Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell

I’ve read more Bernard Cornwell books than any other author. There’s something compelling about reading him... first time reading this novel I just did it for over a day and didn’t think of anything else.

The focus of this novel seems to be the death of King Alfred, and what happens after. On reflection, there seems to be less battles and fighting than other Cornwell books I’ve read... but that makes it interesting. The language seems quite simple sometimes, less complex than John Updike for instance. But when you read it again and think about it it’s potent.

Let’s look at an example:

“Alfred looked at the great leather panel that showed the crucifixion. ‘Do you notice anything strange about that painting?’ he asked me. I stared at it. Jesus hung from the cross, blood streaked, the sinews in his arms stretching against the dark sky behind. ‘No, lord,’ I said.

‘He’s dying,’ Alfred said. That seemed obvious and I said nothing. ‘In every other depiction I have seen of our Lord’s death,’ the king went on, ‘he is smiling on the cross, but not in this one. In this picture his head is hanging, he is in pain.’ ‘Yes, lord.’

‘Archbishop Plegmund reproved the painter,’ Alfred said, ‘because he believes our Lord conquered pain and so would have smiled to the end, but I like the painting. It reminds me that my pain is nothing compared to his.’

‘I would you had no pain lord’ I said awkwardly. He ignored that. He still gazed at the agonized Christ, then grimaced. ‘He wore a crown of thorns,’ he said in a tone of wonderment. ‘Men want to be king,’ he went on, ‘but every crown has thorns.’

I actually think this is the most moving piece of the novel. There's one element that I hadn't noticed before until now- mentioning Alfred looking at 'the great leather panel' is acknowledging in a way that he was great. The passage is almost comparing Jesus' death with Alfred's death. Alfred lived with pain for most of his life, yet he still achieved much, and set about making what would become England. Christianity was the driving force behind his ambition, and the Christain religion dominated English life for centuries to come.

Friday, 14 March 2014


There are plenty of goals I’ve achieved that at some point I thought were unrealistic. Remember losing in a few moves in chess at 7... but I became one of the best in Yorkshire for my age and beat players who’d played for England. Nobody thought I would have a world wide selling novel, even my family. Pretty unrealistic for a twenty one year old to do that right? But we’re living in the internet age now and it happened. I never had any ‘formal’ sales education, but I’ve managed to sell all kind of products for some of the biggest and best companies in the UK.

Just over ten years ago I knew very few ‘high value’ people and was pretty introverted. Now I know many and am humbled that they help me towards my goals.

Truth is... at many points I could have died rather than reach these goals. There are lots of times where I’ve cried, believing I’d never make it. But I think deep inside I have always had this inner belief that I would succeed. That’s probably the most important element in achieving goals, believing that you will. After that you find ways to make it happen.

I’ve just finished another goal that is something I’ve never done before, has taken over a year and a lot of energy. Whiskers away from dying rather than achieving it, but it’s practically done now.

I feel much more focused now, because this issue took a lot of that away. Coming back from near death makes you appreciate life more. There are plenty of things I haven’t achieved yet that seem unrealistic... but I’m about to start on these goals.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Being None Needy

Good morning all!

I've touched on this before, but today I'm going to go into a bit more depth on being none needy. This is because over the past few days I have been... quite needy but have managed to 'aggressively reverse the course' to an extent. Being needy is ironcially about the worst way you can go about getting what you need. In sales, if a customer sees you are desperate for a sale, you will very rarely get the sale. In contrast, if you are none needy and can offer value to a customer you are much more likely to get a sale.

Here are some real world examples of this for you to illustrate. When working for British Gas and Npower sometimes I would do a good pitch, get rapport, but not close the sale right then. We'd established that there was a decent saving, but they weren't ready to go for it. I'd say "Fine, that's ok" and start walking onto the next house. Sometimes a customer would literally chase me back out the garden path and say "Wait... OK I'll go for it!" By being willing to walk away and do something else you show that you will just go on and offer someone else value. Another example is saying "Look... we know you're being overcharged and I could save you some money. It's not going to kill me either way, it's your money." Effective and true.

