Career Change & Fortune Cookie Wisdom

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“Who ever heard the sound of one hand clapping…”

Smooth sailing during career change should be identified as a mountain stream. When there is thunder and rain, the sound of water is not smooth sailing. Now the true sound of smooth sailing is silence, according to fortune cookie wisdom.

I know this master chef working at of Wo Fat’s Cantonese kitchen not far from Canal Street in New York by the name of Mencius. He could speak volumes on this subject. However, he’d probably be more at home selecting the finest ingredients from the market and prep the evening’s meal. Wok hay, would drive him crazy. That’s what you would expect from a Taoist aesthete, the meditative breath of fire.

On the other side of the world, Socrates too was well versed in the principles of silence, diligence, and astute planning. He’d often listen to the pundits engage each other with rhetoric as he mused through Plaka on the slopes of the Parthenon. How like Greek philosophers to warble incessant bird song in the heat of the Athenian sun.

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“Captain, I’ve spotted Tortuga…”

To develop insight, Socrates preferred to watch the fisherman. He’d contemplate their banter and salty songs. He loved to watch them tenderize the evening’s octopus on the rocks. The simplicity of humble tasks emptied his mind. In this emptiness, he found the meaning of all things. Perhaps, if you are planning to apply for an MBA, this is what you should do. Too much anxiety over what to put in your essays won’t make them stand out any better.

Emptiness is often confused with ignorance. Ignorance however, is more than a lack of knowledge. A lack can be sensibly remedied. It is a question of training. Real ignorance is the misapprehension of all things. Take the case of the Buddha. Although not a sailor, he desired more than a career sea change. He desired smooth sailing.

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“When your reflection is just a fleeting fantasy…”

Determined to achieve this state of smooth sailing, he sat under a fig tree, legs crossed in a full lotus position. He was resolved not to budge until he was filled with clarity. By learning this lesson he saw smooth sailing was a question of equilibrium. The mind is a close friend of ignorance and this is the trap. Give the mind conundrums, and it will smile and spin in a vortex of relentless aggravation.

On the other hand, you could give the mind something nobler to consider such as the following Taoist proverb: “The sound of water is silence.”

Mojito?

Article Title: Career Change & Fortune Cookie Wisdom
Photographs: (1)manofthemmnt (2)curated by ES (3)stayfr-sh

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on | Talent Development | Career Management | Personal Brand Management | MBA Admissions | Life & Career Coaching |

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Crafting The French Touch

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“Don’t you just love mess in’ about in boats…”

Recently, I was invited to the Regalade, a charming restaurant in a discreet Paris location to discuss The French Touch. At the table were a distinguished cast of cognoscente, whose names I am not at liberty to divulge.

Table talk centered on the essence of style over fashion, craftsmanship over mass production, i.e. made in ailleurs. There was the occasional chest beating and lament. Hey, Paris has a latin soul, but it was nothing a few cocktails couldn’t cure. The general consensus was that identifying The French Touch is like a sea dragon riding the wind.

These people I might add were not hide bound bores, but designers and players in the luxury sector. Off the record, one comment was: “Luxury brands like any other retailer deal in bottom lines. Fashion is a world driven by constant and persistent change.”

It is sometimes true that creatives try to cajole, persuade, and market their wares non-stop to an ever-fickle public looking for the next big thing. Where the concept of timelessness was once a by-word for quality, today luxury is the effervescence of shooting stars. Take a journey over to Louis Vuitton on the Champs-Elysees showcase, and engage with the current zeitgeist.

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“It’s hard to beat the French Touch when it comes to style…”

Although I have nothing against profitability, we must not confuse sales figures with taste or style. Real style is intangible and is intrinsic to a person’s persona. The concept of The French Touch is not any different. It is easy to identify, but quite difficult to replicate. It is as one lovely figure among us noted, “a state of mind”. The French actress, Marion Cotillion encapsulates the French touch to perfection in Woody Allen’s film, “Midnight In Paris”.

Lea Seydoux is another beauty who radiates the French Touch. Just imagine you are dining with her. She is sheepishly looking at you with those hypnotic eyes, and then says in that most Parisienne of voices: “Mon chou would you care to share a bottle of Foufoune. If this happens to you, you are done for. Cuite.

For those who aspire to capture this look, study Audrey Hepburn for guidelines. Although she was not French, she was not born in the States either. There was something quite mystical about her persona, which still captivates audiences. The term I would use to describe her is elegance. In her film with Fred Astaire, she causally remarks, “I am not beautiful; I have a funny face.” Ever the gentleman, Fred Astaire responded, “What you call funny, I call interesting.”

Audrey knew she had allure. Her clothes personified her character not the other way around. She was an ambassador for Hubert de Givenchy, and wore his clothes with panache. However, because her beauty was so natural, she was just as much at home in a pair of Levis. This is not just style but real class.

Three years ago, Ines de la Fressange published La Parisienne, and the book was an instant best seller in France. The book oozes with the style voice of one of Chanel’s former key models and taste trendsetters. Today, Ines is 50-something, and just as captivating as she was in her 20s. The book stands as a style guide to good taste for any contemporary woman, who wants to let loose her own version of The French Touch.

Visitors and designers alike claim that in this city men and women dress better than many other urban environments, and embody a certain je ne sais quoi. That “something” is well articulated in Ines book. It is also lovingly captured by the fashion photographer, Scott Schuman on his trend setting blog entitled, The Satorialist. Scott has the uncanny knack for capturing style across age groups. He demonstrates how personal and organic French style, really is. Every one can look great; it is a question of attitude, not money. His photographs make you drool. On his website, he features a whole ream of pictures taken in Paris, which give you a good feel for the French vibe.

