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Lateral Thoughts on Life.

Become a Tribal Leader !

Jamaican politics is said to be  “a struggle for scarce benefits carried on between hostile tribes perpetually at war”. Tribes are not always political though. They can be religions and those they disagree with may even call them cults. Tribes can also be a powerful economic and social force.

“Since the dawn of civilization people have formed tribes, and research demonstrates that humans are genetically programmed to form into groups. Within every company there are tribes, often several, consisting of 20 to 150 people who know each other and work together. But while everyone tribes, the culture of each tribe is different, as is its effectiveness. Improving a tribe’s culture—and its chances for greater success—requires a tribal leader who not only understands the tribe but can leverage its collective assets to build a greater team.”

That quote is taken from a website promoting a book called “Tribal Leadership”.

Some believe buying such a book is a waste of time since they feel that a Tribal Leader cannot be trained or created but is a natural, a charismatic personality,someone great that spontaneously arises when the right conditions present themselves.

Obama used a “grass-roots” strategy,  with the simple “snowball effect”  idea of building ever-enlarging tribes, to reach the White House. His strategy was flawless but his Personal Charisma is also undeniable.

On a more intimate level Mystery, a world famous Pick-Up Artist (PUA), a master of seduction, actually encourages his students to become “Tribal Leaders” because he says all women are biologically hardwired to respond most strongly to these “Alpha Male” types.

Mystery believes that the Charisma comes from having the leadership position. This is contrary to the commonly held view that Leadership is attained by the one who exudes charisma.

Mystery says that, in the “Game of Seduction” at least, once you display qualities of Leadership, once you display “Social Proof”, you automatically become attractive.

This might also help explain people, such as Hitler, who possessed incredible public speaking Charisma yet were awkward in a personal setting. With a carefully crafted stage presence, with many symbols of  Power, they can create a type of Charisma.

Obama said, at the largest gathering of Native American Tribal Leaders, last year, “Treaties were violated,Promises were broken. You were told your lands, your religion, your cultures, your languages were not yours to keep.”

Civilization has not always been kind to Tribes. Ask Chief Seattle. Ask Africa.

Given the past, Obama said he wouldn’t have been surprised if the leaders hadn’t come, saying it showed “an extraordinary leap of faith.”  Sitting at a table on stage in the Interior auditorium last year, Obama signed a memorandum directing all federal agencies to develop within 90 days a plan to improve tribal consultation. “These are challenges we can only face by working together,” he said.

Obama is clearly not just Charismatic but also an extraordinary leader in his strategic ability to create consensus, be authentic, visionary and inclusive.

Daniel Quinn believes the future will once again belong to tribes. In his books he argues that Modern Civilization is not working and to survive it must revert to what works…Tribes.

You may not have Obama’s leadership abilities but you can still shape the future by deciding which tribes you belong to.

According to marketing guru Seth Godin, modern technology has made it even easier for us to form into tribes and these tribes can now easily become Global, because of the Internet.

Seth Godin outlines the following principles for aspiring Tribal Leaders;

Firstly, Create a change, a meaningful Tribe will in some way challenge the status quo. It will seek to improve conditions.

Secondly, Tribes develop their unique culture: “A secret language, a 7-second handshake, a way of knowing whether you are in or you are out.”

Thirdly, tribes have curiosity: “about the people in the tribe, and about outsiders.”

Fourthly, the Tribe fosters Connection to each other. They allow people to achieve what they want more than anything else….to be missed ! If someone isn’t there other tribe members should notice and miss them.

Seth Godin agrees with Mystery in the end because he says “All tribal leaders have charisma. BUT, you do not need charisma to be a tribal leader. Leading a tribe gives you charisma. If you look and study the leaders throughout history, you will see where the charisma comes from. It comes from the leading.”

Finally Great tribes Commit: They commit to the cause, they commit to the tribe, they commit to the people.

Become a Tribal Leader !


January 19, 2010 Posted by | blog, Book Reviews, current news, Lateral Thinking, Marketing, non fiction, philosophy, preview, Psychology, Strategy, success, think and grow rich, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Splenderously Crumby World

This strange, hump-backed, looking fellow is Harvey Pekar and he’s actually one of my heroes.

Harvey Pekar
Harvey Pekar really loved collecting stuff. At one point he collected comic books and then later on he began to collect rare Jazz records.

This somewhat obscure hobby led him to meet Robert Crumb. Crumb had a love of rare Jazz music also. Crumb was also beginning to become well known as an underground comic book artist. Crumb’s adult-themed art work impressed the normally cynical Pekar.

