The New Paradigm in Business, Leadership & Career
(Book Reviews)
The New Paradigm in Science and Systems Theory
(Book & Media Reviews)

The New Paradigm in Consciousness & Spirituality
(Book & Media Reviews)
In Business, Leadership & Career
17 Book Reviews by Peter Fritz Walter

Laurence G. Boldt • Tom Butler-Bowden • Edward de Bono
James Borg • Stephen R. Covey • Napoleon Hill
Donald G. Krause • Sergio Zyman
Published by Sirius-C Media Galaxy LLC

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About Dr. Peter Fritz Walter
About the Author

Parallel to an international law career in Germany, Switzerland and
the United States, Dr. Peter Fritz Walter (Pierre) focused upon fine
art, cookery, astrology, musical performance, social sciences and
humanities. He started writing essays as an adolescent and re-
ceived a high school award for creative writing and editorial work
for the school magazine.

Upon finalizing his international law doctorate, he privately stud-
ied psychology and psychoanalysis and started writing both fiction
and nonfiction works.

After a second career as a corporate trainer and personal coach,
Pierre retired as a full-time writer, philosopher and consultant.

His nonfiction books emphasize a systemic, holistic, cross-cultural
and interdisciplinary perspective, while his fiction works and short
stories focus upon education, philosophy, perennial wisdom, and
the poetic formulation of an integrative worldview.

Pierre is a German-French bilingual native speaker and writes Eng-
lish as his 4th language after German, Latin and French. He also
reads source literature for his research works in Spanish, Italian,
Portuguese, and Dutch.

All of Pierre’s books are hand-crafted and self-published, designed
by the author.

About Quoting

Quotes are followed by a forward slash (/) and a page number.
They always refer to the author and the book that is being re-
viewed, and the page number of the edition that was reviewed. It
may not in every case be the newest edition of the book.
To Steve

The author’s profits from this book are being donated to charity.

These book reviews were written between 2005 and 2014, the
result of an effort for making a contribution not only to academia,
but more so, to college students around the world who wish to be
informed about books that cover the exciting adventure of the
paradigm changes in business, science and society that we are cur-
rently living through.
The present volume belongs to a reviews trilogy that are in-
tended to be a coherent whole. The two other volumes are entitled
The New Paradigm in Consciousness & Spirituality and The New
Paradigm in Science & Systems Theory.
This journey, undertaken with the intention to share knowl-
edge that I believe is useful to many people, was a great challenge
and adventure and opened me new pathways that were confirm-
ing my research on the perennial holistic wisdom of ancient civili-
zations who were thriving before patriarchy was putting nature
upside-down about five thousand years ago.

Currently, with the advent of a networked global society, and
systems theory as its scientific paradigm, we are virtually looking
into a different world, with a rise of ‘horizontal’ and ‘sustainable’
structures both in our business culture, and in science, and last not
least on the important areas of psychology, medicine, and spiritu-

—A paradigm, from Greek ‘paradeigma’, is a pattern of things, a configura-
tion of ideas, a set of dominant beliefs, a certain way of looking at the world, a set
of assumptions, a frame of reference or lens, and even an entire worldview.

While most of this new and yet old path has yet to be trotted,
we cannot deny the changes that happen all around us every day.
Invariably, as students, scientists, doctors, consultants, law-
yers, business executives or government officials, we face prob-
lems today that are so complex, entangled and novel that they
cannot possibly be solved on the basis of our old paradigm, and
our old way of thinking. As Albert Einstein said, we cannot solve
a problem on the same level of thought that created it in the first
place—hence the need for changing our view of looking at things,
the world, and our personal and collective predicaments.
What still about half a decade ago seemed unlikely is happen-
ing now all around us: we are rediscovering more and more frag-
ments of an integrative and holistic wisdom that represents the
cultural and scientific legacy of many ancient tribes and kingdoms
that were based upon a perennial tradition which held that all in
our universe is interconnected, and that humans are set in the
world to consciously live in unison with the infinite wisdom in-
herent in creation as a major task for driving evolution forward!


It happens in science, since the advent of quantum physics
and string theory, it happens in neuroscience and systems theory,
it happens in biology, in ecology, and as a result, and because sci-
ence is a major motor in society, it happens now with increasing
speed in the industrial and the business world, and in the way
people earn their lives and manifest their talents through their
professional engagement.
More and more people begin to realize that we cannot hon-
estly continue to destroy our globe by disregarding the natural
law of self-regulation, both outside, by polluting air and water,
and inside, by tolerating our emotions to be in a state of repression
and turmoil. Self-regulation is built into the life function and it can
be found as a consistent pattern in the lifestyle of natives peoples
around the world.
It is similar with our immense intuitive and imaginal faculties
that were downplayed in centuries of darkness and fragmenta-
tion, and that now emerge anew as major key stones in a world-
view that puts the whole human at the frontline, a human who uses
their whole brain, and who knows to balance their emotions and
natural passions so as to arrive at a state of inner peace and syner-
gistic relationships with others that bring mutual benefit instead
of one-sided egotistic satisfaction.
For a real change to happen, we need to change the thinker, as
Krishnamurti used to say, which means we need to undergo a
transformation that puts our higher self in charge as the caretaker
of our lives, releasing our conditioned ego from this task.
Hence the need to really look over the fence and get beyond
social, cultural and racial conditioning for adopting an integrative,


holistic and systemliterate worldview that is focused on a higher
level than mere problem-solving.

—Systemliteracy is a term I have coined. While it sounds similar to Fritjof
Capra’s idea of Ecoliteracy ( On my site I have
defined it: ‘Systemliteracy is the true understanding not only of nature, but also
of the human energy field, human emotions, the complexities about war and
violence, and how humans can ultimately be led to establishing world peace.’
See also my blog on Medium:

What all these books convey is that it’s not too late, be it for
our planet and for us humans, our careers, our science, our collec-
tive spiritual advancement, our scientific understanding of nature,
and that we can thrive in a world that is surely more different in
ten years from now that it was one hundred years in the past
compared to now.
We are free to continue to feel like victims in this new reality,
and wait for being taken care of by the state, or we may accept the
state, and society, as human creations that will never be perfect,
and venture into creating our lives and careers in accordance with
our true mission, and based upon our real gifts and talents.
I haven’t given ratings in my reviews, and for good reason. I
find rating content a misguided popular institution that puts the
consumer in the role of the ‘king’ to judge all and everything from
a naturally limited personal perspective. As mindful humans we
should be careful with judgment, with judging others, or judging
what others have achieved and produced in terms of intellectual
or artistic content.
This being said, the very fact that a book was included in my
three review volumes is proof enough of the fact that the book is
highly worthwhile reading, and the review serves to elucidate the

why and how of that. Besides, there was no need to give any spe-
cific ‘star’ ratings.
I hope that any book you may be interested in that is included
here can help you to lead a better life, have a higher understand-
ing of your own path of life, help you to have better relationships,
a more harmonious emotional life, and a tighter grasp of scientific
research and ultimately—a success boost in your personal path of

On the other hand, if any particular book you want to see re-
viewed is not included here, you may write to me using the email
address published in the copyright section of the book. I will con-
sider your request for the next edition of this review sampler.
—Peter Fritz Walter


Laurence G. Boldt! 15
• Zen and the Art of Making a Living! 17
• How to Find the Work You Love! 26
• Zen Soup! 32
• The Tao of Abundance! 38

Tom Butler-Bowden! 45
• 50 Success Classics! 47

Edward de Bono! 59
• The Use of Lateral Thinking! 62
• The Mechanism of Mind! 64
• Serious Creativity! 67
• Sur/Petition! 70
• Tactics! 78

James Borg! 85
• Persuasion! 85

Stephen R. Covey! 97
• The 8th Habit! 99
• The 3rd Alternative! 111

Napoleon Hill! 125
• The Law of Success! 127

Donald G. Krause! 143
• Sun Tzu! 143

Jack Welch! 149
• Winning! 149

Sergio Zyman! 165
• The End of Marketing as We Know It! 167

Bibliography! 175
Personal Notes! 179

Laurence G. Boldt

Books Reviewed

Zen or the Art of Making a Living (1993/1999)
How to Find the Work You Love (1996/2004)
Zen Soup (1997)
The Tao of Abundance (1999)

Laurence G. Boldt is a writer and career consultant in the San
Francisco bay area. Boldt is highly versed in Oriental wisdom and
especially Zen, and his books are beautifully designed and edited,
with a true abundance of quotes from wisdom books, and Zen in-
spired artwork.

I have been profoundly enriched by Laurence G. Boldt’s pro-
found practical and spiritual wisdom and do not presently know
of any career coach who can tip even remotely at the expertise and
holistic insights of this great human and prolific author. I have re-
viewed all of his books in this volume and can recommend and
endorse each of his books. His publications are—
Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative
Career Design, New York: Penguin Arkana, 1993; How to Find the
Work You Love, New York: Penguin Compass, 1996; Zen Soup: Tasty
Morsels of Zen Wisdom From Great Minds East & West, New York:
Penguin Compass, 1997; The Tao of Abundance: Eight Ancient Prin-
ciples For Abundant Living, New York: Penguin Arkana, 1999.
I shall review these books in the order of their first publication


Zen and the Art of Making a Living
A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design
New York: Penguin Arkana, 1993
New and Updated Edition, 1999
(Quotes are from the Original Edition)

Zen or the Art of Making a Living is a highly useful career guide, and at the same
time more than a career guide.

Laurence G. Boldt is not just an excellent coach; he also comes
over as a wise man. His many years of studying Zen and Taoism
left their traces in this extraordinary book, and it’s more than a
book—it’s crafted, an art work. In the present case, Penguin did an
excellent editing job. The book is one of the most cherished I have
in my library. I read it twice, entirely, and filled out all the work-
sheets, and still sometimes just look through it to read quotes or
contemplate the wonderful reproductions of Japanese and Chi-
nese ink art and calligraphy.


Let me comment a few quotes from the text, so that you can
learn appreciating the style Boldt writes in, a style I find easy and
inspiring to read. The central focus, to begin with, in Boldt’s art of
career coaching is his definition of work as art. He explains at the
onset of the book:

For many who came to me seeking career guidance, a better
job (as defined by pay and benefits alone) was not enough.
There was a real desire for a broader conception of work—
one that would reflect the spiritual as well as the material life
of man. My search for such a vision of work let me finally to
the notion of work as art, the unique creative expression of
the individual./xii

What this book is about can be described as: life, work, love,
relationships—and energy! It’s the energy input that lifts you out
of a standard life and triggers your quantum leap to a first-hand
life. Without energy input, to be honest, you won’t create anything
worthwhile in either of these fields. What does that mean, energy
It means vision, dedication, commitment, and persistence.
This will be all at your disposition at a condition: you must come
to consider work as your life’s unique fulfillment or dharma, to use
the old expression from the Far East. You will naturally find out
that this won’t be the case with any kind of work, when you come
with an attitude to ‘just find a job.’ It is the result of an inner jour-
ney that gets you in touch with your soul desire which will dictate
your true life’s work. It’s up to you of course if you obey to this in-
ner voice, this inner call, as Joseph Campbell put it, or if you re-
fuse to listen.


Very modestly so, Boldt refers to his book as a transition re-
source book, but I can testify that it’s much more than that:

This book is, of course, a transition resource book and hardly
the last word. It provides a technology for applying a love-
inspired orientation toward work within the existing eco-
nomic, educational, and social structures. We might add that
these structures do not, for the most part, encourage one to
be oneself to serve one’s fellow man in a spirit of love and

The important detail in this quote is that Boldt speaks of a
‘love-inspired’ orientation toward work, and here we get to the
core of his message. It namely shows the reader right at the start
that this attitude toward work is not one you find in selfhelp
manuals with their quick fixes ‘for getting a job’; actually, none of
Boldt’s books is a quick fix manual—fortunately so. The author
states that when you just want a job that pays your bills, you are
living with a bottomline paradigm that will lead you nowhere.
Where there is no vision, the people perish, says the Bible.

Yet, if we are not builders, if our dreams are not given the
shape, form, and substance of living reality, then they are
nothing more than phantoms and platitudes, the mirages we
chase to escape a world we are unwilling to confront and
love. The true idealist is no dewy-eyed dreamer, but a com-
mitted foot soldier in the cause of his vision./xxii

Ego-bound living with all its limitations is one of the core is-
sues of being jobless, or for going along with a pay-job over dec-
ades. What is ego? Let us be careful with jumping to a definition,


for it’s not that easy. Let’s try to approach the question by asking
what is not ego. Can we say that what we do with passion and
love, we do without ego? I think most people would agree with
that. Boldt metaphorically depicts the ego as the ‘little king’ in us:

We were promised that we would be little kings, and yet it
seems we have so little control over the direction of our
lives. The little king is a prisoner of his own freedom—from
responsibility and conscience. His inner life is barren and
hollow; his humanity, atrophied; his creativity, flat./xxxiii

Today it is common to raise children like little princes and
princesses; however, spoiling children is not conducive to bring-
ing out the best in a human. We want to face reality, not standard
reality. Children want to grow in autonomy, and not in entangle-
ment with their parents and educators. The more we keep chil-
dren tight, the more we infantilize them, the more we render them
inapt for mastering their lives and careers.
All is set and setting in life, and especially work. All work is
imbedded in a culture, and to work in San Francisco is not the
same as working in Bangkok or Rome, and it requires different
attitudes and experiences. On the other hand, it’s true that interna-
tional lifestyle standardizes job expectations more and more, and
that we are gradually heading into a globalized job environment. In
this overall grasp of the globe by international business culture,
some values may get lost. Boldt writes:

Today, even art has become commercialized. It has become a
tool for profit and, therefore, a means for better controlling


the environment, rather than the revelation of deep inner

There is a spiritual quest to be felt throughout the book, ex-
pressed by the author appealing to his audience to be cautious
with applying standard consumer values to their lives. He puts
the focus throughout this book on our inner life, our individual
values, and our special gifts and talents.

You are to depend on society for its evaluation of your sani-
ty—measured, not in terms of the ancient wisdom or sacred
psychologies, but in terms of normality—the sharing of the
society-dominant world view./xliv

Boldt means here that when you want to survive as an indi-
vidual in a highly labeling society, you must not look at normalcy,
but in the contrary at what is unusual, what is exceptional, what is
extra-ordinary in the real sense of the word—outside of the ordi-
nary. And you have to mold your self-vision accordingly, because
if you envision yourself as an ‘in-fitter’, you are done as a creative
Boldt’s cultural criticism is not a per-se item in the book but it
serves to open our critical mind so that we are able to build true
autonomy, that we become self-reliant, and acknowledge the
value of our individual difference.

The Roman Catholic tradition epitomizes the king model.
Early Roman Catholic churches were called Basilicas, or
royal houses. The Pope wears a crown and carries a staff;
you kneel to kiss his ring. I once saw the Pope entering Saint
Peter’s at the Vatican. There he was with all his atten-


dants—being carried slowly down the aisle on a palan-
quin—the Swiss Guards standing sharply at attention. When
at last he sat upon the throne, the entire congregation broke
into applause. This is a king. The Pope standing in for King
God. The accent in this model is on authority and decrees
issues from on high./lii

These images are mediatized and become almost archetypal,
and they also become models of behavior, as they are part of our
collective unconscious. If you are driven by them, you won’t be
able to manifest your creative difference through your life’s work.
As long as you play hide-and-seek with yourself, you remain shal-
low, disinterested, uncommitted, scant and superficial. And if you
are like most people, you will not get to do the work you love and
love the love you cherish, for your distinction must come prior to
your job search, it must come from the whole of your being, not
just your so-called ‘professional life’, which is a mask, just like
other masks we are all wearing.
Now, what does it mean to look at life the way non-ordinary
people look at it? Boldt gives a hint, and his example really is

To describe Michelangelo’s David as a marble statue of a
Hebrew king in his youth gives you the facts, but none of the
spirit or emotional power of the work. To say that Don Qui-
xote is the story of a madman wandering about in hallucina-
tion strips it of the power, spirit, and art of its message. It is
no less ridiculous to reduce your life to a set of facts. You are
not your place of birth, your height, weight, or degrees, your
résumé, or credit history. You are a being of spirit, emotional
power, and intelligence./6


Boldt has a wonderful sense of humor and that makes reading
this book such an adventure! To look at art as a soul experience,
and from a soul perspective, and not from a material, object-
centered perspective is what makes the difference. Boldt explains:

Many today would have us believe that art is for the cul-
tured few—the museum hounds and the wine and cheese
set. The implication is that art is too good to be contaminated
with the vulgar business of living. While art is safely locked
away from the soiling hands of the common man, the great-
est vulgarity of all is perpetuated. Art is reduced to an in-
vestment commodity. In the name of protection (from the
masses), art has become a favorite form of capital specula-
tion. /37

When we see how the business worldview distorts the meaning
of life, and of art, we get a feel for taking care of our real values,
instead of selling ourselves for pseudo-values. The moment you
take the perspective of looking at yourself as a precious and
unique individual, you will probably stop taking your life as an
assembler-machine of labels, and you will start to reflect upon
your uniqueness. And then, Boldt says, you become the hero, after
your have shifted your self-vision:

The Hero decides for himself what to focus his attention on
(what is important), and in so doing, what the story of his
life will be about./50

When you decide for yourself instead of leaving it up to soci-
ety to decide for you, you take charge of your life, you become


response-able for your living experience and all that it involves,
including your love life.
Work and love, love and work, are one unit. Boldt emphasizes
this over and over in all his books. Love is not that big word with-
out meaning our media suggest it was; it no word, but simply pure
meaning. Does your work have meaning for you? Before this can
happen, Boldt says, you have to begin asking questions, and not
let society ask the questions for you. It’s by asking questions to
yourself that you get answers, not by taking over answers from

What distinguishes the hero from the rest is that he or she
chooses the questions and earnestly seeks them; the rest
blindly, and often half-heartedly, follow the conventional
questions of their society./91

I shall stop here with this review, but not without mentioning
that for Boldt imagination is a very important ingredient in the
toolbox you need to build for realizing a meaningful career.
Imagination is not very much stressed as a value in our pre-
sent educational system, and so we are called upon to develop it
against the stream, so to speak, or by recovering our younger self of
the past, which surely was a very imaginative child:

Contemplating—seeing through the game—allows you to
reclaim your imaginative power. You are free to use your
imagination to build a life born out of the impulses of your
own creative center. You put your faith in your creative in-
tuitions and capacities rather than in the hope of some future
reward or fear of some future punishment. You see your


happiness in expressing what you are, not in gaining ap-
proval or avoiding its loss./223


How to Find the Work You Love
A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design
New York: Penguin Compass, 1996
New Edition, 2004
(Quotes are from the Original Edition)

How to Find the Work You Love is a highly recommended career guide pocket op-
tion for those who won’t work through Zen or the Art of Making a Living.

