This good is fluently written and I can feel Gordon's passionate as a father, a husband and politician.
He grew up in Scotland as the son of a Presbyterian minster.
He was served longest-serving Chancellor and has battled for tax reform against poverty. He also shared his personal affirmation with NHS. NHS staff saved him from near loss eyesight as a student and went through tough time with him when he and his wife Sarah were facing the death of their new born daughters, Jennifer Jane.
In his political time as Chancellor, he had been through the invasions of Iraq to tragedy of Afghanistan.
I loved his idea about equality. Its about the opportunity to realise your full potential.
I loved his honesty and straight forward approach. In the book he reflected the New Labour's successes, his frustration on his long wait to become prime minister, and his failures in power. He described his losing in prime minister due to “I fell short in communicating my ideas." This is one of a good lessons learn for all leaders.
My mentor recommended me this book through our CU Head. I love the 7 principles the book introduced in part 1 with tool kits and second part to have more practical examples.
So what is Gravitas:
Gravitas n. figuratively of persons, ‘ dignity, presence, influences’.
Gravitas is about roots and wings. Roots, because gravitas gives you a solid foundation to express yourself with confidence and authority. It’s a trait and allows you to rise to great heights professionally while keeping your feet firmly on the ground.
The formula introduced in the book is:
The trinity of Knowledge (Logos), purpose (Ethos) and passion (Pathos) is key. They are the pillars on which gravitas rests.
Knowledge is in the your zone of expertise. Your purpose is about your values which gives you momentum and gravitas shines most when you serve a greater good. Your passion is the spark that sets your ideas and knowledge alight. It fuels you and it inspires and engages others.
Practice is the key to overcome anxiety.
The 7 principles essential part of well-rounded gravitas:
Principle 1: Know Yourself- Your Inner Compass,. Roman orator Cicero’s quote “If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings and speak my words.” Let's deconstruct this. Cicero is taking a position as the customer, speaking to the seller (or marketeer). If you wish… in other words, if you really want to do this. One of the tools keeps coming up is
FOFBOC= Feet On Floor and Body On Chair
Principle 2: Teach People How to treat You- Your status (King/Queen/warrior) and connections (Carer/Creator) are in balance- great foundation for gravitas. Preview Your Style
Principle 3: Find Your Voice. – Try the news reporter structure: Headlines/ Point 1,,2,3,/ Wrap. Short is good.
How to be a Natural Speaker, by Peter Everett, BBC 4
Principle 5: Win Hearts and Minds- Find the why, tell stories, step into the emotion
Principle 6: Keep an Open Mind and a Level Head- The Golden Rule by Marcus Aurelius: Everything we hear is an option not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.-> Lighten up and don't take things personally.
Recognise the gremlins- the blamer (fault-finders, think they are right, want others to obey them), placatory (fears being rejected, disliked and disagreed with), computer ( uber-correct, super-reasonable, lives in the world of the mind, approach everything with ice-old logic, often fail to understand the feelings others ) and distractor ( unfocused and dont's keep to the point, bouncy and uncontrolled, ted to talk quickly, change subjects, rarely stopping for breaths) show up in life.
Be a Leveller Not a Gremlin. Levellers distinguish between that they are feeling and the thoughts they express with words. They take into account their and others feelings, thoughts, realities and words.
Principle 7: Get Results
Intention +Attention =Results
Set You Intention ->chronos, set a clear outcome
Focus Your Attention -> Kairos, be presence and focused
When you come UnderFire, Breathe
I would also highly recommend to watch the YouTube on Executive Presence by James Scouller
Joe Biden has been called both the luckiest man and the unluckiest—fortunate to have sustained a fifty-year political career that reached the White House, but also marked by deep personal losses and disappointments that he has suffered.
Joe Biden: American Dreamer' (Bloomsbury) is adapted from an occasional series of articles published by The New Yorker between 2011 and 2020. The author Evan Osnos had conducted four interviews with Biden and more than a hundred people in his political orbits.
The book is a concise and highlighted of Biden’s political road to presidency. Many of the quotes I like. Some of them are listed below:
“Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up in unforgivable.”
My favour from Biden’s wife when he asked her “How am I going to handle this?” as the No2. to support Obama for vice presidential consideration in 2007. She said’ Grow Up”.
His comment to the author “Listen, buddy, you call me a nice old man and one more time and I will personally come down there and kick your ass’.
In the presidential race 2020, Biden commented about Trump, “the more he talked, the better off I am”. When people say to him, “Well, what are you going to do if you get elected?” Biden said, ‘ It depends on what the hell I’m left with. Not a joke. I’m not being a wise guy. Thing could get a lot worse.’.
