"CEOs can't wait to read Sunny Bindra's articles every week."

May 22, 2016
Protect your ‘madness’ – it may be your distinction

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” So said Robin Williams, comic genius. I read that recently and found myself nodding, then thinking deeply about it over the days that followed. It is true. You must protect your madness. Robin Williams led a troubled life and committed suicide in 2014. […]

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May 08, 2016
If you want to fight evil, start with yourself

(Photo credit: suchosch / Flickr) Microsoft recently encountered an unexpected problem online. It introduced Tay, an artificially intelligent chat ‘bot’ to the world. It was conducting an experiment to see if Tay would learn from its conversations with people online and get progressively smarter. It was a train smash. Within 24 hours, Tay had turned […]

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May 01, 2016
Arresting the evil that lurks within us

I heard of a disturbing incident recently. Some young schoolchildren came across a cute little stray kitten in their compound. Far from being enticed by its innocence, they decided to pick it up and throw it against a wall. Repeatedly. Picture the scene: the tiny, helpless animal tries desperately to escape; the children grab it […]

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Apr 24, 2016
The things money can’t buy

We are obsessed with, fixated on and deranged by money in this country. From the top dogs to the little mutts – all seem to wake up with just one overwhelming thought in mind: “how do I lay my hands on more money?” Money, we think, is the escape from poverty and misery and the […]

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Apr 10, 2016
Life lessons from a happy porter

(Photo credit: Pixabay) The temperature was more than 40 degrees celsius. Dubai in summer is no joke, and when we arrived at the airport and stepped out of the air-conditioned car, it was like stepping into a furnace. Nonetheless a porter came running up in the blinding heat to take our bags and load them […]

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Mar 20, 2016
True transformation is slow, and it’s hard

The word ‘transformation’ mesmerises us these days. So many of us seek a change that is as dramatic as it is quick. Individuals who feel trapped in a prison of low achievement imagine there is some formula out there for a personal makeover. They read the autobiographies of the rich and famous in order to […]

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Mar 13, 2016
Could we all calm down and focus on our own lives?

This country just revels in drama. Every day it’s the same. A dramatic new bunch of stories to consume. Corruption accusations and counter-accusations. Televised arrests and sackings. Campaign insults and counter-insults. Hysterical family inheritance fights. Grim warnings of trouble to come. Pleas of innocence and claims of witch-hunts. Courtroom battles. Seven-day ultimatums. Who needs pulp […]

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Jan 31, 2016
Are you a ‘dead sea?’

(Sunday Nation, 31 January 2016) One thing that’s great about social media is that it reconnects you with old friends. Andrew Blacknell and I have a shared history. We went into our first job together, straight out of university. We were fresh-faced junior management consultants in one of the big consulting practices of the time, […]

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Jan 24, 2016
Where is everyone in Nairobi rushing to?

It’s Nairobi. There is, of course, a traffic jam. Many, many people are stuck in their vehicles. What is interesting is how agitated everyone gets. No one is calm. No one is reflective. No one meditates. No one takes the opportunity to catch up with the news headlines on the radio; to chill out to […]

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Jan 17, 2016
Our obsession with the ‘secrets’ of examination success

Every year, it’s the same. Every year Kenya’s public examination results are announced. Every year, the whole nation goes into a frenzy. Every year, we are told about “winners and losers.” Every year, there will be a newspaper article where the most successful students are asked to reveal the “secrets” of their success. And every […]

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Earth from Moon
Jan 03, 2016
In 2016, please start to play BIG

As 2016 opens and you trudge back to normal life, I fear you are about to do something very predictable. You are about to play SMALL. You will greet a few people and ask them the same banal questions about their holidays. You will settle down at your desk and use your employer’s bandwidth to […]

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Dec 27, 2015
What is your calling?

As the year ends and most of us spend some time away from work, we should cast an eye back. What is the actual work we did in 2015? Was it the work we should have been doing – or something else altogether? By the work you should be doing, I am referring to your […]

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Oct 25, 2015
Where the ignorant clap for the immoral

An article I wrote here a couple of weeks ago seemed to excite much reaction. Online as well as in person, many Kenyans seemed keen to tell me why the temptation to be like the looters all around us is so strong. So this week let me go further. Much further. Of course it’s tempting. […]

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Oct 18, 2015
Coming to terms with a digital future

I was on holiday recently, visiting a far-flung place for the first time. After my usual conversations with assorted locals, I became acutely aware of my ignorance about the place’s history, culture, fauna and economy. I noted that the hotel I was staying in offered a library for guests. To my delight, the library was […]

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Oct 04, 2015
CEO: how many “small” people does your company bully?

