Francis Okeny Silvio – Assessments

As a Man Thinketh
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan/Norway)

James Allen, the author of “As A Man Thinketh”, was a visionary, a man of purpose and an ideal thinker that can fit into the contemporary world.

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book.

The author is uncovering the hidden treasure of thoughts in men and women, how to discover those wealth of thoughts hidden inside them, which could shape characters, ideals and purpose to achieve dreams of life. Nice people, means a better and peaceful world.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

The seven ideas of “As A Man Thinketh” which were most important to me were:

I. Thoughts “A man is literary what he thinks, his character being the sum of all his thoughts”. This quotation was like I was looking myself in the mirror. For example, when I was a young boy, about 10 years old, I was thinking to be a medical doctor when I grow up. The thinking developed from my personal experience of sickness and frequent visit to the hospital and I never ceased from my thoughts of becoming a doctor. And such thoughts has shaped and oriented my behavior towards helping sick and vulnerable people. Thoughts are conceived and developed by individual into the desired goal. But circumstances did not allow me to accomplish that thought and dream.

II. Circumstance “Thoughts and character are one, and as character can only manifest and discover itself through environment and circumstance, the outer conditions of persons life will …… they are indispensable to his development” For example, when the circumstances were not favorable for me to become a doctor, due to chaotic civil war situation in my country, were every man and woman struggled to survive for many years, I develop a character of sympathy for every human being suffering. As such, I found myself thinking about becoming a critic of human rights and I started to become a political activist, criticizing the authorities for human right abuse and oppression.

III. Man is made or unmade by him-self. In the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. Man is what he made of himself or the oposite. Man can choose what he needs and leaves what he does not need for his own development. He can made him-self or destroy him-self. For example, if I were to refuse going to school, I would have been an illiterate man and vise-versa. A man can make himself into beautiful monuments of knowledge, liked by everyone, or he can destroy himself by becoming a thief, cheater, killer, criminal etc.

IV. Purpose ”A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it”. This is a perfect idea that can make me look back into my struggle in life. As a young boy, I was told my duty was to go to school and learn. I took it very seriously and I was doing very well at school, with hope that one day I can be what I wanted to be. I made it an obligation to complete my education and that was my purpose of being. However, education has shaped my thoughts and has given me positive self image. I see and believe in myself as a potential temple of knowledge and power. Such purpose in life has opened my eyes and now I all the tools I need to execute problems of life and therefore, I feel obliged to campaign for good governance, democracy, human rights, equality and the rule of law. I think and believe it was the reason and purpose for my existence on the planet.

V. Achievement “All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts”. This is a brilliant idea since man is the master of his own self. He can conceive a thought, plan it and execute or screwed it up. Man is a genius creature, who can do all he wants to do, but only if he is guided with knowledge, positive self image, environment etc.

Man is a flexible creature who can adapt, learn, or rather he can take what he wants or leave it. It all depends on one’s own motivation and ability to acquire. In my personal experience, all I have acquired over the last years from school and outside the school are wealth of achievements, the fruits of hard work. The achievement is the result of my own thoughts.

VI. Visions and Ideals “He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it”. This is how activists see themselves and I believe in such ideal. For example, I have always cherished the vision and ideal of late Dr. John Garang, the leader of former rebel group in south Sudan, the vision of new Sudan. He views Sudan as one in multi-cultural, linguistically, social and religious diversity. He explains that for peace to prevail in Sudan there must be a change of ideology. Sudan must be a secular state, where every culture, religion and race can live together in peace. He maintained that religious belief is a relationship between individual and God, while the country is for us all, whether you are a believer or not. He had planed to connect all region of south Sudan by roads and railway lines. He believes that by connecting all regions of south Sudan with roads, railway lines, electricity and telephone, will boost economic development in south Sudan and therefore all people in the region will get out of their miseries and peace will follow suite. Such brilliant vision and I deal is embraced by all human rights and political activist.

VII. Serenity “The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others”. This line was like; I am looking myself in the mirror. It is a perfect phrase that I find myself inside it. For example, during the war in south Sudan, I was always strong and calm, in tough situation, when I lost my loved ones. Many people revered me and many come to me for consolations when they had hard and tough time. They admired my perseverance and sense of humor even in the middle of tough time. I find it difficult to easily get intimidated by anybody. It takes time to make me angry. I always smile even at the most bitter insulting words, and I love discussing issues of concern.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

As much as I believe in these ideas, I will digest it well, and make them my own ideas. There is no doubt in my mind that these ideas have changed my thinking, character and vision of life. These ideas will change the entire world population, but through my actively participating in the process of distributing it to everyone in the work place, schools, churches, mosques, football clubs etc.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

”Good thoughts and action can never produce bad results…” personally I agree with James Allen, that bad thoughts produce bad results in many ways. In social life, if everybody is happy, harmony prevails, and if some people have ill thoughts about others, it will produce conflict and disharmony in the society. For example, honesty is a good thought, and I find it a value because by saying the truth, I feel safe and confident, but by denying the truth, my conscience holds me prisoner, and I remain a slave in disguise. I mean if everybody is honest, the world will be a better and peaceful place.

”The man who does not shrink from self-crucifixion can never fail to accomplish the object upon which his heart is set”. I agree with such statement, for example I always believe that in order to reap good harvest; I must work harder and honestly. To work hard, I must be ready to sacrifice myself to obtain my desired goal, and I believe that fear is the enemy of all progress.

”The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and ear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step”. My friends refer to me and call me genius man, because I believe in what I do and I do my work professionally. I normally carry out my assignment and make sure the work is done as desired. I know and understand lazy people, they need encouragement.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

The book was very clear and I have understood it well. I did not see any thing that I disagree with, and I believe there was nothing I disagree with.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, the book contained brilliant self exercise for me (reader) to complete from now on. My exercise is to reflect and assimilate it and make it my own. I have read them four times before embarking on answering them, and I found them extremely helpful, and am looking forward to distribute them to all my friends around the globe.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

There was little to comment on because every idea was challenging me directly and I was busy reflecting on every idea.

In my reflection, my comments are that this exercise of self conscience, introduces a new way of revolution that will transform men and women. The world is not a better and peaceful place because the world is full of deceitful and dishonest and selfish people. Dishonesty, deceitful and selfishness are ill-full thoughts that have produced conflict and miseries across the globe. With this book, “As A man Thinketh” all men and women are invited to discover the golden wealth hidden in them. The discovery of those good thoughts will shape their characters and leads them to perceive honesty as a value, and that will lead them into good action, of which the fruit of their action will be happiness and that happiness will provide a better and peaceful environment, and thus a peaceful world that all human beings dreams to have.

I should also comment that this exercise is limited to those who have access to internet services, and such limitations are mostly in areas most in need of such materials. For example, if I had no internet service, I would have missed this important key stones to discovering wealth of thoughts hidden in me.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9
E. What is the overall rating you would give it 10



Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan/Norway)

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The main idea is that learning process is tough, but one must have the courage to overcome fear to achieve his intended objective. Jonathan Livingston Seagull had done exactly that. He overcome the fears and ignored the law of the seagull birds, and set the first record of the entire seagull, in flying.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

I. Perception of ability “Most gulls didn’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight – how to get from shore to food and back again”. Believing in your abilities to learn what others believe it is impossible is a well perceived objective.

II. Courage “So he climbed painfully to a hundred feet and flapped his wings harder, pressing for shore”. To have courage to overcome fear, shame and ignoring the law that does not set you free is the greatest success. Personally, I use to be afraid of too many people looking at me while I am speaking, but looking others talk without fear, I decide to cast away my fears, and today I am told I am an eloquent speaker, and I feel proud of my success.

III. Knowledge and practice. “He didn’t know why, for instance, but when he flew at altitudes less than half his wingspan above the water, he could stay in the air longer, with less effort” You need to learn by theory and practice. As a young man I was always curious to know what I don’t know, and in several occasions had lots of setbacks, but would continue until I get it right. I was learning how to drive a car, and I crashed the car more than once before knowing how to drive. I discovered that sometimes I don’t get the theory fixed in my mind, but after practice I get it right into the mind.

IV. “…our purpose for living is to find that perfection and show it forth. The same rule holds for us now, of course; we choose our next world through what we learn in this one” we are responsible for the kind of life we want to live. I believe that we can create the world we want, or rather a paradise on earth.

V. Confidence. “He swallowed, knowing that if his wings unfolded at that speed he’d be blown into a million tiny shreds of seagull”. Jonathan L. Seagull was very confident about his abilities to fly better. Having confidence in what you do is a beautiful state of mind. For example when I am confident in my driving, everything is under control, and the journey is accomplished in joys.

VI. Sharing success “He spared no time that day for talk with other gulls…” It is important to share your progress, success, failure etc, with the people. It is a joy to share new discovery, because it excite others, and many people will be inspired, by brilliant thoughts.

For example, Jonathan Livingston Seagull discovered that when he moved a fraction of an inch, the feather gives a smooth sweeping curve at the tremendous speed. This was amazing news for the entire Gulls to believe.

VII. To be prepared for critics and disappointment… “His one sorrow was not solitude, it was that other gulls refused to believe the glory of flight that awaited them; they refused to open their eyes and see”. Like in many societies, a new change is always a threat to old habits. For example, I have learnt that people are very rigid and they are not always ready to change their old ways of life. But as an English word says “Old habits die hard” it is indeed true. People don’t want to change their way of life just like that, and any change comes, whether good or not, with extreme sacrifice.

Among my people, it is a taboo to use a cow to plough fields, yet people have very many cows. The cows are used only for marriage and for subsistence. Now I believe I can get there and change that taboo without much effort from what I have learnt.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas can help me practically to perceive what I don’t know about myself and abilities to perceive my dream. For example I need courage to overcome my fears, anger etc. I need courage to accept failures, and to speak my mind in my daily life.

I need to know what I don’t know and practice or do what I believe is right. I need to believe in what I do and have confidence in people around me. People need to be informed and therefore, it is important to share what I have learned with others. Those who are willing to learn must have the chance and opportunities to learn.

To create a better world, I need to practice what I teach and encourage people around me to learn what I know is right and will lead them to freedom. A better world depends on courage to be honest with myself.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“I don’t mind being bone and feathers, Mum. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can’t, that’s all. I just want to know.” This quotes reminded me about my curiosity to know while I was learning to drive a car. I did not even care much about food. All I wanted was to know what I wanted to know. I was always curious to learn what I don’t know.

“So he climbed painfully to a hundred feet and flapped his wings harder, pressing for shore”. This quotes reminds me about my limitations, especially when I am very tired repeating myself doing the same thing. But I have learned that persevering pain is a key to success in any practical learning. I remember while I was in the cadet, I was not able to climb to the top of the tree and slide by a rope down ward. To reach the tree was deadly and difficult, but seeing my colleagues able to do it, I overcome my fear and succeeded, in spite of painful burns on my hands.

“He learned more each day. He learned that a streamlined high-speed dive could bring him to find the rare and tasty fish that schooled ten feet below the surface of the ocean” This quote reminds me about the joys of successful achievement. I was always joyful when I succeeded to achieve my goal or objective. The most joyful day of my life was my graduation day from the school. I felt I had all the tools I needed to survive in life.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

The text was clear all through, except that I found some spelling errors that I manage to understand them through the sentence.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, the book was a wonderful exercise for me, and I have a lot of exercise to complete. I need to continue reading it and reflect on it, until I make it my own. The book was a wonderful exercise in the last weeks, and I am happy for the knowledge I have learned from it.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

The expression of Jonathan Livingston Seagull that “I have no wish to be leader” was our natural fear that we need to work on and overcome it. I had felt the same while I was a young boy. It was difficult for me to stand in the middle and talk to the crowd, but after my university training, I learned how to overcome my fear. Most of my friends had the same problem, and that is why I believe it is a natural fear.

One tough thing to do in life is to demonstrate love to people who called you outcast, or rather people who discriminate you because of your race, belief and color. To be a good instructor, or leader in most cases, requires that one demonstrate genuine love to those who discriminate. For me to love is to be honest and respectful to myself first, and others who see such quality in me will admire and believe in the truth they see in me and can learn from me.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9



Keys To Success
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio Ochira (Norway/Sudan)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The author explained with genius the seventeen principles of personal achievements, if the reader wants to succeed in life. It explained how one can develop definiteness of purpose as a starting point of all achievements, and how one can study and learn from well known successful people who have achieved lasting success.

The book explained how to discover the uniqueness of individual definite success experience and plans for reaching the goal, and their style of devotion and efforts to that great success. It explained that obtaining anything in life needs special courage, determination and devotion to principles set forward.

This book injects in unique ideas such as ”establishing mastermind alliance” wherever you can, and maintaining the alliance in harmony, confidence, understanding, fairness and justice, and collective courage to meet danger and difficulties with firmness, resolution and valor, as a core pillar to successful organisational achievement.

It explained how to assemble an attractive personality through honesty, courtesy, facial expression, keen sense of humor, faith in infinite intelligence, keen sense of justice and appropriate use of words etc. as key to managerial application.

The application of positive mental attitude to discover our subconscious as we struggle in life, through meditation and daily reflection on our experience. It explained that knowledge from the book and from our experience guides us to enter our subconscious where one can discover and improve success achievement.

It explains how to face the world with active faith, the power to harmonize the universal powers. The belief system as a way to replacing fear with hope, because in faith, one temporarily relax his own reason and willpower and opens his mind completely to the inflow of infinite intelligence.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) To develop definiteness of purpose.
This is fundamental to me because life is so complex that I often end up having too many goals to achieve. Having too many goals to achieve is like chasing the wind. It was a challenge to me because I always set too many goals to achieve and at the end I find myself giving up or defeated.

I have now learned, from this and other book in the program, that the best way to success is to have definiteness of purpose. Setting one goal at a time, is a genuine and value judgment for one to succeed in achieving it. I always dream about achieving great things in life, but my problem was lack of devotion into one goal. Thus this was an important exercise to me.

The comparison of the subconscious to a car and the driver was a perfect example for me, since I am a driver I understood it well. I must learn how to release and direct power where I want to go.

b) To assemble an attractive personality.
This is the core concept to all those who have succeeded in life in my view. It was an eye opener to my limitations when I read through the 3rd part of the book. I believe that positive mental attitudes is the right mental attitude in any given situation and therefore, to develop definiteness of purpose requires me to assemble an attractive personality, on which the seventeen principles will be based.

The phrase was a slap on my face because I always ignore some personalities and consider them useless. For example, I rarely smile at people, because in my culture smile is a sign of joke and bullying someone, and all the time my mind set reflects such thinking. In this book, I have learned that I need to be flexible, courtesy, tolerance, humble etc. and all the personalities cited, some of whom are new to me, assembling them to my personality will be a great success, and that is what I have learned and is still practicing them as I move on in life. I am optimistic and hopeful to assimilate them and make them part me.

c) To demonstrate the power of faith.
This phrase caught my attention because I always pray before I start doing any activity. But in this book, I learned that Faith is a state of mind and for it to be useful, it must be active not passive faith. I am always related to myself and God as working together. All my success and failure are brought by God who is watching me, telling me what to do day and night. He (God) is my source of being, and believing that He is always there watching and caring for me, gives me a sense of protection, courage and hope in what I do. My relationship with God is private and only me can describe how I relate to God. For example, when I am gripped with fear, I turn to God for protection and courage. He (God) knows everything and therefore He is there to make things happen or not to happen, and therefore there is no reason to fear threats, such as death, old age etc. I see myself as an extended instrument of God, to continue His creation of a better world.

d) To go the extra mile
In my view, this is a state of mind to do things not according to the principle, but is what we develop as a habit. For example, working extra hours, with positive mental attitude, to accomplish what one believe is right. I was told by my friends at work that I am workaholic, meaning I work extra time and I don’t claim the overtime. Usually when I feel there is time and energy to work out something, I will always work. It is a habit I developed while I was a small boy. My mother always says ”the best thing in life is to love work” and I grew up with that mentality that work is good, and I always work extra as long as there is energy and time.

Usually when I am at home, many students gathered around me with different interests. Some of them need homework help, some of them need clarification on subject they did not understand at the school etc, and I am always available to all those needs. I feel so good and useful in a society when I can offer or render services to the people in need.

e) To enforce self discipline
Discipline is the core of whole life, it is being in control of yourself. However in all walks of life there is discipline and through self-discipline we are able to accomplish our duties. To enforce self-discipline requires self knowledge of the current abilities then through evaluation, one can embark on the process of improvement and making it better.

Life is full of complex negative and positive emotions that I was not aware of, and from this book now I was able to differentiate between negative and positive emotions. It is in controlling emotions wisely that one can really succeed. For me it is important to strike the balance through good reasoning before I act.

However, the best way to handle emotions is to have positive mental attitude, because emotions are driving power that one need to execute plans. I am glad to this point for knowing all these control mechanism, and I believe the world can be a better place if we can combine efforts and drive this noble cause to transform the entire world. The expected peaceful world is base don self-discipline.

f) Learn from Adversity and defeat
From this phrase, I can say that there is always something new to learn from defeat. It has been my experience throughout that I learn from defeat, as the English words says, “we learn through mistakes” It is very true, but this book gives a different approach. It shows you the way how someone has failed and how someone has succeeded. In my view, it means, I have a choice to make in order to succeed after learning from others who have gone through the same path and have succeeded. It can also mean that one can fail because he wants to fail, otherwise, those who have gone before you have written every information down, so that you may follow the right path and avoid failure.

Success through written documentation reminds me of the advantage we have in keeping plan record well and in detail. The follower of the plan will always finds it easier to avoid failure.

g) Cultivate creative vision
This phrase was my favorite because I am always dreaming of great vision. I love being creative and imaginative. When there is problem, I try to focus on the root cause of the problem and think about the right path for permanent solution.

I admired people like Edison, the inventor of electric bulb. When I look at something or is reading how someone has succeeded, I have imaginative picture in my head, and through that picture, I try to see if there is something more to get from that. For example, one day I was reading a newspaper, and right down the column, there was a big article about corruption and a long lists of countries mainly from developing world. And I asked myself why was it only from developing world? I started to imagine how corrupt world would be, and how can we avoid it. I am still doing my research and hope to come up with some solid solution to corruption, and the success of such work will be my happiness, and also to see the world without corruption, where everybody trust everybody. That is my main vision at the moment.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas are very practical and are being practice now personally. I believe that by practicing what is right is the right thing to do, if I expect people to follow my example to create a better world. I will make my definitness of purpose and write every detail down, with hope that such work will be printed and shared with everyone on the globe.

I believe in team work and therefore mastermind alliance is a noble idea that will really bring effective services to everyone on the globe. It is through alliance that we would be able to build the better world.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

”Essentials of success and happiness”

This quote was important to me because every human being on earth strive for success and happiness. That means if everybody has equal access to the required resource, then there is less problem, and the world would be a great place to live in.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?


6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, in my view, every chapter has something new to offer, and it is my own responsibilities to follow suite and practice what I deemed important to me, and make it my own. The last part of the book is a review of each main section, followed by commitment exercise for me, and I have completed them because I believe in it.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

No, The book was readable and easy to understand.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9



Psycho-Cybernetics 2000
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio Ochira (Norway/Sudan)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The author of this book explained in depth how perception of ourselves affect our choices and decision in life. The book shows how our self image affects and contributes to our personality and behaviour that could hinder our achievements. Maxwell Maltz explained that in spite of success and achievements, one can never regard it as success because of self image or expectation others have about me. Such self image may hinder one from obtaining goals in life.

Maxwell Maltz precisely explained that one can only see their success in regard to self image one might have, and he highlighted such footsteps to success, and I agree with him totally. For example it is important to program myself if I want to succeed in life. I need to imagine myself and set goals toward success. I need to learn how to relax and turn my stress into success. I need to understand that relaxation plays tapes of my unconsciousness into conscious in which I can see and use negative feedbacks to point toward success. However, by mastering these process, my personality will get energy to succeed in goals set.

The book has a concise and well explained ideas covering how our behaviors, actions, feelings can be control. The behaviors, actions and feelings that is guided by our self-image, either consciously or unconsciously are the product of the existing mess in life. It explained thoroughly how we can erase negative self-image and replace it with positive self-image, using the CRAFT method, but by regular practice using daily personal schedule to reflect on our lives. Thus, mastering our self esteem and having control of our personalities are keys to a succeesful life.

The methods CRAFT, SMART, SUCCESS, FAILURE and SEEDS are precisely explained thus, conveying the best ideas of the author. Programming oneself from failure to success is key to life and this book has clearly described how one can do that in order to succeed in life.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) The idea and method of CRAFT described as Cancel, Replace, Affirm, Focus and Train, was the most valuable piece that first captured my mind in this book, because it was so true to me personally. It reminded me of the process I went through when I decided to quit smoking cigarettes. It was so tough but I kept saying ”no” to myself whenever I am tempted to smoke, at least for two weeks, fighting with myself, and at the end I was a happy man and very healthy. Now that I know CRAFT method, I will be able to identify my negative self-image and use, cancel, replace, affirm, focus and train, to change such self-image. I can now see and believe that my self-image has hindered me from many decisions and responsibilities because I did not know what to do and how to do it, when I had negative self-image. But I am glad because now I got the tools suitable to fix my negative self-image. I am happy to say ”I can cancel, replace, affirm, focus and train using this simple methods. With this wealth of knowledge, I am confident and optimistic to make myself what I want to be, that will reflect the better world I expect to see.

b) ”…campaign to ’educate all Califonians regarding the primary role of parents in the development of healthy self-esteem… and provide appropriate…training in loving and effective ways to raise children.’” Personally, this idea is brilliant and is still a challenge to us African parents. For example, this idea has captured my attention and I can now see clearly how we (parents) initiate fear in children through disciplinary process, without knowing that we are actually destroying our children. I am currently doing research on ”the root of corruption” and in my research, I have discovered that corruption starts early in childhood, and parents are responsible for initiating such ill value (corruption) in children. This is done by harsh and cruel punishment to children with the pretext of disciplinary process, especially in Africa, where children has no law to protect them, compare to developed countries such as in Europe etc. In Africa, Children develop “fear”, they are terrorize or harshly beaten, as a way to discipline them. If a child has made a mistake, he/she will fabricate a “lie” to safe himself/herself to avoid punishment, and if he/she succeeded to “lie” and was not punished, then a “lie” will become a “value” to such child. However, if corruption is define as dishonesty for personal gain then, we can believe that when a child perceives “lie” as a value, such child will be a liar and corrupt throughout life, and a corrupt individual is a liability in the society. As such, we can now say and believe that most Africans, given that the disciplinary methods are the same across the continent, are liabilities to the continent, and therefore corruption is primary problem in Africa that should be solved, if we want Africans to contribute in the development and advancement of democracy. I believe that “honesty” is the best value to every individual in the world, to qualify as a liable human resource world wide.

c) ”Realising that our actions, feelings and behaviors are the result of our own images and beliefs,” Maxwell Maltz wrote, ”…an opportunity to ’practice’ new traits and attitudes, which we otherwise could not do…” This is a brilliant idea as it is self explanatory. It captured my mind because my own image, feelings and beliefs has been always a hindrence to my relationship with others in a social interaction. I live in an Islamic country, Sudan. In Sudan one must be a Muslim, speaks Arabic in order to be regarded as a Sudanese. As such, I have created my own self image to respond to any one who will ask me in that regard. I know a Muslim will not accept me as I am, and no Muslim belives that a non-Muslim is a brother or a sister to him/her. Belief is a huge wall, hindering relationship, between Muslims and Christians in Sudan and therefore most Sudanese have such self image, and every Sudanese belongs to one of those two beliefs. There will be no peace in Sudan if such self images is not erased. The ideas in this book is perfect tool to Sudanese to change such negative image.

d) ”Fear of Success and fear of failure”.
This phrase is true and I have always felt that way. The explanation of both ”fear of success and fear of failure” described my experience in life. The key word is ”fear”. I am always embarrassed after a failure and I hate complements after a successful work. My mother always disapprove my work as reckless, and I have always believed that I can not make anything good. This book has empowered me to see my problem, and how I can recognize my fear, success and failures and take appropriate measures to overcome them as they emerge. Some of the fears are unrealistic. For example, when I was in Sudan, I was always afraid to work without supervision, because one day I was assigned to cut a car gear. I took the steel metal piece and started to work on the gear. One of the dimension was not corresponding with the piece and I was afraid to ask the boss for clarification. The boss usually shouts at me when I ask questions, just like my mother. So I decided to continue with the work until the end. When I finished cutting the gear, I took it to the boss and just gave him and disappeared from his office. I was under fear of failure. The boss took the gear to the main mechanical room where friends discovered that one dimension was not corresponding. They recalculated and came to me again. I told them I noticed it before, but since the boss shout at me every time I ask him questions, I decided to follow the given dimensions. After my remarks, they call for a meeting, and in the meeting the boss was challenged and he apologized for his action.

e) ”the greatest obstacle you will face in the process of creating new memories for yourself is your own self-doubt”. As the English word says, ”old habits die hard” This sentence again remind me about the crisis I went through when I was in the process to quit smoking, and controlling myself from alcoholic drinks. The process was tough and difficult but I kept telling myself I can do it. On the other hand, my best friends isolated me because I became against smokers and alcohol consummers, that was always the only thing that keeps us together. My friends had nick named me ”Abuna” meaning a priest. It was very hard for me to accept all the humiliation I went through isolation, but I was happy because my health was better without cigarette and alcohol. There was no doubt in my mind about my decision and none of my friends was able to convince me to come back and smoke or drink alcohol again.

f) “It’s important to write down your goals” This idea was like a slap on my face. I am very genius and very innovative, but I have always been lazy in writing down new thoughts that comes to my mind. I know that many times I have not written what I think I should do, and after I forget to do everything. When this book says, “If you can’t commit to writing down, you won’t commit to following through.” I agree this has been my eye opener, because I did not see that I was not following my ideas and thoughts, simply because I have forgotten them. Writing down thoughts, goals, plans or timetable is very important. Because our brain is always busy working and innovating new ideas, it is important to keep major thoughts by writing them down. I find it meaningful and easy to remind my brain with written words. Another example is that, when I have a time table, describing what I supposed to do, and then I am conscious to follow it up. But without a time table, my life gets disorganized and I fall victim of procrastination. Thus, to hold myself together and follow my goals, it is important to commit myself in writing my plans, goals and even thoughts.

e) ”What do you want out of life?” was as well a difficult question for me to answer, but looking back throughout my life experience, I realised that I was exactly like the example shared in this book on page 156. I remember after completing my secondary school level, I wanted to be a medical assistant, because it was fullfilling my dream to help people in need of medical treatment. Also after I attended some conferences with some Catholic missionaries, I concluded that I should become a missionary brother. I applied for both career, unfortunately I did not get any reply from both institutions. One day, after waiting for two years, one American Catholic missionary approached me and asked me, ”what do you want to do with your life?” and I told him ”I want to help people by treating them when they get sick”. The American missionary paused, and look at me and said, ”why don’t you come and attend some conferences with us? And he mentioned the same conference I attended two years ago. I told him I did attend such conference two years ago and I applied to become a missionary, but I did not receive any reply to my application, so there was no need for me to go and do the same thing again. Anyway to cut the whole story short, I missed the chance to become a missionary and to be a medical assistant.

One day, it was summer afternoon, under the tree shadow, I was lying down and meditating on the same question, ”what am I going to do with my life…or what do I want to be in life”. Then one technical instructor came and approached me, and said, ”what are you thinking about my dear son?” And I replied, ” I don’t really know what to do in life”. Then he ask me, ”are you interested to be a mechanic? I told him, yes! The question was like a slap on my face, because mechanics in my town, earns a lot of money. It was not because I wanted to be a mechanic, but it was because I wanted to earn money. I went and joined the technical training and I obtained a diploma in general mechanics. I worked for 5 years as an automobile mechanic. I was still not happy in life.

I went home for holidays that summer and met another friend of mine who was studying at the university. After few days of sharing life experience, I thought I could join the university as well and pursue political career. I was very interested in politics and get important position on decision making, so that I can help people. It was the turning point in my life. But political career in a country like Sudan means suicide. I made up my mind and decided to join the university and after my graduation, was I able to see the real world, full of chaos resulting from rampant corruption, from top leaders down to ordinary man, engulfing the entire nation or rather the continent, like a pandemic virus, not to mention chronic civil war in many African states, since independence, million of lives has been lost in war and hunger created by political and social corruption, yet no viable solution to the situation. It is still my dream that there is still chance to change the status quo and reform the entire society living in the continent using the method of Maxwell Maltz.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

First of all, I have to say that these ideas are very practical and helpful, I have no doubt they are key steps to a better self-esteem and successful life. I know and believe that there are obstacles in the process of creating new positive self-image and it is my own responsibility, as an individual, to follow these key steps. I can now say, I have the tool such as CRAFT, SUCCESS etc. to reprogram myself-image, effective as I write, toward better self esteem for a better life expectation.

This book has shown me the methods how to reprogram myself to obtain the desired self-image. It says to reprogram a positive self-image, I need to have a daily schedule, such as finding time to relax each day, because relaxation is the gateway to see and change the way I perceive myself. Through relaxation time, I will be able to oil my success mechanism, and it also help to spark creative insight. Furthermore, relaxation keeps the body healthy and also it is key to reflective relearning. Therefore, following my personal schedule will be my first responsibility. I will follow my schedule keenly and abide with it.

