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Winners take all: the elite charade of changing the world

FutureLearn US
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by Anand Giridharadas, pps. 263, (pub. A.A. Knopf,2018)

Follow this author on Twitter – @anandwrites

More on this work by Anand Giridharadas

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What I learned from this book

The author lays some eye-opening stats on us in the Prologue. It does as much to shed light on the financial anxiety most Americans are and have been feeling for quite some time – that contribute to much of the division and fear mongering that has become an American staple for others to ‘swoop in on’ and take full advantage of.

Giridharadas references a study that discovered:

“…middle and lower class Americans (born from 1984 on) now have merely a 35% chance of achieving a comparable lifestyle to their parents (down drastically from previous generations).  He goes on to mention that the top tenth of earners income has doubled since 1980, the top 1% has tripled – and, if you’re in the top .001%, you earned 7x.”  (paraphrased from Prologue, pg. 4) 

The author tells us it is time to examine how income disparity numbers like this arose, and to take an honest look at how the crushing impact it has on the majority of us. 

The author also suggests that the general population would be foolish to (think and hope) that it can sit back and allow the super wealthy and super influential to save us all from this situation.  The reasons, as so carefully laid out in this book, are that many of the same individuals (and companies) who orchestrate, participate, fund, and preside on speaker panels are, in fact, the ones responsible for creating many of the global issues they claim to be solving.

This book is a very eye-opening exposé on what the author terms to be “a charade” that the rich and famous carefully play on the rest of us.  It shows repeated demonstrations as to how and why some very important social problems are to be addressed (as outlined by the super-rich), but fail to ever be resolved. The author informs us that this all appears to be more by design than by circumstance.  It is a harrowing thought– but one he insists is real and that we need to examine.

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A few quick tips for Better Business Travel

FutureLearn US

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailCourtesy of: http://anjet.net

Question: How many times have we stumbled off to an early morning business trip – only to realize we are completely unorganized?  Oftentimes, we take a fairly simple process and complicate it by committing the kinds of oversights that we would never tolerate in the office.  Below are a few examples that might sound familiar to us all:

  • The 5-minute shave, shower and shuffle
  • The 4-minute pack ‘n’ push-off
  • The 3-minute coffee – oatmeal – dash (of course, with chin crumbs in tow)

And we aren’t talking about an emergency business trip booked at 2-3 a.m. the morning of, but rather one typically planned 2-3 weeks ahead!

So, where does that leave us?  For starters, let’s make this easier by taking a page out of the old book of common sense:

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**NOW PLAYING: The President is Missing – James Patterson & Bill Clinton

FutureLearn US

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe President Is Missing

by Bill Clinton & James Patterson, pub. 2018, pp. 513

presidentismissingbook.com

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What I learned from this book

I learned that there are still some horrifying events that can and may occur in our country at any moment in time.  We tend to consume ourselves with ourselves (selfies, smartphones, reality television, etc.).  What we may not do enough of is pay attention to some of the things that threaten to take all of the fun away from us – permanently. One example of this type of catastrophe (spoiler alert #1) is the one examined in the book – the purposeful contamination of a virus meant to cause a complete and total shutdown of all of the things we take for granted but need each day: clean running water supply, electricity from the grid, internet access – as well as too many other conveniences to mention.

In other words, we may find value in gluing ourselves to every personal experience, but none of it will mean anything without continued access to the things we actually need in order to exist each day. This novel could be looked at as a wake-up call for many of us in America.

Most of us think we’re wide awake, but, in fact, we are mostly “asleep at the wheel” when it comes to the prospects of a true, wide-scale crisis.  I suppose it remains to be seen how serious we can ever get about this or any other type of wake-up call.

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**NOW PLAYING: Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire…**

FutureLearn US

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History

by Kurt Andersen, pub. 2017, pp. 440

kurtandersen.com

Sneak Peek: For book info, click FB link

What I learned from this book

I learned that no matter what your political affiliation, your viewpoint on whether we, as Americans in 2018, are in a good place or a bad one, safe or dangerous – there is in fact a 500-year documented history that we can break down that may assist in explaining it all.  Once we can divide it into smaller, more digestible pieces – perhaps we can then figure out the best way forward.  Only time will tell.

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*NOW!!* Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

FutureLearn US

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailCan Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

-by Robert Kuttner, pub. April, 2018, pp. 309

www.robertkuttner.com

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What I learned from this book

This book is a phenomenal examination of the myriad “ingredients” combining over decades to endanger democracy as we know it.  They run the gamut, from social to cultural to, of course, political.  More importantly, as Kuttner explains in graphic detail, we must never forget the economic reasons that have consistently “stirred the pot”; both at home in the U.S. and in democracies abroad.

It was nice to see the author lay out the “global plan” that began decades ago – but now poses the gravest threat since the World War II era.  This was never something could have happened overnight.  The author drives home that if we don’t pay close attention to how and why this is happening – and demand change – there is no limit to where this could lead us as an international community.

