Saturday, November 28, 2009

Affluence & the Goddess of Wealth

Once upon a time in a faraway land, a young man went to the forest and said to his spiritual master, "I want to have unlimited wealth, and with that unlimited wealth, I want to help and heal the world. Will you please tell me the secret to creating affluence?"

And the spiritual master replied, "There are two Goddesses that reside in the heart of every human being. But there is a certain secret that you need to know, and I will tell you what it is.

"Although you love both Goddesses, you must pay more attention to one of them. She is the Goddess of Knowledge, and her name is Sarasvati. Pursue her, love her, and give her your attention. The other Goddess, whose name is Lakshmi, is the Goddess of Wealth. When you pay more attention to Sarasvati, Lakshmi will become extremely jealous and pay more attention to you. The more you seek the Goddess of Knowledge, the more the Goddess of Wealth will seek you. She will follow you wherever you go and never leave you. And the wealth you desire will be yours forever."

There is power in Knowledge, desire, and spirit. And this power within you is the key to creating affluence.

Wealth consciousness is a state of mind, a sense, not of believing, but really knowing that what we need is available to us. Affluence is indeed our natural state of being.

Infinite worlds appear and disappear in the vast expanse of our own consciousness, like motes of dust dancing in a beam of light.

Affluence is reality. When we are grounded in the nature of reality and we also know that this same reality is our own nature, then we realize that we can create anything, because all of material creation has the same origin.

All of material creation is made from the same stuff and comes from the same source. Experiential knowledge of this fact gives us the ability to fulfill any desire we have, acquire any material object we want, and experience fulfillment and happiness to any extent we aspire.

Life experiences are the continuum in the seamless matrix of nothingness. They are our experiences of joy and sorrow, of success and failure, of wealth and poverty. All these events seemingly happen to us, but at very primordial levels we are making them happen. The impulse of energy and information that create our life experiences are reflected in our attitude towards life.

Knowledge has organizing power inherent in it. It is simply enough to know, to be aware of the principles; the knowledge will be processed and metabolized by our bodies, and the result will be spontaneous. The results do not occur overnight, but beguin to manifest gradually over a period of time.

You are where your attention takes you. In fact, you are your attention. When your attention is in the past, you are in the past. When you attention is in your present moment, you are in the presence of God and God is present in you. Simply be aware of the present, of what you are doing. The presence of God is everywhere, and you have only to consciously embrace it with your attention.


Extracted from:

Creating Affluence by Deepak Chopra
Amber-Allen Publishing and New World Library, 1993


Monday, October 19, 2009

Barack Obama: Audacity of Hope (Part 2)

OBAMA: The Audacity of Hope

"One thing I've discovered as I get older is that you have to do what is satisfying to you. In fact that's one of the advantages of old age, that you've finally learned what matters to you. It is hard to know that at twenty-seven. And the problem is that nobody else can answer that question for you. You can only figure it out on your own."

"I am getting to an age where I have a sense of what satisfies me, and although I am perhaps more tolerant of compromise, I know that my satisfaction is not to be found in the glare of television cameras or the applause of the crowd. Instead, it seems to come more often now from knowing that in some demonstrable way I've been able to help people live their lives with some measure of dignity.

"Benjamin Franklin once wrote to his mother explaining why he had devoted so much of his time to public service: 'I would rather have it said, He lived usefully, than, He died rich.'

That's what satisfies me now - being useful to my family and the people who put me where I am, leaving behind a legacy that will make our children's lives more hopeful than our own."


When I read those passages from Obama's book, I thought I was the man myself. Ya, I now feel that way too. Age had caught up with me and youth had passed me by. I now need to do what really satisfies me, not just doing things just to earn some money. There are two fundamental things that is far more important to life - values and ideals.

In Obama's words: "If I am wiser, it is mainly because I have traveled a little further down the path I have chosen for myself, and have gotten a glimpse of where it may lead, for good and for ill."

Ya, I think I am far wiser than I was before. The journey of my life had been rough and painstaking. I had toiled for decades, achieving nothing, except for the last few years where I was greatly blessed. Today, I had some success to savour and feel good. God willing I hope to continue with what I am doing for another few years where I can contribute back to the society - to do thing that are useful to my family and the people who helps to put me where I am now, and most of all, to those who needs my help and assistance. I hope to be able to leave behind some kind of legacy that will make my children's lives more hopeful than my own.

Life, afterall, is about achieving something satisfying.

This too is my Audacity of Hope!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Barack Obama: Audacity of Hope


The Audacity of Hope

"We have a stake in one another, and that what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done."


When I decided to run for the United States Senate, I wasn't so sure of myself. I had preserved my independence, my good name, and my marriage, all of which, statistically speaking, had been placed at risk the moment I set foot in the state capital.

But the years had also taken their toll. Some of it was just a function of my getting older; each successive year will make you more intimately acquainted with all of your flaws - the blind spots, the recurring habits of thought that will almost certainly worsen with time, as surely as the hitch in your walk turns to pain in your hip. In me, one of those flaws had proven to be a chronic restlessness; an inability to appreciate, no matter how well things were going, those blessings that were right there in front of me. It's a flaw that is endemic to modern life and one that is nowhere more evident than in the field of politics. Whether politics actually encourages the trait or simply attracts those who possess it is unclear.

Someone once said that: "Every man is trying to either live up to his father's expectation or make up for his father's mistakes."

I suppose that may explain my particular malady as well as anything else.

In any event, it was a consequence of that relentlessness that I decided to challenge a sitting Democratic incumbent for his congressional seat in the 2000 election cycle. It was an ill-considered race, and I lost badly - the sort of drubbing that awakens you to the fact that:

"Life is not Obliged to Work Out as you'd Planned."

A year and a half later, the scars of that loss sufficiently healed, I had lunch with a media consultant who had been encouraging me for some time to run for statewide office. As it happened, the lunch was scheduled for late September 2001.

"You realize, don't you, that the political dynamics have changed," he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

We both looked down at the newspaper. There, on the front page, was Osama bin Laden.

"Hell of a thing, isn't it?" he said, shaking his head.

"Really bad luck. You can't change your name of course. Voters are suspicious of that kind of thing. Maybe if you were at the start of your career, you know, you could use a nickname or something. But now ..." His voice trailed off and he shrugged apologetically before signaling the waiter to bring us the check.

I suspected he was right, and that realization ate away at me. For the first time in my career, I began to experience the envy of seeing younger politicians succeed where I had failed.

