Friday, September 30, 2005



The idea of 'right livelihood' is an ancient one. It embodies the principle that each person should follow an honest occupation which fully respects other people and the natural world. It means being responsible for the consequences of our actions and taking only a fair share of the earth's resources. This is a very fundamental teaching of the Buddha and encompasses one of the eight fold paths we are discovering.

In every generation, there are groups of people and individuals around the globe who valiantly uphold these principles of right livelihood. They should be the stars in our human cosmos, but their work often entails personal sacrifice, being opposed by powerful forces around them. They are however, the true heroes of our planet!

The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honour and support such people. It has become widely known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize' and there are now over 100 laureates from 48 countries.

This Award exists to strengthen the positive social forces that its recipients represent and to provide the support and inspiration needed to make them a model for the future. It has been said that if the Nobel Prizes reflected world concerns of the 20th century, the Right Livelihood Award should reflect those of the 21st.

2005 Right Livelihood Awards

The 2005 Right Livelihood Awards honour pioneers for justice, fair trade and cultural renewal

The 2005 Honorary Right Livelihood Award goes to one of Mexico's greatest living artists and community philanthropists, Franscisco Toledo.

The SEK 2 million Award is shared by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke from Canada, Irene Fernandez from Malaysia, and the organisation First People of the Kalahari, and its founder Roy Sesana, from Botswana.

The Jury's citations in respect of the 2005 Right Livelihood Awards are as follows:

Francisco Toledo (Mexico) - "... for devoting himself and his art to the protection, enhancement and renewal of the architectural and cultural heritage, natural environment and community life of his native Oaxaca."

Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke (Canada) - "... for their exemplary and longstanding worldwide work for trade justice and the recognition of the fundamental human right to water."

Irene Fernandez (Malaysia) - "... for her outstanding and courageous work to stop violence against women and abuses of migrant and poor workers."

The organization First People of the Kalahari, and its founder Roy Sesana (Botswana) - "... for resolute resistance against eviction from their ancestral lands, and for upholding the right to their traditional way of life."

Founded in 1980 the Right Livelihood awards are presented annually in the Swedish Parliament and are often referred to as “Alternative Nobel Prizes”.

They were introduced “to honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today”.

Jakob von Uexkull, a Swedish-German philatelic expert, sold his valuable postage stamps to provide the original endowment. Alfred Nobel wanted to honour those whose work “brought the greatest benefit to humanity”. Von Uexkull felt that the Nobel prizes today ignore much work and knowledge vital for our world and future.

A press conference with the recipients will be held in Stockholm on Wednesday, December 7th. The award presentation ceremony in the Swedish Parliament will be held on December 9th.

There were 77 candidates from 39 countries on the confidential list of nominations this year: 4 from Africa, 4 from the Arab world, 20 from Asia, 1 from Australia, 26 from Europe, 12 from Latin America and 10 from North America.


Buddha says; "Better than a hundred years lived in idleness and in weakness is a single day of life lived with courage and powerful striving".


UN gives employees an ethics quiz in effort to raise their integrity
Initiative comes as U.S. Congress starts hearings on the need to overhaul UN

Steven Edwards
CanWest News Service

Thursday, September 29, 2005
CREDIT: Mary Altaffer, Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS -- In the wake of management scandals, the United Nations is
attempting to raise the level of integrity of its employees by asking them
to take a multiple-choice ethics quiz, and offering certificates featuring
images of African Masai tribesmen to anyone who does well.

The initiative comes as a U.S. Congressional committee Wednesday launched
hearings into what plans the UN has for overhauling its management after
leaders of developing countries, attending the recent 60th anniversary
summit, led the rejection of sweeping reform proposals by UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan.

UN officials say the ethics quiz is part of the overall effort to improve
efficiency at the world body, but Washington's chief UN envoy told the
Congressional hearing changes need to be major to make UN employees more

"The key is to break the sense of entitlement that permeates the UN system,"
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said in a written statement he had prepared for
his testimony before the International Relations Committee of the House of

UN officials devised the ethics quiz after another internal survey last year
found only about one third of UN employees felt the organization employed
people with a high degree of integrity.

Some employees admitted to giggling over the degree of difficulty of some of
the questions.

The quiz also shows employees how they should defend the UN against

The management crisis at the UN came to a head this month with the release
of the final report of the year-long $35-million US probe into the UN
oil-for-food program the world body ran in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was

It found UN mismanagement and corruption helped Saddam siphon off about
$10-billion US in kickbacks and smuggling of oil in contravention of UN

The United States backed Annan's plan to wrest control of the UN's purse
strings from the General Assembly, but developing countries used their
majority in that body to turn him down.

Before the International Relations Committee, Bolton suggested a way to
increase pressure on the world body would be for countries to finance it
through voluntary contributions rather than UN-set assessments, as is
currently the case.

The UN's representative at the hearing, Mark Malloch Brown, reacted with
alarm, telling Reuters News Agency such a plan would "sink" the world body,
which relies on the United States for 22 per cent of its funding.

© The Vancouver Sun 2005

Buddha says: "Abandon what is wrong. It is possible to abandon it. Were it not possible to abandon what is wrong, I would not say: Abandon it. But because it is possible, therefore I say: Abandon what is wrong.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Over the course of the summer, Howard Dean worked hard to get voters to associate the Republican Party with a "culture of corruption" in Washington. The message didn't get much traction then -- in part because Democrats in Congress didn't push it out of fear that it would come back to bite them, and in part because voters had bigger concerns about George W. Bush and the party he leads.

The message is getting through today.

Just after news of Tom DeLay's indictment broke this afternoon, White House press secretary Scott McClellan appeared for his daily press briefing, where a reporter asked him on live television if a "stench of corruption" now swirls around the president and his party. McClellan dismissed the question as relying on a "broad characterization" but acknowledged that there are "instances" and "individual situations" where "the legal process" will need to proceed.

That's certainly fair to say.

From Texas to Florida to Ohio, from K Street to Congress to the inner circles of the Bush administration itself, the Republican Party is suddenly -- or maybe not so -- looking like the party of scandal. You can't keep up without a scorecard. Here's ours.

Tom DeLay: The House majority leader was indicted today on a felony charge that he conspired to launder corporate campaign contributions through the national Republican Party in Washington and back to legislative candidates in Texas.

Bill Frist: The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are both investigating the Senate majority leader's sale of shares in his family's healthcare business just before the stock's value plummeted in June.

Jack Abramoff: The Republican super-lobbyist, known to have bragged about his contacts with Karl Rove, was indicted in Florida last month along with his business partner on wire fraud and conspiracy fraud charges related to their purchase of a fleet of gambling boats. This week, three men were arrested -- including two who received payments from Abramoff's business partner -- in the Mafia-style killing of the man from whom Abramoff and his partner purchased the gambling boats.

David Safavian: The president's chief procurement officer stepped down two weeks ago and was arrested last week on charges of lying to investigators and obstructing a separate federal investigation into Abramoff's dealings in Washington. Some Republicans who received campaign contributions from Safavian are divesting themselves of his money now.

Timothy Flanigan: The president's nominee to serve as deputy attorney general has announced that he will have to recuse himself from the Abramoff investigation if he is confirmed because he hired Abramoff to help the company where he works -- scandal-ridden Tyco International Ltd. -- lobby DeLay and Rove on tax issues.

Michael Brown: The president's FEMA director resigned earlier this month amid complaints about his handling of Hurricane Katrina and charges that he and other FEMA officials got their jobs based on political connections and cronyism rather than competence or qualifications.

Bob Taft: The Republican governor of Ohio pleaded guilty last month to criminal charges based on his failure to report gifts as required by state law, among them golfing trips paid for by Tom Noe, a major Republican fundraiser who is the subject of his own scandal regarding the state's investment in $50 million in rare coins, some of which have mysteriously gone missing.

Randy "Duke" Cunningham: A federal grand jury in San Diego is investigating allegations that the veteran Republican congressman received financial favors from a defense contractor who allegedly bought Cunningham's house at an inflated price and let him live for free on the contractor's 42-foot yacht.

Ernie Fletcher: The Republican governor of Kentucky has refused to answer questions from a grand jury investigating whether his administration based hiring decisions on political considerations rather than merit. Fletcher has pardoned nine people in the probe -- including the chairman of Kentucky's Republican party -- and fired members of his staff.

George Ryan: Federal prosecutors made their opening statements this week in the criminal trial of the former Republican governor of Illinois. Ryan and a friend, Chicago insurance adjuster Lawrence Warner, are charged with racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, tax fraud and lying to federal agents.

And then there's Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. The grand jury investigating the outing of Valerie Plame is scheduled to complete its work in late October. While neither Rove nor Libby is apparently a "target" of the investigation -- and while the "corruption" in Plamegate is moral rather than financial -- both men are known to have played a role in revealing or confirming Plame's identity in conversations with reporters, which may be a crime under federal law.

Buddha says: "The wrong action seems sweet to the fool until the reaction comes and brings pain, and the bitter fruits of wrong deeds have then to be eaten by the fool."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Delay Is Indicted in Texas Case and Forfeits G.O.P. House Post


Published: September 29, 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 - Representative Tom DeLay, the House majority leader and a driving Republican power in Washington, was forced to step aside from his leadership post on Wednesday after a grand jury in Texas indicted him on a charge of conspiring to violate election laws in his home state.

