All over

It appeared to me too late and spilt all over.
When and where this should happen, and I called
maybe it could be better if nothing had flowed.
The regaled crow on top of the foothill silently judging initiation of those words,
and the poisoned maple syrup showed his best guess on what the future embraces.
Like a sentence I made a mistake, with too many syllables,
pieces and pieces and pieces,
running down the water,
creating the bell clinking sound.

It should have come earlier in the darkest nights.
When the luna holoscope shines within, and you told
maybe it would get further with your physical presence.
The python winding upon your boney dreams scatter around its rainbow scales,
and the planned random question faked its worst way out of our minds.
Like a mountain trail reaching out the sky, with
too much stretch,
inches by inches by inches,
nursing around the blossom,
chanting the petals brushing dance.

´╗┐Start with Why- Simon Sinek

“Those who truly lead are able to create a following of people who act not becasue they were swayed, but because they were inspired. For those who are inspired, the motivation to act is deeply personal.”-loc 165

“I hope to inspire others to do the things that inspire them so that together we may build the companies, the economy and a world in which trust and loyalty are the norm and not the exception.”-loc 190

“We make assumptions. We make assumptions about the world around us based on sometimes incomplete or false information.”-loc 207

“This dance between gut and rational decision-making pretty much covers how we conduct business and even live our lives.”-loc 260

“Japanese auto plant, they didn’t examine the problem and accumulate data to figure out the best solution-they engineered the outcome they wanted from the beginning. If they didn’t achieve their desired outcome, they understood it was because of a decision they made at the start of the process.”-loc 270

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it….Typical manipulations include: dropping price; running a promotion; using fear, peer pressure or aspirational messages; and promising innovation to influence behavior-be it a purchase, a vote or support. When companies or organizations do not have a clear sense of why their customers are their customers, they tend to rely on a disproportionate number of manipulations to get what they needed. And for good reason. Manipulations work.”-loc 306

“In the business-to-business world, promotions are called ‘value added.’ But the principles are the same-give something away for free to reduce the risk so that someone will do business with you…..Breakage measures the percentage of customers who fail to take advantage of a promotion and end up paying full price for a product instead….The rebate industry also has a name for the number of customers who just don’t bother to apply for the rebate, or who never cash the rebate check they receive. That’s called slippage.”-loc 369

“Fear, real or perceived, is arguably the most powerful manipulation of the lot….When fear is employed, facts are incidental. Deep seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures. This is how terrorism works. It’s not the statistical probability that one could get hurt by a terrorist, but it’s the fear that it might happen that cripples a population.”-loc 399

“If fear motivates us to move away from something horrible, aspirational messages tempt us toward something desirable. Marketers often talk about the importance of being aspirational, offering someone something they desire to achieve and the ability to get there more easily with a particular product or service….Aspirational messages can spur behavior, but for most, it won’t last.”-loc 423

“…the company confused innovation with novelty. Real innovation changes the course of industries or even society. The light bulb, the microwave oven, the fax machine, iTunes. These are true innovations that changed how we conduct business, altered how we live our lives, and, in the case of iTunes, challenged an industry to completely reevaluate its business model. Adding a camera to a mobile phone, for example, is not innovation-a great feature, for sure, but not industrial-altering.”-loc 502

“Leader ship requires people to stick with you through thick and thin. Leadership is the ability to rally people not for a single event, but for years….There is a big difference between repeat business and loyalty. Repeat business is when people do business with you multiple times. Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or a better price to continue doing business with you.”-loc 563

“Knowing you have a loyal customer and employee base not only reduces costs, it provides massive peace of mind.”-loc 647

“By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care….People don;t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it….When communicating form the inside out, the WHY is offered as the reason to buy and the WHATs serve as tangible proof of that belief….The problem was, Creative advertised their product as a ‘5GB mp3 player’, It is exactly the same message as Apple’s ‘1,000 songs in your pocket.’ The difference is Creative told us WHAT their product was and Apple told us WHY we needed it.”-loc 738

“Apple even changed its legal name in 2007 from Apple Computers, Inc. to Apple Inc. to reflect the fact that they were more than just a computer company. Practically speaking, it doesn’t really matter what a company’s legal name is. For Apple, however, having the word ‘Computer’ in their name didn’t limit WHAT they could do. It limited how they thought of themselves. The change wasn’t practical, it was philosophical.”-loc 880

“Knowing WHY is essential for lasting success and the ability to avoid being lumped in with others….Apple didn’t invent the lifestyle, nor does it sell a lifestyle. Apple is simply one of the brands that those who live a certain lifestyle are drawn to.”-loc 899

