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Racing Towards Excellence Paperback – 11 Jun 2009
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About the Author
Muzaffar Khan retired from a successful career on Wall Street, having worked in trading and asset management at Citibank, Barclays Capital and Moore Capital. He went on to become the vice-chairman of ACOPS, an international environmental charity, and further study, both independently and at the London School of Economics where he completed an MSc in Development Studies.
Muzaffar later reconciled his two interests - finance and the environment - by joining Man Group Plc as a Consultant to its latest environmental venture, Man ECO. Since leaving Wall Street, he has also coached and mentored a number of people ranging from CEOs to students. Muzaffar has a BSc degree in Industrial and Business Economics from the LSE, and an MA in English Literature from King's College London.
Jan Sramek trades EM Macro at Goldman Sachs, London, having spent his childhood and university years by experimenting with the why, what and how far, and generally hacking life. In his final year at university, he wrote a book about his experience with bending rules and pushing boundaries of what's possible. Shortly thereafter, Financial Names named him the youngest ever person on the annual list of 100 Rising Stars of Financial Markets.
Before university, Jan broke the world A-level record and was named named Olympic hope in handball. He then read Mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge before transferring to the London School of Economics - in order to found 4 start-ups, a charity and work in the City. Despite working and interning in trading and research at Goldman Sachs, Marshall Wace, AKO Capital, Barclays Capital, UBS and Deutsche Bank instead of studying throughout university, Jan won almost £100,000 in scholarships, and graduated with a First in Mathematics and Economics.
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After reading this book one walks away with a quiet yet confident sense of balance and apprehension about what he needs to do to bring his life in order and fulfil his potential and also appreciation of past mistakes and time & effort wasted. As the Chinese say: "Success is about doing the small things right; day in day out". This is unlike after 99% of many other "quasi-inspirational" self-help books on the market, which often leave people with a falsely hyped up "the world is mine" kind of sense of euphoria, which is just fleeting.
Needless to say, Racing Towards Excellence helped me massively in my own career in the city setting me on an almost vertical learning curve and helping achieve things so many people were saying would be impossible given where I was coming from... and I read it only 18 months ago. I ordered several copies and sent them a few thousand miles all the way back home to my siblings and now only wish it had been written earlier.
Another interesting moment is that despite being quite dryly written, one can still read between the lines and see the kind of principles the authors have. This book not only teaches us the value and importance of hard work and discipline, but also indirectly of not wasting time and money on seemingly important attributes of modern life and rather spending yourself in a worthy cause, of tolerance to the weak and family piety.
I would like to sincerely thank Muzaffar and Jan for indirect guidance towards achievements I could have only dreamt of 5 years ago when I first came to London as a teenager in search of opportunities. I wish you all the best in your new and existing ventures.
I will recommend every parent with kids 16 to 25 years old to buy this book for them. It might save this country from turning into a real riotland a few years down the line...
A year after reading this book, I have successfully implemented some of the "teachings" from this book. I am now completely off caffeine, drink very little alcohol, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and go running daily. I make a much bigger effort to network and keep in touch with people. I have also learned the benefits of being completely honest with people, and not feeling like you have to "sell" yourself at all times. It not only taught me the importance of not only working hard, but also the importance of working towards goals.
I also made many smaller changes to my life which helped me. They include spending time teaching other people how to mimic your success. Getting a soft alarm clock in order to gently wake up.
Being a perfectionist, I realised that I was focusing too much on the negatives of life, and that I need to be grateful for what I have. It also taught me about developing charisma and having to do lists, better specified goals, and identifying how much in your life has to do with habits and bringing positive habits into your life. I now read an inspiring book every day, and interact with one inspiring person every day. I also take time to sit and think for 15 mins twice a day, and spend a few minutes every 3 or 4 hours to reflect on life. I also try as hard as possible to expose yourself to as much randomness as possible. I have also joined a public speaking class in order to help myself build confidence. I am also working on improving body co-ordination, through various classes in the gym. I also now try to go to sleep early and wake up early, in order to follow the routine of the sun.
This book is definitely going to be a present to every young person that I care about, as I feel there is a lot to learn from it and most importantly it is relevant and targeted towards young people.
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Most recent customer reviews
Gives a good boot to the butt in a very very gentle and pragmatic manner.Read more