I have another dear friend who claims that The French Touch is in the tap water. Drink the water at will he laughs and “voila”. Here, I am not so sure. The “Chateau Robinet 2014″ is barely drinkable. Perhaps, the water he was referring to, came from Reims in bottles, labelled, Bollinger. Baudelaire claimed that all French women had beautiful legs because they spent half their lives walking up and down countless flights of stairs.

Someone remarked to me just the other day that everyone should have an uncle called “Christian”. It is true that Dior had certainly added to the modern vocabulary of contemporary woman. His feel for shape and color were unique. He knew how to drape fabric across a woman’s body, letting the woman’s body speak with its own voice, not necessarily calling attention to the clothes. Elegance is always a point of subtlety.

A contemporary style trend gathering more steam has been the craze for French vintage military field jackets, and those sailor’s shirts manufactured by St. James. The Lycée crowd has taken it up in spades, and it has spread to other circles throughout the heart of the BoBo-land. Designers have been borrowing concepts from vintage military clothing for ages; Jean-Paul Gautier is just one of the most successful.

Another key give away that your style code needs adjusting is when your clothes are too tight. This is not style, sorry. This is bad taste. Clothes should always be adjusted and be your size. Forget what the inner label says. Use a tape measure.

Want to laugh?

One of our global readers was recently asking what is the best colour for shirts. At first glance, I thought this was a philosophical question. I was about to consult my annotated copy of the Analects by Confucius, and caught myself saying, “Wait a second. Colour is personal”. The French like the Italians are fond of blue and white stripes of assorted versions. This design has a causal preppy style and can be worn with or without a tie. Speaking of ties, the bow tie has made a smashing comeback. This would have pleased my father no end. I find that bow ties are not only great in summer, but can also pass muster all year round. In case you would like to start fostering a collection, why not head over to Charvet near Place Vendome. Talk about the French Touch!

Article Title: Crafting The French Touch
Photographs: (1) curated by ES (2)weheartit.com

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture.

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results. You needn’t be half-baked or smoked, although we should all be living near Goldeneye in Jamaica.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

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Sailing With Homer Is Always Relevant

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“Because no man or woman is an island…”

Sailing Greece, I discovered that reading Homer is always relevant. Shrouded in mystery, he is so contemporary, you wish you could break crust with this gent. I found wine dark seas pursuing dolphins and the children of Odysseus such as the Colossus of Maroussi, George Seferis, Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell.

Sailing Greece is more than my love of boats. Perhaps the Retsina went to my head more than 20 years ago. Playing backgammon and idle chatter with fishermen can do this to a chap, don’t you know! The people are charming and natural story tellers. I’d love to state that “I met him in Piraeus”. Perhaps we all have. From the first moment sailing Greece, I encountered a light that pierces the soul and gives birth to love.

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“Look dolphins…”

As a creature of rational habits, sailing Greece stimulated my blood. There is nothing to comprehend except the appreciation of bouzouki. Swept away with Syrtaki and Zebekkiko, I cavorted through the tavernas of Athens until I was shanghaied to the shores of Sifnos. There I encountered authenticity, worthy of verse. At first, I thought it was the heat and ouzo. The ancient rivers run deep. Circumstance brings them out and you’re off with Pan to God knows where. Sailing Greece is clearly not for the foolhardy.

I was reminded of that haunting quotation in the Revelations of St. John The Divine (1.Rev 1.8):

“… I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”

Saint John always did have a way with words. I’d like to think he was inspired by the pleasure of sharing a table with friends eating grilled octopus marinated in wild oregano.

Tavernas are a showcase for theatre. It’s the place your inner being demands to be refreshed. You see, sailing Greece is more than a story of boats. It’s an odyssey to the core of your own being and making new friends. It’s where the soul arouses the senses of charmed moments, laughter, and contemplation. Who knows, you might even learn to dance! Conversations are whispered and on other occasions animated. You simply will love tavernas for the food as well as the camaraderie.

Sailing Greece, head for Crete and tales of the labyrinth. The freshness of the bread is perfect to rub olive oil or to nibble a crumbly piece of feta. Take port and rejoice. When it comes to the table, seasonality still carries weight. What could be better than a dozen mezes spread across a checkerboard cloth.

Take the two sisters who run the Dome Hotel in Chania. They make the most amazing rose petal jam you will ever taste. Eaten with Greek yogurt and you will start re-evaluating your career options. This is a good town to begin. When possible, leave your car and walk in the hills. Let the landscape act as your guide. Let your feet start you off on your first journey. Who knows, Gnosis may not be far behind.

In the winter, stews hark back to antiquity. The meats, vegetables, and herbs simmer for hours giving slow food its original content. Stuffed peppers can be found in many cultures, but few are flavored with sultanas, nutmeg and mint.

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“Perfect when you’re topside after a storm…”

Curiously, each dish has a story culled from someone’s grandmother. I love the fact that Greek cuisine is based on the humblest of ingredients such as chic peas, wild greens, garden vegetables, yogurt, and fish.

What I also find uncanny is that consumption is based on products sourced locally. Perhaps this is why dishes with similar descriptions are often quite different from one part of Hellas to another. Take the spicy shrimp served on the island of Symi. The shrimps are tiny, briny, and laced with spices reminiscent of Asia.

Even the ubiquitous country salad, can vary tremendously. When it comes to Greek wines, imbibe. Most think of Retsina and turn up their noses. Although I love this simple country wine properly chilled on a hot summer’s day, the country produces some outstanding vintages grown across Macedonia and the Peloponnese. The Mecouri family do a red wine to die for. I once made a blind taste test with a close friend in the wine trade from Bordeaux. He was blown away when I told him the wine was Greek.

With thousands of islands to visit, you are spoiled for choice. Eschew the places mass tourism destroyed. The mysteries of Eleusis await anyone with an open heart. Mingle with the people and feeling their pulse. And don’t forget to keep a copy of Fagel’s Homer in your pocket.