Through reading his friend’s material Pekar began to realize the immense untapped potential of the whole comic book medium. Sure the medium had it’s full range of masked superheroes but Pekar felt there was a huge range of stories still waiting to be told.

“Comics could do anything that film could do,” Pekar realized. “And I wanted in on it.” he said. However it took Pekar some time to decide just what he wanted to do. “I theorized for maybe ten years about doing comics,” he says.

Pekar laid out some stories with crude stick figures and showed them to Crumb. Crumb became the first artist to illustrate American Splendor.

American Splendor was a groundbreaking series of Comic Books. The comic documents daily life in the aging neighborhoods of Pekar’s native Cleveland, where Pekar worked throughout his life (even after gaining fame) as a file clerk in a large Veterans Administration hospital.

American Splendor basically chronicles all the everyday events of Harvey who is a kind of everyman character. Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff seems to be the basic theme.

It’s laced with a realism and subtle humor that reminds me of Woody Allen or Seinfeld at their best.

Pekar gets material from anything at all. For this reason I think bloggers (especially those that write about anything like my Blogfather Madbull) will really enjoy learning more about him and his work.

For example Pekar would write about things like “How do you pick the best line to join while waiting at the Supermarket ?” or he might ponder his own name and write about what happened when he looks up his own name in the directory (and who hasn’t done that ?).

He also wrote interesting pieces about movies, books, politicians or music
he liked.
For samples click here or visit


More poignantly though he wrote about his personal battles with Cancer. Later on as he got famous and appeared extensively on popular shows like Letterman’s Late Night Show he wrote about that new found fame also.

A recent movie about his life presents an easy way to learn about him. In the movie entitled “American Splendor”, Pekar finds love, family and a creative voice through the underground comic books he creates. Along the bumpy journey, he meets, marries and falls for Joyce, an admiring comic book seller.


The movie also shows the real life Harvey and his friends in some revealing snippets that enrich the heart-warming film. Be warned this film may even make you cry at a few points and will certainly make you laugh at many points.

It gets my highest recommendation, when you see the story of my hero Harvey you will be inspired too and you’ll realize it’s really a Splenderously Crumby World, full of Unexpected Possibilities.

September 21, 2009 Posted by | blog, Book Reviews, comics, fiction, humor, Lateral Thinking, Marketing, movies, non fiction, philosophy, Psychology, success, super power, writing | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Emperor’s Club.

My wife finally got the movie she’d been talking about all week and was gleefully bragging about it. I was less than excited though because invariably her taste seemed diametrically opposed to mine.

Where I liked mythical and unrealistic, fantasy type shows, ( like Matrix or Star Wars ), she loved realistic people in realistic settings. Where I loved action and perhaps a dry comedy, she would go more for drama and the occasional slapstick.

The only consistent common ground was perhaps movies with Denzel Washington, but while I watched those for the interesting plots and great stories, I couldn’t help thinking, she was watching them because of Denzel’s smile.

We were beginning to at least understand each other’s tastes though and respectfully agreed to disagree while respecting each other’s choices.

“What’s the name of that movie you got again ?” I asked just to make conversation, not with any real interest in the answer.

“It’s called The Emperor’s Club. Have you heard of it ?” she asked, all smiles and bubbly.

Emperor’s Club. I immediately began to be more interested, Emperor’s Club, wasn’t that the name of some high class international prostitution ring that had caused a recent political scandal ? I wondered to myself.


“Nope never heard of it what’s it about ?”, I asked while trying to look bored. Maybe this was a test to see if I was interested in Prostitutes, or something, I didn’t want to seem too keen.

“It’s about a teacher at a boys school. I researched it on the net, just like you do. Based on the shows I like, the IMDB website recommended this one.”, she beamed, trying to show me she could beat me at my own game.

You see, I always use sites like Flixster, the same way avid book buyers use Amazon, to tell me movies I’d probably enjoy, based on the movies I already like. It generally works out very, very well and obviously my wife thought it was a great idea too.

There are hardly any women in this story, a marked departure from the usual Hollywood fare. It’s about a male teacher at an all boys school, there’s not a prostitute in sight. Yet I must confess I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has something that is rare yet always welcome. It has a thought provoking premise and a well scripted story that is excellently acted even by minor characters.

The basic theme of the story seems to be that to truly be considered great you must not just achieve for your own selfish aims but should contribute something to the greater good.