What I liked about this book

I liked the way that the author “spread the blame fairly” in this work.  It would have been quite easy for him to pick a side and push the agenda.  However, he took a 360-degree view of the situation, applied factual evidence and real-world events, and made sure he pointed out the: who, what, when, where, why and how of it all took and continues to takes place.  I really enjoyed his reader-friendly writing style and attention to detail.

What I disliked about this book

Nothing. In fact, because of its authenticity, I am proud to say that I am of the opinion that there are no major flaws in this book.  It is right on the money and written at the perfect time.

Whom would I recommend to read this book

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn the truth as to how and why our democracy became under siege.  Like it or not, it definitely matters to us all, because no matter whether you consider yourself a globalist or a nativist, we all will live with the consequences of our choices on every level.  Hindsight, per norm, will make it easy to glance back to, or, “armchair quarterback” what we should have done better in 2018.  But the fact of the matter is those of us elected to leadership positions – who, by the way, took an oath to protect us all – seem to be the ones who are currently most comfortable with sitting back, enjoying their vacations, and just seeing where the show lets us out.  Sure, it’s an easy way to deal with it, but this may be the precise reason why our democracy ultimately fails after 240-plus years.

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

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**Sneak Peek: Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism – by Robert Kuttner

FutureLearn US

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailSneak peek: Robert Kuttner pens an outstanding, comprehensive and in-depth examination of the confluence of events that have combined to pose a grave threat to the future of democracy – and with it all of the freedoms we have become accustomed to enjoying in our lives.

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**NOW** Principles – by Ray Dalio

FutureLearn US

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailPrinciples – by Ray Dalio (retired Bridgewater Hedge Fund founder & CEO)

http://principles.com

Autobiography: Ray Dalio pub. 2017, ≈592 pp.

Sneak Peek: For book info, click our FB link

What I learned from this book

I learned that when someone as successful as Ray Dalio tells the reader that he already has “all he or she needs in life” – with good health, good relationships (family, especially) and integrity in the workplace –  it may time to listen to him and stop feeling like life is always wresting everything away.

What I liked about this book

I liked most the candidness of most everything the author shared. Whether it was his early ‘mistakes’ – like getting fired for punching an early career boss – mistakes and oversights he made as CEO, or the struggles of fatherhood and his interpretation of the work-life balance. Mr. Dalio was much more “down to earth” than most of the big CEO autobiographers we have become accustomed to on Wall Street.

What I disliked about this book

The only thing I thought I disliked about the book in the beginning was the graphs the author used.  They – at first sight – seemed too simplistic.  However, once the author fully explained their origins in the way that the graphs worked for him and his firm, it made much more sense as to how and why they became one of the features of the book.  In fact, one of the points that Ray Dalio drives home to his reader is that he prefers to get his message across in the simplest way possible. He doesn’t seek to dazzle his audience with his message – just that they get what he means and moves on to the next point.

Whom would I recommend to read this book

This book is a great read for any “aspiring or current businessperson” who wants an unfiltered, forthright and thorough examination of what it takes to do the right thing in business – whether in the middle of the fierce Wall Street jungle – or, in the tamer confines of 123 Main Street.

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

 

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**NOW: The 24-hour Customer

FutureLearn US

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe 24-hour customer

by Adrian Ott pub. 2010, 179 pps.

Sneak Peek: For book info, click FB link

What I learned from this book

I learned that all that we, as e-commerce entrepreneurs, have even less time than we originally feared to capture enough attention to get from “browser to customer.”  I also learned that very few online marketplaces even have a chance to compete with the “big boys.”  We are fighting for the brief attention a very small pool of potential customers who have an endless ability to dump us and head to a close competitor should we not live up to their expectations.

What I liked about this book

I liked the way the author recapped each chapter to provide a brief overview of what we should have gotten out of the previous lesson.  This enables the reader to go back and revisit any areas that he/ she might not have fully comprehended and/ or areas requiring a deeper dive for customization purposes.

What I disliked about this book

The only thing I disliked about the book was the tiny graph size and font.  Even with my reading glasses, I couldn’t make some of the print out – so I ended up skipping ahead because my magnifying glass was nowhere to be found.  In other words, I missed out on some of the areas I wanted to digest further. I just couldn’t see it!

Whom would I recommend to read this book

This book is a great read for anyone of any age who is (or wants) to obtain a customer base. The real lesson is in e-commerce, but I believe it would be equally helpful to those who have face-to-face customer relationships they are trying to build on.

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

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The 24-hour Customer by Adrian Ott

FutureLearn US

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFor addtional info, visit our FB page http://facebook.com/writeplus1

pub. 2010, ~180 pgs.

Snapshot: A successful Silicon Valley CEO shares strategies to business executives in how to attract and build relationships in this modern age of time-starved and very fickle customers.

 

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