The Monk Who Sold His Ferari- Robin S. Sharma

Only 15% of the world’s one billion full-time workers are actively engaged in their work, according to a Gallup survey, and the other 85% are dissatisfied with their positions. There are many justifications given, including those pertaining to the employer and the nature of the work, but what if the justifications were intrinsic rather than extrinsic?

Robin S. Sharma starts with a tale of a distinguished trial lawyer, Julian Mantle, who is at the height of his career and whose outrageous courtroom antics consistently made it to the front of the newspaper. He had acquired everything he had ever wanted, including a Ferrari, but on the inside, he was filled with emptiness and lacked enthusiasm for what he was doing. He had a sudden heart attack in the courtroom, which was the turning point. He sold all his belongings and embarked on a journey to the Himalayan Mountains to seek out wisdom of the Sivana sages.

Robin compares the mind to a magnificent garden in his analogy and emphasizes the need to guard our minds and ensure that only good thoughts enter. Nurturing and cultivating the mind makes it flourish beyond expectations. Worry is a misuse of the mind because it saps the mind of a lot of its power and eventually damages the soul. Check your thoughts to see if any negative ones are the root of your dissatisfaction. Perhaps it’s not your job that’s the issue.

The second analogy which involves a towering lighthouse, teaches one to know and follow their purpose. Consistency of purpose is the key to success, and the purpose of life is a life of purpose. In this century, many people are looking for their life’s purpose; some have found it, while others are still searching. When you find your life’s work, it brings long-lasting fulfillment. Setting specific personal, professional, and spiritual goals is essential, as is having the courage to carry them out. The art of self-leadership, how to develop and live with discipline, respecting time, selflessly serving others, and finally embracing the present are all covered in detail in this book.

The greatest take away more so from our generation is adopting the death bed mentality. Every morning, ask yourself what you would do if this were your last day. Think of how you would treat your loved ones, friends, and coworkers if it were your last day to carry the best energy to your place of work. Finally, this book offers simple techniques for discovering one’s purpose and living a balanced life.

Book Review


Brian Tracy writes to a targeted audience. His intentions and tone are aligned towards one direction, and in The Psychology of Selling, that direction leads to the practitioner of what he calls, “the great art of selling”. This book is written for the brave men and women who go where no one has gone before to make sales upon which companies and nations depend and exhibit the heroism of the competitive enterprise system. His vocabulary choice is simple and easy to comprehend yet the content of his writing is deep. The book aims at giving you a series of ideas, methods, strategies, and techniques that you can use immediately to make more sales, faster and easier. It helps one understand the need for urgency in bringing deals to a close by asking for the order early, taking actions to close the sale and keeping the initiative while remaining polite in persistence and patient in aggressiveness.

Brian Tracy sells the conviction that the best CEOs in the world are masters of the art of selling as witnessed in promotion of great sales men and women to the highest leadership offices of many fortune 500 companies. He goes ahead to explain what selling is and how to sell. Brian Tracy writes that people buy emotions and only wait to justify their decisions logically after they have bought. He therefore emphasizes on the practice of communication skills, dressing for the sale, choosing the right environment for a sales meeting, being a creative thinker and the need to answer the buyer’s question, “what is in it for me?” In selling, the buyer must understand the benefits and solutions of buying. This requires the seller to understand what triggers the buying decision, how to advertise, clarity in speech and knowing the rhythm of a buyers’ pattern of purchase.

I will summarize my review of Brian Tracy’s masterpiece by highlighting buyer personality types as explained in Chapter 9. The first personality type is the Apathetic Buyer. Regardless of the discounts, offers and any incentive to influence them to buy, they still won’t buy. Apathetic buyers do not know what they want. Time should not be spent on these kinds of buyers. The sales person should therefore consider the self-actualizing buyer, the analytical buyer, the relator buyer, the driver buyer or the socializer buyer. Traits for each of these personalities can best be understood by grabbing the book and reading in detail.

How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie

How to win friends adn influence People

Research shows that 85% of financial success for any business depends on human engineering skills, personality management and the ability to lead people. It is also said that one can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than they can in two years by trying to make other people interested in them. It is for this reason that Dale thought it was important to educate readers on how to succeed in the fundamental techniques of handling people so as to impact and win them and also equip them with skills of how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment. Dale believes that it is important for any human being to grasp the secret of getting along with people and learn how to make people like them.

When it comes to handling people, instead of criticizing, condemning or complaining, it is always wiser to make the other person want to do something by arousing an eager want in them. This can only be achieved by being genuinely interested in other people. Wearing a smile, listening intently and remembering people’s names are simple ways to make a good first impression that will communicate to them that you care and are interested in their welfare. Dale repeatedly said, “Always make the other person feel important – talking in terms of the other person’s interest pays off for both parties.”

