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Life Stories

Lessons To Live By

Copyright by Hsiang Tao Yeh

February 2007 First Edition (1.0) Published by www.lulu.com

I have self-published the following books at lulu.com:

Five Willows Guy (2005) Follow Your Blessings (2005) Fragrant Orchids of Hidden Valley (2005) Bodhi Tree (2005) Bai Hua Ru Shi (with Nian Qing) (2005) Sunset Is Still Calling (2006) Mastering Software Project Management (2006) 100 Favorite Poems (2007)

These books could be downloaded for free at

http://people.lulu.com/users/index.php?fHomepage=101324

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Dedication

This book is dedicated to Dr. Raymond Yeh, Dr. Lily Yeh, Mrs. Lulu Liao, and Dr. Randy Yeh, in great admiration of their long term dedication, love, and services to help many others through volunteer work.

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Preface

I come to the field of management late in life. I wish that I know the management principles earlier in my life and career, so I can avoid some of the huge mistakes I made in life. The purpose of this book is to collect in- teresting stories from life to illustrate important man- agement principles for young people, so that they could be exposed to the lessons from these stories early in life. Many of the stories are derived from full length books I read. So in a way, this book is also a kind of digest. But the focus of this book is to highlight important lessons, rather than to do a careful summary of the full stories. References are provided for each story. Readers are en- couraged to read the original materials if they like to find out more about the story or the topic. I was a manager at AT&T for over ten years, and

I have managed a good number of small to mid-sized (thirty people) projects over the years. One of the ways

I used to learn about project management was to read

project management case studies reported by others. These are really just stories in disguise. In this way, as well as through my own project management experience,

I learned how to deal with and solve all kinds of project

management problems. However, I did not have a sys- tematic framework to think about project management until I have been exposed to the general business manage-

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ment principles and framework developed by my dear brother Raymond. These principles are explained in de- tail in “The Art of Business” 1 , a book written by Ray with help from my dear niece Stephanie. These principles are so powerful that they could also be applied to personal life and relationship. Another way to look at it is to say that one can take on living one’s life as a life-long project. In fact, this book is an attempt on my part to illustrate through true stories from life how these general manage- ment principles in Ray and Stephanie’s book could be applied to the problem of living. I strongly encourage the readers to read the original book by Ray and Stephanie in order to gain a fuller exposure and understanding of these important principles. While I have written each story in this book to highlight a particular management principle, the same story usually contains lessons about other principles as well, as one does not succeed by just doing only one single thing right. There are also many lessons we can learn from our own life experiences and from other stories we heard or read. To be able to ob- serve and draw your own conclusions is a very important skill for young people to learn and develop. Many of the stories collected in this book are, in one way or another, about helping other people. Another rea- son to write this book is to collect stories that highlight some of the innovative ways invented in recent decades to help the needy, such as micro-credits, pro-poor technol- ogy, social marketing, or using fellowship to jump-start social entrepreneur organizations (Ashoka). For people interested in volunteer work, it’s essential for them to have knowledge about these important development. The third reason to write this book is to profile some of the men and women I admire by telling stories about

1 web site of the book at http://theartofbusinessbook.com

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them. Their life stories reinforce my belief that life is much bigger than any of us individually, and one can find the deepest meaning in life only through our connection with other people. All my siblings understand this point long time ago and, in one form or another, have been do- ing volunteer services for many years. This book is lov- ingly dedicated to all my siblings, in admiration for their work of compassion. I am a late comer to this field and this book is my initial attempt to contribute to the spirit of volunteerism. This project also fits in well with my in- terest to explore writing stories as a hobby in retirement. As with all my other books self-published at lulu.com, the electronic version of this book is available for free. The web site to download is listed in page 1. If there is a single lesson for young people to remember from all the stories here, it’s the lessons from the last chapter (Chapter 7). Namely, to do the right things, and “to stop suffering and bring happiness to others.”

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Contents

1 Have A Dream And Be Proactive, In Spite Of Handicaps

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1.1 John Griffin - An Adventure-Prone Life

 

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1.2 Sabriye Tenberken - To Live Fully Is To

 

Have A Dream

 

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2 Find A Winning Strategy And Innovate

 

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2.1 Grameen Bank - Lending Money A Little

 

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2.2 Pro-Poor Technology - Help The Poor To

 

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3 Leverage, And Use All The Help You Can Find

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3.1 Ashoka - To Empower And Launch Thou- sands Of Social Change Makers

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3.2 Social Marketing - How To Leverage Community To Save Lives

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4 The Discipline To Succeed

 

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4.1 Greg Smith - How To Survive Catastro- phe And Live To Tell

 

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4.2 Si Ma Qian - Perseverance In Spite Of Stigma And Shame

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4.2.1

Letter To Ren Shao Qian

 

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5 Work With People, Keep Communication Line Open

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5.1 Don’t Go Nuclear - Lessons From The

 

Cuban Missile Crisis

 

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5.2 The Start Of The First World War - A Cautionary Tale When Communication

 

Broke Down

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6 Five Arts For Living - Life Management Tips

 

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6.1 Create Meaning In Life

 

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6.1.1 The Art Of Possibility

 

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6.1.2 Why Do The Right Things? .

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6.2 Apply The Right Strategy

 

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6.2.1 The Art Of Timing

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6.2.2 Risk Management And Risk

 

Reduction By Low Cost Rapid

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6.3 Leverage Resources Around You

 

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6.3.1 The Art of Leverage

 

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6.3.2 The Power Of Synergistic Leverage 91

6.4 Mastery Of Your Own Life

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6.4.1 The Art Of Mastery

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6.4.2 Develop A Way Of Learning To Become Proficient

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6.4.3 A Process Orientation - Measure, Analyze, And Set Quality Targets .

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6.4.4 Mastery Through Continuous Process Improvement

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6.5 Build Successful Relationships

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6.5.1 The Art Of Leadership

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6.5.2 Trust Building

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6.5.3 Win-win Negotiation

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6.5.4 Team Building

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To Live A Life Generous In Spirit and Compas- sionate In Heart

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7.1 Charles W. Vest - Sharing Knowledge For Free With The Whole World

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7.2 John Robbins - Eat Right And Heal The

 

Living Earth

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7.3 Father Damien - Follow Your Heart To

 

Compassion

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Chapter 1

Have A Dream And Be Proactive, In Spite Of Handicaps

Action-orinted with a vision and long range goals are crucial for finding meaning and sustained fulfillment in life. Proactive people go ahead and do things instead of just dreaming about them or to wait for all the conditions to be exactly right. The two stories that follow showed that even for people facing great handicaps, one could still be audacious, proactive, dare to have a dream, and accomplish great deeds.

1.1 John Griffin - An Adventure- Prone Life

John Griffin (1920-1980) had a most remarkable life. He studied psychiatry in Frances and learned that Gre- gorian Chant was helpful to reach the most alienated mind in the asylum he worked at Tours. This led to his later research of Gregorian Chant at the Abbey of

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Solesmes with the Benedictines. What led to his writing career was related to the fact that he had gradually lost his eyesight. During the Second World War, using his work at the asylum as a cover, John helped the French underground resistance to smuggle out Jewish children. He himself was smuggled out when Gestapo started to hunt for him. He enlisted in US air force and served in the Pacific front for several years till he suffered a severe head injury in 1945 at the landing base of Morotai island during Japanese attack. His eyesight started to deterio- rate as a result of the injury, and by 1947, he was totally blind. He started to keep a personal journal since his stu- dent days at Tours. Now the blindness, the musical forms of Gregorian Chant, and the austerity of monastery liv- ing, guided his writing. His first novel, “The Devil Rides Outside”, based on the Abbey and village of Solesmes and guided by the form of Beethoven’s String Quartet opus 131, was published in 1952. John was baptized as a Ro- man Catholic in 1951. John has embraced his blindness with typical gusto. After blindness, he lived on a farm and learned to raise pure-bred livestock. He won many prizes and made farmers envious of him. He also learned to talk in a natural way that people would forget that he was blind. He had demonstrated that blindness was not going to prevent him from moving on with his life. The music not only influenced John’s writing but also led to his marriage. After his blindness, he went back to US and lived with his parents. He fell in love with Eliza- beth Ann, only 17 at the time, a gifted piano student of his mother and daughter of his good friend Clyde Holland. John had been asked to coach Elizabeth Ann for her se- nior recital. In his journal, posthumously published as “Scattered Shadows”, John had a most moving descrip- tion about how the way Elizabeth Ann played Chopin’s nocturne conveyed the lovely feeling of a woman and

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stirred in him deep longing and tenderness. Although her parents were against it in the beginning, it turned out that the love was mutual in spite of his blindness and the great difference in age between them, and the two were married in 1953. The couple had four children and was married for 27 years till John’s death from diabetes com- plication in 1980. Even more remarkable was the fact that John’s eyesight returned in 1957! For the first time he could see the faces of his wife and children. The ex- perience was so extraordinary that John was reluctant to fall asleep that day, afraid that he would go blind again on waking. It was perhaps his experience to be both sighted and blind and sighted again, that prompted him to tour Deep South for six weeks and undertook a social study on how the blacks lived, but in the guise as a black man! This led to his most famous book, “Black Like Me”, where over ten millions copies were sold. It’s quite re- markable that after the “transformation” (with medicine to darken the skin pigmentation and with UV radiation), John looked very authentic as a middle-aged black man, entirely different from the look of his former self. Most amazing to me about John’s life is how little preparation he took to go into his various projects. He was quite aware of this and called it “adventure-prone”. John argued that adventure-prone is not seeking adven- tures or courting dangers but the ability to immerse one- self in whatever situation one is in. When he was 18 in Tours, he was told by a friend that there was a unique performance of “Tristan and Isolde” in Paris he should not miss. He had only enough money for train fare but decided to go so he won’t miss the performance and re- gret for life. After the show, he asked a street vendor where one can sleep for free and was directed to some buildings in the thirteenth-century sector across the river from Notre Dame. He was told to go in and sleep un-

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der the stairwell. The grimy flagstone floor was hard and cold, and initially he was lonely, desolate, somewhat frightened, and totally absorbed in his own misery. But after a while, by immersing himself in his situation, he could shift his viewpoint and imagined how the stones were laid with pride by craftsman, and how the weight of saints and sinners long dead were some of the memory of the stones. In fact, he was quite sure that many nights of sleeping in comfort will make no impression, but that

single night’s discomfort will long live in his mind and be

a part of life he could bring to his writing. In reading

“Black Like Me”, written in a journal format, I learned that John approached the touring Deep South project in

a similar manner, daring and straight forward. Once he

has decided to go, he alerted only his family, a friend to sponsor the cost of the project, and the FBIs. He flew to New Orleans, found a dermatologist from medical re- ferral, and went to see the doctor to do the “transforma- tion”. After that, he befriended a vendor of a shoeshine stand, and went from there to begin his odyssey of Deep South. There were many times in John Griffin’s trip in the South, for the “Black Like Me” work, that he faced personal danger, being a “black” person in towns he was

not familiar with. But those dangers were nothing com- pared with the real threats to his family and his parents once his identity was exposed, after his work came out and he was interviewed by national media. The situation got so bad that he had to move his parents and his family to live in Mexico. He himself was “lynched in effigy” in April 1960. His work is truly important in the fight for human rights for the blacks in US. All the injustices and degradation he has observed as a black person perhaps had been criticized by black writers before him. But re- porting those as a white witness and arguing for black’s human rights forcefully in national media greatly helped

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to shake the denials the white people had about how bad were the lives of the Blacks. John continued his work on Civil Rights movement throughout his life and worked closely with many black leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King. John’s approach to life - if he was interested in some- thing, he would be PROACTIVE and GO AHEAD AND DO IT - reminds me the words of Sabriye Tenberken who I’ll talk about next. When friends discouraged her from going to Tibet alone for her mission, she said “Was I sup- posed to stop living, stop enjoying life, stop dreaming, un- til I am sixty? At which point I could look back on what I hadn’t done?” That’s another adventure-prone life for you. Needless to say, it takes tremendous courage and personal resourcefulness to move forward daringly like that. Besides, neither of them were reckless. How much preparation one needs will depend on the individual. But the important thing is that we need to move forward and act and live our life. Time is ticking away every second.

1.2 Sabriye Tenberken - To Live Fully Is To Have A Dream

If I tell you there is a young lady, blind and traveled alone to Tibet, devised Tibetan Braille alphabets, and opened the first school for the blind in Lhasa, to help blind children of Tibet, would you believe it? Yet it’s a true story, and her name is Sabriye Tenberken. The following is based on her book of this incredible experi- ence. She truly symbolizes the indomitable human spirit in spite of handicaps and numerous obstacles. Sabriye lost her sight at twelve as the result of a reti- nal disease. However, her parents encouraged her to live

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a full life. Tenberken learned to ride horses when young and continue to ride after blindness. Her mother always encouraged her, “If you really want something badly enough, you’ll end up getting it.” Sabriye first got in- terested in Tibet when she was in eighth grade in special school for the blind at Marburg, Germany. One day the class went to an exhibit on Tibet. The curator opened the

glass case to allow the students to touch the art objects on account of the blindness of the students. Sabriye’s imagi- nation was fired up by that experience and determined to pursue more studies about Tibet, at Department of Cen- tral Asian Studies at the University of Bonn. SHE HAD

A DREAM THAT SHE WOULD HELP THE BLIND IN

TIBET SOMEDAY. She had found her vocation. However, she was discouraged by the professors from such studies as there was very little Braille materials available. Sabriye said, “That day was the first of many where I simply refused to take no for answer. I de- cided to find some way - there had to be one.” Initially, she used a noisy scanner called Optacon to translate im- age of Tibetan characters into pulses she could sense through her finger. It’s a slow and painful job to read and left her finger numb and ears buzzed with dread-

ful noise. Through her persistence, hardwork, and inge-

nuity, she invented the Tibetan Braille alphabets as well

as a Tibetan-German/German-Tibetan dictionary. These

tools and software she helped to develop facilitated later on to get books available to blind Tibetans in Braille and eased the labor in Tibetan studies. She could even use her tools to help sighted students in her class to verify words. With the help of a Braille writing machine, she could then dictated in class seamlessly, and often even faster than the sighted students. She no longer needed to sit in class in despair for unable to retain everything the professor said in Tibetan by memory. With this invention, she wanted

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even more to help the blind people in Tibet. A professor at Bonn who did field studies in Tibet was interested in her work and presented her invention of Tibetan Braille alphabets to cultural authority in Tibet. But Sabriye be- ing blind, the official did not think she could teach the blind there on her own. Sabriye decided to find a way to visit Tibet on her own. Once she got there, She also learned that incidents of blindness for children in Tibet is quite high because of the exposure to ultraviolet ray due to the high altitude. She also learned that there was no school for the blind children in Tibet. The blind chil- dren were either hidden from public view or asked to go out and beg for money. Her school would be the first one to help the blind children to learn to read and to live a normal independent life. To travel alone as a blind person requires both courage and preparation. Sabriye has a lot of trust on the good will of people in general. She said, when asked about how she’s going to cope travel alone, “If I need

help, I won’t be alone. All I’ll have to do is stand there in

some crowded place, with my white cane

In less

than ten minutes, I guarantee you, someone will come up to me and ask if I am in need of help.” However, her confi- dence in people’s kindness also needs to be supplemented with a thorough preparation when she is in a new envi- ronment. To move around, she relies a lot on her other senses, which are more acute in blind people, and uses the white cane to find out about the immediate terrain. To go across town from her living quarter in Lhasa to her School for the Blind across town, she developed a de- tail blueprint of the streets and following scrupulously its special landmarks so she could navigate seamlessly from one point to another. Later on, she taught the blind chil- dren in her school how to do this so they can navigate on their own too.

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While there are numerous doubters and obstacles, there are also many willing to help. First big ally she en- listed was Dolma, who was a health worker and traveled to faraway villages to teach villagers about basic hygiene and preventive medicine. She gave Sabriye the Tibetan name Kelsang Meto as most Tibetan can’t pronounce her German name. Dolma helped Sabriye to organize the school and traveled with her on horseback to remote vil- lages to find and recruit blind children as students for the school. Sabriye’s parents also visited her in Tibet and gave her much help. Her mother in particular, ran the school for her during a difficult period when she needed to go out and re-apply for visa from Kathmandu in Napel. Her mother also recruited Nordon to be a teacher for the school, and Nordon later on also became the local admin- istrator for the school. Nordon’s mother also provided big help when the school ran into dispute with the land- lord. Nordon’s mother generously welcomed the children and school to move into her large house. Later on, she also offered to sell her house to the school. Best of all, Sabriye also met in Tibet her partner Paul Kronenberg who provided help on all kind of work for the school and proved indispensible in solving many difficulties. There were many difficulties along the way, including funding problem, landlord problem, visa problem, and other mis- adventures. But in one way or another, each problem was dealt with. The important thing was that the school was formed, children were there to learn, and they made good progress, learned important skills, and happy. Sabriye’s dream, in spite of the handicaps she had and all the ob- stacles she faced, had been realized and she could move on to do other things. As of 2000, the year Sabriye published her book, twenty-seven students, ranging in age from four to twenty-two, were being trained for independent life as

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a blind person in Tibet. The school was being run by

local staff trained by Sabriye, with approval and sup- port by the local government, and in partnership with

Tibetan Disabled Persons Federation. The school had its own building, including a building built by Sabriye’s partner Paul Kronenberg, dedicated to printing Braille books in Tibetan, Chinese, and English. The school

is backed by an independent foundation handling fund

raising and financial support in Europe. Sabriye and Paul also founded Braille Without Borders and were ready to open schools for the blind in China and across Africa. Reference - Sabriye Tenberken, “My Path Leads To Tibet”, Arcade Publishing (2000).

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Chapter 2

Find A Winning Strategy And Innovate

Most people would very much like to get rich, or be happily married, or to live a long and happy life. Yet many of them remain poor, lovelorn and unfulfilled, or sick and unhappy. While it’s important to know where you are going, it’s equally important to know how to get there. And the key to reach one’s goals is a winning strat- egy and innovation. The two stories here give a flavor on HOW TO DO THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY to be more successful.

