Roger Yomba Ngué – Assessments

As A Man Thinketh

“Thought and Character”: Here the author stressed the law of causality: “Man is a growth by law, and not a creation by artifice, and cause and effect is as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things (pp.12 & 13). What means that man has the absolute control of what happens to him, yes, but it’s also true that man can be influenced by his environment as he does influence his environment and condition. It’s clear that usually for one to learn something new, someone else who did might inspire him. Is this an ordinary man and not a leader? What I also know is that, according to his beliefs, man can remain in blindness or remove himself from ignorance. This is not to attack anyone but it is an evidence for me that, with the principles of Heaven and the goodwill of God Christians are subject to support their conditions. And when they come into contact with another belief, they soon discover another reality. Is it a bad understanding of Christian’s thought? This was my case before converted in Buddhism.

For “The effect of thought on circumstances” what lacks here is the evidence that one has to protect his thought of bad influence from within or external. Because not any circumstances can be definitive. Even a well oriented mind can be diverted from his course if it’s not protected of the malignant. Protection here can be the worship of a good Faith or closer Contacts with those who are in the same mood and spirit. What I am saying for circumstances is valid for’’ health and body”

According to “The Thought-Factor in Achievement” as the man thinks, so he remains (p.51) but to continue to think in high spirit, we need to nourish our mind by learning. As we saw with Jonathan Livingston seagull, it is knowledge which make a man to became free. Knowledge can be understood here as training in anyway or just the reading of interesting books like the biographies of heroes and successful people. That’s why: “victories attained by right thought can only be maintained by watchfulness may give way when success is assured, and rapidly fall back into failure (p.56). In this part I strongly appreciate the notion of sacrifice which is also the fuel of success/victory.

For “visions and Ideals”, I admire the position of the author. It is very important that in a weakest society like in Africa, this kind of position be largely diffused. Here went you have a vision of great achievements those surrounding you will but discourage you by saying “this is a DREAM”. In our understanding means IMPOSSIBLE. Then we have to persevere to build our life by and to become like the dial that we enthrone in our heart (p. 64).

Above all that learn with this book the chapter on serenity gives a lot of lessons to me I will try to apply it in my belief no comment thanks to James Allen, thanks to Global leadership Institute.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

In part one of this book, the author shows how one has:

1 – To love what he wants to learn or his tasks ” More than … experimenting”.
(PP.12 & 13)

2 – To determine a heavy objective than what others are doing usually whatever they can say: “I just want to know … fly is to eat ” (P.14).

3 – To always challenge our limits
Beside the attempts of his parents and those of the voice within him, Jonathan challenged his limits: ” there’s no way … as a poor limited seagull ” (PP. 21 & 22). He found the limitless courage to go beyond” his vows of a moment … that kind of promise” (P.27).

4- To change his mind
After one has challenged difficulties he will change his mind: “his thought was triumph … to discover how to turn” (P.29).

5 – To figure out that knowledge means freedom
Jonathan soon realized that it might be another reason to living: “Instead of our … we can be fee! we can be free! we can learn to fly ! ” (PP. 30 & 31).

But Jonathan was wrong at this time with the behaviour of his fellows. It takes time to change the very old habits and traditions even with the full involvement of those who are concerned. Usually new ways or ideas are fought until the “leader” convinces others with evidences that these new ideas are profitable to them and their whole welfare. It takes time and creates misunderstanding.

The judgement of the Council Flock can only be considered here as an obstacle not as punishment. They were ignorant and wrong as Jonathan said: “centered for shame? Impossible! The Breakthrough! They can’t understand! They’re wrong, they’re wrong! ” (P.39). That’s why the isolation (outcast) instead of disturbing or discouraging Jonathan, it reinforced his hungry to lean. And this give him the opportunity to discover “that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull’s life is so short; and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed” (P.41)

However, I disagree with the author about the exercise of P.52 namely the way it turns: “without a word… they rolls with him, smiling”. I think there is confusion. Where and when these fellows learnt to fly so well? Whatsoever, I agree with the content of the last page of Part one (P.53) even though it’s songs like a HAPPY END before end: glory comes after tremendous experience.

Part Two
The part two starts with confusion for Jonathan and for me as well. As he approached the perfection, he was joined by two gulls (end of past I). He rose with these two star-bright gulls for another place. It seems certainly that this were not his former Flock. I don’t understand why the author chooses to present the issue in such a ” biblical ” or Heaven’s way. It looks like a change in mind, the outcome of the perfection, means also a change of the outer form. I think sincerely that it was not necessary. Therefore I should agree with the possibility for a better consideration from his former fellow gulls (of his old time). The readers should be more motivated to make such tremendous efforts / exercises by knowing that they don’t need and that they won’t have a change in their appearance while improving their wisdom.

Now, if the aim of the author was to show that if there is somewhere where people don’t like to improve themselves, there is also another place where people are hungry to learn, then it will be partly right.

In part two Jonathan remains very concerned with his mission to teach to others what he learnt: ” As the days went past … to see truth for himself ” (PP.84 & 85) despite the doubt of Sullivan

I also learned the advice of Elder Chiang:” He had been talking … principal of all life “. And his last words:” Keep working on love “. (PP. 83 & 84).

Jonathan puts this love and commitment in practice when talking with Fletcher
Lynd Seagull: ” Don’t be harsh on them… and help them to understand. (P. 89)

Part Three
This part should be divided in two subsections. In the first one Jonathan went back to his former Flock and started to train some volunteer gulls who want to improve their skills (flight-students) even though these gulls known that they will be outcast.
I noted the important number of young gulls but also an invalid (handicapped) one named Kirk Maynard Gull. However despite the efforts of Jonathan to explain things very simple those of the flock who had not yet understand what they really are continue to scorn or to idolize: “they are saying in the Flock … years ahead of your time ” (P.115) Again and again, Jonathan simplified: “ well, this kind of flying has always been…. Ahead of the way that most gulls fly”. (P.115) And he stated “that’s not half as bad as being ahead of our time”. (P.116)

In the second subsection, Jonathan demonstrated his love to those who tried to kill him and he succeeded to stimulate the capacity of the gulls for thinking. Above all while catalyzing learning as well as better performance, he help capture and transfer leaning in the Flock. Learning which is characterizes here by Fletcher Seagull.

Comment: I would like to end this assessment by the quote of British Petroleum’s John Browne: “The role of leaders at all levels is to demonstrate to people that they are capable of achieving more than they think they can achieve and that they should never be satisfied with where they are now. To change behavior and unleash new ways of thinking, a leader sometimes has to say ‘stop, you’re not allowed do it old way’ and issue a challenge.” (Harvard Business Review, Sept -Oct. 1997, P.158)

Awaken The Giant Within
By Anthony Robbins Publisher : Simon & Schuster

Introduction It took me three days to start writing this book assessment on the Anthony Robbins’ Awaken The Giant Within. I was so embarasssed for the choose of a format. this is not only due to the volume (512 pages) but also to the richness of its content. I should be extremely happy to comment each page. Then it would take a tremendous time and space. I did think that this is not what the director asked of us.

While thinking so, I remembered the Special Report of Britain’s foreign secretary, Jack Straw, who stated on A constitution for Europe : “The constitution of the world’s most complex international organisation – the united Nations – fits easily into my Jacket pocket. The constitution of one of the word’s oldest and most successful democracies – the united states – would fit neatly into the other pocket. I do not have a pocket big enough for what passes as the constitution – ‘the consolidated Treaties’ – of the European Union. size is important, the smaller the better when it comes to constitutions. but size tells anther, more important story – that of coherence(The Economist, October 12, 2002, pp. 41-42). I do believe that the size is equally important when it comes to book assessments.

Comment To start, I would like to say that this book is a powerful testimonial of the way one can change his destiny – make a significant shift. The book is not only good to read but most importantly it is absolutely necessary to experiment and live WITHIN.

I am quite impressed by the vibrant illustrations that it contains: these are very attractive and motivating stories: Rosa Parks (p. 37), Ed Roberts (p. 37-38), Soichiro Honda (p. 44 – 45 ), Sam Walton ( p. 341 – 42 – 343 – 461), Henry Patrick (p. 200) and on and on.

You also find some fact such as the experience in page 105 when Robbins interviewed the young Talmadge E. Griffin; Mrs. Marva Collin’s student. This young man gave a compsehensive answer to his questions that many senior students without the same level of self-esteem could not. I can recall at the same stance the morning and evening power questions of chapter 8, page 195, that became part of my mental daily diet ….

To continue with question and exercises / assignments, chapter 8 (Questions are the Answer) and the whole Part Three: The Seven-Day to shape your life are loaded with a high range of experiences and magnificent tools to accompany the shift as they are accessible. I hope that it is important to know that the change is possible to being achieved, as I started to do with my personal plan of Action.

Actually what I can say is that this book brings a change in my mind, the way I am addressing situations and dealing with problems. Sometimes it was very challenging for me to find a proper solution on a pressing or pending matters. But now I am asking to myself : what is the solution? where is the solution? and obviously the solution springs up or a new way to handle the problem occurs. Mr Robbins says that we might focus on solutions not problems : “Remember, our goal is not to ignore the problems of life but to put ourselves in better mental and emotional states where we can not only come up with solution, but act upon them” (The Ten-Day Mental Challenge, p. 313) and “The questions you ask will determine where you focus, how you think, how you feel, and what you do. If we want to change our finances, we’ve got to hold ourselves to higher standards, change our beliefs about what’s possible, and develop a better strategy (Questions Are The Answer, p. 183).

We should direct our spirit and mental in a positive way based on practical beliefs and as incredible as it seems we should – and do – have a successful life’s experience…

Observations and points of discussion To complete my assessment and to conclude, I will just highlight some observations and raise some points of discussion on the influence/impact of our environmental feelings, cultural realities and standards.

Talking about observations based on the book’s illustrations, I feel confused about the family life’s experience of Robbins. He wrote : “One of the greatest joys I’ve experienced in recent years was watching the transformation of my eldest son, Tyler, as he went from a neophyte interested in flying helicopters with me, to a master jet pilot, to a commercial helicopter pilot” (Identity: The Key to expansion, p. 429) and the experience of his 16 year old daughter (daugher in the book) Jolie (Life Values: Your personal Compass, p. 351-53). I mean, at the time he was written the book, Robbins was 31yearold guy. And if I have had a good understanding of the book, he mentioned that at age 19 he was a poor guy. I don’t see that he was married at this time as I remember his testimonial on the circumstances of his encounter with wife’s Becky who was the assistant of one of his disappointing business partner. Then, how could he at 31 have a kids of 16 and more to be at the mentioned positions? Obviously I think that I missed something I would like to clarify.

My other concern is that of the target audience of the book. Now, As African, I am talking from African’s position. Why did Mr. Robbins not think about the impact of this book should have in the society? As his first book, Unlimited Power, was a national best seller, he should for example quote more illustrations/stories based on standards other than American’s. But I am very happy that he has quoted my home country’s (Cameroon’s) proverb: “He who asks questions cannot avoid the answers” (Questions Are Answer, p.177).

Of course, he has pointed out illustrations from Canada (p.171), Fiji Island (p.281-83) and Japan which are so expressive particularly the notion of “Kaizen” which inspired him one of the most powerful notion of the book: CANI! ( Constant And Never-ending Improvement) (p.96) and the perception of quality turn product (p. 94-95).

Chapter 4: Belief Systems seems exclusively American turn standards (?!). Actually I might be wrong. But how from our standpoint as African, Asian, European, etc. should we adapt this powerful tool, according to our realities?

The question is: ” Do we each have realities different from those of other people?” I am not an anthropologist, but I think YES, we do! Based on our culture and customs we roughly find differences as: time management, knowledge sharing, relationship with material and finance, culture of silence protest, mutual interaction, etc. Here in Africa we have the concept of Obuntu: I am human being because of others or I cannot be a human being without my environment.

Robbins wrote: “Ultimately, we cannot destroy the external environment without destroying our own internal environment (The Ultimate Challenge: What one person can do, p. 499). What to do to bring sustainable change for ourselves and for “our” world?

For me, before reading this book, I was assuming the following Buddhist thought: “Flowers are at their best for mere moments. But the time they spend preparing to bloom is incomparably long. Many seeds die without even sprouting. Some plants absorb what little sunlight they receive and take ten years to bear a single flower. Flowers appeal to us because they bloom only after a long, persevering struggle (Rendez-vous With Nature Vol. 4, p.10)

What for this: “Do not rely on convention; career paths that were winners for most of this century are often no longer providing much success” (Fortune, March 20, 1995)

Roger Yomba Ngue, Executive Director, Positive Africa, 01 BP 5908 Abidjan 01, Cote d’Ivoire, Africa

Pulling Your Own Strings

The core message of this book lies on the techniques for dealing with other people in a responsible way and living our life as we choose: “Each person’s life is unique, separated from every other life in the true experiential sense. No one else can live your life, feel what you feel, get into your body, and experience the world the way you do”(p. xvii).

The question here is: how to avoid to be manipulated by others? The reality is that the victimizers of the world will remain forever but we have to be prepared for not being victimized them an ourselves of course ( pp. 9-12): “I know I’m going to lose… or even complaining about it, will do nothing to stop them”. For this, the author advises: “Forget your moralistic assessments about what they shouldn’t be doing, and instead say, ” They are doing this, and I am going to confront it in the following ways to make sure they won’t get away with it now and don’t try it again ” (p.11).

How to proceed ?
Wayne W. Dyer wrote: “By sizing yourself and your culture up, you can (1) anticipate effectively, (2) eliminate self-doubts, (3) implement plans A,B,C etc (4) steadfastly refuse to be upset or immobilized at the progress you are making, and (5) persevere until you have emerged with what were seeking” (p.11)

The intention is clear and we are granted with a wide range of materiel within the book. However, when I started to read this book it seems to me that sometimes the author has exaggerated certain issues or positions. I thought: “This is a call for revolution. Boy, if you use these teachings in a radical way, you will become one of the victimizers of the world. May be not as “the CLERK of the world” but a kind of JERK. Now let me express my feelings on some relevant points from different chapters with illustrations by my own humble personal experience


1. Typical Victimizers (p. 17)Here I just want to stress that if I can be called “leader” it is because I escaped from the victimizing trends of my family and less from the society. In most African countries or ethnic groups, one has to be loyal to his/her family. This in a way that the family might choose the field of your education, make arrangement for your marriage and even tell you what should be your program or plan of action. They usually said: “we are not dealing with these people so you have to avoid to be in business with them” when you start working, you have to be at the service of all your FAMILY. Family here means community which includes your mother and father villages or more.

For this I have chosen to be my own man to do what will make me feel full in bloom. My first fiancé was for an “opponent” ethnic group. I’ve chosen to study business management while my powerful grand father was advising for mechanical engineering. Above all I decided to leave my country for a while. Now some of them call me “a revolutionary”. What I did for my family is what I am doing for the whole society.

2. Becoming Quietly Effective My idols are Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Shakyamuni Buddha, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Edison.
I consider these people as winners. And they are known for their humility. Their life experience, challenges and achievements show proof of this assertion: “You will never win if you have to prove that you are the winner” (p.102). In this issue we just need to be our own people and let others appreciate it. In Buddhism there is a principle called kindness (humanism) which calls to help others to achieve their growth and shininess. In Africa we also have the principle of “Obuntu” (I am a living human being because of others).

3. Strategies for Teaching Others How you Want to be Treated .
One of my famous initiative is the support I have given to the president of the Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki. In 1998 when he was the deputy president of Nelson Mandela, Mbeki issued a statement on his vision of the African Renaissance. I was 25 years old, then I took my pen and write to the president congratulating him for his braveness. I told him that I was dreaming about the appearance of such a leader. Sincerely this is what I was feeling about deeply. I told to the president that I will involve myself to make this dream to become true. I will work beside him for the achievement of the African Renaissance. My letter passes through the embassy of South Africa. The then ambassador granted this letter with a strong attention and call me for and audience. Since then, south African people consider my humble person as their man. At age 28, in July 2001, I have had the opportunity to pay an official visit at Pretoria. I think actions are the best way to teach others how to treat you. As the author writes “every march of a thousand miles begins with one step, but you must be willing to take that first step by overcoming your fear and inertia for just one tiny second” (p.161).

4. The Misuse of Loyalty Rudyard Kipling wrote: “More men are killed by overwork than the importance of the world justifies” (p. 170).
One of the strong lesson I learn from this book is certainly the misuse of loyalty. These past 5 years I have been working for many organization for business or humanitarian as executive. It happened that I found myself absolutely absorbed by the task with no family life and I paid by my own person (my heath and wealth). My obsession was to achieve high level standard to be effective with no time for entertainment and paying no attention to love affairs. My colleagues who seem also concerned didn’t spent the same amount of time at work and continued to enjoy their family life. But we were at the same level responsible of the Success or failure of the business or project. The outcomes obtained during this period of time are actually critical. I think I was victimizing myself. I now learnt and decided to concentrate on my own happiness and improvement along with my loved ones. To relax, to make love, to be more outrageous.

5. Being Creatively Alive in Every SituationCreative aliveness means looking…or those around you” (p. 227).
We are living in a continent (Africa) where the trend is to victimize or to be victimized. This ought to be a consequence of our history legacy. Many people there are complaining that every time they did try to create, they faced misunderstanding and opposition if not a treason. I do think now that this is our lack of effectiveness or leadership behaviour. Nowadays I am less subjected to this treat. I am always challenging myself to do what others think not possible. Even though in the process I use to victimize myself. That is why I am usually asking to myself: “What is the solution – Where is the solution?” Though I sincerely believe that “success is a journey, not a destination” (p. 230).

6. There is no One Way to do Anything”Rigidity is also rampant in education…of style for research papers” (p. 237).
The sickness of our Africa comes from this truth. It is sad to know that since 1977 at the time this book was published in a whole continent particularly the francophone countries, education is still based on a rigid “one way” mentality parameters or what they call standards. It is a necessary challenge for us to reach the level of flexibility which can boost creativity.

For this, I know we don’t have an alternative other than to persevere in outrageous but responsible ways in whatever task we are involve in. My score to the 100 typical victimizing situations quiz (3 victims, 97 non-victim) ensured me that I am on the way to make a turnaround and still need to learn more and to experience LIFE.

Real Magic- Creating Miracles in Every Day Life

Real Magic is my second Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s book I read after Pulling Your Own Strings. Pulling Your Own Strings is a call for a revolt against “the victimizers of the world” in order develop our personality, Real Magic is a plea to our humanness and for the necessity to focus only on what we really need. The approach here has a certain similarity with Anthony Robbin’s Awaken the Giant Within.

However Anthony Robbin puts emphasis on the tools of self improvement within a competitive but dynamic living arena while Wayne Dyer develops a set of strategies on how to direct our mind in order to live on purpose not for outcomes during our life span: “Even if all those around your choose to be in competition with each other, you do not have to live by that model” (p186). The development of our spirituality is the central concern of this book: “your objective is to see yourself as a spiritual being having a human experience and to develop a mind-set that creates real magic in your life” (p.136).

Now, let’s have a critical look on relevant points that call for specific comments and observations, and then conclude.

Comments and observations

Chapter 1: A Transcendent view of Magic and Miracles
“Every successful, truly happy person that I have encountered has confirmed their knowing that there simple are no accidents… All agree that every unique happening in our lives leads us to a higher place” (P. 6). I do not fully agree with the author here. This seems to argue the fact that we are in some place due to our destiny. It should also mean that some had been chose to go to heal because they born condemned with no opportunity to overcome the punishment. In my religion we believe in the law of cause and effect materialized by the karma. However the teachings demonstrate that with a profound meditation within the law of the universe called “Nam Myoho Rengue Kyo” and the dedication to the happiness of human kind, we can transform our negative karma (Ref. Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism).

I absolutely agree with this chapter. To comment the following sentences: “Moreover, the absence of a need on your past to prove how powerful you are will give you the opportunity to empower others” (p. 43) and “and only when you abandon the need for external power… Will you be ready for real magic” (p. 44). I would like to say that the spiritual being lives with the purpose to serve others while the non spiritual being lives only in the purpose to serve himself or to be served by others. I like sincerely the teaching on to send love rather than anger and hatred (pp. 64-71).

I am impressed by the Shirley MacLaine’s book Going Within excerpt on
Mauricio Panisset and the author’s own experience with Mauricio (pp. 74-78). Il think if someone experiences such “a miracle” he can only boost the process of achieving real magic in his life. I regret the fact that we can not implement the “fourteen keys for creating a miracle mind-set” (pp. 73 -128) and evaluate them with our life since we are following a curriculum with a little time to read each book. However, I highly appreciate key n°14 “Practice daily meditation” (pp. 117 – 127). My Buddhist practice and the good fortune it generates, testily the statements like Blaise Pascal’s “All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone” (p. 120), “As you think so shall you be” (p. 121), and so on. The Lao-tzu’s Tao-te Ching (pp. 128 – 129) like a call for leaders to seek the supreme wisdom and high standard purpose what Buddhism calls “Enlightenment”.

“The ability to create magical relationships in your life begins and ends with you” (p.134). Are we author and actor of our life? I think yes ! This confirms that others as just seeing us the way we allow them to see us. Our responsibility should be heard in the Michael Jackson’s “Heal the world; Make it better space; For you and for me; And the entire human…” It is sure that when we enlightening the road for anyone else, we actually enlightening our own road.

“I know it is destructive to him, but… I am going to send him love in spite of his actions (p. 137). This is difficult but seems to be the correct way to act with our fellow human beings. Now, our education leads to a scepticism torn experience with stereotypes and fears. Does the shift in the mind of limited number of people will produce the better world we pray for? Am I judging? The author wrote: “real magic in relationships mean an absence of judgements of others” (p.137) and that “purpose is all about giving yourself to other unconditionally and accepting what comes back with love, even if what comes back is not what you anticipated” (p. 140).

According to James Allen in As a Man Thinketh, “circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him” (p. 174). Otherwise, circumstances are the fluid that shapes our development and direct us to miracles making. That is the way I understand it. Should we consider that the struggle is not only a mean to achieve the outcome, but also part of the outcome?

In this chapter I learn the importance to remain focused and avoid distractions in our journey toward our purpose. I similarly come up with a new attitude on they perception of the scarcity and prosperity. I was thinking that prosperity comes with a steady savings of our incomes. I realized that I was not a giver per se. To give meant to grant for service. I have now started the process of instant giving without expecting anything from others.

I am optimistic by nature. As I am from a bottom up social class, I could not have the standard education at the desired rhythm. Thus, I have chosen to learn all my life long, to fulfil the standards through combining experiences and learning. To be a model of personal achievement or a self made man. I therefore pay great respect to talented people. That’s why the books I like more are the biographies of successful people. As the process still going on, I can consider myself as being involved in this awareness: “I am talented as I have chosen to become, and while I admire and enjoy performances of others, their actions say nothing about what I can or cannot achieve” (p.227).

But I do confess that the perspective of real magic was not included in my mind since I did not believe in good luck but in hard work and competition. In this regard, failure meant worst organized. Should I consider that my current development is not fast due to that mind-set, regarding the old Indian saying: “If you want to know…look at your thoughts today”? (p. 238)

Anyway I endorse the words of Hermann Hesse: “There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people …never allow the world within to assert itself”(p.258).

In Becoming a Willing Student, the author quoted the ancient Zen proverb “when the student is ready the teacher will appear” (p.263). It is the reminder that when we find our purpose, appropriate conditions will surface to serve as means for its accomplishment. Obviously there are some preconditions for this state of mind as stated in step 4 to real magic: “You can then switch from focusing on suffering to learning what you can from your illness, accident or addiction…I describe it as the path of enlightenment through outcome…It is the path preceding that of purpose. First comes suffering, second is outcome, and third, purpose” (p.269).

In this chapter, Wayne Dyer calls to our attention the fact that everything starts from our inner self:”One characteristic that stood out in looking at the lives of these very special people was that when faced with seemingly insurmountable problems they always looked inward for a solution” (p. 278). What is more illustrated at the end of the chapter: ‘”within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself’. That “yourself” is a miracle. Know it!”(p. 297).

Anything worse or beautiful that happens in our life at individual or collective level is what we think about all day long. That is for changes that take place first in the collective minds of men, and then in outer world. The author does write:”All of the major problems that we humans face were created by our way of thinking” (p. 317). If we want to transform these problems a new way of thinking or a new consciousness will be required. But indeed our universe is not in a state of desperation because one individual will always be able to bring the change: “You create a world of real magic when you alone decide to use your divine, miraculous inner intelligence to make it happen” (p.322).

The challenge that comes out of this book is to realize that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. The richness of the book resides also on the quality of the research made by the author according to his references on books like the Bible, Bhagavad-Gita, and renown wise men and scientists as Abraham Maslow, James Allen, Deepak Chopra, John Stuart Mill, Emerson, Buddha,
Henry D. Thoreau, J. Krishnamurti, Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein, Leo Tolstoy, etc.

To be sincere this book creates trouble in my mind and makes it difficult to complete my assessment. I think that it revealed my limitations.


In this book, Deepak Chopra illustrates the use of psychology, philosophy, psychiatry and religious beliefs to cure diseases. According to him both fears and wishes can come true at the same stance because fear is just a negative kind of wish. Then it is absolutely important to us to control our emotional system. He proposes the meditation as the first step to enlightenment: realization of the reality principle, the state of total insight. Then meditation can change people by allowing them to release part of the false self for good.

Dr. Deepak Chopra puts an emphasis in the use of yoga knowledge and principles in his daily physician practice. Yoga is therefore the union of head and heart. He shows how our mind determines the circumstances of our life. We then need only to be quiet in order to awaken within us the light of calm, steady self-awareness and a feeling of wholeness. The world is our own projection coming from our beliefs and disbeliefs. I particularly appreciated the notion of the self (me) that always wanted to connect to, which is to marry the Self (universe). What about the paradise? Deepak Chopra states that to create paradise could mean nothing more or less than living in the present, enjoying the happiness that is both now and forever. Because ‘the present is the only thing that has no end’ (Schrˆdinger).

Now let’s comment some specific issues from the book.

