3 Things That May Improve and Prolong Your Life

At the recent International TED Conference in Vancouver, BC, three key ideas were presented that can give greater meaning to life and perhaps extend it as well.

  1. Face-to-Face Social Interaction Leads to a Longer Life

Psychologist Susan Pinker has discovered from research that improving human connections have the largest single effect on our well-being and our health.  She has written a book about it called The Village Effect.

  1. Knowing When to Turn Off Your Smartphone Enriches Your Life

Professor of marketing and psychology Adam Alter spoke at the Vancouver TED talk and described the benefits to regularly disconnecting – turning the smart phone off and even deleting all emails received when it is off. He has studied the effects screen time has on our lives. He found that the more people are glued to their phones and other devices the less happy they are.

  1. Chasing meaning, not happiness, is what really matters

In The Power of Meaning Emily Esfahani Smith describes how happiness comes from attaining a sense of meaning. Prioritizing people in your life who you truly love is the first important aspect of meaning. The second aspect is having purpose in life. Purpose is our way of adding value or contributing. We can find this purpose in our work and also in volunteer activities.

There is nothing truly new about these ideas. They have long been known but often forgotten or never discovered. You can hear these presentations by simply entering the author’s names in YouTube for TED talks. To dig more deeply into these ideas you can read the books. Click on the titles to order the books.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Reinvention by Brian Tracy

A Books2Wealth Book of the Month Review

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy (Nov 2014)

Title and Author:  Reinvention by Brian Tracy 

Synopsis of Content:

In Reinvention Tracy asks us to reevaluate ourselves, where we are and where we are going. His premise is that the world is changing rapidly and our ability to change and adapt to that changing world is key to success.

He invites us to examine who we are and what we want. He asks us to evaluate what we are worth in the marketplace. He follows this with a chapter on how to get a job which is actually a repeat of some of his previous work.

He wraps up with tips on how to get ahead, how to get the most out of yourself and some steps on how to reinvent yourself.

This book is very change-oriented. Much of what is written is covered in many of Tracy’s previous books so you will not find a lot of new material here. What makes this book different is the focus – it is focused on making changes in yourself to achieve what you want to achieve.

What I found useful about this book:

It is the future oriented and self-directed nature of the book that is most attractive and makes it motivational. If you need a kick in the pants to start making positive changes in your life and move from where you are to where you want to be this book provides some good insight and motivation.

What I did not like about this book:

I wish there was more new material in the book. Most of its content is repeated from past books by Tracy. There is nothing fundamentally new here and if you have read most of his other books you will find that disappointing. If you have not read his past work it will be fresh and inspiring.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

As with all his books Tracy writes well here. It is clear and well organized though the chapter on getting a job seems out of place.

Notes on Author:

Brian Tracy is a renowned personal improvement author and trainer. He is prolific having authored dozens of books and many audio and video programs.

Related Website:

http://www.briantracy.com

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. To reinvent yourself you must take a careful inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, determine where you want to go and what you want to achieve, and then take action to achieve it.
  1. A major characteristic of successful people is that they are very future oriented. They spend a lot more time thinking about the future than the past.
  1. How successful you are is determined mostly by how you think. Thinking positively and in a future oriented manner leads to greater success.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Reinvention by Brian Tracy

Copyright holder: 2009 Brian Tracy

Publisher: American Management Association

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Humility is a Choice

“HUMILITY IS A CHOICE. When you meet a humble person you know you will be accepted, respected and listened to. They won’t try to manipulate you, control you, criticize you or try to impress you. They are safe.

“When we haven’t conquered our pride putting on false humility might seem like the shortcut to the benefits of being a truly humble person. We’ve all met these kinds of people. False humility is nothing but arrogance.” (Leading Blog, April 28, 2017)

Genuine humility is important as a leadership attribute. Nothing alienates others more quickly than arrogance. But false humility is also alienating and can be viewed as a form or arrogance. Pat Williams, author and senior VP of the NBA’s Orlando Magic writes about false humility and genuine humility in his book, Humility: The Secret Ingredient of Success. He identifies four ways to avoid false humility:

  1. Reflect on the kind of person you are and be the person you want to be.
  2. Ask a few trusted friends to be brutally honest with you.
  3. Immediately and humbly admit your faults and failures.
  4. Be honestly humble and humbly honest.

