Value of your Network

So I love this great idea from my friend Oscar Trimboli, an amazing individual from down under in Australia.  If you have not met him, you must  His great idea is to give back to your network.  They take time to help you and you should take time to give them a little something back.  So I want to share with you some amazing individuals, great books and movies I have enjoyed.  As you can see I have been working a little too much and not watching enough movies.  My plan is to update my blog significantly over the holidays and catch up with the 1 year of quietness…  enjoy

People:two people I admire and hope I can someday change the world as much as them

Jacqueline Novogratz: Jacqueline totally inpsires me that people can take their talents and make great things happen!  I hope someday I can change the worls as much as she does!  She is the founder and CEO of Acumen Fund. Prior to Acumen Fund, Jacqueline Novogratz founded and directed The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership program at the Rockefeller Foundation. She also founded Duterimbere, a micro-finance institution in Rwanda. She began her career in international banking with Chase Manhattan Bank.

Rich De Lorenzo: I absolutely love rich and so excited he is part of my life.  He is an amazing induvidual, with an amazing heart who will change the face of Education in the United States and hopefully the world.  If everyone followed their passion as much as Rich, the world would be significantly different and every child would reach their potential!  Rich co-founded the Re-Inventing Schools Coalition (RISC), whose mission is to help other educational systems reinvent themselves so that every child has the opportunity to achieve his or her dreams. DeLorenzo has been instrumental in the comprehensive transformation that has yielded phenomenal results in both academic achievement and the transitional skills. The Chugach School District was the only K-12 district to receive the New American High School Award and one of the first to receive the National Malcolm Baldrige Award. Community standards linked with state and national standards, effective instruction, meaningful assessment, and a strong accountability system has been at the forefront of this reform effort.

Books: three books who help me want to be a better person and help better the world

Leaving Microsoft to Change the world: I love this story and hope someday my paths cross with John!  I can’t wait to see where a Room in Read goes in the future…John Wood discovered his passion, his greatest success, and his life’s work–not at business school or leading Microsoft’s charge into Asia in the 1990s–but on a soul-searching trip to the Himalayas. Wood felt trapped between an all-consuming career and a desire to do something lasting and significant. Stressed from the demands of his job, he took a vacation trekking in Nepal because a friend had told him, “If you get high enough in the mountains, you can’t hear Steve Ballmer yelling at you anymore.” Instead of being the antidote to the rat race, that trip convinced John Wood to divert the boundless energy he was devoting to Microsoft into a cause that desperately needed to be addressed. While visiting a remote Nepalese school, Wood learned that the students had few books in their library. When he offered to run a book drive to provide the school with books, his idea was met with polite skepticism. After all, no matter how well-intentioned, why would a successful software executive take valuable time out of his life and gather books for an impoverished school? Leaving Microsoft to Change the World chronicles John Wood’s struggle to find a meaningful outlet for his managerial talents and entrepreneurial zeal. For every high-achiever who has ever wondered what life might be like giving back, Wood offers a vivid, emotional, and absorbing tale of how to take the lessons learned at a hard-charging company like Microsoft and apply them to one of the world’s most pressing problems: the lack of basic literacy.

“Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan” I  wish I had the courage to put my life in danger to make the amazing sacrife and changes iMortenson does.  He is the author of the most popular recent account of a part of the world at the center of American foreign policy. His views will influence how voters react to President Obama’s efforts in Afghanistan. However distasteful he finds the word “terrorism,” Mortenson makes no secret of his disgust with the Taliban. The heroes of this book are 14 riders, loaded with AK-47s, their horses “short legged and shaggy and iridescent with sweat,” who came across the Irshad Pass to Pakistan in 1999 and begged Mortensen to build a school in their remote part of Afghanistan. The school was built, and at the end of that struggle the author
saw their triumph as a path to peace for all. “They had raised a beacon of hope that called out not only to the Kirghiz themselves, but also to every village and town in Afghanistan where children yearn for education, and where fathers and mothers dream of building a school whose doors will open not only to their sons but also to their daughters,” Mortenson writes, “including– and perhaps especially — those places that are surrounded by a ring of men with Kalashnikovs who help to sustain the grotesque lie that flinging battery acid into the face of a girl who longs to study arithmetic is somehow in keeping with the teachings of the Koran.” After some initial reluctance, he embraces the U.S. military as part of the effort to bring education to children so unimaginably far from civilization. Soldiers provide personal donations and transportation of materials for some of his projects. But he  puts most of his faith in the Afghans themselves, particularly those who persuaded him to build more schools. He says they can crush the Taliban and overcome the country’s old cultural biases against educating girls. Mortenson
may be unrealistic, but the past decade of his life has been one improbability after another. It is unfair to expect him to lose hope now. He wants the United States to stay and help his friends save their country. He’s on a roll, and he doesn’t see why he can’t carry everyone with him.

The Joy of Living: Unlocking the secret and science to happiness: I had the opportunity to do a workshop with Rinpoche, love him.  Great insight, great understanding and he taught me to give my monkeymind a part-time job.  Love it- you will need to read this book to understand what that means!  The next generation of Buddhism is creative, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary. Born in 1975 in Nepal, the author is among the generation of Tibetan lamas trained outside of Tibet, and he’s also a gifted meditator.  His brain activity has been measured during meditation, earning him the enviable sobriquet of “happiest man on earth.” He fuses scientific and spiritual considerations, explaining meditation as a physical as well as a spiritual process. Mingyur Rinpoche knows from experience that meditation can change the brain. He experienced panic attacks as a child that he was able to overcome through intensive meditation. If diligently practiced, meditation can affect the “neuronal gossip”—his imaginative rendering of brain cell communication—that keeps us stuck in unhappy behaviors. The meditation master offers a wide variety of techniques, counseling ease in practice to avoid boredom or aversion. Less is more; practice shorter periods more often, he says. His approach will be especially welcome for anyone frustrated by meditation or convinced they’re “not doing it right.” This book is a fresh breath from the meditation room, written with kindness, energy and wit.

Movies:that make you think how do we need to change our life and how to appreciate the cards that you have been dealt!

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire The power of teachers to transform people’s lives and how we all can help others to see their value and be contributors of society. In Harlem, an overweight, illiterate teen
who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Up in the Air Do we work too much and miss the important things in life?  How do we ensure there is more meaning.  With a job that has him traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham leads an empty life out of a suitcase, until his company does the unexpected: ground him.

CoCo Avant Chanel: you can do anything you put your heart soul and dream that no one can stop you. The story of Coco Chanel’s rise from obscure beginnings to the heights of the fashion world.

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