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

Dec 15, 2019
Education needs a reboot

Last week’s column about the ‘Education Express’ raised some questions – and some eyebrows. I made the case, obliquely, that our education system is in severe need of an overhaul. It functions like an old-fashioned train service: it runs the same way it has for decades on end; it runs on fixed tracks; and not […]

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Nov 24, 2019
Are you stuck in a ‘BS’ job?

Last week I started a discussion here about the meaning of work – and how rare it is to find work that lends meaning to our lives. Most of us get our first jobs out of sheer economic necessity, and don’t have the luxury of wondering about the worth of what we do. Later on, […]

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Nov 17, 2019
How meaningful is the work you do?

Our newly released census results show that Nairobi keeps growing. With nearly 4.4 million people, this is one huge collection of humans. Not on the global scale, of course; there are several megacities with more than 20 million people; one of those may breach 40 million soon. Revered scientist James Lovelock thinks we follow the […]

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Oct 27, 2019
Two words to carry around with you

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss is just one of the finest novels anyone will ever read. I picked it up again after many years and found myself mesmerised all over again. It has two words that are repeated over and over, acting as a motif in the life of one of the main […]

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Sep 22, 2019
To recognise yourself, look down

Customer: ‘I need a rope.’ Shopkeeper: ‘What’s it for?’ Customer: ‘Suicide.’ Shopkeeper: ‘That will be two hundred shillings.’ Customer: ‘What? That’s too much. I’ll buy it elsewhere.’ Shopkeeper: ‘What does it matter to you? You’re about to die anyway! That was a scene from a movie I watched decades ago. I laughed at the time, […]

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Aug 04, 2019
How many things do you take for granted?

Photo by Lee Scott on Unsplash A recent mishap with household plumbing brought home an oft-forgotten truth; it is only when you lose something that you realise how important it is to you. In this case, lugging buckets of heated water around brought home the value of being able to have a shower when you […]

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Jul 07, 2019
Don’t stay too long; it will end badly

The history of nations and organisations is replete with examples of leaders who just won’t let go. Even when their time is emphatically and visibly up, too many just can’t detach themselves from the habits and trappings of power. These stories usually end badly. I explained here last week: there is a time and a […]

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Jun 30, 2019
Knowing when to change your life

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay ‘To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…’ Ecclesiastes conveyed it so well in the Bible. But who is really paying attention? Do we […]

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Jun 16, 2019
Who is paid NOT to understand?

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay Do you sometimes wonder why a perfectly reasonable position is often rejected by very intelligent people? You might lay an argument out, back it up with solid facts – and still encounter vehement opposition. Surprisingly, this resistance often comes not from the ignorant or the uneducated, but from those who […]

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Jun 09, 2019
The tyranny of exams and grades

Image by Pexels from Pixabay My son will be doing his ‘O’-level exams in the near future, and I was recently discussing his subject choices with him. I was trying to understand which subjects he enjoyed doing, and which ones he just had to get through. The aim was to pinpoint what his future might […]

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Jun 02, 2019
How to say no. Nicely

Last week I discussed JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out. You should live your life on your own terms, not caught up in the priorities of others. Many of you then asked me: but how do I say no so often? It can be considered rude to decline invitations. I may lose my friends […]

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May 26, 2019
Embrace the Joy of Missing Out

Image by Eak K. from Pixabay FOMO, we all know, is a thing. In the digital era the Fear of Missing Out is driving lots of behaviour. Social media allows us to keep looking at other people’s lives and activities, pretty much all the time if we wish to. This creates an insidious feeling: the […]

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Mar 31, 2019
Who created the story your group believes?

For the past two weeks I’ve been discussing the stories of the mind on this page: the stories that our narrating self propagates and embellishes, in defiance of our experiencing self – the one that records facts and stays objective. The narrating self holds sway most of the time – and that makes us vulnerable […]

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Mar 24, 2019
The fictions we create about ourselves can imprison us

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay Suppose you are a physically attractive person. You are known for your looks. You were the belle of the school ball, or the hunk on the sports team. Being attractive becomes your identity, your calling card, your unique position in life. It’s what gives you self-esteem. Looks don’t last, though. […]

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Mar 17, 2019
The person you call ‘I’ may be a fictional character

A few years ago I wrote here: watch out for the stories your mind is capable of spinning. You will easily believe lies are truth, and the truth is a lie. Consider the example I gave you then. You are deep in sleep, and immersed in a vivid dream. A sound from the outside world […]

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Mar 03, 2019
Are you living your life in denial of your own death?