The pleasure of politics began to pale against the meaner tasks of the jobs: the begging for money, the long drives home and clipped phone conversation with a wife who had stuck by me so far but was pretty fed up with raising our children alone and was beginning to question my priorities.

I began to harbor doubts about the path I had chosen. I began to feel, after years of commitment to a particular dream, after years of waiting, to realize that it's gone just about as far as talent or fortune will take me. The dream will not happen, and I now faces the choice of accepting this fact like a grown-up and moving on to more sensible pursuits, or refusing the truth and ending up bitter, quarrelsome, and slightly pathetic.

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Despair - I'm not sure I went through all the stages prescribed by the experts. At some point, though, I arrived at acceptance - of my limits, and, in a way, my mortality. I refocused on my work in the state senate and took satisfaction from the reforms and initiatives that my position afforded. I spent more time at home, and watched my daughters grow, and properly cherished my wife, and thought about my long-term financial obligations. I exercised, and read novels, and came to appreciate how the earth rotated around the sun and the seasons came and went without any particular exertions on my part.

And it was this acceptance that allowed me to come up with the thoroughly cockeyed idea of running for the Illinois Senate seat in 2004.

An up-or-out strategy was how I described it to my wife, one last shot to test out my ideas before I settled into a calmer, more stable, and better-paying existence. And she - perhaps more out of pity than conviction - agreed to this one last race, though she also suggested that given the orderly life she preferred for our family, I shouldn't necessarily count on her vote.

I let her take comfort in the long odds against me.


In 2000, Barack Obama was unsuccessful in his bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On March 2004, Barack Obama won the Democratic primary election to become the States Senator of Illinois.

On February 2007, Barack Obama began his run for the US Presidency. He beats Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential primaries and become the Democratic party nominee.

In the 2008 United States General Election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain.

On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States.


Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current president of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office, as well as the first president born in Hawaii.

Obama previously served as the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until he resigned after his election to the presidency in November 2008.

Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004. His victory in the March 2004 Democratic primary election for the United States Senator from Illinois brought him to national attention. His prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 made him a rising star nationally in the Democratic Party. He comfortably won election to the U.S. Senate in November 2004.

He began his run for the presidency in February 2007. After a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Clinton, he won his party's nomination. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. On October 9, 2009, Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.[4]

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Allegory of the Cave

Do you remember the movie "The Shawshank Redemption"?

There was a very poignant part of the story where a man who had been in prison for most of his life finally gets released at the age of 70. But he has no way to live in the world outside of prison, and he ends up committing suicide.

That story reminds us of the difficulties of adjusting to a reality that differs from the world that's familiar and comfortable, even if that reality is one where we're "free" and aligns much more with what we truly value.

Our cultural domain is a kind of prison. It's about separation - from one another, from nature, and ultimately even from ourselves. In extraordinary moments, we break out of the story. We encounter a world of being one with ourselves, others, nature, and life in a very direct way. It shifts our awareness of our world and ourselves in radical ways. It brings a great sense of hope and possibility but also great emotional uncertainties. It can be hard suddenly finding ourselves outside the story that has organized our life up to that point. It may be wonderful to be free, but it is also terrifying.

More and more people are getting out of "prison" today. The situation is like what Plato described in the "Allegory of the Cave". If you have been living all your life in a cave, looking at shadows moving across the wall, suddenly finding yourself outside can be blinding.

Our cultural dominant story is also part of us, and the pressures to pull ourselves back into the cave or prison, to go back to our habitual ways of living, can be overwhelming sometimes.

It is one thing to have momentary transcendent experiences, to be outside the prison or cave, but it's another to stabilize the awareness they bring. But going back to the cave can also be painful, because you no longer quite fit there. We feel caught between both worlds. Part of us wants to flee the sunlight and return to the cave, but we are also more and more out of sync with life in the cave.

At the heart of our culture's dominant story sit core myths, and these myths shape how we make sense of the world. However, reductive science and redemptive religion are now breaking down and we can no longer simply wait around for a great leader to come along and lead us nor protect us. The economic myth we've been in for the past decade isn't serving us well either. People are waking up to the inadequacies of the economic myth and they are questioning whether it is all about short-term self-interest.

The important point is that in exploring the future, you aren't exploring a future someone else has written for you. It is instrumental of life itself, to accomplish what life wishes for you to accomplish. We had to use ourselves as an instrument for something better to emerge, being open to our larger purpose.

Everyone is born with a destiny or a purpose, and the journey of our life is to find it. The ultimate aim is to find the resources of character to meet your destiny, and to find the wisdom and power to serve life that way.

But without free choice or free will, that dance with destiny may not begin. Freedom and destiny are solemnly promised to us and linked together without meaning. When the sort of commitment we observe and see are happening, we feel as if we're freer than before and more free to be poor as well as more free to be further discriminated. It's a huge paradox.

People can no longer trust traditional institutional forms and structures, and if any one of institution sets itself up as the protector of such, it will backfire. Today the mysteries or the magical no longer take place in sanctuaries but in the main station, in the midst of everyday life.

We may not be able to change the larger systems overnight, but we can commit to the continual development of awareness and the capacity to choose. The capacity to choose is key, and that's always linked to our awareness.

Our fate is still very much in our hands. There must be profound transformation of our spirit and mind and of our relationships to each other and to the earth. We must be conscious and aware that every choice we make has the power to affect things one way or another. And those choices are a direct result of how deeply we're sensing.

We need to give ourselves to something larger than ourselves, and to become what we were meant to become. Then we can attain the goals that we're supposed to achieve.

Until the larger community start to master their thoughts, to pacify the minds, we won't be able to escape this prison of ours.

As Phil Lane says, "The longest road we will ever walk is the sacred journey from our head to our heart."


"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies"

Extracted from: "Presence"
Peter Senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers
Nicholas Brealey, 2005

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

PRESENCE: Exploring Profound Change

Kopf hoch, mein Junge, Blick nach vorn.
by C. Otto Scharmer

From the book:
Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organization and Society
Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2005

I was sixteen years old. I left school one morning, and by the time I got home, everything had changed.

That day in school, about halfway through the day, the principal called me out of my class and told me to go home. I asked why? She didn’t tell me why, but I noticed her eyes were slightly red, as if she had been crying.

I walked as quickly as I could to the train station, and from there I called home, but no one answered – the line was dead. I had no idea what might have happened, but by then I knew that it probably wasn’t good. I boarded the train, and after the usual 45-minutes ride, I took a cab rather than wait for the bus to take me the last few miles home. It was the first time I’d ever taken a cab.

