Wednesday, October 30, 2013

National Security–Arming Both Sides

Social engineering is using manipulation, influence and deception to get a person, a trusted insider within an organization, to comply with a request, and the request is usually to release information or to perform some sort of action item that benefits that attacker. - Kevin Mitnick

If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. – Ancient adage

The #1206 “fiction” series continues …….

“Do you mean to tell me that terrorists can communicate as much as they want right now and their communications are untraceable and uncrackable?  Is that what you are telling me?”

The man at the head of the table sat back, fully consumed by anger and frustration that the billions of dollars being spent on national security seemed to be at best, filled with gaps in providing valuable intel and at worst, totally useless.

Cries of protest suddenly erupted, with people representing different agencies all clamouring to refute the question from their Commander-in-Chief.

One person was silent, waiting for the din of people in cover-their-ass mode to settle down.

When the noise had subsided, he leaned forward and spoke quietly.  His soft voice was almost impossible to hear and the other members of the meeting leaned forward to hear him.

“Mr. President”, he said, “despite assurances from the smartest people in the country that this is not possible, I believe it is not only possible but highly probable.  I would go on to suggest that overconfidence in our capabilities is a primary reason why this is being dismissed.”

“How can this be?”, came the instant denial of the head of one of the agencies.  “We’ve tapped every phone and every Internet connection.  We have the best decryption algorithms and the most powerful computers in the world.  Information does not move without our knowledge of content, origin and destination.”

“Perhaps”, came the reply as the quiet man sat back thoughtfully, his fingertips pressed together.

“Explain”, demanded the President.

“Very well”, said the quiet man.  “Everyone here is familiar with numbers stations, stations that have been broadcasting codes over ham radio frequencies for decades.  Even the US Government makes use of such techniques to send coded messages in numeric format to agents around the world.  The point of origin can usually not be traced if the broadcast is insufficient in time duration and we have no idea who is hearing the message.  It is totally untraceable.”

“That may well be”, piped up another member of the group, “but there is no code that we haven’t cracked so even if we don’t know who the sender and receiver are, we still know what is in the message.”

“That is not true”, replied the quiet man.  “One-time pads, often shrugged off by experts like the people in this room as being too unwieldy or with inherent implementation weaknesses are resurfacing with newly-discovered value.”

“You are absolutely correct about their weaknesses”, came a response from across the table.  “One-time pads are only theoretically perfect.  In practice, they require a true randomness that does not exist within the computational power available to organizations not represented here.  As long as there is the slightest hint of non-randomness, the coded message is exposed to possible or probable decryption.”

“And so you admit that if the randomness that creates the one-time pad were perfect, we would have a problem?”, asked the quiet man.

“Possibly”, came a tentative reply.

“And so what if I told you that some people were taking truly random things, say, cosmic background radiation levels and using that value as a seed number in a permutation generator that ultimately creates the one-time pad.  Totally random – totally uncrackable.  In fact, the only thing protecting you then is the competence of the person using the one-time pad.  I for one prefer to create my own luck and not rely on someone else’s.”

There was silence in the room for a moment and then a quiet “Oh my God” was heard by the attendees.

“There is”, continued the quiet man as he leaned forward over the conference room table, “a solution if you are interested.”

In a hot, sweltering room in an obscure village somewhere in the Middle East, a teacher prepared to lecture his students.  This wasn’t the typical classroom offering things like English-as-a-second-language, rudimentary math skills or anything common in such a location.

He was preparing to give an introductory class in ham radio communications and a crash course in how to obtain cosmic background radiation values.

In a quiet room, a group of men silently watched monitors showing the proceedings of the Presidential national security advisors as well as the class being taught to the sweating students  in the small village in the Middle East.

“Clever”, said one quietly. “Provide one side with a perceived unstoppable tool of war while preparing the other side with a means of how to deal with such an unstoppable tool.”

“I thought so too”, one of his colleague replied.  “The best part is that both groups of recipients don’t see the alternate intention, that the information being provided actually puts them at risk instead of enabling them.”

“That is often the case when something looks too good to be true”, commented another colleague, “but despite their belief in rejecting that which is too good to be true, they often don’t realize it until examining it in retrospect.”

“Very true”, said the first speaker.  “Fortunately for us it won’t matter by then.”

They turned their attention back to the monitors and resumed their observations.

To be continued.

© 2013 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved

Background: While this is “fiction”, the existence of one-time pads and their strengths and weaknesses have long been researched by crypto experts.  Numbers stations are also real and have been used by government agencies, including our own, for decades.  Some details of both have been omitted here for brevity and other reasons.

The other difficulty we have is that we assume that a perceived “large” or “complex” problem requires a “large” or “complex” solution which is not always true.  The more complex our solution, the greater the opportunity that we will miss something in our implementation of that solution, creating gaps in that solution.  We must be careful that we don’t get so full of ourselves when it comes to the solutions that we create that we don’t assume that no one else is as smart as we are.  Suffering from the overconfidence effect opens the door to someone else who may surprise us with simple counters to our complex measures.

Addendum – Current Surveillance Methods Ineffective

A report that came out on January 13, 2014, revealed that for all the data mining that is currently in progress by the NSA, very little if any can be proven to be effective in anti-terrorist activity.  The news item is here.

If the massive data collection does not serve to deter or prevent terrorist attacks and acknowledging that the people who collect the data are very smart people, what other purpose does such data collection serve?

I wonder.

Addendum 2 – January 13, 2015 – Banning Encryption Doesn’t Solve Anything

There is an interesting item in the news that has been circulating around since the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last week and that is the notion that some government and intelligence service leaders are looking to ban the use of encryption tools because they undermine surveillance agencies.

Such a ban will only affect law abiding citizens while those who are not law abiding will continue to use encryption as they please.

It is also disconcerting to realize that billions of dollars in surveillance technology can be undermined by the scenario I described in this post.  In addition, confusion can be created by leaving false communication in the clear to be intercepted by our surveillance industry while the really important, factual communication takes place via the scenario I described.

It makes me wonder if we can be made secure at all.

What do you think?

Series Description:

This series, a departure from my usual musings,  is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks.

