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Ambeck Edge: Your Invisible Mentor
By Avil Beckford
A Note From The President

Ambeck Edge: Your Invisible Mentor is a collection of Ambeck Edge newsletters,
which are published by Ambeck Enterprise I have
selected specific sections from the newsletters and organized them differently.

It took me three years to decide what I wanted to include in Ambeck Edge
because I wanted it to be special for my readers. I wanted it to be very
different from what was already out there. We have been around since October
2004 and still unfolding. As I evolve, Ambeck Edge evolves.

I have grown as a person over the past four years, and I would like to think that
I have grown for the better. The books that I have read, the quotations that I
have come across, the people I have interviewed, have all shaped and changed
me. We are shaped and changed by our interactions and experiences.

I am a much better writer and I know that there is still a lot of room for
improvement. You become good at something by doing that thing. I become
more experienced at writing by writing.

I am grateful to the people who read what I have to say each month and I
appreciate the feedback that they give me. I have integrated many of the
suggestions and the newsletter keeps on getting better because of that.

What’s next for Ambeck Edge? I do not know, but one thing that I do know is
that it will keep on unfolding. I am a perpetual learner and that’s reflected in
the newsletter. In life we often assume different roles depending on the
situation, and as such I am both student and teacher. Whenever I learn
something that I think will be valuable for my readers, I will let them know.

Over the past year I haven’t been as consistent with producing Ambeck Edge as
I have done in the past, but that doesn’t mean that I am not dedicated. Life
happens and we go through peaks and valleys. I have had some incredible
experiences, not all in a positive way, but I am thankful for them because they
have allowed me to grow and become a stronger as well as more enlightened

Thank you for going on this journey with me and visit The Invisible Mentor Blog

Avil Beckford, President

Ambeck Enterprise

Ambeck Enterprise
About The Author

Avil Beckford is an accomplished writer, researcher, and analyst with over 15
years experience. Her strong service orientation, dedication to learning and
exploring new ways of improving her own life as well as the many she touches,
has underpinned her success to date.

A published author, her new book, Tales of People Who Get It is a culmination
of her life experience. It has often been said of Avil that her life informs her
work. She has also created a companion workbook Journey to Getting It.

Avil’s many readers look forward to Ambeck Edge, her company’s regular e-
Newsletter that is a rich resource those interested in self-improvement, as well
as those professionals who struggle with life issues.


Ambeck Enterprise
Management & Leadership ................................................................................... 6
Carolyn Burke, MA, CISSP, CISM, CEO Integrity Incorporated ........................................ 6
Asha McLeod, Owner & Senior Stylist, Jazma Hair Salon ............................................ 10
Dan White, Founder & President, WNBC ............................................................... 11
Transitions & Changes ....................................................................................... 12
Neil Aitchison, Director of Marketing & Development, Drayton Entertainment ................ 12
Anne Grant, Director, Mediated Solutions Incorporated ............................................. 13
Amelia Kassel, Marketing Base ........................................................................... 14
Jim Rohn – Business Philosopher, Jim Rohn International........................................... 15
Ethics ............................................................................................................ 16
Don Middleton, Retiree.................................................................................... 16
Innovation ...................................................................................................... 17
Stephen Abram, VP Innovation, SirsiDynix ............................................................. 17
David Chilton, Author of "The Wealthy Barber" ....................................................... 18
Lillyann Goldstein, B.C.L, L.L.B, CEO and Legal Counsel, @ Wallace Studios ................... 19
Business Development....................................................................................... 20
Maria Nemeth, PhD, MCC, Director & Founder of Academy of Coaching Excellence........... 20
Andrea Nierenberg, The Nierenberg Group ............................................................ 21
Patricia Scarlett, President, Scarlett Media ........................................................... 22
Relationships .................................................................................................. 23
Tom Carter, Retired Banker .............................................................................. 23
Alison Duke, Writer, Producer & Director.............................................................. 25
Brandon Klayman, Conscious Commerce............................................................... 27
William J. Morin, Founder & CEO, WJM Associates, Inc. ............................................ 28
Paul Swaby, Founder, ZOMPAS ........................................................................... 29
Marketing ....................................................................................................... 30
Shari Fryer, Shari Fryer & Associates ................................................................... 30
Communication ............................................................................................... 31
Claire Stoddard, World of Work Marketing ............................................................ 31
Section 2: Book Reviews/Summaries ..................................................................... 33
Section 3: Success Formula ................................................................................ 74
Section 4: Guest Columns .................................................................................. 79
Section 5: Quotations........................................................................................ 89
Section 6: Featured Websites ............................................................................. 95
Section 7: Quick Tips .......................................................................................100
Section 8: Contests..........................................................................................104
Ambeck Edge Reading List: October 2004 – May 2008 ..............................................107

Ambeck Enterprise
Section 1: The Interviews


Ambeck Enterprise
Management & Leadership

Carolyn Burke, MA, CISSP, CISM, CEO Integrity Incorporated

Challenge: I would like to speak about a common challenge that I faced
recently, more a management challenge. We landed a project that was a little
bit outside of our main areas of expertise, and an exciting opportunity to
design and build an online legal entity formation application, and so we formed
a new division to do the work. I brought a new technology director, with strong
experience leading this type of project. He helped to hire and manage a
decentralized distributed team of programmers from all over, some of whom I
already knew and had worked with, and others fresh and new to the table.

We posted the job openings on the Internet, around the world, and through a
skills-based hiring process, we hired a team, which nevertheless included
people from the Greater Toronto Area. Given that it was an open call for
applications, it was interesting that those involved felt geographically local was

The challenge all along was to ensure team members were coordinated, using a
number of different online tools. Project management was interesting-it was
the first time I worked with such a large distributed team. We faced a modern,
yet growing workplace challenge that many businesses are facing everyday.

Not only didn't we share office space, as it turned out everyone had different
schedules. We had night owls on board. The project involved programming and
design, and the night owls were in bed until 2:00 p.m. And the morning people
like me were available during business hours to work with the client. There was
an interesting back and forth using our digital project management and
software management tools that helped stop the gap in time between what
became the morning and evening shifts. So we were distributed technology-
based workers, and we worked in shifts.

Resolution: It turned out that while a lot of good work was completed, there
were weaknesses in the strategy. Some members weren't working as fully part
of the team; work wasn't fully integrated with others'. Our resolution was to
hold an office day where everyone showed up with their computers and worked
in our office at the same time for the day, to coordinate and cooperate. A
different sort of problem solving arose, productive in different ways from what
had been happening earlier on.

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Lessons Learned:

1. Listen and facilitate: There are communications in a project, on a team,
conversations to be had that do not occur when you're using email and
online project management tools, and even the telephone and Skype.
Once we met face-to-face and all the social interpersonal stuff
happened, and people relaxed with each other and got into the work,
there emerged little conversations popping out of the office
environment that actually helped make working more productive. It was
fascinating to see so we organized a series of office days over the rest of
the project's life.
2. Hire for skill: We hired people who were the best in their area,
something that we intended and succeeded at. Skills meritocracy is
3. Knowledge sharing: When specialists work together, they seem eager to
learn from each other. There is a lot to learn from each other's different
expertise in an open knowledge environment that facilitates sharing.


Ambeck Enterprise
Jacoline Loewen, Partner, Loewen & Partners Corporate Services Inc.

Challenge: One of my biggest challenges is trying to manage different types of
personalities. Managing different personalities when they are your clients' is
very different from managing different personalities within your company
where you're trying to get people to do things.

I had a very bright employee who didn't like to have anything planned or
anything put on paper. I valued her, she is very hardworking and she is very
self-directed and gets her projects done. So, the matter was how to get her to
buy into the changes that were taking place in the organization. We were going
through a lot of changes. She had to change. We went through a period of
hyper-growth, which meant that we had to move offices, and our clients were
suddenly a lot more sophisticated - our clients were a lot bigger. We knew that
we had to become a lot more streamlined in what we do because we couldn't
all be in the same office and just be overhearing each other's conversation.

Her and a group of employees had resisted putting strategy on paper, or even
discussing strategy because it was seen to be too management "consultantish"
and not practical.

Resolution: I decided to have Monday morning meetings, which was done
grudgingly. I got her to be in charge of the Monday meetings and asked her, on
Fridays to collect from everyone what their three priorities would be for the
upcoming week. It was a very small step, but it was quite something to get
everyone to tell you what their priorities for the following week would be. At
first, she wasn't very excited, but after a couple of weeks she found out that
she could ask the CEO and the Chairman of the company for their three
priorities, and she would quite gleefully announce at the Monday morning
meeting that she didn't have the Chairman's priority for that week, but hers
was in, and everyone else's were in. Essentially she was given championship -
she was given power. Once she started to run the agenda for the meetings, she
saw the rationale for planning a week ahead and she could see how valuable
the process was because everyone started to realize that the CEO's priorities
was very different from theirs. They started to wonder what should my
priorities be.

People also started to dialogue to determine what the team was trying to
achieve. A simple tool opened up dialogue about the 6- month, 1- year, and 5-
year plan. The employees then requested a strategy meeting once a month.
And now we have lunch brought in and we sit down with a strategy document,
which they now read, which before they didn't. And, now we discuss whatever
they want to discuss and they all bring in articles. It helps us to loosen up. It

also helped us move to a more structured approach to business.

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Lessons Learned:

1. It's easy for me to think on a 9-lane highway. I think across a broad range
and I think long-term. I had to bring it down to a very simple level to
start getting the strategic thinking into the company. I had to start with
the first brick in the foundation and learn to be satisfied because
normally I want the whole house built right away
2. I had to also learn to take that first brick and hand it over to the most
disgruntled person to give her power, and in fact she was someone that I
would have fired and now she is one of the most valuable person in the
3. Being simple is very powerful


Ambeck Enterprise
Asha McLeod, Owner & Senior Stylist, Jazma Hair Salon

Challenge: Looking back over the years at the various problems and obstacles
that come with owning a fast paced, successful hair salon, I have to say the
most challenging of them all was dealing with my staff. What I found most
challenging was that I was constantly doing all I could do to train them to be
the best stylists they could be. This involved countless hours of professional
training, personal and emotional support. The end result would always be that I
would have trained and developed successful, confident stylists. So successful
and confident that they would always believe they were capable of more than
working for me, and would leave our salon, usually taking our clientele that
they had built up as a result of working with us. It was very hard to deal with
this, and it would happen over and over. It left me feeling hurt, and as a result
I found I was bitter towards new staff as I viewed them inevitably doing the
same thing as so many others had done in the past.

Resolution: Eventually I realized that I was creating the problem and I was
making it worse by telling myself things that would add to the bitterness and
resentment through my negative thinking. I finally realized that staff will leave
no matter what I do. I changed my perspective and motivating factors for why I
teach them. Instead of teaching them to be successful because it would be
better for my business, I now train them believing I am helping them to
become better people. I also train them not expecting gratitude in return, and
knowing they will move on eventually.

Lessons Learned:

1. Staff will always leave but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't train them
to do their jobs better
2. I now do things without expecting something in return
3. Resentment and negative thinking harms you and prevents you from
being the best you can be


Ambeck Enterprise
Dan White, Founder & President, WNBC

Challenge: I allowed a contract employee to have too much control over one
aspect of my business. The contract employee ran the tax business and did not
regularly relate to me what was going on. The contractor fell behind, in some
cases, more than a year. I had 82 angry clients. I now had to get a year's worth
of work done in three months.

Resolution: I took back control of the business, and the contractor decided to
leave the company. I set up a customer relationship management system to
automate all processes. I could now see everything that was going on in the
company. I hired a team of tax consultants to do one year's worth of work in
three months to satisfy the 82 angry clients.

Lessons Learned:

1. I am accountable and responsible for everything that happens in my
2. I learned that I wasn't a good leader because a leader is not necessarily
someone who inspires, motivates and set a good example, but one who
takes the team into battle and make sure that they arrive home safely
3. I should not delegate the critical functions in my business without
knowing what's going on
4. I should not give anyone too much freedom without making sure that I
am very comfortable with what is going on at all times


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Transitions & Changes

Neil Aitchison, Director of Marketing & Development, Drayton Entertainment

Challenge: I have a background in broadcasting and theatre and I got a call to
do a humour speech on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow
Disease) intergovernmental border issue. I had to tie my speech into that

Resolution: I met with the group and I asked many questions, listened and took
a lot of notes. I restructured my speech so that it would tie in with what my
client wanted. I prepared as I went along.

Lessons Learned:

1. Listen hard
2. Learning never stops
3. Everyone has their own issues and concerns that they have to deal
4. There is always another hurdle to overcome


Ambeck Enterprise
Anne Grant, Director, Mediated Solutions Incorporated

Challenge: As one of four directors/shareholders in a boutique consulting firm,
I came to the realization that my business needs were not being met by the
organizational structure. I believed that after five years together, the business
was ready to grow and that we needed to expand our in-house personnel
beyond the directors to include associates and affiliates. One of our directors
was philosophically opposed to expanding the firm beyond four individuals. I
disagreed with her. However, as a group of four operating on a consensus basis,
I had to convince all of my partners that expansion was beneficial before
anything could be implemented.

Resolution: I spent time individually and at director’s meetings building the
case for additional personnel. In the meantime, the director who was opposed
to expansion decided she would prefer to have a solo practice, and invoked our
shareholders agreement to be bought out. Because the groundwork had been
laid in advance, the remaining three directors were able to move quickly to
recruit affiliates and associates after her departure. The inclusion of additional
personnel has strengthened and added value to our consulting business as well
as expanding our internal community of interest. Further staying within the
agreed consensus process, that is a cornerstone of our firm, kept us true to our
founding principles. Even if an obstacle seems insurmountable, investing time
in building support for new ideas can result in an accelerated move when the
timing is right. Our expanded firm is all the more successful for the diversity
and wisdom of our additional colleagues.

Lessons Learned:

1. Be aware of and use existing processes to resolve conflict
2. Be true to your principles
3. Comply with organizational values
4. Take the time to lay the groundwork and build consensus before trying
to implement your vision

Ambeck Enterprise
Amelia Kassel, Marketing Base

Challenge: I started my business 22 years ago in 1982, and in 1984, I started to
work with someone. By 1986, I took over the business. It was a very big
transition to make from using networking as the major marketing initiative, to
direct marketing. I had to change directions, and integrate different target
markets. I had to create different marketing strategies. Over the years, I have
changed directions a few times, and each time it's a challenge.

Resolution: Implement new marketing programs, assess that they work
effectively and move on.

