Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Leadership of Muhammad, by John Adair

I had great expectations for this book after listening to a talk by the speaker introducing it and also receiving recommendations from friends who had read it before me. Reading it however I couldn't help feel a little disappointed. It's a small book (this I knew before I bought it) and even then the mention of The Prophet Muhammad and his examples of leadership are few and far between. Each chapter (there are eight) takes one concept of leadership exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad and elaborates on why it is important and how particularly it ties to the Bedouin/Arabian society that the Prophet Muhammad found himself in. Overall, great idea for a book and not a bad book, but not quite living up to its potential (and my expectation).

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Position before Submission

Was sitting here coding on the 12th of July (Battle of the Boyne - Orangemen's Day; bank holiday in Northern Ireland!) and a sudden "martial arts" thought popped into my head: "Position before Submission". An important fighting principle. Especially when starting out. It's where a lot of people go wrong, learning spinning back fists and flying arm bars before learning how to control their opponent! Anyhoo, the purpose of this post... After that sudden impulsive thought, and seeing as though it's a bank holiday, I thought I'd split my day between coding and collecting some Sun Tzu military/strategy quotes. Here we go...

"War is deception."

"If you are far from the enemy,
  make him believe you are near."


"Pretend inferiority;
  encourage his arrogance."


"Appear weak when strong,
  strong when weak."


"To subdue the enemy without fighting
  is the acme of skill."


"He is skilful in attack
  whose opponent knows not what to defend;
and skilful in defence
  whose opponent knows not what to attack."


"Invincibility lies in the defence;
  victory in the attack."


"Attack your opponent's strategy."

"Believe in yourself."

Note that I omitted quotes about the importance of good spying and going into battle only after having already won victory, which Sun Tzu seems to emphasise above all else in his writings, but wanted to keep the quotes applicable to hand-to-hand (one-on-one) combat/competition, hence the omission. Oh and excuse my exercising poetic license to adapt and abbreviate the quotes!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Writing on the Water, by Muhiyiddin Shakoor

I needed a book to read for my return flight back from Sarajevo a couple months back so picked this up before departing from one of the book stores besides the Gazi Husrev-Beg Mosque. The writing style looked decent and I was curious to read the chronicles of someone treading the "Sufist" path!

The writing style did turn out to be okay. The content of the book however I found somewhat lacking. The author's personal stories and the lessons he extrapolates from them just did not work for me. (For reasons of blandness rather than disagreement.) More so, the author's "Shaykh" (spiritual guide) I felt comes across as a somewhat cruel and ambiguous figure! The tasks he assigns to his "disciples" being an example of this. A leadership style contrary to the example set by the Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon) and his Companions in my opinion! Maybe of course it's just the way he comes across in this book and he's not so bad a person in person!!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Cave Hill

Cycled up to Belfast castle (5 miles from my place of residence in south/central Belfast) yesterday and then walked up to McArt's fort, on the summit of Cave Hill (elevation 370 metres). A couple of pics above.