While this musing is just “fiction” and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)

This “fictional” musing is continued from ……

Be Careful What You Wish For – October 27, 2013

When Avoidance Produces The Unavoidable – September 26, 2013

By Way of Deception, Thou Shalt Do War – August 30, 2013

Serving Two Masters – August 22, 2013

Growing the Rot From Within – August 6, 2013

The Coming Storm – June 8, 2013

The Master of Distraction – May 15, 2013

Living on the Edge – How Close Do You Dare? - March 29, 2013

Preventing A Disaster – Or Preparing To Survive One - November 29, 2012)

Divide and Conquer - August 5, 2012

Financial Crisis – March 11, 2008

There is benefit to reading those first (oldest to newest) but it is not required.

Canadian Senate: Choosing Solutions Poorly

You must never underestimate your opposition. - John Scarlett

Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man. - Iain Duncan Smith

A few years ago, I was having a problem with my vehicle transmission where it was shifting sluggishly and making unusual noises.  Since it was still under warranty, I brought it into the dealership and explained my concern.  They said they could see nothing wrong and returned the vehicle.

As the problem got worse (and louder), I brought it into the dealership twice more and twice the vehicle was returned with an “all good” designation.

When the vehicle was 90 miles past the warranty, the transmission failed completely.

As a dedicated customer of more than 20 years, I complained to no avail to the dealer and corporate HQ and was informed that my only options were to buy a refurbished transmission for $2500 or a new one for $4000.  Not wanting to take a chance on a refurbished one, I paid $4000 for a new one.

It lasted a single day before failing.  When the dealership took it apart, they discovered that it had failed because an extra washer (a part costing a few pennies) had been added incorrectly at the factory. They took the transmission apart, repaired it and reassembled it.

Meanwhile, I now protested that I was in fact getting a refurbished one since it had only lasted one day before having to be rebuilt by the dealership and I should be refunded the difference.

It didn’t matter to the dealership or the national brand and I was left with a decision.

I could sue somebody for $4000.

Or I could do something much more expensive to the brand.

When I had purchased this vehicle, more than 40 other people had purchased the same vehicle on my recommendation, to the tune of more than $1.6 million.  As a matter of fact, every time I buy a new vehicle, many people follow my lead and buy the same vehicle on my exuberant recommendation.

And so when I shared across my network what had happened, these same people chose another brand when they bought their next car.

Cost to me – $4000.

Cost to the brand – A couple of million within my immediate network, plus the cost within my 2nd degree network, etc.

They thought that forcing me to pay $4000 was a smart solution on their part.

They had underestimated the power and reach of the customer they were ignoring

Meanwhile at the Senate …….

For the sake of a couple of hundred thousand dollars in allegedly inappropriate spending, Canada now has a Senate and a Parliament spending an inordinate number of cycles, paying an inordinate number of consultants and auditors and everything else to “make it go away”.

I’m willing to bet that the cost of the solution has already far outstripped the cost of the problem – at least the problem that we are aware of. <<Case in point – CBC Report: Senate expense audits cost taxpayers $528K>>

Equally as important, the impact on the perception of the Senate, the impact on the PMO and the impact on Prime Minister Harper himself remains unknown but potentially very expensive since it appears that we haven’t seen the last of the bombshell revelations.

The issues with the Senators are a symptom of a larger problem in the Canadian Senate – problems that will not get solved in the theatrics, diplomatic time wasting, obfuscation and evasion that is currently in progress in the Senate and Parliament.

The Government of Canada needs to get on top of these issues in a manner that appeals to the public – with transparency, with haste and with a long-term solutions that makes sense to “the customer” – the electorate.

The “transmission” of the Canadian Government is not shifting well and is making a lot more noise than it should be.

I think someone needs to fix it soon before the customer seeks another brand that offers a better solution.  The other brand may not actually be able to deliver a better solution – but we won’t discover that until we buy their product.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,


Monday, October 28, 2013

The Downfall of the NSA

A guest post by Gwynne Dyer, author, historian and independent journalist.  Shared with written permission of the author.

Gwynne Dyer
32 Lyme Street
London NW1 0EE
26 October 2013

Politicians and government officials rarely tell outright lies; the cost of being caught out in a lie is too high. Instead, they make carefully worded statements that seem to address the issue, but avoid the truth. Like, for example, Caitlin Hayden, the White House spokesperson who replied on 24 October to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s angry protest at the tapping of her mobile phone by the US National Security Agency.

“The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel,” she said. Yes, Caitlin, but has the US been listening to Merkel’s mobile phone calls from 2002 until the day before yesterday? “Beyond that, I’m not in a position to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity.”

By 27 October, the argument had moved on. The question now was: did President Barack Obama know the Chancellor’s phone was bugged? (The German tabloid Bild am Sonntag reported that General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, told Obama about it in 2010. Obama allegedly said that the surveillance should continue, as “he did not trust her.”)

Now it was the turn of the NSA spokesperson, Vanee Vines, to deny the truth. “(General) Alexander did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel,” she said. But she carefully avoided saying that Obama had not been told at all.

The ridiculous thing about these meticulously crafted pseudo-denials is that they leave a truth-shaped hole for everyone to see. Of course the United States has been listening to Angela Merkel’s phone calls since 2002, and of course Obama knew about it. It would have been quite easy to deny those facts if they were not true.

The NSA is completely out of control. Its German outpost was brazenly located on the fourth floor of the US embassy in Berlin, and leaked documents published by Der Spiegel say that the NSA maintains similar operations in 80 other US embassies and consulates around the world.

The Guardian, also relying on documents provided by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, reported recently that a total of 35 national leaders have been targeted by the NSA. We know that the German, Brazilian and Mexican leaders were bugged, but it’s almost certain that the leaders of France, Spain and Italy, Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia, and Japan, India and Indonesia were also targeted. Not to mention Russia and China.

The only one of the NSA’s high-level victims to speak out yet, apart from Angela Merkel, is President Dilma Roussef of Brazil. Last month she told the UN General Assembly: “Personal data of (Brazilian) citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information – often of high economic and even strategic value – was at the centre of espionage activity....The office of the president itself had its communications intercepted.”

“Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership... cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal,” Roussef concluded. “They are unacceptable.” And you wonder how the brilliant, power-drunk fools at the NSA could possibly have believed they could get away with this kind of behaviour indefinitely.