On the other hand, when dealing with people conflicts are bound to arise. During those times, one should never be in a rush to tell people they are wrong, instead, one should strive to judge people by their own principles and show respect for other people’s opinions. However, when the time for confrontation comes, it is wise to begin in a friendly way with the things both parties agree on and keep emphasizing that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is that of the method, not the purpose. When one is wrong, it is important to admit it quickly and empathetically.

Always make the fault seem easy to correct. If you must find fault, begin with praise and honest appreciation. Praise the slightest improvement and every improvement. An effective way to correct others’ mistakes is to call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. Talk about your own mistakes first before criticizing the other person.

Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem – Nathaniel Branden

We’ve reached a moment in history when self-esteem, which has always been an important psychological need, has also become a supremely important economic need. Identity, competence and worth are key, especially with the turbulence of our times as it is a dangerous time in history not to know who we are or not to trust ourselves. Self-esteem fully realized is the experience that we are appropriate to life and its requirements. It is the confidence in our ability to think and cope with the basic challenges of life and in our right to be successful and happy. Self-esteem has two interrelated components: A sense of basic confidence in the face of life’s challenges (self-efficacy) and a sense of being worthy of happiness (self-respect). To have high self-esteem is to feel confident and appropriate to live. When self-esteem is low, we are often manipulated by fear.

The 6 pillars of self-esteem according to Nathaniel are: The practice of living consciously that is living responsibly toward reality. It entails an active mind, an intelligence that takes joy in its function, being in the moment without losing the wider context, reaching out (rather than withdrawing) to relevant facts, interpretations and emotions. The practice of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance simply means to be on my side or for me. Self-acceptance entails compassion; being a friend to self. Self-esteem suffers if we are in a rejecting relationship with our physical being. The practice of self-responsibility. Self-responsibility is not only essential but also a manifestation of self-esteem. What one needs to know is the difference between what is within their control and what is not.

The practice of self-assertiveness. Self-assertiveness is honouring my wants, needs and values and seeking their appropriate expression in reality. It is tested by what we stand for, not what we are against. The practice of living purposefully; to live without purpose is to live with the mercy of chance because we have no standard by which to judge what is and is not worth doing. The practice of personal integrity. When our behavior is congruent with our professed values when ideals and practice match, we have integrity. Perseverance and courage are necessary for the road map to building good self-esteem. The energy for this commitment can only come from the love we have for our life. This love is the beginning of virtue. The seventh pillar of self-esteem!

The Leader Who Had No Title – Robin Sharma

This is a modern fable on real success in business and in life. The author delivers his work in a fictional story involving a hero, Blake Davis who is a student to his mentor, Tommy Flinn who then introduces him to four teachers, who teach him profound leadership insights in form of conversations summarized by acronyms. The main theme of the book is summarized by the letters LWT i.e. Lead Without a Title. While titles and structures help to maintain order, each one in any team ought to always assume personal responsibility, by becoming the CEO of their own roles and leaders within their current positions.

There are four natural powers and five rules that one needs in order to lead: The power to go to work each day and express their absolute best. The power to inspire, influence and elevate each person they meet by the gift of a great example. The power to passionately drive positive change in the face of negative conditions. The power to treat all stakeholders with respect, appreciation and kindness and in so doing raise organizations culture to best of breed. The five rules are summarized by the acronym IMAGE: Innovation, Mastery, Authenticity, Guts and Ethics.

Turbulent times build great leaders, an old saying goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” One cannot reach the place of breakthrough without breaking down. SPARK was the acronym for this conversation. Leading without a title has so much to do with being a light in a dark and turbulent world. S for speaking with candor, P for prioritize, A for adversity breeds opportunity, and finally K- always remember to offer Kudos.

The deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership. The main business of business is to connect with and add value to people; money follows contribution. It is all about people! One cannot afford not to be spending time relating with the people they spend most of their working hours with. HUMAN acronym comes in handy to remember this concept: Helpfulness, Understanding, Mingle, Amuse and Nurture.

To be a great leader, first become a great person. You cannot energize anyone around if you have no energy yourself. Personal leadership has seven fundamentals: learning, affirmations, visualization, journaling, goal- setting, exercise and nutrition. The acronym for this conversation was SHINE i.e. See clearly, Health is wealth, Inspiration matters, Neglect not your family and Elevate your lifestyle.

