Thursday, 31 March 2016

Sensitive and Confident (The Emerging Sensitive By Maria Hill - Book Review)

The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World

Author: Maria Hill
Publisher: BookBaby
Pages: 150
Genre: Self-Improvement

When I read about The Emerging Sensitive, all that I understood was that it is about people who are overly sensitive. I decided to read this book because I am related to someone whom I have always thought of as 'very sensitive'.
I would like to believe that even my Sensitivity Quotient is a little on the higher side to be able to understand the sensitivity, rather than getting impatient over it or scorning it, which is what I have seen most people do.

'Sensitivity Quotient' - a term I thought of as I was writing this. To the best of my knowledge, the term doesn't exist otherwise.

The Emerging Sensitive is written is a simple, easily understandable language. It is also divided into various topics and sub-topics, which also helps to comprehend the subject.

I don't usually read self-help books. I don't have much patience for them.
I read this one though, and liked it.
There is a lot that I learnt from The Emerging Sensitive
To begin with, I had no idea before I read this book, that the term 'Highly Sensitive People / HSP' existed.

Now I know that 
"a highly sensitive person has a different nervous system and is therefore biologically different from other people."

"Highly sensitive people have been at odds with their world for an important reason: HSPs cannot avoid feeling in a world that suppresses feeling."

"Highly sensitive people absorb the energy around them like a sponge."
That would explain the moodiness of HSPs for sure :)

"One out of five people is highly sensitive."
More common than I had thought.

I had assumed that HSPs are always introverts.
"Most highly sensitive people are introverted but approximately 30% of HSPs are extroverted."

The author writes about the difficulties of HSPs, and then the many ways for them to make a place for themselves.
"I have spent many years educating myself - both formally and informally... I am passing on waht I have learned with the hope it helps other highly sensitive people have an easier time coming to terms with all of the different perspectives and energies they encounter in the world."

The book is divided into four parts:

  1. Understanding The Highly Sensitive Trait
  2. The Importance and Value of Frameworks
  3. Getting a Handle on the world
  4. Claiming Agency

HSPs are different, because of their Sensitivity Quotient. 
They are capable of better understanding, but they also experience more pain.
I knew this, though I may not have said it in these exact words before.

After reading Maria Hill's The Emerging Sensitive, my sensitivity and admiration towards Highly Sensitive People has increased.

"Sensitivity, though painful at times, can become an important path to wisdom."
"HSPs have their own definition of success, they don't go by the concept that the world think is right."

Good support system, some understanding, a balanced social environment... and the world can be a better place for both HSPs and non-HSPs.

The Emerging Sensitive should be read by the HSPs. I think it is heartening and inspiring to realize that one is not alone in the struggle.
For others, The Emerging Sensitive can change their perspective towards the ones around them.

"The highly sensitive trait is a gift for energetic intelligence. The fundamental orientation of HSPs is energetic, which means that they listen to what energy tells them and then form their goals. Non-HSPs form their goals differently - perhaps based on more external factors like tradition, cultural values, goals, and incentives."

The book ends with How to get started creating a new life'.

"There is room for a wide variety of highly sensitive people in the New Economy of all skills and abilities."

Robin Williams in mentioned as an HSP. The book says that he "used his sensitivity and insight to help us all see the world in new ways."
But his end was mysterious, sad, and unnatural. Could it have anything to do with his sensitivity? Something I'd now read more about. 

There is a beauty in being sensitive to our environment - the people, the nature, the animals...
What makes it difficult is the ugliness that is the bitter truth of our lives, and the insensitivity of others towards those who are sensitive.

Emerging Sensitive puts into words, in a systematic manner, how HSPs and non-HSPs can co-exist and learn from each other.

