Category Archives: Life

Bite-Size Einstein


‌einsteinBite-Size Einstein : Quotations on Just About Everything from the Greatest Mind of the Twentieth Century (1996)

This is an interesting book of which Einstein expresses his thoughts on various topics.

On Art and Music :

  1. 1.True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist. I can feel this urge in Ernst Bloch’s work as in few later musicians.

2. One flower is beautiful, a surfeit of flowers is vulgar.

3. Music does not influence research work, but both are nourished by the same source of longing, and they complement one another in the release they offer.


On Ethics and Morality :

  1. The foundation of all human values is morality. To have recognized this is the unique greatness of our Moses. In contrast, look at the people today!
  2. Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty ; it stems rather from love and devotion towards men and towards objective things.
  3. Nothing will benefit human health and increases the chances of survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.


On himself :

1. With fame, I became more and more stupid, which, of course, is a very common phenomenon. There is far too great a disproportion between what one is and what others think one is, or at least what they say they think one is. But one has to take it all with good humor.

2. Yesterday idolized, today hated and spit upon, tomorrow forgotten, and the day after tomorrow promoted to Sainthood. The only salvation is a sense of humor, and we will keep that as long as we draw breath.

On life :

  1. Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.
  2. Make friends with a few animals. Then you will become a cheerful man once more and nothing will be able to trouble you.
  3. People are like the ocean; sometimes smooth and friendly, at others stormy and full of malice. The important thing to remember is that they too are mostly made of water.

On Philosophy :

1. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

2. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

3. Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.





The Seed


TheSeed.jpg By Jon Gordon (2011)

Josh lost his passion at work. Challenged by his boss to take two weeks and decide if he really wants to work there, Josh takes off for the country, where he meets a wise farmer who gives him some sources of wisdom and encouragement in his work and life.


“Where do I start?” Josh asked curiously.


Begin where all knowing exists. Begin with your heart. And be careful of your mind. It will often play tricks on you and deceive you on your quest. But your heart never lies. It knows your why. It knows where you are meant to go and what are you meant to do. You just have to listen to it. And while you are following your heart, also look for the signs.


“What signs?” Josh asked, knowing his heart certainly wasn’t forthcoming with information lately.


The signs of grace that guide you through life. These signs help you decide which roads to take. They come in many forms : advice from a stranger, dreams, eureka moments, songs, television shows, books, and even big signs on the side of the road. God uses all means to communicate with us to guide us on our journey.


In life, your past leads to your future, and your future is connected to your past. Think about your past and you’ll find clues to create your future.


It’s not the job you do that matters. It’s the energy and mind-set that you bring to your job that truly matters. Burnout is more often caused by purpose deficiency.


In making your decision, don’t choose where you will be happiest – choose where you will learn the most. Choose where you can grow into your full potential. If you’ve grown all you can grow where you are and it’s time to grow higher somewhere else, then leave. But don’t leave because of challenges.


When you experience resistance, you find the lessons that you are meant to learn. People often run where they face resistance, but to grow you must face it and learn from it. We often have to go through things at work and in life that don’t make us happy, but they teach us lessons that lead to our happiness in the future.


Every job, good or bad, trains us for the work we are meant to do in the future. Challenges only make you stronger.

The $100 Startup


startup By Chris Guillebeau (2012)
In this book, Chris shares a blueprint to freedom through his research and account of people who found a way to live their dreams and make a good living from something they cared deeply about.

He talks about micro-entrepreneurship.

Lesson 1 : Convergence


Not everything you are passionate about or skilled in is interesting to the rest of the world, and not everything is marketable. But in the overlap between the two circles, where passion or skill meets usefulness, a microbusiness built on freedom and value can thrive.

Lesson 2 : Skill Transformation

Many of the projects were started by people with related skills, not necessarily the skill most used in the project. To succeed in a business project, it helps to think carefully about all the skills that you have that could be helpful to others.

Lesson 3 : The Magic Formula

Passion or skill + usefulness = success

The basis of starting a business is simple, which can be broken down as follows :

1. Product or service : what you sell.

2. People willing to pay for it : your customers.

3. A way to get paid : how you’ll exchange a product or service for money

The initial work can be a challenge, but after the typical business gets going, you can usually take a number of steps to ramp up sales and income – if you want to. It helps to have a strategy of building interest and attracting attention, described here as hustling. Instead of just popping up one day with an offer, it helps to craft a launch event to get buyers excited ahead of time.

