September 19th, 2010
10:31 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) - Where's the best place to sit at work? It's a simple question. But when I asked a local feng shui expert, I didn't get a simple answer. More on that in just a moment.

Feng shui literally means "wind water" in Chinese. It's the ancient belief that energy flows through your surroundings and it is up to you to harness the "good energy." Several years ago, I was intrigued enough by this philosophy that I took a beginner's feng shui class in Texas, where I was living at the time.

I quickly realized it was complicated. Not only do you have to use your birthday and a formula to determine your element, there was also something about a tortoise shell, compass directions and  more calculations. I don't remember anything from that class except that my element is "wood" and I need to avoid placing fire elements (e.g. red vase or red carpet) in my home. Red symbolizes fire and fire burns wood.

Fast forward to today. I live in Hong Kong, where people take feng shui pretty seriously. You only have to look around the city to see that architects often include feng shui in their design. In Repulse Bay on the island's south side, there's a well-known apartment building with a large hole in the center. The hole is to allow the dragon (the Chinese symbol of good fortune) access to the sea to drink water.

You can also apply feng shui to your office.

That brings us back to the question, where's the best place to sit at work? Feng shui Master Raymond Lo says that first, a feng shui expert needs to come to your workplace to evaulate the energy flow. He emphasizes the boss needs to sit where the best energy is.

"If the boss is happy, the company makes money," Lo says. Then the middle managers should be assigned the next most "auspicious" spots in the office. Lastly, the rank and file take up the remaining floor space. Lo also says there is also something called "money energy" - and no one should place their desk where money energy intensifies. This is where the conference room should be - a place where strategy is planned out.

To make things even more complicated, Lo says good energy is dynamic and moves around. So over time, the most auspicious energy can migrate to different locations in your office. I told you, feng shui isn't easy.

soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Tom

    Please please please please please stop legitimizing this kind of junk. We have enough to deal with their ancient medicine.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:07 am |
  2. jdc8888

    This is where one should be wary about feng shui consultation... "Lo says good energy is dynamic and moves around. So over time, the most auspicious energy can migrate to different locations in your office."

    It is very easy to say that once you consult to a feng shui, then the feng shui told you to do what he say.. then after a month or so, it didn't work out good.. the feng shui master will tell you.. the energy move... hahhaha.. another consultation fee for the feng shui master., He is the one making money..

    September 20, 2010 at 1:19 am |
  3. moby

    You have to be a dumb as a stump to believe this. But people are allowed to be stumps as long as they have the money for it. Freedom to use your mind is part of life. And as long as someone is sharper then you are they are going to use their mind to take your money.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:12 am |
  4. Robert Smith

    We are 1/2 Asian / 1/2 American company. The feng-shui master came in (from New York) and reorganized where everyone sat. Pretty much put Americans on one side and Asians on the other.

    I will say, though, that our business went up after the segregation! Though it could have been the economic recovery that did it as well.

    September 20, 2010 at 3:11 am |
  5. Roop

    Wow, there's a lot of angry people in here!

    September 20, 2010 at 3:25 am |
  6. james

    10,000 years of history and the most powerful economy on earth maybe listening to the Fen Shui Master isnt as stoopid, as say oh i dunno listening to george bush and going along with his plan to burn more than 1 trillion dollars in the middle east and kill close to 1 million civilians ??? all those dead chilldren are gonna create some bad energy for someone.

    September 20, 2010 at 3:45 am |
  7. Sudhir

    Seems more of a marketing ploy than substance to me...

    September 20, 2010 at 3:57 am |
  8. Sudhir

    A more appropriate title would be "Harnessing good money at work"

    September 20, 2010 at 4:02 am |
  9. Mika

    I see nothing wrong with Feng shui. Asian cultures are ancient, and they have had a few thousand years to test these methods. You do not have to reject something just because it is not Basil Marceaux dot com. Yes indeed, there are a lot worse things to believe in.