2.1 Grameen Bank - Lending Money A Little Differently

John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, characterized innova- tion this way in his talk 1 at MIT in 2005, “INNOVATION IS NOT YOU’RE SMARTER OR WORK HARDER,

1 http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/293/ - “The Power of the Network to Change the Way We Work, Live, Play, and Learn”

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BUT TO UNDERSTAND HOW OTHERS FAILED IN THE PAST, AND DO THINGS A LITTLE DIFFER- ENTLY.” An excellent example of this concept is the approach of Grameen Bank, a bank devoted exclusively to provide financing to the poor, especially women. By conventional wisdom, the poor, having no collaterals, are considered high-risk for bank loans. Yet Grameen Bank found a way to make bank loan viable, with an astonishing low default rate (less than 2%). Considering the fact that this work was started in a poor village, Jobra in Bangladesh, where there’s strong tradition that women have little rights in society, and in some areas they are not even allowed to talk to strangers face to face, the success was especially astounding, and is almost like a miracle happening. Yet the success is no accident. The Grameen Bank approach has been successfully replicated world-wide, country af- ter country, and the micro-credit concept Grameen Bank has pioneered is now a world-wide movement, as well as the center piece of United Nations and many coun- try’s effort and policy to help lift the poor from poverty. Grameen Bank asks for no collateral, borrowers sign no paper, and Grameen Bank even loans money to beggars! So why is Grameen Bank successful where conventional banking failed? To understand that, we need to first go back to see how Grameen Bank got started. Grameen Bank was the creation of Muhammad Yunus, a professor of economics at Chittagong University near Jobra. In response to the dire perpetuating poverty poor villagers were trapped in, his action eventually resulted in the creation of Grameen Bank, or Village Bank, as Grameen means village in Bangladesh. Prof. Yunus got his advanced degrees in US and returned to Bangladesh in 1972 to teach. In 1974, the country fell into a wide spread famine. Prof. Yunus

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recalled the frustrations he had that he was teaching all these fancy economic models in a nice classroom, yet it had so little to do with the difficult lives of poor villagers living right next to the campus. In his own words, “I felt the emptiness of those theories in the face of crushing hunger and poverty. I wanted to do something immediate to help people around me, even if it was just one human being, to get through another day with a little more ease.” By 1976, Prof. Yunus regularly visited Jorba with his stu- dents in order to better understand what made villagers’ lives so difficult and how they could help. For exam- ple, he was shocked to learn that a poor woman, Sufiya Bergum, was trapped in poverty for the lack of five taka, the equivalent of twenty-two US cents. He said, “I had never heard of anyone suffering for the lack of twenty- two cents. It seemed impossible to me, preposterous.” Sufiya made beautiful bamboo stools for a living. But since she was poor and could not borrow from the bank, she needed to borrow from the money lender. Each day she borrowed twenty-two cents to buy the materials for her trade. However, She was obligated to sell the prod- ucts she made back to the money lender, and earned only two cents, barely enough to feed her and her children. So in fact, she was like a bonded slave. In contrast to the common belief, Prof. Yunus found out that it’s not that the poor don’t want to work or lack skills, but for lack of source of capital, that they are trapped in a perpetual cy- cle of poverty and are essentially no different from slaves in bondage. They cannot start to improve their lives by earning the full values of their labor in the free market because of the lack of source of credits. So he asked one of his students to find out all the people in the same sit- uation as Sufiya in Jobra. There were forty-two people with a total need of only twenty-seven US dollars! He gave them interest-free loan to help them to break this

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vicious cycle of misery. Later on, when this and other small pilots were all working well, and villagers were able to repay the loan, he wanted to make an institutional so- lution, such as a bank, in order to solve this problem in vast regions of Bangladesh. That was where he ran into the most resistance and skepticism of his endeavor. The bankers he talked to simply don’t believe this ap- proach is viable. Like many others, I have applied mort- gage for a house several times before. It’s a complicated process with lots of paper work. Bankers are very care- ful with their money. They want to find out about what you make each month and what assets you have and your credit history in order to decide if you could afford to pay back the loan and if you are credit-worthy. Lawyers are involved and one has to sign many legal documents of obligations with a lot of penalty clauses. So bankers by nature are a very conservative and cautious bunch. They thought Yunus was crazy to lend money to poor people. They told Yunus he would lose money big way since poor people have no collaterals nor skills to earn money to pay back the loan. They also pointed out that the banking cost would be too high for such a small loan. They told him Jobra is different. The scheme might work in Jobra, right next to the University with free college student volunteers, but not elsewhere. They told him the poor, especially women in Bangladesh, are mostly illiter- ate and have never handled money before, so how do you do banking with them? They can’t read or sign any pa- pers. Where do you find workers willing to go to village to lend out loans, as one can’t expect the poor women, who seldom leave their houses, to know how to come to the bank to apply for a loan. They politely advised Prof. Yunus to focus on economic theory and leave the bank- ing business to them, the experts. In the face of such criticism and resistance, most people would have given

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up. But Prof. Yunus was no ordinary people. He under- stood why conventional banking procedures won’t work for the poor villagers but he could “LEND MONEY TO THE POOR A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY”. For a while, he personally guaranteed all the loans the bank gave to the poor villagers and signed all the pa- pers for them, But eventually this led to the formation of Grameen Bank in 1983. As of April, 2006, Grameen Bank has 6.04 million borrowers, 96 percent of whom are women. With 2014 branches, Grameen Bank pro- vides services in 65,847 villages, covering more than 97 percent of the total villages in Bangladesh. Borrowers of Grameen Bank at present own 94 per cent of the total eq- uity of the bank. The remaining 6 percent is owned by the government. Since 1995, Grameen Bank no longer accept any donor money and all loans were financed from de- posits. Projected disbursement for 2006 is $821 millions in US dollars. There are many key differences between Grameen Bank’s approach and conventional banking. Instead of collateral and legal instruments, Grameen Bank asks borrowers to form five-members group to support each other, but there is no joint liability by the group for each individual’s loan. In case of difficulty to meet loan payment, instead of taking legal action, Grameen Bank workers help borrowers to re-schedule the loan and get over the difficulties. Grameen Bank’s goal is not to maxi- mize profit but to make financial services available to the poorest, especially women. Grameen Bank also provides many other products and services to improve the welfare for the whole family, such as loan for housing, education scholarship, insurance, pension. Grameen Bank has its branches located in rural villages, and workers go to the villages to meet the borrowers instead of the other way around. Paperwork to keep track who has how much

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money deposited or borrowed were greatly simplified as many villagers are illiterate. Various innovation, includ- ing the use of information technology, were introduced to reduce the bookkeeping work load for the workers. The overall great success of the project showed that Grameen Bank’s premise is indeed correct, namely, each person, no matter how poor, has endless potential, and will not abuse the help and opportunity to lift oneself out of poverty. It would be naive to think that once one finds the right magic idea, the rest is a piece of cake. To bring about the success of Grameen Bank and micro-credit, Yunus faced many more challenges beside institutional resis- tance. Many women literally refused to borrow money from the bank. They wanted to defer to their husbands. There were many natural disasters that made loan re- payment impossible. There were cultural barriers for men to talk to women, for women bank workers to walk alone in village, or to continue working after marriage. Yunus and leaders of Grameen Bank needed to learn and to innovate continuously as they were doing path- breaking work that no one else had been there before. The lessons they learned form the basis for the replication program for other regions and countries. The key inno- vation is the trust placed in poor people and the mech- anism to make repayment easy (frequent repayment at very small amount with almost no paper work, and bank clerks go to the villagers to collect or distribute funds). Grameen Bank had a program to demonstrate that even beggars could be helped to use loans to become busi- ness entrepreneurs, and with equally amazing low de- fault rate. However, in spite of the hardship in working condi- tion, (there’s no “banker’s hours”), recruiting workers for Grameen Bank was never a real problem. As pointed

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out in “The Art of Business” 2 , Grameen Bank is not only doing things right but is also doing the right things. The Bank is changing people’s life for the better with their “Sixteen Decisions” for Grameen Bank members, such as “We shall plan to keep our families small. We shall educate our children, etc.” So Grameen Bank has no dif- ficulty to recruit young and energetic people. It’s not just an unusual banking business, it’s a life uplifting adven- ture. The success of Grameen Bank and micro-credit movement showed clearly that there’s a huge need for credits by the poor which was not met by conventional banking or government and society at large. Further- more, the success also showed that there’s a tremendous store of good will in people that could be mobilized to help address the needs of the poor. Certainly, in the early phase of Grameen Bank, employees worked more like dedicated volunteers, but Grameen Bank never had any real difficulties in attracting qualified people to work at the bank. The Grameen Bank story has a very positive message for us all. Namely, poverty is a solvable problem and poor people can be trusted with credit. And once be- ing helped, they could get out of poverty and make useful contribution to society like everyone else. We just need to find a way to let the poor to help themselves. Micro-credit is certainly one very important way. It’s great that this work of Prof. Yunus and the Grameen Bank have now been recognized world- wide by their being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Lessons to take home with: “CONVENTIONAL THINKING MAY BE WRONG. THERE MIGHT BE A BETTER SOLUTION IF WE DO THINGS A LITTLE

2 Raymond Yeh and Stephanie Yeh, “The Art of Business - In The Footsteps of Giants”, Zero Time Publishing, 2004.

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DIFFERENTLY.” References - Muhammad Yunus, “Banker to the Poor”, Perseus Books Group (1999). 2006 Nobel Prize lecture at nobelprize.org. Also, talk by Muhammad Yunus at MIT, “Ending Global Poverty”, http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/289/. http://www.grameen-info.org/.

2.2 Pro-Poor Technology - Help The Poor To Pedal Out Of Poverty

The Green Revolution have helped to triple the global grain harvest since 1950, with total production of 1.87 billion tons per year by 1999, more than adequate to feed all the six billion people in the world. The global irri- gated area has also increased more than six-fold during the 20th century, from 40 million hectares to over 260 million hectares. Yet, as of 1999, UN Food and Agricul- ture Organization reported that 790 million people in the developing world are chronically hungry. Why is that? India has been self-sufficient in food production for fif- teen years, yet more than 200 million Indians are mal- nourished. Why is that? The heart of the problem is that both the Green Revo- lution and the large scale irrigation projects, while help- ful in increasing overall food production, have not met the needs of the many hundred-million of poor farmer families with small plot, two acres or less. Many are too poor to purchase the “surplus” grain in the mar- ket. Their land may be too far away from irrigated ar- eas. Even when there are accessible water underground, they lack the capital to invest in the irrigation systems designed and priced for much larger farms, such as the

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$200 - $500 US diesel pump and tube-well system. Fur- thermore, those systems are expensive to run or maintain and not economical for small plots. Thus they could de- pend only on the unreliable rain for planting and could plant only one season when there’s rain. Even for the ar- eas irrigated, there are frequent problems due to lack of maintenance. In the past, many large pumps and irri- gation systems were put in place in developing countries by international aids organizations. But many of these pumps and systems were soon out of service as the local communities lack the fund and the know-how to main- tain or repair these pumps or systems. What is missing in the picture is the appropriate tech- nology that would addresses the needs of the small plot farmers and would help them to become more produc- tive. Stepping into this void came Dr. Paul Polak, who started International Development Enterprise (IDE) 3 in 1981. Over the years, IDE has developed and distributed in many countries a whole set of water related technol- ogy - storage bags, pumps, micro-irrigation systems - to solve the water requirement for millions of poor farm- ers and help them to become self-sufficient. IDE solved poor farmer’s problem by DOING FARMING A LIT- TLE DIFFERENTLY. In what follows, I’ll focus on two major innovation of IDE. The first is their methodology in establishing local enterprises to make their interven- tion sustainable through market dynamics. The second is the many innovations related to the whole spectrum of systems in micro-irrigation. The importance of micro- irrigation technology is an obvious one. Due to the com- ing crisis of water shortage, conservation of water re- sources is now an important part of the UN Millennium

3 ideorg.org

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Project goals 4 to address world-wide poverty. Micro- irrigation is very efficient in water usage. It’s also much gentler on land in contrast with large scale irrigation projects which often led to land degradation and deserti- fication. 5 IDE received in 2004 the Accenture Economic Development Award from Technology Museum of Inno- vation for IDE’s innovation in low-cost technology devel- opment focused on the needs of the rural poor, such as the “Easy Drip” system, which irrigates crops efficiently and cost only $1 US. Paul Polak received his MD from the University of Western Ontario and practiced psychiatry for many years. He also had a knack for investment. Over the years he amassed a $3 million portfolio in real estate and oil and gas. As a psychiatrist he had been studying the links between mental health and poverty. In 1981, he decided to devote himself full time to solve the prob- lems of the poor and started IDE. Living on investment income, he spent the first several years traveling to re- mote corners of the world and talking to everyone he could to understand the problem. Polak’s first big suc- cess came in the mid-1980s when he applied marketing techniques to promote a low cost ($25 US) treadle pump to the poor farmers in Bangladesh. There are large areas in the country where ground water are close to surface and could be pumped out from shallow tube well. The farmer pedals alternatively on two piece of boards of the treadle pump, kind of like riding a bicycle except that one is standing, to pump water out from ground. With the help of this device, many farmers are adding $100 US a year to their income, some as much as $500 US. $100

4

millenniumproject.org 5 Chapter 9, “Thinking Big About Small-Scale Irrigation” in “Pillar of Sand”, by Sandra Postel, Norton (1999)

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US is a very significant income in many parts of the de- veloping world. So the farmers are practically pedaling themselves out of poverty. Many development experts at that time were very skeptical with the idea of increasing production with human energy. They thought the much more expensive diesel pump is the way to go. To promote the treadle pump throughout Bangladesh, Polak had the unique insight to first build up the local market sector of suppliers, installers, and distributors, so the growth of its use become self-sustainable. IDE was initially the sole manufacturer and distributor, but quickly phased itself out when local entrepreneurs had been trained and could take over. Over the years, IDE has encouraged 75 small private-sector companies to manufacture the devices and trained several thousand village dealers and tube-well drillers to sell and install them. 6 Quality inspection was very important and strict qualify standard was main- tained. IDE logo won’t go on the devices unless they passed inspection. As a sign of the success of the private sector, for many years now, IDE direct participation to this market was 25% or less. Polak also learned that poor farmer are very sensitive to pricing. Although IDE sup- plied three models with different price and quality level, Polak remarked that, “To our surprise, the cheapest, two- year life model instantly captured about 50% of the Trea- dle Pump market, and has remained the highest volume seller.” To promote the pump, IDE deployed a variety ac- tivities, including posters and calendars, troubadours to perform at local villages, rickshaw processions, demon- stration plots, let customers touch and operate, coordi- nate with other NGOs, and work through government officials and policy makers. The project was highly suc-

6 “The Big Potential of Small Farms”, Paul Polak, Scientific Ameri- can, Sept., 2005.

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cessful in Bangladesh. It’s estimated that IDE has dis- tributed over 1 million pumps in other developing coun- tries as well. Another area that Polak DID THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY was in the design and marketing of drip irrigation products. To meet the needs of the poor farm- ers, the products need to be affordable with rapid pay- back, divisible and expandable according to plot size, and efficient in water usage. Conventional drip systems de- signed for large fields are too expensive and not divisi- ble. Polak came up with the design ideas of the system in 1992. After numerous field tests and improvement, IDE came out with four products to meet the spectrum of needs: a bucket kit for entry level, a drum-kit, a shiftable system, and stationary micro tube system. As of 2001, 13,000 micro-irrigation systems have been distributed, although the potential application of these technology is much larger. As mentioned earlier, IDE and Polak were recognized by the Technology Museum of Innovation for their work in this area. In addition to pumps and drip irrigation kits, IDE also promoted huge, low cost, in-ground water storage bags, so rain water could be stored for drinking and irri- gation. Paul Polak and IDE were well recognized for the pro-poor technology work they did. Paul Polak received the top fifty technology innovators award from Scientific American in 2003. The pro-poor technology approach of IDE has inspired many other organizations and universi- ties to set up programs to find the appropriate technology that could benefit the poorest. References - “How IDE Installed 1.3 Million Trea- dle Pumps in Bangladesh by Activating the Private Sec- tor: The Practical Steps”, by Paul Polak. “Trickle-Up Economics”, by David Armstrong with Naazneen Kar- mali, June 20, 2005, Forbes.com. “The Design Process

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for the IDE Low Cost Drip Irrigation System”, Paul Po- lak. “Drip Irrigation for Small Farmers - A new initiative to Alleviate Hunger and Poverty”, Sandra Postel, Paul Polak, Fernando Gonzales, Jack Keller, Water Interna- tional, Volume 26, pages 3-13, 2001. “Transforming Vil- lage Water Access Into Profitable Business Opportuni- ties”, by Paul Polak, Deepak Adhikari, Bob Nanes, Dan Salter, Sudarshan Surywanshi, Jack Keller (2002). Arti- cles without explicit reference can be found under “Tech- nical Library” at http://www.ideorg.org/.

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Chapter 3

Leverage, And Use All The Help You Can Find

We all know that, “to do a job right, we need to have the right tools”. We also know that leverage is a very powerful idea, for “given a lever long enough, we can move the world.” Here are some stories that illustrate the principle of leverage and the importance of applying multiple leverages synergistically.

3.1 Ashoka - To Empower And Launch Thousands Of Social Change Makers

Social entrepreneur is a new ideal for many young people. Instead of trying to make and accumulate a lot of money in life, they apply the same innovative, hard driving, and entrepreneurial approach in forming new business to form new ventures in social change to improve people’s lives. To understand the social en- trepreneur phenomena, there is no better place to start

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than to visit ashoka.org or to read David Bornstein’s book about Ashoka, “How to Change the World”. For Ashoka, founded by Bill Drayton in 1980 for “Innovators for the Public”, has the longest history in doing this kind of work, and has the largest network world-wide of so- cial entrepreneurs. Since its formation, the organization has identified and supported over 1,800 Ashoka Fellows in over 60 countries. Bill Drayton demonstrated leadership at an earlier age. He launched “The Sentinel”, a class newspaper, in grade four. The newspaper soon grew from two-page to thirty-two-page. With whole team of classmates help- ing out as writers and illustrators, and with advertise- ment support from local merchants, the paper was even distributed to some other schools. Public work and his- tory about India has always been of particular interest to Drayton. Another defining experience for him was a trip to India in 1963, when he was 20, to follow Vinoba Bhave to walk from village to village. Bhave was a key disciple of Gandhi and he applied Gandhi’s nonviolence approach to land reform. Through Bhave’s effort on land gift and village gift movement, by 1960, seven million acres of land were redistributed voluntarily to support landless people and “untouchables” in India. Over the years, Drayton became a firm believer of Gandhi’s great insight that our age calls for ethics based on empathy in- stead of relying only on rules, and empathy could be a very powerful force to change society for the better. Af- ter graduation from Harvard and post-graduate studies at Oxford and Yale, he worked as management consul- tant on public issues at McKinsey during the early 1970s. Drayton has been a social change maker himself. Drayton was always interested in the political process and had worked on several political campaigns. In 1977, he was appointed as Assistant Administrator of Envi-

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ronment Protection Agency (EPA). During his two years there, his ability to look at a problem and solve it in a fundamental way was demonstrated by having his idea on “bubble” - to allow trading in pollution control - en- acted into US environmental policy. The concept of “bub- ble” is to create incentives for polluting business to con- trol pollution by lumping the burden of pollution from all processes of the business for a given pollutant (say Greenhouse gas) together and allow the business to find the cheapest way to meet the set target, such as to fix first those processes that are least costly to clean up. This in- novative idea was then hotly contested by environmen- talists, EPA personnel, and many others. Only through his hard work, political skill in LEVERAGING support from many others, and tenacity, that the approach was adopted as policy. Today of course emission-trading is a central feature of the Kyoto Protocol. The emission trad- ing policy in the 1990 Clean Air Act had brought signif- icant reduction in sulfur dioxide, a major pollutant and cause for acid rain. Drayton was also tenacious to fight for the integrity of EPA as an organization. After Reagan became President in January 1981, it quickly became clear that the Reagan Administration was planning to destroy EPA by drasti- cally reducing its budget. Drayton understood what was going on and rose up to form Save EPA and LEVER- AGED media support to fight this. He explained, “They couldn’t win the policy fight, so they were going to de- stroy the institution.” “I like to build things. But I had spent a good part of my professional life building the en- vironmental institution at the municipal, state, and fed- eral levels. And what they are doing was illegitimate; it was just wrong.” Following advice from a friend, that the key to win in political fight is “to make it obvious to them that this is going to be political torture until they stop”,

