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Welcome to Authenticity in the Corporate Abyss. We're here to help equip you with the right tools to change your self, change your workplace and change your world.

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A (slightly late) Happy New Year!

Well, the Mayans turned out to be wrong after all and most of us are still mostly here!

A slightly late but very well-intentioned Happy New Year from David & I at Authenticity in the Corporate Abyss. We hope you have all had a great Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza/other (delete as appropriate) How many resolutions have you already broken? What do you want out of 2013?

The site's been a little quiet lately as David & I recently started new full-time roles, but we've got some great content coming up, so keep watching this space.

Coming soon - don't just write a to-do list, write your own manifesto!


Don't be a lazy donkey - what company do you keep?

Aesop once told a fable about a donkey and his purchaser:

A man wanting to buy a donkey went to market. Finding a likely looking animal, he arranged with the owner to take the beast on a short trial run to test it before deciding whether or not to purchase.

When they reached home, the man put the animal into his stable alongside his own donkeys. The newcomer took a look around and immediately went next to the laziest and greediest animal of the lot.

When the man saw this, he placed a halter on the newcomer's neck and took him back to the market and his owner.

The owner was very surprised to see his donkey returned so quickly, saying "you've finished testing him already?"

"I don't want to put him through any more tests" the man replied. "I could see what type of beast he is from the companion he chose for himself"

'A man is known by the company he keeps'

Who do you choose to associate with and what does that mean for you? It is statistically proven that is you add up the income of the 5 people that you spend the most time with, and average it out, that is about how much you make.

Want to quit drinking? Stop hanging out with Alcoholics. Want to be in better shape, quit baking or eating junk food, and find some gym rats that keep you motivated. You need to participate in your own rescue.

Don't be a lazy donkey by association!


Timothy Ferriss' The 4-Hour Body Book - First Impressions

In an ongoing review, site Co-Founder Timothy Bull begins his ongoing study of Timothy Ferriss' 4-Hour Body book, the follow-up to Ferriss' best-selling The 4-Hour Work Week.

I'm a huge fan of Timothy Ferriss' book The 4-Hour Work Week. Ferriss is an adventurer and businessman turned lifestyle design champion and best-selling author.

In the 4-Hour Work Week, Ferriss challenged people to examine their work patterns and to become part of the "New Rich". He broke his approach down into four key areas: Definition, Elimination,
Automation and Liberation. In those, he examined the conventional mindset many people have of working (9-5 five days a week, earn money for retirement then die) and spoke of his new approach (working in bursts, creating autonomous income and having 'mini-retirements' throughout one's life).

For his new book, Ferriss talks about the 4-Hour Body, where he says anyone can transform their body in just 4 hours a week if they make a number of changes. Unlike Work Week, which is very structure and one piece links into another, 4-Hour Body is much more a buffet where you can dip into different aspects as your particular interest. He shows the results of scientific research and his own experience to challenge the conventional mindset of modern medicine on issues like weight loss, muscle gain and more.

In 4-Hour Body, Ferriss challenges conventional understandings on a wide range of topics including:

  • How to lose weight
  • How to increase muscle and body strength
  • How to sleep better
  • Improving sexual performance and fertility
  • Reversing serious "permanent" injuries
  • How to live longer and more quality life

In my own life, I've had times when I've been overweight and times when I've been superfit. About three years ago, I was working out in the gym, three-four times a week, also running most mornings before working first thing and eating superhealthy. Then I was hit by a serious sports injury and almost died.

I'd suffered from what was called a "footballer's injury" in that it sometimes hit very fit young men. I had to be rushed to hospital and have emergency surgery. I'd done everything right and yet, things went wrong. I was physically healthy and had very low body fat.

Following that injury, the last three years have been in part about rebuilding my own fitness and health. That's part of the reason I'm so interested in Ferriss' new book, to re-examine my own health and fitness; and look to rebuild in the right way.

My first impressions of 4-Hour Body are good so far. My plan is to put more of the book into practise over the next few weeks and months and check on the results for myself. I'd love to encourage you to read the book and give me your thoughts. As with anything, if you are going to change your exercise routine or diet, make sure you check with experts first!


