The Monday Morning Quote #9

“When you’re going through hell, keep going!”

Winston Churchill

The Weekend Read: 8. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

I have just returned from running the Cirencester Park 10K. This is the first ‘serious’ part of the build up to the next London Marathon and I thought I would feature a book that I have just bought but haven’t opened so this will be my weekend read.

Haruki Murakami is a highly rated novelist but: “I see this book as a kind of memoir,” he writes. “Not something as grand as a personal history, but calling it an essay collection is a bit forced.” It’s actually a slight but pleasant combination of all three forms, as the author recalls his near-obsession with running, an interest that has occupied him as much as writing during the past 25 years. Though he is often self-deprecating about his physique (” the sad spreadsheet of my life that reveals how much my debts far outweigh my assets”), Murakami’s single-minded focus on the task at hand will impress runners and athletes of all levels. He maintains a methodical, disciplined training schedule, never taking two consecutive days off and never walking during a race. “I have only a few reasons to keep on running,” he notes, “and a truckload of them to quit. All I can do is keep those few reasons nicely polished.”

I should have read that before I walked the last 50 metres going up ‘Big Bertha’ the nickname for the hill in front of the royalty favoured Polo Club in the Park.

Cirencester Park itself with the colours of Autumn just starting to dominate the trees was a delight to run through in the glorious sunshine today.

The book is available from my shop at Amazon.

The Weekend Read: 7 The Road Less Travelled

I read this week’s book several years ago, but for some reason it didn’t make as much of an impact on me as it did second time round. Thanks to Jo Daly from Springs Dental Practice in Darlington for reminding me about it.

Any book that starts:

‘Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it

must be worth some attention.

If you can’t manage the whole book then read the first section on Discipline where he outlines and analyses four tools that help to provide discipline in dealing with suffering and provide growth.

· Delaying of gratification.

· Acceptance of responsibility.

· Dedication to truth.

· Balancing.

The book also provides a good introduction to psychotherapy.

You can get it from my shop at Amazon.

Dance like there’s no one watching

From youtube this is clever and if you’re anywhere near my vintage you’ll find it impossible to keep still.

The Monday Morning Quote #8

“I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.

I rejoice in life for its own sake.

Life is no “brief candle” for me.

It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” – George Bernard Shaw

Shaw died at the age of 94 following complications when he fell from an apple tree. The only winner of both a Nobel prize & an Academy award.

The Weekend Read: 6. Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion

The author, Robert Cialdini, has pulled off a difficult trick. This is a serious academic book that is tremendously easy to read and very entertianing. He sets out the basic principles of persuasive techniques using anecdotes and experiments.

You will really enjoy this book and, if I am right and how to persuade people becomes an important part of the political debate, you will also be really pleased you read this.

Robert’s website is here: and you can buy the book from my online shop.

Riding Dead Horses

This came from John Niland’s newsletter and he attributes it to Iain Robertson (who I don’t know).

The tribal wisdom of the North Dakota Indians, passed down from generation to generation, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse the best strategy is to dismount.

However, customers often attempt a whole range of far more advanced strategies, such as to:


1.      Change riders.

2.      Buy a stronger whip.

3.      Do nothing: “This is the way we have always ridden dead horses”.

4.      Visit other countries to see how they ride dead horses.

5.      Perform a productivity study to see if lighter riders improve the dead horse’s performance.

6.      Hire a contractor to ride the dead horse.

7.      Harness several dead horses together to try to increase the speed.

8.      Provide additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.

9.      Appoint a committee to study the horse and assess how dead it actually is.

10.  Re-classify the dead horse as “living impaired”.

11.  Develop a Strategic Plan for the management of dead horses.

12.  Rewrite the expected performance requirements for all horses.

13.  Modify existing standards to include dead horses.

14.  Declare that, as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overheads, and therefore contributes significantly more to the bottom line than many other horses.

15.  Promote the dead horse to a supervisory or senior management position.

16.  Do nothing in the hope that the dead horse recovers.

Rick Wright

In the summer of 1972 I had just finished a term and a half at Tadcaster Grammar School in West Yorkshire and was working in the warehouse at the Bass Charrington Tower brewery in the town of Tadcaster itself. I knew that my hopes of getting sufficient A-level grades to get to university were pretty thin and I had decided that all I wanted to do was to earn some money, get a hi-fi and listen to music. It seemed pretty straightforward really.

The sound system came in stages from Comet in Armley Road, Leeds. In those days Comet was the revolutionary ‘cut-price’ electrical retailer. I started with a Tandberg Thorens record deck (which I still own and use), a Wharfdale Linton amplifier and a set of KRD (Koss Red Devil) headphones that were later cannibalised for disco use.

I used to buy a lot of music mail order from Virgin and one of my best & favourite purchases was Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. I still vividly remember the joy of hearing the album in full through headphones in stereo, could music get any better than this?

When I heard the news of Richard Wright’s death yesterday all those feelings of excitement at the early listening to the full sound of his band’s playing came rushing back.

Rest in Peace Rick.

“I am not frightened of dying, any time will do.” The great gig in the sky.

Remember his playing.

The Monday Morning Quote #7

“Don’t do it unless it’s fun.

Make it fun. (Always possible,  for me.)

Make it fun for others. (Which makes it fun / more fun for you.)”

Tom Peters

The Weekend Read: 5. Blackie

Steve Black the bearded Geordie who has used his innovative skills to train, coach & prepare successful teams from all backgrounds is described, amongst other things, as a motivator, coach, psychologist, priest, councillor, psychiatrist, comedian, strategist, facilitator, and friend.

His background has encompassed organising nightclub security, a spell as a professional boxer and a degree in sports science. He includes Newcastle Falcons, Newcastle United, Sunderland and Fulham football clubs, the Welsh Rugby team that went 11 matches without defeat under Graham Henry and the British Lions amongst the teams with which he has been involved. Indi

viduals like Johnny Wilkinson, Peter Reid, Kevin Keegan, Sting and Glen McCrory will bear witness and praise his unique and distinctive style.

It was inevitable that I must have come across Steve when I was gigging in my disco days around Newcastle during the 70s, sadly I don’t recall any encounter so another claim to fame gone.

I could write for hours about Blackie and hardly start to cover the extent of his talents. One thing that I would like to pass on is the instruction he gives to his charges about their approach to training and playing, he tells them to imagine that everything they are doing during their session is being filmed and recorded, and that at the end of the day, they will sit down with their families and friends in front of a large screen TV to watch the DVD that has been made showing their efforts. Now if that isn’t enough to make an individual honest with himself or herself I don’t know what is…

What would your film look like today?

How comfortable would you be to sit and watch it with those closest to you?

You can get Steve’s autobiography from Amazon.

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