A Quote on Philanthropy from Bill Gates


“Effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity – the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires.” – Bill Gates

William Henry ‘Bill’ Gates III is an American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer, and inventor. Bill Gates originally established his reputation as the co-founder of Microsoft, the world’s largest PC software company. During his career at Microsoft, Bill Gates held the positions of chairman, CEO and chief software architect, and was also the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. He has also authored and co-authored several books.

Save Our Environment – My High School Speech

Save Our EnvironmentWhile organising the thousands (if not millions) of files and folders on my old laptop’s hard drive, I came across a Word document that took me back to my high school days in Nairobi, Kenya. The year was 2002, and I was in Year 8 at Oshwal High School (now called Oshwal Academy Nairobi). This was when ‘Bhavik Jayendrakumar Shah’ was an innocent lad with absolutely no clue about the wider issues that our world faced at the time (and faces today). I had probably just learnt the existence of the word ‘terrorism’ after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US, and was still understanding what the Millennium bug was all about. It came very much as a surprise to me when I got chosen by one of my teachers to prepare ‘an informative speech on a worldly event’ for the next school assembly (that took place every Monday morning). This was a terrifying thought for me at first – standing in front of the head teacher, teachers and a few hundred students, and fluently speaking about a topic that I barely knew about myself! Even worse, the teacher left the topic open-ended (which made it more difficult for me to choose one).

I quickly began to Google what topics I could perhaps speak about, and I noticed that one of the most urgent topics in the news and media was in relation to saving our environment from human activities and promoting sustainable living. Below is my two-minute speech that I prepared for the school assembly. Ignore the lack of detail and the overuse of exclamation marks in this speech – I was only a twelve year old boy then.

Save Our Environment

“Why is man against his own existence? Doesn’t he want to live on this planet any more? Why is he invading his very own creators? Doesn’t he need them any more? The advancement of technology has turned man into a very selfish creature. His greed and arrogance has made him forget the basics of life on Earth, a beautiful, clean and friendly environment. Seas, oceans and rivers, the backbone of life on Earth, are under threat! It seems as though man does not need them any more, and wants them captured – dead or alive! Even the first living things on Earth needed water. Seas, oceans and rivers have been the only sources of water on Earth since then.

Modernisation has now led to a serious problem to nature. It is endangering our environment. The biggest blow is the rapid industrialisation. It has led to a lot of water, air and noise pollution. The results are drastic! Acid rain, death of marine life and global warming are the easiest problems to name. These problems are also affecting humans.

Consumption of water with harmful chemicals from industrial wastes is extremely harmful. It can cause all sorts of chronic illnesses, and often lead to instant death. Just imagine aquatic life living in wastewater with chemicals from the textile or plastic industries. It is terrible! They need to be saved! We need to be saved!

Global warming is the melting of the polar ice caps caused by a rise in temperature. The level of water in oceans and seas around the world is rising. Land is submerging. It is just a matter of a few more years before we all drown. It is we to be blamed! It is part of our careless act against our environment.

Interfering with the water cycle can lead to damage to our seas, oceans and rivers. Deforestation can lead to fluctuations in the water levels too.

In order to prevent further destruction to our seas, oceans and rivers we must take the initiative of thinking about the negative effects of our acts. Think how bad even dropping litter or misusing nature can be. To cure, we must stop destroying, and improve the environment. Say ‘no’ to pollution! Say ‘yes’ to a friendly environment!

Thank you.”

The original document of the above speech can be found here – Save Our Environment by Bhavik J Shah.

Getting Things Done, by David Allen – Book Summary

Getting Things DoneGetting Things Done is a book that explains a well-formulated method for time management – the book partly provides tools and techniques, and partly explains the psychology behind it. Its author, David Allen says that mastering your time enables you to live in the present moment. The book is divided into 3 parts:

Part 1 (The Art of Getting Things Done) provides an outline for getting control of your life through the five stages of mastering workflow: collection, processing, organizing, reviewing and doing.

Part 2 (Practicing Stress-Free Productivity), which is well over half the book, repeats a lot of what is said in Part 1, but provides much more detail on the application of Allen’s methodology.

Part 3 (The Power of the Key Principles) explains why Allen’s methods work and the benefits to be gained from using his approach.

The entire process, including inputs, processing/thinking, and outputs (actions and action lists), is conveniently summarised in a flowchart provided in Getting Things Done. Allen’s philosophy is that to be one’s most productive self, one must be able to think clearly. In order to think clearly, one must have completely downloaded from one’s short-term memory or RAM (like computer RAM) all the ‘open loops’ – unfulfilled commitments one has made to oneself. This frees the mind to do naturally what it does best – think about things rather than of things. Allen gives pointers for using one’s critical thinking skills, including three methods for making decisions about what actions to take.

