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CFO & Learner. Writing about personal growth, finance, & books. Sometimes all in one story. Mostly writing about what I know, what I’m learning & what I love.

A short, simple, and effective way to make a rival your fuel for change.

I have always been a competitive person. It generally works in my favour and drives me to achieve more. But when struggling to change some lifestyle habits, I realised I wasn’t using this to its full effect. I would focus on the new habit for a while, get discouraged, and fall back to my old ways.

I got frustrated and self-critical. I could see that other people were able to make lasting changes but not me. Eventually, it clicked. I was much more effective when I felt I was actually competing against someone. …


Why I feel this book is still relevant for society and politics in 2021

US Senate building
US Senate building

Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels in 1726, and it has never been out of print since. It was an immediate bestseller and voted the third most popular novel of all time by The Guardian newspaper in 2013. An impressive record and the consensus is that the book deserves every accolade it received.

It reads as an adventure book, detailing the travels of the narrator, Mr Lemuel Gulliver, to several “remote nations of the world”. It’s only when you dive deeper into the book that you realise there is much more going on.

Critics have called the novel one of the…


Medium motivation for beginners

Man jumping in the street
Man jumping in the street

I started writing on Medium in March 2021 and so far I’ve published 7 stories. Three were published in March and four in April.

Six of the articles got into publications and all but one got curated. I self-published one article that got curated as well.

In case you think this is a “humble brag” let me say straight off that my combined earnings for March and April so far are less than $10!

Am I discouraged? No. And it doesn’t mean that curation isn’t worth it.

I’m a bit of a research nerd and read lots of articles to…


One story, 3 pubs, and what it taught me as a new writer on the new Medium

Fireworks against a black background
Fireworks against a black background

New writers on Medium have it really tough at the moment. We’re trying to find our feet and the rules seemed to have changed. Most of us also don’t have the benefit of any back catalogue of stories yet.

I’ve only been on Medium since March and I’m struggling to publish 4 times a week. Real life and a full-time job have to take priority, even if the advice is to publish consistently.

No one seems sure what’s going on with the almighty algorithm and even well-established writers say they are struggling at the moment. …


The reaction to EC President being left without a seat at a recent meeting says a lot.

Black chair in an empty room
Black chair in an empty room

Did you ever play musical chairs as a child? The game where you start with maybe 12 kids, you put out 11 chairs, and start some music. While the music plays the kids dance around the room and when it stops each kid must find a chair, and find it fast!

Bet you never thought you might have to play that game if you rose to the dizzy heights of President of the EU Commission. But that is exactly where Ursula von der Leyen found herself at a meeting in Turkey this week. …


Tribute puzzle for Alan Turing is as tough as the enigma code

Rainbow plaque commemorating the birth of Alan Turing at Warrington Lodge
Rainbow plaque commemorating the birth of Alan Turing at Warrington Lodge

Alan Turing (1912-1954) is regarded as the father of modern computing and a pioneer in artificial intelligence. His research and experiments contributed to the foundation of modern computer science.

He was an exceptional mathematician whose ideas played a pivotal part in breaking the famous Enigma code used by the Germans during World War Two (WW2). The allies recognised that this achievement shortened the war and saved countless lives.

Turing’s image will now appear on the new Bank of England £50, the first openly LGBT+ person to appear on a banknote in England. …


I’m young, my finances are in the dumpster, so don’t judge me

Girl holding a dollar bill to her face
Girl holding a dollar bill to her face

I am trying to be economical with everything at the moment, including my word. The title basically says it all. Times are tough, and despite reading the advice of many financial gurus, my situation hasn’t improved.

I cast the net wider and consult some giants of literature to see if they had anything more to offer me.

Ms Becky Sharpe: the anti-heroine from Vanity Fair

I can spare you a minute but I am currently pursuing a profitable venture of my own. A recent widow, rich of course. You need ruthless determination to get ahead, particularly if as you say your family is poor. All those debutantes look…


Why was the story reported in the media and what really happened

Rocket launch with smoke and flames visible
Rocket launch with smoke and flames visible

The idea of a group of astronauts going on strike in space seems unbelievable. American astronauts are highly trained professionals undertaking a mission that involves enormous risk. NASA monitors their every action for their safety and that of the entire crew. What would they threaten to do in this so-called strike, anyway? The astronauts could hardly refuse to come back to earth. The catchphrase “does not compute” is the only thing that springs to mind.

Yet in the case of a 1973 Skylab mission, the story that the astronauts staged a strike in space was reported. Credible institutions reported on…


Implement them now to advance your career in tough times

Two arms outstretched shaking hands
Two arms outstretched shaking hands

Covid 19 brought huge changes to organisations and their employees. We are still trying to work out the financial implications of the pandemic. It seems certain that not every company will be in a position to grant pay increases the way they did in the past.

Even if your company has introduced a pay freeze or worse, a pay cut, there are still ways to improve your financial prospects. The four steps below can advance your career while you wait for the company to return to a more stable position.

I have used them myself and seen others successfully negotiate…

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