are to help one at work. As it turns out, I give reading lists to whoever works for me. One list is focused on developing good character and “soft skills” and is relevant for whichever line of work you are in. The other list is on more technical knowledge related to the finance industry. Below is the first list, I’ll post the second one next week: Continue reading “My Reading List For Success At Work (Part 1)”

The Revolutionary Speech On Race

us_civilrights

Targeting people for the colour of their skin, unfortunately, continues to this day, whether it is racist attacks seen in the UK following the referendum, black victims of police brutality in the US, or violence against refugees in continental Europe. But things can change for the better.

In 1963, the US National Guard had to be sent to protect  two African American students Vivian Malone and James Hood as they enrolled at the University of Alabama. Continue reading “The Revolutionary Speech On Race”

The Intoxication Of Power (2 mins)

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After this week’s UK and European political developments, I thought about Machiavelli, Shakespeare and Sun Tzu. The latter wrote in his “Art of War” that all warfare is based on deception (how true!). He went to describe this in more detail (as did Charlie Sheen in the 1980s classic “Wall Street”):

“Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable;

When using our forces, we must seem inactive;

 When we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away;

 When far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

Another more controversial Chinese classic was written around the same time in 500BC, it was called “The Master of Demon Valley”. It was associated with Continue reading “The Intoxication Of Power (2 mins)”

Has Democracy Failed? (3 min read)

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After last week’s UK referendum result to exit the European Union (EU), I wonder whether democracy has its limitations. At the very basic level, one would hope that voters are knowledgeable over the issue at hand, and that each political group vying for votes will be held accountable for their promises.

Yet, with the prospect of Brexit now on the horizon, I’ve been looking into the mechanics and consequences of exit and its mind-bogglingly complex. Continue reading “Has Democracy Failed? (3 min read)”

One Of the Greatest Political Speeches

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With the events in Orlando, the world today looks unstable and dangerous.  What doesn’t help is the tendency for political leaders to score political points over such events. It is therefore worth looking back to another time to see how leaders can behave.

For me, the “peace speech” given by John F Kennedy in June 1963 is a template of what true leadership looks like. The backdrop was the Cold War where at any time the US and the Soviet Union could trigger nuclear armageddon. Continue reading “One Of the Greatest Political Speeches”

36 Awesome Opening Lines Of Books

Metamorpheses

The best writing advice* I ever got was to make sure my opening lines were great. To see why, look at the following opening lines:

1. “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”  Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis (1915)

2. “The way you can go isn’t the real way”  Lao Tzu, Ta Te Ching (circa 500BC)

3. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) Continue reading “36 Awesome Opening Lines Of Books”

Economists have a lot to learn from ‘The Big Bang Theory’

big-bang-theory

Here’s an op-ed I wrote for the Financial Times back in July 2014:

The 300m or so people who were alive 2,000 years ago are each reckoned to have had access to goods and services worth, on average, about $800 a year in today’s prices. It was not an opulent lifestyle but, for the first millennials, making money was not an all-consuming concern.

In the east Buddhism taught the virtues of renouncing worldly things and earning a livelihood without doing harm, the so-called Noble Eightfold Path. Continue reading “Economists have a lot to learn from ‘The Big Bang Theory’”