“A company doesn’t need to have the best products, they just need to be good or very good. Better or best is a relative comparison. Without first understanding WHY, the comparison itself is of no value to the decision maker.”-loc 930

“Our need to belong is not rational, but it is a constant that exists across all people in all cultures. It is a feeling we get when those around us share our values and beliefs. When we feel like we belong we feel connected and we feel safe. As humans we crave this feeling and we seek it out. Sometimes our feeling of belonging is incidental….No matter where we go, we trust those with whom we are able to perceive common values or beliefs. Our desire to feel like we belong is so powerful that we will go to great lengths, do irrational things and often spend money to get that feeling.”-loc 1010 [This is so true. Language and culture is not decisive factors. Values matter the most and the amiable belonging feeling restored within the ones who share mutual memories and past with us. The memories and past are not those physically shared ones in our traditional definition, but the feelings towards our own history and expectations towards the future, and the same perception of what an ideal or happy life should be.]

“Our natural need to belong also makes us good at spotting things that don’t belong….Dell selling mp3 players just doesn’t feel right because Dell defines itself as a computer company, so the only things that belong are computers. Apple defines itself as a company on a mission and so anything they do that fits that definition feels like it belongs.”-loc 1036

“‘She’s funny, she’s smart,’ we start. But there are lots of funny and smart people in the world, but we don’t love them and we don’t want to marry them. There is obvious more than just personality and competence. Rationally, we know our explanation isn’t the real reason. It is how our loved ones make us feel, but those feelings are really hard to put into words. So when pushed, we start to talk around it.”-loc 1083

“The Golden Circle offers an explanation for long-term success, but the inherent nature of doing things for the long term often includes investments or short-term costs. This is the reason the discipline to stay focused on the WHY and remain true to your values matters so much.”-loc 1013

“Relationships also build trust. And with trust comes loyalty… There are many ways to motivate people to do things, but loyalty comes from the ability to inspire people….Only when the WHY is clear and when people believe what you believe can a true loyal relationship develop.”-loc 1364

“Size and might alone do not guarantee success. We’ve succeeded as a species because of our ability to form cultures. Cultures are groups of people who come together around a common set of values and beliefs. When we share values and beliefs with others, we form trust.”-loc 1695

“Early in the twentieth century, the English adventurer Ernest Shackleton set out to explore the Antarctic….His actual ad run like this: ‘Men wanted for Hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.’….Companies with a strong sense of WHY are able to inspire their employees. Those employees are more productive and innovative, and the feeling they bring to work attracts other people to work there as well.”-loc 1748

“If the people inside a company are told to come to work and just do their job, that’s all they will do. If they are constantly reminded WHY the company was founded and told to always look for ways to bring the cause to life while performing their job, however, then they will do more than their job.”-loc 1942 [I was constantly reminded of the WHY, taught about HOW to achieve the cause and kept making WHATs happening when I was working at IMO. I’ve tried my best to learn to absorb, to contribute, and to dedicate not to those terms but to the meaning of them. This is why among all jobs and training programs I’ve been taking, IMO still hold firmly that first position in my heart.]

“There was a stigma against speaking out…nobody dared ask a stupid question in case they looked silly in front of everyone else… the lack of a clear set of values and beliefs, along with the weak culture that resulted, created the conditions for an every-man-for-himself environment, the long-term impact of which could yield little else than disaster….Many companies have start employees and start salesmen and so on, but few have a culture that produces great people as a rule and not an exception.”-loc 2014

“Great organizations become great because the people inside the organization feel protected. The strong sense of culture creates a sense of belonging and acts like a net. People come to work knowing that their bosses, colleagues and the organization as a whole will look out for them. This results in reciprocal behavior.”-loc 2073

“Loyalty is when people are willing to suffer some inconvenience or pay premium to do business with you.”-loc 2388

“‘Until people get their hands on it,’ Rebecca Baer, a spokeswoman for TiVo, told the New York Times in 2000, ‘they don’t understand why they need this.’ If this line of logic was true, then no new technology would ever take hold. A fact that it patently untrue. Though Ms. Baer was correct about the mass market’s failure to properly communicate and rally the left side of the bell curve to educate and encourage the adoption that was the reason so few people ‘got their hands on it’…. They ignored the left side of the curve and completely failed to find the tipping point.”-loc 2487

