Is Hell Real: What Happens After You Die?

According to Scott G. Bruce – from his “Introduction” to the Penguin Book of Hell – “Hell, the afterlife of the Christian religion, is arguably the most powerful and persuasive construct of the human imagination in the Western tradition.”

Describing it as a “subterranean realm of eternal suffering, a prison for sinful souls governed by a fallen angel who surpassed all other creatures in wickedness,” Bruce points out the quite obvious fact that “Hell has inspired fear and thereby controlled the behavior of countless human beings for more than two thousand years.”

And that – and this is probably more important – “despite advances in scholarship that have called into question the authority of the Christian scriptures and scientific developments that have changed the way we think about the human race and our place in the cosmos, the idea of Hell has remained tenacious in Western thought.”

Such a sentence begs the most childish – and yet most potent – question of all: why?

Why more than half of the inhabitants of the United States today still believe that there indeed exists such a place “where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished”?

Why would a human being born in the XXI century be more inclined to accept as true the existence of an afterlife realm of punishment and torment for the bad, than, say, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s scientifically-backed opinion that “the universe is under no obligation to make sense to you”?

Or have we missed something? Could it be that we have been on the wrong track all along? Have scientists rushed a bit to the conclusion and are people like Jordan Peterson right to say that hell is real as much as you make it be?

In one way or another – is Hell real?


Table of Contents
(Click a title below to go to the respective section)

1. Introduction: The Gates of Hell
2. The Description of Hell in the Bible
3. The Evolution of Hell: A Brief History of the Concept
     3.1 Hell Is Not Real: Hell in the Old Testament
     3.2 Hades/Dis: Greek and Roman Mythology
     3.3 The Problem of Hell: Death Discriminates

     3.4 The Law of Contrapasso: Dante’s Inferno
     3.5 Is Hell Real: The Protestant Reformation and Modernity
     3.6 Visions and Near-Death Experiences: Hell Is
Real
4. Is Hell Real According to the People: What the Data Says
     4.1 The World
     4.2 The USA
5. Is Hell Real: A Closing Statement
     5.1 Hell Is Not Sheol
     5.2 Jesus in the Underworld: The Harrowing of Hell
     5.3 A Christian God and an Unchristian Hell
     5.4 The Ultimate Irony: From Real to Metaphysical and Back to Real Hell

 1. Introduction: The Gates of Hell

Well, if you have ever visited Derweze/Darvaza, a barely inhabited village in Turkmenistan, you probably already know the answer to this question.

Hell is real as, well, hell.

And it looks something like this:

Of course, if you asked a scientist, he would probably tell you that this is the Darvaza gas crater – still burning after it had been set on fire by geologists back in 1971 so that the spread of the poisonous methane gas be prevented.

However, the locals have a different understanding of the phenomenon, best illustrated by the name they chose for it: jähenneme açylan gapy.

Now, we don’t understand Turkmen, but based on how a human being would react if suddenly faced with a sight such as the one on the image, jähenneme açylan gapy must mean either “We repent, Good Gracious Lord, we repent for all our sins!” or “The Gates of Hell.”

Intuition tells us to go for the second meaning.

 2. The Description of Hell in the Bible

And we bet that your intuition didn’t make you think of a gas crater the first time you saw the image above either.

Why?

Because, especially if you are living in a WEIRD society, all your life you’ve been fed with a vision of Hell which calls into mind something not too dissimilar from it.

Keyword?

Fire.

Main source?

The Bible, of course.

Not that you need a proof, but here are few just in case:

BOOK VERSES DESCRIPTION (NIV)
Matthew 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
13:42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
18:9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
25:41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Mark 9:43-44 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.
9:47-48 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.
Luke 3:17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
John 15:6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (For a full summary of the Gospel – click here.)
2 Thessalonians 1:9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.
James 3:6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (Read a summary here.)
Jude 1:7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.
20:13-15 The sea gave up the dead that was in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that was in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

So, all in all, Hell is a fiery domain where the wicked and the vile suffer the eternal torment of their sins, nightmarishly depicted by the Gospel of Mark as a host of immortal worms which gnaw upon their souls for all eternity.

And this brings us to the main point of why there is such a thing as Hell in the first place: it is not merely an abode, but a punitive abode. In other words, just as its counterpart Heaven, it exists to balance the injustice of our world. So, something like a Giant Prison of the Afterlife.

Sure, you can be sinful on earth and pass unpunished – as much as you can be good and reap no rewards – but there is a higher law, an always just law, and once you die, there’s no escape from it!

Unlike the earthly and secular one, this higher law seems to be rather clear and straightforward:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

In case you can’t find all of the usual suspects, don’t worry: in two other epistles, the same guy who wrote the passage above (Saint Paul) further clears things up:

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)


We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:9-10)

No need for additional passages, I believe: more or less, everybody’s covered in these three. Of course, to a 21st-century reader, it may seem a bit odd why God decided to put such a strong emphasis on sex, and, moreover, why it is such “an abomination” (cf. Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13) to be a male homosexual.

(Seriously, look it up: the only more explicit reference in The Bible to lesbianism being a sin is Romans 1:26-27 – and not only it is not nearly as clear as some theologians would have you believe, but it is also a most probable non-Pauline interpolation.).

Either way, this brief overview all but exhausts the way Hell is depicted in the Bible, both in terms of general appearance and its raisons d’être. And if you wonder where are all the torturing devices and mischievous devils, you better look around you, Ferdinand, because as far as the Bible is concerned, Hell is virtually empty!

 3. The Evolution of Hell: A Brief History of the Concept

3.1 Hell Is Not Real: Hell in the Old Testament

Now, if you know your Bible well, the previous section may have already directed your attention towards something that isn’t pointed out as often as it should be: almost every biblical reference to the fiery Hell of our nightmares can be found in the “The New Testament.”

And for an excellent reason: no matter how much you try to bend the arguments, Hell appears nowhere in “The Old Testament.”

Indeed, it would have been mightily strange if this wasn’t the case: though ambiguous – contrary to Christianity – most forms of Judaism have no doctrine which allows for a concept such as the immortality of the soul, which, by implication, means that you cannot be punished after your death.

Moreover, the only references to some form of life following death in “The Old Testament” come from late biblical sources, such as the Books of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Isaiah; and, as expected, most of them do not sync well with our vision of Hell.

For example, when, in a famous verse (12:2), Daniel states that “multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt,” if he means this literally, he merely builds upon a notion already much more familiar to Jewish eschatology – the World to Come (Olam Ha-Ba).

That is, the dead will awake and will be judged one day which should mark the beginning of the Messianic Age (Heaven on Earth); but until that day, they sleep firmly in the dust.

Obviously, this means that neither the righteous nor the wicked dead should be “alive” in the meantime and that things such as Heaven and Hell (especially if conceived as realms) must be, to say the least, superfluous.

And, indeed, the earliest reference to a dichotomy of this kind saved for posterity is probably one made as late as the 1st century by Yochanan ben Zakkai: “There are two paths before me,” he writes, “one leading to Gan Eden and the other to Gehinnom” (Berakhot 28b)

Gan Eden here refers to the Garden of Eden and Gehinnom to Gehenna, a small valley near Jerusalem where children were supposedly sacrificed to the pagan god Moloch (cf. 2 Chronicles 28:3 and 33:6). “For this reason,” states the Jewish Encyclopedia, “the valley was deemed to be accursed, and ‘Gehenna’ therefore soon became a figurative equivalent for ‘hell.’”

However, the realm of the dead most often mentioned in “The Old Testament” is Sheol and, even if taken with all of its contradictions and inconsistencies, it is still dissimilar from the Hell we know.

3.2 Hades/Dis: Greek and Roman Mythology

Of course, the idea of Sheol evolved over time; but it actually started differing substantially from its original vision (decompartmentalized, indiscriminate place for all the dead) once the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek in Ancient Alexandria, and the word “Hades” was used to translate the Hebrew She’ol.

Hades, of course, was the kingdom of the dead in Greek mythology and it was a contradictory concept in itself: as can be witnessed in Homer’s Odyssey, for example, it, too, started off as the ultimate location of all souls, “regardless of how exemplary or dishonorable their earthly lives might have been.”

That’s why Achilles, one of the greatest Greek heroes, is not at all happy to be there in The Odyssey: “I would rather be a paid servant in a poor man’s house and be above ground than king of kings among the dead,” he says in a famous verse later subverted by Milton in Lucifer’s famous outcry in Paradise Lost: “Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.”

palace of hades

The Underworld Painter – Detail of the Palace of Hades at the center of the Underworld (via Egisto Sani, Flickr)

However, elsewhere – such as in Hesiod’s Works and Days (170ff) – the heroes can be found “untouched by sorrow, in the islands of the blessed along the shore of deep swirling Ocean, happy heroes for whom the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit flourishing thrice a year, far from the deathless gods, and Cronos rules over them.”

