Secrets Brought Home


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People who are eating the highest levels of meat in this country have about 70 percent higher mortality than people who are eating little meat and a four-or five-times-worse chance of developing cancer. The big secret Blue Zones offer us is ways to make beans taste good. In Blue Zones, culinary effort is put into making things like an Ikarian stew, which is done with black eyed peas, fennel and garlic, and finished with wonderful virgin olive oil. Tell us about Bob Fagen and the town of Spencer. Bob Fagen was the city manager for Spencer, a very conservative town but one of our very first in Iowa to become Blue Zone Certified.

His kidneys were failing, so he adopted these very simple Blue Zone ideas. At the same time, his city was undergoing a makeover to become more walkable and marginalize junk food. He adopted a plant- based diet, joined a moai , among other changes.

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He made his doctor promise that if he made all these Blue Zone changes, he could go off the five medicines he was taking for the kidney disease. He then got all the city employees on board. Over the course of just one year, he saw the healthcare cost for city employees drop by 25 percent, which he attributes to the Blue Zone. So here you have this wonderful example of a city getting healthier but also—and this is where the rubber hits the road—saving money.

The United States is a tough nut to crack, given the preponderance of fast foods outlets and wall-to-wall TV adverts for pizza. What are the biggest challenges? First and foremost, our food environment.

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We are evolutionarily hard wired to seek fat, sugar and salt. For most of human history this was a good thing. It enabled us to survive through hardship. But now we live in an environment of abundance and ease. The onus to stay healthy is mostly put on individual responsibility.

Well, forget that! We have to shift the focus away from individual responsibility to changing our food environment: to minimizing junk food marketing and shifting the economic incentives to produce junk food, towards making healthier choices not only easier, but unavoidable. It sounds like a pipe dream. But it can be done. In Ikaria one of the main means of transportation is by foot. A 99 year old man takes his daily three mile walk to tend his goats.

Number two: we ought to take a hard look at our social networks. Number three is to get really clear about your purpose in life. According to Gallop, fewer than a third of Americans are doing what they love at work. Owen meets a psychologist he can trust, and dialogues between Owen and his psychologist reveal a story of deep introspection and an understanding into the resultant erratic behavior from a life held hidden.

The story will shock the reader, and will simultaneously evoke an empathy we rarely allow ourselves in a stiff-upper-lip society. The descriptions of Owen's life and the dialogues during the counseling sessions are humorous, heartbreaking and painful. And then, a surrealistic and seemingly predestined event occurs on a street in San Francisco. It leaves the onlookers stunned. Something incredible happens. Read more Read less. No customer reviews. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review.

Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. July 8, - Published on Amazon.

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Verified Purchase. This book is full of humor, anger, intelligence and a sweet poignancy that was the endings reward. I'm glad I read it and I hope it is discovered by those who find solace in reading it. It tells the story of a survivor who may not outwardly appear war weary but becomes inner lightened as he makes peace with what was destroyed.

Only someone who has been to war can know its destructiveness. What war could not destroy physically Owen inflicts upon his own soul by the secrets held within. Secrets Brought Home reveals the war does not end when a soldier comes home. It is misplaced for a time, lurking in the shadows, smothered by addictions, waiting to reveal its ugly destructive powers once again when least expected.

From reading this book I learned our greatest enemies aren't those we face across a battlefield. Instead, they are our inner demons, the enemies within that cannot let go of the past, cannot allow us to forgive ourselves for the destructiveness inflicted within and without. So many of us punish ourselves for a past we cannot change. Our own guilt causes us to inflict suffering upon ourselves we wished our so-called enemies had inflicted upon us.

It was A. In June, , I met with Robert Adam, an architect who has designed many large houses. He won the commission to rebuild Witanhurst in , having been interviewed by an agent of the owners.

He told me that local opposition to the development was overblown. Property owners had a right to build whatever they pleased, as long as it did not harm anyone else. Adam, a raffish man in his sixties, is a classical architect who can recite the exact proportions of a Corinthian column. They had a thing called the cryptoporticus , so you could keep cool in the summer. The basements at Witanhurst, Adam conceded, were not about keeping cool. Why the need for so much extra space? He smiled when I asked about the owners. When he won the commission, the agent who interviewed him said that their identity was a matter of profound secrecy.

In October, , Philip Masterman was hired as the on-site architect. The planning appeal had been won only in June, It took a year of excavation and construction just to create the concrete box outlining the main basement. Still, the commission was interesting, and so Masterman worked as fast as he could. When the Olympics came and went—with the house still far from finished—Masterman and the manager of the redevelopment project were replaced.

Most paths leading to the owners of Witanhurst remain carefully obscured, but some bread crumbs have been scattered. To comply with British law, both list their directors at Companies House, a government registry. Almost all the named directors are British developers or managers with unremarkable histories.

In documents filed at Companies House, Motlokhov listed several home addresses, including a triplex apartment at Flagstaff House, a complex on the Thames. Land Registry documents say that it was bought, in , for seven million pounds, and is owned by an offshore company named Flagstaff Investments Group Limited. PhosAgro was formed by executives who had worked at Apatit, a Soviet mining interest; it now owns Apatit as a subsidiary.

