Book review: Social engineering can expose your company secrets: case Kevin D. Mitnick

I love books and one of the books that I remember reading years ago was the book by Tsutomu Shimomura and John Markoff “Takedown: The  Pursuit and Capture of Kevin Mitnick, America’s Most Wanted Computer Outlaw-by the Man Who Did It”. This book came out in mid-90’s and as I was already then in software business, I was interested in to learn more about the mindset of hackers and Kevin D. Mitnick was at the time the most known.  At the time, I do not remember learning anything about Social Engineering but having read the latest book “Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker” by Kevin Mitnick and William L. Simon, it became obvious to me how vulnerable humans are in revealing secrets to strangers without really thinking too much about it.

This book brings an intriguing perspective to what went on in Mitnick’s life and what makes it even more interesting is to see the other side of the coin and the comments that Mitnick makes about both Tsutomu Shimomura and John Markoff. According to Mitnick, many of the claims that Markoff’s book brings to light are false and it is obvious that Markoff is not one of Mitnick’s favorite friends. Whatever the case, this book brings the dark side of being a fugitive, not being able to spend time with family and having to move continuously from one place to another based on how close the authorities were able to get to him. He describes how bad he felt when he let down his mother and grandmother and the grief he cause to them by continuing on this illegal activity.

The book has lots of detailed examples of the hackings that he did to companies such as Nokia, Motorola, Sun Microsystems etc. The examples of Nokia were especially interesting when he explains how he called Salo product development in Finland and asked a person to send source code by using social engineering tactics. This is something that people do not think about and especially in large organizations where people assume that the request is coming from within the company and not from a hacker that pretends to be something else that he/she really is. The book explains the different tactics that Mitnick used and I think this book should be a required reading for any information system student or person that works within the technology field. It explains that the biggest threats in security might not be coming from weak security systems, but from the weakness of humans working in organizations. Mitnick knew the lingo and used this as a way to convince the other side on the telephone to do what he wanted. This is what social engineering is all about.

When reading the book, Mitnick claims that he was never after money or wanting to cause damage to any organization. He did hacking because of the challenge and I guess boredom. What was also obvious is that his friends that he was hacking with turned out to be not his friends as they became informers to get Mitnick prosecuted. I am not sure why Mitnick decided to spend a big part of this life having to worry about being arrested, but I guess many things in people and our lives can’t be explained. Mitnick also includes other famous hackers in his book such as Kevin Poulsen that spent time in prison and also wrote a book “Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground”

If you want to read about Mitnick’s side of the story, I think this is a good book to get started.

“Stop thinking the world is a just place” says Jeffrey Pfeffer in his brand new book Power: Why Some People Have It and Other’s Don’t

I admit. I am a “bookaholic”. I write books and I love to read and buy books. I get inner strength from them and my mind gets nurtured with new ideas that I can dwell during the days when time permits as well as during my numerous world travels like the long flights across the Atlantic or in the continental USA.

Sometimes I am lucky to find a book that I know will make a difference in my thinking or will impact the course of my life. It is not always that much about the content; it could be a sentence, a chapter or a thing that I have completely ignored. I gave an example of this in my latest book Boldly into the World (in Finnish: Rohkeasti maailmalle – Onnistu liike-elämässä ja ihmisenä) how my life was chanced 15 years ago by reading a book while living in my native Finland. I think I have now run into a book that will make a difference in my thinking.

A few days ago I downloaded a sample version of Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t and my initial thought was that “yet another book about leadership for power-hungry people”.   It turned out to be a misconception of great proportions and after reading a few pages, I could not put down the book. Mr. Pfeffer has written other bestselling books in the past like What Were They Thinking?: Unconventional Wisdom About Management and he is a professor at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.  