Long before I arrived, I saw it. Huge grey-black clouds of smoke were rising into the air. The long chestnut-lined driveway that led to the farm was choked with hundreds of neighbours, fire-fighters, policemen and gawkers. I jumped from the cab and ran the last half mile.

When I reached the courtyard, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The huge 350-year-old farmhouse, where my family had lived for the past 200 years and where I’d lived all my life, was gone. As I stood there, I saw that there was nothing – absolutely nothing – left but the smouldering ruins. As the reality of what was before my eyes sank in, I felt as if somebody had removed the ground from under my feet. The place of my birth, childhood, and youth was gone. Everything that I had was gone.

As my gaze sank deeper into the flames, the flames also seemed to sink into me. I felt time slowing down. Only in that moment did I realize how attached I had been to all the things destroyed by the fire. Everything I was and had been intimately connected to had dissolved into nothing. But no – I realized not everything was gone; there was still a tiny little element of myself that was gone with the fire. I was still there watching – I, the seer, I suddenly realized that there was another whole dimension of my self that I hadn’t been aware of, a dimension that didn’t relate to my past, to the world that had just dissolved.

At that moment, time slowed to complete stillness and I felt drawn in a direction above my physical body and began watching the whole scene from that other place. I felt my mind expanding to a moment of unparalleled clarity of awareness. I realized that I was not the person I thought I was. My real self was not attached to the tones of stuff now smouldering inside the ruins. I suddenly knew that I, my true self, was still alive, more awake, more acutely present than ever before. I now realized how much all the material things that I’d become attached to over the years, without ever noticing it, had weighted me down. At that moment, with everything gone, I suddenly felt released and free to encounter that other part of my self, the part that drew me into the future – into my future – and into a world that I might bring into reality with my life.

The next day my grandfather arrived. He was 87- years old and had lived on the farm all his life. He had left the house a week before to go to the hospital for medical treatments.

Summoning all the energy he had left, my grandfather got out of the car and walked straight to where my father was still working on the cleanup. He didn’t even turn his head towards the smoking ruins of the place where he’d spent his entire life. He simply went straight up to my father, took his hand, and said, “Keep your head up, my boy. Look forward.” (“Kopf boch, mein Junge. Blick nach vorn.”)

Turning around, he walked directly back to the waiting car and left. A few days later, he died quietly.

Even after all these years, this moves me still - that little scene of my grandfather walking by, ignoring the ruins of his home, and focusing all his remaining life energy on shifting my father’s attention from reacting to the past to opening up to what might emerge from the future.

It also evoked a question in me that still remains: “What does it take to connect to that other stream of time, the one that gently pulls me toward my future possibility? It was a question that eventually prompted me to leave Germany to do my postdoctoral research at MIT several year ago. And that question that draws me still, right to this very moment.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Tribute to Nelson Mandela

Born in 1918 in a tribal village in the Eastern Cape and educated as a lawyer, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC), the movement for black rights, beginning a long struggle against apartheid, the system that fostered separation of the races in South Africa.

Apartheid - literally "apartness" - had been established in 1948 by Afrikaner nationalists with the goal of securing white supremacy and ensuring Afrikaner control of political power. Under apartheid, South Africa was divided into ersatz Bantu nations, or "locations" - Africans-only settlements for a rural labor force working in gold and diamond mines. A non-white community, Bantu nations were a pretense for restricting the movement and autonomy of the black African labor force..

South Africa had always been rich in natural resources - in addition to gold and diamonds, it produced more than one-third of Africa's goods and services and nearly 40% of Africa's manufacturing output with only 7% of the African continent's population and 4% of its total land area. But it had been torn by centuries of racial conflict.

In 1944, with close friends Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu, Mandela formed the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), becoming its president in 1950.

In 1953, banned by the apartheid regime from speaking in public for 2 years, he was forced to officially resign from the ANC. He concentrated on the law practice he had started with Tambo - the first black law firm in South Africa.

After the 2-year ban ended, Mandela resumed his public role opposing apartheid. The state's relentless crackdown on the ANC, including widespread arrests, killing of demonstrators, and banning of meetings, eventually led Mandela to conclude that the ANC's policy of nonviolence was not working. He formed and led Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), or "Spear of the Nation", to move the struggle from peaceful resistance to armed reaction. Mandela was eventually captured and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964.

By the late 1980s, South Africa faced a changed post-cold-war global environment and a faltering domestic economy. The apartheid regime became a pariah around the world, with international pressure and sanctions excerbating the economic slump.

Responding to international pressure, F.W. de Klerk, then head of the apartheid government, was ready to free Mandela - after 27 years in prison.

Mandela negotiated the timing of his release on his terms - the unbanning of the ANC and other anti-aparthead organizations on February 11, 1990.

After his release from prison Mandela quoted his well-known statement from the trial that resulted in his confinement:

"I have fought against white domination and I had fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities."

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pik Botha echoed this hope:

"We [South Africans] are like the zebra. It does not matter whether you put the bullet through the white stripe or the black stripe. If you hit the animal, it will die."

On March, 1990, Nelson Mandela was elected deputy president of the ANC's National Executive Committee.

South Africa held it's first-ever democratic elections in 1994. The ANC was victorious and Mandela was inaugurated in May as the country's first democratically elected president.

As the leader of the new South Africa Mandela had to walk a tightrope between addressing the pain and suffering that millions had experienced under decades of brutally enforced segregation, while fostering a spirit of reconciliation aimed at moving the country forward.

South Africa's black majority, having achieved civil rights after years of struggle, was impatient for economic advancement and the associated delivery of services. But many whites were now living in great fear as to how the past was going to be dealt with and what their future in the new South Africa would be.

Mandela's task was to shift the cycle of decline. Significant challenges stemmed from the legacy of apartheid, including economic inequality, suppression of information, and suspicion and anger of racial groups towards one another.

A 1994 report by ANC and economists detailed the extreme poverty of at least 17 million South Africans who lived below internationally accepted poverty level, including 12 million citizens who lack access to clean drinking water, 4.6 million adults who were illiterate, 4.3 million families without adequate housing and a majority of schools without electricity.

All level of confidence were depressed. Investor confidence had eroded and although the events leading up to Mandela's election had ended international economic sanctions against South Africa, there were the risk that continuing political tensions, including the threat of retaliations, could create economic and social instability.

Mandela had only 5 years to shift the cycle - that is, until the next election. He had announced that he would serve only one term - a remarkable gesture not only in Africa, a continent known for corrupt leaders who refuse to cede power, but also remarkable for someone who had waited so long and given so much to reach this position of power.