No matter how long these visions may have coexisted, Aeneas’ descent into the Underworld reveals us that, by the time of Virgil’s Aeneid (some two decades before the birth of Christ), there were already some attempts to conflate them.

And Virgil’s epic marked the triumph of them all, harrowingly depicting the torments which await the incestuous and the traitors, the charlatans, and the murderers. “No ancient author,” states justly Scott Bruce, “was more influential in his depiction of the punitive afterlife than… Virgil.”

3.3 The Problem of Hell: Death Discriminates

Thus, even before the advent of Christianity, the Christians had already inherited a rich tradition which possessed all the right elements for the creation of the New Testament Hell.

“Wedding the pagan notion of a punitive afterlife for those who offended the divine with the imagery of the fire and the worm from the Hebrew scriptures, early Christian authors imagined a host of otherworldly punishments that inspired theologians, artists, and poets throughout the European Middle Ages and beyond,” notes Bruce.

Between Saint Augustine (354-430) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) – after triumphantly walking out of the much too real hell of the early persecutions against them – the Christian theologians managed to create “a distinctly Christian Hell,” which appended to the ancient models “their own understanding of original sin and God’s inscrutable mercy.”

However, these two were visibly incompatible: if Death discriminates between the just and the unjust, the One Who Rules Over It discriminates as well – in spite of His benevolence, mercy, and love.

Moreover, the ones who were deemed good and merciful in life are apparently disinterested in helping their fellow beings in death, even though the latter are eternally and viciously tormented in Hell.

And toward the end of Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas’ magnum-opus and “one of the most influential works of Western literature,” the Italian Dominican friar and Catholic priest proposed a strikingly unchristian solution.

Namely, he not only argued that the blessed must be happy about the eternal torment of the wicked seeing it as an example of divine justice, but he also claimed they rejoice in seeing perfectly clear the sufferings of the damned, “because when contraries are placed beside one another, they become more conspicuous.”

3.4 The Law of Contrapasso: Dante’s Inferno

At the end of the Middle Ages, Dante Alighieri wrote The Divine Comedy, the first part of which (Inferno) represents “the apogee of the punitive underworld in the medieval imagination” (Bruce).

The poetic vision of Dante seemed so vivid and compelling to his contemporaries, that, it is said, many people asked him whether he had seen some of their beloved ones in Hell or Heaven, fully believing that he had actually been there.

In fact, Dante’s vision of Hell – and its central structuring principle: the contrapasso, i.e. “suffer the opposite” – owes a lot to Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica (whose version of Hell was divided into four sections) and to his vast knowledge of comparable literary visions, starting with Homer and Aeneas and ending with Visio Tnugdali, “the most popular and elaborate text in the medieval genre of visionary infernal literature” and “without doubt the most graphic and horrifying tour of Hell composed before Dante’s Inferno.

In Dante’s poem (the detailed structure of which you can become familiar with here),

Hell has the organization and efficiency of a bureaucratic state: every impious soul has its appropriate place and every place apportioned a particular punishment keyed to a specific sin. More so than any previous author, Dante had a clear and logical understanding of the geography of the afterlife. He depicted Hell as a deep funnel with circular tiers. He and Virgil descended tier by tier from the gates of Hell, past the limbo of the virtuous pagans, and down through each circle, where those guilty of lust, gluttony, greed, wrath, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery suffered for all eternity. At the bottom of Hell was Cocytus, a vast, frozen lake. Trapped in the ice of this lake was the gigantic, three-faced Satan, who beat his six massive, bat-like wings in vain to escape his imprisonment. Satan’s face was stained with tears and his chin dripped with the gore of history’s three worst traitors, whose souls he chewed endlessly and without pity in his monstrous mouths: Brutus and Cassius, who assassinated Julius Caesar in 44 BCE; and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ himself. (Scott G. Bruce)

Map of Hell

Sandro Botticelli’s Map of Hell (source)

3.5 Is Hell Real: The Protestant Reformation and Modernity

And then, just as Hell was finally concretized by the Catholics so precisely that it even had its own detailed maps, the Protestant Reformers reverted back to some more speculative concepts.

Sure, they agreed with the Catholics that Death discriminates and that Hell is the destination of the wicked, but, as Scott G. Bruce notes, “they were much more likely to couch the punitive afterlife in abstract terms of remorse and wounded conscience rather than in concrete terms of torment in Hell-fire familiar from the Catholic tradition.”

And this debate has raged ever since. So much so that modern Christian apologists are still incapable of giving a better solution to the ethical problem of Hell than Thomas Aquinas. If it is not real, what do all those references in the Scripture mean; however, if it is real, how do we harmonize it with the idea of a merciful and benevolent God?

No wonder that Narnia-writer and lay theologian C. S. Lewis – whose Screwtape Letters I’ve enjoyed over and over again – writing in “The Problem of Pain,” states that if it lay in his power, “there is no doctrine which [he] would more willingly remove from Christianity than” Hell.

“But” – he adds – “it has the full support of Scripture and, especially, of our Lord’s own words.” Lewis concludes with something that isn’t as obvious: Hell, according to him, not only “has always been held by Christendom” but it also “has the support of reason.”

Neither is actually true, but the latter critically not. If it had been, then there wouldn’t be a problem – or a millennia-long discussion on the topic.

3.6 Visions and Near-Death Experiences: Hell Is Real

However, we must not forget that there are some people whose reasons have actually witnessed – or at least who say that they have experienced – some vision of hell. These are usually either saints or near-death survivors. They certainly form an intruding topic for further analysis and discussion, but, for the sake of brevity, I will have to limit myself to merely mentioning them here. However, for those interested, I warmly welcome you to read here five “terrifying” visions of Hell as related by as many now-saints; and here an account of four “creepy” visions of hell by people who have lived through real near-death experiences.

 4. Is Hell Real According to the People: What the Data Says

Bishop Berkeley was right to wonder if the fall of a tree produces any sound if nobody is around to hear it. Not because scientists discovered – mostly during the past century – that this may not be as unreasonable as it once sounded (consider, say, the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory), but because, for better or for worse, our perception of reality, more often than not, (re)defines that very same reality.

In other words, even if (to quote Neil deGrasse Tyson once again) the universe has no obligation to make sense to us, and even if this means that “thou shalt not kill” is an unnatural law we have invented at some point in history (which we most certainly did), does its “artificiality” matters now when we have created a shared structure of reality in which murdering someone is one of the most abominable deeds one can do?

By the same analogy, even if not many people have seen God (in the best-case scenario), does it matter if he actually exists if numerous have sacrificed their lives in his name, while numerous others have done the exact opposite premised on the same belief?

So, let’s see what the data says in relation to people’s belief in Hell. (In addition, World Religious News gives you updates on latest shifts and twists in the culturally-diversified religious community, and thus it can help you see some more of the big picture.)

4.1 The World

Interestingly enough, regardless of the advance of science, surveys and polls consistently show that about half of the world population still believes in Heaven and/or Hell, Heaven being – without exception – the more popular option of the two; however, time and again, they also demonstrate a significant gap between the beliefs of the Western Europeans and the rest of the world.

For example, one of the most recent surveys of this kind – Ipsos’ “Perils of Perception” global survey, conducted in about 40 countries during the period of Sept. 28-Oct. 19, 2017 – revealed that, on average, 45% of the world population believes in either Heaven or Hell:

Country Heaven Hell Difference Average
Indonesia 99 99 0 99
Turkey 88 88 0 88
Philippines 94 85 9 89,5
Brazil 76 68 8 72
Peru 76 65 11 70,5
South Africa 84 60 24 72
India 68 59 9 63,5
Argentina 75 57 18 66
Poland 62 56 6 59
Colombia 80 55 25 67,5
USA 65 53 12 59
Mexico 56 50 6 53
Italy 48 44 4 46
Israel 50 43 7 46,5
Russia 43 41 2 42
Hungary 47 40 7 43,5
Serbia 42 39 3 40,5
Hong Kong 40 38 2 39
Australia 42 31 11 36,5
South Korea 30 29 1 29,5
Canada 40 28 12 34
Great Britain 32 21 11 26,5
Spain 31 19 12 25
France 24 19 5 21,5
Norway 30 16 14 23
Germany 28 12 16 20
Japan 19 12 7 15,5
China 14 12 2 13
Sweden 18 9 9 13,5
Belgium 16 9 7 12,5
Denmark 20 6 14 13
Total 49,58 40,74 8,84 45,16

Or, in the form of a bar chart for better viewing:

