Monday, 5 August 2013

Getting in touch with an author...

SOMETIMES WHEN I really like the book, I take the courage to communicate with the author. My first attempt was seven years ago. I did it again in March of this year. I emailed this British author after I read his second book.

To date, he has written six inspirational rules books that tackle about life, love, work, wealth and parenting. His book, The Rules of Life was instrumental for me to have my own personal rules and I proudly shared them with the author. I am referring to Richard Templar. With his rules books, Richard used his and other people's experiences to extract the lessons and turned into rules that matter in life.

As I recalled, I mentioned in my email that I wrote my own rules of living - reflecting my simple ways for the past 40 years. A list of 40 rules inspired by Richard's 100 rules. I even said proudly that I will come up with discussion for each rule and will add one rule every year. Sad to say, I failed to do this! But, I will write very catch up with that.

Back to Richard's first reply as quoted below:
Thank you for your kind words and I did enjoy your 40 rules - and I thought I was running out! Well done. I'm sure there are many there that could be incorporated into a Rules of Life II if we ever get round to doing it. Many many thanks indeed and I'm glad you enjoyed the book 
And then after reading The Rules of Work, I sent him another email. This time, I told him about my personal reflection on the rules that some of them were not applicable in Asian culture. Some of the strategies introduced by Richard were not practical in the Asian office environment. I took some of these rules as I explained below:

In Rule 1.10 - Never let anyone know how hard you work. Richard mentioned few rules under this which I personally disagree such as: " never ask for an extension of a deadline" and "never ask for help". We are not super humans that we do not need assistance from colleagues/officemates. We must seek help from the project team members to ensure that deadlines will be met. In most cases, extension of deadline is excusable even working with big  funding agencies. Deadlines were set without really looking the bulk of work to be accomplished. Therefore, request for extension is ok than committing to complete the task and at the end you could not finished it or maybe you did but the quality of the output is jeopardize.

Another is Rule 2.5 - Develop a style that gets you noticed. Again, this only applicable to people who are getting high compensation. In case you are a thriving worker, you can not pretend to have your own style by having expensive clothes and accessories and at the end nothing left from your bank account.  It really depends on the nature of business that your firm is engaged with. If you are doing marketing task, then it is necessary to dress in style to have better impression from the clients.

Finally, Rule 7.8 - Spend more time with senior staff. Yes, but with moderation. Your colleagues will accuse you of getting favors from the bosses! In Asian workplace, seeing you with the senior officials has a bad impression, unless you are part of a project team that these bosses are handling. Officemates will think that you are one of the "favorites" staff. Being a favorite is not good at all!

I had this thought that Richard will not bother to reply to my email. I was also thinking that he is busy with his latest book, Rules to Break and just ignore my email. Surprisingly, Richard replied as quoted below:
Many thanks for your email. It’s always interesting to hear about cultural differences I haven’t encountered, and I’ll bear your comments in mind in future editions etc. The fact you’ve been so specific is especially helpful. I would say – and perhaps I should make sure this is clearer if/when we reprint – that by ‘never ask for help’ I didn’t mean that we shouldn’t work co-operatively. Only that we shouldn’t ask for help because we’re struggling.
Nevertheless, I thanked him for sharing relevant discussions on how to be successful managers.

This is one of the best things for being a book addict... some authors will respond to their readers positively. As avid fans, we should acknowledge their work that inspire people around the world - to get better and better in dealing with other human beings!

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