The headline/subject in this blog-entry is “Stop thinking the world is a just place” is directly from Pfeffer’s book and I selected it as it brings well together the themes that I have dwelled in my first two books published by Talentum. The world is not fair and we need to be the ones in charge of our destiny. Think back of all of the events throughout your career when everybody else knew much better what you should be doing and you kept fulfilling the expectations of your ecosystem, not what you really wanted to do. Breaking from you’re the expectations from your surrounding network and doing what is the right thing for you to do is what you should strive towards. There are always plenty of naysayers around you that will break down your dreams and give reasons why not to do something.

These people are usually also the ones that can’t see outside their own framework that is typically built not to take risks and play safe when it comes to careers and life. How many people have you seen around you that don’t have the guts to say the way it is, but instead agrees on anything, even if it is stupid? Have you ever played with the thought that you might not live longer than a few months? Are you living the way that fulfills your own expectations and makes you happy?

People tend to push their dreams and hopes to the future by having an autosuggestion engine humming. This engine will generate all of the reasons why one should not enjoy things until retirement. Once retired, we can start living our lives and enjoy it. But what if you do not reach retirement and die earlier? Wouldn’t that be wasting your life? Isn’t it smarter to enjoy every day of your life and try to live a life that gives you purpose and that your job gives you some type of fulfillment?

I have tried to live my life by taking steps, breaking barriers in my own thinking but it has not always been easy. We struggle with ourselves to break from the known towards the unknown and that is only human. However, without doing these steps, I would not be writing this blog entry far away from my own native country and living the life of an entrepreneur. There were people that told me that I should not leave my native country and that it would be too dangerous and that I risked my own career. In retrospect, I think it was the other way around.  My staying stagnant in a safe environment without real challenges might have led to undesired results in many ways, including having a job that I would not enjoy.

We tend to think that if we work as good soldiers, the reward will eventually bring us fame and fortune, but unfortunately the research does not back this up at least when reading Pfeffer’s book. Each one of us has to take care of ourselves and during my 20+ years in software industry, I have seen many cases where good work and performance has not led to expected results from a career perspective. The idea and assumption of people to think that the world is a just and fair place and that everyone gets what he or she deserves and that the good will come as long as we work tirelessly. Pfeffer concludes about the fairness of this world as follows:

As soon as you recognize the just-world effect and its influence on your perceptions and try to combat the tendency to see the world as inherently fair, you will be able to learn more in every situation and be more vigilant and proactive to ensure your own success.

Based on Pfeffer’s book, people usually rank themselves much higher in skills than is the reality. We tend to think more about ourselves and we also like to push negative things aside to protect our self-esteem. We are also tempted to be surrounded by yes Sayers as they are not threatening our egos and we do not want to listen to the reality. For us to learn we need to get into different situations and even if these situations are not desired, we will learn from them and we might become stronger in future. If we collect likeminded people around us, we will never grow as human beings.  It is the same if you are the best in your ice hockey team. How are you supposed to grow as player if you are the top player and have nobody to look up to?

I run to similar thoughts in the excellent book Superconnect: Harnessing the Power of Networks and the Strength of Weak Links that explained clearly why strong links are not necessarily always good for our career building and life. If we all try to socialize with our strong links (family, close friends), we will never get outside our own comfort zone as we pretty much know what the world and world view is when collaborating with strong links. However, when we run into weak links (friends of friends etc.), there is a greater opportunity to run into an opportunity or idea that is outside your own sphere of influence and knowledge. I have tested this in my numerous workshops around the world by asking participants whether strong or weak links have had the most impact in their lives. The answer has been almost always that weak links have had the biggest impact. How about you? Is this also your experience?

 Frans Johansson explains extremely well what it means when two different domains/skill sets meet in his excellent book Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach US About Innovation. Johansson argues that real innovation breakthrough will come when two diciplins are combined like physics with biology where two research areas innovate things that would not be possible with only one research area. I am a proponent of this and have had this as a founding idea throughout my career.

People are often their own worst enemy. We like to feel good about ourselves and we want to maintain a positive self-image. We will do everything to keep our self-esteem preserved by either surrendering or putting obstacles in our way. According to Pfeffer, this is called for “self-handicapping” in the research literature. According to research, self-handicapping will impact negatively on people’s career and future.