Start With Why By Simon Sinek

How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Sinek describes his book as one ‘about a naturally occurring pattern, a way of thinking, acting and communicating that gives some leaders the ability to inspire those around them’. He depicts different situations where one person or group got ahead of another just because they started with the end in mind. Martin Luther King, the Wright brothers, and Apple are such examples. He later goes on to explain why inspiration, as opposed to manipulation, is a long-term strategy in any endeavour. Unlike inspiration, manipulation of employees and consumers can only last so long and needs to be repeated over and over. This, therefore, leads to the core of inspiration: Why.

To help readers understand, he uses The Golden Circle, which is in essence three circles, each inside another. The outer circle shows what, which everyone has figured out. These are the products, services, and functions of a company or person. The middle circle indicates the How, which is the process or strategy through which said services are offered. The most crucial aspect however is the innermost circle, indicating why…Why do you do what you do? It alludes to purpose more than anything else, and once discovered and defined allows one to think and act from the inside out. Biologically speaking, it is also the ‘Why’ (feeling) part of a human brain that informs decisions and behaviour, not the ‘What’ (thought) part. Having understood the various elements of the Golden Circle, the key now lies in implementing them in the right order: 1. why do it? 2. How to do it? 3. What (Result of the Why)?

According to Sinek, clearly defining the Why of a business or idea attracts people of the same mindset and differentiates believers from passers-by. After this, what follows is defining the ‘how’ of the idea, which basically means having a practical and realistic person or mindset to give guidance. The how puts the why to the ground and produces results. Once these two are established, the next and greatest challenge begins: staying true to the Why. The ability to remain consistently committed to the why is what makes successful leaders. It is what inspires others to follow. The Why becomes the metric by which decisions are analysed? The result of this is that we start assessing ourselves from an internal perspective, seeking to be better, anticipating to outdo ourselves every day!

Reverse Innovation – Vijay Govindarajan & amp; Chris Trimble

Create far from home win everywhere

Reverse innovation is the main subject to this exquisite book as the authors strongly believe it is the pathway to success, especially for emerging economies. History has it that multinationals would innovate in wealthy countries like the USA and then sell their products to poor countries like India; reverse innovation according to the two authors is working against that historical grain by doing the exact opposite. They believe it is time that innovation begins in developing economies as it trickles up to developed countries. Therefore, instead of exporting, why not innovate in emerging economies? In other terms, reverse innovation involves meeting the needs of developing nations by producing goods as inexpensive models and then repackaging the same as low cost innovative goods for developed nations to buy.

Dominant logic is a concept quite discouraged in this book as dated thinking inhibits reverse innovation. It challenges leaders and institutions to challenge their status quo and only work with past strategies with clear revision and critical analysis. This is in tandem with George Santayana’s quote that goes “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Reverse innovation begins by identifying need gaps in any space that one desires to see transformation. There are five need gaps discussed in the book: the performance gap, the infrastructure gap, the sustainability gap, the regulatory gap and the preferences gap. These gaps between emerging economies and the rich world are so substantial that emerging economy needs can only rarely be addressed simply by making adaptations to rich world products. This therefore calls for capturing opportunities in the poor world by starting from scratch (clean-slate innovation) in order to maximize trends that will close the gaps.

It is critical to remember that reverse innovations flow uphill in two ways: marginalized market which happens immediately and mainstream market which takes time. All innovation is about assessing needs and developing solutions hence the crucial integration of sales and marketing. Strategy, global organization and project organization too are good markers to always look at when innovating in reverse.

In conclusion, reverse innovation efforts test the commitment, resilience and passion of the Innovators. Equally they test the gumption and long term vision of whom the innovators report to and of the organization as a whole. The goal should always be “value for money to value for many” reverse innovation is not optional it is the oxygen!

The 5 Am Club By Robin Sharma

A frustrated artist and a haunted entrepreneur find themselves at a motivational talk by The Spellbinder that leaves them alive and hungering for more. Each finds hope when he says that the place of one’s greatest discomfort is also where one’s largest opportunity lives. When a seemingly homeless yet vibrant and knowledgeable man invites them for a get-away to re-discover themselves, they hesitate only for a minute. Armed with the curiosity and willingness to join the 5 AM Club as he called it, the journey to Mauritius where their previously ‘homeless’ billionaire mentor awaited.

Every 5 AM for the next few days they would learn the kind of mindset and lifestyle that makes the top 5%. One of them is The Four Focuses of History-Makers: Capitalization IQ. Be committed to improving the talents that you have, freedom from Distractions. Prioritize your life and thin out the areas that are less important. A few successes are better than many mediocre achievements. personal Mastery Practice. Create a positive, creative and healthy mindset, heart set, health set, and soul set, day Stacking. Having the bigger picture in mind, focus on having a day oriented towards it and making progress every day.

