The Invisible Mentor http://theinvisiblementor.com Your ideal mentor is virtually in the palm of your hands Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:12:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Samy Chong – Employees, Your Most Valuable Asset, Summer Series Interviews http://theinvisiblementor.com/samy-chong-employees-valuable-asset-summer-series-interviews/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/samy-chong-employees-valuable-asset-summer-series-interviews/#respond Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:12:20 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16598 Samy Chong – Employees, Your Most Valuable Asset, 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 Samy Chong, who treated […]

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Samy Chong – Employees, Your Most Valuable Asset, Summer Series Interviews

Samy Chong

Samy Chong – Employees, Your Most Valuable Asset, 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 Samy Chong, who treated his employees well.

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
Building Relationships – Andrea Nierenberg, 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~

In 1991 when the economy went into a tailspin and the interest rates went into double digits, I owned a restaurant and I remember feeling a sense of hopelessness, a sense of not knowing where the future of the business was going.

~Resolution~

I overcame this feeling of hopelessness by realizing that all the time that I had been investing in creating a place that was really nurturing for my team paid off in spades. I remember a dishwasher who was making $7 or $8 an hour came up to me and told me that if I didn’t have the money to pay him for the next couple of months, it would be okay. The faith and trust of my staff, which I had cared for in the past, pulled me through this very difficult time and ensured the protection of the restaurant.

We treated our staff special. When the head chef was getting married, we proposed to close the restaurant to accommodate those workers who wanted to attend the wedding. This was unheard of to close a restaurant on a Saturday night, the busiest night in the industry. When a worker needed a shift covered and couldn’t find a replacement, I would step in and cover the shift. Or if a worker was facing a very traumatic time, whether it was a father in a hospital or if a parent died, we would drive them to wherever they needed to be.

Because of my nurturing and caring, the turnover in my restaurant was less than six percent in an industry that averages over 250 percent.

~Lessons Learned~

  1. If you nurture and care for your staff, it will pay off in spades.
  2. I realized that there are no accidents in life, everything about where we are, what we accomplish, who we attract, is all because of who we are, and this is what I call the consciousness journey.
  3. It’s truly about how we continue to evolve, to grow, to learn, to make sure that what we do is in alignment with our purpose on this earth, and hopefully that purpose is in alignment with our passion. And if you have the purpose and passion, you basically have a vocation that truly serves humanity.

~How to Integrate Your Personal and Professional Life~

When you love what you do, and do what you love, it becomes seamless. If I am thinking about an idea, it’s about work. My work and personal life are pretty much seamless and not separated. There are times when I do not see clients. I have “Samy Days” where I do not service any clients. I make sure that I take care of myself, whether it be a spa day, massages or going away for the weekend or for holidays. I make sure that I schedule these things so that I have balance because I love what I do so much.

~Formula for Success~

For me, looking back at my life, and how I succeeded in different careers and moved forward, the formula for success has two components. The first is having a vision of where I want to go in life. For example, when I was 14 years old and washing dishes, I had a dream of owning a restaurant and never thought that at the age of 25 I would have that dream. And, when I sold that restaurant and bought a very expensive investment property, I had another dream to own a more formal and upscale restaurant. In less than two and a half years, that dream came true.

The second component of the formula for success is when you have your vision, you have to have absolute faith and trust that the universe will deliver. Know that everything happens for a reason. Once you signal to the universe where you are going, you just need to let go and allow things to unfold. And the journey that I’ve been on is exactly that, leaving a career where I was doing quite well and moving into another where I had no idea how I was going to do, but knowing that I would be serving the world and serving the greater need of the universe.

So, the formula for success is about having a vision, having a dream, having a hope that never flickers out of what you want to achieve. Stephen Covey says this by stating that you should start with the end in mind. I believe that if you have a compelling vision of where you are, where you are going and what that entails, you have won half the battle of what you want to get out of this life and you are on the road to success.

If I were to describe the formula for success as a diagram, I would use three overlapping circles. The first circle would represent what the world needs. Circle two would represent your greatest gifts, passion and purpose, and circle three would represent where the money is. Where the circles overlap in the middle is truly what you came here on earth to do – honouring your purpose, honouring what the world needs and following where the money or energy is. Joseph Campbell says it very well, “Follow your bliss,” and there is no doubt in my mind that you will achieve the kind of success that is unheard of.

~Major Regret~ 

My religion is to live and die without any regret. I have zero regret. I live my life the way I imagine it would be if I knew it was my last day. This is how I live and continue to live the life that I love.