The one really impressed me was during Biden’s visiting Putin at the Kremlin 2011. He said to Putin’ Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul’.
Book review-A Woman's Framework for a Successful Career and LifeBy james e Hamerstone and Lindsay Musser Hough
Even this book is written to target at women readers who are just entering or re-entering the workforce, I found its helpful to read through as a working mother and also use this book as a guideline to reflect my own communication, professional brand image, leadership style and negotiation skills. It is also useful for me as a mentor to help women at work as a coach and a mentor.
The book is light to carry and I would recommend even if you are just stepping into a new role in your existing organisation as an experienced career woman to read.
Some key notes for myself which I would love to share below:
Build your board- personal board of advisors comprises a variety of individuals who are wiling to support you in the achievement of your career goals-current/past mentor, sponsor, peer mentor/buddies, advisor outside o your organisation.
Sponsor- A sponsor takes on responsibility for a persons career and as a result, overtly or quietly takes action on his or her behalf.
A sponsor is someone who actively promotes you in your organisation and is willing to do more than just give advice and teach you the ropes.
A Powerful champions willing to take a bet on a young talent, go out on a limb for him/her and advocate for the next promotion. Sponsors are the people that propel and protect high performing employees through the treacherous shoals of upper management.
Phases of mentoring.-Kram’s phase of mentoring describe the four stages through which most mentoring relationship progress: initiation, cultivation, separation, redefinition (e.g turn into friendship, sponsor)
Building a brand: to craft your own brands start by taking invent. Consider the basic components:
Apologising is generally not in or of itself a bad idea. But in traditional organisation, apologies may lead to a women being perceived as weak and as a result, limit her influence and opportunities.
Try to change the following situation do not require an apology:
One of the reasons I am interested in another position is because I believe, based on my talents, accomplishments, and work ethic, that I am underpaid where I am right now.
Leadership: Transactional versus Transformational Leadership styles
Traditional: think control on the top of pyramid -> Perform at the lower layer of the pyramid
Transformational leadership and employee involvement, employee empowerment, total quality management and team concept.- The lower level employees are empowered to make dictions about how to best achieve the organisational goals.
Leadership has a number of components, a few of which are :
SCOOP BY EVELYN WAUGHI have read EvelynWaugh’s Brideshead Revisited many years ago and I loved it.
Scoop is viewed as a satirical, farcical novel. The story was plotted around the English upper class -Lord Copper of the Daily Beast and Mrs and Ms Stitch, African government- Ishmaelia, and the profession of journalism-John Boot.
The plot of the book is dividend into three You can find the plot of the story https://mantex.co.uk/scoop/
I enjoy reading the witty, old fashioned conversation between Boots and Ms Stitch. Also the funny conversation between him and African officer. However, not entirely politically correct if it was written today.
When Boots felt in love with, Katchena, a mercenary blonde prostitute who claimed to be married and need support from Boots with her husband. The story line was just outrages.
Overall, I think the book was ok to read through. However, it was never close to Brideshead Revisited which I enjoy re-reading.
Brain Wash by Dr. Davie Perlmutter and Dr. Austin Perlmutter- detox your mind for clearer thinking deeper relationships and lasting happiness
When I started this book, I thought it was written by psychologists.
It started the first chapter describing ‘Disconnection Syndrome’. Its the state that we are trapped to the addiction of our devices in social media and internet with short-term pleasure and a commercialised illusion of sustainable joy.
There are top eight characteristics of disconnection syndrome in the context of brain health and function. These are mindless activity, loneliness, chronic inflammation, instant gratification, narcissism, poor relationships, chronic street, impulsivity and mindless activity. The brain wash is about how we can increased self-worth, reduced inflammation, better relationship, better decision making, less street, happiness, empathy and have better overall health.
There are some key notes I have taken our brain which I found fascinating and we may heard some before but the book provided many references of more recent study.
-social media excessively have less white matter in the corpus callous
- A weakened prefrontal cortex is linked to narcissism.
- People high on the narcissism scale had significantly higher levels of cortisol in response to negative emotions than those with low levels of narcissism.
The researchers found a significant increase in the blood levels of “natural killer’ cells, boost to immune system, and significant decrease in urine level of adrenaline and noradrenalin, two of the major chemical of the sympathetic nervous system and stress response, after spent three days in natural.
Some recent research reveals that the neurotic by-product of the kynurenine pathway causes negative downstream effects on moods.
Are you a full-time working mom with a spouse who was often away from home? If you are juggle with trying to balance the needs of the family and with the demands of your job, this is the right book for you to read.
When I first grabbed this book from the library, I was a bit sceptical if I can finish reading it, but after reading the first chapter, I started to engrossed the with the story.
