Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Forbidden Daughter by Shobhan Bantwal

I thoroughly enjoyed Shobhan Bantwal's first book, The Dowry Bride. It was well written and the glimpses into Indian culture were fascinating. Learning that paying or not paying a dowry could be a matter of life or death was shocking to me and she handled it very well in her book. So, I've been looking forward to reading her second book.

This weekend I took time to read The Forbidden Daughter and my wait was rewarded. The book is about female infanticide. That is the practice of killing female babies and unborn female babies. I've heard various reasons for female infanticide in India and that is one of the elements of this story. Are women less worthy or important than men? The characters have a variety of feelings about this question. Another element is the financial angle to performing abortions along with the social repercussions.

Isha Talik is drawn into this web of lies, deception and money when her obstetrician informs her and her husband that their unborn child is a girl. In an off handed comment, he says that he's willing to perform an abortion if they want to be rid of this child. Isha and Nikhil vehemently insist they will have their child, but they realize Nikhil's parents will want them to abort the child. The couple have one daughter and Isha knows her in laws treat her daughter Priya as less worthy than her male cousins. When the news is shared with the elder Taliks, they insist the child must be aborted.

This debate rages and is only interrupted late one evening when the family receives news that Nikhil was stabbed to death at his job. Isha, Priya and the in laws are all shaken by the news of Nikhil's death. The news is especially devastating to his parents because Nikhil was their only son and he had no sons to carry on the family name. Life for Isha and Priya is tougher each day and after her father in law beats Priya, the young, pregnant widow walks out of the house - with almost no money and only some of her possessions.

Isha and Priya are taken in at the local convent and make their home in a small, bleak room and they wait for the birth of her daughter. The day after Diya is born, Isha is seen by the doctor who helps the convent. He was a student at the college Isha attended and he had a crush on her in school.

Doctor Harish Salvi becomes a very good friend and his affection for Isha and her children continues to grow over time. Isha is reunited with her sister in law Sheila. With Sheila and Dr Salvi, Isha finds the support she needs.

Over time things begin to look better for Isha and her family and her support network grows again. But, the story isn't over and Isha must deal with a couple more concerns before the end. Isha and her closest confidantes realize who killed her husband and why. She has evidence of his wrong doing and the time stamp on the computer disc makes it very obvious, who is responsible for his murder. Will they go to the police? Will the murderer pay for his crime? Who else will have to pay for this man's actions?

I don't want to ruin the story for anyone, but I highly recommend this story. You will grow to admire, you will admire and cherish Dr Salvi and you will care what happens to Isha's daughters. This book is a wonderful work from a talented author who share her knowledge of India with us.

Shobhan Bantwal is touring with Promo 101 Virtual Tours in October. Visit for more details.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bounce! by Barry Moltz

Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success by Barry Moltz

We all love to share our success stories in business. But, there is so much to learn from our failures. One key to learning from our failures is to be prepared for failure, develop the humility to deal with problems and to develop the keys that we need in order to be resilient.

Bounce! This seems to be the year where people discuss resiliency and how to bounce back. I’ve personally reviewed four or five books about improving our lives, making needed changes and moving on. The full title of this book is Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success. Its an inspiring title and the book is very good. When we think of failure, we need to also think about bouncing back and starting over

In the United States and in other countries around the world people are facing very tough economic times and it doesn’t appear that will change drastically in the near future. We see huge companies failing and/or being taken over by the government or being sold on a pretty regular basis. If multi billion and multi million dollar businesses are failing, doesn’t it make sense that other businesses consider that failure is possible and to be ready for the possibility? No one is saying that failure is inevitable, but develop the mindset and skill set that make it easier for you to face failures and the situations we encounter as a business faces tough times.

Barry Moltz built his original business reputation at IBM. That’s where I initially heard about him, but he decided to leave IBM and start his own business venture. At one point in the book, Moltz mentions how his stature and income increased each year while he was at IBM and he had the mistaken opinion that the trend would continue even when he left IBM. That’s something I’ve heard from people who left a fulltime job to begin their own business. That can be one of the first things to rattle a new entrepreneur. The steady paycheck and job security disappear overnight.

Moltz gives the example of a rubber band ball that is created by wrapping rubber bands and creating a ball. Each band increases the size and strength of the ball. Through the pages of Bounce!, he shares the key “bands” we need to create sufficient bounce. They include:

Environmental and Cultural DNA – Attitudes in your country and associates about success and failure have an impact on how you view these elements of business.

Humility – Humility has the ability to lift us up or to pull us down. If you fail, will you wallow and brood over it or will you understand that people fail and pick yourself up and move on?

Face Your Fear of Failure – Failure is always possible. No matter how qualified or prepared we are in business, it is always possible to fail. Its best to be prepared for that possibility. If we never fail, that’s wonderful. But, if it does happen, be ready to deal with it.

Give Up Shame About Failure – This is not simple, but it is necessary. Once you decide to stop feeling shame over failure, tackle the things thrown at you by others. Some people will be obnoxious about any failure, but you need to be convinced it’s a temporary situation and move forward.