Comments and remarks

Page 6
‘On the surface, all my patients are’ in some barely concealed way, relieved’. The patients see their disease as a kind of reward that brings them to the reality of live. But the ultimate reward is to live.

Page 7, 8 &9
‘One of the strangest phenomena of post-modern culture is this optimism over death’No one else seemed to notice, or at last, comment upon, this savage irony.’ The daily stress faced by people of post-modern culture in our struggle to satisfy our needs should explain the trend to consider death as greatest reward. This is in contradiction with the fact that for the policy it is obvious to plan a large-scale massacre (war) just to increase GDP per capita or to secure a source of supply for oneís country.

With the Barbaraís statement: ‘Cancer allowed me to achieve my final goal’I had wanted to retire at forty, and here I am, on a full disability pension, I am a woman of leisure at least,’ the way we are considering the success and how we are planning the goal of our life should be questioned. Itís like post-modern culture or a materialistic torn society denied the value of humanness. Yes, ‘suffering is inevitable, deeply human, and even a grace’. However we are not allowed to direct our life in the way that leads us straight to suffering as the real meaning of life is happiness and value creation.

Page 18
‘What I want to propose to you is that it is possible to achieve freedom’ To be the maker of your reality is in fact your basic viewpoint, although it many be nearly impossible for you to see that now’ you stand at the very center of life and have the power to renew it at every moment’. This is a basic Challenge to human being at the grassroots levels. As we face the pressure of events and policy, our mind is diverted to things that almost cause a conditioning of anxiety and plunge us into a certain inner darkness. It is therefore clear that the first step for a fundamental cure is to go back inward and take the responsibility to create our own inner reality. Then instead of being a victim of events and policy, we became event-makers and policy-makers.

Pages 23 & 24
‘What really matters are not things ëout thereí’ and not just the audience’. Here starts the appeal to our ‘Insight’ that enables us to become the experimenter, the magician of our life and no more part of the audience. ‘Complete healing depends upon your ability to stop struggling’ understanding and experience are the two legs of healing marching side by side’. We are conditioned to fear and struggle the external causes of our unhappiness and we create inner barriers to avoid pain and hurt. The author advises us to disarm and to arise the consciousness that permit us to understand our circumstances and experiment the power of our true self.

Pages 47 & 48
Approaching the principle of magical thinking, Deepak Chopra trains us to start considering things from the principle of self-referral, which is to gauge reality by our own feelings and intuitions. For him living accordingly, there is no mystery when a shift causes change in our body. We come to understand that we are participating in each and every event of our life. The outcome here is to deny the primary importance to externals (object-referral) instead of to our self. And he prevents: ‘even if you cannot imagine a reality centered entirely on yourself, how even another person could be living that way very

Pages 89,91& 99: Maya
Considered as the all powerful animating force that makes things happen (from his fatherís perspective) or ‘magic’, a show of illusion or delusion, Maya for philosophers ‘denotes the delusion of thinking that you are seeing reality when in fact you are only seeing a layer of trick effects superimposed upon the real reality. With a comprehensive analysis, the author states that Maya is in each person and not so omnipotent that we cannot control it. To illustrate this he recalls the list of things for scientists ( R.D. Laing) to exclude from reality as they born from our empty inner space: ‘love and hate’ and everything, in fact, that makes life worth living’. The first notice there is the simultaneity of positive and negative things that should be created by us at every moment of life. Is it the matter of choice? The author argues, ‘My choice plays the key role whether I accept the world as it or alter it to quit my desires. Maya and I have been very good about abiding by our agreement to keep the world predictable’. We can decide to break the agreement at anytime, as the reality is always open to revision.

Page 168: Power and love
>From R. Tagore perspective:ª love is not a mere impulse, it must contain truth, which is law’. Love breaks the barriers of self-protection established by power. Where there is love there is no fear and no need for protection. For Deepak Chopra we must be able to love all the time as the true self is love and thatís the most one can want. This remind me the law of causality – cause and effect – which covers the entire universe and gives the route to our life according to our positive or negative actions, thoughts and worlds (Buddhist perspective)

Page 184
Here we find the importance for people to encourage each one by according attention as parents do with theirs children. In Africa we do consider that our society is practicing such attitude but more in rural areas or villages where I spent my childhood. As we entering the capitalist world, this principle
disappears and we experiment individualism.

Page 185
‘Some can be ëresoluteí, or ëengagedí or courageously defiant, or stoically accepting, or to relinquish rationality and, in awe and mystery, place oneís trust in the providence of the Divine.’ Depending on culture and education the tendency in contemporary urban Africa, particularly in west and central regions where I am working, is to trust in the providence of the Divine as we see the speedy spreading of religions and sects. It is stubbornly defiant that people refuses to handle their own life.

Pages 188 & 189
From the perspective of the ancient Indian scriptures on the relationship between wife and husband, we realize that what we are doing or giving to others is for the sake of the Self. I mean the universe ’embraced by me’:

‘Indeed, my beloved,
it is the Self that should be seen,
the Self that should be heard,
the Self that should reflected upon,
and the Self that should be know’

Pages 212 & 213
The quantum theory, Lord Krishnaís philosophy and Tagoreís statement: ‘The same stream of life’ and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers’ illustrate the ‘unity’ of oneís life with the reality of the cosmos – our cosmic status. And Deepak claims that: ‘I have done my best to provide convincing proof that reality is everyone ís personal creation. People will never grasp this solely on an intellectual level – it must be experience and internalized’


The lesson here is that to release all my suffering that is noted in my own superstition, I need the spiritual experience in which pure awareness reveals itself as the maker of reality. This is to come to realize the high level of consciousness that allow us to design the circumstances of our life, as ‘The rishis claim that wrapped up inside us is the capacity to command every force of nature, to influence every atom into universe’ (P. 262). I assume that ignorance is the most circular of traps that must be release as the ‘enlightenment’ spreads out every aspect of our life. Deepak says, ‘We are natureís privileged children. Once we fix upon our deepest desires, they must come true. That is why the great wish of the world is unfolding in the first place ‘(P 269).

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life.

1. Introduction After Anthony Robbinsí Awaking the Giant Within and Dr Deepak Chopraís Unconditional Life, this is the third book of the Level 1 courses that is closer to my aspirations and spiritual beliefs. The richness of the book is truly captivating for us who are not English speaking people as it is easy to read. I donít feel embarrassed with the spiritual interpretation of the concepts, as, instead of referring to God like many authors, the authors of Change Your Mind, Change Your Life refer to the Higher Power, which is most convenient for all religious beliefs. Below are my comments and remarks and the conclusion.

2. Comments and remarks This Jampolsky and Cirincioneís book based on A Course in Miracles emphasizes love and forgiveness as a tools for Attitudinal Healing but also as tools to self empowerment: The course is about the power of love and forgiveness and how these offer us everything we could possibly want(P. 6). About the principles of Attitudinal healing the authors state. The principles begin with the belief that the essence of our being is love and that our true identity is a spiritual one. These principles lead us away from fear and toward the reality of love in every moment of our being (P. 9). Because through the eyes of love we find only joining and forgiveness(P. 79). In regard to our relationships, because we have relationships throughout every aspect of our lives, we have to start to relate to ourselves in order to heal our old grievances, self-condemnations, or feeling of helplessness. As it appears that, to have whole and equal relationships in the present, it is necessary to heal our old, unhealed relationships with others and ourselves from the past. (P. 89). It is often happen that we are hurt by the burden of our unfinished business.

Effective parenting is one of the great challenger adults are facing. The authors state that: Newborn infants are magnificent teachers of unconditional love because they make no judgements on their parents, accepting them perfectly, just as they are. (P. 88). In this regard, parents have to be response-able. They highlight the positive question that should help us heal the split mind: Do I recognize that my mind is split at this moment? Am I willing to change my thoughts? Where am I not in harmony? And am I thinking one thing and saying or doing another? Am I willing to forgive? (P. 111). As love is only joining and sharing, we must be careful with what we teach. Then, anywhere that learning is taking place, our own attitudes can contribute to creating an environment where both students and teachers can feel safe and inspired. (P. 119). This reminds me a principle quoted in this book: When the teacher is ready, the student appears and vice versa. Perhaps as time goes on, we will be able to see that love, cooperation, and collaboration are much more powerful teaching principles than fear and competition. It is here that we discover how we are alike rather than how we are different, and accepting all of our varying levels of achievement as well as our individual differences (P. 126). In Africa the system leads to underline and to bring about the sense of difference. So, As we learn to share ourselves with others, we begin to experience the role of teacher and student constantly shifting and interchanging, because we are teaching what we want to learn. (PP. 134-135). We must not forget that true change ultimately comes out of inspiration and love, not out of pressure and fear (P. 134)

Our being combines the body, the mind, and the spirit. To nourish it is to take care simultaneously of its spiritual and physical aspects. Then, when we begin accepting our true identity as spiritual, what follows is that we are no longer limited to our physical being (P. 152).

Recalling the break down of the Berlin wall, authors indicate that they believe like many people that what really brought the wall down was the indomitable spirit within each oppressed person in the region that made the difference (P. 200). For it to remind us that the transformation of the individual transforms society. This is perfectly in adequacy with my Buddhist belief that the revolution in a single man spirit can transform the whole world ( as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Napoleon Bonaparte, Georges Washington, General Lee, Mikhail Gorbatchev, etc.)

Coming to business, the authors state that the form of the new business is not yet clear. It is full of heart, made up of caring, concern, and a willingness to be as helpful to others as we would like others to be to us. It is a consciousness focused on giving rather than getting and a self-realization that comes when we do everything we can to empower everyone to be the most she or he can be (P. 217). It’s song-like the utopia, but I agree with this as competition and dull in business appear to be so destructive as they create sometimes despair, helplessness, worry and sorrow. Yet, the example of Levis Strauss & CO (Pp. 217-221) illustrates the kind of ethical values we need to share in the business world: We all want a company that our people are proud of and committed to. We want our people to feel respected, treated fairly, listened to, and involved. Above all, we want satisfaction from accomplishments and friendships, balanced personal and professional lives, and to have fun in our endeavours. (P. 219). The type of leadership described here (New Behaviour; Diversity; Recognition; Ethical Management; Communications; and Empowerment) seems to offer a kind of problem-solving and success-sharing system that empower simultaneously the company, the management team and the employees (Pp. 219 – 220).

Connie Boucher Statement on Believing in ourselves, An attitude of caring, Advice to others (Pp. 233 ñ 235) is the one to teach to our disparate people in Africa. To let them know that they use to boost their eagerness for them to make it. I like specifically the advice to young people: It would tell them to put all of their heart into what they’re doing and to work hard. Don’t let other people talk you out of your dream. Above all else, believe in yourself and know that nothing is impossible and that there are no limits. (P.235). Very important also are the key attitudes she holds in her heart and mind: (a) let go of negative thoughts from the past; (b) believe in yourself and never think that nothing is impossible; and (c) believe that the reason we are here is to care for and help others. (P.236).

About the attitudes toward peace, the authors summoned the threat of our Ego on peace and love, and advised: You will find that you will not have to say a world to let another person knows that you are feeling inner peace. The peaceful vibrations you emit will be obvious to the world and everyone around you; a peaceful mind is our natural state. A peaceful mind is one that has no confusion and no impurities. A peaceful mind is one that is interwoven with tranquillity, stillness, joy and love. It is in the joining of our peaceful minds and hearts that love extends and expands, reflecting the essence of our spiritual identity. (Pp. 269-270).

3. Conclusion While reading the book, the principles within appear to be so evident and meaningful that finally I asked to myself this question: Should I worry with the fact that I do not find some aspects to criticize? The answer seems to be NO! This is just an excellent work, a good book. But I found it challenging that the authors noted twelve quotes from the materials (Text, workbook for students, and manual) we have not yet, instead of explaining or more commenting the ideas in the footnote. Is it a marketing strategy? Here also, the answers to my question seem to come from the first quote of the book: Whether we live our lives filled with peace or conflict is ultimately determined by our attitudes (P. xi). And from the last quote: One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves each second of every day is, will this thought, will these words, will this action, bring about joining or separation? (P. 274)

Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude By Dr. Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone

1. Introduction
When I was ending to read this book, success through PMA, six. Concepts seem to illustrate the whole content: (i) what the mind of man can conceive and believe the mind of man can achieve with mental attitude (PMA); (ii) if the man is right, his world will be right; (iii) the 17 success principles, (iv) the priceless gift: the joy of work; (v) the greatest value in life : loving people and serving them; and (vi) anything in life worth having is worth working for. The book it self is worth with practical experiences of people that applied these six powerful concepts in their life. The most important fact is that the content is based in a sort of questions and answers style, what make it useful in any social, economic, spiritual and educational concerns. It appears to be a combination of books: Change your Mind, Change your Life and Awaking the Giant Within.

2. Comments and remarks
Chapter One: Meet the Most Important Living Person
The first challenge I experienced in my life was related to the poverty of my family. One day I asked to my mother how did it come that she was not a cabinet government member? Mother told me that every body has his or own destiny. God chosen not to give her the opportunity and strength to be someone else than what she was. My mother was a housewife who left school at 19 while being in a Christian convent. She was supposed to become a nun, which was the choice of her parents. Due to the difficulties of life, she got married at 20 and she died divorced at 48. Sad story!

This is to agree that we are poor-not because of god (P.3). My mother didn’t convince me. I finally came to realize that, as SBF fullers mother said: we are poor-not because of god. We are poor because father never developed a desire to become rich. No one in our family has ever developed a desire to be anything else (P.4). My mother was a convinced Christian worshiper but she was influenced by negative mental altitude (NMA) in such a way that she failed to discover the richness of the bible or any other inspirational book. Thus, her invisible talisman remained on the NMA instead of PMA. (positive mental Authors said: you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by trying success is achieved and maintained by those who keep trying with PMA (P6). Obviously, due to the influence of my mother’s environment, she failed to discover that she was the most important living person and to act for to change her destiny.

Chapter Two: You Can Change Your World
In regard of the 17 success principles, I was aware that the lack seven of them: (i) accurate thinking; (ii) self discipline; (iii) a pleasing personality, (iv) learning from defeat; (v) budgeting time and money, (vi) maintaining sound physical and mental health; and (vii) Using cosmic habit force (universal law).
Some of the reasons that motivate me to apply to this study program were to develop pleasing personality and to improve my finances as my relatives think I was a rustle, and I figured out that my incomes were not at the level of my work’s commitment. As a leader I need to be charismatic and develop my incomes in order to implement my programs. I realized that to resolve these two shortcomings. I need to address many other principles as the ones listed above. Even though I was optimistic and I believed that I could achieve great purpose: renaissance the African. I hope that I am on my way to make a turn round. With the details, I am convinced that been optimistic is quite different with the habit to act with PMA.

Chapter Three: Clear the Cobwebs From Your Thinking
From the bottom to where I stand for now, regarding my social background, I think that the courage and curiosity had played persuasive roles in my life. I do truly confess that as Socrates (470 B.C. – 399 B.C), my action disproved my intentions. I now come to realize that I usually set-up high standard expectations for my relationships even in love or in business. Obviously, this was manifested through my language and actions. As Socrates, I saw only the in [others] eye. By that time, I encountered many difficulties with my female fellows and made it harder to have long term relationship.As I started to believe on it with my Buddhist practice, I absolutely agree that: when I am faced with a problem that involves misunderstandings with other persons, I must first start with my self (P.37), Dr. Fosdick attitude (Pp 39-40) is very inspirational. I needed a cure.
Chapter Four : Will you Dare to Explore the Power of Your Mind? The self motivator: you can do it if you believe you can. (P. 55) reminds me a song of Bob Marley (Jamaican reggae singer) I use to sing in my tenths and twentieths: you can do it/ if you really want / but you must try/Try and try / try and try. By that time, I felt it as a call to action and the challenge to do something for my people: the seeds to leadership attitude. Nevertheless, I needed more than the song as my environment was filled with pessimistic people. The authors stated that what the mind of man can conceive and believe, the mind of man can achieve with PMA ! (P.62). I needed to develop PMA based on conscious autosuggestion and self-suggestion.

Chapter Five: And Something More
The examples of genius people like Einstein, Dr. Gates or Thomas Edison who tried more than ten thousand experiments before he developed the incandescent lamp, show us that there is no need to worry about defeat at the first stage of any action or life span. For the authors: when you seek success with PMA, you keep trying. You keep searching to find something more. (P.65). The most important thing is to know that we all have the relative ability and to learn to use It. Then get into action and keep our mind on our objective or purpose. As the Cosmic Habit Force is at the disposal of everyone as the use of universal law, everyone can achieve greater expectation. Authors state: you don’t need to be ashamed, to be failure like Christopher Columbus’. (P.77)
Chapter Six: You’ve Got a Problem? That’s Good!

Here we learn that no matter if we have problems as it is obvious that we do all have some: this because you and everything in the universe are in a constant process of change. Change is an inexorable natural law (P.81). All depend upon mental attitude. Problems lead us to success when we maintain PMA while being challenged or tested. Authors said You become a better, bigger, more successful person each time you meet a problem and take and conquer it with PMA (P.81). Illustration comes with the experience of Charlie Ward (Pp. 82-85). Much of us have unfinished business or problem due to the influence of our environment. Thus, we need to protect our mind against negative mental attitudes and bad habits.

Chapter Seven: Learn to See This chapter focuses our ignorance towards the reality of things. We do not properly filter the information that our eyes give us through the mental processes of the brain. As a result, we often behold things without really seeing theme at all. (P.97). Based on the example of Thomas Alva Edison, authors advise: To hear does not necessarily imply attention or application. To listen always does. We urge you to listen to the message. This means to see how you can relate and assimilate the principle into own life (P.101). That’s what Dr. Roy Plunkett, Kokichi Mikimoto and Joseph Goldstone did. They learned to observe and act and they became successful men. They saw opportunity where others had seen nothing (P.104). Chapter Eight: The Secret of Getting Things Done Due to laziness and negligence, we usually miss opportunities that can change our destiny. Authors recall the quote of the psychologist and philosopher William James: sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character, sow a character and you reap a destiny (P. 108). We might be careful with the kind of habits and the character we develop in our daily life. They can lead us to success or mislead our entire life. The secret of getting things done is to act is to use the self -starter or the self-motivator when laziness or the habit of procrastination come to manifest in our life. The self-starter is Do It Now!

Chapter Nine: How to Motivate Yourself.
Recalling that hope is the magic ingredient (P.20), authors address the issues of the motivation which induces action or determines choice. Here comes the illustration of the concept of what the mind of man can conceive and believe the mind of man can achieve with PMA with the experience of Benjamin Franklin. (Pp. 123-126). The authors urge us to keep [our] mind on the things you should and do want and off the things you shouldn’t (P.123).

Chapter Ten: How to Motivate Others
The first step to motivate others is to help them build confidence in themselves. For this need to have active faith in them: when you motivate others by having faith in them, then you must have an active faith. You must commit your belief. You must say, I know that you are going to succeed in this job, so I have committed myself and others to your success. We are here, waiting for you. (P.132).

To motivate an individual we need to know: (a) what the personality traits of the individual are; (b) what his environment is; (e) what motivates him (p.138). Methods of motivation include semantics, word symbols suggestion, self-suggestion and autosuggestion. These methods combined with AVA (Activity Vector Analysis) lead to the discovery by Mr Stone that: with PMA you can be what you want to be, if you are willing to pay the price (P.138).

Chapter Eleven: Is There a Short cut to Riches?
I remember the time where it was difficult to me to make money. But by this time I bought an expensive book with the French title RÈflechissez et Devenez Riches! (Napoleon Hill). Which means in English Think and Grow rich!. It was not the first inspirational book to read, but it gave me there courage to create my company: Ronyo investment international without literally no penny. Why Ronyo Investment didnít prosper? Certainly, we have this environment, but, I think what lack to me was to keep PMA and apply roughly the 17 success principles repeated in this chapter. Authors write: when you think with PMA – you can affect, uses, control, or harmonize with all of them (P.148).

Chapter Twelve: Attract, Don’t Repel Wealth
Authors put an accent in a self comprehensive organization by study, thinking and planning time with PMA in order to achieve high standard goals: develop the habits to (a) write down your goal; (b) give yourself a deadline; (e) set your standards high; (d) aim high, and (e) inspecting your written statements daily (Pp. 152 & 160).

Chapter Thirteen: If You Don’t Have Money-Use OPM!
Here come out three important things: honesty, two self- motivators to act, and to unlock the combination to success through all the necessary numbers. Honesty is one thing for which a satisfactory substitute has never been found. Honesty, or the lack of it, writes itself indelibly into every word one speaks, into every thought and deed, and often reflects itself in one’s force so that the most casual observer can sense the quality of sincerity immediately (P.163).two self-motivators to act: where there is nothing to lose by trying and everything to gain if successful, by all means try. Do it now! (P.170). The combination to success through all the necessary numbers illustrated by the experiments of Bernice and Leonard Lavin (Pp. 174 -177). Chapter Fourteen: How to Find Satisfaction in Your Job

According to the authors, if someone is unhappy in is job, which is worth the price; he has to develop inspirational dissatisfaction. ‘nspirational dissatisfaction can motivate persons from sinner to saint, failure to success, poverty to riches, defeat to victory, and misery to happiness ‘(P.185). This is what Albert Einstein (1878-1955) did as he was dissatisfied because Newton’s laws didn’t answer all his questions. So he kept inquiring into nature and higher mathematics until he came up with the theory of relativity (P.186). We must also be aware that to change our old tendencies to new habits, we must face an internal struggle (mental and moral conflicts) you can win if you are willing to pay the price. To guarantee success it is desirable that you try zealously to maintain physical, mental, and moral health during the period of such an internal struggle”(Pp. 188-189).

Chapter Fifteen: Your Magnificent Obsession
No matter who we are can we develop a magnificent obsession that should be to share a great cause-to help others: share your-self without expecting a reward, payment, or commendation. And above all else & keep your good turn a secret (P.190). Then as Drison Swett Marden we have to keep in mind the principle that every occasion is a great occasion and believe like Marden and the authors that character is the cornerstone in building and maintaining success (P.195).

Chapter Sixteen: How to Raise Your Energy Level
Based on the experience of Dr Roger Bannister (successful athlete?), the authors recall the secret of Dr Thomas Kirk Cureton on body’s energy level. The system is based on two principles: (1) train the whole body. (2) push yourself to the limit of endurance, extending the limit with each workout (P.210). Because the more the body endures, the more it will endure (P.211). Here also we might consider three essential facts: (1) rest is as important as exercise and activity (2) to maintain our mental and spiritual vigour by absorbing mental and spiritual and vitamins from inspirational and religious book as from a well balanced diets (Pp.212-215), and (3) keeping our mind on the things we do want and off the things we don’t want (P.215).

Chapter Seventeen: You Can Enjoy Good Health and Live Longer
>From the experiment of John D. Rockfeller who lived to be ninety-seven, the authors illustrate that money can buy physical and mental health, a longer life and the esteem of our fellowmen (PP 222-223) they also warn that: you shouldn’t have to amass a fortune before you come to realise that PMA will attract perfect health. But there are some other ingredients which should be used along with should be used along with should be used along with should be used along with PMA and one of them is health education (P.223) regarding health education necessary to live longer, they mention that mental and physical health is two great rewards of a positive mental attitude. A definite purpose, clean and clear thinking, creative vision, courageous action, persistence and true perception, all applied with enthusiasm and faith will go far to help you achieve and maintain a positive mental attitude (P. 231).

Chapter Eighteen: Can You Attract Happiness?
Abraham Lincoln once made the remark: it has been my observation that people are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be (P.234). The secret to find happiness to yourself lies in our devotion to make other people happy: and if you share happiness with others happiness will grow richer within you (P.236). This means that we should avoid to hurt other people or being hurt by them by using the power of PMA and to be understanding. For it is to remember that if the man is right his world will be right (P. 245).

Chapter Nineteen: Get rid of That Guilt Feeling?
For the authors it is not abnormal to have a guilt feeling for many feelings of guilt are inherited. And others are acquired (P.248) but we have to give up of that feeling of guilt. Like Dr Albert Schweitzer, our sense of guilt should prompt us to start a great mission. The great psychologist Sigmund Freud talked about two factors that can both under hanger) the one description of need to be ill or need to suffer. He precised that the first of these two factors is the sense of (PP 249-250) Guilt or consciousness of guilt. However some fellows were able to get rid of their guilt feelings by applying a formula as Jim Vans (P.254) The authors urge us to catch [appropriate] character and if we face a situation where virtues are in conflict with other virtues, do that which your conscience tells you will not develop a guilt feeling. It’s the right thing to do (p 258) Chapter Twenty: Now itís to Test Your Own Success Quotient

Here the authors put it out that: The burden of teaching is upon the person who wants to teach (P. 264). And according to J. Milbum Smith the burden of learning is on the person who wants to learn, not on the person who wants to teach (P.264). J. Milburn smith also said: be respectful and listen to those who have experience. To learn one must pay the price. In addition, I was willing to pay it for I was not taught. I learned. Knowledge? You must seek it out! (Pp 264 ñ 265). This means to copy from success. My answers to the success quotient analysis gives me a score of 244, which is fair (average) and indicates that I am still having more to learn for success and happiness. It’s challenging!

Chapter Twenty-one: Awaken the Sleeping Giant Within You
This chapter comes back to the principles of the most important living person, and anything in life worth having is worth working for. For these principals to be effective we need to compensate our compass to avoid dangers and thus arrive safety at our chosen destination. Therefore, we must think with a PMA. In addition, follow through with desirable action. Then, we will be able awaken the sleeping giant within us.

Chapter twenty-two: The Amazing Power of a Bibliography
The book ends with a call to read, understand and apply the principals in inspirational, self-help action books, magazines and newspaper articles. We need role models in our field of activities and in other kind of work. From them, we can teach what principles we can use to succeed. The authors recall that we should follow a definite pattern: read general content; read for particular emphasis; read for the future; read-later-to refresh our memory, and to rekindle our inspiration. As leaders also have the responsibility to motivate others, the importance of sharing is outlined in this chapters: Let us one more remind you: share with others a part of what you have that is good and desirable, and awaken the sleeping giant within you Then this book will not be an ending. It will be the beginning of a new era in your life (P. 282).