The indictment, in Travis County, which includes Austin, the state capital, accused him of conspiring with two previously indicted aides to violate a century-old Texas ban on the use of corporate money by state political candidates, by funneling thousands of dollars in corporate contributions through the Republican National Committee.

Representative Tom DeLay maintained his innocence, asserting that the indictment resulted from a "purely political investigation."
House Republicans gathered within hours of the indictment's becoming public, and chose Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 3 House Republican, to assume Mr. DeLay's duties temporarily. They assigned Representative David Dreier of California to take on more responsibilities. Party rules required Mr. DeLay to step down if indicted.

Earlier in the day, there had been indications that Mr. Dreier might be named to Mr. DeLay's place temporarily, which did not sit well with some House conservatives. But a Congressional aide said Wednesday night that Speaker J. Dennis Hastert had already chosen Mr. Blunt before the conservatives voiced their objections.

At a news conference in his office, Mr. DeLay described the veteran Democratic prosecutor who brought the indictment - Ronnie Earle, the Travis County district attorney - as a "partisan fanatic" leading a "coordinated, premeditated campaign of political retribution." Mr. DeLay said he had done nothing wrong.

"I have violated no law, no regulation, no rule of the House," Mr. DeLay, who is in his 11th term, told reporters, adding: "My defense in this case will not be technical or legalistic; it will be categorical and absolute. I am innocent." [Transcript, Page A27.]

House Republicans rallied to the defense of their leader, a shrewd political force who is credited with using his hard-edge skills to maintain the Republicans' hold on the House and to advance the conservative Republican agenda.

Mr. DeLay and his allies described the one conspiracy count against him as motivated by anger over his role in a state redistricting plan that sent five new Texas Republicans to Congress after their party took control of the Statehouse in 2002. Mr. DeLay's actions in Texas during the 2002 campaign are the focus of the indictment issued Wednesday. If convicted, he could face up to two years in prison.

"Tom DeLay's effectiveness as majority leader is the best explanation for what happened in Texas today," Mr. Blunt said. "I'm confident that a full explanation of the facts in this case will clear Tom's name and return him to his position as majority leader."

But many Republicans also acknowledged that the indictment was of grave concern, adding to a litany of misconduct accusations centered on Republicans in Congress, including Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, and at the White House.

"It may be a witch hunt, but it is a huge problem," Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee, said of the conspiracy charge. "He will probably be exonerated in the long term, but that is a long time."

The indictment was another setback for the Republican majority, which has been reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration's handling of the initial relief effort and internal divisions about how extensive the recovery plan should be.

Democrats who have long sparred with Mr. DeLay and come out on the losing end say his indictment reinforces their view that the Republican majority has lost its ethical bearings.

"The criminal indictment of Majority Leader Tom DeLay is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people," said Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader.

For years, first as the House majority whip and then the majority leader, Mr. DeLay has been an aggressive partisan as well as a proponent of socially conservative ideas. When others were urging that Republicans drop the idea of impeaching President Bill Clinton in 1998, Mr. DeLay almost single-handedly kept up the pressure that led to the House impeachment vote.

Anticipating the possibility that Mr. DeLay could be indicted in the Texas case, House Republicans last year dropped an internal party rule that required a party leader to step down if indicted on a felony charge. But lawmakers encountered serious criticism of the change from members of the public and Democratic critics who saw it as a backward step, and they reversed the decision.

During their private session Wednesday to replace Mr. DeLay, some Republicans complained that the rule was an open invitation to prosecutors to lodge an indictment and influence the makeup of the leadership of Congress.

At the White House, the chief spokesman, Scott McClellan, said President Bush continued to see Mr. DeLay as a "good ally" and as "a leader we have worked closely with to get things done for the American people."

Asked about the indictment, Mr. McClellan said, "The president's view is that we need to let the legal process work."

Mr. DeLay has been a linchpin of Republican success over the past decade, since playing a role in the Republican takeover of the House in 1994. He is often called the Hammer in print for his hard-nosed approach, though it is not a nickname anyone uses with Mr. DeLay himself.

Instead, he has built his loyalty among Republican members by raising money for them and looking out for their legislative interests.

The indictment in Travis County was brought against Mr. DeLay; James W. Ellis, the head of Mr. DeLay's national political committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, or Armpac; and John D. Colyandro, the former head of Texans for a Republican Majority, a state political action committee. Mr. Ellis and Mr. Colyandro were also indicted last September on related charges.

The new indictment centered on Mr. DeLay's involvement with Texans for a Republican Majority, which he created with his aides in 2001 and which was modeled on Armpac.

During his career in the House, Mr. DeLay has used Armpac to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate donations for other Republican candidates, who in turn showed their loyalty to Mr. DeLay by electing him to the House leadership.

With the Texas committee, Mr. DeLay mapped a Republican takeover of his home state's Legislature, which the party achieved in 2002. The victory allowed Republicans to redraw Congressional districts in Texas, making it easier to elect Republicans to the House and solidifying Mr. DeLay's power in Congress.

In the indictment on Wednesday, prosecutors essentially accused Mr. DeLay and his aides of engineering their 2002 victory in Texas through money laundering - specifically, by violating a state law that bars companies from donating to individual candidates. The law is a legacy of struggles at the turn of the last century between farmers and ranchers on the one hand and so-called corporate robber barons eager to seize their lands.

The indictment charged that $155,000 in donations to the committee from six companies, including Sears Roebuck and Bacardi, the rum maker, were put into a bank account along with other money raised by Texans for a Republican Majority.

In September 2002, the indictment shows, the committee sent a check for $190,000 drawn from that account to the Republican National Committee in Washington. The check, which is reproduced in the indictment, was made out to the Republican National State Elections Committee, which oversees state races for the national party.

The indictment charged that Mr. Ellis, Mr. DeLay's aide, then provided Terry Nelson, President Bush's political director in his 2004 campaign and a Republican National Committee official, with a list of state Republican candidates in Texas who were to receive money, along with the amount of money for each.

The indictment suggests that the proceeds from the $190,000 check were then laundered back to Texas in the form of donations to the seven Republican candidates, in violation of the state's corporate money ban.

Mr. Earle, the Travis County prosecutor, had suggested as recently as a few weeks ago that he did not expect to indict Mr. DeLay, and lawyers and law enforcement officials in Austin speculated Wednesday that he must have obtained the cooperation of an important witness in deciding to bring charges.

At a news conference in Austin, Mr. Earle would not comment on details of the indictment, which was approved by the grand jury on its last day before disbanding.

Texas is not the only place Mr. DeLay's conduct is being scrutinized. He has called for a House ethics committee review of travel brought into question for potential violation of House rules, and he also figures in federal investigations of Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist and onetime DeLay confidant.

Mr. DeLay was also rebuked three times last year by the House ethics committee for fund-raising abuses and misuse of government agencies, a series of actions that ensnarled the committee in a fight over procedural changes sought by Republicans in the wake of the DeLay decisions. The chairman who oversaw the investigations, Representative Joel Hefley, Republican of Colorado, was also replaced.

"I think it's unfortunate for everybody, particularly for Tom, and I hope there's nothing to it," Mr. Hefley said of the indictment. "We'll just have to play it out and see."

Buddha says; "Have not for friends those whose soul is ugly; go not with men who have an evil soul. Have for friends those whose soul is beautiful, go with men whose soul is good".

Monday, September 26, 2005


Every day we are witnessing the beginning of this new era I have been calling "Enlightened Capitalism" It is the following story that inspires us all to re-examine our priorities and adds fuel to the argument that there is hope and a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. The story of Susan Standfield is just one of many. The encouraging part is she is in her late 30's with plenty of time to carry the message that being a "social entreprenuer" is a GOOD thing! With permission of the Vancouver Sun , here is her story:

SUSAN STANDFIELD'S Fashion T Shirts bring prosperity to Kenyan orhphans.

Yvonne Zacharias
Vancouver Sun

September 24, 2005

There is a saying in Africa -- moja moja -- that translates into English as one at a time. Susan Standfield has to remember it at times. Through tiny steps and tiny stitches, she is hoping to take bits of thread, swaths of cloth, the rhythms of Africa, the spirit of its children and weave a dream into reality.

It all began about four years ago in the middle of the night when she decided she was through with her job in television advertising.

"I didn't like the schedule. I didn't like the pressure. I didn't like how it treated people," said the 37-year-old Vancouver woman. "It was fine when I was younger. I didn't own anything at the end of the day. We made lots of money but I was always unemployed as soon as the job was over. I thought, I have to build something for my future."

Casting around, she hired a business coach to help her find her way.

Focus on the things you love, she was advised. Those happened to be four things: kids, photos, Africa and fashion design.

Out of that hazy sketch a little company grew. Called the Children's Photographic Gallery of Kenya, the company's premise is simple: children in Kenyan orphanages take photos of themselves to be distributed, primarily on T-shirts, for sale. The children are paid 10 per cent of the proceeds for their work, raising much-needed funds for the dirt-poor orphanages.

In western eyes, there are so many reasons to disbelieve. A for-profit company helping orphans? Aren't there enough designer T-shirts on the market already? How can this work?

Yet, in Kenyan eyes, there are so many reasons to believe.

Standfield herself initially approached the idea with trepidation. As soon as the words were out of her mouth to the coach, she was terrified. "I thought, oh my God, okay, when you tell somebody your dream, you are kind of on the hook."

Where to begin with such a dream? It wasn't the sort of job you would find in the Help Wanted ads.