Many of the laws that restricted the flow of information had already been removed soon after Mandela was released from prison. Despite some progress, Mandela criticized the press establishment for not changing quickly. Mandela wanted more than just cosmetic change, more than just a few faces of a different color. Mandela was deeply committed to a free press and access to information by all South Africans. "It was the press that never forgot us," he said upon his release from prison.

As president, Mandela continued to champion freedom of the press, which he was as part and parcel of the liberation of the minds of South Africans:

"I don't want a mouthpiece of the ANC or government ... The press would be totally useless then. I want a mirror through which we can see ourselves," he said in 1996."

A freer press was just one way to open dialogue. The electoral process was designed to ensure widespread input. Beyond voting, the public was given direct voice in other significant issues.

Even before he became president, Mandela used his skill as a communicator to try to heal the country. On April 10, 1993, a year before Mandela's election, Chris Hani was shot dead in his home near Johannesburg. Hani was the most popular leader after Mandela, especially among black youth. An Afrikaner woman wrote doen the licence number of the assassin's getaway car and reported it to police. They soon captured the perpetrator, a Polish immigrant. The National Party, still officially in power, feared that all whites would be blamed, and that widespread violence would erupt, paralyzing the country.

Upon hearing the news, Mandela flew to SABC television studio (South African Broadcasting Corporation, the country's largest public broadcaster) in Johannesburg to broadcast a message - one that some recalled as the speech that saved South Africa from chaos. Mandela addressed an emotional country in a calm, deliberate manner:

"A white man full of prejudice and hate came to our country and committed a deed so foul that our whole nation now teeters on the brink of disaster. A white woman, of Afrikaner origin, risked her life so that we may know, and bring to justice this assassin."

These words were aired repeatedly. Mandela had provided crucial direction to South Africans on how to react to the tragic loss of Hani in a way that would not undermine the very thing Hani had also fought for - liberation and democratic elections.

When he became president, Mandela knew that before he could move the country forward as a new South Africa, he would have to reverse the victim culture of anger and blame that stemmed from the legacy of the past. To Mandela, the South African people must take responsibility for their own actions and confess their mistakes, without provoking acts of revenge and hatred that would tear the country apart.

Parliament passed the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act in 1995. Mandela's administration shepherded a program of accountability without rancor, in the form of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The new minister of Justice, Dullah Omar echoed:

"We need understanding, not vengeance, we need reparation, not retaliation, and we need ubuntu [humanity], not victimization."

Mandela emphasized:

"We must regard the healing of the South African Nation as a process, not an event ... it helps us move away from the past to concentrate on the present and the future."

Mandela had begun the process of accountability, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

The structure of Mandela's government signaled inclusiveness and collaboration across political parties. His executive branch had members not only from the winning ANC, but also from the opposition National Party (the previous ruling apartheid govt) and Inkatha Freedom Party, both of which became a part of the Government of National Unity.

Beginning at a press conference soon after his release from prision, and continuing throughout his presidency, Mandela emphasized that:

"Whites are fellow South Africans and we want them to feel safe and to know that we appreciate the contribution that they have made towards the development of this country."

He urges whites to stay in South Africa and pointed out that they, too were a part of the nation.

He told a crowd in the shantytown of Khayalitsha, "Those that do not know how useful whites are know nothing about their own country."

Mandela understood that a strong economy involved active initiative to build new enterprises and upgrade community infrastructures. So, in May 1994, Mandela announced a Reconstruction and Development Plan (RDP) that aimed to tackle the issues at the very heart of poverty and economic opportunity, such as health, housing and education. He reassured international investors that the plan would be financed via cuts and adjustments in government's existing budget. As a symbol of commitment to the process, and setting a personal example of sacrifice, Mandela, together with senior government officials, accepted salary cuts of between 10% and 20% to contribute to social reconstruction.

At the opening of the South African Parliament in February 1996, Mandela issued a call to action:

"We can neither heal nor build with the victims of past injustices merely forgiving and the beneficiaries merely content in gratitude."

Moving poor people from helplessness to hope and enabling them to take the initiative to improve their circumstances was impossible without education. Under the RDP, free compulsory education was phased in for all children, along with a school lunch program aimed at providing at least one full meal per day to children whose families lived below the poverty level.

Opening opportunities meant addressing the racial basis of economic disparities. In October 1998, Mandela signed into law the Employment Equity Act, the goal of which was to eliminate historic race and gender-based discrimination and facilitate a move towardachieving a workplace representative of the country's demographics. Gradually, a new black middle-class began to emerge. A new generation of black business leaders became captains of industry. Great inroads were made in the delivery of essential services. Progress was also occurring in education, with literacy levels increasing across all age and gender group.

Overall, large numbers of people who previously enjoyed no control over their economic circumstances and had to struggle for survival found more opportunities and tools to improve their life situations. Mandela did not guarantee jos or higher incomes, nor shower gravy-trains flooded with free-wealth, equity/shares, licence or schemes to get-rich-quick for the black communities. His Administration created the circumstances to give all the people more capacity to move out of poverty, and to give the more affluent the confidence to invest in growing the South African economy as entrepreneurs or business leaders.

As with all his actions, Mandela was inclusive and practical. He did not want black empowerment to be accompanied by white flight, which would drain the country of capital and talent.

At his inauguration in 1994, Mandela indicated that he would serve only one term as president. On June 16, 1999, nearly 50,000 people from around the world gathered on the lawns of the Union Buildings in Pretoria to witness a historic occasion: the first transition of power in a democratic South Africa. Millions more watched on television.

It was unimaginable, for historically, very few revolutionaries have voluntarily handed over power and Mandela's act was unique for Africa - a peaceful transition of power in a continent torn by violence, and in a country surrounded by neighbors with entrenched and corrupt leadership.

When the incoming president, Thabo Mbeki, stepped forward to take the oath of office, he offered a poignant tribute to his predecessor: Mbeki clasped Mandela's hand and raised it, commenting that the day was a "Salute for a generation that pulled the country out of the abyss and placed it on the pedestal of hope on which it rests today."

Much had been done, and much was still to be done.

Mandela sought power in order to distribute it rather than to use it to dominate others. He was the kind of leader who not only transforms, but elevates all those with whom he is involved.

Mandela said of himself:

"I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances."

When asked to comment about those unflattering verdict on his performance as a leader, Mandela simply smiled and replied:

"It helps to make you human."


Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom
Rosabeth M. Kanter: Confidence

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Smart Girls Marry Money

Smart Girls Marry Money:
How Women Have Been Duped Into The Romantic Dream--And How They’re Paying For It.