As I am going to conclude this assessment, I have to affirm that this book is worth with rich and relevant principles for human development. However, the length of my assessment shows up the difficulty I’ve had to choose an appropriate methodology. I sincerely do think that the authors could better organize the content to facilitate or simplify the overall comprehension.

The Magic Of Thinking Big
By David J. Schwartz, Ph. D.

Comments and Remarks

To read this book was like discussing with Dr. David Schwartz. Sometimes I felt like he was resolving an issue that was the threatening me for a long time. For example he states that “Belief in great results is the driving force, the power behind all great books, plays, scientific discoveriesÖBelief in success is the one basic, absolutely essential ingredient in successful people (P. 20). It is an appraisal for me as people usually tell me that I am a dreamer because I think that things can change despite the boredom, weakness of our fellows so on.

Dr Schwartz advises that we should not worship a leader. But study him. Learn from him and believe that we can surpass him and go beyond (P.21). This is a lesson of courage, challenge humility. He says “believe in yourself and good things do start happening” (P.23). in Africa we are living in a society where leaders consider themselves as God. Where everything is done to stop ambitious people, belittle them or in extreme cases to kill them. From our village to business entities or state owned entities the threat is constantly present. We need courage and determination as Nelson Mandela and Gandhi. We need a spiritual power as Buddha, Jesus or Mahomet. We need not to be afraid of this evil tendency. We need to be strong enough to consider this context as an opportunity to convert into reward. The author says: “Believe in yourself, believe you can succeed.” What should we do to acquire and strengthen the power of belief: (1) think success, don’t think failure; (2) remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are; (3) believe big (Pp. 25-26).

Dr. Schwartz develops what he calls excusitis, a mind-deadening thought disease. This manifests itself through health, intelligence, age, and luck (p 30). To protect our self from these four common aliments, he suggests what follows (Pp. 33-45):

– Health excusitis: (1) refuse to talk about your health; (2) Refuse to worry about your health; (3) Be genuinely grateful that your health is good as is it is and ; ( 4) remind yourself often, “it’s better to wear out than rust out”.

– Intelligence excusitis: (1) Never underestimate your own intelligence and never overestimate the intelligence of others; (2) Remind your self several times daily, ‘My attitudes are more important than my intelligence; and (3) Remember that the ability to think is of much greater value than the ability to memorize facts.

– Age excusitis: (1) Look at your present age positively. Think “I’m still young” not” I’m already old”; (2) Compute how much productive time you have left; and Invest future time in doing what you really want to do.

– Luck excusitis: (1) Accept the law of cause and effect, and (2) Don’t be a wishful thinker.

Dr. Schwartz makes it clear that “Success comes from doing those things and mastering those principles that produce success. Don’t count on luck for promotions, victories, the good things in lifeÖJust concentrate on developing those qualities in yourself that will make you a winner” (P. 45).
About confidence and fear, the author prevents that fear explain why million of people accomplish little and enjoy little. Fear prevents people from getting what they want from life (P. 47). What fear is? Uncertainty and lack of confidence. Fear is a form of psychological infection. Fear is nourished and fertilized by indecision and postponement. To cure fear we must take actions and figure out that “all confidence is acquired, developed no one is born with confidence (P. 47). How to cure fear and win confidence? Two step procedure are proposed: (1) Isolate your fear. Pin it down. Determine exactly what you are afraid of ; (2) Then take action. There is some kind of action for any king of fear (P. 51).

Dr. Schwartz states that “Much lack of self-confidence can be traced directly to a mis-managed memory” (P. 51). To build confidence, he sets out two specific things to do: (1) Deposit only positive thoughts in your memory bank ; and (2) Withdraw only positive thoughts from your memory bank. “It is clear that any negative thought, if fertilized with repeated recall, can develop into a real mind monster, breaking down confidence and paving the way to serious psychological difficulties” (P.53). It happens that we are not only afraid of circumstances. We do sometimes fear people. To avoid this fear, we have to put people in proper perspective by: (1) Get balanced view of the other fellow and, (2) Develop and understanding attitude. They are just other human beings, probably a very nice people. The attitude of the young hotel clerk toward a commending customer is a fine illustration of an understanding attitude (P.57). To prevent the lost of our self-confidence, the author advises that we have to do what’s right and keep our confidence. “That’s thinking yourself to success” (P.60). And he recalls a psychological principle: “To think confidently, act confidentlyÖAct the way you want to feel”. Then, he gives five confidence-building exercises: (1) Be a front seater; (2) Practice making eye contact; (3) Walk 25 per cent faster; (4) Practice speaking up; and (5) Smile big (Pp. 61-64).

About How to Think Big, I really like this statement which reminds me many souvenirs: “The point is this: Big thinkers are specialists in creating positive, forward-looking, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others. To think big we must use words and phrases which produce big, positive mental images” (P.68). As leaders we are guides. We then have to “practice adding value” to ourselves, people, and things. “It isn’t what one has that’s important. Rather, it’s how much one is planning to get that counts” (Pp.74-75). Through the experience of Jack R., the author illustrates that even stuttering is a detail and triviality in a salesman’s profession if the person has the big qualities. He issues three procedures to help us think about triviality: (1) Keep your eyes focused on the big objective; (2) Ask “Is it really important?” before becoming negatively excitedÖ; (3) Don’t fall into the triviality trapÖconcentrate on important things (P.80).

On Creative Thinking, I believe that these three points are absolutely important for leaders to memorize:

*Traditional thinking is personal enemy number one for a person who is interested in a creative personal success program (P.88). Leaders ought to be innovative by considering other new ideas or by experimenting new ways and processes.

*Big success calls for persons who continually set higher standards for themselves and others, persons who are searching for ways to increase efficiency, to get more output at lower cost, do more with less effort. Top success is reserved for the I-can-do-it-better kind of person (P. 91).

*Big people monopolize the listening. Small people monopolize the talking P. 95). Leaders are Big people. I think these three-stage program to strengthen our creativity is welcome: (i) Encourage others to talk; (ii) Test your own views in the form of questions; (iii) concentrate on what the other person says (Pp. 96-97).

When I was reading chapter 6 (You Are What You Think You Are), chapter 7 (Manage Your Environment: Go First Class), chapter 8 (Make Your Attitudes Your Allies), and chapter 9 (Think Right toward People), I remember that the reason why I was searching for such a study program was to break the attitudes of arrogance, greed and anger, to develop tolerance and cheerfulness in order to become a role model. I think leaders can’t deserve less than that. This is what our fellow employees, colleagues, family members are expecting from us.

When I look back seven years from now, before being Buddhist and recently when I started this program, I find that I was a champion of unfinished businesses. I had many reasons: lack of funds, insufficient knowledge, lack of time, even a bad luck. I could start very inspiring project just to stop it or delay it for these reasons or other kind of obstacles. I am happy to read that, “The test of a successful person is not an ability to eliminate all problems before they arise, but to meet and work out difficulties when they do arise. We must be willing to make an intelligent compromise with perfection lest we wait forever before taking action. It’s still good advice to cross bridges as we come to them” (P. 168). I assume that people that get things done in this word don’t wait for the spirit to move them; they move the spirit (P. 174). Here also Benjamin Franklin was right: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” (P. 176).

My present experience as NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) civil society coordinator for eleven countries helps me understand that people place confidence in the fellow who acts. They naturally assume he knows what he is doing (P. 180). Right vision and initiatives often encounter the agreement of colleagues and superiors.

One quality to be develop by leaders is the courage to turn defeat into victory. Dr. Schwartz writes that the people who lead every branch of our society have experienced every tough situation we can describe. The one thing we can’t match them on is their response to defeat (P. 183). All it took is their persistence to never be defeated. In Buddhism our credo is: “Never give up!” With reference to the biographies and autobiographies of great people, the author says, “It is not possible to win high-level success without meeting opposition, hardship and setback. But it is possible to use setbacks to propel you forward” (P. 184). We must salvage something from every setback. He suggests two ingredients to experiment with persistence to get results: (1) Tell yourself, “There is a way”; (2) Back off and start afresh.

The important things is not where you were or where you are but where you want to go (P.195). in chapter twelve the author stresses the importance of having goals to help us grow. He says: Before you start out, know where you want to go (P.197). Leaders must also have a sound capacity for anticipation: the most important qualification for an executive is the sheer desire to get ahead. in this regard he recalls john Wanamakerís advice: A man is not doing much until the cause he works for possesses all there is of him’ (P. 199). We ought to avoid falling in the trap of the five weapons used to commit success-suicide: (1) self appreciation, (2) Security-itis; (3) Competition; (4) Parental dictation, and (5) Family responsibility (Pp. 200-201). He says Throw away those murder weapons! Remember, the only way to get full power, to develop full go-force, is to do what you want To do. Surrender to desire and gain energy, enthusiasm, mental zip, and even better health’ (P.201). And Energy increase, multiples, when you set desired goal and resolve to work toward that goal (P.201).The process involves specific flexible planning.
Dr Schwartz states: To accomplish something, we must plan to accomplish something. Now, as you press forward to success, set goals: deadlines, target dates, self imposed quotas (P. 203). As we learn the principle that progress in made one step at a time, we discover that the step-by-step method is the only intelligent way to attain any objective. In this process we must be afraid about to talk a detour. “When we detour, we donít have to change our goals. We just travel a different route’ (P.208).

Profit comes from only one source: investment. Two appropriate sound self-investments to pay handsome profits are proposed: (1) invest in education – real education, the kind worth investing in, is that which develops and cultivates your mind (P. 209); (2) invest in idea starters – Purchase those things that build mental power and efficiency (P. 211).
Chapter thirteen, How to Think like a Leader, is based on the four leadership rules or principles: (1) Trade minds with the people you want to influence; (2) Think: what is the human way to handle this? ; (3) Think progress, believe in progress, push for progress; (4) Take time out to confer with yourself.

Rule 1. Trade minds with the people you want to influence the author this is a magic way to get others – friends, associate customers, employees – to act the way you want them to act (P. 213). To put this principle to work for us, we must: (i) consider the other personís situation. Put ourselves in his shoesÖRemember, his interests, income, intelligence, and background may differ considerably from ours, (ii) now ask ourselves, ‘If I were in his situation, how would I react to this? (Whatever it is we want him to do); and (iii) then take the action that would move us if were the other person (P. 217).

Rule 2. Think: what is the human way to handle this? For Dr. Schwartz, people use different approaches to leadership situations: (i) the position of a dictator; the (ii) cold, mechanical, I’m-a-rule-book-operator approach; (iii) Be-human’ approach obviously, it is worth to use Be human’ approach as the experiences John S. and Bob W. demonstrate, if we want to develop our business or to achieve any high level success (Pp. 218-219). Jorge Luis Borges (1999-1986) once stated: dictatorship increases despotism and peopleís slave like nature dictatorship also develops cruelly. However, the most abominable thing about dictatorship is that it encourages stupidity.1
As we choose the be human approach, there are two ways to make us a better leader: (1) each time we face a difficult matter involving people, we do ask our self, ‘What is the human way to handle this? (2) Let our action show we put people first (show interest in our subordinates off-the-job accomplishments) (P. 221).

Rule 3. Think progress, believe in progress, push for progress. Here are two special things we can do to develop our progressive outlook: (1) Think improvement in everything we do; and (e) Thing high standards in everything we do (P 222).

Rule 4. Take time out to confer with yourself and tap your supreme thinking power.
he author argues that leaders are pictured as exceptionally busy people. Moreover, leadership thus requires being in the thick of things. It is noteworthy that leaders spend considerable time alone, alone with nothing but their own thinking apparatus (P. 227). He states that, the point is this: the successful person in any field takes time out to confer with himself or herself. Leaders use solitude to put the pieces of a problem together, to work out solutions, to plan, and in one phrase, to do their super-thinking (P. 227).

The outcome of this attitude is confirmed by the discovery of 13 trainees in a professional development program. They discovered that decisions and observations made alone in managed solitude have an uncanny way of being 100 percent right'(Pp. 228 ñ 229). Then, we must remember that the main job of a leader is thinking and the best preparation for leadership is thinking (P. 229).

3. ConclusionFinancial matters are challenging for some of us. We might be aware of the richness of the conclusion of Dr. Schwartz: ‘think big enough to see that you put service first, money takes care of itself. In the words of Publilius Syrus: A wise man will be master of this mind / A fool will be its slave (P. 232).

At this level of the program, there is a need to underline two facts as personal opinion. First, back to October 2002 I was known for my “cold mechanical, I’m -a-rule-book operator approach – what my relatives and colleagues called a rustle personality. The resolution to change this perception was the likely answer. Not so long after I received the proposal for registration to the international Institute for Global leadership. This was the accomplishment of the principle of when the student is ready, the teacher appears. And when the teacher is ready, the student appears. Second, in July 2003, just sometime after I had written my assessment on ‘Awaken the Giant Within of Anthony Robbins and I started to apply some of its exercises, I have been given a continental responsibility (the Coordination of central Africa civil society for NEPAD). This is the opportunity given to me to apply lessons learned within the program. Right now, the outcome is prodigious.

Love Is Letting Go Of Fear
by Roger Yomba Ngué

In his particular style, Dr Jampolsky considers two essential emotions that condition our life : love and fear. In this book again, he argues that, by applying these concepts to both our professional and personal life, we will begin to experience periods of peace as never dreamed before. The most interesting is that the author based his words on his own personal experience: “Today, I know I am not a victim of the world I see, and therefore tend to take responsibility for whatever I perceive and the emotions I experience”. This is my second Jampolsky’s book after the co-anthored “Change your Mind, change your life” (with Dr Crincions April 1994). Although this is the oldest one its pertinence, accuracy (actualite) double with the accessibility of its style make it highly recommended. Below are the lessons learnt and my remarks.

Lessons learnt and remarks
In his foreword, Hugh Prather Stated: ‘Love itself remains Constant; only the particular body from whom we sometimes come to expect it may change’ (P.9). Here we can easily understand that love is available for each of us but it depending on our state of mind and our interpretation. Love is the contrary of fear. To close his foreword, Pather recalls a pleasant story from a friend which illustrates also that love is hope : ‘And God said, ‘You misinterpret, my son’. It is true that when the times were pleasant I walked beside you and printed out the way. But when the times were difficult, I carried you.’ (P.10).

To experience love, one needs to transform his belief system. The author confesses that ‘many of us … have felt the futility of trying to rid ourselves of frustration, conflict, pain and illness, while still holding on to our old belief systems’ (P.11). Transforn our belief systems also means fulfill the emptiness our spiritual deprivation according to Mother Teresa of calcutta. For Dr Jampolsky, this small book intended to help us remove the blocks to the awareness of loveís presence. (P.13).

Preparation For Personal Transformation
Our life is influenced by our environement, our experience whilch are themselves commanding by fear. ‘Although love is always what we really want, we are often afraid of love without consciously knowing it and so we may act both blind and deaf to loveís presence’. (P17). To experience a personal transformation, there is a need to help ourselves and each other let go of fear. When we let go of fear our life changes and we enter a state of clarity commanded by inner peace and love.

What are the boundaries of our minds? Our minds have only the limitations we place on them. ‘Because our minds have no boundaries, they are actually joined. ….. we limit our minds to using it as our reality’. (P.21) Moreover ‘After our inner voice gives us direction, it will also provide the means for accomplishing whatever is necessary’. (P.28). Our language has also an impact in our daily life. Dr Jampolsky advises to avoid words like canít and impossible which impose limits to ourselves. (P.21).

Ingredients of personal Transformation.
In this chapter the author points out the importance of our perception. It is evident that the transformation most come from ourselves from within. We might not expect or demand a change from others as must accept them as they are: ‘True acceptance is always without demands and expectations’ (P.35). We have to behave as giving help to those who express fear. ‘In order to experience peace instead of conflict, it is necessary to shift our perception. Instead of seeing others as attacking us, we can see them as fearful … It is apparent, then, that to experience peace we must recognize that we do have a choice indetermining what we perceive’. (P.34). The getting motivation leads to conflict and distress and is associated only with lineartime … The giving motivation leads to a sense of inner peace and joy that is unelated to time. (P.36).

The importance of the way we communicate is underlined here as crucial. We must be consistent if we need that our communications with others bring about a sense of joining and empowering. A list of words to avoid is indicated by the author. (P.41).

After he presented fear as something our mind has made up and unreal, Dr Jampolsky reveals that our inner being reflects itself outward.

Lessons for Personal Transformation

2.3.1 Lesson 1: All that I give is given to myself
Expressing the difference between law and the Law of Love, Jerry indicates that the law is based on the belief in scarcity, while love is giving without no expectations. Giving love others is to teach ourselves what we are. He precises that it is no charity on my part to offer forgiveness and Love to others in place of attack as Love and forgiveness are the only gifts I would offer others.

To examples illustrate that there is no time to be ready (letter from Rita P.p.58-61) and that we do not have to seek for guidance outside of ourself to find out what to do (lesson from Mother Teresa) (Pp.61-62).

2.3.2 Lesson 2 : Forgiveness is the key to happiness
Forgiveness means correcting our mis-perception that the other person harmed us. We need to remind ourselves constantly that love is the only reality there is. By choosing forgiveness, we can begin to know that the truth of love is forever present and that by perceiving only Love we can experience happiness (P.65). Because when we cherish grievances we allow our mind to be fed by fear and we become imprisoned by these distortions (P.65). Dr Jampolsky underlines through an experience that : ‘I continue to be impressed by how quickly I experience inner peace when I let go of my attachment to the past belief that someone is guilty and someone is innocent’ (P.68).

2.3.3 Lesson 3 : I am never upset for the reason I think
In this lesson the author recalls the law of cause and effect. He states that Peace of mind begins with our own thoughts and extends outward. It is from our peace of mind (cause) that a peaceful perception of the world arises (effect). (P.72). He precises that we all have the power to direct our minds to replace the feelings of being upset, depressed and fearful with the feeling of inner peace ‘When I recognize that I always have the choice between being fearful or experiencing Love by extending Love to others, I need no longer be upset for any reason’. (P.P.72 & 73). Finally I learn that our pain is caused or became worse when I am fearful and holding a grievance against someone. Then we are not upset for the reason we thought (P.73).

2.3.4 Lesson 4 : I am determined to see things differently
Here our effort must be directed towards the transformation of our belief system. According to the author, if we are willing, it is possible to change our belief system. However, to do so we must take a new look at every one of our cherished assumptions and values from the past. This means letting go of any investment in holding on to fear, anger guilt or pain (P.78). It means … (P78). When we are totally absorbed in giving, we felt no fear as our state of mind is our responsibility which is determined by the choice we make in how we see people and situations. Then, nothing is impossible when we follow our inner guidance, even when its direction may threaten us by reversingt our usual logic.

2.3.5 Lesson 5 : I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts
As the bible says, we commit sins through our words,thoughts and actions (behavior). It’s also clear that living within a certain environment conditions the way we behave. In this section, the author states that by changing our thoughts we are actually changing the cause. And the effect will change automatically (P.85). How is it works? According to Dr. Jampolsky, we can perceive attack outside us only when we have first accepted attack as real within. But usually we try to hide from our consious awareness that the attack we perceive as coming from others actually originated in our mind. In contrary as the Law of causality works we might better choose to replace attack thoughts with Love thoughts in order to stop hurting ourselves.

2.3.6 Lesson 6 : I am not the victim of the world I see
According to the author, to be consistent in achieving inner peace, we must perceive a world where everyone is innocent (P.91). In other words we can understand that our relationship with our fellows must be based in mutual confidence. As what I see without is a reflection of what I have first seen within my own mind (P.91), it is evident that we have to develop a proper self esteem / self confidence.

2.3.7 Lesson 7 : Today I will judge nothing that occurs
Through our studies and social environnent, we have developed a kind of criticism that leads to a fault-finding attitude. Therefore we must be aware that being a fault-finder is totally dependent on our past experiences (P.98). But, to experience unconditional love, we must move from the evaluating part of ourself and hear our strong inner voice saying to ourselves and others, ‘I totally love and accept you as you are’. (P.98). Behaving in such a way we are creating a cause for others to react the same way with us.

2.3.8 Lesson 8 : This instant is the only time there is
Our quest for inner peace should be consider on a daily basis. Each instant of our life should contribute to the attainment of a peaceful present no matter what learned from our past experiences. The author says : ‘The past is over and the future is yet to be peace cannot be found in the past or future, but only in this instant. This instant is the only time there is’ (P.106).

2.3.9 Lesson 9 : The past is over it can touch me not
Jerry says : ‘To let each second be a new birth experience is to look without condemnation on the present … It allows us to breathe in freedom and experience the miracle of love by sharing this mutual release. It allows for an instant of healing where love is ever present, here and now’ (P.112) Most of us are slaves of the (our) burden of the past. We are afraid to make mistakes. Doing so we avoid apportunities to sorround our life. What is expected from us is just the contrary like the parents of the example of page 113.

2.3.10 Lesson 10 : I could see peace instead of this
The choice is between peace and conflict in each instant of our life. Usually we experience conflict because we just look at things in a fragmented portions. Jerry says : ‘When we dwell on past events or anticipate future happenings? we are living in the realm of fantasy’ (P.118). Doing so, we not only place our happiness of unhappiness in external events. We also prevent the magic of life to manifest itself. The shift to make here is to devote ourself on helping someone, to cease to perceive ourself as ill or in pain and find meaning in the statement, ‘to give is to receive’ (P.120). Our happiness, joy as unhapiness and pain spring from within us.

2.3.11 Lesson 11 : I can elect to change all thougts that hurt
The great lesson in this section for me is to face any issue with open mind and love thoughts and celebrate each outcome. Dr Jampolsky states that : ‘If we perceive things not as problem but rather as opportunities for learning, we can experience a sense of joy and well being when the lessons are learned’ (P.124). Here I also remember the principle of : ‘When the student is ready the teacher (master) appears and vice versa’ as we are never presented with lessons until we are ready to learn them.

2.3.12 Lesson 12 : I am responsible for what I see
To what am I putting my attention? What do I choose to see around me? These are some questions that condition our decision, orientation and happinings. The picture of page 128 illustrates that if we choose fear, we can just live in a tiny and unpleasant world. Reverly, when we choose love our world is magnific, joyful and immensely blessed.

In Africa, the context we are living in (poverty, scarcity, bad governance, lack of democracy, stress, etc.) encourages anger and jealousy. Those who have a position within the society are subjects to many kinds of attacks. A leader here needs a lot of diplomacy while dealing with people. He also needs a high level of compassion to remain reliable. Recently I have been driven by a very special young lady late in the night. While she was dropping me at my place, I wonder why she wasn’t afraid to drive back home alone as we live in a war-torn country. She simply answers that : ‘There is nothing that hurt within me, then I can’t be hurt by some external force.’

The Spontaneous Futfillment of Desire
Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngué (Côte d’Ivoire)


Two important questions constitute the core of this book : ‘how does this work ?’ which explores the working dynamics of coincidence, synchronicity and synchrodestiny. And ‘what does this mean for me ?’ Which covers the seven principles of synchrodestiny with the day-by-day plans for using what we learn. Based on his own experience, Dr Deepak Chopra shows how all events or ‘coincidences’ are connected and interrelated. ‘Coincidences’ then contain precious clues about particular facets of our lives that require our attention. Dr Chopra reveals that his own life was defined by the friendship of his father and lady Mountbatten. His father being the then personal physician of Lord Mountbatten, the last Governor-General of the British Empire in India.

The author explains that the final stage of living synchrodestiny occurs when we become fully aware of the interrelatedness of all things, how each affects the next, how they all are in synchrony with one another. ‘In synchrony’ meaning operating in unison as one. Below are my lessons learnt and comments.

II. Lessons learnt and comments

Part one : The Promise of Unlimited Potential

Matter, Mind and Spirit

The author points out the influence of our daily experience and ‘education’ on the previous vision of life: ‘our view of the future becomes constricted. What once lifted our imaginations now weights us down with dread and anxiety. What once left boundlerss becomes narrow and dark’ (P.34).

At the time he reveals that there is a way to regain the soaring joy of unlimited potential. All that is required is the understanding and a willingness to recognize the interrelatedness and inseparability of all things. That is the synchrodestiny. With synchrodestiny, we gain the ability to transform our lives according to our intentions. How? We need to understand the nature of the three levels of existence.

The first level of existence is physical or material, the visible universe. The world we know. Here everything has a beginning, a middle and end, and is therefore impermanent.

At the second level of existence everything consists of information and energy. Which is called the quantum domain. Here it is important to understand that events occur at the speed of light, and at that speed our senses simply cannot process everything that contributes to our perceptual experience (P.37). The reason is that as our senses function so slowly, they are able to register only chunks of this energy and activity, and, of course, these clusters of information become every other physical object in the visible universe.

A zen story shows that only our consciousness is moving instead of things. And ‘as consciousness moves, it imagines the world into existence’ said the zen master (P.42). So, every idea is also energy and information. We imagine our physical body and the whole physical world into existence by perceiving energy soup as distinct physical entities.

The third level of existence consists of intelligence, or consciousness. It is the virtual domain, the field of potential, the universal being, or nonlocal intelligence. This is where information and energy emerge from a sea of possibilities (P.43). Nonlocal because it cannot be confined by a location. It is the organizing force behind all things. According to the metaphysical pioneer Larry Dossey, M.D., nonlocal events are correlated, and this correlation is unmediated, unmitigated, and immediate (P.44). Correlations between events the nonlocal or vitual lever occur instantly, without cause and without any weakening over time or distance.

Synchronicity in nature

Dr. Chopra quotes the example of a flock of birds to illustrate synchronicity : ‘A Single flock of birds can include hundreds of individuals, yet each bird moves in harmony with every other bird without an obvious leader’ (P.60). So is the relationship between a dog and its owner or between twins (PP. 62 & 63) or the ‘entrainment’ observed by researchers in some African tribes. Here mothers have very close relationships with their children, starting with their unborn babies. This relationship is symbolized by a special song that becomes the anchor for the original bond between mother and baby, and even extends beyond death, when the song is sung at the person’s funeral. ‘It creates such an intimate connection that it the baby is somewhere in the bushes and the mother is out in fieds, if the baby feels disconfort of any kind, the mother will experience the same discomfort in her body at that moment (P.65).