Now, when I say this, I have to justify it. I have worked two
times through Zen or the Art of Making a Living, and yet did not
find this smaller book obsolete because the books serve different
purposes. The present booklet is not just a thinner copy of the
larger career guide, it’s an entirely different book. It addresses
perhaps a different audience as well.
To begin with, Boldt stresses in this book that you burst your
limits if you are serious about finding really meaningful work. Burst-
ing your limits doesn’t mean you have to become a superman or
superwoman; it rather means bursting your understanding of the
world, and your humanness. It means accepting your soul iden-
tity, and do away as much as you can with social conditioning.
That in turn requires you to get in touch with inside and give pri-
ority to your inner world:


At times it may seem that our inner world is nothing more
than an endless chorus of conflicting voices. We hear them
rattling around in our heads—the voices of the media and
popular culture, the voices of our parents and peers, the
voices of our escapist fantasies and infantile fears. To engage
the creative life, you must be able to discern the voice of
your own best self amidst the clamor and confusion of this
strange and bewildering cacophony. You must be able to dis-
criminate between what is really true for you and what
merely sounds good./26

I have done this work from A to Z, over more than two dec-
ades, and can testify for the validity of this statement. This is your
turning point or perhaps the test that the universe or ‘destiny’
puts up for you. It’s really that hard, and the author did not joke
when he said bewildering cacophony. It’s not a movie that you can
store away after having watched the journey of the hero. The
movie reassures you because you know how the story ends, but in
your own life as a potential hero, you don’t know how it’s going
to end. When you read the Bible, do you get a feeling that life is
easy? Then read the Koran, the Tora, and then the Vedas. In none
of the scriptures you are told that life is easy. So why do you be-
lieve it? You believe it because television tells you so. And it’s here
where you are knocked out of your soul-being, like a football that
is kicked out of the terrain, and lost somewhere in a street, where
it has no more meaning. And if you are not connected with your-
self, with your self, with what are you going to be connected?
What Laurence G. Boldt says is that life while it’s a game
somehow is not an amusement, and that if you take it as an
amusement, you are like the pack who go for everything just be-


cause everybody else does. If you are serious about your life and
yourself, you will not take a job haphazardly, and you will do all
you can to steer clear about what you really want in life, and about
what you want in your career. And to do this, you have to be hon-
est with yourself. Boldt confesses:

In my work as a career consultant, I have observed that men,
especially, have difficulty admitting that their work life is not
working for them. They endeavor to conform to the cultural
stereotype of the macho man—the strong, silent type who
has everything under control. They try to uphold the illusion
that they have it all together, even though on the inside they
may be falling apart. (This may be one reason why suicide
rates are so much higher for / men).
Women generally seem more willing to acknowledge
their pain. Among the men who seek my services, I see three
general categories: young men or sensitive types who are not
invested in the stereotype, those who come at the urging of
their wives or lovers, or those who have already achieved
considerable financial success. /35-36

You may think this is not the quick-fix career book you were
searching for? Yes, right, it’s not, and that’s why it’s a good book.
After all, you can win a million in the casino, tomorrow night.
And what are you going to do with the money?
What touched me very deeply is what Boldt conveyed about
his younger years, and how it came about that he embraced the
career of a coach. He writes:

In my youth, I spent a portion of my spare time visiting the
elderly in nursing homes. I was struck, time and again, by


how many of these people expressed regret about things
they had always wanted to do with their lives, but hadn’t. It
wasn’t just that they had failed to achieve their dreams: they
had never even worked at them. Many had secretly cher-
ished an idea of something they wanted to do for twenty or
thirty years or more, but had never taken even the first

Can you imagine? Can you see yourself there? My grandmother,
the day before she died in a hospital without being really sick, at
the age of seventy-three, said that all she did in her life had been
wrong. It was a shock for me. My grandmother was the only per-
son of the whole extended family that I always respected, and
who taught me so much, and who had a noble attitude that con-
trasted very strongly with the attitude of her four children. Why
did she say this?
Later in life, through research on my family roots, I found the
answer. She had a dream of something much greater than she had
realized (and which was already great), but she had given up on
that dream about twenty years before she died. That is probably
why she died and did not live twenty years or thirty years longer.
What my grandmother said on her death bed was true and not
true at the same time. She was the person I had most admired in
my young life, and for whom I would have testified to have done
everything right in her life. But she saw herself differently, because
she had much higher expectations of herself, and never had re-
vealed those to us.
The lesson of this is that you have to communicate your expecta-
tions, without being afraid you are going to be ridiculed for your


ambition. Life is a strange soup, our universe is a strange pud-
ding, it’s all about communicating vision. Yes. If you keep it inside,
it’s like a plant you put in a cellar and that can’t really grow be-
cause it lacks sunshine. When you tell people what you want, and
if it’s the craziest idea in the world, you get that sunshine, even if
they criticize it, then you get the sunshine in the form of anger,
which is also a sun. But when you keep it inside, you bury it alive.
And these elders, in the nursing homes, had done exactly that,
they had buried their lives long before they themselves were bur-
ied, because they had buried their dreams:

The prevailing atmosphere of nursing homes I visited was
one of profound sadness and regret. It was poignant to hear
these people—many bedridden, some with trembling
hands—tell their stories of regret./76

This experience touched the young Boldt so much that he took
something like a vow, dedicating his life to not only help himself
avoiding the denial trap, but helping others to avoid it, too:

Even more moving was the emphatic way they urged me,
with all the strength and force they could muster, to follow
my own dreams, not to allow what had happened to them to
happen to me. Had this occurred once or twice, it would
have made a strong impression, but its repetition left an in-
delible mark. I learned more about how to live from these
people than from all the books I had ever read or classes I
had ever taken. At that point, I determined not only to fol-
low my own dreams but to dedicate my life to helping oth-
ers, in whatever way I could, to avoid the fate that had be-
fallen these poor souls./77


And here I will stop this review, primarily for respecting the
author, as extensive quoting would need the permission of both
author and publisher, and second because I think it’s good for you
to pause a moment and reflect about death, old age, and generally,
things coming to an end, taking this view as an inspiration for
changing your life, changing your perspective of life, and chang-
ing your attitude. You have not a minute to waste, not a moment
to lose, and not a second to chat just for passing your time.

Your time should be dedicated to your mission—all the time!
That is what this book is telling you.


Zen Soup
Tasty Morsels of Wisdom from Great Minds East & West
New York: Penguin Compass, 1997

Zen Soup is one of the most original little tea table books I’ve got my hands on.
It’s definitely more than a tea table book with the profound wisdom it shares and

I should say first that this little booklet is not limited to shar-
ing Zen wisdom, specifically. It’s well in the spirit of Zen, and
there are among the many quotes also those from Zen masters.
But there are also quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein,
Seneca, George Bernhard Shaw, Thomas Merton, Ralph Waldo
Emerson—to name only these.

This book in my view belongs in a business library more than
in a Zen library because it contains not only wisdom quotes but
also smart and pointed introductions into each of the 25 chapters.
Only reading over the chapter titles, you will see that the booklet
is something like a companion guide to the two reviewed before
in that it has a strong and purposeful orientation toward the ca-
reer path.


I say this because there might be many interested in wisdom
who are not particularly attracted to the teaching and the practice
of Zen. Accordingly, my focus will not be in reviewing the quotes,
but some of the introductions to the chapters, as here lies the
original part of the book.
The chapters read as follows:
—Be Here Now
—Beginner’s Mind

—Right Thinking
—Be Yourself


—The Game of Life

—Selfless Service
—The Art of Zen


—Letting Go

—Everyday Zen

Be Here Now
Living in the present is perhaps the greatest art in life— and it
certainly has an impact upon professional life as well. When you
are fixated upon your past, you will not be totally open to deal
with your professional challenges for a part of you will be un-
touched by the perception of the now. The author points out:

The mind, with its guilt and resentment about the past and
its fears and hopes for the future, the mind that confuses
thoughts about people, things, and events with the people,
things, and events themselves—must be transcended. /1

In effect, as the saying goes in Zen, the finger that points to the
Moon, is not the Moon. We will always confuse the map with the
landscape when we are not grounded in the present so that we
can perceive the real, not our inner picture of the real.

Beginner’s Mind
The ‘beginner’s mind’ is a metaphor in Zen. It says that what-
ever we do to perfect ourselves, we will never be perfect, which is
why humility is considered as important in the self-development
approach of the old wisdom traditions both of the East and the


West. There is a psychological truth in this saying in that when
you remain ‘young’ inside of you, and you don’t think you have
‘ultimate knowledge’, you remain fresh, curious, and intuitive,
and before all: flexible. You will then easily learn new skills or
whatever you need to keep up with the changes in life, and in pro-
fessional life. The author writes:

The beginner’s mind applies not only to learning new skills,
activities, or information but to all we think we know about
life. Many of us walk around with deeply ingrained beliefs
that limit our experience. (…) When we embrace the humil-
ity to meet life head-on, without the baggage of what we
think we know, we make room for ourselves to grow. /7

It is obvious that courage is important in life, and even more
so in your professional career. Courage is an ability to go beyond
fear. Contrary to common belief it doesn’t say that the courageous
person never knows any fears. Quite the contrary is true. The
strength of courage, its energy so to speak, is built from the precise
energy contained in the fear the preceded it. In other words, fear is
the fuel of courage. What does that imply? Very simply so, it
means that you shouldn’t go around your fear but right through
it, and toward your goal. The author writes:

We have no greater enemy than fear. It hems us in, sucks the
joy out of life, and leaves us with disgust for ourselves.
Nothing of importance can be undertaken or achieved with-
out facing, challenging, and finally mastering fear. If it takes
great courage to attempt and accomplish things of real merit,
it takes even more to be what we truly are. /17


Right Thinking
Right thinking is a concept not just related to Buddhism, Tao-
ism, Zen or Eastern thought. It also is an old teaching in the West.
All our scriptures are very much focused upon teaching that right
and wrong of action, and what precedes action is thinking. The
Proverbs, in the Bible, for example, focus upon ‘righteous think-
ing’ as a way to moral perfection. In a pragmatic sense, and even
if you are agnostic, right thinking is a way to deal effectively and
wisely with karma, the law of cause and effect. We reap what we
sow, we harvest as a result of our investments. We shout in the
forest and we hear the response. This is a very basic law in life,
and it is certainly also very important in business life. Laurence G.
Boldt writes:

We can think ourselves into happiness or a deep depression.
We can think ourselves into health or illness. (…) By our
thinking, we create our individual and collective experience
of reality. Changing our thinking for the better improves the
quality of our lives, and in so doing, uplifts all around us.

Responsibility is perceived by many as a burden. In truth it is
the only way we get real appreciation in life. It is through taking
responsibilities. The more you are responsible for others, the more
you are influential in society. Many do not see this and creep into
the victim role which is in reality an escape from life. Nothing we
have experienced in life justifies this kind of behavior, and that is
probably why it’s so unproductive. When you stand up for your-


self, and your choices, you gain respect. And you avoid the temp-
tation to judge or blame others or ‘the world’. The author writes:

When we give up the habit of making mental comparisons,
we release our psychological investment in what we like and
dislike and say yes to life—total and complete. /45

Be Yourself
There is a strange confusion about selfhood and the ego in
new age circles. People say they want to get ‘become spiritual’ and
make trips to India to see X or Y guru who tells them to ‘abandon
their ego’. But sorry, without your ego you will turn psychotic
(mentally ill) almost instantly. Are you aware of that? The chal-
lenge in self-development is not to give up your ego, but to
strengthen the relationship with your self. The self is not the ego,
but this distinction has been blurred by a number of spiritual
teachings. When you are guided by the self, you will transcend
your ego, and accordingly, your egotism. The author writes:

There is no point in trying to be somebody else or in letting
concern with what other people think dictate your life. We
must each find our own path and discover for ourselves the
joy of being what we are. /55

Imitating others is a behavior pattern that is luring when you
are not grounded in your self. You need to structure your ego, not
abandon it, to get there. When you value your difference—and
even your marginality—you honor your self, and you won’t have
a problem with your ego!


The Tao of Abundance
Eight Ancient Principles for Abundant Living
New York: Penguin Arkana, 1999

The Tao of Abundance is perhaps the best book that Boldt has written. It goes way
beyond the stuff you would expect from a career coach, was he only a career

This book is not a career guide, it’s not a guide at all. It’s the life
vision of a Bodhisattva. I believe Boldt has attained the spiritual
level of a Bodhisattva, a spiritual guide. And this is what this book
provides, spiritual guidance, nothing lesser and nothing less noble
than that, however not in the usual chewing-gum wrapping that
you are used to get when you expect somebody to talk about so-
called ‘spirituality’. Boldt will never obfuscate the message by ri-
gidity of mind or of language, or by putting up inflexible strict
rules. This is his unique genius.
This book is written from the perspective of an accomplished
master, if he calls himself a master or not doesn’t matter! It is one
of the most beautifully composed books I have ever had the privi-


lege to read. But I admit that the book is not an easy read because
of its complexity and integrated, holistic view of life.
Why should we always want to understand a book on first
read? I guess we have been conditioned to believe that well-
written books have to be easy to understand. Is that so? Have you
ever studied the Cabala? Is that easy to understand?
When I was reading Plato, Kant and Hegel at the age of fifteen,
I found they were not easy to understand, and when I read them
again now, in my fifties, I still find them difficult to read. And I
then discovered that the difficulty mainly comes from their par-
ticular point of view being different from mine.
Then I tried to put myself wholly in their world, in their shoes,
in their skin, trying to think from their perspective, and suddenly I
found it was easy to understand what they were saying. So it
seems my ego had been in the way, and thereby, my conditioning,
my little opinions, my experiences, my way of looking at the
world. To get to realize this, you actually step beyond your world,
and when that happens, in that very moment, you forget about
yourself and begin to focus on what the other is saying. By the
same token, when you want to realize something that seems far
beyond your present achievements and your present lifestyle, it is
much easier to look into it, to imagine it, when you forget a little
about your present world and your present ‘I’. This sounds very
clear-cut, but it’s not. It is a dialectic process. We are actually al-
ways with one foot in our future. Boldt elucidates:

In the West, we have identified the ego as the final term of
the self. The modern economic view of life, which pervades
our culture, assumes the psychology of the ego, that is, the


feeling of lack and the struggle for self-preservation. We
have, more than any culture in human history, committed
ourselves to the ego and its consciousness of lack. As a re-
sult, we are haunted by a prevailing sense of spiritual and
psychological poverty in the midst of unprecedented mate-
rial prosperity. We have elevated the ego to the status of a
god and sought our happiness in its endless desires. Modern
economic life demands the continuous expansion of these
desires. Yet no matter how much we acquire, it never seems
to be enough. We are never satisfied./xxviii

Of course, when you see your realization in material satisfac-
tion only, you can never be satisfied. Self-realization, mind you, is
not the shallow consumer credo that longs for material fulfillment.
Work that is nourishment for your soul provides the streaming of
love which is a fulfillment not easily put in words, but nonetheless
This fulfillment comes from your being properly aligned with
purpose. But you can’t really separate material abundance from the
abundance of love for both are melted, not synonymous. But typi-
cally, the two go together, while one does not match out the other.
Boldt writes:

When we embrace our unique gifts and capacities as indi-
viduals and put them into expression, the road to true abun-
dance opens before us./xxxiv

Now, what is abundance? Let us first ask what is not abundance.
Ask the billions of people around the globe. They will talk about
lack, because the mass mind, the pack rule, the herd instinct is fo-
cused upon lack. It’s the scarcity paradigm.


The first task is to recognize the inner and outer forces that
conspire to make us believe in scarcity and thus to feel lack.
Awareness of these factors will help us to overcome their
influence over us. The second task is to cultivate a spirit of
abundance in our lives, celebrating the gift of life with joy
and thanksgiving. As we focus on our thoughts and actions
on things that bring a feeling of connection with all life, we
begin to move with the flow of the Tao. In this way, we allow
blessings to come to us as a part of the overflow of an abun-
dant spirit—not as things we crave and struggle for from a
sense of lack or desperation. To come from lack can only
bring lack, even when we get what we think we need. On
the other hand, when we come from the spirit of abundance,
we attract ever greater abundance./13

There is a rather queer parable by Lao-tzu that teaches what is
essential in life and what is not, thereby conveying that abundance
or lack are a matter of perspective, of how you get at the world,
how you look at life, and how you envision yourself:

Lao Tzu reminds us that the useful part of the pot is not the
outer rim that gives it form but the empty space within; the
useful part of the house is the empty space within the walls,
not the walls themselves. /53

How can something be useful that does not exist or that is de-
fined by its very contrary? Here you see how useful it is to focus
on the paradoxes in life, because they teach us long lessons about
wistful living.
As Krishnamurti pointed out, it’s the same with love. We can-
not define love, but we can well trace out negatively what is not


love. While we cannot really describe what makes out loving be-
havior, we can easily list patterns of non-loving behavior.
Abundance also means accepting your perverse behavior, because
it comes from denial, and by accepting your stray energies, you
open the door to revise that decision to deny parts of yourself, and
to suppress certain longings. It was perhaps not a conscious deci-
sion, as it’s part of your conditioning. In truth, when you dissect
your perverse longings, you dissect all of your love. In other
words, when you really yield to love, you must accept all and any
of your perverse desires! And you will be surprised to discover
that when doing so, those desires stop haunting you.

The classical Taoists take a much more positive view of hu-
man nature. For the Taoist, all depraved or perverse manifes-
tations of human behavior result from rejecting our deepest
nature, not from following it. It is by denying the unity of all
life and committing to the attachment of the ego that we go

And here, many of our young men and women today are
stuck! They feel that some of their sexual desires are perverse ac-
cording to the standards of current society. And this inner conflict
deeply affects their professional performance.

I am asking ‘Is there a way out of the maze?’ My answer is to
‘Free your Minotaur’, which means to work on the denial pattern so
that your vital energies will flow again instead of being stuck in a
neurotic condition. If you don’t want to go a daring way, there are
other options. Boldt, referring to William James, proposes to act as


if, and thus to simulate the behavior pattern or role you would like
to mold yourself into:

The noted American philosopher and pioneer psychologist
William James advocated the act-as-if principle as a power-
ful tool for transforming consciousness. According to James,
it is easier to act out your way into a new kind of thinking
than to think yourself into a new way of acting. As you be-
gin taking definite actions toward the accomplishment of
your goals, you demonstrate to your subconscious mind that
you are serious about attaining them. If you want to be a
writer or a painter, begin writing or painting, even if you can
do it only part time. The body of work you amass will con-
vince your subconscious mind that you are indeed serious
about your new career and on your way to manifesting it.
(…) Dare to begin taking immediate action toward the re-
sults you see, and you get energy moving in that direction.
You build a force of momentum toward the results you de-
sire. /114

The as-if method has proven very effective, for example, in
pilot training. A good part of pilot training is done by simulation,
using the flight-simulator.

This principle, you can apply it to all of your life, and all your
desires, because indeed you can simulate every possible situation in
your mind, by using the power of your imagination. I hope that
by now you see that abundance is just that: an immeasurable
wealth behind the little that can be measured. You can measure
the present book by counting the words, but you can’t measure
the depth of the book when judging it by its size …

Tom Butler-Bowden

Books Reviewed

50 Success Classics (2004)

Tom Butler-Bowden is a young author from Britain who has
written and produced a series of highly successful books that are
to be found in bookstores around the world. The book I am re-
viewing here, 50 Success Classics, I found it in a bookstore in Ma-
nila, Philippines.
Besides, the author has published similar titles, such as 50 Psy-
chology Classics, 50 Self-Help Classics, 50 Spiritual Classics, or 50
Prosperity Classics. These books are obviously manufactured from
a smart marketing concept that makes success literature accessible


in condensing the content, and presenting the essence to the curi-
ous reader.
Napoleon Hill was perhaps the first author to have done that,
and Tom Butler-Bowden is a worthy follower of that brilliant idea.
The author is gifted with brilliant language skills, wit and a sense
of humor that are truly inspiring.


50 Success Classics
Winning Wisdom for Work and Life
London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2004

50 Success Classics is a useful sampler that surely was much work to produce; in
addition it’s true that writing your own ideas is easier than correctly sharing the
ideas of others in your own words.

In this sense, the book has high value and is a precious asset in
every business and personal growth library because many of us
won’t have the time to read all the books and life stories reviewed
by Tom Butler-Bowden: exciting, interesting life stories of highly
successful and extraordinary men and women. Hence the function
of this review sampler conveys the essential wisdom from fifty
landmark books.

This unabridged guide to the literature of prosperity and mo-
tivation surveys fifty of the all-time classics, giving you their key
ideas, insights and applications – everything you need to know for
benefiting from these legendary works. From rags-to-riches stories
of entrepreneurs such as Dale Carnegie, Warren Buffett and Sam
Walton, over master motivators like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and


Napoleon Hill, to contemporary business blockbusters as Jack
Welch, Spencer Johnson and Robert Kiyosaki, these are the leaders
and pioneers who have helped generations of readers unleash
their potential and discover the secrets of success.
Let me first point out what the author understands under
‘success’. It was thoughtful of his part to define what he means by
that term as after newest stress-research, the term success itself has
become controversial. This research found that in modern con-
sumer society, success is actually a trap for many, a high-voltage
trip to the grave, a cosmetic and socially approved vintage of sui-
cide that comes with a golden coffin!
It goes without saying that Tom Butler-Bowden does not talk
about this kind of success, but about real success which always
involves the soul and which is not based upon greed, but a true
mission. So let me provide some quotes that indicate of what kind
of success the author is actually talking about in his book.