She got her answer in an article in March of last year in The Vancouver Sun's travel section. North Vancouver freelancer Tim Morrison told readers about coming across a very special orphanage called SHERP, which stands for Samburu Handicap Education and Rehabilitation Program, while travelling in Kenya.

Morrison wrote about a heroic and compassionate local woman named Grace Seneiya who founded the orphanage, for children with disabilities in 1999. She truly is amazing Grace.

Both Standfield's business coach and her stepmother drew Standfield's attention to the article, which included an e-mail address for contacting Seneiya. It was a eureka moment for Standfield. She contacted this woman named Grace.

She registered the business and then in July of last year, sent off six plastic cameras to Seneiya along with how-to-photograph instructions with translations in Swahili and examples of the types of photos she wanted. She marked them "for handicapped kids," hoping that would prevent them from being robbed in the mail.

Seneiya admits to being a bit nervous when she opened the package at the orphanage. She quickly overcame her reservations. "I never thought it would work out because the children had never handled cameras before. But they learned so fast. I only took two weeks to teach them. They were so excited," she said in an interview from Kenya.

Seneiya's faith in the idea brought a gust of fresh air to Standfield, keeping her dream airborne.

Two months later, the film came back to Canada. "When I got them back from the lab, I was terrified they wouldn't expose properly and these kids would feel bad."

Standfield need not have worried. The kids did a fantastic job. Suddenly, it was time to quit her part-time job in Vancouver and devote herself totally to the business.

"I just jumped into it. I wasn't really prepared. I didn't have the kind of capital that every business needs, but every business births itself into life. Mine just started and I had to go with it."

She started selling the T-shirts bearing the kids' photos. "I started realizing that as fast as I was able to get a product out, people were willing to buy it. That's partly because they were friends and colleagues, but partly because I tried to make them cool, little consumable art products."

Selling the T-shirts primarily through her downtown studio at Suite 1022, 475 Howe St., she offered buyers a choice of colours, photographs and one-word logos like Swahili words for joy or happiness. A chic, fashionable woman herself, she would buy basic T-shirts and then redesign them, handstitching around the collar, the sleeves and the bottom.

She has sold about 90 limited edition T-shirts at $60 apiece. Another 60 were given to the three orphanages that have now signed on to the project to sell or were given away as thank-yous to people who helped the business. Because this is a business and not a charity, Standfield accepts nothing for free.

She is now at the point where she realizes she can't make all the T-shirts herself, so she needs to set up a sewing workshop. She would rather do that in Kenya than here, so she is planning to move to Nairobi in November.

To launch the business in Kenya, she is trying to pre-sell 1,000 T-shirts at $100 apiece. She has a long way to go. So far, she has sold 10, but she is undaunted.

She wants to use Kenyan products and labour exclusively to create jobs. By turning the orphanage mothers and the children into partners in the business, she is hoping to make about $500 a month for each of 10 orphanages.

Pie in the sky? Maybe. But Standfield dreams in big technicolour swatches. Her vision is longterm. If she can pull it off, it will be a tremendous boon to the orphanages, which scramble to come up with the necessities and function on a budget of $30 per child per month.

Early on in the adventure, she told film maker and friend Sam Oliver about the plan. Sam bought in right away and they planned on going to Africa to film, The film posed major challenges for Oliver. "Where would you like me to start?" he said, when asked what they were. "I had never been to Africa. I had no money. It was my first time making a long-format film, so I was kind of making it up as I went along. Also, we didn't really know what the story was going to be until way down the line." All the while, he had to worry about having his gear stolen.

Despite $3,000 in funding from the National Film Board, he has yet to come up with a $10,000 shortfall in making it. Through his company, bloodredcolt, he is still looking for a distributor.

Sam and Susan had worked on and off together for a number of years on television commercials and on a calendar to raise money for the Pivot Legal Society, which advocates for people in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. That venture on home turf demonstrated to Standfield the power and potential of altruistic commerce.

The world is so overpopulated already, she explains. To bring another child into the world? She doesn't know. "I can do this so easily with these 100 kids who are hoping, expecting the T-shirt business to work for them rather than being a mom to one child in Vancouver. That's a gift, I think. To be able to be that to a lot of kids."

Standfield is a passionate believer in the private enterprise model rather than the non-profit charitable or non-governmental organization (NGO) model. She said the former encourages those who benefit to become self-reliant participants rather than passive recipients of aid.

Being a private company, she is forced to be profitable and has the motivation to succeed. Her hands also aren't tied by the restrictive rules surrounding government aid.

She sees herself as one of a new breed of social entrepreneurs who are "posing a new challenge to NGOs and charities because we are getting access to larger amounts of private capital that has traditionally been used for NGOs."

She also sees her business as being on the crest of a wave of compassionate consumerism and greater corporate social responsibility that is coming our way. It is a trend that will see consumers eschewing commercially produced T-shirts for those from companies whose profits are funnelled into needy places and who make a point of playing by the fair trade and environmental rules. She said countries like England are much farther ahead of Canada on that front.

Standfield believes if everyone tried to do even a little, the world would be a better place. She is trying to do her part by investing foreign capital in Kenya.

She notes that by 2010, sub-saharan Africa is projected to have 25 million orphans. It now has 11 million, with 1.5 million of those being in Kenya. Four million of those 11 million will die before their fifth birthday. Such a waste and such a tragedy. What will the many others do with their lives?

Standfield said they can pick up guns, join resistance movements and turn to prostitution or they can transform the world for the better.

When she was in Kenya, she saw so much hope that they will decide on the latter course. When she asked the kids on camera what they wanted to do with their lives, almost all said they wanted to help people. They had dreams of becoming pilots, singers and advocates for women.

"These kids have Grace. They have the matrons and the orphanage. But mostly what you really need to survive in life is hope, the reason to believe. That's all these kids need -- to believe that there will be something for them in life."

It won't happen overnight. Moja, moja. One at a time.


Susan Standfield, e-mail to; website at

Sam Oliver, e-mail to, website at

Grace Seneiya,

Phyllis Keino,

Spirit of Faith orphanage (which is also involved in Standfield's project), e-mail to; website at

Buddha says; "To what end should the thought: 'I am the result of my own deeds, heir to deeds, having deeds for matrix, deeds for kin; to me the deeds come home again; whatever deed I do, whether good or evil, I shall become it's heir,' be contemplated often by man or woman".

Friday, September 23, 2005


What is compassion? Compassion is the wish that others be free of suffering. It is by means of compassion that we aspire to attain enlightenment. It is compassion that inspires us to engage in the virtuous practices that lead to Buddhahood. We must therefore devote ourselves to developing compassion.

The challenge for all of us who are just starting on this path is to take the first step. In th first step toward a compassionate heart, we must develop our empathy or closeness to others. In a society that is increasingly becoming impersonal through technology, this becmes a major challenge. With cell phones, text messaging, e-mail, voice mail, and the internet, we may never need to be with anyone on a face to face basis.

Buddha says, "we must also recognize the gravity of their misery. the closer we are to a person, the more unbearable we find that person's suffering. The closeness he speaks of is not a physical proximity, nor need it be an emotional one. It is a feeling of responsibility, of concern for a person. In order to develop such closeness, we must reflect upon the virtues of cherishing the well-being of others. We must come to see how this brings one an inner happiness and peace of mind. We must come to recognize how others respect and like us a result of such an attitude toward them. We must contemplate the short-comings of self-centerdness, seeing how it causes us to act in unvirtuous ways and how our own present fortune takes advantage of those less fortunate.

It is also important that we reflect upon the kindness of others. This realization is also a fruit of cultivating empathy. We must recognize how our fortune in business is really dependent upon the cooperation and contribution of others. Every aspect of our present well-being is due to hard work on the part of others. As we look around us at the buildings we live and work in, the roads we travel, the clothes we wear, or the food we eat, we must acknowledge that all are provided by others. None of these would exist for us to enjoy and make use of were it not for the kindness of so many people unknown to us. As we contemplate in this manner, our appreciation for others, as does or empathy and closeness to them.

When we look at our business, whether we are owners or workers, the same lessons apply. It is important to recognize the contributions of everyone from the receptionist to the janitor. These are not paid servants, they are persons of value. When we begin to have that level of compassion for everyone who touches us we can begin to look at the success of our business not from a financial standpoint but from a very personal place of deep caring for our fellow traveller on the journey of life.

The next time you have a sales meeting, a senior management strategy session, an employee retreat, or a shareholders meeting, take the time to really recognize our dependence on those for whom we feel compassion. This recognition brings them even closer It requires sustained attention to see others through less self-centered lenses. We must work at recognizing their enormous impact on our well-being both personally and in our business. When we resist indulging in a self-centered view of the world, we can replace it with a worldview that takes every living being into account. We must expect our view of others to change suddenly.

When Donald Trunp fires someone on the Apprentice, he says, "It's not personal, it's business"! The truth is it is personal, VERY PERSONAL!

Buddha says; "If acts of thought are done through love towards his fellows in the Brahma-faring, both openly and in private--this is a matter which conduces to untiy"


Along our spiritual journey in Buddhism, there are two apsects of our path that reflect two distinct kinds of practice we must engage in. Though the Buddha taught both, they were passed along over the centuries from teacher to students in two separate lineages. However, like the two wings of a bird, they are both necessary as we embark upon our journey to enlightenment, be it a state free of suffering for ourselves alone or the ultimate enlightened state of Buddhahood we seek in order to benefit all sentient beings.

