Der Fall Collini – Ferdinand von Schirach

 

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In this period of stressfull worktime, I really needed some fiction to read: I needed to change place and time. So I “went” to Germany with this book.

There is a lawyer who decides to defend Collini, who has killed Hans Meyer, a famous and rich old man. The story is not long: it seems that there is no defence space in this case, because Collini doesn’t want to speak. On the contrary: he admits his fault. But then the lawyer finds out that the victim was his family friend the grandphater of her nice looking nephew (of course she is nice looking…).

Well, at the end, Leinen, the lawyer, manages to find the reason why Collini killed Meyer, and all the situation seems different: of course, Meyer had been a nazi who has killed Collini’s father.

Rather boring.
Above all, I think that I would hardly find a woman more stupid and banal than Johanna, Meyer’s nephew. She speaks max three times through the whole book. She is there just to make some sex with the lawyer. Dephtless at all. Almost invisible. Less than a cliché.

But, like in all book, you always learn something. In this case, the EGOWIG LAW, that, at the end of Sixties, prescribed a lot of nazi crimes. Yes. That’s it. And once the public noticed it, there was nothing else to do, because once a crime is prescribed, you cannot consider it a crime anymore.
Very well. And two days ago was the Memory day, wasn’t it?

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The 4-hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss

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No matter if you are an employer or an employee: you probably think that you have to work harder and harder, the more the better, for a life, and then, at the end, when you will be 60, 65 or 70, you will enjoy the rent.
This is not what Ferris wanted. He experienced this way of life but decided that it was not for him.

He now works 4 hours each week and earns around 40.000 $ each month (at the beginning of his career he earned 40.000 $ each year, by working 80 hours a week). Well, it is not 100% clear to me wich job he does now, I only understand that he can work through a computer everywhere he is.

His suggestions are valid both for the ones who do not want to quit their current job and for the ones who cannot stand for it anymore. My opinion is that this model is not applicable to Italian working system, it requires too much flexibility from the company owners: if you show that you can do the job in half the time, the owner won’t give you the other hours from free, but he will double your work;-)

Anyway I believe that every want-to-be leader should read this book, at least to learn the meeting rules that will avoid you to lose time!! Please do, time wasting is not only money wasting… at least for the parts where he underlines the need to fix the duration and to inform the colleagues about the topics.

Another suggestion that is often difficult to let the sales leaders understand, is that you have not to accept each customer all around the world. Please remember the Pareto rule: the 20% of the clients made the 80% of the turnover! Why are you wasting time and peaceful minds to follow up clients who do little and make you angry at the end of the day??

Well, Tim Ferriss also suggests to lower at the lowest level the… customer care. This can be partially done through the Pareto Rule but then…. well, Tim, customer care is my job. After having cut all time spending activities, how can I spare more time to focus on the 20% customers?
Answer: I cannot. I am just an employee.

And last but not least: Ferris you are Young and have no experience in children at all. Believe me, with children is not that simple.

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The happiness project – Gretchen Rubin

imageWhy do you work? Why do you spend your time with family and friends? Why do you cultivate your hobbies? Why do you sing? Why do you meditate? Why do you watch TV?

Maybe you would like to give a different answers to all these questions. Actually, the answer is just one: to be happy.
Happiness, as discovered hundreds of years ago by most important philosophers, is the final goal of each of our actions.
Pay attention: happiness, not pleausure. You feel happiness when you invest in somethingl, in growth, for you or for others. You feel pleasure when you consume something.

This book is a self-help memoir. Gretchen starten her personal Happiness Project by programming it during a Whole year. Each month focused on one issue:

– January: energy and vitality
– February: marriage
– March: work
– April: parenthood
– May: leisure and hobbies
– June: friendship
– July: money
– August: eternity
– September: your passion (in her case: books)
– October: Mindfulness
– November: attitude in doing all these things
– December: happiness in general.

