I Love My Kindle

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a new wireless Kindle from Amazon.  All my adult life I have a steady, not prolific reader.  With all of my favourite authors like Neal Asher and Iain M Banks, I have usually ordered the latest hardback editions.  On my last trip to India where I carried with me 3 novels plus 2 travel guides, I suddenly had 6 kilos of books with me.  I also have to admit that up until that point I could never see the point in an e-reader, but on that holiday, I understood.  I did consider for approx 2.5 secs an iPad but then realised I wasn’t that desperate to be cool and frankly I am too tight to spend that much money on a large i-nophone.

So I researched the Kindle and bought one.  Fantastic, it is great.  The the sharpness and definition with the electronic ink pages is much much better than I expected.  It is as easy to read as a book.  Font size, line spacing and page orientation is completely adjustable.  You can browse the library of 400,000 titles, most of the classics are free.  Newspapers, magazines and blogs as well.  Instant delivery, no postage costs.  Light weight and very easy to hold.  Can hold up to 3,500 books (more than enough for a 3 week holiday with the family) and in your books you can bookmark a page, highlight text and save as well as annotate something that you want to reference in the future.  If you install the Kindle application on your iPhone, you can also read you book(s) on your iPhone and the Kindle knows the last page you completed on the iPhone, so you don’t have to search to catch up.

If you enjoy reading, I really recommend the investment.

Jackie Evancho – simply breathtaking

Over the weekend I came across this clip of 10-year-old Jackie Evancho on YouTube.  This young girl takes your breath away.  To have a gift like this is astonishing.  Her life will never ever be the same again.  I think it would be totally depressing to be another contestant on this show, because you quite simply cannot compete with this.

Chinese Bullshitters and the verified ”news”.

As the budgets are continuously cut in most newspapers, the use of unverified syndicated stories becomes the norm.  The problem is that very few understand if what they read is the truth, a mild variation of the truth or just plain good old-fashioned bullshit.  Here are two recent examples.  I do need to call out that in no way am I implying that Chinese are bullshitters, per se.  Every country/culture has a fair amount of their own.  It’s just the two following examples relate to Chinese businessmen.

In July Lu Qiang, the founder of an outlet mall in China told a Chinese newspaper that he had indirectly acquired 13% of Prada and was planning to buy a further 20% to become the largest single shareholder.  This made headlines all around the world until Prada themselves pointed out that 95% of all shares are held by the family and the other 5% by an Italian bank and no one had ever heard of Mr Lu.

Then in August it was reported globally that QSL Sports an obscure Hong Kong registered company was planning on buying  Liverpool FC. The offices in HK, don’t actually exist and the company employ’s a small number of people in China to promote baseball.   As one person involved in this fiasco said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before with statements being printed as fact that were absolute rubbish and attributed in most cases to unnamed sources”.

It is comforting to know that we live in such informed times.

Life = a bunch of experiences you have until you die!

As quoted by Jeb Corliss in this clip of him flying down the side of the Matterhorn using a wing suit.  However, I think what he says is so true.  Your life is defined by what you experience.  That is why I am constantly amazed when I look out of my windows in the evening and see large screen TV’s flickering in almost every window around me, with people slumped in front of it being fed a mental diet that just paralyses their capacity to think.  The frightening thing is that they will still be there in 20 years, not having woken up to the question “What the fuck have I just done with my life?”.

No matter what you may think of Jeb, the guy can never be accused of not living his life.  Watching these clips it once again inspires me to pull my finger and keep on pushing my own boundaries as I have done all my life.  It is simply too short not to!

Here is a clip of him ‘Flying the Crack’.

Succeed with your career – 3 very easy steps

Forget university.  Forget very expensive mid-life MBA’s.  There are 3 very clear, relatively easy steps that will guarantee you significant success in your career.

1.  According to research done at Harvard Business School, striking a “power pose” raises testosterone levels by an average of 20% and lowers cortisol by a similar amount.  The study is titled “Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance”.  So, get in front of that mirror and start learning how to walk more powerfully, sit in powerful poses and project a more powerful image.

2. Flattery gets you everywhere!  In a study conducted by Jennifer Chatman at the University of California, Berkeley, she set out to discover if there was a level at which flattery stops working – and found that there wasn’t one.  Lay it on as thickly as you possibly can.  The thicker you pile it on the more it works, with everyone.   Think about it, when was the last time when someone flattered you, did you say “Cut the bullshit”.  The more they flattered you the more you were made to feel good about yourself.

3.  Manage upwards. This is a study done by myself.  I have work for an American corporation for 10 years and the people who are clearly bloody useless at delivering anything, but spend their time managing upwards are always successful.  I have witnessed folks who you wouldn’t employ to make sandwiches, rise to heady heights because they spent their entire careers managing upwards.

So in summary, focus on the org chart above you, learn everything you can about the key folks above you, use every single opportunity that you can to flatter them (triple the amount that you would feel is publicly acceptable) and whenever you are in their presence, power pose.  Thats it.  The only thing that will undermine this strategy is if you really are a complete moron.

“The American”

For those of you who have already wasted your money on this movie, I have just joined your ranks.  For those of you who have yet to see this movie – DON’T.  I made the stupid mistake of assuming that because it had George as the main actor it would be a good movie.  I just really hope that George got paid a shitload for doing this piece of rubbish, because he deserves it, for no other reason that it is his brand that would get people to part with $10 to see it.

To summarise, by the end of the movie you still have no idea who his character really is, nor do you have any idea why people are trying to kill him. He meets an Italian hooker in a brothel he goes to in rural Italy and trust me, I would challenge anyone to find a hooker who looks like this, working in a rural brothel in Italy, in fact in any brothel in Italy.  People get killed with guns in very small rural Italian towns, where there is nobody on the street and not a cop in sight.  You can’t fart in some of these towns without a bored grandmother sitting at a window listening to you do it.  To top the whole thing off, it moves at the same pace as treacle running down a wall in winter.

Summary: Don’t even download it for free.  Utter, utter rubbish.