Monday, May 30, 2005

Film Review: Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

First of all, I'm one of the seeming minority who really, really liked Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Yes, the dialogue was typical George Lucas, a little cornball, but hey, this is a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away - they talk differently there, okay?

But it was really, really compelling seeing the transformation from young man with potential to evil dark lord. And while critics slam the dialogue and acting of the Star Wars saga, what keeps it going is the power of the story behind it.

Seen as a whole, the Star Wars saga is really the life story of Anakin Skywalker. It's a study in how we all have so much potential, and we can really mess it up.

I liked how Episode III really got into why he turned: fear of loss.

Perhaps the best scene in the entire Star Wars ... what do you call a six-part series, sextology? ... anyway, perhaps the best scene in the whole series is the one where Palpatine (really the evil Darth Sidious) has what seems like a heart-to-heart chat with Anakin, opening his mind to the possibility of loss, and the thought, what if I could prevent loss, the thing I fear most, using the dark side, something I fear but know little about.

In Episodes 4, 5 and 6, the bad guys do some pretty terrible things, but Palpatine in Episode III - as portrayed fantastically by Ian McDiarmid - reaches the heights of evil. He appears, in his guise as senator, as a sincere, well-meaning old man, who just wants peace. Only when Anakin is already in thrall to him does he reveal his true nature.

It's only when he's been tricked by Palpatine into the dark side that Anakin says, "What have I done?"

It's a line that stuck in my mind. Because we all have choices, although few of us have such galaxy-affecting choices as did Anakin at that moment.

But from a galaxy far, far away come lessons for us today. In our everyday micro-choices, we get to choose good or bad - acting from fear of loss, or embracing life as it unfolds.

And it's often when we let go of the need to control life, that we find ourselves well and truly in the driver's seat.

So ... full marks to Star Wars Episode III, for being the scariest Star Wars instalment ever - and showing us our potential for good or evil.

UPDATE: After posting this, I found the Darth Vader Blog, via MessyChristian. Thanks Messy!

If you're at all conversant with Star Wars mythology, you'll appreciate the Darth Vader blog. It's very funny in some spots (especially Boba Fett's kiwi dialect!) and very profound in other bits. A talented person behind the blog... the force is strong with him. (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Book Review: The Joy of Laziness

Good news for people like me: Too much exercise can kill you.

The only fault with "The Joy of Laziness" is that it's title attracts couch potatoes like me instead of the fitness freaks who need to hear this stuff.

As it is, a read of this fascinating book actually convinced me to increase the amount of exercise I get each week. But for once, it didn't make me feel guilty, or that I would have to make huge lifestyle changes. It just recommended four hours a week of movement - which could be walking, gardening, housework (!!) or whatever. Not strenuous exercise.

It would all seem a bit too good to be true, if The Joy of Laziness weren't written by two doctors.

Among the medical facts you'll find in this book are:
  • being relaxed and even-tempered makes you more intelligent
  • fasting delays the ageing process and lengthens your life (a hard one to swallow for me!)
  • sun and heat are the fountains of youth
  • 'doing nothing' actually does a great deal of good
Too much stress, exercise and (unfortunately) food can shorten your life. That's the assertion of Doctors Axt and Axt-Gadermann, and they hint that running marathons isn't really that good for you either.

As I alluded to before, the ones who really need to read this are the same ones who will be turned off by the title. It's a deliberately provocative title, and I love the cover in the UK version (I think it's the US version shown above) - a silhouette of a figure lying on a couch, with a cat lying on the footstool.

This is definitely worth a read if you value your health, mental and physical. They don't just point out the problem and leave it at that; the authors give clear guidelines for diet, exercise and restful activity.

The Joy of Laziness is a good companion volume to In Praise of Slow : How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed, which I'll review shortly... but please don't be impatient! ;)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Bad words

PR veteran Jeoff Barraclough has this thing he says about how you say things.

"He's a nice guy," Jeoff would say about nobody in particular, "he's not stuck up at all."

What do you know, everyone starts suspecting that whoever-it-is is actually stuck up. Jeoff's point was that, even if you're negating a negative (e.g. not stuck up), the first negative remains. It stands out. It kind of smells.

I should've learnt that when Jeoff told me that oh, years ago. But no, I had to make my own special mistake, on this very blog in fact (there might be a prize if you can find it).

