Saturday, May 05, 2018

Read: David Hawkin's Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender

Author: David Hawkin
Title: Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender

Written in accessibly manner, this book describes the steps to let of negativity. A book that has brought me comfort when I read it. A book that is suitable for anyone interested in the subject matter.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Read: Power of Sound

Title: Power of Sound: Tune in to the Secrets of Joyous Living Using Himalayan Singing Bowls
Author: Dr Sujata Singhi
Publisher: Happy Self Publishing (2017)

Thanks to one of my friends, I learnt about Himalayan Singing Bowls and the work of Dr Sujata Singhi. When Dr Sujata Singhi was in Singapore last year, I attended one of the sound spa workshops that she has conducted and received a copy of her book.

Power of Sound, is a book on the healing power of sound, especially through the use of Himalayan Singing Bowls.

The first chapter of the book sets the context of what healing is about. This chapter also lends a glimpse to Dr Sujata Singhi's personal journey that led her to healing using Himalayan Singing Bowls.

Subsequent chapters discuss about concepts such as "chakras", the qualities of sounds, and more about the Himalayan Singing Bowls.

An accessible book to read.

More information on Dr Sujata Singhi's work is accessible from:

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Read: Kahn's A Beginner's Guide to Charting Financial Markets

Author: Michael Kahn
Title: A Beginner's Guide to Charting Financial Markets: A practical introduction to technical analysis for investors.

In an endeavour to understand technical analysis so as to have accesss to a tool that could be used to aid in investment decisions, I borrowed this book from the public library.

It is interesting how technical analysis is based solely on data generated by the market and by the actions of the people in the market.

One learning points that I have gained from the book is that technical analysis focuses on how stock prices are moving and how powerful the moves are. Essentially, the technical analysis is achieved by analysing price and volume, and the derivative measures, to ultimately measure supply and demand.

A systematic introductory book to read to appreciate technical analysis. I appreciate the illustrations made by the examples given in the book. At the same time, I felt there were something critical that I could be missing to fully gain sufficient confidence in reading the charts.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Read: Secrets of Happy Couples

Title: Secrets of Happy Couples
Author: Kim Olver
Publisher: InsiderOut Press, Chicago, Illinois

This book is dedicated to those who want more love in their lives.

The author is a licensed clinical professional counsellor, life coach, founder of Coaching for Excellence LLC and creator of the InsideOut Empowerment process. This book was part of the results of the author spending two years compiling the research and survey data for "Secrets of Happy Couple". This book is about the secrets of happy, satisfied, and committed couples who had been together at least ten years.

So in essence, self-love is the secret ingredient to happy, thriving relationships.

In this book, the author referred to Dr William Glasser's "Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage". These Healthy Relationship Habits are:
1. Listening
2. Supporting
3. Encouraging
4. Trusting
5. Respecting
6. Accepting
7. Negotiating differences

Yet this book is more than the Eight Healthy Relationship Habits. It sheds light on what the empirical data says about the secrets of happy, satisfied and committed couples. I was reading this book from a professional angle. Yet it is quite a good book to read for any layperson who's married or single, and wants to learn more about healthy relationships.

I am glad that I have finally completed my read of this book after putting it on a long one-year halt in between.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Read: Turning Goals into Results


Title: Turning Goals Into Results: The Power of Catalytic Mechanisms
Author: Jim Collins
Publisher: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation

A book the size of a note-book, this book is part of the Harvard Business Review series where each volume contains a groundbreaking idea that has shaped best practices and inspired countless managers around the world.

The catalytic mechanism is a codified term that Jim Collins named as 'the crucial link between objectives and performance... They make big, hairy, audacious goals reachable.' This term came out from his observation and study of a simple yet extremely powerful managerial tool that has helped organisations turn goals into results.

One question that one could ask in the formulation of a 'catalytic mechanism' could be: "What would it take to actually reach an ambitious goal?"

In this book, the author describes the various characteristics of a catalytic mechanism. He also illustrates examples of how catalytic mechanisms have been used to achieve big, hairy, audacious goals.

In summary, a catalytic mechanism share five distinct characteristics. These are:

1) Produces desired results in unpredictable ways

2) Distributes power for the benefit of the overall system, often to the great discomfort of those who traditionally hold power.

3) "Has teeth", it puts a process in place that all but guarantees that the vision of the organisation will be fulfilled.

4) Ejects viruses, i.e. it helps organizations to get the right people in the first place, keep them, and eject those who do not share the company's core values.

5) Produces an ongoing effect

In this book, the author also provides a few general principles based on his research that supports the process of building catalytic mechanisms effectively. These are:
- Don't just add, remove
- Create, don't copy
- Use money, but not only money
- Allow your mechanisms to evolve
- Build an integrated set

This book is an accessible read to expand one's perspectives on what it would take to reach an ambitious goal with a long time frame. Check it out:

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Read: Mycoskie's Start Something That Matters

Title: Start Something That Matters
Author: Blake Mycoskie
Publisher: The Random House Publishing Group.