Would there be things that I would do differently if I had to do it over? Because there are no accidents, and everything happens for a reason – what I’ve attracted, what I need to learn- I look back at my life and at everything that happened, there was always a reason behind it. I do not live a regretful life, I just know that whatever happens was meant to happen. It is for my higher good, it is for me to move forward to the next chapter of my life.

~Favourite Quote~

I have two favourite quotes that are interrelated. Popularly attributed to Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, I like “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting to get a different result” and “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” by Albert Einstein because inside each of us we have the ability to create whatever thought or whatever life we want to create. If we can think it, we can manifest it. With challenges, are we willing to learn, to grow, to stretch to get to where we want to go?

~Influential Book~

My bible at this chapter of my life is Power vs. Force by Dr. David Hawkins. I like this book because it maps out the skill of consciousness journey of where each of us are, and directs us to what the next step will lead us to. The book calibrates how we continue to live and grow as a human being. It’s the most powerful book that I have ever come across in my life.

The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure by James Redfield also impacted me because it started me on this journey and allowed me to really open my eyes to what this journey on earth is really about.

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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5 More Lessons from my Informal Liberal Arts Education http://theinvisiblementor.com/5-lessons-liberal-arts-education/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/5-lessons-liberal-arts-education/#respond Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:07:00 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16594 5 More Lessons from my Liberal Arts Education In 7 Lessons from my Informal Liberal Arts Education, I extracted some key lessons as I read through my course notes. For me to penetrate the information, I have to take the time to reflect on what I am reading. As I continue to interact with course […]

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5 More Lessons from my Liberal Arts Education

Lessons from my liberal arts education

5 More Lessons from my Liberal Arts Education

In 7 Lessons from my Informal Liberal Arts Education, I extracted some key lessons as I read through my course notes. For me to penetrate the information, I have to take the time to reflect on what I am reading. As I continue to interact with course notes, I found some other important lessons from my liberal arts education that I would like to share with you.

Game-changing technologies change the way ideas spread. Today, people talk about social media making ideas going viral, bringing us information on important events in real time. During the Renaissance, the invention and adoption of the printing press caused wider availability of books. In 1517, when Martin Luther challenged the Pope, his Protestant Reformation ideas outlined in his book, 95 Theses (Review of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses by Martin Luther), went viral because of the printing press. His new ideas nearly tore apart the Catholic Church, and was a wake-up call for the Institution. What new technologies are on the horizon that will allow you to spread your ideas?

Reading gives you power. Because of the printing press and wider availability of books, literacy rates soared in Europe, and people were able to read materials for themselves. Prior to that time, mostly priests, abbots, monks and other religious leaders were able to read and write. Additionally, in the Early Modern Era, thinkers such as Voltaire (Candide by Voltaire, a Book Review), Denis Diderot and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (My Review of The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau) encouraged people to think for themselves instead of relying on institutions such as the church. Reading can give your mind an intellectual workout, making you think critically. You also make better decisions and can problem solve more effectively – that’s how reading gives you power.

Joy is the experience of the journey: I learned this lesson while reflecting on my informal liberal arts education. In life, we set goals, and in our quest to achieve the goals, we are so focused on the destination that we do not take the time to enjoy the journey getting there. The joy is in the experience of the journey because it is a process of self-discovery. I am really enjoying my journey toward my informal liberal arts education because I am taking the journey for myself.

The joy of learning is discovering what you don’t know. Most of us have heard the saying that you don’t know what you don’t know. How can you discover what you don’t know? I think the best way to do that is to learn continuously. While working on my liberal arts courses, I was constantly reminded of how little I really know, and I found that the joy of learning is discovering what I don’t know (The Joy of Learning – Discovering What You Don’t Know).

Getting to know yourself in a real way: Intentionally learning the way I am doing, you are taking a journey into the minds of authors and instructors. You are being taken into another place to understand the perspectives of the “others”. This forces you to see the real you, and it may be an uncomfortable place to be. I can see and feel myself changing, and I wonder if I will like the person who I am changing into. During this time of transformation, as I learn new things, and am exposed to new ideas, it occurs to me that if I want to succeed, I have to make my work more accessible to others. This is a big lesson I have learned from pursuing an informal liberal arts education.