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The italicised text in quotation marks are quotes from the book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Book

Having only been given a name for their unique nature a few decades ago, highly sensitive people, or HSPs, are finally able to identify their traits and connect with one another in new and beneficial ways. In her book, The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World, Maria Hill illuminates the path to self exploration and discovery for HSPs. Drawing on work of HSP expert Dr. Elaine Aron’s “DOES” model, Hill paints a vivid picture of the world as seen through the eyes of a highly sensitive person. She traces the roots of HSPs back to the earliest civilizations by following the evolutional framework of Spiral Dynamics as laid out by Don Beck and Chris Cowan. In doing so, she reveals the shifting roles of highly sensitive people in societies throughout the ages and exploring what the future holds as the culture shifts to a more HSP-friendly stage. Along the journey, Hill provides key insights and tools like the Whole Self framework of Bill Plotkin for highly sensitive people to take control of their lives and embrace their sensitive natures. With the guidance and resources contained within this book, HSPs can begin to discover and nurture their true potential.
Praise for The Emerging Sensitive:

“The Emerging Sensitive is an essential resource in supporting highly sensitive people in showing up in relevant ways, and not at a cost to them. The culture we live in has created many challenges to sensitivity and those who are more highly sensitive. Connection has created pain and therefore avoidance for many highly sensitive people. The cost to being present has been the sensitive self. But, it is changing. It needs to change further. I believe our culture will change the more highly sensitive people can join in and offer themselves genuinely, without compromise. I believe strongly in changing the way we all use sensitivity, and this book is a solid contribution to that effort. It is full of great resources to help a spectrum of highly sensitive people in finding their place and bring their gifts to light.”

--Ane Axford, Sensitive Leadership
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Book Excerpt

Hundreds of highly sensitive people (HSPs) have told me about their yearning to live fuller lives. They feel left out, distrusted, and at a loss for how to make a place for themselves in the world.
HSPs suffer from complicated challenges. Some of the greatest needs of highly sensitive people are safety and a belief that they can find a place in the world for themselves. Highly sensitive people often feel unwanted and without a social home because they are outsiders. As a result, they live with an unwelcome absence of place, which comes from just being who they are.
Some challenges of highly sensitive people are easier to handle than others. For example, stress levels are something a large number of HSPs learn to manage early on. Many of us know that we must slow down, take good care of our health, meditate, and reduce stress as much as possible. Even if we do all those things, we have no guarantee of the life we imagine and truly deserve. Goals like finding suitable work and relating to non-HSPs can be difficult to realize. We are different creatures. The world has not accepted us—yet!
The good news is that the world is changing, albeit slowly, and we now have the opportunity to take our place. This book will help you understand the special times we live in and embrace a well-deserved opportunity to become a part of the world. I hope it offers you a new vision for what is possible for you.
Being sensitive does not mean having purely soft, gentle feelings, although tender and empathetic feelings are an important hallmark of highly sensitive natures. HSPs have a unique nervous system, which takes in the complexity of the world, and as a result we can easily notice lots of unmet needs and want to address them. Because of our humanitarian instincts, we often focus on ignored issues in the world, which can make us seem like troublemakers.
When we evaluate ourselves by the embraced values of Western culture, we have a hard time situating ourselves in a world that devalues sensitivity. As a result, we may have difficulty discovering a positive vision and path for ourselves.
The challenges facing highly sensitive people are so complex that finding a way to make sense of it can be daunting. Highly sensitive people are gifted but often do not receive the support they need to bring their gifts into the world. The purpose of this book is to help highly sensitive people understand themselves better, come to terms with their outsider status in a positive way, find a new path for themselves that will work, and create joy.
The book is divided into four parts:
           Part 1: Understanding The Highly Sensitive Trait:
          The biological difference of highly sensitive people and the implications of that difference physically, emotionally, and experientially.
          The 'DOES' Model Of Highly Sensitive People created by Dr. Elaine Aron, which defines the key ways highly sensitive biology results in different ways of thinking and processing information for highly sensitive people.
           Part 2: The Importance And Value Of Frameworks:
          What frameworks are, why they are important and how they help us make sense of the world better.
          The evolution framework, the insights it offers highly sensitive people and how it can be used to make processing information easier.
           Part 3: Getting A Handle On The World:
          The structural reasons you feel out of sync with the world and find it hard to thrive.
          How the world is changing and why it provides fresh opportunities for highly sensitive people that will make life more fulfilling.
          New fields and opportunities for highly sensitive people to do work that suits their natures.
           Part 4: Claiming Agency:
          What is “agency” and why is it hard to claim agency as a highly sensitive person.
          Skills and tools that highly sensitive people need to harness their sensitivity for positive results
          Questions to ask to start investigating new possibilities for your life.
           Resources by section to help you investigate new ideas, opportunities, and skills.