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Drayton, over the next three years, mobilized media to keep close watch over EPA budget and keep the heat up about the danger of destruction of EPA. This topic even got into Doonesbury comic strip. The EPA had lost a third of its funding. Drayton said, “They did tremendous damage, but it could have been a lot worse.” For Drayton, it’s a compelling idea to apply the con- cept of venture capital firm to fund social entrepreneur work. Given his background and track record, he was just the right person to pioneer this new field of so- cial change making. In venture capital, one seeks high yields from modest but focused investments by leverag- ing other’s great business ideas. In funding social en- trepreneurs, “ONE LEVERAGES OTHER’S GREAT SOCIAL CHANGE IDEAS”, and the return is not mea- sured in money, but in long-lasting and wide-spread so- cial change. But the power of leverage is the same. Ap- ply a small amount of resources over a few years, to the right people with the innovative idea, commitment, and moral fiber, at a very early stage of the venture, so they could devote full time to bring their ideas into fruition, and achieve large scale and long lasting impact. Fur- thermore, by doing this over long period of time, and by forming strategic partnership and networking with business and citizen sector organizations, there are fur- ther leverage at group and sector infrastructure level. The global network of Ashoka Fellows are now a tremendous resources to help Fellows to solve problems in their work. Ashoka’s partnership, such as with McKinsey, also pro- vide vital input and support to nurture the new social entrepreneur organizations in their formative years. So Ashoka provides leverage on many fronts - in venture capital, in seed money support, in social enterprise in- cubation, in leadership skill training (Ashoka’s Global Academy), and in global networking. In 1984, Drayton

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was awarded the famous five-year MacArthur “genius” Fellowship for his work as public service innovator. Drayton chose the name Ashoka for a good reason. Ashoka was the name of a third century B.C. Indian em- peror, who set an example for global thinking, tolerance, and innovation in both economic development and social welfare. In Sanskrit, Ashoka means the “active absence of sorrow”. Emperor Ashoka was a person who knew how to get things done. He played a seminal role in the spread of Buddhism. Although he himself was a Bud- dhist, he guaranteed freedom of religion in his empire. He established the world’s first large-scale class of civil servants devoted to public welfare. They built India’s Grand Trunk Road, from Afghanistan to West Bengal, and provided support such as water, shade trees, and rest houses, along much of the length of the road. They also built hospitals, and did land settlement work. Drayton also chose oak tree as the organization’s logo, to symbol- ize “from little acorns do great trees grow”. While the idea of Ashoka came naturally to Drayton, to get it funded was very difficult in the beginning. Dray- ton started Ashoka with $50,000 of his own money and some private donation. For the first five years, he could not get a single public foundation to support it. In 2006, it has a budget close to $30 millions US dollars. To re- cruit people in other countries to participate was also very difficult in the beginning. There were a lot of sus- picion on whether Ashoka might be a cover of CIA or some other covert work of USA. Since Ashoka are break- ing new ground in the social change making field, new systems and support infrastructure need to be invented. How to find, select, and review candidates for Ashoka Fellows? How to support them and for how long? There were many challenges. Let’s now look at the current process of Ashoka Fel-

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low selection. According to ashoka.org web site, Ashoka Fellows are funded at the launch stage of the social enter- prise, typically to provide a living stipend for the Fellows for an average of three years to allow the Fellows to fo- cus full-time on building their institutions and spreading their ideas. In addition, Ashoka also provides the Fel- lows a global support network of their peers and profes- sional consultants, and once elected, Fellows are part of the Ashoka global network of Fellows for life. Ashoka used the following five criteria to evaluate potential can- didates for Fellowship:

The Knockout Test - Look for innovative idea or solution to social problems that could change the field.

Creativity - Does the person have a track record of compelling vision and creative in problem solving?

Entrepreneurial Quality - Are the leaders totally passionate and dedicated to realize their social vi- sion?

Social Impact of the Idea - The change idea must have potential of national or broad regional impact.

Ethical Fiber - The Fellows selected must be totally trustworthy.

In addition, Ashoka will not support anyone who is vi- olent, or a partisan political leadership, or support vio- lence, discrimination or totalitarianism. To find poten- tial candidates, Ashoka has built up over the years an ex- tensive global nominator network, consisted of partner organizations, business, social entrepreneurs, and com- munity leaders.

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How successful are the selection process and what im- pact Ashoka had? Each year, Ashoka routinely conducts survey and interviews with Fellows selected five years ago and ten years ago for its Measuring Effectiveness Study. The following are the composite results collected over the last six years (1999 - 2004). The results (all for ten-years post-selection) are very impressive indeed:

The Original Vision - 83% Fellows are still working at the original vision after ten years.

Independent Replication - 82% of Fellow’s work have been independently replicated.

Policy Influence - 71% of Fellow’s work are adopted as government policy.

Leadership Building - 66% Fellows are now leaders in their field.

Ashoka Leverage - 77% considered Ashoka’s over- all support critical or significant to their work.

The success of Ashoka and its Fellows is a tremen- dous reminder for us not to despair in today’s world that is full of conflict, violence, and trauma. It’s easy to lose heart reading the daily reporting of wanton slaughter or violence in the news. However, there are thousands and thousands of social entrepreneurs working tirelessly and ceaselessly to improve the lives for millions. The world has the capacity and ability to make it a good place to live for all. As Drayton pointed out, we must use empa- thy as the new guiding ethical principle for the 21st cen- tury. Ashoka could make this tremendous accomplish- ments only through the principle of leverage. No matter how smart or capable an individual is, he or she could only do personally the social change work of at most a

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few Ashoka Fellows. But by leveraging at multiple lev- els, the organization now has world-wide impact and is a major force in the new field of social change making. Lessons to take home - “APPLY THE PRINCIPLE OF LEVERAGE: INVEST IN A NUMBER OF SELECTED PROJECTS, RELATIONS, OR WORK THAT POTEN- TIALLY COULD LEAD TO HUGE BENEFITS IN THE FUTURE”. References - David Bornstein, “How to Change the World - Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas”, Oxford Univ. Press, 2004. See also the web site ashoka.org.

3.2 Social Marketing - How To Lever- age Community To Save Lives

Helping others is not just a matter of providing money or knowledge. Let’s take smoking or unsafe sex- ual behavior as an example. Many are trapped in self- destructive behavior, even though they know these be- havior are risky and would harm them in the long run. To help them to break the vicious grip of addiction, one needs to leverage and bring many resources together. This story is about how society comes to that understand- ing and has been applying marketing techniques to help people to change unhealthy behavior such as smoking. The concept of “social marketing” 1 was first formalized in a book with the same title by Philip Kotler and Ed- uardo Roberto in 1971. The idea is to apply commercial marketing concepts and techniques to a target population to achieve desirable social goals. However, there are im- portant differences between commercial marketing and

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social marketing

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social marketing. Commercial marketing campaigns try to associate pleasurable images with the use of certain products, so there is frequently a problem of truth in ad- vertisement. Social marketing is trying to get the truth of health hazards to the audiences. Instead of using profit as the motive, the aim in social marketing is for funda- mental behavior change in the individual. Furthermore, merely getting the information out through a campaign is not enough, one also needs to leverage the help from the community. The solution is frequently to facilitate funda- mental changes in the environment the person is embed- ded in. The term “social marketing” may give the wrong impression that this approach may have something to do with capitalism or a particular type of market ideology. It’s really more about leveraging social psychology and the influence of peers and community to help the person to make positive behavioral changes. For the first large scale campaign of social marketing to promote healthy behavior, let me turn to the story of Victoria Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth). It’s the first such foundation in the world, authorized by the State Parliament of Victoria in Australia in 1987 as part of the Tobacco Act. The VicHealth story is unusual in several ways. First, it’s funded by tax from tobacco. Sec- ondly, in addition to general promotion in all health re- lated areas, VicHealth was also authorized to buy out sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies and replace their pro-smoking messages with healthy mes- sages. In the Quit campaign, the message Smoking: “It’s not just about death, it’s about loss of life.” was shown with picture of lung cancer patients on oxygen support. Thirdly, VicHealth was very unusual to be able to gar- ner not only media support but also the support of all three major political parties - the Liberal Party, the Na- tional Party, and the Australia Labor Party - both dur-

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ing the legislation phase as well as later on. To get this leverage, VicHealth was careful to have broad represen- tation of all political persuasion on its board. This lever- age was essential for the success of the organization over the years. One metric of VicHealth’s success could be measured in the prevalence in smoking, which has been cut in half from the 34% in 1987 to about 17% today. This success was not unnoticed both within Australia and internationally. World Health Organization has long rec- ognized the merit of the VicHealth Model and encour- aged other countries to adopt the model. Currently, Thailand’s ThaiHealth is modeled after VicHealth and many other countries - such as Korea, Hungary, South Africa, Malaysia, and Philippines - are in various stages of adopting the model. Like the tri-partisan support, VicHealth is the result of important contribution by many individuals. Two in particular, Nigel Gray and David White, played critical roles for the creation of VicHealth. Nigel Gray was the Director of Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria for many years. He came to realize back in 1970 that tobacco smoking caused cancer, and to cut down cancer rate it’s crucial to reduce smoking. He was a quiet person but persistent and he consistently brought up this message with the Health Minister of Victoria. By February 1987, when he talked with David White about this issue, David was the eighth consecutive Victoria Health Minister Nigel had pitched his message. But none of the previous minis- ters thought it’s possible to find a way to increase tax on cigarettes or to ban tobacco companies from advertising through sports sponsorship. Gray recalled that, “David said his father had died of emphysema, this was not an election year, and he’d be interested in doing something about tobacco.” White and Gray mapped out a strategy to introduce the Tobacco Act. Critical to their success

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was to have solid science on their side and to line up pub- lic opinion and media support. During debate of the bill, experts from major cancer institute were brought in to report that only 3.6 percent out of 1976 new lung can- cer patients admitted to the institue for treatment are non-smokers! Even before the Bill was passed, Gray has contacted Sir Gustav Nossal, Australia’s leading scientist and world renown immunologist, and got his support to serve as the inaugural chair of VicHealth, lending great credibility to the concept of VicHealth. Anti-Cancer Council also commissioned a survey that showed strong public support on the idea to levy tax on tobacco and use that money to support health education. The Coun- cil, through its newsletter, also mounted a letter writing campaign, resulted in the biggest and most sustained let- ters poured into the legislature. White led the charge to maneuver the bill through legislature. He worked hard to enlist all three parties to support the proposed bill by making sure that VicHealth will not lean toward any particular party ideology and it’s funding would not be used to serve political purpose. The tobacco compa- nies were caught off-guard as VicHealth was not funded through the Budget Process but by a separate bill. The idea that VicHealth will buy out the sponsorship from to- bacco companies also addressed the concerns that some jobs would be lost if it’s just a simple ban of sponsorship by tobacco companies. From this story, it’s clear that Gray and White’s success was not just a matter of apply- ing leverage through the political parties. In fact, MUL- TIPLE LEVERAGES WERE APPLIED IN A SYNER- GITICAL MANNER - by seeking support from science, from media, from letter writing campaign, and by catch- ing the tobacco companies off-guard by funding the ef- fort through a bill instead of the Budget Process. Social marketing are now widely used. Two other ma-

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jor player in social marketing are US Center of Disease Control (CDC) and Population Services International (PSI). Many successful campaigns related to healthy be- havior patterns were launched over the years. Many key elements that led to successful behavior change are in- cluded in the “Seven Doors Social Marketing Approach”, which was developed by Les Robinson. The Seven Doors approach suggests that there are seven steps to make so- cial change, like going through seven doors. These steps are:

Knowledge - “I know I should” - before change can start to happen, people need to recognize the problem and cost and know that a practical solu- tion is available. For example, people need to know that heavy drinking is very bad for their health and could cause all kinds of health problems, such as liver disease.

Desire - “I want to” - aside from rational knowl- edge, people need to feel the emotional pull of a pos- sible, better, changed state and to visualize being there. Testimonials by people who has recovered from drug addiction and rebuild their lives success- fully could help other addicts to feel that “I could make the same changes too”.

Skills - “I can” - people need to know what to do to make the change, preferably in simple step-by-step instruction. It could be a matter of replacing the bad habit by a simple harmless substitute. Instead of binging on sweets, one could have plenty of fruits nearby and eat fruits instead.

Optimism - “It’s worthwhile and it can be done” - people need to feel optimistic that they are not

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powerless and success in change is highly probable, even inevitable. This is why messages from popu- lar role models such as singers or movie stars are frequently deployed in these campaigns. Encour- agement from them could motivate many.

Facilitation - “It’s easy” - having outside support to help overcome obstacles and make it simple and easy for people to change. For example, it helps to prevent the spread of AIDS and sexually transmit- ted disease by providing condoms and clean needles in the community.

Stimulation - “I’m joining in” - use a special event to kick-start the change movement and ask people to join a group to make the change together and to support and encourage each other.

Reinforcement - “That was a success” - positive change needs on-going positive feedback and re- inforcement to counter the many payoffs of un- healthy, undesirable, or anti-social behavior.

One of the success stories from social-marketing.org given in the reference is the Florida “Truth” Campaign, which reduced smoking by middle school students in past 30 days from 18.5% to 8.8% in just two years (1998- 2000). Here are some of the elements of the campaign from the perspective of the seven-step approach:

Knowledge - survey in 1997 found that teens in Florida were well-acquainted with the negative ef- fects of tobacco use but saw smoking as rebellious and self-identifying.

Desire - The “truth” campaign identify tobacco use as addictive drug marketed by callous manipula- tive Big Tobacco and redirect youth rebellion to

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regard tobacco control as hip and cool. Funding for the campaign came from settlement money be- tween State of Florida and the tobacco industry.

Skills - The brand “Truth - A generation united against tobacco” was promoted through many pro- grams and events including Florida Tobacco Pilot Program (FTPP), Teen Tobacco Summit, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), statewide train caravan, concert series, and the founding of local “Truth Chapters”. FTPP website contains facts and statistics on tobacco, SWAT information, and online advocacy activities.

Optimism - Empower the teens to combat tobacco use through conferences and seminars feathering celebrities and politicians and encourage advocacy participation. Over 10,000 middle and high school teens were attracted by the campaign to join SWAT.

Facilitation - “Truth”- branded merchandise, such as T-shirts and baseball caps, were distributed via official campaign van at teen functions throughout the state.

Stimulation - Kickoff events such as Teen Tobacco Summit, Reel “Truth” tour with 13-city train ride, and concert series provide ample opportunity for teens to pledge not to smoke.

Reinforcement - The campaign messages are be- ing reinforced through television commercials, bill- boards, print ads, posters, and various media events.

The Seven Doors approach and the example above again reinforce the idea that to make positive behav-

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ior changes, we need not only leverage, but also to AP- PLY MULTIPLE LEVERAGES IN A SYNERGITICAL MANNER in order to achieve the best result. References - The VicHealth story could be read on- line at http://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/. The web sites for PSI and CDC are respectively, psi.org and cdc.gov. The seven doors social marketing approach can be found at http://media.socialchange.net.au/strategy/. Many suc- cessful campaigns are discussed at http://www.social- marketing.org/success.html.

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Chapter 4 The Discipline To Succeed

When faced with great challenges, it’s usually disci- pline that get us through difficulties. Here are two stories which illustrate this point.

4.1 Greg Smith - How To Survive Catastrophe And Live To Tell

Most people don’t function well facing catastrophe. They are overwhelmed, confused, paralyzed. They feel shock, despair, anger, but especially, powerless. Because of that, they frequently do nothing and just let the catas- trophe to take its natural course of destruction. But there could be another way. The chance of survival are better if we are prepared. One way to prepare is to learn from the stories of people who survived catastrophes and live to tell their stories. The story below is part of the extraor- dinary life of Greg Smith. In December 1986, Greg Smith, who was 34 at the time, was told that he had an inoperable brain tumor and had only three months to live. Apparently, his be- nign brain tumor, which had been there for more than

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a decade, had suddenly turned malignant and went on exponential growth unexpected and undetected. Now, he was told, it’s too late to operate. Furthermore, he learned all this from the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, a top med- ical institution in the country. Yet he lives on and wrote his book “Making Miracles Happen” in 1997, to share his experience of survival to help others. He also lived to see the book he was working on back then during the crisis, “Jackson Pollock: An American Saga”, to get published and he received Pulitzer Prize for the book in 1991. Now there’s something about Greg Smith that made him an excellent teacher for others to fight catastrophe. He was young, loved life, and desired to live. He also had a special talent and tenacity to dig out information. When he was researching the book on Jackson Pollock, he and his co-author and partner, Steve, pledged that, “we would go anywhere, talk to anyone, read anything, follow any lead, turn any stone in the search for options.” That tenacity will be crucial when one is tested by life with catastrophe. Both of them are lawyers. Back in 1983, they have already applied that same gift and persis- tence to write the book “The Best Lawyers in America”. While there may not be a miracle for everyone with an in- operable brain tumor, one does need some grit and char- acter to make a miracle possible. The story of “Chasing Daylight”, by Eugene O’Kelly, is equally moving, but the outcome was very different. However, in spite of these caveat, the way Greg Smith went about to create his mir- acle is very instructive, and is the story given below. In facing a tragedy or catastrophe of such magnitude, it’s natural for people to give up, “to pack up life and get ready to die”. However, whether one is naturally a fighter or not, the first lesson from Smith’s story is to “TAKE BACK CONTROL”, for “LEARNED HELPLESSNESS KILLS!”. Many died needlessly because they have given

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up. Smith cited experiments done by Madelon Bara- noski at Yale which showed that rats subjected to ran- dom shock they have no control would die at high rate (75%), but the death rate would be much lower (25%) if the rats had some mechanism of control. Similar results were implicated in people too. Stress level becomes very high when people lose autonomy or control of their lives. What kind of control could one find when you were told by world-renown authorities that you have only three months to live? It turns out that, in almost any dire situation, there’s always something one can do. Just the process itself of looking for options, second opinions, and assessing and analyzing alternatives, is already very help- ful. The mindset would be very different if one has eval- uated all the facts and options and then choose not to go through “heroic” rescue effort, because then the choice is made by oneself, not by fickle fate. In Smith’s case, or in any medical situations, as Smith pointed out, that there are usually a lot of options available. First, there is the choice of doctors. Each doctor, even for the same specialty, is different. Not only the train- ing, skill, and experiences are variable, but also the sup- porting environment of the clinic, supporting staff, or the hospital is different. Secondly, there’s almost always dif- ferent views on how to treat a problem or the assessment of outlook. For life-threatening illness, it’s critical to get several opinions. Thirdly, medical science is always mov- ing into new experiments and discoveries. There might be a lot of experimental procedures and drugs not yet available to the general public but available through var- ious trial programs. For all these reasons, one must do one’s homework to “RESEARCH AND DEVELOP REAL OPTIONS” so one’s decision is based on thorough knowledge and not to be dictated by the situation or the first doctor. Only by taking back control this way, what-

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ever happens, one would know that one has done the best one could at the time. In medical science as in many other life situations, there is no 100% certainty, and what a lot of doctors are saying are just their best guesstimates and not a sure thing. There are always things one can do to increase the odds for one’s survival and success. To find real options one does need to take some “PER- SISTANCE AND PERSERVERENCE” (P&P), but then, after all, it’s your own life you are fighting to protect! To reach the various doctors for Smith to develop his own options for treatment, he just forced himself through phone to every doctors he could find that know anything about brain tumor and how to fight them. And he didn’t take “No” as an answer. He remembered that onc time he insisted on to talk to a neurosurgeon directly, and he told the secretary “it’s a life-or-death situation”, the secretary replied tartly, “I know, I know. They are all dying”. It’s through such effort that Smith found out about the exper- imental procedure of Doctor Sadek Hilal at Columbia- Presbyterian who had a new procedure to inject special silicone into the blood vessels going into the tumors to starve them, a procedure called therapeutic emboliza- tion. After meeting with Dr. Hilal and evaluating all the options, Smith chose to do the procedure in March 1987 and got his stay of execution. Even though there were still other complications down the road and the tumor needed to be “maintained”, he got his life back, and each year he lived after that would be one more year he might not have otherwise. After learning a story like that, shouldn’t we all be thankful for each day we are healthy and able to do the things we like to do? Critical illness and facing death has so much to teach us about how to live and enjoy our lives. In Smith’s time, a lot of the data was not there or eas- ily accessible. In today’s world, data are more accessible

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through the world wide web and public resources such as the National Institute of Health. Also, medical profes- sionals are now more comfortable with patient’s need for information, second opinions, and taking control back. The patient’s recovery is now more like a partnership be- tween the doctor and the patient rather than an one per- son show of the doctor’s brilliance and heroic effort in rescue. As for information sources, there are “The Best Doctors in America” by Greg Smith and Steven Naifeh. There’s the Physician’s Data Query (PDQ) on all exper- imental programs for cancer treatment in US from Na- tional Cancer Institute (NCI) 1 , and there’s the ”Outcome Data Bank” at National Institute of Health (NIH) about cure rate and survival rate on various procedures. For other catastrophes, other data source would be necessary, but the principle of taking control back and developing real options are the same. References - Gregory White Smith, Steven Naifeh, “Making Miracles Happen”, Little, Brown and Company

(1997).

