the white tiger

February 18, 2010

by anne lueneburger

Are you interested in learning more about India but look for entertainment and a good laugh? Introducing a major literary talent, ‘The White Tiger’ offers a story of coruscating wit, blistering suspense, and questionable morality, told by the most volatile, captivating, and utterly inimitable narrator Aravind Adiga. Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered light of a preposterous chandelier, Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life — having nothing but his own wits to help him along.

Born in the dark heart of India, Balram gets a break when he is hired as a driver for his village’s wealthiest man, two house Pomeranians (Puddles and Cuddles), and the rich man’s (very unlucky) son. From behind the wheel of their Honda City car, Balram’s new world is a revelation. While his peers flip through the pages of Murder Weekly (“Love — Rape — Revenge!”), barter for girls, drink liquor (Thunderbolt), and perpetuate the Great Rooster Coop of Indian society, Balram watches his employers bribe foreign ministers for tax breaks, barter for girls, drink liquor (single-malt whiskey), and play their own role in the Rooster Coop. Balram learns how to siphon gas, deal with corrupt mechanics, and refill and resell Johnnie Walker Black Label bottles (all but one). He also finds a way out of the Coop that no one else inside it can perceive.

Balrams’ eyes penetrate India as few outsiders can: the cockroaches and the call centers; the prostitutes and the worshippers; the ancient and Internet cultures; the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger. And with a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn’t create virtue, and money doesn’t solve every problem — but decency can still be found in a corrupt world, and you can get what you want out of life if you eavesdrop on the right conversations. Sold in sixteen countries around the world,The White Tiger recalls The Death of Vishnu and Bangkok 8 in ambition, scope, and narrative genius, with a mischief and personality all its own. Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this is so much better than your typical airplane read on ‘understanding other cultures’.

now, discover your strengths

January 25, 2010

by anne lueneburger

Unfortunately, most of us have little sense of our talents and strengths, much less the ability to build our lives around them. Instead, guided by our parents, by our teachers, by our managers, and by psychology’s fascination with pathology, we become experts in our weaknesses and spend our lives trying to repair these flaws, while our strengths lie dormant and neglected.

Marcus Buckingham, coauthor of the national bestseller First, Break All the Rules,and Donald O. Clifton, Chair of the Gallup International Research & Education Center, have created a revolutionary program to help readers identify their talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy consistent, near-perfect performance. At the heart of the book is the Internet-based StrengthsFinder® Profile, the product of a 25-year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human strengths. The program introduces 34 dominant “themes” with thousands of possible combinations, and reveals how they can best be translated into personal and career success. In developing this program, Gallup has conducted psychological profiles with more than two million individuals to help readers learn how to focus and perfect these themes.

So how does it work? This book contains a unique identification number that allows you access to the StrengthsFinder Profile on the Internet. This Web-based interview analyzes your instinctive reactions and immediately presents you with your five most powerful signature themes. Once you know which of the 34 themes — such as Achiever, Activator, Empathy, Futuristic, or Strategic — you lead with, the book will show you how to leverage them for powerful results at three levels:for your own development, for your success as a manager, and for the success of your organization.

With accessible and profound insights on how to turn talents into strengths, and with the immediate on-line feedback of StrengthsFinder at its core, Now, Discover Your Strengths is one of the most groundbreaking and useful business books ever written.

why zebras don’t get ulcers

November 16, 2009

by anne lueneburger

imagesWhy don’t zebras get ulcers–or heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases–when people do? In a fascinating look at the science of stress, biologist Robert Sapolsky presents an intriguing case, that people develop such diseases partly because our bodies aren’t designed for the constant stresses of a modern-day life–like sitting in daily traffic jams or growing up in poverty. Rather, they seem more built for the kind of short-term stress faced by a zebra–like outrunning a lion.

With wit, graceful writing, and a sprinkling of Far Side cartoons, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers makes understanding the science of stress an adventure in discovery. “This book is a primer about stress, stress-related disease, and the mechanisms of coping with stress. How is it that our bodies can adapt to some stressful emergencies, while other ones make us sick? Why are some of us especially vulnerable to stress-related diseases, and what does that have to do with our personalities?”