The 4.9 million (!) Americans with access to classified information include 480,000 civilian contractors with the same “top secret” security clearance as Snowden. Even if all the military and public servants could be trusted to keep the NSA’s guilty secret forever (unlikely) and only one in a hundred of the contractors was outraged by it, then there were still 4,800 potential whistle-blowers waiting to blow. If Snowden hadn’t, somebody else would have.

When the astounding scale and scope of the agency’s operations finally came out, it was bound to create intense pressure on Washington to rein in the NSA. The agency can deflect the domestic pressure, to some extent, by insisting that it’s all being done to keep Americans safe from terrorism, but it can’t persuade the president of South Korea or the prime minister of Bangladesh that she was being bugged because she was a terrorist suspect.

The NSA’s worst abuse has been its violation of the privacy of hundreds of millions of private citizens at home and abroad, but it’s the pressure from furious foreign leaders that will finally force the US government to act. “Trust in our ally the USA has been shattered,” said German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich on Sunday. “If the Americans have tapped mobile phones in Germany, then they have broken German law on German soil.”

This will end up in the German courts, and probably in those of many other countries as well (and Snowden may well end up being granted asylum in Germany). To rebuild its relations with its key allies, the White House is going to have to radically curb the NSA’s powers. Good.

We don’t have to listen to the spooks and their allies telling us that since the new communications technologies make total surveillance possible, it is therefore inevitable. “If it can be done, it will be done” is a counsel of despair. Most of the NSA’s ever-expanding activities over the past ten years have served no legitimate purpose, and it’s high time that it was forced to obey both the letter and the spirit of the law.


Gwynne Dyer is an independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.  - President James A. Garfield

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. - Oscar Wilde

I retired the #1206 “fiction” series for a variety of reasons as explained in When Avoidance Produces the Unavoidable but after over 12,000 emails (I stopped counting) telling me I had made a mistake in doing so, I present its return.  I am grateful for your interest in this series.


Slate Lick, Pennsylvania – Spring 1995

As the sun set in the hills northeast of Pittsburgh, two men sat in silence as they looked through the windows at the darkening valley below them. The younger of the two wondered what personal contributions to society lay before him.  The older of the two, a Colonel in the USAF, decorated World War II hero and black project participant for years at Wright-Patterson AFB, wondered if his contributions had been the right ones.

A single light above the small table between them illuminated a lone bottle of Scotch and two glasses.

I had been pressing Robert to tell me stories of the projects he had worked on at Wright-Patt over the years.  As the amount of Scotch in the bottle got lower, many years of a career lived in secret had finally reached their limit and the stories flowed easily and freely.

As the enormity of his stories sank in, I asked how this could be happening right under our noses with nobody doing anything about it.

“Kee-rist”, Robert exclaimed angrily, “Do you really think it is that easy?”

“So what’s really going on?”, I asked him, wanting to know more and not at the same time.

Robert paused for a moment and refilled his glass.  “Before I tell you”, he said quietly, “Many times we ask questions that, had we known better, we would never have asked.  I’m not a religious man myself but when I first got involved with my work, a senior officer told me to go read Amos 5:19 in the Bible before I got involved.  He told me that I should read it before joining the project and then tell him whether I was still in or not. I never did look it up but wonder if I should have.”

He cleared his throat, his clear blue eyes watered slightly as the memories of his Life passed through his mind and he stared off into the darkening world outside.

“I’m going to tell you a story”, he said quietly.


In a small bar not far from Capitol Hill, the President, the Vice President, members of the Congress and the Senate and members of the military clinked glasses and celebrated another victory – a victory of legislation but more importantly a victory of forming popular opinion instead of bowing to it.  It was a who’s who of power on both sides of the political equation in America.

“Just think”, said the President. “If the people only knew that after a day of tearing each other apart, that we always retreat to this place and celebrate our long term plans that knows no party bias”.

“And what if someone ever found out the truth?”, asked a brash young officer.

“Will never happen”, smiled the President.  He confidently raised his glass high.  “A toast to truth”, he exclaimed and laughter filled the room.


“Stupid fools”, muttered the CIA official, watching on a monitor as the Nation’s leaders cavorted and toasted each other’s superior intellect.

“Maybe so”, replied his FBI colleague, “but their stupidity serves us well.”

“I hope you’re right”, said a third man watching the monitors.  “The NSA has a lot riding on getting this right.  If we make a mistake, the whole works falls like a house of cards and we’re left holding the bag and having to explain the truth to the people”.

The FSB and SVR officials sat quietly and observed the conversation amongst their American counterparts.

The CIA official turned away from the monitor and smiled.  “You guys never lighten up, do you?  Even if it all hits the fan, which it won’t, nobody would even know what truth is anymore.  Everything is working better than even we have foreseen.  I don’t know about you but I never look a gift horse in the mouth.”

He reached for a bottle on the table in front of him and poured himself and his colleagues a shot.  As each of them leaned forward and took a glass, he lifted his high and said “A toast to truth!”.

“Truth”, replied his colleagues as they clinked glasses.

The FSB and SVR representatives hesitated for a moment, smiled at each other and raised their glasses also. “Pravdah”, they said in unison.


The 3-D image of the men clinking their glasses in celebration floated in the air between the silent observers.

“They toast truth when in fact it is merely their own perception of truth”, stated one of the observers.

“Maybe so”, replied one of his colleagues, “But we all have to have something to believe in, do we not?  It is especially important when things are difficult.  It is in the darkest hour that truths stand most stark and naked, to be viewed in their purity or their evil.”

“True”, nodded his companion. He hesitated a moment and then a glass materialized before him.  He reached up, took it and raised it.  As he smiled, he said “I would also like to offer a toast to truth”.

“To truth”, came the reply.


“Do you understand what the story means?”, asked Robert.

“I’m not sure”, I replied.

“You will.  I’m going to bed.  Alarms are on and the perimeter is secure.  G’night.”, he said as he stood up and walked off into the darkness.

It was a few years later before I remembered to look up Amos 5:19.

It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him.

To be continued.


© 2013 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved


This series, a departure from my usual musings,  is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks.

