George Tan


Human resource professional, change agent, entrepreneur, writer, hope-giver, life-long student

About the Author

George Tan’s passion is sharing his personal story about how he transformed his rough life into a rich life; how he kept rebounding from setbacks and never gave up.

George grew up in extreme poverty – so poor that his parents could not buy him a pair of slippers. He was badly abused by his father, who was an alcoholic and an addicted gambler. He himself was a ‘gangster kid’ addicted to gambling and the 3Vs: vulgarism, vandalism and violence. In school, he had to drink tap water to quell his hunger, as he could afford a bowl of noodles only every other day. Once, he was punished for wearing black socks, because his white socks were wet and he did not have an extra pair. He did badly in his studies, scoring as little as 19 marks for English, 22 marks for Mathematics.

From red marks in school, George went on to pass his post-graduate studies with flying colors. At 26, he topped his Diploma in Personnel Management program. At 27, he again topped his class when he did a Master of Arts in Human Resource Development, offered as an external degree in Singapore by the US-based George Washington University. He did all this whilst holding a full-time career as an officer in the Singapore Navy.

The transformation of George was made possible by a life skills model that he developed. The model is called PRAISE and it embodies six success principles: Prizedream, Rules, Analysis, Invincibility, Strategy and Excellence.

George developed the PRAISE model from his studies of Sun Zi’s The Art of War and Naval Battle Procedures. He broadened the concepts found in these two strategy models such that they could be applied to any life situation.

With the help of the PRAISE model, George enjoyed a successful corporate career after he left the navy. At National Semiconductor, George was instrumental in developing a Training Needs Analysis and Total Training Plan. At Westin Hotels, he introduced a number of bold initiatives, one of which involved turning all employees into goodwill Ambassadors for the five-star hotel. He won high praises from the General Manager, who commented that “the recruitment and retention figures have never been so good before”.

In 2004, at age 46, George embarked on a new life journey as a writer, publisher and hope-giver. He writes to offer hope and inspiration. He believes that his life story, of overcoming tremendous odds to achieve excellence, can be an inspiration to others. He believes, too, that the PRAISE life skills model can be a useful tool to help others realize their dreams.

He writes to spread hope to those who, like him, might not have grown up under favorable circumstances and/or have suffered lots of setbacks in life. He writes with a simple philosophy: “Never say die!” Through publishing inspirational and motivational books, it is George's dream to connect people, through sharing of life experiences and mutual encouragement, for the betterment of mankind.


Rough Life Rich Life

Rough Life Rich Life presents a life skills model for all round excellence and success –
in studies, career, entrepreneurship, sports and recreation, family and relationships… in overcoming setbacks, financial difficulties, bad habits, addictions, and so on.

The life skills model is called PRAISE and it embodies six key concepts of success:


Applying these six key concepts, we get the SUCCESS 6 PRINCIPLES:

Set the Prizedream
Use internal Rules
Conduct Analysis
Cultivate Invincibility
Execute the Strategy
Sustain Excellence… and achieve
Success unlimited

This model is presented through:
The life experience of author George Tan. He grew up in extreme poverty, was badly abused by his father and did badly in school, but went on to top his post graduate studies and achieve success in career and entrepreneurship;

The lives of great men and women who achieved extraordinary success – people such as Benjamin Franklin, Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln, Konosuke Matsushita, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa and others.

The book calls them PRAISE Champions. They are people who left deep imprints on the soul of humanity. Rough Life Rich Life shows how they had subconsciously lived by principles similar to those of the PRAISE model.

A chapter featuring Canon as a corporate ‘PRAISE Champion’ that overcame numerous setbacks and achieved extraordinary success, not so much through a visionary leader, but through excellent management.

The PRAISE model has been well-received by a number of international scholars, motivational speakers and best-selling inspirational authors.

The model was applied to the life of Benjamin Franklin, the American scientist, inventor, statesman and civic leader, in another book, Benjamin Franklin – A bright spark!

Roy Goodman, Curator for Printed Materials at the American Philosophical Society and President of The Friends of Franklin, Inc, wrote in a Foreword to that book:

Clearly, there will be many conferences, books, exhibitions… planned for the Franklin 300th throughout America and the rest of the world. However, there may not be a tribute as valuable as Benjamin Franklin – A bright spark!

Ralph Archbold, an actor famous for his portrayal of Franklin and considered ‘the official living Benjamin Franklin’ wrote:

In all my years of studying Franklin and reading everything I can find that has been published about this extraordinary man, I have never found a book as important as this.

Mark Sandborn, a best-selling author and one of the top 20 motivational speakers in the world, wrote in a Foreword to Rough Life Rich Life:

While some people might try to help by sharing their financial wealth, this book will give you something infinitely better: a wealth of wisdom from a life well lived.

Dr Tony Alessandra, also a best-selling author and one of the top 20 motivational speakers in the world, wrote in another Foreword:

Rough Life Rich Life is a rich book – rich in information, rich in wisdom, rich in experiences and, most significantly, rich in inspiration.

The main body of Rough Life Rich Life is divided into six sections, each of which discusses, in detail, the six key concepts of the PRAISE model:

Prizedream is a dream or vision that comes with a valuable ‘prize’. This prize is so meaningful and valuable that a person or organization is willing to do all it takes to make the Prizedream come true.

The Prizedream of Canon’s predecessor, SKK, was to build an affordable camera on par with the Leica. Canon’s Prizedream today, guided by its philosophy of kyosei, is to create a better world for humanity and the environment.

Rules refer to the internal rules that form the guiding principles of a person or organization. In the PRAISE model, these rules are:

Be different
Be decisive
Never give up
Take control
Take ownership

Analysis considers those factors that either help or obstruct the achievement of a Prizedream. These are:

Cause – the higher inspiration that drives one to action
Heaven – external factors beyond one’s control
Earth – external factors within one’s control
Command – a leader’s ability to inspire others
System – a leader’s ability to manage direct and indirect resources.

Invincibility refers to the cultivation of virtues that promote strength of character. These are:


Strategy refers to the process of formulating and implementing a strategy. This is a five-step process as follows:

Revision of plans according to changing circumstances
Examination – putting plans to the test
Discipline – group or ‘system’ discipline to see the plan through.

Excellence is not just an end-result, but a continuous process to achieve cycles of success unlimited:

Action – going through the steps of the PRAISE model

These concepts are discussed in detail, with illustrations drawn from the author’s life experience and from the life stories of individual and corporate PRAISE Champions.

Finally, a concluding chapter offers words of encouragement to the reader. The book aims to inspire readers and encourage them to Never give up and Give yourself a second chance.



Praise for George:

The newest entrant to the Singapore publishing industry is also one which has garnered accolades from distinguished members of the local society even before the first book was published.
- Publishers Weekly, USA , 3 October 2005

While some people might try to help by sharing their financial wealth, this book will give you something infinitely better: a wealth of wisdom from a life well lived.
- Foreword by Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, president of Sanborn & Associates, best-selling author of The Fred Factor

Clearly, there will be many conferences, books, exhibitions… planned for the Franklin 300 th throughout America and the rest of the world. However, there may not be a tribute as valuable as Benjamin Franklin – A bright spark!
- Roy E. Goodman, Curator of Printed Materials, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and President, Friends of Franklin, Inc.


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