Inspiring Filipino Excellence: Mike Grogan’s “The Rise of the Pinoy”


Most of the time, appreciating the sunrise as we wake up in the morning is way better than seeing the specks on our windows as we open them. Rejections, disappointments and obstacles should not, in any way, stop us from fulfilling our “unique assignments”.

This is what I realized after reading Mike Grogan‘s book “The Rise of The Pinoy: 7 Powerful Lessons of Success from 21 World-class Filipinos” which I purchased  at the 10th Philippine HR Congress held at SMX Convention, Pasay City on August 18. I even had it signed by the author, himself. This book written by the Irish Motivational Speaker,  Mike Grogan, is about the success stories and advice of selected Filipinos who thrived in businesses, professional speaking, writing, and management of non-profit organizations. Some of those are founders and Chief Executive Officers of Starbucks Philippines, Bo’s Coffee, Salt and Light, CBTL Holdings, and Manila Workshops, best-selling authors and motivational speakers like Francis Kong, Lloyd Luna, and Marianne Mencias, and heads of  Gawad Kalinga and Karinderia ni Mang Urot among others.

It also gives readers a glimpse of the writer’s personal struggles and insights gained from his experiences beginning when he chose to DECIDE to pursue his dream, test his dream, and eventually lead to his “unique assignment” as he calls it.

My initial reason for buying this book was curiosity; I was interested why an Irish man who had a robust job in the land of opportunities, United States, would stay in the Philippines and give talks to Filipinos with the belief that we will see a First World Philippines in this lifetime. What does this Irish man see in us, Filipinos, that we don’t realize and take for granted? After all, this was his introduction in his talk at the 10th HR Congress. He even wrote a book about Pinoys.

This book reveals the answers to such questions. Now, here are some of the reasons why I love reading this.

1. It emphasizes the value of getting in touch with our inner selves and reflecting on the event that happens to us, be it catastrophic or victorious, and moving forward after painful experiences, as ways to succeed. These are done through keeping a journal.

In the field of Psychology specifically Counseling and Psychotherapy, journal writing helps individuals become more aware of themselves, their thoughts, emotions, and reaction to situations, thus helping them cope with the environment. In addition, according to Center for Journal Therapy, the purposeful use of reflective writing fosters mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellness.

One person who was featured in the book even uses a journal phone application on a day to day basis which helps him improve, overcome his fears and become a great leader. He’s a motivational speaker, by the way. Because of the advent of technology, keeping a journal which was given importance in this book, is easier as compared to the traditional use of pen and paper, although the latter can also be done.

2. It gives Filipino readers  “hope” – hope for our country and its men.

 It’s gratifying that there’s a foreigner who is so passionate about bringing out the best in Filipinos and  Philippines. In fact, he dedicated this book to Overseas Filipino Workers whom he has connected with abroad.

I actually agree with what he and Tony Meloto, Founder of Gawad Kalinga, mentioned in the book that OFWs contribute much on a global level through the different occupations our fellow Filipinos engage in overseas. Moreover, there are booming Filipino companies that are now creating a place in the international arena like UNILAB, Jollibee, and San Miguel. It also emphasized the positive Filipino values that these successful men live by such as “pagkakawang-gawa”, “malasakit”, strong family ties, spirituality, and resilience.

3. Aside from being a source of inspiration, this is a self-help book with exercises and challenges that readers can actually work on to produce actual results.

 The approach, however, is somewhat psychological – phenomenological; readers need to be willing to actively engage in the process of self-discovery if they want to produce lasting results. If not, this will just be like other inspirational books out there in the market.

4. It makes success habits, techniques, and philosophies of remarkable Filipinos who have demonstrated success RESULTS readily available in one book at a reasonable price.

 It offers readers the  opportunity to acquire those, ponder upon and assess their effectiveness, and eventually utilize whichever is applicable for them. The golden secrets kept by twenty-one notable Filipinos are laid out on a single masterpiece; not a bad deal!

Francis Kong and Lloyd Luna also divulged their success principles in which aspiring authors and speakers can benefit from. I’m one of those aspiring speakers and I can say that this book introduced me to the first step in achieving my dream. That is testing first if this dream is really for me – if this is my “unique assignment”. So for me, this is just the beginning. As what Mike Grogan said, “The worst advice I could give you is to follow your dreams”. Read this book and find out why.

5. It presents success in a different light providing various meanings based on experiences of people from different walks of life, sex and age.

This also demonstrated how young people, millennials, attained what they consider success despite their age.

 For some reasons, I was able to finish reading the whole book in few hours. I was excited, I guess. But apart from that, I wanted to draw something out of it. I even listed some of the parts that I think are most useful.

This book is truly inspiring!

 Each chapter was presented in an organized and easy-to-understand manner with a recap at the end. However, I would have enjoyed reading it more if the presentation of the featured Filipinos is less predictable (i.e.  if there’s variety in the style and sequence).

 Also, since the book depicted the Filipino values as contributing factors to these men’s success, I am wondering how they overcome or deal with the negative Filipino traits that at times hamper the growth of an individual “Pinoy” and of “Pilipinas” as a nation. Some of those are crab mentality – the thinking “if I can’t have it, neither can you”,  “ningas kugon”,  and “mañana habit”. Just like a lotus flower that grows despite the dirty water, rising above the impurities around us, I think, is the best character Filipinos have.

 Nonetheless, this book is enlightening, insightful and worth reading!

Mabuhay Pilipinas!

About Maricon Hernandez 

Passion for learning and development while empowering the youth drives Maricon Hernandez.  

A dreamer, educator, human resources practitioner,  and travel enthusiast,  Maricon visits and explores various tourist destinations with her colleagues and friends. She also speaks in seminars and writes articles about topics she’s passionate about. She believes that learning is a life-long process; life is worthwhile when she adds value to other people’s lives through the gifts and resources she has.

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