Sunday, 8 August 2010

Review of Rich Dad's Conspiracy of the Rich, The 8 New Rules of Money by Robert Kiyosaki

This book is the result of the author, Robert Kiyosaki 's life time research. He believes that the US government is controlled by the multinational corporations, which is controlled by the rich people. The rich want us to “Go to school, study hard, get a degree and find a good job.”- the Poor Dad's philosophy.

The rich want us to become good employees, so we can work hard for them. Then the government can get paid in the form of tax and our pensions are invested in the stock markets by purchasing the shares of multinational corporations, which makes the rich becoming even richer.

Robert Kiyosaki emphasize that financial education is more than important ever in this information age and he states that the rules of money has been changed.

New Rule of Money #1: Money is knowledge

Today, you do not need money to make money, all you need is good knowledge. The information age has created many young billionaires more than ever before. This includes the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates; the founders of Google Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founder of Yahoo, Jerry Yang etc.

New Rule of Money #2: Learn How to Use Debt

Most people regard debt is bad or evil, they do not realise that there is good debt and bad debt. The rich knows how to use good debt to leverage the banks and other people's money (OPM) to make them richer and richer.

An investment property that brings you monthly positive cash flow is good debt as you leverage the bank's money as a form of mortgage, usually 70%- 85% loan to the property value. Initial Public Offering (IPO) is a good example of using OPM by the corporations.

Robert Kiyosaki says that today debt is money; if you are poor, one of the reasons is that you do not have enough good debt.

New Rule of Money #3: Learn to Control Cash Flow

If you want to financial freedom and one day become rich, then you need to learn how to read numbers and need to know how to control your personal cash flow and monitor the global flow of jobs, people and money.

New Rule of Money #4: Prepare for Bad Times and You will Only Know Good Times

By increasing your financial IQ, you will be able to see the future better and therefore you can prepare for the worst.

New Rule of Money #5: The Need for Speed

Today, we are operating digital money, we can transact money online at the speed of light. Many people are struggling financially because they are simply too slow- they cannot make money faster than the banks are printing.

New Rule of Money #6: Learn the Language of Money

Rich dad said when it comes to money 90/10 rule applies. 90% of the world's wealth is controlled by 10% of the population. Most people are financially struggling because they have never been taught the language of money.

By learning the words of money you have a better chance not to be fooled by the false prophets of money - save money, buy a house, get out of debt and invest for the long term in well-diversified portfolio of mutual funds.

Inflation is rising fast and the banks are printing money even faster! If you saved £100 last year, then it is only worth £94 this year.

New Rule of Money #7: Life is a Team Sport, Choose Your Team Carefully

In this world, no one has achieved great wealth without the help, collaboration and assistance of others.

New Rule of Money #8: Since Money is Becoming Worth-less and Less, Learn to Print Your Own Money

Today, the world is in a crisis of financial ignorance and incompetence. Our wealth is being legally stolen via taxes, debt, inflation, and retirement accounts. Since it is the lack of financial education that got us into this crisis, it is financial education can lead us out.

Robert Kiyosaki believes that we have been financially brain washed and the rich have been benefiting most. It is time for us to increase our financial education by learning the language of money.

Learn to create, build and buy your own assets and the secret of success is to sell.  The rich always have the products and services that they can sell to you, while the majority of the middle and poor classes often have nothing to sell.

Ask yourself now: "Do I have any products or services to sell to make any profits?" Remember you can not sell your jobs!

The more people you serve the richer you will become!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Review of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in March 2007, however I loved it so much that I decided to write a review about it this year. This wonderful book is very inspirational and summarises the 7 habits you need as follows:

Habit 1: Be Proactive. The difference between people who exercise initiative and those who don't is a 5000-plus percent difference in effectiveness. It takes initiative to develop the Seven Habits and each depends on the development of a person's proactive muscles.

