Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers PDF Summary

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers PDFThe Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping

This is not just another book about stress.

In fact, it’s probably the only one you should read.

Since it’s written by a renowned scientist and a brilliant science writer and since it will not only expose many of the other stress-related books as fakes, but it will also offer you science-backed tips on how to control your stress levels.

And since, let’s face it, there’s not another book on the market which actually explains “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.”

Who Should Read “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”? And Why?

Even if it certainly looks that way – trust us – we didn’t oversell “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” in the introduction above.

So, if you feel under a lot of stress and want to understand its origins and learn a few coping mechanisms – this is the book we recommend.

It’s a book we most warmly recommend to anyone who is even remotely curious about human behavioral biology and the inner workings of the human’s body.

About Robert Sapolsky

Robert SapolskyRobert M. Sapolsky is an American neuroendocrinologist, a professor of biology and a widely revered science writer.

Born in 1957 in Brooklyn, New York to Soviet immigrants (hence the surname), Sapolsky obtained a Ph.D. in neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University, after spending some time in Kenya to study the social behavior of baboons and a few years more working in the lab of noted endocrinologist Bruce McEwan.

Dubbed “one of the best science writers of our time” by none other than Oliver Sacks, Sapolsky has authored seven bestselling books, including “The Trouble with Testosterone,” “A Primate Memoir,” and “Behave.”

He is currently the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor at Stanford University

“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers PDF Summary”

All animals – humans notwithstanding – possess basically the same stress-response mechanism, grounded in something aptly called the “fight-or-flight syndrome.”

“Aptly” because we practically don’t need to explain it: when in the presence of great physical danger, your only two choices are to either fight back or flee.

Now, if you are a lion attacked by another lion, there’s a good chance that you’ll try not to be a coward; however, if you are a zebra and you happen to notice a lion lurking in your vicinity, well, you better run!

Strangely enough, as far as the biology of the response is concerned, it matters not whether you fight back or flee: in either case, vast amounts of energy are delivered to your muscles, so that you are able to fight or run away.

If you want the response of your body broken down a bit, here’s an explanation of what the fight-or-flight syndrome actually does inside you!

First, your liver and your fat cells release glucose, fats, and simple proteins, and feed the muscles you’re going to need the most during the next few minutes; so, if you are a zebra, you suddenly get super leg muscles!

At the same time, your blood pressure, your breathing rate and your heart rate increase dramatically in an attempt to acquire and send more nutrients and oxygen throughout your body.

Chances are you’re not going to eat anything or have sex with someone while a lion is chasing you down the African savannah, so – in an attempt to conserve all the energy it possibly can – your body shuts down both your digestive and reproductive functions.

What happens next is the most interesting part if you have that misfortune of being a human: the minute the danger passes, the stress-response mechanisms shut down, and everything’s suddenly back to normal, regardless of the fact that you had been in a life-or-death situation just a few moments ago.

And why is this interesting?

Well, because, as Sapolsky notes, even though “zebras and lions may see trouble coming in the next minute and mobilize a stress-response” they “can’t get stressed about events far in the future.”

So, in a way, their fight-or-flight apparatus is finely tuned to their ways of life.

Because as great as it is to have super legs when you’re running for your life, it’s all but pointless to keep having them – and have problems eating and reproducing – even when you’re trying to calmly lie down or graze in the savannah!

And because:

Sustained or repeated stress can disrupt our bodies in seemingly endless ways… Many of the damaging diseases of slow accumulation can be either caused or made far worse by stress.

That’s where we, the humans, come in.

You see, we have – fortunately – developed the very same mechanisms to cope with danger, but we have – unfortunately? – developed a highly complex brain as well!

The result?

We get stressed by a job interview or the taxes, by a tight deadline or an expected visit from our parents – the same way a zebra does when attacked by a lion; and, what’s even worse, we do that not in the immediate presence of this danger, but way in advance of it!

So, basically, we have mastered the art of wasting our body’s energy on the wrong places and at the wrong time while leaving some other parts of us completely bereaved of energy when they need it the most.

Let’s go back to our example with the zebra.

If the stress-response mechanism causes its digestion and reproductive functions to shut down, what do you think it will happen to it if this fight-or-flight syndrome grows into something of a chronic nature?

You’ve guessed it: serious, serious problems!

Now you probably get why zebras can’t get stress-induced ulcers and why men regularly get them!

And you finally understand why you had problems maintaining your erection that night before the interview for that coveted job.

Key Lessons from “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”

1.      Stress-Response Mechanism = Fight-or-Flight Syndrome
2.      How to Treat Stress: Few Practical Bits of Advice
3.      Stress Is Bad… But Let’s Not Stress Out Over It

Stress-Response Mechanism = Fight-or-Flight Syndrome

Humans and animals share the same fight-or-flight mechanism.

In a nutshell, this means that in the presence of great physical danger, our bodies react in much the similar manner: they release vast amounts of energy and direct it to the most important centers at the moment to prepare us to either fight back or flee.

This is basically what stress is.

However, humans react in much the same way even in the absence of danger, namely, even if merely thinking about it.

And that’s very bad.

How to Treat Stress: Few Practical Bits of Advice

Stress can be reduced – but it’s impossible to eliminate it altogether.

There are no magical cures for it, but there are a few things that seem to help:

#1. Exercise: self-explanatory; demonstrated to reduce stress in numerous studies.
#2. Socialization: the more time you spend with friendly people – the right people – the less time your body will think that it needs to fight someone or flee from somebody else.
#3. Predictability: as we explained above, only humans can stress over future events; which is especially dreadful, since sometimes these events don’t happen at all; so, try to establish predictability when you can so that you can prepare your body in advance.
#4. The 80/20 Rule: Be aware that the first 20% of your efforts should reduce about 80% of your stress.
#5. Find an outlet: find something that gets you back to normal; it can be anything depending on the person; in our case, is playing or watching soccer.
#6. Serenity now: OK, that didn’t work that well for Frank Costanza! But something similar worked more than perfect for both the Stoics and the numerous people who know the Serenity Prayer by heart.

Stress Is Bad… But Let’s Not Stress Out Over It

There is a strong relationship between stress and some illnesses and a moderate one in the case of some other diseases.

However, stress is almost always just a part of the equation.

So, please stop giving money to people who say otherwise:

Everything bad in human health now is not caused by stress, nor is it in our power to cure ourselves of all our worst medical nightmares merely by reducing stress and thinking healthy thoughts full of courage and spirit and love. Would it were so. And shame on those who would profit from selling this view.

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“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers Quotes”

Sustained or repeated stress can disrupt our bodies in seemingly endless ways. Click To Tweet

What goes on in your head can affect how well your immune system functions. Click To Tweet

Many of the damaging diseases of slow accumulation can be either caused or made far worse by stress. Click To Tweet

If you’re running 26 miles in a day, you’re either very intent on eating someone or someone’s very intent on eating you. Click To Tweet

Hope for the best and let that dominate most of your emotions, but at the same time let one small piece of you prepare for the worst. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We absolutely adore Robert M. Sapolsky!

So, it’s kind of difficult for us to be objective about any of his books.

We won’t be about this one either: already in its third edition, this is far and away the best book on stress out there!

Sapolsky knows his stuff, and he has a way with both words and images. So, there’s not only plenty you’ll find enjoyable here – but there’s also plenty you’ll never forget.

10/10!

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Financial Reckoning Day PDF Summary

Financial Reckoning Day PDFSurviving the Soft Depression of the 21st Century

What if someone told you that there are serious indicators attesting that we are experiencing the beginning of the end of American capitalism?

And what if that same guy added that, in fact, American capitalism wasn’t that great to begin with – but just another case of plain old dumb luck?

You may have second thoughts whether you should listen to that guy even a second more – probably just another time-forsaken communist, right? – but William Bonner and Addison Wiggin are anything but.

And, at least at first glance, they offer a strong case in “Financial Reckoning Day.”

Who Should Read “Financial Reckoning Day”? And Why?

“Financial Reckoning Day” references almost everyone from Adam Smith to Robert Merton, and from Freud to Einstein. In other words, it’s not exactly an easy read, but, strangely enough, it’s not a difficult one either.

Those who are interested in economics will certainly find here many things to think about. Those who are not – may find a reason to be.

About William Bonner and Addison Wiggin

William BonnerWilliam “Bill” Bonner is an American author of articles and books on economic and financial topics.

He is also the founder and president of Agora Inc. and the driving force behind its email newsletter The Daily Reckoning.