I complimented someone by saying what they were not. And sure enough, the inferred suggestion was that they actually were what they're not.

Lesson - really do emphasise the positive, especially about the people you work with. Our words have meanings beyond what we're using them for. And some keywords - especially negative ones - just stick out like a sore thumb.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

� On being successful @ Stephan Spencer’s Scatterings

� On being successful @ Stephan Spencer’s Scatterings

Fantastic post here from web guru Stephan Spencer, about a conversation he had with another web guru, Gerry McGovern. Two people who appreciate the value of the words in websites! But I digress.

Fantastic post, I say, because it talks about how to avoid the busy-ness trap that easily gets us. A sample:

"How often have you claimed to be ‘too busy?’ What exactly does that mean? For me it’s an excuse. It means that I didn’t do something because it just wasn’t important enough for me to do. Or else it means I did something quickly, being too busy to do it right."


"This evening Gerry shared with me this quote from Edward de Bono: “Think slowly.” He goes on to say: if you’re lucky, you may find one big idea during your lifetime. So, take your time because you’ve got plenty of time."

Be sure to check out the full post.

Sometimes Self-leadership Sucks ... but not for long!

Marie and I live in two very different worlds of work. She works with basically the same team, at a set location, for a set number of hours per day, for a set number of days. When she's finished work, she's finished.

I, on the other hand, work with several different virtual teams scattered to the four winds, as many or as few hours as I can get away with, with competing priorities constantly facing me.

I also work from home, which is nice and convenient, but it also means I have zilch excuse for not doing the dishes ... or hanging the washing ... etc.

So I got to thinking, is this going to be the future of work for most people? Will the Maries of this world eventually all be working from home, as some like Daniel Pink (author of Free Agent Nation) say?

If so, we're (we meaning humanity) going to need to upskill in the area of self-leadership. Here's a typical conundrum I face: balance.

For instance, how do I balance my business - there's sales/marketing, admin and, oh, yes, the stuff I actually get paid for - the work!

But in a 21st century lifestyle work can't be all - that's an unsustainable lifestyle. So I must also attend to the household, to my own physical needs for exercise, rest and nutrition, and of course to my spiritual needs. Perhaps that should come first! Then maybe the rest would fall into place that much easier.

Anyway, that's what I've been thinking of lately, and rather than just stew it over myself I thought I'd share my experiences - and books I've been reading - here.

So I'll come back soon with reviews of two helpful books I've recently been looking at:

The Joy of Laziness
50 Spiritual Classics

If I start preaching, I'll move my post from this blog and post it at my Fundamentalist blog, where my hideous certainty about things spiritual has full reign.

For now, I'll just get on with my day, where I will try to balance all my needs and get some really productive stuff done! Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Technology and change

(I got these ideas while reading this article from Robert X Cringely. Please read it if you're technically inclined.)

It was roughly the end of 2004 that I changed the way I looked at computers.

Before then, a computer was a long-term asset. Much like a car, it needed maintenance, tender loving care. It was going to last a long time.

Then all of a sudden - it seemed - I realised that the new computer I bought in December last year would only be with me about two years.

It seems a simple realisation but had profound implications for how I looked at technology. It's now no longer about the hardware itself, but about what I'm doing on that hardware.

I still have all the files I had with my first Windows computer, and even a few converted files from the defunct 386 I used to have at work. But the physical boxes which once held them are long gone.

In a way, it's very helpful to think this way. It means I don't get in a tizzy when the computer does something funny - which every computer will do once in a while.

It also means I focus on the work - on the what, rather than the how. A lot of our problems as leaders, doers, whateverers, comes from trying to address "how" before we've even really addressed "what".

Why am I mentioning this on a blog about leadership? Because my mind shift is, I believe, important to my development as a leader. I'm now looking forward, not backwards. I think that's the way to go.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Winsborough: Young women have it hardest

Got this in the email today from Winsborough's Psyched for Business e-newsletter. Interesting stuff:

Dear Simon

In recent weeks we've analysed the data from our Stress and Resilience Programme.

Close to 500 employees have now completed the Programme, providing a solid database against which individual and company-wide comparisons can be made.

We thought you'd be interested in the following key findings and commentary from Winsborough Senior Consultant Rachael Stott.


Young women between 20 – 29 years of age report higher levels of stress than any other group, while older workers are better able to cope.

Generally, more women than men are rated as experiencing higher levels of stress.