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind. Imagine that you are attending your own funeral, you saw your family, friends and colleagues were there. What would you like them to say about you? What character, contributions and achievements would you want people to remember about you?

This habit has reminded me the of story of how the Nobel Prize was founded. Alfred Nobel was a chemist, engineer and inventor. He amassed a fortune during his lifetime mostly through his 355 inventions including dynamite.

In 1888, when he was 55 years old, one day he had the very unpleasant surprise of reading his own obituary, titled “The Merchant of Death is Dead” from a French newspaper. He was remembered as the inventor of dynamite, which was used in wars and explosions to kill lots of people. In fact, it was his brother Ludvig who had died, the newspaper made a mistake.

Alfred Nobel was greatly disturbed and disappointed with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his will, he died at the age of 63. His last will requested that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer “The Greatest Benefit on Mankind” in physics, chemistry, peace, physiology or medicine, literature and economic sciences. In June 1900, four years after Alfred Nobel's death, the Nobel Foundation was founded and since then it has become the most prestigious award in the world.

Habit 3: Put First Things First. Prioritise the things that are in line with your goals and commit your time and effort to these things. If you prioritise things then you will get done the most important things first.

Learn to manage your time, delegate responsibilities, organise your next week's roles and goals by writing them down and commit yourself with action.

Habit 4 : Think Win/Win. Stephen Covey states that “Win/Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win/Win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying. With a Win/Win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan.”

Habit 5: See First to Understand, Then to be Understood. “Although it is risky and hard, seek first to understand, or diagnose before you prescribe, is a correct principle manifest in many areas of life.”

Habit 6: Synergize. It is the principle of creative cooperation and can catalyse, unify and unleash the greatest power within people.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. “It is presenting and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you. It is renewing the four dimensions of your nature – physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional.”

    1) The Physical Dimension. This includes getting sufficient nutrition by eating the right foods, such as eating wholegrain food, fish, seafood, lean meat, and eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

    Getting sufficient rest and relaxation is an important part of stress management.No body can work like a machine so regular time off at the weekends and taking regular holidays can only increase your energy and creativity.

    Regular exercise can increase your energy level and therefore can increase your efficiency and effectiveness.

    Once, I had a cold for two weeks and therefore I could not do my regular jogging or do any exercises. During this period of time, I felt very tired during the day time and my energy level was very low. When I got back to regular jogging once I had I recovered, I immediately felt my energy level improve dramatically and as a consequence my effectiveness went up.

    2) Spiritual Dimension. This includes value clarification and commitment, study and meditation.

    3) The Mental Dimension. Reading, visualizing, planning and writing. We need to develop the habit of reading good books, this means books that can change our mindset and life. Personal development, financial education, wealth management, business, property investment and internet related books have changed my mindset and life completely.

    Visualization can help you to see the future, but without planning, it is difficult to achieve your goals. Writing can help you to increase your mental sharpness and you can share your experience, opinions, ideas and emotions with the world.

    4) The Social and Emotional Dimension. This includes service, empathy, synergy and intrinsic security. Stephen Covey believes that a life of integrity is the most fundamental source of personal worth. Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way.

I often go through these 7 Habits so I can continuously improve myself to be a highly effective and efficient person.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Adventurous Journey of Climbing the Famous, Dangerous and Precipitous Phoenix Mountain in China Part1 of 3

There are over 30 mountains that are called Phoenix Mountain (Feng Huang Shan) in China. The one that I climbed is one of the most famous Phoenix Mountains and is named as one of the important national tourist attractions in China. It is also one of the four most famous mountains in Liaoning province, China, which is situated in the north-east of the country.

The dragon and the phoenix are two of the most auspicious animals or birds in China, however they only exist in legends. The dragon is the symbol for men and the phoenix is the symbol for women. During ancient times, the emperors wore robes decorated with dragons to symbolise the ultimate power. The Chinese regard themselves as the offspring of dragons (Long De Chuan Ren).

