Do you judge a person by his questions or his answers?

This question was prompted by Voltaire’s “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”
But it was also prompted by the book I am reading just now, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. Click on the link to read the FIRST LINES from the book to get an idea about its content.

Its an interesting book. And as expected prompting more questions than answers, and making me bold about asking ones of my own.

The author, Warren Berger quotes Joi Ito of MIT’s Media Lab saying “You don’t learn unless you question”.
And it matters how we question. We are likely to get different answers depending on whether we frame our questions as open ended ones or close ended ones.

Here’s some mind food on questions and questioning:

“Questions are infinitely superior to answers.”
~Dan Sullivan

* * *

“To get answers of life, ask questions”
~Sukant Ratnakar, Open the Windows

* * *

“Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate. Only the most naive of questions are truly serious. They are the questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.”
~Milan Kundera in The Unbearable Lightness of Being

* * *

“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.”
~Leo Babauta

* * *

“Which would you rather be if you had the choice–divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?”
~L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables

* * *

“The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.”
~John Fowles in The Magus

* * *

“To ask the ‘right’ question is far more important than to receive the answer. The solution of a problem lies in the understanding of the problem; the answer is not outside the problem, it is in the problem.”
~Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Flight of the Eagle

* * *

“An empowered life begins with serious personal questions about oneself. Those answers bare the seeds of success.”
~Steve Maraboli in Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

* * *

“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.”
~Claude Lévi-Strauss

* * *

“How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round?
Probably half the questions we ask-half our great theological and metaphysical problems-are like that.”
~C.S. Lewis

* * *

“No where in ‘humpty dumpty’ did it say he was an egg. Maybe your inability to think outside of what others have taught you is what’s keeping you from putting him together again.”
― Darnell Lamont Walker

Now ask yourself this: Why are questions infinitely better than answers? Why do questions feel like open doors while answers feel like closed ones?

Happy questioning!

RandomLines 2

Here are four more lines from books within easy reach…

When all is said, perhaps their happiest legacy is the ‘Baila’ dance and song; pleasant to think it was the creation of Portuguese slavery.
~Norah Roberts in Galle As Quiet As Asleep

By a process called reverberation, a memory corresponds to the strengthening of connections from an increase of brain activity in a given sector of the brain–the more activity, the stronger the memory.
~Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan

As one of my learned friends is fond of commenting – sitting in the top floor of the ivory tower, the sea always looks calm – it is only when you are battling the waves in a dinghy when you realize the actual situation.
~Vivek Sood in The 5 Star Business Network

The beli fruit (Aegle marmellos; vilvam T; bael E) is a rare example of the same medicinal agent serving diametrically opposite ends under different conditions.
~C.G. Uragoda in Traditions of Sri Lanka: A Selection with a Scientific Background

RandomLines 1

When I was studying for CIMA, my best friend at the time and I had a silly game. We’d pick a random sentence of a book and try to use it all the time. The best one we came up with was:

I am positively amazed by your persistence of this absurd notion.

I have no idea what book it came from, but I used it all the time and it was cool. This gave me the idea to pull out random books from my bookshelf and do the same, this time by myself. I guess RandomLines is a natural progression from BookChapters and FIRST LINES in both Mindculture’s Blog and at BusinessTrainerSriLanka blog.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here are the first results in the series:

Snoopy is the one character in the strip allowed to kiss, and he kisses the way a child does: sincerely, and to disarm.
~David Michaelis in Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography

One way to bring this about is to organize congressional watchdog groups (CWDs) to monitor each of the 435 districts across the country—to lobby all members of Congress on behalf of their constituents, on behalf of an agenda supported by a majority of Americans.
~Ralph Nader in The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future

Whenever the LTTE was on the back foot, they would try to make a comeback with a devastating attack elsewhere.
~C.A. Chandraprema in Gota’s War: The Crushing of Tamil Tiger Terrorism in Sri Lanka

When foreigners first came to China in large numbers in the 1970s, many were impressed by the ‘moral cleanliness of the society: a discarded sock would follow its owner a thousand miles from Peking to Guangzhou, cleaned and folded and placed in his hotel room.
~Jung Chang in Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