She did not want to change her life from top to bottom. She wanted to be happy exactly where she was, with her family, job, city. This is one thing that we hardly understand: we dream to change work or to expatriate to the Caribbeans (well, a book cannot make me change my mind…), but if by chance we manage to do this, we notice that we face the same Self. Well, not a case that one of her comandments was “Be Gretchen”.

Do not try to love something because you think that you should love it. I would like to love more classical music and jazz, but I do not. On the contrary, I love pop music, above all when I can follow it well during my running. I would like to love shopping, just to have something to chat with some ladies, but I do not. I would like to love romance books, but I do not.

The changes that Gretchen introduced into her life were all little: starting a reading Group, uncluttering, controlling her tongue when rage was starting, stopping nagging.

Above all she experienced that new things/event/people/activities boosted her happiness level.
I would never follow her suggestion about diet (she is a great fun of coffee and for sure, no vegan), but she has unclosed a forgotten wisdom mass that we shall Always remember: if you want to be happy, think and act happy.
Nothing more. So simple.

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Happy Growth – Francesco Morace

imageThe idea that growth is dangerous, that it will ruin our environment, that it will transform us in stubborn and brainless consumers, that it will get an implosion point, is nowadays more than a fashion: it seems to be a duty.

Francesco Morace, sociologist, writer and journalists who has studied market trends since several years, tells us that growth is not a seven-heads-monster. Growth is not only physiological, but necessary. We only need to change paradigm and understand that we cannot go on reasoning in terms of luxury, richness and quantity increase.

The new paradigm cannot rely on usual success concept. Success is not happiness, richness doesn’t mean happiness. Status symbols are changing: more and more experiences are based on the idea of excellence, not luxury.
More than this: some new happy behaviours are growing, trust & sharing, coworking, farmer markets… they are all symptoms of a new way to buy, based on trust and gift logic.
Happiness is less consumistic and more emotional, so Morace.

Do I agree with him? Well, of course, when eh says that paradigms changes are very slow! I just do the devil’s advocate…

Let’s see consumption: it can be a freedom act, says Morace. Consumer can become a consum-author, he says.
Yes, in my opinion too, a consumistic society is better than a sharia-based society, but I still know too many ladies who, when they feel blue, need to go out for shopping. Well, this is not properly my idea of freedom. And, in my opinion, there still are too many (my Good, really too many) fashion shops in the department stores. Too many horrible fashion shops. While libraries are closing.

Let’s look at Facebook and other social networks. Yes, true, they are very useful when they help programming social meetings or some sociological movements. But give a look to standard Facebook user: give a look to the intelligence level of his sharings and comments. He put more attention on abandomned kitten and dogs instead of war refugees or war corpses. Social networks – at the moment – do not push reasoning, they just push emotions. With their pro and cons.

Let’s look at the health systems: in my opinion we are putting too much attention to the technological side of the service (how to reserve a visit through Internet, for instance, or how to increase pills market), while neither social networks nor the official health system is focusing on the strong side of the matter: prevention (through healthy diets and excercise, mainly, but here I am a little partial, with my vegan view…). I just hope that the USA will play the captain role, here, considering the current efforts of Obama’s administration.

Last comment: I love the cover photo of this book. Let’s consume, but let’s do it in an intelligent way, it seems to say. Do not waste the peel of the orange, you could recycle it.
For instance, in a Christmas Tree decoration:-)

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Proteinaholic – Garth Davis, MD

You know what I like of this book? Beside the reality that the author is a very good looking man? He admits that he is a former proteinaholic, not only for himself but also for his patients.
Yes, because he is a bariatric surgeon: he works with fatty people, and has a very good experience in what can make you fit or… fat!

It is not easy for people to admit that former behaviour was wrong, but Davis did it. He admits that he prescribed a lot of proteins and low-fat meat, before noticing that such diet didn’t work for his patients, not for himself. Not only this: such kind of diet was dangerous for health.

