George Hook's blog

I did wonder if I would be alive to see the day when Sinn Féin topped the poll, says George Hook, yet last Friday, their supporters voted in their hundreds of thousands

30/05/14 at 09:25 AM | 0 Comments

"I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it."

Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men

Colonel Nathan Jessop in the above mentioned film was undone by his own arrogance. His famous courtroom speech, which still stings in my head from the bitter force of Nicholson's masterful delivery, was to prove his undoing. As the highest ranked officer in the military, Jessop personified Caeser's wife and believed himself to be above reproach. He acted on the instinct of his own gut and let morals and ethics fall by the way side. He neither took advice nor sought consultation. Ultimately, his pig headed defiance cost him his freedom. 

After dragging its heels for far too long on the issue of player concussion, the IRB is finally beginning to do something about it, says George Hook

23/05/14 at 09:57 AM | 0 Comments

Saturday nights Pro12 semi final at the RDS restored my faith in the game of rugby union. As Brian O'Driscoll lay slumped in a heap in the middle of the pitch after smashing his head in a tackle, I questioned whether the Leinster medical staff would do the right thing.

Would the great centre stagger to his feet and insist on playing on for the rest of the second half, as he has done on numerous previous occasions, or would the experts intervene and demand that he come off for treatment?

Thankfully common sense prevailed and in spite of his protests, O'Driscoll was helped off the field of play.  There was little doubt about the seriousness of what had happened; the Ireland centre took a heavy blow to the head in the act of making a tackle and he appeared to be concussed. His head came in direct contact with an opposition players knee and in the sixty seconds that followed, O'Driscoll was unable to move.

When it comes to education, we could learn a thing or two from corporate America, says George Hook

16/05/14 at 09:28 AM | 0 Comments

Ever heard of ROWE? Results-Only Work Environment? Rowe is an initiative that was started by the founders of an American company, Best Buy, in 2003. Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson were looking for a way to get maximum productivity from their employees without the need to 'sit on them' 24/7 and micro manage their output.

They came up with Rowe. Rowe encompasses a set of guidelines that encourages employees to work when they want, how they want, as long as they deliver results. The system allows people the freedom to choose their working hours and the chance to create an environment in which to operate. In exchange for that freedom, the employer demands optimum individual productivity.  

As the trial of Oscar Pistorius resumes in South Africa, George Hook is grateful to live in a country where gun violence generally limits itself to drug gangs and criminals

09/05/14 at 09:17 AM | 0 Comments

Fear causes people to do things that, under normal circumstances, they would never even contemplate. Fear by its very nature challenges opposite ends of the human spectrum; it has the ability to drive an act of madness just as it can render a body completely frozen and useless.

Its primary focus, though, is to protect its inhabiter. We know this through personal experience; fear can often form a safe guard, enabling a person to escape imminent danger, and also by studying the animal kingdom where fear acts as an invisible shield for vulnerable prey.

Fear can conjure adrenaline out of thin air; it has been known to give a parent super human strength in order to save a child.

Feminism has its share of extremists. but the majority simply strive for a fairer slice of the pie, says George Hook

02/05/14 at 09:14 AM | 0 Comments

I am a Feminist. There, I said it. I am a feminist and I am proud of it. No, I haven't lost my marbles and I am not going soft in the head. I believe that the world would be a better place with more women at the helm and as things stand, there are far too many men in positions of power.

That I belong to the male species is neither here nor there. If anything, it has given me a greater insight into how poorly women are treated by members of the opposite sex. It is amazing what one can find out as a paid-up member of the hairy inner circle.

Feminism has had a bad name since its inception all the way back in the mid nineteenth century.  For a lot of people, the word 'feminist' conjures up negative images of angry, bra-less women, charging around from protest to protest, fiery eyes piercing anything resembling the male species.

Paper is easily destroyed and buried but writing something on the internet leaves a permanent mark, says George Hook

25/04/14 at 09:18 AM | 0 Comments

An elderly woman, born in Ireland, but living in Derby, England for most of her life lost her husband last week. Neither her sister (72) nor any of her three brothers from Ireland (all in their mid 70s and early 80s) attended the funeral.

The siblings in Ireland had made little effort to keep in touch with their sister over the years, but such was the woman's disgust at what she considered a blatant show of disrespect that she sat down and wrote each of them a letter.

The vitriol and anger towards her brothers and sister in the letters was overwhelming. The woman wrote that she never wanted to hear from or see any of them ever again. She explained that she had instructed her family not to inform them of her death upon her passing and proceeded to highlight all of their faults and shortcomings in an obscene and detailed manner.

Each of the letters was a personal, stinging attack and each letter arrived at its recipients door in Ireland two days later.

George Hook believes that facing up to our calorie consumption is the first step towards controlling it

18/04/14 at 09:37 AM | 0 Comments

Self denial is the fastest route to disaster. It is one thing to be dealt a bad hand but failing to acknowledge a problem only makes it ten times worse. To bury ones head in the sand is to leave the rest of the body exposed and what use is protecting the head if the body is vulnerable to slaughter?

Denial is one of the chief causes of obesity. As a general rule an obese person will take shelter from the strain of weight gain by eating and engaging in habits that merely compound the problem:

Person is overweight, person feels bad, person finds comfort in food.

It is a well documented and common vicious circle. Breaking the cycle requires painful self assessment and facing up to an uncomfortable truth.

On the sports field, like in most things, self praise is no praise, says George Hook

11/04/14 at 08:25 AM | 0 Comments

There is a Room 101 in my head and I am running out of space. It's been a while since I last watched an episode and I've been told that Frank Skinner presents the current edition of the TV show. For those who haven't seen it, the idea is very simple. People come on and air their grievances - things that really get up their noses - and they explain why they feel their gripes are worthy of a place on the conveyor belt.

The mark of a true leader is someone who shows character when things aren't going well, says George Hook

04/04/14 at 09:12 AM | 0 Comments

A visibly shook Enda Kenny gave the graveside oration at the funeral of Fine Gael TD Nicky McFadden (pictured) last week. An Taoiseach struggled for composure as he described his former colleague's battle with motor neurone disease and the courage with which she faced her awful fate.

Her family and friends spoke of their admiration for the bravery Nicky displayed right up until the end. Her commitment to fight in the face of hopelessness, her determination to work on until her body gave out, it must have been so difficult. In the most horrific of circumstances, the Athlone TD revealed her true self to the world. Her dignity and courage was nothing short of remarkable.

I thought of my old friend Colm Murray. The former broadcaster displayed the same grit and determination after his shock diagnosis and while there could be no cure for him, Colm willingly offered himself forward for research and analysis so that one day, others might be saved.

As Shakespeare knew, words, in any form and at any stage, make a mark, says George Hook. And with his own words, Martin Callinan sealed his fate

28/03/14 at 09:15 AM | 0 Comments

William Shakespeare is widely regarded as one of the greatest wordsmiths the world has ever known. His plays, sonnets and soliloquies have wrapped the literary world in wonder for many, many years.

Shakespeare's gift with words was extraordinary. He could blow a stagnant plot to smithereens with the gentle slide of a question mark. He could transform a villain to the shrines of heroism with one simple sentence. Still, to this day, the world marvels at his prose and continues to learn from his literary craftsmanship.

Words poured from his brain like sprinkling trinkets from a fountain. Shakespeare had an incredible gift for narrative arrangement and a deep understanding of the potential of language. He pushed boundaries, he was a perfectionist and he chose every word with the delicacy and care of a man crossing a minefield. 

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