Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘business’

For All To See

Eating From The Cherry Tree: A Memoir of Sexual Epiphany by Vivien Ella Walden. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

513GeUVKRDLVivien Walden has been inundated with sex throughout her life – both for business and pleasure. It is her curiosity, experience, understanding and insight of such, that make this memoir come to life. Eating From The Cherry Tree delves deeply into sexuality, and looks closely at Ms. Walden’s family history, childhood, the times she has lived in (late fifties through the present), and the legal, cultural and environmental circles within which she has moved and been influenced by.

Yes, there are many descriptions of all kinds of sex imaginable (or not) within these pages, and… it is accompanied by astute psychological, and emotional awareness. There is a big difference between labeling someone by their profession, and getting to know them as a human being.

“Being a stripper, call girl, hooker, or madam, you have to know how to dance to the music, be a good actress, stand up to the toughest deal with the law, and paint your own picture for all to see.” Thus, a young Jewish girl from Salford, England learns from mentors, friends, and colleagues, how to get what she desires, make a living doing so, and travels far and wide to both entertain and find self-fulfillment. Though I’ve never experienced most of what the author speaks of, her descriptions are presented so realistically, that readers’ may feel as if they are in the room (or wherever the event is occurring), taking notes or personally involved. It can be quite visceral.

What surprised me most about this well-written memoir is the depth of emotion, caring, and connection that the author has, not only for friends, partners, and colleagues, but also for her clients. She has worked as an actress, stripper, hostess, call girl, and madam. In all her endeavors, she strives to do her best to provide release and comfort for those she serves, and support those that work with her. In the process, she also attained a sense of control and security. “I always regarded myself as more of a burlesque dancer than a stripper, although the element of ‘tease’ is key. It is the act of combining direct eye contact and body language to convey sexiness to the audience. In any event, taking my clothes off didn’t give me a feeling of power, charming the audience did.”

Eating From The Cherry Tree explores our needs, fantasies, and desires. What Ms. Walden has come to understand, and conveys so beautifully, is that most everyone wishes to be loved, touched, wanted, and affirmed for who they are. This is most evident in her personal relationships (with husband Billy, and other boyfriends, girlfriends, and co-workers), and when she experiences a life-threatening medical emergency and a car accident. There are times when she describes sex as purely a physical transaction; other times that are for her own pleasure, and many occasions when the two have coincided. Thus, this book (and the author) not only have an abundance of sex, but also an abundance of heart. Her profession is undoubtably one of entertainment and acting, but there is also a big dose of kindness and insight for good measure.

 

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What Might Be

51+1RXtBEpLspirits at the dawn of day by simon boylan.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

Spirits at the Dawn of Day isn’t a light happy romance, or straight up suspense. It’s more like a search for meaning in an internal mystery. If you want fluff, or continued conditioning for an unconscious life, don’t read this. If, on the other hand (or two), you don’t mind looking inside and at the world, with new perspectives and insights, then climb aboard. The story literally crashes itself into existence and takes readers’ on an inner journey, by following the external travels of Josh, an Australian company CEO, who is leaving Japan after a business trip.

All Josh is thinking about is his usual drink, sex, money, and status. After a tragic incident turns his world inside out, Josh seeks out his old friend from college (Alex), and travels around the world looking for answers. He meets up with a philosophy professor on a New England farm (who is reminiscent of Dr. Richard Alpert, who left academia and became Baba Ram Dass); a Kundalini yoga teacher, at a retreat center in Sedona, Arizona; a doctor in Dalian, China; the doctor’s martial arts instructing wife; and a man in Japan; whom he had a connection with from the beginning of the story.

There are in-depth and far-reaching conversations and debates that take place between Josh, and each of those he meets, which include science, philosophy, spirituality, suffering, meaning, love, the environment, business, society, and how they all do, or don’t, intersect and effect one another. The dialogue is not stuffy, or the least bit boring. They contain many of the elements that exist within our lives when we talk personally with a friend, therapist, clergy, teacher, or relative. In many ways, these conversations remind me of the film My Dinner With Andre, in which two men sit down for dinner at a New York restaurant and talk about everything under the sun (and moon).