We should have the courage to confess that none of us are perfect and that there are many areas that we need to develop to succeed in our objectives. I discussed about courage as part of organizational courage in my previous blog entry and I would be tempted to say that this reflects back to courage like courage to make a chance, courage to do what feels right and courage to change your life even if it feels incredibly frightening.  Pfeffer encourages us to get over yourself and get beyond your concerns and self-image and what others think about you. He concludes that others are far too busy to worry or think about you anyway as they are mostly concerned about themselves. Isn’t that so true when you think about it? We are mostly worried what others think about us which then makes us less decisive and afraid of making a change.

Pfeffer also concludes that you should not assume that your boss knows or notices what you are doing or have perfect picture of what you are about to do. Have you made sure that you manage up? Perfect execution of your tasks without your boss knowing about it might be the worst thing you can do specifically from promotion perspective. Do you understand what drives your boss and how you can get aligned with his/her objectives? What is it that you can do to make his/her career to move in the right direction? The topic “remember what matters to your boss” in Pfeffer’s book is very relevant and should be taken seriously. We are just humans and it seems that we think otherwise in many of the cases that I have seen and been part of myself. You should worry at least as much about your boss as you worry about your performance is the lesson that Pfeffer gives as a lesson based on the his research.

It was interesting to read in this book was the findings between job performance and career outcome. People with the belief that extremely good job performance automatically leads to great career outcome might be a fallacy of great measures. In fact, it has been documented that great job performance can in some cases even hurt the promotion of an individual. Why would this be the case? The way it is explained in some of the cases is that the superiors do not want to elevate a top performer as this individual would then suddenly stop promoting the superiors career. Think about your own career and the experiences that you have had. Have you had a boss that has become the obstacle in our career? Have your boss been afraid that your performance would impact adversely on his/her career. Do you know how to be politically savvy when dealing with power structures and career building? Have you made mistakes where you have blocked your own career at a company because you did not think through your actions?

Pfeffer’s book is well researched with relevant references to original studies/research and this is the way I have been taught to write my texts. A book with references gives an immediate larger sphere of knowledge for people that want to learn more of any specific topic in more detail. The book includes lots of practical examples of real-life events that help the reader to grasp the overall concept behind the well-researched topics.

In my upcoming blog entries, I will address the seven important personal qualities to build power that Pfeffer’s book offers as advice to its readers.  I highly recommend that you do yourself a favor and buy this book as soon as you can. It can give you advice that will pay off nicely in form of your career development and your life.

Have the cost-cutting gone too far and are companies failing to retain talented people in mergers & acquisitions?

I read today about Java creator James Gosling and the reasons why he left Oracle. James Gosling is of course the person that created the Java language and platform and is very well known authority in the Java world. He announced his departure in his blog entry and in an interview with eWeek, he explains in more detail the reasons why he is leaving. I have to say, I felt some déjà vu (seen it, felt it) feelings when reading the article.

There are two forces on the market today: slow economy with cost cuttings and a fundamental change in business models. Large organizations have cut costs without reducing the workload and this is putting huge pressure on its employees. Salaries have been cut, bonuses have been sliced but people are asked to work more. It is OK as long as both parties have a good plan going forward and both parties agree that the actions are needed for the company to survive. The change in business model is forcing people to learn new things and some will never get adjusted to the change no matter how much they try. The outcome if this is either unemployment or change of company and maybe even career.

When reading the story of James Gosling, I think every imaginable move from the buying company (Oracle) went wrong. First of all, Oracle does not have the same status for employees as Gosling (Fellow), they failed to provide a salary level and bonus plan that would have made sense for Gosling. The final straw that made him leave was when he realized that he had no say in any decision-making of Java and its future. The new owner (Oracle) wanted to micromanage everything and for a person like Gosling, this must have been just unacceptable. Mr. Gosling was king on the hill in Sun and now with Oracle, he had to take directives from people that probably never had anything to do with the creation of Java programming environment/language.

