The Invisible Mentor http://theinvisiblementor.com Your ideal mentor is virtually in the palm of your hands Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:13:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland, Book Review http://theinvisiblementor.com/girl-in-hyacinth-blue-susan-vreeland-book-review/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/girl-in-hyacinth-blue-susan-vreeland-book-review/#respond Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:13:15 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16571 Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland, Book Review In Susan Vreeland’s Girl in Hyacinth Blue, the star in the story is a Johannes Vermeer painting. After Dean Merrill’s funeral, a few colleagues from the mathematics department are talking, and at some point, the conversation moves to last words spoken. Cornelius Engelbrecht, mutters, “An eye […]

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Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland, Book Review

In Susan Vreeland’s Girl in Hyacinth Blue, the star in the story is a Johannes Vermeer painting. After Dean Merrill’s funeral, a few colleagues from the mathematics department are talking, and at some point, the conversation moves to last words spoken. Cornelius Engelbrecht, mutters, “An eye like a blue pearl,” the last words that his father spoke. Usually a loner, the day brings back memories of his father, whom he buried years ago, on a day like this one.

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland – Book Review

Cornelius invites one of his colleagues, Richard, to his home because he wants to show him something. Cornelius surprises his colleague with the invitation because he isn’t a talkative person or is he friendly toward those with whom he works. At his apartment, he shows Richard an unsigned painting that is in the style of Johannes Vermeer. Although the painting looks like a Vermeer, Richard knows that neither he nor his colleague could ever afford such a painting on their teacher’s salary, and they did not inherit wealth from their parents. And there is no provenance to authenticate the painting.

For a math teacher, Cornelius knows an awful lot about Johannes Vermeer and his paintings, and tries to convince Richard that the painting is an authentic Vermeer. He doesn’t want Richard to tell anyone about what he has seen. As the story unfolds, we learn that Cornelius’ father, Otto, stole the painting from a Jewish family when the Germans were rounding up the Jews in Holland to send them to concentration camps. Otto has never taken responsibility for what he did, even on his deathbed. As far as he is concerned, all he did was take Jewish families to the train, and whatever happened to them after that isn’t his concern. Cornelius is ashamed of his father, and wants to burn the painting, but the painting captivates those who view it – the eyes of the girl in it are like blue pearls.

Cornelius shows Richard the painting again, and in a moment of weakness, he tells the story of what his father did years ago. Richard is horrified and leaves quickly, dreading what he will say to his colleague when he sees him next. The reader doesn’t see the next encounter between colleagues, but the author uses an unusual technique of telling the story in reverse chronology. And she is not using flashbacks, this is something different. Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland has many vignettes centered on the painting and its movement. The reader is taken on a journey with the painting, its owners and their lives, back in time to the 17th Century when Johannes Vermeer is painting his daughter. The painting survives three and a half centuries.

In one of the vignettes, Laurens and Digna are chaperoning their daughter, Johanna and Fritz while they are on a walk. Johanna recently got engaged and her mother wants to give her something special. Funds are a bit tight, so she decides to give her a painting that her husband gave her on a special occasion. Laurens is strongly against giving away the painting, and when Digna inquires why, she learns that the woman in the painting reminds her husband of Tanneke, an old girlfriend. Can you imagine your husband giving you a painting for a gift because the model reminds him of an ex? As can be expected, Digna is very upset about the revelation, and it upsets the marriage. But at the end, they could be alright, but we are not sure.

A baby is placed in a boat during a flood, and there is a note with the painting instructing whoever finds the child to sell the artwork and use the proceeds to take care of him. Stijn, a farmer, finds the child all bundled up and takes him to his wife Saskia, who grows fond of both the child and painting. Things are financially difficult because of the flood, which prevents Stijn from planting his crops. Saskia refuses to sell the painting because it is so mesmerizing, and she commits the ultimate sin of using produce that are supposed to be used as seed. She gets estimates for the Vermeer painting and they are more than she anticipated. There is tension between her and Stijn because of financial hardship. She goes to her mother with her two children and the baby. Saskia relates all that has happened, but her mother doesn’t agree with her. The mother reminds Saskia that people are more important than possession so she should sell the painting so the family can eat. The baby is the blessing, not the painting.

In yet another vignette, as was the custom at the time, Claudine’s father chose Gerard to be her husband. She doesn’t love Gerard, but she loves the painting that he buys her. Claudine isn’t able to have children, which makes her husband very irritable. Gerard tells her that the painting is by a minor artist, Johannes van der Meer, but that doesn’t matter to her because she claims the girl in the painting will all her heart. Claudine plans a party and invites some musicians to play. During the evening of the party, she decides to have a dalliance with Monsieur le C. She tells him that she has a lovely painting that she wants him to see, takes his hand and leads him to the drawing room. While there, the two start to kiss and explore each other’s body, but they hear sounds and realize that they are not the only ones in the room. She strikes a match and discovers Gerard with Countess Maurits.

This incident gives Claudine the reason she needs to return from Holland to her beloved France. Thinking on her feet, she goes to get her husband’s lover, Agatha van Solms, to witness Gerard’s infidelity. The night turns out to be an eventful one, and Gerard is furious because Claudine compromises him. The following morning she decides to return to France right away, and doesn’t want to wait to receive funds from her father for her travel, which will take two weeks. She decides to sell her painting, but the provenance is locked away in Gerard’s safe. This vignette is important because the reader learns why the painting doesn’t have its authentication.

There are many little stories within Girl in Hyacinth Blue to entertain the reader, and Susan Vreeland knows how to keep you engaged. I learned about the book while taking Critical Reading and Writing, and I really enjoyed the storyline. It was the first time that I had heard of Johannes Vermeer, are you familiar with him?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Liked this post? Share it and subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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Building Relationships – Andrea Nierenberg, Summer Series Interviews http://theinvisiblementor.com/building-relationships-andrea-nierenberg-summer-series-interviews/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/building-relationships-andrea-nierenberg-summer-series-interviews/#respond Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:13:24 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16565 Building Relationships – Andrea Nierenberg, Summer Series Interviews Each week during July and August, I will take one of the interviews from my book,  Tales of People Who Get It, and post it on the blog so that you may learn from some of the interviewees.  This week, I feature Andrea Nierenberg, the savvy networker.  Her interview […]

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Building Relationships – Andrea Nierenberg, Summer Series Interviews

Andrea Nierenberg

Building Relationships – Andrea Nierenberg, Summer Series Interviews

Each week during July and August, I will take one of the interviews from my book,  Tales of People Who Get It, and post it on the blog so that you may learn from some of the interviewees.  This week, I feature Andrea Nierenberg, the savvy networker.  Her interview is short and sweet, and filled with good information on networking effectively.

Related: 
Living an Authentic Life – Gabriel Draven, Summer Series Interviews
Leading Women toward Self-Sufficiency, Anthea Rossouw – Summer Interview Series
Pay Your Taxes – George Fraser, Summer Series Interviews

In 2007, I published my book, Tales of People Who Get It, which is based on interviews with successful people. The Invisible Mentor blog was born of my book. Let’s take a step back in time to the fall of 2007, I had been thinking about ways to market Tales of People Who Get It and hoping for a burst of inspiration. While I was taking a walk in High Park in Toronto, it popped into my consciousness that Tales of People Who Get It was my Board of Invisible Mentors. What happened, without being aware of it, is that when I faced a problem, I would remember parts of interviews that I had conducted, and would know how to solve that problem. After conducting research, The Invisible Mentor blog was born, and five years later the concept of the invisible mentor has changed.