The Dalai Lama in his book, "An Open Heart", describes "the vast" or the "method" aspect, referring particularly to the opening of our heart, of our compassion and love, as well as those qualities such as generosity and patience that extend from a loving heart. "it is here", he says that "our training involves enhancing these virtuous qualities while diminishing nonvirtuous tendencies.

What does it mean to open the heart? First of all, we undertstand that the idea of the heart is a metaphorical one. The heart is perceived in most cultures to be the wellspring of compassion, love, sympathy, righteousness, and intuition, and intuition rather than merely the muscle responsible for circulating blood through the body. In the Buddist worldview, both aspects of the heart, however, are understood to take place in the mind. Ironically, the Buddhist view is that the mind is located in the middle of the chest. An open heart is an open mind. A change of heart is a change of mind. Still, our conception of the heart provides a useful, if temporary, tool when trying to understand the distinction between the "vast" and "profound" aspects of the path."

The other aspect of practice, the Dalai Lama further states, is the "wisdom" aspect, also known as the "profound". Here he says, "we are in the realm of the head", where understanding, analysis, and critical perception are the ruling notions. In the wisdom aspect of the path, we work at deepening our understanding of impermanence, the suffering nature of existence, and our actual state of selflessness. Any one of these insights can take many lifetimes to fully fathom. Yet it is ony by recognizing the impermanent nature of things that we can overcome our grasping at them and at any notion of permanence.

Buddha says; "A recluse's goal is patience and forbearance. Wisdom is his ambition, moral habit is his resolve, nothingness his want, nirvana is his fulfilment."

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Over the past couple of weeks, I experienced a number of events that lead me to believe that we have all adopted a mantra of "What Price Glory"! Last week I received in the mail an invitation to the 11th Annual Worldwide Luminary Series: Leading to Greatness; Building True Success. Count the number of times the word success is mentioned in the pamphlet content;

* Building True Success
* Achieving Success involves a combination of skill, insight, and discipline
* Leading to Greatness: Building True success is an unparalleled opportunity for you to take that major step to build true success for both you and your organization
* You'll learn the strategies behind success, ideas that are on the forefront of leadership, and how to take yur entire organization to then next level of productivity, opportunity, and success
* Spend a day with many of the foremost thought leaders and innovators in the world. Their insights will help you do more than just succeed. This program will enable you to build new success that can achieve greatness both in your organization and in your life. Don't miss this one-time opportunity!

So let me get this straight- for $299 bucks...$249 if I register early I get to sit and listen to the likes of Rudy Guiliani, Richard Branson, Jack Welch and Carly Fiorina etc inspire me on their stories of how they have achieved greatness. Because after all I have the power to achieve greatness as well and I need to make the most of it, according to this brochure. The real message comes in the box on the front page, which says; "WE MUST BUILD TRUE SUCCESS IN OUR LIVES AND WORK".

The message is indeed as clear as a Tony Robbins infomercial at 3 a.m.,if you don't get off the couch and call for my tapes, you are destined to a life of failure and unhappiness, and if you don't believe me you can certainly believe Liza Gibbons, who hosts the show, and who by the way gets paid big bucks for that. As did Fran Tarkenton and others who act as testimonials for all the alleged gurus of the "paid programming" hall of fame.

So what to make of the heretofore mentioned Worldwide Luminary Series. Whenever indiviudals become mesmerized by "famous people", these people become the measuring stick for true success. Whether they are movie stars, milllionaires, or world leaders. The people I admire most are Martin Luther King, Gandi, Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela. Why, because their success is measured by accomplishments of the human spirit. I believe many people sabotage their own llves by believing that unless they attain the lofty heights of greatness and success measured by the likes of Richard Branson or Donald Trump, they really won't have it all. And after all isn't that the American way,to have it all, that's why we live in America. And by the way, I can tell you as a Canadian citizen, the people here are not immune to that belief system either. It's just tempered by a socialistic political ideology.

Last night I was invited to a seminar given by a colleague of mine, who took great lengths to tell me he was on the same path as I was and that we should do business together, by referring my star client base to his seminars. It's amazing what happens when you write a book, people come out of the woodwork that you haven't talked to for years to either support you or ride the bandwagon. I've been pretty good at sniffing out what's real and what's fluff. But this one fooled me . I truly believed he was who he said he was becoming. To his credit he did say that I should see his performance, as he put it, before I recommend my clients. Thank goodness I did.

I went to the seminar with an open mind and within the first 10 minutes I had that old "Tony Robbins" dejavu feeling. As many of you know I was one of the early franchise owners for Tony and one of the requirments was to have information sessions for prospective customers. Of course, we were always told to have converts in the room with testimonials at the ready on how this program changed their life.

As I scanned the room, I noticed how the "newbies" were kind of squirming in their seats, while the converts were raising their hands and saying "yes" at the appropriate prompting of my friend, the leader. The standard set of questions were evoked, like they are at all good info motivational self-help sessions, Eg:; "How many of you want to have success and wealth in your life"? How many of you want to learn the 7 secrets of the top millionaires in the world"? "How many of you are truly happy in your life now"? "How many of you would like to have a loving and successful realtionship with your spouse or partner"? "How many of you would like residual income so that you can give to the charity of your choice"? "How many of you would like to live your life to the fullest"? How many of you believe a million dollars is enough to retire on"? And the closer; "If I could teach you the seven ways to achieve ultimate happiness in your life and your business, what would that be worth to you?"

Okay enough, I'm about to throw up, and you too I'm sure, well I was about to until mercifully he asked for us to break into groups of three so we could tell each other our goals, I bolted for the door. Out in the fresh air I took a deep breath and thanked the universe for delivering me from this crooked road of hype and glory on to the path of discovering the true essence of life.

A place of right action, right mindfulness, right livelihood, truth, integrity, and compassion. I make no apologies for the fact I am just learning the Buddha principles, but believe me when I tell you I have found more joy in being a student of this journey in four months than I ever had in a lifetime of buying franchises, becoming an MLM distributor or running motivational self help workshops for fun and profit.

Here are some definitons of success on the web that can confuse us even more:

"An event that accomplishes its intended purpose; "let's call heads a success and tails a failure"; "the election was a remarkable success for Republicans"

"An attainment that is successful; "his success in the marathon was unexpected"; "his new play was a great success"

"A state of prosperity or fame; "he is enjoying great success"; "he does not consider wealth synonymous with success"

"An achiever: a person with a record of successes; "his son would never be the achiever that his father was"; "only winners need apply"; "if you want to be a success you have to dress like a success"

So as you can see the only one that really resonates and speaks to us, is that "wealth is not considered synonymous with success". Think about it, what would you like to be written at your grave site or for your eulogy; "Bob was a great guy, he had triple his sales quota in 2004, he drove a brand new Jaguar, he had a 2400 square foot house with a pool, he built a business empire and retired a multi-milllionaire, he always measured his success by his wealth and building crucial skills in today's business world. He lead effectively with cutting edge principals. He achieved greatness for himself and his entire organization. And most important of all, he followed the universal principal; "WE MUST BUILD TRUE SUCCESS IN OUR LIVES AND WORK". You get the picture...

Here's what I would hope they write about me; "Allan was a kind and gentle man, who always stopped to help those who needed help. He always put others first before himself. He was a loving and compassionate human being. He cared deeply for his children, his grandchildren, and the loves of his life. He valued his friendships as he did his family. He always tried to remember the good things about his Mother and Father. He honoured and respected all he came in contact with. He was a man of the utmost integrity and trust. He values, loves and appreciated the last woman in his life Roxanne. He is grateful to all who mentored, supported, healed and blessed his life while on this earth."

These words are words of hope and prayer, because the truth is I am on the path of still fulfilling these noble aspirations, and once the journey ends, I will know that I have achieved what truly is important, not success but enlightenment.

Buddha says; "Do not err in this matter of self and other. Everything is Buddha without exception. Here is that immaculate final stage, where thought is pure in it's true nature"


Another recommended book from Berrett-Koehler:


by John de Graff David Wann Thomas H. Naylor

Price: $17.95
Paper - 275 pages


Based on the popular PBS television specials, Affluenza and Escape from Affluenza, viewed by 15 million people
Uses the whimsical metaphor of a flu-like illness to clearly illustrate the serious symptoms, causes, and cures of obsessive materialism
A fast-paced, very readable book that shows how to "beat the bug" and achieve healthier, happier lives.


Affluenza; a painful, contagious, virally transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.


Based on two highly acclaimed PBS documentaries, Affluenza uses the whimsical metaphor of a disease to tackle a very serious subject: the damage done-to our health, our families, our communities, and our environment-by the obsessive quest for material gain that, since World War II, has been the core principle of the American Dream. The authors show that problems like loneliness and rising debt, longer working hours and environmental pollution, family conflict and rampant commercialism are actually symptoms caused by a single "disease": affluenza, the never-ending search for more.

Like any medical report, Affluenza begins by detailing the symptoms of the disease. Chapters with titles like Swollen Expectations, A Rash of Bankruptcies, Shopping Fever, Chronic Congestion, and An Ache for Meaning detail the many serious and unexpected consequences of our society's compulsive desire to acquire.

Deepening their diagnosis, the authors explore the origins of affluenza. What causes it? Where did it come from? Why has it only recently begun to spread, seemingly unchecked, throughout the entire world?