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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How to Evaluate Website Content http://theinvisiblementor.com/evaluate-website-content/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/evaluate-website-content/#respond Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:13:29 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16588 How to Evaluate Website Content It now takes only two days to generate the amount of data that was generated in the entire year in 2003, which means that a lot of content is generated every day. Additionally, websites are popping up every second, and not all of this new content being generated is created […]

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How to Evaluate Website Content

evaluate website content

How to evaluate website content

It now takes only two days to generate the amount of data that was generated in the entire year in 2003, which means that a lot of content is generated every day. Additionally, websites are popping up every second, and not all of this new content being generated is created equally. When conducting research, the best places to begin, are reputable sources such as the government, universities and commercial databases. For these three sources, the content is usually vetted before it is released to the public. But when the typical person needs information, the first thought that often comes to mind is to type in keywords in Google. And that is not a bad thing since the internet has evolved over the past decade and a half, so more organizations are making quality content available to the masses.

RelatedHow to Analyze Information

But how can you distinguish between quality information, and the not so good information when websites are cropping up everywhere, and anything can be posted without documentation and verification? There is a straightforward way to evaluate website content, which will allow you to decide whether to use the information from any website.

5 Ways to Evaluate Website Content

  1. Accuracy
  2. Authority
  3. Objectivity
  4. Currency
  5. Coverage

Accuracy:

  • Is the information reliable?
  • Are there other websites with similar information?
  • Is there a footnote of sources?
  • Are there sources cited in the article?
  • Are the sources cited from reputable people and organizations?
  • Is the information verifiable?

Authority:

  • Is the author identified on the website?
  • What are the person’s credentials?
  • Is the person providing the information an expert?
  • How deeply has he or she studied the topic?
  • Has he or she worked in the field related to the topic?
  • What is the goal of the author in writing the article? This can help you to determine bias.
  • Who sponsors the site?
  • Is this the best source for the information? 

Objectivity:

  • Is the information biased?
  • If applicable, are both sides of the argument addressed?
  • Can you easily distinguish fact from opinion in the article? 

Currency:

  • Note the date on the information.
  • Is the information current enough to be credible?
  • What date was the information first published?
  • When was the last time it last updated?
  • Do not use any information that predates major changes in the field. 

Coverage:

  • What subjects are included in the information?
  • How broad is the coverage of the topic?
  • Is the information general or specialized?
  • Is the topic explored in-depth?
  • Can you easily identify the main idea?

In addition to the information above, as a rule of thumb, never use information from only one source, and develop the habit of mixing things up. Try to get your information from government sources, universities, and well-known periodicals. And whenever possible, try to have an email or phone conversation with experts in the area that you are interested in to gather primary research information from them. With the rise of social media and other online technologies, it is very easy to connect with anyone. Another point worth mentioning is that if you are looking for quality information that you will be basing decisions on, try accessing commercial databases through the portal for your public library. The advantage of using commercial online databases is that librarians and publishers have already vetted the information for 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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Learning How to Learn http://theinvisiblementor.com/learning-how-to-learn/ http://theinvisiblementor.com/learning-how-to-learn/#respond Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:30:17 +0000 http://theinvisiblementor.com/?p=16580 Learning How to Learn Planning to pursue an informal liberal arts education wasn’t easy and straightforward, not like a degree program. When you are working on a degree or a diploma, there are core courses and electives that you have to take, but when your study is more self-directed, the possibilities are endless, which makes the […]

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Learning How to Learn

Learning How to Learn

Learning How to Learn

Planning to pursue an informal liberal arts education wasn’t easy and straightforward, not like a degree program. When you are working on a degree or a diploma, there are core courses and electives that you have to take, but when your study is more self-directed, the possibilities are endless, which makes the process for deciding what courses to take more difficult. I decided to go the informal route because I already have two business degrees, and I didn’t think that I needed to take on the expense of taking formal courses when there are so many excellent free courses if you know where to look. I completed my Master’s degree in 1999, so I felt like I had to learn how to learn again. Learning how to learn is about personal and professional development and change.

Learning how to learn may sound very odd at first because the expectation is that if you want to learn a topic, you get started and get on with it. But it isn’t that easy, as I can attest to since I have spent nearly a year working on an informal liberal arts education. To learn effectively, many things come into play. You have to know if you are a visual, auditory or tactile learner, and no one is completely one – you are a combination of all but strongest in one. And what I figured out for myself is that you also want to know what your attention span is.

Related: Learning to Learn

At the start of my informal education, I searched for a course on learning to learn, and I found one offered by the Open University.  When I reviewed the course, it wasn’t what I considered to be a true course. It’s not audio or video, but content on a website. I printed the information and placed it in the expensive binder that I purchased to house my notes for my informal liberal arts education. I scanned the information, but that was all I did. Now that I am reviewing notes and course materials in preparation to write my book, I took the time to read through all the material on Learning How to Learn.