One of the reasons people say why they love Tales of People Who Get It is that the interviewees are ordinary people so they can see themselves in them. If the interviews resonate with you, consider purchasing your copy of  Tales of People Who Get It because there are over 30 interviews included. Seven years later, I am a better writer, and there are things that I would do differently today with the book, but I took a chance to put my work out to the world!

~Challenge~

As a small company, the challenge is always getting in the door to a large, branded company.

~Resolution~

I build relationships one person at a time. I meet people through my programs and at speaking/networking events. I nurture these relationships and doors have opened.

~Lessons Learned~

  1. Be reliable, trustworthy, always follow-up, and be a great listener.
  2. Most people have some of the above traits, yet I have realized that to be successful you have to have all of them.

~How to Integrate Your Personal and Professional Life~

People who I meet professionally often turn into friends. I really love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work. So, I leave my work, however, I do have a lot of balance in my life.

~Formula for Success ~

According to Vidal Sassoon, “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” To become successful, you have to be determined, reliable, consistent, and keep looking for the goal that you want to achieve.

~Major Regret~

You always think about what might have been, but I have learned to go with the cards that I have been dealt. Fifteen years ago (should now be 22 years), I was in a serious car accident. I broke 40 bones. At the time, I felt really sorry for myself, but I also learned a lot during that period. You always have to find the silver lining in the clouds.

~Favourite Quote~

My favourite quote is something I read and keep on my desk, “With integrity, nothing else matters and without integrity, nothing else matters.”

~Influential Book~

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie had a profound impact on my life. For the past 15 years, I have been reading this book once a year and each time I get something new from it. The book is based on common sense and communication. Essentially, the book tells you how to be more mindful.

What can you learn from Andrea Nierenberg about networking? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Liked this post? Share it and subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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7 Lessons from my Informal Liberal Arts Education http://theinvisiblementor.com/7-lessons-informal-liberal-arts-education/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/7-lessons-informal-liberal-arts-education/#respond Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:26:07 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16558 7 Lessons from my Informal Liberal Arts Education I am a couple of days away from starting the actual writing of my book based on my journey toward an informal liberal arts education. I am reading through my course notes, reflecting on them, jotting down my reactions, and making note of the lessons. I have […]

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7 Lessons from my Informal Liberal Arts Education

Liberal Arts Education

7 Lessons from my Informal Liberal Arts Education

I am a couple of days away from starting the actual writing of my book based on my journey toward an informal liberal arts education. I am reading through my course notes, reflecting on them, jotting down my reactions, and making note of the lessons. I have taken 12 courses so far (not including the MOOCs I took earlier in the year such as Social Media for Journalists, and Storytelling for Change), and most of them are not the initial courses that I started off with.

It is important to make plans, but not to plan the outcome because you will miss out on opportunities. When I started the journey toward my informal liberal arts education, there were two things going on with me at the time, and I did not realize that they were related. First, I wanted to test the comment that people with a liberal arts education are more flexible, resilient and change hardy. Second, I was feeling like a fraud, suffering from the imposter syndrome – I look great on paper, yet that was not enough for me. There was a trigger of discontent in my life that I had to address. As a deep thinker, and someone who is always reflecting on her life, after taking several courses, I started to focus on courses to fill a skills gap to make me better at my craft. Because of all the benefits that I am reaping, and the lessons that I am learning from my informal liberal arts education, I have decided to continue with my studies. Here are some of the lessons from informal liberal arts education.

  1. Be willing to take chances – open yourself up to a sense of play. I learned this lesson from taking Introduction to Visual Thinking and the History of Architecture. What this lesson tells me, is that when you open up yourself to the possibilities of life, and take chances, magic happens and you break new ground.
  2. Make plans, but don’t plan the outcome so that you do not miss out on opportunities. This lesson is from the Introduction to Visual Thinking class. The course is an art history course and most of the students were young up-and-coming artists (the course I took wasn’t live, but a recording). What this lesson means to me, is before starting a project, you have to plan so that you have a road-map to follow, but while working on the project – creating a piece of art or writing a book, or whatever – issues arise that open you up to amazing opportunities. If you allow yourself to deviate from the plan, your outcome could be extraordinary.
  3. When you get stuck, do not abandon the work. There are times when it is best to start over the work when you get stuck, but before you do something that’s so radical, take a time out and do something that’s very different from the project that you are working on. Taking a time out allows you to return to your work with a fresh outlook. When you abandon your work, you abandon what could have been. This lesson is compliments of Introduction to Visual Thinking.
  4. After you have learned and understood the foundations of your field, knowing all the rules, take off and make your mark. When you know and understand the rules, you know how to break them. You give yourself the freedom to innovate. This is important, and enables you to go against the grain, which is often what it takes to break the mold and get ahead. I learned this lesson from my Introduction to Architecture course.
  5. You can look anywhere for ideas – pick and choose from various styles and disciplines, then combine them. Pull ideas from various traditions. Use the possibilities of the age, and its technologies to gather ideas, or even to push the boundaries. What has meaning to society? I learned this lesson from Introduction to Architecture.
  6. Learn how to bridge the past with the present or vice versa. Archaeologists never see the complete picture, therefore, they often have to look at present cultures to surmise what happened in the past. George Santayana once said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” and there is truth in that adage. The Mayan civilization collapsed because of overpopulation – they couldn’t produce enough food for everyone so disease set in. There are certain areas where the same problem exists today, therefore we have to learn the lessons from the past, then bridge the past and the present. With new farming technologies, and better health care, we are better able to stave off disease, but we still need to be aware of the lessons from the past to take proactive action.
  7. Build on the work of others. This is something that I already know, but Introduction to Archaeology and Out of the Past, reminded me of this lesson. The ideas also form the basis for the process to work on a project. Look at what has been done before, and do not reinvent the wheel. Build on the work of others, which could mean breaking things apart and putting them together again in a different way. Accessing the work of others is not enough, we need to spend time with the information, immersing ourselves into it, looking for hidden meaning, and expanding the information to get something new.

In another post, I will share other lessons that I have learned from my information liberal arts education. I will share lessons that I view as universal, so that anyone can learn from them. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Liked this post? Share it and subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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Why read, what to read, and Teddy Roosevelt http://theinvisiblementor.com/why-read-what-to-read-and-teddy-roosevelt/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/why-read-what-to-read-and-teddy-roosevelt/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:13:33 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16531 Why read, what to read, and Teddy Roosevelt Why Read Books? Reading well written books expands your vocabulary, gives you a pool of ideas to draw from, makes you a better writer, and gives your brain an intellectual workout. If you conducted an internet search on the benefits of reading, you will find that there isn’t […]

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Why read, what to read, and Teddy Roosevelt

Why Read Books?

Reading well written books expands your vocabulary, gives you a pool of ideas to draw from, makes you a better writer, and gives your brain an intellectual workout. If you conducted an internet search on the benefits of reading, you will find that there isn’t a shortage of valid reasons for reading books. I have also written on the topic, but today, I am writing about why I read books. By the number of book reviews on this blog, anyone can tell that I love to read, but why do I read so much, when there is so much to keep me occupied in a metropolitan city like Toronto?