Thankfully, affluenza can be cured. If it turns out you do have the bug-the book includes a self-diagnosis test so you can find out-the authors detail a number of treatments that offer hope for recovery. They show readers how millions have already enriched their lives by getting rid of the excess baggage, the cultural clutter, and the exhausting race to keep up with the Joneses. Affluenza offers prescriptions that deliver greater value for the money, time, and energy spent each day; for augmenting individual efforts with political remedies; for inoculating ourselves against advertising; for using technology and inspired design to minimize the side-effects of overconsumption; and more.

Engaging, fast-paced, and accessible, Affluenza takes a hard look at a complex and serious issue, revealing ways of living and working that make more sense and are, ultimately, more satisfying. After all, the best things in life aren't things.


As you all know, I am not adverse to recommending selected books that have a relevance to the musings of this blog. As such here is one that has merit:

Corporate Social Investing
by Curt Weeden, Paul Newman,Peter Lynch

Price: $29.95 From Berret-Koehler Publishing
Hardcover - 250 pages


Details a practical, 10-step plan that can create exciting new relationships between businesses and nonprofits
Weeden's plan could generate an additional $3 billion a year in corporate support for vital causes, improving quality of life for millions, while at the same time bolstering corporate profits
Offers essential advice for businesses planning their corporate social investing strategies and nonprofits seeking corporate support


Author Curt Weeden unveils a 10-step "corporate social investing" plan which not only promises to improve a company's bottom line but should lead to an increase of $3 billion or more a year in business support for schools, healthcare institutions, civic groups, and other nonprofit organizations.


Corporate philanthropy is on its way out. A new concept called "corporate social investing"-which requires that every commitment of money and/or product/equipment/land which a company makes must have a significant business reason-is taking its place. The transition has implications to every business and nonprofit organization in America. This book provides the strategic plan for making the transition to corporate social investing. By following the practical steps described here, businesses and nonprofits can forge creative alliances that can boost corporate profits while at the same time providing added resources for schools, colleges, cultural organizations, civic groups, and other important charities.

Weeden's breakthrough plan, based on his innovative concept of corporate social investing, has the potential to dramatically change the way businesses and nonprofits interact. If widely implemented, it could substantially increase corporate support for nonprofits, turning the tide against cutbacks, offering profound benefits to businesses, and revitalizing the essential services nonprofits provide.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


From the desk of Ray Kurzwell, Inventor & Futurist:

"We’ve seen a migration away from jobs that involve extending our bodies. At the beginning of the 20th century, 30% of the population worked on farms and 30% worked in factories. Those figures are now down to 3% each. So we’ve seen a profound shift there already. Increasingly, professions involve expanding the reach of our minds and creating knowledge. Knowledge in very broad forms, whether the knowledge is music or art or culture or writing or science or technology. Increasingly that’s where our work efforts will be directed.

I think people should go with their passion. If they really have a passion for art, we’ve seen a great empowering of the arts through technology. There’s a tremendous need for creating graphics and so on. I know artists that could hardly make a living who are now in tremendous demand as Web designers. It does pay to learn skills to be able to express ones passion in the vernacular and technology of the times. I do have exposure to a variety of fields, and it’s remarkable to me how technically sophisticated every field is becoming, from library science to music to art to certainly science and technology."

I recall several years ago attending a seminar with the renowned speaker and mentor Jim Rohn. He asked us all what we did for a living and the responses ranged from chartered accountant to broadcaster. I was the broadcaster. He then asked us what we liked to do most when we were 10 years old. Everyone's face lit up as we went around the room telling each other's stories. I recalled that when I was ten, my father built a makeshift radio station in our den...with an amplifier and record player to spin records like a real DJ. It was there in my make believe radio station broadcasting to my Mother on a 9 inch speaker in the kitchen that I found true happiness. With my Mom as my #1 fan I did indeed find my true passion.

His theory was that whatever we loved to do when we were ten years old, at some point we will wind up doing that, which in turn will become our true passion and our greatest enjoyment. Until then we are just doing our job. What did you love to do when you were ten years old?

Buddha says: "Deeds done in harmony with one's path of life are those which bring clarity and peace and harmony to the doer".

Monday, September 19, 2005


As you all know, I am a huge fan of Fast Company Magazine and in particular, the regular on-line daily dose of First Impression or Fast Takes. Some of the world's best journalists appear with columns of relevant interest to not only myself but the readers of this blog. So on many occasions you will see me transpose these stories on to the blog with the permission and suitbale acknowledgement for Fast Company. The other day, an example of the ""Big Business-Big Politics" syndrome appeared in my daily e-mail, and I felt compelled to bring you the truth....that is if you can handle the truth.

Two journalists interviewing two different individuals with the same mission. Daniel Pink talks to Charles Lewis, a former high profile broadcaster about Wall Street and Washington---strange bedfellows in the rising tide of corporate greed. And Keith Hammonds interviews Eliot Spitzer,the New York Attorney General who has been fighting an uphill battle to uncover the truth on Wall Street and putting people away for their crimes.

Abraham Maslow defined self-actualization as the process of discovering what you were made to do and making a commitment to do it with excellence. That is what the three circles are all about: making self-actualization work in a capitalist society. No one ever reached self-actualization simply by seizing a bubble moment to get rich and retire. Similarly, no one ever self-actualized by taking the cockroach strategy of just hunkering down and trying to survive until difficult times passed.

There are, of course, no guarantees. Luck is always a factor, and the dice can roll against you. But that does not change the fact that those who go about their lives and work with the passion to create and build in pursuit of self-created goals are the only ones who will find meaning in the end -- regardless of whether the dice roll their way. The fact of the matter is that life is short, and we only carry to our graves the inner integrity of our efforts. Only we know how we lived our lives, whether we cut corners, whether we did anything of value -- or whether we took the built-to-flip approach to life.

In 1989, Charles Lewis left the world of high-profile broadcast journalism to invent the world of what he calls "public-service journalism." Lewis, who was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1998, founded the Center for Public Integrity in 1990 to pursue investigative projects that the major media were neglecting. During the past 12 years, the center has produced 10 books and more than 100 reports documenting the often-sordid ties between big money and big politics.

Isn't the problem limited to a few bad apples?

Not unless the whole world is your orchard. That's a lot of apples, folks! More companies are restating their earnings now than at any time in U.S. history. And by the way: They have dumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the political process to weaken any laws that might exist to curb the excesses.

So Washington is complicit in this?

You can't look at Wall Street without looking at Washington. They're joined at the hip. Congress and the politicians were the enablers for those scandals. They needed the campaign cash. The corporate executives needed certain favors. Everyone got what they wanted -- except, of course, investors and the public. Ninety-six percent of Americans don't contribute to political campaigns at all. The wealthiest elements of this country are sustaining and sponsoring the political process and its actors. What that means is that you get a government that's essentially bought and paid for by the powerful interests affected by those decisions.

If that's right, where's the outrage?

The outrage is muted, because you don't know who to trust. In 1994, we had Newt Gingrich's Contract with America and a new Congress coming to Washington to turn the city on its ear. In their first six months in office, those new members took more campaign money than any previous freshman class in the history of the Congress. We know what happens to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It becomes a Stephen King movie.

Do people not want to hear the truth?

Sometimes it does feel like we're trying to force people to drink castor oil. People don't really want to get bad news. But information is power. Until you find out the truth, you can't dig yourself out of the mess.

Who can people trust today to tell us the truth?

It's a very short list. Everyone has been discredited. We have a situation where we don't trust our government or our capitalist system. The level of distrust right now is probably unparalleled since the 1930s.

Is there a way to rebuild that trust?

You set tough standards, and you actually -- what a concept! -- enforce them. You have transparency. You have openness. You have a set of rules. You enforce those rules. I'm sorry if it sounds old-fashioned, but it's time for leadership. In the boardroom. In the Oval Office. On Capitol Hill. Our leaders can't think it's just a few bad apples. They have to take this very seriously and exert new standards in our society. In that sense, it's an exciting moment. We didn't talk like this a year ago.

by Daniel H. Pink

The Investigator: "People Will Be Going to Jail"


New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer fits the part of the crusading cop. Last May, his crusade won national notoriety when Merrill Lynch agreed to pay a $100 million fine to atone for the misleading recommendations made by its research analysts.

Spitzer's office is still sniffing out conflicts of interest among Wall Street's analysts and bankers, focusing for the moment on the analysts who are covering failed telecom companies such as WorldCom and on bankers' practice of allotting initial-public-offering shares to favored clients.

What kind of financial crimes are you investigating?

There are two sets of crimes. One is the gamesmanship of CEOs with the numbers. That is elementary fraud. That crime originated in the field, driven by CEOs who wanted to trigger their options or hit unrealistic numbers. They fabricated numbers. That's old-fashioned stuff. The crime that originated on Wall Street was a result of the conflicts and tensions that exist when you have that many decision makers and that much money floating around. The analysts, the investment bankers, the underwriters -- there was an ease with which money could be shifted and markets could be pumped.

Wall Street's stock research has been corrupt for years. Why hasn't anything been done before?

When the market was going up, there was less pain, so there weren't as many complaints. Plus, there were checks and balances that used to exist in the corporate context. You had outside auditors, directors, regulators, shareholders. Every one of those checks fell prey to the notion that things were going so well, no one needed to pay attention. The ease with which people made money masked the underlying tensions. It's when everything falls apart that people start questioning the system.