I hope you find the book uplifting and helpful.

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About the Author

Maria Hill is the founder of HSP Health and Sensitive Evolution. She is a lifelong explorer of the sensitive experience and the challenges of bridging the difference between sensitive and non-sensitive people. Her interest in wisdom traditions, and new developments in the understanding of patterns of human behavior and living provides a unique perspective about the value of the sensitive trait and the needs of highly sensitive people.

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An amusing mirror to the society (Book Review - A Dog Eat Dog-food World: By C. Suresh)

A Dog Eat Dog-food World
Author: C. Suresh

The Prologue of A Dog Eat Dog-food World begins with an ambiguous, philosophical, offbeat write-up by the author describing what makes history. 

"You must all be familiar with the story of Adam and Eve. The new fruit-seller in town - The Serpent - sold them the idea of plucking apples fresh off the tree. We all know what happened to that duo and the history of all their descendants. But, do any of us know what happened to that Serpent? Yes! I thought not! It is ever thus. Someone gives wrong advice - with deliberate malice or careless stupidity - and goes on his merry way. The ones who take that advice are the ones who suffer and, by suffering, make an entry into the annals of History."

And I was hooked. 
His analysis and arguments are the kind that make you think, 'Very interesting. I am surprised I never thought of it this way'.

"To make History you not only need to change yourself, you also need to interfere with and change other people."

Then he clarifies that the book is a pseudo-history. It had me googling the word.

Any work that claims to be history, but does not use established historiographical methods; especially one that uses disputed evidence and speculation rather than relying on the analysis of primary sources - Source Wiktionary

As the book starts, we are introduced to the world of Spike Fortune, an eccentric rich man whose sole source of worry is how to spend his money. He is obsessed about spending all his money in his lifetime. And he has a lot of money.

The events that follow has him starting a dog-food business, and the fun begins.

A Dog Eat Dog-food World is a laugh riot.

We live in a pretentious, materialistic world. But it's so boring, unimpressive, and ineffective to just say that.

So, C. Suresh tells us a pseudo-history explaining one of the aspects of how this weird society of ours came to be. A society where, among other insensible things, a dog should eat only dog-food.

Does that sound senseless? Well, you could say it is. But, surprisingly enough, it is not.

The author mocks the world of Spike Fortune and his competitor, Tom Rich. Their world though is a mirror to the society that we live in.
Read between the lines, shake your head at the bitter truths around you, enjoy how the author plays with words, ponder over his explanations...

"Life would be comfortable if only the people around you would be more interested in what they were doing with their own lives than in what you were doing with yours. How is it that all the people around you know more about the best way to lead your life than you do yourself?"

I am sure you know someone who tells a joke with such a straight face that when he/she says something quite unbelievable, you are not sure whether it's a joke or not, you pause, look them in the eye, trying to figure out whether to laugh or stay on with your serious face.
Is this a joke, or could it be true?
We do live in a strange, anything-is-possible kind of world.

Now, imagine C. Suresh doing the same to you with his wry, straight-faced satire through this book.

As Spike find his way through the maze of managing a business, what we get are management lessons.

Everything from the first project report (that no one reads) to Scientific Market Research has found a place in this pseudo-history.

I am not a management student. I don't know or understand the management laws. And I loved reading this. I can just begin to imagine how hilarious, and surprisingly poignant, it would be for one who does.

There are books you love to discuss and share and quote. A Dog Eat Dog-food World is one such book.

As I was reading this book, I thought of the pseudo-history in Rudyard Kipling's How the Camel got his hump; of the satire of PG Wodehouse; of the humour of TV Serial Khichdi... each of these I enjoy tremendously.

Just as I enjoyed reading about the Cats and Dogs of the world of C.Suresh's book.

They say, if someone enjoys working in a movie, you can see that enjoyment in their performance.
I really feel, the author must have enjoyed writing this book. Because I can feel him smiling through these words.

There are profound lessons in not only humility and simplicity but also in management, business, relationships,... in the words of this fun story.