Michelle was brought up at the south side of Chicago in an upper floor house where her parents rented from her great-aunt. She had a very supportive family and this laid an important foundation of her family value and her communication styles even when she became the First Lady of USA.
She attended Princeton University and followed by Harvard Law School. While at Princeton, Michelle Robinson became involved with the Third World Center (now known as the Carl A. Fields Center), an academic and cultural group that supported minority students.
After graduation, she began her position as an associate at the prestigious law firm, Sidley & Austin , as a junior associate. At the firm, she met Barack who worked as a summer associate for Michelle. Soon they found they were attracted with each other and managed their long distance romance till Barack gratulated fro Harvard. For a while, Barack and Michelle lived in the second-floor apartment on Euclid Avenue where she had been raised.
Barack and Michelle had very different family value due to that they grew up in completely different background. Obama came from a divorce family and was raised by his white grandparent in laid-back Hawaii. He did not fully believe in marriage so long as the two people love each other. Unlike Michelle who believed in conventional family value and lovely parents and sibling. It has been a challenge for them but eventually they overcome this and started their own family.
Seeking a more public-service-oriented career path, in 1991 Michelle became an assistant to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Later, she took an executive director for the Chicago chapter of Public Allies. And then, she transitioned to working at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Michelle had a great career future ahead of her and being a working mother, it was not easy to juggle between her work and supporting Barack with his presidency champion. She was the last person Barack admitted about his ambition to run the presidency champion. Eventually, Michelle’s brother, Craig Robinson’s, who had tried to get her buy in to support Baraka on running the presidency.
The bibliography then described in details about the up and downs in running the presidency champion. At some stage, their daughter, Sasha, was getting overweighted as they frequent had McDonald's driven through food for dinner. She then had to hire chef Sam Kass to refocus on nutrition balance of their family dishes. Eventually she also quite her job to focus on the champaign.
During the champaign, Michelle had been portrait as a ‘Gorilla’ for her angry and strong image to the public. It was hard for her and she did think about quitting, but eventually after taking good advices from her colleagues/friends, she acknowledged that she needed to take consultant's advise on rebranding herself from dress to her voice tone in order to support her husband's ambition.
Being the First Lady came with unusual privileges and some unusual challenges. She decided to devote building a vegetable garden in White House for promoting nutrition and healthy living. She had the chance to visit Neilson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth. I loved the joke that the Queen made about Michelle was surprising taller than she imaged, their were both wearing uncomfortable shoes for the sake of formality, and Michelle's broke in protocol on hugging the Queen. The Queen had showed Michelle that humanity is more important than protocol or formality.
After being in the White House for almost 8 years, Michelle was expecting to handover her role back to the Clintons'.
The First Ladies had traditionally shown the White House to their successors. Barbara Pierce Bush handed over to Hillary Rodham Clinton then back to Bush’s family by Laura Welch Bush before Michelle Obama.
Michelle did not hind her surprised that Trump won the presidency it was to Melania Trump who she had handover to.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and looking forward to Michelle next new book.
Gloucester Crescent: Me, My Dad and Other Grown-Ups
Being part of Westend community, I was attracted by the book titled ‘Gloucester Crescent: Me, My Dad and Other Grown-Ups’ from local library and wanted to find out what it was like living in the 60s, 70s and 80s in Gloucester Crescent in Camden Town.
The author’s father, Jonathan Miller, came from a medical doctor background, but was an English theatre and opera director, actor, author, and television presenter. Naturally, William was surrounding with TV screen writer, such as Alan Bennett and other famous actors in his neighbourhood. William talked the darker side of his father. Even being famous in others’ eye, he was often despairing with his own failure.
This resonates my childhood too. My father was a poet since he was a teenager. However in order to support our family, he started his early career a TV producer and later on he set up his own TV commercial film company. Before we could afford a family home, I used to spend my early childhood in the office and I was surrounded by many TV actors and models. Sometime I felt a bit overwhelm when hearing small talks about the entertainment industry through his circle of entertainment friends. When I was 12 years old, Dad asked if I want to take over his company one day. I said no way! Then he told me I shall study hard if I want to do something different for my life.
The second half of the book focuses on William’s school live. In the primary school years, William met his mother’s expectation and passed the exam as a music scholar to get into Primrose Hill Primary . His parents believed the school will guide the lightening path for his future. In the contract, William and his Gloucester Crescent friend Conrad were labelled as posh and William, in particular, was often bullied through out the rest of school years in Primrose.
He got into into Bedales in A-levels in the hope of becoming a doctor like his father. However he struggled through the two years study in Bedales and he failed miserable with all Os at the end.
Instead of taking extra year to study, William decided to move to New York and started his career in TV production and later on became succeed and returned to Gloucester Crescent with his wife and two daughters.