I am optimistic and hopeful to change my life, and I believe that change must begin from an individual and eventually an individual can be agent of change. Change can start from an individual, then the family, then the entire nation can change. Thus, as agents of change, yes, we can change the entire world population, with positive self-esteem, and positive self-image, using the same methods in this book, and if the entire world population will be honest, I have no doubt in my mind, the world will be a better place to live.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

”Do you want me to iron that smirk off your face” I had similar experience like Wade from page 86… My mother was very aggressive and uneducated woman. She was a loving mother, but she does not tolerate mistakes. I remember she use to deny me food if I did not do what she told me to do. For example, in the homestead, I have specific duties, such as fetching water, taking goats to pasture and bringing them back home everyday. Sometimes I was exhausted and tired, but she could ask me to go and wash dishes. I have been always loyal to her request, but when I defied her request, she will always say ”why don’t you do and behave like your sister”? And I always thought that my sister was better than me. Sometimes I was forced to behave like a girl and my friends were laughing at me, mocked me, and ridiculed me etc. I felt bad and myself esteem was down, to the point I did not like to stay home. I must go to school even if there was public holidays. Sometimes I could lie to my mother that there was school, just to avoid being embarrassed. I think it is not good for parents to terrorize children in any way. What they say or comment to children, will always remain in their sub-consciousness.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

The book is very clear and easy to understand, at least from my perspective. I enjoyed every topic and every example cited in the book. However, the example such as ”changing the horse direction” was difficult in my view, given that I come from a culture where there is no Horse, it was difficult to understand or grasp what the author was talking about.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

The book is actually a concise and well planned self exercise to learn new tricks to a successful self-esteem that will lead to successful life. I feel I have the tools I need to shape my life as I would expect it to be. I have done all the exercises in the book and they were very helpful. I can now say ”yes” I can change my life and the life of those around me.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

Everything explained in this book were clear and precise. I did not have difficulties understanding what was describe or explained in every page. However, I would comment that this book is best only to students who had studied basic psychology at the University level. For those who have not studied at the university, it will be very difficult to understand this book entirely. For example, I have a group of secondary school students around me everyday, during recreation time between 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm. It normally takes a lot of time to explain psychological concept that they have not studied.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10



Success through a Positive Mental Attitude
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio Ochira (Norway/Sudan)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The book explore the secrete of our invisible mind, describing it as talisman, with two sides, abbreviated as PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) and NMA (Negative Mental Attitude). A self help book concisely compiled to help someone practically to follow what is prescribed. The author explained how someone can succeed by having positive mental attitude. The book contain practical ideas to explore the secret of success.

The book leads you through the experience of the most successful people by example of their success stories. It has precisely explained by example how you can change your world using the 17 success principles if you can master those principles and make them your own. It explained that definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievements. That everyone has success born in them.

The book is divided into five parts, breaking down all the practical exercise into simple and easy methods; with examples leading you through the practical process, step by step until you discover the wealth of knowledge in you and the power to change your mental attitude and awake your sleeping energy for positive use to achieving your dreams.

Positive mental attitude motivates you and leads you to positive behaviour, action and moral behaviour. You will always think positively and your actions are always positive and good. Your actions manifest and portray the world you want and you believe should be. Therefore, the entire ideas of the author are stepping key stones to successful life.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) ”we are poor… not because of God” This phrase caught my eyes because the experience of S. B. Fuller was reflecting my own experience. When I was a child, I was taking care of my father’s animals after school everyday. At school I met other friends who were better off than I was. I was always thinking about why we were poor and others were rich. I was blaming my father all the time for our misery in life. And on the other side, I blamed God for creating rich and poor people.

One day I confronted my father and ask him why we were poor… and my father told me we are not poor because God loves us and He has given us animals to live on. The answer was not satisfactory, and then I started thinking how I could help do something to get out of our misery. We had a tatched house, very poorly made, and mosquitoes bite and malaria was our daily problem. I told my father we could sell 50 cows and build a semi parmanent house, and have proper protection from mosquito bites, and that will reduce malaria etc. My father agreed to my plan and we sold the cows and succesfully built a nice semi parmanent house and our life changed from bad to good. I realised that we were poor because we did not know how to use our knowledge and resources with PMA.

b) ”to achieve anything worthwhile in life, it is imperative that you apply PMA.” I agree with this and I believe that positive mental attitude (PMA) is the key to all achievement I can think about.

In my experience, I have in most cases had negative mental attitudes and in those occasions my actions and behaviours were not nice. For example when I drink beer or any other alcoholic beverages, I will be drunk and useless. My actions will be always aggressiveness towards others etc. The mind is always thinking to inflict harm on others and there is no way to maintain peace with such state of mind.

However, after I quit drinking alcohol, I lost all my friends, but I was positive and healthy. My entire behaviours changed and I was always acting and behaving good in the society. I believe that to achieve success and happiness in life, it is worthwhile to change our mental attitudes.

c) ” As long as you live, from this day forward, you can analyze your every success and every failure – that is, if you imprint these 17 principles indelibly in your memory”. I must say that these phrase was like a ”rule of life”. The moment you are able to strictly follow rules, you can easily adapt any viable principles and your actions will change.

For example, I studied in a highly disciplined secondary school, and it is only now that I began to appreciate those rules and disciplines. At that time they were meaningless to me, but it has helped me to know how to follow rules and principles. Measuring success using the 17 principles is a great ideal and I believe it is worthwhile and useful. To develop and maintain a permanent positive mental attitude, you need to make it a responsibility to adopt and apply it daily, and you need to meditate on each principle each day, to make them your own.

I like taking up my own resposibilities by renewing my promises each day, during my meditation time. They are really helpful in looking back to my life, and to draw plans of change toward the better future.

d) ”Action is important because through action you get things done”
This is the best point I have ever thought of. Our brain sometimes learn better through action. I like reading and doing what I read. I will never forget what I have done before, especially when I repeat doing it, or even saying it all the time.

Learning through practice and action are my best way of getting things done and I like getting things done. I enjoy learning new things, especially when I am shown how to do them. I found this book an excellent work, because I have the examples of what has been said and I could follow the example without difficulties.

e) ”It is important to know how to motivate others in an effective manner and in a desirable direction”. This is a perfect idea and I believe in it. In my experience, I found out that when I motivate others, I personally get motivated. People are ready to work, learn and behave well if properly handled.

For example, assurance and complements gives me self confidence, thus with self confidence, I get motivated. Such feeling assures me to do better. Considering that I should ”do to others what I expect others do to me” it means giving others assurance and complements, they will have self confidence and thus, will be motivated to perform well in their duties, and good performance is always through positive mental attitude.

f) “For if you really think with PMA, you will automatically follow through with action” This phrase is true and I agree with it as a brilliant idea. For example, when I think positively, my actions are also positive. Thus the phrase confirmed my intuitive behavior that is similar to thinking with PMA.

For example, there are moments when I am really happy and in good mood, my feelings are good and in this good feeling, I am highly motivated to do everything. Happiness is the result of good health and good health comes from positive mental attitude.

e) ”Let every occasion be a great occasion… for you can not tell when fate may be taking your measure for a larger place”. This phrase is important to me because I realise that every human being, by nature, get scared of their fate when misfortune struck. Misfortune normally struck when we are not prepared, but if you have positive mental attitude, you will have the courage to overcome fear and continue with you normal work.

In my society, when misfortune struck, people break down and get gripped by fear, after which they can not work normal. Therefore PMA is an important method to be introduce in such society. Therefore it is my sole responsibility to educate them with PMA 17 principles. There is no greater love for the people than providing them with appropriate information.

Every occasion can be made great to all members of the society by educating them, giving them helpful information. Thus, it is worthwhile and a noble cause to seize every opportunity and every occasion to make life better.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

In view of a better world, the ideas mentioned above are stepping stones towards the direction of bringing change to the challenging world. These ideas will always be a reminder of every step, as every step is filled up with sacrifices and challenges in which I will need those ideas in creating a better world. Thus, to realise my dreams, the ideas cited are the roadmap to create a better world.

These ideas will help me in many ways, thus, as a parent, I will use PMA to bring up a wonderful family, and it is my hope and prayers that other parents would follow my example and together we could realise our dreams of a better world.

I would also say that these ideas are my responsibilities and to adopt them and use then rightly, I should make them my own. With a positive mental attitude there will be motivation and determination that will help me to create a better world. I am already in the process and I am determine than ever before, with these new ideas, to create a better and hopeful world.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

”Never underestimate the value of a book. Books are tools, providing inspiration which can launch you onto a bold new program and which can also light the dark days that any such program entails”. Such statement are concise and brilliantly said. All knowledge are basically hidden in books and most books contained secrets of success in one way or the other. Therefore as we strive in life it is wise to record or write down our plans of action, so that others would read and benefit from it.

”…what others term it ”trial and error” and we term it ”trial and success”. This statement reminds me of trial and failure, but relentlessly keep trying until success is reached using PMA, is the main point. In my view, It is important to keep tying until success is obtain.

”Getting things done requires planning as well as the courage to take the first step in getting things done”. This statement is a source of encouragement to me, especially when I look back to some of my experience. Many times I have been relactance to continue doing my work, because of poor planning skills.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

No. Instead, I admired every secret that was hidden in the book ”Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude”.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, every chapter has pilot exercises for reflection and I found it very useful. I did most of the exercises and I enjoyed those that I found important and new to me. The pilot exercises in each chapter contained basic ideas to meditate on. I enjoyed following them through, and each day I take phrases from pilot exercise for my personal meditation, before going to work and in the evening before going to bed and I found them very helpful.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

The book was very concise and with clear examples made easy to understand. I have learn a lot about myself and new principles, which I call ”the rule of life if you want to succeed”. I feel motivated and eager to continue learning the secret of successful positive mental attitude.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10



The New Dynamics of Winning
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio

1. What are the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The book described the psychology and mental involvement in obtaining any set goal. It explains the dynamics process that drives the mind to do or not do what we desire to do in life. The selected examples from the Olympic champions amazingly explained how the psychology and mental behavior influenced those champions to reach their desired goals. The experience and success of those well known champions are the stepping stones to anyone who want to succeed in business, leadership and coaching a sport team etc, anytime.

The book explained that what one desired to do, and the amount of time spent to accomplish any burning desire depends on mind-set and how to get there. The burning desire and dedication to action plan, mastering fears and knowing that no “one will take you fishing” are the best ideas that are keys to most achievements for any desired goals. When we follow our burning desires, keeping in mind the seven rules for a winner, then we are able to obtain success in life.

The book precisely explains that we can learn through the success of other well known Olympic gold medalist throughout world Olympic history, the steps to follow and sacrifices that are involve in success. Champions believe that the greatest risk in life is to do nothing about it.

The book teaches us that everything begins with a dream. And such dreams develop into a burning desire. Thus, whoever wants to lead and coach those aspiring, should help direct individual burning desires into a successful goal, through the experience and passion of successful champions described herein, that the desire can be met through dedication and hard work, with clear mind-set to what we want to achieve in life.

The last part explains how one can be a good leader and the quality of leadership. Leaders or managers must show by action what they expect from their subjects. I remember Warren Bennis, an American writer, 1925, once said, “If there is a spark of genius in the leadership function at all, it must lie in this transcending ability…to assemble…a clearly articulated vision of the future that is at once simple, easily understood, clearly desirable, and energizing”. And this is exactly the ideas I found in this book. The twenty-one day training program for personal and professional… is a perfect example, to prepare one to obtain clear leadership skills.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) ”the drive to win through a mind-set and how to get there…” captured my attention at the beginning of the book, because I was able to look back in that light and saw myself exactly like the experience of Greg LeMond. I admired his unshakable determination to give the very best effort possible. I had the same medical experience while I was completing my secondary school level. I had several sicknesses such as malaria, typhoid fever and yellow fever just at the beginning of the school year. Then I had a motorcycle accident with my cousin brother just three months before the national exams, and I was admitted in the hospital for six weeks from my broken left arm. It was a nightmare for me because it was really time to prepare for the national final exams, to obtain Sudan School Certificate (SSC), which was vital to all secondary school leavers; otherwise one cannot get a job without SSC, the minimum requirement to all job seekers in south Sudan. It was difficult time and I was not ready to repeat the same class.

I have been always at the top of the class throughout from elementary school, and failing the national exams, was not an option. Furthermore, what will my friends say? Quitting the race was not in my interest, I was so determine given that I was the best student in the school, my family and relatives have great expectation for me to pass the national examination, but have lost that expectation after my accident. Anyway to cut the story short, after recovering from my pains, I came home and everybody, friends and relatives, even the teachers, have already given up on me; or rather they have agreed that I should withdraw from that year’s national exams. They said I should wait for the next national exams. I refused their conclusion and made my own plan to recover from all what I have missed from the school the period I was in the hospital. After weeks of sleepless nights and determination, I was able to catch up with my colleagues and finally I passed my exams as I thought. I was extremely happy and my family, who supported me, was amazed. My father gave me the best party with my friends for being so determine son.

b)”paying the price” caught my attention because learning process is always the same; it requires dedication and the guts to endure pain. I remember when I was preparing for the national exams, I was very eager to learn how to ride a motorcycle. My cousin brother, with whom I was living, had a motorcycle. Every weekend I could ask him to teach me how to ride, and he always says, “I don’t have fuel, if you can get fuel I will teach you how to ride.

Then I started going to work every day after school, instead of dedicating my time to read for the national exams. I could work for two hours every day and by the weekend I could afford to buy 8 liters of petrol. I supposed to get just 4 liters for each learning time. But I decided to get more than required so that I could please my cousin. But every time I get the fuel, my cousin would find an excuse and say he has no time. He will take off from home and come back Sunday night. He did that almost every time he gets my fuel.

One day, my cousin came home very tired and drunk. He went straight to bed. I waited for him to sleep so that I can take the motorcycle to the football field where I can learn it there alone. I took the motorcycle and tried to learn it by myself, but unfortunately I did not know how to engage the gears. I started it well, but when I engaged the gear, I pulled the accelerator and released the clutch, the motorcycle jumped and I fell down on one side and the rear rotating wheel (tire) brushed my leg and I got a deep wound. Someone who was passing by saw me and came for a help. He called the taxi and I was rushed to the hospital. My cousin was very upset and angry as to why I did that without him.

Six weeks later the wound was healed, but I forgot the pain I went through before and jumped on a motorcycle and off we went to learn how to ride. It was so difficult at the beginning but eventually I managed to learn how to ride in just about six hours put together. I was so happy but after paying the price.

c)”growth is a process of gaining knowledge, of trial and errors, and of courageous experimentation”. This is one of the seven rules for winners and it caught my eye because I had gone through fear of failure and being rejected by peers. I have tried to learn everything that I came across in life. Every time I find something new, I would like to know it, be it at school or at home. I remember one day my peers asked me if I could climb one difficult tree behind the school compound. I was a good tree climber. I could climb any mango tree and get the best mangoes to my peers and we could enjoy together. Because I was afraid to say I cannot, I went and climbed the tree just to please them, and to let them know that I am still the champion in climbing trees. But failure was not an option either, because I would be rejected and I did not want to be rejected.

Life is lived and experienced day by day. I always want to be beside wise and intelligent people, because I enjoy learning and gaining knowledge from them. And after learning something new, I will always try to see if I really know what I have learnt. Many times I have succeeded after several failures, I was so determine but did not know that until after reading this book. I am amazed to see clearly now that I was so passionate in learning. I hardly give up when something is difficult, just like the Olympic champions.

d) ”Your own sense of value determines the quality of your performance”. This is very true and I agree to it. People with good values always does right things and are always praise by the members of the society. I have also realized that good people are praise by their noble deeds. I always admire persons who do the right thing. As a young boy, I was always eager to learn and I admired people who helped me to grow and acquire knowledge.

Now after reading this book, I still see myself as a reflection of those who taught me. It resembles the biblical words that says, “Do to others what you expect others would have done to you” in all my actions. The key trait shared by many athletic champions and winners in every walk of life is the fundamental belief in one’s own internal value”.

My own sense of value is manifested through my deeds and actions. For example, I believe that honesty is the best value and therefore I made it part of me, and many friends have credited me for showing good examples to our youth groups. Many youth in the area are imitating me, and I am always known to many as a good person, and I feel extremely great to be such admirable example, just like Olympic champions, who are admired by everyone. I love to share my life experience with the youth whom I believe are the future leaders, and everywhere I sit, I will be surrounded by young people, and I feel great and useful in the society. Furthermore, I enjoy words of encouragement from most parents in the area, who believe their children are safe in my company.

e)”Self-confidence and self-transformation” this chapter amazingly caught my attention because I have leant a lot from it. For example it outlined guides such as “Becoming one with the bull’s-eye. To me it means concentration and confidence to hit your target. Personally, I use to hunt and kill animals for food using bow and arrows. And what was important to learn was how to shoot a target. Many people in my area were not able to shoot the target, especially the moving target, but the tricks was simple, relaxed your mind, muscles, concentrate and get your confidence, then release the arrow. The Olympic champion archer in this book reminded me about the day I discovered those tricks. It was after millions of failing because the mind does not think for a while, as to why it was difficult?

Looking back in my past experience, when one day an elderly man came beside me and stops to watch how I take aim and shoot a target. I normally prepare the arrow and aim and shoot at the target as fast as I can, and that was wrong process. The old man revealed to me the secret, that in order to shoot a target; you need to relax your mind and muscles and aimed at least for 10 to 15 seconds, until your arms are steady, before you release the arrow. I tried as he said and my arrow went and hit the target at once. It was amazing moment because I have been hitting the target by chance.

I became the champion in shooting the target and everyone around me became interested to know the tricks and secret of shooting the target. In less than one week the entire community transforms itself into professional archers, and abandoned the use spears in hunting. It was wonderful experience that began from me and the old man. Spears are regarded as heavy and difficult to use compare to a bow and arrows. It’s only now that I discovered from this book about the dynamics of winning, that I had gone through the same self-transformation process but without knowing it.

In the example; “How to get out of your own way” I always see myself as a person who faces challenges and difficulties and love to learn from failures. I see myself as becoming more determine when things get tough for me. I don’t recall if I have ever got frustrated in any learning process, but believe I was always self-confident.

f) “Leadership isn’t based on theory or technique. It depends on your ability to subordinate your own ego for the good of the team.” This is very true, I also believe in practical leadership where work is shared and delegated as much as possible. A leader should be part of the team by showing his/her own values. I personally hate dictating others because I don’t like to be dictated on, or rather a dictator ruins the construction instead of building it. In my personal experience as a refugee, I view leadership position, as a position of a servant, who is elected by the majority to serve, and not expect others to serve him/her.

Edwards Deming (1900-1993), US management expert, once said, “The aim of leadership should be to improve the performance of man and machine, to improve quality, to increase output, and simultaneously to bring pride of workmanship to people”. And I agree with him simply because many unsuccessful leaders across the globe are corrupt and selfish and most of them view leadership position as a bed of roses. Meaning when you are in such bed of roses, you should just sleep and others take good care of you.

I personally view leadership position as “a sit full of thorns”, where one has no time for himself given the increasing demand of the societies. It is a position of responsibilities through positive mental attitudes. It is the driver’s sit where all the lives of those on board are in your hands etc. It is not a theory or technique, but ability to control the steering wheel and direct the vehicle to its destination.

g) ”The foundation of real leadership is empowerment, which is the desire to understand the needs of the people who are depending upon you and the ability to create an environment in which they themselves can fulfill those needs”. This is very new and exciting ideas about leadership in my view. Because the old notion of leadership is to control, it is negative in our era today. Leadership should be able to delegate responsibilities to the managers and inform managers that there role is not to control, as John Welch, CEO of the general electric said, but rather to guide, to energize and to excite.

For example, personally I found it difficult to give orders from the office and expect those executing the orders to do it right. I always want to be part of the practical activities and part of the group. Empowering people has always been my strategic main activities whenever I am among the youth. It is what I feel when I can easily see injustices, bad governance, corruption and other forms of oppression in the society.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas are very concrete and making the nine steps in “A quick look back at the dynamics of winning,” my own is the best ideas in leadership, as such, I have no doubt in my mind, it will help me a great deal in my leadership skills to transform my society and eventually the world, since charity begins at home. It is now my responsibility to transfer what I believe in as “my sense of value”, to my subordinates, I am hopeful that they will be the best future leaders with the capacity to transform this world into a better place.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“High expectations are keys to everything” This quotation by Sam Walton caught my attention because I believe that without high expectation, there is nothing to motivate you into doing something. Expectation creates stress to want to do, and that has been my experience over the years. For example when one is expecting a baby, the stress to create and provide what the baby will need build up in both couples, and such stress creates the wants to do something about it, to obtain what the baby will need.

As a refugee, living outside my homeland, I have great ambition and expectation to go back and rebuild my life and participate fully in the society; as such I have outlined my plans to achieve what I want to do and is now working towards that goal. I know and believe that everything requires financial resource and therefore saving money is in my initial plan.

“You’d better learn how to like yourself, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with you.” This quotation from Jerry Lewis caught my attention because when I was a smoker, I believe I did not like myself. Refugee life experience was so difficult that I felt there was no hope in life. I started drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, hoping that they will help me overcome the difficulties I was going through. It was a nightmare because the problem never went away; instead I started having problem with my health. After quitting smoking I was happy with myself and I had more expectation in life than when I was hopeless and a smoker.

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive” Quotes from Coach Wooden, borrowed from Robert Louis Stevenson’s wise words. The quotation caught my attention because I don’t enjoy the end result of my work, but I do enjoy doing the process. I am personally a technician and I enjoy doing technical work than when I have successfully done the work. I am very genius and people like to hire me to do fix their electrical appliances etc. For me the process to accomplish work is like traveling and accomplishment of a task is like reaching the destination which I view as boring.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

The book is clear and I have enjoyed reading it all through. I hope I will be able to make what I have read from this book my own ideas.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, the twenty-one day plan at the end of the book is an exercise that I need to master in the coming days. It is very helpful training program and I am grateful to have it.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

I found the word “interspersing” and could not understand its meaning in page 94, line 6.

I guess the word means (to break up something over and over again), otherwise it was not clear.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10



Real Magic
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan / Norway)

1. What are the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The author is informing us that “deep within us there is a unified of limitless possibilities” that we don’t know and when we become competent at going to this wondrous place, we will discover an entirely new realm of human experience, where all things are possible.

He explains that when we reach that place for higher awareness, the mystery begins to disappear and our purpose in life becomes very clear to us, and our relationship miraculously shifts to new levels of spiritual partnership.

It is the author’s effort to show us how to go about creating the higher level of awareness. He has written what he called “blueprint” to assist us as individual, to develop such awareness and applying it to all aspect of our lives, as individual, personal relationships and individual relationship to the larger world.

He explains precisely how we can use our minds to discover the invisible segments that is always ignored in favor of that which we know by the five senses. He said realigning ourselves, individually in the invisible world, helps us to gain mastery over our mind and stage for manifesting miracles in that highest stage of awareness which is ours for the knowing. This state of knowing is the way to understanding, through willingness to reach your own highest state of awareness, and using the awareness to get your life on purpose, and radiating that awareness to everyone in one’s life. Thus, it is the primary mental trip so powerful that can affect the material world with its miraculous magical powers, but we must be willing to go within and discover it for ourselves.

The author explained in his own words that “we have the capacity to create miracles and live a life of real magic, by using our invisible self to influence our physical reality, when one truly become a spiritual being first, and physical being second, and know how to live and breathe in this alignment.

He explained through the twelve dozen between spiritual and nonspiritual being, to show that both, spiritual and nonspiritual being are not located in the physical form or physical circumstances of one’s life, but it is located within the invisible dimension of one’s being. He said “one can prove being beyond the five senses, by keeping track of one’s actions in the physical world that you learn that you are a physical being, but by keeping track of what has created such actions, you gain the insight that your actions are coming from something that is not physical at all.”

He explained how to cultivate and get acquainted with the reality of one’s invisible world and how to make contact with divine or spiritual guidance, and how to connect with the invisible dimension we call death, and eventually how to put one’s self into the nonphysical world, to become more peaceful with one’s own self and the world. This is what I call meditation dimension, an important level that the physical body needs and should be nurtured and practice throughout lifetime.

It is in this highest level of self awareness that individual can cultivate and become spiritual being who will be able to make the physical world a better place given the positive twelve dozens approach described in both spiritual and nonspiritual being.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) ”I have been all things unholy; if God can work through me, he can work through anyone” St. Francis of Assisi, the same quotation caught my attention at the beginning of the book because all the ideas of the author in Real Magic are God’s ideas through the author of Real Magic to me, and I equally believe that I am the extended hand of God to continue His creation, and to enlighten them. I personally took the name Francis, because Francis of Assisi asked God in a prayer to be the instrument of Love and Peace. It is in this context that my inner purpose in life is strongly manifested in his model.

Through Real Magic and other books I read my purpose has become clear and I believe strongly that I have a mission to accomplish and that mission emerged from my life experience over the last 25 years; a life of a refugee, full of suffering due to lack of love and peace across the planet. The immense suffering of the poor people, forced to migrate from their habitat either by hatred caused by racial and religious discrimination, or political conflict caused by hunger for political power. On the one hand, rampant corruption of national resources by the clique in power living the country without anything, forcing citizens to flee and search for shelter, food and security.

I believe that it is wrong to sit and watch corrupt individual squander public resource, leaving millions suffering and even die in thousands without doing anything about it. I am indebted as a human being; to spearhead change because I see and believe that I am God’s agent to continue helping people share resources honestly in peace and harmony. This book explained how I can obtain high level of awareness that will empower and equip me to see the physical world and use my spiritual being to approach physical problems. Meditation for me is the time to communicate directly with God. In my meditation, for example, I always pray to God to bring peace and harmony to the Sudanese. The situation of my country dominates all my thoughts and prayers. I believe that by the grace of God Sudan will find sustainable peace all over the country, and I see myself as the agent of such change in Sudan.

b) ”The spiritual being knows he/she is never alone” This phrase is true, as John Donne’s put it “no man is an island…” meaning we need each other and as such the planet and her resources should be shared equally and peacefully. If the spiritual being is comfortable with the idea of having teachers, observers and divine guidance available any time, then I also believe that every human being is capable of reaching spiritual level, thus can become spiritual being. For example, as a boy, 13 year old, I had been learning through religious teachers about God. And I have been always amazed about all that I can see, touch, feel, smell, hear and taste came to be. Through the lessons from my teachers, I came into grip with my inner being, and to believe that there is something greater than man, who made all that I can see, smell or touch etc. and that is God. I just discovered from the author of Real Magic that the four religious comparison of God were all the same… expressing God as Love. It was wonderful to know that most religion describe God as Love. Where there is love there is God and if I am I believe that the message of Jesus Christ is all about loving each other, and then it is a noble process to be the agent of love, and promote such love. As the bible reminds me always that I should do to others that I expect others should do unto me.

If I love God, who created me and all that exist in my surrounding, then I must show such love by acting responsibly toward others and my surroundings. Finding time to communicate with God in my daily moments of prayers has become a food that I need every day. Meditation is a need in my life, because it empowers me with peace of mind, and when I turn to my surroundings, I manifest such peaceful mind and interact with everybody and my habitat in harmony.

I feel more responsible today that 20 years ago, and I believe God has created me for a purpose and that purpose is becoming clearer through learning from others, like Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, whom I now hold precious in my heart, because through his work in Real Magic, I was able to see my spiritual self, when I look back to my life over twenty years ago. It is now my personal responsibility to believe that God had a purpose for my life, and that is to be His agent of creation, to make the world a better place.

c) “The spiritual being is motivated by ethics, serenity and equality of life”. This phrase was like I was looking myself into the mirror. For example as a boy, after I was baptized, the priest told me I was now a witness and messenger to the new life in Jesus Christ and I should carry Christ message to the entire world, the message of peace and love. I had always wanted to be the agent of peace and love. I wanted to become a doctor because I wanted always to help people who are sick and in pain. My caring attitude was from the physical suffering experience that I encountered. Jesus Christ said “feed the hungry, care for the sick and show them love. I had the caring attitude and I always feel God had chosen me to help the needy.

One vivid example, after my university studies I worked for a local Catholic Church organization that was delivering humanitarian assistance to Sudanese refugees in Kakuma refugee camp Kenya. One day we were informed that six girls who were on their way the refugee camp, were taken by senior rebel commander. I and one priest took a car and drove to the location, about fifty kilometers inside south Sudan, area under rebel control. When we get to the location, we were surrounded by a group of rebel soldiers, all pointing their guns at me and the priest. Fear gripped me at first, but I was confident because I know I was doing the right thing. I asked if we could see the officer in charge, and we were told to wait. The girls were locked up in a room where the commander lives. About 3 minutes later one of the girls came out; she was being escorted to the pit latrine nearby. Then she saw the priest and screamed, “Father Dario”! The priest responded and asked if he could talk to the girl. The answer was a big NO. Then the commander came out. He asked his soldiers who we were, and the soldiers to him, we were from the refugee camp inside Kenya, and we wanted to talk with him. Then he came closer and asked what we wanted from him. I said we were there to take the six girls to the refugee camp in Kenya. He pauses for a minute and said, these girls are my wives, and then I said can we hear from the girls if what he said was true. Then he reacted angrily and orders his soldiers to send us out of the compound. We refused to leave the compound unless if we talk to the girls. The soldiers cocked their guns and were ready waiting for the order to shoot. The commander saw that we were not afraid of his men or guns; he went inside and sent the girls to speak to us. But he worn them to tell us that they were his wives, or they will all be shot.

When the girls came out the house, they look at us and amazingly, they all know the priest by his name. They came and greeted us and sat down. I asked the soldiers to move away because the girls wanted to confess to the priest. We moved together a distance and the girls told the priest the whole truth of what had really happened, and the priest went to car as if he was going to get the confession purple robe, and radio the Bishop to come as quickly as possible. Then we started our delaying tactics until the Bishop arrived and we were able to rescue the six girls.

What amazed me from the whole process was the courage and confidence we had, to the point of giving our lives for the good of the innocent girls. It was my first experience to imagine myself without fear, fighting for the right cause. It reminds me about the love and passion mother Teresa of Calcutta. There is no greater love than giving your life the good of the other. Such love for humanity comes from faith in God.

d) ”Learn to learn through knowing and trusting rather than doubting and fearing”. This idea was important to me because knowing and trusting takes time but doubting and fear are automatic human response that comes a second in a situation. It is important to master one’s own fear and doubt. In my case I would describe my fear as an experience through life enforced in me by culture and tradition. For example, in my culture, as a boy, I was told there are dangerous animals out there, especially during night, which can kill human beings, especially children. The most common animal that was always mentioned was hyena. Therefore, as a boy if my mother doesn’t want me to go out in the night, or even in the day time, she could tell me there is Hyena somewhere around, and immediately I will be gripped in fear and stay indoors. But I was always curious to know or see how Hyena looks like. One day I decided to walk through the forest nearby, without telling my mother where I was going. I walk through the forest without seeing and Hyena and I came back safely.