Why read, what to read and Teddy Roosevelt

Why read, what to read and Teddy Roosevelt

I have read several times that the most successful people have at least one book that impacted them deeply, and I confirmed it while interviewing people for my book Tales of People Who Get It. That one book makes them think and is usually filled with ideas that they can use. Recently, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, revealed that the business book, Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street impacted him, so knowing that, I went to Amazon to check for the book, although the article said that the book hadn’t been in print since the early seventies. I found only used copies at an exorbitant price, but when I returned a couple of days later, the e-book had just been released (The influence of a powerful person), and the print edition will be out in September. I purchased the e-book, and when I looked at the table of contents, I wasn’t very thrilled because it isn’t the type of book that I would normally read. But I have learned that there are books that you have to slog through to get to the promised land, and I think Business Adventures may very well be one of those books.

For Dee Hock, the founder of Visa, his one book is Omar Khayyam’s RubáiyátRubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (My Review) had everything he was looking for. Ideas do not come from out of a vacuum – they are usually from a seed that’s planted. The seed may be from a conversation, an article, book, or even a dream – the point is that they come from somewhere. Sometimes one big idea or the blending of two or more ideas when implemented is all it takes to make a difference in your life. I read voraciously because I am looking for my one idea, and I believe it is in an off the beaten track book waiting for me to discover it. I do not read all of the books that I say I am going to read because life happens, and frankly, some of them are not easy to read, and are not your everyday reading material, but in the end, I do the best that I can.

What to Read?

How do you choose which books to read? Do you use this blog to help you decide what to read? For me, as many of you know, I am reading the classics, but I toss in other books so I do not get bored. Recently, I wrote two blog posts [35 Books Recommendations for Summer 2014  and Another 25 Book Recommendations (for the eclectic reader)] that included two lists of books for me to read this summer, and I am working my way through the lists. What you may not know, is that I am also working through a master list – 100 Books of All Time.  I intentionally started to read the books from the master list last year while I was on the World Virtual  Book Tour. And from time-to-time I take a peek at the list of books in Using Rare Books to Inspire Learning — Part 1: Anthropology – Diaries  and Using Rare Books to Inspire Learning — Part 2: Drama – Travel. Since I frequently like to read books off the beaten path, I make sure that I always include a few of them on my reading menu. And I will also get books that are referred to me by people whom I trust.

Related Posts What to Read  Fun Ways to Choose Which Books to Read  

Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt- 26th President of the United States

By now, you are getting impatient, and wondering what Teddy Roosevelt has to do with any of this, and the simple answer is, a lot! For my younger, international readers, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt was a United States president who loved to read, and if you believe some of the accounts written about his life, there are days when he read more than two books – he read one book before he started his workday and another before he went to sleep, and he often read another one when he could squeeze it in. I cannot wrap my head around that tidbit. But more importantly, he makes me feel like a slacker and underachiever, how about you? I have read 30 books in 30 days, and a book a day for 30 days, and that took discipline. For a minute, imagine the possibilities if you read at least two well written books each day! Teddy Roosevelt knew how to speed read while maintaining a high level of comprehension, and this is a skill that we have to develop today so we are not left behind. So what books did Teddy Roosevelt read? The answer lies in a letter he wrote to his friend Nicholas Murray Butler on November 4, 1903 (The Square Deal 1901 – 1905: The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, Volume 3, 642-644).

Teddy Roosevelt’s Reading List

  1. History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
  2. The Histories (read parts) [The Histories, Revised (Penguin Classics)], Herodotus
  3. The Histories of Polybius, Vol. I & II (of 2), Polybius
  4. Plutarch’s Lives (read parts), Plutarch
  5. The Oresteia Trilogy: Agamemnon, the Libation-Bearers and the Furies, Aeschylus
  6. Seven Against Thebes, Aeschylus
  7. Euripides’ Hippolytus, Euripides
  8. Bacchae, Euripides (My review)
  9. Frogs (Focus Classical Library), Aristophanes
  10. The Politics (Penguin Classics) (read parts), Aristotle
  11. Early Age of Greece (The Early Age of Greece: Volume 1, The Early Age of Greece: Volume 2), William Ridgeway
  12. Alexander the Great, Benjamin Ide Wheeler
  13. History of Egypt, Chaldæa, Syria, Babylonia and Assyria, Gaston Maspero
  14. Chronicles, Jean Froissart
  15. The Memoirs of Baron De Marbot (read several chapters), Baron de Marbot
  16. Charles XII and the Collapse of the Swedish Empire: 1682-1719, Robert Nisbet Bain
  17. Types of Naval Officers Drawn from the History of the British Navy,  Alfred Thayer Mahan
  18. Critical and Historical Essays, Thomas Macaulay
  19. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Penguin Classics), Edward Gibbon
  20. The Life Of Prince Eugene, Of Savoy: From His Own Original Manuscript, Prince Eugene of Savoy
  21. Life of Lieut.-Admiral De Ruyter, G Grinnell-Milne
  22. Life of Sobieski, John Sobieski
  23. Carlyle’s Frederick the Great, Thomas Carlyle
  24. Abraham Lincoln: A History (Unexpurgated Edition) (Halcyon Classics), John M Hay and John George Nicolay
  25. Lincoln : Speeches and Writings : 1859-1865 (Library of America), Abraham Lincoln (read some parts over and over again), Abraham Lincoln
  26. The Essays (Penguin Classics), Francis Bacon
  27. Macbeth (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Wordsworth Royals Series)), Shakespeare
  28. Twelfth Night, Shakespeare
  29. Henry IV, Shakespeare
  30. Henry the Fifth, Shakespeare
  31. Richard II, Shakespeare
  32. Paradise Lost (first two cantos), John Milton
  33. Poems of Michael Drayton (only cared for three or four), Michael Drayton
  34. The Nibelungenlied: Prose Translation (Penguin Classics) (read parts), Anonymous
  35. The Inferno (Signet Classics), Dante (prose translation by Carlyle – read parts)
  36. Beowulf (Samuel H. Church translation)
  37. Heimskringla: or, The Lives of the Norse Kings, Snorri Sturluson
  38. Njal’s Saga: or, The Story of Burnt Njal (George Dasent translation)
  39. Gisli the Outlaw (George Dasent translation)
  40. Cuchulain of Muirthemne: The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of Ulster (Classic Reprint) (Lady Gregory translation)
  41. The Affected Young Ladies, Moliere
  42. Rossini: The Barber of Seville, Gioachino Rossini
  43. The Kingis Quhair(alternate spelling – Quair) (liked most of the work by Jean Adrien Antoine Jules Jusserand particularly his studies of Kings Quhair)
  44. Over the Teacups, Oliver Wendell Holmes
  45. Shakespeare and Voltaire, Thomas Lounsbury
  46. Sevastopol Sketches (Sebastopol Sketches), Leo Tolstoy
  47. The Cossacks (The Cossacks and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)), Leo Tolstoy
  48. With Fire and Sword, Henryk Sienkiewicz
  49. Guy Mannering (Penguin Classics), Sir Walter Scott
  50. The Antiquary (Oxford World’s Classics), Sir Walter Scott
  51. Rob Roy (Oxford World’s Classics), Sir Walter Scott
  52. Waverly (The Works of Sir Walter Scott (31 books) [Illustrated]), Sir Walter Scott
  53. Quentin Durward, Sir Walter Scott
  54. Marmion, Sir Walter Scott
  55. The Lay of the Last Minstrel Sir Walter Scott
  56. The Pilot: A Tale of the Sea, Fenimore Cooper
  57. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
  58. The Pickwick Papers (Penguin Classics), Charles Dickens
  59. Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens
  60. Vanity Fair (The Complete Works of William Makepeace Thackeray (Classic Reprint)), William Makepeace Thackeray
  61. The History of Pendennis, William Makepeace Thackeray
  62. The Newcomes, William Makepeace Thackeray
  63. The Adventures of Philip, William Makepeace Thackeray
  64. The White Company, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  65. Charles O’Malley: The Irish Dragon, Completed Edition (Vol I+II), Charles Lever
  66. John Keats: The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics), John Keats
  67. Robert Browning’s Poetry (Norton Critical Editions), Robert BrowningWhy read, what to read and Teddy Roosevelt 3
  68. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems, Edgar Allan Poe
  69. Poems (The Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson), Lord Alfred Tennyson
  70. The Complete Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  71. The Collected Poems of Rudyard Kipling (Wordsworth Poetry) (Wordsworth Poetry Library), Rudyard Kipling
  72. Poems (Works of Bliss Carman), Bliss Carman
  73. Tales, Edgard Allan Poe
  74. Essays (The Essential James Russell Lowell Collection), James Russell Lowell
  75. The Complete Stories of Robert Louis Stevenson: Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Nineteen Other Tales (Modern Library Classics) (read some of the stories), Robert Louis Stevenson
  76. British Ballads (The Ballad Book: A Selection of the Choicest British Ballads), William Allingham
  77. The Simple Life, Charles Wagner
  78. The Rose and the Ring, William Makepeace Thackeray
  79. Fairy Tales, Hans Andersen
  80. Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales, Grimm Bros
  81. The Story of King Arthur & His Knights (Classic Starts), Howard Pyle
  82. The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus (the short story Free Joe and the Rest of the World inspired him to take action for blacks in the South), Joel Chandler Harris
  83. The Woman Who Toils, Bessie Van Vorst
  84. Verses (At the Sign of the Sphinx, The Re-echo Club, Diversions of the Re-echo club, and Ballade of Baker Street, Carolyn Wells
  85. The Golden Age, Kenneth Grahame
  86. All on the Irish Shore, Somerville & Ross
  87. Some Experiences of an Irish R.M., Somerville & Ross
  88. Asia And Europe, Meredith Townsend
  89. Youth, a Narrative, Joseph Conrad
  90. Works of Artemus Ward, Artemus Ward
  91. Stories of a Western Town, Octave Thanet
  92. My Reminiscences of the Anglo-Boer War (helped him to deal with labor problems), Ben Viljoen
  93. Through The Subarctic Forest: A Record of a Canoe Journey from Fort Wrangel to the Pelly Lakes, and Down the Yukon River to the Behring Sea, Warburton Pike
  94. Cross Country with Horse and Hound, Frank Sherman PeerWhy read, what to read and Teddy Roosevelt
  95. Ways of Nature, John Burroughs
  96. The Real Malay; Pen Pictures – Primary Source Edition, Frank Swettenham
  97. Gallops, David Gray
  98. Napoleon Jackson, the Gentleman of the Plush Rocker, Ruth Stuart
  99. The Passing of Thomas, Thomas Janvier
  100. The Benefactress, Elizabeth von Arnim
  101. People of the Whirlpool, Mabel Osgood Wright
  102. The Call of the Wild, Jack London
  103. The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, John Fox
  104. Captain of the Gray-Horse Troop, Hamlin Garland
  105. The Gentleman from Indiana, Booth Tarkington
  106. The Crisis, Winston Churchill
  107. John Ermine of the Yellowstone – Primary Source Edition, Frederic Remington
  108. The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains (Dover Thrift Editions), Owen Wister
  109. Red Men and White, Owen Wister
  110. Philosophy 4, a Story of Harvard University, Owen Wister
  111. Lin McLean, Owen Wister
  112. The Blazed Trail (Blazed Trail Stories and Stories of the Wild Life), Stewart Edward White
  113. Conjuror’s House, Stewart Edward White
  114. The Claim Jumpers, Stewart Edward White
  115. The American Revolution, George Otto Trevelyan