So the solution is for those people to pay attention?

The solution must involve all market participants. It requires a renewed sense of ethics at every level. It means that CEOs can't simply tell their investment bankers, "Fire this analyst," if a report isn't favorable. It means that the president of the investment bank has to have the willpower to say, "We're not going to change our analyst report just because you're significant banking clients." And mutual funds have to tell their investment bankers, "We expect more of you." I've been telling the trustees of pension funds, "Hey guys, it's your money. You are ultimate fiduciaries, and you have the capacity because of your leverage to set the rules." I think we'll see an awakening on the part of all of those overseers and an end to the era of the imperial CEO.

Where will all of this stand a year from now?

People will be going to jail. Individual criminal liability will be found. Just as important, there will be a rewriting of the rules. Our inquiries and those of others will continue, and the new rules will emerge as a function of individual settlements. Ultimately, we'll see a new structure within which analysts have to operate and new rules about IPO issuances.

Do the people who run Wall Street realize now that they've been doing something wrong?

I'm not sure. I do believe there is a renewed attention to the underlying ethical problems posed by the conflicts of interest on Wall Street. But I don't know whether there is any sense of remorse for wrongdoing.

by Keith H. Hammonds

Buddha says: "A man whose words are lies, who transgresses the Great Law, and who scorns the higher world---there is no evil this man may not do".


Last week I got a call from a columnist of a local business publication, Michelle Gahagan. She had some nice things to say about my forthcoming book, "BUDDHA IN THE BOARD ROOM." It's always encouraging to get reviews like this. It helps validate your mission and purpose. Also, really great to hear from others who share your path and passion!

Business in Vancouver September 13-19, 2005; issue 829

Michelle Gahagan

Luncheon Counters

Buddha needs a seat at your boardroom table

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail letting me know about an upcoming book called Buddha in the Boardroom. No question it's a catchy title, and there's no question that the confluence of the concepts of Buddha and boardroom happens to be of great interest to me. Digging a little further, I talked to the author, Allan Holender, about what's on his mind and how these seemingly disparate notions could ever come together. What he told me surprised me and gave me some hope that the movement that has long been predicted - social entrepreneurship, if you will - might finally have some legs.

I believe that there's a substantial movement afoot where individuals want to be part of something that is authentic to them and their lives. After all, every organization is by definition a grouping of mere mortals, brought together to accomplish something, whether it's operating a Royal Bank branch or installing mufflers. The defiling of corporate America in recent years has made us all acutely aware of the shortcomings of profit without regard for consequence.

At a micro level, we're somewhat insulted. You don't need to be a career lefty to find the conduct of the WorldCom executives disgusting. You merely have to have a pulse.

Holender has had experience in radio, and, along the way, one of his adventures was to interview interesting people in front of a live audience.

One of the people that he talked to was Arren Stephens, the founder of Nature's Path, now the biggest natural cereal vendor in the world. Other interviewees like Bob Rennie and Ian Wilkinson (real estate king and Radical Entertainment head, respectively) gave Holender pause.

What was different about the way they were doing things and why did they seem to be able to bring larger value propositions into what they did for a living?

Due in large part to the inspiration of Stephens and Joel Baken (of The Corporation fame), Holender did some digging and discovered that underneath what some of these exceptional people were doing was something called the Eightfold Path.

I'll confess a healthy interest in all things Buddhist myself, but I'm a bit of a beginner. As such, here is an exceedingly simplistic view of the Path: we all get in our own way but can, on a minute-by-minute basis, make more evolved, more informed choices (resulting in greater happiness for us and others). If we made choices to speak authentically and truthfully as well as act with integrity it would be a great first step to getting out of our own way.

How does Holender relate this to the boardroom? These seemingly minute choices, all made dozens of times every day by each individual in an organization can make a historic difference.

Leaders, by definition, have the biggest responsibility to stand up and make those authentic choices - biggest responsibility, biggest impact. Shout out here to Dave Mowat and Chip Wilson, just to choose two.

There is a risk that this is the flavour of the month. Every company seems to have something to say about triple bottom line, the point of which is to speak to something other than pure profit motivation.

What Holender found is that by necessity much of this starts with the motivation of individuals within organizations to be visionary and show leadership to ensure that the Buddhist principles of engaging in more that pure pursuit of profit get taken seriously.

It's pretty amazing to talk to Holender and hear the desire of someone who, at 64, wants to continue to learn and grow and provide value to others.

Holender tells the story of buying his Tony Robbins franchise years ago. He met the big guy and has some interesting things to say about him and his motivations. What's the difference between Tony and what Holender is talking about now?

The desire to do things other than engage in endless self-interest, which in its simplest form is what many motivational speakers and writers do. Tom Vu just wanted you to get the boat and the chicks, didn't he?

There is no doubt that something is happening here. There is a wide chasm between what the world at large is experiencing (Enron, Worldcom) and what our authentic selves tell us ought to be happening (Vancity, The Corporation, general disgust at corporate greed and people like Bernie Ebbers). Everyone feels the disconnect. The question is: what's the best tool to bridge the gap? If it turns out to be the Eightfold Path (or even a Twofold Path to start) the world can't help but be a far, far better place.

Michelle Gahagan is a Vancouver lawyer who deals with all manner of entrepreneurial issues. She can be reached at



Canadian Press

Monday, September 19, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) - Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco International Ltd., was sentenced Monday to 81/3 to 25 years in prison Monday for stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company.

His codefendant, former Tyco finance chief Mark Swartz, received the same sentence, which means they will be eligible for parole after eight years and four months.

The judge also ordered them to pay a total of $134 million in restitution; in addition, Kozlowski was fined $70 million, Swartz $35 million.

Family members wept in the gallery as the sentences were imposed.

The sentences end a case that exposed the executives' extravagant lifestyle after pilfering some $600 million from the company: A $2 million toga birthday party for Kozlowski's wife on a Mediterranean island and an $18 million Manhattan apartment with a $6,000 shower curtain.

Kozlowski, 58, and Swartz, 44, were convicted in June after a four-month trial on 22 counts of grand larceny, falsifying business records, securities fraud and conspiracy. It was their second trial - the first ended in mistrial after a juror said she received threats following reports that she made an "OK" signal to the defense team.

Kozlowski and Swartz join a line of other executives sent off to prison in a wave of white-collar scandals that shook corporate America and outraged the public after thousands of people lost their jobs and pension nest-eggs.

WorldCom Chairman Bernard Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in prison earlier this year for the $11 billion accounting fraud that toppled the telecommunications firm. Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, former CEO Jeffrey Skilling and former top Enron accountant Richard Causey are expected to go to trial in January.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Numerous times I am asked why are you writing a book called "Buddha in the Board Room" and why now? Is the world really ready for a new approach to enlightned leadership and does the eight fold path of the Buddha really have a place in Corporate America? Here's my answer:

TOP 10 BOSSES FROM HELL (Re-Printed from Fast Company)


People thought Gulf & Western was predatory and acquisitive under Charles Bluhdorn, who earned it the nickname "Engulf & Devour." But when his tough-as-nails protege Davis ascended to the top position, a visitor asked why half of the offices were empty on the top floor of the company's Manhattan skyscraper. "Those were my enemies," Davis said. "I got rid of them."


Scroogelike employer who routinely screamed at his staffers and made them all work the Friday after Thanksgiving, when he called many times to make sure they were still at the office. Proclaimed "Greed is healthy" in a 1986 commencement address at UC Berkeley, the inspiration for the Gordon Gekko speech in Wall Street. Served prison time for securities fraud but reemerged as a tanned La Jolla beach dude -- and never said he was sorry.


So self-righteous that he claimed "God gave me my money." The most corrupt mogul of the most corrupt era, he masterminded a grand, cruel conspiracy in 1871 with the railroads to double the price of transporting oil for all producers except his cartel.


Fastow could be so hot-headed that he once got into a punch-out with a taxi driver over 70 cents. Pocket change indeed compared to the $24 million of illicit gains the Enron CFO agreed to give back when he pleaded guilty to securities fraud -- or the billions of dollars lost by shareholders when his secret schemes ultimately triggered the company's collapse.


Her most brilliant business move was having an affair with elderly real-estate baron Harry Helmsley, whom she conned into leaving his wife of 33 years by buying herself an engagement ring -- then telling him it was from a rival. Running his hotel empire, she became the "Queen of Mean" to the hundreds of employees she berated and fired on the spot, allegedly for things like a misaligned lampshade. Convinced that taxes were for the "little people," she wound up in prison for tax evasion.


Perhaps history's most dictatorial accountant, Geneen ran the huge ITT in the 1960s and 1970s. His method: publicly humiliating his top 120 executives every month at grueling, four-day, 14-hour-long meetings that made some of them physically ill. Geneen liked to see the pained expressions on their faces as he tore into them.


The man behind the Mouse was a suspicious control freak -- a dictatorial boss who underpaid his workers, clashed with labor organizing efforts, made anti-Semitic smears about the other Hollywood studio heads, and wouldn't give due recognition to Mickey's real creator, animator Ub Iwerks, who was supposedly his oldest friend. He also spied prodigiously for J. Edgar Hoover and cooperated with Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1960s


Bribed his way through the oil business. Laundered money for Soviet spies. Forced his mistress to alter the way she looked to throw off his wife. Reneged on promises to support his illegitimate daughter. Forced his board members to give him signed resignation letters that he could accept if they ever dared to oppose him. Then promoted himself for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Ford used shadowy henchmen to run "secret police" who spied on employees. He had machine guns, tear gas, and a private army at the ready to deter union organizers. He cheated on his wife with his teenage personal assistant and then had the younger woman marry his chauffer as a cover.