Authored by:
Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake

Women can't have it all - they can't have romantic life and all the money they wanted, at the same time, sleep with the same man in the same bed, performing the same art, with the same passion.

The thesis - that money and the marrying of it is essential for women, because, given the current working culture, women are rarely able to earn as much as men, and should their marriage fail it is a fact that women rarely bounce back, professionally or financially, as easily as men, nor even romantically. Most men becomes richer after divorce.

In recent research by Professor Stephen Jenkins, director of the Institute for Social & Economic Research, it was reported that 5 years after divorce, men were 25% richer, whereas women has less money than they did pre-split. Professor Jenkins conclude that until true equality exists in the labor market and in the way people come out of divorce, women remains at a disadvantage.

Smart Girls Marry Money was written by Daniela Drake and Elizabeth Ford. Elizabeth is a single mother, whose husband traded their marriage for a younger model - a chick 15-years younger than her. She swears she is not bitter; it's just that if she knew then what she know now, there's a lot of great and essential things she would get from that man she married. "I can attest from almost marrying someone for love (who also happened to HAVE money), there’s no way to prevent or take the burn out of being left brokenhearted, " she added.

MC: You're both accomplished working women, but you're telling us we should marry for money. What gives?

FORD: The juggling act required to be a successful woman, to be a good mom and to be a careerist, makes you want to say, "Screw it, I should've married money."

MC: So you're saying we should quit our careers?

FORD: You should definitely keep your job. But we haven't climbed the ladder as far as we should have. We have to keep that in mind when looking for a partner, and steer clear of seductive slackers.

Miss Drake divorced her first husband because she felt that passion and love were gone from their relationship. She said: "Things might have been different if I'd known then that LOVE is TRANSIENT, that it doesn't exist, that a lack of it is not a reason to get out of your marriage." He first husband has now gone on to be quite rich. She remarried and is now happily married.

So, why does society applaud a girl who falls for a guy with big blue-eyes yet denounces one who chooses a rich-ugly man? After all, isn’t money more a reflection of a man’s values and character?

Smart Girls Marry Money challenges the ideals and assumptions women have blindly accepted about love and marriage—and shows how they’ve done so at their own economic peril.

In their book, Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake use cold hard facts and true stories to present a compelling case for why mercenary marriages make the most sense for future happiness.

Smart Girls emphasize on "Female “empowerment” - women working hard to look sexier than ever, while demanding more than their fair share financially. Yet sadly, statistics prove that: not only do women continue to earn far less than their male counterparts, they also suffer far more economically when marriages fail. Ford and Drake think it’s high time that women get their heads out of the clouds and start caring about their own security—the kind that can be measured in dollars and common sense.

In a straight-talk tone, the authors serve up an intriguing strategy for how women can truly “have it all": that sexual fulfillment is dependent on discovering yourself through masturbation; that it is imperative to marry young, while you have the seductive powers of the sexually attractive and fecund; that women must be aware that men are prone to trading up once women no longer have the great skin or looks; that sleeping with your boss is fine if you can do so without harming your feelings or prospects.

According to Merryn Somerset Webb, the editor-in-chief of MoneyWeek, "Even really smart women are victims of their own Cinderella Syndrome." Webb wrote "Love is Not Enough" after her husband asked her: "How do you intend to keep yourself in old age?" "I said, 'I'll share your money. To which he replied, 'No. Sort your own finances out." In the "Marrying-Money" agrument, Webb says, "It's all very well, as long as the money you marry don't leave you on your own in a poor financial position. Marrying money isn't a solution - it is not emotionally satisfying. Marriage is exhausting enough with someone you love - imagine doing it with someone you don't. I don't think people would marry purely for romantic love."

The book would surely spark conversation and controversy, Smart Girls Marry Money intends to empower women with a new way to take control of both their economic and romantic lives.

While the book is intended for the audience of "young supple beauties squandering their hotness," there is good news for single women whose "sell date is long overdue": Women over 40 "may still avoid working until you drop dead." (review by Bonnie Goldstein of

Read: timesonline

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Who are the Intellectuals? (Part 2)

Who are the Intellectuals?

"Any man or woman who is willing to think. All those who know that man's life must be guided by reason, those who value their own life and are not willing to surrender it to the cult of despair in the modern jungle of cynical impotence, just as they are not willing to surrender the world to the Dark Ages and the rule of the brutes."

--- Ayn Rand in her book: For The New Intellectual

Who are the Intellectuals? (Part 1)

"The tragic joke of human history is that on any of the altars men erected, it was always man whom they immolated and the animal whom they enshrined.

It was always the animal's attributes, not man's, that humanity worshipped: the idols of instinct and the idol of force - the mystics and the kings - the mystics, who longed for an irresponsible consciousness and ruled by means of the claim that their dark emotions were superior to reason, that knowledge came in blind, causeless fits, blindly to be followed, not doubted - and the kings - who ruled by means of claws and muscles, with conquest as their method and looting as their aim, with a club or a gun as sole sanction of their power.

The defender of man's soul were concerned with his feelings, and the defender of man's body were concerned with his stomach - but both were united against his mind."

--- John Galt in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho (Part 6)

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point, he asked:
"Are you writing a story about what we've done? Is it a story about me?"

His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson:
"I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I'm using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up."

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn't seem very special.
"But it's just like any other pencil I've ever seen."

"That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on to them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.

"First Quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.

"Second Quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he's much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

"Third Quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.

"Fourth Quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.

"Finally, the pencil's Fifth Quality: it always leaves a mark. In just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action."

Paulo Coelho
Like The Flowing River (page 10-11)
HarperCollinsPublishers, London


This is a fantastic book by Paulo Coelho. I recommend those who loves philosophy and humanity to spent time reading this book.

Like The Flowing River is an intimate collection of Paulo Coelho's reflection and short stories. The stories relates to the philosophy of life, our destiny and choices, of love and his thoughts and reflections that explores the journey of life in search of its true meanings.

Other good books from Paulo Coelho are: The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, Eleven Minutes and The Zahir. Some of the other books that did not interest me are: The Fifth Mountain, Veronika Decides to Die, The Devil and Miss Prym, Manual of the Warrior of Light, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept and Valkyries.

I have yet to read "The Witch of Portobello" which I bought on 14th September 2007. I will finish it by this week.


The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma

Peter was a very lively little boy. Everyone loved him: his family, his teachers and his friends. But he did have one weakness. Peter could never live in the moment. He had not learned to enjoy the process of life.