Of course this did not happen in a couple of days. First of all, he had to read a lot of nutrition researches. Then he applied on himself what he learned, and after seeing the results, he started to suggest people to eat plant based.

There usually are two reasons why people change habits: because they want to escape from something, or because they want to get something. In the first step, Davis tried to escape from unhealthy future; then he noticed how much energy he got with this new lifestyle and now he goes on because he wants to get better and better. He also became a Triathelte!

Interesting are the parts where he explained the cons of Atkins and Paleo diets, and why these two diets, despite the health problems they cause, are so famous and applied (at least for few months).

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The 21 Success Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires – Brian Tracy

 

imageIn this book I found some things that I liked and some other ones that I did not like at all.

I liked that many suggestions do not refer to money alone.

Tracy tells you to find a job that you love, so that you do not need to work (actually, this was a Confucio’s suggestion), to write down your goals, to make big dreams that nobody is more intelligent than you, that it is not necessary to be rich to be happy, to read a lot, to stay with positive people, to avoid plaintive friends, to take care of own health

On the other hand, when he explains what to do to become richer, I am in dismay.
What? Shall I save 10% of my wage each month? Why does he need to tell you this? Does it mean that in the USA it is normal to live without saving anything, through debits and credit card and overdrawn accounts?
Frugality is the keyword for Tracy. Spare and invest, spare and invest.
OK, but why should I live sparing and investing? The goal is to become rich in the mature years, it seems. To enjoy the life when you are old and retired.

Above all I did not like the chapter about the maximum commitment. I mean: I commit to my job, I like to go home after having done what I had to, but Tracy is going much further. He tells you to work harder and harder, much more than the 40 hours each week: self-made millionaires work around 59 hours each week, you should do the same!!!

And then: do not waste time. Do not chat with your colleagues and tell them that you cannot talk, if they try to involve you in some kind of time wasting. Work all the time, do not lift your head, stay on the paper and you will drawn attention on you… go to work one hour earlier, work during the break, stay on the workplace one hour later…

what??

Yes, says Tracy, this is how you can build your best reputation on work.
Well, best reputation with the boss, maybe, but what about relationship with colleagues? This guy is worse than me.

I still have the bad sensation that, when he says that you must take care of other people, he always says this because you myst then get something back.

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Rejection Proof – Jia Jiang

imageDo you lack in self-confidence? Then you must train to get rejections. You have to do like Jia Jian, a young chinese who left his country and came to live in the USA. He got a very well paid job and abandomned it because he wanted to become an enterpreneur. Then he noticed that he could not become the new Bill Gates because he was too afraid to get… rejections. This fear blocked him and made him tremble.

He therefore started a strange journey: he decided to do odd requests to people, so that they would tell him “NO!”: in this way, he would get accustomed to rejections. Yes, self-confidence can be trained like a muscle.

Some of his requests were really strange: for instance, he asked to play football in the garden of an unknown man; to welcome passengers on a plane; to borrow some money from a warden; to teach in a university class; and so on. But stranger than his requests, were the answers of people: some of them said “yes!”, and this was a total surprise to him.

Actually, he learned a lot of thing about rejections. Not only he learned not to desperate; but also how to handle the requests or the following chat to obtain a positive reaction.
Instead of being too shy to go on with discussion, for instance, he learned to ask the reasons of the naysayer. Or not to bother about results and to do nevertheless his best.

A negative answer is rarely a rejection of your personality. It is often due to moment or personal story.
Anyway, although I understand what Jian did, I think… Well, no, I would never find the courage.
I already have my problems in asking the colleague of purchasing department when we can despatch some products, and this is my job! You can imagine the color of my face or the tone of my voice if I had to ask the postman to deliver the post on his place…

But try to imagine: what could you do if you had no such fear?
You could do almost everything.

I could start inviting some of my beloved Writers to come dinner here! Oh, well… I think it would be rather difficult to convince them to eat plant-based. Ok, I got it. Let’s go to next book.

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