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August 06, 2008


Hey Lauren!

I personally like the word "empower". In fact, I more than like it, I just love the word, and it's a word to which we don't have a direct translation in Portuguese.

According to the "New Oxford American Dictionary", it is:

verb [ trans. ]
- give (someone) the authority or power to do something
- enable (someone) to do (something)
- make (someone) stronger and more confident, esp. in controlling their life and claiming their rights

It always struck me how just a single verb can transmit so much implications on it. With just this verb you can define precisely a broader concept such as "teaching someone how to do fishing, instead of just giving him/her the fish".

I know it can be used in a very bad way in the corporate word, affecting its meaning and its importance (which happens to other words too, btw - just ponder about your reaction to the word "synergy").

But even with this "bad use" I still like the word and its implications, how it transmit such a strong concept, more important and broader than "help" or "support".

Well, that's just my 2 cents on this matter. :)

Warm regards,


First, it was great to meet you today at the BGC conference.

Like, Leo, I love the spirit of the word "empower," even though it has become tainted by old school motivational speakers. That said, I also like your idea of powerlessness. In fact, just recently on NPR's This I Believe, a young guy talked about helplessness as a blessing. That led me to speak recently about the concept of allowing others the blessing of helping us. When we do that, we really do "empower" them!


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