Article Title: Sailing With Homer Is Always Relevant
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

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Communications: Navigating Internal Politics

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“Diplomacy is vital to navigating internal politics…

Navigating internal politics within any organization is the core of conflict management. Corporate communications can play a vital play. However, senior management must show decisive leadership so moral is not sapped nor the brand destroyed.

It can cause trauma and is self destructive to team building. In an ideal world, these issues should be readily resolved. However, as everyone knows, the world is far from ideal and we as managers or leaders must resolve these issues so they do not spiral out of control.

Take the case of Erica. Her boss was trying to create a rift between her and her immediate superior. He did so by sneaking around and generated a climate of misunderstanding.

The situation worsened to the point that the manager in question felt the need to resign. There is a very France Telecom feel to this scenario, although this type of corporate culture is systemic to human behavior. Certain corporate cultures only serve to exacerbate the worst in people’s behavior to make it ripen and play out.

Unethical behavior is unfortunately not rare nor unique. My idealistic side would like to say so, but like everyone else who is a keen observer of human nature, I know that it is not. Therefore, we must guard against this type of behavior and when in a position of leadership foster the attitude and environment to make sure this does not take place. When it does, to act quickly and decisively.

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“No point in getting an anxiety attack…”

Administrations surrounding a leader tend to mimic the leader and his or her intentions. I call this the Thomas O’ Beckett syndrome. A quick glance at the crisis, which surrounded the current governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie last year and you catch my drift. Play hard ball with human beings, their emotions and character, and the fruits will be unpleasant to say the least.

Examining any working environment puts us in touch with distinct personality types. Motivation, upbringing, and character traits mark out each individual’s style of behavior. Some people thrive on harmony whilst others thrive on conflict. If you are someone like FDR, you can manage the scenario. For many business leaders and managers, it is very problematic.

Classic working behavioral traits include openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Is it any wonder then that given a chose, we prefer to surround ourselves with colleagues that fit in with our own behavior and mirror our own goals? When somebodies goals differ and selfishness is front and center, it is a bit like bullying. The atmosphere is rife with fear. Strong conflict management will call the bully out. The problem is when the bully is the manager

Another point worth making is that the bully personality is not prone to one organization. He or she can appear anywhere even in non-profits. Examine the Myers-Briggs personality assessment. This is one of the most widely used psychological tests to analyze 16 distinct personality types, which include “The Doers” and “The Idealists.”

One of the strongest reasons an organization or team fail to reach their potential is the overwhelming presence of internal politics. The leadership should be held accountable as I said. However, the climate starts with the top. If the one setting policy behaves badly, the wrong vectors of engagement are put into motion. No one benefits in this atmosphere, except perhaps self destructive types.

What are internal/office politics and why do they even exist?
Essentially, politics result when an employee feels the need to manipulate others for their own welfare. They might feel this behavioral type is in line with corporate culture. When similar personality types take over the organization it has the power to create tension, stress, and havoc with anyone else within the company, a sort of with us or against us mentality sets in.

As a result, productivity gets stifled, morale drops to low levels, and various close-knit groups are formed ‒ all of which compete with each other in a negative sense. To use the analogy of energy, it’s like several forces pulling in different directions.

Office politics constitute several forms amongst the staff including:

• Backstabbing
• Disrespect for colleagues and superiors
• Resentment
• Jealousy
• Insecurity
• Hatred
• Power struggles
• Favouritism /Injustice
• Nepotism
• Gossip and rumours
• Tight knit groups
• Malfeasance
• Possibly bullying as a result of aggression

According to a recent Inc. magazine article by Janine Popick, at her email company, she identifies 4 “office politicians” that will poison your culture. They are, the bully, the ass-kisser, the information withholder, and the squeaky wheel.

Office politics exist in various intensities and for several reasons, though it starts with people ‒ all of whom are of different origin, background, personality type, come to work with personal baggage and have their own agenda. The business lacks cohesiveness amongst its staff and leadership.

The blame for this outcome goes squarely to the organization’s management which is either oblivious to the fact or negligent in eradicating it. Therefore, accountability begins at the top of the organization, department or division. Incidentally, politics don’t solely exist in large companies but in mid-size and small enterprises too ‒ though more prevalent in larger companies due to the number of employees and managers.

What initiates it in the first place and subsequently makes it thrive are:

• Deficient direction from the top,
• Lack of teamwork amongst the staff and management,
• Negative vibes within the organizational culture, and
• A lack of communication.

For reasons specified above, internal politics shouldn’t be tolerated. Some would argue it’s a fact of life and ought to be regarded as a necessary evil. Those same people have not understood or concerned about the negative effects it causes an organization.

The solutions that can be implemented to minimize politics require initiative and conscientious effort. It’s also not a onetime effort but an ongoing monitoring process.

They are as follows:

1. Hiring employees with the right attitude rather than focus solely in skills

2. Concise job descriptions, proper onboarding and continuous training along with shared organizational values

3. Putting in leadership positions, those who are respected, competent in their role and can empower their subordinates

4. Avoiding any means of favoritism ‒ total equality

5. No sign of nepotism ‒ most notably in in smaller organizations

6. Developing and implementing a sound communication strategy ‒ replacing confusion with clarity and uncertainty with certainty

7. Seeking creative ways to boost morale and making every employee feel as if part of a cohesive family working together in a positive team spirit for a common goal

8. Offer incentive compensation arrangements which reward performance and teamwork, hence are aligned with the goals of the overall organization

9. There should be no direct reporting to anyone the employee has a personal relationship with

10. Making it clear, with constant reminders, that there is zero tolerance for animosity amongst the staff. Moreover, encourage openness with an open door policy along with the ability for the staff to discreetly convey their complaints and labour disputes to a third/neutral party, as well as encourage suggestions for improvements.