The Chinese stick pictures of a dragon and a phoenix together with Xi (happiness) on a red background on walls and windows during their wedding to show the perfect match and symbolise an auspicious start to their lives together.

As you probably already know, red is the most lucky colour in China, followed by gold. During ancient times, gold was used as currency to exchange goods and therefore symbolises prosperity.

Phoenix mountain is situated near Phoenix city, about 57 kilometres
from Dandong city, which neighbours North Korea, the two countries are separated by the Ya Lu river. It is called Phoenix mountain as the bumpiness and precipitous cliffs look like a phoenix has opened her wings. Unfortunately I did not know this at that time and did not observe this fact while I was climbing.

Phoenix Mountain is famous for its spectacular scenery, astonishing rocks and cliffs, bumpy and precipitous mountains, caves, streams, classic temples, stone sculptures, natural wonders and rare plants. It is just like a beautiful and massive Chinese oil painting.

Phoenix Mountain is the most dangerous mountain I have ever climbed in my life. I am not a big fan of mountain climbing, especially dangerous mountains. Before climbing the mountain I actually did not know how dangerous it would be and If I knew the truth I may have decided not to take the “risk of my life”.

The mountain is famous for its unevenness and its sheer drops, and it could take around three or four days, if you want to climb over the compete route to see most of the sights. Neither the tour guides or the pamphlets emphasized how dangerous the mountain could be and there was not any warning that this mountain is not suitable for everyone to climb, especially older people.

It all happened when we ran out of good places to visit in Dandong city and my husband suddenly said he read about Phoenix Mountain from the internet and told me that we should climb this mountain and it would be good fun.

When I was at senior high school and university I had classmates from Phoenix city, they told me some scary stories about Phoenix mountain. I heard some people got injured and some even fell off from the cliff and died while climbing the mountain. It made my hair stand on end and therefore, I never had any interest in climbing this mountain to risk my life, even though it is only a few hours bus journey from my parents home. However, my husband was really keen to climb the mountain, and at that time I forgot about the horror stories that I heard from my classmates.

It was beautiful weather in the middle of April. Normally at this time the area should be full of cherry blossoms and green trees, but for the year of 2010, the spring had been delayed almost a month. The mountain looked quite bare for this season and there were very few tourists too. We hired a mini bus, which took around 10 minutes to bring us from the gate to the climbing base...

To be Continued.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Adventurous Journey of Climbing the Famous, Dangerous and Precipitous Phoenix Mountain in China Part2 of 3

The phoenix mountain's sights are divided into four major areas; the most famous site is the west side where the most famous sites such as Lao Niu Bei. (Old Cow's Back) are concentrated. We decided to climb the mountain along this route. The climbing base has vendors and small shops that you can buy special gifts for your families and friends. You can also buy some snacks, water, food, and gloves to prepare for your mountain climbing.

Along the way to the climbing journey there are also small Buddhist and Dao temples and pavilions that you can visit. For example Zi Yang Guan (for good fortune), Bi Xia Gong (for parents and grand parents to pray or make wishes for their children and grand children) or Guan Yin Ge (for safety and happiness and other wishes), Dou Mu Gong.

These temples were built in Ming and Qing Dynasty with more than 300 - 400 years of history. There are bigger temples in a different route , but we did not have enough time to visit everything.

Every 28 April, in the Chinese calendar (around end of May in western calendar) is the day for Mountain Gatherings for the phoenix mountain. It is the busiest time of the year; the Buddhists and people from all around the country visit here on this day. It is also full of energetic mountain climbers who want to enjoy the festival atmosphere here.

You can burn scents, pray, make wishes or donate money in the temples and pavilions. It is heard that some wishes made here did come true. Maybe these stories have added more to the mysterious atmosphere of this majestic mountain; the mountain attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year and has become a very popular tourist destination.

