The Leader Who Had No Title – by Robin Sharma

26 05 2010

A new book by Robin Sharma, the author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

As with his other books, the author uses a story and delivers his leadership messages, lessons through the characters in the story.

In this book, we meet Blake Davis, his mento Tommy Flinn and 4 leaders who imparts the leadership lessons on how we can lead without a title.

In summary, the 4 lessons are:

1. You Need No Title to Be a Leader

2. Turbulent Times Build Great Leaders

3. The Deeper Your Relationships, the Stronger Your Leadership

4. To be a Great Leader, First become a Great Person

Every chapter in this book, has lots of quotes and lines which are thought provoking to me.

One example was, the mentor, Tommy Flinn’s name card:


Human Being

Imagine if all of us had this job title, remembering that we were “born awesome”, that we are first humans, not “CEOs, directors, managers” — What a way to introduce ourselves!

The author does share that titles are relevant in an organisation, to give it structure. The key is not to get too attached to the title, and forget that if we strip off the title, who are we then? Have we worked within ourselves to stand for what we believe, to do what we want to do, to be our best?

Another quote “It’s impossible to build a tribute to success on a foundation of excuses”

This paragraph strike me:

“Work offers you a daily platform to discover the leader within. It’s a chance, every day, to reclaim more of the potential you’ve buried and to awaken the dormant relationship between the current you and your absolute best. It’s an opportunity to express more of your latent creativity and a whole lot more of your precious humanity.”

With each leadership lesson, were acronyms of rules that accompany each lesson:

IMAGE (Innovation, Mastery, Authenticity, Guts, Ethics),

SPARK (Speak with Candor, Prioritize, Adversity Breeds Opportunity, Respond versus React, Kudos for Everyone),

HUMAN (Helpfulness, Understanding, Mingle, Amuse, Nurture),

SHINE (See Clearly, Health is Wealth, Inspiration Matters, Neglect Not Your Family, Elevate Your Lifestyle)

Why this is a good read:

Most of the knowledge in there is nothing new. Yet the way all these are weaved into the story so that one can feel for the characters is a clever way of engaging the reader.

The message of this book also came at the right time for me, where I’m feeling overwhelmed by negativity, so much so, I’m becoming negative myself. It set me thinking, how each and every one of us is born to shine, but through conditioning and society, we conform, become mediocre – do things to get by.

Having the courage to stand for what we believe, to do our best everyday is not always easy, but if we don’t do this for ourselves, then who would?

This book is relevant now, as we are all pushed to be our true self, to shine and spark as a real human being. Nothing less than our best.

The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell

22 07 2008

A friend lent me this book recently.

I always see this at the bookstore, browse through a few times, but it never attracted me enough to want to purchase it.

The concept of the book revolves around what makes certain situation change drastically and quickly from one point to another. It explores the idea of how are trends, epidemics, or social situations are started. How little things make the difference.

The main concepts are:

– Having the right people: Connectors, Maverns, Salesmen
– Stickiness of content
– The context of environment
– The magic 150 (any group larger, it would be hard to control the organisation or group by effective means)

My thoughts on the book:

I was bored. So much so I ended up skimming through the book.

The concept was interesting initially but it felt so draggy and repetitive as the chapters go on. This was a book that presented a lot of different case studies, but I’m not really sure if they do highlight any point that the author wanted to make.

The writing style was not as engaging as I hope it would be. It’s like a cut and paste book with references and case studies from various sources put together in a book.

That pretty much sums it up for me. That’s the reason why I have never wanted to buy it from the bookstore, despite it being a bestseller.

The Saint, The Surfer and The CEO by Robin Sharma

9 05 2008

Picked up this book by Robin Sharma, the same time I read “The Alchemist“.

The story is about Jack Valentine, and his search to learn how to live a happier, healthier and more beautiful life. The title of the book are the three guides that came to his life, to help Jack learn about the philosophy of life. There are 3 Final Questions in life:

“Have I lived wisely?” — how to conduct your life so that it’s lived in a noble and enlightened way. The importance of discovering the gifts on the inside of your life so you can live with immerse peace on the outside.

“Have I loved well? — how to love life itself and each of the moments that occur within it.

“Have I served greatly? — how to be a leader on the planet, not just in terms of career, but in terms of your life.

As I go through the book again, I see quotes that really strike me.

With the first teacher, a priest, he shares the following:

The journey of life is about spotting our weaker areas and healing them so that we eventually find our best selves.

…It (the journey of life) is not about improving oneself. It’s about remembering oneself

Success is nothing more living your life according to your own truth and on your own terms.

For your life to change, you must change. The place where your greatest fears live is also the place where your greatest growth is.

Techniques that we can use to get in touch with ourselves:
– Write down what we discover so that we have the inner conversations with ourselves: Journaling
– Take action each day to reveal the true you to the world – to close the Integrity Gap, to be authentic, be real, and by yourself.