Bonner has co-authored two bestsellers with Addison Wiggin, the other one being “The New Empire of Debt” (in two editions). In addition, he has co-authored “Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets” with Lila Rajiva and “Family Fortunes” with his son, Will Bonner.

Independently, he is the author of “Hormeggedon” and, most recently, “Dice Have No Memory.”

Addison WigginAddison Wiggin is an American financial author and filmmaker.

Executive publisher of Agora Financial, he is a long-time friend and collaborator of Bill Bonner, with whom he has co-authored two books.

In addition, he has co-authored “I.O.U.S.A.” (with Kate Incontrera) and written “Demise of the Dollar” and “The Little Book of the Shrinking Dollar.”

“Financial Reckoning Day PDF Summary”

Back in 1989, Francis Fukuyama published a widely discussed essay titled “The End of History?” on the pages of the renowned international affairs journal, “The National Interest.”

Inspired by the events happening in Eastern Europe and Germany at the time, Fukuyama had an interesting case to make:

What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.

One dot-com bubble and another financial crisis later, and not even Fukuyama himself currently believes his barely three decades old own prediction! In fact, in retrospect, it couldn’t have been further from the truth!

The truth – in the opinion of Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin – has much more to do with luck than it has to do with smart organization.

Let’s look at the twentieth century, they say, but this time, without prejudice or partiality.

The United States currently accounts for about one-fifth of the world’s economy, but back in 1870 it accounted for no more than a tenth – a little less than what the United Kingdom did at the time; China accounted for more than twice as much.

The US economy grew during the next half a century, and most of the other economies stagnated, which resulted in the country being one of the richest in the world before the start of the First World War.

However, neither that war, nor the next one, were as gentle to USA’s competitors as they had been to the United States themselves.

As you probably already know, the US lost about half a million people in both wars combined and emerged from them without a single decimated city. For comparison, France lost six million people in World War I and the Soviet Union and Germany at least thrice as much in the Second World War only.

Needless to add, whole cities were ravaged throughout Eurasia, and industrial complexes had been irretrievably devasted.

In a nutshell, even though the United States did become the largest national economy in the 20th century, don’t you think that another European country would have achieved something similar if it hadn’t been bombarded and

What followed next was the Cold War during which – and don’t forget that – the Soviet Union was surely an enemy to fear from: its often ridiculed economy accounted for 20% of the world’s GDP in 1966!

At that time, the Soviets – and even the North Koreans! – believed that communism has brought not only the end of capitalism but the end of history as well. But we all know how that ended two decades later, don’t we?

Cue for rereading the Fukuyama quote above.

Notice the cycle?

Things are going great, everybody believes in progress and ultimate victory, and then everything goes down in blood and mud and flames!

Well, brace yourself for a somewhat similar future!

How do Bonner and Wiggin know this?

Well, because the US economy seems to freakishly closely mirror the Japanese economic miracle, offset by a decade.

The Japanese bull market began in 1971; the US in 1981. Stock market value increased by 500% by 1985 in Japan and by 1995 in the United States. Within the next five years, it increased three-fold in both countries, peaking in 1990 in Japan and at the turn of the millennium in the United States.

Who would have guessed back then – when everybody was investing in everything with .com at the end – that merely a year and a half later, the U.S. stock market would drop about 30%! The Japanese, interestingly, lost almost the same amount of value by the third quartal of 1991.

Supposedly, the Americans fared better during the next decade because of their consumerism: tight-fisted spending should have been the thing that hurt Japan.

But it isn’t: it’s simply the way the current economic system works. Too much optimism is never a good thing, especially if history has been kind to you; because it will certainly come back and hit you on the head.

Don’t forget: this book was written before the financial crisis of 2008 which it all but predicts: “…when those bubbles burst, it’s going to be worse than the stock market bubble, because there are many more people who are involved in consumption and housing.”

Key Lessons from “Financial Reckoning Day”

1.      The Cold War Was a Battle Between Myths
2.      The Trouble of the Market
3.      The Damning Relation Between Economics and Demography

The Cold War Was a Battle Between Myths

You’ve already heard a lot about how the idea of a communist society was always a myth. However, barely half a century ago, a large part of the world firmly believed in this myth.

Well, capitalism is another myth based on the very same premise: the one of constant progress.

Constant progress is impossible and the fact that the US has experienced it for a century is merely evidence that things will soon deteriorate.

In a nutshell: don’t believe all those George Gilders out there!

The Trouble of the Market

The case of LTCM should be a lesson for everybody: the market is irrational, and there’s no way to predict it. In the words of Keynes, it can stay irrational much longer than an investor can remain solvent:

The trouble is that the market may look mechanistic, but it is not. The market is an unbounded, organic system; mastering it is a human science, not a hard science.

The Damning Relation Between Economics and Demography

Historian Jack Andrew Goldstone, in his book “Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World,” argues that the fall of three empires (the Ottoman, the Chinese, and the Japanese) occurred because of population growth.

Currently, we have one even more serious problem: in the developed world, old people live far too long for the current social institutions to work.

Will we learn how to be flexible before it’s too late?

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“Financial Reckoning Day Quotes”

History shows that people who save and invest grow and prosper, and the others deteriorate and collapse. Click To Tweet

Policies being pursued at the Fed are making the bubble worse. They are changing it from a stock market bubble to a consumption and housing bubble. Click To Tweet

The consumer was the last man standing in the U.S. economy. Greenspan was compelled to do all he could to hold him upright, even if he was already dead. Click To Tweet

The average boomer came of prime ’stock-buying’ age in the years when all good things seemed not just possible, but inevitable. Click To Tweet

Most economists will tell you that the economic system is controlled by mood changes at the Fed. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Financial Reckoning Day” was first published a decade and a half ago and, in few years’ time, one of its predictions came true: the United States (and the world) was hit by a serious financial crisis.

Now, if Bonner and Wiggin are right, that’s bound to happen again; and again; and again.

So, excuse us for reserving our judgment for now.

Because if it does, then this one will definitely go down in history as one of the most prophetic and visionary economics books ever written.

If, however, it doesn’t, then “Financial Reckoning Day” is hardly anything more than those apocalyptic religious prophecies (not that dissimilar from the Mayan 2012 phenomenon) which tend to scare a few people from time to time before turning into ingenious memes and the laughing-stock of multitudes.

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The Ideal Team Player PDF Summary

The Ideal Team Player PDFHow to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues: A Leadership Fable

If you know anything about Patrick Lencioni, you probably didn’t need that subtitle: of course, it’s a leadership fable, possibly one of your favorites!

This one’s about “The Ideal Team Player.”

Who Should Read “The Ideal Team Player”? And Why?

If you’re interested in sports, you’ve probably noticed that haphazard groups of extra-talented individuals are never as good as teams of average players with a good manager.

Why?

Well, because – as they say for quite a long time – there’s no “I” in “Team.”

“The Ideal Team Player” is the book you should read if you want to build an all-star team at your company. So, if you are in HR or you are a company owner/leader, and you think you could really use a little guidance from someone who knows a thing or two about good teams, then don’t hesitate to buy this book and take Patrick Lencioni’s advice.

It works both ways: Lencioni’s fable can help you even if you are an employer who can’t fit in, but would really want to become a good team player.

About Patrick Lencioni

Patrick LencioniPatrick Lencioni is an American author, consultant, and keynote speaker. He is the founder and the president of The Table Group, a management counseling firm.

Deemed by the “Wall Street Journal” as “one of the most in-demand business speakers,” Lencioni has so far written ten books on various aspects of business management, most of them stressing the importance of teamwork.

Lencioni is renowned as the author of two bestsellers, “The Advantage” and “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” the latter of which serves as a sort of a prequel to the “The Ideal Team Player.”

“The Ideal Team Player PDF Summary”

Once again, Lencioni’s story is about a company with a problem: Bob Shanley, the long-time CEO of Valley Builders (VB) – a contracting firm he has founded – has to retire due to a heart problem requiring surgery.

He offers the job to his nephew Jeff, who soon learns that he has become the CEO at the worst time possible: the company has just won two gigantic contracts which require for him to hire at least 60 new employees within the next two months.

Make that 80: 20 of them, as his experienced senior executives tell him right at the bat, would eventually quit.

Why?

Because they wouldn’t fit the VB culture established and cultivated by his uncle, who was pretty aware that “the ability to work effectively with others…is more critical in today’s fluid world than it has ever been.”