The movie conveys it’s theme by focusing on a troubled youth who doesn’t seem to care about fitting in although he is also obviously very brilliant. This youth, new to the strict school, causes immediate conflicts with his classmates and also the teacher (excellently portrayed by Kevin Kline)  Mr. Hunterd.

I think one of the strengths of this type of movie is that we can all relate to the school environment and through such stories we get to reflect more on our own learning experiences and favourite teachers and subjects of our past. We easily compare those we know to those of the movie even when they pale in comparison or excel those in the story.

Basically the teacher begins to realize that the troubled youth is similar to himself, in many ways, and Hunterd goes the extra mile trying to make the boy get motivated and improve in his school work.

The teacher even visits the boy’s father who lives many miles away in the city. The father is a powerful man, a politician, who tries to negotiate and bargain with everyone but absolutely resists the thought of anyone else molding his son’s ideas.

The boy eventually, like many of his classmates, achieves much in life. He flies Hunterd in to his mansion by helicopter to remember the past and in fact relive it somewhat. A school reunion including a contest.

It seems the men have not been able to shake off the past and their boyhood foibles remain.

Without dwelling on the dramatic points of the film (don’t want to spoil your viewing experience) I’ll simply say that the events at the close of the film leave an older wiser Hunterd, and the viewer, asking whether the students really learned the most important lesson of all.

As for me I was quick to realise that this film, based on a short story (entitled “The Palace Thief”, by Ethan Canin, was a true classic, worthy of deeper study.

I praised my wife for her excellent choice and she smiled proudly and offered to make me a little sandwhich and a drink.

As I sat watching the closing credits and sipping on the cold drink which  her loving hands had made for me I smiled, feeling like a King, in my Palace.

I was now a member of “The Real Emperor’s Club”. It feels so much better than “The Dead Poets Society”.


September 13, 2009 Posted by | Beautiful Women, blog, Book Reviews, fiction, humor, marraige, movies, non fiction, philosophy, success, writing | Leave a comment

The Stonecutter.

There was once a stonecutter, who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.

One day, he passed a wealthy merchant’s house, and through the open gateway, saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stonecutter. He became very envious, and wished that he could be like the merchant. Then he would no longer have to live the life of a mere stonecutter.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever dreamed of, envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. But soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants, and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. “How powerful that official is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a high official!”

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around, who had to bow down before him as he passed. It was a hot summer day, and the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. “How powerful the sun is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the sun!”

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. “How powerful that storm cloud is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a cloud!”

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. “How powerful it is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the wind!”

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, hated and feared by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it — a huge, towering stone. “How powerful that stone is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a stone!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a stone!”

Then he became the stone, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the solid rock, and felt himself being changed. “What could be more powerful than I, the stone?” he thought. He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stonecutter.

This is an ancient chinese parable. This version of it is found  on pg.118 of a book entitled “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff. The book presents various ideas of Taoism using characters from the “Winnie the Pooh” stories.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | blog, Book Reviews, fiction, Lateral Thinking, philosophy, Strategy, success | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Michael Crichton, Candle in a demon haunted world.

Michael Crichton was a candle in a demon haunted world.

Michael Crichton was one of my favourite authors even though I find his
characters are often weakly developed and his dialogue is not really that

Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton

The genius of Crichton was, for me, that he manages to create an unbelievable momentum in his works that pulls you through to the end at a perfectly satisfying pace.

Novels by Michael Crichton.

Novels by Michael Crichton.

His remarkable ability to fill the books with myriad interesting facts is also astounding to me. Basically he makes you think and learn while enjoying a roller coaster ride. He always spots important trends (from a wide variety of fields) before they become mainstream and he gives a new spin to the ideas.

I liked the way they cast (one of my favourite actors) Wesley Snipes for the
movie “Rising Sun”, because as I said the  characters are so slightly developed by Crichton that I doubt he even mentioned what race the detective was in the book.

Two of my favourite actors.

Two of my favourite actors.

This lack of detailed character description is not necessarily a flaw though. You see, since his books are idea-driven, having riveting, unduly colorful or unforgettable characters would perhaps distract the reader from his main points. Letting the readers fill in the blanks from their own imagination works even better. Hitchcock said the less violence he really showed on screen the more horrific the viewer’s imagination would make it seem .Less is more.

Hitchcock's Psycho shower scene.

Hitchcock's Psycho shower scene.

For me one of Crichton’s best writings was this speech entitled “Aliens Cause Global Warming” .
It gives an interpretation of how over the last thirty years scientists have
perhaps begun to intermingle scientific and political claims.