You need to make a distinction between a compulsion to
succeed for the sake of winning, and the desire for enduring
achievements that will enrich your life and the lives of

Success requires a concentration of effort. Most people dis-
perse their energies over too many things and so fail to be
outstanding in anything. /2

The greater part of genius is the years of effort invested to
solve a problem or find the perfect expression of an idea.
With hard work you acquire knowledge about yourself that
idleness never reveals. /3


Great achievers know that while the universe is built by at-
oms, success is built by minutes; they are masters when it
comes to their use of time. /3

Successful people have a good relationship with their un-
conscious or subconscious mind. They trust their intuition,
and because intuitions are usually right, they seem to enjoy
more luck than others./3

The greater the risk, the greater the potential success. Noth-
ing ventured, nothing gained./3

These quotes show that the author talks about success that is
wholesome to the person, that, while it entails hard work, is in ac-
cordance with the greater picture of our inner life, and especially
our higher direction. It is by no means the compulsion-like success
that many today take for the one and only form of social ad-
vancement. In the same vein of thought, the author defines leader-
ship as the ultimate form of expression, not a selfish power drive
that needs to be acted out on the back on others. He writes:

True leaders are not interested in proving themselves; they
want above all to be able to express themselves fully./19

Structured education and society often get in the way of
leadership: What we need to know gets lost in what we are
told we should know./19

Real learning is the process of remembering what is impor-
tant to you, and becoming a leader is therefore the act of be-
coming more and more your true self./19


Discussing Warren Bennis On Becoming a Leader (1989), the
author notes the following distinct criteria describing the know-
how of becoming a leader:

‣ Continuous learning and never-dying curiosity

‣ A compelling vision: leaders first define their reality (what they be-
lieve is possible)

‣ Developing the ability to communicate that vision and inspire others
to follow it

‣ Tolerating uncertainty and taking on risk: a degree of daring

‣ Personal integrity: self-knowledge, candor, maturity, welcoming criti-

‣ Being a one-off, an original: Leaders learn from others, but are not
made by others

‣ Reinvention: to create new things sometimes involves recreating

‣ Taking time off to think and reflect, which brings answers and pro-
duces resolutions

‣ Passion for the promises of life: a belief in the best, for yourself and

‣ Seeing success in small, everyday increments and joys

‣ Using the context of your life, rather than surrendering to it./20

The author explains that to lead, ‘you have to make a declara-
tion of independence against the estimation of others, the culture,
the age,’ that you have ‘to decide to live in the world, but outside
existing conceptions of it’, because ‘[l]eaders do not merely do well
by the terms of their culture, they create new contexts, new things,
new ways of doing and being.’/21
In this sense, real success also comes with certain obligations.
It’s not given for free. It has to be managed. Managing success


means, according to the author, that you manage your time, and
your productivity. And your advancement, or the advancement of
your organization for that matter, has to be incremental, one step
at a time, but that step done safely, thoroughly and carefully. He

Success may look fully formed when we behold it with the
perspective of years, but those who have achieved it know
that it arrived because they made every hour and every
moment productive./27

We are often so fearful of whether or not we can achieve
something that we cannot see that if it is broken down into
smaller, daily steps it becomes much easier./27

Real success also involves people management, both the peo-
ple you are working with in a team, and the people who buy stuff
from you. And, last not least, the people who are in the ring with
you – your competitors – that you ought to consider not as your
enemies but as your friends, for through their eyes, you can see
your weaknesses. When you talk with customers, will you smugly
tear down your competitors? The author sees success potential in
the precisely opposite attitude, and he stresses values like opti-
mism, friendliness, openness, and a positive attitude:

In contacts with clients, praise your competitors. It shows
clients you are even-handed and won’t hide anything from

When you greet someone, say their name./28


For 30 days, smile frequently and watch it transform your

Don’t ever engage another person in argument. Instead, ask
questions whose answers are likely to bring them round to
your viewpoint./28

Now, a very important point. What is the place of discipline in
management and in leading people? Is it really effective or does it
have side effects? The answer is it does:

Discipline doesn’t work with people who are not secure in
what they are doing, only encouragement does. Praise gets
them moving in the right direction. Though it need take up
very little time, praise is the fuel that can drive a whole

Another value is what the author calls continuity, and what the
I Ching discusses under the header of hexagram 32. Constancy.
What is the meaning of constancy, and what does it mean in busi-
ness? The author illustrates this value in discussing Warren Buf-
fett’s stock management strategies.

What is most radical about Buffett is that once he chooses a
stock, he hangs on to it. (…) Buffett had always craved, and
had always felt enriched by, continuity: to work with the
same people, to own the same stocks, to be in the same busi-
nesses. Hanging on was a metaphor for his life./52

Benjamin Graham said that one of the three important ele-
ments of a successful investor was firmness of character. Buf-
fett has this in spades, because his style of investment has


required him to stick to his convictions. As Lowenstein cor-
rectly notes, Buffett is so attractive because his value invest-
ing goes hand in hand with ideas like loyalty, integrity, and
keeping things for a long time. These seem out of step with
our era, yet they prove their worth in their results./54

Next, the author elucidates other values needed for building
long-term success, such as focus, honesty, self-confidence, a set of
positive beliefs and a basically sane mind that is able to evaluate
reality with a minimum of perception bias. The author writes:

This is the power of focus, of sacrificing what you might
gain by broadening in order to gain a smaller but well-
defined market./58

Speaking comes from the heart, which is always true./59

If you exude self-confidence, people will naturally want to
let you succeed. Self-doubt creates a perception of

What you believe about yourself, the world will believe
about you./64

The higher level of black heart is reached when you are not
driven by your shortcomings or emotions, taking action that
is driven by your true spirit./64

If you like to present yourself as sugar-coated, you will lose
out on any opportunities that may require you to seem sour
or hardened./64


If you are a naturally negative thinker, make the most of it
and don’t try to adopt false positivity. Don’t fall into the trap
… of thinking / that you must change yourself before you
will have success. You can succeed just the way you

Another value or virtue of the successful entrepreneur has
been called a sense of duty or fulfilling one’s dharma.

At the personal level, dharma is the duty that is yours to
fulfill in your lifetime. You cannot be a soldier and refuse to
fight; you cannot be a doctor and refuse to operate. If you are
a writer, you can’t work in a bank. Once you commit your-
self to your duty, the universe has a way of protecting you
and freeing you from other worries./65

We were talking about managing time, but what is perhaps
more difficult, and yet a duty to fulfill for the successful business
person is managing money. The author elucidates:

Although money itself is a mystery, whatever best expresses
your brilliance will inevitably lead to wealth. It will free you
from poverty and give you a mindset that attracts

Money comes to those who save. Money multiplies for those
who invest it. Money stays with the person who entrusts it
to wise people. Money is lost when invested in things with
which you are not familiar. Money is lost at a fast rate by
pursuing get-rich-quick schemes. /71

Although it seems obvious, the richest man in Babylon got
that way because he lived within his means. In time, anyone


who can live on 80 or 90 percent of their income can become

Last not least, the perhaps most powerful driving agent for
success simply is desire! But for making desire the motor of your
success, you must know what you desire, what you want! That
sounds simplistic, but it is really not as simple as it sounds. When
you are not clear about your true wishes, you may run for twenty
years in the wrong direction, only to see afterwards that the effort
was not worth it because all the riches you acquired on the way
mean nothing to you – as it was not what you really desired. Dis-
cussing Robert Collier’s The Secret of the Ages (1926), the author

Collier notes that once you have achieved, you are more
likely to achieve again because you now have it in you to
succeed. In a further analogy, he suggests that when you
strongly desire something and believe that you will have it,
it sets in motion a mental whirlpool that sucks in the things,
people, and circumstances necessary to enable its realization.
You develop a momentum that allows you to continue
achieving but with less energy./76

The greatest discoveries, Collier notes, came from a person
who actually noticed something everybody else had seen.
The biggest fortunes, he says, were made out of opportuni-
ties that many had but only one person grasped. It is not that
unsuccessful people never see opportunities; they do. But
they differ from people who are called winners in that they
rarely have the will or the courage to act on a good idea.
They give themselves only the reasons why something could


not be done, while the winner only thinks of how it

Why is visualizing something you desire so important to its
attainment? Everything made in the real world, Collier says,
begins as an image. … By looking at these images several
times a day, you prepare the way for their entry into your
life. … There is an occult law that power flows from the
higher to the lower potential, not the other way around.
Therefore, always imagine the best possible outcome, and
the forming of reality will follow this design./77

It may seem paradoxical, but few people know what they
want. Humans may be a bundle of wishes and wants, but
unless we hone these hankerings to a sharp point we will
forever drift in a sea of unfulfillment./77

The challenge is to refine our longings and discontents into a
single powerful purpose. You begin this process … by mak-
ing a list of everything you could possibly desire, then weed-
ing out the things that won’t serve you in the long run. If
you’re not sure which desires are best, ask, Will this tend to
make me better, stronger, and more efficient?/77

Once you have this sense of purpose, be willing to pay the
price. Impose discipline on yourself and never let up on at-
taining your one true desire. Even if you are not brilliant, it
does not matter in the long run, because the law of averages
means that if you persist you will reap rewards./78

While my collection of quotes of this book was about ten times
the size of what I put in this review, I shall stop here for respect of
copyright. And anyway, knowing more about the book won’t

make it more attractive than it is. This book is brilliant in every
respect, and I have great admiration for the author to have mas-
tered such difficult a challenge.

The price of the book, by the way, is very modest compared to
what you get out of it. What is my overall feeling regarding this
book? It’s gratitude! Did you know that a sense of gratitude and a
conscious awareness of the blessings that are already in your
hands is a thousand times stronger than the most excellent time

Singularity of purpose can produce a relaxed knowing, a
faith in your future triumph that all really successful people
share. This sense of gratitude and knowing attracts what you
want on the principle that like seeks like: things flow to the
person who already appears to have./78

Edward de Bono

Books Reviewed
The Use of Lateral Thinking (1967)
The Mechanism of Mind (1969)
Tactics (1991)
Serious Creativity (1992)
Sur/Petition (1992)

Edward de Bono has been a think tank, corporate consultant,
writer and philosopher of world renown for decades. His creative
impact upon business and conceptual planning can’t be underes-
timated. He has been a corporate consultant for DuPont, Exxon,
Shell, Ford, IBM, British Airways, Ciba-Geigy, Citibank—to name
a few.
Edward de Bono has contributed in a
unique, outstanding manner to the pro-
gress of education, creative thinking and
human resource development and, more
generally, the intellectual evolution of
humanity. Unlike many other corporate
training experts, Dr. de Bono was never
restricted to this in many ways rather
limited profession, but went way beyond, and is to be considered
a true business philosopher and conceptualist. His research on
perception and the memory matrix of the human brain has had a
decisive impact upon accelerated learning, whole-brain learning,
new approaches for learning languages, such as Superlearning®.
I found de Bono’s books at the onset of my career as a corpo-
rate consultant, in 1998. At that time, as work notes for myself, I
made a quotes collection, and then wrote these book reviews
about a decade later, after choosing the career of a full-time writer.
However, since then, my interest in Edward de Bono has only in-
creased, despite the fact that I am now working on quite different
projects. Whatever you do in your career, even after your retire-
ment, is guided by firm principles that are universal, not cultural,
and Dr. de Bono is one of perhaps not more than a handful of


coaches who show you how to bring your genius to the world,
and earn fame and recognition for your creative contributions to
the intellectual brilliance of humanity.


The Use of Lateral Thinking
New York: Penguin, 1967, reedited 1990

The Use of Lateral Thinking is one of de Bono’s first publications, a book written in
the 1960s; but it is one of his most important books.

It seems that few have understood the book when it appeared
more than forty years ago. In the first chapter of the booklet, the
author introduces the idea of lateral thinking and defines it as a

Orthodox education usually does nothing to encourage lat-
eral thinking habits and positively inhibits them with the
need to conform one’s way through the successive examina-
tion hoops. /15

The second and third chapters prepare the ground for the
main part of the study which unfolds as a meticulous examination
of perception habits. In these chapters, the author makes interest-
ing remarks about how ideas are born. Where are ideas coming from?
How to generate new ideas? Truly, these questions are important not


only for artists, writers or designers, but also for business leaders.
We can observe in recent years that it is surprisingly not always
large corporations but more often than not mid-sized or small
companies that are leading the competition by their intelligent
and novel approach, focused customer care and an effective cycle
of innovation. For de Bono, this was not new thirty years ago. He
wrote that it is ‘not possible to look in a different direction by
looking harder in the same direction.’ He thought that for innova-
tion, the tough, hard-working approach is dysfunctional, which is
why he advocated flexible intelligence as the prime mover for ul-
timate success.
One of the major tasks of lateral thinking is to identify and
overcome dominant ideas because a dominant idea can be a real
obstacle in the creative thinking process. In every business, domi-
nant ideas are very subtly and often imperceptibly built into the
system through the formulation of strategies, marketing slogans,
habits and traditions, the archaic ‘we have always done it that
way and it has worked for us.’ In the fifth chapter, the author
summarizes his thorough examination of thinking habits and

With most situations, what starts as a temporary and provi-
sional manner of looking at them soon turns into the only
possible way, especially if encouraged by success./68


The Mechanism of Mind
New York: Penguin, 1969, reedited 1990

The second of the five books I am reviewing is a booklet that develops and elabo-
rates Edward de Bono’s approach to creative thinking, as it was first exposed in
The Use of Lateral Thinking.

The book is quite uncanny in that the author examines with
scientific exactitude how our brain handles perception and how it
processes information. Using many examples for demonstrating
his theory, Edward de Bono finally concludes that the specific
memory surface that the brain uses for information processing is
in itself a highly unreliable system. In Part II, 29: Overcoming the
Limitations, de Bono writes:

The errors, faults and limitations of information-processing
on the special memory-surface are inescapable because they
follow directly from the nature of the organization of the
surface. /218

In the next four chapters of the study, Edward de Bono ana-
lyzes the process of thinking. He divides thinking into four cate-


gories, natural thinking, logical thinking, mathematical thinking and
lateral thinking. He then discusses each of these modes of thinking.
Natural thinking that de Bono also calls simple or primitive thinking
is characterized by being fluent yet its very fluency is the source of
its errors. This mode of thinking, de Bono says, is the natural way
the memory surface behaves and its thought-flow is ‘immediate,
direct and basically adequate.’ Logical thinking is characterized as
the management of no, most logical processes being forms of bi-
nary equations of identity and non-identity. Logical thinking is
seen by de Bono as a tremendous improvement of natural think-
ing, in spite of the limitations that he pointed out in detail. Mathe-
matical thinking is held by de Bono as useful, however with the
limitation that it is more adequate to describe things than people.
Lateral thinking as a genuine mode of thinking has been developed
by Edward de Bono himself.

The purpose of lateral thinking is to counteract both the er-
rors and the limitations of the special memory-surface./236

De Bono states that lateral thinking is concerned with making
the best possible use of the information that is already available in
the memory surface. He then gives interesting examples to illus-
trate in which ways lateral thinking is essentially different from
vertical thinking. To say it with a slogan, lateral thinking is a way
of thinking that lets a door open for the unexpected to occur; in
other words, with lateral thinking you may not know what you
are looking for until after you have found it.


There are several broad characteristics that show the obvious
usefulness of lateral thinking. Edward de Bono discusses them
one after the other in his book:

‣ Seeking alternatives

‣ Thinking non-sequentially

‣ Undoing selection processes

‣ Shifting attention

‣ Giving random input

I do not need to further comment this brilliant study which
bears the stroke of genius. I guess that it was this book that laid
the foundation for de Bono’s overwhelming success as a think
tank and business coach later on. Strangely enough, then, this
booklet is the least known and perhaps the least popular among
all his books. But for one who is seriously interested in the foun-
dations of lateral and of creative thinking, it is an absolute must-


Serious Creativity
Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas
New York: Penguin, 1992, reprinted 1996

In Serious Creativity, de Bono continues the line of thought previously exhibited
in The Use of Lateral Thinking and The Mechanism of Mind. However, Serious Crea-
tivity is a more elaborated study of lateral thinking in its broadest and most prac-
tical dimensions.

The book consists of three major parts. In Part One, de Bono
writes about the need for creative thinking and shows its theoreti-
cal and practical applications. The author leaves no doubt that his
approach is not destined for artists and creators, but primarily for
business people. Thus, not artistic creativity or inspirational crea-
tivity is the main field of application of de Bono’s approach to
creativity, but creativity used for developing new and profitable
ideas for marketing products and for succeeding in the business
world. Accordingly, the style and the language of the book are


ideally suited for entrepreneurs and executives, and it provides
what the author calls take-away value. Interestingly, and unlike the
two predecessors, lateral thinking is now only one element among
others within the ten sub-chapters that throw different lights on
the important question for every innovative company: how can
we find and develop new and successful ideas?
Part Two is a detailed and highly elaborated analysis of the
use of lateral thinking in the brainstorming process. The quality
and exclusiveness of the material presented here is such that it by
far outreaches the competence of a creativity manager or innova-
tion department; but on the other hand, corporate leaders or ex-
ecutive committees will seldom have the time and tranquil setting
needed to digest the fantastic ideas and creative tools presented in
this book, and to make the utmost profit out of it. It is therefore
important to emphasize what de Bono repeatedly suggests in his
books, that is, to create special Concept R&D Departments that are
to be created in the future for the purpose of providing new or-
ganizational concepts for the growth and expansion of any.

The material presented here is so vast that it by far surpasses
the space to discuss it in a book review, so much the more as de
Bono has included his famous Six Thinking Hats brainstorming
technique among sixteen other creative thinking techniques that
are worth to be studied and tried out in practice.

The third part of the study is concerned with the practical ap-
plication of creative thinking. This chapter is indispensable for
anyone who wants to setup training seminars or workshops on
serious creativity. It is written in an exemplarily clear and practical
style. Every suggestion the author made here is useful in the day-


to-day running of seminars or company workshops on creativity.
Not to forget the Appendixes which are true jewels for the train-
ing practitioner:

‣ Appendix One: Lateral Thinking Techniques;

‣ Appendix Two: Use of Lateral Thinking Techniques;

‣ Appendix Three: Harvesting Checklist;

‣ Appendix Four: Treatment of Ideas Checklist.

To summarize, this book has more practical and direct-to-use
value than its two predecessors which however have laid the
theoretical foundation so that this book could come to existence.
De Bono’s brilliant diction and his smart in presenting highly
complex content makes this book, among all others by the same
author, a true enrichment of any business library.


Creating Value Monopolies when Everybody Else
is Merely Competing
New York: Fontana, 1992, HarperCollins, 1993

Edward de Bono’s book Sur/Petition is very important. All the issues that he tack-
les in this extremely well-written book are still today hot issues, in the sense that
they are unresolved so far in most businesses.

But let us ask, ‘What is Sur/Petition?’ The basic subject matter
of the book is the issue of creating value monopolies. Competing
literally means ‘struggling together’, whereas surpeting, by con-
trast, means struggling ahead of others.
How to get ahead of your competitors? The answer is by offer-
ing more value, integrated value, value that is yet unmatched by
others and that, therefore, becomes a monopoly. As de Bono ex-
plains, value monopolies are not illegal forms of business conduct
because they serve the customer; they are specific solutions for the
paradigm that Karl Albrecht called Total Quality Service or briefly
TQS, as a parallel to Total Quality Management or TQM. This ap-
proach puts the customer first in the agenda, not housekeeping or
the company tradition.


Value monopolies can only be created after brainstorming has
taken place which is based on a serious effort to understand and
value the needs of the customer. It seems to me that presently
multinational corporations are beginning to grasp the importance
of giving the customer solutions that are of real value. De Bono, as
always, has looked into the future and offered solutions that most
people, at the time of publishing the ideas, were not ready to
grasp. The example that de Bono cites regarding Ford strikes. He
consulted Ford Britain to buy a company that owned large car
parks all over Great Britain. He argued that cars are no more than
a lump of engineering and that a customer who buys a car wants
and needs more, and more service in the first place. One of those
needs being the urge to find a parking lot in town, de Bono’s idea
seemed brilliant. Now Ford could have connected a value to the
existing value ‘car’ which would have created a value monopoly
for the company. De Bono’s idea was precisely that at the entrance
of those car parks a note would have been put that only Ford cars
could enter them – and not other cars. However, Ford did not see
the chance nor the need of its customers for more integrated value
and thus did not follow the proposal.
Some years ago, the popular German car maker Volkswagen
was brainstorming on the same lines and they created Volkswagen
Bank as a result, and a free basic insurance for home and family,
given free for every car buyer. To make it round, third in the pack-
age was a credit card offer for new car customers. Not only did
Volkswagen sell more cars, the Volkswagen Bank surprisingly for
many became one of the most successful and effectively managed
banks in Germany.