While this musing is just “fiction” and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)

This “fictional” musing is continued from ……

When Avoidance Produces The Unavoidable – September 26, 2013

By Way of Deception, Thou Shalt Do War – August 30, 2013

Serving Two Masters – August 22, 2013

Growing the Rot From Within – August 6, 2013

The Coming Storm – June 8, 2013

The Master of Distraction – May 15, 2013

Living on the Edge – How Close Do You Dare? - March 29, 2013

Preventing A Disaster – Or Preparing To Survive One - November 29, 2012)

Divide and Conquer - August 5, 2012

Financial Crisis – March 11, 2008

There is benefit to reading those first (oldest to newest) but it is not required.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Surviving Climate Change–The Elephant in the Room

If we stop all greenhouse gas emissions, will global climate change stop?

Industrial activity has already pumped billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and we have yet to see the full effect of warming from those gases. A great deal of excess energy imbalance is stored in the ocean and will be released gradually over time, continuing to warm the planet.

In other words, some degree of climate change is irreversible. Scientists call this the "committed warming," and estimate that the Earth would continue to warm about 1 degree Fahrenheit (.6 degrees Celsius) even if greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere stopped growing immediately. That is, if all human greenhouse gas emissions stopped tomorrow, the Earth would still warm for at least a half-century. – NASA (emphasis added)

As I listened today to Alberta Government Minister Diana McQueen poke jabs at Opposition Leader Danielle Smith’s personal beliefs about climate change versus what Ms. Smith’s official party policy will be, I couldn’t help but notice the elephant in the room.

As we all argue about whether it is a natural cyclical phenomenon or a man-made one (or both), whether we are warming or cooling, whether someone’s data is accurate or exaggerated, what reasonable reductions in greenhouse emissions are needed, what carbon tax regimens will work best to expedite reductions, etc., we face a reality that I never hear any politician speak about.

It is the reality that if, as opined by NASA, we could stop all greenhouse emissions tomorrow, we have at least 50 years of climate change inertia before us where we will continue to experience significant events in the environment.

Events like ….

- the droughts in Australia

- Hurricane Sandy

- flooding in Calgary and High River

- insert personal event experience here

These are events that are likely to increase in frequency and intensity.

And so as I listen to people argue about melting versus freezing ice caps, whether sea levels will rise an inch or a yard, whether the changes are natural or artificial or I see personal attacks to score political points, I would like to ask a question that doesn’t seem to get much airtime.

What do we intend to do to survive larger, more frequent floods, hurricanes, droughts and everything else?

I’m not saying that research into our contribution to climate change is not important.

But finally identifying our contribution will offer little comfort if we continue to be steamrolled by it because we put more of our focus into stopping what may be unstoppable or if stoppable, not stoppable in a heartbeat … or my personal favorite …. what company, industry or country is mostly to blame.

I wonder if we have secretly thrown in the towel, finding it more satisfying personally, professionally, politically, reputationally and economically to pretend that preventing it is within our reach and that on the day that the magic pill is found, everything will simply reverse to pre-climate change levels?

Are we willing to bet our survival on it?

Climate change will always be with us, regardless of the reason.

Are we able to demonstrate our ability to change with it or are we going to continue to act surprised when events steamroll over us, followed by the inevitable political rhetoric of how we “rose to the occasion yet again”?

Because if we aren’t able to provide better strategies regarding surviving climate change, I would posit that we are more like ostriches than humans.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,


Addendum – November 2, 2013

An interesting item – President Obama passes an Executive Order to prepare the nation to survive the effects of climate change.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Post Mortem–Creating Life From Death

Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be. - John Wooden

It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. - Bill Gates

Now that the municipal elections are over in Calgary, there is still an important task remaining for those committed to continuing their political career.

It is the uncomfortable and often overlooked task of conducting a post mortem to understand why they won (or lost) and to understand what can be done to at least maintain the result in the future (for those who won) or to improve their result, for those who lost or those who won but face tougher competition moving forward.

There is one difficulty in participating in a useful post mortem.

While it takes courage, perseverance, confidence and audacity (in addition to sharp data, strategy and tactics) to win an election (or any competition for that matter), it takes an additional skill to analyze where things went wrong.

It is a skill that is not as common as it used to be and is often much harder to develop.

It is the skill of humility.

When I look at campaigns that went wrong, such as Calgary Ward 12 candidate Stephanie Kusie, it becomes clear what happened.  Obvious hints exist in my posts Is Calgary’s Crime Rate Out of Control? and The Vatican Effect–Attracting the Undesirable.

The challenge with post mortems is that while it is easy as the objective observer to point out where things went wrong, it is a pointless exercise if the dialog is one-way.  The lessons don’t “stick” unless the person who needs to learn them accepts the observations, learns from them as well as from their own self-analysis and invites a personal transformation to take place as a result.

People who believe that they can overcome anything with positive affirmations while ignoring the lessons of Life merely end up learning …….


When post mortem questions are asked that sting or hurt, such questions are inviting the “seeker” to explore the subject deeper.  The pain tells the seeker “There is a valuable lesson contained within – keep moving towards the source of the pain”.  To move towards the source of the pain and to embrace it allows powerful lessons to be burned indelibly upon one’s Soul.

Those who do so later point to past stumbles as powerful, transformational moments on the road to success.

Those who believe they can brazen through Life while ignoring the lessons offered often find that they keep repeating their mistakes, burning the lives of others as well as their own.

Do you have the humility to examine the difficult moments in your Life, to identify corrective actions and to be able to answer the questions “why?” and “how do I know?” in regards to how well those corrective actions will produce better results in the future?

Are you sure?

How do you know?

In service and servanthood,



I became very critical of Ms. Kusie’s campaign during the Calgary election.  My requests for clarity, for a candidate to answer the questions of “why” and “how do you know” when it comes to explaining election intentions were responded to with emotion, lack of data and attempts at intimidation by some members of her campaign team.  Some of those people felt that it was better to create antagonists amongst the electorate instead of alliances. 

If you’re going to choose enemies over friends, at least know who you are provoking before proceeding.

Who knows – maybe some day, Ms. Kusie will sweep an election at the municipal, provincial or federal level if she takes the opportunity to learn from this campaign.  It takes courage to step out into the public space and for that, I applaud Ms. Kusie.  Few people have such courage.