In Spirits at the Dawn of Day, Mr. Boylan has taken an honest and striking look at what might (or can) happen when the world (and our perceptions of it) becomes something different than we have previously known, or allowed ourselves to see. Perhaps, he may be asking, is it possible to awaken to our inner and outer environment without having to fall from the sky in order to do so? If so, how do we do that? If so, how can we use this story about Josh and his awakening in our own lives? The final question in this story says, “We are all creating the world of tomorrow… Are you consciously creating your part?”

Interesting. Provocative. Well-seasoned.

Treasure Hunt: Follow Your Inner Clues To Find True Success, by Rizwan Virk.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

41aN4rbSPvL._SX313_BO1,204,203,200_“Interesting. Provocative. Well seasoned.” This sequence of words passed through my consciousness before reading Treasure Hunt: Follow Your Inner Clues To Find True Success, by Rizwan Virk, and were present again, upon completion. It was then that I recalled the words were from an old food commercial (for what I don’t recall) that I often heard growing up, and they encapsulate many of the concepts, experiences, examples, and sumptuous courses provided within.

Treasure Hunt is “interesting”, and pertinent, to anyone who wishes to makes sense of the “clues” that come to us daily (awake and asleep). Mr. Virk says there is a Treasure Map of information at our fingertips, if we pay attention to the clues. Clues can be recognized as synchronicity, hunches, gut feelings, visions, deja vu, bodily sensations, and dreams. Clues are subjective and each person’s Treasure Map is unique. It is “provocatively” laid out in five sections, with digestible explanations, examples and reasoning (or intuitions). The accessibility of the content, to people searching for there own definition of success and from all walks of life, is “well seasoned” with a personal touch, and warmth, even though it is often explaining esoteric or scientifically complicated concepts.

There are 20 “Treasure Hunting Rules” that are explained throughout. They include – If it repeats it’s probably a clue – One clue leads to the next – Pay attention when you have a big dream – Honor your clues with a concrete action – Ask for a solution in your own way. One of the most delightful aspects of Treasure Hunt is how it combines emotional, religious, and metaphysical views, with those of science and quantum physics. The explanations of how to translate personal experience into the language of business, is most insightful.

The author defines syncronisity as, “the confluence of an inner thought(and/or feeling) and an outer event.” There are strong “Clues” that Treasure Hunt: Follow Your Inner Clues To Find True Success is much more relevant, “interesting, provocative, and well-seasoned”, than the commercial diddy that went through my head before and after the reading of Mr. Virk’s enlightening book.

Mindfulness IS the News

Mindfulness IS the News
from Wild Divine Newsletter
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Last week, with the Time magazine cover featuring the trend of mindfulness in US culture and the world, you can see that indeed a sea-change has occurred. With mindfulness being addressed at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland we can see from this article that there are several approaches to the subject, its importance, and a diversity of support within the world business community and elsewhere.

In Barrington, RI meet Police Chief John M. LaCross who has been leading an 11-minute meditation utilizing deep breathing and visualization to comfort grieving families who have lost loved ones. He is also a Reiki master, and has put his focus on using mindfulness as part of police work to help individuals and communities. “It’s about compassion, respect for others, treating people with dignity,…..It’s a very difficult job being in public safety. You have to be strong in times of crisis. You can’t show emotion,” he said. “We’re all human, we just wear different clothes to work.”

And, on another side of the law, read here about law Professor Charles Halpern at the University of California, Berkley, where he teaches a popular course called “Effective and Sustainable Law Practice: The Meditative Perspective.” He also offers retreats for legal professionals of all sorts to enhance listening skills, focus attention and help legal professionals make more empathic to others they interact with.

Good Small Things

Dear Gabriel,

They say the best things come in small packages. At FINCA, we think so, too. That’s why we believe in the power of our small loans. Time and time again, we’ve seen poor women transform a loan into a life-changing opportunity. It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference in someone’s life – just a small act of faith.