Is Gosling the first one to have to experience this? No and one does not have to go far to see how people such as Monty (Michael) Widenius (one of the creators of MySQL) left Sun once MySQL was sold to Sun. Monty rumbles in his blog and has been very aggressive in trying to block the Sun deal and MySQL going to Oracle. He did not succeed and is now working on a branch of MySQL as he does not believe in what Oracle is doing. One can always argue of his motivations, but there is no doubt that he was one of the carrying forces in creation of MySQL.

Why am I interested in the story of Gosling? It is probably because I do not understand the logic behind some of these large organizations and their ability to retain people and keep them enthusiastic about the future of the merged company. I have seen too many of these stories throughout my career and having been part of 3 sell-outs, I have also experienced interesting things myself as part of the sold company. It seems that buying companies are very focused and bullish about the transaction and forget that there are people behind the products and service that need to keep their focus on upcoming things and not have to dwell on the past. Large companies with deep pockets can survive of key people leaving, but it is another story if most of the core competence leaves with the acquisition.

What I would like you to do is to list your own experiences in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) or other similar cases and dwell what happened and try to remember how many key people left after the merger. I am sure you have plenty of those in your memory and if you are part of management and in the process of buying companies, you might want to focus on this.

Java was not created by one person even if Gosling got lots of credit for it, but I am pretty sure that with him, Oracle lost a great innovator and at the same time the whole user community will lose. This is of course a tremendous opportunity for competition to turn Java developers to something else, but that was not the intention of this blog entry.

Another company in the past that reminds me a bit of changes in power is when the star architect Anders Hejlsberg (creator of Turbo Pascal compiler and Delphi Object Pascal environment)  left Borland to join archrival Microsoft. The circumstances were different with Mr. Hejlsberg when compared to Mr. Gosling, but the future of Borland as software tools company started to detoriate when Mr. Hejlsberg left the company. Mr. Hejlsberg was in charge of creation of J++ programming language and later C# programming language. This move with many other moves finally took down Borland as it were and the company was sold and products divided into new owners. This ended the dream of  Philippe Kahn to win the competition of Microsoft. Mr. Kahn was a charismatic leader and known for his bullish dreams of taking over the world in development tools.

I am sure that most of the moves that people make in their careers have nothing to do with money, the reasons are multifaceted and mostly due to personal reasons and desire to have a meaningful life with purpose. Large organizations (and small as well) need to keep in mind that people crave for happiness and purpose in their work and if you take that away from them, no money or fame will replace the ill feel that these people might have.

I was recently interviewed  (in Finnish) by the amazing Cristina Andersson (author of Winning Helix: The Art of Learning and Manifesting Your True Potential) about courage and how collective fear can paralyze a company to its knees. Management teams often fail to realize that fear causes people not to make decisions and decisions that should have been done will create a death spiral in the company as everybody is trying to keep his/her own position without losing face or taking a risk.

In large organizations, the cost cutting has led to a corporate culture where people will keep their heads down in the cubicle and answer questions only when necessary. How do you think this will impact the long-term outlook for the company? I think we have seen this many times in our own careers and the outcome is always bad or in most cases fatal.

My recommendation to all companies, regardless of the size, is to analyze the well-being of people and quit looking at the quarterly numbers. These numbers will come down no matter what if people do not feel committed to their work and the teams that they work in.

The fallacy of freemium business model for SaaS vendors – smaller software vendors need to be aware what they are getting into

Part of the research that I am doing is to find out what type of experiences software companies have had in respect to pricing models as well as business models such as freemium.  Wikipedia defines freemium as a “business that works by offering basic Web services, or basic downloadable digital product, for free, while charging a premium for advanced or special features”.  Why wouldn’t one like this model?

There is a good paper on this topic written by Lincoln Murphy and his white paper The Reality of Freemium in SaaS. According to an article by Phil Wainewright, this freemium model has not had a good track record the past decade with many failed services or has faded away.