In the letter, Teddy Roosevelt indicated that he would read a book by chance, and it would suggest another. The point is that book recommendations come from everywhere. From the list, you will also notice that he read a lot of poetry, which is common for many successful people. And he has also given us permission to read only the parts of a book that interest us, or the parts that have the answer to our questions. Whenever he faced labor problems, Teddy read books on the Boer War; and a colleague once told me that if you wanted to learn how to negotiate, you should read The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, which incidentally is number one on Teddy Roosevelt’s reading list.

To get into the minds of successful people, I wanted to see the types of books they read, so I have started off with Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt. This wasn’t an easy endeavor since there was a lot of cleaning up to do to make the reading list more accessible. I was delighted to discover that The Art of Manliness has an interest in Teddy Roosevelt and they also have read his letter to his friend Murray Butler. Will I be reading the books on his reading list? No, only the ones that are on the lists that I am working with. I have enough books to keep me reading for a long time, how about you?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Liked this post? Share it and subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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Pay Your Taxes – George Fraser, Summer Series Interviews http://theinvisiblementor.com/pay-your-taxes-george-fraser-summer-series-interview/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/pay-your-taxes-george-fraser-summer-series-interview/#respond Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:13:08 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16526 Pay Your Taxes – George Fraser, Summer Series Interview I decided that for the months of  July and August, each week, I will take one of the interviews from my book,  Tales of People Who Get It, and post it on the blog so that you may learn from some of the interviewees. This week we feature […]

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Pay Your Taxes – George Fraser, Summer Series Interview

George Fraser

Pay Your Taxes – George Fraser, Summer Series Interview

I decided that for the months of  July and August, each week, I will take one of the interviews from my book,  Tales of People Who Get It, and post it on the blog so that you may learn from some of the interviewees. This week we feature George Fraser, who didn’t pay his taxes on time, so the government placed a lien on all his funds. I learn something valuable from each interview I conduct, however,  some words of wisdom from George Fraser gave me what I needed to complete my first book on time “You have to have the discipline to focus on the thing that is in front of you. The second step now becomes your next first step so there is never a second step because you are focused on one thing at a time. If your goal is to write a book, what steps do you have to take to make that goal a reality? Do only one thing at a time because you can only walk down one road at a time, so walk down that road. FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS!” Although interviewees may be doing different things now, their words still hold the wisdom they did seven years ago. I am calling the eight interviews, the Summer Series Interviews.

Related: 

Living an Authentic Life – Gabriel Draven, Summer Series Interviews
Leading Women toward Self-Sufficiency, Anthea Rossouw – Summer Interview Series

In 2007, I published my book, Tales of People Who Get It, which is based on interviews with successful people. The Invisible Mentor blog was born of my book. Let’s take a step back in time to the fall of 2007, I had been thinking about ways to market Tales of People Who Get It and hoping for a burst of inspiration. While I was taking a walk in High Park in Toronto, it popped into my consciousness that Tales of People Who Get It was my Board of Invisible Mentors. What happened, without being aware of it, is that when I faced a problem, I would remember parts of interviews that I had conducted, and would know how to solve that problem. After conducting research, The Invisible Mentor blog was born, and five years later the concept of the invisible mentor has changed.

One of the reasons people say why they love Tales of People Who Get It is that the interviewees are ordinary people so they can see themselves in them. If the interviews resonate with you, consider purchasing your copy of  Tales of People Who Get It because there are over 30 interviews included. Seven years later, I am a better writer, and there are things that I would do differently today with the book, but I took a chance to put my work out to the world!

George Fraser

Pay Your Taxes – George Fraser

~Challenge~

We did not pay our taxes in a timely manner and the federal government placed a lien on all our funds. It handcuffed us in doing business.

