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

May 19, 2024
Is it ever enough?

I never thought I would resonate with a book about money. All my life I have had a sceptical mistrust of matters mammon. I have observed the derangement it causes in many: individuals, corporations, even entire cultures. And as I have written here many a time, a manic obsession with money leads to nothing good […]

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May 12, 2024
A message from Mother Earth

I am Gaia, your Mother Earth, and today I speak to you humans with a heavy heart. I have nurtured and nourished you for millennia, and given you a great bounty teeming with everything you need to thrive. Sadly, you have abused me incessantly, and you have worsened the mistreatment over the past century. You […]

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May 05, 2024
What example are you setting for your descendants?

I watched a television programme recently which highlighted the work of a Japanese cooper—a maker of wooden barrels, casks, and tubs. A simple enough task, you might think—but you stand to be re-educated, as I was. The choice of wood, how to treat it, how to shape it into staves, how to create a curved […]

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Apr 28, 2024
Do you view people as means, or ends?

Asma Khan is quite a phenomenon. A Bengali Muslim immigrant in the UK, she is a trained lawyer with a PhD in constitutional law. Yet her accomplishment is not in the field of her training. Asma is famous simply for cooking the dishes of her childhood. She had never learned to cook when she got […]

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Apr 21, 2024
Make yourself a truth worth telling

Let me return to the subject of “fru-fru” today. Regular readers will recall that fru-fru (or frou-frou if you prefer the original French) refers to empty embellishment—frippery for the sake of ostentation, having no substance behind it. In communication and branding terms, fru-fru is feel-good look-good messaging, devoid of meaning. We all communicate, all the […]

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Apr 14, 2024
The essence of a good business? Always the same

The croissant is a commonplace food these days, made all over the world. But a great croissant, it must be said, is difficult to find, even in the capitals of Europe. The best examples of the delicacy have a lightness in the hand, a fineness in the texture, a fluffiness in the mouth that only […]

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Mar 31, 2024
Why contentment is a state we should all hope to attain

What keeps us going? What makes us keep striving to be more, do more, have more? Is it a necessary human trait, to hanker and to grow? We could call it ambition or aspiration. But I also have other words to for you to consider: greed, obsession, and sickness. The need to have and be […]

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Mar 24, 2024
All the talent we ignore will find a home

A few years ago I was having a chat with a Japanese female executive in Nairobi. She worked for a large multinational organization headquartered in Tokyo. The Kenya operation was undergoing restructuring, and her job was one of those affected. “I guess you’ll go back to HQ in Japan,” I asked? “No,” she said with […]

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Mar 17, 2024
What’s really wrong with customer experience? The bosses…

The first book I wrote was an angry one. Crown Your Customer emerged from personally experiencing ridiculous customer treatment, but also from observing customers being treated like cattle all over the place. It was a call to arms both to the providers of customer care, and their victims, to stop the nonsense. In those days […]

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Mar 10, 2024
Next time you hit a difficulty—use it!

The renowned actor Michael Caine was once rehearsing a play scene as a young, aspiring thespian. In the middle of the rehearsal, a chair unexpectedly got stuck in the door of the set, blocking his path. Young Michael froze and didn’t know what to do. He told his fellow, more seasoned actor he couldn’t get […]

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Mar 03, 2024
Where might your next great hire be hiding? Inside your organization

Your big company is looking to fill a key position. Where do you look? Out in the job market, naturally! Put out an advert, talk to a headhunter, put the word around. It seems to be a natural instinct. But should it be? Looking externally is certainly the easier option. Surveys show that in-house recruiters […]

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Feb 25, 2024
Why every nation should value its writers

What would you say about a land of just 5 million people that has produced four Nobel literature laureates and six Booker Prize winners? This year’s Booker longlist had no fewer than four finalists from this country. I refer to Ireland, a country that routinely punches above its weight in the realm of literature. So […]

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Feb 18, 2024
Are you suffering from the Spotlight Effect?

Picture yourself on a dark stage, delivering the central performance of the day. A spotlight is shining right on you, staying with you as you move. All else is dark. There are hundreds of people in the audience, but you can barely make them out. All their attention is on you: how you look, and […]

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Feb 11, 2024
Some thoughts about longevity in business

Childhood is a place of magical memories—once we have left it. Our first tastes and other sensory pleasures tend to stay with us for life. We develop deep loyalties and could potentially consume our favourite products from our tender years for our entire lifetimes. But there’s a problem. Do those products and businesses still exist? […]

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Feb 04, 2024
What is there to be arrogant about?