The concept of “free” has never really felt good to me, even with the many books that have been written about it such as Chris Anderson’s book Free: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing.

The things that Mr. Wainewright advices in his article for not relying on a freemium model is as follows:

  1. Vendors do not invest in proper access controls: most services do not have multi-user access control to the application and this model does not fly in enterprises. Wainewrite gives a good example of MailChimp SaaS solution that he used for a recent EuroCloud UK collaboration effort. MailChimp does not give multiuser access to the account, whereby multi-user identity can’t be managed.
  2. The vendors do not invest in instrumentation: the vendors do not monitor usage patterns and services levels as there is no incentive to do it.
  3. There is no such thing as a free lunch: when have you run a business successfully without getting paid? I know, there are a few that have eventually been able to make some money, but that is a misnomer and not a norm.
  4. It restricts choice because only the big guys can survive: smaller companies can’t afford taking this route as big vendors with similar service can pretty much shut down the operations of the smaller vendors.

What we tend to forget is that smaller businesses without a sound revenue/business model can’t build its operations on the concept of “free”. Having done research in the SaaS field and compared it to the traditional software licensing model, I am becoming very skeptical that a company can be built of the scale that it needs to be to be able to survive in the long run without a considerable investment. In the past, in the traditional model, one could build a business by consulting during the days and programming during the night. In this model, one assumed that the software licensing fees would eventually pay off. In the SaaS model, it will take time until the company has revenue that keeps the lights on in the company without having to scramble for money.  

Wainewright refers to venture capitalist Bill Gurney’s statement about Google’s announcement of free turn-by-turn navigation in tis Android mobile operating system as “less-than-free business model”. It can be disruptive, but the more users that use the “free” service get, the more spending the vendor has to do. I just recently read about the astronomical spending that YouTube has taken from Google due to its popularity. For anybody to be able to run YouTube kind of large-scale operation has to have deep pockets. Finally, the article claims that start-ups that want to achieve disruption have to have a 9 figure investment to be able to really scale. After having reviewed some pretty well known SaaS vendors and their financial statements, I no longer wonder why.

Why are you any different and why do some people inspire others?

Why is it that some people have the talent to inspire you and others just don’t?  We have all worked in companies with inspiring leaders, but we probably also have experiences working with people that have a negative impact on our future and well-being. I have experienced both. The first category of people makes you do unbelievable things and you are happy to do it and the second category of people will make your life miserable.

 The presentation by Simon Sinek explains well how some very well-known inspiring leaders have been able to get their troops to take huge jumps and get people to believe in the mission.  It usually boils down to communication and how you communicate to the world of why you exist, why your company exists and why you are different to the competition.  

What is exciting in the video is that Mr. Sinek explains most of our behavior and perception of things is based on biology, not psychology and how we as humans behave. I also have his book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Insipire Everyone to Take Action.

What we can all learn from leadership and the people that have made a difference is as follows:

1)      You can make a difference, no matter who you are as long as you behave and act in a manner where you can inspire others and as long as your motivations are based on good intentions.

2)      In the challenging economic times, the winners are the ones that get others to believe in the cause, whatever it happens to be.

3)      Look around you and ask yourself the question: do I believe in what I am doing and if I do not, why is that? Is it because you are not working with people that are inspired or is it that you are just too lazy to make a change? If either one of these turns out to be the case, I would recommend you to take action and change the course of your life

Our success is not only based on intelligence, but on the desire to do something that makes a difference. If you do not have the drive to inspire others and you are in a leadership role, you might want to figure out how you can change that.  If you don’t, you will not be successful as a leader in the long run as the people that work for you will either leave or try to figure out how to make your life hard to get rid of you. 

I am sure there are readers of this blog that think that my statements above are not based on true leadership mantra, but let me assure you, I have seen enough of cases throughout my career where good things turn bad due to uninspiring leadership. The old fashioned “hitting with the stick” leadership does not work anymore with the digital native generation.