Believe in heaven or hell

Few interesting statistics almost immediately stand out:

  • On average, people tend to believe much more in Heaven (1 in 2) than in Hell (about 40%); the difference is especially evident in the case of Columbia and South Africa (countries of high percentage of believers), but, interestingly enough, the same can be said about many Western European countries (Germany, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Great Britain…)
  • The only two countries where there is no discrepancy between the belief in Heaven and Hell are two Muslim countries: Indonesia and Turkey; here, almost everyone believes in both.
  • Though there is a somewhat discernible inversely proportional correlation between economic/human development indices and belief in Hell across the globe (Western Europe, Far East Asia, Canada), the American continent (as a whole) seems to undermine this conclusion.
    • On average, only 17,6% of the people living in Far East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea) believe in Hell (21% believe in Heaven);
    • Just as well, only 17,2% of the people living in Western Europe (Italy, Great Britain, Spain, France, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark) believe in Hell (27,4% believe in Heaven);
    • However, 43,6% of the population of North America (United States, Canada, Mexico) believes in Hell (53,6% in Heaven);
    • And a whopping 61% of South Americans (Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Colombia) think that Hell exists (76,75% think likewise about Heaven)

Though it uses somewhat older data (from World Values Survey 2010-2014), the map below (via Reddit) illustrates this quite vividly:

4.2 The USA

So, all in all, the United States of America can be considered an exception: even though the most developed country in the world, more Americans believe in both Heaven and Hell than the worldwide averages. When compared to its northern neighbor, the divergence is even more striking: while only 28% of Canadians believe in Hell, twice as many Americans think that Hell is real!

However, when we break down the stats by state things get clearer: once again, we discover an apparent inverse correlation between how much a US state is developed and how many of its citizens believe in Hell.

Below is a map (via Reddit) which shows the percentage of Americans who believe in Hell by state, using data from the Pew Research Center’s 2014 study.

Belief in hell

The concurrence is almost uncanny when you compare the above image to a map (created by Alice Hunter for Wikimedia Commons) of the American Human Development Index (HDI) within the United States for 2016) (the lighter shade of blue the field, the lower the HDI for the respective state):

does hell exist

Based on the things stated above, it comes as no surprise at all that the state with the highest HDI (Massachusetts, 6.18) is also the state where the lowest percentage of people (38%) believe in Hell; on the other side of the spectrum, the state with the lowest HDI (Mississippi, 3.81) is also the state where the highest percentage of people (77%) think that Hell is real.

For those interested in some more statistics, here are two charts I made which show the correlation between Americans’ belief in Hell and their religious and political affiliations:

If I am allowed to work out a tentative conclusion based on the available data, I guess I should not be wrong to say that the most common American/believer in Hell is a Christian Republican living in a state with an average or below average human development index.

 5. Is Hell Real: A Closing Statement

So, is hell real?

No. Of course not.

At least not any more than Olympus or Valhalla – or Westeros, for that matter.

Simply put – no matter what anybody says – it can’t be: it is a literary creation which we know for sure to have evolved over the centuries from a vision of a place which indiscriminately houses the dead to one part of a Heaven/Hell dichotomy which aims to balance in the Afterlife the abundant injustices on Earth.

This conclusion comes with several interesting topics for further consideration; interestingly enough, most of them are ironies.

5.1 Hell Is Not Sheol

First of all, the Hell we all know came to be when, sometime near the beginning of the first millennium, Roman ideas of the Underworld (Virgil’s Aeneid) were appended to the chilling – but neutral – Jewish vision of Sheol, the-family-tomb-turned-afterlife-world.

That way, “The Old Testament” began retroactively accommodating a Hell which couldn’t have existed for the majority of Jews before the advent of Christianity, since their eschatological notions most commonly included a Judgment Day, i.e., an event in the future which should mark the separation of the Just and the Vile; until then – death is indiscriminate, and everybody shares the same fate after his time on earth.

So, even though people think that Hell originated in the Bible, the ones who wrote the bulk of it don’t believe in Hell: as opposed to 70% of the American Christians who believe in Hell and 76% of American Muslims who share this belief – only 22% of American Jews think that Hell is real. Interestingly enough, that’s less than the number of atheists: 30%!

5.2 Jesus in the Underworld: The Harrowing of Hell

Christians found a great way to insert the doctrine of (continually existing) Heaven/Hell into “The Old Testament”: simply put, they replicated the Judgement Day. If for Jews the Judgement Day is one and it has still not come – for most of the Christians, Christ has both already come and will come again.

Christ’s Second Coming differs not one bit from the Jewish idea of a Day of Reckoning: it should mark God’s final and eternal judgment of the people from every nation of the world.

However, since Christ’s First Coming was an all too important event to have no eschatological weight in itself, it should surprise nobody that Christians had to infer that some aspect of this final judgment must have already happened.

And that’s how the doctrine of Christ’s descent into Hades was devised, gloriously named the Harrowing of Hell.

The logic goes thus: between Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection, he visited Hell/Hades and saved the souls of all the righteous people who had died ever since the beginning of the world. Though controversial, this idea fits nicely within the existing narrative: even if initially the Underworld was indiscriminate and it housed both the righteous and the vile, it isn’t so since the First Coming of the Christ.

Of course, this creates a complication as well: if the righteous are already in Heaven and the wicked in Hell – and if one’s death means an immediate one-way trip in one of these two directions – then what’s the point in Christ coming one more time?

The Harrowing of Hell

Jacob van Swanenburgh – The Harrowing of Hell (source)

5.3 A Christian God and an Unchristian Hell

Because of complications much more profound than this – the most challenging being why should a benevolent God create a place for eternal torment for the people he himself created? – many theologians have pondered and discussed the idea of Hell ever since the Roman Empire.

Ironically, the vision we have inherited one can find neither in the Bible nor in the writings of most of these theologians; it is, as we said above, an inherently literary one, influenced immensely by the epics of Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton (who, naturally, influenced one another in that order).

However, the notion of divine retributive justice – upon which Hell is usually structured in the imagination of the modern man (via, say, Dante’s Inferno) – predates Christianity by millennia (say, the Code of Hammurabi) and is, in fact, at odds with its central idea of forgiveness.

– and fascinatingly – the very idea of Hell questions the Christianity of the Christian God. And it begs the question: should a Christian forgive a fellow who has done one some injustice, when his god obviously doesn’t?

5.4 The Ultimate Irony: From Real to Metaphysical and Back to Real Hell

However, in my humble opinion, this is not the ultimate irony; the ultimate irony is much more chilling than a theological conundrum or, for that matter, any vision of Hell. Because, at the end of the day, the very question “Is Hell real?” says much more about us than it says about anything else.

5.4.1 The Real Hell: Gehenna

First and foremost, it should be telling that the imagery associated with Hell in Abrahamic religions started emerging back at the time when there was no idea of a discriminate Afterlife.

Namely, even at the time when Sheol was supposed to be the final destination for both merciful King David (1 Kings 2:6) and merciless armor-clad warriors (Ezekiel 32:27), Gehenna was an accursed place on Earth unambiguously associated with the wicked; and even in the absence of a heavenly counterpart, it remained to be so.

It was when the imagery of Gehenna was interspersed with Hellenistic ideas of the Afterlife that Sheol metamorphosed into Hell. In Islam, in fact, Hell is called Jahannam, a word etymologically related to this Old Testament Gehenna.

It’s a striking irony when you start thinking about it: a small valley in Jerusalem where children were sacrificed by fire seemed such an abominable place to the eyes of the living that writers used the imagery (fire, false gods, punishments) to invent an Afterlife of eternal torment for the dead.

5.4.2 The Personalized Metaphysical Hell: Poetic Visions

In other words, the metaphysical actuality of Hell was shaped by the building blocks of physical reality. But this where it gets even more frightening: once that happened, Hell began an existence of its own. And while reality is bounding, imagination is limitless. So, writers started reimagining Hell over and over again – if only so that they can use it as a tool to further their own agendas.

Thus, Virgil used Aeneas’ trip to the Underground to advance the worldview of the Roman Empire: in the eternally green fields of Elysium (which is something like a Heaven inside Virgil’s Hell), Aeneas hears from his father a prophetic vision of the future destiny of Rome, which, among other things, celebrates the glory of the ruler which commissioned the writing of the Aeneid in the first place, Octavian Augustus, Rome’s first emperor.

Guided by Virgil, Dante went a step further and built a highly personalized version of Hell, in which many people suffer not because of their sins against humanity, but because of their sins against Dante himself.

And, ay, there’s the rub: every vision of Hell ever since (or before) is as personalized as Dante’s. And it is difficult to overemphasize the danger of this. The reason why the justice system is so complicated is due to the fact that almost nothing in real life is as simple as the distinction between black and white.