The example was obviously inspiring, as Mercedes-Benz and
BMW developed similar surplus-value concepts and opened their
Mercedes Bank and BMW Bank. What they give is even more.
Every new customer, besides the afore-mentioned benefits, re-
ceives a credit card, that gives a range of benefits so numerous
that it fills a little booklet.
De Bono always questions traditional ways of doing and goes
straight to the root of problems. In the first chapter that is entitled
What is Wrong with the Fundamentals? he calls efficiency and
problem-solving mere maintenance procedures and concludes
that only effective solutions can bring success in the long run. To-
day, most of the Fortune 500 companies have realized this and
other of de Bono’s early ideas, but when de Bono voiced these re-
quirements twenty years ago, he was taken as a visionary with lack-
ing sense for reality. As it is so often the case, in hindsight we see
that he had more sense of reality than all his contradictors since
what he predicted so many years ago is business reality today!

Reading Sur/Petition, one gets a feeling
that in most businesses, there is a desperate
longing for more creativity whereas, at the
same time, and paradoxically, creative think-
ing is rejected as an illusion, time waster, or
as something for artists only. Intelligent ways
of dealing with business, and effective solu-
tions, in the past as today are the exception.
Even among Fortune 500 companies which are, as a group, the
most likely to adopt strategies and fixes as de Bono suggests them,
are not immune against old mistakes. The high turndown rate


among Fortune 500s is an indicator for this fact. It is not enough to
just understand the principles and to establish planning commit-
tees. The art of management is to walk the talk one wants all in the
company to walk.
My experience has shown me that often corporate leaders are
well ready to follow the advice of consultants but they think that
they themselves are beyond the need for consultancy. The hairy
truth is that, in the contrary, the boss has to adopt the new attitude
first and thoroughly walk it through before he can duly expect
others down in the corporate hierarchy to adopt it.

Interestingly, when we study highly
successful entrepreneurs, we see that
they intuitively apply the principles de
Bono writes about. I would like to cite
Bill Gates as an example; his extraordi-
nary success is not chance and it is not
just luck. What I found after having studied various sources about
him as well as information received from people closely working
with him is that he exactly applies all these principles in his lead-
ership style. Gates goes even beyond. He is one of the few entre-
preneurs who voluntarily apply chaos principles in their manage-
ment to get out of linear movement and into the magic of seren-
dipitous strikes. What is perhaps the final secret for the success in
business is the combination of technical competence (the hard-
ware) and people competence (the software).
What Microsoft has done to get out of the claws of its competi-
tion, and sur/pete was:


• Creating value monopolies based upon precise
knowledge regarding to what the mass customer
expects and needs;

• Intelligent concept design that gives a familiar look
to all Microsoft software;

• Superior striving for providing the utmost user-
friendliness, intuitive handling and ease-of-use;

• Very conscious and careful approach in customer
care and follow-up;

• Leading position in advancing new technologies,
and courage and expertise to do so;

• Most advanced approach for people care;

• Very careful examination of what the competition is
doing for quickly and often boldly sur/peting it.

Value monopolies namely begin
with providing value and with valuing
both the customer and the company.
The latter if often forgotten. A company
that does not value its own achieve-
ments and strength, and their staff will
not succeed. However, high self-esteem, as de Bono observed in
his book, is in practice often replaced by complacency. Compla-
cency is such a destructive attitude that he devotes twelve pages, a
whole subchapter, to its discussion.
More than once, de Bono reports that arrogance and compla-
cency are what he found to be the two strongest impediments for
implementing new customer-focused management strategies.


A very interesting part of the book, for those who are not yet
familiar with value-based management is chapter eight entitled
The Three Stages of Business. These three stages are outlined as—

‣ Product Values

‣ Competitive Values

‣ Integrated Values

It is only logical that at the end of this thorough study, de Bono
suggests to implement entire Concept R&D Departments, a brilliant
idea. The author notes that in traditional business settings, it is
still considered a threat to empower employees and to establish
think tank groups. As long as business or government is managed
like the military – and this was after all the traditional way to
manage large corporations and government agencies all over the
world – we will not be able to move into management and leader-
ship that is –
—Team driven instead of person driven;

—People driven instead of technology driven;
—Progressive, effective and ecological;
—Flexible and unbureaucratic.
One of the purposes of Edward de Bono’s contributions was to
help us move away from this old management paradigm that has
become archaic and ineffective, and implement an effective, sus-
tainable and people-driven business management paradigm that
is based upon values and the virtue of satisfying value-driven cus-
tomer needs.


To summarize, this book that is supposedly not one of the
most well-known Bono books, is yet one of the best productions of
the author. For all people concerned with management, it is one of
the most original and valuable books on management success
strategies that have ever been published. I
would even go as far as saying that it is a
must-read for everyone who is in some
way involved in leading people into the
postindustrial era. At the time de Bono
wrote this book, most of his daring ideas
were rejected by the mainstream manage-
ment paradigm. The author’s reputation as
the leading think tank and trainer did not
change this fact, nor the fact that among his clients were large
multinational corporations. This is the somewhat frustrating point
of departure of the book in the author’s own words:

Government needs thinking very badly but does surpris-
ingly little of it. (…) Business handles the analytical side of
thinking quite well. But there is a need for improvement in
the constructive, creative, and conceptual side. In the future,
this is the aspect of thinking that is going to be essential for

With his habitual lucidity, Edward de Bono shows the present
discrepancy between a new paradigm of quality management and
the emphasis on housekeeping that used to be the flaw of tradi-
tional management. Down the road, you have to provide values
that customers want, writes de Bono. We can only hope that both
government and business leaders will eventually comprehend and


implement de Bono’s futuristic ideas so that the new business cul-
ture will be more customer driven, more flexibly intelligent and
more creative.


The Art and Science of Success
London: Pilot Productions Ltd., 1985
Fontana, 1991
Harper & Collins, 1993

Edward de Bono’s book Tactics is a thoroughly empirical study on the subject of
success and the various factors that contribute to a person experiencing success.
Together with a team of researchers, fifty-five highly successful people from
business, finance, sports, art and fashion were interviewed.

The excerpts of these interviews together with the author’s
very original classification of success into various categories and
subcategories make the core of this most unusual and highly
readable book. To be true, the book is a treasure! The information
you get out of it is among the most valuable you can obtain not
only for your business career but for your life as a whole. Most of
the people interviewed show really uncommon views, high origi-
nality, and a daring, non-conventional, high-spirited, intelligent and


bold approach to life, an approach that is never, in this form, taught
or encouraged in school or university.
Let me start this review by having a look at the main charac-
teristics that the author found to be valid for success in life and
—Creative style;
—Energy, drive and direction;
—Confidence and self-confidence;

—Stamina and hard work;
—Ability to cope with failure;

These were found to be the positively stimulating factors of
success. Interestingly, not only the positive stimulants such as
power, money or self-image were found to be contributing to suc-
cess but also negative stimulants such as anxiety. The latter view is
uncommon. Especially the exponents of the positive thinking
movement seem to suggest that a well-directed life is one free of
anxiety. Nope! Very successful entrepreneurs such as Robert Hol-
mes à Court speak another language. Let me quote a passage in
which de Bono summarizes the findings collected from different
interviews on the matter of anxiety:

It is interesting that with successful people the anxieties are
propellant rather than retardant. The anxieties push the en-
trepreneur forward rather than hold him back. There does


not seem to be a search for the easy way or for security as

Edward de Bono lists several traditional positions that he has
seen to play a major role in success, such as—

—Being lucky;
—Being a little mad;
—Being very talented;
—Operating in a rapid growth field.
An important part of the study deals with the way ideas are
relevant for practice and for successful action. Let’s see what one
of the interviewees has to say on this subject:

Lord Grade
The ideas you want are real ideas; they’re not fantasies.
There is a difference. The real ideas can be put into action.
They are not dreams; they’re something real. And what gets
the team confident is that the entire team, the whole com-
pany, is successful./38

The question of style emerges boldly in this study. De Bono
observes that changing one’s personal style and imitating some-
body else’s style is not a success formula. De Bono states that suc-
cess is based upon polishing and refining one’s style, even though
it may be a style that few people possess. In a paragraph entitled
Characteristics of Typically Successful Styles, de Bono gives examples
for energy, drive and direction as being one successful style
among many. This is what David Mahoney, named in Fortune


Magazine as one of the ten toughest bosses in America, has to say
about this subject:

David Mahoney
I just keep moving every day as hard and fast as I can. High-
intensity and high-voltage. Light comes from that, not from
passivity. I insist we all do our best every day. I’m intense in
everything I do and I expect others will be, too. There may
be timing factors in it, good luck and fortune factors, but the
question is, do you utilize it? Some of it you can’t con-
trol—some of it goes against you—it works both ways. You
run to daylight—where you see the break you go. Most peo-
ple aren’t even aware of what’s happening around them.
Two-thirds of the people don’t know what’s going on to
them, personally./39

There are of course other styles, such as the creative and in-
spiring style of Alex Kroll, president of the world’s largest adver-
tising agency, who transforms every challenge into a game-like
arrangement that is inspiring himself and his staff for finding crea-
tive solutions. In addition, there are the managerial and the entre-
preneurial styles. The question is if ego-based styles or can-do are
original styles or if they are just attributes to other styles?
Chris Bonington who climbed Annapurna II, the Eiger North
Wall, Kangur, Ogre, Annapurna South Face, and South-West Face
of Everest says that it’s also the great drive to find something in
yourself, or the curiosity of finding whether this can be done. The
question if one can achieve something daring and difficult is a
constant tenor in ambitious people’s life. There is no security in
this, no conviction. There is only intuition, and it can be very


strong, as in case of Paul McCready who incarnates the can-do
style or attitude. This man made the first plane that flies only by
using muscle power, without any motor, and he says:

Paul McCready
I went single-mindedly and with considerable assurance
towards the goal./41

Nolan Bushnell, creator of the billion-dollar video game indus-
try, worth $70 million after the first decade of running a company
with a $500 investment, says that he always feels like there is a
solution. There we are indeed in the realm of anticipation, of sixth
sense, of intuition.

Another style or style element is self-confidence and a certain
amount of conceit. Roy Cohn, described by Esquire Magazine as a
legal executioner … the toughest, meanest, vilest and one of the
most brilliant lawyers in America says:

Roy Cohn
You also have to have a certain amount of conceit, which
leads you to believe that you and you alone can get things

In this chapter, de Bono examines all these possible styles and
gives examples from the abundant material that the interviews
provided to this purpose. He summarizes:

‣ Develop your personal style and refine it;

‣ Build on your strong points or characteristics;

‣ Do not try to alter your weak points or characteristics;


‣ Make sure that every choice or decision comply with your style;

‣ Choose the circumstances that best fit your style;

‣ Be bold and egocentric;

‣ Use failure as a shadow that gives dimensions to the picture.

And the author to comment: ‘An inflated balloon is vulner-
able, but that is the only way it is going to fly.’/57
The following chapters of the book deal with what triggers
success, and what are the factors that may have a more subtle im-
pact upon success. Part II of the book teaches how to prepare for
success and Part III points out six factors that are important to
practice for everyone who sets out to be successful.

—Strategy for people as resources;
—Tactical play.

I can only express my admiration for this careful and precious
study that has enriched my life in an extraordinary manner. Every
time I read again chapters from this book, it reveals me new in-
sights, horizons and hints for my life, and in addition lets me par-
ticipate in the lives of highly successful people.

James Borg

2nd Edition
New York: Pearson Books, 2008

James Borg’s acclaimed book on persuasion and the art of listening has enriched
me. I must admit I was never into business literature that deals with the various
aspects of the business relation.

While I have a working knowledge of developmental psychol-
ogy, psycholinguistics and team communication, but this book is
about something much more specific. It is about the art of making
business relations, of engaging another business person in dia-
logue, mainly with the purpose of selling a product or service.
As business and love are amazingly similar in their principles,
it doesn’t surprise that the techniques here presented and elabo-
rated also profit the private sphere and intimate and family rela-
tions. The author gives several examples for when companies
trained their staff in various aspects of business communication,
there was an immediate positive impact also upon the family lives
of these employees, namely an improvement of the intra-familiar
communication, both in the couple and between parents and chil-
The book is systematic, well-researched and amusing to read.
It shines by its pragmatic and down-to-earth approach, which is
perhaps why it appeals to such a large audience. In addition, the
author has a light and witty tone that is very useful when you
consider the formalism of psycholinguistics, a science that is
rather tedious to study. To be honest, this book is full of real-life
examples and anecdotes that make the richness of the texture, and
show the author’s large experience in the field of building and
maintaining relationships, business and private.

I shall first give an overview over the subjects the book covers
and then discuss some specific issues that I document with se-
lected quotes from the book. Every chapter ends with a ‘Coffee
Break’ section where the reader is invited to give some basic input,


and the Appendix provides the solution of these little recapitula-
tions of the content. Here is a chapter overview:

‣ The power of persuasion

‣ Being a good listener

‣ Attention please

‣ Mind your body language

‣ Memory magic

‣ Make words work for you—the power of psycholinguistics

‣ Telephone telepathy

‣ Negotiating for mutual benefit

‣ ‘Difficult people’ (and their behavior)

‣ The personality spectrum

The art of listening is really a center point in this book, per-
haps the most important single issue discussed in it. To begin
with, the author writes:

Powerful persuasion begins with the ability to hear what
others are saying. And listening is about far more than being
quiet when somebody else speaks. In the divorce courts and
in the workplace, a breakdown is often attributed to poor
listening. If it is carried out effectively, it creates and im-
proves personal and business relationships. In every situa-
tion in life, effective listening will help you to understand
another person’s thoughts, feelings and actions. /13

Since listening is a sign of affirmation, it promotes self-
esteem; the opposite usually occurs if there is a breakdown.


People who are poor listeners often see listening as a pas-
sive—and therefore unproductive—activity. Their ego gets in
the way. They feel the need to be talking in order to make
any impact with the other person. /15

Listening isn’t merely saying nothing while the other person
is talking. It’s deriving meaning from what’s said. And that’s
what people find difficult. They think it’s just hearing. /17

Listening […] denotes the process of interpreting and under-
standing. It means deriving meaning from what has been
heard—it is a psychological process. /18

The next central point of the study is memory and how to im-
prove memory. In my research on human genius, I found that
people of genius are generally outstanding in the techniques of
mnemonics. So let us ask what is the use of a memory in business
I think it serves more than one purpose. It is important to
quickly recapitulate and present facts to back one’s claims or point
of view with facts. In addition, it is necessary to remember deal-
ings you made previously with a particular person or business. In
job interviews, it is often necessary to shine with facts and details
from your previous employment. But most of all, as James Borg
explains, we need to memorize names and faces, and as a second
step, then, to associate those names with the faces. This is essential
for contact making, both in the formal and the informal setting, at
business meetings and during company outings, parties and ex-
cursions when teams meet other teams for the purpose to later
collaborate more closely.


The problem is that a lot of people have very average memo-
ries and many others have very bad ones. If you can break
from this mould, you’re in a very powerful position. In busi-
ness and personal life, the confidence that comes from a
good power of recall is valuable beyond measure. And we
all have it within us to improve our memories and therefore
our lives. /83

[…] to optimize our memory capability we need to engage
both sides of the brain; in other words, the logical (left) and
the creative (right) side. /83

You can improve yourself mentally, just as you can improve
your physique from working out in the gym. Everyone has
the ability. Become your own personal trainer. Conditioning
the mind through mental jogging can help develop a more
effective memory for names. /89

Our names are the most personal things we possess—they’re
unique to us. A name forms a big part in the psychology of
the self. Consequently, people are often more responsive to
those who use them. /93

The next central issue I have chosen to present and discuss
here is how to make words work for you, how to choose the cor-
rect wording in each and every possible contextual situation, so as
to be most effective with getting your message over to another, or
an audience. James Borg elaborates this part of the book very care-
fully and it’s really important, and was important for me to read
and digest, for I was often sluggish in the choice of words, or
thought that I could be just use ‘individualistic’ vocabulary that
people had to sort out by themselves. This was a source of con-

stant strife in my life, in both business and private relations. No
wonder that some people called me extravagant and even arro-
gant. Hence, the content of this chapter was especially meaningful
to me as I am basically a social-minded person and do not see a
great advantage in the mythic image of a mountain sage, when we
talk about the social field. The author writes:

The wrong choice of word has precipitated many wars, di-
vorces, fights, arguments and business bust-ups. We make
assumptions based on what people are saying or doing and
quite often respond before testing the validity of our

Criticism and advice deter people from analysing the rea-
sons of their behaviour. /122

In some cases, […] words may convey an accurate statement
(a person could have been late six times for the six meetings
you've had), but we tend to use them to make a point, and it
can lead to the opposite effect./127

You have to use words to communicate. You may as well use
the best. /131

Another intriguing topic of the book is how to make effective
phone calls, and how to use a sort of telepathy or intuition to cor-
rectly second guess how one ‘comes over’ to the other in the vari-
ous stages of a business conversation, and how the other might be
distracted in various ways to ‘receive’ one’s message, which then
imperatively requires the change of tactics.


People generally respond better if they’re in a good mood
and not under pressure, and when things are going fairly
well. Show some perspicacity. Time your requests to your
advantage. In other words, call when the other person is able
to give their best attention. Good thinking is essential in per-
sonal relationships, and it's crucial in the business world. We
should constantly be aware of this. We know it’s true. /158

The next topic that sounded to me like written for me is win-
win negotiations. While I always committed to win-win in all
business dealings, the reality of my life was atrociously slapping
in the face of this principle. In clear text, I was almost always the
losing part, and here I learnt why this was so. It had nothing to do
with my principle or my intentions, but what the principles are in
communicating your point successfully so that you come to at
least a 50-50 agreement, not one where the other gets 80 and you
get 20. Well, in my long academic career, this skill and most others
discussed in this book were never taught, they were not even
thought of as important in my university environment. But I saw
their relevance in my work life as a lawyer later on, where I was
constantly underpaid despite of the excellence of my work. Some
friends said I was too peace-loving, my own mother and my psy-
chiatrist said I was lacking aggressiveness and other people even
reproached me I was masochistic. In truth, I am none of this, but I
had no idea how to negotiate, what it means, what it implies.

When I was assertive, I felt I was throwing my weight around,
when I was making my point, I felt as if I was having ‘utopian
ideas.’ Probably, I came over to others simply as a fool, or in more
polite terms, as a ‘hopeless academic.’


It went to a point that still about ten years ago, when I had de-
veloped a villa project in Bali, and before I sold it as I felt incom-
petent to manage it profitably, a potential client told me on the
phone: “Can you tell me why you are renting out your villas for so
James Borg’s advice comes over to me as a joke, or almost, as I
was listening too much to my clients, to a point I forgot about my
own interest, my own need to make a profit to get a return on my
investment, and to appear as credible in the business world. I was
considered ‘too cheap’ in all senses of this expression, or ‘too good
to be true’ in the eyes of both my competitors and my potential
clients. So when the author advises to being empathetic and re-
spectful, I can only say from my personal condition, that’s of
course true, but there is something prior to that: it is being respect-
ful of yourself first!