The lessons and case studies illustrate a business creation method that has worked many times over : Build something that people want and give it to them.

Key Points

1. Value means “helping people. When you focused on providing value above all else, their businesses were successful.

2. Give people what they really want.

3. The more you can market a core benefit, the easier it will be to profit from your idea. Core benefits usually relate to emotional needs more than physical needs.

4. Always focus on what you can add or take away to improve someone’s life .. and then prepare to get paid.

5. Use surveys to understand customers and prospects. The more specific, the better.

6. What people want and what they say they want are not always the same thing : your job is to figure out the difference.

7. Provide a nudge to customers by getting them to make a decision. The difference is urgency : Why should people act now?

8. Offer reassurance and acknowledgement immediately after someone buys something or hires you. Then find a small but meaningful way to go above and beyond their expectations.

9. “Moving on up” by increasing income in an existing business is usually easier than initially starting the business.

10. Easy growth options include adding a service to a product-based business (or vice versa), deploying a creative series of upsells, cross-sells, and making a few key tweaks.

11. Horizontal expansion involves going broader by serving more customers with different (usually related) interests, vertical expansion involves going deeper by serving the same customers with different levels of need.

The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs

The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs

The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs


By Carmine Gallo (2011)

Based on this book, there are 7 principles from Steve Jobs that will force a person to “think differently”.
1. Principle 1 : Do what you love

Study people who have followed their passion. Talk to them. You may get some insights  on how they made a transition from working at something that didn’t engage them to doing what they love.

Do you have interests outside of what you do for a living? If so, explore them. You may be surprised at how you can translate those passions into financial success. Try something new this year. Take a course, read a book or attend a conference that has nothing to do with your job.

Do what you love. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking . Don’t settle.


2. Principle 2 : Put a dent in the universe

Never underestimate the power of a bold vision to move society forward. Give yourself permission to dream big. Create a vision for your brand that inspires you to get up each morning. Put your vision to the test. Make sure your vision fits easily in a Twitter post of 140 characters or fewer.

See yourself having already accomplished your vision, regardless of how far it is in the future. Passion is the fuel that gives you energy to reach your dreams, but vision provides the road map.


3. Principle 3 : Kick-Start your brain

According to Steve jobs, “Creativity is just connecting things”. Use analogies or metaphors to think about a problem. By finding similarities between two very different things, your brain makes new and sometimes profound connections. Leave your comfort zone from time to time.

Don’t live in fear of the new. Embrace change. Embrace diversity of opinions and experiences.

Spend 15 minutes a day, asking questions that challenge status quo. Instead of asking “How”, ask “Why” and “What if”.

Seek out new experiences. If you typically read nonfiction texts, read a fiction book. If you usually choose business publications from the magazine stand, visit another category once in a while. Take every opportunity to travel. Researchers have documented that the more countries  person has lived in, the more likely the person is to leverage that experience to create innovative ideas, processes, or methods.

Hire outside of conventional norms. Most creative teams are diverse, composed of people with vastly different, but complementary talents, skills, and experiences.


4. Principle 4 : Sell Dreams, Not Products.

Commit yourself to excellence in every aspect of your business. Demand excellence in others. When it comes to your customer, it’s not about you; it’s about them. Your customers don’t care about you; they care about their dreams. They are asking themselves, “How will this product or service make my life better?” Help them fulfil their dreams and watch your sales soar.

Be your own focus group. Listening to your customer is not as valuable as knowing your customer.


5. Principle 5 : Say “No” to 1000 things

Ask yourself ” What is the deepest reason that people buy my product?” The answer should become your product’s focus. Anything that detracts from that focus should be eliminated. As a new year’s resolution, create a “stop doing” list. Cut down on the time your spend on projects or tasks that does not advance your core purpose and fulfil your passion.

Review everything about your product or service from the perspective of your customer. Ask a new year’s resolution. Create a “Stop doing” list. Cut down on the time you spend on projects or tasks that do not advance your core purpose and fulfil your passion.


6. Principle 6 : Create Insanely Great Experiences

Don’t move products. Enrich lives instead. Carefully review each customer touch point with your brand.  Look outside your industry for ideas on how to stand out from your competitors. Hire for cultural fit. Have fun. Passion is contagious.


7. Master the Message

Have a story t tell before opening Powerpoint or Keynote. Tell your story early and often. Make your brand story consistent across all platforms, presentations, website, advertising, marketing materials, social media.