Entrainment occurs also between the cells of our body. The author states that ‘studies show that when we’re thinking creatively, or when we are feeling peaceful, or when we’re thinking love, those emotions generate a very coherent electromagnetic field. And that electromagnetic field is resonance where all the cells of the body lock in with each other (P.69). But this entrainment shall be disrupted when disease occur or by the stress that breaks our nonlocal connection with everything else.

If we think of the universe as a single, huge organism, we realize that we are not outsiders to the process, we are part of it, throbbing to the pulse of the universe. Nonlocal intelligence is within us and all around us. ‘The world is like a huge city, reflected in a mirror. So too, the universe is a huge reflection of yourself in your own consciousness’ said Yoga Vasishta, an ancient vedict text (P.73).

The Nature of the soul

Here the author compares the soul to the ocean and he states that each of us is like a wave in that ocean. ‘This vast, unending ocean of possibility is the essence of everything in the physical world. The ocean represents the nonlocal, and the wave represents the local. The two are intimately connected’ (P76). Then if we could learn to live from the level of the soul, we would truly know ourselves as the miracle-makers we are capable of being. Dr Deapak Chopra addresses the issue of how our Karma help to determine who we are. He insisted that our personal soul is shaped by more than Karma. Our relationships play an important role in the construction of our soul. Our relationships start by the correlation between the cells of our body ; but also the interaction between the cells of our body ; but also the interaction between our body and the earths, and globally our environment. The environnement being constisuted by emotions, thoughts. ‘Each emotion is dependent on the context, circumstances, and relationships that define your reality at that moment’ (P.81). From there we reach the notion of ‘quantum leap’. Through an example in physics, Deepak shows that what we are never told about atoms is that when an electron changes orbits, it does not move through space to arrive at its new location … A quantum leap is a change in status from one set of circumstances that takes place immediately, without passing through the circumstances in between. This is to say that we can’t totally predict circumstance of our life as scientists can’t predict change of nature.

When it comes to our personality, Dr Chopra states that personality gets created through selective identifications with situations and through relationships. For him to pursue : ‘According to many of the great spiritual traditions, one of the great truths is that ‘I am the other’, without the other we would not exist’ (P83). This is what we call in Africa ‘Ubuntu’ (I am a human being because of the other). Having said that, let’s come back to the soul. The author defines the soul as ‘the confluence of meanings, contexts, relationships, and mythical stories or archetypal themes that give rise to everyday thoughts, memories, and desires (conditioned by Karma) that create the stories in which we participate’ (P.8).


The intention arises in the nonlocal or universal mind, but it localizes through the individual mind. For its activity intent itself does not arise in the nervous system, although it is orchestrated through the nervous system. And the intent is responsible for more than cognition and perception … Intent is the very basis of creation (P.95). Dr Chopra quotes an ancient Vedic texts (the Upanishads) to illustrate : ‘You are what your desspest desire is. As is your desire so is your intention. As is your intention, so is your will as is your will, so is your deed. As is your deed, so is your distiny’ (PP.95-96). At this level there is a small difference with what I’ve learned from my spiritual beliefs about the triggers of our destiny. Up to now I knew that our destiny is fundamentaly designed by our Karma and the influence of our current environnement or context. Here the author states that ‘Our destiny ultimately comes from the deepest level of desire and also from the deepest level of intention’ (P.96). The two being intimately linked to each other.

Comming back to the intention, Deepak explains that an intention is a way of fulfilling a certain need that we have, whether this need is for material things, for a relationship, for spiritual fulfillment, or for love. He says ‘intention is a thought that you have that will help you fulfill a need’ (P.96). For an intention to be manifest in our physical world, there is a need for it to be constantly repeated.

A specific section from page 99 to 103 explains the differences between the two levels of the soul : the individual soul and the universal soul. It appears from the chart that when we live at the level of the local mind or individual our context is limited and conditioned into habitual ways of thinking and behavior, shaped by individual and collective experience…while the context of a fellow who lives at the level of nonlocal mind or universal – is unconditionned, infinitely correlated, infinitely creative and limitless.

The local mind is ‘active when senses are active because sensory experience is local while the nonlocal mind is always active, but more available to itself when senses are in abeyance or withdrawn, as in sleep, dreams, meditation, drowsiness, trance, prayer’ (PP.102-103). Itís then obvious that the difference between local mind and nonlocal mind is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. Therefore it is important to consider the universal domain. An intention can be fulfilled synchronistically only if it serves the needs of both the local and the nonlocal. ‘The nonlocal intention always evolutionary and therefore moving in the direction of harmonious interactions that serves the larger good’ (P.108).

For a leader it’s very important to have a strong sense of purpose backed up by a strong spirituality. Mature spirituality requires sobriety of awareness immune to criticism and flattery. Spirituality is also to take our needs to the infinite mind and say : I’ll put this at your disposal. I’m not going to worry about it because you, the nonlocal intelligence that resides within me, will take care of it’. (P.117).

Where is the link between intention and good luck? The author states that intention provides opportunities. Good luck is opportunity and preparedness coming together. Thus, we have to be alert to the opportunities. Being alert to should also be considered as surrender. Dr Chopra warns : ‘surrender requires a leap of faith a jump into the unknown’ (P116). To know which of our intentions is likely to be fulfilled, we have to pay attention to the clues provided by the nonlocal mind. Notice the coincidences in our life. Coincidences being messages.

The role of coincidences

According to the author, coincidences are messages from the nonlocal realm, guiding us in the ways to act in order to make our dreams, our intentions manifest. How does it work? We must first have an intention, and then we must get in touch with our spiritual self. Only then we will have a way of using coincidence to fulfill our intentions (P.121). Thus, a miracle is a dramatic example of what happens when we are able to tap into the spiritual domain and apply intention to manifest their destiny. Dr Chopra explains that ‘what most people call luck is nothing more or less than the application of synchronicity to the fulfillment of our intentions'(P.123). Quoting Louis Pasteur, the french scientist, who said ‘chance favors the prepared mind’, He draws up this equation : ‘Opportunity + preparedness = Good luck’ (P.123). This means that when we begin seeing coincidences as life opportunities, every coincidence becomes an opportunity for creativity.

At this level we must be alert on the occurence of coincidences in our life. Ask ourself, ‘what is the message here? What is the significance of this ?’ The answers will emerge. ‘They may arrive as a sudden insight, a spontaneous creative experience, or they may be something very different … an encounter, a relationship, a chance meeting, a situation, a circumstance will immediately give you a clue to its meaning’ (P. 140).

At the same time, we must take the opportunity to view ourself objectively to get little insights into our character. Then, gradually we see correlations, images that repeat themselves both in dreams and in everyday reality. We start to enjoy more opportunities, to have more ‘good luck’ (P. 143). Coincidences may come flying at us from all directions, or they may seem to dry up entirely. To the question ‘how do you find your way in such a complex world ?’ Dr Chopra suggests a five minute daily exercise to let our stream of consciousness, our quieter inner voice, supply the answers … ‘This is the beginning of synchrodestiny’ (P. 145).

To be more specific, the author asks : ‘If you haven’t defined your life’s goal for yourself, what do you do then ?’ and he pursues, ‘to find it, you need only look inside yourself to discover your soul’s purest desire, its dream for your life … then you have a constant beacon, which can make manifest in the form of archetypal symbols’ (P.146).

Desires and Archetypes

We are always asking ourself some questions like : ‘What are my dreams and desires ? Who am I ? What do I want ? What’s my purpose in this lifetime ?’ All these questions aim to give a sense to the Self with capital S. The answers to these questions derive from the individual soul. The author states that in our time on earth, this individual soul will not be fulfilled unless it completes its mythicat quest, which we can think of as the Grand Plan around which our destinies are organized. Inside every human being there is an overarching theme, a template for heroic living, a god or a goddess in embryo that yearns to be born … this is our best self, the egoless self, that bit of the universe acting through us for the good of all (P.148). These heroes and heroines within are the archetypes, perennial themes that reside at the level of the collective, universal soul. And these themes have existed forever. They are born of the collective soul, but they are enacted by individual souls. According to Dr Chopra, the activation of an archetype releases its patterning forces that allow us to become more of what we adready are destined to be. And our individual archetypes are reflected in our desires or intentions (P.150). That’s why we can begin to know our own archetypes and our own destiny only by accessing the will of the universal soul, by looking deep inside and defining our innermost desires, by choosing the archetype that most closely matches our intentions, and following its ancient pattern (P. 152).

About the purpose of archetypes, Deepak refers to Vedic science which says that : ‘Unless you can get in touch with that embryo of a god or goddess incubating inside you, unless you can let that embryo be fully born, then your life will always be mundane. But once that god or goddess expresses itself through you, then you will do grand and wondrous things’ (P. 152). Examples of people who enacted real archetypes include Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and anyone who reaches beyond daily life into the realm of the wondrous. Of course, in Africa we can’t forget to mention Nelson Mandela among these special people. My concern is to know if we can also mention Jesus, Buddha and other religious and lightened people. The answer to this concern appears later on to the sixth stage of consciousness in page 257.

About the way to finding our archetypes, Dr Chopra mentions that ‘[You] do not choose who you wish to be, or even which qualities you most admire, but seek out the qualities that you feel drawn to, that motivate you, that inspire you. You will know them when you find them. Best of all, there are no wrong answers’ (P. 155).

Part two : Paving Destiny’s Path

The second section of this book covers a sort of guidelines to experiment the lessons learnt in the first section. This is specificaly the case from chapter seven: Meditation and Mantras (P.167) to chapter fourtheen, the seventh Principle : Accessing the Conspiracy of Improbabilities (P. 242).

For the buddhist worshiper I am, I don’t have a lot of comments about this. But I note that the back up spiritual statements are the amalgamations of Buddhism, Brahmanism and modern sciences (Physics and Botanism). The most important lesson here is on the oneness ot the human beings and the nature. Here also the author addresses the issues of lucidity and realism : Below are some relevant statements :

‘The core of my being is the ultimate reality, the root and ground of the universe, the source of all that exists’ (P. 182).

‘We are all multidimensional, omnidimensional. Everything that exists somewhere in the world also exists in us. When we are synchronized in the nonlocal intelligence field, we take on the power that emanates from within, and when you have it, nothing is beyond your reach’ (P. 201).

‘our intentions attract the elements and forces, the events, the situations, the circumstances, and the relationships necessary to fulfill the intended outcome’ (P. 207).

‘The best way to create that harmony [of synchronicity] is by nurturing an attitude of simple gratitude … part of creating harmony involues abandoning grievances of all kinds’ (P. 210).

Emotional turbulence is a major barrier to the spontaneous fulfillment of desire, but it is possible to transform negative energy into a higher level of awareness”(P. 217).

‘Although our natural instinct is to avoid pain, we must deal with it when it occurs ; otherwise, it will resurface later in life in some form of emotional turbulence. The form it takes may be different from what you expect, but it will resurface, perhaps as insomnia or illness, or anxiety, or depression’ (P.222).

The last chapter, Living Synchrodestiny, emphazises the role of the nonlocal domain. Dr Chopra states that synchrodestiny allows us to make the miracles happen, without limits, without end. It does this by gently and progressively mudgind us from the local to the nonlocal domain. In the nonlocal domain we have an unlimited supply of knowledge, of inspiration, of potential, of creativity and infinite correlation : inner security, free of anxiety, free to be the person we were meant to be. He precises that : ‘You have access to an infinite supply of everything the universe has to offer. Whatever else happens in your life, you are calm, secure, and infinitely blessed’ (P. 252).

In order to tap in the nonlocal domain, he advises to practice meditation and review the daily Sutra statements, and in time we will find ourself connected with spirit in a way that makes miracles not only possible, but a natural part of our everyday life (P. 253).

Synchrodestiny is embodied in the consciousness. There are seven states of consciousness according to Vedanta. All of these seven states of consciousness have not been thoroughly investigated by modern medical researchers. Namely they are : (1) Sleeping, (2) Dreaming, (3) Wakefulness, (4) The gap, quiet moment between our thoughts during meditation, (5) Cosmic consciousness, (6) Divine consciousness, and (7) Unity consciousness.

To comment but just a little, I noted that, must of us experience only the first three stages because we are in a very early stage of human evolution (P. 254). People who meditate regularly experience the fourth state in which cortisol and adrenaline levels decrease, stress reduces, blood presure goes down, and immune function improves (PP. 255 – 256). The fifth state is called cosmic consciousness because we have two qualities to our awarseness, local and nonlocal, at the same time. When this state is achieved, our brain waves have the quality of meditation even when they are engaged in activity (PP. 256-257). In the sixth state of consciousness the witness becomes more and more awake. But this is not a constant state of consciousness for most people. We move in and out of it. And all the great prophets and seers, including Jesus Christ, Buddha, many yogis, and many saints, lived in divine consciousness (P. 257). The seventh stage of consciousness is also called the ultimate goal and can also be called enlightenment. When this happens, there’s a complete transformation of the personal self into the universal self. In this stage, miracles are commonplace [and] the infinite realm of possibility is available at every moment. We transcend life and death. We are the spirit that always was and always will be (PP. 257-258).

To conclude with synchrodestiny, the author states that ‘the ultimate goal of synchrodestiny is to expand your consciousness and open a doorway to enlightenment’ (P. 260). When this realization dawns, we ‘have become a being that radiates love the same way the sun radiates light. You have finally arrived at the place from which your journey began’ (PP. 261-262).


While concluding this assessment, I remember a discussion we held last week with my Buddhist fellows about, the Six Paramitas of Mahayana Buddhism (Refer to Fundamental principles of buddhism). Namely these Six Paramitas are : (1) Gift i.e the practice of goodwill donations both spiritual and material ; (2) Observance of the ‘preceptes’ i. e respect fairly the established principles ; (3) Hardship i.e to maintain the practice with patience whether there are oppositions or difficulties ; (4) Accuracy i.e constantly make efforts with a pure spirit in order to advance on the correct way ; (5) Meditation i.e to concentrate our spirit and contemplate the thuth with a quiet hearth ; and (6) Acquisition of wisdom i.e to acquire suffisant wisdom to perceive the true nature of everything and recognize correctly the truth.

With our discussion we came to the conclusion that the aim of these six paramitas was to reach the enlightenment through their practice. But the Lotus Sutra, which is the supreme among the sutras, reveals that believing in the unique law, the mystic law, the causality (law of cause and effect) we will undubtedly obtain the good fortune as we should by practicing these six paramitas, and, more over, reach quickly the enlightement. Shall we say the like about the seven stages of consciousness ?

Let’s finally end the assessment with this very interesting statement from the book : ‘If a critical mass of people were to express their expanded selves, not only would they spontaneously fulfill their personal desires, they would change the very way, culture articulates itself. In such a transformed culture the emphasis would be on service rather than on greed, cooperation instead of competition, open hearts instead of only markets. Cultural hallmarks would be nonviolent conflict resolution, compassion, humility, peace and social and economic justice’ (P.265).

Roger Yomba N.

Unlimited Power – he science of achievement
Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngué (Cote de Ivore)

I. Introduction

This is the second Tony Robbins book I read . Here, he emphasizes the power of an effective communication and the sucess building psychology. Robbins uses his incredible experience to communicate some relevant keys of sucess such as ‘ The Seven Lies of Sucess; Mastering your Mind; How to Elicit someoneís strategy; The syntax of sucess; Energy : Fuel of excellence; The Magic of Rapport; Refraiming: The power of pespective; Value Hierachies; The five keys to wealth and happiness; Living Excellence: The human challenge’

II. Comments and Remarks

Unlimited power is about how to capture love and the spirit of people and how from our weaknesses we develop our strengths. So many things happened to me while readind this book. Both in my social and professional life. In one of the organizations I am working with some guys planned a conspiration for my rejection as national coordinator and they failed. In my social or private life I experienced the threat of misunderstanding that was just about to create tension with my lover.

2.1 Experiencing the conspiracy of weaked people

Since I started working with West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, my major tasks were to structure the national network of CÙte díIvoire and to design and draw up project and programs. Mr Robbins said: ‘With powerful beliefs, you have the power to take action and create the world you want to live in . Beliefs help you see what you want and with energie you will to get it ‘ (P. 55). Having that in mind , I set as key priority the design of a project that should give its autonomy to our network.

The opportunity came with a project proposal to submit to European Union Commission. This took me 3 weeks of hard work to elaborate with my staff and the regional secretariat. In the same time my board chair found nothing else than to create confusion. He sent a lot of mails to our regional supervisors to warn them that I was doing nothing more than to try to take advantage on his authority.

The situation worsen at the stage we were oblige to resign from our positions and allow our supervisors to launch a process to recruit a new network national coordinator and conduct election for a new chairperson. Robbins writes that ‘Everything happens for a reason and purpose, and it serves us’ (P. 70). At this point I couldnít help but to recall all the knowledge learnt within IIGL. I knew that the solution was not our resignation but the necessity to support the restruturing of our network.

An anonymous said that ‘winning starts with the beginning’ (P. 201). We were therefore allow to stand for the same positions after the review of both our constitution and by laws. What I had to do was to pursue my task of consolidating the project proposals. From here we went through a difficut an hostile process of amendements. According to 1 Corinthians 14:40 ‘Let all things be done decently and in order’ (P.112 ).
Before long, my colleague sent his letter of resignation as board chair to the vice president with copies to our donors and partners in an attempt to instal misperception and disregard. Unfortunatly for him, the project submitted to European Union was selected with the rank of 1st ex-acquo. Whatsoever, I went, once more through the recruitment process . Obviously, I applied the Magic of Rapport (PP. 230-252).

The author writes that ‘If , when you go in for a job interview, you match and mirror the interviewer, heíll like you immediately ‘ (P. 252). I had five interviewers and I did it perfectly for three of them. I was worth with 31/40 marks while my challenger had 24/40. In annual midterm review that took place recently, the Executive Director of the regional secretariat recognized that Roger is the National Coordinateur who made incredible shift during the last quater. And my income is about to be doubled. I am working now with a new collabotated board. The point is to always give more than you expect to receive.

2.2 Effective communication works

Early in August my lover who is living in central Africa experienced the lost of her mother. The challenges I was facing couldnít allowed me to make it to support her during such a harsh time. I then planned to visit her in the second week of September. By the time going, I realized that donors requested my presence all along september to follow up the process of the contract negotiation. I then decided without any consultation with my lover that Iíll make the trip between 21 and 29 August. I was wrong.

Robbins writes : ‘when you deal with others, a certain amount of trial and error is inevitable. You canít direct the behavior of others with the speed, certainty, and effectiveness with which you control your own results’ (P. 276). When one Monday I called to inform the young lady that ‘I WILL VISIT YOU NEXT SATURDAY’ she just said: ‘Oh well, thatís great! But Iím leaving tomorrow for a two weeks mission until 31 August. Iíve accepted this mission last Friday as you planned to be there only in september’. I feld disappointed. I therefore realize that it was my fault due to an uneffective communication. I then remember Robbins : ‘Nothing has any power over me other than that which I give it through my consciens thoughs’ (p 85 ). And ‘You can persuade better through agreement than through conquest’ (P. 287). Celine Dion the famous Canadian singer pointed it out that : ‘from my weakness I developed my strengh’. Thatís is my continous challenge.

III Conclusion

The Magic of thinking big gave me an agenda (life schedule). Unlimited Power transmitted relevant materials for communication and formulas in sucess planning and reframing. I read this book at the time I was facing strong resistance from my colleagues to develop an operational organization for peace building . It helps me to keep quite while consolidating my leadership skills and expertise in programs and project management . Iam happy to say that a pennyless guy I was up to 15 months now, I just succede in drawing up an operational 500†000 euros, 18 months program with the European Union commission. My reluctant colleagues are now unanimous that under my leadership we made a tremendous shift. By applying the tools of the Magic of rapport (chapter XIII), I succeded to avoid the colapse of my relationship with my fiancÈe that was treathing by challenges of effective communication.

To quote Celine Dion again, ‘Donít surrender ëcause you can win in the same battle’. Everett Dirksen was certaintly right: ‘Life is not a static thing. The only people who do not change their minds are incompetents in asylums who canít and those in cimeteries’ (P. 289).

Giant Steps
Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngué (Côte d’Ivoire)

I. Introduction
This Robbins other book is certainly a review of the thoughts we found in Awaken the Giant Within and in Unlimited Power, and some additional thoughts I read for the first time. The design (format and presentation) makes it look like a diary with appropriate daily advices for positive mental attitude. This is a kind of book we can easily recommand to others, even those who donít like reading.

II. Comments and Lessons learned
When I read this book, I simply want to say: ‘Yes, this is Robbins Magic?’ Going throughout its pages I became more aware of some situations faced by my relatives as well as how lucky I am to have been able to avoid some negative influences in my life. As he writes, ‘The peolpe we spend time with have a powerful influence on our perceptions of who we are’ (P.338).

2.1 There is always justifications to failure
Here I remember perfectly the self destructive attitude of two of my relatives. Iíll call them Jane and Dick.

Jane is 36 year old, mother of a very handsome one year son. She holds a college certificate in Accountancy and she works as social secretary in a small business. She is always complaining about her salary which just serve to pay transportation. Jane lives with a medical doctor (father of her son) but they are not married. When I started my personal activities she was reminding me each time we met that I was loosing my time because I was not graduate from any famous learning institution or ‘you donít have money to own this business. Youíll better do this or that’. She was wasting her time as I decided to make the history. As Tony Robbins said: ‘You and I make our lives one of these legendary inspirations, as well, simply by having courage and the awareness that we can control whatever happens in our lives’ (P.20).

To avoid her negative attitude I use to avoid Jane for months. When I started to make the difference, she assumed that I am more fortunate or influenced by Buddhist practice which is an evil one. Here the author writes that: ‘In reality [ those in whom we see greatness ] have utilized a greater depth or their human resources simple because failing to be, do, and share their all would be the ultimate pain for them’ (P.53).

Dick is 35 and he still lives with his parents because ‘he is not fortunate’. He usually assumes that he is an unlucky person always treathen by illness or misfortune when he stars any action. This man is controlled by negative associations. When I applied for leadership studies, I sent a message to Dick asking him to apply. I knew the positive effects he should have earn since then. But my man answered that he has no mean to complete this kind of study that requires the use of ICT.

Robbins responds that: ‘How we deal with adversity shapes our lives more than almost anything else. Achievers usually see problems as transitory, while those who fail usually see even the smallest problems as everlasting…’ (P. 99). He pursues with the antidotes to these debilitating beliefs: ‘For today, remember this, too, shall pass’ and ‘if you keep persisting, you will find a way’ (P.99). All the small brothers of my cousin are engineers, M.D, manager. He argues that they are lucky or genius eventhough he holds himself a certificate in Insurances management. The author writes that: ‘True genius is the ability to marshal our most potent resources simply by putting ourselves in a state of absolute certainty’ (P.95). He precises in the same page that: ‘Clearly, we are more likely to succeed in any arena if we are not only committed to achieve a result, but also absolutely certain we can do so’.

You can do it if you really want

Since I was teenager, I have a good friend of mine who is now a M.D. This guy has a strange history. His father left our country for Spain early in is life. My friend and his small brother grew up with the meagre resources of their mother. The mother was selling, and still does, tomatoes in a small market to support her family. I discovered this family when I was 15. I was shocked by their situation (income, poor housing, separation of parents). My family was then relatively fortunate.

I became friend of the future M.D because he was smart and was 16. I rapidly discover that this family was living the challenge of success. They didnít feel disappointed by their situation. Robbins writes that: ‘If we donít deal with situations that are making us uncomfortable, often they grow into fear. The emotions of fear, apprehension, worry, and anxiety are simply a call to action telling you that you need to be more prepared for whatís about to occur’ (P.192). They were fighting for success.

When he passed his G.C. A level, my friend applied for the exam of entry to the medical school. In my country this exam is renown for the level of corruption that surrounds its deliberations. Iím not happy to say this but this is our reality. To be sincere, I wasnít optimistic that my friend could succeed. He did and make it true that ‘Trying to achieve the pleasure of success without risking the pain of rejection would never work'(P.289). This friend and his mother are role models because they demonstrated that we can make possible a situation shown as impossible.

III. Conclusion
These three illustrations I mention in this assessment prove that we have the power to direct our life towards what we committed ourselves to. There is no fixed reality that we are unable to change. But we can as well justify our weaknesses to ourselves while blaming others or the nature to be unjust with us. Some will say ‘This is the reality’. Robbins points out that: ‘Great leaders are rarely ërealisticí by other peopleís standards. They are, however accurate and intelligent ‘ (P.78).

These stories are also some of the most important lessons Iíve learned in my life. They inspire me to move towards great expectations to contribute to the world peace and to the African Renaissance during my lifeís span. Undoubtedly I will experience this though of Mr. Robbins: ‘The feeling of contribution you would get from that experience would give you a greater sense of fulfilment and joy than anything youíve ever felt in your life’ (P.395).


Key to success: the 17 principles of personal achievement
Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngué Côte d’Ivoire


In this book, talking about the Controlled Attention and the Other Principles of Success, Napoleon hill indicates that: ‘What I call the Law of Harmonious Attraction means that forces and things which are suited to the needs of one another have a natural tendency to come together.’ (P. 138). One of my best achievements in 2004 is the NEPADís ‘Award for individual Achievement’ received on the 22 October at the Sandton International Convention center during a sumptuous ceremony which gather more than 1000 and amounted four head of states (including President Mbeki and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Nkosazane Dlamini Nzuma of South Africa). My comments and remarks on this book will be entirely base on this important event in my life.

II. Comments and Remarks

2.1 Assemble an Attractive Personality ñ Control Your Attention (humility and dedication for others and the continent)

Should I be worth if been born in a wealthy family as Donald Trump? While asking this question to myself, it seems to me that there is only one answer: Those who come from a bottom line as me and who are aware of their mission to create values within the society have nothing to do but to build a Positive Mental Attitude to sustain their life and make impact. If all these people could joint their shoulders there is no doubt that another world will be possible. According to Mr. Hill, it is imperative that we develop the habit of being sensitive to our own reactions to individuals, circumstances, and events and to reactions of individuals and groups to what you say, think, or do. (P.217). Develop a pleasing personality to ourselves and to others.

