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Mind Power into the 21st Century : Honing your greatest asset July 11, 2011

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Before any leadership, or self-help book that was ever written. Before any pop psychology theorem was ever devised. Before you were encouraged that you need not live the same way for the rest of your life. Your mind, both the conscious and the sub-conscious, existed.

In his book, Mind Power into the 21st Century, John Kehoe expertly outlines how you can train your mind to become your greatest asset in attaining your goals.

This book is very easy to read, yet it will poignantly challenge you to re-look at what your present realities are and how they enhance or inhibit your chances at achieving what you set out to do. He covers both the conscious and the sub-conscious areas of the mind, and introduces techniques to harness the power of both.

In the 19 short and easily readable chapters, he meticulously explores various aspects of the mind, ranging from visualizations, seeding and affirmations in the conscious to dreams and intuition in the sub-conscious. He also outlines how big a role beliefs, concentration, self-image and creativity (et al) play in focusing one’s mind on achieving the success that you believe in possible.


The greatest point this book conveys, though, is that success is not something that is achieved overnight. Only with the constant, regular renewal of the mind, will you be able to harness the true potential of the greatest asset in the quest for greatness.

Mind Power into the 21st Century by John Kehoe will introduce you to a whole new way of using your mind, both conscious and subconscious, to its fullest extent.

If you want to learn how to harness the untold power of your mind…..



Branding and Marketing You : Enhancing your greatest advert July 1, 2011

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I am a South African, and very proudly so. There are many places, events, inventions and the like which were born in our land that warm the cockles of my heart.

I didn’t know that the 9 people outlined in this book would make make me an even prouder citizen.

Donna Rachelson has sat with 9 distinctly different, but very successful South Africans, and outlined what has made their respective brands so popular not only in their chosen fields, but in the greater South African psyche. It is without doubt that each of these individuals are not only building their brands, but are already leaving a legacy. They are from vastly different professions ranging of education, research and social media to entertainment, politics, broadcasting and entrepreneurship. However, the values and work ethic are very similar, where integrity, commitment, giving back, and hard work among others are the bedrock of the brands that they have built. The overriding aspect of all these outstanding individuals is that they are immensely passionate about what they do and pursue their goals with a zeal that only a healthy regard for their passion can fuel.

They have used their respective values, coupled with their life experiences to mould examples to all of us of how to determine what our own brands are, how to develop them, and how to cultivate a strong value system that would underpin them.

Donna very expertly draws the wealth of information gathered into a very easily readable book that is not only very enjoyable, but extremely informative and energizing. Once you’re done reading this book, you cannot help but start mapping out your own passions, examining your own values, and start building your own brand!

For more in Donna’s own brand, please visit her website here

If you want to learn from 10 very successful South Africans how to build your brand, and leave a lasting legacy…


The Brethren : The CIA at its mightiest June 28, 2011

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Cover of "The Brethren"

Cover of The Brethren

I’ve been reading a heck of a lot of non-fiction in the past 3 years. So it was high time I started reading something that was different, yet just as stimulating. And what better an author to read than John Grisham.

The Brethren‘s plot is based on 3 judges, who through various twists of fate, all land up at Trumble Federal Prison in Florida. While serving their time, they set up court inside the prison and hear all sorts of cases, and dispense justice among the inmates as if they were authorised to do so.

They also run a sideline business of a mail scam using a pseudonym of a gay inmate at a drug rehab facility. This scam seems to be working well, and the money starts rolling in think and fast, with the help of a dead-beat lawyer on the outside who facilitates the mail and collects the wires of money.

Until they net the wrong man.

Inadvertently, they catch the front runner in the race for the President of the United States of America. And Aaron Lake, previously a low-profile congressman, is backed by the CIA and very rich and very powerful organisations, who put him on a ticket of doubling defense spending in an increasingly volatile world. He rises from obscurity late in the primaries, to being virtually assured of the White House in less than 7 months. But his little secret of replying to Ricky threatens to scupper the entire campaign to put him in the Oval Office. Something that Teddy Maynard, director of the CIA and chief architect of world events, cannot afford to happen.

Soon enough, the CIA leave no stone unturned in tracking down the triumvirate, and what ensues is a masterful plot of connivery, suspense, reconnaissance and deception that is truly believable and  makes this book a page-turner of note.

I’m not entirely sure if John Grisham meant this (although I won’t be surprised if he did), but he very clinically demonstrates the might of the CIA in manipulating events anywhere at anytime on the planet to satisfy its own ends. The scene of the terrorist bombing in Egypt is so well written, it would not seem out of place on the front page of a leading news site in today’s age. His portrayal of their might is magnificent as much as it is scary.

If you want to read a well-written suspense thriller that will keep you hooked all the way….


Book Review : Killing Kebble June 7, 2011

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When I was growing up, my grandfather and father used to relay what life was like before the advent of television. They told me how they would listen to the ’66 World Cup final on a shortwave radio, with a picture of the 2 teams in front of them, while the signal would drop off intermittently. My grandad was very fond of saying how journalists were far better at their job back then.

With this book, Mandy Weiner has taken us back to the days when journalists were at the very top of their game.