Meatball Sundae


meatballsundaeBy Seth Godin (2007)

I guess I prefer his previous books like Linchpin and Poke the Box, cos they are easier to read. For this one, it is very confusing. Maybe too much words for his style? I donna…

He talks about certain trends, that was way back in 2007. Now it is 2014. Hence certain things have already been realized and still happening as of now..

Trend 1 :There is direct communication between producers and consumers. Thus eliminating the middle man.

Trend 2 : Amplification of the voice of the consumer and independent authorities.  In a market where everyone is a critic, the need to create products that appeal to and satisfy critics becomes urgent. The same is true for after-purchase issues of services and quality.

Trend 3 : Need for an authentic story as the number of sources increase.

Trend 4 : Extremely short attention span due to clutter.

Trend 5 : The Long Tail. Domination by hit products is fading, consumers reward providers that offer the most choices, and the economics of creating and selling a product have fundamentally changed. Find a market that hasn’t been found yet, create something so remarkable that people in the market are compelled to find you. String together enough of these markets so that you can make it into a business.


Trend 6 : Outsourcing. It is not just possible to find someone to make/code/do something for you quickly and cheaply. It is now easy. Production of physical goods  and intellectual property is based on talent and efficiency instead.

Trend 7 : Google and the dicing of everything. Now it is a pick and choose, component based solution.

Trend 8 : Infinite channels of communication.

Trend 9: Direct communication and commerce between consumers and consumers?

Trend 10 : The shifts in scarcity and abundance. Your organization is based on exploiting scarcity. Create and sell something scarce and you can earn a profit. But when scarce things become common, and common things become scarce, you need to alter what you can do all day.

What used to be abundant
1. Spare time
2. Attention
3. Ability to pollute without consequences
4. Trust
5. Sufficiently trained workers
6. Open space, clean water, and other natural resources.

Trend 11 : The triumph of big ideas. New Marketing demands ideas that force people to sit up and take notice. But big ideas can be simple.

Trend 12 : The shift from “How many” to “who”? The focus on mass is understandable if you assume that all consumers are the same but they are not.

Trend 13: The wealthy are like us. It seems like you offer very cheap things and you have good business. Or if you triple your rates and add amenities and value, you will also have good business.

Trend 14 : New gatekeepers, no gatekeepers. Now almost everyone is approachable when using the new medium. But approachable doesn’t mean you can gain by spamming folks, no matter how generous your offer might be.




ImageAn Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded–and What We Need to Do to Remake Them by John Perkins (2009)

After reading this book, you will have another perspective that once a company or individual has lots and lots of money, there is a lot of things that can be done, which includes hiring a band of thugs to disrupt a country, forcing a government to be overthrown.

Former economic hit man John Perkins has experienced today’s economic collapse before. The banking industry and sub-prime mortgage fiascos, the rising tide of unemployment, and the shuttering of businesses are all too familiar in the Third World countries where he worked. He was both an observer and a perpetrator of events that have now sent the US – in fact the entire planet – spiraling toward disaster. The real cause of our global financial meltdown is what Perkins calls predatory capitalism – the mutant form of an economic system that encourages widespread exploitation of the few to benefit a small number of already very wealthy people.

Here, Perkins pulls back the curtain on the real cause of the current global financial meltdown. He shows how we’ve been hoodwinked by the CEOs who run the corporatocracy—those few corporations that control the vast amounts of capital, land, and resources around the globe—and the politicians they manipulate. These corporate fat cats, Perkins explains, have sold us all on what he calls predatory capitalism, a misguided form of geopolitics and capitalism that encourages a widespread exploitation of the many to benefit a small number of the already very wealthy. Their arrogance, gluttony, and mismanagement have brought us to this perilous edge. The solution is not a “return to normal.” But that each and every of us can do our part to boycott the company and in turn force them to correct their actions.

John Perkins met another senior colleague Ms Claudine Martin who showed him some ropes into their profession.