After few days, there was a funeral party and my mother and my father were preparing to go for the party. My mother came and informed me that they were going for the party and I should not go outside the house, because there was Hyena around, and if I get out of the house, the Hyena will kill me and eat me. I was curious to know how the Hyena looks like. So after my parents left for the party, I open the window to see if there was anything suspicious outside. My patience was also growing less and less and I was confident and felt and believe that I was strong enough to be able to run away faster than the Hyena. Thus, I went and open the door and kept it wide open in case the Hyena appears, I could easily run inside and close the door after me. I started playing around the house, going to every place that I was not allowed to go before, until I get to one dangerous place, full of scorpions. I stepped on a scorpion and was stung by a scorpion. I fall down screaming at the top of my voice, but there was no one to help me. I have to overcome my fear and do something about it. Then I crawl and got a piece of string and tight my leg, as I was told in case of scorpion accident, what to do, to stop the poison from going through the blood into my body. Then I got a piece of stick to help me walk to the house. But it was not possible for me to walk. The pain was so intense that I remain crying in one place for the whole of the afternoon.

My mother always comes home before the sun sets. When she get home that day, she did not find me in the house and immediately she knew I was in trouble somewhere in places I like to go and play or hunt birds. To cut the story short, she searched for me and found me, very tired and voiceless. She carried me on her back and treated me with the traditional medicine.

From that day, my fear shifted from Hyena to scorpion, but I understood why my mother did not want me to go and play outside the house. It was to keep me safe from all kinds of danger. But I was always curious to know everything that was harmful and through my curiosity I was able to learn and know most of the things I did not know. I began to trust in myself and my abilities and in each experience there were good lessons to learn new things. It is important to learn to know because knowledge replaces fear since fear is an unpleasant feeling of anxiety or apprehension caused by the presence or anticipation of danger.

e) “Pay attention first to your spiritual invisible self, and only secondary to your physical self” This is an important exercise that I admired most in this book, because suffering does not take place in my invisible self, it is formless part of my humanity. To suffer, I need a body to give my suffering a place to be. For example, while I was in pain and anguish for being a refugee, I was blaming myself and God for allowing the suffering. I am always bitter and angry and I don’t want to see the Arabs and Muslims because they were the one who were bombing us in the south and caused me to flee my country. In my meditation each day, I was asking God to stop the civil war in Sudan. The voices of my inner self was “hate” always why do I hate Arabs, can my hatred bring peace? I was listening to those voices every day. When I turn to the words of Jesus Christ, “Love your enemies as much as you love yourself” my thinking began to take a different form, but it was very difficult. My inner self was speaking a language of forgiveness, and I started to take the peaceful approach instead of revenge.

The peaceful approach was better because we were able to save thousands of lives, when we began the negotiation process. I was very happy during the peace negotiation process and I started to believe God had intervened and that we should now pursue the peaceful means. I remember celebrating the Machakos protocol, in Kenya 2002, everyone was extremely happy. Thus, the inner voices during meditation and prayers during the first agreement signed by both political warring parties was all asking God to give courage and love to those who were negotiating peace process. There was a lot of hope and courage in me than ever before.

My messages to the Sudanese people in the refugee camps were all about forgiveness and love. It was all about peaceful co-existence through tolerance and equal rights.

f) “Practice inner affirmations giving yourself permission to adopt new ideas” This line was like I was looking myself into a mirror. Because I believe in learning and knowing, my inner affirmation gives me permission to adapt to any learning process and my curiosity to learning affirms that. It is always good to learn new things and as human beings, learning continuous throughout life. We can accept to learn new things but it is important to have the will to learn and suspend disbelief and be open to anything possible.

When I look back to my life now, I believe I was very open to learning and the process of learning has made me a mature man today, and I am very proud of myself today than 10 years ago. I am still very eager to learn more things as long as I live.

For example, I like reading about the life of others who are experience than me. I love to read about the saints, prominent leaders and prominent social activists. I found that they have a lot of experience to learn from. I admired most of them for their high level of awareness. They are symbols of truth, strength.

g) ”You can be a messenger of miracles to the world” I believe in this line because I am all I need to make a world of real magic. As an agent of change and an instrument of God to bring the necessary change, my individual contribution is very important in the process of cosmos. I see myself as part and parcel of the physical world.

I see myself as a messenger of miracle because my inner self believe I can be a messenger after all the knowledge I have learned. The diverse knowledge of how to be a leader, a communicator, a manager, a teacher, and how to influence people are great asset in transformation or any revolution. I am very confident now than when I was ten years ago.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas are concrete in all its dimensions and I believe nothing is more likely to help a person overcome or endure troubles than the consciousness of having a task in life. It is worth to assimilate these ideas and make them my own. For example, when one becomes a carpenter, he knows his tools by their names, and to be a messenger of transformation, I need to know the ideas I have learnt by their names in order to be able to use them in my daily personal activities, regardless of where I would be.

I am determined to accomplish the purpose of my life as an agent of change in the complex physical world and make the world a better place. I see myself as a teacher, manager and leader, well equipped to accomplish a purpose after reading real magic.

It is my hope and prayers that nothing is impossible as long as there is a good will. The world needs my individual participation and I believe collectively we can make this world a better place

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone” This quotation from a French philosopher caught my attention because as a young man at the age of 20 years old, the most difficult thing to do was to be in a quiet place in silence. It took me a lot of time to practice to be silence in a quiet place. When inform my parish priest about my situation, he accepted to help me and after my first retreat exercise I was overwhelm with the experience. Today I enjoy sitting in an empty silent place than few years ago. It is so peaceful and good to sit and listen to ones inner self at least once a day.

“Circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him” quotation from James Allen in “As a man thinketh” It is true that our circumstances of poverty reveals who we are, when we look at undesirable situation such as corruption. Most individual caught in corruption practices are from poor family background. With a clear mindset and able to know and differentiate good values from bad values, there is hope to overcome such limitations and bad values from the mind. For example, I know that corruption is a bad value forced into a human being through circumstances, and therefore it can be erased and replaced with positive mental attitude. Thus, it is my duty as an agent to introduce such change to those around me.

“If you fill your inner invisible self with bitterness and revenge toward others, you leave no room for the harmony and love that are necessary to experience real magic in your life.” This is very true statement, that reflects my experience and I believe those who have been forced to migrate as well. I am always bitter about the civil war in Sudan and I hate all those that were responsible for the war.

The peace agreement signed in January 2005 was like real magic that came through the good will from the parties at war. And that is why I believe that if people did not leave room for the harmony, revenge would have continued and peace would have not prevailed. To me that was very true that room for harmony came as real magic. It makes me feel real magic is in all of us, and when the time is ripped it emerges.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

I enjoyed the example of the music in page 85. It was one unique example that amazed me all through my exercise, however, I did not understand the example given in page 86 about the “vase” I don’t think I understood the explanation.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, the entire book contains exercise of inner journey through reflection and meditation. The guidelines offered on page 119-27 was very practical and I enjoyed practicing it. Listening to myself is an important exercise that I need to master in the coming days. The fourteen suggestions are the immediate exercise I am going through at the moment, hoping to complete it all. The exercise was very helpful and I hope and pray the will be part of me for the rest of my life.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

No. The book was very helpful and I enjoyed reading new ideas from it.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9



How to Win Friends & Influence People
Francis Okeny Silvio (Norway/Sudan

1. What are the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

This book contains amazing volume of ideas how to win friends and influence people. It explains precisely the ideas to win friends and influence people. It says that when dealing with people, one must know and understand that s/he is dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity. These human beings hold their greatness, pride and interests at high and thus, because they feel great and proud, criticism and lack of recognition, and appreciation can drive them away, or rather push them to perform poorly.

The book explained clearly how criticism has driven some people like Thomas Chatterton, the English novelist to suicide. Since we all desire to be great and important, we need to be recognize and appreciated for doing anything. The book also suggest that, because of our desire to be great and important, explorers, scientist and all those great men/women who became Olympic champions, or rather those who made great and important discoveries across the planet did it because they know they will be praised with high recognition. Because of feeling great, rich people are driven by such desire to help the poor people, to build hospital and schools in their names. New innovation and inventions were possible because people want to be known and held great.

Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller described that sincere appreciations was their main secret of handling people. The book explains that criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify him/herself. Criticism is dangerous because it inflicts and hurt our pride, our sense of importance and arouses resentments. Therefore it should be avoided.

The book six ways in a nutshell to make people like you; honest and openness in relationships with others, learn how to smile, remember people and call them by their precious names, being a good listener and encouraging people to talk about themselves, talk about other person’s interests and make the other person feel important, are basic principles to make people like you.

The twelve ways in a nutshell to win people to your way of thinking; the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it, showing respect to people’s opinions, never say “you are wrong”, if you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically, etc are key mild stone to win people to your way of thinking.

And finally, the nine ways in a nutshell that a leader’s job often includes changing your people’s attitudes and behavior; a leader should begin with praise and honest appreciation, call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly, talk about your mistakes before criticizing the other person, ask questions instead of giving direct orders, praise the slightest improvements, give people fine reputation to live up to, make the fault seem easy to correct and make the other person happy about doing the things you suggest, are nobel principles for a leader.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) ”Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.” This phrase caught my attention because it is very easy to criticize but difficult to appreciate. For example, I love to play football match and every time I made a mistake by giving the ball to my opponent, and someone criticize me publicly, I will react negatively to the person and from that moment he hurts me, I would not be able to play well, because I am gripped with anger of being humiliated in public. Yet I know and believe that if I was in his shoes, I would have just done the same or may be even worse. Criticism is not the best way to motivate people to perform and I agree.

Another example, in my culture, people interacts and groups themselves according to initiation group, not by age. Each initiation age group range from 18 to 31 years old and each initiation process takes place every 14 years. Therefore each initiation group begins from 18 to 31 years old, and all these age group are considered age mates, as such they socialized together and in their interaction, they uses criticism with an aim to correct someone to improve from his status quo. When you as a youth go to where your peers are, they will screen you very well and give their comments in a form of criticism. For example, if your teeth are not brushed, they will say “your teeth smells, or rather dirty. Or your clothes are dirty, or your body smells etc. Thus, you may try to defend yourself with excuses, but people who are criticizing you expect that next time you will come to meet them; you will make sure your teeth are brushed, your clothes are clean and your body washed. But because we held our pride and greatness and always defend them, these kinds of criticism always end up with fighting instead of helping to improve the person.

I have always been critical and I thought that the only way to correct people is by criticizing them. But now after reading this book I have learn that criticism is not helping, instead, it is destroying friendship or business with others. I always believe that sincere and honest criticism is always positive because of cultural system, but now I have realized that criticism is not good. I have now come to understand that by criticizing, I do not make lasting changes and often incur resentment in others.

b)” Give honest and sincere appreciations.” This phrase reminds me of my childhood. I am the third born in a family of six. The first boy child and my father and mother would always complement me on anything. I was very stupid to understand arithmetic, especially multiplication, but because honest and sincere appreciation from my parents, I could make mistakes but I was improving every day. I believe it was my parents’ honest appreciations and complements that had motivated me to like and love going to school.

After reading this book, I realized that my son hate going to school, because I always thought that by criticizing him of being stupid at school, he will improve, but now I understand the value of appreciation. The method of criticism used by the youth in my culture can only work in certain environment, but not in some environments. Criticism pierces our heart deep and destabilizes our pride and we shrink into ourselves and begin to feel that we are useless, and this kind of feelings do not motivate our victims.

c)” Arouse in the other person an eager want…” My father is a good story teller and his stories are directed to teach people about life events, and successful people in the society. When I was nine years old, he always wants me to be on his side to listen to his stories. He will always praise educated people comment on the greatness of education. He always says education is the key that opens the eyes of people. He always tells me that after successful education one will have everything he/she needs in life. As a young man, I was always curious to know how education can open ones’ eye. I could ask him silly questions and he was always there to answer me. He was always sincere and honest with me and as such I became very interested in school and my hopes and wants were very high. This positive mental attitude toward school can be seen through my good performance

If I had been always a good student at school, it was because my dad. I am now proud of him more than ever before. He had aroused in me a want to be educated that I could only realize it now after reading this book. I was never discouraged like my age mates who drop out of school due to lack of motivation from their parents.

d) ”We are interested in others when they are interested in us.” This phrase caught my attention because it went directly into my mind. I like talking to people and I like making friendship with interested people. But I realized that people are interested in me when they want me to help them most of the time. For example, I am a technician and I can fix many electrical appliances and many people know me in my area. Most people hire me to fix their washing machines, Electrical Driers, Electric cooker etc. But one man living next to my best friends’ apartment knows me and what I do, but he was never interested in me. On many occasions if I meet him in my friends’ house, he would walk out at once without even greeting me. I did not pay much attention to him and what he might be feeling towards me. He had been hiring someone to fix his electrical appliances from another small town, almost 35 minutes drive. He did it most of the time intentionally. I was told on several occasions he said black people are incompetent, that was why he don’t hire black people for any job.

One day the man’s cooker fail to work, and the technician who always fix it for him had traveled and would be away for the next three months. He had no other alternative but was forced to search for someone to help him out. So he contacted my friend living next door and my friend informed me about his problem. So I went and fix the cooker in less than an hour. He was so amazed and said you are genius, it always take my guy more than two days to fix this cooker. I welcomed his complement and left the house.

The next time I went to visit my friend, who lives next door, this man, to my amazement, was the first one to jump out to greet me. I, in turn, became very happy for his humility and smiling face and we became good friends after I realize he was an arithmetic teacher in the school where my son goes, furthermore, he knew my son by name. When I mentioned that my son was in the same school where he teaches, he was amazed and happy. We became good friends after discovering that we needed each other, and until now we are good friends because I am interested in him to teach my son and he was interested in my technical skills just as Publilus Syrus, the Roman poets remarked in his above quotation.

e) ”Most folk are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” This quotation caught my attention because it was like I was looking myself in a mirror. I said this because I was forced by circumstance beyond my control to live as a refugee. Before becoming a refugee life was different. I was a man with dignity and pride. When I became a refugee, I can remember all the humiliations I went through in the neighboring country. For example, in Egypt, many Sudanese male could not get job. The Egyptian employs only women given the deep Islamic cultural attitudes. All male, including myself, became house keepers. It was the most humiliating situation given our cultural supremacy, where a male is the bread winner. Most of us were forced to take up women responsibilities of which we were not ready to perform with the right attitude. After four years in such situation, and there was no hope the war will end in the country, we believed that was going to be a lifelong situation, so we comfortably accepted the condition and began to smile again with our women. But many families broke up as well.

I remember in the first days my refugee in Egypt; we did not want to accept we were refugees, because it was very humiliating to be calling a refugee. But as time goes, one becomes a beggar, and that is the most humiliating thing to do in any society “begging”, but one begins to accept to be called “a refugee” and then we became to terms with the situation and we become a normal people again.

f) “The effect of smile is powerful—.” I agree with this statement because as a refugee, I had suffered a great deal learning how to cope with new people. For example, as a refugee, I was forced to move to an alien land, where I don’t know the language, I don’t like the food, I don’t like the culture etc. But because I needed the help of the other person, I was forced to deny my pride and dignity and beg for food, shelter and clothing. Naturally when you don’t have dignity there is no pride either, and therefore it is hard to smile, because you feel hurt. However, as a refugee for a very long time I found myself not smiling at all.

In my culture people are very hospitable, they welcome strangers, greet strangers first. And I was expecting others to greet me first in any strange land, but everything was the opposite, it was really a nightmare the first year of my refuge.

Here in Norway, people smile at me only in summer. I always feel not wanted when I see gloomy faces around me. For example, in the public transport; bus, train or airplane, It is very hard to see a smiling faces. Always if someone smiles at me, the person is of an immigrant background. But after reading this book, I realized that I don’t even smile at people, and I expect people to smile at me. Thus, I will start smiling at people from this week and see if my assumptions are correct.

Smile is powerful because I feel happy when someone smiles at me. I feel accepted and I can break my silence by cracking a joke, or rather begins to talk about the weather etc. People always pick up conversation after a friendly smile.

g) ”Talk to people about themselves,… and they will listen for hours.” This quotation caught my attention because; I always listen to someone if the person is talking about me. I feel bored when someone talk and praise himself and I did not know this attitude until now when I read this book. For example when somebody is talking and praising me I feel great and I am very interested to hear everything the person want to say about me. But I always talk about myself, with dignity and pride. On many occasions I found myself talking to myself, because all those who were around me got bored and walked away. Now after reading this book, I have learned and realized that when you talk to people about themselves they are happy and cheerful. It was really very important for me to know this little secret.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas and principles are very genuine if I made them become part of me. I have no doubts if I become genuinely interested in others, smiling to every person I meet, remembering people’s name and calling them by their names, listening to people and helping them out of their sorrows or sadness situation and encouraging people to talk about themselves. Talking to people about their interests and making them feel important in my daily life. Winning people to my way of thinking and changing people without arousing resentments, etc, there is no doubt in my mind I will create a better world around me and eventually the entire world will be better.

I believe that people have dignity and pride and they want to be important, therefore, appreciating them is an incentive to perform and improve on themselves and the work they performs, as such the world will be a better place if everyone live with dignity and pride.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

”A man without a smiling face must not open a shop” This quotation from the Chinese proverb was very true because I always go to shops where shopkeepers smiles and express happiness while I am buying their goods. It reminds me about the importance of a smile. A smile is powerful in doing business with others. It is important to me because I have noticed that “smile” always shows happiness and people respond and break silence when smiled at.

“The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it” This phrase caught my attention because it was a challenge to my personality. I always think I must win the argument, and in the process I make it worst, because the other person will lay up stiff resistance, and sometimes it becomes personal and sentiments arouse and things gets out of hand, at least in my personal experience. But now I have learned something from this book.

“Show respect for the other person’s opinion… Never say you are wrong.” It is imperative that when you start telling the other person “you are wrong”, his/her pride and importance is affected, rousing sentiments that will lead to feeling embarrassed. I personally respond positively when people show respect to my opinion. I did not know the effect I made on others by not showing others respect, until when I read this book. I can see that this book has been a great help to me.

“Ask questions instead of giving direct orders” This praise was like I was looking myself into a mirror. For example, I cannot work well under direct orders, but many times I have ordered people under my supervision, and the results were always negative. The people I have worked with had worked better without my supervision and have done worst under my direct supervision and I did not understand why until when I read this book. It reminded me about the bible saying, “Do unto others what you expect others do unto you” Since I don’t like orders from others, I should imagine that it hurts the feelings of others as well, therefore avoid giving orders in any circumstance.

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” This was the most touching quotes summarizing the entire principles to win and influence people. I personally feel great and happy when somebody gives me a complement or appreciation on what I have done or is doing. It is true and I believe this quote because when I get complements, I feel important and great and I would even crave to do more better than what I have done. Therefore, what I feel is what everyone feels when they are in my shoes, and that should be enough reason for me to complement and sincerely appreciate every individual effort in any place anywhere.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

The book was clear and I have understood the ideas described in it. I have enjoyed reading it and will be my reference in the future to bring expected changes in my community.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

The book contains a lot of exercises summarized in a nutshell, and I am gladly doing my best to assimilate them during my reflection time. It is my hope to complete them and make them my own principles and ways in life.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

No, I enjoyed the book very much. It was unique and useful to me.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 10
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 1



Giant Steps
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sunday/Norway)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The author presented a golden chance to effectively make mall decisions that would change the quality of our relationships, finances, health and emotions. He explained in details using different steps and methods how to affect decision that can shape behaviors and habits that are needed to achieve desired aspirations.

He explained on page 1 – 31 how to set goals and decide how we would act and obtain our goals. He said acting towards desired aspirations and rewarding ourselves is the most recommended to realize the power of our own decision.

The author presented thoroughly how to get what we really desired, but must be ready to go through the process, such as pain, pleasure and mental state. I find this part very interesting because when I look at life, I see that in life everybody avoids pain, yet pain and pleasure are the same side of a single coin. Everybody wants pleasure and thus, to go through pain in order to change old habits is really our main problem in life.

He explained that the force that determines what we try or fail to try to accomplish in our lives as embedded in our beliefs is a major concern in taking any desired decision. He said most empowering belief can positively shape one’s life. It is up to me to set up a new positive expectation or aspiration that I want to be and reinforce it through practical action.

The author explained how questions are the answers: he said the important thing is not to stop questioning and I agree, because curiosity has its own reason for existing. For example, he explained that questions are the “laser” of human consciousness that is used through any obstacle or challenge. He explained that better people are those who ask better questions and as a result will get better answers, this is very true, and I would add that only those who take risk are the one that always succeed in life.

He explained how to get the knack of change, the science of success conditioning. It was amazing to know about “Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters” We must take personal responsibility for our change, and such quotation has summarized it all. Conditioning our behavior in order to obtain the desired behavior was for me noble news. However the rest of the ideas such as the vocabulary of success, how to use your action signals, take the ten-day mental challenge, your personal compass, the key to the expanded life etc… were really hidden treasure in this book that would make me recommend most people to read this book thoroughly.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) Our decisions determine our destiny. This is fundamental and key secret of this book to me because life is described as hanging between pain and pleasure. To decide between pain and pleasure depends on the decision I make. Pain helps me to make desired changes that will put me think and make decision on the happiness side. Therefore each decision has power to change my life or destroy it. I have now learned, from this and other book in the program, that the best way to success is to determine my life through commitments. For example, if you are a smoker, the decision to quit smoking will better your health, but it is up to you to decide. I found it very significant and practical method and action oriented book that will help millions of those who love to read and know what is best and what is not best for them.

b) How to get what you really want. This phrase has touched me personally because I know from the word “old habits die hard” it is truly painful to erase your old habits and replace it with new habits. It requires real commitment to get what I really want in life, just like commitment to erase old habit.

What I link pain to and what I link pleasure to shape my destiny. For example when I was 25 years old, drinking alcohol was the best way to say what I wanted to say, especially to my parents. Sometimes when I am really angry about a situation, I would go and drink, so that I can confront my fears and pain, and most of the time when I am drunk, everything turns up ugly, and with much pain resulting from a fight etc.

When I was 28 years old, I made a decision not to drink in order to speak. It was very difficult moment for me and painful because I was very shy person. I confronted my fears and told myself nobody will do it for me, it is only me who can decide what to do not to do. I went and started talking to my mother, and she was looking at me as if something was wrong with me. First she thought I was drunk, because I always talk when I am drunk and nobody takes me seriously. But I stood with my decision and proved to my mother that I was a different person all together from that moment. Everybody was amazed but happy to see that I was now a man on my own. It was a wonderful day for me and I will never forget the pain I went through.

In Africa, children depends on the parents forever, especially male children. The male child will never make any decision in the family as long as the father is still alive. So the male child will always feel a child, no matter how old he is. I believe that a male child can remain a child even up to over 40 years old, as long as the father is still alive. This is very negative belief in most African culture that need to be erased all together in my view.

c) Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. ,This is a very powerful statement that really penetrates like double edge sword. It is true that the force that determines what we try or fail to try to accomplish in our lives, is our beliefs. For example, in my culture, we belief that the dead people live underground world as spirits, and that they are watching our daily activities and relationships throughout our life time and that if the living quarrel or fight with each other, the dead will get angry and they will come to defend the weakest individual in such family in form of spirits, and by doing so, the weakest individual in the community will die. The weakest in the communities are children. Therefore, both parents of the particular family are blamed for causing the bad omen, and then they would plead for mercy, and reconciliatory rights would be performed to bring harmony in the family again. Such belief creates harmony in the family if followed carefully by the members of the family. It can also destroy the family if the individual in the family has ill intention.

Another common example is the belief that girl child should not go to school, because they will get married outside the family and become members to other family, and therefore money wasted on their education would be a waste. Such belief has destroyed the progress of most African communities. In my view, to educate a woman is very important, because they are the core of the community. Women are the first teachers to be more specific, and therefore if all women are educated, child mortality would be reduced to zero percent, and since children are the future of any nation, the world would have better quality people and thus better world.

d) Avoid this belief of the problem being “personal” at all costs. I have always believed that fighting is the result of uncontrolled anger. In my culture, boys are trained to be brave and strong; they are not allowed to cry unnecessarily. Therefore I have always believed that it is shameful to shade tears or to cry. As the first male child in a family of 4 girls, I always personalize problem surrounding my sisters, to show my braveness. When I read the phrase above, I remembered my experience and the belief in my culture. It took me sometimes to erase and replace such belief.

During the years of my philosophical studies, the view and belief of personalizing problem was erased and replaced with rational thinking. People who cannot reason intellectually resort to muscles, and I agree that I was.

e) So often people blame events for how their lives have turned out. This phrase was like a mirror reflecting my experience. As a boy, I had always blamed myself for any faults. For example, during the civil war in Sudan, life was really difficult and painful. I was thinking every day the war would end, but in vain, until I have to decide and get out of that suffering and pain. After I made a decision and left the country, life continued to be difficult and painful. After many years of suffering and pain, I shrink into that suffering and pain without any hope life would change again to better. For me, life was all about enduring pain, there is nothing more than that. The meaning of life was pain and suffering and everything is attached to pain and suffering, and I believe it was, and if I want to avoid pain, I should stand up on my feet and face the pain and suffering.

Years later, when entered Europe, life changed, all that I experienced in life was different, and my world view changed and now I am able to share my painful experience as a resource. I agree that what shapes our lives is the meaning we attach to events and experience of our lives.

f) All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. This is very true and I agree to it honestly. For example, when I was a little boy of about 13 years old, I use to strongly belief I cannot ride a bicycle, because it is not possible to sit on a two wheeled machine. But when I replaced my fear with courage and I learned how to ride a bicycle at 13 years old.

The phrase reminds me also about what I read in the first book, “As a Man Thinketh” that the thinking in our heart is what we believe in and embrace, but yet we are so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstances of our lives. In my view, learning new tricks about life makes it easy to replace useless beliefs in ourselves. For example, I can now say clearly that after reading many books, my beliefs have changed greatly. My world view has switched to more global than just my own environment. I use to think that the world was just like the small environment in my surrounding, that I know very well. But now, the international exposure and education have change that belief and now I am a different person all together, very happy than ever before.

g) “Whatever you fail to use you lose.” This phrase was very important to me because it has been my method of learning throughout until now. I find it very useful to keep repeating what I want to know and use. For example if I get a new word or phrase that I don’t know or understand, I will write it down and every time repeats it. I do it also with phrases from other influential people, such as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr etc.

Anything that I failed to use, I will always forget it. However, to replace a habit or behavior, it is important to use the desired method until the new habit or behavior is completely replaced. To learn something new, one must keep repeating the new word or phrase.

The same method can be used in learning new emotions, such as cheerfulness, excitement; giving a smile to people you don’t know etc. the same goes to learning new positive mental attitudes.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas are very practical and are being practice now personally. I believe that daily small actions and exercise offers better steps toward good life. We can make the world a better place if we learn and begin to practice the ideas in Giant Steps. However, since I am aware of these ideas, it is my responsibility to practice and exercise these ideas and take a leading role to empower my family, community, country and eventually the entire world.

I believe that charity begins at home, thus the expected changes I would like to see in the world should start from me as an individual and then my family, and then I should take a leading role in the community etc. It is through responsibility and conviction that small daily actions towards our inspirations that we would be able to build the better world.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

”Decide what you really want and determine what’s preventing you from having it now” This particular statement got my attention because I always procrastinates my decisions and find excuses to avoid pain that are involve. For example, as a refugee living exile, I always skip my schedule to return home because I don’t want to go through pain in life again, given the history of my bitter experience in the country during the civil war. Thus the political environment on the ground is not promising and communication with the outside world is still a challenge. I am aware that bitter experience is a resource to make the future better and I also believe that revenge is not a solution, because it keeps me in the cycle of suffering and pain. Nelson Mandela, after 27 years in prison, was released and he said that was the past bitter experience, and now we must put it behind and focus on what can make the future better. He knew that revenge was to roll back into conflict and pain, rather putting the cycle of pain and suffering again. He chooses the best option to unite the people towards hope and progress through equality and justice, starting by sincere reconciliation of all the people of South Africa.

“There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotions” (Carl Jung) This quotation was important to me because it matches my personal understanding of emotions. It is a natural feeling that requires attention throughout life. The method to which emotions are control in this book was additional information to what I already know. I agree that by suppressing emotions, they will come out in either way, but being aware of the feelings and acknowledging it is important. For me it is important to get control of any emotion and placed it appropriately. The five steps to control emotions in this book was very helpful to me such as (1) identify, (2) acknowledge and appreciate, (3) get curious, (4) get confident and (5) get excited and take action on your emotions.

Nevertheless, the ability to handle the repeated emotions with a successful method is the best way forward and the secret is to kill the emotions before it gets out of control.

“Curious people are never bored, and for them, life becomes an ending study of joy.” I find this phrase interesting because I felt it touching my feelings directly. I have always been curious to learn new things and I found life very interesting and full of joy and excitement. I love being alive and active. I feel great especially where there is there are democracy, equality and the rule of law.

“Knowing what to do is not enough; you must do what you know.” This was very interesting phrase because it reflects the entire ideas in this book. In my view, theory without practice is less effective, thus learning must contain both theory and practice.

While I was in technical school, I learned technical work through theory and practical, as such what I learned is part of me now. But what I have learned later in theories in the university remains in me as theories and some of them are no longer part of me. I can only remember them when I come across the situation, but not the same as practical knowledge from the technical school.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

No. The book was a master piece of small exercise that will make life better.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, in my view, every page has something new to offer, and it is my own responsibilities to follow suite and practice what I believe will change my life for better. Furthermore, the 365 daily lessons on the pages are genuine exercise that can change life and I am ready to open myself to it. There is no life without pain. In order to have pleasure, we must go through pain. I believe that by going through pain, we are conditioned to think and decide how to get out of pain, thus pain is necessary in life in my view.