It's the same in business relationships or friendships. I know a lot of great people here again, and to be honest I'm not needy at all with my friends or in business. If they're too busy to chat I'll just go and do something else and chat later.

Anyway, some new goals to focus on... eating more healthily... just generally getting more healthy food into my body. Also more exercise!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

2014 Quick Goal Setting

Clear financial goal- get this figure and more!

Eat more healthily, exercise more and take better care of my body.

Mutual fulfilment with high value people.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

2013 Quick Goal Review

Blasting this out just to get some momentum. Did my financial goal- despite having one v bad incident happen to me. This really has hit home to focus on myself first before giving financial advice. A lot of my financial success came down to my shares- possibly my best year ever with them. 10/10

Worked in two interesting jobs as well as shares, they actually helped me become a better investor... met some cool people. Could have done a bit better overall though. 7/10

Not that much spent on development... did win some good prizes online though and recieved a lot of free stuff. Nothing wasted. Could/should have still spent a bit more though 6.75/10.

Meeting people... maintained great relationships with high value people- again humbled that they want to help me. Met some cool new people too who challenged me. Lost a bit of focus 'chasing' one person to an extent, just have to trust my instincts and go with reality a bit more. There's no actual loss now if even high value people go out of my network (sadly sometimes by being a bit unbalanced)... there're no actual negative effects because I can just use that time I spent helping them to help other high value people and get mutual fulfilment that way. So I think I should definitely just keep speaking my mind. 7.5/10.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2014: Taking Action

Alright, so we're blasting off 2014 with a taking action post. The full goal review and goal setting WILL be posted here... but the authentic uncut one is too extreme for this blog, so will only be sent to close friends. Hopefully will still be a fun read for you!

"Those shares are good value," I told my father. "You should buy them." I thought that he might, but could take some time. They're so good I'm probably going to buy them myself even though it means 'eating into my cash reserves'. "So what do you think?" I asked him later today. "I already bought them."

Taking action is key... you don't have to plan out every single detail. In fact doing this can often make you doubt your instincts. With my general 'genetics' and upbringing, I like to analyse things a lot. In chess often the more you analyse a position the deeper you will understand it. There are some basic things I should just do though. I'm pretty good with money- and give free advice to my friends. My friends don't know a lot about money often, but they trust me and take the advice and make money. That's it. A lot of complex things are written about investing (and I've read a hell of a lot of them) but at the end of the day all that matters is how much money you make. You don't get paid for reading. You don't get extra brownie points or cookies for having a 'balanced portfolio'. All that counts is how much money you make.

As quick ad... I've currently got some free time for financial advice. Contact me for details.

I don't think there are many people in the UK of my age who have read as much 'theory' as I have in my chosen areas. Now I have to take action and put it into practise. List of things to DO each day... best if I have control over whether I can do them, but still list some which I don't. Tick them off- do it each day. 2014 can be a BIG year for me... time to show and prove.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Mr Moneysaving Expert

Who's the best at getting money? The person who has a great defensive game, understands the value and prices of things, gives great free advice... but who doesn't get £3000 a month salary (after tax) or a girl who has a rubbish defensive game, doesn't understand the value of things, recieves great free advice (but doesn't take it)... but who DOES get £3000 a month salary (after tax)?

Yep it's number two. Happens to be my sister.

Have to give credit in some ways though, because despite costing the family extra money in some ways, and throwing money away in others, she's the slowest member of the family in giving me birthday money usually lol!

Alright so that's quite a direct opening to a post, but it's a serious issue for me. Mentioned it briefly before, but need to hammer it into my mind. I give other people free advice about money (I like doing it) who use the advice better (think Stevie PUA)... and do get great value advice back (although high quality people will only give you a certain amount of time). But like... with my sister I've spent so much time giving free advice I'm just direct now about how she can help me reach my goals "I'd like some money." She's rather spend it on clothes though.

So from now I'm only giving advice of any kind to people who VALUE it and TAKE ACTION. Those are the people who are worth my time.