When I was at Booktique looking for a book as a gift to one of my friends, Anthony of Booktique gave me several recommendations. Out of which, Mycoskie's "Start Something That Matters" stood out as the perfect gift. Anthony of Booktique shared with me that this was the book that had inspired him very much. To find out more, visit Booktique and read about the story of how Booktique started out.

Back to the book, after deciding to get the book for my friend, I felt I could get a copy too for myself. So I did.

An accessible read. Blake Mycoskie has a great gift of communicating his ideas and life experiences in simple and clear fashion. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to start something that matters, no matter how small or huge this 'something' could be.

The book weaves in Blake Mycokie's TOMS story and I could not help but want to buy a pair of TOMS from my local store if I could find out soon enough.

The book is weaved together by eight different chapters:
1) The TOMS story
2) Find your story
3) Face your fears
4) Be resourceful without resources
5) Keep it simple
6) Build trust
7) Giving is good business
8) The final step

While I was about to share which would be my favourite chapters, I realized that each chapter was a gift for me to deepen my understanding of how to start something that matters. I have enjoyed each chapter. A book to read and to keep.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Places: Good OH' Holland Village 2017

Holland Village. the HDB flats.

Please join me to explore one of Singapore's Oldest Bohemian Enclave, Holland Village, at the Good OH' Holland Village event. To find out more, please visit: Places: Good OH' Holland Village 2017

OH! Holland Village

Saturdays and Sundays

4 - 19 Mar 2017

Tours run from 4 p.m.

$25 for three 45-minutes tour

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Read: Mel & Joe: I play and Sing

Title: Mel & Joe: I Play & Sing
Authors: Mel & Joe Ferdinands
Publisher: Candid Creation Publishing, 2011

This was a thoughtful gift of a book from a friend. In essence, the book celebrates a musical journey of Mel & Joe Ferdinands in Singapore spanning 40 years.

The book began with narrating the humble beginnings of Mel & Joe. Music has been a major part of the Ferdinands' family. A book is about Mel & Ferdinands' love for music, and simply, Love.

For a copy of a book, please visit:

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Read: Sonia Choquette's Trust Your Vibes At Work, and Let Them Work for You

Title: Trust Your Vibes At Work, and Let Them Work for You
Author: Sonia Choquette
Publisher: Hay House, Inc.

This is an interesting and inspiring book to read. I had borrowed a copy of the book from the local library. I will love to receive a gift of this book one day.

One of the ideas that stood out was that on broadcasting our love, and we will attract our heart's desire.

For more information on books by Sonia Choquette, please check out:

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Read: Arianna Huffington's Thrive

Title: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder
Author: Arianna Huffington
Publisher: Harmony, New York

I was recommended to read this book. In this book, Huffington shared her observations that the third measure of success goes beyond the two metrics of money and power. What exactly did she identify as the third measure of success?

The third metric consists of four pillars:
Wonder and

The author outlined how paying greater attention to our well-being enables us to connect with parts of ourselves and be whole being successful at work and thriving in life. In the chapter on well-being, many pages were dedicated to discuss how getting adequate sleep can improve so many aspects of our lives. This sub-chapter encouraged and reminded me to be more mindful to sleep before midnight as often as possible.

The chapter on wisdom weaved in the author's growing up years in Athen and Greek myths. One major source of wisdom is intuition, our inner knowing. The author stated that "Our intuition is like a tuning fork that keeps us in harmony - if we learn to listen".

Huffington also made three suggestions to cultivate the ability to not be disturbed by our lives' circumstances. These are:
1) Listening to our inner wisdom to let go of something that we no longer need. (e.g. resentment, self-talk or a project that we are not really going to complete.)
2) A gratitude list.
3) A specific time to disconnect from the digital world.

Being present enough could awaken in us the almost constant state of wonder that countless things in our daily lives present. In this chapter, the author spends a fair length to discuss how coincidences are life's secret door to wonder.

Concluding the chapter on wonder, the author shared three simple practices that has helped her live more in the moment, the place from which we can experience wonder:
1) Focus on the rising and falling of our breath for ten seconds whenever we feel tensed, rushed or distracted. This will allow us to become fully present in our life.
2) Pick an image that ignites the joy in us.
3) Forgive ourselves for any judgments that we are holding against ourselves, and then forgive our judgement of others. Then look at our life and the day ahead with newness and wonder.

The chapter on giving was comparatively shorter than the other chapters. It outlined how service is so powerful. The author shared her own memories of her mother whereby giving was a way of being. That was a moving chapter on how the gesture of giving and service was an offering, not a trade.

Ending the chapter on giving were simple suggestions such as:
1) Make small gestures of kindness and giving a habit. Pay attention to how this affects our mind, our emotions and our body.
2) During our day, make a personal connection with people we might normally tend to pass by and take for granted.
3) Use a skill or talent - cooking, accounting, decorating - we have to help someone who could benefit from it.

This book ends with an insightful epilogue, which quoted Archimedes: "Give me a place to stand, and I will move the world".

There are appendices at the end of the book to provide a series of resources for the readers.

