Wednesday, 17 December 2014


Cyrus the Great founded the Persian Empire in the sixth century B.C. He was praised by the likes of Plato as an “enlightened monarch.” He was known for his benevolence, justice, kindness, and deep-seated desire for mankind to live in peace. He was also known for being the first to write a document chartering human rights.

Although this book goes through Cyrus’s history and achievements, the leadership lessons expressed in this book are timeless. Many of them focus on dealing with allies, understanding the self-interest of your team, encouraging high performance and standards, and proving that your words are backed by your deeds. Even the renowned management guru Peter Drucker calls it “the best book on leadership.”

“We discussed how wonderful it would be if a man could train himself to be both ethical and brave, and to earn all he needed for his house-hold and himself. That kind of man, we agreed, would be appreciated by the whole world. But if a man went further still, if he had the wisdom and the skill to be the guide and governor of other men, supplying their needs and making them all they ought to be, that would be the greatest thing of all.”

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Those who have done great work, who made an impact in their domain and lead fulfilling lives, did so because they mastered their skills and deeply connected with their field. Think Darwin, Mozart, Temple Grandin, Michael Jordan, and others.

Robert Greene debunks many of history’s greats while also providing a practical look into how we can utilize these findings in our own lives. From deliberate practice, to apprenticeships, to overcoming roadblocks, Mastery is an invaluable read in understanding how these seemingly gifted historic icons pursued mastery and how we can embark on the same path.

“The basic elements of this story are repeated in the lives of all of the great Masters in history: a youthful passion or predilection, a chance encounter that allows them to discover how to apply it, an apprenticeship in which they come alive with energy and focus. They excel by their ability to practice harder and move faster through the process, all of this stemming from the intensity of their desire to learn and from the deep connection they feel to their field of study. And at the core of this intensity of effort is a quality that is genetic and inborn - not talent or brilliance, which must be developed, but rather a deep and powerful inclination toward a particular subject.”

The book ISBN is 9780670026302. It is published by VIKING and sold at Times Bookstore at RM55.00

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Marcus Aurelius, a ruler of the Roman Empire, wrote in his journal during his time at war—a meditation where he reminded himself of all his principles and past teachings. Stoicism is a school of philosophy that teaches us how to deal with the obstacles we face in our lives.

As a leader, you will undoubtedly deal with a barrage of negative emotions and roadblocks, both internal and external. They can cripple us, but what Stoicism teaches is that they can also be a profound advantage.

“If anyone can refute me - show me I'm making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective - I'll gladly change. It's the truth I'm after, and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance.”

The book ISBN is 9780140441406 and is sold at Times Bookstore for RM31.00

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Wednesday, 26 November 2014



Dr. Brown’s research is focused on vulnerability and how that openness fosters connection, innovation, relationships, and more.

Vulnerability isn’t about meeting someone and expressing all your deepest desires, fears, doubts, and secrets. Instead, vulnerability is a process—a catalyst for love, belonging, joy, empathy, and creativity. Culling from over a decade of research, Dr. Brown’s work shows that vulnerability may be the missing element that not only brings teams together, but strengthens the bond.

“The research has made this clear: Vulnerability is at the heart of the feedback process. This is true whether we give, receive, or solicit feedback. And vulnerability doesn't go away even if we're trained and experienced in offering and getting feedback. Experience does, however, give us the advantage of knowing that we can survive the exposure and uncertainty, and that it's worth the risk.

Again, there's no question that feedback may be one of the most difficult arenas to negotiate in our lives. We should remember, though, that victory is not getting good feedback, avoiding giving difficult feedback, or avoiding the need of feedback. Instead, it's taking off the armor, showing up, and engaging.”

The book ISBN is 9781592408900 and is published by GOTHAM BOOKS. It is priced at Times Bookstores Malaysia at RM49.95

Friday, 21 November 2014


This post is prompted by a question from one of my friends, Ms. June Tan from Shah Alam: How to improve sale? How to be a successful entrepreneur?

Everyone who is not involved in sales and entrepreneurship thinks, “I could never sell.” Truth is, most entrepreneurs and people who are in sales secretly think the same thing!

There is a reason people feel this way: most of us look at sales backward. We may see it as convincing people to do something they don’t want to do. But it isn’t. Sales and entrepreneurship is about learning what people do want to do and helping them do that. Or, we may think it’s about taking advantage of others - while in fact, it’s about giving other people more advantage.

But the biggest inversion of all, the great upside-down misconception about sales, is that it is an effort to get something from others. The truth is that sales at its best - that is, at its most effective - is precisely the opposite: it is about giving.

Selling is giving: giving time, attention, counsel, education, empathy, and value. In fact, the word sell comes from the Old English word sellan, which means - you guessed it - “to give.”

Typically, sales is taught as a set of specific skills, reinforced by a range of techniques, aimed at putting your product into someone else’s hands and their dollar into your pocket. From the prospecting dialogue and qualifying questions to overcoming objections and closing the sale, every step of the process is mapped out and nailed down. All you have to do, so the idea goes, is thoroughly learn and carefully practice everything in the salesman’s bag of tricks, and you too will become a sales success!

At least, that’s the theory. But it often doesn’t work out that way. Here is the reality: of the hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, small business owners, corporate salespeople, independent reps, and others in business who find themselves fulfilling any sort of sales function, most are having a hard time with sales and selling.