Lessons Learned:

1. You can make change effectively
2. At a business level, there is always risk, but you can take the risk and
follow your intuition
3. It's very satisfying when you make a change and succeed


Ambeck Enterprise
Jim Rohn – Business Philosopher, Jim Rohn International

Challenge: In the early `80's I had thirteen satellite offices, all filled with
people working hard, but we were losing money. A number of advisors said that
we should open more offices and the result would be that we would then make
money. I disagreed. I figured that if we opened more offices, we would just be
compounding the losses. At this point I was faced with a difficult decision, but
difficult decisions are one of the skills necessary and often what leadership is

Resolution: Strong leadership is required, at times, to make hard decisions. So
I pulled the plug. We were already doing all that we could, yet it wasn't enough
to make a profit using the strategy of satellite offices. We finally took our
number of satellite offices down to only two -- the groups that were the
strongest and most profitable. Then we went back to the basics and worked to
become profitable again. I still remember the pain of that hard decision,
because it affected so many people. By some, it could be perceived as failure.
But for us it was a strategic decision that had to be made in order to make our
company viable and successful for the long-term. And here we are decades
later, more profitable than ever. Challenges like those that I faced are hard,
but when you face them head on with courage, integrity and faith, you will be
ahead of the game in the long run.


Ambeck Enterprise

Don Middleton, Retiree

Challenge: I worked as a lobbyist for farmers. Once, the people I was lobbying
against presented me with an opportunity to become wealthy, to "sell out' the
people who employed me, if I took a more lenient stand during negotiations.

Resolution: I was employed to do a job at a fair wage. I refused the
opportunity of personal wealth and acted with integrity. Some of the other
lobbyists made different choices, which cost them their careers.

Lessons Learned:

1. The high road is always the best road.


Ambeck Enterprise

Stephen Abram, VP Innovation, SirsiDynix

Challenge: I work for a software solutions company that provides software to
many libraries in North America. The biggest challenge that I face is
understanding the marketplace in which our firm operates. We collect lots of
data, and we harvest data from our client servers. We know what's happening
in libraries across North America. So, we know what users in libraries are doing,
but we also want to know why they are doing it.

Resolution: We conducted focus group interviews of hundreds of library end-
users, using the Cynefin process to identify what they are trying to achieve and
what their unique needs are. This process provided only a partial picture so we
also collected hundreds of stories from librarians to understand and identify
the gap between what they are ultimately trying to achieve and what their
users' needs are. We are using a sophisticated software to drill down into the
data to find psychological patterns in stories, and develop profiles. Ultimately
our aim is to build library systems around the end-user, to make our clients
more successful, which will make us more successful.

Lessons Learned:

1. Problems are often complex and you need to find a multifaceted solution
2. You need to look at things from different dimensions


Ambeck Enterprise
David Chilton, Author of "The Wealthy Barber"

Challenge: I approached the Shopping Channel in 1997 to have two sisters,
Janet & Greta Podleski, promote their "Looneyspoons" cookbook. The Shopping
Channel was somewhat skeptical about dealing with books because the price
point wasn't high enough. Also, how would the brick and mortar stores such as
Costco, Chapters and Indigo react?

Resolution: To eliminate the low price point problem with The Shopping
Channel we offered them a two-for-one deal that they would pass on to the
consumer. That way their volumes would reflect the great value proposition
that the consumer was receiving. Therefore, their total revenue would be more
than acceptable. This would have an unintended consequence because The
Shopping Channel would be getting a better deal than the brick and mortar
booksellers who bought a larger quantity of the cookbooks. To alleviate their
concerns, I offered a personal guarantee that after one appearance on the
Shopping Channel, if sales of the cookbook didn't increase in the stores, I would
no longer use that marketing strategy. I personally believed that most viewers
wouldn't call the Shopping Channel to purchase the cookbook. Instead, they
would actually purchase the cookbook when they were in the store. However,
for the 30-minute appearance on the Shopping Channel we had no idea what a
tremendous impact it would have on sales. The Shopping Channel opened up
several new accounts and the brick and mortar stores saw sales double and
even triple after the sisters' appearance on the Shopping Channel.

Lessons Learned:

1. There is a creative response to every problem
2. You always have to think, "How can the other parties benefit?"


Ambeck Enterprise
Lillyann Goldstein, B.C.L, L.L.B, CEO and Legal Counsel, @ Wallace Studios
Original Partner and Visionary of the Distillery Historic District

Challenge: When I first became involved with the purchase of the Gooderham
& Worts Historical Property in Toronto, it was shortly after September 11,
2001. The property was deemed "historical", and encompassed 13 acres and 42
buildings, most of which were protected historical structures. Many thought we
had lost our marbles, to enter into a redevelopment of a historical property of
this magnitude (the largest ever undertaken by private investment) would be
enough of a challenge, but to turn it into an arts, culture and entertainment
district in an off the beaten track of downtown in the aftermath of 9/11...

Resolution: We rose to the challenge. I, my husband and our respective
companies, with two-thirds ownership of the project, together with our one-
third partner, Cityscape Development, re-developed, re-named and opened the
site, as "The Distillery District" to the public for the first time in over 170 years
in May 2003 - right in the middle of the SARS outbreak.

Lessons Learned:

1. We accomplished our goal but not without the support of many. One can
only accomplish so much on one's own
2. Everything costs more than originally budgeted, so keep a tight control
on expenditures or you may drown before you finish
3. Ensure that your partners/staff actually have the level of expertise they
had presented to you
4. Ensure that all legal documents are signed and sealed, trust
unfortunately only goes so far when issues develop
5. Would we do it again? Yes, but not without certain safeguards in place.
That is for another saga


Ambeck Enterprise
Business Development

Maria Nemeth, PhD, MCC, Director & Founder of Academy of Coaching
Author of "The Energy of Money"

Challenge: In the beginning, I tried to get a seminar business off the ground
and grow it at a time when nobody knew who I was. I was realizing that just
because I encountered barriers didn't mean that my business idea was bad.

Resolution: I was persistent and did whatever it took to get the business idea
into the physical reality, and ignored the "little voice" that nagged about the
soundness of the idea. I enlisted trusted friends as a support system, and made
and kept promises such as making a few sales calls each day and educating
people about what I had to offer. I now operate a very successful seminar

Lessons Learned:

1. Make and keep small promises. It could be a promise to make two sales
calls a day because two sales calls are better than no sales call and takes
you closer to you goals
2. It takes ten times more energy than you thought necessary to start and
grow a new business
3. You need a support structure in place to check in with you, encourage
you and give you the courage to go on


Ambeck Enterprise
Andrea Nierenberg, The Nierenberg Group

Challenge: As a small company the challenge is always getting in the door to a
large, branded company.

Resolution: I build relationships one person at a time. I meet people through
my programs and at speaking/networking events. I nurture these relationships
and doors have opened.

Lessons Learned:

1. Be reliable, trustworthy, always follow-up, and be a great listener
2. Most people have some of the above traits, yet I have realized that to be
successful you have to have all of them


Ambeck Enterprise
Patricia Scarlett, President, Scarlett Media

Challenge: The main business challenge that I face, is one faced by most small
businesses, which is securing new business, and figuring out the best strategy
to do so. Do you advertise, network, rely on word of mouth, or use a
combination of the three? If you're not careful, you can waste time and money
networking and advertising.

Resolution: In my business, as the budget for advertising is modest, I try to
secure publicity where possible. I developed cartoons about the pitfalls of the
television industry. I had the idea to run the cartoons in Playback Magazine, a
recognized industry magazine. When the cartoons are published my company's
name is attached to it. I am hoping this will generate new business, but if it
doesn't that's okay because I already had the cartoons, and the magazine is
doing all the other work that's necessary.

Also, I am very strategic about networking, and have declined many invitations
and just focus on the events that are related to my business with my target

I would also like to talk about another way I secured new business. I developed
a course and presented it to a few educational institutions. These institutions
were very interested but did not have funds set aside in the budgets to run the
workshop in a consistent manner. After growing increasingly frustrated with the
long decision-making process, I decided to offer the course myself out of my
offices, and I have been generating income from this new revenue stream.

If the institutions decide to offer my course, that's great, if not, that's great as
well because what I am doing right now is working.

Lessons Learned:

1. When you have a dollar be careful how you spend it, because when it's
lost or not spent wisely, it's very difficult to recover it
2. When things are going well in your business, put aside some of the funds
to tide you over when there is a lull

Ambeck Enterprise

Tom Carter, Retired Banker

Challenge: Part way into my banking career, I introduced a tool called
Customer Profitability Management (CPM). Relationship Managers (RM) working
with customers focused on giving each customer the same level of service. CPM
focused on what customers really needed and bought, how much risk the bank
was taking and what it was getting paid for taking the risk.

In this and every business, you have the most important clients, and usually the
80/20 rule applies - 80 percent of your profits come from 20 percent of your
clients. The big challenge was how do we change the organization culture from
one where we treated each customer the same to one where we did something
different and special for our most valued customers?


1. Chose to give the RM the information
2. Asked the RM to make decisions around customer needs and our
3. Personalized targets, which depended on the ability and portfolio of the
4. Rewarded improvements - bonus money
5. Very consistent with messaging over the years
6. Tools were superior. We achieved 90 percent satisfaction rating on the
evaluation tools


1. Changed the organization's culture and gave superior service to the best
2. Reduced the risk, which is very important in the banking sector
3. Dramatically improved profitability - a modest business became a strong

Lessons Learned:

1. Have consistency and support from top management
2. Reward success and penalize failure
3. Provide the tools and support that are needed for people to succeed

4. Support the team. I personally traveled across the company to help solve
the most difficult problems that the Relationship Managers were having

and this was important for the success of the project

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5. Understand the starting culture to be able to get to where we wanted to
6. Hire really good people with diverse skills
7. Promote teamwork, focus on continuous improvements and fix failures


Ambeck Enterprise
Alison Duke, Writer, Producer & Director

Challenge: The business of filmmaking is very subjective. My clients are
community-based organizations, government agencies and corporate
businesses. They hire me to make films and videos for their companies in the
form of short documentaries, Public Services Announcements and/or corporate
videos. When I'm offered a contract to make "something," usually there isn't a
script attached. Usually it's just a concept. The only concrete things attached
to it are the budget for the film and a delivery date. They may or may not have
a research file on the subject available for me, or know the precise audience
who the film is for. In addition to not having a script readily available, most of
my clients didn't go to film school so they don't have the appropriate film
grammar to explain what they want in the film or the film's look or style.

A major problem working this way was that most people did not understand
how much time and effort goes into producing films. Because TV, and
Hollywood make moviemaking look easy, people have skewed ideas what things
really cost. Yet when it comes to visuals, everyone has this uncanny way of
knowing what they like (and what they don't like) when they see it. An obvious
business challenge working this way, was knowing what the client really wants,
which means getting into the client's head and figuring out what they want me
to deliver without spending too much time and money so the production can
arrive on budget and on schedule.

Resolution: I educate the client about what it will take to make their film.
Once attached to the job, I book a show and tell with the client. A show and
tell is a creative meeting where I show segments from my previous work that
may represent the feel and style of their project. For completely new ideas or
concept, I present sketches, animations samples and even audio clips of what I
have in mind for this new work. I'll go over the cost of producing these
audio/visuals and also talk about the overall challenges of creating particular
visuals or audio for our timelines. Once the client approves the ideas they
want, I give them a production contract. In this contract, I incorporate as much
details about the creative, including responsibilities and timelines. I also affix a
budget and payment schedule so that payments are released as we achieve
creative milestones such as script approval, subject selection and so on. I go
off and write the script.

I don't start the actual filming until they sign off on the script. When the
production is in progress, things always change and it is very easy to get
sidetracked in creative conversations. When the situation is clearly defined on
paper people are more able to anchor back to the overall objective and

director of the job.

Lessons Learned:

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1. Establishing a creative work environment with my client takes work. I
can't assume that it is just going to happen, I have to nurture it. The
environment must have balance though, with a clearly defined hierarchy
of who has the final say because it is easy to give in to ideas and try to
satisfy the whims of everyone involved in the project
2. Creating this type of work environment enhances the overall execution
and workflow of the project.
3. You can actually do more damage to your reputation as a creative
person by working on projects, which lack overall vision, execution
strategies or adequate support systems to help you deliver. When I
started out doing this I did a lot of different things. I am very selective
in what I do now


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Brandon Klayman, Conscious Commerce

Challenge: Controlling Our Emotions: Have you ever been in a situation where
one of your colleagues simply got on your nerves? On the outside we said one
thing, but on the inside we did something different. We had underlying feelings
that we were not talking about. There were boundary issues around who did
what and who got what. It started to interfere with the way that the work got
done. The bottom line was how does my colleague and myself discuss issues
without getting upset and becoming dysfunctional?

Resolution: I decided to be transparent, honest and state my feelings. I
stopped and addressed the boundary issues. This allowed for a real solution to
occur, we both got to the underlying issues and happily moved on.

Lessons Learned:

1. How to control my emotions
2. How to harness freedom and not be controlled by others
3. How to communicate more effectively
4. How to have patience and communicate exactly what I have to say


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William J. Morin, Founder & CEO, WJM Associates, Inc.

Challenge: The business was flat, yet considered successful. When that
happens you have a tendency to think that all you need is more salespeople to
build the business faster, when in fact the real problem was that you did not
have the appropriate infrastructure in place to support sales growth.

Resolution: Trained the account managers to represent the business in a more
encompassing way, and, be knowledgeable about customer needs instead of
being transactional. Helped the account managers to understand the
importance of building long-term relationships with customers. Had to train
and retrain the account managers to continuously build the business. Sales
were not an event, but the beginning of a relationship.

Lessons Learned:

1. Never assume a sale is final even after you've received the cheque. You
have to constantly nurture the relationship
2. Realized that learning is continuous and not an event, and has to be a
guiding principle in the organization
3. Adapting to your customers' needs and truly understanding the needs of
their company is a paramount skill needed in any business


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Paul Swaby, Founder, ZOMPAS

Challenge: As a public speaker and real estate investor, each week, I have to
talk to people about how to create wealth. I'm challenged because the majority
of the individuals who attend my seminars know nothing about real estate
investments. However, if they know about real estate they usually don't
understand the amount of long-term wealth they can attain.

Resolution: I teach people specifically about the "New Found Freedom" (NFF)
the fourth book I'm going to write. It hones in on the specific steps required to
create long-term wealth and become financially independent.

Lessons Learned:

1. The world is filled with pessimists and optimists
2. Individual success and failure come from two things:
a. "You become what you think about." Earl Nightingale
b. The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. I have
realized that only enlightened and passionate people are the ones
who are optimistic, and find the opportunity in every difficulty
3. I have learned to only work with passionate people and I leave the
pessimists to do their own self-discovery thinking


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Shari Fryer, Shari Fryer & Associates

Challenge: Convincing a client (large, global training organization) to try e-
Marketing initiatives to generate leads. The client was skeptical given that they
provide business-to-business services and didn't feel that e-Marketing was
"personal" enough to stimulate interest from new contacts. The organization
had been struggling with extending their reach beyond their existing customer

Resolution: I convinced the client to try this new marketing approach because:

1. It WOULD generate leads
2. It WOULD extend their reach beyond their existing database
3. They could use the content for multiple purposes, not just a one off
4. E-Marketing was a tactic that reinforced how they wanted to position
themselves (i.e. as an organization at the cutting edge of technology and
it's application for learning)
5. It was extremely cost effective and a good return on investment

Lessons Learned:

1. Engaging the sales people is essential in a campaign like this one. They
need to be regularly briefed on the initiative and the supporting
outreach activities so they are supportive and enthusiastic about the
2. Training is also important to ensure that everyone is well-prepared in
advance of the leads being generated and know what to do as soon as
inquiries are received.