We all have egos and it can be difficult at times to tame those egos and be genuinely humble. Yet it is a powerful quality that we can all benefit from cultivating.

Read the entire blog post here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Top Performance by Zig Ziglar

A Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Top Performance by Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar was the bestselling author of a number of great books on success and sales. He has been featured on numerous TV shows and was a gifted public speaker. He was both informative and inspirational.

In Top Performance, published in1986, Ziglar combines the things he had learned in decades of work in the business world to provide a blueprint for just what the title suggests – top performance. It is about getting the most out of yourself and others in your organization. It is about optimum performance.

The book is divided into three parts: The Art of Top Performance, The Science of Top Performance and Motivating Top Performance.

The entire book is largely based on Ziglar’s key axiom, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”. This approach began as his sales theory. Selling things to people is difficult at best. But helping people is much easier and they are much more receptive to being helped. In fact they will more often willingly pay for being helped.

The first part of the book concentrates on the focus of emotional thoughts to enable one to perform at one’s best. It is about your personal choice to be a top performer, causing others to want your leadership, expecting the best and thereby inspiring the best, looking for the good and finding it, etc.

The second part is about the importance of effective communications, how to build genuine morale and positive contributions, rewarding and motivating others, and other management gems.

The third section concentrates on Ziglar’s unique approach to motivating people through education and the key to action as the source of performance measurement.

For each section he develops a simple formula that is easy to remember and keys one in to the more detailed information set out in each chapter. At the end of the chapters he wraps up with a list of key principles which summarize what you should learn from the chapter.

This approach is easy to read, easy to understand and remember. It is a great study aid. For those of you who are wise enough to return to good books and study them further than the first read, this books I organized in a way that promotes that kind of study.

Top Performance is full of anecdotal examples to illustrate the basic principles he introduces you to. It is full of great quotes from many famous and not so famous sources. It is full of tools, like the Seven Step Goal Setting Formula on page 154. It is full of these gems that warrant a second and third review.

Anyone serious about building a library of truly good classic books on success and personal development should have a copy of Top Performance on their shelf. You can get them in paperback and used for a very modest price.

About the Author:

Zig Ziglar, 1926-2012, was an accomplished salesman, businessman, trainer, writer and public speaker.

Rating:

Over all this is a very good book and very useful. I recommend it.

©1986 by Zig Ziglar

Berkley Publishing Group (Penguin)

This review originally published in October 2014.

Buy the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

5 Great Books on Public Speaking You Cannot Miss

Guest Article by Dr. Tan Kwan Hong

Participants in my public speaking workshops have often asked me to recommend some great books that they can read to take their mastery of public speaking to the next level. Indeed, reading is a great way in which you can gain new ideas and novel perspectives on speech delivery.

Here are 5 books I highly recommend that you can read to improve your public speaking skills.

Book #1: Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun

A book that divulges the secrets behind what great speakers and communicators do, and how you can emulate the success of these speakers through highly practical tips.

Book #2: Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo

The ideas presented in this book are current and cutting-edge. If you want to learn how to sell yourself and your ideas on stage, this book is for you.

Book #3: Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History’s Greatest Speakers by James C. Humes

Great leaders like Churchill and Lincoln are not only remembered for their heroic leadership, but also for their mesmerizing and captivating speeches. If you want to learn how to deliver inspirational speeches that captures the hearts and souls of your audience, pick up this book right away!

Book #4: Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds

Garr Reynolds is going to change the way you deliver presentations using PowerPoint and Keynote. This book presents noteworthy ideas that transform the way you prepare, design and deliver your presentations.

Book #5: The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking by Dale Carnegie

A classic book of public speaking by the guru of communication, Dale Carnegie. This book discloses the fundamentals of how you can influence minds and win hearts through effective speaking. Another book not to be missed!

Conclusion

While I strongly believe that the best way to learn how to deliver exceptional speeches is to do the real thing itself (yes! keep getting stage time to practice your speeches and hone your craft), reading books for new ideas and novel perspectives can put you on a highway to success and accomplishments in this arena. So go forth and pick up a book right away!

About The Author

Kwan Hong helps professionals, business executives and youths gain rapid mastery in communication skills, personal peak performance and career growth. He has synthesized knowledge from 8 Degrees and Diplomas, from over 100 certifications and from 1000 books to bring his clients the best tips, tricks and techniques for personal success.