Furthermore, the ten-day mental challenge to establish consistency in our desired actions is the corner stone of all the exercises to make the desired changes in life.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

No, the book was very clear and inspiring. I enjoyed every new idea and is grateful for the opportunity to have this book.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10



Goal Setting 101
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan / Norway)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The goal setting 101 is a master piece because it is an easy, step-by-step guide for setting and achieving a goal as such it contain volume of practical and concrete ideas.

Gary Ryan Blair is genius and precise in expressing his wonderful ideas. He explained with extreme dedication how one can understand the fundamentals of success, how one can plan his way to success, how one can execute his way to success and how one can manage his way to success. He explained his ideas in simple and easy way that makes it a master piece for goal setting.

Gary Ryan Blair precisely explained the fundamentals of success by breaking it into simple way to understand how one can easily follow his ideas. He started by explaining the fundamentals of success by defining a “Goal”, knowing why goal setting is important, how to develop a vision and create a mission statement. His explanations are easy and wonderful to understand. He explained how to study the anatomy of a goal, accept one’s power of choice, respect reality and face the facts, be authentic, cover the ten crucial life dimensions, make everything count, respect your rights and responsibilities and ask the six important goal setting questions. Such process was to me a genius master piece of work from high experience.

All the ideas that follows in “planning your way to success, execute your way to success and manage your way to success were all genius and master piece, and I admired such a degree of knowledge and responsibility. It empowered me and I believe every idea he put forward provide direction and inspiration for success in all dimension when a goal is clearly defined.

The book also provides practical exercises that make it even easier to follow; one does not need a teacher to go through it. It is self-guided exercise, all one need is dedication.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) Presentation of the 12 fundamentals to realize personal definition of success was most important ideas to me, because they are like a “sign-board” on the road side to show direction. To know the definition of a goal is crucial, because until one knows and understands what he/she wants, there is no direction to begin moving. For me it is important to define a goal and to know why goal setting is important.

It is when the goal is clearly defined that one can have a vision. A mission statement is a declaration of who I am and why I exist to accomplish what I want to accomplish. It serves as an umbrella to the entire goal. It is important to have clear mission statement because it serves as platform on which every ideas and means to obtain a goal are explained. It was important to me to understand this point because throughout life I have been mixing up on this topic with repeated consequences.

b) “You are born with great capabilities, but you will not achieve your potential until you call upon yourself to fulfill it.” This phrase was personally important to me because I always want to do everything without clearly explained process. This book presents a clear direction as to how I can convincingly call upon myself to plan and execute my plan with less difficulty. This book was like a highway to my potential capabilities, and now without hesitant; I can say my talents, intelligence and abilities will achieve different goals within a specified time.

Great capability is to have power to choose and every moment offers a choice and every choice counts. This book has challenged me in many ways but I have also learnt a lot from it, for example the book says “Respect reality and face the facts” because reality moves you towards your goals; while denials move you away from it. This is very true and I agree and denying reality for any reason, leads to stress and frustration and takes one from goals. As someone who procrastinates always I discovered my weakness in this book and now I can tell myself “never lose these golden ideas again.

c) “Values lay down the groundwork for your goals. Goals lead to the fulfillment of your mission. Your mission leads to the realization of your life’s work – your legacy”. This was an amazing phrase as if I was looking myself into a mirror. The ten categories in a chat explained the entire reason of our existence. I personally believe that “I am because we are”, to quote from prof. John Mbiti’s book “African Philosophy,” where he explained the African values and world view. I agree that most African cultures and world view is always expressed in their actions. Our communitarian view of the world is embedded in our relationship with each other in the family and friends; I believe that I exist because of others as such our decisions are always affected by our relationship. Our families and friends are always part of our decision and I can clearly see that now.

I have been always proud of who I am because of the education I had, but I am more proud of my parents. I see myself as a person because of my parents and to make my parents proud of me; I want to do something great for them. For example, my parents have lived under poverty line all their lives, but yet they strived hard to spare money for my primary education, and for that reason, I owe them a lot in life. I want to see them enjoying the fruits of their sacrifice, by having good accommodation and care. Because I love them so much, I always feel happy when they are happy, as such since I am able to get better job than them, everything I do, I do it by reflecting on their benefits as well, therefore, all my plans should put them under my umbrella. The day my mother past away (17 June 2000), was the day I felt the whole world has collapsed. I felt completely lost, because my mother was a symbol of my pride for all the sacrifices she had made for my primary academic survival. It was like I have lost everything in life and until now I owe her big respect and love for the values she taught me.

d) “…the critical 12 points you must understand and practice as you plan your way to success.” This was a very important section for me because, looking back to my life, I wanted to become medical personnel to help treat people in my area, but given the financial situation and the civil war in the country, there was no one to help me financially to complete my studies as I wanted. When I look at the critical 12 points, the first one “know the purpose of planning” because “plans help you determine the career you might want to go into and the best way to enter and conduct the career.” I realized that financial condition was the main obstacle to my dream and plan. For example, those who tried to help me get higher education, did helped me on condition, and those condition were to study what they want me to study, and take a career that they wanted me to take, and finally I ended up pursuing what was not in my dream and plan. Although I later realized and appreciated what I was conditioned to study as important, and is now am proud for the golden opportunity to study at higher academic level, I still felt it was not my plan and dream, and as such this book has help me to understand the purpose of planning more precisely.

The critical 12 points has been very helpful and especially the SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. The exercise was of a great help and is now the best tool for immediate and effective analysis of a given situation.

e) “The effective goal setter is not content to make circumstances fit those plans. One tries to make plans fit the circumstances.” These phrases was very important to me because I always expect the circumstances to fit my plans, and when I incurred unexpected situation everything collapse because I was not prepared for the changes circumstances presented. For example, I was asked to plan and fix a water-tank with a capacity of 2000 liters for the clinic use, within six weeks. The water-tank must have an automatic switch to refill the tank at every drop of 50 liters from the normal level. I embark on the assignment at once and after one week, my brother passed away, and according to the culture and tradition, the funeral must be held for at least one week. If I admit to the culture and tradition, I would miss the deadline and the clinic will get into trouble with its clients, since the notice on the board said clearly that, “the clinic will be ready by the time specified”. I sat down and thought thoroughly over what I can do to rescue the situation. The best way was to sacrifice my time by day and work by night if I wanted to meet the deadline. And that was exactly what I did, and it was successful, even if I later suffered mentally, the work was completed as planned.

It is difficult and hard to devise, invent and create situation tailored to the strengths to fit the circumstances, however, responding to unexpected circumstances is always a wise decision, but it is not always good. This book has given me the tools and I have understood the tricks entirely.

f) “Planning must be done, analyzed, re-planned, and done again”. I agree with this phrase for obvious reasons. Continued analysis of a project helps one to avoid unexpected situations disrupts the work, and in case of change needed, one must re-planned and adjust to the changes.

I agree on the phrase also because the external environment and circumstances will always change and because of such factors, one must analyze, evaluate and re-planned and apply the necessary applicable method. This book has all the tools one could imagine. Every planned and well prepared work gets on with good momentum and motivation.

g) ”Action is the conduit through which advancement flows.” This is very true and I agree that the 12 keys to implementing plan; act as a leader, practice speed, simplicity, and boldness, only results matter, go the extra mile, always set a deadline etc. presents traits and characteristics that offers a proven process that will help one determine goals by prompting to examine the likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.

I also agree that the primary criterion of any leader is the ability to achieve the goal, whatever it may be. I always held my pride high through hard and efficient work accomplishment. Although I don’t like working under supervision, I act towards every assignment with all my ability to get the work well-done. I held credibility as a value in professional work and as a yardstick for any accomplishment.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

This book was very precise and practical with each section containing concrete exercise to follow. I believe that this book has offered me a lot of practical ideas that will help me throughout life time, a lesson that will help me change my life by exercising what I have learnt.

It is my hope and believes that such genius and precise work will be a practical guide of life, and as such a useful tool to make the world a better place. For example, one can use such book through workshops and with its practicality the ideas can spread faster than expected.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can keep your goals in your head.” This phrase caught my attention because I use to think that I can remember what I want to do and therefore can follow my plans without writing them down. I realized that my ideas changes every few hours from its original state. When I write everything down, new thoughts can only help me make the necessary changes possible. Writing down a plan or thoughts is a fundamental principle in any professional work and I believe in writing down my work.

It is also easy to forget important thoughts without putting it down; therefore, writing is still the best way to keep every thought alive for future use. Writing down plan, for example helps to guide you and enable you to follow your steps back and to determine if you have done what you planned to do.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

This was the most fascinating and easy book I called “every leaders handbook”. I enjoyed reading and exercising it and I would recommend it to all my friends.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Goal setting 101 is designed and divided into 4 major sections, with each section containing exercises. I have repeatedly done the exercises and they were very helpful. I can now say “yes” the book was very helpful and hope to propagate same knowledge to those who live around me.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

Everything explained in this book were clear and precise. I did not have difficulties understanding what was describe or explained in every page.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10



Nonviolent Communication
Assessment by Okeny Silvio (Sudan / Norway)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Marshall B. Rosenberg has done a genius and precise work about nonviolent communication. He is representing to us what we already know but not aware of in our daily communication process. He reminds us about how we humans were meant to relate to each other naturally, and how we can assist each other in living together in a way that concretely manifest the knowledge of our harmonious existence, instead of habitual, automatic reactions, our words become conscious responses base firmly on awareness of what we are perceiving, feeling, and wanting. He said, we are led to express ourselves with honesty and clarity, while simultaneously paying others a respectful and emphatic attention, because in any exchange, we come to hear our own deeper needs and those of others and learn to identify what we want in any given situation.

From chapter one through to chapter six, he passionately explained the heart of nonviolent communication; giving from the heart, communication that blocks compassion, observing without evaluating, identifying and expressing feelings, and requesting that which would enrich life. He explained the main ideas that we can learn from.

The author explained how we can find a way of communication that leads us to give from the heart and how to focus our attention and perceive relationship in a new light by listening to our deeper needs and those of the others. He said if we focus on the four components of NVC; Observations, Feelings, Needs and Requests, expresses information very clearly, whether verbally or by other means, and the other part of communication consist of receiving the same four pieces of information from others and connect with them by first sensing what they are observing, feeling, and needing; then we can discover what would enrich their lives by receiving the forth piece-they request. By keeping our attention focused on the areas mentioned, and helping others do likewise, we establish a flow of communication back and forth, until compassion manifest naturally: what I am observing, feeling, and needing; what I am requesting to enriched my life; what you are observing, feeling and needing; what you are requesting to enrich your life…

This book is really a language of life and I agree it is a way of communication that leads us to give from the heart. This book represent solution to all section of life; social, economic and political; one of the most wonderful piece I haven’t read before.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) The four components of nonviolent communication;

1. Observation
2. Feelings
3. Needs
4. Requests

These four components of nonviolent communication were very important to me because this is my first time to learn them, and furthermore, by observing, feeling, needing and requesting the receiver, I made communication effective. I believe I have been using them without knowing the characteristics explained and the method how to use the components, but now they are clearer to me. It was an excellent method of the entire exercise in nonviolent communication.

b) “Certain ways of communicating alienate us from our natural state of compassion.” This phrase was like a slap on my face and I agree I have been like that, simply because I like to alienate people hoping that they will change from their bad habits. This attitude of alienating others is rooted in our culture. For example, in my culture when you don’t brush your teeth, and it looks dirty and smells, your age-mate will say to you “the problem with you is that your teeth smells and you cannot sit near me etc… and such alienated person is expected to come where others are with clean and brushed teeth. Therefore, alienation communication language is used to make someone change his/her negative habits or behavior and grow as expected by the peers. But now I realized it was very negative aspect of learning value and must be erased from our culture.

The section has helped me to understand and make a stand on cultural values that are negative and those that are positive. It is important to use and keep positive values and remove negative values, as such I believe by reading this book, my perspective has change and I can say I am a better agent for change than before reading this book.

c) “Classifying and judging people promotes violence.” This is very true and I agree I have experienced it in life. Most racial and religious conflict emerged through classifying and judging others, labeling them by religion or by race. In my personal experience, for example, a white man once asked me, “why are you black?” and it was in public restaurant. I looked at him and paused a little, thinking as to what was his motive in asking me that way. Then I told him I am black because while I was picking up a dice, it happened that I picked the black one that is why I am black. People who were listening to me all laughed, and said, “Brilliant answer”. I remain quiet and asked him as to why he was white, and he replied “I don’t know. And I kept quiet and started to focus on my menu. But I felt very bad throughout the moment I was inside the restaurant. I looked around but there was no black person in the restaurant. I believe if I was to see someone black in the restaurant, my reaction would have been different.

Another example was at school, with Moslem students. It was Ramadan time and Muslims were fasting. I entered into the class and the teacher asked if I was a Moslem. I said no. and one student said, “Non-Muslims” are not allowed to be where Muslims pray and eat during Ramadan fasting. I told him, that was a classroom and not a restaurant. He got up and with anger on his face, slapped me on the face. I threw down my books and began to fight. All other Muslims student came and joined to support him, and we the non-Muslims were only three, impossible to defend ourselves. Thus, we just looked at each other and run outside. The teacher was himself, helpless.

I have also judged and classified others on racial and linguistic basis and it was a big fight, but nobody lost life. But I know potential religious and racial conflicts that had cost lives, such as in south Sudan, Palestinian Israeli conflict, etc. Classifying and judging people is source of conflict and I agree.

I am sure if I had studied non-violent communication, I would have answered/reacted differently. What I have read in this book is very practical and useful and it is my responsibility to bring it out to those who are disadvantage from getting this book.

d) “Identifying and expressing feelings.” Distinguishing feelings from thoughts was very helpful to me because until then I did not know how to distinguish feelings from thoughts. It was very important for me to understand this linguistic difficulty. For example the use of words such as “that, like as if … The use of pronouns I, you, he/she, they it, and the use of names or nouns referring to people. The explanation has been very helpful and honestly I have learned to distinguish what I feel and what I think in communication process.

Knowing and distinguishing what I feel and how I think another person react or behave towards me was very important in this exercise. Thus, learning words that I use to interpret people rather than what I feel was equally new and important to me. The long lists to increase and articulate feelings and clearly describe a whole range of emotional states were not new to me but important and helpful, because I have been always confusing how to use them.

I believe that the second component necessary for expressing self is feelings and by developing a vocabulary of feelings that will allow me to clearly and specifically identify my emotions was an important exercise to me because it will allow me to connect easily with others. And allowing self to be vulnerable by expressing my feelings can help resolve conflicts.

e) “Taking responsibility for our feelings.” Acknowledgment of the root of my feelings create awareness about what the others say and do, and taking the responsibility of my feelings and receiving what others say and do is crucial and important to me because my interpretations of what others say or do will influence my reaction towards them.

For example one day in Sudan, at the school compound, I was speaking to a group about the situation in south Sudan. My speech was focusing on the factors to the conflict in the entire Sudan and how we as Sudanese can work to resolve the conflict. I had prepared three points to explain to the group through my knowledge and experience. I started by mentioning how the leaders in the ruling party view Islam and Islamic culture as a superior components to the war and why they were using it as a mobilizing tool to win the war. Then I explained that Sudan was not created by God as far as religion is concern, Sudan was created by men, and all those who live inside its boundary are Sudanese regardless of their beliefs, cultures and traditions. Therefore it is imperative that we respect the diversity of the country and fight ignorance and greed of the few cliques in power from exploiting and drumming war against its own people. To cut the story short, those who were Muslims felt offended when I said Sudan was not created by God (Allah) as the ruling Islamic fundamentalist claim. They reacted and in the cause of their reaction, one of them stabbed a university student who responded by the word “Amen, praise the Lord Jesus Christ” and he died instantly before reaching the hospital. I was held responsible for the incident, but in court, I was found not guilty and was set free, but later on the conflict escalated through hatred and the entire tribesmen got involved later, but we managed to defuse it and it was resolved without further loss of life. My point is taking responsibility of our reaction when we feel threaten through interpretation of words is crucial to resolve conflicts. This book has taught me how to handle communication process and I am happy to know this information.

f) “From emotional slavery to emotional liberation.” This was the most challenging topic to me because it challenges directly my cultural values. In our developments toward a state of emotional liberation, most of us experience in the way we relate to others. Our way of life is what anthropologist call communitarian life, where everyone is related to everyone else. Everyone is responsible for everyone’s feelings and happiness. For example, as a boy in the family, I am expected to provide for my siblings whenever I can. If I cannot help my siblings or family I feel guilty and shameful. I feel obliged to help others feel happy forgetting my own feelings. I feel stress and depress if I cannot help my parents and siblings especially if I am in position to do so.

I remember 18 years ago, my mother came from the country-side to visit me. I was living in Juba, the main city in southern Sudan that was under government control during the civil war. It was very risky to travel from rebel control areas to government control areas, but my mother just risk her life because she wanted to visit me and also to buy some clothes, salt and soap. Those were the most needed resources in the areas controlled by the rebels. Anyway, to cut the story short, my mother came safely and I felt happy for her coming, and I did not want her to return to the country-side, but it was not possible because all my younger brothers and sisters were left alone in the country-side. So I took her to the stores and bought everything she wanted; clothes, salt and soaps. She was very happy and in her happiness I was happy to see that she got everything she wanted and to see her smiling and proud of me was nice and good. She returned safely to the country-side with all what she got from Juba.

Few months later my mother came back to get the same things, but this time the situation was different. I told her I did not have money to buy whatever she wanted and she said it is ok son. I know and understand, but your brothers and sisters had requested me to tell you to buy them some clothes and soaps. I told my mother, I was in need of those things as well and I have no money to get them. Although I felt it tough to express myself to my mother, I was not guilty as before.

However, I have learnt that what others say or do may be the stimulus for, but never the cause of, our feelings. It was important for me to know and understand the three stages namely; Emotional slavery, The Obnoxious and Emotional liberation.

g) ” Behind intimidating messages are merely people appealing to us to meet their needs.” This phrase was important to me because I believe it is important to practice listening to other people’s feelings, perhaps we will make them build trust towards us, and better communication. I am aware and I know that people’s expressions of feelings are always in line with their perception and judgment of others and if we use intimidating language we close them from effective communication. I have experienced this many times in life and now this book has helped me to understand more about the best way.

People always held their pride high and in such process relationship is damage. For example, paraphrasing language is very common among my people for the same reason I mentioned earlier, that alienating language is used as a correctional tool which is a negative value in the society. Because pride, we tend to paraphrase people, and paraphrasing is like alienation language, because the process and intention is negative aiming at causing damage, or rather hurting another person. It is very clear now to me and I can see that communication language is very important for maintaining relationship and peace among the people, and a better tool in making this world a better place.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

This book was very precise and practical with each section containing concrete exercise to learn and to understand the best way to communicate with people, and to know how to use communication as a tool that affect life entirely. I believe that this book has offered me a lot of practical ideas that will help me throughout life time. It is precisely, a language of life.

I believe that such genius and precise work is practical guide to life, and as such a useful tool to make the world a better place. The exercises in this book are very practical and I can use them in workshops for effective change process in making the world a better place.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“A difficult message becomes an opportunity to enrich someone’s life” This phrase caught my attention because I believe people learn through mistakes and each mistake is a step towards advancement. For example, painful and hurting words can be a way to learn something better. I have been learning through painful hurting feelings, but I don’t admit that they were very helpful means to learn.

For me a difficult message can be an insult, alienating or bad paraphrase that is hurting someone’s feelings, but conveying a message and opportunity to enrich someone’s life such as in some cultures like mine. Otherwise personally, I believe that this book is a proper tool to make change expected for a better world.

“We need empathy to give empathy.” This phrase caught my eyes because it reflected my image of what happened to me when I am in bad mood and someone want to communicate with me at the same time. I find it hard to put my feelings away and focus to the other person. As such I agree that when I find myself unable or unwilling to communicate it is when I am starved for empathy to be able to offer it to others.

Now this book has improved my skills and I have no doubts on my capacity as an agent of change. It is time to lead change I expect to see in a better world.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

This book is actually a tool or rather the true language of life. It was the most fascinating book I have ever read. I have enjoyed reading and exercising it and I would recommend it to my friends.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

This book contained exercises throughout, for example, how to distinguish feelings from thoughts, building vocabulary for feelings, expressing feelings, understanding basic human needs, NVC in action exercises, to practice how to identify needs etc. and I have been and is still going over the exercises until I make them my own. I have completed them is now going over it again because I have found them very helpful and I am grateful for this marvelous opportunity.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

I did not have difficulties understanding what was describe or explained in every page.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10




Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio

1. What is the main idea that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The author, Brian Tracy, is telling us that the path to fulfillment has already been discovered by millions of men and women who have started with nothing and achieved great success in life. He presented the essential principles, in twenty-one strategies that we need to know and make our dreams come true, the ideas are brilliant and useful.

The author’s presentations are simple, powerful and effective system for setting and achieving goals. He said his methods have been already used by millions of people to achieve extraordinary results. He explained that goals can be the most rewarding but also the most toughest to set and keep: finances, family and health. He explained precisely how anyone can be able to accomplish any goal set, no matter how big it can be. He stressed that we can be able to discover and determine our own strengths and what one really value in life, and what one really want to accomplish in the future. He explained how to build self-esteem and self-confidence to approach every problem or obstacles effectively, overcome difficulties, respond to challenges and continue toward the goals, no matter what happens.

The twenty-one strategies outlined to accomplish any goal set; no matter how big they are, were brilliant ideas that I deemed useful to help program, plan the better world.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) “The greatest discovery in human history is the power of your mind to create almost every aspect of life.” I agree and it is true that every aspect of my life experience resurface now and then toward what I think and want in life. For example, as a child, I was getting sick almost every month, and my mother had to take me to the hospital for check up and get the medicine I need. Through my mother’s concern and care, she exposed me to environment of pain and sorrows that many people go through, that affected my entire view of life.

The exposer to such environment and having contact with other sick people impacts my life. As a child, I was thinking to become a doctor, when I grow up, to help people from their pain. It is important for me to understand that my sympathy for the suffering people developed from that time, and I have leant from this book that the power of your mind creates almost every aspect of life. My mind has been the force behind how I perceive life and what I want to do with my entire life.

However, with the political instability in my country, the Sudan, and the amount of oppression at the time, my ambition to pursue what I wanted in life shrinks inside me. Then I started to think about survival in that political chaos, where getting food was extremely difficult. The government controls the entire town and food was used as a weapon to destroy the civilian in the town. The government flows in only military facilities and food, to the point that if you want to survive, you must join the army, because in the army food is plenty. The suffering of civilian was enormously bad, and torture of civilian by the security organs was everywhere inside the town. It was a new phenomenon that changed my thought and diverted me from the previous thought. The only people who were able to help people cope with life were the catholic missionaries working in the town. I admired their compassionate work of care and service to the poor, which was reflected in them without conditions, yet they were European Missionaries not native Sudanese.

I started thinking about joining the missionary congregation, with hope that I will be able to help people like them. After joining the missionaries, I was told to study what reflects the need of the church and how to care and evangelize people etc. However, the entire thoughts were still sympathy to reduce or eliminate suffering of innocent people reflected in my goal and purpose in life. I still think that suffering of people should be eliminated by creating a better world where everybody would live in peace, joy, happiness and prosperity. I discovered that the problem of the world around me was deeply rooted in greed, corruption, inequality and hunger for power by few elite in the country. Therefore the change I want to see should begin from me if I want to create a better world.

Although Brian Stacy, the author of goals described such ambition and thoughts as a fantasy that is common to everyone, adding that a goal is distinctively different from a wish, and that a goal is clearly written and specific, I still believe that my happiness is reflected in my deep sympathy to the suffering of poor and most disadvantage members of the society.

b) “The greatest enemies of success and happiness are negative emotions of all kinds.” This is very true and I agree that many times I felt hold back by my emotions due to fear that I may fail to be what I wanted to be and people will ridicule me. However, knowing and acknowledging that my most important goals, if I want to be truly happy and successful, is to free myself from negative emotions, by replacing them with the positive emotions of love, peace, joy and enthusiasm, is crucial and important for me if I want to be successful.

In a book “As a Man Thinketh,” I still remember one powerful quote that says “A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set out to accomplish it” I believe that education has shaped my thoughts and has opened my eyes to see clearly the purpose of my existence and the happiness surrounding my being. I have acquired good self-image and is confident that every change is possible, but admit that the process is tough and painful, yet worth taking the responsibility for the cause I believe is marvelous to create a better world.

The negative emotions emerging as a result of justifying, rationalizing and blaming others for my problems were real in my life, but after reading this book, I have learnt that the antidote for negative emotions of all kinds is to accept complete responsibility for my situation and affirm that I am responsible, and that ability to affirm will instantly eliminate negative emotions and made the turning point in life possible.

I remember in “Keys to Success” that the application of positive mental attitude to discover our subconscious as we struggle in life, through meditation and daily reflection on our experience reveals that knowledge from the books and from our experiences guides us to enter our subconscious where one can discover and improve on success and achievement. Nevertheless learning how to replace negative emotions with positive mental attitude is in itself a key to success. For example I feel happy when people around me are happy and joyful.

c) “One of the most important characteristics of leaders, and of the most successful people in every area of life, is that they know who they are, what they believe in, and what they stand for.” I see myself as dreaming to be a successful man because my inside reflects my outside action which I see as the very core of my personality. The values I held dear in my heart are the values outside me in action. Although I am sad with my situation in Norway, I never regretted myself because I know failing asylum process is not a crime, and seeking asylum is a human right. There is no pride in seeking asylum because it is a humiliation. In all that one can describe about asylum politics today, I am confident and optimistic that doing the right thing to change the whole process of suffering is the core of my values that energize and keeps me strong through the hurdle in life.

I described and clarified myself through my outside action, the action I want others to admire and practice, the action that will create and bring change to the lives of all those around me. I feel happy when I believe that what I do to others make them feel happy and joyful, because at the end I am surrounded by a ring of joyful and happy people.

d) “Goals give you that sense of meaning and purpose, a clear sense of direction.” This is very true and I agree that taking charge of my life and creating my own future, by focusing at what I want to be, through the help and involvement of my family, is the driving energies behind all my efforts. Nevertheless, when I measure the time I have used to prepare myself toward what I want to be, it is clear that there have been progress in building my academic capacity that will make it possible to plan and execute more effectively in the future.

I acknowledged the entire hurdle and the tough trend of life in acquiring knowledge, but I am also confident that the future is brighter if I remain vigilant and responsible. I have learnt from this book that the most important discoveries were always made by keeping the mind focused towards what you want.

Furthermore, I have also learnt from this book that procrastination on major assignment is painful because the longer you wait to get started, the closer the deadline becomes, thus the greater stress you will experience. Stress will start to keep you awake at night and sleeplessness will affect your personality, and your performance will be affected. This reminds me about one of the seven key that goals must be in harmony with our nature. Self-discipline is necessary to balance life and work. Life requires that we get enough sleep, and work requires that we stick to our plan schedule if we want to succeed.

e) “Your life begins to become great when you decide upon a major definite purpose and focus all of your energies on achieving or obtaining that one single goal.” This phrase is true and considering that the seven keys to setting a goal that is specific, measurable and objective, time bounded, challenging, congruent with your values, balanced among your career or business, financial, family, health and spiritual life with community involvement, gives way to definite purpose in life, it offers assurance and confidence to fulfill the purpose of life. I acknowledge that to make the world a better place, self-discipline and affirming our responsibilities is a must, not a choice. I admired the materials in this book and it has been a great help to my little knowledge.

However, one of the biggest obstacles in achieving well planned goals has been a failure to obtaining asylum status in Norway. Honestly, it has blocked me from all possible benefits including education and finances. Thus I have learnt from this book that in order to take complete control over your financial life, is to set a series of short, medium, and long term financial goals; make plans for their achievement; and then discipline yourself to follow your plans, no matter how difficult or distance is your goals will be, thus I am confident and optimistic about my future purpose in life.

f) “The quality of your family life and your relationships will determine most of your happiness or unhappiness.” This is very true to me as an African, where communitarian life is so important. Since men in my community are bread winners in the family, their success in providing food for the family is vital. Family must have sufficient food and other basics needs to measure happiness. With happiness in the family there is energy to translate such happiness in what we do outside the family.

I have learnt that family and relationships are so important to the mental, emotional, and physical health and setting a clear goals and making specific plans, to ensure a high quality of family life, is absolutely essential to long term happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction in life. Nevertheless, my experience shows that I have been strained, wondering about my family due to civil war and long political instability in my country, but affirming to it as a fact, releases my mind from hopelessness to hopefulness. I am still enthusiastic and optimistic that my purpose in life has to be fulfilled. My energy and abilities to engage change through positive mental attitude with focus on a better world is an essential purpose of my world view.

g) ”A key part of goal setting is for you to identify the people, group, and organizations whose help you will require to achieve your goals.” This is true and I agree that “no man is an island” in any business enterprise. There are people, in and around me, whose help and co-operation I will need in the years ahead. Thus, creating a network relationship with people and organizations around, and social circle together with the family and friends requires plans that work effectively with each group in that regard.

However, it is important to know that everything in life and business is relationships, and that everything you accomplished or fail to accomplish will be bound up with other people in some way; therefore, I have learnt from this book that the ability to form relationship with the right people is important. The most important relationship is the family support, and it is vital to invest all the time and emotion necessary to build and maintain a high quality home life.

Since I had tough experience of family life, this book has helped me to know how to handle my negative emotions, and has been very helpful to me.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas are very practical and it has been used by many successful people, and therefore am confident that I will be able to use it as well. It is worth mentioning that the key words used by the author, Tracy, that taking charge of your own life and create your own future plan is the effective key process. Improving your financial, family life and relationship are essential to setting a goal in life.