Kenyan CEOs are always busy giving away cheques to worthy causes, speaking noble words at gatherings of luminaries, and championing the agenda of good corporate citizenship. Here’s a question for them, though: why is your company so virtuous for the cameras, and often an outright bully when it comes to the “small” people it deals […]

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Sep 27, 2015
Keep Left Unless Overtaking

Many years ago I was a university student in the United Kingdom. I would, of course, take public transport everywhere: trains, buses, coaches. But I missed the feeling of getting behind the steering wheel of a car. Once, when I had to make an inter-city trip to meet some relatives, I decided to splash out […]

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Aug 23, 2015
Watch out for the stories your brain spins

You’re deep in sleep, immersed in a dream. A whole story is playing out in your mind. Suddenly, the phone rings. In your dream, it is someone who’s part of the story calling you. You reach out to answer the call. You now realize you were asleep and dreaming, and are awake now. The phone […]

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Jul 26, 2015
Life’s too short to waste time on…

Something I saw online made me laugh out loud the other day: “Life is too short to remove USB safely.” Computers ask us to ensure we don’t just pull the USB cord out; we must follow the proper procedure. Most people don’t do this, of course – they just yank. That’s because the consequences are […]

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May 17, 2015
Why are we helpless? Because we learned to be

Why do so many of us feel so helpless so much of the time? We think there’s no point in protesting – nothing will change. We think there’s no point in applying – the jobs are already allocated to insiders. We think there’s no point in aspiring to run our own businesses – we’ll just […]

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Apr 26, 2015
What madness makes us clap for swindlers?

Sometimes I wonder: is there something put in Kenyans’ drinking water that makes so many of us mad? This thought occurred to me as I watched a so-called “pastor” invited to a high-ratings show. Nothing wrong with that, you might say: except that this man of the cloth, ahem, was recently exposed as being no […]

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Apr 19, 2015
A racist restaurant and the danger of the single story

A Chinese restaurant in Nairobi was operating a blatantly racist admission policy. It was exposed. Kenyans were understandably outraged. Sensing the the collective anger, the authorities took action. The restaurant is now closed, and the owner faces charges in court. Will we now live happily ever after? I suspect not. Life is never that simple. […]

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Apr 12, 2015
The one word no one is saying after the Garissa attack

The need to write something immediately after the horrific slaughter of our students in Garissa was overwhelming. I had to resist, though. An event this brutal and unprecedented requires some reflection and some perspective. And so I have been able to observe the reactions of others. I looked on aghast as the supposed perpetrators of […]

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Apr 05, 2015
Which of these were April Fool headlines?

This column continues its campaign to make April Fool’s Day a national holiday in Kenya. This is because we take foolishness to peculiar heights year after year. The Daily Nation, like most newspapers, has a tradition of creating a spoof story every year on the day that honours fools. My point is this: around these […]

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Feb 22, 2015
What is your experience of experience?

When we look for good people to employ, what do we look for? Typically, qualifications and experience. I’ve already discussed the problem with qualifications on this page a few weeks back. First, there is the problem that you just can’t trust the qualifications presented to you any more, certainly not in Kenya. No one I […]

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Feb 01, 2015
You think your people are better than their people? Ask for your school fees back

Parts of European football have a racism problem. When a black player is on the pitch, some fans in some countries will start making monkey gestures, or throw bananas on to the pitch. Picture this: a grown man in the crowd starts jumping up and down, aping an ape. He makes primitive sounds. He does […]

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Jan 25, 2015
We should all talk a little less and do a little more

Talk, talk, talk. Everyone talks. They talk incessantly. They chat, analyse, pontificate. They debate and discuss. They love to hear the sound of their own voices. People gather in seminars, workshops, conferences, off-sites. They yap for days. Then they gather the results of all that was declaimed and bloviated in elaborate reports, complete with detailed […]

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Dec 28, 2014
The significance of your insignificance

I had to deliver a eulogy at a funeral recently. Observing endings is a good time to dwell on the meaning of your life. One minute, you are fully alive on earth, working, contributing, connecting; the next, due to some often surprising turn of events, you will be gone. No more, with people gathered around […]

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Nov 30, 2014
What a life well lived looks like

I lost a much-valued work colleague this week. Please indulge me this Sunday, for I feel her short life has much to teach the rest of us. How do we extract any meaning from this all-too-brief, seemingly meaningless existence of ours? How do we attach any nobility to life when it seems subject to what […]

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