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Claire Stoddard, World of Work Marketing

Challenge: I actually enjoy business challenges. I find that the issue is not
resolving them, but finding the very best solution. The process it takes to find a
perfect answer has two parts. The first part can be described in two little
words - Due Diligence, Due Diligence, Due Diligence.

A case in point. One of my clients is a large, multinational, nonprofit,
membership-based legal association that was experiencing an ongoing
communications problem with their members, all of whom are senior lawyers.
Although the organization sponsors three membership meetings a year and
sends out numerous emails updating members on events, there were consistent
complaints that members were unaware of new products and services. Even
board members seemed to be in the dark.

Many of their problems stemmed from inconsistent, sometimes poorly written
communications with members. Some months emails went out fast and furious
and overlapped each other. Other months there would be very little
communication. It was hard for members to keep up on new products and
services and membership benefits were seldom emphasized.

Resolution: After meeting with senior managers about the problem, I
recommended a branded email marketing campaign with online links to their
web site, distributed to members once a month, with reminders of member
benefits. This meant creating an electronic template for an eNewsletter. But
who would help create the electronics of the email campaign?

First I turned to two web designers, both of whom offered design capabilities,
but not distribution. It didn't seem like the perfect package. Then lo and
behold I received a notice of an event sponsored by the American Marketing
Association, featuring a service provider that specialized in email campaigns. I
attended and not only learned a great deal from the presentation but asked the
vendor for a proposal. The proposal was excellent and I thought I was set.
However, unexpectedly, a competitive email service provider was
recommended. I was tempted to cut off the search since I had already
expended a lot of time, but I thought it was better to explore every reasonable
option. It turned out that the second service provider not only had an excellent
product, but experience with non-profit organizations. I recommended them to
my client and a contract was drawn and signed.

Almost immediately there was a legal glitch that needed to be resolved and a

resulting delay. A new contract had to be signed. I considered switching service

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providers. And now here is the second part of the necessary process of
resolving business challenges. After you have done all the due diligence you can
- sometimes you have to trust your gut.

My instinct told me that I had the best solution. Even though the people
involved were changing, the product offered enormous potential for my client.
I stuck it out and arranged for a second contract to be signed. From then on,
everything worked perfectly. The new people are honest, forthright, and
extremely customer service oriented. The product, indeed, is perfect. Members
are starting to feel more connected and aware of the benefits their
membership provides. And, best of all, I now have a second customer signed up
for an email marketing campaign.

Lessons Learned:

1. The learning process for me was extraordinary, providing me with a
new skill set, which in turn benefits my clients. It has proven to be a
highly successful project which can be replicated many times.


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Section 2: Book Reviews/Summaries


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Same Words Different Language: How Men and Women
Misunderstand Each Other at Work, and What to do About it
Barbara Annis

Same Words Different Language by gender specialist Barbara Annis is an
excellent research based, practical guide on gender communications. The book
is suitable for anyone who lives and works with the opposite sex, and who is
interested in improving communication with them.

The book talks about how men and women differ in the way they think,
communicate, and assimilate information, which in turn leads to
misunderstandings in the workplace. The author explains that no one gender is
at fault for the misunderstanding, both men and women play an equal role in
the misunderstandings.

The book explains the four levels of gender awareness – denial,
recognition/awareness, confusion/frustration and partnership/congruence. As
you might expect, these stages look very different in men and women. The
book includes two questionnaires, one tailored for men and the other for
women to help readers identify and understand which stage of awareness they
are in.

Same Words Different Language also identifies the five top challenges that men
and women experience with the opposite sex; explains blind spots and the
different types of behaviour that men and women exhibit; provides many
examples on how the same words have different meanings for men and women;
and provides strategies and techniques to turn communication breakdowns in
the workplace into win-win relationships. The book discusses how
misunderstandings help to create conflict and harassment in the workplace.

I recommend this book because it's practical, research based, written clearly
and provides solutions that are doable.


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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is an excellent book, but very difficult
to read. It is written in old English and not structured in a way that you would
expect. It took three attempts for me to finally read through it. To read this
book and get the most from it, you need to set aside at least two hours. This is
not a book to read in 15-minute time slots, and you’ll need an open mind when
reading it.

The effort you make in reading this book is well worth it. Even though the
information in this book was originally recorded in a manuscript in the 1700s,
it’s timeless, and reaffirms that there are no new ideas. You will come away
feeling richer. There are many lessons you can learn from reading this book. I
am amazed at the way he used information to educate the masses.

Franklin wanted to introduce what he called a public subscription library, but
when he tried to get the subscriptions, people objected and were reluctant to
participate because it was “Franklin’s project”. He immediately learned that it
was often more important to relinquish control of a project to benefit
humanity if doing so would make it be accepted.

In the book, Franklin talks about his 13 virtues, which he tried to integrate into
his life – temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity,
justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility. He chose a
virtue and focused on it for the entire week. Benjamin Franklin wanted to be
morally perfect, but found perfection to be elusive. He realized that being
perfect wasn’t possible, but he was glad he tried because he was a happier and
better man after trying. Some of the virtues may not make sense in today’s
world, but it is still worth thinking about.

He was also an excellent time manager, accounting for every minute in the day
and would never go to bed without first examining his day.

Benjamin Franklin, inventor, printer, publisher, business owner, franchiser,
master of strategic alliances, fundraiser and so much more, gives new meaning
to the terms “Jack of all Trades” and workaholic.

I recommend this book with reservation because it’s so difficult to read.

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What's Keeping Your Customers Up At Night? Close More Deals
by Selling to Your Client's Pain
Steven Cody & Richard Harte

What's Keeping Your Customers Up At Night? Close More Deals by Selling to
Your Client's Pain is not just for salespeople but also for anyone who has to sell
their ideas and budgets, or influence people. I found this book to be very useful
and I completed all the exercises. The book describes a four-step process - (1)
uncover the pain using audits and assessment strategies, (2) enhance the pain
using case studies and published articles, (3) sell against the pain through pain-
based questioning and (4) get the commitment or heal the wound by
empowering the prospect to move forward with you - you do this by asking "If I
can provide you with a solution to your problem, would you be willing to move
forward with me?"

Cody and Harte recommend that before you attempt to uncover your
customer's pain, that is, embark on step one, you should find out what's
keeping you up at nights, both in your personal and professional lives. They
further add that your thoughts, feelings and actions are fundamental to
understanding your own pain. To uncover your thoughts, feelings and actions,
ask yourself: What am I thinking? What am I feeling, and what and am I doing
about it? The authors propose that whatever your state of mind, you can
improve it. They go as far as to include three scripts - diet and exercise, "show
me the money" and my sales script for you to affirm at least three times daily
for 30 days. They encourage you to customize the scripts for your individual

I like this book because it is loaded with many examples and tools that you can
customize for your unique situation. I found the section on reading the
prospect to be very useful. For example, if you are meeting with a prospect
and he/she unfolds the arm or moves an object such as a pen toward
himself/herself, that means that the prospect is reacting positively to what you
are saying. However, if the prospect clears his/her throat or dust something
away from the surface of the desk, that's an indication that you need to change
gears and re-establish rapport.

The book ends with a 30-day process to become a pain doctor. The chapter has
great ideas and information on how to do that, but unfortunately, it's not
structured. It doesn't tell you what to do each of the thirty days, so you are on
your own to figure it out. Despite this, What's Keeping Your Customers Up at
Night? is still worth reading.

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How To Read A Book: The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading
Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren

How To Read a Book is packed with lots of useful information, and it isn't the
type of book you read once. I thought that on my second reading it would be
very helpful if I discussed the contents with a group of people, then and only
then would I be able to really make use of the wealth of knowledge that it

The stated primary goal of How To Read a Book is to "know how to make books
teach us well" if we are open to continuous learning and discovering. Mortimer
J. Adler and Charles Van Doren define the art of reading as "The process
whereby a mind, with nothing to operate on but the symbols of the readable
matter, and with no help from outside, elevates itself by the power of its own
operations. The mind passes from understanding less to understanding
more…"Adler and Van Doren suggest that before reading a book you should
decide if you are reading for entertainment, information or for the sake of
understanding. Making this kind of distinction determines how you would read
the book.

The authors describe four levels of reading in How To Read A Book - Elementary
Reading, Inspectional Reading, Analytical Reading and Syntopical Reading.
Elementary Reading is the level of reading that you learn in elementary school.
There are two types of inspectional reading, (1) systematic skimming or pre-
reading and (2) superficial reading. With inspectional reading, the emphasis is
on time - getting the most out of a book within a short time frame. Analytical
Reading deals with classifying the book, coming to terms with it, determining
the book's message, criticizing the book and the author. Analytical reading is a
very active type of reading. And finally, syntopical reading or comparative
reading, the most complex form of reading, is the reading of multiple books on
the same subject and placing them in relation to each other.

If you actively read a book, you should be able to answer the following
questions - (1) what is the book about? (2) What is being said in detail, and
how? (3) Is the book true, in whole or in part? (4) What of it? If you are able to
answer these questions, you truly understand what the author is trying to say.

Adler and Van Doren made an interesting comment. They suggest that if you
are reading to become a better reader, or in other words reading for
understanding and enlightenment, you cannot read just any article or book.
You must read material that stretches and grows your mind.

I recommend this book, but be prepared to read it at least twice to get the

most out of it. This extra effort will save you lots of time later when you are
using the information to read other books.

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The New Birth Order Book
Dr. Kevin Leman

After reading this book, I had mixed feelings about it. The New Birth Order is
entertaining, yet insightful, and packed with a lot of interesting information,
but I think there is too much going on. To get the most from this book, I
suggest that you read the first ten chapters and use the Table of Contents to
decide which other chapters to read. The book includes a lot of parenting
information in the later chapters, but do not let this deter you, because by just
reading the first ten chapters you would have gotten your money's worth.

Dr. Kevin Leman defines birth order as the science of understanding your place
in the family line. He provides another way of categorizing and trying to
understand people. Here are the characteristics that Dr. Leman uses in the

Firstborn: Perfectionist, reliable, conscientious, list maker, well organized,
hard driving, natural leader, critical, serious, scholarly, logical, doesn't like
surprises and loves computers. Leman divides firstborns into two major groups -
(1) compliant nurturers and caregivers, and (2) aggressive movers and shakers.

Middle Child: Mediator, compromising, diplomatic, avoids conflict,
independent, loyal to peers, many friends, a maverick, secretive and

Last Born: Manipulative, charming, blames others, attention seeker, tenacious,
people person, natural salesperson, precocious, engaging, affectionate and
loves surprises.

Only Child: Little adult by age seven, very thorough, very deliberate, high
achiever, self-motivator, fearful, cautious, voracious reader, black and white
thinker, has very high expectations, more comfortable around people who are
older or younger and uses "very," "extremely," and "exactly" a lot. Only children
also share many of the characteristics of firstborn children.

Based on the characteristics listed above, and using myself as an example, I
exhibit many of the characteristics of a firstborn and only child. The problem is
that I am neither, so why don't I fit this mold? I am from a two-child family with
a boy and a girl. Leman explains that "Firstborn personalities can also be
created by being the oldest of your sex, having a five-year gap between you
and the child above you of the same sex, or achieving a role reversal and taking
over the firstborn privileges and responsibilities." I am the firstborn girl so
that's why I function as a firstborn.

Leman includes factors that affect whether or not you exhibit the

characteristics of another birth order group. Some of these factors are - death

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of a sibling, the number of years between siblings, adoptions, being in a
blended family, the "critical" nature of the parents, and birth order of each

The New Birth Order is instructive and the author not only attempts to explain
why you are the way you are, but, also suggests how to adopt the positive
qualities of other birth orders to make your lives more enjoyable and fulfilling.

I recommend this book, but I believe that there are several chapters that you
can skip and still benefit from the information provided.


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On Natural Selection
Charles Darwin

Darwin defines natural selection as the "preservation of favourable variations
and the rejection of injurious variation." So what does this all mean? Darwin
further adds, "Variations neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by
natural selection, and would be left a fluctuating element, as perhaps we see
in the species called polymorphic… Natural selection can act only by taking
advantage of slight variations; she can never take a leap, but must advance by
the shortest steps."

This book wasn't the easiest to read, and I found it quite "dry". But, in my quest
to find out where really good ideas come from, I made the sacrifice and
slogged through it. I have selected fives ideas from On Natural Selection. For
the five ideas below, how can you use them in different contexts to
resolve/understand modern day problems?

Five Good Ideas

1. When a plant or animal is placed in a new country amongst new
competitors, though the climate may be exactly the same as its former
home, the conditions of its life will generally be changed in an essential
2. Individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would
have the best chance of surviving and of procreating their kind
3. When a species, owing to highly favourable circumstances, increases
inordinately in numbers in a small tract, epidemics often ensue
4. The more diversified the descendants from any one species become in
structure, constitution, and habits, by so much will they be better
enabled to seize on many and widely diversified places in the polity of
nature, and so be enabled to increase in numbers
5. Natural selection is working behind the scenes all the time throughout
the world whenever the opportunity arises. It works to improve each
organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.
You cannot see these slow changes taking place, until after a long period
of time has elapsed, we see that the forms of life are now different from
what they formerly were

We could take idea number two and look at it in the context of education. It's a
reasonable assumption to make that people who are more educated have a
better chance of succeeding than those who have less education. Or, for that
same idea, we could say, someone who has an idea and knows how to take
action, will be more successful than someone who has ideas but do nothing

about them. Success in this context is not restricted to financial success. Why
don't you take one of the above five ideas and see what new ideas you can


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I recommend On Natural Selection because I am sure that you will come up
with your own five ideas. This is not a book that you would read for
entertainment, but it will certainly stretch you.


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Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service
Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles

Shortly after I started reading this book, I had to shut up my inner critic and
open myself up to the lessons. Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles present
Raving Fans as a parable. The book starts off with the president of a company
telling the new area manager that the company was built on customer service,
and that the three preceding area managers didn't understand that, and that's
why they were no longer with the organization. Each of those three preceding
area managers lasted less than a year in the job. This fact made it difficult for
me to understand why the new area manager, knowing this, would take off
with his Fairy Godmother, Charlie (a man) to play golf.

To succeed in business, you have to create Raving Fans - satisfied customers
are no longer enough. To deliver Raving Fan Service, you have to look after the
customers' needs whenever possible, be consistent in delivering the service,
promise more and deliver more than you promise, and be ready to change
direction when the vision changes because customers' need and want change all
the time. There are three secrets to creating Raving Fans - Decide what you
want, discover what the customer wants and deliver the vision plus one

Decide what you want: When you decide what you want, you must create a
vision of perfection centered on the customer. This is your perception of
perfection. You do this by visualizing the entire customer service experience.
What does perfection look like? You live out your business fantasy by deciding
what you want, and creating a vision of perfection centered on the moment
the customer uses the product.