High stress women also showed high levels of social support, but this alone is not enough. Building resilience is also necessary for effective stress control.

Women in general assume more responsibility for the wellbeing of the home and social relationships than men, who compartmentalise their lives more.


The most highly stressed individuals report higher levels of stress from both work and home sources.

High stress individuals are less likely to use the most effective stress reduction strategies, for example, problem solving.

Low stress individuals by contrast are more resilient - they are more optimistic and feel in greater control of their lives.


The psychological concept of 'flow' has emerged as one of the most important buffers of stress. Flow is popularly described as being 'in the zone' or alert, attentive and in control.


A strong relationship was found between age and stress.

Workers over 50 years of age report lower levels of stress, more effective coping strategies and higher levels of resilience.

Older and younger workers report three main causes of stress at work: perceived ability to meet performance goals, control over daily tasks and conflict over their daily priorities. However, older workers still rate these significantly less stressful than their younger colleagues.

Older and younger workers report that the same factors cause them stress at work but they employ different coping strategies.

Older workers display higher levels of resilience… they are more optimistic, feel more in control and have more positive feelings about their work.


The survey findings reinforce the need for good quality programmes that help people deal with stress in a positive, healthy way.

Employers need to be on the front foot, providing staff with the simple skills to make them stronger.

Smart managers will do four things.

  1. They will understand stress and what it looks like.
  2. They will have systems in place to monitor and prevent hazards.
  3. They will measure stress periodically; and
  4. They will equip staff with tools and skills that build strength and coping.

If you would like to discuss these survey findings or learn more about our Stress and Resilience Programme, then please contact Rachael Stott or Dave Winsborough on Ph: (04) 499 8777 or email

Watching leaders in action - project X, Lucire

It's one thing to be inspired from the screen, or from the pages of a book. It's another thing to actually observe the day-to-day interactions of inspirational leaders. I've been watching two lately.

Project X
I've been involved recently in a project which I have to keep secret for the time being. You can be sure I'll tell you when it's time, but for the moment - hush hush.

Anyway, on this project I've been privileged to work with a true leader - someone who has a vision to make a difference in a very competitive industry, and who has worked several years single-mindedly on a vision, persevering through misunderstanding and failure to see this project come to fruition.

On the way, he has discovered - unless he already knew - how to help other people get what they want out of his project. The cliched win-win situation is still the ideal in any situation. Zig Ziglar says you can have anything you want, by helping other people to get what they want. This leader is putting that into practice on a daily basis.

It's not as easy as it sounds, because it could easily come across as manipulative. But through vulnerable, open, honest communication, this leader has helped all members of the team feel assured they're in it for their own reasons, and that it really is a win-win situation.

Another thing - I'm referring to this person as a leader here, but the feeling in the team is a group of leaders. There aren't really any "followers" at this stage. We all get on with each other, that's about it.

When I joined the NZ discussion group on Yahoogroups some five years ago, I was impressed by Jack Yan, one of the co-moderators. Here's a man unhindered by the stereotypes of what it means to be in business, or in the fashion industry, or in fact any limiting paradigm.

At the time (2000), he'd been successfully running an online-only fashion magazine for three years. In 2003 it became a print magazine, and a whole section of the public suddenly realised it existed (doh!).

Now he's expanding to Romania. I asked him why Romania of all places, and he explained: "Good people, growing middle class, about to join the EU."

Jack's written a piece about the lessons he's learnt in reaching out to Romania. I'll post his entire article here - you'll also find it in today's National Business Review in NZ (although without the links). I have emboldened bits that struck me as particularly important for those who, like me, skimread (naughty!).

Knowing whom not to listen to

In creating a new venture, knowing whom not to listen to is as important as absorbing good advice

Jack Yan
Jack Yan is founder and CEO of Jack Yan & Associates and publisher of Lucire.

THIS WEEK is pretty important to me as a publisher (as well as a professional brand consultant and typeface designer). In late 2003, I made an unusual decision: to turn a web property I owned into a print magazine. It was, by and large, unprecedented in the world of publishing (one other publisher had done it at that point). In the days ahead, I’ll personally work on a brand extension to the print magazine, but, more importantly, see the launch of Lucire in Romania. I didn’t do it alone; the key was listening to the right people and rejecting all that was wrong with 20th-century business.