The focus should be on finding a solution to the problem.
The problem is not the people you are dealing with. They
should be treated with respect, with all due empathy dis-
played; above all, they should be listened to, regardless of
whether you agree with their words./176

Well, we know that the ideal table that promotes a noncon-
frontational atmosphere is a round one. It avoids the ‘them’
and ‘us’ of the long rectangular table, with the two sides sit-
ting directly opposite each other. However, if you’re stuck
with this kind of table, then it softens the proceedings a little
if you don’t site directly opposite the other party./184

If you watch the pros negotiating (at wage tribunals, eco-
nomic summits, in the boardroom, etc.), you’ll notice how


they let the body signal their response to a demand. You’ll
see them shaking their head, smiling, flicking an imaginary
fleck of fluff off the tie or jacket, or giving occasional out-
bursts of laughter in disbelief. They’re trying to let the other
person know, without actually saying so, that the request is
over the top. It’s less offensive using body language./187

Before the author discusses the various personality types, he
gives substantial advice on how to deal with what we might call
‘difficult’ people – while we should be well aware that this is a
judgment that the person herself will contest in most cases. I
would like to caution the reader here as from this point in the
book, I felt I was more in contradiction with the author than be-
fore, and this for three fundamental reasons. First, I believe that
judging is generally wrong; second, we most of the time have no
valid reasons for our judgments, which are more often than not
based upon appearances; and third, I am convinced that psychiat-
ric ideas of ‘personality types’ are just another mental drawer that
does basic injustice to the human nature that is too complex too be
drawn out in lines and circles. I would go as far as saying that the
very attempt to 'categorize' human beings is a basic error, while I
do admit that we all have personal or transpersonal behavior pat-
So what we are talking about is behavior, not people or per-
sonalities, it’s patterns, and those patterns can be changed as they
are not carved in stone, and when they are used as judgments
about people, we are on the wrong track altogether to ever negoti-
ate peacefully and respectfully with people. We are just all too dif-


ferent to allow us saying we were fitting in certain mental or psy-
chological drawers.
This being said, while some of the ideas the author may be
useful, I do generally not think that even if we have all the psy-
chological knowledge needed about different types of persons, in
real life we do not apply this knowledge, but act more or less in-
tuitively. The author classifies difficult people into these categories
and then briefly discusses each of them, while admitting that
‘most people become less difficult after a discussion in the open.’

[Procrastinator] The important thing is not to show through
your conversation and body language that you are irritated
with them. You’ll need empathy to get to the root of their
indecision and also sympathy for their predicament (having
to make a decision). Then you can set about helping them
through a process that will unfold at their pace./215

[Explosive] A placatory ‘keep calm’ or words to that effect,
usually makes things worse./216

[Self-Important] They’re playing a ‘role’ (an irritating one at
that), so—as with your dealings with any kind of difficult
person—separate the behavior from the person./219

What I said as a precaution when discussing the previous
chapter is so much the more true for the last chapter of the
book that deals with Carl Jung's theory of 'personality types'.
The author's obvious intention is to make this famed theory
useful for the business world, and the process of negotiation,
with the result of persuasion.


Psychological research into the study of personality types
has centered on the aspect of personality traits. Psychologi-
cal typing categorizes a number of related personality traits.
There is almost universal agreement that we are a product of
both nature (biology) and nurture (experience)./230

According to Jung, even though these attitudes are opposite,
each person possesses both, and one attitude is dominant
over the other. The dominant one is expressed in conscious
behavior, while the subordinate one is representative of the
person’s unconscious./231

Stephen R. Covey

Books Reviewed
The 8th Habit (2004)
The 3rd Alternative (2011)

Steven Richards Covey (1932-2012) was an educator, author,
businessman, and keynote speaker, and one of the most successful

corporate consultants and think tanks the world has seen to this
day. He was one of Time magazine’s twenty-five most influential
Americans, and dedicated his life to demonstrating with profound
yet straightforward guidance how every person can control their
He has sold over 20 million books (in thirty-eight languages),
and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was named the One Most
Influential Business Book in the 20th Century. His other books in-
clude Principle-Centered Leadership, First Things First, The 7 Habits of
Highly Effective Families, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Great-
ness, and The Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the
World Are Inspiring Greatness One Child at a Time.
In 1985 he established Stephen R. Covey and Associates which
in 1987 became The ‘Covey Leadership Center’ which, in 1997,
merged with Franklin Quest to form FranklinCovey, a global
professional-services firm and specialty retailer selling both train-
ing and productivity tools to individuals and to organizations.
Their mission statement reads: ‘We enable greatness in people and
organizations everywhere.’
Dr. Covey was a tenured professor in the Huntsman School of
Business, Utah State University, where he held the Jon M. Hunts-
man Presidential Chair in Leadership.


The 8th Habit
From Effectiveness to Greatness
London: Simon & Schuster, 2006

The 8th Habit is a brilliantly written and extraordinarily useful book for solving
conflict, build synergistic and truly outstanding relationships, and bring team
interaction to a point of effectiveness that may never have been reached with any
other method. Besides, it is a truly inspiring book by a great personality!

No words are too boastful to describe the achievement this
book represents! It is a true marvel in each and every business li-
brary. As The 3rd Alternative, Covey’s last book which I review fur-
ther down, the book is a treasure hunt for stories produced out of
the lives of truly great people.
Here, the figure of Mohammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize
winner in 2006 and creator of microfinance in Bangladesh, stands
out as an unforgettable example. After years of struggle and hard-
ship, Grameen bank, the bank Yunus created for granting small
loans to poor people, then worked in more than 46,000 villages in


Bangladesh, through 1,267 branches and over 12,000 staff mem-
bers. They have lent more than $4.5 billion, in loans of twelve to
fifteen dollars, averaging under $200. At the time when Yunus be-
came aware of the burning need for such tiny credits, when he
himself ventured to give them from his income as an economic
professor, microfinancing was not only non-existent—it was con-
sidered as an outrageous idea and the man had to fight a very
hard and sometimes almost hopeless struggle against prejudice
and red tape, even though he could prove that the credits he had
granted were invariably paid back.
Any collaboration with existing financial institutions failed,
despite the fact that Yunus offered himself as a guarantor for the
loans, and he finally saw only one solution: to setup his own insti-
tution. But it took three years to get the license from the govern-
ment to setup the bank!
I have not been unfamiliar with Dr. Covey’s leadership ap-
proach. After reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People back in
the 1990s, I felt inspired and empowered for starting my own cor-
porate training business. I worked three times through that book
and shall recapitulate here the main tenets.
This is not a far-fetched idea given that the 8th habit—attitude,
or behavior— is just one more element in an existing methodol-
ogy. To begin with, Covey argues against what he called The Per-
sonality Ethic, something he saw as prevalent in many modern
selfhelp books.
He promoted The Character Ethic: aligning one’s values with
universal and timeless principles. He considered these principles
as universal laws, and values as internal and subjective.


Covey proclaimed that values govern people’s behavior, but
principles ultimately determine the consequences. Covey pre-
sented his teachings in a series of habits, manifesting as a progres-
sion from dependence via independence to interdependence.
It is the sequel to The Seven Habits, Dr. Covey held that effec-
tiveness did not suffice in The Knowledge Worker Age. He said that
‘[t]he challenges and complexity we face today are of a different
order of magnitude.’

The 8th Habit urges us for finding our voice and inspiring oth-
ers to find theirs. The following synopsis of The 7 Habits is adapted
from The 8th Habit, pp. 152-153:

Habit 1—Be Proactive
Being proactive is more than taking initiative. It is recognizing
that we are responsible for our choices and have the freedom to
choose based on principles and values rather than on moods or
conditions. Proactive people are agents of change and choose not
to be victims, to be reactive, or to blame others.

Habit 2—Begin with the End in Mind
We ideally shape our future by first creating a mental vision
for any project, large or small, personal or interpersonal. We don’t
just live day-to-day with no clear purpose in mind. We identify
and commit ourselves to the principles, relationships and pur-
poses that matter most to us.

Habit 3—Put First Things First
This means organizing and executing around our most impor-
tant priorities. Whatever the circumstances, it is living and being


driven by the principles we value most, not by the urgent agendas
and forces surrounding us.

Habit 4—Think Win-Win
Thinking win-win is a frame of mind and heart that seeks mu-
tual benefit and mutual respect in all interactions. It’s thinking in
terms of abundance and opportunity rather than scarcity and ad-
versarial competition. It’s not thinking selfishly (win-lose) or like a
martyr (lose-win). It’s thinking in terms of ‘we’, not ‘me.’

Habit 5—Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
When we listen with the intent to understand others, rather
than with the intent to reply, we begin true communication and
relationship building. Opportunities to then speak openly and to
be understood come much more naturally and easily. Seeking to
understand takes consideration; seeking to be understood seeks
courage. Effectiveness lies in balancing or blending the two.

Habit 6—Synergize
Synergy is the third alternative—not my way, not your way,
but a third way that is better than either of us would come up
with individually. It’s the fruit of respecting, valuing and even
celebrating one another’s differences. It’s about solving problems,
seizing opportunities, and working out differences. Synergy is
also the key to any effective team or relationship.
A synergistic team is a complementary team—where the team
is organized so that the strengths of some compensate for the
weaknesses of others.


Habit 7—Sharpen the Saw
Sharpening the saw is about constantly renewing ourselves in
the four basic areas of life: physical, social and emotional, mental
and spiritual. It’s the habit that increases our capacity to live all
other habits of effectiveness.
Now, of course, the question is legitimate what that 8th Habit
really is? One may have thought that the set of habits—call them
also behaviors or paradigms—was complete, was it not? So the
challenging question is of course what is this 8th habit all about?
Well, let me anticipate: we can ask the same question regarding
the author’s latest book, The 3rd Alternative, which I shall review
further down. Is that really something new?
Honestly it is not, but an extrapolation of Habit 6—Synergize,
as Covey himself points out in that book. I do not wish to put this
up as a criticism. But it shows that all in the creative life of a per-
son is a result of patterning. We formulate a pattern but it’s not
complete. Then, later, we expand it again, and thus write another
book. How can somebody come up with the idea to say: ‘The
author should have seen that before and implemented it from the
start!’ This would be a basically inhuman attitude.
We are evolving beings, and even more so, and with the specific
focus provided by the systems view of life, we are co-evolving be-
ings. That basically means that we find our wholeness in the ex-
change with others. It was probably through Covey’s lecturing
about his ideas and the large feedback he got that he expanded his
approach and so to speak appended his concept through the
means of a new book. That doesn’t mean that the older publica-
tion is obsolete. We are talking here about the evolution of a crea-


tive person. Let me give an example. Picasso’s Rose Period or his
Blue Period were not obsoleted by his subsequent discovery of
Cubism and his many successful cubist paintings.

Right at onset of The 8th Habit, in Chapter 1, entitled ‘The Pain’,
the 8th habit is made part of the famous 7 Habits structure. Another
graphic illustrates it even more clearly, showing that the ‘Voice’ is
situated exactly at the intersections of Talent, Passion, Need and

The author writes:

The 8th Habit represents the pathway to the enormously
promising side of today’s reality. It stands in stark contrast to
the pain and frustration I’ve been describing. In fact, it is a
timeless reality. It is the voice of the human spirit—full of
hope and intelligence, resilient by nature, boundless in its
potential to serve the common good. This voice also encom-
passes the soul of organizations that will survive, thrive and
profoundly impact the future of the world. /5


In my own words, I would describe this new element in the
author’s comprehensive scheme of ‘leadership effectiveness’ as an
overcoming of the mechanistic paradigm that reigned in science
and the social sciences until very recently. Just about 15 years ago
people in the business world would have frowned upon the idea
to bring ‘soul’ into the daily life of organizations, and even to
speak about feelings, emotions or ideals in mainstream business
publications. But the world has definitely changed for the better
here for after all, we are humans, not robots, and we want to make
the world a more human one, not a more robotic one. To develop
our voice—which is a metaphor for our unique contribution to the
world, and society at large—we need to find our identity because
our identity, as the author writes further down, is our destiny.

This is a long process, it won’t happen overnight. It means to
gain awareness of our basic vision of the world, our unique way
we come up at the world. The author writes.

As I have studied and interviewed most of the world’s great
leaders, I noticed that their sense of vision and voice has
usually evolved slowly. I am sure there are exceptions. Some
may have a vision of what is possible suddenly burst upon
their consciousness. But generally speaking, I find that vi-
sion comes as people sense human need and respond to their
conscience in trying to meet that need. /9

What Covey called ‘The Knowledge Worker Age’ may also be
called the information society. Peter Senge called this new institu-
tional paradigm ‘The Learning Organization’. It is our presently
evolving scientific, social and business paradigm. It recognizes
that all in life is connected by patterns that inform each other in a


flat horizontal network structure, while the former mechanistic
industrial paradigm saw the world as a huge conglomerate of iso-
lated ‘things’ and ‘objects’ arranged in hierarchies of dominant
order. Covey remarks that during the Industrial Age, people were
seen like things as in a mechanistic set of beliefs ‘you have reduced a
person to a thing’. Now the reason why he wrote the present book
becomes more evident:

The problem is, managers today are still applying the Indus-
trial Age control model to knowledge workers. Because
many in positions of authority do not see the true worth and
potential of their people and do not possess a complete, ac-
curate understanding of human nature, they manage people as
they do things. This lack of understanding also prevents them
from tapping into the highest motivations, talents and gen-
ius of people. /16

Building our identity, our unique vision and voice, we need to
work on our inner complexes, and one of them that my research
revealed to me as perhaps the most important is co-dependence. In
my corporate training seminars I realized how much ingrained the
mutual dependency is in the daily life of organizations with all the
hierarchical thinking that this implies. Also, personally, I saw that
co-dependence as a psychic complex really prevents us from lov-
ing others; it is fusional thinking, symbiotic thinking, which is ul-
timately a confusion about our boundaries.
Covey called it ‘the downward spiral of codependency—as he
spelled the word. He explains:


This widespread reluctance to take initiative, to act inde-
pendently, only fuels formal leaders’ imperative to direct or
manage their subordinates. This, they believe, is what they
must do in order to get followers to act. And this cycle
quickly escalates into codependency. Each party’s weakness
reinforces and ultimately justifies the other’s behavior. (…)
The codependent culture that develops is eventually institu-
tionalized to the point that no one takes responsibility. Over
time, both leaders and followers confirm their roles in an
unconscious pact. They disempower themselves by believ-
ing that others must change before their own circumstances
can improve. The same cycle reappears in families between
parents and children. /17

Covey then explains in more detail that only a ‘whole person
paradigm’ can fulfill the needs of today’s highly complex interna-
tional business world. This can be measured as science has indeed
confirmed what philosophers said over the ages—laboratory stud-
ies are producing increasing evidence of a close relationship be-
tween body, mind, and heart. Such is for example the research at
the Institute of Heart-Math and its sister company, HeartMath
LLC. This evidence demonstrates that the heart has its own intel-
ligence, which is just as important, if not more important, as the


brain to our day-to-day functioning. The heart was also found to
coordinate the function of other organs in the body. The old view
that the heart is just a ‘blood pump’, similar to a mechanical water
pump, is thus clearly superseded by this cutting-edge research on
body-mind coordination. As a result of this insight it becomes ob-
vious that approaching humans as if they were machines can only
deliver mediocre results, for in that case they are reduced to a
status of robots. Covey writes:

The path to mediocrity straightjackets human potential. The
path to greatness unleashes and realizes human potential.
The path to mediocrity is the quick-fix, short-cut approach to
life. The path to greatness is a process of sequential growth
from the inside out. /28

He then explains more in detail what it means to discover and
express one’s voice in chapters four and five. While it is virtually
impossible to review this 400+ pages book that is full of highly
original ideas and enriched by the author’s immense wealth of
training experience, I cannot close this review without reporting
an integrative approach to human intelligence that Covey reports
here quite at length and that is backed up by cutting-edge genius
research. In genius research publications it is commonly termed
‘The Four Quadrant IQ’. Covey termed these ‘four intelligences’

—Mental intelligence (IQ)
—Physical intelligence (PQ)
—Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
—Spiritual Intelligence (SQ)


I will not paraphrase Covey’s explanations of these principles
as this would make this review definitely too extensive, but quote
what he wrote—with quite an original flavor—on how to develop
these four ways of being smart. He writes:

For the body—assume you’ve had a heart attack; now live

For the mind—assume the half-life of your profession is two
years; now prepare accordingly.

For the heart—assume you have a one-on-one visit with
your Creator every quarter; now live accordingly. /58

I honestly admit that working through this book seriously re-
quires a lot of stamina for it’s not an easy-read. Much is repeated
over and over again in different wordings, which may fit more to
the demands of a learning audience—for example, a middle man-
agement leadership training seminar—than an intellectual audi-
ence. Even though I am familiar with corporate training issues, to
get through this book was a more hassled sensation than working
through the 7 Habits. I admit this honestly and it may be entirely
my own personal perception. What I do highly appreciate and
value, however, is the material given in addition to the book itself,
the 8 Appendices which provide a wealth of information. For ex-
ample, Appendix 1 provides a practical action guide for develop-
ing our four intelligences, Appendix 2 a highly interesting litera-
ture review of Leadership Theories which was compiled by the re-
search department at FranklinCovey, and Appendix Four an ex-
ample from daily life about how high the cost of low trust can be


for a company—in fact it can be devastating in the long run. Also
the development of little films, an original idea, serves to illustrate
many of the ideas in the book. These films and other educational
material can now be downloaded for free from the Covey Com-
munity—and in so far the hyperlinks provided in the book have
been superseded. The URL of the community is now here:


The 3rd Alternative
Solving Life’s Most Difficult Problems
London: Simon & Schuster, 2012

The 3rd Alternative, Stephen Covey’s last book—actually published in the very
year of his death—is perhaps more than this great man could give. It is more,
much more than a ‘business’ book, as the vision of leadership it teaches and em-
bodies surpasses by far the realm of business. It widely covers the adjoining
fields of social leadership, nonprofit leadership and political leadership.

This book that I found only very recently, and to my surprise,
in a book store in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is an easier read than
its predecessor, The 8th Habit. Covey’s ideas are presented in fluent
style in this book, which has really touched my heart. It is far less
schoolmasterly than the books on effectiveness and leadership in a
stricter sense of the word. But like those others, it is richly illus-
trated with comprehensive graphics, so typical for all of Covey’s
books. And what I normally don’t do in book reviews, for one


time I will do it, presenting here some of the many praises this
book has received. Needless to add that I quote them here as they
reflect my own deep impression of the book:

“In this book, Covey reaches out way beyond his familiar
domain, to the universe, and has come up with a social vac-
cine capable of addressing if not resolving the existential
agonies and angst that we all face as individuals, as well as
the organizations and societies that we work and live in. In
this Olympiad vault, Covey has written his most ambitious
and hopeful book, in my own view—a masterpiece to benefit
all of us doing our best to live in peace and justice in this
messy world.”

—Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Management
at the University of Southern California, and author of the
memoir Still Surprised

“Even in our conflicted times, now and again we catch a
glimpse of the better thing. Dr. Covey shows us how to seek
that better thing and transcend our deepest disputes.”

—Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“In The 3rd Alternative, Dr. Covey inspires us to think differ-
ently about solving problems than we ever have before. We
must set aside our differences, including our boundaries,
languages, economics, politics and cultures and work hand
in hand together to create solutions which are greater than
the problems we now face.”

—Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner 2006

We know that a picture goes a long way and explains contex-
tual meaning more easily than verbal language does. This is the


reason I will reproduce two of these graphics here in this review,
as I did in the review of The 8th Habit, and with the specific copy-
right argument that those few graphics are published in the pages
of the books provided by Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature.

As I mentioned briefly already, the 3rd Alternative Leadership
and Conflict Resolution Approach was developed as an extension
of the 6th Habit: Synergy. I personally see the emphasis more on the
conflict resolution function this approach facilitates and believe
that the methods taught in The 8th Habit are largely sufficient for
leadership purposes in general. But as life in general, and human
relations in particular, always engender problematic situations, we
can easily see that we need to be prepared ‘for a leak in the boat’—
as the I Ching expresses it. For the Chinese executive, prepared-
ness is crucial for good and effective leadership.
The present book shows how extensively Dr. Covey has learnt
both from Middle Eastern cultures, from African traditions, and
from the wisdom traditions of the Far East. The book abounds of
examples that show how cross-culturally Covey has worked per-
haps all his life, but especially in his later years.