4.2 Si Ma Qian - Perseverance In Spite Of Stigma And Shame

Talking about being put between a rock and a hard place, let us try to imagine the tough decision Si Ma Qian had to make. On the one hand he was in the middle of his great work of systematic study and writing of China’s history, a task he promised his father to finish on his fa- ther’s deathbed. On the other hand he received the most humiliating insult and punishment an intellectual could get in ancient China - castration. In ancient China, a cas-

1 http://www.cancer.gov/cancer information/pdq/

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trated person is a non-person. They were even allowed to move freely in the emperor’s living quarters and mingle among emperor’s wives and concubines. Should Si chuck it all and just kill himself in order to clear his family’s good name? Or he should bear it all for many long years, and forget about his personal circumstances or even ex- istence, in order to complete the great task? He chose the later. Thanks to his years of suffering, bearing the unbearable sorrows, we have the first great analysis and detail documentation of China’s ancient history. To un- derstand why he made such a decision, we need to learn more about his life and his writings. Si Ma Qian (145 BC to 86 BC) was born into a fam- ily which for generations had served as royal historian for Han Dynasty as well as dynasties before Han. He lived most of his life during the reign of Emperor Wu. He was very smart from a very young age. His father, Si Ma Tan, taught him literature when he was only ten years old. He had studied literature and philosophy from several great scholars of that age and he traveled exten- sively both in his youth and in his job at the court. His father had a desire to write a comprehensive analysis of history, but could not realize this dream in his life. On his father’s death bed, the father gave the mission to the son, and begged the son to promise to complete the project no matter what happens. The son agreed to the importance of the project and solemnly gave the promise. 2 As his father had predicted, Si Ma Qian succeeded his father as the royal historian in 108 BC and had access to all the documents collected in the court. He started to or- ganize the huge historical materials available, and added to it first hand observation and materials he collected from his extensive travels. During his work on this great

2 http://fanjin.go1.icpcn.com/159.htm

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project, a major disaster struck. In 99 BC, there was a major battle between Han and Tartar. The Chief Gen- eral leading the campaign, Li Guang Li, was the brother of a favorite wife of the Emperor. Li was defeated by Tartar and suffered major losses and came back with few survivors from the campaign. One of the general in the campaign, Li Ling, however, fought heroically with the Tartar. Li Ling had only five thousand foot soldiers. The King of Tartar came with thirty thousand riders on horsebacks and surrounded Ling. Ling’s troop fought heroically and killed more enemies than twice their own size. But isolated and deep in enemy’s territory, without reinforcement or food, Ling was eventually captured and surrendered. Han’s Emperor Wu was very angry at this news, and most court officials also condemned Li Ling and said he should kill himself instead of surrender. They were the same people who praised Ling’s heroic fight just a few days ago. The Emperor asked Si Ma Qian to give his opinion about this. Si gave his honest opinion and sug- gested that Ling’s hand was forced at the moment, and his surrender was just a way to buy time to come back to Han in the future. This was not what the Emperor wanted to hear. His view was considered a criticism of both the Chief General Li’s conduct of the campaign, as well as called into question the wisdom of the war with Tartar itself. Si was put into jail. A short while later, there was a rumor that Li Ling was helping Tartar to at- tack Han. Emperor Wu was very angry and gave the or- der to kill Ling’s mother, wife, son, as well as Si Ma Qian. According to the law of Han, a death penalty could be stayed by either a half-million dollars or replaced by the penalty of castration, the worst insult to an Chinese intel- lectual at that time. Si’s family was not rich and he had no money to pay. So in order to live he had to accept the castration. This was what he chose to do, TO PERSIST

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IN ORDER TO FINISH HIS PROJECT on China’s his- tory. He died shortly after his work was done. It turned out that the general who helped Tartar was not Li Ling but someone else by a similar name. Si Ma Qian wrote a famous letter to a good friend to explain his view and feeling about this major disaster in his life. I have trans- lated this letter in the subsection below. The Shi Ji (Historical Records) Si Ma Qian wrote has 130 volumes, over half a million words. Sev- enty volumes are biographies for some special persons, not all are necessarily for officials or nobles. Thirty volumes are about prominent families and twelve vol- umes are about emperors or dynasties. Shi Ji cov- ers from the time of Emperor Huang of ancient China to Si’s days in Han dynasty, around 95 BC. Si’s writ- ing is vivid, factual, and accurate. He is considered the first great historian of China. His writing is val- ued not only for the accurate historical facts recorded and insightful historical analysis and lessons but also as writing of great literature. Other References about Si Ma Qian: page /chinese/jpkc/jiaoan/jiaoan 2 3.htm at http://www.qfnu.edu.cn/department

4.2.1 Letter To Ren Shao Qian

In the following letter, Si Ma Qian, explained to his friend and to future generations why he persisted in spite of the terrible stigma and shame of castration:

May I humbly greet you, Shao Qing: 3

You sent me a letter a while back and asked me to be careful in dealing with the world and be diligent in

3 http://www.popbook.com/mz/hanshu/hanshu073.html

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recommending good men to the court. You were earnest in your letter, and concerned that I did not do that, and would just try to get by like ordinary folks. I dare not do that. Even though I am dumb, I have been exposed to examples and teachings of great scholars. But as I looked at myself, my body already destroyed and fouled up, my action would attract distractors, I can’t add ben- efits and will only create troubles. That’s why I need to suppress myself and can’t talk much in the court. The sayings goes: “What’s causing this? Who do you listen to?” For after the death of Zhong Zi Qi, his friend Bo Ya never plays drum again. Why? Because a gentleman works for someone who can appreciate his talent, and a woman put on makeup for someone who can appreciate her beauty. For people like me, with the body already

corrupted, even with superior talent or impeccable char- acter, I still could not be proud. And anything I do would just draw attention and get people to laugh at me.

I meant to reply to your letter sooner. When I came

with the Emperor from the East last time, I was busy with various chores, and I was in a hurry and did not get a moment of rest. Now you yourself were accused with a serious crime for a month now and time is near the winter

time of execution, and I need to travel with the Emperor to Yong. I am afraid that you might be killed suddenly and I would not be able to tell you about all my bottled up feelings and anger. Then you will also regret forever not knowing what’s on my mind. So let me explain myself

a little in this letter. Please forgive me that it took me a while to reply to your letter.

I heard that: cultivate one’s character is the symbol

of wisdom; willing to give is the beginning of kindness; knowing what to take or skip is the sign of reasoning; shameful to be insulted is the decisive point of courage; and establishing a reputation for oneself is the conse-

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quence of one’s good conduct. A gentleman who pos- sesses these five qualities could be trusted with manag- ing nation’s affairs and be part of the establishment. So there is no troubles greater than having greedy desires, and no sadness more painful than hurting to the heart. And no conduct worse than the one that brings shame to one’s ancestors, and no insults greater than that of cas- tration. Those who have been castrated are no longer considered a normal person. This tradition was not just invented now but had a long history. In the past, when Duke Wei Ling’s carriage was driven by a castrated per- son Yong Qu, Confucius left Wei’s kingdom and went to Chen. Shang Yang was introduced in Qin Kingdom by a castrated person Jing Jian, and made Qin’s nobleman Zhao Liang despair. Yue Tan, a castrated person, drove the carriage for Han’s Emperor Wen Di, and Wen’s court official was shocked. So people considered it very shame- ful to be mingled with someone who has been castrated. Even for a person with mediocre talent, one would feel quite desperate with the shame of castration, then how about someone who aspired great goals and ideals! To- day it’s true that the court could use some good people. But how could someone like me, already suffered from the knife, to recommend talents to the court? I, mainly on account of my ancestor’s work, had served undeservedly on the court for more than twenty years. I figured that: I can’t do the best thing, which is to have a reputation of great strategy and capability, and be greatly appreciated by the Emperor; nor can I do the next best thing, which is to help the Emperor to see what’s missing or need correction, and to recommend able people and identify hidden talents from the country; nor could I lead troops and win battles; nor could I do the least, which is to achieve high position and great salary by long years of hard work, so my relatives and friends

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could be proud of me. I can’t do any of the four, so you can see that I am just getting by at the court, and I don’t really have a way to shine. In the past, I was also part of the court establishment and participated in various court discussions. Yet I did not do my recommendations at that time. Now I no longer have a whole body, and I am like the garbage to be swept away anytime. And you asked me to bring up my views now, to talk up with gesture and tell people what’s right or wrong. Is that not like laugh- ing at the court and all the other capable talents in the court? Now I am like this, what more can I say? What more can I say? Sometimes it’s hard to predict how things would turn out. When I was young, I thought I had special talent that could not be confined. But after I grew up, I did not acquire reputation among my hometown folks. It was purely a result of my ancestor’s services that I could serve in the Emperor’s court with my feeble skills. I thought how could one look at the sky while having a pan that covers one’s head? So I did not spend time to socialize, nor concentrate on building assets for my family, except to work hard day and night, in the hope that my little tal- ent, by concentration, could be of service to the Emperor. But things turned out to be entirely different from this expectation. About Li Ling, although we both served on the court,

I did not know him well. We had different interests, and had not even have dinner together. But I noticed that he is a very special person. He is filial toward his parents, trustworthy in dealing with people, never greedy, knows what to do or not to do. He is humble and courteous. He frequently thinks about how to sacrifice his life for the need of the kingdom. So from what he did all these years,

I think he is a world class gentleman. For it’s already

very unusual to find an official who is willing to answer

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the call of the kingdom, with the risks of dying ten thou- sand times and doesn’t care. Now as soon as his battle has a setback, those who hide behind in the safety in the rear immediately complain about him. This is something I re- ally dislike! Furthermore, Li Ling had only foot soldiers of less than five thousand, and he penetrated deep into the regions of Tartar’s riding fields. It was like putting food daringly at the tiger’s mouth, and he fought stiff battles with strong enemy troops many time the size of his. He fought with the King of Tartar more than a dozen days, and killed many more than the size of his troop, and Tartar continued to suffer great losses and didn’t even have the time to save the dead or aid the wounded. Thus the King of Tartar was greatly shaken, and asked his Left and Right Wise Kings to call on all who can use the bow and bring their whole country to come to fight and trap him. And he continued to fight them over a thousand miles, with arrows all gone and no more road to run, and no help or reinforcement, and our soldiers dead and wounded decorated the land like a densely sewn cloth. But when Li Ling rallied his tired troop, all raised up to fight again, in spite of bleeding in the whole face and tears, in spite of ran out of arrows and weapons, to still put up a fight to face the white blades of the enemy and death. Before Ling was captured, when messengers brought in news about him, the court officials and lords all celebrated and congratulated the Emperor with a cup of wine. A few days later, the news that Ling was cap- tured arrived. For this bad news the Emperor lost his appetite and was not in a good mood in the court meeting, and the court officials and lords were so worried, afraid, and did not know what to do. I knew I have only a minor position at the court, but concerned about the Emperor was so affected by this setback, and would like to sug- gest my foolish opinion to the Emperor that, Li Ling was

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someone who shared everything with his subordinates, and his soldiers would fight to the death for him. Even the best generals from history could not do much better than that. Even though he was captured and has surrendered, my guess would be that he would wait for a suitable op- portunity to show his loyalty and do something for Han. He was forced by the circumstances, but with the number of enemies he has killed, his accomplishments was noth- ing to be ashamed of. I had these thoughts but did not have an opportunity to express them. Then I was asked in court meeting, and I gave these views. I had hoped that my emphasis on Ling’s contribution would provide a different perspective for the Emperor and stopped those angry outburst by court officials about Ling. But I must have expressed myself very poorly, and did not convey my true intent, and the great Emperor thought I was criticiz- ing his Chief General Er Shi of the war with the Tartar and trying to talk the Emperor out of Li Ling’s failures. So I was put in jail, and my sincere desire to serve the Emperor and country could not be realized. Because my crime was to have criticized the Emperor, I was given the most severe penalty. As I was poor and did not have the wealth to buy myself out of this, and my acquaintance also did not do a thing to save me, and those influential at the side of Emperor also did not put in a word for me. No one is like a piece of dead wood or stone. I was confined in the jail and suffered from the hands of the jailers, and there was no body I can talk to or give me help. This was something you saw yourself. So what would you ex- pect me to do after this? Now Li Ling has surrendered and his family’s reputation destroyed. And I was shamed by the whole country for the castration punishment and after that I always needed to stay inside a warm, closed room. What a sad outcome this is! What a sad outcome! Somethings were not easy for common folks to under-

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stand. My ancestor did not have extraordinary exploits or deeds for the country that their descendents will for- ever be protected. My ancestor’s work in documenting history, observing stars, and maintaining calendar were more like fortune telling and ceremonial handling, almost like entertainment for the Emperor, and not something the society think is very important. If I just accept the death penalty and died, it would be like just missing a hair from nine oxen, what is the difference from the death of a little ant? And society would not likely to consider that as a death for the sake of one’s honor. People will just think I committed a serious crime and out of my wit to get out of it, so I need to die. Why? because this is how society regards the people based on their back- ground. Everyone will die someday. But some deaths will be mightier than the Tai Mountain, and other deaths will be less significant than a feather. The differences de- pends on what one died for. In terms of honor, the best is not to bring insults to the name of your ancestors. Next best is not to suffer insults in the body. And next is no insult in angry attitude. And next is no insult in spoken language. And next is insulted in the body being bent and bound. And next is insulted by wearing prisoner’s garment. And next is insulted by confinement in wood shackles and ropes and whipped. And next is insulted by removing hair and to suffer from metallic collar. Next in- sult is to have damaged the skin, muscles, or limbs. The worst insult is castration. The book Zhuan said, “Don’t apply body punishment to court officials”. This is be- cause one must be very careful with the honor of them.

4 So if a person cannot be smart enough to avoid the

insults of prison, and then tries to die for honor after suf- fering all kinds of insults, is not that quite a strange way

) (

4 A few historical references omitted here.

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to go about honor? So in the past people tried to be very careful before applying physical insults to the court offi- cials, because the person will be totally compromised and useless after such punishments. As for ordinary people, it’s human nature to love life and avoid death. And they care about their wives and relatives. But this would not apply for those who live their lives based on truth and reason, and the reason they avoid death lies elsewhere. Now I got this misfortune, and my parents passed away many years ago. I don’t have brothers, no other family just myself. Do you think I am someone who would avoid death for the sake of my wife? Besides, not all courageous ones need to die for honor, and even timid ones try to live by reason and principles. Even though I am timid and like to live on, but I also know when is the time to die. Even lowly servants and concubines know when to die, so how could I willingly suffer the shame of bondage and jail? The reason I am willing to suffer this great shame, as if mixed in with the human waste, and continue to live, is because my task in life is not yet done, and I don’t want my work to die with me before it’s completed and pub- lished. Over the ages, countless rich and famous died and disappeared from history, only the very unusual and spe- cial remain. Earl Xi was imprisoned and he wrote The Book of Changes. Confucius faced danger and wrote Spring Fall (history). Qu Yuan was chased away and he wrote Li Sao. Zuo Qiu was blinded and he wrote Guo Yu. Sun Zi was crippled and he wrote the Art of War- fare. Luu Bu Wei was forced to relocate to Shu, and he wrote his Luu books. Han Fei was imprisoned in Qin, and he wrote Shuo Nan and Gu Fen articles. The three hundred articles in Shi Jing are mostly the writings of great men after major setbacks. They had angers in their heart and they were frustrated with their endeavors, so

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they wrote about the past and made suggestions for the future. As for Zuo Qiu’s blindness and Sun Zi’s crip- pling, they know they won’t be able to carry out their ideas in person, so they do the second best and wrote books instead, to get their ideas across. I was not in the same league with them, but I also wrote with my feeble voices, collected lost events in history, examined how ac- tions were taken and analyzed why a dynasty was suc- cessful or failed, and completed one hundred and thirty volumes. I too would like to understand the historical forces, learn what worked or did not work in the lessons of time, and form my own legacy in thought. While I was on this project, the disaster struck. I was determined not to let this project fail, so I can face with even the worst penalty of castration and not showing anger. Now I have completed the project and it will be well preserved in great libraries, and distributed to future generations from all major cities. Then with this to repay all the in- sults I have received, and even if I was killed ten thousand times, what regrets do I have? But this kind of talk can only be given to wise ones like you. It’s not something ordinary folks would understand. And it was not easy to live now with my damaged rep- utation. Now society has a lot of malicious gossips. I got this terrible tragedy because of my talk in the court. I will be laughed at by people from my hometown, even the good name of my ancestors were affected by this in- sult and shame, so I dare not go back to my hometown even to visit the graves of my parents. This shame will not likely to diminish even after a hundred generations. So in a single day the sadness will hit me nine times. When I am at home, I feel like I miss or lose something. When I go out, I got confused and forget where I was supposed to go. Every time I think about the shame I suffered, the shirt on my back never stopped getting wet due to my

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shock and perspiration! But now I am just a castrated man on emperor’s court, and could not hide myself in a deep cave and disappear! So the only way for me is to just float and follow with the crowd, let the trend to move me thither and whither, to pass the time and forget about my craziness and puzzlement. Now you asked me to rec- ommend good people to the court, is that not going to attract unwanted attention to myself? Even if I try to ex- plain myself in clever way and beautiful language, it will do no good. People will not trust me, and I will just get more insults. I only wait for death and for history to give me a fair judgment about what I did. The letter could not express all I wanted to say, but I tried to share with you what’s in my heart.