~Resolution~

We made a deal with the federal government to pay all back taxes, and based on estimates we paid our quarterly taxes in advance.

~Lessons Learned~

  1. Pay taxes on time
  2. As a small business, if you withhold paying your taxes, the federal government can force you to go out of business by attaching liens to your financial accounts, preventing you from conducting business
  3. The whole process can be very embarrassing
  4. Not paying your taxes is one of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make

~How to Integrate Your Personal and Professional Life~

I spend 80 percent of my time on my professional life and 20 percent of my time on my personal life. When I was younger and raising my children the split was 50/50. My children are all grown now and on their own. I have been married for 32 years (should be close to 40 years now), so your relationship with your spouse becomes less intense as you grow old together.

The 80 percent of my time that I spend on my professional life is broken down into 60 percent of my time working on relationships associated with my business. The other 20 percent is spent on logistics of the business and travel.

Because so much of my time is spent away from my personal life, every time I return home it is like a honeymoon – it keeps the romance alive. I love my work so much that I do not consider it to be work. I get tremendous enjoyment from it. Working for me is like playing.

~Formula for Success~

Have a large vision for what you want, but think small. All success begins with small steps. Have dreams, have patience and the willingness to do the work. All great things in life start as a seed. That is, they start small. Most people are not willing to do the work. In a nutshell, the formula for success is large vision, think small and do the work.

~Major Regret~

A major regret that I always have is, knowing that I will never have as much time as I will need to do all the things that I want to do. I will always want more time. Because of this, I live each day as if I am going to die tomorrow. This keeps me on my toes and makes me more productive. I know that I am going to die because that’s inevitable, but I regret it because I cannot do all the things that I want to do.

~Favourite Quote~

My favourite quote is “First things first, second things never.” This is a quote that I made up and I always tell people because I believe in it. Whatever you have to do, break it down into steps and work on the first step. Your only focus is on that first step until it’s completed.

You have to have the discipline to focus on the thing that is in front of you. The second step now becomes your next first step so there is never a second step because you are focused on one thing at a time. If your goal is to write a book, what steps do you have to take to make that goal a reality? Do only one thing at a time because you can only walk down one road at a time, so walk down that road. FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS!

~Influential Book~

There are two books that had a profound impact on my life – <emWinning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time by John Maxwell and Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D. by Chancellor Williams. Winning with People is about building relationships and is a seminal text to the work that I do – everything is about relationships. Destruction of Black Civilization helped me to understand what happened in Africa, what happened to what was once a great continent.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Liked this post? Share it and subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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The Power of Visual Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio – Book Review http://theinvisiblementor.com/the-power-of-visual-storytelling-ekaterina-walter-jessica-gioglio-book-review/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/the-power-of-visual-storytelling-ekaterina-walter-jessica-gioglio-book-review/#respond Tue, 15 Jul 2014 21:24:18 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16521 The Power of Visual Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio – Book Review Every week, I come across an article talking about the importance of including images in your blog posts to increase traffic. For centuries, images have played a major role in societies and cultures. For instance, in archaeology, signs and symbols give […]

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The Power of Visual Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio – Book Review

Every week, I come across an article talking about the importance of including images in your blog posts to increase traffic. For centuries, images have played a major role in societies and cultures. For instance, in archaeology, signs and symbols give us insights into what life was like in the past, and they are used to express ideas. We have heard it so many times, that we now know that great visuals that complement written text make for very powerful storytelling. However, many of the people who are telling us to add visuals to our text are telling and not showing us how to do it. And that’s why The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio is such an important book because it not only shows us, but tells us what we need to know about visual storytelling.

7 Elements of Visual Storytelling from The Power of Visual Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio

7 Elements of Visual Storytelling from The Power of Visual Storytelling by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio

In The Power of Visual Storytelling, Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio give you the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of visual storytelling, and I found the book so helpful that I took a lot of notes. The subtitle of the book is very telling – How to use visuals, videos and social media to market your brand – so you know what to expect from the book, and it delivers.

I found pages 44 to 46 very helpful because they explain in detail the types of images used for visual storytelling, and the list includes more than you would imagine, so you have more choices. Types of images mentioned include: Photography, Graphs and Drawings, Photo Collages, Cartoons and much more. And what makes the book so valuable, is that it covers videos, in addition to images, and the reader will also learn that adding the right image to your content is not enough. Your content has to have a theme, a point of view and a takeaway message for your reader. That means, your content has to be valuable to its intended audience. And on top of that, the book dedicates pages to the most popular social media and video platforms – Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Slideshare and Google+. The information dedicated to each visual platform includes facts as well as tips on how to engage your readers using each of them.

I discovered that there are seven elements of visual storytelling. This is important for people who create content regularly, because I think that by incorporating the  seven elements, you increase the probability that your content gets shared more.

7 Elements of Visual Storytelling

  1. Design: The right image can tell a powerful story. Use stunning imagery to get your point across.
  2. Personalization: Customize your story for each platform. That is, different content, but a consistent theme.
  3. Usefulness: Use the strengths of each platform for your benefit. Add value to make your content useful and relevant.
  4. Personality: Content should have a human face and not a corporate one. People relate to people. What issues do your constituents care about? Do you understand their needs and what motivates them? Content should be a welcome interruption.
  5. Storytelling: Content must tell a story.
  6. Shareworthiness: Develop useful, interesting, and relevant content that is worth sharing.
  7. Real-time amplification: Develop strong visual imagery to share in real-time.

The Power of Visual Storytelling outlines how to create a visual storytelling strategy roadmap, and the reader will appreciate it that the authors recognize that not everyone is in a position to hire a consultant to do this. By following the instructions, which are straightforward, you can create and implement your strategy. Another section of the book that I particularly liked is crafting and sourcing stunning visuals. A few months ago, while taking a free online course, one of the assignments required that I included photos with my life story, and it wasn’t an easy task for me. It didn’t even occur to me that there are tools to help you create a collage, so I was delighted to learn which tools I can use the next time around. Have you ever wondered how people create those stunning visuals that include a powerful quote with a beautiful, related photo? While reading the book you will learn how to do that.

I could write more about The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, but I would like you to read it if you create any kind of content. I have extracted five great ideas from the book.

5 Great Ideas from The Power of Visual Storytelling

  1. The photos that people take and share across social media is a statement of how they view and experience the world they inhabit.
  2. A graphic makes your story more impactful and helps your audience connect to your message.
  3. Visual and text must work together and not compete for attention – use a clean layout.
  4. One size does not fit all, and so it is with social media platforms. Customize your content for the character and audience of each platform.
  5. Great Content = Theme + Point of View + Takeaway Message + Stunning Visual.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Liked this post? Share it and subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

Kindle

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Leading Women toward Self-Sufficiency, Anthea Rossouw – Summer Interview Series http://theinvisiblementor.com/leading-women-toward-self-sufficiency-anthea-rossouw-summer-interview-series/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/leading-women-toward-self-sufficiency-anthea-rossouw-summer-interview-series/#respond Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:13:57 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16515 Leading Women toward Self-Sufficiency, Anthea Rossouw – Summer Interview Series Last week, I decided that for the months of  July and August, each week, I will take one of the interviews from my book,  Tales of People Who Get It, and post it on the blog so that you may learn from some of the interviewees. This […]

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Leading Women toward Self-Sufficiency, Anthea Rossouw – Summer Interview Series

Last week, I decided that for the months of  July and August, each week, I will take one of the interviews from my book,  Tales of People Who Get It, and post it on the blog so that you may learn from some of the interviewees. This week we feature Anthea Rossouw who developed a program to help South African women to become economically self-sufficient. Although interviewees may be doing different things now, their words still hold the wisdom they did seven years ago. I am calling the eight interviews, the Summer Series Interviews.