As CEO of Sunbeam in the 1990s, Dunlap charged a bulletproof vest and a handgun to his expense account -- understandable given the delight he took in laying off thousands of workers and subjecting his executives to profane, abusive tirades. He threw a chair across the room at his head of human resources, allegedly threatened his first wife with guns and knives, and failed to attend the funerals of either of his parents.

Buddha says: If a man speaks or acts with an impure mind, suffering follows him as the wheel of the cart follows the beast that draws it".

The Top 10 Bosses from Hell

Click below for Fast Company's gallery of the most manipulative, abusive, grandiose -- and downright crooked -- executives who have strutted their way across the stage of American business.



Forget autocrats and visionaries. Farsighted, tolerant, humane CEOs aren't just nice to work for. They deliver nice results, too.

From: Fast Company Issue 98| September 2005 | Page 27 By: Linda Tischler


Management style. It sounds like a GQ headline for a feature on Zegna suits. But wander the lushly carpeted halls of America's boardrooms, executive suites, and headhunters' offices, or peruse pointyheaded workplace journals, and you'll find "management style" on everyone's lips.

Why? Consider the failed CEO class of 2005. Most of them didn't do anything to draw Eliot Spitzer's gimlet eye. Morgan Stanley's Philip Purcell, Hewlett-Packard's Carly Fiorina, and Disney's Michael Eisner, to name a few, were put out to the curb by their boards ostensibly because of failed strategies, shareholder lawsuits, and missed earnings. Look deeper, though, and you'll see that it was really their management styles that tripped them up.

Purcell was an autocrat who treated his own employees with contempt. Eisner was smart and creative, but also paranoid and unwilling to share power. And while Fiorina was great on the hustings -- the queen of the keynote -- she was so inept at minding business back at the mothership that her successor, the consummately hands-on Mark Hurd, is being heralded as the "anti-Carly."

Fiorina and her ilk certainly didn't lack management style. It's just that their styles have fallen out of fashion. Boards have been burned too often by self-proclaimed titans whose personalities so dominate an organization that they shut out alternative or challenging points of view. So charisma is out. Imperiousness is so five minutes ago. Autumn's hot look for bosses is the ability to rally the troops behind the organization's mission and objectives. Heard of it? It's called leadership.

Boards are increasingly looking for CEOs who can demonstrate superb people skills in dealing with employees or other stakeholders while delivering consistent results. "I think leadership is more important than strategy, and I say that as a former McKinsey guy," says James Citrin, senior director at executive search firm Spencer Stuart, who has placed such high-profile CEOs as Terry Semel at Yahoo and Ed Zander at Motorola. "Strategy is important, but the same strategy executed by two different leaders will have dramatically different results." The new model, says Sydney Finkelstein, professor of strategy and leadership at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business and an expert on why leaders fail, is someone with "the highest ethical standards, who can lead by example, and who can build a strong effective team around him or her. Those are the hot buttons now, rather than the cowboy riding in to provide the magic answer for the company."

"Farsighted, tolerant, humane and practical CEOs returned 758% over 10 years, versus 128% for the S&P 500."
Fortunately, it turns out that such soft skills can lead to hard numbers. Raj Sisodia, professor of marketing at Bentley College, Jag Sheth, of Emory University, and writer David Wolfe recently completed a study of companies they call "Firms of Endearment" (which will also be the title of their upcoming book). Unlike most students of corporate exceptionalism, Sisodia, Sheth, and Wolfe began their research by winnowing down a list of several hundred top firms based on a human-performance screen. How did they treat suppliers, environmentalists, and their communities? How good were their CEOs at inspiring employees? After doing detailed case studies on 60 of these firms, they came up with a list of 35 that had the best records.

When the authors turned to financial performance, they found that the public companies in their sample returned 758% over 10 years, versus 128% for the S&P 500. Over the past five years -- a particularly tough period during which the S&P lost 13% -- these firms returned 205%.

In each case, these organizations are led by CEOs who inspire respect, loyalty, and even affection, rather than fear. They are, if you will, "Aquarian CEOs" -- farsighted, tolerant, humane, and practical. And they have the courage of their idealistic convictions, even when it means staring down myopic criticism from Wall Street. The businesses they run, it turns out, are the kind we like to cover. Among them: Costco, Whole Foods, Best Buy, Toyota, and JetBlue.

Is this model a new classic? Or like the untucked striped shirts and low-rise pants that currently overwhelm the fashion landscape, will it be an embarrassing management fashion of the week, an appealing but transitory look that gets knocked off the runways by some kick-ass SOB with a take-no-prisoners strategy for dealing with China, Wall Street, and tree huggers alike?

Sisodia argues that this change is more fundamental, an outgrowth of a tectonic shift in the culture, and he's right. "People are expecting more from the companies they're working for, more from the companies they're doing business with, and more from the companies they're buying from," he says. And if these too-good-to-be-true paragons can also deliver the goods, it'll be the best change in management style since casual Friday.

Copyright © 2004 Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing. All rights reserved.
Fast Company, 375 Lexington Avenue.,New York , NY 10017

Buddha says: " A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise".

Friday, September 09, 2005


United Airlines
Elk Grove Township, Illinois

The world has been through a lot. The employees of United Airlines have been through a lot -- and more. It wasn't until two weeks after September 11 that I gave myself permission to grieve. I was at the opening night of the Chicago Symphony. I just listened to the music and cried. And kept crying.

I am still grieving. But shock has given way to determination. September 11 forced us to get rid of the BS in our thinking. Before September 11, we wanted to be the biggest and best airline. Today, we just want to survive. Before September 11, we believed that size would forgive a lot of our errors. Now we have no room for error. Before September 11, we took a lot of things for granted: that business would always get better, that demand would grow. We no longer take anything for granted.

That said, our sense of purpose has never been greater. We are returning to our core values. Whether it's in advertising, product positioning, or the way that we view ourselves and our customers, we're more sincere in what we say and what we do.

Business has become more real.

Buddha says; "Warded in act and word, in eating temperate, with truth I clear the weeds; and full of bliss is my deliverance"


This article was worth a blog entry, my thanks to loyal reader Brad Danks for passing it on (


By Robert Scheer

09/06/05 "Los Angeles Times" -- -- WHAT THE WORLD has witnessed this past week is an image of poverty and social disarray that tears away the affluent mask of the United States.

Instead of the much-celebrated American can-do machine that promises to bring freedom and prosperity to less fortunate people abroad, we have seen a callous official incompetence that puts even Third World rulers to shame. The well-reported litany of mistakes by the Bush administration in failing to prevent and respond to Katrina's destruction grew longer with each hour's grim revelation from the streets of an apocalyptic New Orleans.

Yet the problem is much deeper. For half a century, free-market purists have to great effect denigrated the essential role that modern government performs as some terrible liberal plot. Thus, the symbolism of New Orleans' flooding is tragically apt: Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and Louisiana Gov. Huey Long's ambitious populist reforms in the 1930s eased Louisiana out of feudalism and toward modernity; the Reagan Revolution and the callousness of both Bush administrations have sent them back toward the abyss.

Now we have a president who wastes tax revenues in Iraq instead of protecting us at home. Levee improvements were deferred in recent years even after congressional approval, reportedly prompting EPA staffers to dub flooded New Orleans "Lake George."

None of this is an oversight, or simple incompetence. It is the result of a campaign by most Republicans and too many Democrats to systematically vilify the role of government in American life. Manipulative politicians have convinced lower- and middle-class whites that their own economic pains were caused by "quasi-socialist" government policies that aid only poor brown and black people — even as corporate profits and CEO salaries soared.

For decades we have seen social services that benefit everyone — education, community policing, public health, environmental protections and infrastructure repair, emergency services — in steady, steep decline in the face of tax cuts and rising military spending. But it is a false savings; it will certainly cost exponentially more to save New Orleans than it would have to protect it in the first place.

And, although the wealthy can soften the blow of this national decline by sending their kids to private school, building walls around their communities and checking into distant hotels in the face of approaching calamities, others, like the 150,000 people living below the poverty line in the Katrina damage area — one-third of whom are elderly — are left exposed.

Watching on television the stark vulnerability of a permanent underclass of African Americans living in New Orleans ghettos is terrifying. It should be remembered, however, that even when hurricanes are not threatening their lives and sanity, they live in rotting housing complexes, attend embarrassingly ill-equipped public schools and, lacking adequate police protection, are frequently terrorized by unemployed, uneducated young men.

In fact, rather than an anomaly, the public suffering of these desperate Americans is a symbol for a nation that is becoming progressively poorer under the leadership of the party of Big Business. As Katrina was making its devastating landfall, the U.S. Census Bureau released new figures that show that since 1999, the income of the poorest fifth of Americans has dropped 8.7% in inflation-adjusted dollars. Last year alone, 1.1 million were added to the 36 million already on the poverty rolls.

For those who have trouble with statistics, here's the shorthand: The rich have been getting richer and the poor have been getting, in the ripe populist language of Louisiana's legendary Long, the shaft.