I won’t say the path was an easy one. The web magazine is number two in
Google, slipping every now and then to third when Condé Nast has a good week, but we could have owned the online fashion category if we wished. To give up the title of the world’s leading online-only fashion magazine in favour of becoming just web-and-print title was not an option, either. Instead, Lucire had to become something special.

The story has been told before: the twenty-first-century brand must have social responsibility. It is vital for a brand’s survival today.

Secondly, it is important today for a magazine, regardless of medium, to have constant contact with its readers.

Thirdly, while think global, act local has its merits, it is the era of think global, act global, and it matters not that one has a small business.

But the story is not complete. The rest of the story is about what we blankly rejected because it was démodé and irrelevant for 21st century business.

It may be very cocky to say this only after two editions, one in Australasia and one in Europe, but I like to think of Lucire as part of a global movement. We began it online, where global movements are commonplace. I refer not to Ebay or Google, but socially responsible groups such as
TakingITGlobal. I am closely involved in one, the Medinge Group, which is made up of the world’s top branding authorities—where we do look at changing our part of the world by making brands more transparent and honest. I refer to those informal networks of people who band together because they see the opportunity to effect change. whether it’s privately hosted or on Yahoo!.

If you are in publishing and you didn’t notice this, then, in my opinion, you are in trouble.

It’s that spirit that, despite having come from the end of the 20th century, was a vanguard of the next century. In the 1990s, postmodern critique was fashionable. In branding,
No Logo was the seminal moment, Something had to give, and I proposed the concept of moral globalization; I talked about how brands could become more human, even more spiritual. The consumer movement couldn’t be ignored, either: it came of age in the last decade.

Those who suggest that we continue branding just as we always did, maybe by putting up an extra sheen and give social responsibility mere lip service, are misguided. I had to ignore them.

But there was one thing that I knew, but didn’t want to believe. For years, I resisted doing a print edition. Print was seen by the “digerati” as a retrograde step. But here we are in the 2000s and the allure of print is as strong as ever. Nearly all those people who said they would stop buying tabloids when Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed were killed (or assassinated) have failed to keep their promise. Since we’re not going to change millennia’s worth of habits, we decided we had to be part of the print world.

However, that world had things I didn’t like. Largesse, arrogance and formality. I am blessed to have never formerly worked in the industries I have chosen to work in: consulting, software and media. We joked about
JY&A Consulting being the anti-McKinsey long before they were handing out books on their work for Enron. And in the months before Lucire approached launch, we heard that we were the ‘anti-Vogue’. Well, I was born on the anniversary of Condé Nast’s passing, so perhaps there is some meaning there.

If I was to spend this much money, then some things had to be done in the way Lucire had evolved, never losing the character or the values we found in the 1990s.

That meant the lean structure of the web site had to stay. That meant that we did not complete three months’ worth of articles before launch, because that would not afford us any chance to adapt to consumers. It meant trusting your team to create articles and artwork that represented the magazine’s ethos. It even meant putting aside the idea of traditional demographics because based on my observation of consumer behaviour on the web, the budget–premium distinction had disappeared. It meant listening to everyone from advertisers to consumers, and treating them respectfully. And if this magazine was to have a chance in exporting, either in intellectual property or physical magazines, it had to consider New Zealand as part of a global society.

I can’t say this was all laid out before me the months before October 4, 2004, our New Zealand launch date. Nor was I totally sure of my own capabilities. But I imagine most of us felt it deep down, and with hindsight, we can now see the bigger picture.

A lot of this came from the selection of the right people or just trusting that they would be there: Phillip Johnson has stuck by us through thick and thin, for a start. Lisa Tardrew, our director of advertising, contrasts her rivals and is, therefore, our finest ambassador in Auckland, New Zealand. Nicola Brockie, our editor-in-chief, has managed to maintain a level head during all the growing pains. For five out of six covers (and likely seven out of eight), Jessica Tarazi created world-class make-up. Doug Rimington, a photographer who doesn’t distinguish between classes of people. Fiona Barnett, who understands global design. Printers who knew my record. Folks on our team who are too numerous to mention. All are internationally minded people, adopting an attitude that is a necessity.

Since then, we’ve had Americans tell us that it’s the antipodean version of
W (we actually had Vogue in our sights rather than anything of Mr Fairchild’s), and others believe we might be the benchmark, at least in our home country, for our sector. I hope so. Or that at least we lead in some ways, helping our readers, and helping our advertisers connect properly in an age of segmentation and consumer democracy and advocacy.