And besides, most of us can look back on our lives, look at mistakes that we’ve made and shake our head, reliving memories that are so bizarre that we feel like we are looking upon the Life of someone else and not at our own mistakes.

Few of us were perfect then.

Few of us are perfect now.

Whether we choose to learn from our mistakes is what determines if we are moving closer to perfection or further away from it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Newfoundland Government–Headed For the Garbage Can

There is a garbage culture out there, where we pour garbage on people. Then the pollsters run around and take a poll and say, do you smell anything? - Bob Woodward

I have been inundated with emails, comments (only a few have been approved yet), threats and just about everything else as a result of my blog post The Power of the Four-Poster Interview, where I describe allegations of inappropriate behavior on the part of Newfoundland and Labrador Government Minister Joan Shea and some questionable public service appointments that may have been influenced by her.

As Premier Dunderdale’s Government continues to slide into oblivion in the polls, I’ve got some bad news for people who assume that a new government will automatically be better.

Here’s why.

The diagram below demonstrates a very simplified view of an organizational theory known as organized anarchy – a view of how bureaucracies (including governments) tend to operate.


Organized anarchy is also known as garbage can theory.

Here’s how it works, expressed in an extremely simplified form and expanding on John Kingdon’s original “three streams” theory.

In making decisions, large bureaucracies often rely on five key elements:

  • A random collection of problems, some new but many old and still unresolved
  • A random collection of pre-canned or partially completed solutions, including policy, legislation, responses to external events, etc.
  • Feelings looking for opportunities in which they might be aired or leveraged
  • A random collection of participants at different times that may include voters, politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, other governments, corporations and anyone else with an interest in the affairs of the government.
  • Random windows of opportunity when it would be useful to produce an action such as pass legislation, promote policy, react to external events, announce partnerships, etc.

While people believe that politicians are actually taking prioritized, meaningful, wilful action in response to pressing issues, they are in fact submitting themselves to the Russian Roulette process of garbage can theory.

What comes out of the garbage can in terms of results is largely dependent on what is in the garbage can at the moment.

In essence you have a collection of pre-canned solutions looking for problems, problems looking for solutions, people looking to be busy with something and feelings looking for causes  …. with the notion that any given moment in time might prove to be a good time to bring all these elements together (as long as they are in the garbage can at that moment) to produce something of value.

Now in truth, there are ways to influence the results of the garbage can process, where people with specific skills can guide the result somewhat coherently but there is never a guarantee of total control or perfect predictability of the outcome.

But as I look at the leaders in place right now within the Government, I am not sure that any of those present within the elected ranks have the skills to actually be that guiding influence.  Bullies, people not familiar with the process, people who rely on luck and (with apologies in advance)  people who are not that bright cannot be considered candidates for success in this arena.

And you know what they say about “garbage in, garbage out”.

Which leads me to a second problem that the Government has … or maybe it’s a problem that the electorate has.

Politicians can only be successful when they keep two masters happy at the same time, the voter and the bureaucrat, as illustrated below.


The bureaucrat needs the politician to be the buffer between the bureaucrats, with their long-term strategic and tactical intentions for the government remaining mostly unknown to the voter (and therefore not be interfered with by the voter) and the voters themselves with their expectations of the government.

The voter, meanwhile, needs the politician to deliver everything they demand as promised and as soon as possible.

When a politician behaves, he or she is rewarded with the support of the voter at the ballot box and the support of the bureaucrat with information, guidance and the data necessary for the politician to do their job.

When they don’t behave, not delivering what each of the two coalitions (voter-politician, politician-bureaucrat) requires, then the voters and bureaucrats remove their respective support and the politician’s career flatlines.

With voter and bureaucrat needs and intentions often being polar opposites, the politician is left with the near-impossible job of pleasing both masters.  Such a task is akin to balancing a bowling ball on the top of a broomstick - their efforts look very impressive early on but eventually the bowling ball falls, injuring or killing the person who was attempting the impossible balancing act.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, it appears that the politicians in power are rapidly losing control of both coalitions and with that comes inevitable doom for the current government unless the politician, as the link between the two coalitions shown above, can restore confidence with both masters.

The darker truth

The difficulty here is that unless voters and bureaucrats collaborate directly, it doesn’t really matter what government is in power.  Such a coalition is not possible, since what the bureaucrats work on is too complex for voters to understand (and they don’t want voters to interference with their plans) and what the voters want may or may not be in alignment with what the bureaucrats see as the long-term needs of the province.

And so it is difficult to see the win for the voters in the current government or in any subsequent one.

If what matters in any measurable way depends on a conversation between the voter and bureaucrat that will never be allowed to happen (or which is just not feasible) , can it be posited that the comedy and tragedy that is public politics in Newfoundland and Labrador is in fact just theater?

Who knows?

Meanwhile, the Government will continue to play Russian Roulette with the people and with their own political future.

Sadly, when one plays Russian Roulette, one can’t be assured that the hammer will always fall on an empty cylinder.

The real tragedy is ….

When the gun goes off, who is the victim, the Government officials who move on to other plum appointments or the people who are left behind to sort out the mess and wonder what happens next?

In service and servanthood,


Friday, October 11, 2013

The Vatican Effect–Attracting the Undesirable

The Vatican Effect (aka the Streisand Effect):

The more noise someone makes trying to hide or refute something, the more Life they give it, requiring a closer investigation as a result.

As a student of the human experience, I am always fascinated by the ways we strive for success as well as the ways we strive to create complexity (or even failure) in our lives.

The name of the Vatican Effect originates from the process by which Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” went from obscurity to sensation practically overnight.  It would probably have  died in obscurity had the Vatican not set up a committee to investigate and stymie the potential popularity of the book.  Of course many people wanted to see why the Vatican would do such a thing and the rest is history regarding Dan Brown’s success.

In striving to create success or to avoid creating failure, we need to be careful that we don’t inadvertently create our own version of the Vatican Effect.

Some fun examples from this week.

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post, The Power of the Four-Poster Interview, where I mused about a Minister in the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and potential conflict of interest allegations with an alleged lover of hers.

Naturally a blog post with such controversial subject matter will attract a lot of attention.  However, in observing how the blog post was being shared, there were as many people who were upset by it as there were who supported it.