Once one has everything off his mind and written down, in paper or electronically, one has to decide, “What’s the next action?” This is the critical question! Once this is decided, the action must be completed or tracked in a trusted system, such as a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).

Allen also has a two-minute rule, which states that as one goes through their inbox and determines next actions, any next action that can be completed in two minutes or less should be completed immediately. In this way, a lot of items are touched only once and are forever cleared from their ‘psychic RAM’.

Allen outlines a process for getting RAM cleared in the first place and then for keeping it clear on a daily basis, as new things come into one’s inbox. The “What’s the next action?” question must be asked on the front-end, when the item from the inbox is first reviewed.

Applying Allen’s system is put forth as a way for today’s knowledge worker to have a competitive edge in the new millennium. Allen’s system is as applicable to one’s home environment and projects as it is to one’s work. He also claims it can help procrastinators.

Below is the management process described in Getting Things Done. Click anywhere on the image to expand it, and implement this simple-yet-effective system to develop your time management and organisational skills.

Getting Things Done Process

More information can be found on the Official Website of David Allen and Getting Things Done and Wikisummaries.

Hitch – Movie Summary

  1. HitchAlex ‘Hitch’ Hitchens helps hopeless or less confident men hook up with the women who they believe are out of their league.
  2. Hitch’s main task in the movie was to transform a man with little self-esteem onto being a confident, supportive and loving friend, boyfriend and eventually husband.
  3. Hitch plays it just right – his smile isn’t forced, his jokes come easy, and the awkward scenes work fine because of his charismatic nature.
  4. Hitch proves it with Albert that even a guy who may seem to have the least of chances to be able to pull a girl can actually do it if he has the self-belief.
  5. Hitch has very high emotional intelligence to be able to interpret how the other person is feeling and thus act accordingly. In particular, he manages to find out about the paparazzi, senses how Sara changes her behaviour over dinner at his place, and interprets body language with Allegra as she plays with her house keys.
  6. Hitch has a wonderful style, as demonstrated by the way he gets the girl at the club to move away from the other guys and speak to Hitch.
  7. Hitch clearly makes a presence that makes you follow him and be attentive with regards to what he says. This is because he’s such a sociable, dominant man.
  8. Hitch shows the importance of listening. He specifically instructs Albert to listen to what Allegra has to say. This shows that Albert respects Allegra, which is a desirable quality to be having.
  9. Hitch hides his personality as much as possible. He reveals very little, which keeps him as a mystery and makes other people curious. Though his mystery didn’t pay off in the right manner for him, it could in other instances.
  10. Hitch did a lot of in-depth research about Sara and Allegra. This is important to be able to connect with people easily and leave a great impression. In particular, he found out about Sara’s great grandfather and the drink she was drinking at the club.
  11. Hitch may make mistakes (like having his shirt stuck in the door and kicking Sara on the face), but he still leaves the other person hooked. He automatically makes the other person interested in him.
  12. Below are some particular quotes and phrases from the movie:

“Never lie, steal, cheat, or drink. But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love. If you must steal, steal away from bad company. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away.”

“Basic principles: no woman wakes up saying, “God, I hope I don’t get swept off my feet today!” Now, she might say, “This is a really bad time for me,” or something like, “I just need some space,” or my personal favourite, “I’m really into my career right now.” You believe that? Neither does she. You know why? Because she’s lying to you, that’s why. You understand me? Lying! It’s not a bad time for her. She doesn’t need any space. And she may be into her career, but what she’s really saying is, “Uh, get away from me now,” or possibly, “Try harder, stupid.” But which one is it? Sixty percent of all human communication is nonverbal, body language; thirty percent is your tone. So that means that ninety percent of what you’re saying ain’t coming out of your mouth. Of course she’s going to lie to you! She’s a nice person. She doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. What else she going to say? She doesn’t even know you… yet. Luckily, the fact is that just like the rest of us, even a beautiful woman doesn’t know what she wants until she sees it, and that’s where I come in. My job is to open her eyes. Basic principles: no matter what, no matter when, no matter who… any man has a chance to sweep any woman off her feet. He just needs the right broom.”

“One dance, one look, one kiss, that’s all we get, Albert. Just… one shot, to make the difference between happily ever after, and oh? he’s just some guy I went to some thing with once.”