Today, I attended a talk by the French economist, Thomas Piketty. Piketty has looked at wealth and capital distribution throughout history across the world. In short, wealth distribution is highly skewed towards the top 10 and 1 percent at record high proportions. Piketty argued that this trend is unsustainable and fundamental changes have to be made. What those changes are, are up to debate (he advocates proportional tax rate).

Event Description: French economist, Thomas Piketty, will share his views on wealth and income inequality, focusing on how the distribution of wealth has changed over the past 250 years. Piketty is the author the 2014 best seller Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which Paul Krugman called “the most important economics book of the year - and maybe of the decade.”
 
 
Inspiring and Thought Provoking Article!
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If someone told me seven years ago, in my final year of a business and economics degree, that I’d now be living without money, I’d have probably choked on my microwaved ready meal. The plan back then was to get a ‘good’ job, make as much money as possible, and buy the stuff that would show society I was successful.

For a while I did it – I had a fantastic job managing a big organic food company; had myself a yacht on the harbour. If it hadn’t been for the chance purchase of a video called Gandhi, I’d still be doing it today. Instead, for the last fifteen months, I haven’t spent or received a single penny. Zilch.

http://worldobserveronline.com/2013/10/04/man-lives-without-money/
 
 
Attended a very intriguing talk by Sir Richard Feachem (Director of the Global Health Group at UCSF) titled "Reengineering Aid: A Bold Agenda for the 21st Century."

I never really thought about the long term implications of giving aid to countries. For example, does giving aid take the pressure off and encourage the leadership of the receiving country to go, "business as usual" and not make any changes since they now donors will bail them out? What can donating countries/individuals do to ensure their resources are helping in a sustainable way (i.e., don't give them a fish, teach them how to fish). 

Sir Richard Feachem talk didn't really provide an answer to these questions more than he proposed contrasting views on this issue.

Two books he mentioned that are worth reading that represent contrasting views on giving aid:

1. The End of Poverty by Jeffery Sachs...
http://www.amazon.com/The-End-Poverty-Economic-Possibilities/dp/0143036580

2. The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good by William Easterly...http://www.amazon.com/The-White-Mans-Burden-Efforts/dp/0143038826
 
 
Just attended this workshop with my wife (description below). Pretty good overall. 

Main takeaways: Vary the tone of your voice. Be an engaged, attentive listener. Make sure you are interested and passionate in what you are talk about. After all, if you aren't interested in what you are talking about, why should anyone else be?

Description: This dynamic workshop will help improve the way you communicate by focusing on the nonverbal aspects of communication. Nonverbal communication can reinforce what you say, but when not used effectively, it can weaken your message. This workshop will focus on the techniques of expression, including gestures, body movements, positions and postures, the voice, breathing techniques, sustaining eye contact, the use of silence, and others.

Jeff Cabili has worked in the corporate world for over two decades, holding management positions for global enterprises such as Hewlett-Packard, Numetrix, Sopra, Diwan, Memorex and Vicinity. He holds a MBA from the Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania and a MS in Chemical Engineering from the National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble, France. He has conducted workshops and given talks on the topic for the last 24 years in several countries. He teaches several courses and workshops on nonverbal communication at Stanford University.