Failure Offers a Choice – How many people do you know that are stuck in a “no win” situation because they decide to stay in a failing business instead of admitting defeat? Give yourself the choice to say, “It’s not working” and get out of a losing situation. Make the choice to fail and move on to something better.

Be Careful About the Risks You Take – As your decision making skills improve, you are better qualified to make careful decisions and to limit the potential for risk and failure. Make sure that you understand the full risk and the full benefit of any major decision you are going to make.

Refine and Improve the Process to Improve the Outcome – Business goes through cycles and its important to understand that the processes we use make a difference in the outcomes we get.

Develop Patience About Success and Failure – We must be realistic and many times we don’t succeed as quickly as we hope. So, patience is needed. Set realistic goals and work toward these. Even when progress is slow, goals and benchmarks enable us to see the progress that is being made.

Develop Your Own System to Measure Your Success and Failure – Most people realize that just having money is not a guarantee of happiness. Decide what you need to feel successful. No one else’s idea of success should guide you – what makes you happy? Once you know that answer, strive to be happy.

Place Value on Action and Progress – Read the book, but then realize that you need to make things happen. Your experience is a great way to build confidence and the humility to face the tough situations and to move on to bigger and better things.

Those points are the key elements that the book covers and is built around. The longest chapter in the book, is Chapter 5 Forget the Archetypes: Messy Lines Teach Humility. At first glance this was interesting and a bit confusing because we all know that strong entrepreneurs need confidence, to be self assured and to be strong. So, why did Moltz include such a long chapter about humility? He discusses ego and how it does and does not help a business person. He discusses how humility is crucial is facing problems and failures in a way that helps us start over and rebuild or future.

There is so much great information in this book, but I highly recommend that no one skip the last chapter, Read This Book – Then Throw It Away. He makes great points including the fact that planning is great and needs to happen, but we also know that you will never succeed or fail until you take the leap and actual work to make it happen. Anyone who is waiting for the “perfect” time to start will be waiting forever. There is never a “perfect” time.

Do sufficient research and planning and learn to make sound decisions. Then develop true and positive humility and move forward. It’s also critical to realize many great people have failed, some failed in huge ways. The great people, large and small, are the ones who pick themselves up and start over. There is always another possibility and another opportunity. Will you move on and find your next opportunity?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Polarizing Your Life Toward Perfection by Philip F Harris

The Little Book That Will Alter Your Life

Many books about how to move yourself to a better place have hit the market since the phenomenal success of The Secret. They deal with the Law of Attraction, manifesting, and much more. Polarizing Your Life Toward Perfection helps you take an honest look at your life and what happened to create the person that you have become. Its not just a book about – “I want”, “Give me” and that sort of mentality. Philip Harris gives you the tools that you need to create a more positive, happy and successful life. It truly is “the little book that will alter your life”. So much information packed into a small book. Isn’t there a saying about the best things coming in small packages? This is a great example of that idea.

Harris provides various examples of things we do, say and think which has a negative impact on our life. He lists many phrases and words that we shouldn’t use. Many of the examples show how a small change in the wording we use, can make a big difference in our outlook. Learn which phrases you should not use and the easy ways to adjust our thoughts. It may sound silly, but there are many great ways that we can “look on the bright side” and “be more positive”. The first two chapters provide many ways to do this in your life.

Once you start to work on the way you think and talk about things, its time to take a look inside yourself. There are a variety of people in your life and who have played a part in your life over the years. Your beliefs, job and health are all things that affect who you are and how you feel about things. Chapter 3 is titled “Life Assessment”. Simply, this chapter is about helping you evaluate the people and things in your life – to determine what does and does not work for you. In some cases, you can evaluate a person or situation and adjust the way you view it. In other cases, you need to make changes in your life. This chapter helps you with this assessment.

When we look into a mirror, we assume that we are seeing a true reflection. However, consider this. The reflection you see is affected by your beliefs, your mind, your job, your relationships and much more. How often have you been around people who are negative? When you look in a mirror with those comments fresh in your mind, do you see yourself differently? Even if its only a stray gray hair or lines around your eyes that someone talked about earlier, this is an example of ways that your reflection is affected by these outside forces. The good news is that Harris also provides a chapter about “How to Change the Image in the Mirror”. You can change your perception of yourself and that reflection.

No book on changing yourself would be complete without a section about how to alter the things you put into your body. Polarizing Your Life contains chapters about your body and the environment that you are in. Learn ways to change your environment to improve your life. Your diet can have a big impact on how your feel and how your body functions. Harris provides many ways to improve your diet, your health and your environment – all of these things go a long way in polarizing your life.

The chapter about visualization provides great insights. Do you limit your success by approaching visualization in the wrong way? If you start with “I want”, “I need” and similar phrases, you can limit your success. Harris provides many illustrations of how our phrasing makes us focus on the negative things in our life and this makes it more difficult to achieve a better life. Another thing to consider, do you vocalize appreciation for the things you have? Even for people who don’t have much, you should be appreciative for the things you have.

You will be amazed by the wealth of life changing information that Philip Harris has packed into this small book. If you’re interested in “the secret”, the law of attraction, manifesting, visualization, being in tune with the universe and creating a better life for yourself – this is a must read.