Practical steps in marketing your company, brand and solutions without huge investments by using social media

I spent this weekend reading and researching what it really means for startups and entrepreneurs to become part of the Internet chatter and get the company/product/brand name to be recognized among selected target segment. All this has to happen in an efficient and cost-effective way.  

I am in the process of writing my third book so the chapter for this topic is “Market segmentation, marketing and sales strategy for a Microsoft partner”. I agree, it is an ambitious topic and I had real issues of deciding where to start. I have learned a lot of new things this weekend and here are a few pointers to books that I have come across.

The bottom line is that smaller companies have hardly any money to marketing, so whatever is done, needs to be done without major investments. Where does one start? My conclusion (assuming that you have an idea of your business model) is that it all starts with selecting what your target segment is going to be and then you build your value proposition that resonates with this target group. Without a solid, easy-to-understand value proposition, you will be struggling to attract anybody. And trust me, I have seen and experienced this myself many times. How many times have we seen software startups with engineers in the cockpit building the next rocket without really knowing who is going to buy it. I have seen a few of them and some of these have been documented in books and case studies. The value proposition is then transformed into a solid web-site and will become a part of social media initiatives in channels such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The cyberspace is full of different tools that one can use and quite a few books that explain how and what should be done. One of these is the book by Halligan et al. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs that gives a bunch of practical examples of how organizations can market themselves by practical means such as blogging, email marketing, community building and the book also includes a selection of practical advice how a good web-site should look like.

You might want to check your own web-site by running the free website.grader.com service that is part of the overall Hubspot.com service. They also have another free testing tool for your Twitter account called Twittergrader.com. Hubspot.com is an excellent resource for your to learn about Internet marketing and the story behind the founders Dharmesh Shah  and Brian Halligan is interesting and he has also started another site called http://onstartups.com/ that is dedicated to startup related issues and questions.

For startups, it all starts from having a web-site that provides value to the visitor. Based on some of the research on usability, web-sites should really be built for easy scanning and if you want to read more about how a web-site should work, read the excellent book by Steve Krug Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition.

Your web-site should be actionable, and following types of content is the most typical that you can create and maintain:

  •  Blog articles if your blog is within your site
  •  White papers that educate your audience about the domain that you represent
  •  Short videos about your industry
  •  Webinars – live online PowerPoint presentations of your industry
  • Podcasts
  • Webcasts

 Whatever you decide to use of the above elements, you’d better do it in a professional way and not half-heartedly like we can see in many web-sites that we have visited. If you want to be in international business, forget about having your web-site in your native language (if it doesn’t happen to be English) as you will never have the time to maintain many languages. Trust me, I have seen it too many times myself.

Once you have your web-site the way you think it should be, it is time for you to analyze the traffic, convert visitors to leads and leads to customers. The question whether you should put some money in paid search is something many organization are contemplating as some research has shown that 75% of the searchers stay in the organic search results and only 25% are clicking on the paid links. If you want to learn more about SEO, you might want to buy Sean Odom and Sean R. Odom book SEO For 2010: Search Engine Optimization Secrets   and when you want to learn everything about web analytics, the bible is definitely Avinash Kaushik book Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity which really explains in great detail what is web analytics is, metrics behind it and how that matters in your business. Great book and worth the money!  

Marketing can be very pragmatic and by understanding the social media channels, it provides great opportunities for small companies to become known in its own domain. What is sad is that social media resonates negatively in some people’s mind, but the reality is that that is where the market is going whether you want it or not. It is time for you to face the reality and start by learning and creating your own strategy and how to execute on it. The other thing that people forget is that social media does not provide an easy and quick fix. You have to build your cyberspace presence and give evidence that you really know what you do and provide educational messages to your audience. People do not want to be sold to, so quit sending sales messages to your Twitter feeds and Facebook sites. The smart users have selected their Twitter followers by the topics that they are interested in, as otherwise one will be drowned in information.