Anthea Rossouw

Anthea Rossouw

Related: Living an Authentic Life – Gabriel Draven, Summer Series Interviews

In 2007, I published my book, Tales of People Who Get It, which is based on interviews with successful people. The Invisible Mentor blog was born of my book. Let’s take a step back in time to the fall of 2007, I had been thinking about ways to market Tales of People Who Get It and hoping for a burst of inspiration. While I was taking a walk in High Park in Toronto, it popped into my consciousness that Tales of People Who Get It was my Board of Invisible Mentors. What happened, without being aware of it, is that when I faced a problem, I would remember parts of interviews that I had conducted, and would know how to solve that problem. After conducting research, The Invisible Mentor blog was born, and five years later the concept of the invisible mentor has changed.

One of the reasons people say why they love Tales of People Who Get It is that the interviewees are ordinary people so they can see themselves in them. If the interviews resonate with you, consider purchasing your copy of  Tales of People Who Get It because there are over 30 interviews included. Seven years later, I am a better writer, and there are things that I would do differently today with the book, but I took a chance to put my work out to the world!

~Challenge~

Starting Dreamcatcher was a challenge in itself, considering that everything that I do is centered on something that has never been done before in South Africa. I harnessed the women in disadvantaged communities across South Africa in an effort to put “an end to aid without end,” to put an end to poverty, and bring long-term solutions to their own future. Convincing these women – who had no confidence in themselves to run their own business – to identify with the project, and develop their own micro businesses, using available resources, was a challenge.

In South Africa, those who controlled and ran businesses in the travel and tourism industry before the end of apartheid are still reaping the lion’s share of the income generated from the industry. Ninety-nine percent of these people are those who never had contact with the culture on a social or business level. Therefore, the women along with their cultures in their communities across South Africa are strangers to them. Culture was not sold as an important tourism product, and the animals and safaris have always been over-emphasized. So, people who were not into the animal-safari sector did not understand that the people living among these animals were the custodians of these environments.

Gabriel Draven

Leading Women toward Self-Sufficiency – Anthea Rossouw

People then, and today, are skeptical and do not see the significance of involving the local communities as BUSINESSMEN & WOMEN in their own right. These BUSINESSMEN & WOMEN hold the key to a long-term plan for saving tourism in South Africa, generating an income through enterprises because they understand the importance of the women in their communities.

Another major challenge was expanding tourism in all regions, as well as developing the businesses surrounding tourism. This meant to enhance the tourism experience in South Africa with authentic cultural contacts in community accommodation, cuisine, and craft, which would benefit the women in the communities and foster their children’s development.

~Resolution~

I overcame the major challenge by taking the authentic cultural experiences, and the women entrepreneurs who would benefit directly from it, into the marketplace to create awareness in the tourist market. I developed very basic human interactive tourism and travel experiences to rebuild communities, pride and the local economy. For each $100 a micro entrepreneur earns, the return is five-fold. When you are poor you do not need bags of money to sustain yourself. It’s when you are rich that you do!

A challenge is only a challenge when you do not see an end with an outcome. If I had been intimidated by the challenge, Dreamcatcher would not have materialized. In a challenge, you look for the opportunities. The thought of NOT doing this does not cross my mind. There is no other alternative to long-term poverty alleviation in the communities across South Africa and in Southern Africa.

~Lessons Learned~

  1. Do not rely on politicians to effect change when it comes to economic empowerment. Political liberation never ensures economic liberation from poverty.
  2. Don’t take no for an answer and be passionate about making a difference.
  3. You have to look for like-minded people, create a network, and then you can make a difference and make it work together in a strategic partnership.
  4. Travel and tourism can be the biggest liberator of poverty because it’s the world’s biggest industry, and it’s completely people-based. If you can get to the people who spend their money on travel, you can direct them to spend their money where it will make a difference.
  5. Do not accept the way things have been done. Travel and tourism have been controlled by “mass” and “bus window” tourism experiences, and that’s the way most mainstream travel agencies are run. They are not interested in spreading the benefits at grassroots.
  6. It will help us little in Africa to try to save the environment, the rhinos and the elephants, if people who are the custodians, do not benefit from these actions. Destitute people do not understand the need to preserve the forest if they are hungry, or they look the other way when they are enticed to poach, or become involved in clandestine activities when offered money.
  7. To build a better Africa and world, we should not alienate the local people, or prevent them from interacting with tourists. World peace and harmonious coexistence are directly linked to the attitudes of people. We cannot talk of being safe in our homes from an elevated comfort zone, or being safe during our holiday, or in our business, when we ignore the impact of tourism on people.

~How to Integrate Your Personal and Professional Life~

I believe in any human interaction that will create a better world. The human contact with my family and the quality time that I spend with them is the same as the quality time that I spend with the many women I work with. I am not a different person when I am with family than when I am with others. There is no difference between the two. I’m not two people. It’s too difficult to be that way! My family supports everything that I do and I support them. I make time for introspection with my family and when I do so, I like to retreat into nature. Peace descends on me when I am outside in nature, and the environment gives me strength. It gives me the strength and energy to interact with people on both the personal and professional level. When I watch the trees and hear the breeze, I know that there is a bigger purpose.

~Formula for Success~

Commitment! You have to believe in what you are doing and be committed to it, because your desires lead to deeds, which lead to your destiny.

~Major Regret~

I should have started 20 years ago spreading my message of hope and the alleviation of poverty, instead of waiting for people with vested interests in the status quo to help me get the message out. Only when I realized that I had to take my message directly to the people outside South Africa did I see that an end is possible.

A defining moment for me was when I was almost a victim of 9/11. I changed my flight from the one that went into the north tower a few days before the tragedy. I was scheduled to give a talk to a group in California when I realized that my time with them would be too short so I changed my flight and flew to Dallas. That decision changed my life. I spent six days travelling on trains and buses all over the United States trying to get back to South Africa. During that time, seeing people in their darkest moments of fear, I realized that the fear was not only a fear of terrorists, but also lack of knowledge of other cultures and about each other. I realized that my purpose was written all over the fear and heartache I experienced in America. I had a mission to build peace through human contact for cultural harmony. That was the moment, all alone with no food on a train full of fearful people that I made the decision to reach out with our Kamammas (community matriarchs). I was now going to take this message of hope to empower the women with micro businesses, foster micro businesses between cultures and share my passion for a better life for the many poor women and their destitute children whom I have met in all the years of Apartheid.

~Favourite Quote~

I like “We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny, whatever affects one directly, affect all indirectly” by Martin Luther King (Inspired by Gandhi) and “We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality” by Martin Luther King because I identify with them and they relate to life’s realities. “If we don’t learn from history, we will repeat it,” my incredible mother always said. What happens in one country, impacts other countries. We are bound by mutual destiny. I can make a difference by becoming involved in the destiny of the world. You work locally, but think globally.