This speech is a must-read and for me it explains a lot about Crichton.  I think Michael Crichton, (the Harvard trained Medical Doctor who created the hit hospital based series ER), was always at heart a scientist. A scientist who’s purpose was to make the world a better place, therefore, he did not limit himself, but, studied very widely and was able to make connections from various fields. These connections he explored with an intense love for research and facts. He understood all the conflicting elements and set them against each other to find the deeper startling truths. His books in a sense were all about the Hypothesis and the testing thereof.

August 1, 2009 Posted by | blog, Book Reviews, Lateral Thinking, movies, non fiction, Strategy, success, writing | Leave a comment

Psalms 23.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.


He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.




In the book God’s Psychiatry by Charles Allen the recomendation is made to fight stress by reciting this Psalm, three times a day.

I have tried it and found it to be very helpful indeed.

May 7, 2009 Posted by | Book Reviews, non fiction, philosophy, Psychology, success, suicide, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Make Your Daydreams Come True.

Make your Daydreams Come true.

I recently came across an old out-of-print book, called “How to Make your Daydreams Come True”, written by Elmer Wheeler. The book explains a Master Formula for turning dreams into reality in six steps.

1. Decide what you want.

2. Put it on Paper.

3.Know where to start.

4. Set it in Motion.

5. Don’t Settle for less.

6. Recognize it’s arrival.


1. Decide what you want. Unless you decide what you want then it is only natural that you won’t achieve it. So clearly that is the first step, have a daydream, decide what you want to accomplish.

2. Put it on Paper. Once you’ve seen the dream with your “mind’s eye” then express it on paper also so that you impress it upon your brain. This makes it come true faster.

3.Know where to start. Don’t try to put the cart before the horse. Put your dreams into a logical sequence a proper order. Don’t try to leapfrog just go step by step according to your plan.

4. Set it in Motion. Get the Dream moving. It begins to take form only with motion. You may make mistakes but you’re going to keep moving forward as you do.

5. Don’t Settle for less. Once the momentum is going just keep it going. Don’t compromise on your dream, don’t under sell your ambitions. Make your dream pay off in Full. Have Faith.

6. Recognize it’s arrival. Once you’ve achieved the goal then relax and enjoy it to the maximum. Don’t curb your ambition but curb greediness.

April 18, 2009 Posted by | blog, Book Reviews, Lateral Thinking, non fiction, Psychology, Strategy, success, think and grow rich, writing | , , , | 4 Comments

Gifted Hands.

Just saw that TNT will premiere the show Gifted Hands : The Ben Carson Story about the world famous Neuro Surgeon tonight.

Dr. Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson

I had read the book, on which this film is based, years ago and found it very, very inspiring. The star is Cuba Gooding Jnr. so it’s sure to be worth viewing.

Times like this, and whenever  there is an Arsenal football match, I sure miss having cable.

The movie premieres Feb. 7, 2009 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), exclusively on TNT.

The website http://www.blackvoices.com/gifted-hands has more info.

February 7, 2009 Posted by | Book Reviews, current news, movies, non fiction, preview, success | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


After a brief glance at my book collection I think these are the ones I could most highly recommend as a top twelve. The ones I treasure most;

1. The Holy Bible I prefer the King James Version to the others I’ve seen.

2. Law of Recognition by Mike Murdock
“Everything you need or want is already in your life merely awaiting your Recognition of it.”

3. The Spirit of Tai Chi by John Lash.

Verse by  verse comments on the Tao te Ching by Lao Tzu.

4. Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss
Uses Archetypes to help clarify your Spiritual Mission in Life.

5. Art of War by Sun Tzu

Ultimate guide to Strategy and Winning.

6. Ninja Mind Control by Ashida Kim

Contains much hidden knowledge. A truly dangerous book.

7. Shibumi by Trevanian

A great Novel.

8. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Dr. Watson’s largely futile attempts to follow his friend’s heavy logic.

9. Children of the Matrix by David Icke

Reptilian Aliens control the Earth. An amazing fantasy or sad reality ?

10. Gandhi’s Seven Steps to Global Change by Guy de Mallac

Change the World. It all starts with you.

11. Survival is Not Enough by Seth Godin

Chock full of interestingly presented business ideas.

12. Creating Wealth by Robert Allen

Wealth starts in the Mind. Work Smart not just Hard.

Book Collection

Book Collection

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Book Reviews, fiction, non fiction | , , , , | Leave a comment