Soon Jeff learns that VB’s work culture is based on the idea that a team must be built around ideal team players and that these, in turn, must share three traits: humility, hunger, and people smarts.

However, they must have all of these, since lacking one or two of them will probably have a counter-effect.

You see, people who are merely humble are no more than pawns; those who are merely hungry are bulldozers; and those who are smart only are charmers.

You don’t like any of those.

However, two of these three traits aren’t enough:

Employees who are hungry and smart but not humble are skillful politicians who will further their personal interests until it’s too late to do something about that.

Employees who are humble and smart but not hungry are lovable slackers who won’t get going when the going gets tough.

Finally, employees who are humble and hungry but not smart are accidental mess-makers who will unintentionally create more problems than the team can solve.

So, you want your team player to be ideal?

Pick only those who have all three values:

#1. Humility

In Lencioni’s words, humility is probably the most important quality:

Great team players lack excessive ego or concerns about status. They are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own. They share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually. It is no great surprise, then, that humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player. Humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player.

#2. Hunger

Hungry people are never satisfied, and they always want more than they have. They have a drive and a burning ambition to be more than they are.

Hunger, writes Lencioni, “is the least sensitive and nuanced of the three virtues. That’s the good news. The bad news is – it’s the hardest to change.”

#3. People Smarts

Be aware that “people smarts” doesn’t necessarily mean “brilliant”; but it does mean emotionally intelligent and capable of interpersonal interaction.

Of course, you can’t have a team if there’s no team chemistry; and employees who are people smarts contribute to this chemistry.

Key Lessons from “The Ideal Team Player”

1.      The Three Essential Virtues of the Ideal Team Player
2.      How to Interview New Hires for Your Team
3.      How to Develop the Three Essential Qualities

The Three Essential Virtues of the Ideal Team Player

For organizations seriously committed to making teamwork a cultural reality,” writes Patrick Lencioni, “’the right people’ are the ones who have the three virtues in common – humility, hunger and people smarts.

However, neither of them is enough in itself; in fact, if not combined with the other two, it can be seriously detrimental to your team, producing either too servile or ambitious workers or, even worse in today’s work climate, lone wolves.

How to Interview New Hires for Your Team

“Most interviews are still the same stilted, rehearsed and predictable conversations they were 40 years ago” – notes Patrick Lencioni.

And of course – they don’t need to be!

Now that you know the three essential virtues of an ideal team player, you should design your interview process to find out if your potential employee has them.

So, try to be unconventional (say, take the interviewee on a shopping trip) and focus on detecting the subtle hunches which may tell you if your new prospect is humble, hungry and people smarts.

These are good rules-of-thumb:

#1. For humble: Ask the applicant about the most important accomplishments of his/her career and see if he will use “I” or “we” more; the latter indicates humility;

#2. For hungry: Ask the applicant what the hardest he/she has ever worked on in his/her life is. If it seems that he/she has enjoyed (as opposed to merely tolerate) this experience – he/she is certainly hungry.

#3. For smart: Ask the applicant how would he describe his/her personality. If he knows his/her weaknesses and strengths well, then he/she is introspective and emotionally intelligent.

How to Develop the Three Essential Qualities

If you want to become the ideal team player, then, obviously, you need to work on the three essential qualities of being one:

#1. Humble: be polite and learn how to compliment; ask your colleagues how they feel; listen.

#2. Hungry: this is the most difficult virtue to develop; but do try: learn how to do more work.

#3. Smart: there are many books which can help you develop your emotional intelligence; use them as your guide.

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“The Ideal Team Player Quotes”

The five behavioral manifestations of teamwork: trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results. Click To Tweet

A long list of hobbies like extreme skiing, sled dog racing, storm chasing and shark hunting might just be a red flag when it comes to someone who is not going to put the needs of the team ahead of personal pursuits. Click To Tweet

Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. Click To Tweet

The most unhappy people in a company are the ones who don't fit the culture and are allowed to stay. They know they don't belong. Deep down inside they don't want to be there. They're miserable. Click To Tweet

Many people will try to get a job even if they don't fit the company's stated values, but very few will do so if they know that they're going to be held accountable, day in and day out, for behavior that violates the values. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

If you know your Lencioni, you won’t be disappointed by “The Ideal Team Player”: this book has everything one has grown accustomed to expect from a book by him.

Namely, a finely written and relatable fable with a straightforward moral, which is not only simple but also universal and easily applicable.

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Taking the Stage PDF Summary

Taking the Stage PDFHow Women Can Speak Up, Stand Out, and Succeed

Are you a woman wondering how you can succeed in this all too male world?

Then, time to learn a lesson or two in “Taking the Stage,” sister!

Who Should Read “Taking the Stage”? And Why?

Let’s eliminate about 50% of the world’s population straight away: this book doesn’t concern men, and they will find nothing even remotely interesting or applicable here. (One more reason why you should always read the subtitle first: titles are just too poetic to be straight to the point!)

However, the other half of the population should really give this book a go!

Because even though its main target audience is women in the corporate world, it doesn’t hurt to know how you can communicate leadership even if you can use the knowledge merely in somewhat trivial, day to day situations.

About Judith Humphrey

Judith HumphreyJudith Humphrey is a Toronto-based entrepreneur and author.

In 1988, Humphrey founded the Humphrey Group, the first Canadian leadership communication firm to focus on teaching executives and leaders how to be effective speakers.

In the three decades since its inception, the firm has built a portfolio of high-quality clients, including IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte, Walmart, and TD Bank.  

An acclaimed speaker and part-time columnist in “Fast Company,” Humphrey is the author of one more book in addition to “Taking the Stage” – “Speaking as a Leader.”

“Taking the Stage PDF Summary”

Have you ever heard of a little thing called “The Impostor Syndrome”?

If not, that’s a psychological condition which makes an individual feel as if he or she is not worthy of his/her career and that, anytime soon, he/she will be exposed by someone as a “fraud.”

And this goes against the external evidence, in spite of the abundance of which, these individuals still believe that they have become successful merely due to luck or chance!

The worst part is that we kind of used too many pronouns in the sentence above: scratch the “hes” and the “hises” because, unsurprisingly, the Impostor Syndrome is all but an exclusively female category!

Judith Humphrey claims that 9 out of the 10 women who sought leadership advice from her and the Humphrey Group were plagued by the feeling of imposterism, speaking to themselves with a “negative internal voice”!

But how can they not?

After all, we live in a society which teaches boys to be competitive and outspoken and girls to be humble and passive.

It’s only normal that men end up believing that leadership roles are within their natural predisposition as opposed to women who think that these are everything they shouldn’t be:

Men tend to take pride in their strengths and accept compliments, whereas women are more likely to point out their flaws, disclose their fears and dismiss their strengths.

The solution?

Challenge the status quo:

It’s time for us to claim our place on center stage. As we do so, we will discover in ourselves a stronger, clearer, more influential voice that can change us, change others, change our companies and change the world.

First step: don’t allow to be interrupted!

Studies have shown that the majority of interruptions in conversations occur when males interrupt females, and only a small minority happen the other way around.

So, change that: when interrupted from now on, raise your palm in the direction of the person who interrupts you and say “Hold on!”

Afraid that you will be described as “aggressive” or “overbearing”?

Well, that brings us to the second step: don’t be afraid of being described as “bossy”!

“Bossy” is one of the many adjectives male employees use to downgrade women’s qualities and abilities.

In “Lean In,” Sheryl Sandberg reminded us that the majority of women have been accused of behaving aggressively; strangely, barely few men have ever experienced the same.

So, from now on, take this kind of attitude from your male co-workers as a compliment instead of taking it as an insult: obviously, you’ve become a threat; potentially, you can lead them instead of being led by them.

Step three: change your language and change your attitude!

As we said above, as opposed to men who highlight their strengths, women tend to draw attention to their weaknesses.

So, time to put an end to quite a few phrases and speech patterns which say a lot more than you intend to:

#1. “Do you mind if I add something…” – Nobody should mind: just add what you want to add.
#2. “I guess…” – No: you know.
#3. “This is probably a stupid question but…” – Don’t undermine yourself: it’s not!
#4. “I just wanted to spend a few minutes…” – Don’ use past tense when talking about the future.
#5. “Probably” is “always” from now on!

We go over a few more tips and tricks in our “Key Lessons” section!

Key Lessons from “Taking the Stage”

1.      Develop Your Voice
2.      Choose a Suitable Wardrobe
3.      Stand Out on Stage

Develop Your Voice

There’s really no such thing as the voiceless,” writes Arundhati Roy. “There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.