Keeping the winners and losing the losers


I had a terrific dinner the other day with a friend who I've known for nearly ten years. On the surface he seems happy but is surprisingly shopping his resume. He works for a Fortune 500 company, always appears to be very happy, makes a six-figure salary and is generally known to his peers as a top performer.

But he is not happy.

There are many different reasons that we could get into, but the interesting and most compelling reason came from a recent meeting he had with his manager and co-workers.

His manager said to the team that "you know boys, our company is in an interesting spot right now, and we just got to keep plugging along and be happy with 'the status quo' and this 'mediocrity'. we just have to be happy we have a job and we get paid what we do."

My friend was mortified by this attitude. His own thoughts to me about this were: "Here I am, I'm in my 30s and in the prime of my career and the next ten years are potentially the best revenue generating years of my life. I've been in this industry for over ten years, I feel like I've really got things figured out, and I'm about to get married and have kids ... and now I've got a boss who basically telling me to be complacent and just 'hang in there'".

His boss' language and tone were encouraging complacency ... and this really bothered him. While I think that other employees may not have taken the manager's comments at face value (or just dismissed him as wrong off-hand), my friend couldn't stand this belief system. This friend of mine has got incredible skills, incredible integrity and an incredible work ethic, but at the end of the day he said to me: "you know what, this is not the type of leadership that I want to be part of."

My conversation with my friend reminded me of two of the greatest lessons I've learned:

  1. People want to be part of something bigger than them. Why do people do things like going along to church on a Sunday? One reason is that they want to be a part of something more than just themselves. In my opinion, my friend's boss is not offering this to his team, he's not demonstrating a vision of what my friend can be, the potential of the company, the potential of their professional relationship , and the potential of all his colleague's performance.

  2. When you set the bar too low, you keep the losers but likely lose the winners. My friend's boss is an example of leader who is so afraid of scaring people off that he sets goals so low (just get the status quo, be grateful you even have a job etc.), but is likely to lose the top performers like my friend as a result.

What I'd advise instead is to say something like:

"Hey, we are going through a difficult time, I know things aren't going great right now, but I believe in our potential! And I believe in where our company is going! And I believe in where you're going and I believe where I'm going!

"And think about when we persevere and win and where we are going to be in a year from now, or in two years from now, or in three years from now. Don't lose sight of that vision ... and stay strong!"

Thanks very much for reading. If you have any questions, please either leave a comment below or email us at:


Authenticity Report - October 2012

Each month we look to cast a view of a number of people and organisations around the world who have risen and fallen in terms of their authenticity. The very nature of this report is subjective and is open to debate, so opinions are very welcome.

Gaining Authenticity

  1. The American Electorate. For putting up with what seems one of the longest presidential races in a very long time (and coping with one of the worst storms along the East Coast to boot).
  2. Samsung. Despite a UK judge ruling that Samsung products were "not as cool" as Apple products, the Korean technology firm has seen increasing take-up of its new tablet and smartphones, with record profits and greater take-up.
  3. James Bond. The now 50 year old spy movie franchise shows no signs of slowing down with the latest blockbuster Skyfall. Obligatory awful product placement aside, Skyfall is directed brilliantly by Oscar Winner Sam Mendes and asks serious questions about security in the modern world. And it quotes one of my favourite poets (Tennyson). Plus I'm a British guy. I told you this report would be subjective.

Losing Authenticity

  1. BBC. Formerly the United Kingdom's trusted "Auntie", the British Broadcasting Corporation has been mired in scandal surrounding serious allegations of child abuse by the late DJ and presenter Jimmy Savile, as well accusations of cover-up at the highest levels of the corporation (which it has denied).
  2. Apple. The technology firm has faced multiple attacks this month, including: one of it's major suppliers Foxconn admitting hiring child labour; been forced to acknowledge that competitor Samsung did not infringe upon Apple designs; and it's new iPad mini has been dismissed by some as an attempt to follow rather than lead in the tablet marketplace (though that hasn't stopped huge numbers of pre-orders).
  3. Ikea. The retailer found itself in hot water following a reveal that it had airbrushed women out of the Saudi Arabian version of its catalogue . Some backed Ikea for being "culturally sensitive" while others, including many in Sweden argued that the move was sexist and that Ikea was not being true to a more Swedish concept of gender equality. The company has since apologised for removing the women from the catalogue.