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Did you know that, within a year, one single donation to FINCA can fund as many as three loans to hardworking women? Did you know that $50 is enough capital for a hardworking mother to buy more materials for her small business so she can send provide for her children? Small loans like these have unlimited potential to support FINCA clients all over the world. Small loans for big change – that’s our mission, and it wouldn’t be possible without your support.

Bit by bit, we can help break the cycle of poverty that grips many of the world’s working poor. FINCA’s clients are doing their part by using their loans to build self-sustaining businesses that transform their families and their communities. Their repayment rates are remarkable – as soon as one FINCA woman repays her loan, another deserving entrepreneur is given a chance. Every small loan counts. The more loans we can give, the faster the progress, the bigger the success story. No matter how small or large your donation is, it will leave a mark much bigger than you can ever anticipate.

Help us write the world’s success story today, and support small FINCA loans for big change. Support hard work, the human spirit, and resilience. Donate today, and join the global fight against poverty.

Thank you for your generosity,

Soledad Gompf
Vice President,
New Business Development

Sleeping Giant of Publishing

Why LinkedIn is a Sleeping Giant of Publishing
by Josh Sternberg. 18 February, 2013.
Digiday

Let’s say you were to construct the ideal business publisher from scratch. It would have a strong tech platform that doesn’t slow down because of too many users or ads. It would foster direct connections. It would also have writers who were the most influential people in their industries. It would be digitally native. And it wouldn’t be overly reliant on ads.

Now look at LinkedIn. Back to the ideal business publisher. Now back to LinkedIn.

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Over the last four months, LinkedIn, always living in the shadow of the sexier social platforms, has quietly built out a publishing platform. It is now a publisher in its own right, under former Fortune editor Dan Roth, with LinkedIn Today feeding aggregated articles from more than 1 million publications to LinkedIn’s 200 million users based on their preferences. It complemented that with an original publishing effort around “influencers,” recruiting a who’s who of business like Richard Branson, T. Boone Pickens and Ari Emanuel, and about 250 others.

“We went out to find the top people in various industries, folks who, universally, people wanted to know about and drove business conversation,” Roth said. “The internal frame was, if we put on the world’s best conference, who would you want? The idea you can ask top minds in business to share or reveal something about themselves in an authentic way, it’s important for us.”

The combination could become extremely powerful. LinkedIn already gets about 46 million unique visitors per month, per ComScore. Compare that to a Bloomberg Businessweek with a print circulation of about 1 million and about 6.7 million visitors per month. LinkedIn isn’t about to win Pulitizers, but its content is bound to expand. The hard part of a platform is the tech infrastructure, which LinkedIn has in place. How many publications wouldn’t kill for LinkedIn’s revenue model? Half of its $972 million in revenues for 2012 came from its recruiting services, which is one of its revenue streams. Selling ads and subscriptions are the other two.

The Influencer effort began back in October 2012 with the goal to go beyond matching stories with people and instead offer its users a window into the minds of business people at the top of their industries. For the Influencer platform, LinkedIn, for the first time, brought the “follow” option to the platform. LinkedIn also created its own CMS for this. Writers have their own login to the CMS and can see who their followers are, what industries they’re in, what seniority level.

The concept of a social network having a blogging platform isn’t entirely new or unique. Consider Tumblr or WordPress, even. Both platforms have social components to them. This platform is a move away from that notion, or even the “digital Rolodex” moniker.

When people post content on Twitter or Facebook, it’s usually flight-of-fancy information. In part, that’s because the ADD style of those social networks focuses on the stream of a feed. LinkedIn Influencers, instead, is an actual platform. The bigger issue, though, is how and why people use the different social networks. As Roth put it, “You’re not on LinkedIn at 3 a.m.” Translation: no drunken rants on LinkedIn.