Of course in sharing it, their anger was amplified as readership of the blog post grew very quickly, making it instantly one of my top blog posts of the week.

So while some people complained about how quickly the blog post was gaining popularity, they were in fact equally responsible for its rapid distribution.

No rain drop believes it is responsible for the flood

A couple of weeks ago, in making what I thought were benign musings about a local election campaign in Calgary, Alberta, I wrote Is Calgary’s Crime Rate Out of Control?, discussing one candidate’s use of negative emotion and hype (without data to back up her assertions) in order to “scare” voters.

The blog post had its surge in readership as new posts do and then faded into what I refer to as “idling mode”, not scoring higher or lower than other blog posts that were being read.

Earlier this week, a person self-described as her marketing and social media lead thought it would be a good idea to instigate a little argument with me on Twitter, sending readership of this blog post through the roof and drawing much condemnation of this person and the candidate she represented.

And then things went quiet again with this blog post until today when the same person surfaced with this tweet:


For those not familiar with this expression, it is a literal translation of a Polish phrase which, depending on what part of Poland you are from, the context of the situation and how the expression is used, can be interpreted to mean:

Not my problem.

F___ this shit.

F___ off.

I was amused by this since I knew what such a spontaneous tweet without any instigation on anyone’s part would do and so shortly after this tweet appeared, I checked my blog stats.

Sure enough, people were back to reading the blog that had created some damage to the candidate’s campaign and which had died down again (for the second time) earlier this week.

Third time’s a charm, I guess.

Insatiable curiosity can be an interesting and devastating weapon when used correctly (or misused accidentally).

It can be fatal from a career perspective when such a message is delivered to a potential voter on behalf of someone seeking my vote.

The wisdom of the ancients

There is a reason that our vernacular is filled with old adages such as “let sleeping dogs lie” or “beware of self-fulfilling prophecies”.

I think it is because they originate from the sum of many truths in the collective human experience.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,



Curious as to whether the person in my second story still represents the candidate I referred to, I took a look at her LinkedIn profile.



Addendum 2

Shortly after this blog was published, the LinkedIn profile was revised:


Whether the change reflects an actual change in duties or is meant as a deflection technique is irrelevant.  We always have to be cognizant of who represents us and whether anything we say or do alleges to represent someone else.

There is a final irony in that she has asked people to stop bullying her as noted in her final tweet.


The use of social media does not change a basic concept of human interaction:

Respect earned is respect given.

When one instigates a conversation as noted earlier in this blog, one has to expect a strong reaction and cannot subsequently claim to be a victim.  One cannot travel through Life looking for trouble and then complain when trouble arrives.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Power of the Four-Poster Interview

Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.- Oscar Wilde

Obviously, I did a couple of things right on the old casting couch. - Jason Bateman

I guess by now you have figured from these quotes what a “four-poster interview” is.

If you haven’t, well ….

I read about the most recent Newfoundland and Labrador Government cabinet shuffle with some interest and concern for the future of that great, storied province.

For starters, Premier Dunderdale added two new cabinet appointees, Steve Kent and Dan Crummel, indicating that “they were chosen for their enthusiasm”.

I wonder if other credentials such as qualifications were considered or if that would have muddied up the selection process or perhaps overwhelmed the people making the selections.

Speaking of qualifications, the other surprise was that Joan Shea continues to be a Minister in the Newfoundland and Labrador Government.

Why am I surprised?

Back in January of 2009, Minister Shea (then Education Minister Burke) attracted some negative attention by appointing Terry Styles to chair the College of the North Atlantic Board of Governors.

The reason it attracted negative attention in the public eye was because Mr. Styles was a leading contributor to Minister Burke’s election campaigns at the time.

For at least one family and some residents of the Stephenville area, it attracted negative attention for a different reason.

It was because Mr. Styles at the time was allegedly engaged in a “personal” relationship with Minister Burke, even though they were both married to other people at the time.

How do I know this?

I know this because I know his former wife and have awareness of her former job working with Minister Burke (now Minister Shea) and the trappings of how the Minister and Mr. Styles came to know each other.  Mr. Styles’ former wife also had the courage to share her personal journal with me, documenting the events that took place.

Now one would think that an alleged relationship between Mr. Styles and Minister Burke would present a conflict of interest scenario but under the Newfoundland and Labrador Government’s conflict of interest guidelines (Conflict of Interest Act, 1995), one can see that there is a legal gray zone here.  It discusses appointments made when a spouse or cohabiting, conjugal partner stand to benefit from an appointment where a government minister is involved but if you are allegedly just having “a relationship”, the law is open to interpretation.

It appears that legality in its purest form trumps ethics, morals and common sense.

Fast forward to June of 2012 where Mr. Styles was appointed as the Chairman of Nalcor and which I wrote about in The Newfoundland and Labrador Government–The Latest Newfie Joke.

In that blog post, I wondered how a man running a company with 10 employees and little if any profits (according to his former wife who I’m told was 50% owner around that time) could suddenly find himself running a Crown Corporation with over 800 employees and 2011 revenues of $730 million (allegedly because of his astute business background).

At the time of his appointment to Nalcor, I was told that he allegedly didn’t have his high school diploma (I am not certain of his current education credentials).  While it is true that Bill Gates didn’t have a degree when he founded Microsoft, there is a big difference between founding a company and driving it to success without formal education and being handed the reins of one without any.

Could it be possible that his alleged ongoing relationship with Minister Shea had an influence on his appointment to Nalcor?

I’m sure it’s all good

After all, between the two unusual appointments, Mr. Styles divorced his wife and Minister Shea divorced her husband and they allegedly found comfort in each other’s company.

But one can easily wonder if an alleged “personal” relationship could be a major contributing factor to transitioning from being the owner of a little-known small-town company to suddenly becoming Chair of an organization running multi-billion dollar projects such as the Muskrat Falls project.

For most people, it would be considered winning a career lottery, as the options opened up by such a “win” are unlimited in potential for Mr. Styles.

However, if such an alleged relationship did play a major factor in his sudden meteorical rise (no pun intended) to the top, it creates a concern for me.

It makes me wonder if the Newfoundland and Labrador Government is doing the best it can to select the best people for the job, whatever that job is.

