Great book. Quick read, and you learn about about psychology that you can apply to life or business.
A few notes: - All about first impressions. First iGreat book. Quick read, and you learn about about psychology that you can apply to life or business.
A few notes: - All about first impressions. First impressions can sway our opinion of something for years to come regardless of subsequent performance. - Labels matter. If you label someone as a higher performer, top of class, leader, having command potential, etc - it will translate into them actually having it. My high school motto was Principes Non Homines (leaders not men) - now I know why they thought that would work. - When we brand or label people they take on the characteristics of the diagnosis. - People are easily swayed when other people they deal with are decent or nice or fair to them. You enjoy a restaurant 10 times more if the waiter is really nice, regardless of the food (the product). Same goes for any service or business relationship. - Heightened adrenaline levels lead to higher levels of romantic interest - We have "two engines" running in our brain that don't operate simultaneously. So we usually approach things from either an altruistic perspective or a self-interested one. Money (self-interest) is not always the best motivator - sometimes pride (in your country, your city, what you do) will inspire people much more. ...more
Very fascinating take on how Leopold was able to obtain a colony many times bigger than Belgium with pure politics, and maintain it with forced slaverVery fascinating take on how Leopold was able to obtain a colony many times bigger than Belgium with pure politics, and maintain it with forced slavery and mercenaries.
There are lots of business lessons to be learned from Leopold:
- Perception is reality. The reality was forced slavery, and unspeakable cruelty by Leopold's agents. But in Europe Leopold told over and over the story that he was a humanitarian, and had the best interests of the Congo people in mind. - You can control reality. Leopold wined and dined, and even bribed anyone with the ability to hurt the perception he spun of the Congo. Harder to do today, but not impossible. For instance a web startup just has to get cozy with Arrington and funding is around the corner. Leopold wasn't a king - he was a master at PR. - History is written by the victors. Most published accounts of the era came from Leopold or his agents. Thus most people had no idea what was happening. I've seen this in current times: an authoritative article by a prominent newspaper that gets things wrong - then for people later researching the subject it becomes a source, and the myth builds. Thats what good PR can do! - Economic incentive without proper checks can result in just about anybody becoming corrupt. Lots of "good" people in the book did unspeakable things to the natives for the sake of meeting their quota of ivory or rubber, or because they were ordered to. Similar stories have been told of American soldiers in Vietnam. In my view this pretty much proves man is neither inherently good or evil, but is entirely motivated by peer pressure and/or money. Joseph Conrad captured this well in Heart of Darkness...more
I heard this book described as interesting but a little dry, so I was fully planning on just skimming a lot. But I ended up reading almost the whole tI heard this book described as interesting but a little dry, so I was fully planning on just skimming a lot. But I ended up reading almost the whole thing! I have two biases though: one was I was in Africa at the time I read it, and the other is my grandfather did a lot of hunting in Africa in the 1960's, so I could almost picture him hanging out with the wild characters in the book.
What I loved were all the stories of hunts and the pioneer type hunters that led them. Numerous maulings and close calls dealing with all sorts of animals. Surprisingly, the most dangerous animals in Africa are (in order): Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion, Rhino. Unless you wound the Lion then he's #1. Don't mess with Simba.
That phrase was buried in my mind somewhere. It was familiar, yet I knew not how nor who this Livingstone person was. This"Dr Livingstone, I presume!"
That phrase was buried in my mind somewhere. It was familiar, yet I knew not how nor who this Livingstone person was. This book explained it, and was very entertaining in the process. Highly recommended if you ever travel to East Africa.
A friend recently wrote an interesting piece about how the types of creative people that rise to be famous have changed over the years. Livingstone was an explorer in the mid-1800's, and was a Michael Jordan of England. He explored much of Africa, often being the only white man in the expedition. He abhorred slavery, which was then rampant, and fought against it. His quest was to find the source of the Nile river, which evidently was a big thing back then (today we just keep looking for 'dark matter' and other such stuff).
But the most interesting part of the book to me was that the reason we know that famous phrase, is that its an early example of newspaper sensationalism. The New York Observer paid a reporter (Stanley) to take ridiculously large and expensive expedition into the middle of Africa that lasted for years, just to be able to have the exclusive on the story. But it was worth it: millions of Americans were entertained for years by the articles on Stanley's quest. And England wasn't happy its superstar was found by an American either, a fact not lost on the Observer....more