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Chapter 5

Work With People, Keep Communication Line Open

No one is an island. We need to work with people and communication is the central skill in working with peo- ple. Here are two stories that illustrate what could hap- pen when people misunderstood each other’s intention, could not communicate, or lack of empathy toward each other.

5.1 Don’t Go Nuclear - Lessons From The Cuban Missile Crisis

Most people don’t realize that during the Cuban Mis- sile Crisis we were really just a hair’s breadth away from total nuclear war! The history of that episode of Cold War contains great lessons about how to de-escalate dur- ing a crisis. Here’s some background on what led to the crisis in the first place. It was triggered by the installation of 15

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Jupiter Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBM) in Izmir, Turkey. This was intended to strengthen the re- lation between US and her ally Turkey but was consid- ered a personal affront by Soviet’s Premier Khrushchev. While Soviet assured US that they had no plan to install missiles in Cuba, secretly, shipment and build-up started shortly after the Turkey installation. In hindsight, these installation in Turkey may be ill-conceived as the tech- nology was dated and the same protection and coverage could have been provided by US nuclear submarine. In fact, US agreed to withdraw these missiles as part of a secret deal later on. On Oct. 16, 1962, US reconnaissance plane found solid evidence of Soviet nuclear missile installation be- ing constructed in Cuba. Those were judged to be mid- range (1500 miles), offensive, but not yet operational. On Oct. 24, President Kennedy announced the blockade on Cuba and surrounding area by US Navy to prevent fur- ther shipment from Soviet Union. The word “quaran- tine” was used in the actual announcement as “block- ade” was a word considered to be a form of declaration of war, and President Kennedy did not want to do that. On Oct. 25th US also presented evidence of the offensive missile installation at an emergency session of the UN Se- curity Council. However, Soviet ships continued to move toward Cuba, and the crisis was coming to a showdown. On Oct. 26th, President Kennedy received a private letter from Premier Khrushchev who offered to with- draw the missiles in exchange with US guarantee not to invade Cuba or support such invasion. However, before President Kennedy had replied, a second offer was an- nounced on public broadcast the next day that included both the proposal above plus the additional condition of US withdrawal of missiles in Turkey. While all this was happening, an U-2 plane from US was shot down over

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Cuba by Soviet missile, and the pilot Major Rudolf An- derson was killed. Some in US inner circle of power called for immediate invasion of Cuba to revenge this in- cident. During that time, the CIA did not think there were nuclear warheads ready for use in Cuba. US was poised for massive bombing and invasion on Oct. 29th. Just hours before the strike time, Premier Khrushchev an- nounced that installation will be dismantled and Soviet ships started to turn back. A short time later, the block- ade was lifted. A crisis was avoided. Yet most did not know that the world was just a hair’s breadth away from mutual total destruction! Before we jumped to the conclusion that Premier Khrushchev backed down under pressure, let us first look at some remarkable revelation about what really happened during the crisis. This came about through a remarkable program at Brown University, called Oral History Project (OHP) 1 . In order to learn historical lessons from the people involved with the event, the OHP program has sponsored a number of conferences to bring key players from major conflicts back together. There was a 1992 conference on Cuban Missile Crisis. From this and other conferences, we learned that not only was there 162 nuclear warheads ready, with 90 tactical war- heads, at the time in Cuba, but Fidel Castro would insist on using them if US attacked Cuba, knowing full well that the result would be total destruction for Cuba. We also learned that, instead of the estimated less than ten thousand Soviet troops, there were actually close to fifty thousand in Cuba. The planned US attack did not in- clude tactical nuclear warheads. Imagine what would happen when US attacked and Cuba and Soviet Union

1 web site at choices.edu

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responded with tactical nuclear warheads?! US would be compelled to “go nuclear” also. Then Soviet was likely to respond with tactical warheads on US missile instal- lation in Turkey and other places, and NATO will re- spond in kind, and things would escalate and unravel from there. From these conferences and lessons from his- tory, we can draw our first lesson in crisis management - “YOUR ASSUMPTIONS AND INFORMATION ARE OFTEN WRONG!” Subsequently, hotline was installed between White House and Kremlin in order to have a direct channel of communication between leaders of the two superpowers and to avoid accidental attacks due to misunderstanding. How was the crisis resolved? Here is where sound understanding about your opponent is so crucial. In his cabinet meeting, President Kennedy was quite con- cerned about Khrushchev’s second offer. He reasoned that with the second offer, Khrushchev won’t take out the Cuban missiles with just the no invasion guarantee, and confrontation between the two superpowers may be unavoidable. However, Tommy Thompson, an old hand in US diplomacy with Soviet Union and former Ambas- sador to Soviet Union, thought otherwise. He argued that Khrushchev could tell his people, “I saved Cuba, I stopped an invasion.”, and that’s enough ground for him to back down. Even though Tommy was lower ranking and not even a cabinet minister, President Kennedy was able to recognize Tommy’s special expertise about the in- ner working of the Soviets, and listened to his advice. President Kennedy decided to respond to the first offer in public, but also sent Robert Kennedy to tell Soviet Am- bassador in US in person that the Turkey missiles will be dismantled as a separate and private deal. So another important lesson on crisis management is “HAVE EM- PATHY, TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT PROBLEMS

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YOUR OPPONENTS ARE FACING”. Just rely on the rational analysis alone is not enough. There’s yet another important lesson to be learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is “THINGS COULD EASILY GET OUT OF CONTROL. TRY NOT TO PROVOKE. DE-ESCALATE. DON’T GO NU- CLEAR.” In shaping a US response, President Kennedy assembled cabinet members and other key officers and asked them, if possible, to come up with a single response. The team could not come to agreement and presented Kennedy with two options. One was immediate mas- sive invasion, and the other was the blockade. President Kennedy chose the blockade route as he did not feel jus- tified to come to blows over some outdated and unneces- sary missiles in Turkey. Imagine what would have hap- pened if a different leader chose to follow the immediate massive invasion proposal. During a major crisis, there are many opportunities for accidents to happen, and things could easily get out of control. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, there were at least three incidents that could escalate into major problems, but fortunately did not. First incident was the shot down of the U-2 plane over Cuba by Soviet missile, causing the death of the pilot, Major Rudolf Anderson. There were many in the US crisis management team that would like to “reply” to this incident by a full scale in- vasion. However, cool reasoning of “if we do this, and they do that, then what’s next?” prevailed, and no ac- tion was taken to respond or escalate. It’s necessary dur- ing crisis management to think through one’s move like a chess master. Because in real life, just like in chess, one thing would lead to another. “ONE MUST THINK THROUGH ONE’S MOVES”, as things could easily get out of control. There’s also a second incident. A US spy plane

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strayed into Soviet Union and was almost intercepted, even though President Kennedy issued a moratorium on flying such planes into Soviet Union in order to avoid es- calation. The third incident during the crisis was the hunting of

a Soviet submarine by US destroyers near Cuba. Depth

charges were dropped in order to force the submarine to surface. Unbeknown to US, this submarine was equipped with nuclear-tipped torpedo. The ship was authorized to fire if all three top officers were in agreement to its use. Fortunately, in a story similar to the movie “crimson tide” - or perhaps the movie was inspired by this incident

- one of the officer was against the use of the torpedo, the other two wanted to fire, and a war incident was avoided. We were again just a hair’s breadth away from nuclear

war!

Aside from the lessons on crisis management, the

Cuban Missile Crisis chillingly exposed the fact that how close and how easy we were to total mutual annihila- tion. With powerful weapons such as tactical nuclear war heads so numerous and so wide spread, the world re- mains an extremely dangerous place. Robert McNamara,

a key player as US Defense Minister during the Cuban

Missile Crisis, with James Blight, the professor behind the Oral History Project, in their recent book, “Wil- son’s Ghost”, argued convincingly that nuclear weapons, strategic or tactical, no longer have a role in the world today, and should all be abolished. They advocate multi- lateral consultation for collective action on security issues as history showed again and again, “ONE-SIDED UNI- LATERAL ACTION OFTEN LEAD TO UNITEDNED, TERRIBLE, RESULTS”. References - In addition to “Wilson’s Ghost”, there’s also a good DVD “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara”, directed by Errol Mor-

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ris (2003). A good web site for additional information and links is /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban Missile Crisis. Web site for OHP is choices.edu.

5.2 The Start Of The First World War - A Cautionary Tale When Com- munication Broke Down

Hours before First World War to break out by Ger- many’s attack on France, German’s Emperor Wilhelm Kaiser got cold feet to fight a two-front war with France and Russia at the same time. He asked his generals to halt the invasion on the West front with France. His generals told him, “it’s too late to stop now!.” In fact, His Chief of General Staff, Helmath von Moltke, was so upset by the request, he told others that he’ll throw away his phone, so the Emperor could no longer reach him. As a result of the First World War (WWI) 2 , ten millions were dead, three great empires were crumbled (Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary), and the political face of the world completely changed. None of the key players had wanted or anticipated such outcome, yet since the first incident, the world seemed to march rigidly and inescapably toward colossal disaster, with the play- ers powerless and helpless, like the victims in a Greek tragedy. To understand why that’s the case, and to learn lessons from that, let’s first review briefly the key events that led to WWI. On June 28, 1914, Franz Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, and his wife Sophie, on Ferdinand’s official visit to Sarajevo, a city in the empire not far from

2 http://www.firstworldwar.com/origins/

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Serbia, were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a member of Serb Nationalist of secret society Black Hand. Long troubled by the harboring of Serb Nationalists in the neighboring Serbia, and after securing an iron-clad guar- antee of support from Germany, Austria-Hungary deliv- ered an harsh ultimatum on July 23rd to Serbia, to be replied in 48 hours. On July 25th, Austria-Hungary, not satisfied with the answer given by Serbia, broke off diplo- matic relationship with Serbia. On July 28th, Austria- Hungary partially mobilized and declared war on Serbia. In the mean time, Serbia Prince Regent Peter interpreted this as Austria-Hungary’s attempt to annex Serbia, and appealed to Russian Czar Nicholas II, who was also Willy Kaiser’s cousin, for help. Russia, bound by treaty to Ser- bia, then partially mobilized. Germany, bound by treaty with Austria-Hungary, declared war on Russia on Au- gust 3. More countries were drawn into the conflict as France had treaty with Russia and England had treaty with France. The war was escalated into a global conflict even though none of the parties intended to do that in the beginning. The treaty system between nations certainly locked nations into obligations, and that was an important fac- tor in the continuous escalation of conflicts. The only country that got out of it initially was Italy, which had treaty with both Austria-Hungary and Germany, but only if they were attacked first. Since in this case both were the attackers, Italy used the clause to get out of it. In fact, Italy joined the other side a little later. But why the nations came to blow in the first place? And why should Germany’s Kaiser gave Austria-Hungary such iron-clad guarantee? There were several factors that influenced Germany and Austria-Hungary’s harsh stance toward Serbia. Austria-Hungary’s Emperor Francis Joseph, aging, war

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weary, and sick, although urged by his ministers, origi- nally was reluctant to mobilize or to take action against Serbia for fear of involving Russia. Action was delayed till Germany’s iron-clad guarantee. This gave Austria- Hungary confidence to proceed. But why should Kaiser provided such strong guarantee? First, Ferdinand was a personal friend of Kaiser, who liked the couple a lot and Kaiser had just visited the couple shortly before the as- sassination. So his personal grief and anger was a big factor. But most importantly, in Kaiser’s mind, he could not imagine Russia’s Nicholas, his cousin, could be sym- pathetic to any act of violence against the royalty. In fact, he did not even bother to check with Russia’s intention nor imposed any restraint on Austria-Hungary’s action. He was so confident that the conflict would be local and resolved quickly that he left for vacation. Kaiser gave Austria-Hungary an “guarantee by blood and honor”. This was essentially a blank check for Austria-Hungary, and he urged them to act quickly to- ward Serbia. Austria-Hungary, the weaker party in the partnership, was very much interested to teach Serbia a harsh lesson, as a way to regain some of her former glory as an empire. So the term of the ultimatum was ex- tremely harsh and with terms like free search in Serbia that violated Serbia’s sovereignty and Serbia could not possibly accept. Both Austria-Hungary and Germany had envisioned this as a local conflict, involving only Austria-Hungary and Serbia. However, they forgot that Russia was bound by treaty with Serbia, and both are countries with ma- jor Slav ethnic component. Furthermore, with the re- cent defeat of Russia’s Navy by Japan (1904 - 1905) near Manchuria and Korea, Russia was very much in need to prove her military might. This reminds us the lessons, “YOUR ASSUMPTIONS AND INFORMATIONS ARE

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OFTEN WRONG!”, “HAVE EMPATHY, TRY TO UN- DERSTAND WHAT PROBLEMS YOUR OPPONENTS ARE FACING”. Just rely on rational analysis is not enough. It was a most serious failure on Kaiser’s part in judgment and communication! But why the war was fought in so rigid a manner? The rigidity in the way wars were fought has to do with the technology and military thinking of the period. It’s pretty much a war of infantry and land based defense (trenches). Each country planned ahead for the next war to the last details of all the logistics. In Germany’s case, a two-front war with both France and Russia had been anticipated in the Schlieffen Plan, which was the guid- ing light for Germany’s planning. The strategy there was to attack France first, decisively and quickly, and to win in the West front in about five weeks, before Russia has completed the mobilization of its huge army, which would take six weeks. The plan there had always been to move all the troops and equipments by train to the West front first, with all the logistics of movement in trains planned to the last details. That was why when Kaiser went sour with Russia and would very much like to attack Russia only, to avoid drawing in France and England, his generals told him there was no way they could reverse course and move the troops to the East front instead. There’s no such plan! Besides, due to the treaty systems, they expected France and England to be involved sooner or later. The Plan called for to defeat France first so Germany did not need to fight on two fronts at the same time. In fact, in order to reach France quickly, on August 4, 1914, Germany vi- olated Belgium’s neutrality. Because of this invasion and an old treaty between England and Belgium, England declared war with Germany that day, exactly the out- come Kaiser very much liked to avoid. This reminds

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us the lesson, “ONE MUST THINK THROUGH ONE’S MOVES”, “THINGS COULD EASILY GET OUT OF CONTROL.” There was another mistake that prevented a diplo- matic solution to the conflict. And that was Germany’s belief of a First Strike advantage. If one has to fight, then the thinking goes, the one who strikes first and deci- sively, will win. The problem is, with that approach, not only things are likely to escalate because of the first strike provocation, but other solutions by diplomatic means, which would take time, have no chance to work. This is the case with Germany’s Kaiser. While he attempted to defuse the crisis by exchanging messages with Russia’s Nicholas, he did not give it enough time for the peace- ful gestures to work. He delivered a twelve hours ulti- matum on July 31st for Russia to roll back it’s partial mobilization. At the end of that, with no positive re- sponse from Russia, he decided to strike first, declared full mobilization on July 31st, and escalated up the con- flict to another notch. This reminds us the lesson, “ONE- SIDED UNI-LATERAL ACTION OFTEN LEAD TO UNITENDED, TERRIBLE, RESULTS”, “TRY NOT TO PROVOKE. DE-ESCALATE. DON’T GO NUCLEAR”. Once the war started, the slaughter begins, the course of the war was out of anyone’s control, and the results were totally disastrous and unpredictable. References - John Stoessinger, “Why Nations Go To War”, St. Martin’s Press (1974).

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Chapter 6

Five Arts For Living - Life Management Tips

In previous chapters, I mentioned stories that encour- age us to be proactive and have a dream, to learn from others and find new ways to solve problems, to apply re- sources around us and use leverage, to have empathy and avoid mis-understanding, and to persevere in the face of difficulties. These are all good lessons but there are much more in the arts of living. In this chapter, I like to introduce the readers to a comprehensive management framework as a general guide to manage one’s life. The following framework is taken from ”The Art Of Busi- ness - In The Footsteps Of Giants” 1 , a ground-breaking book written by my dear brother Raymond Yeh and niece Stephanie Yeh. There are five arts in this framework - the art of possibility (vision), the art of timing (strategy), the art of situational advantages (leverage), the art of mas- tery (process), and the art of leadership (team harmony). In the sections below, I’ll explore each art separately. I can only give a very brief review of the principles here. I

1 web site of the book at http://theartofbusinessbook.com

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strongly encourage the readers to read the original book. The five arts support each other in a synergistic way. The art of possibility helps one to set a vision, to visu- alize the future, and to gain a real sense what it would be like when one realizes one’s dream. The art of timing helps one to find a strategy to achieve the vision, to an- ticipate and prepare for the various likely trends and ex- ternal factors, and to minimize potential risks. The art of leverage helps one to locate resources and to implement

the strategy effectively. The art of mastery helps one to realize the tasks of the project with discipline, expertise and mastery. Last but not least, the art of leadership can guide one to work productively and harmoniously with others to carry out the project. The five arts are intro- duced in this order for a good reason. As a matter of fact,

I encountered some of these arts in the reverse order only

to discover later that I missed the more important part.

I first learned process discipline many years ago through

my work on software process quality at AT&T Bell Lab- oratories. Later on, when I led projects, I found that it’s really more important for people to be able to work well with each other and have good team work, and I discov- ered the power of self-empowered teams. After that, in software development projects, I was amazed with the in- crease in productivity through better tools, reuse, simpler language, and more powerful platform. More recently, I found that a project may be successful, but the venture could still fail as a business. To have the right business strategy is paramount. Of course, many people could be successful in business but still are miserable in life. This is because they are solving the wrong problems in life. They may have all the skills to do things right, but they are not doing the right things! So, ultimately, we must first make sure that we get our hearts at the right place and are doing the right things. That - the right vision -

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needs to be task number one. While one can plan a whole life using the five arts, perhaps best way to start learning about them and use them is to start small, first with a short term project, then set quarterly goals or annual objectives, before starting to do much longer term planning with these tools. There is certainly no limit on when to use these principles, ei- ther in the type of projects or the size or duration of projects. As a good practice in planning a project, it is useful to write down some details about what one should do in each of the five arts area for the project before embarking on the project. One should also do a post-project review after the project has been completed, in order to learn lessons for future use. “Well-formed bamboos was already drawn in my chest” is a Chinese proverb describing someone who is well prepared for the task. The practice of planning one’s life projects with the help of the five arts is like to draw those bamboos in a painter’s mind before one even takes the very first stroke for the painting. By first traveling the journey in one’s mind, investigating what will be along the way, and what the future place will look like when one arrives, one gains mastery of the journey. So by the time one carries out the actual project, it will be almost like revisiting familiar grounds.

6.1 Create Meaning In Life

In the chapter on “Have a Dream”, we saw the impor- tance of having a dream and being proactive. In this sec- tion, we will explore the mental attitde of abundance, the importanace of personal integrity and values, and how enlightenment may lead us to do the right things.