Don’t allow to be one of these two groups: develop a voice which breaks through the barriers you had to put up with ever since childhood.

So, no more “the little-girl voice” or “the cheerleader voice,” “the girlfriend voice” or “the maternal voice,” “the nice voice” or “the grateful voice.”

No more attempts at emulating “the manly voice” either!

It’s time to find your own unique voice, which you should develop on the background of calmness, gravitas, and pride – the qualities of all true leaders.

Add some body to it as well: you already know that your body language shapes who you are!

Choose a Suitable Wardrobe

Here are few tips from Judith Humphrey concerning your wardrobe:

#1. Wear clothes that reflect the workplace you want to have in the future, and not such which reflect the one you currently have;
#2. If you have a meeting, prepare yourself accordingly;
#3. Instead of highlighting it, deemphasize sexuality with your wardrobe;
#4. Avoid haircuts or accessories which will turn other people’s attention from your corporate appearance.

Stand Out on Stage

Your future depends on your presence. No, that’s not a mistake – it’s just a clumsy pun.

Presence is not to be confused with charisma,” writes Humphrey. “Charisma involves a bit of flash. It is an aspect of certain personalities. Presence comes from a deeper, more personal place.

Dig deep and find that place.

That way, you’ll always stand out on stage!

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“Taking the Stage Quotes”

’Taking the Stage’ is a metaphor for all the ways you can be your own best champion by finding compelling ways to express yourself Click To Tweet

Women must take the stage if they want to have a greater impact on their organizations and greater success. Click To Tweet

To flourish on center stage, you’ll need to develop your ‘character.’ Click To Tweet

Self-confidence and assertiveness do not belong to men alone…Such strengths are a woman’s birthright, too. Click To Tweet

If there is a formula for staying on center stage, it is refusing to be sidelined or satisfied when you hit a ‘wall.’ Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Even though “Taking the Stage” claims that it is about all women (“no matter their age, rank, or profession”) one feels that no more than two groups of women can really profit from reading this book: those who are at a more junior stage and have time to learn how to assert their authority, and those who are already at a higher level

“Blue-collar” women workers – i.e., those who are working in a men’s environment and want to make themselves heard (but are unable to) – may feel that the book leaves somewhat to be desired.

We feel the same way too.

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I Contain Multitudes PDF Summary

I Contain Multitudes PDFThe Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

I Contain Multitudes” is a verse written by Walt Whitman, used, obviously, in a strictly metaphorical sense.

Well, Ed Yong borrows it to talk about something much more literal.

Of course it’s a book about microbes!

Who Should Read “I Contain Multitudes”? And Why?

“I Contain Multitudes” is a book about the microbes which live inside your body, which means that it’s basically a book about you.

Merely glancing through it, you’ll be surprised by the sheer number of things you don’t know about yourself – let alone by the fact that cleanliness was not exactly next to godliness!

So, germaphobes, gastronomes, and geeks – please, be Ed Yong’s guests!

About Ed Yong

Ed YongEdmund Soon-Weng Yong – more popularly known as Ed Yong – is a British science journalist and beloved popularizer of science.

After receiving a Master of Arts degree in Natural Science (Zoology) from the University of Cambridge, Yong was awarded an MPhil from the University College London for his thesis on the human resolvase in 2005.

Ed Yong is a permanent staff member of “The Atlantic,” and his work has appeared in numerous magazines; his blog – Not Exactly Rocket Science – is published as part of the “National Geographic” blog network.

Critically acclaimed and popularly well-received, “I Contain Multitudes” is his first book.

“I Contain Multitudes PDF Summary”

Animals might be evolution’s icing,” paleontologist Andrew Knoll once said, “but bacteria are really the cake.

And what a cake they are, ha?

But, that description is straight to the point in more senses than one!

Consider it first chronologically: microbes are here for almost the same amount of time as the Earth itself! Being single-celled, microbes are naturally the first forms of life to have ever developed, about 3 to 4 billion years ago!

To put that into perspective, the Earth is barely half a billion years older; modern humans, on the other hand, appeared about 300,000 years ago.

Which, in other words, means that if we think of the Earth’s 4.5 billion years of existence as if one calendar year, then homo sapiens appeared about 30 minutes ago, and microbes have been around ever since March!

Interestingly enough, even though microbes and humans have spent such a small amount of time together, they’ve managed to build a quite flawless type of interaction!

What do we mean by that?

Simply this: out of the 69 trillion cells in your body, 39 trillion are microbial. In other words, about 57% of you is microbes!

And if you think that’s one of those yuck-kind of facts, consider this: your health has depended on each and every one of those 39 trillion microbes ever since you were born!

You may not know what B. infantis is, and it’s certainly of no help to you if we tell you that you can read more about in the Wikipedia article titled Bifidobacterium longum.  

However – who would have thought? – unless that B. infantis bacterium planted itself firmly in the gastrointestinal tract of the baby you, your earliest food intake would have been a lot less nutrient!

Because, you see, even though breast milk contains human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), babies can’t digest them.

And that’s where B. infantis comes to the rescue, processing HMOs and turning them into digestible proteins. Some of these proteins are anti-inflammatory, which means that they assume a role in our immune system afterward!

Speaking of the immune system – did you know that it is actually microbes which calibrate it?

Let’s pause to note how peculiar this all is. The traditional view of the immune system is full of military metaphors and antagonistic lingo. We see it as a defense force that discriminates self (our own cells) from non-self (microbes and everything else), and eradicates the latter. But now we see that microbes craft and tune our immune system in the first place!

In other words, children should be exposed to dirt and dust in their early age, because that’s the only way the organism can adjust its internal “immunostat,” i.e., the thermostat-like functioning immune system.

In case your “immunostat” has been exposed to too few microbes in your childhood years, then it may end up being a bit jumpy later, overreacting to even the smallest of threats like pollen. Hence, serious allergic reactions!

So, you need to balance your alliances with microbes the best way possible.

Because strictly speaking, there aren’t good or bad microbes by themselves – but there are good or bad environments for different kinds of microbes.

A killer in one environment, a microbe may become a rescuer in another. And thanks to science – now we know enough about some of these microbes to use them to our benefit.

Check our “Key Lessons” section for some other interesting microbes-related trivia!

Key Lessons from “I Contain Multitudes”

1.      Microbes Created the Earth’s Atmosphere
2.      Superpowers Due to Microbe/Animals Symbiosis
3.      Microbes, the Puppet Masters

Microbes Created the Earth’s Atmosphere

A million microbes can fit on the head of a single pin!

However, even though they are that small, this doesn’t mean that they are insignificant as well. On the contrary: more or less, they are the reason why we are able to exist on this planet.

You see, microbes were the first organisms who taught themselves to photosynthesize, that is, use the power of the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and sugar.

The latter they used to feed themselves and go on evolving; the former created an atmosphere suitable for the life of more complex organisms.

Superpowers Due to Microbe/Animals Symbiosis

Some microbes have superpowers by themselves, being extremophiles capable of surviving in the most extreme environments.

However, a much more interesting case is when certain microbes and animals form symbioses which provide the single-celled organisms with food and the larger animals with a superpower.

Consider, for example, the bobtail squid. This animal lives in a symbiotic relationship with Aliivibrio fischeri, bioluminescent bacteria which inhabits the special light organ in the squid’s mantle.

The bobtail squid feeds the bacteria sugar and acid and, in return, the bacteria produce light which matches the amount of light hitting the top of the mantle. You’ve guessed it: this makes the squid practically invisible for anyone below it!

Microbes, the Puppet Masters

Our darkest fiction is full of Orwellian dystopias, shadowy cabals, and mind-controlling supervillains,” writes Edward Yong. “But it turns out that the brainless, microscopic, single-celled organisms that live inside us have been pulling on our strings all along.

That’s right: the microbes in your body are capable of controlling your brain from time to time! However, so as to save you a nightmare or two, we’ve opted for an example from, ahem, the much less nightmarish world of microbes and rodents:

The brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii is another puppet master. It can only sexually reproduce in a cat; if it gets into a rat, it suppresses the rodent’s natural fear of cat odors and replaces it with something more like sexual attraction. The rodent scurries towards nearby cats, with fatal results, and T. gondii gets to complete its life cycle.