When he was in school, he dreamed of being outside playing. When he was outside playing he dreamed of his summer vacation.

Peter constantly daydreamed, never taking the time to savor the special moments that filled his days.

One morning, Peter was out walking in a forest near his home. Feeling tired, he decided to rest on a patch of grass and eventually dozed off. After only a few minutes of deep sleep, he heard someone calling his name. 'Peter! Peter!' came the shrill voices from above. As he slowly opened his eyes, he was startled to see a striking woman standing above him. She must have been over a hundred years old and her snow-white hair dangled well below her shoulders like a matted blanket of wool. In this woman's wrinkled hand was a magical little ball with a hole in the centre and out of the hole dangled a long, golden thread.

'Peter,' she said, 'this is the thread of your life. If you pull the thread just a bit, an hour will pass in seconds. If you pull a little harder, whole days will pass in minutes. And if you pull with all your might, months - even years - will pass by in days.'

Peter grew very excited at this discovery. 'I'd like to have it if I may?'

The elderly woman reached down and gave the ball with the magic thread to Peter.

The next day, Peter was sitting in the classroom feeling restless and bored. Suddenly, he remembered his new toy. As he pulled a little bit of the golden thread, he quickly found himself at home, playing in his garden. Realizing the power of the magic thread, Peter soon grew tired of being a schoolboy and longed to be a teenager, with all the excitement that phrase of life would bring. So, he pulled out the ball and pulled hard on the golden thread.

Suddenly he was a teenager with a very pretty young girlfriend name Elise. But Peter still wasn't content. He had never learned to enjoy the moment and to explore the simple wonders of every stage of life. Instead, he dreamed of being an adult. So again he pulled on the thread and many years whizzed by in an instant. Now he found that he had been transformed into a middle-aged adult.

Elise was now his wife and Peter was surrounded with a houseful of kids. But Peter also noticed something else. His once jet black hair had started to turn grey. And his once youthful mother whom he loved so dearly had grown old and frail.

Yet Peter still could not live in the moment. He had never learned to "live in the now." So, once again, he pulled on the magic thread and waited for the changes to appear.

Peter now found that he was a seventy-year-old man. His thick dark hair had turned white as snow and his beautiful young wife Elise had also grown old. His wonderful children had grown up and left home to lead lives of their own.

For the first time in his entire life, Peter realized that he had not taken the time to embrace the wonders of living. He had never gone fishing with his kids or taken a moonlight stroll with Elise. He had never planted a garden or read those wonderful books his mother had love to read. Instead he had hurried through life, never resting to see all that was good along the way.

Peter became very sad at this discovery. He decided to go out to the forest to look for the old woman who had given him the ball and the magic thread. But she was nowhere to be found.

"My whole life has passed before my eyes without giving me the chance to enjoy it. Sure, there would have been sad times as well as great times but I haven't had the chance to experience either. I had missed the gift of living."

Peter decides to "live in the now" from now onwards. He will now take whatever time is left tn this world to embrace the wonders of living.

Adapted from:
Robin S. Sharma's The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari


Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho (Part 5)

A missionary who, as soon as he arrived in Marrakesh (in Morocco), decided that he would go for a walk every morning in the desert that lay just outside the city.

The first time he did this, he noticed a Arab lying down, with his ear pressed to the ground and stroking the sand with one hand.

'He's obviously mad,' the missionary said to himself.

But the scene was repeated every day, and after a month, intrigued by this strange behavior, he decided to speak to the stranger. With great difficulty, since he was not yet fluent in Arabic, he knelt down by his side, "What are you doing?"

"I'm keeping the desert company and offering it consolation for its loneliness and its tears."

"I didn't know the desert was capable of tears."

"It weeps every day because it dreams of being useful to people, and of being transformed into a vast garden where they could grow cereal crops and flowers and graze sheep."

"Well, tell the desert that it is performing an important duty," said the missionary. "Whenever I walk in the desert, I understand man's true size, because we are compared with God. When I look at its sands, I imagine all the millions of people in the world who were born equal, even if the world has not always been fair to all of them. Its mountains helps me to meditate, and when I see the sun coming up over the horizon, my soul fills with joy and I feel closer to the Creator."

The missionary left the man and returned to his daily tasks. Imagine his surprise when, next morning, he found the man in the same place and in the same position.

"Did you tell the desert everything that I said?"

The man nodded.

"And it's still weeping?"

"I can hear every sob. Now it's weeping because it has spent thousands of years thinking that it was completely useless and wasted all the time blaspheming against God and its own fate."

"Well, tell the desert that even though we human beings have a much shorter lifespan, we also spend much of our time thinking we're useless. We rarely discover our true destiny, and feel that God has been unjust to us. When the moment finally comes, and something happens that reveals to us the reason we were born, we think it's too late to change our life and continue to suffer, and, like the desert, blame ourselves for the time we have wasted,"

"I don't know if the desert will hear that," said the man. "He's accustomed to pain, and can't see things any other way."

"Let's do what I always do when I sense that people have lost all hope. Let is pray."

The two men knelt and prayed. One turned towards Mecca because he was a Muslim, and the other put his hands together in prayer because he was a Catholic. They each prayed to their own God, who has always been the same God, even though people insist on calling him by different names.

The following day, when the missionary went for his usual morning walk, the man was no longer there. In the place where he used to embrace the earth, the sand seemed wet, for a small spring has started bubbling up there.

In the months that followed, the spring grew, and the inhabitants of the city built a well there.

The Bedouin call the place "The Well of the Desert's Tears".

They say that anyone who drinks from its water will find a way of transforming the reason for his suffering into the reason for his joy, and will end up finding his true destiny.


Extracted from the book, "Like The Flowing River" by Paulo Coelho.


Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho (Part 4)

The more we plan our steps, the more chance there is that we will go wrong, because we are failing to take into consideration four things:

1) Other people (2) Life's teaching (3) Passion, and (4) Calm.

The more we feel we are in control of things, the farther off we are from controlling anything. A threat does not issue any warning, and a swift reaction cannot be planned like a Sunday afternoon walk.

Do not allow your supposed experience of life to transform you into a machine.

Often what we call experience is merely the sum of our defeats. Thus we look ahead with the fear of someone who has already made a lot of mistakes in life and we lack the courage to take the next step.

Extracted from Paulo Coelho's book, "Like the Flowing River


Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho (Part 3)

A wise man moved to the city of Akbar. No one took much notice of him, and his teachings were not taken up by the populace. After a time, he became the object of their mockery and their ironic comments.