After visiting these classic temples and pavilions we also passed the Phoenix Cave – Feng Huang Dong. During the summer time, it has a beautiful waterfall, but when we visited there it was frozen solid and we could only see ice. It was too slippery to walk inside, so we decided to go ahead with our climbing.

After passing Guan Yin Pavillion, the mountain stairs became very steep. The stairs were carved into the cliffs and it looked 90 degrees to me. Luckily there are steel rails that you can hold. It was my first time to climb such a precipitous mountain, and I could feel that my legs were shaking. .

We then came to Ju Xian Tai (Immortal Assembly Base), where you can make wishes for your parents' health and long life. If you are a couple, you can also purchase a lock, carve your names on it and then tie it up on a chain with hundreds of other locks along the cliff to lock your love. This symbolises eternal love and ensures you will have 100 years of harmonious and happy marriage together (Bai Nian Hao He).

We passed Shuang Long Bei (Two Dragon's Back), Jing Jun Feng (General Cliff), Tu Er Feng ( Rabbit's Ear Cliff) and Luo Han Feng (Luo Han Cliff). The cliffs are very steep and sharp and the paths are very narrow and dangerous. We often used the steel rails to keep ourselves from falling off the cliff and to prevent us slipping where there was some ice on the steps.

Some paths are so narrow that we had to squeeze to go through. We both thought that these narrow paths are probably not suitable for very overweight people to go through but on some parts, if you do turn back it will be very inconvenient as the path is so narrow and there are usually other people following behind as it is one direction only.

Most of the snow and ice had been melted, but some areas were wet and slippery. Luckily it was a dry and sunny day, but I really do not recommend anyone to climb these mountain just after it has rained and especially not while it is raining. It was really hard work, we had to climb up and down the cliffs many times to move forward. The rocks and steel rails that we were relying on to climb were very cold in the shade and we often regretted not purchasing gloves earlier, we would have if we had known how cold the steel rails could be.

When we started we were accompanied by a young Chinese couple. When the cliffs became sharper and more dangerous to climb we could see that the young lady had fear all over her face, and we saw them give up climbing.

Along the way, we also met four young Chinese men and women while climbing the General Cliff, we could see one guy, who was a bit overweight was struggling. They said “Hello” to my husband, and were very curious about him. After all there are very few foreign visitors in this city, and to see a Lao Wai (foreigner) climb the mountain is quite rare. Soon we saw that they changed their direction and went back down the mountain, towards where we had started climbing.

There was a vendor selling some food such as tea, preserved eggs (traditional Chinese way of boiling eggs), sausages, bread, water and soft drinks there. The price is three or four times more more expensive compared to the supermarkets. They are supplying the food for urgent needs, as you cannot afford to be hungry, thirsty and tired to have this long and dangerous mountain journey.

If you do not want to pay the high prices, it is recommended to bring your own food and water. Not too much, as you will feel it heavy to carry it around, but it is definitely necessary, especially water. You do become hungry after climbing up and down of the cliffs and you need to pump up your energy.

When we arrived at the front of a dangerous looking cliff with 90 degrees of steps to climb, we saw another Chinese couple climbing down the stairs nervously. They told us that the famous Old Cow's Back is just ahead, but they decided not to climb it and going down using the cable car.

The lady told us that her husband wanted to climb this famous Old Cow's Back for a while, however, when they arrived there, by just looking at the cliff, her husband became very nervous and therefore they changed their minds and decided not to climb it. She told me that after the Old Cow's Back, there will be a place called Jian Yan (Arrow's Eye), where we can take the walking path to come down the mountain. It was very useful advice to us.

We took pictures before climbing the Old Cow's Back to prove we were there. The reason it is called Old Cow's Back is that this part of the mountain look like what it is called after. Imagine that you were walking on the top of a cow's back and that “cow” is not two meters, but around 800 meters tall. You have to walk through her narrow back vertebra bone, and under your immediate feet is a deep valley. I am sure you would be pretty scared too.