Discover what the customer wants: To find out what your customers' vision is,
simply ask them, and listen to what they say and don't say. Understanding your
vision allows you to better understand your customers' vision. And if your
customers' vision is very different from yours - that is, the gap is too wide, you
may have to stop servicing that customer. You cannot be everything to

Deliver the vision plus one percent: Be consistent - consistently meet
expectations. To be consistent you must have systems in place within your
organization. Every organization that delivers excellent customer service has
systems in place, and a training program to entrench those systems into the
heart and soul of the company. These systems are only guidelines, and you
have to be flexible enough to alter the guidelines to better serve your
customers. Once you are able to deliver consistent service, ongoing

improvement is a must. The plus one percent is to keep you moving ahead and
focused beyond your vision.

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Five+1 Great Ideas

1. All good customer service is a result of nifty systems
2. Constantly strive to improve what you have decided to achieve
3. Most customers have a focus - you have to find that focus and then
mine it for information
4. Customers count on you to do what you say you will do
5. You can make big changes in almost anything, or achieve great things
in your life by improving or changing by one percent. Things can't
help but improve if you keep at it one percent at a time
6. Customers have needs beyond the need of the company's product,
whether it comes in a box or is a service. People need to feel like
they belong to a group - they need to feel that they are important,
and that what they do, think, and say truly matters

I recommend this book because it's an easy read - it takes less than two hours
to digest the information. Suppress your inner critic if you are a logical person
and allow the parable to unfold so that you can learn the simple lessons.


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Awaken The Genius: Mind Technology for the 21st Century
Patrick K. Porter

Patrick Porter defines awakened geniuses as "those who have learned to tap
that superconscious reservoir of information so as never to waste time or
energy in recreating the wheel. They simply make modifications and
enhancements until they move forward with optimum speed and efficiency."

This book is a practical guide filled with lots of exercises. For example, there is
one exercise that helps you to figure out your preferred mode of
communication - visual, auditory or kinesthetic. How do you want information
to be presented to you? How do you analyze information? Do you decide by how
things LOOK to you (Visual)? Or, do you decide by how things SOUND to you
(Auditory)? Or, do you decide by how things FEEL to you (Kinesthetic)?

Patrick Porter explains that our brain works on four frequencies: Beta, Alpha,
Theta and Delta. In the Beta frequency, you are operating in a state of wide
awake, which is the state of mind where you get things done. However, it's also
the frequency that produces fear, frustration, anxiety and self-doubt. In the
Alpha and Theta frequencies, you are in a state of peace, tranquility,
happiness and contentment. This is the state where you meditate, pray, be in
the quiet of nature. You get into these frequencies while listening to relaxing
music. Alpha and Theta can only exist with a relaxed body and mind. In the
Delta frequency, you are in an unconscious dreamland.

Porter also describes the four steps to what he calls "Optimal Learning State."
The author recommends listening to baroque, melodic, classical and new age
music. These types of music start the Alpha brain wave response, which opens
your mind to learning. The four steps:

• Get into a comfortable position: Sit comfortably in a straight back
chair, feet flat on the ground, eyes closed and rolled slightly upwards
• Use your imagination to create a place out in nature: This will be your
personal place of relaxation. Make the experience as rich as possible.
Porter suggests that your personal place of relaxation has a golden dome
around it, and that in this place you can be or do anything that you want
• Use your imagination, move through the successful fulfillment of all
your goals and outcomes: Imagine what it will be like when you
accomplish these positive outcomes
• Bring yourself back: Say the words "wide awake wide awake

The four steps to "Optimal Learning State" may seem weird to you, but other
information that I have read suggest that it's important for you be relaxed

when you need to learn - relaxed body, alert mind. This is the author's way of
getting you to that stage.

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Five Great Ideas

1. To awaken your genius, you have to attain the skills of self-discovery.
You must first become a guru about you. Self-discovery is to know
yourself and own your successes and faults
2. You must restructure your thinking, so that what others perceive as
failure, you perceive as feedback
3. Geniuses realize that now is the best starting point for a brighter and
more exciting future
4. We are all moving - some people are moving forward, some are moving
in the reverse, and others move wherever the advertisers tell them to
go. Are you willing to realize the limitlessness of your potential?
5. We are always in the right place at the right time, and will always have
what we need

I recommend Awaken The Genius by Patrick Porter.


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The Prince
Niccolo Machiavelli

Niccolo Machiavelli worked in politics from 1498 to 1512, but his political
career ended in shame, with him arrested and imprisoned for 22 days.
Machiavelli refers to Lorenzo Medici as the Prince. In his forced absence from
politics, Machiavelli wrote The Prince hoping that given his republican
credentials, he would be re-employed with the Medicis, thus returning to a
position of power.

The Prince was written nearly 500 years ago, but some of the ideas are still
relevant today. In The Prince, Machiavelli deals with the rise and fall of states,
and the measures that a leader can take to ensure the states' continued
existence. The author's focus is on how societies actually work. The book is
very technical, and focuses on how to grasp and hold power, and offers advice
on what worked and what did not work in advancing a political career. For
example, Machiavelli states "A man who is made prince by the favour of the
people must work to retain their friendship; and this is easy for him because
the people ask only not to be oppressed. But a man who has become prince
against the will of the people and by the favour of the nobles should, before
anything else, try to win the people over; this too is easy if he takes them
under his protection… it is necessary for a prince to have the friendship of the
people; otherwise he has no remedy in times of adversity."

Machiavelli was nicknamed "Old Nick," another name for Satan, and the Jesuits
called him "the Devil's partner in crime." While reading The Prince, I was often
very shocked because some sections are very dark. However, once you get past
that, it is filled with many parallels and contrasts to today. If you dig beneath
the surface of what he is saying, the information can be transported to our
time and used. For example, "As for intellectual training, the prince must read
history, studying the actions of eminent men to see how they conducted
themselves during war and to discover the reasons for their victories or their
defeats, so that he can avoid the latter and imitate the former. Above all, he
must read history so that he can do what eminent men have done before
him…." We could make this more relevant to us by interpreting it to mean that
we must read history and study the actions of successful men and women to
discover the reasons for their successes and failures to imitate their successes.

Machiavelli's political thesis can be summed up as "I also believe that the man
who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose
policy clashes with the demands of the times does not."

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Five +1 Great Ideas

When trouble is sensed well in advance, it can easily be remedied; if you wait
for it to show itself, any medicine will be too late because the disease will
have become incurable

1. Men willingly change their ruler expecting to fare better
2. When states are acquired in a province differing in language, in customs,
and in institutions, then difficulties arise; and to hold them one must be
very fortunate and very assiduous. One of the best, most effective
expedients would be for the conqueror to go live there in person. This
course of action would make a new possession more secure and more
3. Whoever is responsible for another's becoming powerful ruins himself,
because this power is brought into being either by ingenuity or by force,
and both of these are suspect to the one who has become powerful
4. Governments set up overnight, like everything in nature whose growth is
forced, lack strong roots and ramifications. So they are destroyed in the
first bad spell
5. A man who becomes a prince with the help of the nobles finds it more
difficult to maintain his position than one who does so with the help of
the people. As prince, he finds himself surrounded by many who believe
they are his equals, and because of that he cannot command or manage
them the way he wants
6. Prosperity is ephemeral; if a man behaves with patience and
circumspection, and the time and circumstances are right, he will
prosper, however, if circumstances change and he doesn't adapt his
policy to reflect the change, he will be ruined.

I recommend that you read The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli just to see how
far and sometimes not so far that we've come.


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The Strategic Enterprise: Growing A Business For The 21st Century
Bill Bishop

Bill Bishop defines a Strategic Enterprise as a company that uses the
Relationship-First Formula, which means that it builds its business around
customer type as opposed to product type. The author uses the formulae below
to demonstrate what he is trying to say.

Product First Formula: Product x Large Number = Success
Relationship-First Formula: Quality Relationships x Unique Value = Success

Bishop builds the case for relationship selling by asserting that organizations
need to shift focus from the products they sell to the people who buy them.
The book is loaded with many pointers, and provides numerous examples of the
problems that can prevent a business from reaching out to its customers.
Bishop talks about how "most companies today use the incremental method and
try to succeed by patching up their fundamentally flawed systems. Primarily,
companies use this method because they spend most of their time living in the
past. They can't envision an ideal model of the future, because they have so
much invested in what they have already done." The author also talks about
eight limiting factors that can strand your company on the Performance

1. Focusing on short-term goals
2. Working individually or in small groups
3. Thinking only products and services
4. Trying to beat the competition
5. Focusing on sales, not marketing
6. Creating tools for specific situations
7. Being a slave to technology
8. Focusing only on existing markets

To further explore focusing on short-term goals, Bishop delves into the
characteristics of companies plagued by this limiting factor. For example,
"short-term thinking is a key symptom of a company stuck on the Performance
Plateau. Executives, salespeople, employees, and shareholders focus solely on
achieving better monthly or quarterly results… Caught in the rush to achieve
short-term goals, the company does not take the time to install a bigger,
better, or more powerful engine." Characteristics of a firm that focuses on
short-term goals include: have no long-term vision of success for their
companies, make major decisions and radical changes based on temporary
setbacks, and strive to increase sales and profitability by doing the same things
only faster, more often, and better.

Five Great Ideas

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1. It's important to take time off regularly to plan and build a better
business. By making less money in the short-term, you can make more
money in the long-term
2. Success now takes more than a better product or service, no matter
what your business or industry, your business must be built around
specific types of customers, not around your products or services
3. A well-designed information technology system will give you a greater
chance of success and allow you to deliver unique value faster, better
and in a more individualized way
4. A strategic enterprise starts every project or initiative with a vision - a
detailed blueprint of the ideal outcome to achieve success
5. Your customer type must be a kind of person, not a kind of company or
organization because you do business with, and have a relationship with
a person not an organization. People buy your services and write the
cheques, not organizations

Though The Strategic Enterprise provides many mini case studies and examples
of the problems that companies face when using the product first strategy, the
author tells you rather than shows you, so you'd have to hire a consultant to
implement the relationship-first strategy in your company. The book is loaded
with information, but lacks the depth necessary for you to be able to make the
changes necessary within your company. Despite the shortcoming, I recommend
the book because you'll glean insights and it will make you think about your
customers a little differently.


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The PhotoReading Whole Mind System
Paul Scheele

PhotoReading, a term coined by Paul Scheele, is "mentally photographing" the
printed page at rates exceeding 25,000 words per minute. According to
Scheele, "The PhotoReading process bypasses the conscious mind and sends the
information to storage bins in the other-than-conscious. This means that when
you are PhotoReading you will have little or no conscious knowledge of the
materials. It is all there some place, but consciously you may not know it. Don't
worry, as long as you can "activate" it to the conscious mind so that you can use
the information however you use information."

This may be too much for Ambeck Edge readers, but suspend your judgment for
a few minutes.

The PhotoReading System which is comprised of five steps: preparing,
previewing, PhotoReading, activating, and rapid reading, are actually options
that you can use depending on what your needs are.

In the preparation stage, explicitly state your purpose for reading the material
then enter into a state of relaxed alertness.

Survey your reading material quickly, looking for about 20 trigger words, words
that are repeated, in the sub-title, highlighted and so on. Decide if it's
necessary to read further.

Ask yourself why you want to PhotoRead the material, relax your body, calm
your mind and confidently flip through your reading material.

Allow time to elapse before you enter into the activation stage. Let the
information incubate, then probe your mind by asking yourself questions about
the material. Super read the parts that attract you.

Rapid Reading
Quickly move through your reading material from start to finish, at a speed
comfortable to you. Zip quickly through the information that you've established
to be unimportant and spend more time on more important information.

Scheele suggests that to manage your time effectively, you should sort all your

reading material into levels of priority, handle paper only once, always have
reading material with you - you never know when you'll have a few minutes,

and preview everything that's important.

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Five - 1 Great Ideas

1. When the best readers read, they do so in an active, purposeful,
questioning and fully engaged manner
2. To effectively read, you must begin with a clear sense of purpose, why
are you reading the material and what do you hope to accomplish?
3. Set specific reading goals
4. After you've read important information, create a visual diagram of the
key ideas

The PhotoReading Whole Mind System has some very good information, but the
concepts may be somewhat foreign to most people. I recommend that you read
it, but I think that for you to understand and use the new concepts, you'll need
to follow-up with a seminar on the topic.


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A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide To Strategy
Miyamoto Musahi

A Book of Five Rings written in 1645 is about the "Way of Strategy," which is
using certain techniques to take down the enemy. Because of when the book
was written, you have to be aware of the imagery and language used - enemy,
weapon, combat, sword, cutting and so on. Once you get beyond that, and use
those words as metaphors, a lot can be gleaned from the book.

To adapt the book to our time, an enemy could be a metaphor for competitor.
A Book of Five Rings emphasizes the importance of practicing and mastering
your art - becoming adept at what you do. Your strategy should either be
decisive or fluid. You have a fluid strategy when you have obstacles in your
way. Musahi outlines Principles of the Way of Strategy. Though the principles
are over three and a half centuries old, they are still applicable.

• Do not think dishonestly
• The Way is in training
• Become acquainted with every art
• Know the Ways of all professions
• Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters
• Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything
• Perceive those things which cannot be seen
• Pay attention even to trifles
• Do nothing which is of no use

From the book, I found the following to be insightful nuggets:

• Lay your plans with true measure and then perform the work according
to plan, thus you pass through life
• The strategist makes small things into big things. The principle of
strategy is having one thing, to know ten thousand things
• Everything is difficult at first
• If you do not look at things on a large scale it will be difficult for you to
master strategy
• Do what you have to do, even if it means doing it alone
• Discern your competitor's capability and know your strong points
• Do not show your hand. Do not let everybody know what you're doing
• If your strategy doesn't work change it. When you're in a deadlock
change your technique. Abandon efforts that do not work, think of your
situation in a fresh spirit
• Whenever we have become preoccupied with small details, we must

suddenly change into a large spirit, interchanging large with small

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Five Great Ideas

1. You must train day and night to make quick decisions. In strategy it is
necessary to treat training as a part of normal life with your spirit
2. There is timing in everything. Timing in Strategy cannot be mastered
without a great deal of practice
3. In strategy, it is important to see distant things as if they were close and
to take a distanced view of close things
4. The Way to Understanding is through experience
5. People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they
do not understand must be the void. This not true void. It is
bewilderment. When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the
clouds of bewilderment clear way, there is the true void (By knowing
things that exist, you can know that which does not exist; that is the

If you can get past some of the disturbing imagery you could gain a lot from A
Book of Five Rings.


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Acres of Diamond
Russell Conwell

Russell Herman Conwell, a lawyer for about fifteen years until he became a
clergyman, relates a story told to him by an Arab guide. The story intrigued
Conwell so much, with its ageless moral, that he subsequently used the theme
as a basis for his many speeches.