One day, while he was walking down the main street in Akbar, a group of men and women began insulting him. Instead of pretending that he had not noticed, the wise man turned to them and blessed them.

One of the men said:

"Are you deaf too? We call you the foulest of names and yet you respond with sweet words!"

"We can each of us only offer what we have," came the wise man's reply.


I have a lot to learn from this wise man. I will pray for courage and strength to apply this lesson in my life.


Story extracted from Paulo Coelho's book, Like the Flowing River


Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho (Part 2)

The Story of the prince of Thing-Zda

Around 250 BC, a certain handsome prince of the region of Thing-Zda was about to be crowned emperor; however, according to the law, he must first had to get married.

Since this meant choosing the future empress, the prince needed to find a young woman whom he could trust absolutely. On the advice of a wise man, he decided to summon all the young women of the region in order to find the most worthy candidate.

An old lady, who served as a servant in the palace for many years, heard about the preparations for this gathering and felt very sad, for her daughter nurtured a secret love for this prince.

When the old lady got home, she told her daughter and was horrified to learn that she intended going to the palace.

The old lady was desperate.

"But, daughter, what on earth will you do there? All the richest and most beautiful girls from the court will be present. It's a ridiculous idea! I know you must be suffering, but don't turn that suffering into madness.

And the daughter replied:

"My dear mother, I am not suffering and I certainly haven't gone mad. I know that I won't be chosen, but it's my only chance to spend at least a few moments close to the prince, and that makes me happy, even though I know that a quite different fate awaits me."

Second Chance: The story of Antonio

I was walking along the Gran Via when I saw a woman - petite, light-skinned, and well-dressed - begging money from passers-by. As I approached, she asked me for a few coins with which to buy a sandwich. I was used to beggars wearing very old, dirty clothes, and so I decided not to give her anything and walked on. The look she gave me, however, left me with a strange feeling.

I went to my hotel and suddenly felt an incomprehensible urge to go back and give her some money - I was on holiday, I had just had lunch, I had money in my pocket, and it must be terribly humiliating to have to beg in the street and to be stared at by everyone.

I went back to the place where I had seen her. She was no longer there; I searched the nearby streets, but could find no trace of her. the following day, I repeated this pilgrimage, again and again.

From that day on, I slept only fitfully. I returned to my country and told a friend about my experience. She said that I had failed tomake some very important connection and advised me to ask for God's help. I prayed, and seemed to hear a voice saying that I needed to find the beggar again. I kept waking up in the night sobbing. I realized that I could not go on like this, and so I scraped together enough money to buy a ticket back to Madrid in order to look for the beggar.

I began a seemingly endless search, to which I devoted myself entirely.

I had been back to Spain several times since, and I know that I will never meet the beggar again; but I did what my heart demanded.

Lessons Learned:

We may not get what we wanted but we are in control of what we can do, and the outcome is not for us to decide. If we had one chance, whatever the outcome it may be or what we may presumed, let's not lose that one chance, for we may not have another.

Adapted from Paulo Coelho's story in his book, Like the Flowing River


Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho (Part 1)

This was the conversation between a monk and Isabella.

Monk: "Did you know that bananas can teach you the meaning of life?"

The monk then took out a rotten banana from his bag and threw it away.

Monk: "That is the life that has been and gone, and which was not used to the full and for which it is now too late."

Then he drew another banana, which was still green.

Monk: "This is the life that has yet to happen, and for which we need to wait until the time is right."

Finally, he took out a ripe banana, peeled it, and shared it with Isabella.

Monk: "This is the present moment. learn how to gobble it up without fear or guilt."


Extracted from Paulo Coelho's book, Like the Flowing River


The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

No one lights a lamp in order to hide it behind the door;

No one sacrifices the most important thing she possesses: Love;

No one places her dreams in the hands of those who might destroy them.

No one, that is, but Athena!


"If a man we don't know phones us up one day and talks a little, makes no suggestions, says nothing special, but nevertheless pays us the kind of attention we rarely receive, we're quite capable of going to bed with him that same night, feeling relatively in Love. That's what women are like, and there's nothing wrong with that - it's the nature of thje female to open herself to love easily."

--- Deidre O'Neill, doctor.


"... my heart struggled vainly not to allow itself to be seduced by a woman who don't belong to my world.

"I applauded when reason lost the battle, and all I could do was surrender and accept that I was in Love. That love led me to see things I'd never imagined could exist - rituals, materialization, trances. Believing that I was blinded by Love, I doubted everything, but doubt, far from paralyzing me, pushed me in the direction of oceans whose very existence I couldn't admit.

"I'm finally coming to accept that I was only a temporary inhabitant, there as a favor, like someone who finds himself in a beautiful mansion, eating exquisite food, aware that this is only a party, that the mansion belongs to someone else, that the food was bought by someone else, and that the time will come when the lights will go out, the owners will go to bed, the servants will return to their quarters, the door will close, and he'll be out in the street again, waiting for a taxi or a bus to restore him to the mediocrity of his everyday life.

"I'm going back, or rather, part of me is going back to the world where only what we can see, touch and explain makes sense.

"I also know that, at night, another part of me will remain wandering in space, in contact with things as real as ..."

---Heron Ryan, journalist


The above are just a few lines from the book "The Witch of Portobello", another great story book written by Paulo Coelho, and it is the kind of book that will transform the way readers think about Love, passion, joy and sacrifice.

The Witch of Portobello is a story of a girl by the name of Sherine Khalil who later changed her name to Athena, a mysterious young woman born in Romania, raised in Beirut and living in London. Her life is told by many who knew her well, or hardly at all.

For those reading enthusiasts who prefers to read a story that is structured from a beginning and expecting the last chapter to be the conclusive ending of a tale, then you would be disappointed, as the book is structured in which each chapter consists of a testimony or statements related by an individual who knew Athena, telling their personal experiences and knowledge of Athena.

My Rating: I prefer Coelho's Like the Flowing River, The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage. This book is somewhat similar in styles with Coelho's Eleven Minutes and Veronika Decides to Die.

Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

Once upon a time, there was a bird. He was adorned with perfect wings and with glossy, colorful feathers. He was a creature made to fly about freely in the sky, bringing joy to everyone who saw him.

One day, a woman saw this bird and fell in love with him. She watched his flight, her mouth wide in amazement, her heart pounding, her eyes shining with excitement. She invited the bird to fly with her, and the two traveled across the sky in perfect harmony. She admired and venerated and celebrated that bird.