As a young boy sitting in temples and community halls I would wonder why almost everything had some human’s name on it. A hall, a library, even the folding chairs. Someone’s name would be there, preceded by the words ‘donated by…’ or ‘in memory of…’ Anthropologist Ernest Becker wrote a remarkable book around the same […]

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Feb 03, 2019
Be better than the person you were, not the person beside you

There seems to be something embedded in our natures that impels us to keep comparing ourselves with others. We are constantly looking over the fence, or across our shoulders, at what others are up to, what acclaim they are receiving, what numbers they are clocking. And then we feel that we might be falling short, […]

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Dec 30, 2018
Who’s waiting for your ‘funeral’?

As we close the year, here’s a thought for you: “Science advances one funeral at a time.” That was stated by Paul Samuelson, the man who taught me economics without my ever meeting him, through his landmark book. Samuelson was in turn paraphrasing the thoughts of the legendary physicist, Max Planck: “A new scientific truth […]

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Dec 27, 2018
My Top Books of 2018

Another year is ending, so let’s do this again: here are the best books I read in 2018. I used to confine myself to telling you about just 12 books every year, but that seems arbitrary. It forces me to knock some worthy contenders out for no reason. So this year I have 14 books […]

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Dec 23, 2018
If you love bookshops, buy from them

When I was a young boy, I would regularly gather my pocket money and take a bus into Nairobi’s central district to buy books. My perambulations would begin at the famous second-hand shop, Toddlers Bazaar, just off Koinange Street. This ever-busy shop was a prime place to find unusual, affordable novels. From there I would […]

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Dec 09, 2018
Ever wonder why your customers don’t trust you?

Two years ago I wrote on this page that insurance companies have a lot to think about. They face profound disruption. You might think this is for the usual reason – digital technologies – but you would be wrong. Yes, accelerated technological change is shaking every sector up, dramatically; but insurance faces a special problem […]

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Nov 18, 2018
A life where money is the tool, not the target

Last week I discussed why our relationship with money is so toxic: because it is ruled by fear and greed. We are driven to daftness by money because we are afraid of losing it or not having enough. But what if we could conquer those emotions? What if we could quell our fear and shackle […]

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Nov 11, 2018
What if you could change your relationship with money?

Photo by Lucas Favre on Unsplash Money deranges us. We never seem to think we have enough, and the pursuit of more distorts and damages our lives. Yet we persist in our madness. Steven Harrison wrote a remarkable book a few years ago. It was called Doing Nothing. As someone who wonders why most of […]

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Oct 28, 2018
When was the last time you heard your employees laugh?

Fear at work is a good thing, right? If employees are not afraid of you, they will just take advantage of you, no? They’ll slack off work, they’ll run side hustles using your time and resources, they’ll even steal from you – correct? A question, though: many business bosses have been making their employees feel […]

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Oct 14, 2018
So you’ve built a successful business? Now leave it alone.

You’ve done the hard work. You’ve put in the long hours and sleepless nights. You secured the loans and serviced them. Your payroll no longer gives you higher blood pressure as the end of the month approaches. Your business is established; it’s secure; it’s viable; and it’s throwing up positive cash flow. Now please learn […]

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Sep 23, 2018
How will you look back on your life?

Last week I wrote on this page about the importance of saying NO many times in life – of not chasing after every vaguely interesting thing; of setting your own priorities and agendas; of understanding the power of focus. It’s funny how serendipity works. A day or so after writing that column, I found myself […]

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Aug 26, 2018
What marks out the life well lived?

I have spent a lot of time in hospital lately, with a patient close to me. On one of the days I was walking up a staircase and stopped halfway up. At the top was the intensive care unit I was heading to; at the bottom was the maternity wing. Up there, faces were sombre […]

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Jun 03, 2018
Two footballers, a winner and a loser

(Photo via fourfourtwo.com) The UEFA Champions League final took place last weekend. The team expected to win, Real Madrid (a record holder in this competition) won 3-1. The challenger to the throne, Liverpool FC, was vanquished with some ease. No news there, so why are we discussing it this Sunday? I want to zoom in […]

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