These are people who have long since been abandoned to their fate. Despite the deep religiosity of the Gulf States and the United States in general, it is the gods of greed that seem to rule. Case in point: The crucial New Orleans marshland that absorbs excess water during storms has been greatly denuded by rampant commercial development allowed by a deregulation-crazy culture that favors a quick buck over long-term community benefits.

Given all this, it is no surprise that leaders, from the White House on down, haven't done right by the people of New Orleans and the rest of the region, before and after what insurance companies insultingly call an "act of God."

Fact is, most of them, and especially our president, just don't care about the people who can't afford to attend political fundraisers or pay for high-priced lobbyists. No, these folks are supposed to be cruising on the rising tide of a booming, unregulated economy that "floats all boats."

They were left floating all right.

Buddha says; "Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has a colour but has no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not".

Buddha says; "There are four bases of sympathy. What four? Charity, kind speech, doing good and treating all alike".

Thursday, September 08, 2005



To find out, take this test, which is adapted from a personality inventory devised by Washington University psychiatrist Robert Cloninger, author of Feeling Good: The Science of Well Being

1. I often feel so connected to the people around me that it is like
there is no separation between us. TRUE FALSE

2. I often do things to help protect animals and plants from extinction. TRUE FALSE

3. I am fascinated by the many things in life that cannot be
scientifically explained. TRUE FALSE

4. Often I have unexpected flashes of insight or understanding
while relaxing. TRUE FALSE

5. I sometimes feel so connected to nature that everything seems
to be part of one living organism. TRUE FALSE

6. I seem to have a "sixth sense" that sometimes allows me to know
what is going to happen. TRUE FALSE

7. Sometimes I have felt like I was part of something with no
limits or boundaries in time and space. TRUE FALSE

8. I am often called "absent-minded" because I get so wrapped up
in what I am doing that I lose track of everything else. TRUE FALSE

9. I often feel a strong sense of unity with all the things
around me. TRUE FALSE

10. Even after thinking about something a long time, I have
learned to trust my feelings more than my logical reasons. TRUE FALSE

11. I often feel a strong spiritual or emotional connection
with all the people around me. TRUE FALSE

12. Often when I am concentrating on something, I lose
awareness of the passage of time. TRUE FALSE

13. I have made real personal sacrifices in order to make the
world a better place, like trying to prevent war, poverty and
injustice. TRUE FALSE

14. I have had experiences that made my role in life so clear
to me that I felt very happy and excited. TRUE FALSE

15. I believe that I have experienced extrasensory perception. TRUE FALSE

16. I have had moments of great joy in which I sudddenly had
a clear, deep feeling of oneness with all that exists. TRUE FALSE

17. Often when I look at an ordinary thing, something wonderful
happens. I get the feeling that I am seeing it fresh for the
first time. TRUE FALSE

18. I love the blooming of flowers in the spring as much as
seeing an old friend again. TRUE FALSE

19. It often seems to other people like I am in another world
because I am so completely unaware of things going on around me. TRUE FALSE

20. I believe that miracles happen. TRUE FALSE

SCORING: Give yourself one point for each TRUE answer and 0 points for each FALSE answer. 14 and above= highly spirited, a real mystic; 12-13= spiritually aware, easily lost in the moment; 8-11= spiritually average could develop more spiritual life if desired; 6-7= a practical empiricist lacking self-transcendence; 1-5= highly skeptical, resistant to developing spiritual awareness.

How did you do? I and the whole blog world would love some feedback and comments.
* By the score was 14.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Much of this material can be found in Time Magazine's issue of October 25, 2004 in an article titled "IS GOD IN OUR GENES? (A provocative study asks whether religion is a product of evolution. Inside a quest for the roots of faith), written by Jeffrey Kluger.

Buddha says: "He who is free from the bondage of men and from the bondage of the gods: who is free of all things in creation -- him I call a Brahmin".




Here's excerpts of an article from a familiar source, FAST COMPANY Issue 98 | September 2005 | Page 64 By: Ryan Underwood. Jason Jennings typifies the new "enlightened" entrepreneur/authors springing up all over North America.

Ten years ago, Jason Jennings woke one morning to find himself in the throes of a severe midlife crisis. Jennings had spent his life as a successful radio entrepreneur and media consultant, starting at 13 years old -- when he drummed up $1,500 a week from local businesses to sponsor a radio show he'd hatched, "Teen Time With Jason Jennings," in his hometown of Marquette, Michigan.

"Then, all of a sudden, I woke up and I felt like my soul wasn't being fed," says Jennings, now 50. "So I sold the radio stations. I sold the consulting practice. And I decided to go to the seminary and become a Lutheran minister." The only kink in his plan was that Jennings far preferred to sermonize on what he saw as the sorry state of business leadership. Finally, the president of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where Jennings had planned to enroll, suggested that perhaps Jennings would be happier proselytizing on topics outside the divine.

Jennings took up his newfound purpose with a vengeance, preaching the values of corporate humility over hubris, real profits over false promises, and long-term feasibility over short-term flippability. Lying somewhere between Jim Collins's pair of hits, Built to Last and Good to Great, and the pretension-averse ideas in Thomas Stanley's Millionaire Next Door series, Jennings has -- through two best-selling books of his own -- come up with an outline of the ideal leader: a strong, silent type who places the good of a company (and thus, its employees) above his or her own.

Jennings's third, and latest, book is Think Big, Act Small: How America's Best Performing Companies Keep the Startup Spirit Alive (Portfolio, May 2005). It highlights the heads of nine off-the-radar companies, out of an initial candidate pool of 50,000, who embody his leadership ideal while having racked up a decade's worth of double-digit profit growth. Included among the featured companies are outfits such as Cabela's, the wildly popular outdoor-store-cum-tourist-attraction; Koch Industries, a privately held $40 billion behemoth quietly making piles of money in more than 100 unsexy industries ranging from road paving to oil-sludge refining; and Petco, a veritable home-away-from-home for a booming population of spendthrift pet owners.

Here, in his own words, is the leadership gospel according to Jason Jennings.


When most corporate types think of growth, they think only about themselves -- about getting that big yacht. Not the people we interviewed.

Look at Pat Tracy. He's the founder and CEO of Dot Foods, a $1.57 billion food-redistribution business in tiny Mount Sterling, Illinois. Tracy cares less about how big of a house he lives in and more about keeping his company healthy for others. He wants the local guy who starts out working in cold storage to get his college degree through the company and eventually make a $150,000 salary there. Jim Goodnight at SAS Institute, which makes business intelligence software, isn't interested in managing his bottom line for what he calls "some 27-year-old snot-nosed analyst on Wall Street." When people say these CEOs get it, the "it" they're talking about is an understanding that running a business is about something much deeper than turning a quick buck.


Last year there was a new reality-TV show called Now Who's Boss?, where a CEO would spend a few days doing menial jobs on the front lines. The CEO from the show's first episode, a 15-year veteran of a major hotel chain, had such a meaningful experience, he later announced that going forward he would require senior managers to spend one day a year doing frontline jobs.

At the companies we studied, there's no need for these types of programs because they happen every day. At Sonic Drive-In, CEO Cliff Hudson insists that his executives spend at least half their time in the chain's actual kitchens -- not a test kitchen at headquarters -- to come up with new menu items. Robert Silberman, the CEO of Strayer University, continues to teach a business-administration class each semester. But he doesn't tell the students he runs the place so that he's able to, as he says, "get the pulse of what my students need." Jim Cabela, founder of the eponymous $1.59 billion outdoor retailing phenomenon, works until noon each day personally addressing new complaints that came in the day before.


One of the great hallmarks of the people leading the companies we studied was they had enough self-assurance to let go of businesses and internal processes that were no longer working. Each year, for example, Koch Industries performs a value assessment on each of its 100-plus business units. If the division's present value -- basically its return on capital and equity -- is smaller than the price it could fetch in the current market, then the unit gets sold off. Simple as that. Someone like Charles Koch views that as a more compassionate way to do business than a prolonged death.

Medline Industries, a $1.6 billion medical-products manufacturer and supplier, is able to innovate while remaining focused on its core business by being "a little entrepreneurial," as CEO Charles Mills describes it. We saw this with other companies we looked at: Take lots of small chances, but don't make a bet so big that it would upend you if it didn't work.


Tracy from Dot Foods told me, "Volume is vanity and profit is sanity, and we're far more interested in being sane than we are in being vain." The idea is that some companies get so wrapped up in their future visions of grandeur they lose sight of profitable short-term growth.

That's also a principle used to guide expansion. In the early 1990s, O'Reilly Automotive, a chain of auto-parts stores, had 127 stores. Within a decade, it had more than 1,000 stores in 18 states. That's adding 100 stores a year for 10 years straight. We asked David O'Reilly if he thought he'd have 5,000 stores in all 50 states one day, and he said, "Sure. We just won't make that prediction. We're much better knowing where we'll be in 2 years than in 5 or 10."


We all learn by example. So when we see a self-important, pompous CEO surrounding himself with an army of assistants to make him feel bigger than he really is, the junior execs below him aspire to this.

The people leading the companies we examined either were taught well or had seen what happens when things are run poorly. Before being named CEO, Hudson watched Sonic almost unravel. Brian Devine, Petco's CEO who previously helped build Toys "R" Us, saw that whole operation come unglued as Wal-Mart ate its lunch. Once you've opened the door of a furnace and your eyebrows have gotten singed, you're not going to let that happen again.

Buddha says; "Self-applause, belittling others, or encouragement to sin, some such evil's sure to happen where one fool meets another".