But then she thought: He might want to visit far-off mountains! And she was afraid that she would never feel the same way about the other bird. And she felt envy, envy for the bird's ability to fly.

And she felt alone.

And her thought: "I'm going top set a trap. The next time the bird appears, he will never leave again."

The bird, who was also in love, returned the following day, fell into the trap and was put in a cage.

She looked at the bird every day. There he was, the object of her passion, and she showed him to her friends, who said: "Now you have everything you could possibly want."

However, a strange transformation began to take place; now that she had the bird and no longer needed to woo him, she began to lose interest.

The bird, unable to fly and express the true meaning of his life, began to waste away and his feathers began to lose their gloss; he grew ugly; and the woman no longer paid any attention, except by feeding him and cleaning out his cage.

One day, the bird died. The woman felt terribly sad and spent all her time thinking about him. But she did not remember the cage, she thought only of the day when she had seen him for the first time, flying contently amongst the clouds.

If she had looked more deeply into herself, she would have realized that what had trilled her about the bird was his freedom, the energy of his wings in motion, not his physical body.

Without the bird, her life too lost all meaning, and Death came knocking at her door. "Why have you come?" she asked Death. "So that you can fly once more with him across the sky," Death replied.

"If you had allowed him to come and go, you would have loved and admired him even more; alas, you now need me in order to find him again."


The above are Extracted from the book:
Eleven Minutes

by Paulo Coelho.

Eleven Minutes tells a story of a young girl who falls in love at the age of eleven and discovered that sex actually only takes eleven minutes.

In her odyssey of self-discovery, the girl has to choose between pursuing a part of darkness, sexual pleasure for its own sake, or risking everything to find her own 'inner light' and the possibility of sacred sex, sex in the context of love.

In this gripping and daring novel, Coelho sensitively explores the sacred nature of sex and love.
Notable notes:

It is not time that changes man, nor knowledge; the only thing that can change someone's mind is love.

Perhaps love really could transform someone, but despair did the job more quickly.

In the search for happiness, however, we are all equal; none of us are happy.

"I have discovered the reason why a man pays for a woman; he wants to be happy."

Everyone needs to earn money, but not everyone chooses to live on the margins of society.

More Experience, Earn Less: Prostitution isn't like other businesses: Beginners earn more and more experienced earn less. Prices went down as the woman's age went up.

Customer Satisfaction / Quality Management: "When your client comes, you must always groan as if you were having an orgasm too. That guarantees customer loyalty." Buy Why? "They're paying for their own satisfaction." "A man doesn't prove he's a man until he is made to believed that he can pleasure a woman. And if he can pleasure a prostitute, he'll think he's the best lover on the block; and he will start to admire his dick."

Men are very strange: They can beat you up, shout at you, threaten you, and yet, they are scared to death of women really. Perhaps not the woman they married, but there's always one woman who frightens them and forces them to submit to her caprices.

Men are very strange: It was the woman who would have felt ashamed for being unable to arouse them, but, no, they always blame themselves. Perhaps not the woman they married, but always one woman who frightens them and forces them to submit to her caprices.

For a night? Now come on, you're exaggerating. It's really only 45 minutes, and if you allow time for taking off clothes, making some phoney gestures of affection, having a bit of banal conversation and getting dressed again, the amount of time spent actually having sex is about Eleven Minutes."

Eleven Minutes! The world revolved around something that only too Eleven Minutes. When the moment came to go to bed with someone, Eleven Minutes later it was all over.

Civilization: Something was very wrong with civilization, and it wasn't the destruction of the Amazon, rainforest or the ozone layer, the death of the panda, cigarettes or prison conditions, as the newspapers would have it. It is precisely that thing: sex.

Men and women may withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness.

Freedom only exists when love is present. The person who gives him or herself wholly, the person who feels freest, is the person who loves most wholeheartedly.

You can't mend a broken heart?: In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each of us responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel.

How can you mend a broken heart? In love, no one can harm anyone else; but I'm not sure when that love is lost thereafter.

Ownership & Possession: I am convinced that no one can loses anyone, because no one owns anyone.; no one possesses anyone else. Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever will finally come to realize that nothing really belongs to them.

Beauty is Money: So many pretty girls let themselves be seduced by the illusion of easy money, forgetting that, one day, they'll be old and will have missed out on meeting the love of their life. Beauty is like the wind; beauty, my dear, don't last.

Heart or Body or Both: Those who touched my heart failed to arouse my body, and those who aroused my body failed to touch my heart.

Don't Play-Play: When it comes to seduction, feelings and contracts, one should never play around.

Wisdom: "My dear, it's better to be unhappy with a rich man than happy with a poor man, and over there you'll have far more chances of becoming an unhappy rich woman."

Love is tangible and measurable: "I didn't love your father at first, but money buys everything, even true love."

Exit Strategy: No one knows what life is in store for us, and it's always good to know where the emergency exit is.

Women wants three things in life: adventure, money and a husband.

I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of pleasure and treasure. It's all a question of how I view my life.

Being young inevitably means making mistakes; that's what all drug addicts says too.

Profound desire, true desire is the desire to be close to someone. From that point onwards, things change ... and what happens before - the attraction that brought them together - is impossible to explain and sustain.

Don't think how to do; Just do it: Not everything in life is a matter of what position you adopt when making love, and that any variation usually occurs naturally, without thinking, like the steps in a dance.

Wisdom of a woman: "I allowed myself to fall in love for a simple reason: I'm not expecting anything to come from it."

Love or make? "Everyone knows how to love; but not everyone understands how to make love; the majority of us have to re-learn because there is a connecting thread. Our bodies must learn to speak the language of the soul, known as sex, and that is what a woman can give to the man who gave her back her soul, even though he has no idea how important he is to her life. That is what he asked for, and that is what she would give."

No one can know how to humiliate another person if they themselves have not experience humiliation.

Wise man says: Human beings weren't made solely to go in search of wisdom, but also to plough the land, wait for rain, plant the wheat, harvest the grain, make the bread, and have sex.

Witholding the object of desire: Real love has nothing to do with imagination. We will discover it when a chain of events provoked by the energy engendered by love - courtship, engagement, marriage, children, waiting, more waiting, getting old, retirement, illnesses, the feelings that it is far too late. Sexual energy comes into play before sex even takes place. The greatest pleasure isn't sex, but the excitement of the thoughts of it. And then you awaken desire by not immediately handing over the object of that desire.


N/B: Not everything quoted above are absolutely Coelhos'; there're quite some other Paulos around.

N/B: Not me!