It is the examples of outstanding human achievement that cap-
tured me throughout this book. The author first presents the basic
problem in simple terms; it becomes evident when you read these
quotes that this is not a ‘business book’ in the narrow sense, but
shows how business and life are actually interconnected, and that
in a complex world we are today at pains to learn the greater vi-
sion that we need to develop in order to master our lives and run
our businesses:

Perhaps you’re in a marriage that started off great, but now
you can barely stand each other. You may have estranged
relationships with your parents, siblings, or children. It
could be that you feel overwhelmed and out of balance at
work, always trying to do more with less. Or maybe, like so
many others, you are tired of our litigious society, in which
people are so quick to sue you don’t dare make a move. We
worry about crime and its drag on our society. We see politi-
cians going at it and getting nowhere. We watch the news at
night and lose hope that the perpetual conflicts between
people and nations will ever be resolved. /1

Most conflicts have two sides. We are used to thinking in
terms of ‘my team’ against ‘your team.’ My team is good,
your team is bad, or at least ‘less good.’ My team is right and
just; your team is wrong and perhaps even unjust. My mo-
tives are pure; yours are mixed at best. It’s my party, my
team, my country, my child, my company, my opinion, my
side against yours. I each case, there are 2 Alternatives. /8

The scope of this book is huge, and reading it you will experi-
ences real surprises, things, events and changes in relationships
that seem almost incredible. When we learn in what manyfold en-

terprises Covey was involved, we may get a glimpse how he was
able to build such a wealth of experiences. He recounts that he be-
longs to a leadership group seeking to build a better relationship
between the West and the Islamic community, that it includes a
former U.S. secretary of state, prominent imams and rabbis, global
business leaders and experts on conflict resolution. He also relates
that his firm FranklinCovey surveyed people around the world to
find out what their top challenges were personally, on the job, and
in the world at large:

It was not a representative sample: we just wanted to find
out what different people had to say. The 7,834 people who
responded were from every continent and from every level
of every kind of organization. /4

The survey could identify three levels where those challenges

In the personal lives

The tenor here was overwork, dissatisfaction and relational
problems, as well as burnout and the neglect of the family.

On the job

The tenor here was the fear of losing one’s job in the global
game and the vain search for meaning in a seemingly mean-
ingless industry.


In the world

Here the tenor was the threat of war, terrorism, poverty and
the destruction of the environment, as well as lack of em-
ployment, poor education and lack of infrastructure.

Now, when he begins to outline the solution of the 3rd Alter-
native, the higher octave of the synergy principle as Habit 6 of the
7 Habits, Covey teaches it as a 3-step process:
—Paradigm 1: I See Myself

The first paradigm is about seeing myself as a unique human
being capable of independent judgment and action. /25

—Paradigm 2: I See You

The second paradigm is about seeing others as people in-
stead of things. /33


—Paradigm 3: I Seek You Out

This paradigm is about deliberately seeking out conflicting
views instead of avoiding or defending yourself against
them. /40

—Paradigm 4: I Synergize With You

The last paradigm is about going for a solution that’s better
than anyone has thought of before, rather than getting
caught up in the cycle of attacking one another. /59

So far, I think this is quite easy to understand. The question is
only how, in real life, we are able to make such a quantum leap, to
go that much out of our way and toward another, and to over-
come our own conditioning? There is no doubt that most of us
have been conditioned to 2-Alternative Thinking, to use Covey’s
Regarding the first paradigm, I See Myself, Covey points out
that we can ‘think about what we think’ in the sense that we can
challenge our common assumptions, which is something only we
human beings can do because we are self-aware. He writes:

A 2-Alternative thinker plays the role of the put-open pro-
tagonist locked in combat with the antagonist. But there is a
third voice in the story that is neither the hero nor the villain.
This is the voice that tells the story. If we are truly self-aware,
we realize that we are not just characters in our own story
but also the narrator. We are not just written, we are the
writer, too. /31


He goes on to explain that our stories are always embedded in
a larger family, societal or even cultural context and that we need
to see and understand this interconnectedness in order to be able
to surpass the strict duality of the ‘two alternatives.’
Regarding the second paradigm, I See You, I found it highly
interesting how Covey came to find this idea realized in the Bantu
wisdom of Africa. It is called Ubuntu and means something like
‘personhood’—or interdependence between people. Even more so,
it means that we can only accurately know ourselves when we see
ourselves reflected in the eyes of another person. Thus, we really
need others in order to recognize who we truly—and fully—are!
Covey explains that the spirit of Ubuntu is essential to 3rd Al-
ternative thinking and that it means more than just having respect
for all sentient beings. It means to overcome the dehumanizing
influence of our machine age and recognize our own humanity in
the eyes of another, or a whole group of people:

This dehumanizing of others—what we often refer to as
stereotyping—starts from a deep insecurity within the self.
This is also where conflict begins. Psychologists know that
most of us tend to remember negative things about others
more than positive things. /36

He quotes Oscar Ybarra, Professor of Psychology at the Uni-
versity of Michigan, who found out that when people begin with a
healthy, realistic regard for themselves, the negative memories of
others fade away. This is how indeed seeing myself, I can come to
see the other!


Regarding the third paradigm, I Seek You Out, Covey relates
that when we deliberately seek others out for their share of truth,
we can reach insights and conclusions that we never thought were
possible. This is in his own words a ‘radical shift in thinking’ and I
agree, for I myself was never before seeing conflict as a potential
resource for new insights. He points out that while the technique
of negotiation tries to find points for agreement, the focus on con-
flict leads us to exploring and capitalizing on the differences:

It’s not only natural, but essential for people to have differ-
ent opinions. I’ve said many times over the years that if two
people have the same opinion, one of them is unnecessary. A
world without difference would be a world of sameness
where no progress is possible. /42

We can get there only if we break our inner walls of opinion
and the many political clichés put into our mind by the mass me-
dia. The next step, then, is what he calls The Talking Stick, which is
another metaphor borrowed from native peoples, this time from
North American natives, which is a symbol for peaceful commu-
nication. So long as the speaker holds the stick in hand, no one
may interrupt him; but it also means that the speaker assumes the
full responsibility for what he is saying and how he is saying it.
What is valid for the speaker is also valid for the listener. They
need to not only listen, but listen empathically.

Regarding the forth paradigm, I Synergize With You, Stephen
Covey points out that synergy is a process that passes through 4
distinct stages:
—Ask the 3rd Alternative Question


—Define the Criteria of Success
—Create 3rd Alternatives
—Arrive at Synergy or 3rd Alternative

Asking the 3rd Alternative questions essentially means to ask if
the other is willing for a solution that is better than any of both
have come up with yet? Then a clear vision and a set of criteria
needs to be put on the table that show the other how a successful
outcome of the conflict can be brought about. Once this criteria are
found and defined, the two parties will brainstorm, create scenar-
ios and envision new frameworks, while suspending judgment.
Once the 3rd Alternative, the synergistic solution has been found, it
needs to be elaborated further to work out a real solution of the
conflictual situation or relationship.

After explaining the principles of going for the 3rd Alternative
and build synergy instead of being caught in either-or solutions,
Covey then systematically walks the reader through all areas of
life and explains with many practical examples how to apply this
concept in daily life. The areas he covers are Work, Home, School,
the Law Profession, Society, and the World. Being myself a jurist, I

would like to report here some examples from the world of law,
and how the concepts of this book can be successfully applied to
find new solutions to legal impasses and conflicts. Interestingly, as
a young lawyer, I had basically the same ideas for peaceful conflict
resolution as Justice Larry M. Boyle with whom Dr. Covey has co-
authored this part of the book (Chapter 6, 247-277). When I voiced
my opinions, however, I was being told by various people that I
was lacking out on the ‘necessary aggressiveness’ a lawyer must
have for being successful in this profession. As Larry Boyle relates
in these interesting pages, this is chiefly true; however it’s exactly
this fierce aggressiveness embedded in litigation that causes bad
health not only for all parties involved—and here especially the
lawyers themselves—but that also causes the worst of impasses, if
not rampant injustice, that one can think of.
The chapter starts recounting a case of the kind every jurist is
all-too-familiar with. I quote this here in its entirety because it can
serve as an infamous example of how easily justice can turn into
the most flagrant injustice, and even more so, into the long-term
destruction of valuable relationships between people and within

In the little English village of Breedon-on-the-Hill, the an-
nual pantomime brought all the townspeople together for a
night of silly songs and fancy-dress theatricals. It took weeks
to prepare, and everybody loved watching their neighbors
make fools of themselves. The tradition was to hold the
panto in the school hall, built decades before largely through
donations from the village. /247


But the tradition abruptly ended when a new headmistress
took over the school, involved new safety codes, and sug-
gested staging the panto elsewhere. The town balked, and
she raised the fee for the use of the hall to £800, which made
everyone gasp. Nobody could pay that kind of money. So
they demanded the local council give them free access to the
hall, but the council barred them,and for the first time in half
a century, no panto was held in Breedon. /247-248

Soon the quarrel went to court. The villagers protested the
fee and the new Criminal Records Bureau checks that had to
be done on anyone who entered the school buildings. Years
before, they had paid £3000 toward the construction of the
hall and felt entitled to use it free of charge outside school
hours without being investigated like criminals. /248

School officials argued that the expense of maintaining the
hall had shot up and that they couldn’t afford to host the
panto any longer; the request was ‘unreasonable and un-
workable’. They couldn’t bear up under the ‘massive exer-
cise in form-filling’ required on every villager who came into
the hall. /Id.

After seven years and $6.7 million in fees, the lawsuit
worked its way through the High Court of England, where
the Lord Chief Justice finally decided it—against the people
of Breedon. He also ordered them to pay the crushing costs.
The headmistress and the vicar of the parish have long since
resigned over the tension. Old friends no longer speak. Rela-
tionships between town and council are irretrievably broken.
And the villa pantomime, where foolishness was once a
source of fun, is gone for good. /Id.


The authors report that such stories are endless. They report
another case, in which a young volunteer with Teach for America
was sending a misbehaving boy out of class, the parents sued the
school for $20 million. In still another case, a man sued his dry
cleaner for $67 million for losing his pants. The authors conclude:

No one knows how much money is awarded in judgments
each year—the number would be astronomical—but in the
United States alone, billable hours for attorneys add up to
$71 billion. /249

The authors blame the adversarial mindset which is inherent in
our justice system, which they say qualifies as an infamous exam-
ple of 2-Alternative thinking that became institutionalized. They
quote from a book entitled ‘On Being a Happy, Healthy and Ethi-
cal Member of an Unhappy, Unhealthy, and Unethical Profession’,
by Patrick J. Schiltz who wrote about lawyers:

People who are this unhealthy—people who suffer from de-
pression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, and sui-
cide to this extent—are almost by definition unhappy. It
should not be surprising, then, that lawyers are indeed un-
happy, nor should it be surprising that the source of their
unhappiness seems to be the one thing that they have in
common: their work as lawyers. /251

Then, the authors go on to systematically apply 3rd Alternative
thinking to the way legal conflict—which is always human con-
flict—can be solved in different ways, namely by carefully prepar-
ing the stage for synergistic solutions.


I will end this extensive review here in high spirits about this
precious book, and in the hope that it will inspire many people,
and that it will reach especially those who are torn up in the claws
of either-or thinking with all the unhealthy and often also unethi-
cal consequences it implies.

Napoleon Hill

Books Reviewed
The Law of Success (1928/2008)

Napoleon Hill was born in 1883 in Wise County, Virginia. He
worked as a secretary, a ‘mountain reporter’ for a local newspaper,
the manager of a coal mind and a lumber yard, and attended law
school, before he began working as a journalist for Bob Taylor’s
Magazine—a job that led to his meeting steel magnate Andrew
Carnegie, which changed the course of his life. Carnegie believed

success could be distilled into principles that any person could
follow, and urged Hill to interview the greatest industrialists of
the era in order to discover these principles. Hill took on the chal-
lenge, which lasted twenty years and formed the building block
for Think and Grow Rich. This wealth-building classic and all-time
bestseller of its kind has sold more than 15 million copies world-
wide. Hill devoted the remainder of his life to discovering and
refining the principles of success. After a long and rich career as
an author, magazine publisher, lecturer, and consultant to business
leaders, the motivational pioneer died in 1970 in South Carolina.
—The Law of Success (1928/2008), About the Author

The Law of Success
The Master Wealth-Builder’s Complete and Original Lesson
Plan for Achieving Your Dreams
New York: Penguin, 2008
First published in 1928

Years ago I have read Napoleon Hills’ famous bestseller ‘Think and Grow Ri-
ch’—subsequently I lost the book which is the simple reason why it’s not re-
viewed here. But just recently I found this perhaps less famous, but very impor-
tant book by the same author.

Napoleon Hill’s approach to the teaching of the law of success
is systematic. This can be demonstrated quite evidently by having
a look at the table of contents of the book. There are 15 Lessons,
each explained in a dedicated chapter. Be not mistaken, this is a
huge volume with more than 600 pages and in 7.5x9.25 in format.
It is too heavy to be held up when you like to read on a sofa or in
bed; you will have to put it on your knees or on a pillow as it’s so

heavy. But it comes at a very affordable price for the quantity of
material offered: USA $16.95, Canada $18.10 (list price). Here are
the contents, by chapter. I will then proceed by lesson and give a
few quotes and comments for each of them:

‣ Lesson 1. A Definite Chief Aim

‣ Lesson 2. Self-Confidence

‣ Lesson 3. The Habit of Saving

‣ Lesson 4. Initiative and Leadership

‣ Lesson 5. Imagination

‣ Lesson 6. Enthusiasm

‣ Lesson 7. Self-Control

‣ Lesson 8. Habit of Doing More Than Paid For

‣ Lesson 9. Pleasing Personality

‣ Lesson 10. Accurate Thought

‣ Lesson 11. Concentration

‣ Lesson 12. Co-Operation

‣ Lesson 13. Failure

‣ Lesson 14. Tolerance

‣ Lesson 15. The Golden Rule

Let me make a few comments upfront that are not to be meant
as critique nor do they infringe with the value of this book. As the
author wrote this book back in 1928, you need to tolerate some
outmoded ways of putting things, spelling also, and many words
spelled as capital letters.


To some people such a diction comes over as ‘boastful’ or im-
posing; in addition, there are repetitions so frequent that it makes
the lecture of the book sometimes a bit tough. But the reader is
rewarded by the many highly original insights that the author
presents; and his honesty and straightforwardness is perhaps his
highest virtue. In my personal view, the most rewarding, I think
for any and every reader, are the many stories from the lives of
highly successful people—which was after all the initial research
subject of the author, and one of the reasons why he became rich
and famous later in life. But it was a quite though pathway, with
many repercussions, as any biographical study of the author will
show. In the face of such hard-to-overcome obstacles, one can only
admire the incredible self-discipline Napoleon Hill has employed
in order to steer his path to final success.
It seems to me that success cannot be taught by just words and
phrases; it must be lived so that it can impress others. We are all
not modeling ourselves by the way people we admire talk about
life or about themselves, but by the way they live their lives. And
it all starts with what Hill calls a Definite Chief Aim, today by most
success coaches called ‘Purpose’ or ‘Life’s Purpose’ or, as you may
remember, ‘Your Life’s Work’ in the words of career coach Lau-
rence G. Boldt.

Lesson 1. A Definite Chief Aim
In fact, I admit that I was slightly shocked to find out when
reading the first chapter that I myself never have found in my en-
tire professional life something like a purpose—let alone that I
had sat down and wrote it out. This may surprise you as I am in


my fifties already, but I think I am here just a typical case, as polls
have shown that for example in the United States only 12% of col-
lege students apply this principle and write down their purpose in
life, their wishes and goals, and update this list all through their
lives. Not surprisingly, it was then equally found that all highly
successful people are within this tiny sub-group of just 12% of the
working population. Some career coaches, such as Laurence G.
Boldt from San Francisco, even quote statistics that are much more
pessimistic still. From this findings we learn that fewer than 3 per-
cent of people have written goals, and less than 1 percent regu-
larly review them. We spend a dozen years being schooled, but
the most important contributor to success in life—how to make
our wishes and ambitions concrete—is rarely learned.

In other words, this proves statistically that becoming highly
successful and wealthy is almost impossible if we are not con-
sciously aware of our life’s unique purpose, and take it as the
baseline of our strategy to build wealth. For doing this it doesn’t
suffice to just ‘think about’ it; we need to fix the idea firmly in our
mind and write it down, and then read this statement at least once
a day until it has become a firm goal we want to realize and for
which we have built a strategy.
Napoleon Hill explains that most people waste their efforts in
trying to find their life-work, largely believing they needed ‘luck’
or ‘good connections’ for succeeding. He shows with very sober-
ing and clear language that such thinking is fundamentally flawed
and that reality works in a different way. He writes:

Your definite chief aim in life should be selected with delib-
erate care, and after it has been selected it should be written


out and placed where you will see it at least once a day, the
psychological effect of which is to impress this purpose upon
your subconscious mind so strongly that it accepts that pur-
pose as a pattern or blueprint that will eventually dominate
your activities in life and lead you, step by step, toward the
attainment of the object back of that purpose. /76-77

That working with our subconscious mind is absolutely essen-
tial for bringing about success in life is further shown by the books
of Joseph Murphy, three of which I shall review further down in
this volume.

Lesson 2. Self-Confidence
As I always found that I am lacking self-confidence, I read this
chapter with special attention. Right at the onset of the chapter,
Hill emphasizes that skepticism is counter-productive to building

Skepticism is the deadly enemy of progress and self devel-
opment. You might as well lay this book aside and stop right
here as to approach this lesson with the feeling that it was
written by some long-haired theorist who had never tested
the principles upon which this lesson is based. /95

He then goes on to emphasize how important it is to clear our
thought process of fear, any kind of fear. He lists as the ‘Six Basic
Fears of Mankind’:
1. The fear of poverty;

2. The fear of old age;

3. The fear of criticism;


4. The fear of loss of love;

5. The fear of ill health, and

6. The fear of death. /96

He reminds the reader of the power of thought as ‘the most
highly organized form of energy known to man’ (id.) and then
walks you through all those fears, and how to get rid of them. At
the end he points out that adversity is a good experience in life for,
if properly understood, it helps building self-confidence. But the
most useful is a statement written out at the chapter that he asks
the reader to copy and sign. It is really a powerfully suggestive
statement that consists of 5 points. For copyright reasons I will not
fully phrase it out, but just mention the essentials in each point:
1. Promise to yourself to act upon your definite purpose;

2. Concentrate your mind for 30 min./day for creating a mental
picture of the person you wish to be;
3. Devote 10 min./day to study all the 15 Lessons of the course;

4. Set a price for your services for the next 5 years;

5. Seek positive cooperation with people and relate to them hon-

Having reviewed The 8th Habit by Dr. Stephen Covey above, it
is interesting to find the expression and definition of ‘habit’ also in
this present course. The author recommends the reader to build
good habits strategically and to get rid of bad habits as a matter of
self-cleansing. He writes:

Others will believe in you only when you believe in yourself.
They will ‘tune in’ on your thoughts and feel toward you
just as you feel toward yourself. The law of mental telepathy


takes care of this. You are continuously broadcasting what
you think of yourself, and if you have no faith in yourself
others will pick up the vibrations of your thoughts and mis-
take them for their own. /127

He then points out the important difference between self con-
fidence and egotism. In fact, the self-confident person will never
boast with their trusting in themselves, they will not proclaim
anything verbally, but prove their self-confidence ‘through intelli-
gent performance of constructive deeds’ (id.).

Lesson 3. The Habit of Saving
This is an important lesson and was for me when reading the
book. I have taken it really to heart. I have never been saving all
my life through, and this has not been to my advantage. While I
was educated toward saving and caution in spending, I have had
a mindset of being more than sluggish with keep my wealth to-
gether and have lost a dear lot of money. After another big loss
that occurred to me two years ago, I have started to save money.
And I was astonished how good that actually feels, and how good
it feels to be mindful about our financial resources. After this
learning experience, I can only say that every word in this chapter
is worth to be printed on a wall and looked at every day. And the
old wistful saying comes to mind that it doesn’t help you to get
rich how much money you earn but how much money you keep!
The matter is actually a hot topic that hits home especially for
Americans. It has been found through recent surveys that most
Americans live way beyond the living standard they can reasona-
bly afford. Unfortunately their government seems to educate them


exactly for this careless spending of money and for heavily relying
on consumer credit, as the public debt crisis becomes more viru-
lent with every coming year, and the debt having already reached
alarming levels. On the other hand, polls found that the Chinese
are great savers and that the strength of their economy has been
found to be exactly their savvy habits together with their thrifty
and balanced lifestyle.
Finally the author narrates a striking example of a man who
has made one million dollars but squandered it all over a number
of years. It was only when he was without a penny and virtually
restarted his life, that he began to save money and began to be
prosperous. One of the reasons why saving money makes sense is
that often in life when opportunities arise, we need cash to grasp
them and use them profitably.
I shall now briefly go over the remaining lessons for it would
be beyond a book review to peruse all the wealth of this material.