“‘There are two types of laws’ he shared, ‘those that are just and those that are unjust. A just law,’ Dr. King expounded, ‘is a man-made code that squares with the moral law. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law… Any law that uplift the human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distort the soul and damages the personality.'”-loc 2552

“Today, the work he does with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has nothing to do with software, but it is another way he has found to bring his WHY to life. He is looking for ways to solve problems. He still has an underlying belief. And he still believe that if we can help people, this time those with less privilege, remove some seemingly simple obstacles, then they too will have an opportunity to be more productive and lift themselves up to achieve their great potential.”-loc 2625

“HOW-types don’t need WHY-types to do well. But WHY-guys, for all their vision and imagination, often get the short end of the stick.”-loc 2775

“This relationship starts to clarify the differences between a vision statement and a mission statement in an organization. The vision is the public statement of the founder’s intent, WHY the company exists. It is literally the vision of a future that does not yet exists. The mission statement is a description of the route, the guiding principles–HOW the company intends to create that future.”-loc 2794

“For a WHY to have the power to move people it must not only be clear, it must be amplified to reach enough people to tip the scale.”-loc 2892

“On January 22, 1984, Apple launched their Macintosh computer with their new-famous commercial depicting an Orwellian scene of a totalitarian regime holding control over a population and promised that ‘1984 won’t be like 1984’ But this advertising was much more than just advertising. It was not about the features and benefits of a new product. It was not about a ‘differentiation’. It was, for all intents and purposes, a manifesto.”-loc 3049

“And just like a person struggling to put her emotions into words, we rely on metaphors, imagery and analogies in an attempt to communicate how we feel…. We use symbols. We create tangible things for those who believe what we believe to point to say ‘That’s why I’m inspired.’ If done properly, thats’ what marketing, branding, and products and services become.”- loc 3126

“‘Celebrate your successes,’ said Walton. ‘Find some humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loose up and everybody around you will loosen up.'”-loc 3456

Diffusion of innovations


According to the Law of Diffusion, mass-market success can only be achieved after you penetrate between 15 percent to 18 percent of the market. That’s because the early majority won’t try something new until someone else has tried it first.

Celery Test:

Filtering your decisions through your WHY, you spend less time at the supermarket and you spend less money, so there’s an efficiency advantage also. Simply ensuring that WHAT you do proves what you believe makes it easy for those who believe what you believe to find you. You have successfully communicated your WHY based on WHAT you do.

This is an idealistic concept and in the real world that level of discipline is not always possible. I understand that sometimes we have to make short-term decision to pay bills or get some short-term advantage. That’s fine. The Celery Test still applies. If you want a piece of chocolate cake, go right ahead. The difference is, when you start with WHY, you know full well that the chocolate cake is a short-term decision that doesn’t fit with your beliefs. You can certainly make those decisions if you need to, but don’t make too many of them, otherwise over time, no one will know what you believe.

But here’s the best part. As soon as I told you WHY, you knew that we were going to buy only celery and rice milk even before you read it. As soon as I gave you the filter, as soon as I said the WHY, you knew exactly what decisions to make before I said so.


This is the book I read right after my trip. Setting aside all emotional turmoil and issue that too personal to reach a solitary state, I picked something supposed to be inspiring to my new job.

I watched Simon’s Ted talk a week before I left for the trip, and got the e-book in my kindle having an idea of reading it but never set up a specific date. I’m glad that I picked this one to start. The writing is passionate and logical, rich in examples and coherent on its main idea. It is an easy read drilling an very important idea for all entrepreneurs-put your heart ahead of your mind.

For many times when I read the book, the thought pop up saying “you know, this is not just about business?”

When Breath Becomes Air-Paul Kalanithi

“You that seek what life is in death,
Now find it air that once was breath.
New names unknown, old names gone:
Till time end bodies, but souls none.
Reader! then make time, while you be,
But steps to your eternity.

`Baron Brook Fulke Greville, ‘Caelica 83′”-loc 43

“What makes human life meaningful? I still felt literature provided the best account of the life of the mind, while neuroscience laid down the most elegant rules of the brain….T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land resonated profoundly, relating meaninglessness and isolation, and the desperate quest for human connection. I found Eliot’s metaphors leaking into my own language. Other authors resonated as well. Nabokov, for his hypertuned sense of how miscommunication between people can so profoundly impact their lives. Literature not only illuminated another’s experience, it provided, I believe, the richest material for moral reflection.”-loc 368

“Suddenly, now, I know what I want. I want the counselors to build a pyre.. and let my ashes drop and mingle with the sand. Lose my bones amongst the driftwood, my teeth amongst the sand… I don’t believe in the wisdom of children, nor in the wisdom of the old. There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.”- loc 403

“A word means something only between people, and life’s meaning, its virtue, had something to do with the depth of the relationship we form.”-loc 443

“I was also increasingly certain that I had little desire to continue in literary studies, whose main preoccupations had begun to strike me as overly political and averse to science.”- loc 453 [I wonder if this is what all lit majored students think.]