My story with the African continent started exactly at the time I sent a letter of support to the then vice-president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, when he made his Call to the Revolution for the African Renaissance in August 1998. What I expressed at that moment was just my willingness to joint the Caravan for this Renaissance. After a continuous benevolent cooperation with the South African Embassy in Abidjan, I had the opportunity and honor to pay an official visit to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pretoria three years later. I was so fortunate to visit prominent institutions and met with many diplomats. The links were established.

2.2 Cultivate a Creative vision
When I was appointed NEPAD civil society coordinator for Central Africa, my first task was to propose a designation of national coordinations within the eleven countries of the region. To be sincere it was a tough issue as I didnít know experienced and dedicated people from all these countries. But I guessed that it was possible and I started screening databases of international organizations and the UN system agencies. This ended with a proposal of steering committees for seven countries. From these committees I got recommendations for two other countries while reinforcing the previous ones.

2.3 Think Accurately ñ with PMA and Inspire Team Work
The author stated that Accurate thinking depends heavily on several other principles of success: definiteness of purpose, self-discipline, prompt decision making, and positive mental attitude. ‘Be careful of otherís opinions. They could be dangerous and destructive. Make sure your opinions are not someone elseís prejudices. The accurate thinker learns to use his or her own judgment and to be cautious no matter who may endeavor to influence him or her’.(P.224) The treat in my work with NEPAD comes from my principal adviser, a Ph.D. senior economist, who thought that these people were using us for nothing even when I ensured him that we needed to prove that we match the vision and we just needed some incentive to improve our services. Napoleon Hill warns us that with a mastermind alliance, a small group of people shares the same burning obsession, enthusiasm, imagination and knowledge. But even though the Teamwork establishes much the same relationship, it requires much effort on our part to maintain commitment to the work we seek from others since it involves working with people who probably donít have the same burning obsession we do. (P.148)

Regardless of his attitude, I decided to use my salary to motivate my constituency in Central Africa and to keep proposing a way forward and the promise of solution to our various obstacles. This resulted in a continental Award to a young man from the ground with just a little standard education among two individuals. The other one being the chairman of the African Business Roundtable and Chairperson of NEPAD Business Group, a former Nigerian minister of infrastructures.

Napoleon Hill once says ‘Acknowledge that the space you occupy in this world is in exact ratio than the quantity and quality of the service you render for the benefit of others, plus the mental attitude in which you render it. During the conferment ceremony of the Award, the NEPAD General Manager for Communication and Outreach presented the awardee, Roger Yomba, as an example of African Youth fully committed and involved in the process of the African Renaissance.

2.4 A recognition of a Creative vision and the dedication to excellence
Hill states that: ‘Creative vision belongs only to people who have the habits of going the extra mile, for it recognizes no nine-to-five working hours and it isnít concerned with monetary rewards. Its aim is doing the impossible'(P. 165). I was worth to welcome congratulations from many acquaintances and colleagues. Two of them were profoundly significant. One from my role model in Peace and Conflict resolution, Mr. Sam Gbaydee Doe, the former Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and another one from my colleague Levinia.

My Dear Brother, It is with great joy that†I read this heart-warming news!† Certainly there is no doubt in my mind that you deserve this.† You have demonstrated your commitment to the struggle for peace in many ways.† I am so proud of you and this great achievement.† WANEP is lucky and honour to have you as its leader in Cote d’Ivoire. May the good Lord keep you energized for the struggle. Your brother, Sam (


III. Conclusion
It’s usually happen to me to experience that ‘when a man makes up his mind to solve any problem, he may first meet opposition he will be sure to find some sort of solution (P.145). A famous reggae star once sang that ‘you can do it if you really want; but you must try; try and try And you can succeed well’ The author writes : ‘In all my experiences, I do not recall having ever found the solution to any problem connected with my work on my first attempt. And on of the most surprising things is the fact that when I have discovered the thing for which I am searching, I generally find that it has been within my reach all the time; but nothing except persistence and will to win would have revealed it'(P. 146). For me the journey has just begun and I am still trying to find my way to make impact during my lifespan and in the future. With the opportunity to learn leadership toward the IIGL there is no doubt that the success is around the corner.

The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons, Vol. 1 (Lessons 1-7)
Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngué (Côte d’Ivoire)

I. Introduction

In level I studies, the most powerful book I read is Anthony Robbinís Awaken The Giant Within. For me without any doubt, the Napoleon Hill’s The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons, is the Number one of level II: rich, attractive and resourceful. I enjoyed to much the quote to start every chapter: ‘You Can Do It if You Believe You Can’ which match perfectly my philosophy. My comments on this volume One will be based on some relevant lessons which match specific concerns in my own life.

II. Lessons learnt

2.1 Establish The Master Mind Alliance
When you born in an environment where the trend of life is procrastination, the first challenging mission for a future leader is to establish a Master Mind Alliance. The author states that ìA negative environment such as that existing where some member of the family is constantly ìnaggingíí, will interfere with the chemistry of the mind to such an extent that the individual will lose ambition and gradually sink into oblivionî (Lesson One, P.89). For the author, ìFinancial difficulties and unrequited love affairs head the list of causes of such mind disturbanceî. I learnt that good health results in a harmony of food combination and harmony of mind. So we might avoid all that disorganizes our energy. It is still a big challenge for me as I decided to build a Master Mind alliance from around the world. But in my opinion things are usually putting themselves on the right way since we take the decision and establish our Chief Aim.

2.2 A Definite Chief Aim
When I was a secondary school student, my dream was to become someone who will guide others and help them to solve their problems. I couldnít know that this was an aspiration to become a leader. I thought this should be possible if I learnt psychology. I then open a discussion with one of my cousins to let her know my embarrassment. Finally, the discussion turn under the conflict to learn Psychology against the need to have specialize knowledge in a field that secure a lucrative profession.

My cousin was already a college student. For her it was obvious that the trend of our society needed nothing else than to learn Applied sciences, Economics or allied sciences for us to be useful to our family and the society. I have chosen to learn marketing and business management and I joined the private sector. I was not satisfy because my aim wasnít to make money but to make a strong contribution to the society. Sometimes I thought to joint priesthood until I discovered that we should make impact within the civil society organizations. The author writes that ìYou are fortunate if you learned the difference between temporary defeat and failure; more fortunate still, if you have learned the truth that the very seed of success is dormant in every defeat that you experienceî.(Lesson Two, P. 88)

It wasnít easy as I had to invest in a not-for-profit business. By the time being I am now convinced that the success is around the corner. ìNo man ever achieved worth-while success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure.î(Lesson Two, P 64)

2.3 Self ñConfidence
As a very young man, it happened to me to be suspected HIV positive. This came one day when were called to supply a clinic with blood for my grand mother to go through surgery. Sometime after the blood delivery, the interns issued the results of blood test for each of us. Before I went to collect mine, my brother came to me and said: ìMan , I went to the hospital to collect my results. I am very sorry but the interns confessed to me that you are HIV positiveî. This was wrong. Because, due to the medical secret nobody can do that. I was a young man without experience. But It is clear that I had the fear to be HIV positive as this results to a mortal syndrome. When I went to the Clinic I effectively came across a result stated that my blood shown a suspect indicators of HIV positive. They recommended me to pass through the test again. What I did three times before they issued the results of HIV negative. Today I am voluntary blood donor. I think that this episode was guided by my mindset. The lack of self-confidence and openness to others influence.

2.4 The Habit of Saving
ìYou are a human magnet and you are constantly attracting to you people whose characters harmonize with your ownî.(Lesson Four, page 10). My little experience shown me that when I think accurately to something and I start the saving of some income to realize it, another opportunity arises that permit me to boost the process to make money. Because I need more money to realize a duty.

2.5 Initiative and Leadership ñ Imagination
When I was young, I was very curious to know why some people were so powerful and strong than others. One day, while my family was facing dire moments, I asked to my mother: ìMum, why are you not a cabinet minister nor a powerful businesswoman in this country?î Mother answered: ìBecause each one has his or her own destinyî I became so embarrassed and I made it my challenge that my destiny will be a bright one. This motivated my quest to read the bios of successful people.

My mother was she wrong as the author says: ì The space you occupy and the authority you exercise may be measured with mathematical exactness by the service you render.î? (lesson five, P. 76). It seems to me that as my mother died in an impoverished situation and had never been happy in love, she belonged to this category of people Elbert Hubbard expressed like ìthere are those who do the right thing only when necessity kicks them from behind, and these get indifference instead of honors, and pittance for payî (lesson five, P. 72). Mother placed a lot of trust in other people and I have never seen her deserved a right recognition.

When I started work as NEPADís* regional coordinator for civil society, I did it in a benevolent basis. As far as I made sound proposals, partners became generous with incentives. Last December 2004, Iíve been invited by UNDP** at Bangui (Central African Republic) for the Set up of the National Civil Society coordination for NEPAD. I had a very good surprise when I met with the Person in charge to know that I had the opportunity to negotiate my honoraries. This was my true first contract as international consultant with UNDP. Previously I had worked indirectly with I had euro 200 as honorary for 2 days. My mission lasted 8 days and the gentleman: ìwe will give you $275 per day.î I said to myself :îWow, $ 1650 in 8 days. This is the best.î And I needed this money. I mentioned this to show that my other colleagues Regional coordinators are still waiting seed money to start effective work on the ground. But I did propose the way by sending Terms of Reference from my imagination to partners and stakeholders for them to give the opportunity implement my activities. UNDEBTEDLY IMAGINATION WORKS. I highly appreciated the experience of Dr. Harper, former president of the University of Chicago. (Lesson Six, PP. 51-56).

III. Conclusion

To be frank with myself, I know that I am still not have reached the right pace of leadership, initiative and imagination that I should do. Is it the influence of my environment that still having impact on me? I do recognize that I have a little knowledge of men. But with courage, I guess I will have more opportunity to learn about men. I think my compass will be the way my wife and children greet me on my homecoming. Be it affectionately or not. In lesson two, the author states that : “Anyone can START”, but only the thoroughbred will ëFINISHíî. I absolutely agree with the author that the worlds we are using and our behavior affect the results we achieve in our life and in the life of some other person. The challenge is not to be diverted by any kind of sorrow or intolerance.

The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons, Vol. 2 (Lessons 8-16)
by Roger Yomba Ngué (Côte d’Ivoire )

I. Introduction
In level I studies, the most powerful book I read is Anthony Robbin’s Awaken The Giant Within. For me without any doubt, the Napoleon Hill’s The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons, is the Number one of level II: rich, attractive and resourceful. I enjoyed to much the lessons on Concentration, co-operation and Failure. However my comments on this volume Two, as for volume One, will be base on some relevant lessons that match specific concerns in my own life as the conclusion tries to state.

II. Lessons Learned

2.1 Self-Control (Lack of sufficient)

We are sometimes tempted to respond to any abuse by a counterpart of abuse. The author refers to it here as the Law of Retaliation. He writes accordingly that ‘When an angry person starts in to vilify and abuse you, justly or unjustly, just remember that if you retaliate in a like manner you are being dawn down to that person’s mental level, therefore that person is dominating you!’ (Lesson Eight, P. 57)

Here comes the question of where is the limit of our weakness? It happens to appear that in daily life some successful fellows have a special temper. I will refer here to Donald Trump, the American multibillionaire and Gordon Brown, the British chancellor of the exchequer. To a question on his bad temper and the last time he screamed at an employee, Donald Trump answered that: ‘It might have been two days ago, but it wasn’t out of anger; it was a method of getting them to do a better ob. Sometimes that works better than honey. I don’t actually have a bad temper. I call it controlled violence (Interview by Play Boy November 2004, Pp. 59-68).

Recently the pan African magazine, L’Intelligent, commenting on Gordon Brown as one of those who will make the history of the year 2005, presented the workaholic finance minister as an hyperactive, brilliant, inflexible, anguished and impulsive. They quoted Andrew Rawnsley of The Observer who once wrote that: ‘Brown lives each day as if it was the last one’ They pursued that ‘In private, Gordon Brown is able to be both charming and odious, smart and anguished, attentive and scornful. According to the journalist, Tony Blair [British Prime minister] ought to respond to those who complain about that :’This is the price for his [Gordon Brown] High level intelligence’ (LíIntelligent, 26 December 2004 ñ 8 January 2005, Pp. 34-35).

In the matter of leadership, how far shall we go between self-control and controlled violence?

2.2 Doing more than Paid for and Building a pleasing personality

The author quotes Emersonís Compensation ‘The law of Nature is, Do the thing and you shall have the power; but they who do not the thing have not the power.’ (Lesson Nine, P.115). I totally agree with him here as by experience this happened to me in the near past. Last October 2004, I was awarded the NEPAD (New Partnership for Africaís Development) personal achievement together with the African Business Roundtable chairperson, Minister Alhadj Bamangar Tukur. Surprisingly as it should sound, two people have been recognized at the continental level for their benevolent involvement in the promotion of the Africaís development. Even though the Award was not accompanied by a check, an opportunity of better reward arose.

During the conferment ceremony, I sat at the same table with a senior Canadian diplomat. The lady came to be very interested by this achievement and we became friends. It happened that we were lodged in the same hotel and we had to spent three more days after the event. During our discussion, I used this opportunity to explain clearly my vision and action plan to this distinguished person and I answered to a number of questions. The day before we left for our respective country, the diplomat made a wonderful proposal to me: ‘Depending on your choice, I will talk to people of the Canadian department of Foreign affairs to sponsor your salary through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). What you are doing for NEPAD is one of the areas of our support to this organization. They haven’t use a budget we grant to them last year. We will recommend your service to them if they come back to us for another grant. You can choose whether to joint the NEPAD Secretariat to come to Ottawa to work with CIDA. What I request from you is your Terms of reference with a salary proposal that suits you’. I just said to myself: ‘Wow!’

2.3 Tolerance : learn from adversity and Defeat

In my position as a Network Coordinator, it happened a certain time when I had a very strong misunderstanding with my Board and some member organizations. The issues were related to the management style and procedures. We won a grant from an international funding agency I had previous experience while working with another organization. I worked this grant referring to this experience. When we won it I started to organize the team job descriptions, my board felt that I was trying to by-pass them and to recruit other people instead of our members. The misunderstanding go further at the point where the Board asked for the recruitment of another Coordinator. The cause of this hunger was that my board needed to find an opportunity to earn some money within the project. They didn’t care about the skills or the management performance. They needed to improve their income.

I had to respect some guiding principles for project management and supervision and I had to satisfy member organizations. But I didn’t care about to me removed or not. Because I am the one who wrote the project proposal and knew the subtleties of the Detailed implementation Plan and furthermore I was conducted negotiation with donors. At this period it should have been very helpful to me to refer to the following statement: ‘Remember this, when things go against you, that of all the expressions you carry in your face the light of joy shines farthest out to sea’ (Lesson Fourteen, page 16).

When presented the case to the Network international Executive Director. The boss called me for a discussion and advised me that I had to agree with these fellows. He said: ‘What you need is to convince them that they will be involved in the project implementation by one way or another. But each one according to his experience and skills. Be ensured that no ne without appropriate skill will be employed by this project. Don’t worry, we will ask to other people to make the recruitment under the approved Job description’. He ended the discussion by these words : ‘Roger, You know that these people haven’t your understanding nor your vision and somehow your skills. But we are all learning. Fortunately, you are the responsibility to build their capacity. They will only recognize your value when this task will end. Right now, you have just started’.

Having said that, he also called our Board chair and made it clear that : ‘Any member of the Board can’t apply for a position of program officer . It should not be well interpreted by our partners. But you are those who will direct the implementation of the project through quarterly monitoring and the approval of the budget for each activity. Furthermore, don’t forget that your National Coordinator is the one who wrote the proposal and we need him to remain and lead the process. We shouldn’t do that and we will lose the grant.’ So the chairman reported to me.

The point was clarified. I then realize that what these people needed was to feel that they are important and see the opportunity to have some incentives even though they can’t do the job. I reconsidered the case with more humility and dedication. Faber once stated that: ‘There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding joy everywhere, and of leaving it behind them everywhere they go’ (Lesson Fifteen, page 55).

2.4 The Golden Rule

The author writes that : ‘For more than twelve years I have been observing the manner in which men behave themselves when in possession of power, and I have been forced to the conclusion that the man who attains it in any other than the slow, step-by-step process, is constantly in danger of destroying himself and all whom he influences’. (Lesson Sixteen, P.95).

A misunderstanding occurred between a friend of mine and myself. The fellow said to me one day that she was very excited to sue me to court and transform my life into a hell just for the joy of doing that. Not for any material reward. My fault was that I had chosen to tie my life with a person I thought should understand me better as I intended to do with her. The other lady argued that I betrayed her love as she was only wishing to make me happy, to honor me and on and on. But the reality was that her love – or herself – was extremely violent and it hasn’t convince me that this was the right way I should have spend all my life. I told the young lady that I should be very happy to know that she found a man who will love her and take care of her. That my love for her inspires me only to wish the best for her life. I resisted all her attempts to worsen our relationship. Two weeks after our last ‘dispute’, the lady come back to me just to announce that she was pregnant. I yelled:’Oh my lord, is it the reason why you were so anguished . What should have happen if we went to the court. What should you say to our child?’. Is it arguable for us to use to power of love to hurt other people?

In Africa we have this concept of ‘Ubuntu’ [the Humanness] which means I am the man because of other men. No one can live alone. We are all going through the relationship of interdependence. This principle seems to match the Golden Rule stated below. ‘The golden Rule means, substantially, to do unto others as you wish them to do unto you if your positions were reversed’. (Lesson Sixteen, P.97).

III. Conclusion

I recently bought the President Bill Clinton’s autobiography My Life (My life, Hutchinson, 2004). One of the thing that I share with the great man is the fact that we both grew up with our stepfathers. Even though Clinton’s father died before his birth, I didn’t know mine before I was 15. In my mind, my father died sometimes after my birth. What I heard lately was that father fled the country to pursue his studies abroad for not to be obliged to marry my mother who got pregnant when they were both college students. It always seems to me that father didn’t behave properly whatsoever was his reason. I then felt that I have to live a remarkable and distinctive life to correct his shortcomings.

I humbly share this statement of the global leader Clinton: ‘My father left me with the feeling that I have to live for two people, and that if I did it well enough, somehow I could make up for the life he should have had’. The knowledge that I, too, could die young drove me both to try to drain the most out of every moment of life and to get on with the next big challenge. Even when I wasn’t sure where I was going, I was always in a hurry’ (My Life, Chapter One, P.7).

As the great man, I am always in a hurry. Even when I am not sure where I am going. I end this level II studies up with great expectation for the following levels as I have the opportunity to learn more.

The Power of Failure
Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngue (Côte d’Ivoire)

1. Discuss the main ideas that you found most important in this book and discuss why they were important to you.

This book contains important ideas like: Redefine failure; Redefine success; Learn from failure; Find the opportunity of failure; Use negative feedback to your advantage; Look beyond yourself; Persist, etc. All merit to be discussed, but I chose to discuss only three of them.

Redefine failure
Manz quotes Lao Tzu, “Failure is the foundation of success, and the means by which it is achieved.” (p.13) the author states that, “if you want to be more successful…’double your failure rate’. In other words, one must experience failure in order to succeed. The example of genius composer L. Van Beethoven (p.14) is given to illustrate how someone who was labeled as a hopeless composer became famous after several attempts and failures. At that level I am concerned by the statement of John C. Maxwell in is CD, Growing Yourself, Growing Others, Growing Together . Maxwell talking about where to grow, warns us not to try to grow in our areas of weakness, but in our areas of strengths. He pretends that if someone who is not brilliant in a field of knowledge like the mathematics, he will never change that pattern even though he pays huge amount of money to upgrade his or her knowledge of mathematics. I believe that this statement challenge the position of Charles C. Manz. I totally disagree with Maxwell in the light of Manz explanation.

tes @ the Speed of Thought is pointed out (p.17). This is

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc? Explain.

In chapter 19 untitled Use Failure to Master Yourself (p.93), the author points out that, if we find ourselves falling in the heat of battle, we should use this to our advantage.

I can not really consider the choice of this book for my level 4 studies as a coincidence with my current experience. I think I had a kind of perception that I will experience failure in my life. I personally decided to set high standards for my contribution in the society. In my mind big objectives mean big challenges and sacrifices. But knowing that does not equip us with a steady and permanent winner’s attitude. By the way, what is the winning attitude? It might not be easy to define. But someone stated that, the point is not to fail, but the point is how you stand up when you slip.

My experience with the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is the illustration of a kind of frustration somebody can experiment in his/her way to success. I had a low score in my first test and I was confident that I will upgrade it in the second attempt. But, my score diminished at the second attempt. I haven’t take the third exam, but a friend of mines gave me his experience that shows that he upgraded his score at the forth attempt. My opinion is that may be if someone fails in something, he might change the strategy to overcome this setback by ousting himself from his or her comfort zone and trying something new that can influence his or her previous result. My friend and I we didn’t change our review strategy like taking class to prepare the exam instead of studying alone. We were anxious to pass the exam that we didn’t think twice. This book represents a treasure that helps me to keep my focus and believe that I will overcome numerous obstacles to achieve my overall objectives to become a successful business person and influential public figure. It offers an opportunity to me to review my strategies and re-determine my options.

Currently an interesting controversy on a triangle love scandal arose in USA among NASA officers. My interest in this issue is not the scandal itself as each of us has his/her kind of stuff like that. But what I learned from that is the fact that the defendant, astronaut Lisa Nowak, made 6 attempts to succeed in the NASA entrance exam. Six times look like too much, but she was patient and kept her objective to join the NASA.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book? Please Explain.
I don’t think that there is any new idea or concept in The Power of Failure that I have never heard or read about before. But they are just well written and illustrated in this book. In the next question I discuss how some of the ideas change my thinking.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so, explain how?

“Long-term success is largely influenced by our capacity to withstand defeat…and to focus on opportunities rather than obstacles.” (p.36). Among the lessons learned in this book, one is not to feel guilty in front of our colleagues, friends or lovers for a particular failure. But use this failure to show a splendid success. The author warns us that becoming apathetic or backing away from the job can be a timely anecdote. In the contrary, “continually investing in yourself, whether things are up or down, can yield many valuable payoffs in life” (p.122). Many people are afraid of challenges because they don’t want to loose their face or simply to fall. Manz paraphrasing Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, teaches that succeeding in business requires a lot of patience and repeated failures. In fact, “he explained that products and business go through three phases: vision, patience, and execution. And he said the patience stage is the toughest and most uncomfortable.”(p.25). I do confess that patience means a lot of frustration and questions. It seems to me however that there is the clue between those who succeed and those who fail.

5. Are there ideas in the book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?
Nothing, may be due to my current experience.

6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?
There are number of quotes in the book that I found very inspiring. Even though someone does not have time to read the whole book, only by reading these quotes, the preface, the introduction and the back cover, he might be able to get the essence of the book. Quotes like: “honestly facing our ‘real failures’ can help free us from a dark past and prepare us for a bright future” (p.78) “When pessimism abounds, don’t retreat…move in and look for the treasures that difficult circumstances create for success” (p.99); “the beauty of a difficult situation may be hidden from your view, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there…keep looking” (p.103); are just incredible and inspiring.

I didn’t find any thing least helpful in the book. In fact the entire book is inspiring and easy to read.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey.
The author of this book, Charles C. Manz, uses his own experience and simple ideas to show us how to use failure in the short term run in order to succeed on a long-term basis. He means that failure is an essential component of personal and professional success.

Please Rate each of these questions about the book on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is good and one is poor.
1. How interesting was it to read? 9
2. How helpful were the contents? 8
3. How easy was it to understand? 10
4. Would you recommend it to others? 10
5. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9

Comments: Manz states in the book that, Setbacks are simply evidence of a need for change and a chance to learn (p.20). Unfortunately, up-to now, I didn’t like setbacks. But I discovered within this book that I was wrong. This passage illustrates clearly what kind of attitude we must adopt in our quest of success: “Just as muscles will not get stronger and grow unless exerted beyond their relaxed comfort level, we will not grow as people unless we are challenged. And sometimes this challenge can best be created by, ‘getting in over our heads’” (p.123).

What To Say When You Talk To Your Self
Assessment by Roger Yomba

1. Discuss the main ideas that you found most important in this book and discuss why they were important to you.

This book is about the development of our inner motivational behaviors to avoid the flow of external influence that tend to take control of our life. How should we use effective Self-Talk to take advantage of the endless opportunities life offers, fulfill our dreams, and live each day in a way that brings happiness and success? There are several important ideas. However I choose to comment on the following:

Our programming determine our reality
In his courses’ work the author discovered that someone will become what he/she thinks about most (p.25). Our success or failure in anything, large or small will depend on our programming – what we accept from others and what we say when we talk to ourselves. Meanwhile, the brain simply believes what we tell it most. An ordinary person is often not aware that the flow of words we hear each day leaves a great impact in our mind and also directs our way of thinking. At the same time I understand that what we hear from news agencies, official reports, and alike, might be organized in a way that directs our mental programming. In other words, we are manipulated by our environment, and we do manipulate our environment as well. The implication of this fact is that we have to be careful with the kind of environment we expose ourselves to: people we meet, what we listen, and what we say.

The influence of external motivation in our daily life
Dr Helmstetter states that most of the motivation we receive is far less obvious: friends; books, family, luck, problems, achievements, and social pressures (p.97). He believes that these factors are what tells us what to do and keeps us doing it. It is obvious that the average human being who doesn’t set is own plan, thoughts and strategies uses to follow the trend which can be materialized by the latest car, the fashion, and the performance of our relatives, etc. I guess that by social pressures he includes TV shows, and all kind of advertising. These media, their supervisors and decision makers tend to decide for us. Of course this is not what we need.