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“I Contain Multitudes Quotes”

All zoology is really ecology. We cannot fully understand the lives of animals without understanding our microbes and our symbioses with them. Click To Tweet

Your right hand shares just a sixth of its microbial species with your left hand. Click To Tweet

Within 24 hours of moving into a new place we overwrite it with our own microbes, turning it into a reflection of ourselves. Click To Tweet

Much of modern medicine is built upon the foundations that antibiotics provide, and those foundations are now crumbling. Click To Tweet

So, here’s the irony: toilets that are cleaned too often are more likely to be covered in faecal bacteria. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In a million tiny ways,” – states its blurb – “’I Contain Multitudes’ will radically change how you think about the natural world, and how you see yourself.

We know that many blurbs state unsubstantiated claims such as this, but in the case of Ed Yong’s marvel of a book, this is more than true! God knows how many new things we learned from it, and how many of these things will effectively change the way we act and behave in the future!

Bill Gates more than shares our opinion, calling the book “super-interesting” and describing it as “science journalism at its best.”

It really is.

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Stealing Fire PDF Summary

Stealing Fire PDFHow Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work

Steve Jobs once said that taking LSD was not merely “a profound experience,” but also “one of the two or three most important things” he had done in his life.

Stealing Fire” may hold the answer as to why.

Who Should Read “Stealing Fire”? And Why?

If you are living on this planet, you probably know who Malcolm Gladwell is and what the rule of 10,000 hours he popularized refers to. Put plain and simple: if you want to become a master at something, be sure to spend years and years training to do that something.

Well, “Stealing Fire” is about those who believe in shortcuts: according to Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal, high performance is nowadays much more linked to states of altered consciousness than it is with grit and habits.

Those who simply want to learn more about altered consciousness are welcomed to read this book as well.

About Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal

Steven KotlerSteven Kotler is an American journalist, author, and entrepreneur.

One of the leading experts on high performance, he is most famous for his several nonfiction books, three of which are already considered classics in the field: “Bold,” “The Rise of Superman” and, especially, “Abundance.”

He is also the co-founder of the Flow Genome Project.

Jamie WhealJamie Wheal is an American author, an expert in leadership and peak performance.

He has advised numerous executives, owners of sports teams and athletes.

A historical anthropologist by degree, Wheal’s studies have been published in peer-review academic journals and anthologies.

“Stealing Fire PDF Summary”

The myth of Prometheus stealing the divine fire and gifting it to mankind is probably one of the most famous myths in history.

No wonder it has inspired numerous authors to call Prometheus a champion of mankind and think of fire as the fundamental building block of progress and civilization.

In “Stealing Fire,” Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal use this myth as the underlying metaphor to make a rather controversial case: just like Zeus in Greek mythology, the governments and the corporations of today are keeping “the fire of altered consciousness” to themselves – and we need a few Prometheuses to steal it!

Why?

Because we have science on our side, and they are consciously preventing us from experiencing one of the most beautiful states a person can experience in his or her life: a state the Greeks referred to as ecstasis, and one that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi decided to rechristen it as “flow.” (Kotler and Wheal stick to the ancient terminology.)

Namely, the state of fully immersing yourself in the present in such a way which will make you experience it in all of its richness, completeness, and timelessness:

In case you still don’t know what we’re talking about, ecstasis is something you have/can/will experience while having sex or, if you practice it, during a session of deep meditation.

And, yes – after taking psychedelic drugs.

All of these things lead to a state of altered consciousness which is defined by four characteristics, neatly grouped under the acronym STER:

#1. Selflessness: your prefrontal cortex is a quite recent formation designed to separate you from the rest. However, this means that it is constantly anxious; in the state of ecstasis, people shut off their selves and are capable of experiencing “collective awareness.”

#2. Timelessness: unfortunately, no matter how many books have been written about the power of now, we are evolutionarily designed much too imperfectly to be able to live in the present:

Under normal conditions, with an active prefrontal cortex constantly scanning scenarios in the past and the future, we spend very little time living completely in the present… When our attention is focused on the present, we stop scanning yesterday for painful experiences… We quit daydreaming about a tomorrow that’s better than today. With our prefrontal cortex offline, we can’t run those scenarios.

In the state of ecstasis, however, time is suddenly non-existent, and everything there is in the world is the present moment. Already breathing a sigh of relief, ha?

#3. Effortlessness: in ecstasis, your brain releases six neurochemicals: norepinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, and anandamide. These make you feel as if you are a master of your craft and as if you are on your way to producing a masterpiece.

#4. Richness: in the state of ecstasis, you are able to make connections much faster than in a normal state; thus, you are able to see things in a new light and bring disparate ideas together in a way which should help you generate an abundance of completely original solutions and new ideas.

We have terabytes of information available to us,” note Kotler and Wheal; “we just can’t tap into it in our normal state.

Now, before you say “a completely unsubstantiated apology for using psychedelic drugs,” bear with us for a few more moments!

First of all, do you know that humans are not the only animals who take drugs? (Before you say anything: yes, we are animals!)

Strangely enough, despite the potentially adverse health effects, it seems that many members of the animal kingdom use drugs in one way or another.

That’s the reason why dogs lick toads and why cats like catnip so much. Goats have been known to eat magic mushrooms since the dawn of times. And bottlenose dolphins toss puffer fish back and forth to, well, get high: the process helps them ingest micro-doses of the puffer fish’s neurotoxins!

Much more interestingly, it seems that some drugs are not as harmful as some other substances, which, for some reason, have been legal for centuries.

And this is not a claim merely thrown out there, but something David Nutt, one of the most respected British neuropsychopharmacologists maintains, backing it up with proper studies and data.

It seems that alcohol does more harm to both its consumers and society than do even heroin and crack cocaine, while tobacco is unhealthier than both cannabis and LSD!

See for yourself:

So, why are tobacco and alcohol allowed and LSD and cannabis forbidden?

Possibly because, unlike the former two, the latter pair tends to make people less manageable and more empowered, just like sex does, just as meditation does. And not because psychedelic drugs are more harmful than cigarettes or whiskey!

Now, don’t get us wrong: everything comes with a caveat.

Even sex.

But, then again,

The ecstasy will always come with the agony; that’s the human condition.

Key Lessons from “Stealing Fire”

1.      The Altered States Economy
2.      Eric Schmidt and the Burning Man
3.      Constant State of Flow

The Altered States Economy

At a time when you are expected to deliver great results on a daily basis, not only distractions aren’t your friend, but also the normal, default state of your mind may be your enemy.

That’s why, everybody wants to experience something more, obtaining a state of ecstasy and euphoria, a state of the perfect workflow.

Many of the ways to achieve this are perfectly legal: sex, meditation, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, legal drugs, VR, other types of immersive experiences, social media.

Combined, these account for about $4 trillion of the US economy on an annual basis.

And that’s how fabulously much “the altered states economy” is worth.

Eric Schmidt and the Burning Man

You probably know who Eric Schmidt is.

If not, here are the two most important highlights: he is one of the richest people in the world and the CEO of Google from 2001 to 2015, as well as Alphabet Inc. the next two years.

Now, do you know how Sergey Brin and Larry Page finally settled on him?

Believe it or not, because he was able to prove his courage and determination by attending the Burning Man festival.

Don’t know what that is?

Bearing in mind the subject of this book, you already know that it’s an altered-consciousness related festival.

But, please, google it to find out more. And while doing that, have in mind that it’s where Elon Musk’s hyperlink train was first conceived!

Constant State of Flow

Ecstasis is a state during which one is able to experience selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness, and richness. Needless to add, it’s something few would argue to experience at least five to ten times a day.

But, try to imagine having sex as many times, and you’ll see why a constant state of flow is not a goal to be desired. In the cases of some other ecstasies-inducing experiences, it may be even worse: a lot, lot worse.

Which is something you should never forget, since, nowadays, ecstasies lie within your grasp and it is just too tempting?

So, choose your moments of ecstasy wisely. And use them to enrich your life – not destroy it.

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“Stealing Fire Quotes”

The human brain remains the most complex machine on the planet. Click To Tweet

Advances in science and technology are giving us unprecedented access to and insight about the upper range of human experience. Click To Tweet

If you train your body and brain, and manage your energy and attention, you’ll be able to get into the flow more frequently and perform better at work and at home. Click To Tweet

Once we step beyond taboos and social conditioning, it’s easier to see that access to ecstasis has been hardwired into us. Click To Tweet

The ecstasy will always come with the agony; that’s the human condition. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Controversial and provocative, “Stealing Fire” is – to quote its blurb – “a guidebook for anyone who wants to radically upgrade their life.”