However, we sure would want it to be; and the Heaven/Hell dichotomy is the absolute metaphysical pinnacle of this (in terms of origin) primitive belief, which philosophers – and justly so – deem it an informal fallacy.

The effects?

As it usually happens when someone uses fallacies to argue something which can have actual effects – potentially terrifying.

5.4.3 The Real Hell and Jordan Peterson

And this brings me back to Jordan Peterson whom I mentioned in the Introduction:

In the video above – and elsewhere – Jordan Peterson says quite explicitly that even though he suspects that there may be some kind of metaphysical reality beyond the metaphor of Hell, he can’t really know if it actually exists.

And he also describes heaven-like experiences as pointers towards the way that things could be, saying that it’s incumbent on people to work as hard as they can, not to fall into Hell and drag people there with them and to work as diligently as possible to bring Heaven onto Earth as rapidly as possible.”

Now, one of postmodernism’s main contributions to the history of thought – one which Jordan Peterson unjustly and discriminatorily distorts – has been its attempt to question the stability of language. And sentences such as this prove why such an endeavor makes sense – as much as they prove why no intellectual living in the XXI century should allow himself to be unambiguous in relation to religious questions which have straightforward scientific answers.

Simply put, because not everybody shares the same visions of God and Satan, of Heaven and Hell. “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator,” writes, after all, Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf (London: Houghton Mifflin, 1969; p. 60), “by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”

Unfortunately, that is something many perpetrators of crimes against humanity also believe: that they are Godsend Messiahs whose objective is to bring Heaven on Earth and take people with them; of course, in doing that, they are actually bringing their own version of Heaven on Earth; and this usually also means – by implication – someone else’s version of Hell.

Imagine that you’re Hitler and that you firmly believe that the Jews are devilish creatures that have brought upon the downfall of your world; now go back and read Jordan Peterson’s sentence once again.

That’s right: even though Peterson has no intention of saying that whatsoever (in fact, he’s saying the opposite), what you will actually hear is that it’s your obligation to proceed to the Final Solution.

5.4.4 “Hell is Other People”

Scott G. Bruce concludes his Introduction to The Penguin Book of Hell with this blood-curdling paragraph:

Despite the erosion of traditional religious beliefs in the modern era, Hell has survived and prospered. While the belief in Hell as an actual place has declined in recent centuries, the idea of Hell has endured as a dominant metaphor and, frighteningly, as an inspiration for how to treat other people. From the world wars and the Holocaust to the plight of prisoners and detainees, the political calamities of the modern world have increased the currency of the concept of Hell as a metaphor for torment and suffering. Although many modern people have turned their backs on a literal understanding of Hell as a place of future punishment, they nonetheless draw inspiration from imaginative traditions about the punitive afterlife to cause suffering to others in this present life, to ‘give them hell.’ The modern technologies and rational ways of thinking that supposedly mark our progress over earlier generations now allow us to commit mass murder and replicate infernal landscapes at the touch of a button; in an ironic reversal, we have become the very demons our ancestors trembled to meet when death foreclosed on their lives.

And this calls into mind a quote by Sartre from his play No Exit in which three deceased characters (Joseph Garcin, Estelle Rigault, and Inès Serrano) are punished for eternity by being locked into a room together. Near the end of the play, Joseph Garcin comes to a sudden realization:

All those eyes intent on me. Devouring me. What? Only two of you? I thought there were more; many more. So this is hell. I’d never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire, and brimstone, the ‘burning marl.’ Old wives’ tales! There’s no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is other people!

True, Sartre has something else on his mind – the existential dread of existing both as a subject and an object in someone else’s gaze – but, allow me to misuse him once again (after all, he has been misused numerous times before).

Because, dear Ferdinand, you’re right after all: hell is indeed empty, and all the devils are here. And in the eyes of other people – that includes us, as well.

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A Man Called Ove PDF Summary

A Man Called Ove PDF Summary

A Novel

Ready for a feel-good story featuring a Swedish Ebenezer Scrooge?

If so – join us!

He is “A Man Called Ove.”

Who Should Read “A Man Called Ove”? And Why?

“A Man Called Ove” is both a light and a rewarding read – meaning you’ll read it in a single breath and you’ll feel a lot better after finishing it.

No matter who you are.

Also, you may cry at least two times while reading it. You know – because of that warm and tingly feeling your belly craves for from time to time.

Well, this novel is your chance to experience it once again.

Fredrik Backman Biography

Fredrik BackmanFredrik Backman is a Swedish blogger and columnist turned bestselling novelist.

He debuted with “A Man Called Ove” in 2012, and has published a book every year since then: “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” in 2013, “Britt-Marie Was Here” in 2014, “Beartown” in 2015, “And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer” in 2016, “The Deal of a Lifetime” in 2017 and “Us Against You” this year.

Number one bestsellers in his home country, most of Backman’s books have been translated into English and at least twenty-five other languages.

Plot

Fredrik Backman’s charming feel-good crowd-pleaser “A Man Called Ove” opens with a paragraph which promises nothing of the sort and which tells us, straight away, three particularly important things about the title character:

Ove is fifty-nine. He drives a Saab. He’s the kind of man who points at people he doesn’t like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman’s torch.

So, to sum up:

1. Ove is a fifty-nine-year-old Swedish man; considering the fact that he has worked incessantly ever since he had been sixteen, fifty-nine means that he is also of retiring age.
2. He drives a Saab – which is basically as Swedish as a Swedish man can get.
3. He is your quintessential next-door curmudgeon. If you don’t know what that word means, think Ebenezer “Buh, humbug” Scrooge. Or, if you’d prefer a movie reference, something along the lines of W. C. Fields.

Speaking of Christmas and movies – please, be our guest and cast a look on the trailer for the movie adaptation of this novel, which came out few days before the start of 2016, i.e., on Christmas Day 2015.

That way, you’ll be able to put a more appropriate face to the name before the American remake starring Tom Hanks in the title role manages to etch in our brains a not-so-Swedish and Forrest-Gumpish type of Ove:

Just like the movie – oh, come on, if you didn’t like spoilers, you wouldn’t be here in the first place! – the novel begins in medias res (with Ove attempting to buy an iPad) and moves back and forth in time so as to fill the gaps of Ove’s story. Per our usual habit, we’ll summarize it in chronological order.

Which, really – just a word of friendly warning – takes away a lot of its charm and beauty.

A Man Called Ove and His Sorrowful Past

The story of Ove’s past explains a lot about his cantankerous and grouchy present demeanor.

When he is a very young boy, his mother dies, leaving him alone with his father. That’s, in fact, the reason why Ove has started working at such a young age. Not willing to leave him alone at home, his father (passionate about engines and nothing else) takes him at the railway to work with him.

One day, as he is cleaning out a railway car with a mean guy going by the name of Tom, Ove happens upon a wallet filled with money. He hands it over instead of keeping it, and, as a reward, the railway director gives Ove’s father a car.

A Saab, of course.

Ove has fond memories of this time of his life. He spends some of it going to school and studying stuff, and a lot of it repairing the Saab with his father, from whom he learns everything there is to know about discipline, tools, and, yes, fixing cars.

However, when Ove is merely sixteen years old, cruel destiny takes away his father away from him as well: he dies instantly after being hit by a train. Afterward, having no other option but it, Ove quits school and takes his father’s job at the railway.

After some time, he starts receiving letters informing him that the city wants to buy his house in order to bulldoze it and build a more appropriate one.

So as to stop that from happening, Ove decides to get a temporary job at a construction site. That way, he believes, he’ll be able to learn the craft and renovate the house himself.

In the meantime, however, he is demoted at his regular job, after being falsely accused by Tom of stealing money. So, while he is renovating his house, he tries to make ends meet by working as a night cleaner on a long-distance train.

But, eventually, he does quite a good job with the house; unfortunately, his sense of triumph is marred by the ultimate disaster as the house catches fire and burns down to the ground barely few weeks after Ove has finished renovating it.

Not having enough money for something bigger, Ove moves to town and rents a room.

At work, Tom steals his father’s watch, and Ove finally confronts him. Blame us for being partial, but we’ll describe this as quite a satisfying confrontation – a description we believe most of you will agree with. That is, unless you’re Tom or a masochist and you like being punched in the face.

Probably encouraged by his suddenly discovered strength – who knows? – Ove tires to sign up for the army. However, even this doesn’t go his way: he is denied an entrance on account of a congenital heart defect discovered during the medicals.

A Man Called Ove Loves Sincerely

And now for something completely different:

Love.

Because it happens to everybody.

Even to future curmudgeons.