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6.1.1

The Art Of Possibility

To run a business or a project successfully, it’s cru- cial to have a clear vision, to be able to visualize in your mind’s eye what it would be like when your vision is re- alized. Have a common vision will provide the founda- tion for everyone in the project or business enterprise to know “why are we doing this?” and to have everyone’s work effort aligned. Vision helps to create meaning and purpose. Similarly, we need to create meaning and pur- pose for our lives. This will also serve as a foundation for happiness and zest. Otherwise, one is just drifting from day to day. It’s hard to be happy that way. There is no shortage of recipes or models for meaning of life. The book “The Search for Meaning”. 2 has a good broad survey. Many got their vision for life through their religion. We are shaped to a large extent by our biolog- ical nature. As humans, we are social beings and need long-term nurturing before maturity. Our outlook in life are also greatly influenced by the particular culture we belong to and by those who brought us up, such as par- ents and teachers. Society’s norm also shapes our iden- tity. Many become very competitive in order to advance in the social pecking order. We need to be aware of these influences in order to free ourselves and to make up our own mind about what our lives should be like. Many peo- ple choose their careers, partners, and make other major life decisions heavily influenced or even dictated by the expectation of others around them. This is not likely to lead to a happy life. Self-determination is a key to happi- ness which suggests that we need to make decision based on our own needs inside, to meet our own deepest aspira- tion, rather than to fulfill the needs of someone else. As parent, we need to be careful not to unduly influence peo-

2 by Phillip L. Berman, Ballantine Books, 1990.

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ple in our care, but should encourage their self-discovery and self-determination. Many found meaning in life after being confronted by life’s arbitrary outrages - serious accidents, lost of loved ones, concentration camp, big financial loss, life- threatening illness, and other major setbacks. By tran- scending tragedies, losses, and setbacks, humans reaffirm our humanity in the meaning of our lives, by being in- quisitive, innovative, social and caring, and by our un- yielding spirits. A key element in finding meaning in life is to go be- yond oneself to reach out to other lives and the world, to truth, to beauty, and to love. Our lives end with our body, but the care we lavish outside ourselves can out- last our lives. If it’s something we are willing to invest a good part of our life to work on, it’s likely to be closely tied to what we cherish and the deepest values we hold dear. By examining our values, we frequently find that our vision is consistent with doing the right things. Sev- eral stories in Chapter 7 are related to enlightenment - sharing knowledge, stay healthy and protect the environ- ment, and compassionate to others - and doing the right things.

6.1.2 Why Do The Right Things?

“Unexamined life is not worth living”, according to an ancient proverb. What is the meaning and purpose of life? What principles should we use to guide our living? What is enlightenment? The following are some view- points for the readers to consider.

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Examine The Track Record of Human Enlightenment

It’s easy to be cynical or despair about the future of human race. Just read the newspaper or listen to the me- dia. There are so much violence and bloodshed daily, how can one keep hope alive? So much wanton destruction and senseless killing of innocents, including infants and old and weak, so much ill-will in the world, it’s a brave soul who dares to have hope. Yet a little reading of his- tory and a little reflection would help us to keep a sense of perspective. I will just mention several aspects below that can help us to restore a guarded optimism.

Discovery and accumulation of scientific knowledge Many found enlightenment in religious insight or experi- ences. I derived a lot of pleasure by following progress in scientific knowledge and gain some understanding about how the world works - how planet earth moves around the sun, how life evolved on earth, how cells divide to build a body, how nerve cells in human connect to build a brain, etc. There are still many aspects we don’t un- derstand. What we do know and can manipulate already bring tremendous changes to our world.

Just like generations of scien-

tists working ceaselessly to increase our understanding about nature, there are generations of human right ac- tivitists working hard to fight for the rights for women, minority, disabled, the old, the sick, and for all humans who suffered discrimination or unfair treatment. We still have a long way to go, but we have come a long way al- ready. There is now broad agreement on basic human rights as represented in United Nation’s universal decla- ration of human rights. Violators of these rights can be

Progress in human rights

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brought to trial and punished in the court of the Interna- tional Criminal Tribunal.

A new idealism - widespread movement to become social change makers There seems to be a new awareness and idealism among young people that the world is already “rich” enough and can feed all the people in it. The re- ally important challenges facing the new generation is no longer to conquer nature and produce more wealth. The real problem to solve is to help make the world a fairer and better place for all, to distribute the wealth produced more evenly, and to protect the environment for ourselves and for future generations. Many young people are putting their energy and creativity not into making a fortune but to introduce social changes to make the world better. While the world is far from perfect, some of us do en- joy many great advantages not available to people even just a few hundred years ago, such as in scientific knowl- edge and understanding about the world, in good health and long lifespan, in expanding freedom and rights, in level of living standards, in richness and easy accessibil- ity to all kind of information and media, and in diverse and abundant avenues to pursue our interests and self- expression. These blessings of ours are the legacy and results of the struggle of people who went before us, and who have secured the foundation and rights to make our lives so much better than theirs. It’s a very natural de- sire for us to also try to make the world a little better for those who will follow us.

A Little Program Of Enlightenment For Ourselves

What kind of people are happy? Not greedy people. They live under the wish of future for all what they are

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missing or lacking today. Not remorse people. They live in the guilty past for all the wrong deeds or missed oppor- tunities. Not blaming people, who complain all the time and it’s all other people’s fault. Not righteous people, who focus on punishment rather than healing and bring- ing happiness. Happy people are mindful people who live in the present. Future people rush toward the future to seek wealth and fortune. They rush over meals. They do exercises grudgingly so they can have the healthy body for more labor to make more money. They may already live in a nice garden but they don’t have time to slow down to smell the roses. Past people live in the regrets of the past. Their lives are over. They are remorseful and bitter. They too, can’t enjoy the present because of some events in the past. It’s the mindful people who will live in the present, not hurry for the future, nor linger in the past, but give each moment its due. Whether it’s to eat a simple meal, or to walk along the garden path, there is the presence of mind to live in the moment, to be fully aware of all that is happening at the moment. True wealth is not in possession but in usage. It’s in the full use of life’s each moment that makes the mindful people the richest and happiest in the world. Life is change and impermanence. We can’t really possess or own anything or hold on to a moment of time. All we can do is to bear witness and to be a steward. Hence it makes no sense to focus on possession, accumu- lation, and attachment. Accumulation is also a reflection of our insecurity and fear, a mind-set of limitation and poverty. Yet life is really abundant and inexhaustible. As we flow with life’s changes and adjust to new circum- stances and experiences, life’s abundant opportunities, varieties, and possibilities will continue to amaze, amuse, and stimulate us. To appreciate all that, we need to culti- vate mindfulness.

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To live in the present means to count our blessing. Why I praise mindfulness? Because to be mindful, to live in the present, also help us and remind us to count our bless- ings. What a bounty we have to count! Let me count the many ways most of us are blessed with:

Level one blessing: just being alive and relatively healthy, got food and shelter, free to move around, have freedom and basic rights, these are all great blessings. Why are these blessings? Certainly not everyone has them yet. Animals in the wild spend most time just to find barely enough food to eat and survive. Many basic rights are the results of gener- ations of hard work by people before us. The basic health, security, rights and freedom are our level one blessings.

Level two blessing: We can enjoy many things we like freely or almost free from public libraries, pub- lic parks, and over internet. Are we not blessed that so much information, media, literature, knowledge have been created and put out on the internet for us to enjoy for free? Lots of talks in video format by leaders in many areas, such as Nobel Prize win- ners, are available. I mentioned in Chapter 7 about free course materials by MIT through their Open Courseware program. It’s a reality that we have over the internet: free music, pictures, movies and other media; free readings of plays, poems, stories; free knowledge on health, science, technology. So it’s an abundant world out there. We just need to make sure that knowledge about the use of internet and free access to it, like a basic human right, is available to everyone. The abundant free stuff out there are the level two blessings.

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Level three blessing: Each of us could pursue some hobbies a little differently or creatively for our own pleasure. There are so many ways to ex- press oneself with free tools over internet - podcast, YouTube, blogs, and other form of self-publishing - such as at lulu.com, where contents in various formats could easily be published. So with tools we could do creative work that we enjoy and con- tribute the results for others to enjoy, all with sim- plicity and ease. We do this not for wealth or fame, but to develop and realize our potentials, and not be limited or impoverished because we lack oppor- tunities to realize our potentials. The abundant op- portunities to develop and realize our potentials are the level three blessings.

Share your blessings with others - have compassion There’s no shorter cut to happiness than to share your own good fortune with others. If they have suffered from limitation in level one blessings, may be you can help to stop or eliminate those sufferings. If they don’t know about all the level two blessings you enjoy, may be you can guide them and share with them, so their blessing and happiness are increased. If they have potentials under- developed or not utilized, may be you can help and en- courage them to develop and realize more fully all their potentials and possibilities, as their level three blessings.

6.2 Apply The Right Strategy

In the chapter on “Winning Strategy”, we learned the importance of innovation and doing things a little differ- ently as a winning strategy. In this section, I will explore

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some additional techniques on strategy, such as rapid prototyping and risk management. We frequently hear that someone is successful be- cause she(he) is at the right time and the right place. Some inventions, such as videophone when it first ap- peared, did not caught on, because it was “before its time”. Gardeners know that one can’t plant too early or too late. The plant will die if planted too early when the weather is still too cold and the ground too hard. Planted too late one may not be able to have a harvest or the flow- ering season would be too short. So to do things at the right time is very important. The art of timing also has a broader sense. It has to do with logistics - the sequence and steps in doing something. Take cooking as an exam- ple. We can’t put ingredients into the pot before we have warmed up the pot with some cooking oil. If we want the dishes to turn out delicious we need to follow the steps given in the recipe. Whether to do a small project or to run a large military campaign, one needs to consider lo- gistics issues, such as gathering supplies or arranging the sequence of tasks to execute. So a crucial part of manag- ing the right timing is to anticipate the future and plan for it. However, our ability to anticipate the future is not perfect. There are lots of other independent actors and many outside factors beyond our control. So the key of managing timing for success is also to plan for contingen- cies and to mitigate risks. I’ll talk about some techniques to reduce potential risks below.

6.2.1 The Art Of Timing

The highest form of the art of timing is able to an- ticipate and co-create the future. The art of vision sets the direction for one’s life. The art of timing co-creates with outside influences to bring that vision into reality.

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Since there are many independent actors and outside in- fluences, a smart person needs to have a good under- standing of the environment she(he) is in. Scenario anal- ysis is a systematic way to anticipate how the future may turn out. By anticipating the various scenarios that fu- ture might be, one can better plan for them. In ”The Art of Business”, there is a story about how scenario analy- sis became famous. In the early 1970s, Royal Dutch/Shell first used scenario analysis to anticipate and prepare (by long term contacts) for the shock of energy crisis from drastically reduced production in oil supplies. They did very well during that period because they had that fore- sight. Those who can’t plan for the future will likely to be surprised and hurt when the future unfold. A personal story is how I find myself jobless around the same time (1974) as the oil crisis. I joined New York State Uni- versity at Buffalo as junior faculty in physics in 1968. Newly married and love to teach and doing research, I was busy writing papers and teaching for a couple years there. Many in physics community - graduate students and faculty - expected the plentiful funding for science in US will continue. It was the launch of the Sputnik satel- lite by the Soviet Union back in late 1950s that started the R&D funding boom for science in US. In reality, begin- ning in the 1970s, the funding started to contract quickly. Our kind-hearted provost tried to alert us junior facul- ties about this. He gave us a talk and essentially said, “the writing is on the wall, heed it or face the consequence”. Somehow, very few paid any attention. Either inertia or wishful thinking, no one could believe that talented peo- ple like us, who had many offers just a few years ago, would have problems in landing a new job in case we don’t get tenure. But very soon, the reality visited us. Very few got tenure and many had a hard time to land

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any job in physics. I remember sending out hundreds of resumes to even the tiniest physics department. But most replies I got back were just form rejection letters. I was one of the few lucky ones to finally found a job in industry (Oak Ridge National Lab) before my contract at SUNY-Buffalo ran out. But I know several talented newly-minted physics Ph.D. from Buffalo driving cabs or serving as bar tenders during that difficult period. More recently this scenario happened again in the software industry, especially in the telecommunication industry as a result of outsourcing. I was again fortunate that I have already retired in 1999 before all this down- sizing and outsourcing got so ugly. It’s hard to imagine that this could happen. For just a few years ago before my retirement, I remember clearly that the hourly wages for software engineer contractors went through the roof, and every system managers complained that they can’t find enough good engineers to hire. In hindsight, we now know that it’s all part of the IT capacity over-built in the 1990s before the NASDAQ bubble bursted, but the writ- ing had been on the wall for sometime if one knew where to look for it. I have nothing but sympathy for my friends and colleagues who still need to struggle to make a living in this work environment. But again, there were those who could see this is coming and had made changes and handled the transition smoothly.

6.2.2 Risk Management And Risk Reduction By Low Cost Rapid Learning

Many software projects failed because products do not meet user expectation. An approach called rapid pro- totyping has evolved to address this problem. Instead of building the whole product, the idea is to build those

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parts which are most risky first, usually the graphical user interface, and build them quickly and involve users in using them and provide feedback. Then the design will

be modified and another prototype built. Soon these pro- totyping iterations will evolve into a product that fully meets user’s needs and expectation. The lesson from this approach is that one should try to address areas of high risks by doing some quick and low cost exploration first. Only after one has succeeded in these early trials should one commit energy and re- sources for other work. One could fashion an approach that there will be a number of commitment “gates” on

a project. By passing through each gate, the risk of un-

foreseen failures are greatly reduced, and the likelihood of success are greatly increased.

So instead of commit all capitals into a business ven- ture, one should try it out on a smaller scale to see if it’s successful. A good criteria for a startup may be how soon

it could turn profitable. Instead of putting all money on a

particular scheme in investment, one could put just a lit- tle bit and see if it works out all right. Instead of jumping into marriage after a very short hot romance, one may want to cool it off a bit, and let family and friends get to

know your sweetheart and provide some objective feed- back. Try to find more occasions together to weather all

kind of situations and challenges of living together, to see

if the couple could ride both the highs as well as the lows.

Instead of jumping into a career that one is not sure, one can do some study, talk to people who’s in the profession, and try out some intern position to get a feel what it’s like and whether one likes the work or has talent for it. While the risk reduction approach sounds like com- mon sense, alas, we are frequently blindsided by pride, greed, passion, or illusions. We commit our resources to- tally and found out our errors too late. A lot of people in-

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cluding myself lose quite a bit of money during the NAS- DAQ bubble. I remember during late 1999 a young co- worker told me that his wife urged him to do something about the technology stocks so they won’t miss out. Un- fortunately, he got in just shortly before the bubble burst. Everyone knows about the craziness of the 1929 stock market bubble and its subsequent crash. Yet bubbles kept on happening as they are fueled by human greed, pride, and irrational passions. Common sense is not so common. Another technique related to risk management is to anticipate what could go wrong and conduct drills, such as fire drills, first aid and CPR procedure, or how to han- dle catastrophe or emergencies. In software projects one routinely simulate restoration procedures to make sure the system is robust and can handle various type of com- puter crash in the field. The story of Greg Smith in Chap- ter 4 showed that people in general are poorly prepared to deal with disasters. It’s human nature. We don’t want to think about things that are unpleasant. But we need to anticipate to be well prepared. For critical business sys- tems, there is frequently a disaster recovery site ready to step in to support continuous operation under all condi- tions.

6.3 Leverage Resources Around You

Our vision for life gives our life meaning and purpose. We anticipate and plan for future and apply a winning strategy to realize our vision. Leverage is about gather- ing resources to implement our strategy in a smart, ef- ficient way. In the chapter on “leverage”, we have seen stories about the power of leverage, especially when mul- tiple resources could be applied together to gain syner-

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gistic effect. In this section, I’ll explore more about the art of leverage, where to look for it, and some powerful techniques to apply it.

6.3.1 The Art of Leverage

Leverage is to take advantage of the situation you are in. The advantage may be a tool, a friend’s help, some financial or other resources. One does not need to be lim- ited by what’s out there. You may be the one who created the advantage in the first place. One can even leverage from one’s competitors, as demonstrated by how a judo master can throw an opponent by guiding the movement of the opponent with just a little force. There are many more wonderful examples from “The Art of Business”. Leverage is about doing things the smart way. A com- mon daily experience is to use the right tool for the job at hand. We may want to open a package. It may be possi- ble to open the package by bare hand or brute force, but it’s much easier if we use a scissors or a knife. To move something by lifting it up is hard work. But if we can put it on a cart and push the cart, it would be much eas- ier. Lever may be the first labor saving tool invented by humans to lift something. Modern day business process reengineering is all about automating tasks by robots in the factory or to reduce manual office work by software. If we can delegate to a machine or a program to do some computation or decision making for us, then we can use our time to do something more interesting. Leverage is also to take advantage of the skills and talents you al- ready have. Many sport teams evolve winning strategy in games to take advantage of the particular talents of their stars. I am a believer in accentuating strength in per- sonnel development. I think a quick way to distinguish a person from the crowd is to bring out the strength of the

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person. During my career as a manager, I had the plea- sure in seeing this approach working many times. There were several who have been considered average solid per- formers for a long time. By working with them to develop their strength and by believing in them, they blossomed and moved on to higher level of performance and respon- sibilities. So leveraging is also to know what are your strength and find ways to apply them. Another good resource for leverage is technology. Our century has been characterized as technology age and there are many free tools, knowledge, experts avail- able on the internet just a few key strokes away. This book would not be possible without the many free tools, such as Tex, Latex, MikTex on the internet for type- setting and free tools for self-publishing from lulu.com. Getting to know what’s available out there for the tasks you have in mind is an important first step to learn about leverage. In addition to information, how about to leverage other people and organizations? Merging efforts by sev- eral or outsourcing to others to do part of your tasks could be part of leverage. Instead of learning and do- ing a task all by oneself, it’s easier and faster to divide up the work and reuse other’s experiences and know-how. Another kind of reuse is to follow standards. Imagine if everyone speaks in his (her) own language, how com- plicated the world would become! Conventions and stan- dards are ways to simplify our interfaces and interaction, and hence promote reuse and efficiency. In our personal projects, we might want to consider whether there are pieces that could be bought or reused from somewhere else. Many do-it-yourself furniture are consistent with this concept. The component parts are already made and can be assembled by using screws or nails of standard- ized dimension.