FIRST LINES: Nature’s Way – Native Wisdom for Living in Balance with the Earth

Read first lines from Nature’s Way – Native Wisdom for Living in Balance with the Earth

By Ed McGaa, Eagle Man

Image

ONE

WISDOM THROUGH OBSERVATION

Lesson of Eagle

Eagle is the symbol of observation. The Sioux consider it to be the creature tat best syumbolizes immense wisdom. It learns from all that it sees. It is the eyes f the all-seeing Wakan Tanka,the Great Spirit, the mysterious unknown entity that created all things. When the Sioux see an eagle flying, they are reminded of Wakan Taka’s observation of their actions—both what they do and don’t do, both good deeds and bad. Those actions are stamped into the memory of time and within your memory and mine, and within the memory of others whom we have helped or harmed. The memories of all those others have “observed” us.

MEMORY IS OUR SPIRIT

The Sioux believe that lies, deceit, greed, and harm to innocent others will never be erased, and neither will good deeds of generosity and caring. Dominant Society, on the other hand, leans toward the “forgiveness” theory which claims that bad deeds can be purged. Daily life seems to bear out the Sioux perspective: victims do not readily forget horrible atrocities committed against them simply because the perpetrator has somehow been “forgiven”. With greater consciousness of the long-term consequences of human decisions, the Sioux avoid a host of problems. We do not harvest natural resources beyond reasonable need or without replacing them. We do not enter into commitments (such as parenthood) without a clear intention to make good on them. We treat others with dignity and compassion, recognizing that any enemy can become our ally over time. Realizing that we will be answerable for all our harmful acts—at least in the Beyond World, where all have memories—we strive always to be tolerant and considerate.

THE CONSISTENCY AND PURPOSEFULNESS OF NATURE

Nature, with its seasonal parade of events, demonstrates to us that it is both repetitive and consistent. When we go out into Nature and take a walk, when we observe and enjoy the world around us, we know that we can trust and depend on Nature’s actions. We know that although occasionally the Earth will shake, we will not fall off it. Within the boundaries of where they have risen before, the rivers will continue to flow. And only if we live near one of the few active volcanoes will we have to worry about the mountains posing any threat to us; they will continue to collect the life-giving rains and send them down to us. Nature’s beauty is a gift we can enjoy: we might feed a squirrel or just look at one, we might observe a flock of geese or a flight of ducks; we might sit on a park bench or drive a thousand miles  to Yellowstone Park or the Black Hills of South Dakota; we might do a mask and snorkel and put our head under water and look at reef fish , marveling at life in another natural medium. Ahhh! What spellbinding, amazing observation: a joyous, colorful reef!

© 2004 by Ed McGaa

HarperCollins

ISBN 0-06-075048-0

You can read the Introduction and selected chapters of Nature’s Way on Amazon.com.

NOTE: I would like to mention that I bought this book in 2007 at The National Museum of the American Indian in New York, after spending practically the whole day there. I wanted to carry back home part of the wisdom and sustainable worldview of Native Americans, and this book seemed a good symbol of that as any I could find in the museum shop.

The first lines may not do it justice. Not only is it a great book to read from the beginning to the end, but it is also a great one to just turn to any page and read; there is so much goodness in there. So do enjoy.

And don’t forget to browse the museum collections if you visit the website~ Your Editor 

FIRST LINES: 360 Degrees of Success

Read the first lines from 360 Degrees of Success
Money.Relationships.Energy.Time: The 4 Essential Ingredients to Create Personal and Professional Success in Your Life
By Ana Weber

360DegreesofSuccessbyAnaWeber

360DegreesofSuccessbyAnaWeber

Part I: MONEY—MASTER OR SERVANT?
Starting With The Three P’s

 I learned at a very young age that money could not be a source of stress. Instead, money had to become my friend, or I simply would not survive. So I chose to make friends with money. Sounds funny, doesn’t it?

I found out that attitude was everything, and when I changed my attitude toward money, doors opened to me that I never could have imagined as a small girl working alongside my mom in the kiosk in Romania, or as a student living with other poor children and orphans in a Kibbutz Mossad.