Ove meets his love, Sonja, on the train – where else? – on which she is riding to school to become a teacher. “People said Ove saw the world in black and white,” informs us Backman of the effect the encounter has on Ove. “But she was color. All the color he had.”

And he goes on: “Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”

During the next three months, Ove rides the train with Sonja every single day. And then – she invites him out to dinner. (Remember: this is not America, but Sweden – they were ahead of us even in the 1960s).

Soon Ove realizes that Sonja is everything he has (n)ever dreamt about – and more! Recognizing his talent, she encourages him to start an engineering course, so that he can a better job, building houses. Starting with their own, of course.

And we believe that it is at about this time that she must have made one of the most beautiful and romantic comparisons you can find in the book; or, for that matter, one of the most moving descriptions of what loving someone means ever put on paper:

‘To love someone is like moving into a house,’ Sonja used to say. ‘At first you fall in love in everything new, you wonder every morning that this is one’s own, as if they are afraid that someone will suddenly come tumbling through the door and say that there has been a serious mistake and that it simply was not meant to would live so fine. But as the years go by, the facade worn, the wood cracks here and there, and you start to love this house not so much for all the ways it is perfect in that for all the ways it is not. You become familiar with all its nooks and crannies. How to avoid that the key gets stuck in the lock if it is cold outside. Which floorboards have some give when you step on them, and exactly how to open the doors for them not to creak. That’s it, all the little secrets that make it your home.’

A Man Called Ove Loses Everything

Unfortunately, you already know that Ove is a curmudgeon and that Sonja is not around him already in the first chapter.

So, what happened?

Well, three years after the start of their relationship, both Sonja’s father and her childhood cat die in a week. Sonja is distraught, but things turn for the better when she learns that she is pregnant. Getting a house now is essential.

So Ove and Sonja buy a row house on the same day that another couple – Anita and Rune – does. Anita is pregnant as well, so, unsurprisingly, she and Sonja have a lot to talk about ever since that first day. So, they become best friends.

By way of proxy, the same happens with Ove and Rune: they not only share tools between them, but also a sincere love for Saabs, discipline, and everything Swedish.

Things go well for some time, but then, as Ove and Sonja come back from a bus tour to Spain, their bus crashes. The result: the death of Ove and Sonja’s unborn baby, and her paralysis from the waist down.

Despite the accident, Sonja remains as loving and caring as she had always been, taking a job to teach troubled students Shakespeare. Ove, however, changes profoundly: he starts hating life and everybody around him.

That, unfortunately, includes his only friend, Rune, with whom (especially after the birth of his child) he has a row about every single thing, no matter how trivial and unimportant.

Their quarrel culminates a few decades later when Rune sells his Saab and buys a BMW. The audacity!

Soon after – that is, four years before the events happening in the present – two tragedies strike the neighborhood: Rune is diagnosed with Alzheimer and Sonja with cancer. Three and a half years later, Sonja, Ove’s one and only friend, dies.

A Man Called Ove and His Present

In the present, after being forced to retire, Ove decides to end it all and kill himself.

But not before making his usual morning inspection of the neighborhood (a remnant of his days as president), which always ends up with him tearing up flyers, locking up misplaced bikes, and cursing the “thirty-one-year-olds” who have supposedly wreaked havoc on a once nice and respectable community.

As Ove is preparing for his suicide attempt #1 – installing a hook in his ceiling – his new neighbors, Patrick and Parvaneh (or, in Ove’s dictionary, “The Lanky One” and “The Foreign Pregnant Woman”) – run their moving trailer over his flowerbed while doing a U-Haul.

Suicide can suddenly wait: Ove goes out and starts yelling at them and eventually steers the trailer in their stead. As a token of gratitude, later that day, the couple’s two daughters (the three-year-old Nasanin and “the Seven-Year-Old” whose name we don’t find out) bring Ove dinner.

The suicide plan is moved for the next day, which – of course! – starts with another inspection of the neighborhood. During this one, Ove confronts Adrian and Mirsad – aka “The Young Man” and “The Youth” – two friends, who are trying to fix the improperly parked bicycle of a girl living on Ove’s street.

Soon after, Ove is visited by Patrick and Parvaneh who bring him cookies and ask to borrow a ladder and a wrench. Anita shows up while Ove is irately fetching the items for his new neighbors and informs Ove that, due to Rune’s condition, the council (represented by the Škoda-driving “Man in the White Shirt”) wants to take him away from her, despite her wishes.

Ove slams the door.

And this would have been the end of the novel if Ove’s rope had been a bit tighter. But it breaks, and he fails to hang himself.

Morning #3 means suicide attempt #3 – this time using the painless carbon-monoxide-car-exhaust method. However, while Ove is in his garage waiting for the fumes to do their job, he hears an ambulance and then someone starts knocking incessantly on his garage door.

It is Parvaneh, and she is impatient for a very good reason: Patrick has fallen down from the ladder and, since she doesn’t know how to drive, she asks Ove to take her and her daughters to the hospital.

At the hospital, Ove is none other than Ove: he quarrels with a parking attendant and punches a clown in the nose. Nasanin – remember: she’s merely three years old – thinks that this is the funniest thing she has ever seen. The seven-year-old and Parvaneh aren’t that fascinated.

Morning #4 comes and brings with it Ove’s suicide attempt #4. This time, he opts for a quick and surefire solution: jumping in front of a moving train.

However, just as he is about to do that, a businessman faints and falls inadvertently onto the track. After some hesitation over what to do next, Ove is touched by the look of the young train conductor (who can do nothing about stopping the train), and, so, decides to help the man.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the only nice thing Ove does for the day: incited by Parvaneh he also helps a cat, which is brought back to life by Jimmy, Ove’s young and overweight programmer-neighbor who adores cats, despite being allergic to them.

In other words, time for good deed #3 for the day: Ove takes Jimmy to the hospital.

They say that good deeds don’t go unnoticed, and soon enough, Ove is tracked down by a journalist named Lena who wants to interview him about the man whose life he managed to save at the train station.

By now, you are certainly acquainted well enough with Ove to know that Lena doesn’t get the interview; however, she does get Parvaneh’s phone number. And, on the way to the hospital, Parvaneh gets Ove to agree that he will teach her how to drive better.

But, Ove has another thing planned: suicide attempt #5. This time – using Sonja’s painkillers. However, he is interrupted by a screaming cat and, later on, a visit from Adrian who brings Ove his mail.

Adrian tells Ove that Sonja had been his teacher and, moved, Ove offers to help Adrian fix his bike. He brings the bike to the café where Adrian works and happens upon Mirsad, who we learn to have been Adrian’s boss, that is the son of Amel, the owner of the cafe.

Ove quickly deduces from the makeup on Mirsad’s face that the boy is gay and offends him; Adrian begs Ove not to tell Amel Mirsad’s secret.

The next day, however, when it’s time for suicide attempt #6, Ove is interrupted – this time, while trying to shoot himself with a rifle – by none other than Adrian and Mirsad.

Adrian tells Ove that Mirsad had come out before his father who, afterward, kicked him out of the house, and asks him if it would be possible for Mirsad to stay over for the night. Ove agrees, and it is with Mirsad that he goes on his regular morning inspection the next day.

During it, Jimmy joins and tells Ove that Rune is to be taken during that week.

A Man Called Ove Epilogue

Now, unknown to both Ove and Sonja, Anita had been petitioning to keep Rune by her side for the previous two years. Moreover, now that the decision has been made, nothing but the unity of the neighborhood can help her.

Ove – now heartbroken by some memories of his past times with Rune – joins his neighbors as they spend the next few days planning what to do. And they come up with an excellent plan: Lena digs up some documents showing improper conduct, and when the man in the white shirt shows up, he has no option but to back off.

And many more good things happen – almost all starring Ove in the leading role!

First, as a return of favor, Ove agrees to have an interview with Lena.

Then, he goes to speak with Amel and encourages him to take Mirsad back.

Afterward, the seven-year-old invites Ove to her birthday party, telling him that she wants an iPad as a gift.

Ove asks Jimmy for some help and this where the novel actually starts: the man called Ove goes out to buy an iPad.

After the birthday party, Ove has a heart attack and Parvaneh – with her new-learned driving skills – takes him to the hospital.

The doctor tells her that, well, Ove’s heart was just too big. Parvaneh takes care of Ove while he’s recuperating; and, soon after, she gives birth to a baby boy.

In the meantime, Mirsad and Jimmy fall in love with each other; soon, they marry and adopt a daughter.

Ove dies four years after Parvaneh and Patrick accidentally interrupt during his first suicide attempt. Over 300 people come to his funeral. In his testament, he leaves most of his money to Parvaneh’s children and Jimmy and Mirsad’s adopted daughter.

With the rest, Patrick and Parvaneh start a charity.