We started to climb the sharp stairs of the very narrow Old Cow's Back. My husband and I were walking on the very top of this legendary mountain. It was one of the most nerve racking experiences I have ever had in my life. The steel rails that we were holding to move forward up the steps were built by drilling the steel sticks into the rock. While I was looking at them, I thought that it was probably drilled a long time ago and therefore it might have become loose over the years and I could fall off the cliff at any time.

I really thought I could die at that time, the deep valley, more than 800 meters below, was just under my feet; my hair stood up and I was sweating heavily despite the fact it was very cold on top of the mountain. I was very nervous, so I could not bear to look back to check how my husband was doing, but just concentrated on moving my shaking legs and arms steadily, carefully and firmly in silence. There was a long silence between us until we came down the cliff, my husband finally laughed nervously and told me that it was a very special experience, though he was brave enough to take pictures on the way.

To be Continued.

Monday, 26 April 2010

The Adventurous Journey of Climbing the Famous, Dangerous and Precipitous Phoenix Mountain in China Part3 of 3

I completely understand why there are so many of the people who wish to climb this Phoenix Mountain, especially this Old Cow's Back, have changed their minds when they saw what it involved . I am also very surprised no pamphlets or that staff do not warned tourists of the level of risks and dangers involved in climbing this mountain. You definitely need some courage and braveness to climb this mountain, and I do not recommend it for someone who has a fear of heights. Climbing this mountain is definitely not for everyone.

The daytime was short and it was getting dark, we did not have much time to have a break. We almost drank up all of our two bottles of water and all the food and fruit. It would be a big problem if we got stuck there; it was in the middle of nowhere, and there was nobody around to ask for help.

It will take too long and be too dangerous for us to go back the way we climbed, so the only option was to get to Arrow's Eye as soon as possible. If we got back too late we also had the risk of missing the last bus going back to Dandong city, where we were staying in a hotel. We were tired, hungry and had run out of water, but could not afford to take a break so we speeded up.

There were more steep cliffs to climb; we passed tight and precipitous stairs, which is called Bu Bu Jin in Chinese and then came to the Tiger Mouth cliff. Around here, we saw three Chinese guys climbing as well, we soon passed them, but later we saw them going back the way we climbed. We could not believe it, are they going to climb back that Old Cow's Back again? My goodness! I could not believe they were doing it.

After that we saw a road marking pointing toward Arrow's Eye and we felt much relieved. It is told that in Tang Dynasty a general shoot out his arrow towards this mountain, and opened up a hole. That's where the name is came from. We took some pictures, as we were told by a tourist on the way that you cannot say that you have climbed the Phoenix Mountain, if you have not climbed to Arrow's Eye. It is the second highest cliff within the Phoenix Mountain.

Climbing to Arrow's Eye really needed determination, courage, braveness and good attitude to climb many cliffs, rocks, steep and narrow stairs to reach here. I definitely have to say, the Phoenix Mountain is not suitable for everyone to climb, it is dangerous and adventurous with many risks involved. As you have read above, there are many people who gave up climbing along the way, but we made it! Yeah!!!

It was getting darker, and we had a last bus to catch, we started to walk down the mountain in a hurry. Even though we wanted to continue the rest of the mountain climbing journey, it was too late; as it is very dangerous to climb the mountains when it is dark, there is no lighting along the way. You'd be better to come back the next day.

The coming down path was on the shady side and therefore it was still covered with snow. As it was slippery, we had to be extra cautious, but it was so much faster and easier than climbing the bumpy and breath taking stairs. There is a small stream beside the path, but it still covered in snow and ice. When we arrived in the main road in the middle of the mountain, we took a taxi and were dropped off outside the gate. Soon the last bus arrived, it was the bus we took to go there in the morning. The driver, his assistant and ourselves were all amazed, what perfect timing!