From the Surfer, an ex-advertiser who gave it all up and lives on the beach, the following strike me:

For your life to be great, your faith must be bigger than your fears.

In the corporate world, there’s too much doing and not enough being... Live in a state of calm surrender, going with what life has in store for you.

Learn, do and then be...Moving from unconscious incompetence -> conscious competence -> unconscious competence

Adversity is the diamon dust Heaven polishes its jewels with.

Techniques for self love, self-care:
– Invest in self care activities such as getting a massage on a regular basis, taking time out to watch the starts twinkle,
– Feeding yourself with excellent food because you respect the temple that’s your body.
– Reading only the best books and listening to lovely music that sends your spirit soaring.

5 self-care practices:
– Shift from complexity to simplicity: leave space to enjoy the precious moments of life
– Daily Journaling: Answer in writing the Morning questions:
How would I live this day if I knew it was my last?
What do I have to be grateful for in my life?
What one thing could I do today to help make my life extraordinary?
What can I do to make today incredibly fun?
How can I help someone today?

– A daily period of silent retreat
– Communing with nature
– Nuturing your body. It’s the place where your spirit lives, your home. Stay fit. “Those who do not take time for exercise must eventually make time for illness” . Eating only the best foods available.

From the CEO, I learnt:

To have a better life, we must keep choosing how we are living…choosing our best thinking and our best actions. Choose how we live in every moment of our days.

Life is really short. Now is the time to raise your standards about what it means to be a person, to show the world who you really are. If not now, when?

Elite performance in career and in life is about personal accountability. Be there for the people in our life, genuinely care about people. Do the unexpected for them and give them some of yourself.

Happiness and success are the unintended yet inevitable by-products of a life spent creating value for other human beings.

Techniques/key notes:

– Have thoughtful conversations with people. Get good at conversations
– Be a value builder: Seek out ways to enrich others, improve the lot of thos who have the privilege of doing business with them.
– The purpose of life isn’t to be happy. The wold would change if we began to become consumed, not with being happier, but with being more valuable. How can I be more?…Happiness is a by-product, and it comes to those who don’t seek it.

2 reasons to be in business:

– To create value for others and for the benefit of the greater good;
– To grow as a person. To actualize who we really are, and in doing so, make peace with ourselves.

5 steps on manifesting our heart’s desires:

– Articulate a vision. Name what you desire in your life
– Develop your strategy. Break that vision down into a strategy to execute it under. Break into a week-by-week strategy, more manageable.
– Setup a self contract: Personal accountability, The Law of Diminishing Intent holds that the more time that passes after you’ve set a goal, the less likely you are to breathe life into it and to make it happen.
– Measurement. Self examination
– Celebrate your Proud moments
– Execution

The deepest of all human needs is the need to live for something more important than ourselves. Write about your legacy and what your life stand for.

There is much in the book that can be shared and learnt. The writing style is such that the author would reference to quotes, other books and using real-life stories and examples to invite readers to connect to the words and the ideas.

Nothing new in the book, but it does make one re-think and connect better with the story.

Good to read! 

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

8 05 2008

I finally managed to read this popular bestseller “The Alchemist” 2 weeks ago.

It is a tale about Santiago, a shepherd boy, who seeks to travel and search for a treasure that he’s been dreaming about. Went to a Gypsy lady who interpreted his dream and told him that the treasures were in Egypt. Santiago begins to embark on his journey to Egypt, after meeting a strange old man who talked about “living your Personal Legends”.

The story follows Santiago on his journey, the people he meets along the way, the situations that he encounters and the learnings from his experience.

Is this a good read?

The story is easy to follow, and like with many books that I have read recently, it’s in line with the theme on following our heart and living our dreams.

I like some parts in the book:

“What’s the world’s greatest lie?
It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

“God revealed his secrets easily to all his creatures…things have to be transmitted this way (via word of mouth) because they were made up from the pure life, and this kind of life cannot be captured in pictures or words.
Because people become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.”

“My heart is afraid that it will suffer…
…the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity”

“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.

I finished the book in 2 days. It’s not a huge book, just 173 pages. A simple tale, loaded with references on spirituality, having faith and listening to our heart. I can see why this book is popular, but it does leave this feeling of “so how can I do this in my current life now?”

This book is good for those who are just starting to hear the voices of their heart, it’s like the icing on top, just to give one an idea of the beauty of the cake. But it’s when you actually taste the cake that makes all the difference.

If you are looking for a light reading to feel some inspiration, this book should do it.

If you have been reading a lot about such a theme, then the book doesn’t share anything new that you may not have read or knew.

The Tenth Insight by James Redfield

15 02 2008

This is the sequel to the first book, “The Celestine Prophecy”. Following the adventure of the first book, the characters seek to find and understand the Tenth Insight. This holds the key to understanding the growth for humanity, moving to the next dimension/a new era and world that we know.