I have learnt that the antidote for negative emotions of all kinds is to accept complete responsibility for my situation, and therefore, it is possible that I can mend up my life and self-discipline it, affirming my responsibilities and purpose to create a better world which I am very much ready and willing to accomplish in the years to come.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“You do not believe what you see; you see what you already believe.” It is true we always view our world through a lens of beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, and perceived notion. I personally don’t believe in what I have not seen. But perhaps the culture has influence it more than I would expect. Most of my people see something from far, but they don’t believe in it unless they touch it with their own hands. I use to ask myself “do these people know that they have their hands as their eyes? The point is theories do not make sense in my culture and tradition, and since beliefs system developed from culture and tradition, there are reasons to bring change that will benefit people. Believing that belief must give way to theories is essential and mobilizing people and make them understand and change their world view in a noble idea to cope with new world order.

The new world order is becoming sophisticated and sophistication demands learning, which is always full of theories, therefore our societies need change. Nevertheless, beliefs system needs change, people should differentiate between knowledge and belief, in order to reap knowledge and benefit in the changing world order.

Dr. William James of Harvard University as quoted in 1905, that “Belief creates the actual facts.” And that the greatest revolution of my generation is the discovery that individuals, by changing their inner attitudes of mind, can change the outer aspects of their lives” is true for this generation as well. People need change from the inside to change the outside attitudes.

“Find out what you really love to do, and then find a way to make a good living doing it.” This was a nice quote, from keys to success, by Napoleon Hill, repeated in this book. I found myself in that kind of mood when I work or organize others. I found it fascinating to mobilize people and I enjoy working with people, sharing and discussing matters affecting human lives. I feel energetic after solving human problems, and I see myself as a happy person, when others around me are happy and joyful.

Thus, to engage in changing the status quo are challenges that drives and energize me more each day. I had admired powerful organizations fighting for human rights, peace and equality; I perceive those organizations as the right institutions where I should be. I tried several times to apply to work with United Nations, but I found that the system is already corrupt and swallowed into nepotism. I remain confident and optimistic to establish a better organization that will care about the human suffering.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

The book was pretty clear and easy to read. The ideas were marvelously concise.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, the twenty-one strategies contained few guide questions and phrases at the end of every strategy, for the readers and it has been very helpful throughout my learning process. It was the most beautiful exercise of the last few books I read. It is still my every day meditation phrases.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

No, the entire twenty-one strategies were all clear and easy to understand.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9



The Power Of Intention
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Suday/Norway)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The author, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer explores “the power of intention” not as something we do, but as an energy we are part of, an amazing thought. That we are all intended here through the invisible power of intention. This is the first book to look at intention as a field of energy you can access to begin co-creating your life.

The author is a genius and his research reveals a fairly common definition of intention as a strong purpose or aim, accompanied by determination to produce a desired result as described here and he explained that people driven by intention are having a strong will that won’t permit anything to interfere with achieving their inner desire.

The essentials of intention, elaborated so well; in viewing intention from a new perspective, the seven faces of intention, connecting to intention, obstacle related to connecting to intention and your impact on others when connected to power of intentions are marvelous. I was amazed by such a genius research work, that had touched my life as I read through the book. It is really creative work of genius I would believe has the power of intention.

Chapters 7 through to chapter 14 offers concrete information and a step-by-step guide that applies to entire principles for our daily life. The entire ideas are completely new and was practically useful. It is a practice I really found extremely helpful to connect to the power of intentions.

You can’t convince connectors that what they are intending to do won’t materialized, because they trust in their connection to source energy so strongly. In that case it is an ideal value.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) “We humans, however, with our capability for presumably higher brain functions have something we refer to as ego, which is an idea that we construct about who and what we are.” In this phrase, I see myself as described in the six primary ingredients how I experience myself as disconnected;

* I am what I have (My possessions define me)
* I am what I do (my achievements define me)
* I am what others think of me (my reputation defines me)
* I am separate from everyone (my body defines me as alone)
* I am separate from all that is missing in my life (my life space is disconnected from my desires)
* I am separate from God (my life depends on God’s assessment of my worthiness)

The six primary ingredients are true and I agree to it that that has been how I live my life. But now this book has awaken my sleeping giant to realized how supremacy of ego has weakened my life and how I can seek intention and maximize my potential.

Although I did not realize how I perceive myself, it is true I want to be recognized as master of my knowledge, and that recognition motivates me to keep doing whatever I am doing, without considering that I am building a wall around my relationship with others, when I perceived those who did not acquire the knowledge I have as inferior. I am very happy to have this chance to read this special book and understand my ego supremacy.

Now I will embark on reciting the seven words that represent the seven faces; creative, kind, loving, beautiful, expanding, abundant and receptive, by inviting them into my visualization of the field of energy, which I believe is the power of intention to appear in my mind. I am eager to grow more than what I have been.

b) “Silent knowledge starts when you invite the power of intention to play an active part in your life.” I agree to this phrase because I have learn a lot through meditation, being there in a silent place and just letting my thoughts out of my body, is amazing time. It has become a need to me ever since I stated doing IIGL course. However, the concept of the seven faces of intention; creative, kind, love, beautiful, ever-expanding, endlessly abundant, and receptive to all, were new admirable ideas I found in this book. They were brilliantly explained and I have learn a lot from this new to meditation.

The explanation that has touched my very self was the fourth faces of beauty, his conclusion that the nature of intention has external interaction of love and beauty was amazing. I agree that the natural beauty reflect the power of God. For example as a child, I was very much afraid when I am out in the forest. At the same time, I feel connected to the natural beauty, and the moving wind that sweeps through me, connects me to my God whom I always perceive as a guardian, watching me and protecting me from all the wild and harmful beasts in the jungle. When I am alone and fear gripped me, I would smile and said “God is watching me!” and courage could come to me and I could continue until I get home. My father has told me that the birds in the forest when they saw any dangerous wild beast, they could make unique sounds and I should always remember, and differentiate the sound of danger from the normal sounds.

As an adult, I always connect to thoughts when I sit down in a quiet place in my meditation. Meditation is very powerful, and in mediation I reflect a lot about what I think should do or should not be do. I am full of new thinking during meditation. I see the beauty of everything in this moment. As a child growing up in a poor family, and in a violent environment, where we had just few things, having peace of mind was impossible. I was always thinking about things that we don’t have and my dream was to get those things.

I was always taken away from my body in a place where I dream to be. A place where there is no war or any form of violence. A peaceful place where everyone is friendly. This was because all I have experienced in life was war and violence, and I was always thinking about a better world. The world I can now see through the power of intention, that God is beauty and beauty is truth. If everyone on the planet could be honest, the power of intention could manifest itself in everyone in creative, love, beauty, expanding etc. and the entire world would be peaceful. However, by knowing that I can connect to the power of intention and impact people around me, there is hope to engage in the process and create the better world. And only through meditation can we gain higher energy to illuminate our darkness.

c) “Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” This famous prayer phrase from St. Francis described my attitude entirely. I see myself as an instrument of sowing love where there is hatred, peace where there is war, and friendship where there is prejudice and discrimination.

The description to seek power to dissolve and ultimately convert hate to the energy of love was amazing. I can only imagine light converting darkness into light and beauty and love covers the scene. Hate directed toward myself or others, can be converted to the life-giving, love-granting life force of intention. I was amazed with the entire concept.

Love is still the most powerful and still the most unknown energy of the world. It is in this perspective that my contribution as God’s instrument for love and peace emerge in my power of intention strongly determine and propelling me to fight for justice, equality and prosperity to all.

d) “Begin to remove that ego burden from your shoulders and reconnect to intention. When you lay your ego aside and return to that from which you originally emanated, you will begin to immediately see the power of intention working with, for, and through you in a multitude of ways” This was a powerful statement and it have captured my attention for various reasons. The first reason is that I have learned through this book how to remove the ego. Second reason is that I have known the seven faces of intentions; The faces of creativity, Kindness, love, beauty, expansion, unlimited abundance and receptivity, and how to apply them in real life.

In my culture, ego developed through the demand of the society, for example, as a male child, I was told not to cry, because male children should show braveness and aggressiveness toward aggression. Therefore, I grew up with such perception and had breed low aggressive energy as a useful concept. As a result, to win a battle, or an argument is what is expected of male children in the entire village, to the extent that on every dancing day, young male will fight each other to show braveness. Eventually, I grew up perceiving braveness and superiority as the best personality because the entire society submit to it.

I have just learn from this book that my culture needs a change and such change can only be initiated by me, using the method in this book, the power of intentions by implementing the seven faces of intentions. It is now clear to me that knowledge is of essence and to become an instrument of change one must have the knowledge to implement the change he expect to see.

To remove societal perception on male child, the implementation of the intention concept is important. For example, the introduction of intention concept will help the society to change their personalities, allowing the individual to transcend their ego into creative intentions, replacing the low energy of aggressiveness with high energy of kindness and love. I personally believe that I need to be creative and write down my intentions as shown in this book and practice it. The Japa meditation was a good recommendation and I believe it is worth and useful, because repetition of the sound of the names of God while simultaneously focusing on what I intend to manifest, and asking God for what I want, generates creative energy to manifest my desires.

It is my wishful effort to live in a cheerful kindness because it has much higher energy than sadness or malevolence. I agree and accept that when I think negatively, my actions will also reflect unkindness and I know that such act has thrown the world into the chaos I am seeing everyday on the TV. But when I think, feel, and act kindly, I give myself the opportunity to be like the power of intention, acting in kindness and love and my action, if connected to the power of intention, would be a catalyst in a hatred environment to produce kindness and love.

e) “ Don’t use weakening energies employed by those around you.” This phrase is very true and I have experienced it before in my community during my childhood. In my culture we have a similar saying that goes like this “if you walk around with a thief, you will become a thief too”. “if you live in a violent environment, you would condone to violence. I have noticed also that when you walk or stay with aggressive and violent people, you will always entertain violence. Violence is a weakening energy employed by those around me, as the phrase goes.

I have now realized that when you have a friend who always say “I hate that guy or those people, because of aggressive personalities or racial prejudice, and the friend keep telling you the same hateful attitude, you will eventually accept the hateful attitude and you will begin to hate the person as well. I have learn from this book that hate is a low energy and therefore dangerous, it must be replace with high energy of kindness and love and now I can see the chain of most problem, emerging through low energy of hate.

The most useful lesson however from this book has been how to avoid to remedy situation through condemnation of hateful friends. I think I have been doing that for a long time thinking it was helpful to me. I have now understood that hateful attitudes creates low energy of hatred that dis empowers my efforts to initiate peace between, those I hate and those I love.

Understanding the obstacles to connecting to intention was my favorite advantage and I am really happy to have read this book. I feel more confident than before reading this book. I have been involved in several peace process, and at least, I have always sided with the side I love, and judgment was not partial. I strongly believe that people have their own expectation on me and it is up to me to show them what I believe in through my act of kindness, love and above all taking my own responsibilities. I also believe that leadership should be a source of inspiration and a means to initiate love and kindness to those around me so that they can follow my example.

f) “Extend acts of kindness, asking for nothing in return.” This phrase reminds me of greedy people whom I have met in life. They have so much wealth, yet for every single help they want to give, they would ask people to work for them in return.

In my culture, children are encourage to help elderly people, and elderly people are expected to say words of blessings and prosperity. In some cases, they spit saliva onto your head and say words of blessing, and you feel so good. I still remember words of my grandmother, “thank you my grandson, may God bless you with all the wealth you need to raise up your family, and may He protect you from any harm and keep you safe.” Since then, when I was faced with challenges in life, I would call my grandmother’s name and say, you spitted your saliva on me and said God should bless me to get the wealth I need to raise my family, but now I am in this situation, please could you help, ask God to do that today? After saying such words, my confident could hold me and my attitude would change from bad to good. The point is helping people kindly, asking for nothing in return was perceived by all members in my culture as good, and most of us grew up embracing act of kindness as a good moral value.

In stead, I found it different in the modern democratic world, that people don’t give you a lift, if they don’t know you. In the western world every work or action must be compensated. I found difficult, but most of the time I have refused to take money from people whom I have helped on my own kindness, because I still believe it was my free will to do what I did.

g) ” True nobility isn’t about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than you use to be.” This phrase was like a spark of light piercing the dark. In reference to nobility my favorite man is always Nelson Mandela, whose personality I held high, not because he was a holy man or has become the president of south Africa, but because he was able to convert low energy of hate into high energy of kindness, love and peaceful coexistence to all south Africans. He was an instrument of change, bringing love to where there was extreme apartheid regime of hatred and discrimination. He was an instrument of the power of intention in my view, and he change the low hateful energy to high reconciliation energy, breaking down the wall that was separating blacks and white, a perception no human has thought of before. He was a unique example of the few top personalities worldwide, a man I would consider noble.

For example, I use to hate Arabs and Muslims, because they murdered my grandmother in a cold blood. I was looking for every chance to revenge. But when I became a Christian, that attitude changed through the words of Jesus, “love your enemies” and after my academic studies, and my involvement in conflict resolution, I have learn that hate only generate hatred and reinforce the revengeful thoughts. My attitude has changed, and I no longer view political and religious ideology the same way. I see politics and religion as ingredients of division and deeply rooted in ignorance. My reflection on the power of intentions indicates that all human beings are the beauty of natural planet, that emerged from the spirit of goodness and love. God love the world and all that He created, why should I hate what God has created, if I believe in Him? My religion should help me promote God’s love and kindness, and such belief should manifest itself in my daily physical action.

I feel empowered by the power of intention, and now I began to act with kindness and love toward Arabs and Muslims. I can see that violent only produce violence, and the cycle of hatred keeps the world in chaos. It is time to convert low energy of hatred to high energy of love and peace, because high energy of light destroys low energy of darkness.

I believe that the work of making the world a better place, by following the simple inspirational example of Nelson Mandela is an ideal attitude for change. We can be instruments of peace and love, and change people’s attitude, and have the world that we want to see. I am happy now because I think better than I used to be.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

Intentions are strong purpose or aim, accompanied by determination to produce a desired result as described here and explained, that people driven by intention are having a strong will that won’t permit anything to interfere with achieving their inner desire. Knowing that my ego can be obstacle to connecting to the power of intention, it is obvious that the ideas I mentioned above will help me to accomplish my aim and purpose in life.

Furthermore, the ideas in the entire book are precise and practical, by taking my responsibility and practicing what I believe in, is my greatest conviction in bringing change to my surrounding and the world at large. I am determine to be an instrument of change, by following the practical method that would connect me to the power of intentions. Because connectors to the power of intentions appreciate the world and everything in it, their peacefulness causes others to feel calm and assured, and they radiate an energy of serenity and peace. They are not interested in winning arguments or accumulating allies to fight those they deemed inferior to them. People feel loved by connectors, because they are merged with the source of all life, which is love, therefore if connected to the power of intention, I will live those ideas by example and bring the change I want to see in the world, and this world would be a better place.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

A, “Everyday I see Jesus Christ in all of his distressing disguises.” I agree with this quotes from Mother Teresa, because I believe that if I believe in Jesus as the son of God, then I should see God’s beauty in His creation and accept that God exist in creation, then my action will always reflect my belief, that was my view for Mother Teresa. The power of intentions is covered in total love and God is love, truth and beauty, high energy and high energy is kindness and admiration of God’s presence.

Jesus was an instrument of change, He did not criticize what he found in the world, but kindly proposed the change He wanted to see, through what I can now call the power of intention. Or rather action of kindness and love. The disciples of Jesus admired Him because they were merged by Jesus to the source of life, which was love, and they were witness to such love that they went out to spread.

B, “Self-importance is man’s greatest enemy…” This quote is true and I agree that self-importance is an impediments, because when you start to have the sense of separateness it will lead you to compete rather than cooperate with everyone else. In this case it is an obstacle to your connection to the power of intentions.

For example in my culture, people are grouped according to their age group. The traditional age group range for example from, 18 to 35 years, and that is treated as the same age group. Self importance is an exercise of belonging in my culture, but also a sense of power over those who are younger than you, for disciplinary role, with the perception of them being inferior to you. The impact on individual is that it separate than cooperate individual group in working together. I have been feeling the same way, until after reading this book that I was able to see the impact of such cultural perception. It is now clear and I have understood how self-importance should be perceived.

It is essential to have self-importance, but the danger is when we start to misidentify ourselves by body size, achievements and possessions, then it is negative, because you start to label those who have nothing as inferior to you. I have seen many elected people in the government, after their election, they acquire wealth and possessions and begin to overlook at the voters and perceive them as inferior. In stead of serving the people, they are being serve by the people, a view I am always not comfortable with.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

No. the book was very clear and easy to read.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, each chapter of the book contain suggestions for implementing the ideas read. Each chapter also contains summaries, explaining the concept in the previous chapter and connect you to the next chapter, which I found very helpful comparing to other books I read before.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.

No, there was nothing unclear to me.

Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 8
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9



The Law of Attraction
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Michael J. Losier is a briliant man. He presented a new approach, explaining how we could benefit from what he calls law of attraction.

The main ideas are that we have a vibe that he says equals feelings we have in a given mood, the vibe he coined from the science of physics when atoms are aligned together they create a motive force, all pulling together, vibrating in the same direction. He uses the example of atoms to explain that our feelings have positive or negative, depending on the situation surrounding the feelings. He said the law of attraction is the universal energy around us that obeys the science of physics, negative and positive, responding to the vibration we are offering, the idea I found very interesting and true.

He said every single moment of life have mood or feelings either positive or negative. The feelings you are experiencing is causing you to emit or send out positive or negative vibration. He explained that each mood takes positive or negative, that exciting moments are positive mood. And sad moods are that from negative feelings.

He explained how we could replace this bad mood or feelings using contrast, since the easiest mood is always what we don’t want, but they help us to create what we do want. The idea I found very useful and very good. He also explained that positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time, meaning one or the other must dominate, but it is my responsibility to make sure that positive emotions constitute the dominating influence of my mind. I found it very interesting and objective ideas.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) “Each of us sends out either a positive or a negative vibration.” There are moments that make me feels either excited or unhappy. For example I was sitting on the veranda, looking directly to beautiful forest behind the building, and thinking about my last dates with my girlfriend, and then the phone rang. It was my girlfriend asking me if she could come over to me. Although I was somehow lazy, I said yes, sure! Then I put down the phone set and jump up in excitement. The room was so disorganized, but in few minutes everything was in order.

The feeling of excitement has high energy, and everything looks good, smiling face cannot be hidden. Everybody around me could see that I was really excited and happy. That is what Michael J. Losier described as positive vibration, in his book the law of attraction, and I agree with him entirely because it was personally new understanding to me.

It was important to me to know that negative and positive vibration describe my mood and feelings, and how I respond to such vibrations. Knowledge of my mood feelings is important to me, in order to rearrange it properly to suit my intention.

b) “Many people are often curious about why they keep attracting the same thing over and over again.” This phrase was important to me because it described me as attracting the same thing over and over again. For example if I am in need of money and I don’t know where to get, and no work, I start to panic offering the vibration of fear, especially if the landlord is coming to ask me money for rent. I will be thinking over it again and again. Now I have understood it as sending out non-deliberate attraction, the author described as negative vibration. In some cases I did left the house to avoid answering questions from the landlord. I remember hiding in uncomfortable place, with terrible smell. It was a nightmare that has become clear now, and how I should have avoided such negative vibration by tapping into the law of attraction more deliberately.

c) “The word ‘homework’, for example, can cause some people to have a negative vibration and to others positive vibration.” This phrase reminds me about the bad days I had in school. For example, during my secondary school days, every Friday we were given homework in different subjects to do during weekend. I was very weak in mathematics, and when it is mathematics, I start to tremble with fear. I would keep thinking about it and sometime could not even eat well. While my friend was happy and excited in mathematics I was in pain and fear. My friend was weak in biology, and I was good in biology, so we teamed up to compensate ourselves, but the word mathematic was really a negative vibration to me.

The word ‘mathematic’ was really like a spear piercing my flesh. In this book I have learnt that words I don’t want when produced in thoughts, it will emerge in my feelings either as positive or negative vibrations, and that words are the cause to attract the things I don’t want. I have learned how to use a word that produces positive vibration would first come as negative vibration, and later can be deliberated on.

d) “When you make a statement containing the words ‘don’t, not or no, you are actually giving attention and energy to what you don’t want.” This is very true; for example during my school days, I was living very near to school compound. Most of my friends live very far away, but they were always coming to school early. I was always late at school, because I always thought and said to myself, ‘I don’t want to be late today’ but at the end I will be late. I hate being in the school waiting and doing nothing. My mood and feelings was that I don’t want to be early, and I don’t want to wait for the time to enter the class or doing nothing.

I have tendency repeating statement that I don’t want, however I have learned from this book that by having negative statement leads me to ask myself ‘what do I want?’ then I am directed to reframe the statement into positive statement. By reframing to positive statement, I am actually replacing negative statement and eventually the positive statement occupies the negative statement, because both negative and positive emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time, one or the other must dominate. It is my responsibility to make sure that positive emotions constitute the dominating influence of your mind. The book has provided me with the tools for allowing statements and this was great help.

I have learn that if I go from what I don’t want to what I do want, the words change, and when the words change, the vibration changes, and that I can only send out one vibration at a time.

e) “The first step in making the Law of Attraction work for you is to be clear about what you want.” This is very true for me because I always don’t know what I want. For example when I was about 17 years old, my mother wanted to buy for me shoes, and she asks me which color do you want? I told her I don’t know! Then she went and bought the black shoes. When she came back home with the shoes, she called me to try if it fits me. When I came to try the shoes, I found that she bought the black color. Immediately my mood changed, and then I told her I don’t like the black color. She told me she had asked me before and I said I did not know which color I do want, and that it was not her mistake, she decided to buy the black color because my daddy wear black shoes, so I could share the polish shoe cream. I was sad and guilty about my answer and was forced to wear that black shoes.

My friends were all wearing red, brown and tony red shoes, and they could laugh at me every time I meet them. I tried to destroy the shoes, but it was so difficult, I ended up always not happy when I wear that black shoes.

It did not end there at that age, for the last years, as an adult, whenever I want to buy something from the shop; I found it difficult to make a choice. I would move forward and back ward, trying to choose, but would end up choosing nothing. In most cases, the shopkeeper would chose and tells me this is the best, and I would accept it. Now I could remember that I have difficulties in choosing what I do want.

After reading this book, I remember that moment of my life and how I suffered because I did not know what I do want. It is important to know what I do want in order to attract the law of attraction.

f) “By observing contrast and identifying it as something you don’t want, you become clearer about what you do want.” This is very true to me, for example when I was 23 years old, I had two girlfriends. The two girlfriends were completely different in their personalities. One was just beautiful and quiet than the other. The other one was not beautiful, but intelligent and open minded. I sat down one day and wrote down in two separate circles, the personalities. Then I observed the contrast in them, and I decided to take the intelligent, possibly because I was leading in my class and she was also leading in her class. It was a pride to love the most intelligent girl, because she is famous and well-known by many.

By writing down the two personalities, I was able to choose what I do want. I did that without knowing that the law of attraction would remind me about that. It was a tough thing to do, given that I loved both girls and all my friends had recommended me to go ahead and marry both girls, but as a strong and good Christian I intended to marry just one woman to whom I would give all my love and care.

g) ”Your goal is to limit contrast in all areas of your life.” It is true and good to be selfish in all areas of life, especially in my career, finances, health and relationship. For example in recent years of my school days, I had in my mind that I must finish my studies. Although I had lots of huddle along my academic path, I was focused and most of my friends deserted me for being selfish, ignoring their invitations. I remember vividly well on one occasion, a friend was celebrating his birthday, and he invited me with high hope I would show up. Unfortunately I did not go. I compare the reasons to go the party, and the reasons to stay home and do my school assignments, and found that my academic career was more important than going to a party, and it was my primary responsibility to stick to what I want. Although I did not want to lose my important friends, I decided selfishly to do so and strained our relationship more, but I am happy for achieving my goal.

Such achievement has even attracted many friends than I lost due to selfishness. Today I am proud of my academic achievements and I still have new friends. I agree with the phrase and the ideas therein, and I am happy to have read this book, Law of Attraction.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

The ideas I cited above are very concrete and useful in all aspect of life. The ideas are obviously practical, meaning by embarking on them responsibly, I would learn how to grip on my positive mood and feelings. For example, making a choice through deliberating on contrasts that would lead me to making good positive choice that would make me happy throughout life is noble and concrete to my daily life. In life, people embrace positive and happy mood and feelings, and by being happy and showing people how to live life happily, I have no doubt in my mind, people around me will want to follow my way of life. At this point they would turn up if I offer to teach them such practical lessons in the Law of Attraction. I believe they will be filled with motivation to learn what they admired, then the entire world will live happily and therefore the better world is created.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

i “I want to own my home” This desired quote was particularly important to me because most of the time when I desired something, my thoughts would generate negative reaction as to how would I get what I want? I mean I will begin to worry, and fear to get the money to get what I want would grip on me or rather I get more negative mood and feelings.

For example, as a young man, I had planned to complete my studies, get a job, and after two or three years of hard savings, I would buy my own house, or build my own house. Possibly design it as I would like it look like, but the political environment and difficulties continued to be the biggest obstacle in everything, to the point I have to leave the country for security reasons. In exile, I never stop thinking about my plan, until this moment I am still thinking about that.

I have learned from this book that in order to responsibly make sure that the positive emotions constitute the dominating influence in my mind; I need the negative emotion to vibrate first. However, if desired statements vibrate negative mood and feelings, then it is appropriate to write desired statement first.

The three steps; Identify your desire, Give your desire attention and allow it, were really important practical guide that I found very useful during the exercise.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

No, the entire book was entirely clear.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, there were plenty of exercises all throughout, especially tools for teaching children the law of attraction, I found it interesting, and however I am still repeating exercises that are of importance to me.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10

Unlimited Power
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The author, Anthony Robbins explained precisely how to achieve and master our personal and professional lives. He said that the science of personal achievement teaches us how to find out what we really want, and how to reprogram our minds in minutes to eliminate fears and phobias, secrete of creating instant rapport with anyone we meet, how to duplicate the success of others and the five keys to wealth and happiness. I found them very interesting.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), to obtain a pathway to excellence was a brilliant idea that I found very interesting. He explained that if I see someone in this world producing a result that I desire, I can produce the same results if I am willing to pay the price of time and effort. He said nothing is impossible as long as we are ready to follow how the results we desire were produced.

He explained how to discover the seven lies of success, the secret of creating instant rapport with anyone you meet. He also explained that beliefs deliver direct command to your nervous system and that beliefs are compass and maps that guide us toward our goals and gives us the surety to know we’ll get there. I found beliefs as a driving force in life, and the example explained in this book were amazingly precise. He explained that planning and success also depends on good health and that we must take care of our own health by choosing the food we eat etc.

Mastering how one’s mental syntax function in order to give people precisely what they want and can teach them appropriately. The entire ideas taught me something that I did not know before through my psychology studies. Otherwise the entire ideas in the book were very important to me and I found the entire book very useful in all walks of life.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), studies how people communicate to themselves in ways that produce optimum resourceful states and thus create the largest number of behavioral choices. This phrase touched my heart because through the example explained by NLP through modeling as a pathway to achieving what you desired was exactly my way of learning ever since when I was young. I always thought that I can do anything that others can do.

For example, when I was 15 years old, I was very interested to know how electrical lights are produced in a torch. So I went to a place where someone was repairing torches. I stood there watching how he dismantle the torch and fixed it back and what he does that make lights flashed out. I observed everything and came back home. Then I went and collected some used batteries and pieces of copper wires thrown in the garbage. I also collected an old torch thrown in the garbage and removed the bulb. Then I sat down and followed the technics. I tied the copper wire around the bulb and took one battery. I attached the copper wire under the battery and hold the bulb on top of the battery and the bulb gave deem light. I smiled and was very happy for my smartness. I went home and I connected four old batteries of 1.5 volts together and extended the copper wire and tied it around the bulb, and when I hold the bulb on the batteries, there was a bright light, and my mother saw it and came near and asked me. How did you do that my son? I was so happy to explain it to her and she was very happy with my smartness. It was really amazing.

It is amazing to know that I was already doing modeling without knowing it in depth as explained in this book. I realized that I could watch anything that people do and follow how they do it and I have always succeeded. The modeling became my method of learning and that was how later I learned how to fix bicycles and my first job was to fix flat bicycle tires to little money to buy books and pens. I later learn how to fix watches, radios and finally I went to technical school and develop more technical work. Now I can just fix anything that I have learned at school and from others. But I like the approach explain in this book, that one can model himself and do exactly what he desired and I believe it entirely.

b) “People who succeed in life are those who have learned how to take any challenge that life gives them and communicate that experience to themselves in a way that causes them to successfully change things. This is very true and I perceive this phrase as the ultimate essence of life, given that people who shape our lives and our cultures are masters of communications. It is in this view that I see myself as an agent of change in regard to communication skills that I have learnt.

For example, I admired our late leader Dr. John Garang for his great and effective communication skills, so eloquent and always communicate what touches my heart and many others. I remember vividly well on one occasion, while I was in Italy in June 2003, when he visited us, during the ongoing peace talk between him and the government of Sudan. He told us that the problem of Sudan can be solve on two ways, and in his analysis of the situation, we could see clearly where the problem was, and it was really fascinating. It was then that I started to believe Dr. John Garang will deliver peace to the Sudanese people. He explained that Sudan as a multi-cultural and religious diversity requires that it is govern by secular laws in which all religious laws will be under national secular laws. In that case Sudan will have peace and all Sudanese would be treated as equal. For me that was a plane truth as far as the Islamic Sharia was being practiced. The Islamic Sharia was dividing people along religious line and tension was always high between Muslims and other religious group. Worst of all, the Islamic Sharia was hijacking Sudan, putting it an Islamic state, living no room to non-Muslims.

Otherwise, the second option he mention was that, we can have a government in the south and a government in the north, both under interim government of national unity, and we can work together for six years, then the people of south Sudan would vote in a referendum, to choose between Unity or Separation, and if they choose separation, which will be the case, then the north would have the Islamic Sharia as much as they want. A view we all admired…and today that is exactly what had happened as we count the votes, secession is eminent. I am extremely happy to see that the people in south Sudan are at last free people.