This difficulty does not typically come from a lack of belief. Most people who are involved in sales genuinely believe in what they’re selling. They are excited about the value they can add to other people’s lives while making a healthy living for themselves and providing for their families.

But when it comes to the actual selling part? Most of us don’t believe we’re any good at it. We get performance anxiety or don’t feel comfortable with the idea of “pitching”. We don’t like having things pushed on us, and don’t really expect others to like it either.

We want to sell - we just don’t want to be in selling mode.

When you spend time with a genuinely successful salesperson, pay close attention and you’ll find something surprising: none of the hundreds of standard sales techniques are what makes them excel at what they do. Oh, they know about them, and when it will serve their customer, they may utilize some of them. But what makes a great salesperson great at sales is that he or she is wholeheartedly interested in the other person.


Genuinely great salespeople are not great because they have mastered “the close,” or because they give a dazzling presentation, or because they could shoot holes in any customer objection from fifty paces. They are great because they create a vast and spreading sphere of goodwill wherever they go. They enrich, enhance, and add value to people’s lives. They make people happier.

This is very good news, because it means that anyone can be great in sales. It means you can be great in sales. You might think that to do so, you need to have an outgoing, naturally jovial, gregarious personality. Not true. Shy people create relationships and get married. Introverts make great friends. You don’t need to be a “people person,” or any specific type of person, to be great at selling. In fact, the idea itself - that you might have to be a certain sort of person to be great in sales - precisely misses the point:


Thursday, 20 November 2014


It's great to be a go-getter. Go-getters are people who take action. Rather than waiting for circumstances to go their way, they create circumstances that go their way. Go-getters make things happen. But as great as it is to be a go-getter, Bob Burg believes that being a go-giver is even better!

To Burg, co-author (with John David Mann) of the bestseller, The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea, being a go-giver means you add value to others in a way that helps them significantly while at the same time increases your own sense of joy and improves your bottom line, both in your business and your personal life.

The book seems to contradict conventional wisdom. The basic premise is that shifting one's focus from getting to giving - constantly and consistently adding value to the lives of others—is not only a nice way to live life but a very profitable way as well.

There are actually several very practical reasons why go-givers are the most successful people. One is that being "other-focused" instead of "me-focused" makes other people feel good about you and makes them recognize the value you bring to their lives. When that happens, they're much more excited about adding value to your life, just as you have for them. Everyone wins.

Another reason is that in a free enterprise-based society, where no one is forced to buy from you, the only way someone is going to pay for your product or service is if they find value in it [beyond the price]. Those who give lots of value get the most back. In a relationship, business people can often sense if you really care for them or if you are just faking it. Smart people can often read true caring vs. feigned sincerity.

It takes more than simply being nice. Many simply nice people are simply broke people as well. Success as a go-giver is also a matter of doing the correct things in what we call "the success process" that allows one to be successful and "finish first." The book's story walks the reader through those five principles.

The book's main character, Joe, is frustrated, and he's described as a go-getter. And being a go-getter is not necessarily a bad thing. A go-getter is, generally, a person who gets things done. That's terrific. And many go-getters are also go-givers. The opposite of a go-giver is not a go-getter; the opposite of a go-giver is a go-taker - someone who feels entitled to take, take, take without ever adding value to the relationship or the process in any way.

When we say go-giver, we're simply referring to the man or woman who has the great attributes of a successful person. One of those basic attributes is the ability to take one's eyes off oneself in order to focus on contribution and adding value to the lives of others. That's the person who accomplishes the most.

And by the way, there's nothing self-sacrificial or martyr-like about this. What we're talking about is extremely practical - it's following a methodology that allows you to be principle-based, continually adding value to the lives of others, and doing very, very well for yourself at the same time.

The sad thing is that so many successful people know this but so few people have yet embraced. While there are good and bad people of all types in the world, when one truly makes a study of people who are successful in the long term, both financially and in their personal lives, you find that by and large these people live lives and conduct their businesses based on character traits and values such as honesty, integrity, humility, and encouragement—and that they go out of their way to add significant value to every relationship in which they are involved.

The book underlines five laws of Stratospheric Success.

1.  The Law of Value: Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment. The key is realizing that price and value are two different things. Price is what a person pay; value is what a person get. Always strive to provide more in "use value" to your customer than what you charge them - while still making a healthy profit.

2.  The Law of Compensation: Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them. While Law of Value discusses the value you provide, the Law of compensation shows you how to get well compensated for the value you provide. You do so by touching the lives of a lot of people.

3.  The Law of Influence: Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other peoples' interests first. This might sound corny, but it's actually extremely practical. The golden rule of business is that all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust. There's no quicker, more powerful, or more effective method of eliciting those feelings in others than by focusing on putting their interests first.

4. The Law of Authenticity: The greatest gift you have to offer is yourself. The most significant way you have of adding value to others' lives is by honouring your own nature - by being genuine and not trying to be someone you're not. Consciously or not, people can tell when you're not being authentic, and it interferes with your interaction just as surely as if you broke off an electrical current. You cannot truly give to another person unless you're being authentic.

5. The Law of Receptivity: The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving. This is what really brings it home. It says that receiving is good - it's great - because it is a natural result of giving.

I think perhaps the most prevalent false-dilemma question is: "Would you rather be rich OR happy?" What an awful question. Why not be both? And far too many people have bought into that artificial contradiction. Let's instead see the world as one of abundance. In this great country, if you can create, if you can add value - you can be rich and happy.