Consider this typical scenario as an approach to minimizing politics at your company. If you’re in a situation when you meet with one of your staff members, perhaps a direct report, he/she might start criticizing a colleague in subtle ways so as to indirectly give his/her best appearance. This is a sign of political play.

The most effective way to put an end to it is by tactfully explaining why it’s not morally correct to speak behind anyone’s back. Rather, urge this person to discuss or assist his/her colleague head-on despite requiring some courage to do so.

In conclusion, it is clear that politics are a detriment to any organization. It’s up to the leadership to identify and stamp it out through its intolerance policy. It is, after all, management’s responsibility to monitor the culture, morale and productivity of the staff, otherwise the situation may become too misaligned overwhelming affecting the bottom line.

There is no such thing as “ditty” office politics. Its mere existence is adequate to cause strain to the organization and its employees – regardless of stature. It is unethical behaviour. If there’s a conflict, stop it in its tracks by going to the source of it. This should be done in person, and if necessary one-on-one in a private setting. Perhaps some coaching along with talk straight may be necessary to discuss how to work well with the other individual and encourage this person to talk to each other.

At the end of the day, office politics is the direct result of a lack of focus and lack of teamwork. Someone has to take responsibility for it. Encourage your staff to work in harmony and keep an eye out for the office politicians. Politics is a human dilemma. If you can’t eliminate it, at east contain it. Consider conflict management in your human resources arsenal.

Article Title: Corporate Communications: Navigating Internal Politics
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
James D. Roumeliotis is an expert on brand management and corporate communications based in Montreal, Canada. He is a regular contributor to RedHerring.

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BrandCom Goes Sprezzy

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“When your brand is sprezzy and very Pitti…”

In order to thrive in an environment cluttered with white noise, brands need to create their own magic kingdom in order to stand out. Content marketing practioners have many arrows in their quiver. The question is which tools suit your project best, and secondly who are the recipients of the targeted messages. For any effective communications campaign to pull its weight, an understanding of what the constituency is looking for is primordial.

For example, use a sexy woman nibbling chocolate, and you can stir up a hornets nest of fantasy. Take the luxury chocolatier, Godiva as a case in point. The customer base wants their chocolate to conjure up sensuality and romance. Nobody mentions we crave the magnesium in the cacao. Magnesium sounds so clinical.

One of my clients talks frequently of magnificent encounters online. I am not sure if he is referring to a Steven Spielberg film or some romantic liaison. However, web audiences demand ever increasing forms of entertainment. The professional term here is engagement.

When Galaxy Chocolate in Australia issued its outstanding campaign, they featured a video of a Audrey Hepburn clone. The impact was swift and the advert went viral. GC clearly enticed their audience with a feel good factor. Who doesn’t recognize the iconic scenes inspired from Roman Holiday!

Most viewers of social media channels view their mediums unconsciously. The DNA of communications are designed to manipulate a viewers attitudes and beliefs. Since most people are not Zen masters, their emotions when appropriately stimulated, influence their decision making trigger to act on impulse. Astute marketing managers recognize this and gear their online presence to generate marketing a high-impact experience.

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“When you’re walking into glory…”

Take another case, the online site of Omega. Their presence is sleek. Daniel Craig looks directly at you in his white shirt unbuttoned at the throat. He gives us that Bond, James Bond look. Immediately you feel whisked to the baccarat tables in Casino Royal. Here however, the corporate communications angle is geared to show social and community commitment to a noble cause. Awareness of their commitment can justify a purchaser’s reasoning when shelling out for this luxury brand.

Both Daniel Craig and Omega have supported ORBIS International and its Flying Eye Hospital. The Hour Vision Blue helps make it possible. This is just one example how corporate ethics links brand equity to social responsibility. It also underscores organizational values in support of a recognized charity. In this instance, everyone concerned benefits. You buy the watch and have a guilt free experience. The emotional take-away is “I feel good about myself”.

Now open up another web page. Visit Dolce & Gabbana. The page is image rich. The business intelligence behind this outfit shows you why this brand thrives within its Sicilian fantasy kingdom. Some viewers may find the site overwhelming. I think you will enjoy the complexity. Watch their latest videos. Scan their collections. Feel the Dolce & Gabbana universe of sensuality and family. Sicily is a lifestyle best savored over a fine claret if you cannot be in Palermo.

Studies show that viewers like spending time within the D&G community. You might decide to purchase something from their online store. I think it’s more likely that you’ll visit the shop. Most clients want to know if the universe online is real. Looks can be deceiving. Everyone wants tactile verification. Even employees want to falling in love with the brand they represent.

If you doubt this principal, watch the Saturday morning cartoons with a group of young children. See their reactions. Better still, wait for the breakfast cereal adverts. Notice the free toys and prizes. The children will choose a cereal at the supermarket for the “reward”. However, as everyone has experienced, the “prize” rarely measures up to the image held in the mind.

This is what luxury firms must take care not to do. Do not create a desire for something you cannot deliver on. Expectations may change when we become adults, but our desires remain the same in their childlike anticipations of indulgence and love of magic. Everyone is waiting for that magnificent encounter. Deliver beyond expectations, and you will have created your own magic kingdom.

Article Title: BrandCom Goes Sprezzy
Photographs: (1)finest (2)what-do-i-wear

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

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Ivy Style Aesthetics

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“When your Ivy sensibilities are on parade…”

Nobody embodies the Ivy style better than the Kennedy’s did. Their public lives choreograph elegance and nonchalance in spades whether sailing, walking on the beach, playing touch football, or even dressed for more formal occasions demanded by the situation. Their look and feel are natural, unstudied, and clearly understated. Preppies don’t do bling-bling. They might fancy crazy colors such as kelly green and coral pink, but this is just to show off their inner party animal.