How will we know if such appointments are made based more on one’s “private performance” than one’s public performance and qualifications, especially with the Province’s draconian privacy legislation, Bill 29, making Newfoundland and Labrador one of the least transparent governments in the world?  I wrote about this in We All Answer To Someone .. Or Do We? 

In addition, how can we know when the Premier flies off the handle when someone even questions the appointment as described here?   Such feigned anger is a common attention redirection technique that I wrote about in the unrelated post Democrats: Kicking Our Butt Instead of Kissing It.

I wonder if governments are so brazen that they don’t care about public perception anymore, with conflict of interest guidelines being more of a public relations exercise (or a source of irritation) rather than a legal, ethical and moral code implemented to ensure that people don’t benefit unfairly and that competition for public positions is as transparent as possible.

If this alleged relationship supposedly created benefits for one or both of these individuals, don’t they realize that each of them are being used by the other, each being vulnerable when the next opportunity for a climb up the ladder of power becomes available to the other?

After all, past performance is a strong predictor of future behavior.

In the meantime, if all of this transpired as it seems to have, then three victims remain ….

  • The former family of Mr. Styles, some of whom continue to suffer as a result of what transpired
  • The former family of Minister Shea
  • The great people of Newfoundland and Labrador who have no idea if the people being appointed or elected to represent their interests are in fact the best people for the job or if they are more focused on feeding their own interests.

And to think that I spent a weekend with the Minister and others at a leadership conference in Stephenville just months before Mr. Styles’ first appointment.  Had I known she was interviewing for a new position (and speaking of enthusiasm), I would have been happy to whip out my qualifications. :-)

But seriously, having had access to Mrs. Style’s personal journal, there is a line in the journal that really struck me.  Here it is, shared with her permission:

Yes, it is debilitating to suffer an ended marriage, but it is cumulatively debilitating to have a Minister in the House of Assembly, the supposed “Honorable”, the supposed “provincial advocate” for those of us who are struggling with our disabilities, to behave in such a distasteful, neglectful, and faithless manner.

This is a line from a wounded heart that speaks volumes to each of us, to the Minister and to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Bottom Line

I wrote to a number of officials in private about this (see the blog addendum).  If my private query had been responded to instead of being ignored, I would have accepted any answer on the respondent’s “word and honor” and moved on. 

I think, however, that silence invites suspicion and a need to explore this further.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,



Out of fairness to all parties, I sent a note to the Premier, Minister Shea, Lorraine Michael and the interim leader of the Liberal Party, Eddie Joyce, regarding this back in August of 2013 and I invited their comments on the matter. 

Here is my original note:

Dear Honorable Premier Dunderdale,

Word on the street in Stephenville these days is that the Honorable Minister Shea was dating Mr. Styles prior to and during his appointment as Chairman of Nalcor.

I wanted to bring this to your attention and invite your comment on it.  I have copied the leaders of the Liberal and NDP party as well as Minister Shea in case they also have a comment on the matter.

If the story is not true, then it is in your (and Minister Shea’s) best interests to refute the story before it grows.

If the story is true, I would think that this represents a serious conflict of interest and should be investigated.

I welcome your comments and look forward to your response.

Take care and create a great day, Honorable Premier.

Yours respectfully,

Harry Tucker

A member of the Premier’s staff responded with this note on August 20, 2013 (the only response to my query):

Dear Mr. Tucker:

Thank you for your correspondence to Premier Kathy Dunderdale. Please be assured that your comments will be given due consideration.

Kindest Regards,

Chantalle Hull

Office of the Premier

Minister Shea and the other recipients had no comment at all.

And no additional comments have been received from the Premier’s office since.

Allegations that are wrong or inaccurate, especially ones with potentially damaging information, are usually easily and quickly refuted. 

Add to this the fact that what I have discussed in this blog is only the tip of the iceberg, where silence could be fatal for some careers as it invites additional information to be revealed.

The Bottom Line

Allegations that people choose not to comment on are either not important enough or too politically loaded to touch.

I wonder which category this story falls into.

I wonder if the great people of Newfoundland and Labrador care.

I think they should.

What do you think?

Addendum 2 – October 10, 2013

Do you know what’s equally disturbing?

When I make a tweet like this 12 hours in advance of this blog post coming out (not identifying the Minister in question at all):

Twitter comment

And I see tweets like this appear after my tweet (hours before the blog post appears):

Twitter comment

So it’s not a secret, since this individual clearly had awareness of the Minister in question and her locale.

So the question becomes …..

If people already know this, why don’t people demand better?

Addendum 3 – October 10, 2013

After receiving a number of emails today from many people warning me of my safety on a number of levels from legal to physical, I can make only one observation.

When one analyzes a series of events (already covered at different times by the mainstream media) with the intention of requesting public accountability, when one discusses things already known by many in the community where the events allegedly took place (as demonstrated with the tweets above) and when people are still afraid for my safety for writing this despite these facts (and fearing for their own safety should their comments become public), I have to wonder if Newfoundland and Labrador is governed as a democracy or as something else.

It is a sad day for democracy when public accountability is not only something to be avoided but which is something worth attacking others for in order to prevent transparency and to ensure status quo.

Insecure people, people with damaged egos or people with something to withhold from others hide behind threats and intimidation.  People confident in themselves, their facts and their ability to communicate these facts use civil discourse to make their point known to others.

A national media reporter informed me that every time they run a story about the Newfoundland and Labrador government, lawyers follow up immediately ordering them to take the story down.  Where is the transparency in this?

That being said, time will tell if democracy is alive and well in the great province that I once called home or if they are just pretending.

Addendum 4 – October 11, 2013

Someone whose opinion I respect highly suggested that perhaps the Minister was used by Mr. Styles and that she may have potentially fallen into a conflict of interest somewhat accidentally.

So instead of two conspirators, there may in fact only be one conspirator and one guilty of the crime of following their heart (albeit in poor fashion with damaging repercussions).

People in positions of power must be constantly vigilant that they are not being “played” by others since the results, rewards and punishments often don’t discriminate as to the original motivation for participation in an event.

I hadn’t thought of that – an intriguing variation.