Sapolsky, a Stanford University neuroscientist, explores stress’s role in heart disease, diabetes, growth retardation, memory loss, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. He cites tantalizing studies of hyenas, baboons, and rodents, as well as of people of different cultures, to vividly make his points. And Sapolsky concludes with a hopeful chapter, titled “Managing Stress.” Although he doesn’t subscribe to the school of thought that hope cures all disease, Sapolsky highlights the studies that suggest we do have some control over stress-related ailments, based on how we perceive the stress and the kinds of social support we have.

the pathfinder

September 24, 2009

by anne lueneburger


Not everyone wants or is able to invest in career coaching. This book offers over 370 pages worth of insights and is a very comprehensive guide on how you can successfully change your career or view your current job from a new, more positive angle. The author, Nicholas Lore, mixes theory with search techniques and over 100 self-tests and diagnostic tools.

by anne lueneburger

The Job-hunter's survival guide

In addition to his classic “What color is your parachute?”, Dick Bolles has now published a timely and smaller version on how to find a job even when “there are no jobs”. Telling, this career guru points to the #1 most powerful way to find a job: understand who you are and what you are looking for. If you do your “homework” he predicts an 86% success rate. This 96 page hand book is a quick read with a good number of solid resources that help you move forward and ends with Winston Churchill’s quote: “Never give up.”

she’s come undone

June 28, 2009

by anne lueneburger


This book is about a woman’s journey to find herself. It is one of the most fascinating fiction novels I have ever read. The reason why I include it in this library is that it is a beautiful story about what living ‘north of neutral’ implies: striving to live a meaningful life, being true to yourself and let the ‘real you’ come through. Interestingly, it took me a while to understand that the author, Wally Lamb, is a man as he convincingly narrates this story in the ‘I’ form from the main female character’s perspective: Dolores Price. I love this book!

changing for good

June 16, 2009

imagesDo you have any bad habits that you are struggling to get rid of? Now you can use a tool to do just that: change what you wish to change, successfully and lastingly. Famous psychologist James Prochaska and two of his colleagues introduce the process of change, what stages one goes through and what you can do to help you progress and move forward, towards your goal. It is based on ground breaking research, written in an entertaining style and offers a good number of examples.

I strongly recommend this book– it is an easy read and bound to be relevant, be it for your personal and/or professional life. If you do not have the time for the 300 page book, check out my blog from May 5th on mastering change.

the how of happiness

June 2, 2009

by anne lueneburger


Harvard and Stanford trained scientist and positive psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky offers a pragmatic, yet research-based guide on how to boost your happiness. While genetics and life circumstances determine some of our moods and how we feel about life, 40 percent of our happiness is up to us! The author gives a solid background and quickly moves into applications and worksheets that you can use to get started on being in charge of your own happiness. What are you waiting for?

working identity

May 29, 2009

by anne lueneburger


Herminia Ibarra is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France and a frequent author of articles in renowned publications such as the Harvard Business School Press and the Harvard Business Review. This book was published in 2003 and continues to be highly relevant for all of us who are interested in successfully changing careers and in transitioning from a current working identity to one that rings true to who we are. Ibarra contrasts the traditional model of career transitions following a logical sequence of different steps and introduces a career change model that shows that a ‘circular’ way of thinking is often more effective: it involves exploring possible selves by asking “who might I become?”, trying on new identities, living the contradictions, to building the foundations to true change where we attain congruence between who we are and what we do. The secret is to take small steps and to “do” rather than to conceptualize. The numerous case studies throughout the book made this a very entertaining, lively read.

the last lecture

May 14, 2009

by anne lueneburger

imagesOne of the positive psychology interventions on our road to leading a fulfilled and happy life is to write our own legacy. This exercise is absolutely theoretical, we typically write it being in good health. The purpose is to allow us to envision how we would like the rest of our life to unfold, and to determine if we are well on our road to what we are writing down.

Professor Randy Pausch, author of the book “The Last Lecture” is not as fortunate in that his last lecture, his legacy, is written by the time he is aware of having terminal cancer. However, he is fortunate as he can look back on a life well lived. Randy Pausch shares with his readers his very personal life lessons and his humor and wit make this an absolute must read if you are interested to learn more about how to live a good life, north of neutral. If you don’t feel like reading, check out his lecture!