In May 1996, I climbed Tai Shan (Tai Mountain, one of the five most famous mountains in China) in Shandong province. My sister, a friend and I arrived there in the evening and we climbed it over night without sleeping. The mountain has paths and is quite easy to climb and is not as dangerous as the phoenix mountain that you have to climb the steep rock stairs and cliffs. It was not too far away from the town Qu Fu, where Confucius was born and lived. We visited his tomb, which is one of the famous tourist attractions in China as he is regarded as the ancestor of the Chinese. We also visited surrounding cities and towns including Jinan city.

It was very special experience for my husband and m to climb the Phoenix Mountain, and while it was breath taking and nerve racking we also observed the amazing beauty of the mountain. I am sure it would look more spectacular if you visit it in late spring, summer and autumn, but we still enjoyed it. During the winter time, it becomes absolutely bare, due to snow and icy conditions.

If you want to climb any mountains, please make sure you wear comfortable clothes and

shoes (no high heels please), and make sure you bring water, food and some money as well. You will always become hungry when you are climbing the mountain, and you need to keep up your energy. A rucksack is very convenient to carry things around. Normally, the temperature in the mountains is much lower than in the cities, and therefore it is wise to bring warmer clothes in case you catch cold.
The End

Friday, 19 March 2010

Review of The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko

The book “Millionaire Next Door” was published in 1996, since then it has surprised many of the people who have read it, and I was certainly not an exception.

Just like you , I was surprised to read that in the USA, many millionaire-like people, who live in big houses in posh areas, drive luxury European or sports cars, wear very expensive suits and clothes, go on luxury foreign holidays and send their children to private schools are not necessarily multi-millionaires. These people may be affluent, but they tend to have lower net worth and their lifestyles are based on hyper-consumption.

This book revealed that most millionaires are ordinary looking people who could be living next door to you and they are frugal, frugal, frugal. Most of these types of millionaires are self employed business owners, who started their businesses with nothing. You would not easily recognise these people as multi-millionaires as they dress just like you, shop in the same stores where you shop and they drive second hand cars.

Many self made millionaires are frugal and price sensitive to products and services for their own consumption. However, they are not price sensitive when it comes to purchasing investment advice, accounting, tax and legal advice and services. In those cases they place a premium on quality. Also, they are not frugal at all when it comes to buying products and services for their children and grand children.

Despite the fact that most millionaires made their fortunes and accumulated their wealth as entrepreneurs and being self employed they go on to send their children to universities and encourage them to become professionals such as doctors, attorneys, engineers and accountants.

For these offspring, money is not their top priority, instead, their social status and respect from their peers are much more important. They tend to become affluent, but rarely become millionaires and have relatively low net worth. They end up having very high consumption lifestyle as described in the second paragraph.

The research also found that adult children who receive significant Economic Outpatient Care(EOC) from their wealthy parents such as cash and expensive gifts tend not to accumulate significant wealth.

The research also found that if you are self employed you are more likely to become affluent compared to employees, however, most business owners are not millionaires and will never come close to becoming wealthy.

This finding reminds me of Robert Kiyosaki’s cash flow quadrants, I believe that if you want to become a millionaire you must change your quadrant from left quadrant, self employed to the right quadrants of the business owner and investor.

This book recommends that in order to become a millionaire you should be frugal and live well below your means to accumulate wealth. However, Robert Kiyosaki, the author of best selling personal finance book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” says that it is a criminal thing to encourage people to live well below their means.

Instead, Robert Kiyosaki encourages people to increase their financial IQ by learning so they can increase their earning abilities to earn more and control their expenditures to accumulate wealth. He encourages people to live well above their means rather than being frugal all the time. Honestly, I could not agree more with Robert Kiyosaki.

This book was very educational and I did learn a lot from various aspects, however I also like to reserve my point of view regarding how we should live our lives.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Chinese New Year! It's a Double Celebration for Love and the Year of the Tiger!