~Influential Book~

Two books have made a major difference to my life:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes both by Maya Angelou (The Collected Autobiographies of Maya Angelou (Modern Library)). In I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the central message for my situation is, that if women are caged in by poverty and all the terrible social evils in their community, do they shrivel up and die because of these given circumstances? Or, do they use their hospitality and their humanity and their skills to welcome, to reach out and to be heard outside? And in so doing create their own destiny and a better life. Poor Mr. Nelson Mandela – he is still seeing so much of a “bitter life” instead of the “better life” he dreamed about for our country. It is a great feeling to know that this incredible patriarch needs me to bring that dream to fruition, just as my children and I needed him to fight for the end of Apartheid. Do you see the mutuality? We need to bring people into South Africa to share our rich culture. A woman can make a difference even if she finds herself caged in her poor community. She has herself. No one can take that from her – only herself.

In the case of All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, only when people travel to South Africa and see how they can reach out via their travels, can we make a difference. We need to take the Kamammas, and help them to don their travelling shoes, so that they can tell their stories and “put an end to aid without end”.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Liked this post? Share it and subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

Kindle

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The Joy of Learning – Discovering What You Don’t Know http://theinvisiblementor.com/the-joy-of-learning-discovering-dont-know/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/the-joy-of-learning-discovering-dont-know/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:46:15 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16511 The Joy of Learning – Discovering What You Don’t Know Have you ever experienced the joy of learning – discovering what you don’t know? I have! Pursuing my informal liberal arts education has given me that precious gift. These days, I find myself pulling away from popular blogs – A-List bloggers whose writing I once […]

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The Joy of Learning – Discovering What You Don’t Know

Have you ever experienced the joy of learning – discovering what you don’t know? I have! Pursuing my informal liberal arts education has given me that precious gift. These days, I find myself pulling away from popular blogs – A-List bloggers whose writing I once enjoyed – because of their sameness. Many people are saying the same things, and each of us can fall into that trap. With so much content, how can you rise to the top? Similarly, in the context of work, how can you differentiate yourself from your peers? I think the answer partially lies in learning new things, but the story doesn’t end there, because information is not power. You have to transform and apply the new learning so that it is valuable to your clients. And that’s easier to say than to do, but do not let that stop you.

The Joy of Learning

The Joy of Learning

Imagine your ideal job, what would you be doing, and what skills would you be using? Do you possess those skills, or do you have to get additional training? I think, to experience the joy of learning and discovering more of what you don’t know, can make you more marketable. But what you learn, and applying the new-found knowledge, will transform your life, only if it addresses the needs of your clients. How can you figure out what people need and then give it to them? When you figure that out, please let me know. We are living in a state of flux, where things are changing constantly, so what works today may no longer work tomorrow. Although we may not know exactly what people want, there are always some clues that will give us insights, but we have to be aware of our environment, and we have to practice active listening. What are clients saying to you? What kind of chatter is taking place on the internet? What are the futurists saying?

Now, having said that, for me, I have to manage the personal with the professional. That means, when it comes to learning, I have to balance the courses that I am taking, therefore I have to take some courses for fun and others for professional development. For you, only you can decide which mix is best for you, but there is truth to the adage, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” I think that the joy of learning comes from the discoveries that occur along the way.

I am really enjoying my informal liberal arts education. I initially had some missteps when I first started, when I chose only courses that I was personally interested in. Thankfully, at some point, I had the foresight to include courses that would make me more valuable to myself and to my clients. I have learned the importance of working in and on my business simultaneously, so I am allotting time for each. If you are working for an organization, are you making sure that you are both working in and on your career? Investing so much time and energy into taking courses that I am not receiving credit for must have other payoffs to make it worthwhile, and as I have written about before, I have five outcomes to achieve at the end of my informal liberal arts education.

Going through the process of taking an informal liberal arts education is shaping my thinking. But what I have also noticed, is that while I am taking courses to fill a skills gap, I am learning critical information, and I am constantly reminded that I don’t know what I don’t know. I am itching to start writing my book about my journey toward a liberal arts education, but I am holding myself back for two weeks because adequate preparation can go a long way. I have to read through all my notes and do the deep thinking that I am capable of to generate meaning insights.

Learning can be a lot of fun if you approach it with the correct mindset and have a good instructor that delivers information that can change your life. For example, I found a course called Critical Reading and Writing, and for the work I do, I asked myself, how can you go wrong with a course like that? It turns out that the course is actually a grammar course, and the instructor, Carole Greene, uses art history to teach it. She is also an artist, so she brings the course to life by showing Johannes Vermeer’s painting. I found the course fascinating, invested 20 hours of my time, and believe that my life has been enriched as a result of taking the course. Greene uses two textbooks in the course, which include sections from Girl With a Pearl Earring: A Novel by Tracy Chevalier and Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland. Both of the books are about the artist Johannes Vermeer.

Not much is known about Johannes Vermeer, but based on research, the authors try to recreate his life. At the end of the course – a really good grammar course – I got a good taste of the two novels, and I intrigued enough that I want to read both books. Although Carol Greene is teaching grammar, she brings a dry topic to life and engages her students in the process. By taking this class, I realized that any topic can be interesting if the teacher is creative in her delivery.

I am always harping about reading and taking courses because I believe continuous learning is so vital today. And with so much free courses online, I am sure anyone can find a subject matter delivered in a format that’s right for him/her. When you take courses to fill a skills gap, you will realize, like I did, that you don’t know what you don’t know, and that is the joy of learning.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Liked this post? Share it and subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

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Identifying the right Mentor by Rodger Harding http://theinvisiblementor.com/identifying-the-right-mentor-rodger-harding/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/identifying-the-right-mentor-rodger-harding/#respond Tue, 08 Jul 2014 17:25:25 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16505 Identifying the right Mentor The volume of comment and messages received in recent weeks, clearly shows that my 4-part mentorship series in collaboration with the Invisible Mentor has not covered all bases (Mentorship Program Relevance Today: Against a backdrop of  shifting mentee requirement)! The missing gap, distilled from diverse questions, would be dealing with the ability of the mentee […]

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Identifying the right Mentor

The volume of comment and messages received in recent weeks, clearly shows that my 4-part mentorship series in collaboration with the Invisible Mentor has not covered all bases (Mentorship Program Relevance Today: Against a backdrop of  shifting mentee requirement)! The missing gap, distilled from diverse questions, would be dealing with the ability of the mentee to identify the right mentor!

“How do I know what type of mentor to look for?”

“What can I do to ensure I have the right mentor?”

As a firm believer that identifying and responding to specific behavior is less complicated and more reliable than permanently labeling people and categorizing situations, it is dangerous to assume or infer that individuals will always behave in a certain way… just because they did so in the past.

In this spirit, I continue to successfully rely on four basic character states that I believe underpin all human behavior/interaction in infinitely variable combinations, at any point in time:

REAP Mentoring Framework - Developed by Rodger Harding

REAP Mentoring Framework – Developed by Rodger Harding

Bearing in mind that Mentorship is the process of Identifying, Understanding, Engaging and Empowering others, an appropriate mentor will respond to mentee behavior at any point in their relationship.

Rational behavior is a pre-requisite; Balanced and effective interaction follows when a person is Rationally Active, Rationally Emotional & Rationally Passive…. In other words, someone who will choose what behavior is required at any given moment – When to be Active… when to be Emotional… when to be Passive!

Oftentimes people require a mentor when under emotional strain. Perhaps underutilization of ability, lack of acknowledgment, or organizational change has perhaps taken their toll on mentee confidence/self-esteem. Such a mentee would require a Rationally Active, take charge type of mentor, with sufficient empathy to subjectively acknowledge mentee circumstance.

Inversely an angry, frustrated individual would likely prefer a quieter Rationally Passive Mentor with the capacity to absorb rants, tirades etc. obviously within defined limits.