The communication skills that was involve to bring the entire change in Sudan was a model that I admired most. It was a responsibility of true leadership and a model an agent of change should master.

c) “The trick is to choose the beliefs that are conducive to success and the results you want and to discard the ones that hold you back.” This phrase is very true and I embraced it through experience in life. The examples that come to my minds are always that of my experience. The cultural and religious beliefs are always the main obstacles that always hold us back from success and progress.

For example most Africans beliefs in general are that ancestors are believed to wield great authority, having special powers to influence the course of events or to control the well-being of their living relatives, and therefore, protection of the family is one of their main concerns. They considered intermediaries between the supreme god, or the gods, and the people, and can communicate with the living through dreams and by possession. Such attitude is one of mixed fear and reverence, that if neglected, the ancestors may cause disease and other misfortunes. Propitiation, supplication, prayer, and sacrifice are various ways in which the living can communicate with their ancestors. As agent of change, we can choose the beliefs that are conducive to success to obtained desired results. Extreme cultural and religious beliefs that hold the communities from success must be discarded.

Ancestor worship is a strong indication of the value placed on the household and of the strong ties that exist between the past and the present. The beliefs and practices connected with the cult help to integrate the family, to sanction the traditional political structure, and to encourage respect for living elders. Some scholars have also interpreted it as a source of individual well-being and of social harmony and stability and I agree totally with that. But as time changes, some of the beliefs; such as polygamy, gender inequality, bride price etc. must be changed to merge democratic values, such as gender equality, dignity and respect, and it is our individual responsibility, through our own beliefs, to promote gender equality, dignity and respect, because promoting monogamy, and gender equality, is realistic cultural and religious belief choice that I consider conducive to success. Every human being aspires to be successful in life and anything that lead to success will be embraced by the community.

In my personal experience, I was born in a monogamy family, and the third born in a family of 4 brothers and 4 sisters. People perceived my parents as were rich, yet my parents were not able to send the first two children to school. Since they believe that only male children could go to school, my eldest sister was not sent to school. I was the first male child and was sent to school. Such gender inequality has affected all my sisters and they are now living as slaves to their husbands, depending financially on their husbands, without any option in life.

There are so many cultural, traditional and religious beliefs that are holding us back from success and progress to form a better world and it is our responsibilities to bring effective and desired changes to our communities. It is in this context that I believe having many children and gender inequality has been the main cultural and religious beliefs that have hold the African continent from success and progress socio-political and economically. Africans believe in children and huge family, not in economic power for the last centuries and it is time to change that kind of beliefs. We are living in a world standing on economic progress, the world that is depending on financial management. Therefore, birth control and quality of life are choices conducive with economic progress in the modern world. Economic power requires adequate education and changing old beliefs system is a must for all communities in the world and that will be what I believe is conducive to success.

d) “Our beliefs are specific, consistent organizational approaches to perception. They are the fundamental choices we make about how to perceive our lives and thus how to live them.” This phrase reminds me about our African cultures and beliefs. For example, as an African, we are brought up in a society, with a lot of cultural, and traditional similarities, were young people are told to believe that only elders think right and therefore are the only one to guide the young. Meaning young people depend and do what has been planned by elders. As a result young people could not develop their capacities to think and plan as individual. The elders instill in young people to believe that they cannot do anything without the elders; a view that young people hold and believe they cannot do anything and therefore depends on elders throughout life.

For example when I was 13 years old, I attended catechesis with the Catholic church for one year and was baptized with my name Francis. It was at this time that my world view and belief changed and I became critical about our cultural and traditional values and beliefs. Although I was born in a monogamy family, I was critical about polygamy tradition and the gender issue in the society. In one of the accession that I still remember very well, it was when my aunt lost her husband. On the last funeral rites, I was with my father at the funeral, and my father was the immediate family member who was entitled to recite on the occasion. And my father had to follow the custom and traditional way of the society. The customs and the traditions have it that my aunt should be inherited by the brother of her husband. The husband’s brother available was already married to two wives. My aunt was about 36 years old, with four children.

My father stood up and told my aunt to inherit the brother of her husband. All the elders agreed and applaud for him. Then I stood up and asked my aunt if she was happy to be inherited. My aunt told me the elders have already agreed, therefore she cannot say no. I told the elders that the man had already two wives and he already have big responsibility, and would not be able to take adequate responsibility of my aunt, therefore my ant should be left to make her our decision. The elders told me that would never happen in our society. At that point I was sad and emotionally angry. I told my father my aunt will never be a happy woman if they insist that she inherit her husband brother. I told him that it was time to consider changing custom and traditions that was not helping people to live happy life. Two of my cousin brothers supported my idea.

My father took some elders to another room and talked at length and when he came back, he told the elders that he has change his mind and will consider my advice and will take his sister and her children to his custody until further noticed. It was a very brave decision, because no one had done it before, but his decision was criticized, hence, as a respected elder, his decision was accepted by many other elders.

To make the story shorter, we took our aunt and her four children home. Our aunt lived with us for about two years and then she got married to another man she loved, and the man accepted her with her children, unfortunately, the children did not want to live with the new man, they remain with us until they became adults. But my aunt was happy with her new husband. However, from that particular time in our history, inheritance custom and tradition was abolished, and polygamy practices was abandoned, and people gave me a name, that means the refuter of old tradition and custom, but I refused to use such name. My point is that as time changes, our beliefs should also change according to the time.

e) “Remember, we don’t know how life really is. We only know how we represent life to ourselves.” This phrase from mastering your brain and how to run your brain was a new gradient that I admired most. The entire explanation present new skills, especially from the usual therapist point of view. For example, I have learnt so much in psychology about human behavior and how people react to painful experiences etc, but this was completely new approach that I have really admired from this book. I fully agree with the notion of enlarging picture of bad experience and replacing it by diminishing or shrinking it out from the memory. The exercise was marvelously good with me.

It is important to note that mastering a simple understanding of how my brain works, I can become my own therapist or even my own consultant. The book explained that we keep our experience in a recorded jukebox and we can playback at any time if we push the button. We can choose the right button to playback nice and good memories or we can push the wrong button to playback painful memories, and we have the picture of bad memories etc. and life goes on. I have learnt from this book that my head is my kingdom and I am responsible to control how it should operate, the example I found in the book were very new and interesting. The new skills to shrink bad memories and replaced it with good memories.

f) “The health of people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend.” I found this quotation by Benjamin Disraeli very true in chapter ten. The six principle keys to good health as explained in this book were really the whole truth about health and it has helped me a lot to see how I was destroying myself with chunk food without a clue into the reality about food choice. Although I care much about myself, I had never come across such precise explanation about our body system and how it is important to maintain it through eating in a way that helps the body to function well.

I used to eat anything I can get hold of and I have always been eating chunk of unwanted stuff without knowing they were harmful, but now I know exactly the difference of what to eat and not to eat. The poverty experience that had made me to believe that in order to survive I should eat any kind of food available was a wrong belief all together.

I have realized that when I feel healthy, I also have the energy to perform any kind of exercise or assignment. The body responds well and the brain is more active than when I feel pain or discomfort. This book has changed the way I think about food and I am sure I will never be the same person again in observing what goes into my stomach. I am really happy to have had this opportunity with IIGL. I believe the entire exercise has perpetual impact on my life and I feel a different person all together.

g) ”If you don’t have your own plan, someone else is going to make you fit into their plan.” This phrase caught my eyes because I don’t like to do something planned by somebody else. For example, I am very conscious and critical while working and many friends like to call me genius and I believe I am a genius person. Before I do anything, I plan how to do it the way I want it be done. I take my time but without doubt I will obtain the desired result. It is like driving to a known destination, upon which you know every road landscape, where to stop and where to cross even at night.

Every work plan requires realistic discipline and most people don’t like to spend time planning work. For me it is the opposite, because sometimes I forget even to eat my lunch. When I plan my work, I find it easy to do it because the plan acts as a guide. To work without a plan is like to walk across many holes with your eyes closed.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas are practical and modeling successful people for a desired goal as explained in this book are precise and amazing skills. Therefore I have no doubts in my mind that mastering such skills would help me create a better world. I believe by mastering such skills, I will be able to empower myself and those around me, the community, the nation, and finally the world at large.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

i, “Take care of your stomach for the first fifty years, and it will take care of you for the next fifty.” I found this quotation very true because I have been on irregular exercise for some times, due to stress and uncomfortable environment. For example, last July our apartment burnt down and we were relocated to an old military area. The area was amazingly made for military exercises, and the compound wide open. After few days, I was attracted and motivated just by the environment and I started running around every morning and afternoon. The first four days was very stressful, but I forced myself, and after two weeks, I started to feel better and in good form. I could sleep well in the night and wake up early in the morning. I was totally relaxed and could not feel the stress of losing most of my belonging in fire. I spoke to people with much joy and relaxed attitude and many people start to feel I was getting out of my mind. I even felt I was younger than I was before I get there.

In the camp we were fed at least three times a day and most of the food contained salad and fruits. Now as I was reading this book, I begun to play back the recorded image, and realized healthy body is what we make of it. Our health must be controlled by us. I am grateful to know this secrete from this book and I would recommend friends to read this wonderful book. I don’t feel the same way I was ten years ago.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?


6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, I have done most of the exercise, and hoping to repeat the exercises with hope of mastering them well, because I found them very helpful.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9.5
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9.5



Conscious Acts of Creation
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan)

1. What are the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

The authors of Conscious Acts of Creation, William A. Tiller, Walter E. Dibble and Michael J. Kohane accurately described the great abundance of new experimental data and the beginning of a comprehensive new theoretical framework for the first time in the language of physics, very solid extensive data on “Spirit, mind and physical matter”. They carefully and reproducible experiments on unusual effects of human intention upon matter and provide us with substantial documentation. The new paradigm proposed, invites us to understand human interaction with spirit and the environmental physical world.

They revolutionized the medicine and our perception and approach to all reality surrounding human life and believe human consciousness contributes to the creation direction of the Universe. They said, most of our diseases don’t have magic bullets, but are mostly stress related, caused by being out right relationship with ourselves, with others, with our environment and with a higher power. They explained that medicine is mind/body with emotion being the interface between the mind and body. That the non-local approaches to healing views the mind as an unbounded and unconfined to points in space and time so that this category of healing events may bridge persons who are widely separated from each other.

They described that the book is made for all professional people, in particular, those who are involved in human health care, and group of college graduates with broad interests in self-development, metaphysical considerations and the spiritual path. The book focuses on emergence of a new physics where the human qualities of emotion, mind and intention are incorporated into the framework for meaningfully describing the various expressions of nature.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) “…most diseases don’t have magic bullets; they are mostly stress-related, caused by being out of right relationship with ourselves, with others, with our environment and with the higher power.” This phrase reminds me about a book “Keys to Success,” the application of positive mental attitude, to discover our subconscious as we struggle in life, through meditation and daily reflection on our experiences. It is important to enter our subconscious and connect with our body, emotions, feeling, especially when we feel stress. Many times I had been told by the doctor that I was not sick, even when mentally I believe I was sick. When the doctor asked me few questions, it was clear I over worked myself and was stressed up in the process. I was only thinking that I was sick, but I was too tired and needed to rest. I lost connection of my body and self, the meditation time, that keeps me always connected and happy.

It explains how to face the world with active faith, the power to harmonize the universal powers. The belief system as a way to replacing fear with hope, because in faith, one temporarily relax his own reason and willpower and opens his mind completely to the inflow of infinite intelligence.

b) “To obtain some insight into how human intention can influence physical behavior and physical measurements” explained in experiment figure 2.3 that a specific intention, projected from the level of spirit, imprints a detailed pattern on the domain of mind and such pattern is an information pattern that is one-to-one representation of the original intention. Connecting the mind domain to R-space, it imprints a second representation of the information onto the R-space domain and many changes would occur by changing the background level from low to higher. This particular experiment explains accurately what happens in our daily life when we connect to the spirit and environment. I have personally experience this kind of change while meditating, but I was not conscious about it until I read this book.

For example in my experience, I believe that the body, spirit and the environment function together. The eye perceived and coordinate reaction of the body to the spirit through the present beauty of environment and the mind begins to wonder how and information is received in the mind domain. The information would receive a reaction, depending on the pH gauge example. The pH gauge is scaled from 0 to 14 with 7 as a neutral position and increased acidity on one extreme and increased alkalinity on the other extreme, which represent level of emotion as the information grows in the mind domain. It was really fascinating to me when I recall my chemistry knowledge and compared it with reality in life. Many times we are only cognitively aware of few brain development of information that limits us during present state of evolution.

c) “Human intentions could not be embedded into simple electronic device which is then used to meaningfully influence an experiment in complete accord with the specific intention”. This phrase is true in the sense that human intention changes with time while electronic information imbedded in an electronic device remains permanently and can be retrieve back in its original form. For example, while I was young, my intention was to become a doctor to help treat sick people. Later in life, I thought that teaching people was the best thing to do, because by teaching people how to protect themselves from getting sick was more meaningful than waiting for people to get sick and then treat them.

Although I can still retrieve my memories, much of them have changed or have taken different shape from its original form, compared to information or intention embedded in electronic devices that will never change.

d) “Such strains are accessed in different environmental phenotype that may be caused by novel interactions between genes and the environment”. This phrase reminds me about my biology lessons about life cycle and phenotype of different insects. What has amazed me most in the life cycle of Drosophila Melanogaster was that its particular fitness component and similarity to identify change in fitness and developmental phenotype that may be caused by novel interactions between genes and environment, which is similar to human, in order to understand genetic changes in human .

I was amazed to understand the enzymes that make and use NAD+ and NADH are important in both current pharmacology and the research into future treatments for disease, and the coenzyme NAD+ is not itself currently used as a treatment for any disease. However, it is potentially useful in the therapy of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease

Since a large number of oxidoreductases use NAD+ and NADH as substrates, and bind them using a highly conserved structural motif, the idea that inhibitors based on NAD+ could be specific to one enzyme is surprising. Nevertheless because of the differences in the metabolic pathways of NAD+ biosynthesis between organisms, such as between bacteria and humans, this area of metabolism is a promising area for the development of new antibiotics, amazing insights.

e) “It is well known that most individual humans have intentions that swing widely over time so that the time-average effect over weeks to months is usually of small magnitude”. This phrase is very true given that individual humans having long practice with one of the available inner self-management techniques like Yoga, Qi Gong etc. do much better but there is still some time-averaging limitation involved. For example I had personally experience in my personal meditation that focusing repeatedly to my inner intention/desire and what I want to change normally produces result but over a long period of time. The most important thing to do is to remain conscious and focus.

I am largely unaware of the traffic of ‘thoughts’ within my head including those that guide most of my living actions. The primary actions that keep me alive, such as breathing, seeing, hearing, touching and even tasting, take place without my conscious participation or stopping to think about them. However, during meditation I get into my world where everything is perfect.

It is interesting to note that most of my purposeful behavior happens without the aid of consciousness. I even solve most of my routine problems unconsciously. It is when a purpose or result can be achieved by alternative means that consciousness is called upon. In other words, at the routine level of existence, we do not employ consciousness except when we are altering our actions or thoughts from the routine, for a purpose. However, despite our attachment to it and our feeling of its solidity and persistence, what we think of as the physical universe is an almost incomprehensibly miniscule part of the immensity of all that is.

I agree with Dr. Tiller that our future lies in harnessing the energies that lie hidden in the spaces between the particles, atoms, molecules, planets, stars, and galaxies of the physical universe and matter as we know it, is hardly a fragrance of a whisper.

f) “Organisms contain thousands of different kinds of enzymes that catalyze a bewildering variety of reactions, many of which occur in sequences called biochemical pathways”. The most amazing part of the chapter was to acknowledge the importance of enzymes and coenzymes and how they are important in the body system and knowing that they are important catalyst was an amazing piece of knowledge. It reminds me about the importance of keeping the body physically fit in order for several components in the system function normal in a given environment. Given that most human enzymes have their optimum temperature and pH for catalyst it is important to keep the body temperature in order to avoid breaking down in the blood system.

This book has shaded light on what I did not know before. I read about enzymes and coenzymes during my secondary school days, but did not gain much as I was only interested in passing the exams, but now it was very enjoyable reading, refreshing my mind as I read through the chapter.

g) ”…suitable vehicle whereby science and religion may eventually find an area for mutual investigation”. This phrase reminds me about the range of beliefs and about the conflict and harmony between science and religion. There can never be a conflict between true science and true religion, because they both describe reality.

Actually, science and religion are often not in conflict. Theologians don’t care much about the tensile strength of steel when they have church buildings built. Scientists are generally not particularly interested in the functions of a soul. But sometimes science and religion overlap. Each then generally puts forth conflicting beliefs on the same topic. I was amazed with the insight about religion and science and I have learned that most people lack such deep understanding of science and religion.

Scientific beliefs are generally based on observation. Any compromise would require a scientist to reject hard evidence. Reaching a consensus is generally impossible. Sometimes, debates are settled by a conscious decision to tolerate each other’s beliefs. This is difficult to achieve between two groups who are certain of the validity of their own beliefs. There were many in sights and I have acquired useful knowledge that will help me in my limited perception of both religion and science.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

As an agent of change, this ideas help expand my scope in the science and religious belief. The experiments bring such a robust knowledge that only those of questionable integrity can continue such avoidance behavior. Nevertheless, the most important part is that the data shows that in seemingly the same cognitive space, both basic chemical reactions and basic material properties can be strongly altered. And that the human quality of focused intention can be made to act as a true thermodynamic potential and strongly influence experimental measurements for a variety of target experiments. This knowledge is crucial in human development process and therefore it is important to me personally and for my responsibilities in helping others.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“True knowledge is obtained by participation and fusion of the knower with the object of study… the scientist is required to become higher in order to understand higher things…” this is true and I believe that when you want to understand something you need to be part of it. As a missionary student, I was told that when you speak someone’s language, the person would listen to you even if he knows you are foreigner to him, as such, learning new language became essentially important in order to teach them religion, or other subjects. Furthermore, to know about a people, and teach them new tricks, it is important to speak in their own language. Living among the people you want to teach is an added advantage.

“River of life” This quote reminds me about Alexander Pope 1688-1744 encyclopedias when he explains that “The vanity of human life is like a river, constantly passing away, and yet constantly coming on. Life flows through us into the new generation and on and on. It does not come back to where it starts. It is a chance once missed, it will never come back and that makes it imperative to enjoy it as you live.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?


6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, the tables and figures were very practical and I found them useful and they refreshed my memories of pure math, physics and chemistry.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 8
D. Would you recommend it to others? 9



Gandhi, An Autobiography
Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan)

1. What are the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Gandhi’s autobiography, the story of my experiments with Truth, is very inspiring book. He described his life and how he developed his hypothesis of active non-violent (Satyagraha) resistance that propelled Indian struggle for independence and countless other non-violent struggle of the twentieth century.

Gandhi’s curiosity to learn and his ability to keep his promises are what I admired of his childhood character and personality. He was in deed honest and loyal to his belief. He was conscious and focused in all his action, the ideal that an agent or peace activist should learn.

Gandhi’s hypothesis to non-violence or Satyagraha was the most brilliant work of his entire life, the idea I admired the most; making the injustice visible through prayers and fasting to overcome evil and violence attitude from his Indian patriots, for it was the wisdom British government underestimated, as the judge admitted that Gandhi was the first and extraordinary man he had ever tried in his life time.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) ”What is the value of a vow made before an illiterate mother, and ignorance conditions here? It is no vow at all”. This phrase touched me for two reasons.

1. Gandhi was very honest with himself, his parents and with his friends, especially the one who was pushing him to break the vows he made to his mother and members of the family.

2. Gandhi manifested the cultural belief as a barrier, somehow, in learning and progressing ourselves. For example, I had the same experience when I was about 12 years old, with my peers. In my case it was learning to smoke cigarettes. Peer group are very influential and protective. A cigarette is considered bad especially to children. A child who smokes would be punished severely and worst of all, such child would be categorized as gangs, which carries the same meaning as thief. Anyhow, we could team up and go inside and hide in the bush and start smoking cigarettes. Although I was very shy and ignorant about smoking cigarette, they could force me and teach me how to smoke. Eventually, I succeeded and became a smoker. No one in my family smokes. My mother and father always tell me not to smoke or drink beer, and I promised them I would not do such things. When I found out that the peer group was the only group who could protect me from other children, I practically broke the promise I made to my parents out of fear. And the consequence was that I became a smoker and my parents did not know about it. I was fooling myself and I ended up a smoker and felt bad when I was now on my own as an adult, when I found it difficult to quit. Thank God for the IIGL method that did work for me and now I am a free man. I have learnt that keeping promises are the most difficult aspect in life but as children, we always fall victims out of fear and ignorant.

Regarding the cultural beliefs, I must admit that Gandhi was a brilliant and tough gentleman, and I agree with him in most cases. However, it is good to be flexible in experiencing everything that the culture may consider as a taboo. One may not know about anything without trying it. For Gandhi, it was a taboo to eat meat. It is always important to weigh and analyze what culture perceived as taboo and its consequences, otherwise, most cultural beliefs are misguiding and misleading, therefore, must be checked and removed.

b) “All the rest of the members appeared to me to be better informed than I” This phrase about shyness reminds me about unfounded traditional fears that always block individuals from ability to participate in important matters. I call it traditional fear, because my culture has it that when you are young, you should only listen to the elders and learn. Gandhi was manifesting such fear as well as the human fear when you stand in front of many strange faces to talk. The phrase strikes me because it was like I was looking into the mirror my own self, in Gandhi’s shoes. I had the same difficulty as Gandhi, but I kept on believing that I inherited shyness from my father, thus I should accept it. As a young boy throughout my adulthood, I was very shy and my personality test revealed that I was an introvert and a feeler; I like to listen to others with much attention. No wonder, during my childhood development, we would sit round the fire in the evening and tell each other stories, and one is required to pay much attention to the story being told, so as to re-tell the story exactly as it is next time. The other reason for shyness is the cultural beliefs that children must only listen to the elders and learn. Until during my University studies that frequent class presentation forced me to speak in public without emotional fear.

When I joined the missionary group, I was encouraged to talk, share, discuss with my friends. After more than a year, I became very talkative, and in the first year of personal evaluation, everybody said, I was very talkative and I needed to balance. It was very good to see myself like that after long time locked up in a traditional constitution of unfounded fear. I am happy to learn and understand that Gandhi was also having the same problem but he was able to overcome his shyness using means that were available in his time. There is always a room for change if we allow ourselves and accept to be flexible as we grow mentally and spiritually.

c) “I began to think of my duty. Should I fight for my rights or go back to India, or should I go on to Pretoria without minding the insults, and return to India after finishing the case?” These phrases strike me about how I react in a situation that is unjust. Gandhi went through racial humiliation in a train on his way to Pretoria during the apartheid rule in south Africa, the experience that was new to him and was an acceptable to him given that he was trained as a lawyer, and an enlighten man. In my personal example, I had similar experience of racial prejudice and discrimination, and I have to admit that I have always fought back when I deemed that my rights were violated, although not in the same way as Gandhi. Nevertheless, Gandhi’s smart reaction by making contacts and will to fight back using non-violence means was a good fight that I had always never thought would help bring changes eventually.

I have learned that there are best ways to fight for your rights and the best way is through the legal process. I admired Gandhi in his style and process to follow legal procedures that was challenging the system by being honest to what he believes is right. The truth will always prevail when we stick to its principles.

d) “Therefore, though I have not been able to give them a literary education either or to my satisfaction, I am not quite sure, as I look back on my past years, that I have not done my duty by them to the best of my capacity”. This phrases strike me because I feel guilty being away from my children and I am concern about their education and wellbeing. Children are the future generation who must always have the best possible. I have learned that flexibility when you are out of your normal environment is important. Gandhi’s refusal to put his children in mission school for fear they would learn bad culture was not right, he denied his children their basic rights, because of cultural belief, nevertheless, he was right when he said his idea was “that a student of the history of civilization may have some measure of difference between disciplined home education and school education, and also of the effect produced on children through changes introduced by parents in their lives”.

Like any parent, I would sacrifice my time to teach my children the way I want them to be. Such sacrifice are always willfully made and with love. Furthermore, well behaved children usually bring fame and pride to their parents, and I feel that my children should not only be intelligent and smart at school, but also they should behave to my expectation.

e) “However, as I had adequately realized my shortcomings, I made great efforts to get rid of them, and thanks to this endeavor I have all these years pulled on with my body and put in with it my share of work”. These phrases remind me about my shortcomings and judgments in communicating with others or in developing my own ideal in life. Nevertheless, reading from Gandhi, I was able to look back into my life and I admit that I had similar situation in dealing with my own shortcomings and weakness. I do remember times when I was doing my fasting, and a friend approached me with an invitation. His wife had given birth to a baby boy. Traditionally, he has to celebrate it with close friends. So he invited me informally to be at the celebration in time. I was in the middle of developing my topic for the university BA thesis, and I have made a decision to fast, until I finish developing my topic.

My reaction to the invitation was that of emotions and feelings that would strain our friendship, and on the other hand, there are no celebration in my culture without alcoholic drinking, and if I accepted the invitation, it means I would lose the whole day without doing anything about my lifetime preparation. Furthermore, there were not many people from Sudan in Nairobi to be there for the celebration, except three of us, and very close friends, who had always been there for each other, given that we were all refugees, support for each other was driven by accepting to be with your friends in times of happiness and in times of sorrows. Anyhow eventually I accepted the invitation and went for the celebration, but I restrained from taking any alcoholic drinks with the pretext that I was not feeling well, though I was well. The lesson I learned from this kind of situation is that life has many faces, but we must live our lives more consciously and remain focused to what we intend to achieve.

f) “My penance pained everybody, but it cleared the atmosphere. Everyone came to realize what terrible thing it was to be sinful, and the bond that bound me to the boys and girls became stronger and truer”. This phrase reminds me of the effectiveness of fasting and prayers. There are two ways to perform fasting. First, I fast and pray about my personal needs, and second, fasting and prayers towards public demands, of which the responsible figure at the center of the struggle fast, as a condition to make the majority realize or see the wisdom and power of prayers. The best example was that of Gandhi, when the Hindus, Muslims and Christians were fighting each other during the struggle, resorted to fast until all the conflicts stop. The psychological effect of fasting on the masses was effective, but fasting is not the best way to demand loyalty, because of the health hazard or effect on the entire body.

I remember while I was with my parents, when I get upset about something and I want my parents to pay more attention to me, I would refused to eat food. Every member of the family would feel sad and with pity on me. In that moment I would ask what I want and it would be given to me.

Gandhi started his fasting experiment long before in South Africa. He used fasting as a tool to discipline children under his responsibility in South Africa. It is amazing to learn about Gandhi’s consistency in his experiments of truth. What was amazing in all the hypothesis of fasting is the wisdom behind the meaning of fasting, be it individual or collective? It was very interesting idea that was really fascinating to me. I had never thought fasting had so much power in changing people’s live so quickly, by producing the desired result.

Finally, when a leader knows how to communicate with people, he can use his influence to demand calm and peace in case of violence, using fasting as a means to obtain results. The point is effective communication with the people whose interests are in your heart. Gandhi was an effective communicator, by writing and by speaking his mind, the truth.

g) ”…that government should recognize that, by being a member of the committee, I did not cease to be the riot’s advocate, and that in case the result of the inquiry failed to give me satisfaction, I should be free to guide and advise the riots as to what action they should take”. This phrase about Gandhi’s response to the authority, reminds me about empowering and representing people with genuine grievances. I admired Gandhi’s determination to enlighten people with hope to bring the change he wants to see. I admired Gandhi’s method, showing people what to do, by doing it and involve the people by working with them, the spirit that I valued most, especially by working for them and with them, just fascinating and brilliant personality, to model and to serve people, and to empower people.

Appointment should not be an incentive to buy loyalty; it should be based on credibility and performance, above all, ability to address the problem. I just learn this new method.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas are important to me because they are real experiment of truth which if I model, would inspire me and motivate me to be determined, conscious and focused.

1. The ideas would help me to understand how to develop any conceived hypothesis.
2. The ideas would help me to be conscious and focused.
3. The ideas would help me to be honest with myself and consistence with my plan.
4. The ideas are practical and inspirational, thus source of courage.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life”. This quotation is important to me because it make sense in creating a better world. Violence only creates misery, destitution and suffering. Violence strained resources and drive people into desperation, thus should be discouraged by all means, even if it means to lay down my life.

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent”. This quotation reminds me about the destruction of violence and wars. War can bring positive change but the evil it does will take generations to repair or to recover from the psychological and mental damage it incurred to people.

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty”. This quotation reminds me about standing for human rights as a noble cause for which I am ready to lay down my life to defend. There is nothing important than human beings on earth, therefore, my primary duty is to protect human beings from all forms of problems.

If we have few bad people among the many, it is always good to find better ways to correct them, but not by eliminating them.

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. This quotation reminds me about the Islamic Sharia Law. In Sudan, the Islamic sharia law was imposed in 1983, and people’s hands were being cut off, if they are caught stealing, and the action of cutting hands is shown on the television nationwide. The imposition of the Islamic Sharia Law prompted the civil war between north, mainly Muslims and in the south who are mainly Christians and traditional believers. The Sharia law action would only make the whole country handicap or rather without hands, thus, not acceptable means to discipline thieves.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”. This quotation means happiness is believe to be an inner feeling that is expressed in behavior and action. For example when I am worried about something, I would stray from doing something right, or would react aggressively to others even if they have done nothing wrong.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

No, I enjoyed them to satisfaction.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

No, the book was practical experiment of truth and their exercises were practical meditation and reflection on the words said by the author.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10



Development As Freedom

Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan)

1. What are the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Amartya Sen is a brilliant economist and I am fascinated with his ideas. He presented a landmark work that places individual freedom at the center in a comprehensive analysis of today’s global economy. He explained the role of different institutions, including the market, the state, the media, opposition groups and non-governmental organizations, as seen within a broad and integrated framework, an amazing insight idea that fits the contemporary world situation. His focus on freedom as a basic end and as the most effective means of sustaining economic life and countering poverty and insecurity in the world is fascinating and concrete ideas I have always believed in.