There are so many arrogant people running around. Full of themselves, cocksure, always right, always certain of their positions, usually dismissive of others. Why, though? What is there to be arrogant about, for any human being? You are arrogant because you are rich, perhaps? But how fickle is material wealth? It can be obtained through […]

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Jan 28, 2024
Don’t be interesting. Be interested

Sometimes a thought just catches your eye and makes you think. James Clear, he of Atomic Habits fame, sent this out in a recent newsletter: “Don’t worry about being the most interesting person in the room, just try to be the most interested person in the room.” There is such pressure these days to be […]

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Jan 21, 2024
Pick a side. Actually, don’t

Pick a side. You have to be on one side, or the other. If you’re not for us, you’re against us. If you’re not with us, you’re with them. Pick a side, and stick to it all your life. That message is drummed into us soon after we are born, and then reinforced for all […]

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Jan 14, 2024
2024 might be a very tough year. That could be great for you

What kind of 2024 are you expecting to have? Across the world, the prognosis is grim at best. Economies are ailing; costs of living have rocketed; business failures are looming; debt burdens are onerous. It’s not going to be an easy year to navigate, even for the most fortunate. But there is something that a […]

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Jan 07, 2024
That’s impossible. Until it’s not

There was once someone who imagined it might be possible to place humans into a vehicle with wings, launch it into the air—and land those passengers back on earth, safely. This had never been done, please note, and it was widely viewed as a crazy, deluded idea. And yet, humans now fly across the planet […]

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Jan 05, 2024
My best books of 2023

Here are the best books I read in 2023, both old and new. The Aosawa Murders is a chilling Japanese story about an entire family being poisoned during a birthday. There is only one survivor—a young blind daughter. A remarkably well constructed, haunting mystery. Trust by Hernan Diaz was outstanding. It’s about the world’s richest man, and […]

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Dec 31, 2023
Love your life—and your death

As the year draws to a close, let’s learn some Latin. I want to dust off three two-letter phrases that are profound meditations on having a meaningful life. They express timeless philosophies, rooted in many ancient spiritual and contemplative traditions. The first phrase is AMOR FATI. This means simply to love one’s fate. It is […]

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Dec 24, 2023
Why we must honour the ordinary humans in our lives

I was once walking through the older parts of Reading, a town in the United Kingdom. I came upon a lovely old church hidden behind the town centre, and in it a cemetery. There I found this gem: a large wooden grave marker, with an inscription in memory of Henry West. Who was Henry West? […]

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Dec 17, 2023
Why do we admire the rich?

I was once in an airport immigration queue, awaiting clearance to re-enter my homeland. The queue was long, and we were all tired after a long flight.  A very well known business tycoon came in from a different flight. He took a look at the line in front of passport control and walked right past […]

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Dec 10, 2023
Why laughter is indeed great medicine

Another Sunday Nation stalwart has left us. Gerry Loughran, the “Letter from London” columnist, is no more. I will miss Gerry’s weekly missives for two things. One was the positive human spirit with which he reported on events taking place in Blighty. He often told us about things he found disturbing or distressing, but would […]

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Dec 03, 2023
What this CEO’s chaotic sacking revealed

Picture this scenario: The board of directors of an iconic organisation decides to fire its well-known CEO, without warning, issuing a cryptic announcement to that effect and appointing an interim CEO from within the organisation to hold fort. That stuff happens often, so nothing too extraordinary thus far.  All hell breaks loose, however. It turns […]

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Nov 26, 2023
How to bring the humanity back to your business

I have been saying to businesses large and small for decades now: there’s an affection button that you must press. It’s the button that, once activated, creates the emotion: “I like these people.” That is one of the most potent feelings in business, yet it’s also the most ignored. Last week I showed how small, […]

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Nov 19, 2023
Does anyone LIKE your business?

I have a question for you: is your business liked by anyone? We don’t usually view businesses in that way, do we? It’s not one of the regular aims of a business, to be held in affection by any party. We are far more transactional than that. We provide a product or service, customers gain […]

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Nov 05, 2023
My encounter with a life of modesty after power

Last year I happened to be visiting the United Kingdom. I found myself in a department store, looking through the clothes section. A lady passed by me, and I caught a glimpse of her face. It seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. Had I seen her on the news in years past? […]

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