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6.3.2

The Power Of Synergistic Leverage

It was pointed out in ”The Art of Business” that there is a very important phenomena, called the market inflec- tion point, associated with the use of multiple leverages. One noticed that, if leverages are applied in multiple di- mensions or directions, frequently a business will sud- denly take off and starts to operate at a much higher per- formance level. When several different or complemen- tary leverages are applied, there seems to be a mutually reinforcing effect so that each leverage supports the oth- ers and prevent any from losing its beneficial effect. It’s like two plus two gives you not four but forty! To light a bonfire, if we just have a few firewood here or there, the fire will soon die out. But if we get a good pile, soon the whole thing will be ablaze and the fire can sustain for a long time. It’s like the ”critical mass” effect in physics. If you have enough nuclear reaction materials, neutrons released from nuclear decay will be captured by other nuclei and trigger more such reactions, hence a sustained chain reaction will follow. But if there’s not enough ma- terials around, the neutrons will mostly leak away (or stopped by absorbing rods) without further reaction. If you want to build a first class research laboratory, you need to gather enough talented people together to have that critical mass of interaction and cross fertilization of ideas to get the enterprise up to speed. On the other hand, this phenomena can also work in reverse. Even a large army or organization can fail quickly after several ma- jor mistakes in a row. Failures could also compound with each other and increase their destructive impact like a snowball rolling downhill. There are many real life examples of applying lever- age through the synergistic ”market inflection point” principle. The Manhattan Project built the atomic bomb

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very quickly by assembling scientists, engineers, money, plant facilities all together. On a much smaller scale, my dear brother Raymond Yeh has helped to jump-start the discipline of software engineering back in the 1970s. By introducing not just one or two things, but a whole new platform - including society organization, professional journal, international conferences, book series, and top- ical conferences, he and others soon put “Software En- gineering” on the map of what’s hot in academia. My dear sister Lily Yeh shared with me that she had simi- lar experience in her work at the Village of Arts and Hu- manities in North Philadelphia. As founder and executive director of the non-profit organization for many years, she found that to build communities, it’s essential to get at it from all directions - housing, gardening, art, after school programs for children, drama, craft, computer, drug prevention, etc. They even had a very successful nursery program to grow trees. She found that one pro- gram would feed and support another - like the nursery provided work opportunities for youth, and the housing provided stability to the neighborhood and safeguarded the outdoor artwork and gardens. Hence each program helped to make other programs successful. Here, we see again the synergistic effect of multiple leverages.

6.4 Mastery Of Your Own Life

In the chapter on “The Discipline to Succeed”, we already saw stories about the importance of persistence and perseverance to accomplish great tasks, especially in the face of great challenges and difficulties. In this sec- tion, I will talk about techniques in learning to become proficiency as a step toward mastery. I will also talk about another important technique related to mastery

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and discipline, which is about quality, process, and im- provement. One marvelous characteristic of humans is the ability to learn. We can achieve our goals if we have the right skills and are good at them. Practices and con- stantly looking for improvement is essential to be really good at something. These techniques will be discussed below.

6.4.1 The Art Of Mastery

Successful business or organizations learn to apply discipline to become really great in their particular area. They constantly looking for opportunities to learn and to improve. Depending on where they are initially, they can find opportunities for improvement in automation (lever- age), teamwork (leadership) or any of the other arts of business. They look at what others have learned and avoid others’ mistakes. The key is that they will continue to get better and continue to seek improvement. Mastery is achieved through such iterative journey of learning and improvement. Similarly, for individuals in his(her) journey in life, mastery can be achieved by constantly looking for learning and improvement opportunities and acting on them.

6.4.2 Develop A Way Of Learning To Become Proficient

Great companies try to create a road map to follow for the future. We also need a road map in life to facilitate getting from one place to another in a sure way. When we start out in a new area, we frequently have no clue about what’s going on. But when we do it enough times or see enough examples, we would develop a road map on how

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to get from point A to point B or how things are done, and given the current conditions, what’s likely to happen next? Here are some examples:

Cooking - when you prepare a new dish for the first time, you are just following a receipe, and you have no idea how it would turn out. But when you have done it many times or have seen it done many times under varying conditions, you will develop a “feel” that given the current conditions how the dish would turn out, or what you need to do to make the dish turn out just right.

To Write A Poem Or To Draw A Picture - For the beginner, one again has no idea where one is go- ing, and it’s hard to predict how the poem or pic- ture would turn out. But once one has developed proficiency and have done enough poems or draw- ings, one would frequently have the structure of the whole poem or the finished picture in mind, and writing it down or drawing it out is merely to follow the mental road map to “dump” it on to paper.

Project Management - the same is true in run- ning a project, whether the project is for personal hobby or work related. After one has done enough projects or have seen enough projects, one would develop a feel how projects would turn out. One would know what to look for to make projects suc- cessful, what are the danger signs, and how to cor- rect problems.

Marriage - the same can be said about marriage or relationship in general. For many people, they have no clue how to make a marriage “work”, as they have no clear idea what problems they would

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run into or how to deal with them. But professional marriage counselors, who have seen enough pat- terns, can deal with conflicts, detect danger signals, or advise clients how to solve their problems.

So how do we acquire proficiency so we can handle a task with confidence as if we are merely following a road map from one place to another? I believe this has to do with how we go about learning things. For simple tasks, such as cooking a special dish, we can certainly follow the traditional approach of taking lessons from experts and doing lots of practices. By practicing, it’s like we are going from place A to B again and again under all kind of conditions, we’ll learn how to compensate for changes in road and traffic conditions or some other variations, and develop a feel and confidence how the task could still be accomplished successfully regardless of the variations. But what about cases where it would take years to do a project or a lifetime for a marriage? Here is where we need to read books, listen to experts, and observe projects or marriages in action. By knowing and seeing the likely problems in many projects and marriages, how they fail under stress, how they recover, as well as how successful projects or marriages handle these problems, and how they are doing things a little differently to promote suc- cess and forestall failure, then we could start to get a feel how projects or marriages really “work”. This is how we can start to build our ability to navigate the terrain of project management or relationship as if we are just following a road map. In addition to this, the strategy of risk management and rapid prototyping mentioned in the section of strategy is also very useful. In summary, to develop a road map and learn to be proficient may be divided into three stages:

In the beginning, we just want to look at lots of ex-

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amples, and in particular, be familiar with the suc- cessful final products you like to emulate. Do com- pare how people succeed and how people fail and notice the differences between the successes and failures. One certainly should also learn from the experts and successful practitioners about all the things one can do to ensure success as well as all the likely problems one may encounter.

Here are some examples. Lots of people have writ- ten about their handling of critical illness such as cancer. If one looks at those who succeeded, such as

Greg Smith, and those who failed, there are many sobering lessons. While the type of cancer certainly

is a big factor in the survival rate, many failures are

also due to the fact that patients did not know how to respond to such a catastrophe, and took a poor strategy, such as using a second-rate local doctor or facility for the sake of convenience, did not look into available experimental procedures with a high suc- cess rate, or did not pick a doctor who could work with the patient as a partner. As another example,

one could analyze 100 poems or 100 projects as a way to understand what works well and what does not work, and as a way to learn about writing po- etry or running projects.

The next stage one likes to get into is to develop a sense of the road map. We know the final products we want and we have seen lots of examples, both successes and failures, and understand what hap- pened to them. Now we need to start to develop a process or stage view, like a road map, knowing the various intermediate steps we need to go through and the landmarks there. We also need to develop

a sensitivity on how things are going, whether we

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are progressing nicely or not, and if things are not going well, what are the problems and how to fix them.

The final stage is to do lots of practices, in sim- ulation if necessary. The goal is to develop that mastery feel so when we are exposed to project tasks in progress - whether it’s a dish being cooked, an on-going relationship, a software development project, or a poem in the formation stage - we can tell very quickly whether it’s going well or heading into troubles, and what to do to fix the problems. How soon we can become proficient will depend on how many project tasks we can practice on and how fast we can complete them.

6.4.3 A Process Orientation - Measure, Ana- lyze, And Set Quality Targets

Many good ideas from process management can be applied to individual living one’s life. A key concept in process management is to understand quality, and to have a quality standard. We use quality standard to decide if our work is good enough or not. So metrics and measurements are very important in quality man- agement. Many believe that, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. Even qualitative or subjective mea- surement could be helpful. It certainly is better than get- ting no data at all, moving forward blindly not knowing how one’s doing. As the owner of your own life, it’s im- portant to take stock on how things are going. These measurements will help you to set quality targets and to evaluate if the results are satisfactory. What is quality for you for a given task? It’s impor- tant to know what you are looking for so the effort can be

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focused on them. For consumer products, the following are frequently cited as important to the consumers:

Fitness of use

Conform to specification

Low cost

Reliable, last a long time

High performance, fast response time

Ease of use, friendly user interface

Conform to standard, minimal variation

Another important reason to measure is to keep a record, so we can do data analysis, to find out how vari- able is the performance, what the trend is, and so on. This will also be the basis for root-cause analysis and contin- uous improvement. Here are a few simple data analysis techniques that one can try:

Where is the ballpark? - This technique allows you to get a sense of the average and variation of your data. For your monthly utility bills, let’s say, one can analyze the usage or expense for each type of utility, such as gas, water, electricity. There may be seasonal variation as heating bill may be higher in winter. Once the pattern is understood, a spike in the bill may be a hint that there is a cold spell or some special event has happened. While each household expense is different, knowing what’s the average bill for a similar size household can help one to gauge if one’s usage is typical (within the ball park) or way out of range.

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Pareto analysis - This technique allows you or iden- tify the most important factors in your data so you can focus on them first. For a company, it’s not unusual that 80% of the business comes from just 20% of the customers. For a personal or house- hold budget, there may be a similar phenomena. By putting expenses into various categories, this anal- ysis can help you to focus on the few areas that have the greatest potential to save you money.

Trending - Trending analysis helps one to find out if things are getting better or worse? Are we get- ting closer to our target? Is our spending pretty stable or varies erratically from month to month? One can learn all this by keeping track of the data regularly over time.

6.4.4 Mastery Through Continuous Process Improvement

The concept of following a process to do a task may seem un-natural to some people. Yet it’s the key to mas- tery. To follow a process is kind of like following a cook- ing recipe, step-by-step. By doing each step accurately and well, the likelihood the end result will be successful is greatly increased. Some people may feel that this is too rigid and their creativity would be stifled. But think about how a master chef operates. During the learning phase, the person needs to follow the recipe carefully and measure each ingredients precisely. Only after the per- son has cooked this dish numerous times and gained a precise control would the person be able to do the dish in a seemingly free-flow fashion. It’s the same with other performing careers, such as musicians and athletes. The seemingly natural grace of a concert pianist’s brilliant

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flourish or the natural and graceful triple turn of a cham- pion ice-skater are the result of long years of practice and discipline. When we make mistakes, we have a tendency to re- peat them, because we have formed certain habits to do things in certain ways. If it’s something important, we need to notice and track the mistakes and find ways to prevent them from happening again. This is made easy when we follow a process to do things. We can then ana- lyze where in the process the mistakes happened and take corrective action. If we do things randomly, we won’t have a clue where mistake has happened and it would be very difficult to improve. Before we can improve, we need to do some root-cause analysis to find out why the problems occur. A tool to fa- cilitate that is to draw a cause-effect diagram. What it is is simply a way to trace the symptoms of the problem back to the potential causes. This is quite similar to how physicians look at patient’s symptoms or car mechanics look at car’s symptoms as a first step in diagnosis. Then we can do some tests to find out among the many possible causes which one is the real culprit that caused the prob- lem. For example, if we don’t keep track carefully about how much money we have in checking account, we may write too many checks and overdraw our balance. As a result, the bank gives us a stiff penalty. Once we found the root cause, we need to do things differently (to make a process change) so this won’t happen again. May be we can always record the checks into our checkbook ledger so we’ll always know how much money is still available. Apply process changes is a great way to show that we have really learned our lessons. Sometimes it might be worthwhile to make major overhaul on how we do things to remove much inefficien- cies in our old ways or to take advantages of new knowl-

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edge or technology. In business speak, it’s known as pro- cess re-engineering. For example, old ways in travel relies on our study of street and highway maps. In this internet age, this process could now be replaced by the ”Map It” service in the world wide web. Old ways to find one’s way back to base camp in wilderness could now be replaced by programs in a handheld GPS locator. Combine the two, some cars now provide GPS guided navigation with map showing real-time position of the car. This makes finding a new place very easy to do. Post-project review is another useful practice for con- tinuous improvement. Once we finished a major task, we might want to spend a little time to review how well we did that we should keep on doing, and areas that we did not do so well, and how we can improve. This should be

a part of our continuous learning and improvement. One should avoid making the same mistakes twice. To help myself on this, I try to keep a journal to include mis- takes that bother me. I’ll do the analysis to identify pro- cess or behavior changes I need to make in order to avoid the same mistakes in the future. The five arts provide a natural framework for contin- uous improvement. On any life project, we could look for opportunity of improvement along one or more di- mensions of the five arts.

6.5 Build Successful Relationships

Human are social animals. Very few can live alone and be happy. How to get along with others and build

good relationship are essential skills for a happy life. A large part of management is people management - how to motivate and develop people, how to build strong team

- and a lot of that can be applied to managing personal

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life. In the chapter on “Work With People”, we saw some stories about the importance to keep communication channel open, and to avoid misunderstanding by learn- ing how others see things. Namely, it’s important to have empathy. In the following, I’ll introduce several impor- tant techniques to help building successful relationship, including leadership, trust building, win-win negotiation, and team building.

6.5.1 The Art Of Leadership

What is leadership? According to ”The Art of Busi- ness”, in working with people a leader has many roles, in- cluding visionary/architect, teacher/coach and steward. A person can be a leader in his(her) relationship and take initiative and responsibility to manage key relationships. The key is that relationship needs be actively managed. Good relationship doesn’t just happen by itself. It needs attention, investment, and nourishment. There are many excellent guides on improving work- ing relations. These principles can be applied to personal relationship as well. The concept is that for key long-term relationship, the win-lose bargaining (I win, you lose) would not work. Who wants to stay in a long-term one- sided relationship? Instead, we should try to build trust, encourage team spirit, and aim at win-win outcome.

6.5.2 Trust Building

Roger Fisher and Scott Brown of Harvard Negotia- tion Project have produced an excellent book on how to build trust in relationship. Here are the six principles from “Getting Together – Building Relationships as We

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Negotiate”: 3

Understanding - Learn how the other party see things, and what is important to them.

Communicate - Always consult before decide things that affect the other party. Avoid surprises.

Be reliable - While not necessarily wholly trusting the other party initially, be wholly trustworthy your- self.

Acceptance - Deal seriously with others even if you strongly disagree with some of their views.

Use persuasion - Never use coercion. Always try to rea- son and find common goals and common grounds. This is especially important when partners have unequal power such as money. Use of such power has a tendency to coerce and corrupt the relation- ship.

Balance emotion with reason - It’s important to pay at- tention to both reasoning and feeling of your part- ner.

6.5.3 Win-win Negotiation

Also from Harvard Negotiation Project, Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton wrote “Getting to Yes – Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In” 4 to guide people on win-win negotiation techniques. There are four major principles –

3 Penguin Books, 1989 4 Penguin Books, 1991

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Separate people from the problem - Don’t attack a per- son just because you and the person disagree about some issues.

Focus on interests, not positions - Don’t lock into a bot- tom line position. First explore concerns and needs of each side.

Invent options for mutual gain - Instead of fighting for a bigger slice of the pie, see if both can have more by having a bigger pie or change the scope of the negotiation in some ways.

Insist on using objective criteria - If one can’t get agree- ment or to proceed with negotiation on the issues at hand, perhaps one can negotiate an objective crite- ria to guide a fair decision or to negotiate a proce- dure on how to move forward.

6.5.4 Team Building

There are many good ideas on team building that can be useful to build successful relationship.

Get to know each other Find common interests, hobbies, views, friends, background. Get to know each other’s aspirations and dreams in life. Understand each other’s strong likes and dislikes, issues, concerns.

Matching temperament and talents Is there a good match in temperament? Are there complementary skills that one can learn or lean on from the other instead of competing with each other? A “strong” talent may look down on a “weak” talent. But two people, both strong in talents but in different areas, can respect and take pride in each other’s strength and achievements.

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Build alignment If there are shared interests and good match in temperament and skills, one can explore the possibility of shared life goals, such as to raise a fam- ily together or some other lifelong shared dreams. Ex- plore what roles each can contribute to achieve those dreams.

Create good times Team building is also very much a matter of creating many opportunities of sharing good times together, create “magic moments” and “fond mem- ories”.

Celebrate successes Celebrate success often and recognize each other’s contribution and accomplish- ments.

Relationship does change with time. Certainly, after the arrival of children, the focus in marriage partnership changes from initial focus of passion and sexual intimacy to parenthood and children’s well being. People could grow apart as interests and viewpoints change over the years. But one could still maintain mutual respect, kind- ness, friendship, and warm memory of past good times. Good time needs investment. Find time and resources for things all members in the relationship like to do. For my family, we all like to try out various ethnic food. So weekly eat out and search for different exotic restaurants is one of our constant ritual and source of many good times.

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Chapter 7

To Live A Life Generous In Spirit and Compassionate In Heart

DO THE THINGS RIGHT, AND DO THE RIGHT THINGS. Ultimately, the most important thing in life is to do the right things. One could have all the techniques and skills of project management, but if one chooses to do evil, then the net result of one’s life is still a failure and disgrace. On the other hand, if one has the heart at the right place, always chooses to stop suffering and brings a helping hand to others, then even if one is not very good in some of the project management skills, one still has a life well lived. Several stories in this final chap- ter are used to illustrate: a spirit of generosity to share knowledge for free; a will to walk away from a rich and easy way of life that lacks spiritual values and instead to live simply and helping others to eat a healthy diet and to protect animals and the environment; and a life totally devoted to compassionate services to reduce suffering in others in spite of grave danger and hardship to oneself.