Our attitude remains, nonetheless, informal. And that is what drew the Lucire Romania team and head office together. Mirella and Valentin Lapusca have done a magnificent job of re-creating Lucire there, following the ethos of the “master edition”, our harnessing everything from FedEx to web servers. The magazine may be physically shorter there, measuring the same width but A4 in height, but there is no denying that, with its New Zealand-designed typefaces, it is Lucire.

I salute our Romanian team. Mirella and Valentin took a chance on our vision after we had delivered only two issues to the New Zealand and Australian public. That was when I knew that our relationship would be founded on trust first. The contract we executed merely became a formality. In some countries I can name, mistrust would have come first, the contract a document to live and die by. But I hold those values of the
United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights dear to me: ‘innocent till proved guilty’ are not only words, they are a good way to do business. Due process is in the Fifth Amendment, though on some days I wonder.

However, it is an underlying belief even in our coverage and the issues we get involved in. As a member of the media, I stand for what my company stands for: ethical solutions with the strongest awareness of integrity, rights and freedoms. That’s my declaration and Lucire, that organic brand, that global movement, is living proof of it.

One day, I’d like to see more countries with their own Lucires. There is no secret that I would like to see it Stateside, run like a New Zealand magazine. Good business is a mixture of high-stress and ‘She’ll be right,’ that slogan beloved of antipodeans. There are other markets, too, ones that are willing to see how a 21st-century title can be run. Nationals in those countries I would like to connect with, and humbly await their consideration. •
Marvellous stuff. Having rubbed shoulders with both these leaders over some time, I'm going to keep watching and learning from them. And follow my own dreams, so they can somehow learn from me too.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Great writing - McSweeney's

This doesn't have much to do with Leadership at all... but it is great writing, and I believe a great leader needs to be a great communicator :)

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Thursday and Empire: or, How a Typical Workday Can Seem More Important When Modeled As a Great Era in Western Civilization.

This is one of the Webby Awards winners for best writing. I can see why. Funny!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The McKinsey Quarterly: China and India: The race to growth

The McKinsey Quarterly: China and India: The race to growth

It's interesting - not only are these future superpowers countries that had a civil war around the middle of last century (well, India had Pakistan, which is sort of like a civil war), they're both countries that have been more socialist than capitalist.

Again, I don't know what it's all about, but I observe, and I say "that's interesting".

Culture Change starts from the top - and from within

The McKinsey Quarterly Chart Focus Newsletter - an interesting chart showing how culture change starts when "effective change-management programs tap into personal motivations."

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

BLUE CRUSH --> Michelle Rodriguez as the 'Leader' Eden

Showing vulnerability is an absolute must on the journey of deepening friendships. I'd been thinking about this precise fact whilst engaging in yet another one of The Count's guilty penchants: the surfing flick!

Scantily-clad hotties in the latest fashions, taut muscles, fine sand, and that crashing surf. Yummy! What's there not to like? However BLUE CRUSH was more than just an entertaining 90 minutes. Deeper conviction was to be found therein, one that dealt with a most controversial bugaboo in surfing, traditionally a male bastion of dominance.

One such taboo was the concept of women and surfing. As a sport, female surfing got a much-needed shot in the arm with the delightful performance of Kate Bosworth as the fictional Anne Marie Chadwick. Chadwick's ascent from surfing nobody to its leaderboard at Oahu's Pipeline Masters Championships was fraught with obstacles.

Chadwick's primary challenge dealt with the wrenching decision she eventually had to face: either accept the yoke of society's conventional expectation of the female, or do what she loved, which was surf to the best of her ability.

Chadwick's sheer ability wasn't enough, however, to place her on the leaderboard. Her talent was alone wasn't going to be the sole arbiter of her success, and so her mission was assisted and her doubts overcome through the dedicated pursuit of her friends Lena (Sanoe Lake) and, especially, Eden (Michelle Rodriguez).

As Chadwick fell increasingly deeper for NFL pro Matt Tollman, Eden suspected (rightly) that Chadwick getting her priorities muddled. Eden knew the depth of Anne Marie's vast potential, wasn't about to let her throw it all away on a fling. Chadwick, at first, took Eden's nagging as an affront -even jealousy. Even the greats, it seems, sometimes refuse to heed their calling when mightily summoned and Eden's persistence was Chadwick's call. Her whisper became a resounding shout as Anne Marie was forced to look inward and refocus on her mission.