The only motivation that lasts
The way to be our own motivator, take charge, and put ourselves back in control, is to use the all true motivation – the only kind that lasts, the one we can count on – is the internal motivation (p.99). In fact the large part of the book is devoted to how to learn and practice internal motivation which is based on Self-Talk. Self-Talk is about personal responsibility. “Personal responsibility is the bedrock of all individual action” …it is the basis of our individual determination to accept life and to fulfill ourselves within it” (p.102). Shad argues further that “we are born, live, and leave entirely on our own”. That “self”, and the divine spirit which drives it, are what we have. No one else can ever live a single moment of our lives for us. That’s what we must do for ourselves. That is the “responsibility” (p.103).

There is in the book, the example of a lady who transformed her relationship with her husband at the time her husband was showing all the signs of making a slow but predictable departure from the relationship. The lady kept listening a set of tapes on improving personal relationships, self-esteem, goal-setting, and another on taking responsibility for yourself despite her husband disinterest. But after a week or two the husband took his wife to a dinner and they discussed her tapes. Ultimately all the pending issues were addressed. This happened because the lady learnt that “don’t worry too much about what the other people around you think about your Self-Talk. Just keep doing it” (p.133).

However there is a warning for the implementation of Self-Talk. For Dr Helmstetter, we must “always remember that some of the greatest minds, some of the greatest achievers which this earth has never known, achieved their greatness with only three overriding attributes: spirit, conviction, and hard work” (p.106).

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc? Explain.

Most of what I decided to do previously in my life before IIGL studies, but to be a leader, was motivated by what I perceived and lived in the society.

When I figured out that my parents could not afford to support my education toward my dream to become a pilot or an engineer in the world of aeronautics, I was not sure of what to do in my life. In my mind, at that time, the best place to study was in France. I first thought about becoming a psychologist to help people overcome their anxiety and challenges. Now on, I think that this desire was motivated by my own frustration to be born in a disadvantaged family. I was a young man living the drama of his mother and step-father endless misunderstanding and fights.

I don’t think that I was right because I should have performed well in secondary education, shift from the private high school to a public setting in order to avoid expensive fees and finally gone to the appropriate faculty at the university. In fact what I needed was someone to listen to me and guide my mind toward my goal. My parents were fighting at that crucial time. I have finally given up my first dream and shift for marketing studies. Therefore I agree with Shad when he writes that “A lot of people have lived richer lives because someone who cared took the time to listen” (p.16).

Haven gone through various kinds of challenges, I decided to fight to be a leader that helps his constituency to ensure the necessary minimum condition to express their essential rights. This is the shift I needed to give a direction to my life. Here also I agree with Shad that self-motivation is the motivation which comes from having a sense of purpose, a sense of self-esteem and self-determination.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book? Please Explain.

I think one concept made the difference in my mind; the concept of Personal responsibility. The author puts it in this way: “…responsibility does not mean ‘duty’ or ‘burden’. It is not the measure of our liability or our accountability” (p.102). This explanation deepens my understanding of the notions of responsibility and accountability. Indeed it will help me to better explain the concepts of responsibility and accountability even in French.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so, explain how?

I do not think that it has challenged my thinking. Instead it has reinforced my perception of the concept of personal responsibility. It became clearer that the first person I have to trust is me. Though there is a need to equip this person with appropriate motivational tools he can rely on at any given time of the day.

5. Are there ideas in the book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?

Not at all, but I am convinced that the book itself should have been best presented. In comparison for example with Anthony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within, What To Say When Talking To Your Self has a great intention, but is less effective. I will choose without any reserve Robbins’ book which is indeed based in a set of external and internal tools to create a shape in our life and make a turn around.

6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

The merit of this book lies in the fact that Dr Helmstetter recalls us the different attempts of the professionals in personal motivation to put us in motion with various external methods and techniques. Instead of using the same methods, he suggests us to arm ourselves with internal motivation namely positive Self-Talk.

The book contains various illustrations of positive Self-Talks used specifically to fix problems or help us reach our goals. The following from pages 152 and 153 is the kind of self-talk that can be used by anyone:

I always do everything I need to do, when I need to do it.
I never argue or let my emotions work against me.
I don’t smoke!
I have a good memory. I easily and automatically remember any name or anything that is important to me.
I eat only what I should.
I am a good listener – I hear everything that is said – I am attentive, interested, and aware of everything that is going on around me.
I have the courage to state my opinions. I take responsibility for myself and everything I say and do.
I never spend more than I earn. I am financially responsible, both for my present and my future.
I set goals and follow them. I set my sights, take the appropriate action, and Achieve my goals
I spend time with my family and my loved ones. I enjoy sharing their lives With mine and my life with theirs.

I found the examples of Self-Talk too long for someone to practice it. The above mentioned sample is the shortest. The book should have been more attractive if the author has written concise paragraphs of Self-Talk. However the reader who got it can decide to remodel these samples and contract them to meet his/her personal style.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey.

This book is about changing our words and attitudes to change our habits, and to adopt the appropriate conditioning necessary to fix our problems and achieve our goals. The focus is in developing our own internal motivational Self-Talk.

Please rate each of the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is
high and one is low.

A. How interesting was it to read? 7
B. How helpful were the contents? 7
C. How easy was it to understand? 8
D. Would you recommend it to others? 7
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 7

Comments –
This book is useful. Its only weakness is the way it is presented and particularly the way the author presents the examples of self-talk. It makes it look difficult to create a concise but effective script.

Build To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
Assessment by Roger Yomba (Cote d’Ivore)

1. Discuss the main ideas that you found most important in this book and discuss why they were important to you.

Build to Last is the outcome of a research project conducted by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras of Stanford University. It based on data collection and CEOs survey on visionary companies particularly in USA, and their analysis to describe a role model for companies. The authors wanted to describe the blueprint that makes some companies visionary companies that influence the development of the world while others fail to leave a real imprint of their existence.

I really learn a good deal of new ideas and concepts such as, Clock Building, Not Time Telling; the Yin and Yang notion (No “Tyranny of the OR”); Preserve the Core/Stimulate Progress; Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs); Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep what Works; Home grown Management; Good Enough is Never; The End of the Beginning; and Building the Vision. These concepts and ideas are some of the chapters of the book.

Clock Building, Not Time Telling;
Time tellers are those leaders/managers who pay more attention on their personal impact, reliance and legacy in a company. Clock builders are those who invest a big deal of time in the construction of an organization that can survive long after they left this world. Clock building is an architectural approach. “The key difference, write Porras and Collins, is one of orientation – the evidence suggests to us that the key people at formative stages of the visionary companies had a stronger organizational orientation than in the comparison companies, regardless of their personal leadership style” (p.34). If someone is involved in building and managing a company, this means spending less of his/her time thinking about specific product lines and market strategies, and spending more of his/her time thinking about organizational design. The company itself is the ultimate creation.

The notion of Yin and Yang (No “Tyranny of the OR”/Embrace the ‘Genius of the AND’”)
This section (very short) is an interlude to chapter three, “More Than Profits”. It ends up with the quote of F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” (p.45). This quote express the message of the authors which is to always to consider that the daily reality of visionary companies is not highly yin nor highly yang; it is distinctively yin and distinctively yang – both at the same time. I understand it as doing simultaneously things that appear different at the short run. The Yin and Yang is the symbol of the Chinese dualistic philosophy. For example, visionary companies seek to be very well in the short term AND very well in the long term. Another example from the book is for a company to have on the one hand: the “extremely tight culture (almost cult-like)” AND yet, on the other hand: the “ability to change, move, and adapt” (p.44).

Preserve the Core/Stimulate Progress;
It is about keeping the basic principles while driving the organization to new horizons. A quote from Thomas J. Watson, Jr.’s A Business and Its Beliefs reads, “If an organization is to meet the challenges of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself except [its basic] beliefs as it moves through corporate life…The only sacred crow in an organization should be its basic philosophy of doing business…”(p.81). For the authors, the single most important point to take away from this book is the critical importance of creating tangible mechanisms aligned to preserve the core and stimulate progress, which is the essence of clock building (p.89).

Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs);
BHAG is an act of faith that key things are doable that are not provable. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory, not defeat” (quoted in p. 91). Examples of BHAG include Boeing commitment in 1965 to develop the 747 jumbo jet at the risk of the company during rough times. This decision nearly killed the company. William Allen, the then Boeing chairman, stiffened to a board member who was complaining about this audacious goal, “If the Boeing company says we will build this airplane, we will build it even if it takes the resources of the entire company!”(p.93). A BHAG engages people – it reaches out and grabs them in the gut. In 1907, Henry Ford stimulated his company forward with an astounding BHAG: “To democratize the automobile.” At that time Ford was merely one of over thirty companies all clamoring for a slice of the emerging automobile market. The authors state that, “The BHAGs looked more audacious to outsiders than to insiders. The visionary companies didn’t see their audacity as taunting the gods. It simply never occurred to them that they couldn’t do what they set out to do.”(p.105).

Try a Lot of Stuff and Keep what Works;
This concept is about allowing a margin for mistakes to creative managers and staff, encourages internal entrepreneurship and competition for excellence between divisions and branches. And allow people to be persistent while giving them the room they need.

Home grown Management;
Authors warn that, “Our research lead us to conclude that it is extraordinary difficult to become and remain a highly visionary company by hiring top management from outside the organization. Equally important, there is absolutely no inconsistency between promoting from within and stimulating significant change.”(p.183). Leaders should rely on people who already have the embedded culture (vision) of the company, train them and make them ready to face challenges and ensure success for the future of the company. Avoid to hiring a savior from outside who does not necessarily share the embedded vision.

Good Enough is Never;
The simplest way to express this concept is that “comfort is not the objective in a visionary company” (p.192). This is to avoid the “already arrived” symptom and commit to improve the never ending performance of the organization. Creating a visionary company requires huge quantity of good old-fashioned hard work, dedication to improvement, and continually building of the future. Otherwise, success is not final.

The End of the Beginning;
Leaders should always consider any peak performance and victory as a new beginning with different challenges and opportunities. The example of the black belt in martial arts is given to illustrate that any step is the beginning of new discovery. Four key concepts are given by authors to take away and to guide the rest of our managerial career, and to pass on to others: (1) Be a clock builder – an architect – not a time teller; (2) Embrace the “Genius of the AND”; (3) Preserve the core/stimulate progress; and (4) Seek consistent alignment (p.217).

Building the Vision
The vision is something that has its source within the core principles of the organization. “Any effective vision must embody the core ideology of the organization, which in turn consists of two sub-components: core values and core purpose” (p.222). We might find the right one and avoid the mere copy of what goes with other organizations. It has to be so obvious for any one who joints the company and partners, even before they read the vision and mission statement. The vision framework is described as by the following formula: Core ideology (core values + core purpose) AND Envisioned future (10 to 30 Year BHAG + Vivid Description). Vivid description here means vibrant, engaging, and specific description of what it will be like to achieve the BHAG.

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc? Explain.

I do remember my communication early this year with Dr. Bruce McKern, director of Stanford University Sloan Master’s program, about my application to the Program. We were talking about how to improve my score to the GMAT as an international prospective student. His observation was that I want to be more exposed to the American corporate business environment to understand its culture, mindset and perspectives, in order to perform well. With this book I discovered that this corporate world is a little bit a cynical one (the battle against the trade unions for many of them). I am considering reading more books like those classics cited in Build to Last to get the essence of this passionate world: In Search of Excellence (Peters and Waterman); Concept of the Corporation (Peter Drucker, 1946); The Practice of Management (Peter Drucker, 1954); Managing for Results (Peter Drucker, 1964); Organizational Culture and Leadership (Edgar Schein, 1985); Corporate Culture and Performance (John Kotter and James Heskett, 1992); and Jim Porras’ Good To Great. All these books seem to have tremendously influence on number of companies. I already read and heard about Peter Drucker’s work, but we never learned too much.

A point that supports my personal beliefs is written in chapter 1, The Best of the Best, “(…) all of the visionary companies …faced setbacks and made mistakes at some point during their lives, and some are experiencing difficulty as we write this book. Yet – and this is a key point – visionary companies display a remarkable resiliency, an ability to bounce back from adversity” (p.4).

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book? Please Explain.

Some of the main ideas I commented on in question 1, The Yin and Yang (No “Tyranny of the OR”/Embrace the ‘Genius of the AND’”); Preserve the Core/Stimulate Progress; Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG); Good Enough is Never; The End of the Beginning constitute somehow new ideas that reaffirm my determination and values in search of the excellence.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so, explain how?

Not at all, it just made some emphases in what I was already thinking about the efficient companies and their environment.

5. Are there ideas in the book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?

Not really an idea but the process. I do understand how difficult it should be to gather information on companies around the world. But I also guess that such data exist for companies in other developed countries of Europe, Asia and America (Canada). So, instead of choosing only two Japanese companies (Sony versus Kenwood) for 30 US companies to validate their perspective as a global reality of the corporate world, the authors should have chosen at least 8 to 10 more in different countries of Asia, Europe and Canada, even Mexico. They obviously recognized the possible US bias, “We believe that the basic dynamics of being visionary company will hold up across cultures and nationalities, but we also suspect that the flavor of those dynamics will vary – perhaps dramatically – across cultures. We freely acknowledge this fact and encourage future research into cross-cultural differences in visionary companies” (p.255).

6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

I do appreciate this statement from the Preface to the Tenth Anniversary Edition and Chapter 1, “the signature of a truly great entity is not the absence of difficulty, but the ability to come back from difficult times stronger than before.” The book is a bright insight in the management world despite its weakness of having only focused in the American business corporate perspective while widening the findings and conclusion to the whole world.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey.

As I pointed out in response to question 1, Build to Last is the book on a research project conducted by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras of Stanford University. The aim of the authors was to analyze and describe consistent habits, practices and values that make the visionary companies. The term “visionary” reflects the fact that they have distinguished themselves as a very special and elite breed of institutions. They are the best of the best in their industries, and have been that way for decades. Many of them have served as role models – icons – for the practice of management around the world.

Please rate each of the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is
high and one is low.

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? 8
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9

Comments – Feel free to share any additional comments about the book or about
the ratings: I gave 9/10 for the overall rating and the contents due to the weakness I largely commented in questions 1 and 5 in the perspective of someone who lives out of USA. But I do confess that the book is excellent for the US corporate world. By the way bellow is the list of companies in the research study (Visionary Company Vs Comparison Company).

Visionary company Comparison Company
American Express
General Electric
Johnson & Johnson
Philip Morris
Procter & Gamble
Walt Disney Norton
Wells Fargo
McDonnell Douglas
Chase Manhattan
Texas Instruments
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Howard Johnson
RJR Nabisco

Nonviolent Communication – A language of Life
Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngue (Cote d’ Ivore)

1. Discuss the main ideas that you found most important in this book and discuss why they were important to you.

Expressing non violence in our communication (NVC) is the best way to preserve our peace of mind and peace all over the world. Gandhi once said that, we must be the change we expect from others in the world. We can’t change the world without changing ourselves first. This change starts with our language and the way we communicate. Marshall Rosenberg calls upon our common sense to reconsider the way we express our needs, actions and feelings, and the way we listen to others by taking into consideration four critical factors:

1) Separate observation from evaluation: when we combine observation and evaluating, people are apt to hear criticism and react by a resistance to what we are expressing. “We need to clearly observe what we are saying, hearing, or touching that is affecting our sense of well-being, without mixing in any evaluation” (p.26).

2) Identifying and expressing feelings: when we develop a vocabulary of affection and love which helps us to describe clearly and precisely our emotions, we can easily connect with others. “Expressing our vulnerability can help resolve conflicts” (p.40).

3) Taking responsibility for our feelings: the author states that, the third component of NVC is the acknowledgement of the needs behind our feelings. “What others say and do may be the stimulus, but never the cause, of our feelings” (p.60). So, the more directly we can connect our feelings to our needs, the easier it is for others to respond compassionately.

4) Requesting that which would enrich life: Rosenberg warns us here to use positive action language when making a request. Making requests in clear, positive, concrete action language reveals what we really mean. Conversely vague language contributes to internal confusion. “The clearer we are about what we want back, the more likely it is that we’ll get it… to make sure the message we sent is the message that’s received, ask the listener to reflect it back” (p.74). Since the message we send is not always the message that’s received, we need to learn how to find out if our message has been accurately heard. Requests are received as demands when listeners believe that they will be blamed or punished if they do not comply. The objective of NVC is not to change people and their behavior in order to get our way; it is to establish relationships based on honesty and empathy that will eventually fulfill everyone’s needs. Thus, we need to fill ourselves up with empathy to be able to share it with others.

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc? Explain.

The best circumstance that which expresses the most the violent reaction to a violent communication is my recent experience with law enforcement officers while traveling in Cote d’Ivoire.

I got a strong argument with a police officer and a gendarme at a check point. I was traveling for business by bus from Abidjan to a city near the Ivorian border with Ghana. I became nervous when an agent took my identity papers to a lieutenant and the guy asked me to pay $6.00 for a paper that cost $4.00. I knew I haven’t that paper because I couldn’t get it the week before my travel from the immigration service. Even though the cost was cheaper, the process was grueling to establish one. My decision was to travel whatsoever and take care of this paper when I come back from my trip. I also knew that some law enforcement officers will be kind to just remind me that I needed it to complete my set of requested papers. But they shouldn’t charge me for that. Some will charge by asking $1.00 or $2.00. The reason why I became nervous was not the refusal to pay, but the fact that for a $4.00 paper that is excusable, the lieutenant asked $6.00 just to allow me to continue my way without any receipt or paper that can prevent the next check point to request another payment. I asked if he could give this receipt to me. Then, the show started. I told him, if he can’t give me a receipt I am not willing to give a dime more than $2.00, which is bribery. He replied that I was reckless traveling without all the official papers, and that he won’t leave me continue the journey without my paper. He used all possible qualifications for an irresponsible person, and informed me that bribery is popular around the world even in USA, the biggest democracy in the world, and of course my country, Cameroon. To make it short, we ended up at the police station where I couldn’t argue any more with reason. I was surrounded only by the corporation of corrupt police officers and gendarmes accusing me of bribery and trying to delay my journey. I felt like I had no alternative than to pay and give up the argument. I told them I knew they were right, but it was tough to get the paper in a short while. I am vulnerable now because I can’t afford to delay my business trip. But they also have to understand that it is not with joy that we are giving this money to them since there is no direct benefice than they giving me the right to continue my trip. It finally cost me $20.00 even though these hostile folks became my friends asking for gas and beers “to celebrate my release”. The lesson learned from this experience is that I should have acknowledged my vulnerability as soon as my papers were presented to the lieutenant; maybe accept to give the $6.00 to avoid the waste of time, money and frustration. They were wrong asking for bribery but I was in fault too having not all my papers. But, for my character and core values, I was happy to make my case and let them know that not every one is happy to comply with bribery.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book? Please Explain.

The Nonviolent communication (NVC) which is also called creative communication or empathetic communication is a mode of communication – expression and listening- that favors the expression of our heart and link us to ourselves, and to others. It opens limitless options to our natural compassion. The expression Nonviolent is used to designate our natural state of benevolence totally free of any sign of violence. NVC evolves the quality of listening, respect, and empathy. It creates a flow of reciprocal generosity.

Life-alienating communication: It is our nature to enjoy giving and receiving from the bottom of the heart. However, we’ve learned multiple forms of life-alienating communication that lead us to speak and behave in a ways that hurt others and ourselves. One form of life-alienating communication is the use of moralistic judgments that imply wrongness or badness on the part of those who don’t act in harmony with our values. Another form of such communication is the use of comparisons, which can block compassion both for others and ourselves. Life-alienating communication also obscures our awareness that we are each responsible of our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. Communicating our desires in the form of demands is another characteristic of a language that blocks compassion. “Most of us grew up speaking a language that encourages us to label, compare, demand, and pronounce judgments rather than to be aware of what we are feeling and needing” (p.23).

Empathy: It is a respectful understanding of what others are expressing. It calls upon us to empty our own position or feeling. In NVC, no matter what words others may use to express themselves, we simply listen for their observations, feelings, needs, and requests. “What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart” (p.1). We need empathy to give empathy. When we sense ourselves being defensive or unable to empathize, we need to (a) stop, breathe, give ourselves empathy, (b) scream nonviolently, or (c) take time out.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so, explain how?

It reminded to me a statement from a book I don’t recall the title. It is written in this book that the amount of effort we make to express ourselves violently is the same amount of effort that is needed to remain calm, and serene in front of any adversity. In addition, Rosenberg writes that, “The most crucial application of NVC may be in the way we treat ourselves. When we make mistakes, we can use the process of NVC mourning and self-forgiveness to show us where we can grow instead of getting caught up in moralistic self-judgments” (p.140).

5. Are there ideas in the book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?

Not at all.

6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

The book is full of exercises, quotes, and spotlights. It equips us with tools and methods to face new issues we are not prepared to face. I found words, and attitudes that enable us to listen to others and be heard by them in the most arduous moments.

Nothing is least helpful in this book.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey.

Nonviolent communication is a way of personal and inborn coherence, freedom, and lucidity. This is a process grounded in four steps: 1) Separate observation from evaluation; 2) identifying and expressing feelings; 3) Taking responsibility for our feelings; and 4) Requesting that which would enrich life. These four points contribute to the development of our consciousness and the building of empathetic and compassionate relationships without the resilience for conflict or resentment.

Please rate each of the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is high and one is low.

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

Comments – The use of NVC can represent a significant way to prevent conflict at an individual level as well as at the level of states, nations and the whole world. One would arguably say that all this stuff sounds to idealistic in regard of the way personal and public affairs are conducted in now-our-days. The most innocent observer who watches TV and listens to the radios can affirm that economies of significant developed countries depend heavily in wars and various crises in the world. For sure, at a personal level, NVC is a gift to live a life-nurturing experience and build altruistic (empathetic) relationships. As Rosenberg puts it, quoting Carl Rogers, empathy allows us “to re-perceive [our] world in a new way and move on” (p.113).

The Power Of Intention
Assessment by Roger Yomba (Cote d’ Ivore)

1. Discuss the main ideas that you found most important in this book and discuss why they were important to you.

The definition of what is intention: To understand what the book is about, it is crucial to have a clear definition of what intention is. And indeed, Wayne Dyer comes on it: “My research reveals a fairly common definition of intention as a strong purpose or aim, accompanied by a determination to produce a desired result” (p.3). This definition is practical for me and insightful. Many people refer to intention as a “burning desire” without the implementation aspect of it. That looks makes the intention to be categorized a dream like attitude. Here, Dyer emphasizes the action part of intention, “If you’re one of those people with a never-give-up attitude combined with an internal picture that propels you toward fulfilling your dreams, you fit this description of someone with intention. You are, most likely, a super-achiever and probably proud of your ability to recognize and take advantage of opportunities that arise” (pp. 3 & 4).

Entering into the Spirit of Intention: We are often navigating between different kind of conflicting mental states, wanting something and its contrary. Dyer warns us that “what [we] intend to create in our life involves generating the same life-giving quality that brings everything into existence. So, what we feel is a function of how we’re thinking, what we’re contemplating, and how our inner speech is being formulated. Entering into the spirit of intention means creating a new “ME” focusing more on what we want achieve than in what we don’t. This argument reminds me Shad Helmsteter’s What To Say When You Talk To Your Self . For both of them, a person who wants to achieve a great undertaking will have to align his/her Will to his/her Imagination. Dyer adds that we must apply the seven Connecting to Intention. What means to be creative; Be kind toward yourself, toward others, and toward all of life; Be love which means cooperation and empowerment; Be beauty; Be ever-expansive; Be abundant [in mind-set as Emerson stated, “the ancestor to every action is a thought”. (p.53)]; and finally Be receptive.

Obstacles to Connecting to Intention: Among the obstacles, the author cites our level of energy. Like many professionals in the human development business and some religions, Wayne Dyer recalls us that “we attract to us that which we emanate” (p. 73). Therefore, we need to improve our energy to its highest level as possible with appropriate thoughts; regular practice of meditation; right foods; good music; sound environment; and attitudes. He quotes David Hawkins’s book, Power vs. Force, in which he elaborates on the lower frequencies of thought and their accompanying emotions, and how they can be impacted and converted by exposure to higher and faster frequencies (p.70). Dyer illustrates his points with spots like: “It is only discord acting within your own feelings that will ever deprive you of every good thing that life holds for you”; “You cannot remedy anything by condemning it”; “you cannot attract attractiveness into your life by hating anything about what you’ve allowed yourself to become”;

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc? Explain.

Thinking about low level of energy I can remember the time when I was concerned about the negative influence I was getting from one of my cousin. I had noticed that every time I met with her, I ended up becoming frustrated, offended, and even pessimistic on my projects. What I decided to do to avoid such influence was to avoid the contact of my cousin. It was not yet in contact with the psychology of personal development. Dyer’s book confirms this decision, “Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place and leads to attack, counterattack, and war” (p.83). When I stopped meeting my cousin frequently, I continued my hard work and dream-like way of life, and I moved forward leaving some obstacles behind. I have not yet reach the level of achievement that I planned to earlier in my life, but my cousin considers me like a model of determination. A kind of person who can barely achieve whatever he intends to. Of course this type of testimony sounds like an encouragement to pursue my struggle for high achievement.

Another idea that which reminds me of my frequent conversation with my wife these days is “A sense of passion”. Dyer also calls it “enthusiasm”. My wife is a kind of introvert person who doesn’t let appear her degree of commitment for anything. Currently she is hardly looking for a new job. I use to tell to her that she needs to show a little enthusiasm in her desire to take a position during the interview. For the author, “the beauty of feeling passionate and enthusiastic is the glorious feeling of joy and cheerfulness that comes along with it” (p.125). I usually handle every undertaking with passion and enthusiasm. I cannot just think about taking any responsibility without feeling the passion to achieve it.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book? Please Explain.

Not really new ideas but appropriate repetition of what I learned in books like What To Say When You Talk to Yourself, Real Magic, A Course in Miracles; and more.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so, explain how?

It has not challenged my thinking but it has helped understand better some concept like Connecting to the Source which is our self. This quote from Johann W. von Goethe illustrates what I mean: “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred…unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way” (p.201). So many opportunities and occasions have come to my way that I haven’t dreamed of. This is an ongoing story however as challenges are still on my way too.