According to the story, as told by the guide, while Conwell was travelling down
the Tigris and Euphrates rivers with a party of English travelers, there was a
farmer, Ali Hafed, from ancient Persia now known as Iran. Ali Hafed was very
wealthy. He owned a very large farm with orchards, grain-fields, and gardens.
He was a wealthy and contented man.

One day, a Buddhist priest visited Ali Hafed. During the conversation, this wise
priest from the East told Hafed about diamonds. The priest told Ali Hafed that
if he had one diamond the size of his thumb, he could purchase the county, and
if he had a mine of diamonds he could place his children upon thrones through
the influence of their great wealth. Ali Hafed heard all about diamonds, and
how much they were worth. Though Hafed's circumstances hadn't changed, he
went to his bed that night a poor and discontented man. “He was poor because
he was discontented, and discontented because he now feared that he was

Ali Hafed decided that he wanted a diamond mine, and the next day he rushed
to see the priest and asked where he could find diamonds. He explained to the
priest that he wanted to be immensely rich. Hafed sold his farm, collected the
money, left his family with a neighbour and went off in search of diamonds.

Hafed wandered around Palestine and Europe until he ran out of money. He
was in rags, feeling wretched and now truly poor. He stood on the shore of a
bay in Barcelona, Spain and when a great tidal wave came rolling in, he threw
himself to his death.

Meanwhile back at the farm, one day the new owner picked up an unusual rock
about the size of an egg and placed it on his mantle. A few days later, the
same old priest visited the farm and immediately realized that the unusual rock
was indeed a diamond. The priest and the new owner rushed outside to the
place where the owner found the unusual rock. That day, they discovered the
diamond mines of Golconda.

Al Hafed had been standing on his own "Acres of Diamonds" until he sold his

In Acres Of Diamonds, Conwell relates countless stories of people who went in

search of what they already had. For example, a farmer in Pennsylvania sold

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his farm for $833 and went to work for his cousin in Canada, collecting oil.
Shortly after, the man who purchased the farm found oil worth millions of

Five Common Sense Ideas

1. Each of us is right in the middle of our own "Acre of Diamonds", if only
we would realize it and develop the ground we are standing on before
charging off in search of greener pastures
2. Opportunity does not just come along - it is there all the time - we just
have to see it
3. In life, when we go searching for "something," we should know what that
"something" looks, smells and tastes like so that we can recognize it
when we find it
4. The grass isn't always greener on the other side
5. Before we give up what we already have, make sure that what we're
getting is better than what we already have

“Your diamonds are not in far-away mountains or in distant seas; they are
usually in your own back yard if you will take the time to look for them.”

You can download a copy of Acres of Diamonds at:


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Tiger Heart, Tiger Mind: How to Empower Your Dream
Ron Rubin & Stuart Avery Gold

The authors, Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold, explain that Tiger Heart, Tiger
Mind is about "waking up every morning of the world with a will and willingness
to practice doing and being." The book came about because of Carl Sandburg's
poem "Nothing happens unless first a dream."

While I was reading this book, I had some mixed feelings about it. Overall I
liked it because it had some good information, but at the end, I didn't feel as if
I could take any action. Or, to be honest, I didn't know what to do with this
information, how to use it to my benefit.

In this review, I will focus on some of the really good information. For example,
the authors ask the question "How do you create the results you seek and live a
life with a full heart and elated mind?" Their answer, "By doing nothing." Are
they crazy? No! They do not mean that we should be lazy or idle, but instead
be in "State of actionless action in which the individual reaches an ability to
give rise to actions that are acutely intuitive and correct through intense,
intrinsic concentration." This is very difficult for people who do not meditate,
or are not familiar with Zen and Buddhist principles, which often sound like
babble, but when you think about them for a while, you finally get it, and
suddenly it makes perfect sense.

Rubin and Avery Gold state that to become successful we must believe in
continuously expanding ourselves and be open to discovering new things. They
also recommend that we read biographies of great individuals, study success
principles, take courses such as public speaking, writing and critical thinking.
To empower our dreams, we have to make the commitment to be responsible
for our dreams, and must realize and accept that "We can never know all that
there is to know, and remember that every step of the way." Another thing
they mentioned, which I truly believe, is that to become wiser and more
knowledgeable, we have to be open and empty, allowing ideas and insights to
flow into us.

Five Common Sense Ideas

1. Too much of life is spent looking for the right answers, when in fact the
secret to life lies in being able to ask the right questions. It's the
questions we ask, or fail to ask that shape our path
2. Too often people look outside their lives for what they want, when the
creative power to build their best life lies within
3. The great tragedy of our times is that too many give themselves over to

the pleasing of others in hopes of gaining approval or avoiding

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4. Even enemies have enemies, and the enemy of fear will always be your
courage to conquer it. Fear is an unreal response that holds whatever
power we grant it. Courage is not the absence of fear - it is the acting in
spite of fear. If you hold what you fear up to the light, the reality of it
will begin to fade, allowing you to re-take control of your thinking
process and your destiny. To fight fear:
- Face it
- Engage it
- Assess it
- Reject it
5. Do not put your dreams up on a shelf to satisfy others. You have an
obligation to yourself to discover and manifest your unique purpose and
mission in life and set it free

How do you start to empower your dreams and create your reality? The authors
suggest that you ask yourself the following questions:

1. What turns me on and soars my soul?
2. Where is it that my capacity wants me to go?
3. What is it that I want to ultimately experience and succeed at?

So, you've answered the questions, what next? Your guess is as good as mine,
but I do recommend the book because it will make you think.


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The Angel Inside: Michelangelo, Il Gigante, and Creating a life of Power and
Chris Widener

The Angel Inside is a fun, yet thoughtful book that you can read in about an
hour. This book is in the form of a fable, which makes it very easy to read.
While reading The Angel Inside, I was processing the information presented and
looking at ways to relate it to my life. The book is about finding that person of
power and beauty, which is within every one of us.

The book starts off with a very disillusioned 30-year old Tom Cook, who travels
from the US to Europe to find himself - to look for a new direction for his life.
Back in the US, Tom was living an unfulfilled life. He was working in a job
which he hated, trying to make his father proud of him. He was desperately
trying to please his father.

The day before his return to the US, he is sitting on a bench in Florence feeling
forlorned because he hasn't found what he was searching for. A stranger, who
looks to be in his seventies, and much later revealed as Mr. Bounarroti, enters
his life and changes it forever. This stranger parachutes into Tom's life and uses
sculpting and Michelangelo's David - Il Gigante to teach him lessons in life and
help him to find his way.

The stranger takes Tom to the Galleria dell' Accademia to view Michelangelo's
sculpture of David. Tom learns the following life lessons:

1. Find the angel inside you
2. Follow your own passion
3. Be confident in your strength
4. Pay attention to details, you'll discover beauty
5. Your hands can create what your mind conceives
6. Plan and prepare
7. Every accomplishment starts with one swift action
8. Embrace the stages of chipping, sculpting, sanding and polishing
9. Be content because success sometimes takes years
10. No one starts with the Sistine Chapel (Small successes lead to greater

Chris Widener uses sculpting as a metaphor for life in his fable. To expand on
lesson eight, first, you have to chip away or get rid of what doesn't work in
your life. Second you have to sculpt or mold your life the way you want it to
be. Third, adversity and negative circumstances often sand away the rough
spots in our lives, which strengthen us and allow us to grow. And fourth,

polishing allows our power and beauty to shine through.

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The stranger instructs Tom and tells him "The tools of a sculptor are few, but
the tools for sculpting a life are many. We are a product of the things that we
allow to shape and influence our lives. Everything that we interact with will
shape and mold whom we become. This includes both what we choose to
involve ourselves with as well as what we choose to not involve ourselves
with… Our business associates and our friends are people who we can choose at
will. We should choose these people wisely for what they will help us become."

Five Great Ideas

1. People often have so much invested in what they are currently doing
that they cannot start to live and fulfill their dreams
2. Fear often prevents us from taking the first step
3. Books give us the ability to converse with the author
4. Have a network of people around who act as a springboard to a better
5. Most people cannot create or accomplish great work that's lasting until
they have gone through the process of growing and learning from their

I recommend The Angel Inside.


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Enterprise-Wide Change: Superior Results Through Systems Thinking
Stephen G. Haines, Gail Aller-Stead & James McKinlay

Enterprise-Wide Change by Stephen G. Haines, Gail Aller-Stead & James
McKinlay is the first book that I have reviewed where I have met the authors.
According to the authors, the purpose of Enterprise-Wide Change is to "provide
a comprehensive overview and practical details of the science, research, and
practice of a Systems Thinking Approach to Enterprise-Wide Change to achieve
superior human and business results."

The book is organized into three sections - Part A provides an introduction to
Systems Thinking, Part B provides practical applications to Enterprise-Wide
Change and part C focuses on how to begin your Enterprise-Wide Change. The
book is laid out very well and is easy to read. The authors tell you what they
are going to tell you, they tell you and then they tell you what they just told
you. The book is packed with a lot of very useful information, which shows
their levels of skills and knowledge on the subject. One criticism is that I felt
that the book could be a bit tighter, at least 50 pages shorter. The introductory
section was nearly 100 pages long. Another criticism is that there are Think
Differently sections interspersed throughout the book, which is a novel idea,
but there are too many of them and the stories are so short that you cannot
sink your teeth into them, so the intended impact is watered down.

What is Enterprise-Wide Change (EWC)? As defined by the authors, Enterprise-
Wide Change is the altering of an organization, and is usually strategic,
complex, large-scale, systemic and a laborious undertaking. Enterprise-Wide
Change requires that each person, each team, in every department, in every
relationship, in every project and process undergo some type of behavioural
change - each at its own pace. "Organizations can change only when people
change." And, the winning formula for EWC is preparation, discipline, talent
and persistence.

This book is packed with tools and models that you can use to help you achieve
success in your change initiative. For example, Haines, Aller-Stead and
McKinlay walk you through the Twelve Absolutes for Success in your EWC. You'll
understand the phases of The Systems Thinking Approach and what to do for
each phase. Included is their Six Stages of the Rollercoaster of Change, which is
their version of the change cycle. There are clear instructions on what to do at
each stage of the change cycle. You see why pre-planning, clarity of purpose,
strategic change annual review and so on are important for the success of the

They clearly explain why you should use systems thinking versus analytic

thinking. In life, how you think, impacts how you act, which influences the
results that you achieve. Using analytic thinking, you approach change

piecemeal and look at the parts separately, which gives you a narrow focus on

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certain parts, which results in missed opportunities and you end up dealing
with symptoms rather than root causes. If you apply the systems thinking
approach, you approach change in a holistic manner, where all the parts are
related and connected, which allows you to find broader, different and more
creative answers, as well as the root causes, and you end up with better,
longer-lasting solutions with fewer side effects.

Five Great Ideas

1. Thinking differently can lead to acting differently and achieving better
2. When dealing with complexity, for the best results, abandon analytic
thinking and opt for the helicopter view or the 5,000 feet above the
ground view to get a broader perspective. Analytic, piecemeal, and
reductionist thinking resists considering multiple issues and their
relationships at the same time or taking a larger view of entire systems
3. Start with the end in mind - design the organization based on its ideal
desired future vision
4. Organizations are high-level living systems and change only when their
subsystems (people, units, departments and groups) change their
behaviours. People change at different rates and depths. When a large
number of people within an organization change their behaviour in the
same direction, organization change occurs
5. What you focus on gets done. What you ignore sends a message to others
that it isn't important

I recommend Enterprise-Wide Change by Stephen G. Haines, Gail Aller-Stead &
James McKinlay for senior level managers and change management consultants,
but I suggest that you start reading from the second section.


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The Five Pieces to the Life Puzzle: A Guide to Personal Success
Jim Rohn

I consider Jim Rohn to be one of my teachers and I often read the books that
he writes or recommends. Despite this, I do not agree with all his philosophies,
but this book contains some unique ways of looking at life and it's an easy read.
The Five Pieces to the Life Puzzle is about how to live a more successful,
fulfilling and happier life. So, what are the five major pieces of the puzzle?

• Philosophy - what we know
• Attitude - what we feel
• Activity - what we do
• Results - what we achieve
• Lifestyle - how we choose to live and design our lives

According to the author, our personal philosophy establishes our attitude,
which determines the quantity and quality of our activity, which produces a
final and proportionate result, which provides the lifestyle that we live. Rohn
suggests that to become successful, we have to practice a few simple
disciplines every day.

To look more closely at personal philosophy, "A major factor in determining
how our lives turn out is the way we choose to think. Everything that goes on
inside the human mind in the form of thoughts, ideas and information forms
our personal philosophy." The beliefs that form our personal philosophy also
determine our value system. We are encouraged to learn from other people's
experience with success and failure, surround ourselves with positive influence,
become good listeners and observers, read all the books and keep a journal.
For example, to become a good observer and excel, ask yourself the following

• What is going on in my industry?
• What challenges are currently facing our community?
• What are the new breakthroughs, the new opportunities, the new tools
and techniques that have recently come to light?
• What are the new personalities that are influencing the world and local

Rohn explains that all the books that we will ever need to make us as rich, as
healthy, as sophisticated and so on, have already been written. He further
adds, "The habit of reading is a major stepping stone in the development of a
sound philosophical foundation."

It's also very important for us to study our results so that we can make

adjustments along the way. "If we are not satisfied with what we have

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achieved at this point in our lives, then now is the time to fix the future… If we
are not making measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time, then
something is clearly wrong with either our objectives or the execution of our
plans… Ten years from now we will all be somewhere, the question is where.
Now is the time to fix the next ten years."

Five Great Ideas

1. To have more, we must first become more
2. In the end, our lives will be judged not by the things that we began, but
by the things that our effort and resolve brought to a successful
3. Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event - it is nothing more than a few
errors in judgment repeated everyday
4. For things to change, we must change
5. The only thing that is necessary for triumph of evil is for good people to
do nothing. It is our lack of intense, disciplined activity that has allowed
evil to flourish and good men to flounder

I recommend The Five Pieces to the Life Puzzle. It's very easy to read and has
information that causes you to pause and reflect.


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The Right Questions: Ten Essential Questions
to Guide You to an Extraordinary Life
Debbie Ford

When I saw this book a couple of years ago, I bought it because I know how
important it is to ask the right questions to get the answers that you are
looking for. I was in a rush so I grabbed the book without reading the back to
see what it was about. Because I was in such a rush, I didn't notice the subtitle,
all I saw was THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. I think that the book should be titled "How
to Make the Right Choices." Even though the book wasn't what I expected, I still
enjoyed it.

What Are The Ten Questions?

1. Will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or will it keep me
stuck in the past?
2. Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment or will it bring me short-
term gratification?
3. Am I standing in my power or am I trying to please another?
4. Am I looking for what's right or am I looking for what's wrong?
5. Will this choice add to my life force or will it rob me of my energy?
6. Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve or will I use it to
beat myself up?
7. Does this choice empower me or does it disempower me?
8. Is this an act of self-love or is it an act of self-sabotage?
9. Is this an act of faith or is it an act of fear?
10. Am I choosing from my divinity or am I choosing from my humanity?