Lesson Four. Initiative and Leadership
In this lesson, the author emphasizes the importance of ren-
dering service and contends that the space we occupy and the
authority we exercise may be measured with mathematical exacti-
tude by the service we render. This has been a tenor in the litera-
ture on leadership since quite a time now, and I can only refer to
the two books I reviewed above by Dr. Stephen Covey in which
the exact same principle was pointed out at great length.

Lesson 5. Imagination


I found this chapter especially well-written and helpful. The
author gives many examples to demonstrate how imagination can
help us reach new solutions in business and find needs that are
not yet recognized and fulfilled so that we can step in and offer
exactly the service that is needed, focusing our business strategy
upon it.

Lesson 6. Enthusiasm
Napoleon Hill considers enthusiasm as a vital force; so vital, in
fact ‘that no man who has it highly developed can begin even to
approximate his power of achievement.’ /253
He writes that it is something difficult to put in verbal lan-
guage that somehow is related to the power of suggestion, the fact
of planting in the mind of others, for example, one’s customer’s, a
firm belief and conviction that one will fulfill one’s promise of ef-
fective delivery. Hence, the ‘tone and manner’ in which we convey
our business attitude are essentially important, even to the point
to learn what he calls ‘the psychology of good clothes.’ At the end


of the chapter, he warns the reader of the ‘seven deadly horseme-
n’—negative emotions that interfere with enthusiasm. This is easy
to realize; enthusiasm requires an innocent and free mind in order
to unfold. It may also simply be termed ‘positive energy.’

Lesson 7. Self-Control
This is equally a principle that is quite self-understanding. In
every busy life, in the course of everyday life, there are situations
that require holding back with one’s emotional reactions. A cus-
tomer gets upset, a delivery failed, an associate or staff member
had a ‘bad day’ and so forth: showing confusion, upset or nega-
tive reactions comes over to the customer as weakness, or an un-
professional attitude, and it needs self-control to keep one’s tenure
upright and poised.

Lesson 8. Habit of Doing More Than Paid For
This part of successful behavior was termed by other writers
as ‘going the extra mile’. This lesson conveys the simple, straight-
forward idea that overperforming on one’s promise is always a
good idea and comes over as being in control, and professional. It
also has an importance feedback function in that it reinforces one’s

Lesson 9. Pleasing Personality
The author asks the question upfront—what is an attractive
personality? He answers it with: A personality that attracts. What
the author discusses here is the whole table set of manners, pres-
entation, clothing, and all the other accessories that convey one’s
character. Again, this characteristics would today be put in differ-


ent terms, as the word ‘pleasing’ today has a slightly negative note
and could be replaced by ‘professional.’

Lesson 10. Accurate Thought
Napoleon Hill opens this chapter with the remark that it’s the
most difficult one in the entire course. This comes from the fact, as
he explains, that we are not accustomed to consider ‘thoughts’ in
any way as having material effects. Yet one may realize here that
all authors of some renown who write about the laws of success
and prosperity emphasize in one way or the other that thoughts
are fertile, that they are a form of energy, that they have an impact
in the world, and that they ‘matter’ in all our interactions with
others, and the environment. In this chapter, the author repeats
what he says over and over in this course: our character is always
broadcasted through our thoughts and prevailing emotions. This
is why it’s quite useless to pretend a certain attitude when it’s not
grounded in one’s character. Stephen Covey called this ‘the char-
acter ethics’, and it is a principle valid independently of certain
trends or fashions in the way of doing business. Sergio Zyman,
former CEO of The Coca Cola Company, as we shall see further
down, wrote an entire book on marketing based upon one single
basic idea: accurate thoughts bring accurate results, which can be
measured. Confused thought may lead to nicely setup promotions
but does not produce measurable profit. I think the gain of accu-
rate thinking in business produces both immaterial and material
results. The immaterial results, such as gaining trust and coopera-
tion, may in some cases even be more important than material
profit, despite the fact that they may be difficult to measure.


To sum up, accurate thought is everything from correctly as-
sessing how you perform as a business, which is perhaps the main
expertise of Sergio Zyman, to refusing to numb your mind with
the common assumptions of scarcity, lack and doom that seem to
get hold of our media more with every coming day. Even if you do
not have a spiritual view of the world, suffices to look at life, the
process of procreation, or generally the universe, to see that we are
living virtually in a sea of abundance, wherever you look. If the
human condition doesn’t follow the abundance of nature, that’s
the fault of humans who have learnt to think in wrong ways!

Lesson 11. Concentration
Hill writes at the onset of this chapter that concentration has a
key-stone position in this course and is to be defined as ‘the act of
focusing the mind upon a given desire until ways and means for
its realization have been worked out and successfully put into op-
eration.’ /439 The author advances here, as he does repeatedly in
this course, that there are two important facts to consider in the
process of learning to concentrate: it’s to help oneself through the
frequent use and repetition of suggestions, and through building
good habits. What other authors, such as Joseph Murphy, call
‘positive affirmations’ or ‘prayers’, Hill terms it more profanely as
‘suggestions’. For example, one may suggest to oneself in a tran-
quil relaxed state:
—I concentrate easily and joyfully upon my desire so that it
grows into bearing positive fruits.
One may equally build a habit, then, to do self-suggestions
regularly at certain times through the day, every day, on a consis-


tent basis. I use this technique profitable since more than 20 years
and know that it produces results.

Lesson 12. Co-Operation
The author writes that cooperation is the beginning of all or-
ganized effort. He points out that there are basically two forms or
modes of cooperation:
—The one between conscious mind and subconscious mind;
—The one between self and others.
One may term them inner and outer cooperation. Regarding
the first form of cooperation, I speak in my own writings of build-
ing our inner team, which is essential indeed for building positive
relationships with others. Napoleon Hill repeats often times in this
book that in order to be successful we need to form a ‘master
mind group’, a grouping formed with certain other people with
whom we can build a high level of synergy and where there is a
constant exchange and proactive cooperation for achieving the
common objectives. He then condenses his teaching of those prin-
ciples by aligning them around the term ‘organized effort’. Here
he lists the three most important factors as:

—Cooperation and
When these are combined, the result if power. And power leads
one to the breakthrough experiences that ultimately build the ba-
sis of our success.


Lesson 13. Failure
In this lesson, the author clothes the term ‘failure’ into another
meaning as the word leads to confusion in the sense that it is not
definite, that it is almost always temporary. When we consider a
failure as definitive, we are not going to rebuild our lives and
businesses so as to persist in being ultimately successful, but we
will stagnate. This is an important truth, which is why we need to
be correct on using positive terms, not negative, disempowering
ones. This chapter is largely autobiographic in that the author re-
ports here seven ‘turning-points’ in his own career that all seemed
fatal and definite, but were turning out as success factors after all.

Lesson 14. Tolerance
It may not seem obvious why tolerance is a factor that con-
tributes to success. Many people believe they can be successful in
business and life in general by being intolerant and judgmental.
Napoleon Hill firmly believes, however, that intolerance is a form
of ignorance that needs to be mastered until we can build success.
The main reason why this is so is that a judgmental attitude will
hardly win you friends and cooperation with others. Second, he
considers intolerance as the ‘chief disintegrating force in the or-
ganized religions of the world’ and this is certain true. In my own
personal consulting I emphasize tolerance toward oneself, as cru-
cial for building tolerance toward others. All those who are caught
in a harsh judgmental mindset are intolerant first of all toward
themselves. They treat themselves not as a friend but as an enemy
who must be constantly conquered and subdued. However, such
an attitude really contributes to defeat as we reflect our inner self


and project it upon others. In one word, we treat others as we treat

Lesson 15. The Golden Rule
This is a basic rule that humanity shares since times immemo-
rial: it may be called the principle of genuine morality. It is also
called the law of cause-and-effect (karma). It means that we use
the laws of the mind, and all what is presented in this course, in a
constructive manner, and with a virtuous goal. The author writes:

During ages of less enlightenment and tolerance than that of
the present, some of the greatest thinkers the world has ever
produced have paid with their lives for daring to uncover
this Universal Law so that it might be understood by all. In
the light of the past history of the world, it is an encouraging
bit of evidence, in support of the fact that men are gradually
throwing off the veil of ignorance and intolerance, to note
that I stand in no danger of bodily harm for writing that
which would have cost me my life a few centuries ago. /567

This is an important insight for indeed many have paid with
their lives for the constitutional liberties we enjoy today, and this
should be encouraging us to apply the golden rule equally in our
own lives so that we propagate freedom and tolerance, and help
breaking the cycle of violence that is the result of the age-old prin-
ciple of ‘eye for eye’ that is the embodiment of the principle of
negativity or intolerance.
Needless to add after this rather extensive review that the pre-
sent master course is a great achievement in condensing the most
important ‘habits’ of a successful person, and even more so, a sys-


tematic road map that contains the principles of ‘self-building’ as
it be be termed, so as to bring about success from inside-out, in the
firm conviction that we are not thrown around by circumstances,
good luck or bad luck, or any of the factors superstitiously held
for ‘being responsible’ for our successes or failures. There is only
one road to success while it may be sowed with many temporary
failures or defeats; the important thing is to persist and to remain

The biography of the Napoleon Hill, whose life was not easy
at all, is by itself a strong argument for this truth.

Donald G. Krause

Sun Tzu
The Art of War for Executives
London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 1995

All our attitudes have to do with relationship, the way we relate to ourselves and
to others; since relationship is an art, building an attitude is an art. The wisdom
that attitude is an expression of character is age-old and part of the unique teach-
ing of Sun Tzu, the author of the famous book The Art of War.

2500 years ago Sun-Tzu (544-496 BC) developed a philosophy
based on attitude rather than belief. Sun-Tzu was primarily think-
ing of warfare, and he observed that the great general Pan Lo fol-
lowed principles for mastering what he called The Art of War. Sun-
Tzu, inspired by Pan Lo’s ideas, wrote a book with the same title,
and this book, that was long overlooked, is today considered as a
foremost leadership manual.
In fact, the principles Sun-Tzu presented and elaborated have
found to be universal; and quite surprisingly, they also have been
seen to cover the art of peace, or the art of relationship. It can be said
that business is an art, too, and this art is akin to the art of relation-
ship. Business is relationship. When we are in business, we are in
relationship with each other.

In the introduction to his book, Donald Krause first outlines
Sun Tzu’s principles of warfare. They are:

‣ Learn to fight

‣ Show the way

‣ Do it right

‣ Know the facts

‣ Expect the worst

‣ Seize the day

‣ Burn the bridges

‣ Do it better

‣ Pull together

‣ Keep them guessing


The author discusses these principles more in detail in the an-
nex of the book. The book itself, its main part, however consists of
the adaptation the author made of the book for the world of busi-
ness. This become clear when you skim over the contents, for they
have pretty little to do with war. This is the unique transposition,
as it were, of Sun Tzu’s book for business; it must be seen that it’s
a metaphor and doesn’t imply that the world of business is ‘eter-
nal war.’

To assume what would be a misunderstanding not only of
Krause’s book but also of Sun Tzu’s original: when Sun Tzu made
his famous dictum that ‘to maintain peace is to be prepared for
war’, he did not mean to run through life with a basically aggres-
sive attitude. He meant that preparedness is what makes the War-
rior and a warrior is a person who is basically at peace with him-
self and the world, and who has developed self-discipline and
masters his emotional nature. This is not something unique in Sun
Tzu’s teaching, by the way. It is the profound message of the I
Ching as well, especially in hexagram 63 (After Completion) where
the old wisdom book advises to safeguard and protect what has
been achieved instead of being careless and wasteful at the end of
one’s victory.
Thus, in the time of success and accomplishment, when one
has finally reached one’s goals, one must be especially watchful so
that decay and decline not will set in.
This is a basic principle in the systemic and holistic view of life
that the I Ching fosters. It is also expressed in part in other hexa-
grams. Thus, when we situate Sun Tzu’s teachings on war in the
right cultural context, we see that they are not as unusual and


‘paradoxical’ as they may sound to modern readers. From that
point of departure, the author’s idea to extrapolate these princi-
ples to the world and strategic environment of business appears to
be sound and organic.
Strangely, the book does not contain a Table of Contents, so I
will outline the structure here. The author explains he wanted to
replicate the 13-Chapters Structure of the original Art of War by
Sun Tzu which is a good idea:
I. ! Planning

II. ! Competitive Action

III. ! Competitive Strategy

IV. ! Positioning

V. ! Opportunity and Timing

VI.! Control

VII.! Managing Direct Conflict

VIII.! Flexibility

IX.! Maneuvering

X. ! Types of Competitive Situations and Causes of Failure

XI.! Competitive Conditions and Offensive Strategy

XII.! Destroying Reputation

XIII.! Gathering Intelligence

This is a highly readable book on principles that are age-old
and have proven their value uncountable times in both the war
and the business setting. The book is well written and to the point,
and the extrapolation of those ancient principles to the modern
business setting is a unique accomplishment of the author. During
my years of work as a corporate trainer in South-East Asia I have
found many similar books on those same principles—as that’s one


of the most fashionable topics in the Asian business culture (which
after all is based on age-old Chinese business principles)—but I
found that none of them was written in the same vein of accuracy
and welcome puritanism (to keep out the many superstitious be-
liefs that were rampant in the ancient popular Chinese Taoist cul-
I do agree with any objection that it’s far-fetched to apply
business principles from the Far East to modern technological so-
cieties, but that’s a trend you need to watch and follow—if you
agree with this tendency or not, for it’s a fact, and the trend will
strengthen and the principles adapted from Eastern culture will
influence as more in the future, not less.

Jack Welch

With Suzy Welch
New York: HarperBusiness, 2005

Winning is a book that has received lots of praise and also lots of criticism, the
latter mainly because of Welch’s concept of ‘differentiation’, which I will discuss
in depth in this review. Overall, the book is a treasure of human and expert expe-
rience in the realms of leadership and management, written by a man who comes
over as the prototype of the bold, decided and tough leader.

I think I didn’t need to write a bio sketch about this famous
man. But just to recall, he began his career with the General Elec-
tric (GE) company in 1960, and in 1981 became the company’s 8th
chairman and CEO. During his tenure, the GE’s market capitaliza-
tion increased by $400 billion, making it the world’s most valuable
corporation. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller
Jack: Straight from the Gut. His wife, Suzy Welch, is the former
editor of the Harvard Business Review.

Let me say upfront that this is not the kind of books I am read-
ing when I consciously choose; but in this case somehow destiny
was choosing for me, as I found the book in a bookstore in Phnom
Penh, Cambodia, actually a lousy copy of it, with lots of truncated
pages and orthographic mistakes (yes, that’s how it is here!), and


was attracted by the big smile of the author, and his bright yellow
tie, as well as the title. Winning! Don’t we want to win, all of us?
You may think that these are ridiculous reasons for buying a
book—and I agree. But this is the funny thing about our intuitive
mind, the reasons why we do certain things, and buy certain other
things, are hardly rational. They are often plain out-of-place and
even hilarious. But now let’s get serious, for while I have not en-
joyed a training in management and leadership (which I regret),
this book was a real wake-up call for me! But it came rather late…
For my part, my life having been losing most of the time, it
was definitely an ‘attractor.’ And there was also a design argu-
ment (as I am designing my books myself). I found it really well-
done to put the author name in exactly the same color of the tie on
his white shirt. And as the book was so cheap—exactly $3.80—I
just grabbed it, without much thought actually. And I did not read
it for a long time. It was there stored away in my library—over a
whole period during which I was losing even more money. And
believe it or not, one day to my own surprise I felt the desire to
read it. And it captivated me so much that I decided to read it a
second time. I did, just before writing this review. And suddenly I
got a glimpse of what management actually is, while I had some
idea about leadership already before.
And I agree with what Warren Buffett said about it: ‘No other
management book will ever be needed.’ Also be reminded what
Stephen Covey said in one of his books reviewed earlier in this
volume, namely that he only began to make money with his lead-
ership seminars after his son took over the management part of
his consultancy firm. Covey by his own revelation was a strong


leader but a poor manager. This strongly resonated with me. And
that was perhaps the motivating factor to read a book I would not
have consciously have ordered for the very idea to read something
about management would have reminded me to painfully about
my own shortcomings. (See, this is why it’s often good to choose
books when browsing them and just buy them, following your
inner voice, instead of following the often convoluted arguments
of conscious reasoning. It has happened so often in my life that I
now believe it’s a kind of ‘good habit’ in Covey’s sense).

Now, what is winning anyway? Let’s get that point straight. I
am not apologetic in any way to say this: morality has a place also
in business. Welsh writes that winning means to play ‘cleanly and
by the rules’ and that companies and people in business that are
honest, which is the great majority, must find the way to win.
Now let’s get into the little critter. What are the pitfalls of the
art of management? And pitfalls there are, and huge ones—and I
am beautifully reminded of my own shadow, my own defaulted


learning curve in this most important domain in the everyday life
of any business person around the world. Jack Welsh writes:

You will meet a lot of people in this book. Some may remind
you of yourself, some may just seem very familiar. There’s
the CEO who presents the company with a list of noble val-
ues—say, quality, customer service, and respect—but never
really explains what it means to live them. There’s the mid-
dle manager who fumes during a meeting with another divi-
sion of his company, knowing that his coworkers could do so
much more—if they just stopped patting themselves on the
back for a minute. There is the employee who has been un-
derperforming for years but is just so friendly and nice—and
clueless—you can’t bring yourself to let her go. There is the
colleague you can’t look in the eye because he is a ‘Dead
Man Walking,’ slowly and painfully being managed out of
the door. There are the employees who eat lunch every day
at what they have dubbed ‘The Table of Lost Dreams,’ mak-
ing a show of their resentment of authority. There’s the engi-
neer who spent fifteen years building a great career, only to
throw it in one day when she realized that she had juggled
life and work to make everyone happy—but herself. /5-6

There is a structure in this book that I feel I need to convey in
this review. It’s not just the Table of Contents but was communi-
cated by the author in the ‘Introduction’ of the book. The 5 points
are these:
1. Four Principles (Mission, Values, Candor, Differentiation)

2. Your Company (People, Processes, Culture)

3. Your Competition (Strategy, Budgeting, Mergers, Six Sigma)

4. Your Career (Promotions, Handling a Bad Boss, etc.)


5. Tying Up Loose Ends (China Threat, Diversity, etc.)

Explaining what these five important points really mean, Jack
Welch starts with mission and values and exemplifies with two
well-known examples—Arthur Andersen and Enron—how, by
steering away from them, a hitherto prospering corporation may
face total defeat. In the case of Andersen, a top-notch accounting
firm, steered away from their core business and started a parallel
consulting business. Welch writes:

Throughout most of the ‘90s, Arthur Andersen was a firm at
war with itself. The consulting business was subsidizing the
auditing side and didn’t like it, and you can be sure the
auditing side wasn’t crazy about the bravado of the consult-
ing types. In these circumstances, how could people know
the answers to questions like, ‘What really is our mission?’
‘What values matter most?’ and ‘How should we behave?’

Depending on which side of the firm you pledged allegiance
to, your answer would be different, and that’s ultimately
why the partners ended up in court with each other, trying
to figure out how to divide the firm’s profits. Eventually, in
2002, the house collapsed, due in no small part to the dis-
connect between its mission and values. In many ways the
same kind of dynamic was behind the Enron collapse. /22-

A really important chapter, then, is the second. It’s all about
candor that the author calls ‘the biggest dirty little secret in busi-
ness.’ He writes:

What a huge problem it is. Lack of candor basically blocks
smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing all the
stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer. /25

Positively, Welch gives three reasons for his view that ‘candor
leads to winning.’ First, it gets more people in the conversation,
second it generates speed, and third, it cuts costs. In one word,
candor is an effectiveness motor, but why, then, the author asks, is
it used so sparely all over the world and why is there so much
scheming? He explains it with the fact that we are conditioned
from childhood to soften bad news or make nice about awkward
subjects. Should we wonder why, in such a situation, people don’t
speak their minds? In other words, candor facilitates trust and
truthful communication.
If people criticize Welch’s approach to being outspoken in any
kind of situation, they do so with even more arguments regarding
the fourth principle: differentiation. It is to a point that many people


who haven’t learnt much about Welch’s management style, have
come to associate him with the quintessential ‘tough boss’—be-
cause of one single element in his style, which they think charac-
terizes him as a leader.