A more passive, reticent individual will definitely require a Pro-Active Mentor, with preparedness to ask, suggest, poke and prod when required…. With sufficient empathy to know when to back off…!

For me, most mentees today are mired in rationality… Complying with what others expect them to say and do. Political correctness seems to serve a more wall-paper type function than a code of behavior that accommodates diversity. It follows then that an ideal Mentor will be someone who encourages the innate Active, Emotional & Passive side in the mentee to become apparent obviously within Rational limitations.

The combinations are endless and evolving!

Suffice to say, an effective mentor will enable the mentee to subjectively be themselves within objectivecircumstance!

About Rodger Harding

Rodger is a dynamic, free thinking, Business Leadership Consultant. His fierce belief in who/what people are, rather than who/what they are expected to be, has resulted in a consistent demand for his career transition and mentorship expertise from a diverse client base.

His thriving Toronto based practice draws on an extensive business, legal, diplomatic and military experience accumulated internationally over two decades. His  fields of expertise are Leadership, Career Transition, Corporate Intelligence Awareness and Conflict Management/Mediation.

Rodger is proud of his ability to access individual contribution within the larger framework of business objectives. His ability to interact effectively with people from all walks of life derives from an interesting career evolution that has ranged from the sophisticated diplomatic lifestyle of Paris, France, to the survival of death threats from mercenaries in the Indian Ocean, as well as the management of multi-million dollar aid projects.

At all times, he highlights the unique role of the individual to contribute to the ongoing evolution of good business.

To find out more about his successful Toronto based consultancy, visit www.HardingIntl.com

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The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg – Book Review http://theinvisiblementor.com/the-little-old-lady-who-broke-all-the-rules-catharina-ingelman-sundberg-book-review/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/the-little-old-lady-who-broke-all-the-rules-catharina-ingelman-sundberg-book-review/#respond Mon, 07 Jul 2014 18:49:25 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16496 The reading challenge continues with The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, please read Let the Challenge Begin – Book Recommendations for Summer 2014. If you are looking for a book to make you laugh, then The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg delivers. Set in Sweden, […]

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The reading challenge continues with The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, please read Let the Challenge Begin – Book Recommendations for Summer 2014.

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules

If you are looking for a book to make you laugh, then The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg delivers. Set in Sweden, the book is a social commentary on retirement homes and the way that society treats the elderly. The five main characters – Martha, Rake, Brains, Christina, and Anna Greta – are dissatisfied with the way they are treated at Diamond House, a retirement home, so they decide to do something about it. At the beginning of the story, the five seniors use walkers, which I think is quite odd. Although their ages range from mid-seventies to eighty, I do not consider that to be old because I have many friends who are in their 80s who do not need any assistance when walking. In fact, many of them have more energy than I do, even though I am decades younger. Very soon after in the story, I discover that they need walkers because of elder abuse – they are not allowed to exercise so their muscles atrophy.

In The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules, Martha Andersson is the little old lady, and she is the leader of the gang of five in Diamond House. They have been friends for a long time, and made a pledge that they would stay in the same retirement home when they reached that stage in life. They chose Lily of the Valley Retirement Home, and were treated well until there were new owners. New owner, Director Ingmar Mattson personifies corporate greed, and his sole focus is the bottom-line. He is having an affair with Nurse Barbara, who realizes that some of the measures her lover is implementing is unethical, however, because she is interested in status, and securing her future, she looks the other way and helps to abuse the people who reside at Diamond House.

For instance, Nurse Barbara gives the residents pills that suppress their appetites so they will eat less, reducing the cost of food. The residents are also given pills that make them lethargic, so they are sleeping more and need less care, which allows the owner to reduce staff. The retirement home administrators close the kitchen and the gym to cut costs. It reaches the point, where residents receive one full meal a day, and for the other meals, they are given sandwiches, and they are allowed only three cups of coffee each day.

The interesting thing is that there are a gym and kitchen for the staff, and the wonderful aroma of the food they are cooking wafts through the air tantalizing the taste buds of the deprived retirement home residents. Martha has access to a master key, so one evening the five decide to investigate to figure out where the aromas are coming from. They find a fully-equipped kitchen with a refrigerator and freezer packed with wonderful foods waiting to be prepared. Martha, Rake, Brains, Christina, and Anna Greta are angry by what they see because they realize that the residents are the ones who are bearing the brunt of all the cost cutting while they are paying more to stay at Diamond House. Brains, who is an excellent cook, prepares a meal for them that is worth talking about. After eating, they fall asleep because of the effects of pills they are taking, so they are discovered.

Martha realizes that some of the pills they are taking are not for their health, so she stops taking them and tell the other four to stop taking them as well. They are less sleepy, and fortunately for them, they find the gym that the staff use to work out, and once again they use the master key, to gain access to the equipment. They soon realize that the walkers are not necessary as their muscles strengthen. One day Martha notices a documentary on TV about inmates in Swedish prisons and decides to record it. While watching the show, she discovers how much better prisoners are treated than people in retirement homes. The wheels in her head start to turn, and she concludes that they have to commit a crime, serious enough, so they are sent to prison.

There is a bond between Martha and Brains, so she always runs her ideas by him. She invites him to watch the video recording, and she tells him about the plan. When she has him on her side, they tell the others about the plan. In the meantime, administrators realize that someone has a master key and decide to change the locks. The five just have enough time to leave through a back door and they move into the Grand Hotel, a very luxurious hotel in Sweden. Their intent is to stay there without paying, and while there commit a crime significant enough to land them in jail.

First, they hatch up a plan to steal whatever is in one of the hotel safes, but much to their chagrin, their loot is slim pickings. The next plan is to “kidnap” two paintings from the National Museum, which they will release after they have received the ransom. Using the skills they had developed while working, the League of Pensioners – that’s the name they have given themselves – they are able to steal Renoir’s Conversation: An Impression from Paris and Monet’s From the Mouth of the Scheldt. Christina paints watercolor scenes partially over the paintings and hang them on the wall – the paintings hidden in plain sight. They send a ransom letter to the National Museum with directions for where to leave the 10 million Krona. After such careful planning, one of the trolley with the money has disappeared before they get to it, but they are still satisfied with only 5 million Krona. However, when they return to the hotel room the paintings are no longer on the wall.

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules

The Conversation by Auguste Renoir – Image Credit: National Museum

The police are unable to solve the crime, and without intending to, the League of Pensioners has committed the perfect crime. They turn themselves in, but their story is so ridiculous, that the police does not believe them. Despite that, they are remanded into custody and are eventually sent to prison. Prison is not what they expected and they did not realize that men and women do not stay in the same prison. Eventually they are released because of lack of evidence. They in turn receive a ransom for the stolen paintings, which they pay, then they return the paintings to the National Museum without being seen. They decide to continue their life of crime to accumulate financial resources to go into a Robbery Fund, which they will use to better conditions for the residents in retirement homes. The League of Pensioners sees themselves as Robin Hood, who stole from the rich to give to the poor.

The story ends with the League of Pensioners stealing from a bank and getting away with it. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg is a satire, and although you are constantly laughing, you are very much aware of elder abuse in many modern day societies, not just in Sweden. This book is worth the read because it is very funny, and I have also left out a large part of the story.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Liked this post? Share it and subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! If you’re new to the blog, visit the Start Here page for my pillar posts.

Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why she founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour to give you your ideal mentors virtually in the palm of your hands by offering book reviews and book summaries, biographies of wise people and interviews of successful people. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Book links are affiliate links.

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