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The italicised text in quotation marks are quotes from the book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Blurb

A hilarious pseudo-history of marketing management, which explicitly denies resemblance to any actual history, and which will be horrified if some semblance be found. The story of a man who discovered that the path of life is strewn with treadmills and, if you get on one by mistake, you could keep running all your life to stay in the same place. The story of how a businessman may just be minding his…err…business and the ‘Invisible Hand’ can cause unexpected consequences to arise out of his innocent actions. There is no point blaming the tale for being exaggerated because that is precisely what it seeks to be – an ‘exaggeratio ad absurdum’ of some facets of the world. Anything you learn from the book – be it the basics of marketing management or a satirical view of Society – you do at your own risk.
The tale only dogs the doings of
Spike Fortune who only sought to feed dogs and, later, sought more dogs to feed.
Jerry Fortune who, being fortuneless, gets dragged helter-skelter behind his uncle Spike in the latter’s careening pursuit of commercial success and gets sandwiched between Spike and
Tyke who was Spike’s resident genius on enticing dogs with their wares. He also has to help Spike in his rivalry with
Tom Rich, who is unwillingly dragged into upstaging Spike and tries to do it by teasing the palates of cats, helped by the bumbling efforts of

Jasper Rich who would rather be partying than chasing cats with cat-foods.
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Spike Fortune, who, being unable to justify his existence by making money, is obsessed with justifying his existence by spending all his inherited wealth. Lead into the paths of commerce, he discovers that, while it may seem attractive to set out to lose money, the natural consequence of having people consider him a loser was indigestible. Having set out to feed dogs, Spike becomes obsessed with feeding more dogs and, later, having more dogs to feed.
Jerry Fortune, who discovers that there are perils to having your livelihood depend on a benevolent uncle. Tied to his uncle’s coat-tails by a need for sustenance, he is dragged helter-skelter behind Spike in the latter’s careening progress in pursuit of commercial success. Having first been a mere interpreter between his uncle, Spike, and the resident marketing guru, Tyke, he later finds that being in the middle can get very uncomfortable, indeed.
Tom Rich, who had never realized that the easy contempt he had for his schoolboy acquaintance could prove so dangerous. Spike’s meteoric rise in the world of Commerce puts him in a position of either having to prove himself better or have all that contempt come back with usurious interest. He drags his nephew, Jasper, along in pursuit of teasing the palates of cats.

All that Spike and Tom had wanted was to be a winner in their respective businesses and, more importantly, in their own private game of one-upmanship. They had no idea that their humble quest would redraw the contours of Society and set in place principles that both businessmen and Society would live by.

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Author Introduction: Suresh Chandrasekaran (C. Suresh)

Fiction has been an addiction but the need to make a living took Suresh through Chemical Engineering and a PGDM at IIM-Bangalore and, from thence, to a long 16 year stint in the area of finance with specific expertise in fertilizer subsidies at IFFCO and a further two years as consulting expert in the same area. That, in his words, about sums up the boring part of his life, except for the people he was privileged to meet.
Born on 27 September 1963 in Chennai, Suresh can be a dithering Libran most of the times. A company town upbringing at Neyveli and Engineering at Annamali University, Chidambaram was leavened by management education at IIM-Bangalore and, later, working life at IFFCO, New Delhi. Having decided very early in life to write full-time after securing a financial future – which also incidentally meant that he remained single in order to make it as early as possible - he quit employment at the age of 41 and his consultancy at 43, and returned to Bangalore.
Otherwise, he can be described as a mess of contradictions – a bookworm but avid trekker; alone but never lonely; enjoys solitude but loves company; lazy but a perfectionist, the litany is endless. Trekking, which side-tracked him from the writing for which he quit his job, is a major passion and he does, at least, one trek in the Himalayas every year in addition to numerous local treks.
He reignited his passion for writing with a fairly popular blog. The blog has been rated among the Top 5 humour blogs in India, twice in succession - in 2014 and 2015 - by BlogAdda, and has also been listed third among the Top Humour Blogs.
He also has a short story published in a collection “Uff Ye Emotions” and has edited and written a novelette in an ebook anthology "Sirens spell danger".

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