Well worth (at least) a read.

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Out of My Mind PDF Summary

Out of My Mind PDFAre we judging too quickly? – Well, we all know we have a habit of doing just that.

Although it’s not something we should be proud of, it’s good first step to at least become aware of your tendencies.

The summary is premised on the events we found insightful and useful to share.

Who Should Read “Out of My Mind”? And Why?

Kids are undiscovered treasure, something of a gem that can’t be expressed in words. A miracle of nature that is enriched with mysteries that are worth exploring.

Out of My Mind is an insightful and life-altering novel that may change your perception about everything. We believe it’s suitable for each and every one because it entails situations and topics that we all encounter on a daily basis.

Sharon M. Draper Biography

Sharon M. DraperSharon Mills Draper is hailed as one of America’s most celebrated children’s writer and educators born on August 21st, 1948.

As an award-winning author, she managed to get into the hearts of those in need of hope.

Plot

Out of My Mind is a fascinating and much-appreciated novel written by Sharon M. Draper. Melody Brooks absorbs the role of a leading character in the plot and narrative. A thirteen-year-old girl suffering from with cerebral palsy and bound to a wheelchair embarks on a new adventure.

She manages to maintain the sharpness of her mind, but Melody is not able to speak and express her thoughts verbally. Melody feels strong despise towards her special-school program and the idea of not being able to share her opinions with the rest of the world.

This turn of events prompts Melody to embrace “fighting” as a way of life in order to find her place in this “wretched” society. Through a computer, specially designed to accommodate the needs of people with cerebral palsy, she can speak and participate in extracurricular activities.

Despite her successes, she can’t seem to find understanding on the receiving end, because the audience seems reluctant to acknowledge her achievements. This is the bitter truth Melody has to face and deal with its effects. Nonetheless, she finds a spark from within, which tells her that she is no different from the rest!

Her physical disadvantages may only serve a purpose and make her even hungrier for triumph.

Let’s take it from the beginning: Any child being born with cerebral palsy has a hard time, especially in adolescent years to socialize and live a normal life. Most parents bend over backward to provide their beloved ones with an equal dose of optimism, but that’s easier said than done.

Not being able to express herself, is the biggest frustration Melody has to confront and overcome. Despite being diagnosed by the doctors as a retard, her mother refused to accept the fact that her daughter is not on the same wavelength and is not receiving equal treatment as others.

Mrs. V. is a generous but demanding woman living next door, who teaches Melody to rely on herself. In fact, she pushes her to reach new heights without asking for help. Mrs. V. even open her eyes to the possibility that she can roll over by herself, crawl, work – basically everything.

Mrs. V. also provides Melody with basic training on how to get up whenever she falls off the wheelchair. These techniques evoke a new sense of self-sufficiency that embodies competitive spirit and self-love. Nonetheless, she continues to lean on her parents for pretty much everything – such as feeding, going to the bathroom, etc.

Melody’s mother is conceived when she is eight. Despite all the enthusiasm about the new baby, they both fear that the newborn may experience the same fate as Melody. She overhears them talking and falls into despair. Fortunately, the baby is born healthy, both physically and mentally.

As Penny grows and develops into a self-motivated person, who can do all the things Melody can’t, she envies her but not too much. From top to bottom, Melody loves her little sister and is happy about the joy she is bringing to the lives of their parents.

About the time Melody begins her fifth-grade adventure, the school inspired by new teacher agrees to allow special-education children to participate in standard classes. A dose of skepticism is felt in the air, and that’s what Melody dislikes the most.

Assumptions are made, that Melody doesn’t have what it takes to participate in all activities. However, she proves them wrong by passing the exam with a perfect score and knocking everybody’s socks off.

Melody proves its worth and has received the go-ahead to enroll in the qualifying exam. The goal is to somehow become a member of the trivia competition by stunning everyone with her readiness and intelligence. She does that, and the team welcomes her to its ranks.

Melody is excited for helping the team finishing in front and winning a trip to Washington DC for the national championship. Prior to leaving, she discovers that her flight is canceled due to weather problems.

The rest of the crew is already in Washington because they’ve taken another flight.

Out of My Mind Epilogue

The next day, Melody is both angry and disheartened for not making it to Washington. Although she insists on going to school, her mother is not in the mood to take her. In the meantime, Melody kicks and screams to warn her mother that Penny, has disappeared.  

By the time, they understand what Melody is saying – Penny finds herself in the middle of a car accident and is badly hurt. Melody feels awful for not conveying the message more lucidly. But no one blames her for the accident. Melody is relieved when she finds out that Penny is doing great and she’ll be fine.

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“Out of My Mind PDF Quotes”

Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes-each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands. Click To Tweet She talked to me like I was just like any other student, not a kid in a wheelchair. Click To Tweet Music is powerful, my young friends,” she said. “It can connect us to memories. It can influence our mood and our responses to problems we might face. Click To Tweet What your body looks like has nothing to do with how well your brain works! Click To Tweet It’s like I’ve always had a painted musical soundtrack playing background to my life. I can almost hear colors and smell images when music is played. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

You can’t expect anything less than pure excellence from Sharon. On numerous occasions, she has proven that her writings are “prepared” with the flair of a true master.

We find it highly compelling and most importantly eye-opening!

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The Power Of One PDF Summary

The Power Of One PDFThe book is basically the heart of South Africa, as it covers both sides of the story. The racial intolerance is spreading, and the apartheid era is going in history.

Now, an independent state, the South Africans can look back, and see how these ethnic prejudices hampered the technological and industrial progression of South Africa.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the plot!

Who Should Read “The Power of One”? And Why?

A novel translated into dozens of languages stands to reason why this novel is labeled as one of the greatest in the late 20th century.

The Power of One is best-suited for all people, especially for those living in mixed-ethnic environments and society. It helps you see the big picture, and refrain from judgment.

Don’t delude yourself with hatred, and open your eyes!

Bryce Courtenay Biography

Bryce CourtenayBryce Courtenay was a South African novelist, and a renowned advertising director who left a legacy of memories, and compelling work.

He died at the age of 79 in Australia.

Plot

The Power of One is a compelling novel which revolves around the life of a South African Boy named Peekay, as he trains to beat the odds and become a world boxing champion. He is guided by the fire burning inside him to “return the compliment” to school bullies who made his life miserable.

On the brink of the largest clash in human history, Peekay is living on a farm with his mother and nanny. It’s 1939; the world is preparing for a clash followed by egregious violence and crimes against humanity. He starts attending a boarding school and is frequently bullied by other African kids because he is English-boy.

They find a suitable nickname for him – Piskop, which can be roughly translated into “piss-head.” The mastermind behind the bullying is a bad-tempered boy with a swastika tattoo on its arm. He provokes Peekay by saying that Hitler will defeat England in next to no time, and drive England away from their land. South Africa will no longer be just a satellite state of the mighty United Kingdom.

The oppression he suffers there makes Peekay vulnerable, and he begins to wet his bed occasionally. Upon his arrival, he asks for help from Zulu (his nanny), to show him how to get rid of the “wetting” problem.

Peekay is miraculously cured by a medicine man, who comes to his aid and gives him a magic chicken. The doctor also instructs Peekay on how to summon up his strength and courage – named “the power of one.”

Peekay feels equipped and ready to face his school bullies. Nonetheless, things take a turn for the worse, as the bullies continue to give him a hard time, and beat him up on a regular basis. He is even forced by Judge to kill his chicken.

Peekay can’t stand it anymore, and can barely sit still. He counts on the doctor to help him, and psych him up once more. Despite the early enthusiasm, he doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to cross that bridge. In the last moment, he is instructed to go to his grandfather’s house by train instead of returning to the small farm.

On this trip, Peekay bumps into Hoppie Groenewald, a boxer who shares his viewpoints and encourages him to become a boxing champion. Upon his arrival in Barberton, Peekay hears the disconcerting news – his mother had fired the nanny because she refused to convert into a born-again Christian.

While staying at his grandfather’s home, he lays eyes on a German Professor, who helps Peekay with his piano lessons. When the two superpowers collided, Hitler’s Germany and Churchill’s England; Doc (the German Professor) gets arrested and sent to prison.

Peekay becomes a frequent visitor in prison, and he even enrolls in the prison-boxing program. He receives first-class instructions and training from an experienced boxer named Geel Piet. Geel is half white and half black; the embodiment of South Africa that shall emerge in years to come.