007Just like many other women, I expect to receive a bunch of beautiful red roses on Valentines day and fortunately I receive them every year since I met my husband. Red roses are a symbol of love and that's why receiving these roses on this special day makes a woman feel so special.

Love is the most powerful and positive human emotion and it deserves to have a special day for celebration. I cannot imagine a Valentine's day without these gorgeous roses from my husband. Every time I receive these roses I always tell my husband “I Love You” from my heart. Maybe this is what encourages him to buy me special roses every year.

001Roses are one of my favourite flowers and I have plenty of them in my back garden during the summer time. They are various in colour, style and fragrance and I just love them. It's winter time now and I have no flowers blossoming in my garden at the moment and therefore these gorgeous roses make me feel even more loved, happy and cheerful.

Today is also the Chinese New Year, the most important festival to Chinese and Koreans. According to the Chinese lunar horoscope, this year is the year of the tiger. People born in this year are brave, competitive and have good leadership skills.tiger

It is Chinese tradition to eat dumplings on Chinese New Year's Eve and watch the Spring Festival Celebration Party broadcast by CCTV, which I did. I bought dumplings from a local Chinese super market and watched the show in London using satellite TV.

The show is very Chinese, with mass production and bright colours, especially the red costumes. The colour red and the number 8 are considered to be very lucky in China and therefore the party started at 8 o'clock on New Year's Eve, and there was plenty of red during the show. Remember, the Chinese Olympics Opening Ceremony was held at 8pm on 8th of August 2008! (08/08/08)

facaiIt's also a Chinese tradition to gather together with family and relatives during the festival season. If we are long distance away we call each other and exchange greetings such as “Guo Nian Hao!” “Chun Jie Hao” (Happy New Year” “Gong Xi Fa Cai” “Wish You Good Fortune” just after midnight on New Year's Eve. I was trying to call my parents in China, but as the lines are too busy I could not get through, so I had to wait until today.

I spoke to my mum, dad, brother, sister, sister in law and my nephew and greeted all of them with“Guo Nian Hao!” My parents house seems very busy with lots of family members and relatives celebrating the festival together.

It is not the Chinese traditional custom to celebrate Valentine's Day or Christmas. However, with globalization and more and more Chinese learning English, younger generations tend to celebrate these western festivals. And of course the business people take advantage of this and do massive marketing and celebrating with glorious decorations during the Christmas time and shops are busy selling red roses and chocolates before Valentines day.

imagesThe younger Chinese generation regard this as trendy. I do not think there is anything wrong with this. I even advised my brother to buy a bunch of red roses for my sister-in-law today. I think it is good to have an excuse to celebrate special days to bring more happiness, celebration and love to our journey, as we all know that life is not a bed of roses.

Spring festival is still the biggest festival for me, even though I can't feel any festival mood in London today. It's a double celebration today; my husband and I decided to have a romantic walk in a park and have booked our romantic dinner at our favourite Korean restaurant.

So what will the world be remembered for today? I had a bet with my husband that today the Google logo would be an image with half for celebrating the Valentine's Day and half for the Chinese Spring Festival; my husband's bet was that it would be Valentine's day only. However, neither of us won the bet, the Google image was for the winter Olympics at Vancouver 2010?!

I really believe that with more love the world would be a better place.

Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Spring Festival!

With lots of love

Monday, 18 January 2010

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill; Proven Steps to Riches, Money Secrets & the Law of Success

511HNguN-AL._SL160_Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is one of my favourite books and it is one of the all time best-selling personal financial books in the world. I read this book in March 2007 and have decided to read it again this year. I love it so much that I decided to write a review of it on my blog so I can come back and remind myself of the main points and be inspired any time, anywhere in the world. I rated this book five stars at Amazon.

I know some people have read this book more than 10 times and some even more! It's amazing to see how popular this book is. This book seeks to inspire people to remember the motto “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul!” It has guided and helped millions of people who are searching for definite goals and purposes in their life and who want to become rich. Napoleon Hill's question to you is “What genius lies asleep in your brain?”