5. Are there ideas in the book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?

I think something that can remain under discussion is the idea that spirituality is the final answer to all the problems of life. But spirituality constitutes one of the solutions which must be translated into act in a physical and tangible way. Thus, it is necessary to reconcile the spirit with the physique because a person who is infected with the HIV/AIDS will never be cured only by spirituality as one of my students of the French division put it on

6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?

The book is constructed with possibility for a reader to review the content of each chapter in an interactive way: a kind of experimenting the learning. Hence, the six chapters of part I end with a section on “Five Suggestions for Implementing the ideas in this chapter”; the eight chapters of part II end with a section on “Making your intention your reality”; while the last chapter which constitutes part 3, illustrates what a person connected to his/her intention can look like, and do.

Sometimes the non Christian reader can feel frustrated with all the not ending references to Good and Christ.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey.

In the cover page, it is noted that “intention is a force in the universe, and everything and everyone is connected to this invisible force.” To be more assertive, part I of the book defines the principles of intention illustrated by true stories; part 2 offers an intention guide with specific ways to apply the co-creating principles in daily life; and part 3 describes Dyer’s vision of and individual connected al all times to his/her intention.

Please rate each of the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is high and one is low.
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
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 8

Becoming A Coaching Leader: The Proven Strategy for Building a Team of Champions
Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngue (Cote d’Ivore)

1. Discuss the main ideas that you found most important in this book and discuss why they were important to you.

The second cover page reads, “Becoming a coaching leader is a journey that may take some surprising turns. Rather than offer a laundry list of easy business tips or pat inspiration, Daniel Harkavy provides a proven strategy to analyze and positively change the way that you lead”. I completely approve this opinion. I think all the people in leadership position need to read and master the content of this book. The most important ideas or concepts are in Part two; the Core four Success Puzzle: Life Plan; Business Vision; Business Plan; and Priority Management. I will come back on them.

Life Plan
It is intended to be the coaching leader’s most powerful tool. Life planning is all about assessing where you are in life, identifying which accounts are most important to you, and then writing out a vision for each one of those accounts. “In Life planning get proactive and try to extract those plans so that you have the highest probability of becoming who you want to become – in business and in all areas of life you consider most important” (p58). In practice; an effective life plan clarifies your purpose in each of the accounts and then identifies three to five strategies that will enable you to increase your net worth in each area. Life Plan is broken into these elements: (Account#; Purpose; Vision; Actions) + (Account#; Purpose; Vision; Actions)…
To maximize his/her Life Plan, one will have to: (1) review it; (2) Recruit help with it (accountability partner to help you stay on track); (3) Adjust it; (4) Share it; and (5) Teach it (the best way to walk it is to talk it).

Business Vision
The second component of the Core Four Success Puzzle, the Business vision, comes down to this: If you can see it, you can build it. The clarity of vision gives an increased confidence, and avoids confusion on what to do next. With this vision we have the ability to energetically, methodically, steadily, and coolly handle the challenges that comes our way. To build a business vision, coaching leaders focus on three primary elements (plus a fourth one as a bonus): Convictions; Purpose; A Clearly Envisioned Future; and Mount Everest Goals (also calls Big Hairy Audacious goals by Jim Collins ).
The Common Convictions used by Great coaching leaders are: Honesty and Integrity, Teamwork, Customer-focus, Lifelong Learning, Continual improvement, Never complacent, Increasing value, Truth Telling, and Simplicity.

To make a Business vision an effective part of the success cake, we need to, (1) Put it on Paper as an identity, (2) Review it continually for the accountability, and (3) Repeat it continually to team members for ownership. And, as part of the legacy, we need to coach others through the process after creating our own vision.

Business Plan
Business Plan is a popular concept used in corporate and public management. This is my first time to read it and understand it as a concept to apply at an individual level. A good Business Plan tells us
* what we will accomplish,
* where we need to make improvements or adjustments in order to reach our stated goals,
* how we will behave in order to accomplish those goals, and
* when designated aspects of the plan need to be completed (deadlines)

For an effective Business Plan to be useful and used, it has to be easy to follow, easy t execute, and easy to utilize. Harkevy adds that “it must fit hand in glove with your Business vision” (p103). The more clarity your Business Plan provides for you, the more your team will have in reaching your stated objectives. A clear Business Plan makes it much easier to set out benchmarks, goals, or objectives that everyone on your team can strive for.

In using Business Plan we have to: (1) Review it weekly to help manage our priorities; (2) Use it to guide us in smaller decisions; (3) Use it to help us organize and orchestrate time and resources so that we can reach our annual or quarterly objectives; (4) Use it to give us direction on scheduling our development time and our project management time; (5) Use it for team development; and (6) Use our Business plan to attract everything that we consider critical or important to our business.

Priority Management
The priority Management piece of the puzzle brings order to key elements of the Core Four. It is based on the premise that: “if you don’t schedule your priorities, everyone and everything else around you will” (p118). So, we will have to know our hourly wage, identify our high-payoff activities, time track our week, time to time block, opt for thematic time blocking, schedule non-appointment appointments, use our systems, don’t forget margin. An important step in Priority management is the daily routine. The author breaks our action plan and activities into 4 headings: (i) Growth; (ii) In; (iii) On; and (iv) Off. He suggests that we associate each activity to one of the four heading. Growth is the selling part of ourselves, In times is the administration time, On time concerns observation and our self-development plan (reading, planning, strategizing thinking), and Off is when we set our work aside and relax while focusing on our Life plan. To illustrate on this, he provides a sample of a weekly time blocking schedule (p125).

2. Can you relate the ideas or concepts in this book to your personal circumstances in life such as your relationships, your beliefs, your goals, your values, etc? Explain.

This book provides a good deal of clarity on goal setting and life planning to me. I found it as a complementary segment for a coaching program on goal setting and action planning. For example, I discovered that many of my fellow Buddhist worshipers (in my district) are in a total confusion regarding their life plan. They pray every day, meditate during hours, but they don’t know how to activate their personal change from shared values while overcoming their obstacles with concrete actions. I shared my opinion with the district leader who also agreed, even for himself as I did before for myself. And we resolved to do something. What happened next was to figure out that Gary Ryan Blair concept of 10 crucial dimensions of life can serve as the entry point for personal assessment through his evaluation tool of Weakness, Strengths, opportunities, and Challenges. The results of this assessment will give data that which can represent goals to achieve. Now, how to achieve these goals? That where the Core Four success Puzzle ® is very interesting: Life plan; Business Vision; Business Plan; and Priority Management.

My district leader and I with the support of other leaders designed a training program for members to take place in Jan. 20, 2008 articulated ad follows:

Part I: Buddhism study
* Daimoku + Gongyo (Meditation)
* Gosho lecture : « The Opening of the Eyes » or Kaimoku Sho
* Presentation of President Ikeda’s comments
* Additional Comments
* Questions – Responses

Part II: Introduction on the planning process
* The 10 crucial dimensions of life
* Basic individual and group exercise on goal setting
* Exchange on the group exercise

Part III: Presentation of the Core 4 Success Puzzle
* Life Planning
* Business Vision
* Business Planning
* Priority Management

Part IV: How can this change Your Life?
* Case study from group exercise and questions of participants Présentation des outils de planification des objectifs et priorités,
* Time blocking tool and Priority Weekly schedule : the creation of a powerful routine

This training program is creating a lot of excitement in our district now that I am personal surprised but also happy to share and give to my community what I learn from IIGL and Genuine Contact Program as facilitator. I know that this will serve as an opportunity to recruit new students to IIGL but hopefully to find some clients for my business consulting as well.

3. What are the most important new ideas or concepts you learned from this book? Please Explain.

Every leader is a coaching leader: The author thinks: as a leader “[our] purpose is to help [our] people improve” (p36). This is a revolutionary statement in my culture where leaders tend to be despotic chunk. People who know every thing and cannot dare consult their constituency. They can’t risk improving their people because they fear that this people will take over their position. Instead, Harkevy insists that, “the way to enjoy success yourself is to focus on the success of those around you, by making their success your mission. Help them to figure out how to win both in their career and in life, and you will enjoy both success and significance” (p36). In page 187, it’s written that regular encouragement can accomplish far more than frequent faultfinding. At meantime, it is clear talking about the communication competency of coaches, that they “communicate both verbally and nonverbally. They use pace, voice inflection (getting calm when they need to, dogmatic and firmer when someone is not dealing with a challenge or needs to get knocked out of a rut), at a misbehaving player” (P46).

Height Core competencies of a coaching leader: After explaining what a coach is, the author puts emphasis on the height critical areas where great coaches have demonstrated a high degree of proficiency. He calls them Core Competencies: (1) Discernment; (2) Conviction-Driven; (3) Accountability; (4) Uses systems Effectively; (5) Communication; (6) Self-Discipline; (7) Vision-Oriented; and (8) Leadership.

4. Has this book challenged or changed your thinking in any way? If so, explain how?

The concept is not totally new to me as the material of IIGL level 3 study deals with goal setting. But the approach is quite different regarding the Life Plan, Business Vision, and business plan.

The book brings additional information on how to consider failure and success for example. Through a quote from Jim Rohn, Harkavy highlights the importance of self-discipline, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines; practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. [Then], it is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgment that leads us either to fortune or failure” (p47).

5. Are there ideas in the book that you totally disagree with? If so, why?

The argument of the author that he “saw that their culture would attract successful leaders from other industries who had reached a point in their careers where they wanted to devote themselves full time to helping others succeed” (p78), is ambivalent. It can be understood like it’s only when someone had reached a successful point in her career that she can devote herself exclusively to helping other achieve their success.

6. What did you find most helpful and least helpful in this book?
The possibility to revise the content of each chapter is great. Every chapter ends with the summary of key benefits for team members, for the company, and for the coaching leader himself. The daily routine of the priority management section I developed in question 1 is quite helpful on designing our schedule. Also helpful is chapter 10 on The Skills of a Coaching Leader: The necessary abilities (pp157-175). The whole chapter is crucial for those who need to follow through the concept of a coaching leader.

7. In 50 words or less, please describe the main idea the whole book is trying to convey.

Becoming a coaching leader presents the concept of a successful and value adding person who really care about their people with the aim of improving their capacity, helping them with encouragement, vision and influence to identify and achieve their own action plan. The book provides concrete tools and strategies to hold, accompany, and provide leadership within the process.

Please rate each of the following questions on a scale from 1 to 10. Ten is high and one is low.
A. How interesting was it to read? 10
B. How helpful were the contents? 10
C. How easy was it to understand? 10
D. Would you recommend it to others? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 10

Comments – Since I started these courses, my favourite book is Anthony Robbins’ Awaken The Giant Within for the tremendous information, motivation and powerful tools it brought to me. Robbins’ is about re-wiring your hardware so that you understand your thinking better, in order to pre-empt future negativity and give yourself a fighting chance in life. Harkavy’s Becoming A Coaching Leader is an incredibly excellent book, easy to use with invaluable information to implement every thing we learn as a leader. Becoming A Coaching Leader is about getting the ABC of the process from Life Planning to Priority Management. It’s written for all those who care about the improvement of their team members, and how to show them the path to greatness. I highly recommend it to all the IIGL students and contributors who haven’t got the chance to read it.

The Money Changers
Assessment by Roger Yomba (Cote d’ Ivore)

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

Money Changers is a collection of historical and contemporary thought on the nature of money and global economy, combining the political and polemical, the analytical and the visionary. It includes a large spectrum of selected expertise and experiences, from reformers like William Morris, via the mainstream economics of John Maynar Keynes, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Friedrich Hayek, to the entrepreneurial insight of social entrepreneur such as Edgar Cahn and George Soros.

The Money Changers is a timely guide to the key ideas and ideologues in a fast-moving debate on our economic and social future. Ed Mayo, the executive Director of the New Economics Foundation, presents editor David Boyle as the finest radical voice of this generation (back cover).

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 challenge with this question is not to find seven ideas but how to express them in this space given the limited pre determined number of words. I chose to comment only 4 main issues instead of 7 ideas.

The failure of Money
Is the money linked to economics? Obviously Yes! So, money is terrifying, to use an analogy to David Doyle’s assertion on economics. “There never was a profession so terrified of unorthodoxy as economics … Maybe this is because of its scientific pretensions; maybe because its tenets are so unsubstantial. Whatever it is, mainstream economics lives constantly with the fear of insanity, of heresy, of a sudden strange untrained messiah arising to challenge the way the system works.” (P1). Money itself covers the division between debtors and creditors; those whose prime concern is to provide more money in circulation and those who are concerned by making sure that the money in circulation is based on something real. From my position of someone who fights for his financial independence, money has to do with scarcity. Meanwhile Boyle notes that, “The purpose of this book is to show that there is a great tradition of creative questioning, and the signs are that it is beginning to revive itself.” (p11) Before that Boyle warns us that those of us who brought up to believe that when people succeed or fail in business they somehow deserve it, these passages remind us that success or failure, wealth or poverty, has as much to do with whether we live at a moment of monetary expansion or contraction. (p10)

Is Keynesianism a plot?
Reading the excerpt of Ralph Borsodi’s Inflation and the Coming Keynesian Catastrophe entitled The Trouble With Keynesianism (1974) in this book, I asked the question above to myself since it appears evident that inflation is created by the monetary system influenced by Keynes. Borsodi recalled the saying that, “Statistics do not lie, but statisticians do” (p70). He then went on to express his own irritation about the variety of the ‘base years’ used in statistical tables and charts. “When I wanted to prepare a single graphic chart to show what had happened to the dollar since it came officially into existence, I was faced with four sets of base numbers…the only available data consisted of four sets of Wholesale Price Indexes with four different base years: 1910-1914=100; 1926=100; 1947=100, and 1957 – 1959=100”. And Borsodi to pursue: “To convert them into a single table was a tedious, tricky and irritating job.” (p70) Did he succeed? He does not tell in this passage. However he will note some lines later that “the current issue of the Survey of Current Business uses still another base year to show the movement of prices, 1967=100… Why do they change them more and more frequently since inflation has become a part of the American way of life?” (p70) I really do share Borsodi’s question. Is it to mystify or to confuse the average and non initiate people? Borsodi finally decided to use 1793 – the year the dollar came legally into existence – as base year in his charts.

The critic of Wall Street system (Stock and Securities Market)
At this time where the sub-prime losses unveil US exposure to a recession and threaten the whole world for a major economic crash , I found a great interest in what economists R. Borsodi (1886 – 1977) and John K. Galbraith (1908-2006) wrote about the stock market speculation and the influence of the Washington policy.

In the passage mentioned above, Borsodi states that, “Wall Street, in theory, is the centre of the financial system which provides properly and effectively for the capital needs of the nations. But Wall Street is in fact a speculation centre organized and operated for the purpose of enabling a self-selected minority of men of boundless greed to become millionaires and billionaires” (p72).

Talking about the government measures and controls over money flow and speculation in 1954; Keynesian J.K Galbraith put it this way: “The powers of the Federal Reserve Board – now styled the Board of Governors, the Federal Reserve System – have been strengthened both in relation to the individual reserve banks and the member banks. Mitchell’s defiance is now unthinkable. What was then an act of arrogant but not abnormal individualism would now be regarded as idiotic” (p67). Galbraith was then referring to Charles E. Mitchell who was first called extremely successful both as an investment and as a commercial banker, and finally portrayed by contemporaries as the epitome of the unscrupulous “money changers” whose speculative dealings they felt played a major role in the Crash of 1929 and the ensuing economic collapse .

Despite Galbraith assurance, the collapse of Barings bank and the recent French bank Societe generale’s scandal reveal that there are still big holes in the system. Founded in 1762, Barings Bank was Britain’s oldest merchant bank and Queen Elizabeth’s personal bank. (…) a behemoth in the banking industry, Barings was brought to its knees by a rogue trader in a Singapore office. The trader, Nick Leeson, was employed by Barings to profit from low risk arbitrage opportunities between derivatives contracts on the Singapore Mercantile Exchange and Japan’s Osaka Exchange. A scandal ensued when Leeson left a $1.4 billion hole in Barings’ balance sheet due to his unauthorized derivatives speculation, causing the 233-year-old bank’s demise .

In France a “low-level trader” named Jerome Kerviel and his unauthorized trading activities at Societe Generale just happened to cause the lost of more than $7 billion. The trouble there is that only investors will lose their savings or at least the interests of their investments. Bankers and policy-makers will surely find justification to keep the system going.

For Galbraith back to the 1950s, “the Securities and Exchange Commission is…effective to large-scale market manipulation and it also keeps rein on the devices and salesmanship by which new speculators are recruited.” (p67) However, he did recognize that, “yet, in some respects, the chances for a recurrence of a speculative orgy are rather good. No one can doubt that the American people remain susceptible to the speculative mood – to the conviction that enterprise can be attended by unlimited rewards which they, individually, were meant to share. A rising market can still bring the reality of riches…” (p68). But according to him, the government preventatives and controls are ready. In the hands of a determined government their efficacy cannot be doubted”. (p68) And I reply to him, “No sir, it can, that just happened!”

For sure, with regard to the latest facts, the financial system at the extended level of the whole world sounds now like a big casino with the highly new and barely uncontrollable liberal rules. Even though in the U.S., securities trading is a heavily regulated business owing to the potential for massive investor fraud, the demise of the giant energy corporation, Enron, is an example of how badly things can go wrong.

In my last trip to US I discussed with a good friend of mine about my objective to develop financial independence and how I wanted to enter the stock market to achieve this objective. He told me that people in US can help you find your way in any industry, but no one will help you enter the stock market industry to challenge them. “Challenge them?” it caught me like “hum, there is something underneath in this industry, maybe a protected arena”.

The future of central banks and money creation
In this modern day’s economy no one can talk about money and currency without addressing the issue of information technology, digital money and their impact on the imbedded privilege of central bank to issue and monitor currency while preventing uncontrolled inflation. In this book, Birch and McEnvoy paper, Downloasamoney (1996), and Mervin King’s A Future for Central Banks? (1999) wisely elaborate on it.

What Birch and McEnvoy hint at is that information technology has changed money. It means that almost any asset, however ephemeral, can be securitized and turned into money… (p171). They recall Prof Glyn Davies who notes that improvements in the technology of the means of exchange – from ingots, to coins, to paper, to plastic cards – have always diminished the power of the government over the monetary system. And Prof Glyn to ask “Is it time for them to give up completely?” (p173)

The answer is “Yes” from Mervyn King in A Future For Central Banks?. King went further than simply suggesting that electronic money would take over. He thought that, as Henkel et al have noted, the key to a central bank’s ability to implement monetary policy is that it’s remains, by law or regulation, the only entity which is allowed to ‘corner’ the market for settlement. Then he went on to back the position of Fisher Black for whom the need to limit excessive money creation would be replaced by a concern to ensure the integrity of the computer used for settlement purposes. A regulatory body to monitor such systems would be required. And of course “existing regulators, including central banks, would no doubt compete for that responsibility…settlement facilities would become international.” (p176) Do I have to say “game over”? not yet because Fisher and King certitude is challenged by Walter Bagelot words in Lombard Street (1873): “ Nothing would persuade the English people to abolish the Bank of England; and if some calamity swept it away, generations must elapse before at all the same trust would be placed in any other equivalent”. (p176). The debate isn’t closed but the coexistence of central banks and improved information technology is at the advantage of the users and beneficiaries since people will continue to make it more easily.

3. 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?

Power and threat of speculation money
To understand the kind of sufferings created by the blind securities and stock market system is to figure out the high rate of inflation resulting from the astounding bonuses received by traders and brokers who can barely buy highly expensive homes, apartments, vehicles, furniture, etc. which a hard working average person cannot afford. If he could, it should be at heavy personal cost and risks. The question here is “Is this global economy of knowledge used as well as possible for mutual interest or just to perpetrate large gain for a small group of wealthy gurus and cranks while ruining the average people hard work?” I believe that not only securities and exchange markets need to be more enforced; there is a need for other people who care to influence policy-making in this industry. And I am still determined to find my entry point with money or credentials.

4. Quotes: Are there brief quotes from the book which really got your attention? If so, please list and comment on them.

Yes, there are many since each section of the book starts with two quotes, and there are 8 sections in addition to the introduction. Let’s comment on few of them:

There is no wealth but life. John Ruskin, Unto This Last (p1)
These words written by Ruskin in 1860 seem to be the battle cry of all the critics in this book. Seemingly, Ruskin believed that wealth is more than money as he also wrote that “wealth is what nature gives us”.

To enjoy the products of factory 1, the public must build factory 2. To enjoy the products of factory 2, the public must build factory 3 and so on ad infinitum. William Hixxon, A Matter of Interest, 1993. (p.21) There will never be enough money to secure all the people needs. New outputs mean new needs while higher money brings higher prices. Here is where the fundamental nature of inflation lies.

Lenin…declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist system was to debauch the currency…Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer way of overturning the existing basis of society. John Maynar Keynes (p51) This quote is in Part II entitled The Trouble with money: there’s too much of it (p51). The author surely wants to point out the opinion of those money reformers or heretics who think that to reduce or lessening inflation is to limit the amount of money in circulation. The Capitalist system in Lenin mind was a pervasive and greedy driven economic system.

I am qualified to tell the public that, in my view, it is entirely mistaken if it believes that the monetary system of this country is normally managed by ‘recognized monetary experts’ working in accordance with the most scientific and up to date methods known to modern economist. Vincent Vickers, Director of the Bank of England, Writing a preface to a book by Robert Eisler. (p113) This is quite interesting coming from a high ranking official of a central bank. For me it just means there is no knowledgeable person when it comes to profit sharing and money creating process. Passion, emotion, adrenaline and high profit margins are what drive decision-making here. Can we talk about high integrity here?

If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. Thomas Edison, 1921. (p113)
Edison was opposed to the fact that the Government planned, as usual, to raise the money by issuing bonds which would be bought by the banking and non-banking sector — which would then have to be paid back with money raised from taxes, and with interest added. He joined industrialist Henry Ford (1863 – 1947) – in what was then called the Prosperity proposal – in proposing instead that the Government simply create the currency it required and spend it into society through public projects. The lengthy version of the quote is “If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good”. Edison criticized the monetary system saying that in the old way any time it wishes to add to the national wealth it is compelled to add to the national debt.

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?

No, this is more a research or fact finding book than a manual or handbook.

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 Ford and Edison position on the debt creation by the government expresses quite frankly the situation of some African countries particularly those tied to foreign currencies like French speaking countries with the French franc. Although the French franc is no more in circulation, our money is still under control of the French Treasury which governs all policies on our currencies. When one adds the burden of the debt from IMF and World Bank, I am afraid we won’t move out of poverty in next generations unless something is done to change this pattern. We need to establish our own mechanism for money creation like moving for example as fast as possible towards an African currency with the possibility to have regional and community currencies like the domestic tradable quotas (DTS) described by David Fleming (p217) or what was called free money and non cash currency by some money radicals like Irving Fisher: Commission currency (p192) and stamp scrip (p239), Michael Linton: LETSystems (p263), Paul Glover: Hometown money (p73) and Shann Turnbull : kilowatt hours currencies (p207). The idea here was to provide new kinds of money that could circulate without seeping away into the pockets of the already rich which can be represented here by the tenants of the so called Washington consensus and their instruments like the IMF and World Bank. But quite frankly I don’t think we need an approval from the western powers to do this. It is a matter of choice for the survival of our people and our land.

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? 10
E. What is the overall rating you would give it? 9

True Prosperity – How to Have Everything
Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngué (Cote d’Iviorie)

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

Through this book, Y. Berg designs a Kabalistic methodology that one can apply in every day and in every minute of his/her life for achieving prosperity. He gives, step by step, an operating system to become the boss of our life and unlock the floodgates of money, happiness, fulfilling relationships and everything.

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 definition of a leader (pp. 128 – 131): The issue of leadership is for a greater interest for me as I am endlessly striving to become one. That’s the reason why I am part of this learning program. Berg states that the leader is the one who inspires people to be more than they are (p.128). He also points out that the leader might not be the expert or the best transmitter of information. It does not matter. What matter the most is that this person is the one who, when he’s finished, motivates people to do more (p.130).