After practicing with Geel, Peekay decides to provide support for the prison-boxing team in all regards. He starts to smuggle cigarettes and exchange letters for the prisoners, which helps him to earn the nickname Tadpole Angel. The guards have a sneaking suspicion about activities that are flying under the radar.

One of the guards catches Geel carrying letters and beats him to death with an intention to reveal the name of the rat. He refuses to double-cross Peekay and faces the cruel destiny.

In the meantime, Peekay is accredited as being the best boxer under-twelve with prowess to go for big scores. He is also a highly-talented pianist forged under the guidance of Doc. After the war, Doc is released from prison, and he alongside a local librarian urges Peekay to undergo academic tutoring to win a scholarship.

He obtains a scholarship to a prestigious University located in Johannesburg and enrolls in the school boxing team. Peekay leads his team to victory for the first time in its history, helped by his right-hand man Morrie, who is also his manager. At the time, he receives his first professional training from Solly Goldman, who is a renowned boxing coach and a prominent figure.

In the ring, he faces Gideon Mandoma. After a while, he discovers that he was fighting his former nanny’s son. Peekay once again pulls out a miracle and defeats the older and more experienced fighter in a stunning match.

Peekay is now determined to teach Gideon and other Africans to read and write English, but his idea doesn’t live up to its expectations, because the local police shut down the school.

They explain that under the new apartheid regime, all black teenagers must not leave their houses because nightly curfew is enforced. The kids continue their teaching through letters and other methods.

The Power of One Epilogue

Peekay makes his last final push to earn a Rhodes Scholarship to go to Oxford University in England. Demoralized by this failure, but not disheartened entirely, Peekay decides to raise money for college. While working as a miner, he rubs eyeballs with Rasputin, with whom he acquainted.

When Rasputin died, Peekay is amazed to know that his old friend has left him enough money to study at Oxford.

A sudden twist of fate delays his voyage to Oxford when he bumps into Judge. Peekay as a person no longer to be messed with, wallops Judge, and ends the fight prematurely. He then lays the English Flag over the Swastika Tattoo and ends the match!

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“The Power of One PDF Quotes”

Always listen to yourself... It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. Click To Tweet I learned that in each of us there burns a flame of independence that must never be allowed to go out. That as long as it exists within us we cannot be destroyed. Click To Tweet Winning is a state of mind that embraces everything you do. Click To Tweet You've got to be quick on your feet in this world if you want to survive. Though once you know the rules, it is not too hard to play the game. Click To Tweet Pride is holding your head up high when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

As one can already conclude – the novel covers bullying, revenge, loyalty, creativity, endurance, suffering, inner power, etc. In our opinion, this is a mix of qualities that we all experience in a lifetime.

Although Peekay’s intentions were not revolving around revenge, somewhere deep inside him; vengeance was filling his heart with motivation.

From top to bottom, this is one of those classic you wouldn’t want to miss.

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Strangers in Their Own Land PDF Summary

Strangers in Their Own Land PDFAnger and Mourning on the American Right: A Journey to the Heart of Our Political Divide

The American Dream – unfortunately – is a bit deadish for millions of Americans.

According to Arlie Russell Hochschild, some of them feel like “Strangers in Their Own Land.”

But not for the reasons you would expect.

Who Should Read “Strangers in Their Own Land”? And Why?

As Christopher H. Achen and Larry M. Bartels demonstrated a while ago, unfortunately, elections don’t produce responsive governments even in the most democratic societies.

And the reason is fairly simple: the people who vote don’t really understand what they are voting for.

Since that’s basically the reason why Hochschild wrote “Strangers in Their Own Land,” this is a book which should certainly interest you if you want to understand better the voting psychology of the common man.

However, it will interest you even more if you are a student of sociology or politics, or if you are interested in the nature of the current American society.

Since even more interesting that the reason behind Hochschild writing “Strangers in Their Own Land” are the results of her study.

About Arlie Russell Hochschild

Arlie Russell HochschildArlie Russell Hochschild is an American sociologist and academic.

A Professor Emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, she has spent decades studying the links between human emotions and moral beliefs as well as private troubles and social issues.

She has authored nine books, few of which – such as “The Managed Heart” and “The Second Shift” – have been either nominated or won important awards.

“Strangers in Their Own Land” was a finalist for the National Book Award.

“Strangers in Their Own Land PDF Summary”

After Mississippi, Louisiana is the second-poorest state in the Union. It is also the one which relies more heavily on federal funding than any other state barring the only one poorer than it.

Interestingly enough, it’s also the country which hands out a greater percentage of “taxpayer money than any other state.”

And that is merely one aspect of the Great Paradox Hochschild discovered while interviewing numerous Louisiana supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement within the Republican Party:

Across the country, red states are poorer and have more teen mothers, more divorce, worse health, more obesity, more trauma-related deaths, more low-birth-weight babies, and lower school enrollment. On average, people in red states die five years earlier than people in blue states. Indeed, the gap in life expectancy between Louisiana (75.7) and Connecticut (80.8) is the same as that between the United States and Nicaragua. Red states suffer more in another highly important but little-known way, one that speaks to the very biological self-interest in health and life: industrial pollution.

In a nutshell, most people living in Louisiana are poor, and many of them die of pollution-related cancer issues, but they still vote for politicians who oppose pollution-related regulations and government aid.

Now, why would they do that?

Why would the country with the highest cancer rates in the United States re-elect Bobby Jindal in a landslide in 2011 even though most of his policies in the previous term had included awarding billions of dollars of incentives to petrochemical industries?

It’s basically like they are paying for their own executions!

Interestingly enough, the big oil companies know and abuse this!

Interviewing one of them, Hochschild has found out that certain towns possess a few qualities which make them the ideal place for the opening of an oil plant.

Populated by long-term residents who are devout Christians lacking education past high school, most of Louisiana’s towns fit the categories perfectly.

In addition to the natural resources, this is the main reason why oil companies settle in Louisiana: it’s difficult to open an oil plant near somebody who understands the risks of pollution. Which means that, as far as the oil companies are concerned, the phenomenal tax-free business opportunities offered by Jindal are basically just a cherry on the top!

Louisiana has profited not one bit of them: in fact, studies have shown that the state has lost more money than it has earned. Not to mention that it has been the site of serious ecological atrocities which have directly claimed the lives of many.

Just consider the aftereffects of the Bayou Corne Sinkhole which was created in 2012 when the Texas Brine company, contrary to government regulations, decided to drill into an underground salt dome and unintentionally drilled through a side wall.

The sinkhole had spread to 37 acres by 2015 releasing toxins all around and necessitating the relocation of the entire community.

All but two members of a family living nearby eventually died from cancer, just like most of their animals. Even the cypress trees suffered the same destiny.

So, why are these people still supporting regulation-free business ventures?

Simply put, the problem is that humans are not “thinking machines which feel,” but “feeling machines which think.” And that, as Jonathan Haidt argues in “The Righteous Mind,” different people have different ideas of what morality actually means.

As we learned from Haidt, the one shared by the blue-collar workers of Louisiana is based on loyalty, authority, and sanctity – things which the liberal media (advocating care and fairness) scoffs at.

However, as Hochschild discovered, the morality of the members of the Tea Party Movement in Louisiana is not something to be scoffed at, but something to be analyzed and understood.

Because it has deep cultural roots that go way back to the American Civil War, which, in the opinion of most Southerners, led to them forcibly changing their ways of life.

And this – in their opinion – happened once again during the Civil Rights Movement which, supposedly, marginalized the white farmers of the South once again.

Most of the interviewed people believe that this has gone on to this very day, regardless of whether it’s about the Southerners’ religion or their preference of American soldiers to Syrian refugees.

Backed by the misrepresentation of FOX News, the election of Barack Obama was merely the icing on the cake: the final piece of the evidence which proved to the citizens of Louisiana that nobody cares for them, even though, being hardworking white citizens, they have been the backbone of the country’s success for centuries.

In layman’s terms, the people of Louisiana hate the government because they think that it gives minorities more rights and opportunities to realize the American Dream than it gives them.

So, in their point of view, they are currently living the way the African-Americans did in the past.

Key Lessons from “Strangers in Their Own Land”

1.      Red-State Voters Need the Government More – But They Like It Less
2.      The Tea Party Movement Feels That White American Southerners Are Marginalized
3.      Partyism Is Officially the New Racism

Red-State Countries Need the Government More – But They Like It Less

You’d expect that the poorer a state is, the more democratic it should be. After all, it’s the Democrats who believe that big businesses have too much money and power and it’s them who advocated and support policies of redistribution of wealth.