Happiness is very closely related to your relationship with money. And it is important, when establishing a positive friendship with money, to realize that money as a stand-alone commodity cannot make you happy. The real power is in your relationship with money.

© 2014 Ana Weber | Morgan James Publishing
ISBN 978-1-61448-910-8

You can read selected chapters from 360 Degrees of Success on Amazon.

How is this affecting our children’s minds?

How is this affecting our children’s minds?

I was reading an article in the New York Times, The Apartheid of Children’s Literature. The article focuses mainly on the US, how only a fraction of children’s books include children of colour. And its not just the children of colour who are affected by this lack…

This apartheid of literature… has two effects.

One is a gap in the much-written-about sense of self-love that comes from recognizing oneself in a text, from the understanding that your life and lives of people like you are worthy of being told, thought about, discussed and even celebrated. Academics and educators talk about self-esteem and self-worth when they think of books in this way, as mirrors that affirm readers’ own identities…

We adults — parents, authors, illustrators and publishers — give them in each book a world of supposedly boundless imagination that can delineate the most ornate geographies, and yet too often today’s books remain blind to the everyday reality of thousands of children. Children of color remain outside the boundaries of imagination. The cartography we create with this literature is flawed.

Perhaps this exclusivity, in which children of color are at best background characters, and more often than not absent, is in fact part of the imaginative aspect of these books. But what it means is that when kids today face the realities of our world, our global economies, our integrations and overlappings, they all do so without a proper map. They are navigating the streets and avenues of their lives with an inadequate, outdated chart, and we wonder why they feel lost. They are threatened by difference, and desperately try to wish the world into some more familiar form. As for children of color, they recognize the boundaries being imposed upon their imaginations, and are certain to imagine themselves well within the borders they are offered, to color themselves inside the lines.

I am writing about this here because regardless of the country we live in, what we give our children to read matter.

My parents never filtered what I read.  They did not care, as long as I read stuff, that is what mattered. And there was so much around the house. Besides Sinhala and English literature and stories for me to read. There were Chinese literature magazines which were in Chinese, but I loved the painting and illustrations. I still love Chinese art. Then  there were the Soviet Literature magazines. I was reading them when I was ten years old. I still love Russian poetry. Then there were the very affordable Soviet children’s books. I had so many of these with their lovely illustrations. And all this has enriched me as a person. Shown me that there was a wider world outside my immediate one. It paved way to make me a global citizen, not just a Sri Lankan.

What does that mean? Just as we cannot solve certain problems in our communities (villages, towns, let’s say) on our own, countries cannot do it either. That means we need people with a global outlook. Tackling global warming–which threatens all of us–is a good example. All nations must work together to solve the issues. Same with nuclear arms, terrorism and other issues. To do that, we need to raise our kids with that “our world” awareness. They’ll be more primed for the issues they must tackle.

And that begins with children’s books. Let the children’s book you buy reflect the wonderful diversity of our world.

Christopher Myers

Christopher Myers

FIRST LINES from: On Two Feet and Wings

Read first lines from On Two Feet and Wings
By Abbas Kazerooni

TEHRAN

ONE

It was typically hot in Tehran the day my life was turned upside down.

I was completing my homework in my bedroom which always stayed cool because of its very high ceiling. It was a spacious room, much too big for me, with very few things. My small bed stood in one corner, next to the radiator; I loved it there in the winters, where I could squeeze my toes in between the rails to warm them. Above my bed was a huge window, nearly upto the ceiling. It looked out on our back garden that led to an orchard, divided into sections, each with different types of trees. There were orange trees, apple trees, cherry trees and pomegranate trees; it is the orange trees I remember best because they would fruit every year without fail, the oranges hanging like bright balls on the heavy, dipping branches. On hot summer days, when the sun was too strong for me to play outside, I would jump onto my bed and gaze at the trees, their leaves shining golden in the sunlight.

First published as The Little Man by Tate Publishing USA in 2008.
Ebook published by Hachette India http://www.hachetteindia.com
(Text) Copyright © 2011 Abbas Kazerooni
Illustrations © 2011 Hachette India
ISBN: 978-93-5009-268-2
ISBN: 978-93-5009-388-7

Read selected chapters of On Two Feet and Wings on Amazon.