According to Debbie Ford, "These questions supply you with the wisdom you
need to make what was previously unconscious, conscious, so that you can
choose with all the power that comes from being fully aware."

Let's focus on question six, "Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and
evolve or will I use it to beat myself up?" Ford suggests that every person and
situation in our lives is "behaving in exactly the way we need them to at every
moment in time." This concept would be difficult for most people to
understand and accept. However, she further adds, which I agree with, that we
look at the situation with perspective and ask ourselves what can we learn, and
how can we use this to evolve. I would ask what opportunities exist in the

Five Great Ideas

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1. The quality of our choices will dictate whether we will struggle in
frustration or live an extraordinary life… Choice allows us to pick, to
select, to decide between paths. To go right or left. To move forward
or backward, be happy or sad, loving or hateful, satisfied or
discontent. Choice gives us the power to be successful or unfulfilled,
to be good or great, to feel pleasure or pain
2. We are where we are because of repeated unconscious or unhealthy
choices that we've made day after day that add up to the reality we
find ourselves in. if we want to understand why and how we created
our present reality, all we need to do is look at the choices we made
in the past… Our futures are determined by the choices we are
making in this moment… If we want our lives to be different, all we
have to do is make different choices
3. We've all been blessed with free will, which provides us with the
power to choose how we react to our experiences in life
4. Faith invites us to believe in something we cannot see, feel, or know.
Fear destroys dreams and exterminates possibilities… Our fears cause
us to hold on to habits and behaviours that no longer serve us
5. The ability to rationalize behaviour that goes against what we truly
want might be our biggest curse because it makes us masters at
justifying our actions


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Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Richard Bach

This is a fun book that causes you to pause and think, and the good thing about
it is you can read it in less than an hour. You can also read it to your children,
they'll love the images.

This book is about Jonathan Livingston Seagull, one of many seagulls from the
Breakfast Flock colony. The gulls dodged and fought for food off fishing boats,
except for Jonathan Livingston, who would practice soaring into the sky, doing
various maneuvers not intended for gulls. Jonathan would soar and then glide.
Though he stalled and fell many times, he picked himself up and practiced
some more. He learned from his mistakes and kept on "course correcting."

Bach writes, "For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this
gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything,
Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly." Jonathan's attitude made him
unpopular, even his parents were disappointed in him, but that didn't deter
him. Jonathan refused to conform. "His mother asked, "Why is it so hard to be
like the rest of the flock, Jon?... Why don't you eat? Son, you're bone and

"I don't mind being bone and feathers, mom. I just want to know what I can do
in the air and what I can't, that's all. I just want to know."

Though Jonathan failed many times, got discouraged and tried to conform, the
passion, fire in his belly, and the drive to be better, forced him to try harder.
Being a very introspective gull, he would deconstruct to determine what he did
and make improvements. One day he went too far, so thought the Council
Gathering who summoned him to "Stand to Center for Shame." Jonathan was
banished from the colony.

All alone he kept on learning, "What he had hoped for the Flock, he now gained
for himself alone; he learned to fly, and was not sorry for the price that he had
paid. Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the
reason that a gull's life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he
lived a long fine life indeed."

There is a Jonathan Livingston Seagull inside each of us, let's release him

Five Great Ideas

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1. You are perfect and unlimited
2. Never stop learning and practicing and striving to understand more of
the perfect invincible principle of all life
3. Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body
4. You have to practice and see the real person, the good in every one, and
to help them see it in themselves. That's love. It's fun, when you get the
knack of it
5. Look with understanding, find out what you already know, and you'll see
the way to fly


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The Seasons of Life
Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn describes The Seasons of Life as a condensation of ideas and
observations he gained over 40 years to help to place life, events, purpose,
opportunities and challenges into perspective. His purpose for writing this book
is to awaken and unearth the answers that lie dormant deep within our hearts
and minds.

The Seasons of Life is a book filled with a lot of common sense information, but
it's a good reminder for us. For example, we are in a situation where we know
that we have to change and try something new because what we have been
doing no longer works, but we have so much invested in old ideas, old friends,
old ways of doing things or even an old belief system that no longer serves us,
that we simply refuse to make the necessary changes. As Rohn explains, "We
tend to accumulate and cling to ideas that limit our progress. We cherish
friendships even though the friendships impede our personal growth… We
wander through life allowing people and their attitudes and ideas to mold our
characters - people whose attitudes and ideas have brought themselves little in
the way of progress, productivity, or happiness… If our attitudes, results, or
happiness is to ever improve, we must exercise the painful discipline required
for "weeding-out" the garden of our life."

The seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter are used as an analogy for the
different stages and occurrences in our lives. The book explains how we all go
through the different seasons of life from the harsh winter where things don't
go our way to the fantastic summer where life is beautiful. Rohn shares how we
can get through the tough times and enjoy the good ones even more.

Winter - Learn how to survive: "The arrival of winter finds us in one of two
categories: Either we are prepared or we are unprepared… To those who are
prepared, who have planted abundantly in the spring, guarded their crops
carefully during the summer, and harvested massively during the fall, winter
can be yet another season of opportunity." Winter always comes after the
harvest of fall. Do the personal inner work to stay strong and positive and don't
give up. Know that spring is always around the corner.

Spring - Window of opportunity: "Springtime is the fresh air of new opportunity,
amid the dissipating clouds of winter… [It] is the time for entering the bleak,
empty fields given to us as a new chance… Each day is given us as a new season
of spring." This is your window when you must take action and plant your seeds
of opportunity. It's the season when your soil is most fertile so you have to
exercise the discipline to plant even though there may be many obstacles in

front of us. Rid your soil of weeds and rocks, which may appear as the opinions
of those around us in the form of worry, doubt, negativity or pessimism. The

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springtime of our lives manifests itself infrequently so we have to seize the
moment and plant massively and intelligently.

Summer - Nourish and Protect: "The summer of life is a time to protect; it is a
time for constant daily effort to guard against the busy bugs and noxious
weeds. The spring is a time for the creation of things of value, and those things
require the season of summer for growing and gaining strength that they might
yield their result in the coming fall" Fertilize your new habits so they continue
to develop. Pull out your weeds of bad habits. Be patient, the results may not
always show immediately so don’t lose heart.

Fall - Harvest: "For those who planted abundantly in the spring, and who fought
against the bugs, weeds, and weather of summer, fall can bring rewards which
give cause for rejoicing... The fall tells us if we have really done that which is
required… Massive action in the spring of life still is the requirement for
massive success in the fall." In all aspects of your life, the harvest will come in
due time. Take a journey in your mind to where you see the harvest of your
changes, having the life you want.

Five Great Ideas

1. The formula for success for one will lead to the self-destruction of
2. What happened even as recently as yesterday is no longer of any
consequence, unless we choose to allow it to be. What is of great
importance is who and what it is that leaves its mark today and each day
3. There is little difference between one who has given up his life and one
who has given up his hope
4. Be grateful for adversity, for it forces the human spirit to grow - for
surely, the human character is formed not in the absence of difficulty
but in response to difficulty
5. The teacher is always the greatest recipient of the lessons he seeks to
teach others. You also learn by doing

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How To Look At Everything
David Finn


The Zen of Photography: How to Take Pictures With Your Mind's Camera
Paul Lester

This month I decided to do something a little different. I like to keep Ambeck
Edge fresh. A few years ago I attended a series of photography events hosted
by the Toronto Camera Club.

Richard Lautens, a Toronto Star photojournalist led one of the events. Richard
suggests that taking the picture is easy, the harder part is setting up the shot.
Before you click, click, click, he recommends that you first ask yourself,
"What's going on here and how do I feel about it? To me, this means that you
remove the dividing line between photographer (or amateur photographer) and

In How To Look At Everything, the author David Finn writes, "The artist Henri
Matisse used to tell his students that the inner feeling that they had when
looking at something was more important than what they saw literally with
their eyes. What was important was to "render the emotion" awakened within
them. He urged them to close their eyes and hold the vision, and they would
see the object better than with their eyes open."

How can you apply this to your life? Do you stand on the sidelines and watch
life go by, or do you fully immerse yourself in life? Are you separate from this
world or do you consider yourself to be a part of this world?

Later in the book David asks: "Is your mind focused on other thoughts as you try
to get where you're going as fast as possible? When you stand at the corner
waiting for a traffic light to change, does your eye wander to see what's
happening while you wait, or do you just stare at the sign that reads DON'T
WALK, waiting for it to change? Is the time you spend walking in the city a
meaningful experience, or is it just a period empty of meaning…"

In The Zen of Photography there are 100 Zen sayings, many of which we can
also apply to our lives. I have pulled 10 of the sayings and listed them here as
great ideas. I am sure that your 10 sayings would be very different from mine
and that's why I encourage you to read the book. I think the best way to absorb
the book is to take one saying at a time and reflect on it.

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10 Great Ideas

1. The past is a learning memory. The future is a yearning goal. The
present is the only moment that exists. You can stretch that moment out
forever if you are constantly aware of every now
2. Every person has a story to tell. Every person is looking for a caring spirit
that will listen
3. When you begin to care you realize, as you look in a passersby eyes, we
have all experienced the same tragedies, triumphs and fits of boredom.
We all feel the same emotions. We are all the same person
4. Anything can be practiced. A guitar piece to a positive way of life.
Practice is simply concentrating on a single action or idea until it no
longer exists in your conscious mind
5. You can only learn when you are ready to listen
6. Technology interferes with the spirit. Machinery suppresses the fun. The
mind thwarts the heart
7. Your goal is not to be the best photographer, the best runner, the best
musician, the best writer, or the best anything. Your goal, if you really
need a goal, is to be yourself
8. You cannot want to be anything. Either you are or you are not. If you
are, you are being your natural self and peace will come. If you are not,
your ego directs your actions and you will always be disturbed
9. A teacher learns from the student. Who then is the real
teacher/student? If the teacher is the student, then we are all students
learning from each other
10. Since no one can learn unless ready, the best teacher does not give
answers. The best teacher facilitates questions

This tells me that everything is connected, we are all connected, that there is
no us against them. We can do better in life, if we stop, listen and experience
the moment. There is truth to the adage that we should stop and smell the


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The Prophet
Kahlil Gibran

This is a non-traditional review because it's also my reaction to what's been
said to me. Two people indicated that The Prophet had a profound impact on
their lives and they explained why. I read the book trying to understand their
point of views.

The Prophet, first published in 1923 is a compilation of 26 poetic essays that
deal with love, marriage, giving, work, joy and sorrow, buying and selling,
laws, freedom, reason and passion, self-knowledge, talking, pleasure, death
and so much more. It's beautifully written in very simple language.

The book starts off with Almustafa, the "chosen and beloved" one who has been
living in a foreign country, Orphalese, where the people have embraced him for
the past 12 years. His ship has returned and he must return to the land of his
birth. He is saddened, but he knows that he must leave. Gibran's genius comes
out in the simplicity of his writing. Almustafa asks, "How shall I go in peace and
without sorrow? Nay, not without a wound in the spirit shall I leave this city.
Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the
nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness
without regret? Too many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these
streets, and too many are the children of my longing that walk naked among
these hills, and I cannot withdraw from them without a burden and an ache."

Almitra the "seeress," the first one to embrace him when he first arrived in
Orphalese, understands that he must depart. She senses his deep longing to
return to his roots, but before he leaves she wants him to impart some of his
wisdom. Almitra asks, "Speak to us of Love." He responds:

"When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the
garden... And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds
you worthy, directs your course..."

Various people in the community ask him to talk about various things, which
result in the 26 poetic essays, which are Almustafa's responses. The book
imparts words of wisdom, some of which is outlined below.

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Words of Wisdom

1. On joy and sorrow: Your joy is your sorrow unleashed
2. On work: You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul
of the earth... And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth
loving life
3. On giving: You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is
when you give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your
possessions but things you guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
4. On buying and selling: It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you
shall find abundance and be satisfied. Yet unless the exchange be in love
and kindly justice, it will but lead some to greed and others to hunger
5. On self-knowledge: Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days
and the nights. But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's

I enjoyed this book and I was able to see how this book could have a major
influence on someone's life. I recommend The Prophet.


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Section 3: Success Formula


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Stephen Abram
I would say that the formula for success is listening, asking questions and
continuous learning.

Neil Aitchison
Success is a gradual realization of worthwhile achievable goals. You have to risk
failure, work toward long-term goals. Learning never stops. Take steady steps a
day at a time and make small reasonable goals.

Carolyn Burke
There's an equation. Know what you're doing, that it challenges you, that it is
well organized. For me, the equation amounts to knowing I am able to
contribute effectively, to coordinate with others effectively. I look at what I
can contribute and where my challenges will be, and then align that with the
work. I make sure that it coordinates reasonably for me. Over time I want a
clear schedule of what I need to do and a plan of action, integrated with
others' plans. Whether I am managing, or working on the team, it's important
for me to know that the overall result will be a coordinated effort, and a
positive result, and that each contribution leads to success. Success is putting
one foot after the other, while ensuring that each step is a productive step.

Tom Carter
I define success as making a difference, improving things while you enjoy doing
them. The following, in my opinion, are the components of success:

• Create balance in life with family and friends
• Do what you enjoy and are enthusiastic about
• Know yourself - your strengths and weaknesses
• Focus on your goal or vision which may change over time
• Self-motivate yourself and have a "can do" attitude
• Prepare, educate yourself and get the tools to do your job - listen and
• Work hard at the right things
• Manage your money and do not let money problems control you
• Invest at least 10 percent of your income
• Look after your health
• Be a part of a team
• Make a difference in life, develop your communication skills, market
yourself and get noticed
• Be disciplined
• Take time to network

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David Chilton
I do not know if there is a formula for success, because if it were that simple,
everybody would be doing it. To become successful, it takes a lot of hard work.
Every business is different. Execution is very underrated and too much
emphasis is placed on ideas. You must pay attention to detail. You must look
for ways to help others - you have to help people achieve their objectives.
Success also requires great flexibility, you have to see things as they are and
not the way you would like them to be. You must accept reality and deal with

Alison Duke
Understanding my client's needs, providing good service and being passionate
about what I am doing is key. I love filming and I try as hard as I can to keep
abreast with technology and trends. I read a lot of film books, magazines and
web sites, and I also do a lot of research for each job so I am as prepared as
possible. The bottom line is that I love learning about what I do. I feel that
when I know more I am better able to give my clients products they can use for
a long time.

Lillyann Goldstein
Two sides to this: Remember where you started, who you met along the way,
who helped you and who you helped, while not letting success inflate your ego.
After all we are all human beings who deserve to be respected. The next step
is keeping your human side in check. Make sure that you have undertaken your
market research, followed by a good business plan and solid financing before
you embark on your venture. With good planning, and solid financial backing
you will find that all the time spent being a solid human being will pay back in

Anne Grant
“I take care of myself as well as my company. When I am happy, healthy and
refreshed, my business thrives!”

Amelia Kassel
To become successful, you have to be able to experiment and try new things.
When something doesn't work out the way you expected, do not view it as
failure, but as a learning experience. You learn from trial and error and by how
you reshape things.

