’13 STEPS TO BLOODY GOOD LUCK’-A REVIEW

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Ever heard of the term triskaidekaphobia? That’s the Greek word for the fear of the number 13! A whole array of events in history has given the number 13, an unlucky superstitious connotation. Not least among them, the dreaded Friday 13th. This book, however, will realign this superstitious view on the number 13. It shall lead to a paradigm shift of the number 13, forever!

13 STEPS TO BLOODY GOOD LUCK is Ashwin Sanghi’s first foray into the world of non-fiction writing. Boy did he leave a mark!

He narrates his disappointment in his first novel, The Rozabal Line, being rejected by most literary agents and publishers in India. One evening, as they were having dinner, he recounted his misfortunes to his father’s friend. The gregarious Punjabi gentleman answered, “In life, ninety-nine per cent is about good luck.

The final one percent?

“That’s bloody good luck!”

That simple response inspired this insightful book.

Hasn’t it always been a question; is there such a thing as luck? What is the difference between luck and success? Can I successful be being lucky?

Ashwin uses events in his life and that of other people, to posit that the 1% bloody good luck is the ability to catch the 99% when it presents itself.

He convincingly and in detail, concludes that our good luck is contingent primarily on our ability to:

  • Increase opportunities that come our way;
  • Recognise the valuable ones among them
  • Respond to the recognised opportunities

Consequently, our attitude and approach to life, determines in a major way, our ability to increase the opportunities that come our way.

In his own words;

“Lucky people are lucky because they expose themselves to more opportunities by being willing to do new things, meet new people or travel to new places. They are willing to work outside their comfort zones.”

Grab your copy of this timely, beautifully written, practical book, by Ashwin Sanghi and discover the 13 steps to bloody good luck!

A review by Aura Billy Osogo

 

A review by Aura Billy Osogo

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‘ATTITUDE 101’- A REVIEW

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John C. Maxwell, irrefutably deserves his title, “America’s expert on leadership”. His book Attitude 101, published in 2003, is one of his earliest works. In this 73-page book, John C.  Maxwell teaches us about attitude and how much of an effect it has on who we pan to be.

He simply defines attitude as; “nothing more than a habit of thought.”

He further elucidates on what, who and where, we get our attitude from and how each of those factors have a corresponding relation to our ages. For example, he posits that from birth till around age 5, our attitude is formed mainly by our environment. At around age 6, our attitude is formed by expressions of words, adult acceptance and affirmation. From ages 6 to age 10, our attitude is formed by our self-image and exposure to new experiences.

As he has always done, John C. Maxwell provides insight, knowledge and wisdom, in a way that is as inviting as it is enriching. He dwells on the subject of attitude because as common as it is, it must be one of the most overlooked elements of human behaviour. Often times, we ignore how huge an impact, a small thing such as attitude, has on us, as individuals, on those around us and ultimately, the world.

In his words:

“We are either the masters or the victims of our attitudes. It is a matter of personal choice. Who we are today is the result of choices we made yesterday. Tomorrow we will become what we choose today. To change means to choose change.”

Grab a copy of this small but potent book by America’s expert on leadership, and awaken the inner leader in you!

Review by Aura Billy Osogo

 

 

 

‘LEAN IN FOR GRADUATES’- A REVIEW

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Sheryl Sandberg taps into her rich bounty of experience, skills and talent, in her masterpiece, aptly titled, Lean In. How rich is her bounty, you ask? Well, she is the chief operating officer (C.O.O.) at Facebook. Prior to that, she was the vice president of Global Online Sales and Operating at Google and also served as the chief of staff at the United States Treasury Department. This is just but a drop in the ocean, of her vast experience. She has a B.A. in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. It is from this ocean of knowledge and experience that she writes this book.

Sheryl Sandberg chronicles her career journey, pointing out what she has come to face and how she has surmounted many of those hurdles. One thing stands out, gender inequality in the workplace, in the United States, is not a myth. It is a reality.

From the data she collected in her book, and at the time of publication, for every dollar a white man earns in the United States, white women earn 78 cents, African-American women earn 64.5 cents, and Latina women earn just 54 cents.