It’s not hard to understand why preppy aesthetics were glorified in the Fifties and Sixties. The style and clothes speak the vernacular of confidence. Cuts were simple. The lines clean and the color palate on target. In the USA, clothes have always been aspirational. Hollywood clearly delivered this message.

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“Do you really think I should flaunt my pearls…”

What is also curious is that at a certain point, the Ivy style became cool thanks to Blues and Jazz musicians such as Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, and the Chet Baker. The look is best relayed on those iconic album cover jackets issued by Blue Note. Everyone loved the stylistic voice married to the music. Aspiring individuals looked to these iconic individuals for their personal menswear cues. In cinema, Steve McQueen breathes this style down to his fingertips.

sm_ivy-style

“There’s no need to escape; I already live in California…”

Today, in an age of uncertainty people are confused for a whole host of reasons. Perhaps, this partly explains a return to forever. We search for an anchor to give us meaning in a rapidly changing and challenging world. In the past, clothes had two principle categories: white collar and blue collar.

What is amusing is to think that workwear has gone up market.Think traditional Red Wing boots from their heritage collection, the mania for selvage, and the re-edition by certain American and Japanese firms for authentic pieces. No working person in their right mind would pay +$250 for a pair of dungarees. Fanatics however, will spare no cost because of a current trend for craft and heritage. RRL exemplifies this passion for detail down to the tiniest stud and stitch.

red_workwear-style

“When you’d walk a mile for a camel…”

Clothes have always had a symbolic power to transform. Previously, diverse stations in life required us to wear different uniforms. Although this is still true within certain circles and professions, there is much freedom and lassitude. With freedom comes choice and for many choice is confusing. To tell a young man or woman today that wearing denim was once a revolutionary statement would make the most churlish among us break down with laughter.

Take for example, a proper sack suit. Despite the rage for slim everything, this suit can still be had. Let me share another less familiar name with you: Norman Hilton. They cut a sack suit to die for. The armholes are high and give maximum movement to the shoulder. Best of all are the mother of pearl or horn buttons on the jacket sleeves. Speaking of buttonholes, they all function. There is even a slit in the left lapel for a flower. Perfect for cocktail parties or a day at the races. Concerning the shoulder, there is minimal or no padding.

Many of the small shops of the Ivy Style heyday such as Chipps no longer exist. JPress recently closed its on Madison Avenue HQ, presumably for another location. However, the Andover Store in Cambridge, Mass is still are flourishing. Brooks is still around and of course there is Ralph Lauren.

With JPress aside, two of the key tailors, who still make fabulous sack suits are Southwick and Norman Hilton. For fans of preppy aesthetics, I highly counsel that you visit these noble establishments. Both tailors use the finest fabrics such as Harris Tweed and Loro Piana. For example, at Norman Hilton, all their jackets are still made the old fashioned way in the Garment District of New York. Very few factories have the know how to put together a proper sack jacket that actually fits. They do.

I love Hilton’s authentic natural shoulder, undarted front, true 3/2 roll notch lapel, and hooked back vent. Although these are details are essential to the jacket, they are difficult to produce properly. This firm however, has dug into their archives to keep the cut right. Their American factory produces the most authentic natural shoulder jackets you will find on the market. In addition to the jackets and suits, the firm also manufacturers its own trousers and ties. Both are also made in New York. You will be impressed.

Norman Hilton is not exactly a newcomer to the scene. The brand has quite a heritage. The firm launched in 1888. By 1947, Norman entered the family business. By attending both Princeton and Harvard Business School, he built a deep understanding of what we refer to today as preppy aesthetics.

Here’s an interesting bit of info: Did you know that Norman invested in Ralph Lauren before anyone else, and even manufactured much of his collection during RL early years? Nice bit of trivia, what.

Article Title: Ivy Style Aesthetics
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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MBA More Than Retail Therapy

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“And she’s buying a stairway to heaven…”

We recognize that applying to business school is a major decision. As one pundit recently claimed while addressing the topic of MBA Admissions, “many are called but few are accepted”. Looked at from another perspective, victims recite problems, but leaders present solutions. Leadership at Careo is a question of spirit and attitude. It has nothing to do with job titles. This process applies to any individual regardless of background, age, or experience.

Tip No.1: Get A Strategy
What we deliver at Careo are the principles, tools, and tactics to teach you how to get explosive MBA Admissions results. The methodology we employ will boost your performance at work, help you innovate with vigor, and even reshape your personal life.

Every former MBA applicant can tell you that the MBA Admissions process is a snake pit. It is not as transparent as it should be. In many regards, it has become shrouded in mystery and anxiety. To apply our self leadership guidelines, the first step is to examine what the top MBAs are really looking for in order to get to yes.

Tip No.2: Prioritize
The road to getting to yes at top MBA admit is littered with the bodies and applications of thousands. We have helped many people tackle the challenges of MBA Admissions from many of the world’s most successful business organizations. We can certainly help you sort the wheat from the chaff by getting you to prioritize and set the appropriate MBA Admissions goals.

Tip No.3: Exploit Your Potential
Potential MBA candidates are bombarded with MBA Admissions tips online and off line. First, you must sift through the official information provided by the business schools. Secondly, you must maintain a positive attitude. There is a universal principle at play here that few comprehend. Results are created twice. First the result is created in your mind and then it is created in fact.

Tip No.4: Forget Rejection
As I have already stated, victims recite problems. The MBA essays and GMAT require hard work and careful planning. It comes down to profile building and strategic marketing once you make the decision to commit yourself to do the MBA. Do not even let the concept of rejection enter your mind. If you do, you are on track to fail.

ad_tips-mba-admissions

“When everything is not caviar ‘n champagne…”

The Process
Let’s examine the self leadership principles to put you on track to getting to yes in your quest for MBA Admissions.