What do you want most in your life? Is it money, fame, power, contentment, happiness or love?
This book is based on over 25 years of research in collaboration with more than 500 of America's distinguished and most successful men of great wealth in the industrial age. These people include Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and John Rockefeller.
Napoleon Hill interviewed some of these men who began from scratch. These wealthy men have explained the money making philosophy of their thoughts, ideas and organised plans. They revealed the source and secrets of their riches to the author and that was how this book was born.

1. Desire, the Starting Point of All Achievement. You need to fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire, then determine what you intend to give in return. You need to have a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire and then create a definite plan. Make a statement for the above and then read your written statement aloud twice a day; once when you are getting up in the morning and once before you go to the bed.

2. Faith, Visualization of and Belief in Attainment of Desire. Faith is one of the most powerful positive emotions and can remove limiting beliefs. If you develop your faith, riches will begin in the form of thought.

3. Auto – Suggestion, The Medium for Influencing the Subconscious Mind. Please repeat the statement of your first step loudly every day with emotion or feeling and visualise being in possession of your desired money.

4. Specialized Knowledge, Personal Experiences or Observations. The book concludes that knowledge is only potential power and will not attract money, unless it is organised and directed through practical plans of action to the definite end of accumulation of money.

5. Imagination, the Workshop of the Mind. An idea or an imagination with action can be turned into reality.

6. Organized Planning, the Crystallisation of Desire into Action. One of the big reasons that millions of people go through life in misery or poverty is because they lack a sound and intelligent plan through which to accumulate fortune.

7. Decision, the Mastery of Procrastination. The author found that most of these successful people had the habit of reaching decisions quickly and of changing these decisions slowly when they need to be changed.

8. Persistence, the Sustained Effort Necessary to Induce Faith. In real life lack of persistence and the habit of quitting when we are encountered by temporary defeat are the most common reasons for failure. The reason Thomas Edison was successful was because he did not quit even though he “failed” 10,000 times before he successfully invented the light bulb. Have you persisted in trying 10,000 times when you failed to do something? When defeat comes, re-examine your plan and rebuild it to sail toward your goal.

9. Power of the Master Mind, the Driving Force. Working with a “Master Mind” group is key to success. No individual can achieve great success on his/her own without the coordination of knowledge and efforts from others.

10. The Mystery of Sex Transmutation. Sexual desire is the most powerful of human desires. The desire for sexual contact is so strong and impelling that men freely run the risk of life and reputation to indulge it. Research shows that most men who are very successful and have achieved outstanding achievements are highly sexed men who got their energy and inspiration from the women they love.

11. The Subconscious Mind, the Connecting Link. There are seven very powerful positive emotions such as desire, faith, love, sex, enthusiasm, romance and hope. Our mind should be injected with these positive emotions to dominate and overcome the most negative emotions such as fear, jealousy, hatred, revenge, greed, superstition and anger.

12. The Brain, A broadcasting and Receiving station for Thought.

13. The Sixth Sense, the Door to the Temple of Wisdom. Most people have not developed this function, however, it has proved to work very well for some of these 500 successful people.

From the research the author found that riches when they come in huge quantities, are never the result of hard work! Riches come, in response to definite demands, based on the application of definite principles, and not by chance or luck. That is why this book is titled as “Think and Grow Rich”, but not as “Work Hard and Grow Rich”.

There are six basic fears for every one of us and fear of poverty is the strongest one. Recent research also shows that it is not a terrorist attack that people fear most, but it is the fear of running out of money when they are retired.

This book is about money, and some people argue that riches should not be measured only in money. However, MOST people would say “Give me all the money I want, and then I will find everything I need.” Money is power and it talks! That's why Think and Grow Rich still remains one of the best selling personal financial books of all time!