Brandon Klayman
Being guided by a core set of principles creates the context for your success.
Basing these core guiding principles, or "conscious values" in your heart is the
most powerful place for them to be. Having a clear vision and holding it in your

mind automatically manifests it. For me personally, I have "conscious values"
which are called WHATSO. Taken as a whole, it means that I have to be

observant and see what's in front of my eyes. I look at what is working and

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what isn't. Taken separately, WHATSO stands for wealth, happiness, awareness,
transparency, sustainability and oneness.

Jacoline Loewen
You have to have a sense of humour and grit. Grit is the ability to keep going.
When you run your own business you have to keep putting one step in front of
the other, and do all the small bits of your business model, and then
surprisingly, you really do win the large contracts. It's quite astonishing.

Asha McLeod
Keep in mind that success is never a final destination, but a journey, and as
long as you are committed to lifelong learning, and passionate about your
work, success is inevitable. I measure my success not against others, but by my
own progress in overcoming day-to-day challenges, continuously learning and
growing from those experiences. I believe my passion, persistence and need to
please my clients have largely been the foundation for the success I have
enjoyed in my profession.

Don Middleton
Like what you do and do what you like! I believe this and that's why I have
never felt unhappy to go to work. I have always created a demand for my
services, which helped me to become successful. Because of my success, I was
invited to do things I could learn to like. I have never had to use a Curriculum
Vitae (CV) to obtain employment.

In addition, my grandmother taught me three rules to live by:

1. Be honest with yourself
2. Never embarrass your family
3. Do good work in the community so they cannot "throw stones" at you

I have tried to live my life by these rules.

Bill Morin
Determine what success means to you personally and professionally, have a
vision of what it looks like, celebrate it and maintain the energy to achieve it.

Maria Nemeth
Do not promise what you cannot do. Whatever you promise to do, do it with
clarity, focus, ease and grace.

Andrea Nierenberg

"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary." To
become successful, you have to be determined, reliable, consistent, and keep

looking for the goal that you want to achieve.

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Patricia Scarlett
Tenacity! People often give up too quickly. If you're focused and committed,
you can weather any storm.

Claire Stoddard
So, what is the formula for success you might ask? In my opinion, it's those two
little words, Due Diligence, Due Diligence, Due Diligence, along with a liberal
dose of well-informed instinct.

Paul Swaby
Attitude + Expectancy + Knowledge + Action = Measurable Improvement

Daily measurable improvements need to be maintained through discipline to
achieve success.

Chris Widener
“Know who you are, what you are good at and what you want to accomplish.
Then play to your strengths and never give up.”

Dan White
Recognize a need, have a solution and understand where the
customer/prospect is going to find the money to pay for the solution. There is a
shortage of money. Governments create a scarcity of money. If a person
doesn't have something that is less wonderful they are not going to buy your
solution because they simply do not have any spare money.


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Section 4: Guest Columns


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To do something a little different this month, I am going to ask two young
people to share their views with us on continuous learning. What can we
learn from them?

"As an account executive at a large agency in Manhattan, effective
communication is imperative. In order to continue my goal of continuous self
improvement, I will be taking a writing course that is offered through my
agency. The course will be very useful in communicating with my clients. In
addition the knowledge I gain will be applicable in other areas of my
professional career." Renae Powell

"My company offers several training seminars during the year on topics ranging
from "Negotiation Skills" to "Introduction to Excel". Sad to say, I've only utilized
the opportunity once. My aunt, who is one of the best un-published writers that
I've ever known, has always stressed the importance of strong writing skills.
This semester, I will take heed to her advice; I will be one of the few
employees at my company taking advantage of the writing course being
offered. Additionally, I'm preparing for the GMAT. If continuous learning is the
way to go, then I'm revved up and ready to go. Are you?" Camile Beckford


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Have you ever been in a situation where nothing worked for you? You tried
many different things but to no avail, now what do you do? I asked Lydia
Danner and Lea Chambers to share their techniques when all else fails.

Lydia Danner who teaches high-speed learning shares her process with us.
"Quiet your mind and go to the place where the true solutions lie…to the alpha
state of your brain. It is in this state that we can access our higher power. But,
it's usually the last place we want to go in our frenzied quest to get things
done. If we could train ourselves to go to this state first, that is our best
solution, for everything…yes, absolutely everything.

So, how do we access our higher power whenever we want or need to? By
slowing down our brain. By living an alpha life. According to scientists, there
are four known (and possibly more) brain wave states…beta, alpha, theta and
delta. Our general state of being is the beta brain state which oscillates at 14
to 25 cycles per second. This is where stress, anger and disease reside. Then
there is alpha (7 to 13 cycles per second), where all creativity resides and
where all things are conceived before they become reality. This is also where
learning takes place.

The next time you find yourself in a situation where nothing is working, it is
because you are in a highly agitated beta state and you are preventing
solutions from coming to you. Sit in a comfortable chair and relax. Breathe
deeply. Close your eyes and count backwards (in your head), slowly, from 10 to
1. While you are counting, roll your eyes upward toward the space between
your eyebrows. This effectively puts a brake on your beta frenzy and slows your
brain down to alpha. You can actually feel this happening. In this state of well
being answers will flow to you. In other cultures this is called the state of
surrender. Try it. Your life will be the better for it."

Lea Chambers, a marketing professional responded, "I believe that when we are
on the right path in life and moving in the right direction, the results we want
come to us, seemingly without effort or struggle. However, sometimes our
conscious mind just doesn't have the capacity to understand what that might
be. This causes fear and stress for us, but we can overcome those feelings if we
believe in synchronicity and the power of Being in the Now.

I've just recently come through a period where I wasn't getting the results I
wanted right away. At first I struggled with this, becoming emotional, fretting
over why things weren't working, wondering what I was doing wrong, looking
backwards at the decisions I had made to get me to this point and beating
myself up about them.

Then, one day, I surrendered to all of that frustration and struggling and just
TRUSTED that I was in exactly the right place at the right time. I looked at my

situation differently and saw all the positive things that were happening all

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around me and enjoyed each day, rather than fighting against the way the path
was leading me. I relaxed, just focused on doing what brought me pure joy and
didn't worry about the results I was getting. I just decided to breathe and "BE"
and exist in the moment and not be connected to any outcome whatsoever. I
took time to "clean my space", get exercise, eat better, call people I hadn't
spoken to for a while, read some good books, slept a lot, went for slow walks in
the woods and felt love and joy.

Then, one day, without me having to do much at all, the result that I had
wanted all along virtually came to me and was absolutely better and bigger and
more wonderful than anything I had imagined. And I had to do almost nothing
to make it happen.

Believe in synchronicity and ignore the mind's tendency to trouble over what
"isn't". Focus on what is and let your Being breathe within that space, where
time and money and all your daily troubles are irrelevant. There is something
bigger out there waiting for you that is larger and more wonderful than what
you could ever imagine."

Are you willing to try something that's different?


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I have often read, and have been told that writing a book gives you
credibility as a consultant. I wanted to find out, so I asked a few people who
I know have written books. I asked, how has writing a book helped your

Andrea Nierenberg, "The Queen of Networking" and the author of Nonstop
Networking: How to Improve Your Life, Luck and Career, and Million Dollar
Networking, responded "It is very easy, my books have simply been the best
calling cards I could ever ask for, I give away a 'book a day' and it has tripled
my business."

Heather Resnick, author of Women Reworked responded, "Writing a book is my
business! Generally speaking though, writing a book makes you an "Authority" in
the eyes of the public. It opens doors for speaking engagements and people are
genuinely impressed that you have actually written a book, knowing the
amount of research/time involved. Books are regarded with esteem!"

According to Gail Blanke, "First, Between Trapezes (as with Wildest Dreams
and Taking Control of Your Life) provided a marketing platform for my
business. Books describe your point of view and what makes you unique and
provide the media with much needed angles and content for their particular
communications vehicles. Second, potential clients and customers can access
you through your writing and are motivated to buy whatever product or service
you're selling. Finally, it's close to impossible to make money (other than
recovering your costs) from a book. That's not the reason to write them. In
addition to the exposure they provide, disciplining yourself and refining your
message are invaluable. You learn a lot about yourself from writing a book. And
that can be priceless."

Chris Widener author of Four Seasons, The Angel Within, and co-author of
Twelve Pillars of Success, had this to say, "It has been the best promotional
tool, business card, advertising I could do!"


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This month I asked Simon Grant, CEO, Neoventa Medical in Sweden and
Nanci Govinder, a Personal Mastery Instructor in Switzerland how to
successfully switch careers.

Simon Grant: I have walked away from a career twice. The first time I did it
for love (met a woman on holiday, moved to Sweden, worked washing dishes
till I got a chance to start again in a Swedish company in a new industry). The
second time I simply stopped having fun in my career and so quit and went
backpacking for a year with my now wife, changed country again and had to
start from (almost) scratch again.

In both cases and as a general guide I think a successful transition is about
understanding that you need to "earn your stripes" with those whom you start
working with. You should never expect respect. Gaining respect is not just
about what you know or the decisions you make, but, about the passion that
you bring to your role and how you treat your co-workers. It's not impossible,
but it's damn hard to be successful without the support and respect of your co-

Nanci Govinder: Moving from one career to another is perhaps one of the most
stressful and enjoyable experiences one can have in one's professional life.
Often people do not fulfill their true desires in terms of a career as they
studied to do something and are fearful of change. I have made many
transitions in my professional life and loved each step--from a scientist to a
career in marketing and general management, to a research associate in an
international business school to currently being a coach, teacher and speaker.

Here are some tips to change careers I would like to share with you:

Be clear about what you want
Deep down, we all know what we truly desire but are too afraid to even
articulate it to ourselves. To get started, write down some things that you
achieved between the ages of 5-10, 10-15, 15-20, 20-25. These must be things
that bring a smile to your face when you recall them.

Write it down
This is a really important step as seeing your 'dream' on paper, starts the
process of making it a reality. If you just talk about it or think about it, it
remains just that, a pipe dream.

Find role models or mentors
During this process, people close to you tend to project their fears on you and
tell you what a bad idea it is and how foolish you are to leave a 'good job with

good prospects blah, blah, blah.' Don't listen to them. They are just projecting
their fears.

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Transition part-time
We all have financial commitments and obligations and it can be a big step to
make dramatic changes. Find ways to ease into your new career if you can. I
reduced my full-time job to three days a week and spent the other two days
working on my company and creating my network. When the time came to
leave, I felt confident and at ease to work full time in my company.

List your fears
We all have fears. We are afraid of failure, being embarrassed, humiliated,
being successful and so on. What are you afraid of? It's important to state your
fear and to realize that fear is just a thought or belief that you have

These are the tips that Simon and Nanci would like to share with you if you
decided that you wanted a career change. Until next time! Avil Beckford


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This month I decided to take a look at the non-profit sector because some of
you may be a little curious about what it's like. I asked Jeanne Moffat to
share her thoughts.

What is it like working in the non-profit sector?
Working in the Non-Profit sector allows me to earn my salary doing what my
personal values call forth from me! I can work with passionate people who care
about the health and welfare of people and the environment. I can forget
about the push for profit above all else, and can apply my skills and experience
to advocating for and helping to solve some of society's most pressing issues. I
can feel good about making a positive contribution to the global community.

How can someone enter the sector?
Entering the non-profit sector happens through several doors--volunteering
with community groups in numerous ways, joining advocacy campaigns pushing
for more progressive public policies, attending public conferences and debates
on matters of interest to the global community and meeting people of like
concern, and working for a salary in a non-profit organization.

In order to "work for a salary", one must go through the same hoops as required
for any job placement--applications, resumes, interviews, negotiations,
evaluations. Every non-profit organization is looking for highly qualified and
experienced people, but most non-profits will not be able to pay the same
level of salaries that would be offered for similar positions in the for-profit
world. That is a reality that one must accept before applying for a position.
However, the benefit packages are often good and there is a definite upside in
knowing you are working to enhance the lives of people all over the world--and
that is a benefit that cannot be found in every workplace!

What workplace lessons have you learned over the years working in the non-profit
I have learned that committed people who want to save the world (and there is
a high concentration of these people in the non-profit sector) are in a very
high-risk category for burnout. "To burn out you must first have a fire in your
belly" is a quote I remember from my research on burnout. It is hard for
idealistic, committed people to say "no" to issues and concerns, and so more
work gets taken on, and on and on it goes, building toward an impossible
workload, with often little recognition or affirmation. Organizational support
for breaks or sabbaticals are few and far between, and few non-profits can
afford to hire "human resource managers" who might insist on more supports
for staff.

Caring and experienced managers who approach management from a human

resource perspective, i.e., that people are the organization's greatest assets,
are needed in the non-profit sector. Taking care of the people who are trying

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to take care of the world's problems is one of the key organizational challenges
for the non-profit sector.

What life lessons have your learned?
I have learned that it is possible to find solutions for even the most intractable
problems--by listening, by leading with a fair and transparent approach, by
being open to new ideas and ways of handling situations, and by affirming
people as often as possible. That is how I would like to live and to be treated in
any setting in which I find myself!


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This month we are looking at ways that we group people. Why do we have
to place people in groups? Would chaos reign if there weren't any groups?
We have introverts/extroverts, astrological groupings, generational
groupings like baby boomers and Generation Y, we have colour groupings
and I am feeling so yellow. In addition, there are many tools on the market
to help us figure out which group we fall into.

What is the reasoning behind grouping people? Susan Flynn from Tidewatch
Consulting shares her views with us.

"Grouping is a concept worthy of reflection. Positive or negative in intent, we
group people for two simple reasons: Place and Power. Grouping helps us "find
our place". When a group is defined by culture, personality traits, management
styles, skills, life stage or even astrological signs, we identify with others who
are "like me", and use this information to navigate relationships, interests,
childhood and career. Grouping furthers self-awareness. Grouping also helps us
"place" others. Marketers, of course use grouping extensively, but all of us,
whether we realize it or not, use grouping socially and in the workplace to help
get to know and get along with others. We also group for Power. The power in
numbers can be supportive, influential, and give voice to important causes that
would not be heard without the critical mass of like minds. There's power in
the knowledge that results from grouping. Where would research -
psychological, scientific or cultural - be without the study of patterns and
similarities among people?

But Power and Place have a downside. Stereotyping, negative assumptions and
conflict result when grouping is rigid and close-minded. All too often, grouping
is used to keep people "in their place" or equally unfortunate, we keep
ourselves in place i.e. stuck in a comfort zone or the routines of our "group". In
my culture change work, I frequently see organizations where we-they
thinking, silos and groupthink prevail, often driven largely by grouping. Agile
companies on the other hand encourage diversity, boundary-crossing and out-
of-the-box thinking. For some people, grouping leads to insight and innovation.
For others, it excludes and inhibits possibilities. In which group do you fit?"