An important protocol that the billionaire shares with our explorers is The Habit Installation Protocol. This is the process it takes for one to incorporate a new habit into their normal routine. The first 22 days are termed as the destruction phase, obviously so, since old habits are being destroyed. The second 22 are the installation stage, the hardest stage, often characterized by frustration. The last 22 days are the integration phase, where the habit becomes automatic. In summary, every change is hard at the beginning, messy in the middle and glorious at the end.

Just in case you are wondering what you actually do at 5 AM, fear not, that is not left out. It would be quite a shame for you to be convinced to wake up so early and waste the entire time! The idea brought forth here is defined as The 20/20/20 Formula. Each 20 minutes is used on Exercise, Meditation, and Learning respectively. After this, the next 90 minutes are advisably used on the most important activity of the day.

Rest, determination and many more aspects are tackled in this world-class book that I believe can catapult anyone from ordinary to extraordinary. Remember, Triumph Loves the Relentless!

Business Strategy – Jeremy Kourdi

A Guide to Effective Decision Making

Jeremy outlines nuggets in his book meant to help managers take their businesses forward by helping them learn strategies for effective decision-making. The book is divided into two parts with the first addressing the forces at work and the other expounding on the concepts and tools for strategic decision making.

The forces any business faces are likely to fall under the social, cultural, or commercial category. Knowledge (intellectual capital which includes experience and expertise) and leadership matter a great deal in trying to address these forces. It is important that an organization’s knowledge remains as unique as possible as this provides profitability because of scarcity. Value innovation, globalization and management of information are key strategies to ensure uniqueness.

Among the very many ideas, one may have for their business, they need to remember three things Jeremy outlines: to employ effective strategic leadership and decision making at every level of the organization; to forecast and manage uncertainty; and to manage adversity. There are three principal financial issues that influence strategic decisions: cash management, risk management and budgeting. The most powerful and natural of forces shaping strategic thinking is the human mind; as a result, there are three types of failure any organization leader needs to watch out against: thinking flaws, leading flaws, and cultural flaws. It is said that “bad decisions can often be traced back to the way they were made” adaptive organizational learning and scenario thinking are mechanisms Jeremy outlines that can help any business avoid some common pitfalls and traps.

For the realization of growth in any business, five strategies need to be highly considered: organic growth, mergers and acquisitions, integration/partnership, diversification, and specialization. In addition to that any team needs to employ competitive strategies that encourage competitiveness with the customer being the focus.

As the book ends, Jeremy mentions the need to manage finance and also manage risk. The latter can be made possible by creating a positive climate for controlling risk depending on its potential impact and the need to overcome the fear of risk. He also points out the importance of brand management; deciding the brand’s purpose, emphasizing the brand’s values, deciding where to position a product and how to build customer loyalty. This is a book to grab for any individual or organization that desires growth and progress either in business or any other sphere of life.

The Power Of Habit By Charles Duhigg

Happy New Year! Yes, another year full of hope, ambition, and determination…not forgetting New Year Resolutions. Some structured and well written down, others as vague ideas in our minds of dreams we hope to realize. The underlying factor to their success or failure is our habits and Duhigg helps us unravel this aspect in a captivating and unforgettable manner.

First off is understanding what habits really are. To explain this, he summarizes every habit into a ‘Habit Loop’. These are the 3 stages that are critical in forming a habit, good or bad: A cue, a routine and a reward. A simple example is feeling stressed (cue), smoking (routine) and feeling relaxed (reward). Understanding these 3 aspects is key to understanding why we do what we do and changing or enforcing them. This leads me to my next point: The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You cannot extinguish a bad habit, you can only change it. Duhigg put forth that in order to change a habit, only the routine needs to change. To do this, however, we first need to understand our cues, which means asking questions like ‘why do I feel bored?’, ‘why do I crave this?’ and ‘how else can I satisfy this?’. From the previous smoking example, one can decide to go swimming or hang out with friends to get the same reward (relaxation/stress relief).

Another element in the habit-making process is realizing that we have what Duhigg calls Keystone Habits, which when focused on effect other areas of our lives. To be fit for example, exercising alone ends up affecting our eating habits, sleeping patterns and so on. Concentrating on such a habit, therefore, gives better results, both individually and corporately. Cultivating such habits however requires immense willpower, but once tamed, it becomes automatic and increases one’s productivity. One key to strengthening willpower is undertaking difficult tasks that cause us to experience delayed gratification, like hitting the gym. The second is mentally preparing for worst-case scenarios and planning a routine to get around them in order to achieve our goals.

Finally, the belief that something can truly change is the wheel that keeps the habit going. Having people that believe in and with you is even better. So why not join a book club this year…or go hiking with friends! Remember: The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do!