The entire ideas, as a paradigm altering foundation for understanding the demands of economic development, for both rich and poor in this 21st century, that the quality of our lives should be measured not by our wealth, but by our freedom, is a new theory and practice of development.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) “Development requires the removal of major sources of un-freedom: poverty as well as tyranny, poor economic opportunities as well as systematic social deprivation, neglect of public facilities as well as intolerance or over activity of repressive states”. This idea caught my attention because it represents the entire experience of my life in the Sudan. For example, in the Sudan, most people in the southern part of Sudan lived under poverty line. There was no freedom of movement, expression, leave alone public facilities, the security harassments, beatings and killing of innocent people without trial. Everybody live in total fear and nobody trust anyone. The situation created stress and depression, to the point that nobody performs individual duty as expected, under such condition in life.

When you see a policeman, you panic and lose your concentration in whatever you are doing. When you get sick, and could not move to the hospital, there is no ambulance to transport you to the hospital. Farmers could not go to their fields as early as they wanted, because the bridge on the Nile remained closed up to 8:00 am in the morning, yet the temperature is very high and people would want to go to their fields as early as 4:30 am, given the distance to get to the fields. People expect to start working by 6:00 am and end the daily work by midday, given the heat from the sun. The un-freedom to move and start working as people would like to, has reduced working hours and production as well, and livelihood confined people to continuous poverty.

b) “Having greater freedom to do the things one has reason to value is (1) Significant in itself for the person’s overall freedom and (2) important in fostering the person’s opportunity to have valuable outcomes.” This phrase reminds me about my entire experience in south Sudan in the early 90s; where there was nothing call freedom even inside the villages in the remote areas. The analysis of development presented in this book treats the freedom of individuals as basic block, and it pays attention particularly to the expansion of the capabilities of persons to lead the kind of life they value and have reason to value. For example, I did not have the freedom to study what I wanted to study, but was conditioned by Islamic government; all student from south Sudan were discriminated against by the ministry of education, because of their religion and race, and their freedom to choose the life they value and have reason to value doesn’t existed. For example, during my time in secondary school, if you passed the national examination to enter the university, you would not be accepted in any faculty, except the faculty already arranged by the Islamic government in Khartoum, an arrangement that complies with Islamic propagation, meaning Christian students would not be allowed to study in certain faculties that would posed a threat to national plan for Islamic program. In other words, our individual capabilities in south Sudan was not significant and important to the Islamic government in Sudan and after the independence of south Sudan last July 2011, South Sudan lack fundamental human resources to run the government of south Sudan today.

The individual capabilities can be enhanced by public policy, but also, on the other side, the direction of public policy can be influenced by the effective use of participatory capabilities by the public, nevertheless, the two way relationship is central to national building, and depriving and discriminating group of peoples, within a nation, on religious and racial ground, presented a huddle and breaded conflict that we have seen, shuttered the Sudan into two independent nations. Thus, the analysis presented by the author, Amartya Sen, described clearly the consequences when freedom of individual is lacking in a nation. It was precisely what leaders, such as in South Sudan, need to understand and incorporate to avoid future conflict, to maintain peace and harmony nationwide.

c) “One should also note that one problem that India and sub-Saharan Africa have in common is the persistence of endemic illiteracy— a feature that, like low life expectancy, sets South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa apart from most of the rest of the world.” The phrase was true in my point of view, through my personal experience, in a culture of male dominated society. Societies where all focal features of deprivation of women basic capabilities are so strong and female are basically considered as object of sex and a factory to produce children. They are confined by the society as baby-sitting and cook. They are viewed as assets to obtain wealth to the family through high bride price. Their fundamental rights to basic training to cope with life are denied, leave alone formal education.

In the Sudan, for example, during my primary school time, parents sent their daughters to school not to get education, but rather a school going girl have higher bride price compared to a girl who is not going to school, and worse of all, the school going girls were confined to complete only primary level, that is why recently you could find few girls in schools. Although such views are slowly changing, such access to education is limited to primary level of education, due to high school drop-out when the girls are mature enough to conceive and become mothers, which is a comprehensive picture of denial to promote and develop female capabilities, and the consequence is endemic poverty, since female would not sustain themselves in the region. As the third born but first male child in a family of nine, I was the only one who started going to school, simply because the family believe that I am the backbone of the family, and the family did spent every coin for my education. The family believes traditionally that girls would have to leave and get married somewhere far away and would not be of use to waste financial resource to educate them. Now all my illiterate sisters are struggling with life, because most of them were divorced with at least four kids to feed. My sisters have no education or skills to compete in the world that requires skills and academic qualifications to earn a living. And they all turn for help, by returning home with their kids. No man can re-marry a woman with four or more kids, but that is the reality my own sisters have to live with throughout their life time. However, the phenomenon brings out some striking failures and some crucial policy issues that demand immediate attention. Therefore individual freedom to participate in the development of the society they value, and have reason to value, requires education as a principle determinant of individual initiative and social effectiveness. Thus, greater freedom to equal opportunity to access education enhances the ability of people to participate in public and also to influence the world.

d) “The loss of freedom in the absence of employment choice and in the tyrannical form of work can itself be a major deprivation”. This is very true and it has been the case in South Sudan from 1955 to 2005, probably until the independence of South Sudan. For example during the years after the independence of Sudan Jan 1st 1956, employment was based on knowledge or relationship between the employer and the employee. The Arab people in the north of Sudan dominated the government and the labor market. They employ those they know and those who are known would employ their relatives etc. Given that south Sudan have so many distinct different languages, tribal affiliation was very strong and those who have political influence, such as the majority tribe, would naturally dominate the labor market and employ only their relatives, the rest of the tribe would be deprived from work. This lack of labor freedom was believed to be normal by those who are made to believe that one can only work through relations. On the one hand, the Islamic dominated government employs only those who are Muslims or those who want to convert into Islam and are already on the process. Basically people were deprived from work because of their ethnicity at the local level, and deprived from work because of their religion at the national level.

Employment was not based on merit and individual choice, but on relation and tribal and religious affiliation. Freedom of employment is described by Karl Marx as momentous progress, and therefore, lack of employment due to prejudice and discrimination affects the market, individual liberty and labor in any nation with diverse ethnicity such as south Sudan, the consequence can be fatal in promoting peace and development.

e) “Some economist have argued that merely abolishing child labor without doing anything to enhance the economic circumstances of the families involved may not serve the interest of the children themselves”. To address the child labor in Africa entirely, it demands a strong political will from the government leadership to organize the society and provide them with all the basic services and economic opportunities. For example, in South Sudan, most children could not go to school simply because their parents could not afford to pay school fees, or in some cases there are no schools in the area. For the parents who are employed by the government, they normally under paid, some of them work up to three months without payment, yet the little they get goes for feeding. Children are left without choice but to stop going to school. Then they roam around in the streets and resort to stealing, or involve in drugs and other things that would keep them surviving.

During the civil war, most children in south Sudan survived in the military barracks, in order to feed themselves with left-over food from the army. Some of them quickly became soldiers at the age of 14. They did not want to join the army, but they found themselves without choice but to become soldiers in order to survive. My own cousin brother was one of the victims of such situation. He went to work in the military barrack as a house boy, and one year later he became a soldier at the age of 15. He was taken to fight in the front line and he did not come back. We were told he never came back forever. Like many others who worked and joined the army, reportedly disappeared during the war.

Every family needs government support, not government exploitation. All children need direction and they can only get direction through formal education, and the government must provide education to all. Children are the future of any country, and their education is an important part of their formation into civil life. Putting children to work instead of going to school is an exploitation that would lead to the collapse of a particular nation. It is important for the government to enhance immediate economic protection in the family, to protect the children in the family to guarantee their future.

f) “Freedom of women to seek employment outside the family is a major issue in many third world countries.” This phrase reminds me of the systematic denial of women in my culture and tradition where women are denied freedom to access education, job and participation in public life. For example in my culture I have witness that women are restricted from public life by denying them access to higher education. This is a serious violation of women’s liberty and gender equity, because the absence of such freedom militates against the economic empowerment of women and also has many consequences.

The culture and tradition that restrict women to access education and economic participation should not be encouraged by any means. Men are most respected head of families and only male children are allowed to go to school, such gender inequality has kept the entire society from competing in the contemporary economic world.

It is obviously clear that women need education to be able to better their family life and to participate in public life effectively. The cultural prejudice and discriminative perception that female child will one day get married away and leave her parent’s home is not only dangerous to the entire culture, but also dangerous to the nation.

Another worrying aspect that keeps women bondage to cultural and traditional belief is the continuation of “Bride Price”, the wealth paid to the bride’s family. This issue of bride price was meant to give dignity to the bride, but this has now turn into business attitude, to which parents now behave as if the girl child is a source of getting wealth. The parents would control the girl and girl would remain dependent on the parents. She cannot decide for herself, only the parents can decide for her. Such illusive behavior would decapitate a girl from learning, because in learning a student is expected to make some decision of what to do or say.

It is to be noted that education of female enhances better knowledge on health and therefore reduces child mortality rate. Education starts from home, and therefore a woman as a mother is the first teacher in the family. Furthermore, educated women would have equal opportunity to participate in public life and improve their economic status to enhance their family economic independence.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

The basic ideas of justice are not alien to social beings, who worry about their own interests but are also able to think about family members, neighbors, fellow citizens and about other people in the world. Nevertheless, it is important for the people in the leadership position to have objective vision for the entire people in a nation. The above ideas are practical and concrete in shaping a society how we want a nation to live in peace and economic prosperity. In practice, the ideas requires political will from the leadership to organize and execute plans that can shape the entire national human resources, economic resources and equal distribution of the natural resources. It is clear from the above ideas that development requires equal opportunity to both genders to access education to balance economic participation in the market. The political will to plan and provide equal opportunity to participate in public life is the primary responsibility of a leader to obtain successful economic prosperity. Therefore, focus on freedom as a basic end and as the most effective means of sustaining economic life and countering poverty and insecurity in the world is a practical and concrete ideas to be implemented and executed.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“The ends and means of development require examination and scrutiny for a fuller understanding of the development process; …This statement was important to me because each process of development requires examination and evaluation to understand how the process can be applied. For example any culture and tradition that holds back female child from accessing education with prejudice should be examine and destroyed, for the sake of progress and gender equality. The statement also reminds me about the importance of being well informed leader. A leader must remain updated with all necessary and current information to make effective decision.

“Better knowledge of their interest” this particular quotes captured my attention, because most people tends to put their interest first, especially those in the leadership position. I believe that a leader must put the interests of the people before his own interest, in order to serve the people who elected him to serve them. It is the primary leadership requirement to enhance democratic planning and action.

“Are the citizens in the of the third world countries indifferent to political and democratic rights?” This statement reminds me about the election process in the Sudan in the 90s, where soldiers are deployed in every polling stations to control voters from exercising their democratic rights. I remember in one incident there were about 46 presidential candidates, and the ruling party candidates won the election with 86% of the votes. No body expressed his/her anger in public, but when you go to any small gathering, you could hear people say, they did not vote for ruling party but they were forced to vote at gun point. One man told us that in the polling station, there were soldiers all around, they would force you to vote for the ruling party or your life would be in danger, it reveals that nobody was free to exercise his own democratic rights.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

No, the entire book was very clear and precise.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes the book made many references for me to complete and I have covered most of the references in order to understand what was said in particular chapters.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10



How to make Collaboration Work

Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan)

1. What are the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

David Straus is a brilliant facilitator of our time in history in my personal view. He presented the core powerful ideas to build consensus, solve problems, and make decisions in a very unique and effective ways using his concrete long time experience perspective. He presented a new approach, explaining how we could benefit from what he calls collaboration work.

The main ideas are based on the five principles;

1. Involve the relevant stakeholders.

2. Build consensus phase by phase.

3. Design a process map.

4. Designate a process facilitator.

5. Harness the power of group memory.

He explained his ideas into three main parts, starting with the theories of the process. Most people would agree that, in general, a group is more than just the sum of its parts. Given that rule, as we look to tackle issues that affect more than one person, it makes sense for us to work together, to solve problems collaboratively, so that we can come up with solutions that are both more effective and more efficient and could do it on our own. Most people would also agree that doing so takes time, effort, and resources that are often limited. For the same reasons that it’s important to collaborate, it is also important to know how to do it well. David Straus offers us unique insights how collaboration works and why it is so essential.

He believes we must involve all “relevant stakeholders,” regardless of whether or not we agree with them, not only because people who feel left out can hurt our chances of success, but because it’s the right thing to do. He continues to say that “It’s a matter of basic respect for human dignity, a belief that people have the right to be involved in decisions that affect their lives.” Again, once the stakeholders are on board, collaboration occurs through consensus and well-developed processes.

His next steps include building consensus one step at a time and designing a process map, something that Straus believes stems from his training as an architect. A process map is an aid that “helps people visualize a process, identify potential problems, and gain a sense of assurance that consensus building will be managed in an organized, methodical manner.” Who else to help the group design a process map but the process facilitator. This person serves as a process guide, a tool giver, neutral third-party, and process educator. By serving in all of these roles, the facilitator not only makes the group more likely to solve the problem it intended on solving, but ensures that it becomes more empowered for having gone through the process of doing so. Finally, this empowerment must translate to momentum which is done by “harnessing the power of group memory,” often by simply recoding the group’s activities visually and in real time using chart pads and markers, the ideas I found very interesting and concrete.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) “Perhaps you need to collaborate because, for example, too many people have the power to block the implementation of your decision or solution.” This phrase caught my attention right from the introduction for the similar experience in my life. For example when I was doing my social ministry experience, as a missionary, we went to a small village, section of the parish area, to access the immediate problem people in the village were experiencing. When we got to the area, with my team, we were well come by the community leader, and briefed about the problem facing the entire village.

As the community leader was speaking to us about the problems, a group of women and children between 7 and 15 years of age, arrived, all of them carrying water Jeri cans of different sizes. They were exhausted from the long distant walk, since the river was very far away. The water was for us to drink and wash ourselves with. My first reaction was that water problem should have been the first problem to mention, yet the community leader did not mention it altogether. Then without asking the community or involving the community, we decided to put a water tank in the center of the village for two major reasons; 1. to supply the community with clean and safe drinking water, and 2, to reduce the long distance of walking to fetch water. After completing the work, women kept going to fetch water from the long distance river, and when we ask the women, they remained silent. Then we were told by the men, that the women kept going long distance because they have no time to talk and share with each other, except along the way to the river, where they feel free to gossip about the life and other personal stories.

We realized it was right to ask them or involve them in the decision before installing the water tank as stakeholders and beneficiaries. It was a big challenge for us and thereafter, we started involving the community in all other remaining projects that followed, and all other projects was accomplished with lots of appreciation and the community was real owners of their own projects. Otherwise we learnt a lesson we never forgot. Thus, this book has reminded me about what I experienced before but was not aware of the principles and methods of effective collaboration that should be applied in different problem solving.

b) “…a problem is only a problem if there is an agent present – someone who cares and wants to take action” This phrase is true because humans are designed for continual problem solving by nature. We are constantly planning for our future, and changing little by little our environment as life goes on and the process of human problem solving has been part of the human life. From my personal experience for example, when I was a university student, I was introduced into several practical method of finding a problem and create awareness and find or propose a solution to it. It was something new to me and I was very interested in it. One day, we were dispatched into different areas of Nairobi city, among the communities living in the slums. The community that struck me with much difficult problem was the slum community living on the suburb of Nairobi city. These communities have the biggest population of the entire Nairobi city, yet they live in an area not surveyed, without toilets, electricity, and running water. They were not organized and have no community leaders. There are more than 200 different religious sects, some of whom have less than ten members. It was real chaos to pass through the narrow path between the building walls, and the garbage found everywhere; one could smell rotten and decomposed dead dogs, rats and other domestic animals thrown everywhere.

We were told to see everything and write a report. The report should contain the area, the problem people faced and how to solve the problem, using the methodology of See, Judge and Act. I remember that after the introduction of the area and the population, the first action was to organize the community by inviting every household to attend a meeting on Sunday, because most people don’t work on Sundays. Then the entire communities are informed about the need to get organized and elect leaders to stand on behalf of each community. With the elected leaders meetings were narrowed down and the entire area was aware of the need to solve the most pressing problems, such as digging pit latrines and getting in a water pipe to supply them with safe drinking water.

I remember how the community leaders were emotionally angry trying to block all the efforts. We did not know that the community leaders were as well the landlords in the areas, and they were charging resident extra money for the few pit Latrines they owned, and any effort to provide more pit Latrines was not in their interests. It took us a long time to convince them, but we also had the letters from the city council regarding health hazard, which was that if there were no pit Latrines, the people should evacuate the area, and that was more incentive on our side, and serious for the landlord if they did not cooperate, and eventually with such warning, the leaders backed off.

We successfully conducted and facilitated the meetings and reached resolution and the resolution was implemented successfully and most people came and appreciated our efforts in person or with letters in the university campus. The power of collaboration lies with the stakeholders and inclusiveness. Nevertheless the human process and ability to respond willingly depend on the careful facilitation by the agents involved, and that is the experience I enjoyed from reading this book.

c) “Building consensus phase by phase” This phrase explained for example that, consensus building respects the intelligence and dignity of all individuals, is important because when you treat others with respect and dignity, they will act rationally and can bring important insights to collaborative efforts. We know that everyone want to have a say in a decision that affect their lives, it is important that everyone feel included and that they deserve the opportunity to participate actively in the process that affect their lives. I remember years ago, my superior came and informed me just few hours before, that they have decided that I should return and work in Sudan. And because I was not consulted or involved in the decision made, my reaction was that I will not go if they think they can decide for me. And finally I refused to go and nobody was able to convince me again. I lost my trust in the leadership and sabotage my entire assignment. I kept on asking myself, how can people decide on my life without involving me? I was very emotional and angry, but now after reading this book, I realized that collaboration is the key to win-win action.

The ‘building consensus phase by phase’ is the most brilliant ideas in this book. I admired it because people are very emotional, skeptical and conscious about their own interests, and they would want to be involved in any decision that would affect them. They would want to know everything and they would question why, and questions always involve emotions that are positive or negative, depending on the circumstances. Thus, building consensus phase by phase would allow everyone to get involve in a problem solving positively and with good intention or rather positive mental attitude, which is crucial for active participation of problem solving. The process helps members to stay focus as they move phase by phase.

d) “Design a process map.’ People become anxious in the face of too much uncertainty before they can agree to collaborate.” This phrase is amazing because personally I would want some sense from what I am getting into, and therefore designing a map of the problem helps me to see the picture of what I am getting into clearly. When I have clear picture of what to do I become naturally excited and motivated to buy or accept the ideas in the picture or map. I personally I agree with this because that is how I perceived myself in the whole collaboration process, and this book reminded me precisely about what it takes to collaborate effectively. I believe many other persons would feel the same, thus making it the best book to read to be the best facilitator.

In my personal experience over the years, after reading this book, I realized in many meetings that I had attended with the community members, that every time we had meetings with clear agenda to discuss, different members would pop up with new ideas, some of the ideas are relevant, but others were irrelevant to the discussion. It was very difficult to keep members focused, and most of the time the meeting would end up without reaching agreement to resolve the problem at hand, and the reason was that the facilitators did not design a process map to guide members and to keep them focus. This book has now prescribed the actual huddle in any meeting process, and I am very happy that I have learnt how to facilitate a collaborative meeting or how to mediate a negotiation process especially during disputes, such as tribal conflicts in South Sudan.

I feel confident now than ever before and hope that ethnic conflict in South Sudan could be mediated with much success if the stakeholders are involved in the negotiated process. Usually politician decide and force their resolution on the stakeholders, and the result is always rebellion by the stakeholders and more conflict and loss of lives.

e) «Designate a Process facilitator’. Most collaborative processes involve face-to-face meetings, and the effectiveness of those meetings is crucial to the success of collaborative effort.” This phrase is true and I believe in it because it is important to have a facilitator to facilitate a meeting, however the facilitator must be dedicated and neutral to guide people in any given meeting process. Most meeting involves conflicts of interest and it is important to have a facilitator to handle such conflicts, also to ensure that everyone has a chance to speak. For example, when I was still a missionary candidate, every problem was solve as a community, nevertheless, in every meeting there would be a facilitator, and we agreed to rotate the facilitation every month. I remember getting into conflict with a member, a serious disagreement regarding the meeting agenda. The facilitator intervened but he was biased to the point other members present noticed and told him to remain neutral. We could not resolve our difference until the meeting was dismissed, without any agreement or resolution reached. This book has concrete message and its principles are precisely effective.

f) “Harness the power of the group memory.’ Straus explained from his experience that recording group discussion helps the group to remain focus and avoid repetition and getting confused during the meeting process.” The phrase reminds me about my culture. I remember in my culture every speech of a member is repeated verbally in a simplified way in case someone did not understand it in its original form. It is similar to the modern recording method, but not in writing as presented by Straus.

It is interesting to see that Straus method is the same with that of my cultural and traditional method of facilitating a meeting, but differs in its recording method. For example, in my culture, when the community gathered together for a meeting, the facilitator would call upon one member to repeat the message from each speaker to the group. The repetition is done verbally and in the same language, but somehow simplified. At times they use idioms and interpret the meaning through the translator in the same language. The repetition helps members to understand and keep focus of what is being discussed. The only difference is that in my culture no written record, everything is verbally said, and orally handed down to the next generation. I am glad that the collaborative method will be easily implemented in my community. The book explained the modern written record and I agree with its priciples.

g)”Facilitative Leadership’. Leaders have a profound effect on the cultures of their organizations and communities.” This phrase reminds me about the influential leaders with abilities to facilitate collaboration in the communities without much trouble. However, the support of leadership is essential if an organization or community, to build a collaborative environment and implement the five principles of collaboration. For example, in my culture and tradition, people are grouped according to their initiation group (similar to age mates), making it easy to collaborate. People collaborate to work together almost every day. The culture believe that an individual exist because of the entire group. For example, every member of the community believe and say “I am” because “we are”, meaning he/she exist because of the entire group; therefore collaboration is an obligation to all individual. Every initiation group has a leader to whom they all report to and respect. But there is one overall leader that has authority over all other leaders, but normally the eldest member of the community and no one defies his authority. This is why the community always solves their problems without much difficulty, especially social and tribal conflicts.

Although facilitative leadership required different approach from old command-and-control model with new practices, in my culture there is a mind-set and values of collaborative action. I feel so proud about my culture and tradition for this great and important value. I am happy implementing collaborative principles will be very effective among my people and therefore hail our culture and tradition as useful in this regard.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

Most people would agree that, in general, an organize group of people is more effective than doing business individually. Given that the above ideas, as we look to tackle issues that affect more than one person, it makes sense for us to work together, to solve problems collaboratively, so that we can come up with solutions that are both more effective and more efficient than what we could do on our own. I would agree that collaboration takes time, effort, and resources that are often limited. For the same reasons that it is important to collaborate, it is also important to know how to collaborate well. David Straus, offer us unique insights how collaboration works and why it’s so essential. Therefore, the above ideas if mastered well, are practical and effective in collaboration process, and I have no doubt it can help people to create a better world, if everyone is involve in making decisions that affect their lives.

David Straus approaches collaboration from traditional standpoints: making teams work better together to resolve disputes, build consensus, and achieve a better product, service, mission, or even community by physical involvement. Nevertheless, collaboration is useful as a business and community development tool to achieve results, but more significantly, as a way of truly engaging with our constituency and building a stronger team, community, or even world as a part the process. In the end, the art of collaboration becomes more important than achieving the actual goal we started out with, in the first place.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“Stakeholder is quite simply, someone who has a stake in a given situation.” This quotation is very important to me because most decisions, I have witnessed, are taken without the consent of those involve and would be affected by the decision made. For example, in 1998, we had a meeting with community leaders in a Sudanese refugee camp in Uganda. The meeting was to resolve tension between two ethnic groups that started when one of its members was found dead in the area of the neighboring ethnic group. It raises tension between the two communities that have been living in harmony with each other for many years.

We organized a meeting with the leaders and asked the leaders of each ethnic group to meet with their youth members. Unfortunately those leaders did not meet with their youths, as was expected, they received some money to organize meeting with their own youths. At the end, they agree with the resolution of our meeting, but the community leaders could not implement the resolution, because the youths felt they were excluded, and did not know what was going on, regarding the tension. They made their own decision, and went and stage serious fighting with the other ethnic group. During the fighting 4 youths lost their lives. It was real chaos after we spent a lot of money to try to ease the tension before it could result into fighting. At the end we discovered that leaders of the ethnic group did not meet the stakeholders, in that case the youths. Now after reading this book, I discovered the stakeholders were not involved in the decision made, and we were blamed for the consequence.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

No, everything in the book was very clear and I enjoyed reading the material.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, the additional model towards the end page (219-229) provides how to organize stages of discussion, strategies for manipulating information etc., and how to formulate a chartering checklist. Finally, exercise to dig for further information through the bibliography provided by the author, Straus.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10



The Ecology of Commerce

Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (Sudan)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Paul Hawken is a brilliant environmentalist, who dedicated his life to changing the relationship between business and the environment, and between human and living systems in order to create a more just and sustainable world. His idea in the book, outlines the environmentally destructive aspects of many current business practices, but offers the vision of businesses adopting new practices to promote environmental restoration.

He explained that the three problems are linear rather than cyclical resource cycles, externalized costs, and large corporations’ insatiable need for growth need to do business differently in order to protect and sustain our environment.

He said, “In the richest, most diverse, and most productive ecosystems on the planet, there is no waste; any byproducts from one organism are food for another, so the entire system is a closed loop where the same resources are cycled through over and over again. Once the ecosystem has reached this mature state, the only ingredient necessary to make it run is sunlight.” In my view it is undeniable facts to sustain our environment.

His ideas that although our market system is unmatched at setting prices for an efficient economy, it does not include the full cost of any goods or services, because companies aren’t required to pay the costs of environmental or cultural damage, they can offer a lower price than a responsible company that avoids causing that damage and that was a problem.

His comparison of the two farmers; use of pesticide and fertilizer and organic farming accurately explains the advantage of organic farming in sustaining environment over the use of fertilizer and pesticide. He said, “If damaging use of fertilizer and pesticide activities were taxed according to the damage they caused, then all the advantages and efficiencies of the market economy would be harnesses to heal and regenerate the environment instead of destroy it.” I agree with him as a way forward to protect and sustain our environment.

His illustrations of how humans are engaged in destroying world natural resources are alarming and therefore there is a need to halt further action to protect and balance how humans should use sustainably the available resources. It is in this context that I believe leaders are responsible to act responsible by educating people about environmental protection to avoid ecological and social crisis.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) “The ultimate purpose of business is not, or should not be, simply to make money. Nor is it merely a system of making and selling things.”

This phrase caught my attention because my perception of business was to make money. For example, my professor of account once told me that there is no business without profit, and I always thought that the ultimate goal of business is always about making profit and when I am not making profit out of a business, then it is not advisable to continue with such business. It is now clear to me after reading this book and I am really convince with what Paul Hawken said, that “the promise of business is to increase the well-being of mankind through service, creative invention, and ethical action.” It makes more sense in sustaining the need and purpose of our existence in sharing resources and its management, which is always the source of conflict and chaos, because it deprive creating more jobs that would include others, and therefore more suffering to those who are vulnerable in the society.

b) “we exchange stability and sustainability for short-term abundance and production In other words, we go backward, and not just on our farms.”

These phrases caught my attention because my people believe in abundant harvest and have been doing harm to the environment for centuries because they lack knowledge on how to use the environmental resources and how to protect it. For example, they grow crops and aimed at high harvest by destroying what could help the eco-system sustain itself. They destroy almost all the trees by cutting them down or burning them to death by setting fire around the foot of the tree, especially the huge trees, that cannot be cut down by an axe, until it dies, destroying anything that prevent the crops from growing. At the end of two years, the soil is exposed to heavy rain, exhausted by erosion and helpless for any type of crops, because the trees that covers it and maintaining the soil fertility has been destroyed. After just few generations, people were complaining about environmental changes and lack of rain as a reason to low harvest that resulted to hunger and death of many people.

People want high profit (harvest) from their work, but they forget to maintain balance between them and the environment, which tomorrow they still need for the same purpose, due to lack of knowledge. This book has an important message and lesson, especially to my people, a lesson that would make them understand why there is environmental catastrophe and what they should do to sustain their environment that would serve them and all the generation that would follow. I really enjoyed reading this book and it has changed my worldview about our eco-system.

c) “Hundreds of thousands of species will vanish because they will not be able to compete with us for food.”

Given the illustration how a small amount of human consumption can have geometrically larger impact on net primary production (NPP) provided by G. Tyler Miller that it would require 300 trout to provide protein for one person in a year. The trout would need to eat 90,000 small frogs, which would have to consume 27 million grasshoppers that would require 2 million pounds of grass,”

The phrase touched my heart because of my personal experience at home in the early days, and now this book has revealed how arrogant we as a community destroyed our own eco-system. For example, I can remember that every year, people could gather and go fishing in a river, but the fishing method was by poisoning the fish and then collects the dead fish floating on the water. The poison could kill anything living in the water, except crocodiles, because during fishing, the crocodiles would escape out from the water into their hiding holes on land. As the people continue to use industrial poison to kill the fish, the fish began to diminish, and people blamed it on lack of rain up stream.