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Section 5: Quotations


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“Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has
magic, grace and power in it.” Goethe

“No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof.
What every body echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to
be falsehood tomorrow.” Henry David Thoreau


“We shrink from change, yet is there anything that can come into being
without it?” Marcus Aurelius

“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the
greatest innovator.” Francis Bacon

“When you're finished changing, you're finished.” Benjamin Franklin

“Nothing lasts forever -- not even your troubles.” Arnold H. Glasow


“Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is
ever done in this world by hesitation.” Thomas H. Huxley


“If you run after two hares, you will catch neither.” Thomas Fuller


“Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs
of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of
selfishness.” William Arthur Ward


“Freedom is actually a bigger game than power. Power is about what you can
control. Freedom is about what you can unleash.” Harriet Rubin

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“Happiness is not in our circumstance but in ourselves. It is not something we
see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness is something we
are.” John B. Sheerin


“Those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” Arnold

“It is not that I belong to the past, but the past that belongs to me.” Mary


"The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing
knowledge." Albert Einstein

“Look at things not as they are, but as they can be. Visualization adds value to
everything. A big thinker always visualizes what can be done in the future. He
isn't stuck with the present.” David J. Schwartz

“Whatever you think about, and thank about, come about.” Dr. John F.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it
is, infinite.” William Blake

“Infinite are all around you if you will open your mental eyes and behold the
treasure house of infinity within you. There is a gold mine within you from
which you can extract everything you need to live life gloriously, joyously, and
abundantly.” Joseph Murphy


“Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of
knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.”
Robin Morgan

“To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do
not know, that is true knowledge.” Confucius

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”

Thomas H. Huxley

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“Wise people talk because they have something to say; fools, because they
have to say something.” Plato


“Life must be lived as play.” Plato

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Norman MacEwan

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems
don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the
best of it without knowing what's going to happen next.” Gilda Radner

“How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young,
compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the
weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”
George Washington Carver

“Take the gentle path.” George Herbert


“Love is, above all, the gift of oneself. “ Jean Anouilh


“Take a music bath once or twice a week for music is to the soul what water is
to the body.” Oliver Wendall Holmes


“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not;
nothing is more commonplace than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will
not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the
world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are
omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge


“The greatest power that a person possesses is the power to choose.”

J. Martin Kohe

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“Praise is power. Invest the praise you receive from your superior. Pass praise
on down to your subordinates where it will encourage still greater
performance. When you share praise, your subordinates know you sincerely
appreciate their value.” David J. Schwartz


“Sell a customer what they Want, Deliver what they Need.” Rick Beneteau

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
Muhammad Ali

Success/ Accomplishment

“You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets
the credit.” Harry S. Truman

“The elevator to success is out of order. You'll have to use the step
at a time.” Joe Girard

“True self worth, success and wealth can only come about from responsible
love, caring and compassionate thoughts and actions.” Ty Metsker

“If you wish to reach the highest, begin at the lowest.” Publilius Syrus

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is
breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and
then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain

“There is no way to Happiness, Happiness is the way. There is no way to Peace,
Peace is the way. There is no way to Enlightenment, Enlightenment is the
way.” Thich Nhat Hanh

“Every vision is a joke until the first man accomplishes it.” Robert Goddard

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an
uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.” Helen Keller

“It's easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top.”
Henry Ward Beecher

“If you have ful-feelment and ful-thrillment you have fulfillment.” Mark Victor

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“Knock on the sky and listen to the sound!” Zen Saying

“We only use about 5% of our capabilities.” William James


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Section 6: Featured Websites


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Are you working in your chosen profession?

Do you have a strong feeling for a career or occupation but are scared to take
the plunge? VocationVacations may be just what you need. VocationVacations
allows you to test drive a new profession for a few days, without risking your
job, to see if it's really meant for you. For US $500 to $5,000 you get one-on-
one mentoring, and you learn about and experience the work you are
interested in. Most programs run for about two days.

Imagine, for the past two months your staff has been working 16-hour days to
get the new project launched. They are dedicated and want to do what’s best
for the company. You all know that things will get back to normal very shortly.
You wish that your employees could get a powernap to give them the energy to
get through the long days. (I created this scenario, so what if I have a vivid

Help is on the way! If you’re in New York City, you could schedule it so that
employees could visit MetroNaps and get a powernap. MetroNaps offers rows of
futuristic-looking sleeping pods, specifically designed for 20-minute powernaps.
Prices range from a $14 one-day pass up to a $65 one-month unlimited pass.
Or, if that’s not convenient for you, you could purchase a MetroNaps Pod, with
prices starting at US $7,950.

Move over old keyboard because there is a new kid in town, the FrogPad
keyboard. The FrogPad keyboard has just 20 keys and repositions the most
commonly stroked letters so that you can type with only one hand. Because you
are using only one hand, the other is free to use a mouse or even hold a
document. FrogPad is a full keyboard the size of an index card, weighs only 4.9
ounces, and is compatible with Macs, PCs, and most mobile phones and PDAs.
And best of all you can get a FrogPad for either a right-handed or left-handed
person. Prices range from approximately $170 - $200.

Send Word Now
What do you do when you have to broadcast an urgent message to thousands of
people at once? How do you reach huge numbers of people in an emergency?
You have "Send Word Now" to the rescue. If you had to communicate with a
group of 50 in an emergency you have to pay between $48 and $84 per year per
person; a group of 10,000 pays between $8 and $15 per person.

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Are you tired of the routine of your life? Are you looking for an "extreme
experience?" Perhaps you are ready for space tourism. Starting in February
2005, Xero will offer zero-gravity flights. What does it all mean? For around
$8,000, Xero will take passengers on a one-and-a-half-hour flight, that features
15 short periods of weightlessness. The firm rents a parabolic flight plane from
the Russian space program, normally used to train astronauts and test

Temperature Guard
Would you love it if your home would call you when there was a problem?
Temperature Guard provides small, intelligent monitoring and alarm devices
that connect to a phone line. These devices will notify you whenever there is a
serious rise or fall in temperatures at your home or office.

It's A Wrap Production Wardrobe Sales
Do you have a desire to dress like a movie star? It's a Wrap! Production
Wardrobe Sales stocks deeply discounted wardrobe pieces from Hollywood's
major motion picture studios and independent production companies. Most
items sell for 35 to 95 percent off retail, and each bears the name of the film
or TV program from which it came.

Chattooga River Resort,

El Capitan Canyon,

Have you ever wanted to go camping without having to rough it? Now you can!
There are several companies taking the" rough it" out of camping. This month
we'll highlight The Chattooga River Resort, which is located in Long Creek,
South Carolina and El Capitan Canyon, in Santa Barbara, California. At
Chattooga, tent sites cost $19 for four people, and you can pre-order your food
by e-mail and pull up to a fully stocked campsite. The food is extra. At El
Capitan, you can get canvas safari tents with handmade willow beds, full
linens, maid service, and massages. A tent costs $135. If you'd like to find out
about other places where you can connect to nature in style, send me an

If you do not want to read magazines online and pay for magazine
subscriptions, try TradePub. You can get free magazine subscriptions for a
year. I have been using their services for over five years.

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Goods that Give,
For the socially conscious, check out Goods that Give, an online marketplace
selling high-quality stuff made by socially conscious companies. Offerings
include gourmet foods, kids' clothes, bath products, and home furnishings.,
This is a perfect website to feature since we are at the start of a new year.
This website allows you to manage your personal and professional goals. You
get help to keep you on track. The company offers a free 10-day trial, and you
can sign up for the monthly plan at $5.95 or for a 12-month period for $49.95

March break is coming up, so it's time to plan your trip. This month, we'll
feature several websites where you can search for less expensive hotel rates. If
you'd rather spend your money on sightseeing and shopping than on
accommodation, then try these websites:

And, if you're traveling to India check out, $22 a
night can't be beat.

Internet Fax Providers
Internet faxing is becoming very popular and prices vary. Some providers allow
you to receive a certain number of faxes for free, but charge you if you want to
send. Here are four internet fax providers. The price for the service ranges
from US $7.95 to $19.95 depending on the plan that you choose. Some features
include toll free numbers for North America, 24/7 technical support, demo test
before sign up and electronic signatures. All these services are not created
Meetup, a global social networking group, provides an online forum for people
to contact others who share their interests and then form groups to meet face-

to-face. Meetup competes with Friendster and

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Framework Timeraiser
Innovation at its finest! Framework Timeraiser, a non-profit organization, tries
to engage Canadians aged 22 to 35 years to get involved in volunteerism.
Framework Timeraiser buys art at market rates from Canadian artists then puts
on a silent auction. Instead of bidding money, these young people pledge
volunteer hours to non-profit agencies that need their skills. Successful auction
bidders have to complete their volunteer hours in a year, then they get to take
their artwork home.

Classical Pursuits
Classical Pursuits is an innovative program, which offers travel, and on campus
vacations for adults from all over North America to share ideas about great
works of literature, art and music in a relaxed and informal setting.
Before you book your next trip, visit, where you'll find
detailed seating plans for most major airlines, so you can choose the best
available seat for you.

Simply Hired
If you are interested in finding a job in the US go to where you'll find over five million jobs
aggregated from many U.S. sources, including thousands of newspapers, 5,000
job bulletin boards, and over 200,000 companies-all conveniently indexed in a
single place.

School of Thinking
The school of thinking offers complimentary resources to help you expand your
thinking. You can download a copy of the book Software for Your Brain, which
contains lessons that will teach you how to view the world from many vantage
points. offers technology tools for small businesses.


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Section 7: Quick Tips


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Did You Know…?

Did you know that you can customize Google by setting your preferences? Visit preferences where you can change the number of
results produced per page, screen out inappropriate web pages with Google's
SafeSearch, and change the language interface, and more.

To keep up on your weekly reading, visit

Did you know that you can access and read many magazines at Choose a topic that you wouldn't normally read, and
simply go for the ride.

Did you know that university research labs are good places to get ideas?
Contact your local university if you are interested in licensing technology or
forming alliances. UTEK® Corporation acts as an intermediary in technology
transfer from universities and research laboratories to public companies.

You are looking for a quotation from your favourite author, or you heard a
quotation and you want to use it, where do you go to find a quote or check the
accuracy of one? There are many resources online - here are a few places to

There's a lot more to Google than you may think. Go to and you'll notice above the search box Web, Images,
Groups, News, Local and Desktop - these are actually tabs that you can select.
If you want to search for an image click on the Images tab. Have fun and click
on all the tabs.

Did you know that there is a global yellow pages where you can access many
directories of the world? Check out

Did you know that if you need to conduct surveys and your budget is low there
are survey design software that you can use? Survey design software include:

Survey Monkey


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Are you always curious about the way stuff works? If you are, then you can visit
the website You'll find information on just
about anything from airbags to DSL to timeshares to watercrafts. Get surfing!

If you are interested in what the next big trend will be, especially if you are
targeting the consumer market, one thing to do is visit regularly, or sign up for their free monthly

If you want to identify newspapers from all over the world visit, which provides links to hundreds of online newspapers,
as well as magazines.

At, you can customize the ultimate search
engine for your personal interests. You can easily create your own custom
search engines, and explore and save those created by others.

Beyond Google! Martindale's The Reference Desk, is a website where you can
find a variety of information such as the weather and time for several cities
around the globe, worldwide jobs, recipes, world maps, science, engineering,
chemistry centres and a whole lot more. Check out

Have you been searching for some older books that you cannot find, or are you
just interested in reading some old stuff? InnerTalk Global Distribution provides several free e-books that you can
download to your computer and read. The books include works by William
James, Charles Darwin, Bertrand Russell, Sir Francis Bacon, Immanuel Kant,
Rene Descartes and much more.

You would like to make a purchase but you want to make sure that you get the
best price. Before you go into the store you can do some online research.
Websites such as,,, and may turn up the deal
you're looking for on any number of items.

Vacation time! if you're a resident of the United States, visit, for Canada, http://www.dfait- and The United Kingdom,
102 and choose travel advice. Lonely Planet, and Journeywoman,
are two other useful websites.

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If you have a really large file to send, use YouSendIt Lite where you can store files of up to a gig on their
server. Your contacts are emailed a link they can use to retrieve them.

If you're looking to get rid of stuff, or you're cash strapped and looking for free
stuff, check out Freecycle, a non-profit movement of people who are giving (&
getting) stuff for free at They have extensive
communities throughout the USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, the United
Kingdom, and presence in many other countries.


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Section 8: Contests


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Where Am I? December 2004 Contest

Grand Etang Mountain, Grenada


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What Is This? December 2005 Contest

Oil Spill Mixed With Water


The Bark of a Tree

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Ambeck Edge Reading List: October 2004 – May 2008

1. Same Words Different Language: How Men and Women Misunderstand
Each Other at Work, and What to do About It, Barbara Annis
2. Did You Spot The Guerilla? How to Recognize Hidden Opportunities,
Richard Wiseman
3. What's Keeping Your Customers Up At Night? Close More Deals by Selling
to Your Client's Pain, Steven Cody & Richard Harte
4. Creative Visualization, Shakti Gawain
5. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin
6. How To Read A Book, Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
7. Superlearning 2000, Sheila Ostrander & Lynn Schroeder with Nancy
8. How To Be Twice As Smart, Scott Witt
9. The New Birth Order, Kevin Leman
10. On Natural Selection, Charles Darwin
11. The Celestine Prophesy, James Redfield
12. Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service, Ken
Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles
13. The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha On Managing Your Business And Your
Life, Michael Roach
14. Awaken The Genius: Mind Technology for the 21st Century, Patrick K.
15. The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli
16. The Strategic Enterprise, Bill Bishop
17. PhotoReading Whole Mind System, Paul R. Scheele
18. Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards
19. A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide To Strategy, Miyamoto Musahi
20. Acres of Diamond, Russell Conwell
21. Tiger Heart, Tiger Mind: How to Empower Your Dream, Ron Rubin &
Stuart Avery Gold
22. The Angel Inside: Michelangelo, Il Gigante, and Creating a life of Power
and Beauty, Chris Widener
23. The Five Pieces to the Life Puzzle: A Guide to Personal Success, Jim
24. The Right Questions, Debbie Ford
25. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
26. The Seasons of Life, Jim Rohn
27. The Zen of Photography: How to Take Pictures With Your Mind's
Camera, Paul Lester
28. How To Look At Everything, David Finn
29. The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

30. Your Best Year Yet: Ten Questions For Making The Next Twelve Months
Your Most Successful Ever, Jinny S. Ditzler
31. Wake Up And Live, Dorothea Brand

32. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

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33. Cashing In With Content by David Meerman Scott
34. The Go-Giver, Bob Burg & David Mann
35. Best-Loved Folktales of the World, Joanna Cole


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For more ideas, and if you love stories, read the responses of the 34 people profiled
in Tales of People Who Get It

Be sure to check out Avil Beckford’s website at

Check out Ambeck Edge newsletter archive or access white papers at

Visit The Invisible Mentor Blog http://theinvisiblementor, a unique concept
where Avil Beckford, an Invisible Mentor uses book reviews & summaries,
interviews, articles and so on to unleash your inner genius.


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