Having read the entire book, let me say upfront that such is of
course not true. Welch’s leader style is of course much more com-
plex than that, but on the other hand, he is perhaps one of the few
who are outspoken and candid also about things that are ‘not nice’
at first sight. He writes:

Companies win when their managers make a clear and
meaningful distinction between top- and bottom-performing
businesses and people, when they cultivate the strong and
cull the weak. Companies suffer when every business and
person is treated equally and bets are sprinkled all around
like rain on the ocean. /37


Jack Welch admits that, without a doubt, differentiation receives
the most questions he gets from audiences around the world. However,
it’s not a behavior easily to build. He recounts that at GE, it took
them about a decade ‘to instill the kind of candor and trust that
makes differentiation possible.’ This statement shows that candor
and differentiation are related, they are two elements in one and
the same strategy which may be called ‘streamlining business and
people’. It sounds hard regarding the second element, of course.
While he relates that the concept may sound Darwinian in the ears
of some people, one has to see that when it’s applied to the ‘hard-
ware’ of the company, it’s nothing novel. The stepping stone in
most people’s view is that’s also applied to people. It may sound
ruthless to carry streamlining through to people management—to
what he calls the ‘software’—, but Welch defends it in these terms:

A company has only so much money and managerial time.
Winning leaders invest where the payback is the highest.
They cut their losses everywhere else. /38

Now let’s have a look at how this works in practice. Welch de-
fines it as a process that ‘requires managers to assess their em-
ployees and separate them into three categories in terms of per-
formance: top 20 percent, middle 70, and bottom 10. Then—and
this is the key—it requires managers to act on that distinction.’/41

He explains further that when differentiation is practiced as it
should, ‘the top 20 percent of employees are showered with bo-
nuses, stock options, praise, love, training, and a variety of re-
wards to their pocketbooks and souls.’ /41 And further:


The middle 70 percent are managed differently. This group
of people are enormously valuable to any company; you
simply cannot function without their skills, energy, and
commitment. After all, they are the majority of your employ-
ees. And that’s the major challenge, and risk, in 20-70-
10—keeping the middle 70 engaged and motivated. /41

The bottom 10 percent’s fate is to go and leave the company.
He argues that these people ‘know who they are’ and thus when
you tell them how they perform, most of them go before you ask
them to:

No one wants to be in an organization where they aren’t
wanted. One of the best things about differentiation is that
people in the bottom 10 percent or organizations very often
go on to successful careers at companies and in pursuits
where they truly belong and where they can excel. /42

I know from personal experience that this is true. A friend of
mine was doing well as a salesman in a small gift shop where he
enjoyed to be in touch with foreigners and could practice his skills
of French and German. Then he thought he would do better as a
teller in a bank and he was indeed successful—but not happy. He
found the work was mechanical and he felt as a ‘work slave’. I had
of course told him that a teller job is quite a mechanical kind of
work, and also needed a certain perfection that needs to be trained
and learnt. He got all the good training he needed and the regular
feedback about his performance was helping him a lot to get a
clear picture about himself, and the reasons why sometimes he
was performing well and sometimes not at all. But instead of tak-
ing this feedback positively, and build an attitude, he was thrown

into panic attacks by his episodes of underperforming, yet was not
positively encouraged by the brilliant feedback he got at other
times. At least at two occasions his boss told him how much fond
she was about him and how well he was performing—actually in
just two months he had become the best salesman in the bank and
was promoted to lead teller, then to personal banker.
He got honest feedback about his performance which was
sometimes brilliant and sometimes poor, depending on his moods.
His overall perception of life being negative, he was not aware
how well he actually succeeded and how many brilliant job re-
views he got. I was convinced he would work his way up to the
top, but one day, to my surprise, he quit and went back to work at
the gift shop, having been so lucky that they again needed him.
But he again complained that he had to tighten his belt. In fact, the
bank job got him a new car and new apartment for him and his
mother. Now he enjoys going to musea and meeting friends who
are like him, having quit their jobs, and discussing life’s cruelty
and injustice.

I have done my part of research on the laws of prosperity, as
some of the book reviews in this volume show; and I came to
think that the life you get is pretty much the one you want, as it is
what you focus upon in life is what you strengthen. This man was
always a negative thinker and goes from one depression into an-
other, over the whole of a decade I am helping him to cope with
life. In his thirties now, he still lives with his mother, and is unable
to get a date, while he had several times the chance when working
in the bank, but he let the opportunities pass, in this domain as


While I first had a negative reaction about differentiation, his
and many other examples of people behaving in ‘negative sync’
both in their careers and in their private lives showed me that it’s
not an inhuman approach. After all, my friend left the bank in
good standing. He was not complimented out of the door. Not at
Welch responds in the book to all kinds of accusations he got
regarding differentiation. He summarized them into 2 most voiced

Differentiation is unfair because it’s always corrupted by
company politics—20-70-10 is just a way of separating the
people who kiss the boss’s rear from those who don’t. /43

Differentiation is mean and bullying. It’s like the playground
in the worst possible way—weak kids are made into fools,
outcasts, and objects of ridicule. /44

Welch admits that in some companies, differentiation may be
corrupted because of favoritism, but he believes that such a ‘merit-
free system’ destroys itself, and that ‘differentiation abuse’ can be
prevented by a clear-cut performance system, with well defined
expectations and goals, and timelines, and a program of consistent
appraisals. This was exactly how it was handled in the bank my
friend was employed by—the system was transparent, and there
was no cronyism, not to mention that my friend was well appreci-
ated not only by his boss but also by co-workers. He was con-
stantly helped and encouraged, as he admitted himself repeatedly,
but the next depression was then wiping all that again under the
carpet. And my repeated advice to seek out therapy was equally


overheard. I came to believe, after more than a decade, and end-
less hours spent in exchanges with him, that he is a hopeless case.
And my question as an employer would naturally be: is it my
duty to keep such kind of people, who, given all the incentives
they got, persist in focusing on the wrong side of life and are thus
unable to build a positive attitude and an effective work style?
Welch writes that protecting underperformers always back-
fires. He even believes that protecting these people doesn’t really
help them, as they may find their place elsewhere where they feel
more at home. The case of my friend proves this point of view. I
also believe that feedback about one’s performance is always a
good thing, given that it’s given with a friendly attitude from the
side of the employer which was absolutely the case in the bank
where my friend had worked. But the heaviest argument is when
there is a downturn in the market and the company is forced to
streamline itself for reasons of market adaptation.
Then, what happens is that layoffs are necessary and the un-
derperformers are anyway the first the company will have let to
go, but if they haven’t got any performance feedback prior to such
an event, they will of course be surprised and resentful.
There are four more accusations against differentiation that
Welch discusses in this chapter, but I will stop here with this topic
as it would be too extensive for a book review. I found chapter 5
especially useful and interesting as Welch puts up a list here that
he calls ‘What Leaders Do’, and I found that really ingenuous as a
kind of recipe for ‘cooking a leader’. I shall present it here in its
integrity, taken from p. 63 of the book:


What Leaders Do

• 1. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using
every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate,
coach, and build self-confidence.

• 2. Leaders make sure people not only see the vision,
they live and breathe it.

• 3. Leaders get into everyone’s skin, exuding positive
energy and optimism.

• 4. Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency,
and credit.

• 5. Leaders have the courage to make unpopular de-
cisions and gut calls.

• 6. Leaders probe and push with a curiosity that bor-
ders on skepticism, making sure their questions are
answered with action.

• 7. Leaders inspire risk taking and learning by setting
the example.

• 8. Leaders celebrate.

I haven’t found such a useful list of leadership characteristics
anywhere else. Now, again, to avoid making this review too exces-
sive, I will only discuss the point that I didn’t get under my skin
on first sight. It is point 8: Leaders celebrate. I thought what kind
of fancy is that? I couldn’t figure why celebrating should be neces-
sary at all, and why it’s a leadership quality? So I skipped all the
pages that explain the first seven qualities and found rule 8 dis-
cussed on page 78 of the book. To my surprise, the author seems
to have anticipated a reaction like mine, writing:


What is it about celebrating that makes managers so nerv-
ous? Maybe throwing a party doesn’t seem professional, or it
makes managers worry that they won’t look serious to the
powers that be, or that, if things get too happy at the office,
people will stop working their tails off. … But to my ques-
tion ‘Do you celebrate enough?’ almost no one raises a hand.

Welch writes that celebrating makes people feel like winners
and creates an atmosphere of recognition and positive energy. This
is certainly true also for the example of my friend. They had regu-
lar parties in a nice bar, but the only thing he remembered was the
that he got drunk and afterwards had strong headaches. He never
even once reported how the good atmosphere was positively im-
pacting upon him while he casually managed to tell me that those
events were ‘nice’ and that his company’s attitude was ‘nice’. And
yet he quit. Think about it. I believe for some people even the nic-
est approach is not ‘nice enough’. In other words, it seems to me
that winning is even more an inner quality than anything else, and
that while the book convinced me that celebrating is important for
building a good team, and managing a company humanly, some
people, namely the bottom 10 percent, are not likely to react posi-
tively and upgrade their attitude because of the support they got
from the employer.
Despite the fact that I discussed only the first 60 pages of this
360 pages book, I feel I should stop here and warmly recommend
you to read this book. It’s not written only for managers, I believe.
It offers a wealth of life experience that was shared in a witty tone,


easy to read, and sometimes Welch makes a point that stands out
and that convinces on the spot. A very well-written book indeed!

Sergio Zyman

Books Reviewed
The End of Marketing as We Know It (2000)

Sergio Zyman has been a leading figure with Coca-Cola, Pep-
siCo and Procter & Gamble. His ideas are labeled as ‘controver-
sial’, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot learn from them. In
fact, my long-term study of biographies showed me that most
smart and effective people are found to be ‘controversial’ by some

of their contemporaries. Let me only mention Leonardo da Vinci
as an example, and Albert Einstein. We should always consider
that judging ideas is okay, but judging people is not! This being
said, every college student knows that marketing strategies are
aggressive and ruthless, and when they are fueled with power,
they also may adopt destructive tendencies.
I do not understand a great deal of marketing, but that’s ex-
actly why I decided to read this book, and it provided me with a
great learning experience—a door opener, so to speak. I keep rec-
ommending the book to various audiences for we all need to
know a little more from the thunder box of real life, the know-how
of making things happen in this world. To sell a black soda over
decades with gigantic unrivaled success is something that you
have to respect, even if you do not happen to appreciate the prod-
uct itself.


The End of Marketing as We Know It
New York: Harper & Collins, 2000

The End of Marketing as We Know It is a highly interesting book, even if you are
not a marketing man. This is so because you can learn a lot from the wisdom
expressed in this book.

It’s the wisdom of being successful in this consumer society,
where marketing simply is tremendously important. And you get
insights from the book that the media will not reveal to you, while
every little free-lancer today thinks he can write his smart essay
about marketing. Not so. What you get in this book is first-hand
stuff that you won’t find elsewhere. Zyman does not convey aca-
demic knowledge, but personal experience, and that he got in
spades, known as a former CEO and marketing man of Coca Cola.
For Zyman, positioning is one of the most important tasks in
marketing a product or brand. He reveals many secrets in this
book, one of them being the power of cannibalizing your own
product by creating a fake competitor. In case it was Pepsi which


he put up against Coke; then, cunningly, he positioned Coke
against Pepsi.

While Coke stands for continuity and stability, Pepsi on the
other hand, does stand for choice and change. Its positioning
has always been about youth, doing things differently and
unpredictably. Pepsi is the insurgent, not the incumbent, but
this has its limitations as well. For Coke, a sentimental ad
about going to a family reunion and warm fuzzy images of
Santa Claus drinking Coke might be perfect, whereas for
Pepsi drinkers, ads like this would be a major shock. Manag-
ing these limitations is very critical./86

Some of my friends asked me why I was reading such a book
as it would not fit in my ‘new age library’. Well, I must admit that
I don’t care about those labels and distinctions. I was always bad
in marketing, all my life, and have rarely understood a bit of the
economics lectures I had to attend as a law student in the first se-
mester law school. Zyman’s book captivated me, and this was
truly the first time in my life that anything pertaining to econom-
ics and marketing could get my attention. Actually, as a result of
reading this book, I began to develop an interest in marketing, a
matter that in the past I used to brush off as being ‘pure manipula-
tion.’ When you read this book you won’t probably unlearn that
marketing is manipulation, but you will see that it’s a science of
manipulation, and that even if you manage a highly successful
brand such as Coca Cola and you are not strong in this science,
you are soon out of business. On the other hand, if you have a bad
product, the best marketing can’t remedy that and you won’t
make it through. This shows you that marketing is not only ma-


nipulation, for if it was, you could sell everything if only you
cheated enough, but that is not what the market and life experi-
ence tell us. Consider what this man says, for he says it better than
possibly could:

I have succeeded in the marketing business not because I
was just playing around, or because I had great artistic intui-
tion. I have succeeded because I understand that it is a business. I
have approached every new campaign, every new promo-
tion, and every product as an investment that has to pay a
return. A profit producing business. /6

In fact, the strongest point Zyman makes in this book is that
marketing is not an art, not a creative muse where people engage
in for fancy reasons, but that every dollar invested in marketing
must return through sales.

The truth is that, if you want to, you can measure the return
on just about every dollar you invest in marketing the same
way you can measure the return on a bottling plant or a new

When marketers understand that the goal is selling and not
just running promotions, they sell a lot more stuff./12

The next point that Zyman stresses in his book is strategy. But
he defines strategy differently than most other business people
when they talk about strategic thinking in business:

Strategic thinking is one of those terms that people use a lot
to indicate that they are important people who only think of
big things and can’t be bothered with the little stuff. But


that’s not what I mean when I say that you need to make
strategic thinking a way of life. What I mean is that you have
to think about everything. You have to look around you. You
have to see what is really going on. You have to understand
the connections among seemingly different things, and then
you have to form an opinion that will serve as a basis for
how you are going to act, and what you are going to do./39

And my friends who found this book a no fit in my new sci-
ence library are short-eyed; they ignore that marketing people are
those in modern society who take psychology for granted as they
are working with the principles that rule our subconscious mind,
because publicity works that way. This is a simple fact, but often
overlooked. And then we talk about success.

Put it another way: if you want to be successful, / then you
must clearly define, in detail, what success looks like. Then
you’ve got to figure out how to get there./26-27

This quote seems to be taken from a new spirituality book that
gives precise instructions about how to make a wheel of fortune or
how to define all you wish to receive from life. These books tell
you that success is just a word and that you have to fill that word
with meaning, the meaning success has for you. Some life coaches
even add that you have to express it in precise numbers, like ‘I am
going to have one million dollars in one year from now.’ And once
you do experience success, you need to debrief it. Debriefing is an
important notion in Zyman’s marketing vocabulary. He says you
have to debrief both success and failure, and then adds:


One reason to debrief success is obviously to figure out what
is working and why, so that you can replicate the success in
other circumstances. But there is another reason to debrief
success. Don’t be blinded by your assumptions. Just because
you run a promotion and it works doesn’t mean that it
worked for the reasons that you thought it would./51

Zyman has many original ideas that you won’t find in any
university lecture on marketing. For example, he writes about in-
cremental marketing versus horizontal marketing:

Incremental marketing is much cheaper than horizontal
marketing. You can spend less and sell more. You still have
to spend on refreshing your brands, reminding people why
they like your stuff, and giving them more reasons to buy it.
If you want people to buy your product every day, you have
to market every day, and if you want them to buy more, you
have to give them more reasons. But it is much more efficient
to build relationships with consumers and then work on get-
ting the people who know you to buy more stuff than it is to
go out and find new customers every day./69

Zyman warns repeatedly about complacency and the need to
challenge your own product over and over. I think he has walked
his talk here when he was working for Coca Cola, for part of his
success was to challenge the good with the better:

You need to constantly challenge your own concept, even if
you are proud of what you have created, even if it seems
original, even if on the surface it looks like something totally
proprietary. You have to make sure that it is indeed proprie-
tary and remains that way, and that you can go up against


your competitors day in and day out by defining and rede-
fining yourself, and them, in unequivocal terms./74

Now, as I won’t abuse with quoting from copyrighted mate-
rial, I will supply just two more quotes for showing that this book
is not an academic manual on marketing but gives very valuable
and practical advice. I will provide two examples. The first quote
regards portfolio management:

Portfolio management says that you create artificial catego-
ries for each of your products and you don’t let any of them
cross over into the others. Why? To avoid cannibalizing your
own customer base. That’s a great idea, and while drawing
these faint lines in the sand sounds nice in theory; in the real
world, things aren’t so neat and tidy. Somebody is going to
compete with your products and try to steal your customers.
If someone’s going to do it, why shouldn’t it be you?/75

Creating the Sprite brand was indeed cannibalizing Coke’s
customer base, but at the same time it was an expansion of sales;
instead of one portfolio you got two, and the impact on the com-
petition was confusing, to say the least. The second quote shows
the pitfalls of portfolio management if your core product is weak,
and this may explain why it worked in the Coke-Sprite case, for
Coke was indeed a strong product:

Go simultaneous, don’t go sequential. And it’s okay to can-
nibalize your own brand, because it’s better to eat your own
babies than have a competitor do it. If for any reason your
core brand has a weak spot and another brand is likely to
take volume from that brand, you better go fix your core
brand. Don’t try to fix your problem by artificially protecting

your core brand with portfolio management. Deal with your
competition, internally and externally, by being competitive!
After all, it’s much better to lose volume to yourself than to
your competitor./76

I think this suffices to show that this book is somehow invalu-
able, that it has no equal because it’s not a text book on marketing,
but rather a text book on going beyond marketing. You have to
read it all, from the first to the last page, to understand what the
author conveys because it’s not taken for granted to put decades
of day-to-day experience in a book; that means in fact that the
author has done a major work of compression, of condensing the
input to some kind of essence. You get the feel when you read
these quotes, and read them over and over again. There is much
more to it, and probably, if you are yourself not a marketing per-
son, you should do your research on Coke, Pepsi, and Sprite.

I regret to not have found this book earlier in my life for I
would not have run around for so many years as a blind hen and
complete marketing idiot! But of course, for me, as a ‘university
guy’, I feel I am exploring uncharted territory when reading this
book – and this was a good thing to happen. What I learnt from it
is to see things from a perspective not known to me at the time. In
fact, I would never have considered buying such kind of book if
not, by a magic stroke of destiny, and on a business trip, eventu-
ally relaxed and open-minded, I had seen the well-designed cover
in that bookstore in Singapore …

And still relaxed, and at that moment not considering my
usual interests, I was just reading a couple of pages. What capti-
vated me at once was the language of the author, his way to ex-


press things succinctly that had something almost amusing about
it. To tell the story in one sentence, I found it refreshing that the
book was not academic and that it was not new age, and that it was,
perhaps deliberately so, not spiritual. And perhaps it’s good to
read it as a wake-up call when you are on your next new age trip,
or your next spiritual trip, courting the danger to lose ground with
everyday reality …


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Zen and the Art of Making a Living
A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design
New York: Penguin Arkana, 1993

How to Find the Work You Love
New York: Penguin Arkana, 1996

Zen Soup
Tasty Morsels of Wisdom from Great Minds East & West
New York: Penguin Compass, 1997

The Tao of Abundance
Eight Ancient Principles For Abundant Living
New York: Penguin Arkana, 1999

Butler-Bowden, Tom
50 Success Classics
Winning Wisdom for Work & Life From 50 Landmark Books
London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2004

De Bono, Edward
The Use of Lateral Thinking
New York: Penguin, 1967

The Mechanism of Mind
New York: Penguin, 1969

Serious Creativity
Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas
London: HarperCollins, 1996

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First published in 1985

Borg, James
2nd Edition
New York: Pearson Books, 2008

Covey, Stephen R.
The 8th Habit
From Effectiveness to Greatness
London: Simon & Schuster, 2006

The 3rd Alternative
Solving Life’s Most Difficult Problems
London: Simon & Schuster, 2012

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The Law of Success
The Master Wealth-Builder’s Complete and Original Lesson
Plan for Achieving Your Dreams
New York: Penguin, 2008
First published in 1928

Krause, Donald G.
Sun Tzu
The Art of War for Executives
London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 1995


Welch, Jack
With Suzy Welch
New York: HarperBusiness, 2005

Zyman, Sergio
The End of Marketing as We Know It
New York: HarperCollins, 2000

Personal Notes