Friday, October 29, 2010

Nero fiddled, Rome burned

Nero, born December 15, 37, died June 9, 68 by suicide, ending the reign of the Julio dynasty of Rome.

Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, called Nero by friends and enemies alike, was known for fiddling while Rome burned. In truth, he was pleased with the clearing of the city so he could build his pleasure palace on a prime piece of Roman real estate otherwise occupied by the property’s owners.

Once obtaining the prized piece of ground, his Real Estate and building projects were completed by the salve class who were entertained by gladiatorial games. Unlike other times in the Empire, this period was particularly hard on the slaves with little to no compensation for their labor. They attended gladiatorial games regularly for the food dispensed to the crowds.

Nero’s ruthlessness and greed for money and power propelled him into abuse of the citizenry. Under his rule the decline of the Roman Empire became apparent. With the heavy taxation of the people, consolidation of wealth to a few, especially Nero’s treasury, Rome became troubled within the Empire and that was the good side.

Despite troubles both within and on the outskirts the Empire, Nero didn’t flinch at demanding his wealthy enemies, and perhaps a few friends, bequeath their lands and property to him. Often his royal request came just before charges of treason were delivered via the sword. Inheriting, rather than seizing the wealth gave him full power to use his ill-gotten gains as he chose.

Hardly a family man, he is suspected of being in on the plot his mother launched to kill his uncle Claudius, the previous Emperor. Once on the throne, he found his mother tedious and had her killed. He served his first wife’s head to his second wife, by request. Not too much later, he kicked his second wife to death while she was pregnant with his heir.

All this from a man who wasn’t much of a politician but inherited his position, wasn’t fiscally wise but obtained much his wealth through improper and illegal means, and wasn’t much of a looker either.

The Roman slaves entertained by the games were equally joyous at the death of the emperor. It’s recorded: there was dancing in the street.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Question Wonder Being

There are times when the question occurred to me: why do anything? The thought of giving in to utter despair to not do anything had crossed my mind. It has crossed my mind before. Perhaps, this is a component of being human… questioning.

When situations, relationship don’t seem to be going well: why continue? The thought of not continuing had crossed my mind. It has crossed my mind before. Perhaps, this is a component of being human…wondering.

From the ground, beaten into silence: why be? The thought of not being had crossed my mind. It has crossed my mind before. Perhaps, this is a component of being human…being.

Questioning and being open to the answers presented is an uncomfortable place. It takes bravery to gaze into the looking glass and find that all is not right with the reflection. For some it’s the true nature coming through, for others it’s the battle scars of life. However, the growth that comes from questioning may set a soul free from the bondage of the past.

Wondering about people, places, and the situations that appear askew, learning that sometimes it’s the viewer and sometimes it’s the view. Which is which and how do we know? An honest friend who tells the truth, even if it's not what you want to hear is the best determiner of just how off one may be.

Being in the moment, standing still to take the punch one more time. Why? Because sometimes you do things because you have to, sometimes you show up because people are counting on you, sometimes you do the best thing for others because life isn’t all about one person, it’s about everyone.

Question to seek the answers. Wonder to grasp the meaning. Be in the now to experience life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Queen Elizabeth II is like Scrooge

Like many people around the World, I love watching the British Royalty. But I have to say, the Queen has forgotten herself, her position and her people. Canceling Christmas is a villainous thing to do. In movies we see Sheriff John (Robin Hood) canceling Christmas. In Literature, Dickens has Mr. Scrooge canceling Christmas, well, the Christmas party for her staff anyway.

The position of the upper class is to employ as many people as possible to move the money of the country around in a way that circulates and encourages a better economy. It is not in anyone's interest to act as a bump or villain, by stating the obvious, the economy sucks and depressing your personal staff even further by Canceling their Christmas Party.

I don’t think the Queen remembers the promise she made when she took the throne to be a good guiding force for her people. She’s off track and we’d all like to see the Queen set an example for the upper class to get the world economy back on track.

Knuckling to depression and pretending that she and her echelon aren’t responsible for the recovery is absurd, unless of course, they really want to join us in the trenches, then by all means Cancel Christmas.

The World and certainly Britons would like to see a really big party, with the hiring of plenty of extra help to give more people a better Christmas.

Honestly Madam, don’t be a Scrooge!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Book Review: 27 Powers of Persuasion

27 Powers of Persuasion is a easy and quick read. If you’re looking to do better with work relationships or people in general this is a must read.

Bringing people together to find a consensus, to lead the group in a way they will participate to make a better project and happily agree with your desired direction. All the step by steps to lead people happily by persuading them to see your vision, your goal and make those visions their visions, their goals.

27 Powers of Persuasion is a great how-to book for grass roots involvement or to make a department or company super productive. It’s the best advice to make cohesion within an organization.

Contents: Focus on the goal, Evaluate Egos, Soothe or sidestep other egos, Manage opposition by giving it nothing to oppose, Make your weakness your strength, Find one thing to like about everyone in the room, Use the first five minutes to make people feel safe, Stay in the present, Recognize the reality, Make it about choice fairness and accountability, Keep it simple, Own the language, Use emotional language, Make sure everyone’s invested, Get third-party validation, Arm your advocates, Aim for the undecideds, Avoid absolutes and hypotheticals, Learn how to use silence, Get physical, Don’t say no, say let’s try this, Release bad news quickly and good news slowly, Challenge bad ideas by challenging the details, Play devil’s advocate, Don’t change, Adapt, and Be your own pundit.

Since college, this is the most highlighted book on my shelf. Sales people, managers and leaders should all take notes from Chris St. Hilaire who has brought together all the persuasive philosophies in one place.

Title: 27 Powers of Persuasion: Simple Strategies to Win Allies and Seduce Audiences
Author: Chris St. Hilaire
Genre: Business/Self Help
ISBN: 978-0735204515
Publication Date: September 2010
Pages: 288
Price: $25.00
Publisher: Perigee Books/Prentice Hall Press Penguin Group