Chadwick's winning ways were doubly needed, for not only was she fulfilling her own lucky promise, she was also the de facto representative of her sport's vocal minority. Eden was attuned to as much and wasn't about to permit such her friend's auspicious opportunity fizzle into sheer nothingness. Clearly, Chadwick could at worst be a plucky battler in the water. With clever nudging from these astute girlfriends, Anne Marie had every shot at becoming the best.

I don't want to spoil it for you, so you'll just have to watch the movie to find out what happened to her. There's a twist, natch.

But your leadership lesson is thus: s'okay if you get derailed whilst on your direct path to greatness. T'is human, said the Bard. See, part of being human is living in society with others. Others who can and will nurture you if and when you allow them to. Others who will stand back to give you the space you need to develop into that magnificent performer you're quite destined to be.

Coaches are leaders too. Oftentimes they ain't the flashiest people in the room and often don't get the girl. For that matter, they hardly eat the cake or even land the brass ring. But their contributions, nevertheless, are legend.

Leaders don't only stand at the forefront. Sometimes they can form sandwiches. In BLUE CRUSH, Chadwick was the top slice, Eden the bottom. In between laid a vast cobalt crush of oceanic 'meat.' Relentless, magnificent, and blue.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Malcolm X (movie review)

On February 21, 1965, a public meeting was interrupted by a disturbance in the audience. Suddenly shots rang out, and one of the heroes of the Black Civil Rights movement was murdered.

I'd been given a cursory glance at the life of Malcolm X in high school history. Mostly he was presented as a kind of antithesis of Martin Luther King; where King preached integration, X promoted separation. Where King said turn the other cheek, X said don't turn the other cheek any more. Where King passionately advocated non-violence, Malcolm X's best-known line was "by any means necessary".

Spike Lee's intense portrayal of Malcolm X gives so much more depth than any high school history lesson. Here we learned that what goes into a life is often what comes out. Malcolm Little experienced terrorism at the hands of white people as a child. His father was murdered by the Klan. He had to live the demeaning life of the jolly black man while in mixed society.

Some have accused Spike Lee of taking too long with this film. It's three hours and twenty minutes; long for any feature film. But I'm glad he did that. I just feel very privileged to get to know more about this man - this man who is simultaneously misunderstood and respected around the world.

What impressed me about him?
  • Intelligence. This man was fiercely intelligent, despite any setbacks. He used that intelligence when he was a petty criminal, and he used it when he was a religious proselytiser. His oratory is fantastic. Check out some speeches from the movie here, here, here and here.
  • Perseverance. Here was a man whose life was saved by a belief system, which he then found was built on a wrong foundation. That sort of thing can mess with your head. He had to deal with it in a highly charged atmosphere, and in the public eye. I think he handled his switch from the Nation of Islam to being an "ordinary" Muslim very well.
  • Integrity. "God's word is not a hustle" That's what the character Brother Baines (an amalgam of several real-life individuals) told Malcolm in jail. Malcolm recounted those words years later to that same Brother. Malcolm knew what he considered to be truth; he would not compromise.
  • Compassion. Even as a racist, Malcolm was sincere and principled in his beliefs. He saw all white people as devils, yet he didn't promote hatred for them, merely disdain. His trip to Mecca after leaving the Nation of Islam showed him that people - whatever their colour - were all individuals answerable to God. He publicly repented of his racism and said towards the end of his life that he counted white fellow Muslims as friends.
That's the man himself. The movie is worthy of admiration too. Spike Lee even allegedly faced death threats for making this film, not to mention a sudden funding shortfall, where he had to think fast to save the movie from oblivion.

Denzel Washington does a wonderful job portraying Malcolm X in all his phases of life - from the late 1940s right up till 1965. From portraying a crack addict and criminal through being a spiritual leader and speaker who was almost worshipped, to being an individualist and intellectual, to being a martyr who knows he is about to meet his death.

It was especially good to see Malcolm X just weeks after seeing parts of the same story in Ali. Malcolm X played an important role in Muhammad Ali's life, but the movie Ali wasn't able to give all the reasons behind X's fallout with Elijah Mohammed, or his assassination. I'm glad I've gotten a fuller version of the story now - like walking around a sculpture.