4 Phases of Learning How to Learn

  1. Prepare: Think ahead and plan how to tackle studying.
    1. Analyze tasks
      1. Work through the text
      2. Work through reading materials.
      3. Look at all the requirements of the course.
    2. Make a plan
      1. Making a plan for learning a topic allows you to focus, gives direction and purpose, and forces you to pay attention to your learning style. A plan could be as simple as a chart with deadlines
  2. Explore: By this stage, you are working through the course and preparing for assignments. Perhaps you have completed most of your studying for a section of the course.
    1. Study materials
      1. Work on course material.
      2. Access other materials to help with learning the topic.
    2. Monitor progress
      1. Know when help is needed and where to get it.
      2. Review your progress.
  3. Implement: Complete the assignment.
    1. Monitor performance
      1. Check work while working on tasks.
      2. Check and recheck guidelines and criteria.
    2. Make self-assessment
      1. Self-assess work.
      2. Identify gaps between what’s required for the assignment and what you produced.
  4. Review: Marked assignment provides feedback.
    1. Learn from feedback
      1. Revisit returned assignment.
      2. Act on feedback – feedback is critical for success.
    2. Review the entire process of learning how to learn
      1. Review the entire learning process.

If you are a lifelong learner, and are going the informal education route, you immediately see that there is a problem with the Learning How to Learn Model. Today, because of advances in technology and disruption in education, a lot of education is now open. This means that you have a lot of choice when it comes to which courses to take to keep your skills sharp. For most of the courses, there is no one to mark an assignment and return it to you with feedback. And for other courses, there is peer feedback. As someone who is close to completing one year of an informal liberal arts education, I recognize that self-assessment is a skill for lifelong learning and is critical for success. How do you evaluate the quality of your learning, and how it is progressing when there is no professor to determine whether you pass or fail? You have sole responsibility for your learning.

Since I have spent nearly a year working independently on an informal education, I have ideas on how to adapt the model for people who are self-directed learners.

Updated Learning How to Learn

  1. Prepare: Think ahead and plan how to tackle studying. What is your rationale for taking the course(s)? What is the purpose of engaging in this activity? What is the desired outcome?
    1. Analyze tasks
      1. Scan the text
      2. Scan the reading materials.
      3. Look at all the requirements of the course.
    2. Make a plan
      1. Making a plan for learning a topic allows you to focus, gives direction and purpose, and forces you to pay attention to your learning style.
        1. Establish criteria for success – how will you know that you have mastered the information in the course?
        2. Determine the length and frequency of study sessions.
        3. You are taking the course for a reason, have a list of questions that you want answered.
        4. Create a plan that could be as simple as a chart of course activities with deadlines.
  2. Explore: By this stage, you are working through the course and preparing for assignments. Perhaps you have completed most of your studying for a section of the course.
    1. Study materials
      1. Work on course material. As you work your way through the course, ask yourself the list of questions. Monitor your thoughts and actions.
      2. Take detailed notes.
      3. What are you learning?
      4. Access other materials to help with learning the topic.
    2. Monitor progress
      1. Know when help is needed and where to get it.
      2. Review your progress. What have you learned?
      3. Test your knowledge by discussing what you are learning with others.
      4. Use the information in the way that you intended to use it to see if you are getting desired results.
  3. Implement: Teach your newfound knowledge to another person – apply the new learning.
    1. Monitor performance
      1. Check work while working on tasks.
      2. Check and recheck guidelines and criteria.
    2. Make self-assessment
      1. Self-assess work.
      2. Identify gaps between what’s required for the course and what you actually learned. When you taught your newfound knowledge to others, what important course concepts did you miss based on what you studied?
      3. How are you studying and learning?
  4. Review: How effectively or ineffectively you apply your new learning provides feedback that you can act on.
    1. Learn from feedback
      1. Review your course notes and focus on the sections that you have not learned very well.
      2. Applying what you have learned is critical for success.
    2. Review the entire process of learning how to learn
      1. Review the entire learning process. How effective is it for you?

For me, the best way to ensure that I really learn important information is to start applying the knowledge, and I also discuss the course content with people whom I trust and like. So for instance, if you are learning a new language, find native speakers to speak the language with. And if you are taking a course to acquire a skill to enable to perform your role at work more effectively, start applying what you have learned before you complete the course. The next time you plan to take a course, or engage in any form of lifelong learning, review the phases of learning how to learn. If your learning is self-directed or independent, make sure that you self-assess your progress throughout the course.

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.

The original image came from Pixabay via Geralt.

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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/#comments 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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