As the book closes, Parvaneh shows Ove’s house to a young couple in search of a place to live. The wife is pregnant.

And the husband – well, he drives a Saab.

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“A Man Called Ove PDF Quotes”

Ove feels an instinctive skepticism towards all people taller than six feet; the blood can’t quite make it all the way up to the brain. Click To Tweet You miss the strangest things when you lose someone. Little things. Smiles. The way she turned over in her sleep. Even repainting a room for her. Click To Tweet All people at root are time optimists. We always think there's enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like 'if.' Click To Tweet One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead. Click To Tweet Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’” – says a starred review at “Booklist” – “this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down.”

We couldn’t agree more.

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Breaking Free of Nehru PDF Summary

Breaking Free of Nehru PDFLet’s Unleash India!

Many countries are in chains because they fail to recognize the power emerging from the liberal movement.

Adhering to socialist principles induces corruption, and crashes individuality – the very embodiment of life.

In this book, you’ll find what it takes to let off the hook, and lay the foundations for a new India.

Who Should Read “Breaking Free of Nehru”? And Why?

The world had enough time to measure the benefits cropping up from both socialism and liberalism. We bear witness to what’s been done by now, and whether a change is required.

Breaking Free of Nehru” is, by all means, a life-altering book that will shift your perspective regarding India’s regulation and constitution.

About Sanjeev Sabhlok

Sanjeev SabhlokSanjeev Sabhlok is an Indian author and a person who endeavors to reform the corrupt Indian government and all its sub-branches.

He has obtained two MAs, in economics and a doctorate from the University of Southern California.

“Breaking Free of Nehru PDF Summary”

In his early days, the author recalls how he was affected by the ineffectiveness of the Indian society. Economy and production were plummeting, corruption was blossoming, and the people of India became an easy mark for dishonest politicians.  

Putting up a fight as an individual, without the support of the community is ridiculous. Sanjeev abandoned the Indian Administration and decided to cross swords with socialism – despite the odds. In the meantime, hardship was literally dispersed to every corner of the nation, and only a small portion of the population lives above the poverty line, even today.  

Nehru, one of India’s most notable figures of the 20th century is at the core of this masterpiece. Sanjeev talks about the socialist system, which breaks India from within for more than 60 years. Although Nehru merits all the praises for helping India to reform, the policies enforced in his time remain questionable to this day.

The socialist movement deprives people of their freedom, innateness, and creativity. Hence, even the most skillful personalities are not able to thrive on opportunities, leaving the economy on the brink of collapse.

Sanjeev gives his critical review of India, covering three crucial periods:

  • Pre-1757 – The pre-1757 era was arduous for the entire country. The people had limited rights, and freedom was basically removed from the dictionary.
  • 1757-1947 This period is filled with wars, and twists in the world. The era of the apartheid and colonization began to evaporate, and new nations emerge. Gandhi absorbed the role as the liberator of countries, but his vision didn’t live up to the expectations because India remains rooted to the spot.
  • Post-Independence – Sanjeev declared: Gaining independence is only the first step in creating a free nation. Due to the incompetence of Nehru and Indira Gandhi’s administration, India almost declared bankruptcy in 1991 and lost its influence in the world.

Advanced countries share elements, which represent the embodiment of freedom, such as:

  • They are human magnets
  • They don’t put pressure on the individual
  • They don’t fund nor support terrorism
  • They advocate for wealthiness
  • In general, people live longer

Socialism makes a stand against this new form of society and threatens to obstruct the free markets. All things considered, all people should receive equal treatment and follow a trail blazed by modern societies. To achieve that, India must:

  • Incite people to leverage the free markets.
  • Help those who still find it hard to rise above the poverty line.

India, as a country filled with diversity, realizes that modifying the Constitution is an uphill battle. Since 1949, India abides by the same legislation and regulation, even though it’s of great value to adjust the Constitution to emphasize freedom.

In order to do just that, the Indian society must pay heed to win the hearts of those oppressed by the regime. What’s key to make that happen:

  • A political majority, which is eager to embed liberty in all areas of public and private life.
  • Second, a society that is no longer neglected but fully immersed in the decision-making.

As we move forward through the book, Sanjeev introduces us with thought-provoking and often distorted reality by displaying “The Iceberg of Indian Corruption.” Three layers compose the inept Indian bureaucracy:

  • 1st Layer – Visible corruption
  • 2nd Layer – Hidden deep corruption
  • 3rd Layer – Hidden policy corruption

In the first place, the people of India must understand that political campaigns funded with dirty money cannot tackle corruption. It would be like, extinguishing a fire with gasoline. As we mentioned, the incompetent administration is just icing on the cake.

This cast doubt on the entire Indian population and raises the question – Is the problem in the implementation of policies, or their bad design? According to Sanjeev, the only route to tackling Nehruvian socialism is by enacting laws that will restrict the power of the bureaucrats.

To instigate a full-scale change, and help India rise again, several things must be accomplished:

  • Recruit the best candidates for any job
  • Give them support, to do the same down the chain
  • Create a network of leaders with integrity

Key Lessons from “Breaking Free of Nehru”

1.      Deal with shortages of food, water, and electricity
2.      Don’t let your guard down
3.      Support political parties with a limited budget

Deal with shortages of food, water, and electricity

As it turns out, to mitigate extreme poverty, people need to advocate for a systematic change, and that will automatically improve the implementation of policies.

In addition, the gap between the private and public sector needs to be closed in order to discourage bribes and shady activities.

Don’t let your guard down

Corrupt politicians don’t endorse a regulated change, because in doing so, they’ll lose their influence.

They even take possession of resources allocated for rural parts of India and do everything in their power to conceal their wrongdoings.

Support political parties with a limited budget

You don’t need us telling you, that India is practically overrun by corruption.

If you don’t merely want to be a pawn in the hands of an organized mafia, you should weigh your options.

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“Breaking Free of Nehru Quotes”

Freedom means each of us being held to account; no one can make the excuse that there was an error in not supplying what was promised, and get to walk away from a major discrepancy. Click To Tweet And therefore economic equality is associated only with those political ideologies which oppose freedom and which disrespect life. Click To Tweet India’s democracy clearly shows signs of early onset of mobocracy, with many communal elements elected to high positions in its Central or State Government(s). Click To Tweet No other well-established democracy generates super-corrupt, even criminal political leaders like ours does. Click To Tweet I mention this incident to suggest that we need to get out of our chronic habit of criticizing without taking action. We need to outline our preferred methods which will bring about the change we want. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

It is about time for India to say “No” to corruption. Changing the standards, however, must be done transparently, by disclosing the alarming numbers to the people.

We were impressed by Sanjeev’s open-mindedness and gift to nail down the issues tormenting the Indian society.

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Faster, Smarter, Higher PDF Summary

Faster, Smarter, Higher PDFManaging Your Career

According to Utkarsh, subject matter knowledge has its place in the digital era, but in order to get a firm grip on success, you need something exceptional.

Unless you take part in the relationship building process with stakeholders, you too will face stagnation on a professional level.

Without further ado, let’s see what the author has to say:

Who Should Read “Faster, Smarter, Higher”? And Why?

This book is designed for all misguided individuals who are on the threshold of defeat. If you really want to soar through the ranks, managing lucrative connections with all parties is the way to do it.

In other words, “Faster, Smarter, Higher” applies to personalities in search for actionable tips and covers multiple dos and don’ts when creating these relationships.

About Utkarsh Rai

Utkarsh RaiUtkarsh Rai is an Indian author who wrote Offshoring Secrets and The Fitness Currency. He also likes to be perceived as an angel investor, and a fitness enthusiast.

“Faster, Smarter, Higher PDF Summary”

First and foremost, to dispel doubts about your ability to conquer the business world, you should start writing your plans down. This will give you the momentum you need, and motivate you to prevail.

A large number of business executives, workers and leaders, face a problem that at first glance, seems legit. They conduct a full-scale organizational evaluation and assess their personal competence based on nothing else but the money-making potential.

Don’t fall for it! Keep growth on the other side of the tunnel and never combine these two elements. By doing so, you’ll quickly eliminate issues that can turn out to be a serious threat to the organization. Safeguarding the company’s interests can make you eligible for promotion.

In order for that to happen, two things are critical:

  • An open position at a higher level
  • An applicant who’s got what it takes to handle the pressure

Communicating with stakeholders can give you the edge when trying to get your hands on the new position. Link up with go-getters and troubleshooters to make short work of that adventure.

Utkarsh also declares that a “Friday Man” is the epitome for high morale on an organizational level. Emerging as such requires:

  • Hard working personality
  • Expertise in relevant subjects
  • Razor-sharp communication skills
  • Focus on problem-solving
  • Above all, integrity

How to manage your team and peers

Being eclipsed by someone more competent is a common fear that most managers have. When you think about, developing into an accountable and skillful leader is not a piece of cake. Sometimes, you must to do the things you wouldn’t normally do, such as identify the weakest link in your organization.