Of the Fortune 500 companies, only six have a black CEO and only one is a woman. About 70% of corporate board seats are held by white men, and 30% of Fortune 250 companies don’t have a single black board member. Only two publicly traded companies are chaired by a black woman.

These figures matter because there is a direct correlation between board diversity and diversity in executive ranks.

In this book, Sheryl points out the subtle yet potent obstacles that women, of all races, in corporate America have to overcome. She tells of a story where she went to pitch to a client, in the company of men and to her shock, there was no bathroom for women. Reason? No woman had ever been that high up the ladder that they needed to create a restroom for women!

Sheryl is honest and genuine in this book. She recalls times where she stifled the voice in her so that she can ‘fit in’. Whereas she has overcome this voice and risen to the highest ranks, a lot of women haven’t. A lot of women get a raw deal, not because they aren’t qualified or talented, but simply because they are women. A lot of women still feel the pressure to conform rather than to stand out. To tone down, and preferably to zip it, rather than stand up and speak up. A lot of women still have to choose whether to be mothers or career woman. Societal stereotype almost seems to suggest, rather strongly, to women, that it’s an either/or situation. That she can’t have both.

It is this primordial and anachronistic thinking, perpetrated by a majorly patriarchal society, that Sheryl, and all the other men and women who have contributed to this book, seek to reverse.

But how? That’s the question to be answered.

Well, one of the ways put forth in this book, is that we, men and women alike, must be aware of the gender inequalities. We must remove the blindfold and look at the issue, square in the face.  In her words;

“We cannot change what we are unaware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”

Men must support women in this. Husbands must support their wives by sharing responsibilities in the home. It shouldn’t be assumed that only the woman can drop the kids off at school, change their diapers, wake up to attend to them in the middle of the night and attend school meetings. She gives an example of her husband, who helps with their kids. There’s no one-fit-all formula to sharing the responsibilities of parenthood. However, no one partner must feel that they are doing more than the other.

She calls for women to lean in! She calls for women to have the fortitude to sit at the table! She calls for men to have the good sense and mettle to support women in places of work and at home. She calls on women to awaken their inner leader. To speak up! To negotiate, for in the words of Kim Keating;

At home or at work, learning how to negotiate can mean the difference between accepting what comes your way and getting what you want out of life.”

Sheryl also suffers no fools when she points out that as she strives to reduce the gap of gender inequality, at times, the biggest stumbling block, are the women themselves! That at times, women are their own worst enemy. She calls on women to support each other.

Gender inequality in the workplace should be something we should all be concerned about. We need to have more of these conversations. If we truly want the world to be a better place we cannot afford not to tap into the tapestry of 50% of the population. The world will only be a better place to live in, if both men and women, see each other as partners in a common cause and not as enemies on opposite sides. The former heralds progress, the latter is a zero-sum gum.

Grab your copy of Lean In. Let’s keep talking about this. In the words of Sheryl Sandberg;

“Talking can transform minds, which can transform behaviour, which can transform institutions.”

To Sheryl Sandberg, and everyone who contributed to this timeless book, thank you for sharing your stories with us!

A review by Aura Billy Osogo.

‘BECOMING’-A REVIEW

 

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This was the first book I read in 2019. Becoming is a 466-page book authored by the irrefutably talented, 44th First Lady of the United States, Michelle Lavaughn Robinson Obama.

Mrs Obama carries the reader on her back as she relives her life as a young girl in the South Side of Chicago, through her campus days at Princeton and Harvard and as she navigated the privileged waters of being married to the most powerful man on the planet, the 44th President of the United States.

Michelle Obama is raw, honest, detailed and frank in her story telling. Her story is as inspiring as it is potent. We see the other side of her that is rarely told. She isn’t just someone’s wife. She wasn’t just a woman who wore high-end haute couture, smiled and waved at the cameras. She is a human being of impeccable achievement. She has attended some of the finest institutions of learning on this planet. Not only that, she has excelled at both!