When the number of fish declined because of continuous death from poison, crocodiles started attacking women while fetching water from the nearby river, people believed and said it was accidental. After several people went missing and their remains found in the water downstream, then crocodiles were thought to have killed them for food as they could not get fish to sustain them, and they turn to attack people to survive. The situation created conflict between humans and crocodiles, but crocodiles are struggling to survive, as their means of survival was destroyed by humans. It was a new problem people don’t know how it all started and how they should solved it. I am grateful that Paul Hawken made me understand the importance of sharing the existing resources in our eco-system for balance and equal existence to avoid conflict and competition for survival.

d) “Every living system in the world today is in decline, because between 1975 and 2005, the world forests were reduced by 608 million acres. In 1991, 42 million acres were cut or destroyed, the highest rate of reduction in the history of humankind.”

This phrase explains an alarming rate of our actions and ignorant about our eco-system, given the rapid deteriorating world resources due to our actions and the annual population growth. It is evidence that the future is bleak if we don’t act now to prevent further destruction of our environment, especially by huge business companies or governments. For example, I witness few individuals with powerful position in the government, logging trees in South Sudan during the civil war, and the communities could not stop them because the communities were interested in making profit forgetting the long-term consequences of the logging. At the moment the same community is complaining of having less annual rainfall and high temperature than usual. The simple explanation is that after essential trees have been destroyed, which were helping in forming rain, the result is less or no rain, in an area that used to be a paradise to all. It is clear that if the community had knowledge about eco-system, they would have not allowed the logging in the first place. Knowledge is power and it is important to have knowledge to sustain and protect our scarce natural resources, especially the environment.

I have seen in urban areas of South Sudan, Juba in particular, where people use firewood to prepare their meals. Most people, who have no income, embarked on cutting trees for firewood and Charcoal in order to earn money to sustain them. Charcoal business requires cutting and burning of trees to produce charcoal, and after decades of such destruction of trees, the entire town like Juba has become very hot, after only 3 decades, making life almost impossible without electrical cooling system, yet Juba was a beautiful city without the need of cooling system 3 decades ago. Electric energy is very expensive in Juba and it is very limited due to lack of sufficient power station. The present power station requires diesel to produce electricity, which is also dangerously polluting the air with carbon dioxide, yet it is the only resource to obtain electric energy, which only few people could afford to use. Such conditional and denial of access to available energy has forced most people to continue destroying trees around the city to sustain their lives, creating disastrous environmental hazard and increasing temperature and creating desert were there was no desert. If there is a responsible leader, with knowledge of environment and how to sustain eco-system, then providing people with sustainable energy would be a priority in order to protect and sustain our eco-system.

e) “Scarcities of renewable resources are already contributing to violent conflicts in many part of the developing world.”

This phrase caught my attention because of my experience during the longest conflicts in the Sudan, which erupted between north and south because of land and natural resources. For example during independence 1st Jan. 1956, the Sudan population was just over 20 million people. By 1983, the population was estimated to be just 28 million people. In 2005 the population was estimated to be over 40 million, that was almost double, yet there was civil war, and the United Nations has said that about 1.5 million people have died through hunger and war related factors. There is no doubt in my mind that resource scarcities and fighting over territorial control was the major factor to over 3 decades of conflict.

In my personal experience, the war in the Sudan was very complex, with religion and race at the heart of the entire conflict. I also believe that racial and political discrimination in sharing power was equally the main reason to the long war. Although the Sudan has enough natural resources for its population to share, the regime in the north was not willing to share equitably the available natural resources, thus causing conflict over the control of the available natural resources. Nevertheless, on the one hand the population increase from 1983 to 2005 might have increased competition over scarce available resources and therefore contributing to violent conflict as well.

In conclusion, scarcity of available renewable resources in northern Sudan was a factor to the violent conflict in the Sudan, and socio-political discrimination was a means to control renewable resources in the south, but such discriminative attitude has resulted to the partition of the country along racial, religious, territorial and resource control between the north and south. However, solution to sustainable peace in Sudan and the republic of South Sudan depends on territorial agreement on border demarcation between Sudan and the republic of South Sudan, and agreement over Abyei region, and both countries need to agree on oil transit fees, in order benefit from each other economically and socially, given the long shared territorial border.

f) “An accumulation of forty years’ worth of such substances in the environment may require only a few minutes in the body at a critical time to cause genetic changes that are permanent and irreversible.”

This phrase reminds me about the new method of purifying water introduced in Juba, now capital of South Sudan, when it was just the biggest city in South Sudan in 1990. For example the cholera broke out in the city because the entire city had no safe drinking water. Then the government supplied the city with chlorine substance, to be use by every citizen to purify and obtain safe drinking water. A tablet of chlorine was enough to purify 40 liters of water, and everyone in the town was using such substance to avoid getting cholera. Thousands of tons of chlorine substance was used to this date, and I can only imagine now after reading this book, how much an individual has accumulated such chlorine substance in their bodies, and if chlorine do not exist in free form in nature, and that it can combine with hydrocarbons and other chemicals to produce astonishing number of molecular compounds that are almost universally poisonous to invertebrates, plants, animals and humans, then I have no words to describe the consequences of ignorant use of chlorine substance by the people who know nothing about it and its consequences in a long run.

While the company producing chlorine substance got their market and profit, humans paid with their lives through the consequences of its side effect. However, my conclusion is that people need empowerment about themselves and about their environment and how to sustain their eco-system and live harmoniously side by side without destroying each other. Paul Hawken message is very clear, to manage our resources and sustain our environment to restore our eco-system. It is political will efficient leadership to support the agents of change with such message to empower people to effect the change we want to see worldwide.

g) ”We have sacrificed the development of our own cultures for enormous short-term gains, and now we face the invoice for that thinking: an ecological and social crisis whose origin lie deep within commercial and economic system.”

This phrase speaks volume about our own action and arrogant use of our own resources. For example I always thought destroying our natural resources to obtain crops or money, to sustain life was a good thing to do. I always did it without thinking about the future. I was always thinking about the short-term use of the resources, getting profit, without thinking about someone who might use the same resource after me. I have no doubt, everyone in my community was thinking the same way.

After reading this book, my world view has totally change and my conclusion is that such book should be included in the academic curriculum without question, so that the next generation would be informed about doing business and how to protect and sustain the eco-system. It is the only way we can restore our eco-system.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

This ideas and lesson learned are very concrete and practical, because it touches my real belief and understanding of my environment; how it is very important to manage available natural resources without destroying the environment and the eco-system. In my daily personal life and understanding, we both need each other to live in harmony, therefore my action toward environmental resources should be guided with knowledge to sustain it, and avoid ecological and social crisis whose origin lie deep within commercial and economic system. I can do this by teaching and empowering the community with sufficient knowledge about natural resource management that reflect sustaining the environment and its eco-system, through effective communal participation process, that will include theories and practical action. This is a genuine call of action and therefore, requires self-dedication and ability to volunteer and go extra mile as needed.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“We are swimming in enough lies to keep the lawyers busy for the next ten years.”

This quote from Michael Josephson, an ethics consultant for large companies, is evidence regarding the huge business companies destroying our environment for the sake of profit, putting human lives and environment at risks. When I read illustrations of what has happened to our natural environment and the eco-system in the last 35 years, am made to believe that most companies are interested in business and profit, and not to advance development as we are made to believe. The companies doing business have the power and financial resources to do what they want to do in order to get the profit, and Kirk Hanson, professor of business management at Stanford, confirm that when he says, that “managers feel they must be top achievers or risk being fired.” Personally, I have seen several companies doing agricultural project in Africa, specifically in Kenya. An Italian company had a huge pineapple plantation and has used pesticide and fertilizer to increase their produce. The rain-fall washed the toxic substance into the nearby river, and the community living down the river drank the water from the river. After six months, many people started to complain about their body and strange sickness. The hospital confirmed the sickness was from the same location. When the area was investigated, the result was toxic from fertilizer and pesticides brought into the river from a nearby pineapple plantation. The community sued the company to court and the conclusion of that court took 5 years. It is only now that I understood what Michael Josephson and Kirk Hanson were talking about.

“Of all the possible green fees, taxing energy would be the most fruitful and beneficial, and it would provide the greatest short-term and long-term benefit.”

For example Paul Hawken shared that, “a tax on the carbon content of fuels is a green tax that raises the price of energy sources proportionate to their emission of carbon, thereby providing users of those fuels with positive incentives to switch to more efficient combustion methods and less polluting forms of energy. The illustration that 27 billion tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere worldwide in 2007, nearly one-fourth was generated by United States, with only 4.4 percent of world population; a change in policy in the United States would have great benefit.” I am amazed and believe with his illustration given the rapid global warming we are experiencing today. The prediction is very disturbing and the restoration of atmosphere must be an urgent plan by all nations, because everyone on the planet will suffer the consequence.

“Any viable economic program must turn back the resource clock and devote itself actively to restoring damaged and deteriorating systems–restoration is far more compelling than the algebra of sustainability.”

This quote reminds me of the changes currently affecting many communities especially in Africa, where farmers have lost most of their rich and fertile lands due to the use of fertilizer and pesticides, and poor production of crops compelled them to migrate in urban areas to search for employment alternatives to sustain their lives. On the one hand, nomads are in constant migration in search of grazing land and water for their animals, especially in Sudan and Kenya, causing conflict between ethnic groups where there was no conflict before, due to environmental degradation in the last 30 years alone. It is important for this people to be informed about the cause of environmental and ecological changes so that they can also manage the available resources effectively.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are

there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

No, the book was awesome.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

The book was practical and concrete with all I needed to know.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was

not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 10
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 10



Globalization and Its Discontents

Assessment by Francis Okeny Silvio (South Sudan)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Joseph Stiglitz is an informed and experienced economist with fascinating insight from inside the White House, where decision that affect people globally, is made. He described from experience the many ways in which major institutions of globalization have failed the countries struggling to cope with global challenges, that they were supposed to served.

He is a witness from the inside, who wanted the people outside to know what was really going on in the White House, as a center of world economic power and decision making. His ideas resemble that of a rebel against his own superiors, waging war story from the world band and the White House, with concrete ideas and confession of a powerful economist with a political conscience and a healthy degree of common sense and I admired his courageous ideas.

His ideas make a compelling case about ideological economic doctrine, insufficiently tailored to the realities of developing countries with more harm than good. He said pro-globalization policies have the potential of doing a lot of good, if undertaken properly and if they incorporate the characteristics of each individual country and countries should embrace globalization on their own terms, taking into account their own history, culture, and traditions and I agree with him.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) “If globalization has not succeeded in reducing poverty, neither has it succeeded in ensuring stability.” This phrase reminds me that although globalization was meant to help developing countries to grow far more quickly, and have failed to do so, then its intended mission to ensure stability through financial help to countries in need, has plunged most developing countries into deeper misery, as incomes fall and standards of living decline.

For example, critics of globalization has accused western countries of hypocrisy, because western countries pushed poor countries to eliminate trade barriers, but kept up their own barriers, preventing developing countries from exporting their agricultural products and so depriving them of desperately needed export income. I do agree with his ideas that preventing poor countries from exporting their agricultural products would result to economic decline and unemployment. Countries with high unemployment rates can plunge into conflict and creates instability, and that is what we are seeing in most African countries for the last two decades, yet globalization was thought to help developing countries from such economic conflicts.

b) “To understand what went wrong, it’s important to look at the three main institutions that govern globalization: the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO).” In this book, Joseph Stiglitz focus mostly on the IMF and the World Bank, largely because they have been at the center of the major economic issues of the last two decades, including the financial crises and the transition of the former Communist countries to market economies.

In principle, there was a division of labor and the IMF was supposed to limit itself to matters of macroeconomics in dealing with a country, to the government’s budget deficit, its monetary policy, its inflation, its trade deficit, its borrowing from abroad; and the World Bank was supposed to be in charge of structural issues – what the country’s government spent money on, the country’ financial institutions, its labor markets, its trade policies. But the IMF took a rather imperialistic view of the matter: since almost any structural issue could affect the overall performance of the economy, and hence the government’s budget or the trade deficit, it viewed almost everything as falling within its domain. It often got impatient with the World Bank, where even in the years when free market ideology reigned supreme there were frequent controversies about what policies would best suit the conditions of the country. Instead IMF had the same answers to every country, and did not see the need for broader discussion and while the World Bank debated to what should be done.

The two institutions could have provided countries with alternative perspectives on some of the challenges of development and transition, and in doing so they might have strengthen democratic processes, but they were both driven by the collective will of the G7 countries, especially their finance ministers and treasury secretaries, and too often, the last thing they wanted was a lively democratic debate about alternative strategies. The book is heartbreaking and I would recommend interested people to read this in order to understand why the gaps between the poor keep growing instead of getting narrower.

c) “The colonial mentality—the “white man’s burden” and the presumption that they knew what was best for the developing countries – persisted.” The phrase reminds me about the persisted suffering of poor countries in Africa because their colonial powers still control their resources. For example, during the struggle in Ivory Coast 2011, where the president revealed that his country was not free from its colonizer, because they control 85% of the country’s budget, and if Ivory Coast want to import goods, it must import from France, even if the same goods is available in the neighboring countries at lower price. Such colonial condition has plunged most African poor nations into extreme poverty because of imposed policy. The worse scenario is that the ordinary citizen don’t know where the problem comes from, thus if they could be informed about their problem, then leaders would be forced to evaluate their ties with colonial powers or leave power altogether.

Developed countries has used the same tactics when they say “now the policy message is “no aid to corrupt dictators”–never mind that a cutoff of aid would have little effect on some dictators, such as we have seen in Uganda, Zambia etc. The condition imposed on government so as to improve on corruption affects ordinary citizens not the dictators themselves. This is possible because citizens also don’t have knowledge or information about the decision made without their involvement.

d) “Globalization and the introduction of a market economy have not produced the promised results…”

This phrase explains the way that globalization had proceeded up to 2002, focusing largely on the East Asia Crisis and Russian Shock Therapy. For example, Stiglitz argues that the policies enforced by the international financial institutions (the IMF takes the brunt of his criticisms) are politically, economically, and morally problematic. In their adherence to budget austerity and overemphasis on inflation, they eliminate the social safety nets that make radical economic/social reforms sustainable in the long term. In their dogmatic belief in “market fundamentalism” they fail to attend to the unique factors in different countries, imposing a single model which Stiglitz claims was largely developed to address the conditions that arose in the 1980’s in Latin America in very diverse situations.

Additionally, in their inflated faith in markets’ ability to correct their own mistakes, they fail to implement the financial and legal institutions that undergird and make a market economy possible. Finally, with leaders and advisers who are taken from (and often return to) the private financial community, the policies enforced by the IMF privilege the short-term interests and returns of Western investors in developing markets over the sustained development of those markets, with often drastic consequences for those developing economies and the people whose lives depend on them. I really enjoy reading this book and Joseph Stiglitz has a lot to offer to 21st century.

e) “They objected not to the logic of the strategy, but to the fact that Ethiopia had undertaken this course without IMF approval.” The phrase reminds me about the repercussions of dependency which most countries in Africa gets from IMF for refusing to follow there guide lines. For example, such condition from an IMF institution when attached to force a country to accept liberalization of its market for competition with the international banking system when they know the country’s market is not ready for competition, it is disastrous, yet they would push for it. I find it ridiculous to say the least that IMF and developed nations have a hidden agenda when they openly reject giving aids to a country that has refused to follow their guideline or refused to ask for their approval.

In the case of Ethiopia, the IMF knew very well that their objection to provide the needed aids would result too many death, contrary to the mission of the IMF to alleviate poverty, as we know it.

f) “ When trade liberalization – the lowering of tariffs and elimination of other protectionist measures – is done in the right pace, so that new jobs are created as inefficient jobs are destroyed, there can be significant efficiency gains.” This phrase reminds me about good government economic policy, which a country can be better off with its government focusing on providing essential public services rather than running enterprises that would arguably perform better in the private sector, and so privatization often makes sense if the conditions are in place. For example, private tea plantation in South Sudan near my homeland was run by European Economic Community (EEC) in the early 80s. They employed many people and their work was effectively superior to a government maize plantation in the same area. Government employees were often late and were not punished for being late or when they are absent from work. The private tea plantation introduced tough rules; an employee is not paid when they are late or absent. My point is if the people are most of the time late and absent from work and are paid for not working, then the government would waste a lot of financial resource for doing nothing. Resources that could be used effectively by private enterprise, moreover, private sector are more serious and effective.

g) ”According to the Washington Consensus, growth occurs through liberalization, “freeing up” markets.” I agree with this phrase in the sense that liberalization of market attracts foreign investment in the country and foreign investment creates growth and growth creates job and job reduces poverty, if all conditions are met. For example, foreign investments such as Banks can bring foreign technical expertise and access to foreign markets, creating employment possibilities. Foreign investment can play important role in many ways – but not always, because foreign banks are always giant and local banks cannot compete with them, but can improve services.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

This ideas and lesson learned are very important, and people need to be informed and involve in decision making process that affects their lives. In my daily personal life, I would plan a program of action with aim to teach and inform people about the effect of economic management and how they can force their leaders to apply effective and sustainable economic system. Good economic system sustains stability and promote better environment to foreign investors and investment would create growth and growth will increase employment.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“Along with poverty come feelings of powerlessness.” This is very true because most or all poor people feel that they are voiceless, and that they do not have control over their destiny and buffeted by forces beyond their control. The poor always feel insecure, face health risk and continual threat of violence from other poor people trying against all odds, to meet the needs of their family, such as the police.

For example, when I was in secondary school, I remember sometimes I had no money to buy lunch, and I feel so humiliated to go and eat lunch with my classmates who had money. I felt robbed from my dignity and pride when I cannot get what I want by myself. I think every poor person feels the same, and sometimes I sympathize with those who have the courage to stand on the streets and beg for money.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

No, the book was awesome.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?


7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.



A. How interesting was it to read? 8
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 8
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10



Educating for Human Greatness

Francis Okeny Silvio (South Sudan)

1. What is the main ideas that the author is trying to convey in the book?

Lynn Stoddard, long-time Utah public school teacher and administrator, gives us concrete example of a systemic reform we can embrace if we want to build a better future and society. He addresses the purpose of public education and concludes that public education should focus on serving children and society, and that as we constructively assist the young one to develop, we constructively build the future and society. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, he revealed that standardization is a pedagogical evil and relic of an inhumane factory system for teaching children. He believes that the federal program of “No Child Left Behind Act” only exacerbates this fundamental error. His ideas are right on target if we truly care about the future of our children and one public institution we have entrusted to their care.

2. What were the seven ideas which were personally most important to you and why? List these seven ideas followed by an explanation after each one as to why it was important to you. Use personal examples from your own life.

a) “Yes! It is a large part of the baby’s natural state of being! In actuality, the child is consumed by The need to know. When not hungry, or otherwise uncomfortable, children are relentless in expressing their need to know things. That is pretty much what they want to do:…” This phrase was important to me because it reminds me about my personal experience with my younger brother, and I agree with Lynn Stoddard observation and conclusion. For example, when I was 12 years old, my mother had a baby boy, and she put me in charge to look after the baby when the baby was 8 months old. Like in any other African families, siblings take care of the young ones when the parents are at work in the plantation field. Thus I was caring for the baby all the time, except when the baby was being fed. However, I was allowed to go to school and take care of my brother after school. I remember vividly well, when carrying the baby, the baby would be pointing at things he saw, making surprising voices and wanting to get to what he saw, with excitement. I would allow him when I know there is no harm. He would explore the thing and when it gets bored, he would get back to me. In some cases, things he wanted to know were dangerous and I would deny him and I would fight to get him away from the scene of anything interested to him but dangerous. He had no fear and could touch anything he is excited at even scorpions. Lynn Stoddard reminds me of children relentless expression to their need to know things and I am grateful to learn more in his book.

b) “The priorities were so consistent with nearly every parent we surmised that these may be the core needs of people in every culture – the need to know who we are and what we can become (identity), the need for knowledge (inquiry), and the need for respect and love (interaction).” This phrase described the findings, observation and conclusion made by investigating what teachers felt was necessary to determine the need for reform in education of youngsters, and I personally agree with the results and the concluding remarks. For example, I have been trained how to investigate a social problem and find ways to address the problem. It is always important to investigate a problem in order to find a solution. When I look back to my personal experience during my school days, the words of Lynn Stoddard cuts through as if he was talking to me personally. The need to know who we are and what we can become, the need for knowledge, respect and love are central to all human development process, thus what we learn at home and at school should be perceived as a tool to serve our family, community and society. Learning how to read, write and arithmetic should be understood as tools to help students grow in the dimensions of greatness and be valuable contributors to society. Thus, the seven dimensions of human greatness are the beginning and essential process to build appropriate learning institutions into genuine profession.

With a focus on developing student identity, parents and teachers shift away from trying to standardize students toward valuing and nurturing positive human diversity. This positive human diversity principle calls for helping each child discover and develop his or her innate talents and gifts and to form a vision of becoming a valuable contributor to the world. This principle allows us to see every child as having unlimited potential – teachers focus primarily on magnifying assets, not solely on correcting deficits as does the traditional factory system of our educational system. This book is a masterpiece and it should be adopted for education of youngsters worldwide.

C) The solution seems obvious. Provide opportunities for teachers to make curriculum fit the needs of students” This phrase reminds me of what is my role in providing what I believe is the best for the society I love. For example, as a teacher, I should follow the example of Mike Hirschi to understand the needs of every student, even if it mean to follow them in their residence to find out what their talents and how I can help to develop it, together with the parents.

I remember while I was at the end of my primary school, arithmetic was a problem that made me hate myself and I was struggling alone to master the rules and formulas without success. Then I told my teacher what my problems were. The teacher asked if I was ready to remain in school at least for an hour everyday he would try to coach me on arithmetic, and I told him yes, that would be very helpful. It was tough because at the end of school each day, every student is very hungry, rushing home to get some food. Moreover, if I remain behind without anything to eat it would be a waste of time because I would not listen well on empty stomach. So, I went and share the agreement with my parents. My parents were very happy and they accepted and agreed to support me and provide me with food. I stated my extra coaching with the teacher as arranged, and the result was wonderful, arithmetic became my dear subject at the school and I was very happy. When I read this book, I remember how I was help to develop my arithmetic talents, the subject that would have forced me to leave my school, became my favorites. Students have the need and ambition to learn, but they need support and encouragement to build self-confidence.

d) “The drive to be recognized ‘somebody’ (Identity). This drive is much more than the need to merely survive or exist. It is an intense need of the human spirit to fulfill one’s unique potential as a special contributor to the world.” This phrase was very concrete and truthful for me, because as a little boy, my mother was taking me to the hospital when I get sick, and getting sick in Africa, especially with malaria is very common. As my mother frequented me in the same hospital, I get in touch with my dreams. Seeing sick people and those who were suffering and screaming at the hospital, made me felt to become a doctor so that I can help people from their suffering. I started asking my mother and my father how I could become a doctor when I grow up. I did not know that education was a tool to serve the society, I thought people were born grow up as doctors. My parents cleared that perception, by telling me what I would do if I want to become a doctor, and that was formal education. At the age of eight, I was still sitting home without going to school. My friends of the same age from the rich family were going to school in a car every morning. I started crying to my parents to take me to school also, but my parents were too poor to register me in school, but did it a year later.

As I grew up during the years, my drive to be somebody becomes stronger and clearer, especially when I enter the college. I wanted to be somebody important and helpful in the society.

e) ”The drive for warm human relationships (interaction). This drive confirms another well-known characteristic of human nature – we are all born with a need to love and be loved. Everyone feels a deep need to belong and have a sense of community with other human beings.” This phrase reminds me of the reason of our individual existence and the purpose of life. For example, the sense of belonging drives me to feel the need to love others and be loved, of which the feelings to participate and contribute in the society make me an important person in the community. The sense of belonging promotes our self-esteem and self-esteem empowers us with love and drives us to do what we want to do in life, fulfilling our human nature to procreate. Therefore, developing warmth to love of each other to youngsters gives them a sense of belonging and in return they love others and build relationship with each other. I strongly believe that relationship is key to peaceful world, and helping youngsters to build their natural drive to love and interact should be the primary concern of both parents and teachers.

From my personal experience, I realized after reading this book that I have a strong sense of belonging because my parents loved me so much when I was a little boy. In return, as an adult, I developed strong relationship and a sense of belonging and I respect others and relate to them with love and care. I see my profession as a teacher, a noble drive and I feel great to be a teacher and peace agent in the society.

f) “If human beings are born with freedom of thought, they are each responsible for their own thoughts. It follows then that people are responsible for their own learning and behavior.” This phrase reminds me about our natural drive to learn at early stages of childhood, when the world is full of wonders and excitement. For example, I was very curious and was very fast to grasp what my teacher was teaching, although it was fun to compete in the classroom, I don’t not understand what I was learning was a tool later on to serve the society, until late while I was in college. It is after college that I started to understand that education was a tool to serve the society.

College education was also the very exciting because of group work and new discoveries as one develop his knowledge. It was time I began to perceived the world differently and my world view changed a greatly. It was the time I began to see who I was and what I wanted to do in life, although I was not given the chance to choose for myself what I wanted to do. I felt the freedom of thoughts and responsible for my own behavior and my self-esteem was very good. Now it is my turn to lead and teach the youngsters more wisely so they don’t find difficulties as I did, in knowing themselves and having confidence as early as possible to make good choice in learning, and to embrace education as a tool for lifetime.

g) “Drawing forth the latent potential of learners is the exact opposite of trying to cram a cleverly crafted body of knowledge into the heads of reluctant learners.” This phrase reminds me about the impact of discipline in the learning process, such as homework and punishment when one failed to do the homework, or was late for the class. For example, when I was in primary two, we were taught how to read and write in our own vernacular and mathematics. I was very fast in learning and very curious all the time, while others were just sad and miserable all the time in the classroom. Competition was encouraged by all the teachers and incentives given to those who were doing well. Those who were not doing well would get discourage and stay home. Myself, I was very much interested in learning and I like going to school every day because I was smart and could compete well. My friends at school were very dull; they go to school because they were afraid from being punished. We were not helped to develop our talents and most students were discouraged from learning. In reality, learning at school was more of fulfilling the requirements, completing the syllabus was the main objective of the teachers, they don’t care whether a child is learning or not. Rewards such as “well done, good work” etc., and punishment that are involve in learning process was the biggest obstacle in exploring and helping a child to develop interest in learning.

At college age, work becomes a punishment, and every student hates any kind of work. I have seen most people who have graduated from colleges still complains in their offices, that they have too much work, others, would leave their jacket or suites on their chair and stay out playing until few minutes to leave the office, then they just come and take their suites and leave the office. The National committee in fighting corruption has recently challenged employees, describing late coming to work as corruption, because one is paid for not doing the work s/he supposed to do. My point is children learn that work is a negative part of life because learning means “working hard”, they are not encourage to perceived learning as a tool to serve the society, but perceive work as a punishment, because at school they are rewarded for good work and punished for failing to do the school homework, a child would be sent to do menial work etc. for failure to do homework. Thus they grew up and perceived work as a punishment and not as a tool to live and function well in the society. Therefore, I agree with Lynn Stoddard that we need to motivate youngsters to learn and to know and improve their talents and help them to explore it further, and to understand that they are obtaining tools to serve and be someone important in the society.

3. How will these ideas or lessons help you in a practical way, both in your daily personal life and in helping you to create a better world? If so, how?

These ideas and lesson help me to understand the need and importance of implementing a change I want to see in forging a better future that would lead to making the world a better place in my daily personal life. I have no doubt in my mind that helping youngsters learn who they are, stimulating curiosity, promoting courtesy, foster self-directed learning, nature creativity and creative expression, developing emotional intelligence and developing honesty, character, morality and responsibility for self , would be my primary responsibility as a parent and moreover, as a teacher.

4. Quotes: Are there any statements which the author made that particularly got your attention? If so, please quote them and comment as to why they were important to you.

“Learning to recognize and respect differences in others and treating them like you want them to treat you will bring the peace and joy we all hope for. Let’s care and share, be our bet! And you don’t have to be disabled to be different…everybody’s different.” This quotation from Kim Peek touched my very value, the value I inherit from the bible “do to others what you expect others do to you”, making it the golden rule in building relationship in our human society. If parents and teachers would show respect to youngsters, and develop in them their natural values to respect and treat each other as they would like to be treated, the whole world would be a joyful place. I personally experience this in my life when I stop thinking the way culture and tradition made me to think. For example, in my culture, children are taught to respect elders, but children, especially male, are taught to be aggressive, strong and should not cry like women. I found myself at adolescent age, very aggressive, and I don’t respect anybody of my age, fighting and beating others was fun. At an adult age, after learning more from the bible, I embraced the teaching of Jesus and began to perceived the world differently, believing that if I feel pain and don’t like it, then others also feel the same, then the only way to live is to do to others what I would like others do to me. From that moment, my life changed and I never fought with anybody again, but I lost all those friends who perceived me as coward, and build new friendship with those who love living in harmony and I feel very happy to be ambassador of peace, with my name Francis, the name taken from Saint Francis of Assisi, and I love his prayers “make me the instrument of peace…”

“There is no word in the language that I revere more than “teacher.” None. My heart sings when a kid refers to me as his teacher, and it always has. I’ve honored myself and the entire family of man by becoming a teacher.” – Pat Conroy. This quote reminds me, how joyful I always feel when my student called me “teacher or master.” It feels so fulfilling and rewarding to feel I have help someone to see the world through knowledge and the moral impact that made others love me for what I have made of them. My eyes filled with tears of joy when youngsters called me “teacher”, it is the greatest honor and I love them back by giving them respect and motivate them to love learning, by sharing with them everything they love to do as individual.

5. Is there anything in the book that you do not understand or are unclear about, or are there ideas which you disagree with and, if so, why?

No, the book was very clear and precise and I want to recommend everyone to read it.

6. Did the book contain exercises for the reader to complete? If so, did you complete all of the exercises and did you find them helpful?

Yes, page 163-166 contained exercises in listing down strategies and talent development program etc., of identity, inquiry, interaction, initiative, imagination, intuition and integrity, which I found very exciting and practically useful.

7. Was there anything you read in the book that you would like to comment on that was not covered in the previous questions? If so, please comment.


Please rate the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.

A. How interesting was it to read? 9
B. How helpful were the contents? 9
C. How easy was it to understand? 9
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10