Prior to forming an opinion, run through this checklist to see whether some of the following scenarios contribute to their mediocre performance:

  • Their Expertise Doesn’t Correlate with the Job Requirements
  • Personal or Professional Events Hinder the Execution
  • Not Enjoying Managerial Support

A gifted manager is self-effacing and endeavors in earning its credibility and respect, not demanding it. To elicit a positive reaction, stay in contact with your peers and work on improving the cohesion. In all honesty, it can’t get any better than having a group of skilled and sober-minded individuals with whom you can share everything. It will also help you to stay away from conflicts!

How to handle your manager’s peers and superiors

Do everything in your power to impress the key officials by participating in major projects. Clinch business deals and generate value to make sure that your name will come to the surface when the succession-planning procedure is discussed.

If you feel like your manager is undermining your hard work, only then you are allowed to take it up with a higher-level executive. Nonetheless, staying off the radar is a great way of ensuring that you are not the one creating divisions; a strategy which can turn out to be costly.

It’s important to realize that confident managers encourage interactions between their superiors and subordinates. Your only job would be to find the middle ground in nurturing these relationships. The support from your manager’s peers is a wind at your back that can help you catch the eye of prominent officials.

Having strong connections with other layers is a real blessing. Sometimes your manager will not be willing to give you the details, and you’d be compelled to look for an answer elsewhere. It can’t get any easier if you have people you can relate to.

Deal with the future and the things that go with it

It’s literally impossible to take care of every problem, and transform the organization into an unsurpassable gem in all regards.

For instance, the HR can disturb the balance by questioning the management decision regarding a certain promotion or conducting a performance appraisal. Constant monitoring is endorsed and embraced.

As it turns out, most companies nowadays, are geared up with the latest piece of equipment to facilitate the operational activities and communication. In addition, the software installed on these devices or computers compels the users to act ethically.

Also, the financial element has a pivotal role in keeping the company profitable and ensuring its growth. It allocates resources to managers and other officials to maintain close ties with various parties including vendors and customers.

To spread the organization influence, the company must be finicky about which individuals would absorb the role of representatives. As far as the deal-making process is concerned, both parties must honor their side of the agreement and take each other’s interests into account.

Key Lessons from “Faster, Smarter, Higher”

1.      Rise to the sky
2.      Don’t exclude the stakeholders
3.      Put the stakeholders’ interests first

Rise to the sky

It comes as no surprise that people who manage to build a network, ascend through the ranks much faster than their peers.

Improving your social skills can defeat your rivals and put you in the driving seat.

Don’t exclude the stakeholders

Delving into a task or project must be done in line with the projections of various stakeholders. Include their vision into the assignment and show respect for their expertise.

In doing so, you’ll expand your network, and create a hard-working group of people who are willing to help you out.

Put the stakeholders’ interests first

Even if you are not willing to make all the sacrifice, it’s really beneficial if you commit yourself to safeguard their rights and influence.

It’s a win-win situation! You’ll get your recognition, and they will maintain their status.

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“Faster, Smarter, Higher Quotes”

If you are doubtful about your new position, keep your current role for some time keeping your manager in the loop. Click To Tweet Respect your company policies and practices. Company policies are usually very well documented and accessible. Click To Tweet Other ways to make yourself visible are to team up with the go-getters and troubleshooters and work on visible projects and slowly try to become a go-getter or a troubleshooter yourself. Click To Tweet Every good supervisor should adhere to the allocated budget and should be frugal in spending. Click To Tweet Managers need help too! If your manager is trying to push your case for better responsibility, a new role, a promotion or an award, he may have faced some resistance from his peers. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

We love to give credit to authors who unselfishly convey a mountain of actionable tips that the readers can apply in a heartbeat.

All things considered, Utkarsh Rai did a great job in sharing with us what it takes to climb the ladder of prosperity and never look down.

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The Secret Red Book of Leadership PDF Summary

The Secret Red Book of Leadership PDFWhat do you know of leadership? Are you ready to make one final push?

Awdhesh unravels the greatest misconceptions and helps you to turn over a new life in your professional career.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the key findings!

Who Should Read “The Secret Red Book of Leadership”? And Why?

Unlike other books that cover topics related to leadership, we firmly believe that this one is mainly aimed at those who express doubts about their leading potential.

“The Secret Red Book of Leadership” helps you to stay on track and fight these social tendencies, which are breaking your spirit.

Take notes, and learn quickly!

Awdhesh SinghAbout Awdhesh Singh

Awdhesh Singh is among other things perceived as the Quora Guy. As the founder of AWDHESH ACADEMY and IRS officer, he thrives in helping people reach their potential.

“The Secret Red Book of Leadership PDF Summary”

Are you ready to plunge into the turbulent deep waters of leadership?

Leadership, as a concept, is still receiving hard blows from the community due to the overflow of misleading information and lack of strategy. The primary concern of today’s decision-makers is finding a way to enhance the performance of all parties that are integrated into the process.

If you’re ready and willing to master the subject of leadership, enrolling in courses will not suffice. All efforts will be in vain unless you take part in strategy-building activities that can get the best out of you.

Running a business or an organization can be overwhelming for many leaders, who can’t seem to get the handle on what’s causing all the troubles. Entrepreneurs are compelled to lead their company from one stage to the next and oppose the early startup factors, which are endangering the growth.

So, what does this has anything to do with leadership?

In all honesty, regardless of the idea or professionalism implemented in terms of execution, your entrepreneurial journey will not see another day, unless you can showcase your leading ability. People are not inclined to learn by listening; they prefer to be led by someone who has blazed a trail for others to follow.

As it turns out, early startup difficulties get the better of many innovators and creators, who can’t seem to survive the 5-Year collapse frame. When embarking on similar ventures, one must consider numerous elements that can make-or-break the business.

Steps in – Leadership.

The one-of-a-kind person who embraced the father figure of modern leadership is Peter Drucker. Years of research, practice, and implementation had led him to believe that managing people is tricky business. He even went a bit further by claiming:

It is not whether the answer is right. It is whether it works.”

Leaders don’t shy away from following prominent figures who can show them the way. However, when it comes to choosing a mentor, they are finicky about the expertise and competence these personalities possess. Moreover, they’ll reject any piece of advice, if that information doesn’t seem convenient at the time.

From your uncertain vantage point, what can you say about leaders?

Do you belong to the vast majority of people who have no doubt that leadership is something embedded into the hearts and minds of privileged few? Or, you give credence to Awdhesh and his conviction that leaders can be forged in the fire of practice and learning.

Never forget that many top-notch brands all around the globe, are inciting their employees to turn into intrapreneurs and share their ideas. These organizations might as well kill two birds with one stone by: first, giving freedom and encouraging employees to think on their own, and second improving the value of the organization.

The bottom line is – evaluate and analyze every scheme delivered to your doorstep. This simple thesis is the embodiment of genuine leadership!

Leaders aren’t always on the run

Indeed, not every decision-maker has a close associate who is always on the ball. Not having a right-hand man by their sight, compels these figures to dive deep into some serious thinking:

  • How not to succumb to pressure?
  • Can I tackle every upcoming issue that threatens the organization?
  • What to do if my plan doesn’t turn out to be useful?
  • How to handle mistrust in my leadership abilities?
  • How to enhance productivity?

… The list goes on.

Pondering about these options and scenarios will do you no good unless you gear yourself up with the perfect mindset. Thriving on the challenges ahead is what a genuine leader would do, so building that momentum is vital to keep you going and growing.

When you think about, there are no beginnings nor ends in the business world. Each action leads you to the next one, and so on – in other words, each move you make takes you a step closer toward the next challenge.

You can’t fight the current; you just have to go with the flow!

Awdhesh Singh has the credibility to differentiate between a mediocre leader and an outstanding performer. Actions speak louder than words (and that’s the only distinction) – eminent figures focus on execution and learn by doing, while average leaders place a lot of emphasis on contemplation and overthinking things.

According to the author, every organization is composed of 4 unique groups of personalities. Each one of them adds value to the organization, but not in the same manner:

  • Leaders: A group of characters who are self-accountable and motivate others to do their job.
  • Followers: The second-in-command; an execution body which acts upon instruction from its superiors.
  • Shirkers: Delayers who avoid taking part in activities that are not interesting.
  • Resistors: A group that can’t seem to cope with the age of rapid expansion and evolvement.

The worst part about being a leader, and embracing the role to the degree that you are obliged to cover for others at work, is constantly being engaged in everything.