Addendum 5 – October 12, 2013

After being informed yesterday that Premier Dunderdale’s Chief of Staff, Ross Reid, was making inquiries into my background and motivation, I sent him this email:

Dear Chief of Staff Reid,

Thank you for taking the time to make inquiries regarding my background and my motivation regarding the recent blog that I wrote.  The motivation for my blog was not political, was not backed by any media or anything else.  It was simply a desire to request  transparency on the part of the Government in light of the fact that my private inquiries for same were ignored.

As a long time public servant, you have always done your best to serve the people of Canada and the great Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and I believe that you strive to ensure transparency in how  governments manage their affairs.

To assist your understanding of my background, I am a strategy advisor to a number of Fortune 25 organizations in the US.  My political leanings are on the Conservative side and I believe that Conservative policies are the only sustainable ones in the current political climate.

As you may or may not know, I made private inquiries with the Government regarding what I believe are conflict of interest concerns on behalf of Minister Shea and nobody cared to answer.  You and I both know that hiding from an answer suggests a problem and ever-increasing interest in my blog suggests the same.

If you are able to provide a  satisfactory reply to my original query (which is all I wanted originally) and the supposition in my blog, I would be quite content.  I have no axe to grind with the Government of the Province or any members of it, as I believe that Conservative policies are the best policies for what the Province needs right now.

That being said, it is critical that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador see their government operating in the best way possible, especially with the Government being two years from an election.

I thank you for your many years of public service and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours most respectfully,

Harry Tucker

I await his reply.

Addendum 6 – Closure (for now)  – October 18, 2013

I’ve been overwhelmed by emails from bureaucrats in the government, based on this post and the post The Newfoundland Government–Headed For the Garbage Can, confirming many things and offering details I wasn’t aware of.

But surprisingly and not, I received no response from Mr. Reid.

Oh well – election time is not that far away.

Addendum 7 – Terry Styles Resigns – March 28, 2014

On March 15th, after receiving notification from multiple parties, I tweeted the following:


It was revealed today that Mr. Styles had resigned effective March 14, 2014, corroborating what those sources had told me earlier.  No reason was given for his departure.

Could this blog have played a role?  I have no idea. Perhaps the NL Government will be more transparent in their high-profile hiring moving forward and more sensitive to managing public optics.

However, when one sees tweets like this ….


…. then one realizes that a course in optics management is necessary for some Government officials.

Or is it a course in character?

The problem is that the latter can’t be learned in a semester.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Courage–Living and Sharing Your Story

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts …… William Shakespeare

As a long-time strategy advisor to Wall St. and Fortune 25 organizations, I have spent the majority of my 30-year career trying to understand the underlying motivation for what makes people do what they do.  Over the years, I am reminded that for all of our complexities, we are merely a collection of comedies and tragedies with new actors and plotlines being added on a continual basis.

Despite the complexity of the Life story that we write, the version that we share is usually heavily redacted, with our weaknesses and fears carefully edited out lest we reveal the self-perceived mistakes, failures and weaknesses that would prove that we are truly human.

Sadly, it is the story that has been carefully edited out that would serve as the greatest source of inspiration and learning for many who so badly need both in a world filled with potential and challenge.

This thought hit me between the eyes recently when I had an opportunity to read the e-book “Sex, Love, and Paradise” (print edition: A Hot Sailor, A Cold Margarita, and… Trouble: My Memoir of Paradise) by Lila Z Rose in preparation to write a forward for the soon-to-be-published first printing as a paperback under the new title

“A Hot Sailor
    A Cold Margarita
         and... Trouble

My Memoir of Paradise”

Personal purpose - the common human quest

The quest to understand who am I, where have I come from and where am I going provides a common thread for the human experience.

However, when Oprah, Wayne Dyer and all of that ilk write yet another self-help book encouraging people to “go for it’ in their lives, many readers set out with enthusiasm to reinvent their Life before discovering that it is much easier when you have millions (or billions) in the bank and when your name is such a household word that the mere attachment of your name creates success for a project before people even know what the project is.

I’m not saying that they are not a source of inspiration or that their words are without value.  Words of insight and encouragement provide additional strength that help us to overcome our challenges.

However, if their recipes for success were as easy or as guaranteed as they claim, they would have put themselves out of business a long time ago and the world would be a much better place.

And therein lies an important missing component – the aspect of authenticity and an important connector between author and reader, that being a common context that the reader can identify with.

Sex, Love, and Paradise” (print edition: A Hot Sailor, A Cold Margarita, and… Trouble: My Memoir of Paradise) establishes that level of context with the reader in a powerful way.  It describes the author’s personal journey to discover love, a sense of self and a sense of personal purpose and in the story, we see our own story.  In her successes, we remember fond memories of our past and when she weeps, we weep in empathy, remembering challenging moments in our own Life. 

As her journey and ours become interwoven, we realize that this is not just Lila’s story.  She has in fact invited us to explore our respective journeys together.  The collective journey is one of courage and self-discovery, of laughter and pain, of impetuousness and self-doubt, of love and lust and most importantly, of mistakes and victories. 

If your Life journey hasn’t contained one, many or all of these elements, then your Life is incredibly blessed, you are in denial, you are psychotic or you are a liar.

Few can deny the important components of a Life that matters – the need to love, to be loved and to know that when one’s end-of-days has arrived, we can proudly say, “I was here and I made a difference”.

Few also would deny that a Life well-lived is not a solo journey.  In that spirit, books like this one are not merely an expression of Lila’s Life journey that she has created.  They are an invitation to explore the journey that we are creating together and the richness of our humanity.  More importantly, they provide an opportunity to discover a truth that many of us tend to lose sight of – that when we have an opportunity to see or point out the greatness in others, they in turn invite us to see the greatness within ourselves

It is at that moment that we realize that the heavily redacted Life story that we prefer to share is not the one that inspires others.  What inspires others is the Life story that takes as much courage to share as it does to experience.

Stories like Lila’s …….

…. and stories like your own.

I think we need more authors like Lila Z Rose who have the courage to expose their raw, authentic Life in stories that we can laugh at, cry with and learn from.

I also think that when we share our lives as this author does, that we discover we don’t need to be told by others what makes up our individual beauty, talents and strengths.   Our gifts and experiences will be laid bare on the table for ourselves and others to marvel at, to embrace and to celebrate.

What do you think?

In service and servanthood,