To date, 120,000 participants from over 100 organizations and events have benefited from his speaking engagements.

Reach out to him at http://www.TanKwanHong.com]http://www.TanKwanHong.com , or connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/tankwanhong]http://www.linkedin.com/in/tankwanhong .

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?5-Great-Books-on-Public-Speaking-You-Cannot-Miss&id=9479351] 5 Great Books on Public Speaking You Cannot Miss

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Rewire: Change Your Brain by Richard O’Connor, PhD

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author: Rewire: Change Your Brain by Richard O’Connor, PhD

Originally published: September 2014.

Synopsis of Content:

This book is an exploration of self-defeating behaviors and how to overcome them. These behaviors include procrastination, overeating, chronic disorganization, staying in bad situations, excessive worrying, risk taking, passive aggression and self-medication and many more.

The author draws on psychology and brain science to understand why we engage in self-defeating behaviors and how to overcome them through a better understanding of how our brains are “wired” and how we can “re-wire” them.  He calls our propensities to engage in these behaviors our “undertow”.

The author, a psychotherapist, describes the mind as divided between a conscious self and an automatic self. Many of our self-defeating behaviors are rooted deeply in the automatic self (subconscious). Habits are formed largely in this automatic self. Bad habits are in fact “wired” into your brain and this makes them difficult to overcome. To overcome bad habits we must learn to re-wire our brain.

Habit is reinforced by repeatedly doing them and in some instances by the pleasure principle – because some habits bring us pleasure. The brain actually rewires itself when we learn something new. “Neurons that fire together wire together” he says.

It is possible to rewire the brain by being aware of how it works and by forcing ourselves to behave differently and consistently for at least three months. In fact the re-wiring process begins immediately, as soon as we change behavior. But to attain a sufficient degree of re-wiring to truly change a habit seems to require at least three months of consistent behavior. Even then if the behavior is not continued the re-wiring can be lost.

Habits are therefore self-reinforcing. Each time we engage in a habit (good ones or bad ones) the more likely that habit will persist.

O’Connor offers hope for those who want to overcome deeply seated and long lasting bad habits. He provides exercises to help re-wire the brain.

What I found useful about this book:

This book provides an understanding on both a psychological level and a physiological level of how the brain works, how habits are formed, how they are reinforced and how they may be changed.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is well written a reasonably well organized. It is a bit dense as one might expect from the writing of an expert but the ordinary reader should not have difficulty with it.

Notes on Author:

Richard O’Connor, MSW, PhD is an author of four books and is executive director of the Northwest Center for Family Science and Mental Health in Litchfield County, Connecticut. He supervises the work of 20 mental health specialists. He is a practicing psychotherapist in Connecticut and New York.

Other Books by This Author:

Undoing Depression

Undoing Perpetual Stress

Happy at Last

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Understand that habits, both good and bad, are hardwired in our brains. The more we do them the more these physical connections are reinforced.
  1. It is possible to change this hard wiring – to rewire the brain through persistent conduct.
  1. Our beliefs and assumptions can heavily influence out thinking. It is wise to re-examine our beliefs and assumptions regularly to make sure they are not supporting bad habits.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Rewire: Change Your Brain by Richard O’Connor, PhD

Copyright holder: 2014 Richard O’Connor, PhD

Publisher: Hudson Street Press – Penguin Group

Buy the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Everything Can Be Improved II

“If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.” – James Clear. This sums up the power of continuous or incremental improvement. If you just make a small improvement every day it really adds up. Clear has written a number of articles on continuous improvement and most recently a post on his blog.

In November 2015 I wrote on this and gave credit to Clarence W. Barron for first using this phrase, Everything Can Be Improved.  At that time I did not know about Clear’s writing on the subject. Making big improvements is exciting and gets lots of attention. However, making big improvements takes lots of time and energy (and sometimes money) and cannot be sustained. Making small but continuous improvements however is much more achievable. It can be done every day at minimum cost.

Another advantage to continuous improvement is that it is less disruptive than big changes. Sometimes a big change is a great idea, sometimes it is essential. But on a daily basis incremental improvements are less costly and add up to significant improvement over time.

Clear suggests these tools to improve incrementally:

  1. Do more of what already works
  2. Avoid tiny losses
  3. Measure backwards

I would add another step to this. Keep track of your small improvements. I keep a list on my computer of the incremental improvement projects that I implement each day, each week and each month. If you do not keep track of them you can lose sight of them and fail to follow through.