1) Commitment
Recognize that you must give the MBA Admissions process 100% commitment. Do not worry about who else is applying. You have no control over who else applies. At the end of the day, it comes down to having a positive attitude and selling your achievements.

2) Choice
The leading business schools recruit from a global elite. Hence, the MBA Admissions Committee is spoiled for choice. Each business school stresses leadership, uniqueness, and selectivity. Make sure that you are applying to those business schools best suited to your profile and professional goals. Forget the business school rankings. They are no more than a glorified beauty contest. Any top MBA will deliver an outstanding education.

Do not just apply to the usual suspects. Consider other programs. Concerning the number of programs to which you should apply, there is no magical number. In general, it is considered wise to apply to at least 4. Most MBA candidates apply to six business schools on average.

3) Attributes
Examine the language the school uses to “sell” its attributes. Harvard Business School is a case and point: “We encourage candidates who can benefit from — and contribute to — a transformative education in which students challenge and learn from each other as they test their growing leadership abilities.

To create a dynamic environment that mirrors the breadth and depth of our world economy, we seek diversity. Each fall, we welcome 900 students representing more than seventy countries and a wide range of interests and backgrounds. While our students’ lives and experiences vary greatly, they all share a demonstrated capacity for leadership and a desire to effect positive change. For the right person, now is the right time to apply.”

Notice the stress on leadership. Most candidates simply do not have this focus. For those who do, you will need to prove true leadership in order to be considered. The emergence of an individual’s leadership talent does not follow a pre-determined schedule. Because the leading MBAs are constantly recalibrating age profiles, number of years of work experience, and social backgrounds (read politically correct unofficial quotas), you will need to match the criteria.

“Ultimately, you are in the best position to determine whether you are ready to apply.”

This statement is clearly as the French state, “wooden language”. It means everything and nothing. Re-translating the sentence, what it states is: Are you ready to exercise self leadership to be your best?

If your heart is bent on doing this degree, the answer should be an unequivocal “yes”.

4) Financials
Another key point: Carefully review the MBA Admissions and Financial Aid sections before you apply. Begin with their Admission Criteria pages. Take advantage of any MBA Admissions events in your area and network with alumni.

relaxed_MBA-coaching-admissions

“When getting accepted to a top MBA makes you sprezzy…”

5) Which MBA
Choosing the appropriate school is like a marriage. On the basis of a recent WCW survey published by the Careers Starters in Switzerland, I recommend the following schools for serious consideration. They are not listed in any particular order. Please note that European MBA programs are more transparent when it comes to counseling potential MBAs.

They also recruit more mature and seasoned candidates. If you have deep experience, you will find these programs better value for money. They provide excellent networks. If you plan to live and work in Europe, they will probably serve your career aspirations with more intimacy.

From my view the leading programs are: INSEAD, London Business School, IMD, IE Business School, IESE Business School, HEC-Paris, Said Business School at Oxford, and Judge School of Business at Cambridge. Are there others? You bet there are! As George Orwell might have stated, “Some MBAs are more equal than others”. My only counsel is to choose wisely. It is not necessary to go to the USA as it once was.

In addition, please note that there are outstanding MBA programs all over the world. It depends on you, what you really want, and how much this degree really is worth to you. An MBA is a major investment in time, money, and sweat equity.

In the USA, American business schools market their programs like tupperwear parties. The usual suspects in this category are for the most part household names. Depending on the source, ranking criteria bring up similar names but not necessary in the same order.

The MBA top 10 wish list include: Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, Wharton Business School, Columbia Business School, Tuck at Dartmouth, Yale School of Management, Stern at NYU, Anderson at UCLA, Haas at UC-Berkely, University of Chicago-Booth, and Kellogg at Northwestern. Are there others?

Of course there are. MIT-Sloan comes immediately to mind. US News publishes a comprehensive catalog worth consulting. In the States, there are literally thousands of schools from which to choose. Americans do not choose their MBAs with the same criteria as non-American MBA applicants.

Although top MBAs are more international in their outlook, many others are still very “provincial”. If you are not an American and you want to do an MBA in the States, think the process carefully through. For example, do you really want to be in Ann Arbor Michigan at Ross University of Michigan?

Ross might offer an excellent education, but if you are from a cosmopolitan city, you might find yourself out of place. We had one client the other year, who did and regretted her choice. Don’t make the same mistake.

An MBA has the potential to dramatically alter the course of your career. Despite criticism in the media on MBAs, this form of education has the power to act as a career catalyst. This type of education is not for everyone, but can be a transformational experience if properly exploited. To give yourself the best chance to get accepted, your application merits feedback from an objective and knowledgeable source.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”.

Article Title: MBA More Than Retail Therapy
Photographs: (1)curated by ES, (2)thinkdifferent, (3)lucarubinacci

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on | MBA Admissions | Career Management | Personal Brand Management | Talent Development | Life & Career Coaching |

Let us start by celebrating your success story. We hold to the principle that it is not how good you are, but how good you would like to become. We are honored to have been recommended across the French media in – Le Figaro, L’Express, Capital – and by Success & Career in Switzerland.

As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”.

For further inspiration
Visit Whitefield Consulting Worldwide

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How To Define Culture

war_culture-brand-management

“When the prophets write on subway walls…”

In an age where managing across cultures is the sine quo non of standard business practices, it is amazing to see how many people still do not understand. Appreciating distinct cultural realms from your own should be a standard human value. One of the best journalists to ever write on this subject was Ryszard Kapuscinski. Take for example his work, Travels With Herodotus. Managing across cultures is nothing new and as ancient as the Greeks themselves.