I have often been puzzled by the kind of leaders we have in Africa. In an article I wrote in March 2010, Pitfalls of modern leadership in Africa, I stated that, it is really controversial to notice that most of our leaders in Africa are people of a certain age who are supposed to be wises. But their actions are very far from what we learned from our ancestors about leadership. In ancient Africa, leadership was the twin word of wisdom…In certain countries, we see that the leaders who are supposed to protect, guide, motivate, build the facilities of their countries, and enhance the capacity of their fellow countrymen and women, just turned to become leaders who threaten, destroy, embezzled, mismanage the resource of their lands within a total lack of wisdom.

b. Use the power of our ego for good (pp. 59 – 61): Berg writes that, “Ego serves as the handcuffs – and – mind cuffs – of the Competitor.” (p. 59). We use to be the slaves of our ego acting just like animals through power hunger, money hunger, etc. this is a pattern of self destruction. Through his Kabbalistic knowledge, Berg insists that “You might recall that ego is a curtain that blocks us from the Light. And what an ingenious curtain it is! Not only does it block the Light, but it is invisible – so it’s not just the Light we can’t see; we can’t even see the curtain that blocks the Light! (p. 59). I remember that when I was a young executive, I behaved sometimes in a very egoistic way always pushing hard my opinion above all others wherever I was participating in meetings, discussions or disputes. I can figure out now that this has created some kind of hostility around my thoughts although this is what we learn if business schools. Instead the wisdom of the Kabbalah teaches us that we might avoid being full of ourselves because people like these might succeed for a while, but not permanently. And they certainly don’t enjoy true prosperity (dixit Yehuda Berg). Colin Powel once stated that, “Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it” (Viewed in the Ning Website of IIGL).

c. You’re the Boss. You’re Responsible (pp.46-47): Berg points out evidence about how we use to behave when confronting a problem or a challenge. “When you’re busy with the 1% world and something goes wrong, you don’t say, ‘It’s my responsibility, I am the reason for this.’ Instead, your response is, ‘Why me?’ (p.46). this is simply to imply that, “it’s not my fault”. Since I started global leadership studies with IIGL coupled with my Buddhist faith, I became aware of the fact that whatever happens in my life has a cause within me. Previous books I read combined with my Buddhist practice – the law of causality – made me understand that I am the sole responsible of my circumstances although it’s hard to notice it. Since then my action plan is to find a way out of all the bad decisions and deeds I made earlier and redirect my actions steps around my mission of serving the cause of the African renaissance within a peaceful world. However, I wonder if this consciousness isn’t another challenge that can hamper my determination? Berg writes that, “Taking responsibility helps break two of the strongest chains the Competitor uses to wrap you in: the chain of routine thinking and the chain of guilt” (p. 47).

d. Money is Light (pp. 35 – 36): Maybe for karmic reason but certainly from my own responsibility, getting plenty money in my life is a big challenge. Despite my intention of owning considerable assets to share with as many people as possible through great projects, I believe I am still outside of the loop. Speaking like this may sound like believing that money is physical. So, I also remember that despite various challenges I am always making some progress considering where I come from. That means money manifests somehow in my life through different ways: donation from friends, grants, scholarships, waivers, absence of causes that require much money to be resolved, etc. So, Berg writes that, “Money is energy, and like all energy, more is better. But energy, like the sun, comes with a warning label. Walk hand in hand with your children in the glow of a Tahitian sunrise and it’s wonderful. But gaze at the morning sun after dwelling in a cave for 12 years and you’ll likely go blind. It’s not the sun that has changed in each case; it’s your relationship to it” (p.36).

e. Money is not physical; it’s energy (pp. 37-40): Above I stated that money is energy. Okay, but why is money for? It can be for good or for evil. The author writes that, “When you use money to share – to make things grow, to bring great projects into the world, to provide for your family – it will be a force for good. But if it falls into your life unearned and underserved, and if you keep it to satisfy your egotistic desires, it can destroy you” (p. 38). Our attitude about money is also a pivotal point. According to Berg, “[…] if you think money is something to be avoided, money will, at the end of the day, avoid you” (p.38). He gives an example of how a $16.2 million lottery winner ended up in debt for $1 million within one year after spending time in jail for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector.

f. The ultimate competitor (pp. 15-18): The author talks much about the Ultimate Competitor in the book. I understood this like our inner antagonistic forces that prevent us to shine and give the most we can in our life time. As he referred to this competitor as Satan (Suh-tan, the ultimate competitor) I was afraid to come back to Judeo-Christian concept of the devil, a guy in a bright red suit with horns. But, he clarifies that in original kabbalistic translation, the word Satan actually means adversary. This adversary is there to challenge our fulfillment. And he lives within us. This concept is close to the Buddhist concept of demonic forces as both state that our true opponent can’t be found somewhere outside in everyday life. To the contrary he dwells inside of us. So, he is powerful in distracting us and forces us to lose focus. Therefore we might be strong enough to act instead of reacting upon the pressure of our ultimate competitor. According to the author, the Creator created the Opponent – the Competitor – for the sole purpose of allowing us to overcome him and, in the process, experience the joy of triumph.

g- The zero-sum game and the Suddenly Syndrome (pp. 20-23): The negative business competition or negative social behavior pushes people to behave in a zero-sum game attitude which consists to destroy the Competitor or consider that family life and business are opponents. Berg says that if we enter in such of mindset, we are building the ground for our own destruction. Progressively we will be creating the malignant tumor that will grow up into a cancer long after. But because we are ignorant of this “law of cause and effect”, we will consider that the cancer just happen suddenly as the bankruptcy, divorce, etc. This is an illusion. Kabbalah calls this scenario, bogus! The lesson here is to use every single moment to build the ground of mutual growth.

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?

This set of tools help me in consolidating my mindset to be a pragmatic leader who works to develop mutual areas of growth with my environment and people around me. The contents gave me another perspective about money. I also used some of the author’s ideas while writing the leadership section of my book to be published. I was happy to learn a little bit about Kabbalah and to discover that some of its teachings are close to Buddhism I practice in a daily basis.

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.

When your attitude toward money is healthy, it will flow and bring you prosperity – and if you move on to help others gain that same prosperity, more will follow. But stop the flow at any time, and the overload can be disastrous (p 39). Great lesson that made me understand why people create Foundations and other charities.

The secret is that true prosperity is really what each of us was put on earth to achieve. And that’s the key word here: achieve. You achieve prosperity not because you’re smart or lucky, or because you so ruthlessly pillaged your competition, but because you followed the rules of the universe (p. 5). So, we have to devote ourselves to constantly learning of what the rules are. I believe that this part is what religions are made of. It requires a great deal of humility and commitment; not to a certain guru or prophet but to the source of Light.

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 just learn new concepts such as the Ultimate competitor who is the adversary within by opposition to what western scientists or religious call Satan, the devil.

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, but it contains a number of illustrations and tales that are really 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
B. How helpful were the contents? 8
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

The Money changers – Currency reform from Aristotle to e-cash

Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngue

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

The Money Changers is a collection of historical and contemporary thought on the nature of money, combining the political and polemical, the analytical and visionary. It challenges the political, economic and ethical character of money. It is a timely guide to the key ideas and ideologues in the contemporary debate on our economic and social future. The whole book represents a sum of expertise and experience, involving academics, political theorists and social reformers, on the best ways to create money, the most effective rules for governing its use, and the benefits of its abolition. We learn from people such as Arthur Kitson, Benjamin Graham, William Morris, John Meynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek, Edgar Cahn, George Soros and Michael Rowbotham, etc.

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 failure of money (pp1-11): In the introduction of this book, David Doyle, highlight the tradition of dissent about money that goes back via Ruskin and Morris to Franklin, Owen and Aristotle. This tradition, which is a battle cry of all the critics of the monetary system, points out   that, “the money system is simply a means to an end, and if it doesn’t work, we can change it.” That’s where the controversy starts as well as the attempts to address the questions about where the money comes from; what form money should take, who owns money? Then, new kinds of money emerges like Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS), Ithaca hours, time dollars, BerkSHARE (Self-Help Association for a Regional Economy based in Berkshire region of Massachusetts), loyalty points (ex. Benz and air miles), trade points, international barter (with trade dollars or international currency called universal), etc. For Doyle, there are no less than 7,000 local currencies circulating around the world (p3). He however questions if these currencies succeed in making changes in the way money works. Not so sure. A quote from Gershwin illustrates the best the irony on the tradition of ‘heresy’ about money and in extension about the market economy: “Just when you get what you want, you don’t want it”. The interesting thing is that money follows the technological change. So we have the Internet currency like e-gold and pay pal. Doyle states that, “The shape of our lives, the ability to achieve our dreams, depends on money and how much there is around us” (p11). He goes on to criticize the high impact of speculation, the less circulation of the money in the world, and the failure of the monetary and economic system as a whole to address the issue of unchanged proportion of the population in poverty in the world: “isn’t it possible that this continuing third of the population, and a third of the world’s countries, are still considered poor due to some hitherto undiscovered economic ‘law’ about money creation?” (p10). The later is the common question of citizens of the so called third world. Doyle himself responds that, “success or failure, wealth or poverty, has much to do with whether you live at a moment of monetary expansion or contraction” (p.10).

b. The bimetallism (pp31-35): Two authors, Ignatius Donnelly (1831-1901) in the Populists (1892) and William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) with Crucifying Mankind (1896) are vocal on the bimetallism in this book. Donnelly, member of the Populist Party and a former Republican Congressman, and the activists of the Silver movement advocated for the bimetallism as the way to “restore the government of the Republic to the hands of the ‘plain people’, with which class is originated. He argued that this should establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for “ourselves and our posterity…” (p23) In the same vain, during a convention of the Democratic Party in 1896, Bryan, the Democratic nominee for the presidency, declared his support to the restoration of bimetallism to stand on the side of the ‘struggling masses’ while he viewed the defendants of gold standard as those who wanted to crucify mankind upon a cross of gold (p35). The currency issue became a political weapon for US politics in the 19th century, during the tough time of financial panic and later on. As with the campaigners against globalization today, the Populist agenda and the rhetoric of the Democratic Party nominee sound like a cry for a better share of the national wealth and resources through the issuance of two different standards: silver and gold. The debate will certainly continue in different ways for the mankind.

c. The trouble with Keynesianism (pp69-72): Ralph Borsodi (1888-1977) saw Keynesianism and the New Deal as a plot against common sense and the dollar. In his book Inflation and the Coming Keynesian Catastrophe (1974), he quoted the saying: “Statistics do not lie, but statisticians do” (p70). He went on to explain that, by changing the base numbers or base years, statisticians manipulated data to tell a half truth. Changing the base year issued a figure of inflation represented as 115 increase of the wholesale prices on a 1967 basis, which actually covered the inflation of 445 on the 1926 basis. For him Washington knew that the US economy “was sitting on a time-bomb and that the moment something happens so that confidence in the dollar is threatened, something like 1929 will repeat itself” (p71). Everything was done in accordance with the needs of Wall Street and not in accordance with the needs of the economy: “They are increasing the quantity, but they are debasing its quality…” (p71). So, to make it short, in practice – as the men of greed and the men of power have found that they can gratify their desires far more effectively if they work together- Wall Street and Washington operate as if they were Siamese twins. And this is the way they are both operating in dealing with Keynesianism (p72). The perception of a plot of those who have against the have not, is still pending even in our small economies. The degree in which it is expressed depends on the level of circulation of money in the country combined with the quality of the governing bodies in charge.

d. The controversy on mortgages (pp108-112): Michael Rowbotham’s book The Grip of Death (1998) explains that the price of houses has more to do with what people are allowed to borrow than with anything else. “It is often suggested that house prices are set by a process of supply and demand, with home-buyers competing the price of houses upwards. But, this is not the full story, and omits the impact of past debt. The prices of houses are heavily influenced by the costs of building new houses…Commercial debts is a major factor in raising costs and consistently elevating prices above what people can afford. The other factor contributing to the progressive growth of mortgages is that, under a debt-based financial system, the ability of people to save and the amount of their disposable income both suffer progressive decline. Thus, deposits put down by first-time home buyers become smaller whilst the high level of commercial debt, impacting through the construction industry, drives the price of new houses higher and higher”(p110). The crisis of the subprimes (2008) that arose to the current “global” financial crisis has shown that the invisible hand in the economy wasn’t that invisible at all but interest driven minds. So, it proves that Rowbotham was right warning us about the Grip of death through mortgages. All the money in circulation will never be enough to pay all the debts. In a research I conduct currently on the risk management of public/private partnership, I raise the point of the necessity for the government to keep an eye open on the dealing of the private sector to balance the equation of social and private interests. The consequences of blind capitalism have been too catastrophic to date.

e. The conspiracy of bankers?(pp121-123): “Now, I see the way by which our Government can get this great work completed without paying a nickel to the money sellers. It is as sound as granite, and there is but one thing hard about it. It is so simple and easy that, maybe, home folks can’t see it”. Henry Ford, in this passage, extracted from the interview on the Muscle Shoals and the End of War (1921) published in the New York Times on 4 December 1921, and quoted in The Social Creditor, vol. 77, no 3, May/June 1998, once believed in the international conspiracy of bankers. The idea of the famous engineer and inventor was that, “Whenever the Government needs money for a great public improvement, instead of thinking of bonds with heavy interest charges, thinks of redeemable non-interest bearing currency…” (p122) Ford proposal illustrated his opposition to the Government paying interests to Wall Street money merchants, who did nothing to build the dam, while increasing the national debt. The greatest industrialist further argued that, “Simply because if tried here at Muscle Shoals this plan will prove so…successful that the American people will never again consent to the issuance of an interest-bearing bond for a national improvement. When the Government needs money it will raise it by issuing currency against its imperishable natural wealth. Other countries seeing our success will undoubtedly do likewise. The function of the money seller will have disappeared” (p123). Today again some politicians in Sub-Saharan Africa think that the international financial system is flawed and is the first cause of our impoverishment because we don’t own it and its rules are often misleading for non-Western experts.

f. The regional currency (pp252-262): Among these currencies there is the WIR system that started in 1934 in Switzerland. By 1993, it had a turnover of _12 billion and 65,000 corporate members. Another local currency the Ithaca Hours (valued at $10 each) popularized in upstate New York (see Paul Glover, pp73-76). It did not carry neither positive nor negative interest and was backed by real goods and skills, as a way of providing more money in a local economy (p74). In 1997 a decision was taken by the European Commission to sponsor four experimental regional currencies that could be used by organizations, charities and small businesses as an alternative to cash. From all the four launched in 1998/9, only one survived, the Scotbarter system, run by the Scottish/Duth currency consultancy Barataria (p 253). Gerry McGarry an Irish engineer invented the roma (ROscommon-MAyo) currency to encourage the businesses in his area to do more trade among themselves and to raise the money for local charities, etc. All these experiences or experiments tell us that local, regional or federal authorities can think about a monetary system that help businesses and people to convert their skills, goods or goodwill to notes or cash to fuel the economy and empower communities. In Africa, these kinds of systems are needed to address the scarcity of money or the uncontrolled financial system.

g- The open money manifesto (pp263-267): authors like Michael Linton (1945- ) and Ernie Yacub  (1944- ) lament that the “money from them” has failed. It’s scarce and hard to get. It comes with many problems: the problem of supply; the problem of distribution; and the problem of cost (p265). And, “there is no good reason for a community to be without money” (p266). Therefore, there is a need to have Open moneys, which are virtual, personal and free. Any community, business, network can create their own free money. Although it won’t be free as in free lunch or beer, the new money that will work will be created “by us”, in sufficient supply to meet our needs, and in an open context so that all can contribute and be acknowledged. It will circulate within the networks and communities it serves, quite legally and virtually free, by design. The authors believed that the problem that comes with conventional money can be resolved with open money systems: “so let’s fix the money problem and for the rest of the problems that we face in our world, let’s see what follows” (pp266-267). This open money systems seems to bring an answer to problems of money shortage we have in Africa (see section f above). I see it as a variable of the concept of fair trade or commerce equitable promoted by some alter-globalization movements. A balance with the current conventional system can help our people in villages and suburbs, who can’t afford or understand the e-money system, to better face their daily needs through exchange of their goods, time and skills, to find a little relief without going back to the traditional barter systems.

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?

I figure out that the issue on money is tantamount to the kind of unfinished business that will continue to pave the way to irreconcilable savvy and interest driven discussions. If powerful people such as Ford and Carnegie couldn’t influence it to the benefit of their governments and debt release, the people involved in planetary transformation would better find alternative ways (alternative currencies) to reduce the impact of failed or flawed global monetary systems. Stakes are too high and divergent that any initiative around money needs a multilateral approach and support.

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 real science of political economy, which has yet to be distinguished from the bastard science, as medicine from witchcraft, and astronomy from astrology, is [scarcity] that which teaches nations to desire and labour for the things that lead to life: and which teaches them to scorn and destroy the things that lead to destruction (p12, dixit John Ruskin (1819-1900)). Ruskin was the champion of those who thought that the real wealth is life and not the money. I simply put it that money is a means to enjoy and support a life of value creation: beauty, kindness and profit.

Market economics values what is scare – not the real work of society, which is caring, loving, being a citizen, a neighbour and a human being. That work will, I hope, never be so scarce that the market value goes high, so we have to find a way of rewarding contributions to it (p225, dixit Edgar Cahn, On the Thinking Behind Time Dollars). Last Sunday I had a good discussion with an old man who is not a university graduate. He made a point that impressed me by saying that the individual is not communist, because a human being will always prefer the freedom to experiment some behaviors and enjoy the marginal interest (satisfaction) that derives from this. But when the individual is forced to behave in a certain way, be it kind or loving, he will challenge this. That’s the main reason why communism failed. Economists will say that a human being is rational. In my opinion, there are some actions or behaviors that can’t bear any monetary value. We just have to keep them that way: pay them back by similar behaviors.

For in every country of the world, I believe, the avarice and injustice of princes and sovereign states abusing the confidence of their subjects, have by degrees diminished the real quality of the metal, which had been originally contained in their coins (p137, Adam Smith, quoted by F. A. Hayek in his Pamphlet The De-Nationalization of Money). This inferred that the whole process of money making is not immune to the problem of optimum value creation concept. Economists, bankers and wealth holders will always favor what help them make more profit at the end of the day.

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 covers various thoughts about money, currency and monetary reform. I understand it as bread for thought and an opportunity to figure out how controversial the whole issue of money is from the past to now and undoubtedly in the future.

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, but it contains a number of illustrations that are highly noteworthy.

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.

According to the editor, the purpose of the book is to show that there is a great tradition of creative questioning, about money and currency. I believe that this issue is reviving itself with the current economic (more financial) crisis that threatens powerful economies like the US, France, Japan, Italy or Greece. It is also right that every monetary reform or solution throws up more problems. One can say that: the money system should always be subservient to the human spirit (dixit Ruskin and Keynes).

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? 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? 9.5

Inside The Economists’s Mind

Conversations with Eminent Economists

Assessment by Roger Yomba Ngué  (Cote d’ Ivoire)

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

Inside The Economist’s Mind is a collection of sixteen peer to peer interviews in which economists talk with economists. According to William Barnett , it contains unique insights into the thinking of some of the world’s most famouseconomists, whose work contributed to the modern economic thought. We learn historical facts that led to some of the most quoted or used theories in economics, econometrics, math economics, finance economics, public finance as well as statistics. Also interesting is the bulk of dramas behind the science that it carries; rare and intriguing view of the personal and professional lives of leading economists including eight Nobel Laureates, Wassily Leontief, Robert Lucas, Franco Modigliani, Robert Solow, Milton Friedman, Paul Samuelson, Robert Aumann, and James Tobin; two central bank governors, Paul Volcker (former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board) and Stanley Fischer (Governor of the Bank of Israel); and a Chairman of the US Council of Economic Advisors, Martin Feldstein.

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 understand the process you have to have the theory

I believe that this thought is the whole thing behind going to school to understand sciences like medicine, astronomy, mathematics, economics, etc. in order to be able to digest the process of problem solving in that particular areas but also for diverse other walks of life. As a manager, I have had hard times before trying to understand some issues regarding human resource management, budgeting, or planning. I remember times when I came back home with serious headaches because it took me a lot of energy to understand the facts and organize them in order to determine the way forward. Leontief explained better in the same subject that, “If you want to really understand an empirical science, you must have the facts. And the problem is how to organize the facts. Essentially, theory organizes facts(W. Leontief, pp. 19-20). Going to school or learning from a master/mentor help to harness the theory. Having learned a little more of theory in management and its associated sciences help me a lot to understand fast the facts and in finding the optimal direction or decision in the whole bunch of things and concepts, without depending in someone else.

b. The necessity to maintain a strong role of the government in the economy

In dominant liberal and open economies of today, business people and some prominent economists, undoubtedly influenced by Adam Smith theory’s of the invisible hand behind the market, hold that the government should only play a minimal role, like planning, to keep the dynamics of the market (economic activities). But Leontief insisted that in the future, “the role of the government will be incredibly important, and those economists who try to minimize the role of the government, I fear, show a superficial understanding of how the economic system works. My feeling is, if we abolished the government now, already there would be complete chaos. Now, planning plays a role, naturally, but I don’t emphasize just planning as a role for the government, which is I think extremely important, and its importance is bound to increase because of technological change. If one ask oneself, what will happen to the system if we abolished completely the government, it would be horrible” (p. 30). The experience of governments organizing bail-out plans to rescue prominent banks and companies worldwide, after the 2007-2008 financial crisis, is still fresh in our minds to understand quite well W. Leontief’s statement.

c. Hypotheses about human behavior, or expectation formation, or preferences play a subsidiary role

Prof. Leontief thought that under a capitalist system, the big industrialists play a “really big role” by always trying to make profits, to choose technologies which maximize profits – “essentially in the short run. Of course, national policy has to be taken into account, but business is certainly a short term type of system” . There comes the debate on the rationality of human behavior. From Leontief’s perspective, our behaviors are largely influenced by the choices of big industrialists.

d. Long term planning requires a certain degree of skepticism

Robert J. Shiller of Yale University believes that a lot of principles and the theory on behavioral finance are questionable. So, he “learned the essential lesson to be skeptical of econometric results” (p. 235). The subject of my Master degree’s dissertation is on the risk management of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in power industry. I found that many stakeholders are skeptical about the financial evaluation of projects on PPP for 30 to 50 years since the use of different variables by project designers in the same industry are disputable. For example, some will use 8% of actual rate, with no particular reason, instead of 6.5% use by others, just to bump up the cost of projects and maximize the ROI (Return of Investment). Another example, some projects can use a high run-down state  Index, say 90% instead of the usual 20 to 30%, just to convince decision-makers to choose a particular mode of contracting that favors investors but penalizes end-users who will pay high price for anticipated renewal of the infrastructure that won’t occur in the planned period.

e. Risk management goes with complexity

Risk management is my area of interest, so, do I pay attention to concepts around it. As I spend time learning different forms and the ladder of risk management, I discover that it contains a variety of mathematical, statistical, and operations research equations, models and formula. A manager is obliged to establish a sound process using these models, formula, tables and matrices to develop a basic system that helps him and his team to detect, evaluate, prevent, manage or transfer inherent risks within his industry.   R. J. Shiller confirms in this book that, “For good risk management purposes, complexity may be necessary” (p. 257). But risk management is also a controversial part of economics due to its complexity. The professor therefore, “think[s] that there is a lot of fundamental work to do on the integration of the theory of risk management into broader economic theory” (p. 258).

f. The game theory is the study of interactions

The game theory is an important concept in relationship management in policy-making and politics at individual, institutional, national or international levels. Robert Aumann’s interview explains it in a very simplistic way. “Game theory is the study of interactions from a rational viewpoint. Even though the rationality does not have to be conscious, it is still there in the background. So we are interpreting what we see in the world from a rational viewpoint. In other words, we ask what is best for people to do when there are other people, other decision-makers, other entities who also optimize their decisions?[So] Game theory is optimal decision-making in the presence of others with different objectives” (p. 365). Prof. Aumann gives an example, some pages above, about revenge, “which in the short term seem irrational, but in the long term, it may be rational, because if you take revenge, then the next time you meet that person, he will not kick you in the stomach. Altruistic behavior, revenge behavior, any of those things, makes sense when viewed from the perspective of a repeated game, but not from the perspective of a one-shot game. So, a repeated game is often more realistic than one-shot game: it models ongoing relationships” (p. 337). In our daily life we deal with game theory. Any given response might take into account and anticipate the reaction of the opposite side. It should be it for a household, company or more complex issues and settings.

g. Every system needs a direction

In his interview, Paul A. Volcker, believes that left alone or unchecked, markets, bankers, bureaucrats are unable to manage themselves. Just as the market has no sense of what a sustainable equilibrium is now, bankers don’t manage themselves given the greed, fear, and hubris combination. So, by itself the system can wander off in some strange direction. Therefore, “there is a need for some, not so much a watchdog as a coordinator, or something to give direction” (pp. 189-190). It sounds important for me due to all the crises and downturn we noticed these past years in the financial spheres.

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?

This book is one of the references I used for my dissertation. Notions like skepticism in long term planning, repeated game theory, game theory or evaluation are needed in my life as a leader and manager to keep everything together at personal and professional levels. These notions reminded me that people behaviors are influenced by their circumstances and contexts. They’ll always help me to remain grounded in the right path and in keeping positive interactions with people and institutions while planning for and achieving different missions and goals.

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. “A system, a dynamic system without structural changes would have lags, and latent eigenroots  that create fluctuation. Of course, at the present time, technological change is very important. Technological change is the driving force of economic change and cause of social change, (Leontief, p.19). Here is the notion of constant change and adaptation in the system to get the optimum point of satisfaction. 

b. “Efficient risk sharing requires that the resources of every agent be independent of idiosyncratic risks and related only to society’s risks…thus, for a worker with no property income, risk-sharing efficiency would call for wages reflecting marginal productivities. Yet, at times of depressed labor demand, market-clearing wages would fall to reservation levels. There is thus a conflict between two dimensions of efficiency. Note that we are discussing efficiency not redistribution”. (p. 290).Jacques Drèze, talking about the challenging aspect of quantitative economics depicted the difficulty in setting viable econometric model without a certain level of bias.

c. “In economics people are assumed to act in order to maximize their utility; at least, until Tversky and Kahneman came along and said that people do not necessarily act in their interest” The third idea (c) of question # 2 mentions the uncertainty in believing that people always act in a rational way for their interest. So, this should remain an ongoing debate among economists and leaders.

d. After all, it is the context that defines how a certain phenomenon should be interpreted” . In real life we tend to compare or evaluate things, people or processes with no consideration or less of the power of their context (environment). With this statement, I understand that normally, everything should be interpreted in the basis of its context.

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?

Yes, some interviewees such as Milton Friedman, Jacques Drèze and Robert Aumann mentioned econometrics or mathematical equations religious views that are unfamiliar to me.

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, but it contains a number of worth mentioning scientific illustrations.

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.

Not really to comment, but to share as I think it is important that everyone remember them. They are two quotes from Bob Aumann’s interview. Prof. Aumann is also a religious person.

a. “[…] let me say that the scientific view of the world is really just in our minds. When you look at it carefully, it is not something that is out there in the real world…” This brings up the discussion on the utility of all these cutting edge scientific concepts that people and governments spend a lot of energy and money to discover. For sure, much learning is required to understand this thought.

b. “In discussing the laws, the rules by which we live, the Talmud sometimes says that a certain action is not punishable by mortal courts but is punished by Heaven, and then discusses such punishments in detail. Occasionally in such a discussion somebody will say, ‘Well, we can only determine what the reaction of human courts will be to this or that action. We cannot dictate to Heaven how to react, and therefore it’s useless for us to discuss it.’ That cuts off discussion. As a religious person I must ask myself how I act. I cannot discuss the rationality of irrationality of G-d” (pp. 348-49). At the very end, it depends on everyone to question her/his behavior before an eventual judgment by courts or Heaven.

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?                     10
C.      How easy was it to understand?                      8
D.      Would you recommend it to others?                9
E.      What is the overall rating you would give it?   9