Now you know what it takes to beat the odds and develop into a real linchpin in your sphere of influence!

Key Lessons from “The Secret Red Book of Leadership”

1.      Instill a sense of imperativeness
2.      Adopt the proper mindset
3.      Take it slow but then shift into 5th gear

Instill a sense of imperativeness

From what we acquired so far, it’s fair to say that leaders who don’t prioritize problems cannot scale up their organizations.

Urgency is a powerful weapon that can turn mediocre performers into a distinguished elite.

Adopt the proper mindset

Wise leaders don’t want to build up their follower-base but produce leaders who are self-manageable.

Such perspective injects a dose of hope, and increase the chances of tackling negative thinking on an organizational scale.

Take it slow but then shift into 5th gear

Generally speaking, some people are more eager to lead. However, you don’t have to submit to their will without even trying to evaluate your potential.

All you need to do is take the first step and adjust your strategy along the way.

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“The Secret Red Book of Leadership Quotes”

Treating everyone equal is the surest recipe for disaster. Click To Tweet Power is acquired gradually. Just like a person does not grow rich overnight and a sportsman has to defeat many competitors in a series of games to win the championship crown, a man becomes powerful only after a prolonged battle, where he… Click To Tweet However noble your goal may be, it is impossible to achieve it unless you severely punish those who obstruct your way. In a game of power, you have to create fear in the hearts and minds of all opponents. Click To Tweet A leader creates a new idea by assimilating many old ideas like an architect uses existing bricks and mortars to make a new building. Click To Tweet It is not difficult to take initiatives. People can usually see what is required to be done to make the world a better place for us and our future generations. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Well, we did go through page-by-page only to found that each chapter is actionable and pragmatic.

We highly appreciate the amount of work Awdhesh has put into this amazing guidebook, and we recommend it to everyone willing to climb the leadership ladder.

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eSCAPE PDF Summary – Anik Singal

eSCAPE PDFThe 4 Stages of Becoming A Successful Entrepreneur

Do you think you got what it takes to rise to the occasion when an opportunity presents itself?

Is your mindset ready to cope with the pressure of decision-making? If that’s the case, Anik gives us a rundown of what is required of you to beat the system and spark your entrepreneurial spirit.

Who Should Read “eSCAPE”? And Why?

Well, in our opinion, this book should be labeled as the “Bible” for entrepreneurs. But, the main issue with this statement is that Anik doesn’t entirely agree with Google’s definition of entrepreneurship.

So, it will be accurate to indicate that “eSCAPE” is prescribed for the wider audience, regardless of all the other factors and features.

Anik SingalAbout Anik Singal

Anik Singal is a dreamer who made his dreams come true by constantly improving and challenging himself.

Over the years he tried many things and realized that failure is nothing but an integral part of success. Currently, he is the CEO of Lurn Nation and a keynote speaker who inspires others to climb aboard.

“eSCAPE PDF Summary”

Many people still cannot capitalize on the opportunities that exist in the digital age. As much as want to oppose these influences, our minds are indoctrinated in a way that suffocates our innateness and creativity.

According to Anik, the founder of Lurn Nation, the education system is designed to produce manpower, not entrepreneurs. In doing so, the society secretly lays the groundwork for creating a dependent workforce that can’t function alone (without a master).

All those concepts fail to overshadow the rise of leadership and urge to build something from scratch. In this book, you’ll realize what it takes to go on your own, and nurture a mindset that allows you to do so.

Entrepreneurs live by the following formula:

Problem + Solution = Creates Value

Looks familiar? We bet it does but isn’t it easier to work for someone else, without having to bear the burden of a true innovator? We’ll get to that, but before we do, let’s analyze another concept that Anik covers thoroughly in this comprehensive guide:

Intrapreneurship, as the term implies, refers to inciting creativity within an organization. Instead of starting a new business venture, the employee/manager chooses to scale up the company by initiating a new profitable procedure.

The creation of PlayStation by Ken Kutaragi, one of Sony’s designers, is the perfect example. Behind his work desk, he hatched a plan and eventually end up creating the most brilliant video-gaming platform that is used by multiple generations.

As you can see, inflaming the entrepreneurial spirit is our second-nature, but we are inclined to submit to the societal principles and norms.  

Check out the 5-step method for developing into a successful entrepreneur, who doesn’t take “No” for an answer:

  • Identify a problem or opportunity
  • Find a creative solution
  • Use your expertise and improve along the way
  • Focus all your efforts on solving the issue
  • Create value for the user

The fear of failure

If you make up a list of all the people who tried their luck as entrepreneurs but failed to establish an independent and financially stable business, you’ll find something magnificent.

Each and every one of them put the blame on lack of support, inadequate staff, lack of funding, wrong business models and so forth. From an impartial standpoint, these issues seem legit but are they really that credible?

In this book, you’ll find what the term “Pivot” actually means, and why you should take full advantage of it! When things go South, you better change the course, because as Captain you need to steer the wheel, and not just pray for calm waters.

Psych yourself up

Are you ready to take the next step? – If that’s the case, you better start asking the right questions! It doesn’t matter what you think of yourself, what does matter: Is it worth it for me to become an Entrepreneur?

In addition, analyze the questions listed below, to see whether your character is in tune with the profile of an outstanding entrepreneur:

  • Is being an Entrepreneur challenging?
  • Do I crave to plunge into entrepreneurial waters?
  • How hard am I willing to push to reach the final goal?
  • Is it worth the time and energy?
  • Is it something that I’ll regret by not doing?

To get the big picture, it’s for the best if we identify the chasm between employees and entrepreneurs:

  • Employee + no struggle = happy
  • Entrepreneur + struggle = progress

The execution of your strategy is similar to Weight-Lifting, the more you do it, the stronger you become. Don’t worry about mistakes, just remain focused and persistent in your goals.

The Four Stages—S.C.A.P

1.      Self
2.      Catapult
3.      Authority
4.      People

Stage #1: Self

Evidently, stage one starts from within. It prompts you to analyze yourself and your ability to become an accountable person. The scatterbrained individuals are the ones who can’t seem to find the perfect balance because they are pinned down.

Many strategies go up in smoke because managers aren’t able to anticipate the problem quickly enough and then pivot. Without a doubt, your mind reflects everything you are doing on the outside. So, embracing an internal shift is not only advisable but entirely necessary.

Stage #2: Catapult

This is where the cradle of entrepreneurship cracks or grows solid. According to entrepreneurs, this is the stage where most business collapse due to wrong strategies in terms of execution. If coping with pressure is not your strongest attribute, perhaps engaging in such a journey wouldn’t be a great idea.

Most people associate risk-taking with startups. This is entirely false because entrepreneurs prefer to make decision-based on calculations, not just sheer instinct. Moreover, if you want to join the club, remove tomorrow from your vocabulary and focus on the “Now.”

Stage #3: Authority

Building authority as a process has earmarks of a life-attitude reserved only for the most privileged ones. It reminds us that we don’t deserve to be in that company. If you intend to challenge these delusions, you should start by eradicating all the ideas that are forcing you to think negatively.

Generally speaking, people with high self-esteem make a good first impression and instill a sense of authority wherever they go. Just so there are no confusions – they are not arrogant pricks who protect their position no matter what.

Creating an aura of leadership is something you should crave for, and that’s the only route to becoming selfless and confident.

Stage #4: People

Individuality is great, but doing everything alone is impossible. Your job is to assemble a group of qualified professionals that will help you move forward. Even the greatest idea cannot reach the implementation phase, without a skillful organization to back it up.

In the meantime, you have to handle negative individuals and turn their skepticism into optimism.

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“eSCAPE Quotes”

My desire to become successful was so strong at that time that I couldn’t physically force myself to focus on anything other than building my business. Click To Tweet There are the people who are flat out trying to hurt you. These can be very damaging people in your life. They soak up your energy and may even be rooting for you to fail for several reasons. When it comes to removing people from your… Click To Tweet Right now, I want you to make a declaration. I want you to say, - I am no longer going to shy away from opportunities. I'm going to raise my hand. I'm going to make mistakes. I'm going to have failures. I'm going to be embarrassed. I'm… Click To Tweet The secret to reaching a goal is actually focusing on the micro-steps along the way. We have to focus on creating small win after small win. If we stare only at the big end goal, it’s simply too overwhelming. Click To Tweet Entrepreneurs have a very different idea of how to use their time. To them, time holds immense value and should be invested. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Anik draws on his personal experience and shares insights on how he managed to deal with health issues, debts, and personal crisis.

To spice it up, he puts in the spotlight stories from other renowned experts to illustrate a point. You won’t regret taking a few hours off and allocate that time to Anik Singal’s story.

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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 PDF

How 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 PDF

How 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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