Here’s what Kapuscinski says in a chapter entitled, Rabi Sings The Upanishads:

“Only in India did I realize that my unfamiliarity with English was meaningless – insofar as only the elite spoke it here. Less than 2% of the population! The rest spoke one of the dozens of languages. In this sense, my not knowing English helped me feel closer, more akin to the ordinary folk in the cities or the peasants in the villages I passed.”

party_brand-management

“There are more ways than one to have a party…”

His experiences reminded me of my first encounter in India with a great sage. After sitting patiently on the cement pavement in the blazing sun, this sage gazed into my eyes and almost put me into a hypnotic trance before he addressed me directly:

“We all belong to one family; The human family. There is only one language, and it is the language of love.”

The more I have travelled and worked across cultures, the more those words rang in my ears. All distinctions we contrive in order to segregate each other with labels are only skin deep. It is unbecoming to “discriminate”. The only benefit is to perpetuate our own phobias, which foster insecurity.

Any analytical study proves that cultures affect management practices across the line from organizational structure to strategic implementation. Even HR people make cardinal mistakes according to how they have been culturally indoctrinated. Managers and business leaders owe it to themselves to consider alternative approaches to their actions, particularly when engaged in cross-cultural situations.

What makes somebody American, French or Chinese is simply education and cultural conditioning. What we learn can be unlearned. The mind is but a garden of thoughts. If we put unbecoming thoughts into this energy field, is it any wonder that we reap negative consequences.

What can be perceived as “normal” is only a relative experience. By changing our glasses, we can discover a new awareness on how to operate as well as behave. Appreciating distinct cultures broadens the mind and gives us the tools to fostering self leadership where diversity challenges us to be the best we can be.

brooklyn_brand-management

“Why do we judge people on superficial criteria…”

Outcomes in all cross-cultural operations depend on our effectiveness and understanding of ourselves as well as human behavior. You will not only be better at what you do but also enhance your appreciation for our global village and the initiatives we can take.

How To Define Culture
Defining culture reminds me of the parable of five blind men touching a part of an elephant and then trying to describe the bloody beast. One feels the trunk and pronounces it is long like a snake. Another holds a leg and states that it is as solid as an old oak.

All they were doing is describing the elephant from their own mutual and respective positions. Their awareness of the size, scope, and power of the elephant is limited by the lack of culture, i.e. the full picture.

The same problem arises when we as professionals, academics, or travellers try to engage people from cultures apart from our own without preparation and sensitivity. Here is a silly example: Have you ever tried to describe the taste of an Alfonso mango in season picked ripe off the tree to someone who has never tasted one?

Is describing the flavour as liquid sunshine sufficient?

Can it be compared to any other fruit?

I rest my case.

Uniqueness Is Distinct
The first rule of thumb in managing across cultures is to come to grips with the uniqueness of the environment. The same holds true when analyzing and penetrating business scenarios abroad. Hands-on practice gives tangible experience you can taste and come to terms with.

To come to grips with cultures, you must be able to feel its pulse, speak its language, and understand the nature of its food. Food and language are the first and easiest access entry points to understanding.

The USA As Paradigm
Like many country’s, the culture and business environment of the USA is a layer of paradoxes. Probe the layers, and you begin to see the true psyche. Can someone understand the mentality of the USA without eating an authentic hamburger and French fries in a diner off the NJ Turnpike?

Imagine trying to convey the arcane details and statistics of baseball. What could be more American than baseball or hot apple pie? To non-Americans, mundane attributes should be held in their fingertips. By doing so, you gain a perspective beyond the images of reality television programmes and films made in Hollywood. The same principal applies to any cultural environment.

To begin your own cultural transformation and appreciation of “the other”, steep yourself in history, folklore, and even political institutions of the place you intend to engage. This will provide you with a foundation to probe in order to comprehend the present content.

For example, were you to embark on a journey to Turkey what would you expect?

Forget “Midnight Express”. Start by examining current voices and trying to climb into their skins. Take the case of one of Turkey’s greatest contemporary voices, Orphan Pamuk. His work entitled, Istanbul enables readers the opportunity to inhabit his world, the evolution of the city, its climate, its attitudes and behavior. It has not been easy for the Turks to come to grips with their heritage and their desire to join the European Union.

When you hear certain European politicians pronounce on Turkey, you can hear the cacophony of ignorance sway like a gentle breeze over the Bosporus. To package holidaymakers, the locals serve as a backdrop to their vacation of sea, sex, and fun. Such relationships rest superficial and inconsequential. Lastly, to better comprehend any culture, you must spend serious time there, build relationships and take the country on the ground in which it presents itself to you, and not what you think it is or should be in your imagination.

Remain open and flexible. Let the culture fill your pores, and you will drink the nectar of intimate recognition so that when you do leave, you can act as a bridge across cultures beyond stereotypes and prejudice. Truly understanding cultures is not necessarily classifying them into pigeonholes. How many of us can effectively describe the codes of our own cultures and their self-evident paradoxes?

Few. Understand your self, and you will be able to glide in and out of other cultures as a dolphin dances in the Aegean Sea with grace.

Article Title: How To Define Culture
Photographs: (1)ES (2)(3) curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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Experiments With Truth

dancin_career-management

“I wonder when Gene Kelly is gonna get here…”

Mahatma Gandhi stipulated that “experiments with truth were easier in the marketplace than in the wilderness”. Only recluses remove themselves beyond the mundane world. A true hermit lives in the cave of his or her heart. This is the ultimate among “experiments with truth”.

Like every professional, one dear friend was determined to succeed. She pushed everything else away, including her experiments with truth. The results left her bruised. Does this sound familiar?

Stoically, she refused to give in. Slowly, alcohol took over, and she lost her center. Experiments with truth constitute a slippery path. Everyone thinks they can handle career challenges, but the genie is hard to put back in the proverbial bottle. Narcotics are not experiments with truth. Drugs are best left to shamans.

Fortunately, my friend discovered Patanjali’s Eight Limbed Path. This was her rescue ladder. It led her to Babaji’s kriya yoga. Discipline is a secure platform to foster change. It’s safe and has no negative side effects.