While this isn't a book I would have normally pick up and read, I am pleased that I have read the book. A book that has shifted me towards redefining what it means to thrive in today's world.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Read: Clarity

Title: Clarity
Author: Jamie Smart
Publisher: Capstone (2013)

This is a book that I had chanced upon. I borrowed the book from a local library, and had a pretty good read on this book. I like the way that this book was written in an accessible fashion. Instead of giving instructions on the things to do, the author id written in a way that is closely aligned with how the mind and life really works so that the reader can "catch an understanding" of the "symptoms" of increasing clarity, resilience and peace of mind.

A book that I will recommend.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Read: Venice: A New History

Image credit:

Title: Venice: A New History
Author: Thomas F. Madden
Publisher: Penguin Books (2012)

Someone I know recommended this book. Coincidentally, in July 2016, I visited Venice for my second time, and it was very appealing to read the book. The first chapter was still enticing. By the second chapter, I realized I had limited knowledge of European history. Nevertheless, eager to learn something new, I set myself the challenge to complete the reading of the book.

While I cannot claim that I am a master of Venice's history, I could at least claim that I have read this book and have a sense of how Venice has changed over the ages. The rise and the fall of Venice is an intriguing story.

This book reveals the Origins of Venice. Essentially, the earliest Venetians were Romans. Venice was built from refugees fleeing from the fall of the Roman Empire. Perhaps the next time that I would reread this book again would be when I next visit Venice. By that time, I would have a deeper understanding of Venice.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Read: The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality

Read: The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality
Author: W. Edwards Deming
Edited by Joyce Nilsson Orsini
Publisher: McGraw Hill (2013)

Eager to learn more about Edwards Deming's concepts of Quality assurance, I borrowed the book from the library. This book lends insights to the ideas and thoughts of Edwards Deming. One of the ideas presented was that "dependability of service is an important quality characteristic." "Reliable service reduces cost."

This book outlines and discusses Deming's 14 points for management.

After reading this book, I felt curious to learn more about the statistical techniques that were discussed in the book. I felt curious how statistical techniques could be applied as an aid to solution of problems and as aids to knowledge and creativity.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

USA 2015

Charles River

Better late than never. This post recapitulates the links to the various posts that I have written on my trip to Boston, Nahant and New York City last year, in 2015. It was a trip that was beyond my imagination. I had not thought of visiting Boston until early 2015. I am thankful for the opportunity to visit a part of USA to learn about song-writing and to learn about a different culture.

Ambivalence and resolution: The journey to the United States, 20 Jun - 5 Jul 2015
Travelling tips: From Singapore to Boston
21 Jun 2015: Arriving in Boston on Summer Solstice
22 Jun 2015: Breakfast at Hostelling International Boston
22 Jun 2015 and etc: Thinking Cup
22 Jun 2015: Faneuil Hall and beyond
22 Jun 2015: Old North Church
22 Jun 2015: The Daily Catch
22 Jun 2015: Along the Freedom Trail
22 Jun 2015: Dinner at Giacomo's
22 Jun 2015: Mike's Pastry, possibly Boston's most popular pastry shop
22 Jun 2015: Boston Common and Boston Public Garden
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
23 Jun 2015: German food at Jacob Wirth
24 Jun 2015: Breakfast from Mac Donalds
24 Jun 2015: The search for Algiers Coffee House
24 Jun 2015: Official Harvard Tour
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a guided tour of it
24 Jun 2015: Hatch Shell and the Charles River
24 Jun 2015: One of the Super Duck Tours
24 Jun 2015: Dinner at the Union Oyster House
24 Jun 2015: My final night in Boston for the month of June 2015
25 Jun 2015: A visit to Boston Public Library and beyond
25 Jun 2015: Boston Pizza Kitchen
25 Jun 2015: The journey to Lynn and Oceanview Bed and Breakfast
25 Jun 2015: A visit to Rockport
25 Jun 2015: Fresh seafood dinner from Roy Moore Lobster Company
25 Jun 2015: A quick stopover at Salem
26 Jun 2015: A morning in Lynn
26 - 28 Jun 2015: A weekend learning songwriting
26 - 28 Jun 2016: Beautiful Nahant
Lincoln's Landing at Swampscott
29 Jun 2015: Express bus to Boston and James Hook and Co
Leaving Boston for New York
29 Jun 2015: Reached New York City
Getting around New York City with a MetroCard
29 Jun 2015: HI New York City
30 Jun 2015: Jerry's Grand Tour
1 Jul 2015: Metropolitan Museum of Art
1 Jul 2015: Gimme Coffee
2 Jul 2015: abraco
2 Jul 2015: Washington Square Park and more
2 Jul 2015: A Visit to United Nations Headquarters
2 Jul 2015: Carnegie Hall and a missed chance
2 Jul 2015: The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
2 Jul 2015: Dinner at Fluffy's Cafe
2 Jul 2015: A stroll about Columbia University
3 Jul 2015: Plowshares Coffee Bloomingdale
3 Jul 2015: Absolute Bagels and Lox
3 Jul 2015: A short visit to The Cathedral Church of St John the Divine
3 Jul 2015: Top of the Rock Observation Deck and Rockefeller Centre
3 Jul 2015: Shake Shack in Madison Square Park
3 Jul 2015: Bye New York City

At Boston. Giacomo's

Ferry ride to Staten Island.