Incremental improvements begin with full acceptance of the concept that in fact everything can be improved. Once you adopt that mindset you can find ways to improve everything you do, both personally and in an organization, day by day. Following Clear’s formula this can realize an overall improvement of 37.78% per year if you assume a 1% improvement each day. It adds up.

Adopt the mindset that everything can be improved and then resolve and plan to make tiny improvements each day.

Read all of Clear’s article here.

What can you improve on today?

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Compelling People – The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  Compelling People – The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut

Originally published: Book of the Month: #18 August 2014.

Synopsis of Content:

This book is a study of how we influence others and how effective we can be in doing so. The authors cite large numbers of psychological studies to support their conclusions and add in their own experiences with people they’ve worked with.

The authors divide all of our abilities to influence others into two categories: strength and warmth. Ideally we should balance both and use both in generous amounts.

They discuss the “hand we are dealt” – the actual attributes we have in warmth and strength as well as general perceptions about those qualities in people with our given traits: gender, ethnicity, age, etc.

Despite the hand we have been dealt the authors make the case for our ability to change what we know and do and to enhance our ability to influence others by strengthening our warmth and our strength and by maintaining an ideal balance.

They then apply these concepts to specific areas of human conduct: leadership, public speaking, politics, and more.

What I found useful about this book:

While this is not a scientific book there is a significant reliance on social science to bolster the authors’ conclusions. There is no discussion of the validity of the studies they cite but they are not making this stuff up as they go. The social science provides a depth of insight and some credibility.

The book is full of insights, some expected and some surprising. Anyone who wants to have any influence over others (and all but a hermit likely fall in that category) can learn a lot about what enhances influence and what does not.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

While not a scientific tract this is an academic work and can be a bit plodding. It is well written however and is an enjoyable read over all.

Notes on Authors:

John Neffinger graduated from Harvard and Columbia law school and practiced law. He served as Director of Communications for the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. As a consultant he has advised politicians and business leaders around the world.

Matthew Kohut is managing partner at KNP Communications. He has a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He advises and coaches leaders in business and government. He has been a speech writer.

Both Neffinger and Kohut write for the Huffington Post.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Both strength and warmth as perceived by an audience govern how influential a person will be. Both qualities are essential to gain a listener’s confidence and trust. Confidence and trust are essential to influence.
  1. Ideally one must master a balance with a high level of both warmth and strength to be the most influential. The most influential people have learned to blend these traits.
  1. Both warmth and strength must be genuine. People generally have a strong sense to detect phoniness and will not connect with a person or be influenced unless those qualities are perceived as genuine.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Compelling People – The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut

Copyright holder: John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut 2013

Publisher: Hudson Street Press, Penguin Group, New York

Buy the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Compassionate Accountability

In April the Leadership Now blog posted an article on a book by Nate Regier called Conflict Without Casualties. Regier believes that conflict consumes far too much of our time, energy and money and needs to be managed more effectively. His focus is on conflict throughout the world. He offers some intriguing ideas.

Regier’s argument is that we should practice what he calls “compassionate accountability” to resolve conflict in ways that cause the least damage at the least cost. This approach resists the “I gotta win” drama that characterizes most conflict. This drama focuses our energy on self-justification which is contrary to resolving conflict.

“To be compassionate is to struggle alongside with others; to struggle with instead of against. “Compassion is the result of people taking ownership of their feelings, thoughts and behaviors, and choosing to spend the energy of conflict pursuing effective solutions that preserve the dignity of all involved. Compassion is more than care and concern for others. It’s about the willingness to get in the trenches and struggle together as an equal with others.””

Regier says that his approach to conflict depends on three skills: Openness, Resourcefulness and Persistence. He then outlines how to use these skills to promote a compassionate and constructive resolution of conflict. He argues that a failure to use these skills sets up a self-defeating cycle that Steven Karpman has identified as the “drama triangle”.

“Regier writes: “Drama inevitably pushes us into corners, where we cling to distorted worldviews that compel us to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Compassion, on the other hand, keeps us moving, searching, nimble, effective, and capable of adapting to change.” It also keep us from being mired inside our own head and thus limiting our responses and our ability to reframe the conflict. We get stuck.”