The other benefit, Roth sees, is that there’s no anonymity on LinkedIn. Everyone’s writing — the “Influencer” and anyone who comments — is tied back to a professional reputation. If you make a comment, your employer, employees, future employers can see what you’re sharing. People are thinking hard about what kind of comments they’re making, so you see little, if any, trolling — a coup for a blogging platform.

And the posts do well. Take a look at Richard Branson’s most recent post about “Where I Work: surrounded by people (and swimming in tea).” It was shared 600 times on Twitter, 2,500 times on Facebook and 8,300 times on LinkedIn. Then there are the more than 2,000 comments. Roth said that some posts have crossed the million view mark, and the site has seen an eight-fold traffic increase to LinkedIn Today over the last year.

The underlying implication, however, is that LinkedIn wants its users to stay and get content they can’t get anywhere else. Through a business lens, this makes sense as the more often and longer people stay, LinkedIn can serve more job opportunities — which is where the company makes half of its revenue — and get advertisers to pony up more money on ads targeted at LinkedIn’s user.

This is all part of a broader plan for LinkedIn. In the last year, it redesigned company pages and introduced targeted status updates as ways to drive what it calls “engagement” — shares and comments.

LinkedIn has also discussed introducing a sponsored content unit where companies pay to deliver content to its followers, though a spokesperson said this not related to Influencer content. In its fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Jeff Weiner said last month it began a test: “working with some very large-scale enterprises, some blue chip marketers, folks like GE and Xerox, the Economist, BlackBerry. They are taking repositories of content that they’ve built up over time — white papers, expertise, customs-related practices — and they are now able to serve that content at a status update and target specific followers of theirs on LinkedIn.”

Roth said that LinkedIn is seeing high engagement around the posts precisely because people understand the value they can get by being seen as a productive member of a conversation started by a popular and influential person. And while LinkedIn can play a numbers game in the engagement arena — if there are 200 million users, even if only 1 percent are active, articles could get viewed 2 million times — Roth says that there’s no such thing as guaranteed engagement.

Read entire article and more at Digiday.

A Glass of Water

Dear Gabriel,

I’m not afraid to drink a glass of water from the faucet of my home. Fact is, most of us are confident that the water we drink, bathe, and clean with is safe.

But in places like Haiti, that’s not always the case. The need for sanitation and clean water is overwhelming. In Port-au-Prince, hundreds of thousands of people have no access to clean water. Imagine being a woman in a rural place like Grand Anse, where finding a private place to use the bathroom can be life threatening because you don’t know who or what might be watching.

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It’s with the monthly support of people like you that we can build wells, sanitary latrines, and safe spaces for women – helping provide some of the basic, essential tools a woman needs to pull herself out of poverty. You can change a life right now just by making your monthly gift today.

Help us bring clean water, safety, and support to women all over the world. Make a monthly gift to CARE by January 31. You can enter to win a trip to see our work in action!

The support of donors changes lives. We’ve seen it again and again, but it never feels less miraculous.

This is why we’re giving you a chance to visit a CARE project and meet the men, women, and children whose lives you’ve touched.

See the official rules for details, but I can tell you it’s a truly inspiring experience. I’ve never once returned home without feeling inspired by the strength of the people I’ve met.

As a CARE supporter, I know that you’re committed to building a better world, where girls can go to school, women can start a small business, and families have enough food. In Haiti alone, the generosity of CARE’s donors has done incredible work. With a Food Voucher program, vulnerable families get nutritionally balanced food that helps support the local economy by relying on food produced in the area. Last June, we launched a 5-year program to protect vulnerable girls and women, prevent abuse, and help survivors of violence. We work in communities to help identify infrastructure needs, move public works projects forward, build family latrines and showers, and prevent cholera.

Our work in Haiti isn’t finished – our work all over the world isn’t complete – but we rely on your support to keep moving forward.

I can think of no more meaningful way to help build a better world than becoming a Partner for Change. Our monthly donors are truly at the forefront of our work in over 70 countries around the world, fighting poverty and empowering people to change their own lives.

If you want to see the world change, let’s start now: together. Become a Partner for Change by Thursday and you can enter to win a trip to a CARE project!

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

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