Seeking escape is nothing new. From time immemorial, people have had to clean their dishes, take out their garbage, and do their laundry. It is a question of resolve. “Communing with nature” takes place without effort. It is natural because we have come to terms with cleaning out our own stables.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau understood the power of cleaning their stables. Their experiments with truth led many Americans to re-evaluate their lifestyles. They also believed that the spirit transcended the physical and empirical universe. To their credit, they advocated reliance on “intuition”. In Emerson’s essay, Nature, he wrote:

“We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; The divine soul inspires all men.”

Emerson ended his essay on truth by calling for a “revolution in human consciousness”. It is a shame that he was unfamiliar with Nasruddin. Nasruddin would have agreed with Emerson’s belief in intuition as a source of truth. However, he would have added, “You can lead a donkey to water, but you cannot make him drink”. Nasruddin is every generation’s expert when it comes to understanding the nature of a jackass.

Thoreau came closer to understanding his experiments with truth by gleaning wisdom from The Gita. Christopher Isherwood’s translation is worthy of your attention. It is a blueprint to any anyone seeking change.

Instituting change in lifestyles or careers puts us at a crossroads. Choices need to be made. Making the right decision is not as complicated as it appears. In fact, it is quite simple. Start by stripping hyperbole away from your reality. The truth will clearly manifest.

guru_career-management

“When all that glitters is not gold…”

Last year, I met a wise sage who lives on the outskirts of Bangalore. Her words hold deep clarity:

“I feel clean
I feel free
I feel ready to live each day with zest
I am delighted by the adventure of each moment.”

See what you can do, when you conduct your own Experiments With Truth.

Article Title: Experiments With Truth
Photographs: (1)mcalaboica (2)hippyfilth

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on | MBA Admissions | Career Management | Personal Brand Management | Talent Development | Life & Career Coaching |

Let Careo start by celebrating your success story. We hold to the principle that it is not how good you are, but how good you would like to become. We are honored to have been recommended across the French media in – Le Figaro, L’Express, Capital – and by Success & Career in Switzerland.

As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”.

For further inspiration
Visit Whitefield Consulting Worldwide

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Hokusai & The Return To Forever

mtfuji_hokusai-style

“Staring at the lonely mountain…”

Perhaps no Japanese artist has been more highly acclaimed throughout the world than Hokusai (1760-1849). Less than ten years after his death in the mid nineteenth century he became a legend in the West. Perhaps his legacy was most appreciated by the French and particularly the Impressionists. One visit to Monet’s house in Giverny, and you see how obsessed the French artist was with capturing fleeting moments. His influence however does not end there: Think Debussy’s, La Mer and Marcel Proust’s, In Search of Lost Time.

In the eyes of foreigners, Hokusai’s work encapsulates the very essence of the Japanese spirit and style. What was true then undoubtedly holds today, with the current trend and fascination for streamlined design based on function and intrinsic beauty.

The French and others began to borrow Hokusai’s style once Felix Bracquemond, distributed works he found of his manga at his printer in 1856. In addition to Monet, the Hokusai legacy can be found in the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Van Gogh and even Seurat.

water_hokusai

“Where the only reflection, is your own…”

Examining Hokusai’s work and the viewer is struck by his prodigious genius. There is the attention to detail tinged with eccentricity. The artist himself changed his name every time he entered a new period of creation, and even described himself as mad. One of Hokusai’s most iconic series was One Hundred Views Of Mount Fuji. It stands as a testament to Zen. I myself have stared into these images and almost drowned. They confront the viewer like Polaroid snapshots, lethal in their simplicity, but poignant in their determination to touch the essence of any human quest.

As he stated: “From the age of six I have had a passion for copying the form of things and since the age of fifty I have published many drawings, yet of all I drew by my seventieth year there is nothing worth taking into account. At seventy-three years I partly understood the structure of animals, birds, insects and fishes, and the life of grasses and plants. And so, at eighty-six I shall progress further; at ninety I shall even penetrate their secret meaning, and by one hundred I shall perhaps truly have reached the level of the marvelous and the divine.”

Hokusai’s output was staggering. It includes thousands of paintings, prints, illustrated books and teaching manuals intended for aspiring artists. His most famous work is The Wave. I overheard one soul at the Hokusai retrospective now on show at the Grand Palais in Paris to remark that this was his Mona Lisa moment. Whatever you might think of this comment, you will notice at the exhibit that the crowd pondering this image is staggering.

Speaking of this exhibit, I should mention that it is the largest retrospective of Hokusai ever held outside of Japan. The idea to hold such an event belongs to Seiji Nagata, who is the director of the Katsushika Hokusai Museum of Art in Tokyo.

Her purpose is to expose a large public to the diversity of Hokusai’s work as well as to highlight the influence the Floating World and particularly Hokusai, has had on French art. Although the French discovered the Floating World and the famous wood block prints in the nineteenth century, its rich images, motifs, and colors still impact on French manga today.

Ironically, it was Hokusai who integrated Western ideas on perspective into his work, which allowed him to integrate his passion for capturing a fleeting moment. Unlike any of his contemporaries, Hokusai developed his own sense of aesthetics in which human beings appear detached from reality and enveloped in sadness. The legacy he left mirrored the courage he exercised throughout his life drawing on a sense of deep solitude and concentration. I defy anyone to see this exhibit and walk away unmoved.

hok_hokusai-japanese-art

“Catch a wave and you’re standing on top of the world…”

Hokusai, Grand Palais, Paris
October 1- November 20 2014
December 1- January 18 2015

*It is highly advisable to buy tickets in advance.

Article Title: Hokusai & The Return To Forever
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. Our expertise lies in brand journalism, blogging with the purpose of content creation, sparking emotion. Inspire your audience, which generates action with meaningful results.

If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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