However, the very opposite is the case. It seems that the poorer a state is, the more neglected it feels, and (in one of the worst Catch-22 cases) the more inclined it is to support policies which keep its dreadful status quo.

The Tea Party Movement Feels That White American Southerners Are Marginalized

The above is the main reason why most of the people living in Louisiana are not just Republicans, but supporters of the even more conservative Tea Party Movement.

In their opinion, they are strangers in their own land, since the policies of the Federal Government favor women, racial minorities, and immigrants, who “cut in their lines” on their way to achieving the American Dream.

And it is the Dream that (as far as they are concerned) they have established.

Partyism Is Officially the New Racism

Here’s one frightening statistic from this book:

In 1960, when a survey asked American adults whether it would ‘disturb’ them if their child married a member of the other political party, no more than 5 percent of either party answered ‘yes.’ But in 2010, 33 percent of Democrats and 40 percent of Republicans answered ‘yes.’ In fact, partyism, as some call it, now beats race as the source of divisive prejudice.

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“Strangers in Their Own Land Quotes”

The Tea Party was not so much an official political group as a culture, a way of seeing and feeling about a place and its people. Click To Tweet

Louisiana was poor before oil came, and we’re poor today. (Via Dr. Paul Templer). Click To Tweet

One has the police to protect one’s property, Rush Limbaugh to protect one’s pride and God to take care of the rest. Click To Tweet

Louisianans are actually victims, doing emotional work and suffering damages so that we can all have the products of the petrochemical industry. Click To Tweet

Louisianans are sacrificial lambs to the entire American industrial system. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Strangers in Their Own” is more than a profound insight into the psychology of American right-wing voters. It is also a plea for empathy and understanding.

Which makes this book more than one of the most brilliant sociological studies of the last couple of years.

Namely, an essential read.

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United Breaks Guitars PDF Summary

United Breaks Guitars PDFThe Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media

By now, you are surely aware that “United Breaks Guitars.”

And that’s all because of one man, songwriter Dave Carroll.

The full story ahead.

Who Should Read “United Breaks Guitars”? And Why?

In case you don’t know, “United Breaks Guitars” is a trilogy of protest songs by Canadian musician Dave Carroll written soon after United Airlines broke one of his guitars and refused to admit it had been their fault and apologize or reimburse him for the damage.

This book recounts that story, so it’s definitely the one you should read if you are a fan of the songs and want to find out more about the story behind them.

However, despite the subtitle, this book won’t be able to teach you something especially new about the relation between social media and corporate culture.

If you are interested in the theoretical aspects of this relation, then try a book in the vein of “The Art of Social Media.”

About Dave Carroll

Dave CarrollDave Carroll is a Canadian musician.

In 1989, he and his brother Don formed a band called “The Don and Dave Show.” Four years later, in honor of their father, they changed the name of the band to Sons of Maxwell, under which they tour to this day.

A volunteer firefighter in his free time, Dave Carroll has so far written only one book: “United Breaks Guitars.”

“United Breaks Guitars PDF Summary”

In the spring of 2008, Dave Carroll embarked on a trip from his hometown Halifax, Nova Scotia to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was supposed to have a concert with his band, Sons of Maxwell.

Carroll had to change flights in Chicago where the staff of United Airlines wanted him to check both his Taylor guitar and his backup Ovation Elite as baggage.

Which is why Dave’s blood froze when a fellow passenger exclaimed “Oh my God, they’re throwing guitars out there” as the United Airlines’ plane stood parked at O’Hare.

When Dave arrived at Omaha he realized that his worst fears had become true: his beloved Taylor guitar had been broken by the United Airlines baggage handlers.

Naturally, Carroll complained to United, but they refused to compensate him for the damage. In fact, they refused to apologize or even discuss with him the nuances of the matter for six or seven months.

Finally, a certain Ms. Irlweg did, but her final answer was a “no”: even though Dave did nothing wrong, apparently the fact that he hadn’t filed a complaint within 24 hours was enough for his request for compensation to be turned down.

If Michael Moore was a singer-songwriter,” Carroll asked himself sometime around this point, “what would he do?

Dave’s answer?

He would sublimate this negative energy into a creative endeavor.

So Carroll told Mrs. Irlweg that he would compose three songs about his experience with United Airways and that he would share them on YouTube:

My goal of being compensated had evolved into a goal of sharing my story with as many people as were interested in hearing it.

And on July 6, 2008, the first of the three songs was uploaded on YouTube.

The Internet went wild: in just one day, the video had garnered more than 150,000 views and thousands of likes and, soon enough, it became a viral sensation, amassing millions of hits.

In Dave’s opinion, this happened because “United Breaks Guitars” was a catchy country song which recounted his story through relatable, humorous lyrics and an amusing low-budget video.

See for yourself:

United Airlines couldn’t ignore Carroll anymore.

So its representatives approached Dave with a request for a conference call during which Carroll was offered $1,200 in coupons for future flights and $1,200 in cash – the sum he had paid to have his Taylor guitar fixed.

However, by this time, Dave couldn’t care any less for compensation; in fact, he was very much aware that accepting a compensation would damage his integrity. “I changed gears,” he writes, “from someone who wanted something to someone who was going to do something.”

So, he requested that, instead of reimbursing him, United Airlines give the money to someone else and immediately change its policy.

Such thing didn’t happen, so “United Breaks Guitars 2″ and 3 followed – and went viral as well.

What could have been solved with merely a thousand dollars and an apology turned into a nightmare for United Airlines, whose stock price fell by 10% within 4 weeks of the day Carroll posted the first video online.

What amazed Carroll the most was not United Airlines’ incompetence in dealing with the matter, but its policy that as long as cases such as his are rare, they are statistically insignificant and can be dismissed.

Thankfully, he proved them wrong!

Key Lessons from “United Breaks Guitars”

1.      The Story of Dave Carroll and His UBG Trilogy
2.      An Apology Worth $180 Million Dollars
3.      Marketing Campaigns Shouldn’t Exclude Anyone

The Story of Dave Carroll and His UBG Trilogy

During a layover at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, Canadian singer/songwriter Dave Carroll’s Taylor guitar was broken by United Airlines baggage handlers back in the spring of 2008.

In July, after spending months unsuccessfully demanding an apology and compensation from the disinterested United Airlines staff, Carroll wrote a song, “United Breaks Guitars” (UBG), which became a viral hit and amassed millions of views in just a few days.

Even so, United Airlines refused to change its policy, so things went from bad to worse for them, because soon UBG 2 and 3 appeared.

A PR disaster for the airline giant!

An Apology Worth $180 Million Dollars

“Sometimes saying you’re sorry is not only the right thing to do but also the least expensive” – writes Dave Carroll.

Indeed, if United Airlines had done that effectively, Dave Carroll wouldn’t have written the UBG trilogy, and the company could have even gotten away without reimbursing Carroll.

4 weeks since the first UBG video went viral, United Airlines’ stock price fell by 10%, resulting in losses for its stockholders which have been estimated at about $180 million!

Marketing Campaigns Shouldn’t Exclude Anyone

The message of Dave Carroll’s book is twofold.

First of all – as should be obvious by now – that individuals matter and that the voice of one can be echoed by the hearts of multitudes: “A victory for me,” writes Carroll, “was a victory for everyone who has ever flown and a victory for customers everywhere who have felt disempowered by giant companies performing badly.”

On a slightly different note, Carroll also has great advice for companies as well: “I am suggesting that marketing campaigns not be designed to exclude anyone. Targeting customers is wise. Excluding people you assume would never be your customers is not.”

Because who knows – maybe the excluded guy will be the next Dave Carroll!

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“United Breaks Guitars Quotes”

The good news about having a viral video is that everyone wants to talk to you. The bad news is that everyone wants an exclusive. Click To Tweet

What should have been a routine business trip became a comedy of errors the likes of which far too many people continue to experience each day. Click To Tweet

United was completely ill equipped to handle a customer-service nightmare in the age of social media. Click To Tweet

United was caught flat-footed in an outdated culture that embraces statistical insignificance. Click To Tweet

By embracing social media, companies have an opportunity to engage directly with their customers. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Just like the songs themselves, “United Breaks Guitars” is a charming little book which does tend to grow a bit less and less interesting as it progresses.

The main story, however, is so humble and inspiring that it’s definitely worth the read.

If you ask us, there should be more people like Dave Carroll on this planet.

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