PhosAgro was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in , and its market capitalization is currently more than five billion dollars. Neither Motlokhov appears to be a major shareholder in PhosAgro. Forbes lists his personal fortune at some four billion dollars.


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According to a Web site about Russian real estate, Guryev and his wife, Evgenia, have a large house in a gated community called Forest, in a pine-clad area on the outskirts of Moscow that is favored by oligarchs. Andrey Guryev has never given an interview to the press; though he was a Russian senator for twelve years, he never made a public speech in the Federal Assembly. In the few photographs that circulate, he looks pointedly unglamorous, with an inscrutable expression, a mustache, and mediocre clothes.

According to acquaintances, he grew up in Lobnya, a town near Moscow, and became a martial-arts champion as a teen-ager before injuries curtailed his athletic career. His father died when he was young. He and Evgenia attended the same high school. In , shares in Apatit, which in the Soviet era controlled several enormous phosphate mines, were sold for a bargain price to a company connected to Menatep—the bank controlled by the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Guryev was a young man with no experience in the mining sector, but he and his managers soon realized that Apatit might not ever be wildly profitable on its own. They decided to buy fertilizer factories, with credit from Menatep, in order to manufacture a finished product that could be sold overseas. The resulting company was PhosAgro. In , Khodorkovsky acquired the oil-and-gas company Yukos, and soon became the wealthiest man in Russia. In , he and his business partner Platon Lebedev were arrested for fraud and tax evasion.

Guryev had been elected to the Russian senate in ; as a legislator, he had a level of immunity from the criminal charges faced by Khodorkovsky. At the time of his arrest, Khodorkovsky still owned about fifty per cent of PhosAgro. Khodorkovsky was in no position to negotiate, and he instructed his partners to reach a deal with Guryev.

According to several people with knowledge of the transaction, Khodorkovsky sold his shares to Guryev at an extremely low price. Gorbachev was later granted political asylum in the U. Guryev had acquired control of the company at a bargain price while two other large stakeholders were sidelined. Since then, he has sought to protect his assets, as all Russian billionaires must, by cultivating the favor of Putin and his circle.

In , PhosAgro completed the construction of a fishing lodge in Murmansk, which has since been used by senior government figures, including Dmitri Medvedev. Several years ago, Guryev named Vladimir Litvinenko the chairman of PhosAgro—rewarding him with about ten per cent of the company. Litvinenko is the rector of St. Petersburg Mining Institute, the small university where Putin acquired his Ph.

Litvinenko was a campaign manager for Putin during the , , and elections, and remains a close ally. In December, I met a man in central London who knew Andrey Guryev and had witnessed the expansion of his real-estate portfolio. On the condition of anonymity, the man told me that one day in the spring of Andrey Guryev came to London to view two properties: the triplex apartment on the Thames, a recent purchase, and Witanhurst, a prospective one.

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Guryev, accompanied by his wife and his son, first inspected the triplex. They were joined by Alexander Gorbachev and Nikolay Bychkov, who is involved with the Guryevs in freight shipping. According to the source I met in central London, when the group entered Witanhurst Andrey Guryev spoke as if the house already belonged to him.

It appeared that a verbal deal had been made, and that once the paperwork was complete he would be handed the keys. During the tour, the source said, Andrey Guryev spoke of possibly flipping Witanhurst for profit after a renovation, but he also expressed interest in using it as a private home. Soon afterward, it was decided that at least two generations of the Guryev family would live at Witanhurst.

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Each would need its own space. This was the genesis of the Orangery. Four other people independently told me that the Guryev family owns Witanhurst. In , Guryev was still a Russian legislator, and it appears that by law he should have listed his foreign properties in an official registry. According to records filed with the Russian government, Guryev has never registered a foreign property.

The spokesman says that because his ownership of Witanhurst is indirect he had no obligation to register the property. Guryev also sails on a super-yacht, named the Alfa Nero, whose retail price is more than a hundred million dollars; the yacht is not declared, either. That year, Guryev left the Russian senate, along with a number of other wealthy men. If Guryev sidestepped transparency rules, his secrecy may have been prudent. Last September, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, a Moscow billionaire who had a large stake in the Bashneft oil company, was arrested on charges of money laundering, and his shares were confiscated by the court.

He was released in December, and charges were dropped. There are only serfs who belong to Putin. A large part of its business is exports, so its costs are in rubles and its payments in dollars. In , Fedorov was named the director-general of PhosAgro. Fedorov became so close to Guryev that they used to go on vacation together. He described his old friend as a complicated, intense man who found public situations stressful, and who had few interests outside business.

Although Guryev worked for a long time with speechwriters, Fedorov claimed, he could never break free of his shyness. Guryev liked to ski in the Khibiny Mountains, on the Kola Peninsula, at a ski lodge built by PhosAgro, and when he and Fedorov were drinking they occasionally sang Cossack songs.

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