“Where did biology, morality, literature, and philosophy intersected?”-loc 460 [I also have the same question but the author didn’t seems giving an answer in this book. neuroscience is about the first two, and the narration of feelings and events and emotions is about the latter. Maybe there is no intersection in one particular field or theory, but we could touch both, we could touch all in order to deepen the connection in between and our understanding as a human being.]

“what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay”-loc 468 [such question may seem too big to think about or too theoretical to discuss with a friend. but when life gets hard, when there are things that out of the mere control of you own “will”, thinking about such question does help on clearing up the emotional mist. anyone ever said philosophy and science is in general asexual?]

“I wanted that direct experience. It was only in practicing medicine that I could pursue a serious biological philosophy. Moral speculation was puny compared to moral action.”-loc 479

“As graduation neared and we sat down, in a Yale tradition, to rewrite our commencement oath-a melding of the words of Hippocrates, Maimonides, Osler, along with a few other great medical forefathers-several students argued for the removal of language insisting that we place our patients’ interests above our own. (The rest of us didn’t allow this discussion to continue for long. The words stayed. This kind of egotism struck me as antithetical to medicine and, it should be noted, entirely reasonable.)”-loc 705

“‘I don’t know. What I do know-and I know you know these things, too- is that your life is about to-it already has changed. This is going to be a long haul, you understand? You have to got to be there for each other, but you also have to get your rest when you need it. This kind of illness can either bring you together, or it can tear you apart…'”-loc 717

“While all doctors treat disease, neurosurgeons work in the crucible of identity: every operation on the brain is, by necessity, a manipulation of the substance of our selves, and every conversation with a patient undergoing brain surgery cannot help but confront this fact.”-loc 728

“like the Greek concept arete, I thought, virtue required moral, emotional, mental, and physical excellence.”-loc 737.

“At moments, the weight of it all became palpable. It was in the air, the stress and misery. Normally, you breathed it in, without noticing it. But some days, like a humid muggy day, it had a suffocating weight of its own. Some days, this is how it felt when I was in the hospital: I trapped in an endless jungle summer, wet with sweat, the rain of tears of the families of the dying pouring down.”-loc 793

“Being with patients in these moments certainly had its emotional cost, but it also had its rewards. I don’t think I ever spent a minute of any day wondering why I did this work, or whether it was worth it. The call to protect life- and not merely life but another’s identity it is perhaps not too much to say another’s soul-was obvious in its sacredness.”-loc 969 [love should do the same protection, in a spiritual way:_)]

“One could count on V to always choose the honest (and, often, self-effacing) way forward. While most scientists connived to publish in the most prestigious journals and get their names out there, V maintained that our only obligation was to be authentic to the scientific story and to tell it uncompromisingly. I’d never met someone so successful who was also so committed to goodness.”-loc 993

“The pain of failure had led me to understand that technical excellence was a moral requirement. Good intentions were not enough, not when so much depended on my skills, when the difference between tragedy and triumph was defined by one or two millimeters.”-loc 1041

“It felt to me as if the individual strands of biology, morality, life, and death were finally beginning to weave themselves into, if not a perfect moral system, a coherent worldview and a sense of my place in it. Doctors in highly charged fields met patients at inflected moments, the most authentic moments, where life and identity were under threat; their duty included learning what made that particular patient’s life worth living, and planning to save those things if possible-or to allow the peace death if not.”-loc 1109

“My brother Jeevan had arrived at my bedside. ‘You’ve accomplished so much,’ he said. ‘You know that, don’t you?’
I sighed. He meant well, but the words rang hollow. My life had been building potential, potential that would now go unrealized. I had planned to do so much, and I had come so close. I was physically debilitated, my imagined future and my personal identity collapsed, and I faced the same existential quandaries my patients faced. The lung cancer diagnosis was confirmed. My carefully planned and hard-won future no long exist.”-loc 1146

“The word hope first appeared in English about a thousand years ago, denoting some combination of confidence and desire.”-loc 1266