In writing this book, Mandy has very skillfully mixed old school finesse with new school charm and vibrancy. When reading the book, one can’t help but feel like she called on the skill of the radio reporters of old, following the stories of J. Edgar Hoover, the Watergate scandal and the like, while putting you right on the street on the night of Brett Kebble‘s killing.

The many questions surrounding Brett Kebble’s death were never going to be easily answered.  As you read the book, you soon realise that there were far more nuances to this story than what you were led to believe at the time. And she is lavish in granting each facet its unique (and sometimes quirky) flare in painting the full picture. Sure, Nigel Mcgurk, Faizel Smith and Mikey Schultz were in the car that Brett followed (in the alleged assisted suicide),  and Mikey pulled the trigger (more than once), but everyone from Hazel Crane, the ANC Youth League, the Hell’s Angels, the Israeli Mafia, Brett’s father and brother and even James Dalton and Mark Batchelor had some role in this drama that Hollywood scriptwriters can only dream about.

These role players, of course are mere extras, when placed next to the likes of Clinton Nassif, Glen Agliotti, and by association, Jackie Selebi, the former (South African) National Police Commisioner.  These 3 men would ultimately reveal their true character in court, which would be witnessed by a nation enthralled by the notion that Johannesburg’s underground could be so well interlinked with the highest echelons of South Africa’s two professional crime fighting agencies (The Scorpions and the South African Police Service).

Mandy goes about knitting these stories together with a chilling precision, laying a solid foundation by always referring to that fateful night, and the circumstances surrounding it in the first section of the book. Then post the murder, she leads you through the investigation, the plea negotiations and the subsequent court case as if you were in every room, participating in every conversation.

Eventually, the story flows seamlessly, and is a complete circle. The tragedy is that the circle is a downward spiral of conivery, deceit and malice, that has far reaching consequences for South Africa, the effects of which wil be felt in various, significant ways.

During the investigation, the acrimony between the Scorpions and the SAPS got so personal, they were arresting one another in public. Eventually, the ANC passed a bill in parliament disbanding the Scorpions. However, you can’t help but wonder whether, in part due to Mandy’s (and the team at Eye Witness News) excellent work, bills like the Protection of Information Bill (currently before parliament) will be pushed through in order to protect others who have fallen fowl to corruption.

Throughout the book, Mandy gives her outstanding analysis based on information gleaned from the various role players through different means. If there would be a criticism, and that’s a BIG if, it would be that a few times she spoils the flow of the story by giving a subjective view of important events.

Overall, this book is skillfull in its portrayal of a news story that will live long in the South African psyche. If you want an indepth look into one of South Africa’s most prominent murders of recent times,

…read this book.

Book Review: Outliers May 2, 2011

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A good friend had been nagging me to read this book for a while. He said that it is by far the most insightful book he’s read tackling the question of how to become, and stay, successful.

In writing this review, I hope he considers this gratitude enough for all that nagging…

in Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell meticulously deconstructs a plethora of success stories across virtually every boundary imaginable, and attempts to find similarities amongst all of them. Surprisingly, there are common threads that run through every story he researches, right from the Beatles to the 2007 Medicine Hat Tigers to Chris Langan, to the pilots of Korean Airlines to students at the KIPP program in New York City.  

He outlines that stories of success can be broken into 2 parts. The first is Opportunity, and here he states that we owe a great deal of our success to our patronage. Talent and intellect are important ingredients for success, but more importantly, it is how we use them that makes success.

Also, the constant, at times painstaking, practical application of them is vital if lasting success is to be achieved. The Beatles played in Hamburg for 8 hours a night, for 270 nights over 18 months. Bill Gates notched up 1,575 hours of programming time over a 7 month period (one of many such periods he would spend in front of a computer). These stories give credence to Gary Player’s famous quote, “The more I practise, the luckier I get”

A final aspect of Opportunity is outlined in the role of heritage and meaningful work play in making success extraordinary. Gladwell brilliantly uses the example of the European immigrants to America in the early 20th century to demonstrate how their backgrounds, the skills they learnt in their countries of origin, and the hours of meaningful work they clocked moulded that generation into an industrial and economic powerhouse.

Gladwell outlines the second aspect of success as lying in Legacy. Here he covers the role of culture, and how managing aspects of our culture plays a vital role in determining success. the concepts of honour, respect and discipline are applied in aspects of daily life, from working rice paddies, to education, to flying planes.

In this section, he denotes how respect with regard to dealing with superiors might be a vital aspect in miscommunication among pilots, while pointing out the disciplined culture of learning amongst many East Asian children give them a vital head start to being at the forefront of today’s society. He also outlines that from a culture of hard, effective labour, prosperity must come eventually.

All these aspects are the main ingredients, however, are not enough to clearly define what makes outliers what they are. For me, the most important point of this book is that no-one will ever become successful on their own. In the self-centred Western world that we live in today, it most likely is the main stumbling to many of us achieving the greatness that we all believe lies within.

Malcolm Gladwell adds many examples to illustrate his points. But there are many that are not mentioned in the book that fit quite nicely into his model (Andrew Higgins, of the Higgins boat fame, being one of them). Find an example of your own, and you’ll see that the story will run amazingly parallel to those in this book.

Outliers has definately changed my view of success, and how I can achieve it in my life. By reading this book, I am sure he will change your view too.