Saturday Morning Coffee

International Affairs Specialist by day, Blogger Enthusiast by night. This is a sneak peek into my world that should be enjoyed with ample time and a good and very strong cup of java.

What’s in a Book?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a reader. I started at a very young age and always enjoyed the company of a good book. So, I think it’s only natural to have a page up here to tell you a bit more about what I’m reading, attracted to. I’ll do my best to review them, be it more scholarly type books that reflect my blog posts or fun stuff that I consider brain food or vacation reading – I can eat those up fairly quick. I always read more than one book at a time, so there will tons of stuff to talk about. Just a sneak peek in what’s to come!

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Finding solutions to world poverty is never easy, yet Yunus and the Grameen Bank have made phenomenal headway using micro-finance schemes. It’s first person narrative shows a very humble man’s struggle to lessen the poor’s struggle in his native Bangladesh. His struggles with the Central Bank, international donors and the villager’s themselves are accurately detailed and the challenges and successes they’ve had after 20yrs are of development are aptly documented. Its success and duplication in many countries around the world are proof that Yunus’ methods breed great results.

Microfinance is really a great concept; lending small loans to the poor to create a greater level of financial sustainability, eliminating the middle-man and increasing self-sufficiency. After reading the book, Yunus’ achievements are well warranted for a Nobel Prize, at the same time though I didn’t think his advocacy for social business to replace capitalism’s main tennets of profitability and revenue is something that will ever be realistic, but it speaks true to his values.

 

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I first noticed Gladwell’s books in an airport waiting area, where a girl my age was reading Blink. The cover looked so sophisticated that I thought immediately how smart that girl must be to have picked up such a novel. I didn’t think much of it until The Tipping Point was released and vowed to look just as smart as that girl in the airport and pick up a copy one day. One thing lead to another and Outliers was released and I had yet to crack the cover of either the others! Yeek, I thought and decided to embark upon its words this summer after finding it on the Bestseller list for the 246th week in a row! Quite a feat for any author and confirmed to me that giving it read would not leave me disappointed – and disappointed I was not! In fact, I found myself cursing my reading speed and started to take intermittent breaks to slow down and savor every new idea and thought that was conveyed on the pages.

The book’s premise looks at Success and how some people grow up and lead extraordinary lives/careers (Outliers) that stands them apart from the rest of society and *most often* earns them exorbitant salaries – Think Bill Gates or Wayne Gretzky. Gladwell analyses the historic premise that ‘people are rewarded with hard work and the harder you work, the more rewards will be brought your way.’ This he challenges by analyzing the experiences of Outliers and the opportunities they’ve had,  timing,  world circumstances, culture to explain that it really isn’t merit that determines an Outlier’s success, but rather a set of circumstances (ie. location, neighborhood, date of birth) that when standing  alone, don’t amount to much, but when carried out sequentially amount to enormous results and establishment of an Outliers path.

I really appreciated this book and it’s insight was truly interesting to read. I enjoyed Gladwell’s tidbits on efforts to equate opportunities for those less advantaged, as well as his dip in to cultural legacies that influence behaviors and therefore the difference between onward and upward success and idle career development.

I would heartily recommend this book to anyone, of all ages. It’s an easy enough read to not get mind-boggled, but not so easy to not be challenging. Two Thumbs up!

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