“I cannot go on, I thought, and immediately, its antiphon responded, completing Samuel Beckett’s seven words, words I had learned long ago as an undergraduate: I’ll go on. I got out of bed and took a step forward, repeating the phrase over and over: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.'”-loc 1413 [Appears in Samuel Becktt’s The Unnameable in 1954, original text is “Perhaps it’s done already, perhaps they have said me already, perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story, that would surprise me, if it opens, it will be I, it will be the silence, where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”]

“But if I did not know what I wanted, I had learned something, something not found in Hippocrates, Maimonides, or Osler: the physician’s duty is not to stave off death or return patients to their old lives, but to take into our arms a patient and family whose lives have disintegrated and work until they stand back up and face, and make sense of, their own existence.”-loc 1563

“Yet the paradox is that scientific methodology is the product of human hands and thus cannot reach some permanent truth. We build scientific theories to organize and manipulate the world, to reduce phenomena into manageable units. Science is based on reproducibility and manufactured objectivity. As strong as that makes its ability to generate claims about matter and energy, it also makes scientific knowledge inapplicable to the existential, visceral nature of human life, which is unique and subjective and unpredictable. Science may provide the most useful way to organize empirical, reproducible data, but its power to do so is predicated on its inability to grasp the most central aspects of human life: hope, fear, love, hate, beauty, envy, honor, weakness, striving, suffering, virtue.”-loc 1593

“Conversely, we knew that one trick to managing a terminal illness is to be deeply in love-to be vulnerable, kind, generous, grateful.”-loc 2014

“We all inhabit different selves in space and time.”-loc 2044

“And yet this is not always an easy place to be. The weather is unpredictable. Because Paul is buried on the windward side of the mountains, I have visited him in blazing sun, shrouding fog, and cold, stinging rain. It can be as uncomfortable as it is peaceful, both communal and lonely- like death, like grief-but there is beauty in all of it, and I think this is good and right.”-loc 2065

“I expected to feel only empty and heartbroken after Paul dead. It never occurred to me that you could love someone the same way after he was gone, that I would continue to feel such love and gratitude alongside the terrible sorrow, the grief so heavy that at times I shiver and moan under the weight of it.”-loc 2076

“‘You cannot reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.’ its was arduous, bruising work, and he never faltered. This was the life he was given, and this is what he made of it. When Breath Becomes Air is complete, just as it is.”-loc 2087

I finished The Name of The Wind on my flight to SD, and stared When Breath Becomes Air on the same flight. I’ve reading it during my full week stay there, and I’ve been reading it in my bedroom at Via Tresca and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaves at Carmel Mountain when I wasn’t traveling around or hanging out with Rick. I just finished the last line on my way back to Beijing, an hour before landing.


It is a very weird timing, for this book filled up my long planed visit from the beginning to its end.

Bothered with my mixed feeling, way more complicated than the situation itself appears to be, this book still kept me fully engaged for its heavy content, serious topic, and graceful narrative.

When someone face the end of his life, thoughts on meanings and values naturally overrun all other nuances and trifles of life. Things emotionally bugging us becomes a string in the vast knitting work of our rethinking of life itself.

When I read through Lucy’s epilogue, it suddenly gets clear to me that my next trip would be to Chicago. There is an absolute uncertainty about this decision. Maybe I want to go back to the beginning; maybe I want to look for something new; maybe I want to throw away my guilt and reminiscence and all happened in the past; maybe I just want to seek the familiar comfort that only the lake is able to give.
I no longer feel myself falling apart, regardless of all sentimentalities struck during the past three years. Like Paul couldn’t finish the book or exhausts the possibilities of his goal of life or gets a definite conclusion of the meaning of life, neither could I finish the narrative of everything happened during my past adventure or tell what exactly have been going on in both of our lives or get a clear direction pointed to where I will be going.

It’s so easy to make two people apart. I used to think, in my innocent childhood living in a very stable environment, that it takes all efforts to going out, it takes all efforts to departure, to gain freedom and independence through separation. But when the journey begins, I start to learn that a new offer, the end of an internship, an illness, or even just a single sentence could tear people apart in the wildest ways.

And only through witness of the coming end of a vivid life, do I really see the dignity of life, because only then will we save all the explanations and get down to the dedication of our communication with hearts-true happiness, grief, gratefulness, maybe anger and guilt too. Things so easily get overlooked in our daily routine, people so easily taken for granted for their constant being by our side…everything so normal to us may also be the most important, but we don’t volunteer to see them until we are forced to do so.

I don’t know where this notes will lead me to. I hope it’s not only about the future Chicago trip, or a new decision, but also a vogue idea on changing of my own attitude towards life, towards love.