Michelle Obama’s story, more than anything, inspires hope. She grew up at a time when racism and gender inequality were relatively higher in the United States. She had a simple upbringing. She wasn’t born into a wealthy or powerful family. She wasn’t of blue blood. She however, grew up in a home that was rich in love, support and encouragement. Her story underscores what many of us take for granted. That if you have food on your plate, a place to rest your head and people that love you, you are rich.

She has always been a top achiever. She didn’t hide her academic prowess or suppress her abilities to excel, so as not to be seen as a geek. She wore like a badge of honour, as she should!

She has had a few romantic relationships before she met the man she would later be married to for more than twenty five years! TWENTY FIVE YEARS! That’s longer than I have been alive! Her romantic journey reinforces what is often overlooked, in this microwave generation. That Prince Charming won’t always be found as easily as it is depicted in fairy tales. That we won’t all find love when a stranger runs into us in the hallway, knocks our books out of our hands, helps us collect papers that are strewn on the floor and as we reach for the last piece of paper, we end up touching each other’s hands and feel the electric shock waves of love running down our spine, lock eyes, lock lips and live happily ever after.

Her relationship with Barrack Obama was cultivated over time. It took time, effort and will. For many years, they had to spend considerable amounts of time apart owing to Barrack’s demanding schedule. However, the point that struck me the most about their relationship, was that she wasn’t trying to find the ‘right one’. She wasn’t trying to get anyone’s attention. She was working on herself. She was working on her career and her general well being. Barrack Obama came into her life at a point where, as my baby sister, Waridi, would say, she was already working on being “the best version of herself”, as was Barrack.

Their relationship wasn’t one of a superior and inferior. Her upbringing wouldn’t allow it, anyway. Their’s was a partnership. Two imperfect people trying to be make each other a better person. They have been doing that for the last twenty five years.

She inevitably gave us a perspective of Barrack Obama that we have come to love him for. A caring, thoughtful and ambitious man. From his time as a community organiser, to his time as a young attorney, to his time as congressman and ultimately, to his time as the President of the United States. He is, as President Bill Clinton once remarked of him, “a man who is cool on the outside but burns for America in the inside.”

Michelle Obama guides us, as only she and forty four other women can, into what it’s like to live in the world’s most famous and protected houses, the White House. She deftly and cogently walks us though the rigmarole of being guarded by the elite men and women of the Secret Service. How whereas it is a privilege, it also comes with sacrificing a lot of freedoms. All understandable, in the interest of security.

She used her position and influence, to advocate for a lot of good. Through programs such as Let’s Move!, she advocated for healthier living and more importantly, she advocated for better standards of living for the men and women in uniform who bravely serve to protect the American people all over the world. It’s testament to her and Dr. Jill Biden’s hearts, to dedicate themselves to looking out for the welfare of the men and women in uniform.

Michelle Obama expertly weaves us through what it’s like to achieve perhaps the greatest act of a balancing technique, that of being a mother and a career woman. She shows us that one doesn’t have to be sacrificed for the other. That indeed, women can have both. We see how protective she is of her beautiful daughters, Sasha and Malia, as they got to grow in an extremely unique time when their father was the President of the United States.  Her relationships with First Lady Laura Bush and Secretary Clinton, show that transitions need not be a hair-pulling affair.

Of importance, is how she put her teams together. Whether it was before Barrack was elected President or after the fact. She carefully selected a team of dedicated, loyal and committed men and women to help her and her family. It speaks to her spirit as a team leader. That no matter how gifted, intelligent or popular, we can’t do it all on our own.

As only she could, she paints a picture of the rigours of a campaign. The long periods spent apart from your loved ones, the long hours put in to traversing the vast American country to seek for voters’ mandate, the sacrifice, the toll it takes on your health and inevitably, the vitriol and diatribes that you are bound to encounter. Yet with everything thrown at her and her husband, they braved the murky waters and made it to the Oval. And leave a mark they did!

This is a literary masterpiece that everyone should read! It’s exceptionally well written, well detailed and richly informative.

To President Barrack Obama and Mrs Michelle Obama, thank you for showing us that, YES, WE CAN!

To Michelle Obama, thank you sharing your story with us!

Thank you for giving us these immortal words;

For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as a forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self.”

A review by Aura Billy Osogo.