Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

3 stories on knowing yourself better and life attitude

March 17, 2011 8 comments

It was a little bit sad looking out of the window from my seat on the 24th floor in the Park Avenue Plaza building. It was raining badly in the morning when I came in; it was almost freezing when I went to lunch with my lovely Chinese colleagues; yet 5 seconds ago, it suddenly cleared up and it was all sunny. The windows almost felt like non-existent.

But it was sad because I am leaving NY, though only for 3 months. Yes I am going to Hong Kong for a short-term assignment which is a great opportunity and I look forward to the new adventures, discoveries, and I am excited about what else about people, culture, business and life I may be able to share with you. The past few weeks have been hectic with all the logistics and responsibility transfers, and of course, a lot of late night calls with Asia. But at this point, I felt calm. A little bit sad, yet calm.

I am not sure how frequent I will be able to write while I am working out of Hong Kong. I am under the impression that I will be working crazy hours given that’s the only reason they want me there. But before I embark on my new journey I want to leave with you a few stories which I have experienced recently. I thought about naming these under “self-improvement” or “peace of mind” or even “pursuit of happiness in life”, but when I started writing I realized it all comes down to — knowing yourself better, and especially your attitude when you respond to unexpected things in life.

It’s challenging, but it’s not that hard.


Do one thing that scares you every day


It was a Wednesday and I just came back from Delaware with our clients for a day trip to our data center. I have 2 hours to kill before Mary Poppins, so I marched into Borders trying to finish Liar’s Poker, and then another book caught my eyes: The 4-hour Work Week. I heard a lot about this book from my friends and I used the next hour flipping through the pages and I’m pretty happy with what I am reading, and I think Tim Ferriss does offer people a sweet DEAL (Definition, Elimination, Automation & Liberation).

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Good ways to spend your Monday Holiday

January 19, 2011 4 comments
My New Year was off to a rocky start. I lost my phone; my new phone didn’t arrive one week after I lost my old one; and I was sick for more than a week. But then I realized it’s probably a good time to say to yourself: things will only get better. It was like how I entered the financial industry. It was great timing as a matter of fact, it was 2 months before Lehman went down. Yes, things will only get better. They always do.
And my turnaround came yesterday when I felt much better both physically and mentally. And it was a Monday and a holiday, so what did I do?
Read something new, or finish up your old book
My friend suggested me a good cafe close to where I live. It was a cozy place, has its own library and serves amazing almond tea. I have been reading this book on “difficult conversations” by people who live and breathe difficult conversations both in a business context and a personal context at HBS. It was a good read, it provided a good learning opportunity to me and although I’m still half way through the book, I can see myself applying some of the strategies and perceptions to my day-to-day work which very much involves challenging communications one way or another. I was quite efficient with my reading that afternoon and my friend also finished up his reading on Russian history (the collapse of Soviet Union and the people involved). Just a few hours digging into the pages and the very scent of words and stories can make a huge difference on how fulfilled you feel about your day. Try it. Try it again.

Best of 2010, and Preview of 2011

January 5, 2011 2 comments

I have kept blogs in a variety of places before and this is the first and only time the website sent me a stats summary with such details for the bygone year. For the constant thrive to optimize user experience and the degree of dedication, I want to first thank WordPress for offering me, and many other bloggers in this world, an intimate place to pursue our passions, to share our curiosities, and to develop a legacy. 

I also want to take the opportunity to appreciate every one of you who has stopped by my blog over the past year. For those who have commented on my posts, cheered for me on my facebook walls, left a message to me on LinkedIn and Gtalk, followed me on Google Reader, or mentioned my blog to me face-to-face, I want to thank you for being my constant motivation and inspiration. Your encouragement means the world to me.

Started in mid-April 2010, the blog had 70 new posts and was viewed about 21,000 times over the course of 2010. Not bad for the first year I have to say. Thanks for sharing this with me.

Here are my Top Posts of the Year:


10. This is the kind of email I WILL respond to!

This was an introduction email on career opportunity that I have been waiting for. As I know most people are still struggling on how to effectively network and communicate, I figured it was a good idea to share the email and my interpretation with you. 

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Get Back On The Horse

January 4, 2011 1 comment

I was staying late for a regional call with Asia and before I left the office I walked around the floor to see who else is there at this hour. I saw one of my colleagues on another team who was just promoted to VP. I walked into his office and said, what’s going on? 

And then I noticed a book on his desk The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw (the collection of mini-bios from the generation of WWII), and I asked him, do you enjoy reading bios?

He said, “yes, I’m just starting this one, but my latest read and my all time favorite was Winston Churchill’s biography”, his eyes lightened up, “and actually I still remember very clearly the 5 things about him and his life.”

I was intrigued, and he started writing on the whiteboard hanging next to the wall. 

  1. Aim high (you know what this means)
  2. No substitute for hard working (you know what this means but focus on whether you are doing it)
  3. Get back on the horse (meaning no matter how many times you fail or fall off the horse, you stand up, be strong, and get back on the horse)
  4. Never be revengeful (Don’t spend even a second on thinking how to get back to those who may have hurt you or sabotaged you, this is politics, but you have more important things to focus on)
  5. Help others (again, probably easier said than done)

And then I asked a critical question which landed my writing here today. I asked, if you are to rank the importance of these 5 things which one will come on top?

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