My Mother Passed Away

My mother in 1968, when she was twenty

We got the call you don’t want to get last Saturday. My mother had been struggling with cancer for months. She recently had to be admitted to a care home. She had lost much of her mobility. I had been coming to my home-town Oxford every weekend to visit her ever since. The call was from the care home. They told us that mother was coming to the end of her life. They seemed to know about these things.

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If You Are Praised, Be Sceptical…

Epictetus was a Greek philosopher from around 100AD. He along with Marcus Aurelius are known for advocating Stoic philosophy. The core principles revolve around focusing on what is within your control and also on your thinking patterns. These ideas have continued with contemporary techniques like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and self-help gurus like Byron Katie. But it’s always good to go back to the source material, here are some of the key excerpts from the works of Epictetus:

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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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Secrets On the Exercise Of Power

动力

“As for preserving justice, this means keeping intact with humanity and justice, and searching out what lies within hearts, in order to mesh with them.

Searching hearts means finding out what rules them, by way of external you control the internal. If matters have complicated twists and turns, you go along with them accordingly. Continue reading “Secrets On the Exercise Of Power”

9 TV Shows I’m Loving

I’ve just finished a great run of binge-watching TV. Here are my favourites:

Money Heist (Netflix) – excellent Spanish thriller, which centres around a seemingly perfect robbery of a printing press. As the robbery proceeds we get flashbacks and glimpses of the lives of each the robbers. Gripping, I’m addicted. By the way watched it with subtitles not the dubbed English voices


The Boys (Amazon) – I couldn’t stop watching the 8-part season (surely season 2 will follow). This subverts the superhero genre by showing them as sleazy, fragile and corrupt. The plot revolves a group of regular people trying to bring the superheroes down.


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1999 – the Best Movie Year Ever

The Matrix. The Sixth Sense. Fight Club. The Insider. Magnolia. Need I say more. For various reasons, the last year of the millennium saw an outpouring of auteur-driven filmmaking. Movie genres were redefined: was The Sixth Sense a horror, thriller or ghost story? What was Fight Club or Being John Malkovich? And new genres were invented like the horror pseudo-documentary – The Blair Witch Project.  

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Four Ways To Overcome the Comparison Mindset

We often look to others to compare, contrast, and evaluate success or failure in our own lives, and this mindset can be an incredibly powerful creative and motivational force. It’s entrenched in our biology, that desire to strive higher than those who surround us, and facilitated readily in our social media culture – even celebrated. Yet the value of the comparison mindset can easily be outweighed by envy, jealousy, and a loss of self-worth, feelings which tear down others and eventually ourselves. But there are ways to guard against this – here are four:

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