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7.1 Charles W. Vest - Sharing Knowl- edge For Free With The Whole World

Imagine that you are a rich and powerful king in an- cient time. You are interested in all kind of things, so you invited many wise men, wizards, and experts to be your counsel. They are available to instruct you at all hours on any subject that meets your fancy for the moment. Yet we are precisely living in such a world and you are the king. You can access course materials on any sub- ject for free, almost two thousand courses in total, and it’s offered by one of the most prestigious institution - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - for their college and post-graduate students. Such generosity and spirit has greatly enriched our world. I like to call peo- ple who make offers like that the free-wealth builders as everyone is enriched by their giving out accurate and in- depth knowledge for free. How amazing such an affair is in our world of greed, privatization, and ownership craze! In fact, most institutions would like to focus on the intellectual property rights and try to charge money for the use of their course materials. To understand how such a good fortune has happened to all of us, we need to know more about Charles Vest, past President of MIT. For it is under his leadership and with his passion, the MIT open courseware project came to fruition. Charles Vest was born in 1941 and served as President of MIT from 1990 to 2004. Prior to that, he was Provost and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Michigan. He had a B.S. from West Virginia Univer- sity and M.S. and Ph.D. from University of Michigan. 1

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles Marstiller Vest

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Earlier on, Vest’s research interests were in thermal sci- ences and engineering applications of lasers and coherent optics. He captured his experiences as MIT president in a book, “Pursuing The Endless Frontier: Essays on MIT and the Role of Research Universities”. He has received many honorary doctoral degrees. From his many talks given during his tenure as MIT President, one can feel Vest’s passion about the mission of research universities to conduct fundamental research and excellence in teaching and to serve the world and help to solve its problems. In one of his talk about serv- ing as University President, he said, “University endures, the work is never complete, forever pursuing the endless frontier. Role of the individual is transient. We make our contribution, do our work, exert our influences, pur- sue our passion, chase our dreams, teach and learn, suc- ceed or fail, give substances to the present, help to shape the future, and then move on.” It is quite transparent in Vest’s mind individuals are there to serve the long-range mission of the University. His dedication and commit- ment to these lofty goals are also apparent. During his tenure he has focused on improving basic research excellence of an institution that’s already great. One of the first thing he did at MIT was to bring Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the world wide web, and the World Wide Web consortium (W3C), to MIT. 2 He has also been consistently focused on diversity representa- tion in both MIT students and faculties. He has been vocal in supporting University of Michigan Affirmative Action case at the Supreme Court. MIT, with a number of other institutions, filed brief with the court arguing for the need in using race as one of the factors to achieve di- versity goals in admission. About this important case, he

2 http://www.w3.org/2004/09/W3C10-Vest.html

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said, “we must preserve the legal right and moral author- ity to consider race as one of many factors in college and university admissions, and in other programs and dimen- sions of our life and learning.” He also said, “When the question is asked, Where were you? MIT’s answer will be clear.” In many of Vest’s talks, he pointed out the importance of science and technology to fuel economic development and growth, and the crucial need to have a highly edu- cated population to take on the tasks of our increasingly complex and technology-based society. While to privatize knowledge for profit has its role, if all are doing this, the digital divide between the rich and the poor will persist. By providing knowledge - at college and post-graduate level - for free on the world wide web, MIT not only greatly enriches everyone of the world, but also provides a level playing ground for all nations and communities to participate in the knowledge-based economic develop- ment and growth. Charles Vest certainly embraced this vision of global service enthusiastically and he was the leader at MIT to make this open courseware project a re- ality. But he was also representing the collective wisdom and generosity of the MIT faculty as a whole. For my purpose here, the most important contribu- tion Vest made was in his leadership role in realizing the vision of MIT Open Courseware 3 , where MIT course ma- terials are available online for free. The origin of this vision came from a MIT committee of faculty members charged by Vest in 1999 to study how best to leverage the rapidly expanding internet for MIT’s mission. Many institutions back then were already planning to commer- cialize the intellectual properties through for profit dis- tance learning courses. The committee came back to Vest

3 http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html

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and suggested that the best way to realize MIT’s mission to advance knowledge and to serve the world is to put MIT course materials online for free. Vest embraced this radical idea and discussed with faculties throughout MIT to make sure that there was indeed a genuine consen- sus and support by the faculty on this project. He then pursued funding for the program vigorously, and made the announcement of the project in April 2001. The goal of the project was to publish five hundreds courses by September 2002 in the pilot phase, which was met on time. The pilot phase was funded by Hewlett and Mel- lon foundations. From 2007 onward, essentially all MIT course materials, about 2000 courses, will be on the web. MIT is also committed to make this service a long lasting program. In addition to the MIT open courseware project, it seems that Vest has also been exemplary in many other areas as president of a major research and teaching in- stitution. He had served in numerous government com- mittees and had been extremely successful in fund drive. Over two billion US dollars for endowment were raised in the late 1990s to put MIT’s future on firmer financial footing. Vest seems to be a down to earth and modest per- son. In his talks, he gave credits about the great success of the open courseware project to many others. He has a sense of humor and would kid himself from time to time. Talking about his experiences as president at MIT, he re- called that in meeting the parents for incoming freshmen each fall, for the first ten years or so, every third or fourth parents would comment that he looks too young to be the MIT president. Then after about the tenth year, he no- ticed that he no longer hear those remarks. He figured that may be it’s time for him to move on to do something else. Additional references: Anne H. Margulies, “The

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OpenCourseWare Initiative: A New Model for Shar- ing” 4 , William G. Bowen, “Community Discussion on Open Sharing and OpenCourseWare” 5 , Charles Vest, “Knowledge Based Economy and Education: Chang- ing Roles for Universities - The MIT Perspective” 6 and Charles M. Vest, “Pursuing The Endless Frontier: Es- says on MIT and the Role of Research Universities.” 7

7.2 John Robbins - Eat Right And Heal The Living Earth

It’s extremely rare for someone who was brought up in a very privileged environment, indoctrinated with a certain set of values and beliefs, would grow up and walk away from a super rich and easy life, and turned into an activist, speaking out against some of the most deeply held beliefs and values of the family. It takes not only tremendous courage to break from the family that nur- tured one but it also takes crystal clear insight about what’s the purpose of life and very strong self-confidence about one’s self-worth as a person to walk away from great fortunes. John Robbins is just such a person. I admire him not just for his courage and his wisdom, but also for the good work he did and the great beneficial im- pact he made. Instead of spending his life to continue to expand and enjoy the ice-cream empire fortune that is associated with his name, he chose to educate Americans about healthy diet, and in the process, helped to cham- pion animal rights, protect the environment, and help

4 http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/208/

5 http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/238/

6 http://mitworld.mit.edu/stream/3/

7 http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/245/

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people to live healthier life. Many years ago, I was in- troduced to his book, “Diet for a New America”, by my dear sister Lulu. I was convinced by John’s writing that it’s wrong to eat meat and poultry because of the cruel ways these animals were being “farmed” for human con- sumption, plus the destruction to the environment in rais- ing them, and the harmful effect to the human body in a meat based diet. I have since converted to a vegetables and seafood based diet for many years. Back to John Robbins. John Robbins 8 was being groomed to take over the Baskin-Robbins ice cream em- pire one day, but gave up the chance to be very rich, and devoted himself instead to animal welfare, healthy diet for people, and environmental causes. For ten years, he and his wife lived in a one-room log cabin built by him, and grew most of their own food. In some years they lived on less than $1000 US in total each year. He is the author of “Diet for a New America” and “The Food Rev- olution”. In these books, John used his powerful voice to encourage people to eat plant-based diet for health, humane (toward animals) and environmental protection reasons. He is also the founder of EarthSave Interna- tional (earthsave.org), a nonprofit organization that sup- ports healthy food choices, preservation of the environ- ment, and a more compassionate world. He was the re- cipient of the 1994 Rachel Carson Award. Why would a rich kid walk away from it all? How did someone growing up in an ice-cream empire turned to de- nounce fatty food? There was no sign of major upheaval or family distress in his childhood. He seemed to have grown up in a harmonious family and had a happy child- hood. According to one interview 9 John Robbins started

8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John Robbins http://www.mavericksofthemind.com/index.html

9

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to question and to challenge the values and lifestyle of his family from a very early age. John said, “From my earli- est childhood I was living two lives; I was being groomed

by my father to succeed him;

volved in questioning and challenging everything I was being taught”. But this was not something he could dis- cuss freely with his family. There was the family belief on the one hand that “ice cream made people happy”, and yet he was also aware fairly early that “ice cream is high in saturated fat and cholesterol and contributed to diabetes and heart disease”. John used to love to eat ice cream although he does not eat that any more. He chose to strike out on his own and not to follow the traditional path for a rich kid. On account of his great success on high school debate team, he was offered schol- arships to Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. But he decided to attend a public school instead - University of Califor- nia at Berkeley - so he could be exposed to people from di- verse background. His exposure to Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement at UC Berkeley influenced him a great deal during the 1960s and perhaps prepared him for a life of contribution through activism. Another factor is that the life of the rich did not mean

much for him. He saw at close range in his family the limitations of material success. He said, “Within the cir- cle of my family’s friends were some of the richest people in the world, who also happened to be some of the most neurotic”. He did not see too many truly happy people among the rich. His break from his family was very hard on his par- ents. John said about his father, “When I left the busi- ness, he was very hurt and that caused a lot of distance between us.” His father considered him an idealist but felt that John was crazy to walk away from an opportu- nity to become extremely wealthy. His uncle Bert Baskin

my inner life was in-

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died in the late 1960s of a heart attack. John had the pleasure to help his father indirectly to avoid the same fate. His father developed high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes around 1989, and the doctor or- dered him to change his lifestyle. The doctor also gave him a book to read which happened to be John’s “Diet for a New America”. His father did read the book and changed his diet and got healthy again. It was much harder for John’s mother to accept John’s choice of ca- reer, as John said, “she seems to feel that I’m saying she fed us wrong.” Reading interviews of him, he came across as a light- hearted and cheerful person, and sprinkled the inter- views with frequent laughter. He had this to say about his spiritual belief, “The sense of spirit that enables us to be more present and more honoring of our interconnect- edness – to me that’s the action of the divine. The surren- dering of the individual self, the ego self, into the greater universe is my spiritual practice.” About activism John said, “Our other choice is to actively engage with the liv- ing world. On this path we work responsibly and joy- fully to make our lives, and our societies, into expressions of our love for ourselves, for each other, and for the liv- ing Earth.” John’s activism has passed on in the family. It’s of interest to note that 10 John’s son, Ocean Robbins, is also an activist. Ocean co-founded “YES!, Youth for Environmental Sanity” with his father when Ocean was only sixteen. Ocean is also the co-author of “Choices for Our Future: A Generation Rising for Life on Earth”.

10 http://www.wie.org/bios/ocean-robbins.asp

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7.3 Father Damien - Follow Your Heart To Compassion

Let’s talk about choosing a hard life. Imagine at a bulletin board there are many description about lives for future babies to choose from. Some described a life of wealth, easy comfort, and travel. Others talked about birth into nobility, a life of fame, great adventure, and ac- complishment. Many such description sheets were taken. Only a wrinkled, torn sheet was left from the pile. Appar- ently, many found it to be too tough a life to take on. Al- though there is a trouble free childhood, a training and ordaining for priesthood, and a mission trip to Hawaii, this life also contains sixteen long years to be spent in a lawless, miserable hell hole of leper colony. The person would be the only support, both spiritual, medical, and physical, to several hundred lepers. The stench some- times is so overwhelming that one needs to step away to get some fresh air. Eventually, the person will die of lep- rosy, with the muscles and organs slowly eaten away, as leprosy was an incurable progressive disease at the time. The person will die in the prime of middle age, only 49 years old. So who would choose such a hard life? Only one special person did, and that was Joseph de Veuster, or Father Damien. It’s exactly correct to say that he chose such a life, because he volunteered to serve at the leper colony. No body asks him to stay that long, and he could leave anytime he likes. But he committed himself to be there till his death. Bishop Maigret, his superior, pre- sented Damien to the leper colonists as “one who will be a father to you, and who loves you so much that he does not hesitate to become one of you; to live and die with you.” It is through Damien’s effort that lives at the leper colony changed drastically for the better after his arrival, as will

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be described below. This is a life with a single-minded dedication to relieve suffering for the hundreds of aban- doned and cast away, a total sacrifice of oneself including one’s own life in the end. Now the colony is no longer needed or active and leprosy is no longer a death penalty, but Father Damien’s love and devotion for people in his care will forever shines brightly in people’s heart as his life symbolized the greatness of human compassion and a fearless spirit. There were certainly many others who fought for a great cause and gave up their lives. They are also all heroes or heroines. Perhaps for a life of priesthood, it is not that unusual for a person ready to die for a good cause. At the public profession of Father Damien’s final vow, as was the religious custom of the time, his supe- riors covered him with a funeral pall. Symbolically, he died then and had faced death already. But to choose a life for sixteen long years of what others would consider filled with hardship and bone breaking hard labor, and with a lingering painful slow death, that seems to call for greater stamina and endurance than a quick heroic fight and death on the battle field. After all, there were plenty of priests and pastors in Hawaii at the time. Still, Father Damien remained the only one, moved by the deep calling to extend whatever help he could to the poor abandoned souls of the afflicted, to have volunteered there. Other volunteers did not join him there till the last few years before his death. Here are some key dates in Father Damien’s life: 11 Father Damien (Joseph de Veuster), missionary priest from Belgium, was born in 1840 and ordained in 1864 and was sent to Hawaii as a missionary in the same year. He volunteered to be the resident priest of the leper

11 from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04615a.htm

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colony in a corner of Molokai in 1873, to provide services

to

several hundreds of lepers. He first got leper symptom

in

1885 and died in 1889. Before Father Damien, 12 condition in Molokai leper

colony was miserable. Leprosy first appeared in Hawaii

in 1840, and reached epidemic proportion by late 1860s.

A policy of segregation was adopted by the Hawaiian

government in 1868. A leper colony was established in Molokai, and lepers were rounded up and sent there. There were very little support provided at the colony. Between 1866 to 1873 almost eight hundred lepers were

sent there, but almost half died due to the heart break

of separation from family and the poor condition and

lack of food or shelter at the colony. There was no law

or order there and no body cared. The bodies of those

passed away were thrown into shallow graves that were frequently dug up by wild pigs or dogs! Damien’s first order of business, after arrival to the colony, was to built himself a shelter. In the mean time, he needed to use a pandanus tree as shelter and a large rock on the side as a dinner table. Fortunately, Damien was a skillful carpenter, and with the help of lepers there, he gradually built a rectory, coffins, a home for lepers’ chil-

dren, and replaced the miserable shacks of lepers by nice cottages. At certain season of the year, chilly and damp wind would blow down into the leper colony and the lep- ers suffered grievously from the cold in their flimsy and rotten huts. A properly constructed cottage changed all that. Damien’s services and impact to the leper colony can best be appreciated from the words of eye wit- nesses. Charles Stoddard visited the colony in 1868 before Damien’s arrival and again in 1884. He noted

12 http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/DAMIEN.htm

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that shabby huts were replaced by two villages of white houses, surrounded by flower gardens and cultivated fields. There were a decent hospital, a graveyard and two orphanages filled with children. And most amaz- ingly, people at the colony, instead of rotting in slime, were outside riding horses! Another visitor, Edward Clif- ford, came in 1888. He found, in his own words, “cheerful people, the lovely landscapes, and comparatively painless life - were all surprises. These poor people seemed singu- larly happy.” When he asked the lepers if they missed home, they said, “Oh, no! We’re well off here. The gov- ernment watches over us, the superintendent is good, and we like our pastor. He builds our houses himself, he gives us tea, biscuits, sugar and clothes. He takes good care of us and doesn’t let us in want for anything.” To be surrounded by lepers was like to live in hell. There was the constant coughing of the sick. Their breath was fetid. Their bodies exuded a terrible foul odor. Some had part of the bodies eaten by worms. In Damien’s own words, “Many a time in fulfilling my priestly duties at the lepers’ home, I have been obliged, not only to close my nostrils, but to remain outside to breathe fresh air. To counteract the bad smell, I got myself accustomed to the use of tobacco.” To give a sense of the courage of Damien to be in constant contact with lepers all day, consider this contrast. A medical doctor sent to the colony at the time was so afraid of the contagion that he examined the lepers’ wounds by lifting their bandages with his cane! In contrast, Damien made the decision not to avoid the contagion out of fear. He touched, embraced, and dined with the lepers. Damien washed their bodies, bandaged their wounds, and tidied their rooms and beds. He also gave them Sacraments of confession and Holy Commu- nion and anointing bedridden lepers. It’s through touch that he conveyed his love for them and won their hearts

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over. He also did all he could to make them as comfort- able as possible. In spite of their fatal illness, Damien tried to instill a sense of dignity in the people under his care. He fenced off the cemetery to protect the graves from pig, dogs, and other scavengers. He organized lepers to provide de- cent burial for each deceased, with requiem Mass, music, and funeral procession. He also organized lepers to blast rocks at the shoreline for a decent docking facility and built roads. He also taught them how to farm, to raise animals, to sing or to play musical instruments. Their ac- complishments helped them to restore a sense of dignity and pride and joy to replace the despair and lawlessness. Damien 13 also organized school, constructed a water sys- tem, and learned how to speak in Hawaiian language. According to visitors at his Sunday Mass, his lepers gathered around him on the altar. Even though there was constant coughing and expectorating, and the odor was overpowering, Damien never showed any disgust. Hawaiians loved to sing and there’s no shortage of singers to the choir. Except that there might be some peculiar sounds in the singing as leprosy often attacked the vocal cords, but the choir sang joyfully. Damien’s indomitable spirit helped to lift others. Some in his band had few fin- gers to play instruments. One witness reported seeing two organists played at the same time, with ten fingers between them. Hawaiians loved sports and Damien orga- nized foot races, even though some of them had no feet. Sometimes his zeal to harass the authorities in order to promote the welfare of the colony and the news of his good work made some people unhappy about him, including some of his superiors at the Sacred Hearts mission. There were also those Puritan missionaries in

13 http://www.nps.gov/kala/docs/damien.htm

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Hawaii who felt that leprosy was God’s punishment of the immoral and loose sexual habits of the Hawaiian peo- ple, and they were very irritated by Damien’s fame for helping the Hawaiians. Damien believed instead that Hawaiians were basically good people and should not suf- fer because of the illness. One Puritan pastor spread ru- mors about Damien after Damien’s death but the accusa- tion was thoroughly refuted by others, including Robert Louis Stevenson. After Damien got leprosy, he was forbidden by his su- periors to leave the colony. He left just one time for one week in order to arrange for Mother Marianne to visit Molokai. He had to stay in the leprosarium the whole time while he was in Honolulu. His superior warned him not to say Mass there or allow the Sisters to receive Holy Communion from him. He referred to this rejection as “the greatest suffering I had ever endured in my life.” As death approached, the disease invaded his windpipe and kept him from more than an hour or two sleeping at night. Leprosy was in his throat, his lungs, his stomach, and his intestines. His voice was reduced to a raucous whisper. But he persisted to carry out his work as much as he could. During his life, his work was recognized by the Hawaiian people, and he was awarded Hawaiian Order of Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Kalakaua for his “efforts in alleviating the distress and mitigating the sorrows of the unfortunate.” He was beatified by the Catholic Church in 1995 under the title of Blessed Fa- ther Damien - Servant of Humanity. Gandhi, the sage of India, credited Damien to have inspired him, 14 and said, “The political and journalistic world can boast of very few heroes who compare with Father Damien of Molokai.

14 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father Damien

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It is worthwhile to look for the sources of such heroism.”

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About The Author

I was born in China but grew up in Taiwan. I have a life long interest in science and studied physics with de- grees from National Taiwan University (B.S.) and Univer- sity of Illinois (Ph.D.) After graduation, I taught physics and did research at State University of New York at Buf- falo for several years. Then I worked at Oak Ridge Na- tional Laboratory on fusion research till the late 1970. After that I joined AT&T Bell Laboratories and worked there for almost twenty years till retirement in 1999. At AT&T I worked on many projects with various roles over the years - software development, process quality, and project management. I wrote a book on “Software Pro- cess Quality” (McGraw-Hill) in 1993. After retirement, I still do a little training and consulting work on software project and process management. A recent picture of me is included here.

I am married to Susan Ting and we have two beautiful daughters, Emily and Frances. I learned Chinese cook- ing as a new hobby and routinely cooked during week- days before my wife’s recent retirement. I also like to hike and travel and Hawaii is my favorite place for vaca- tion. I also like to visit US National Parks. I also like to read and keep up with latest development in science and technology. I am fascinated by the rapid ascendancy of

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science and technology over the last few hundred years and its great impact on human society. It’s such a great show I feel very lucky to be born during this age. I hope to get to understand what is consciousness in my life time. I enjoy listening to classical music and reading poetry. More recently, I learned to self-publish through services at lulu.com and published several books there. These books could be downloaded for free at

http://people.lulu.com/users/index.php?fHomepage=101324

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