I haven’t finished the book at the moment.

It has touched me in many ways because the story gives me an indication of the various things happening around me. The world today, who we are, what we are meant to do.

In the book, we go on a journey in this physical dimension, coming with our birth vision. This birth vision gives one an indication of the experiences that one will go through in this physical world, and in learning the lessons, one will achieve what he is meant to do. All these are the best scenarios, of course, upon birth, we forget all these past memories, and go through life. What we have are our feelings, emotions as guidance, and our ability to feel and learn.

Through remembering our birth visions, and going through a Life Review, hopefully when we are still in this physical world, as we intend and manifest our best intentions, and the divine source, connected through love, collectively, we co-create with others what we want on this Earth. This is the World Vision, and for the different soul groups to be connected and merged, we have to be connected at the physical dimension, connected with other individuals to remember, resolve past emotions and conflict, and work together to create the reality for us.

It can sound religious, but this book is not geared towards specific religious groups.

Big picture, spiritual connection.

As above, so below. When we know who we really are, what we are meant to do, we go on a journey to create the very reality that we seek.

If you ask me a few years back, this book won’t be in my reading list. I think the right books with the right words happen in one’s life only if you are ready to notice and be open to receiving those messages.

At this point in time, I’m keen to find out more about such topics. That’s why my list of books for now are mostly in this direction. I don’t always have the right words to review all the books, I just feel them, either in sync with what is said and written or otherwise.

If you enjoyed “The Celestine Prophecy”, have a read of this book. It continues the journey and like watching Star Wars, you want to find out what happens to the characters in the story.

Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by Juliet B. Schor

17 01 2008

I was recommended to try reading this book from a friend. Read the review from, I decided to borrow this from the local library.

It didn’t take me long before I gave up reading.

The author was an economist, trying to find the connection between the economy, and the commercialism that has affected the children of today. Parents buying (or consuming) brands, labels, clothes, influencing their kids with those ideas and concepts. Advertisers and marketers also contributed to this trend, as such many children and teens learn to associate themselves with brands, and this probably contributed to the increasing trend of unhappy children and teens. How much is enough?

I went through 3 chapters, the line spacing was tight, I was tired and the writing style wasn’t as engaging. This would be helpful to those who may be researching on this topic, or doing a module on consumer behaviour.

For me, the topic was dry, coupled with the points mentioned above, it just makes the book more difficult to read.

End result: I returned the book to the library 2 days later.

Ready or Not Here We Come!… by Elizabeth Lyons

16 10 2007
Ready or Not Here We Come!: The Real Experts' Guide to the First Year With Twins

Ready or Not Here We Come!: The Real Experts’ Guide to the First Year With Twins

Ready or Not . . . There We Go!:  The REAL Experts' Guide to the Toddler Years with Twins

Ready or Not . . . There We Go!: The REAL Experts’ Guide to the Toddler Years with Twins

Having twins myself, I find that many of the pregnancy, parenting books are not always suitable because they don’t tell me how to manage my unique situation. Parenting books, in many cases, tend to be very informational (which works in most cases) and lengthy.

I saw this title while surfing Amazon for parenting-related books, and decided to try the local library just to see if they have the titles. Picked up the “First Year” book when the kids were just over a year old. Brought it with me while going for a business trip, and in that 2 day trip, I finished reading the book. Half the time on the flights, I was trying to control my laughter, because the descriptions and scenarios in the book was so apt!

The “Toddler Years” series covers a balance. Issues, problems that may occur during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year are covered, but parents are better off with other parenting books if you are looking for details. Different strategies recommended by various books are discussed briefly as well, so this presents a good overview of what has been covered in other books, and some observations and opinions from the author and her community of mummies with twins. She also includes sections for daddies and also topics on keeping the marriage alive, having our time away, letting go of the need to have control over everything once in awhile to keep your sanity intact.

Why this is a good read:

The situations may be something that only twin mummies (or daddies) can relate, but boy, is the author spot-on! She has a pair of twins and 2 other kids, a full time home maker, and the strategies described in the book is practical. Got to give it to her, she copes with 4 kids and no external help! Amazing.

Preferred the “First Year” book for the humour and perhaps, because I’m still going through the Toddler years, I’m not at the stage yet to look back, reminisce about the good old times.

If Life is a game, these are the rules

16 10 2007

This was a book that I’ve read many years ago. One of the first “self-help” book I bought.

The author described the “10 rule of life”, the “rules” going from learning about our body, to emotions.

Why this is a good read:

Though the word “rule” is used, the tone is not preachy. It shares concepts and ideas in a easy to read format, and it’s easily understandable.

Having said that, what you take away from this reading depends on your perception and understanding of the contents within the book. Not everyone that I know understands the stuff written in the same way.