For example, if you are interested in domain-specific modeling, you need to follow MetaCase and domain-specific modeling (DSM) forum or you can follow the blogs of both co-founders Juha-Pekka Tolvanen and Steven Kelly. Juha-Pekka and Steven have even written a book about domain-specific modeling that can be found on Amazon.com. I have tracked Metacase for a few years and they are a perfect example of an organization that provides useful information and educates the software world about a relevant topic that has to do with software product line engineering and domain-specific modeling using full code generation.

Whatever you do in your marketing efforts as a startup or entrepreneur, you have to do it in a smart way and avoid spamming of any sales related stuff that people are sick and tired of. I truly believe that the time of traditional cold-calling is over for software companies and it is time for us to learn how to cope with the Internet and anything related to activities around it. Good luck with your studies of Marketing in the new age of social media!

Describe happiness question was unexpected to my interviewees

I spent at least 45 hours interviewing and transcribing the results in Microsoft OneNote (which is the best thing that happened to me as a tool, besides Microsoft Word) and I wanted the interviewee to focus on my questions, so I threw a question on them that they did not expect: “Describe what happiness means to you”. The second question was “Does money and happiness correlate in your mind?”.

Some of the interviewees had issues in giving a direct response to the first question, but most of the people said that happiness for them is “to live in balance with yourself, your family and your work”. I was very happy to hear that as my topic for my book is “how to balance your international life, career and family”.

The second question about money and happiness was clear to everybody. Money has not anything to do with happiness unless you are so poor that you have no money for food or clothing.

I told each interviewee to read the book The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want  from Dr.  Sonja Lyobomirsky. This book explains what is known about happiness from a research perspective and it is written in a very clear and format that anybody of us can understand.

My experiences are nothing compared to the collected experience of 30+ people

I am lucky. I have now concluded more than 30 interviews for my upcoming book Rohkeasti maailmalle. As an author, I have to say that I am very humbled of the hundreds of years of experience that people have given me in the form of stories of their personal life and how their families have adjusted to new countries. These stories are based on real life, they are not fiction and therefore very valuable for the readers. The process has been also pretty demanding on me as the focus and concentration during the interviews is typically intense.

I am now doing my final touches on the book before I send it for first iteration round to the publisher. It is far to long as of now, but I am sure my beautiful editor that I worked with in my first book knows what to take off from the book… And she does it so well without getting me mad.. I am sure that every author has some “odd” thinks that editors have to deal with.

We have a provisional date for the upcoming book Rohkeasti maailmalle

I just returned from Finland and had a good meeting with my publisher Talentum. We agreed that the manuscript needs to be done by mid-February and the provisional publication month is May 2010. I am in the final process of interviews of many interesting emigrants and expats that want to share their story. These people include professionals from different countries; from Asia, Africa, South-America, Europe, US etc. I have to say that this book has been fun to write as it has so many interesting things that I am able to share. I am also going to have an international version of the book as it will have broader appeal for sure. This upcoming week I have scheduled many new interviews and will select the most interesting ones as profiles in the end of the book.

Also, I am in the process of building an educational program around these topics as they are extremely important lessons that can be learned from people that have done it, seen it and ready to share what they know and feel about living outside their respective country. I have been in a fortunate position to know people around the world and all of these connections and discussions I have had has accumulated knowledge and experiences that one can’t buy from anywhere.

The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World by Dominique Moisi

One of my favorite Sunday programs in CNN is Fareed Zakaria’s program GPS. He is not only a good reporter, he has a tremendous understanding of the current world situation and he brings very interesting people to his show. Each week he makes book recommendations and this week one book specifically caught my attention. A book from Dominique Moisi called The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World and I purchased it immediately to my Kindle DX and the book is amazing! It gives a good view of the world today and how things relate to each other. Fareed Zakaria’s book The Post-American World is also an excellent book and I highly recommend it!

Both of these books are an inspiration to my Rohkeasti maailmalle book!