What is missing from this discussion is the role that emotion plays in this cycle. If people could remain objective and act outside of their emotional limitations use of these skills would be easier. People in conflict are typically emotionally involved. Emotions including fear, jealousy, and anger among others interfere with our ability to be objective and to use the skills Regier suggests.

Emotion does not necessarily mean that we cannot benefit from using the skills that Regier teaches. If we can get beyond our emotional responses and use these skills we could be much more effective at resolving conflict. This does require a level of maturity and self-confidence that many people do not have however and conflict often is a result of that very problem.

Learning and applying these skills to positively resolve conflict can be very useful if we can get beyond the limitations that emotions and immaturity often impose on our responses. This is an intriguing idea and one we would all benefit from developing. People do not behave mechanically though and the emotional responses that affect our behavior in conflict remain an obstacle, especially in very high conflict situations.

Read the entire blog post from Leading Blog here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Book of the Month – July 2014

Title and Author:  Getting Things Done by David Allen

Subtitle: The Art of Stress-Free Living

Synopsis of Content:

This book is about how to organize everything you work with: every document, email, and every other item in your home or business office and how to manage these things along with your projects and tasks in the most effective manner.

The table of contents provides an excellent overview of the book:

  • The Art of Getting Things Done
  • Getting Control of Your Life – the 5 stages of mastering workflow
  • The 5 phases of project planning
  • Practicing Stress-Free Productivity
  • Setting up the time, space and tools
  • Corralling Your Stuff
  • Processing: getting “in” to empty
  • Organizing: setting up the right buckets
  • Reviewing: keeping your system functional
  • Doing: making the best action choices
  • Getting projects under control
  • The Power of Key Principles
  • The Power of the Collection Habit
  • The Power of the Next Action Decision
  • The Power of Outcome Focusing

Allen’s system is based on some basic principles:

  1. Anything that must be done in the future clutters your mind and distracts you unless you can get it out of your mind. He maintains that as long as it is on some list your mind will dwell on it. Put it on a list and you can forget it. So he recommends putting everything – and I mean everything – on a list to be scheduled or worked on later. This applies to your next medical exam, replacing the batteries in your flashlight and the next big project at work. This will empty your mind of the “to-do” list and free it to relax and do more important work.
  1. Maintain a minimum number of lists. Too many lists and they will be unmanageable, too few and they will also be unmanageable. He provides guidelines for how many is ideal.
  1. Lists must be reviewed regularly and at least weekly. If a list is not managed it gets out of control.
  1. As you go through things on your desk or in your email in-box follow this simple rule: If it can be done in two minutes or less, do it. If it will take more than two minutes file it and either schedule it, drop it or delegate it. The goal is to maintain a clean desk and empty in box.

The mechanism you use to keep your lists and manage them is not important. Whether it is paper or electronic he urges you to use the one you are most comfortable with.

What I found useful about this book:

Allen’s book is truly one of the best time management books I’ve read. It is full of great ideas and his systems work – I know as I’ve used them. If you set up the system he advises and manage it regularly you do get control over your tasks and time. The trick is to follow the steps and manage the system regularly.

What I did not like about this book:

Allen short sells the discipline it takes to follow the collection habit he describes. This takes some real effort. The payoff is worth the effort. However Allen soft sells the effort required to some extent.

Also Allen fails to address a real problem some people have: some people simply have too much to do. No matter how it is organized it is simply more than one can get to. A chapter on how to deal with this problem would be helpful.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

Getting Things Done is very readable and easy to follow. It is well organized and provides clear steps to follow.

Notes on Author:

David Allen is an author, consultant, coach and keynote speaker. He advises some of the world’s largest businesses.

Other Books by This Author:

Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress Free Productivity – 2002

Getting Things Done – C Pbp – 2008

Getting Things Done – B – 2012

Related Website:

http://gettingthingsdone.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. You must get organized to be productive and reduce stress. This means getting everything organized from your desk top to your computer. It means getting all your tasks on a list so your mind is not mired in keeping track.
  1. Practice a simple formula for organizing what needs to be done: if it takes 2 minutes or less do it; if it takes more than two minutes either schedule it, dump it, file it or delegate it.
  1. Lists must be actively managed at least weekly. Develop this discipline to keep on top of things and free your mind for creative thinking and work.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Getting Things Done by David Allen

Copyright holder: ©2001 David Allen

Publisher: Penguin Books

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com