Unfolding a map, she described Iran as a crucial piece on the Cold War chessboard. “The country’s loaded with oil, but…,” she pointed at the map, “even more important, look at its immediate neighbours : the Soviet Union, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Besides that, whoever controls Iran rules the Persian Gulf – Arabian Gulf if you speak Arabic – and can easily attack Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria with missles,”  She went on to say that in the 1951 democratic elections for prime minister, Iranians choose Mohammed Mossadegh (Time magazine’s Man of the Year” in 1951), a prominent parliamentarian who promised to force foreign oil companies to share more of their profits with the Iranian people, or face expropriation. “He honoured his campaign promise. ” She refolded the map. “The bastard nationalized Iran’s petroleum assets.” Then she grinned. “And incurred the wrath of British and US intelligence. A big mistake.”

After Mossadegh nationalized oil, the CIA”s director, Allen Dulles, demanded action. However, because of Iran’s proximity to the USSR, President Eisenhower ruled against risking a nuclear war by launching an invasion. Instead, a CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt was dispatched with millions of dollars. He hired a band of thugs to disrupt the country. Riots and violent demonstrations followed, creating the impression that Mossadegh was both unpopular and inept. In 1953, he was overthrown, imprisoned for a while and then spend the resf of his life under house arrest. The CIA’s choice for a replacement, the pro-oil company, pro-Washington Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was brough in and crowned Shahan Shah (“Kings of Kings”)


The Behavior Gap


ImageSimple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money By Carl Richards (2012)

This is one of those really interesting books that I read that can revive my interest in reading. The author has a humorous and direct way of writing, that it feels most genuine that he is giving his advice and sharing his experience.

1. We don’t beat the market, the market beat us.
You need to have a real plan, like deciding where you want to be, and how you are going to behave to get there. Find investments to populate your plan.  Admit there is a problem. Face the fact that cash is not a solution to crisis. Develop a checklist of questions to ask before you make major financial decisions. Take your time and incorporate new information slowly. Focus on your behaviour and not the market.


2. The Perfect Investment
There is no such thing as best investment. The best investment depends on personal factors – such as your goals, your personality, your existing holding, your credit card balance.


3. Ignore advice, make fun of forecasts
Goals of educational institutions and a person’s goals as a human being are almost certainly very different. Institutions get very different deals on their investments. Fees on alternative investments and hedging strategies put them out of reach of people like you and me.


4. It is not financial planning. It is life planning.


Why we want financial security is because we want to be happy, and to provide a good life for our loved ones.  Happiness is more about expectations and desire than it is about income. Financial decisions are almost like life decisions. Before you decide on your financial goals, you need to choose your life goals. When you link financial decisions to life decisions, you encounter a whole different set of challenges. Each person’s financial situation becomes unique because their goals are unique.


5. Too much information
 Spend less time watching and worrying about money. – less time giving in to our anxiety, our need to control things. Gathering information – being in the know- is not the same as being mindful, being aware, being present for what’s actually going on behind the news.


6. Plans are worthless
Limit your attention to things that matter to you and things that you can influence them.


7. Feelings

Investing, like life itself, forces us to make decisions in the midst of uncertainty We will never be right all the time. How can you tell whether to act or not? Try asking the two questions :

1. If I act on this new information and it turns out to be right, what impact will it have on my life?

2. If I act on this new information and it turns out to be wrong, what impact will it have on my life?

Just forcing yourself to consider the potential outcomes of being wrong will result in making much better investment decisions.


8. You’re responsible for your behaviour (but you can’t control the results)

Make sure you consider the bigger picture – the context of your behaviour. A single action may have broader financial consequences that aren’t immediately obvious. For example, you decide to start your own business. Your daughter workers there in the summer and ends up running it. This could be good or bad – but it probably wasn’t part of the plan.


9. When we talk about money

Sometimes generation gaps or upbringing can cause different perspective. My friend and his wife always believed it was important for them to teach their kids that there are limits to what their family could buy. Like many of us, my friends made their case by falling back on the statement , “We can’t afford that” each time their kids asked for something. After a few months of this, my friend’s 14 year old son asked him a question : “Dad, on a scale of 1-10, with one being homeless and ten being Bill Gates, how much money do we have?” As they discussed their situation, it was clear that their son was asking not because he wanted to buy more things, but because he was actually worried whether the family was okay. My friend assured the boy that he didn’t have anything to worry, but explained that they didn’t have unlimited money. They should spend their money on things that really mattered, and avoid buying things that weren’t really important to them. Okay. Make sense.

Kids often know more than we think they do. They sense anxiety even if they don’t make the immediate connection to money. We can’t afford that is not the same as “We ‘d rather use our money for something more important.


10. Simple. Not easy.

Slow and steady capital is short term boring. But it’s long term exciting.