    September 20, 2010 at 4:03 am |
  10. pinkpinebbs

    Well, Energy flows everywhere. It is said in “VEDA” :-
    “Om Purusha Ye Vedam Yad Bhutam Yaccha Vavym, Uta Mritawa Sesyano Yad Annena Triohati.”
    That means Purusha (Energy) is all that has been and that will be; and he is Lord of immortality which transcends through matter.
    That means energy is last thing that will live in this world other all vanish like black hole. Energy that is the final form which move through Earth, Air, Water, fire, and Space. You see that in there is a cosmic dance which creates music and connects the body, mind, and soul in ‘One’! Even the Higgs Boson (God particle) is making music in twelve dimensions if you have ears to listen you could hear in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva. Dancing of this molecule in the sub consciousness of human mind is the expression of his music which melts at one point that gives him the power to travel on cosmoses at will as the Transcendental meditation tells us. Is that not great thing to inherit the DNA from your parent? Jumping genes in DNA molecule in the mind take its path to better evolution good or bad, happy or unhappy. Karma would take care. So my suggestions to you that sit calmly face north listen soothing music and Meditate and U balance Ur energy and live long.

    September 20, 2010 at 5:21 am |
  11. Allan R

    Feng-Shui is for people who like some women regard a bulge as a curve.

    September 20, 2010 at 7:24 am |
  12. tojoe

    There are times in everybody's life when everything works out and times when nothing works out... The time when nothing is working out.. you have to learn to deal with it and accept it.. when people cant accept the tough times people turn to feng shui, vaastu, and gurus.. the fear of failure and loosing out on success is what all these thrive on and most of them in these trades exploit people's weakness greed and fear. Once you over come the fear of loosing out, accepting that there can be bad times in biz and life then all of them will be out of a job, so that is a tall order to happen and feng shui, vaastu, gurus will thrive on.. so its a good career option.. and increase the fear factor in people's life the better you will do these trades.. the only energy i know of at work place is get good light and cross ventilation into your work place.. and slog your butt off .. you might or might not succeed.. the bottom line is slog hard and smart in life... no other option.. or if buffet writes a part of his wealth to you.. then i have nothing to say..

    September 20, 2010 at 7:36 am |
  13. Corwin7

    Very good quote pinkpine...exactly what Thomas Edison said with E=mc2. Energy is and always will be exactly the same. You cannot destroy it only change it's form.

    September 20, 2010 at 7:52 am |
  14. Dave Horne

    This is bad 'journalism' guys. I guess we'll have homeopathy included in the 'health' segments.

    The purpose of journalism is to help educate, not to dumb down.


    September 20, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  15. Rommel Sharma

    I think that the so called psedo-sciences like palmistry, astrology, numerology, phrenology, fend-shui only cloud the mind, and are junk subjects – using the wekness of people that is mainly due to uncertainities in life, or difficult situiations they may be going through.
    While a person goes through ups and downs, such subjects exploit these situations claiming to offer solutions but no scientific research exists that legitimises or proves any of these subjects.

    Unless the results are repeatable, predictable, verifiable any number of times, thses subjects are nothing but junk clouding and confusing people and even exploiting them to make money.

    When things work – it is because teh mind believes in the good that is said. Its the mind of the person seeking hep that makes it real and not the effect of such subjects.

    September 20, 2010 at 8:42 am |
  16. Jarno

    What pure nonsense. People are sooooooo gullible.

    If you've got too much money, a good way to demonstrate, definitively, that this is nonsense is to hire a feng shui "expert" to rearrange your office/home, and after they are done, have another feng shui "expert" come over for the same purpose. The second "expert" will not recognize that the space is already all "feng shuid" out, but will do their own furniture rearrangement / bs spiel.

    There's a fool born every minute – and feng shui "professionals" are happy for that fact, charching them ridiculous fees for a little furniture rearrangement, and probably laughing all the way to the bank.

    I recommend you look up the feng shui episode of "bullshit" – it is truly enlightening.

    How about some proper investigative journalism from CNN – do an experiment such as I suggested, and see for yourselves. Hopefully educate some people in the process.

    September 20, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  17. littledebbieoatmealcookie

    feng shweigh ( how do you spell it ) is real .. I know .. if you wish to see it: littledebbieoatmealcookie.wordpress dot com/explosion/

    September 20, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  18. Vendo Thefastlane

    It is absolutely disgusting that this be given any kind of credence.

    Anyone not doing the slightest research on the numerous debunkings of this fraud deserves to lose money as much as these practitioners do NOT deserve to have it.

    And it's not "Asian expertise" or some garbage. Here in Japan, NOBODY believes it, nor do educated people in even the poorer Asian cultures.

    September 20, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  19. Steve Thompson

    "That brings us back to the question, where's the best place to sit at work?"

    With your computer monitor oriented so that your boss can't see you surfing the web or playing solitaire every time he or she passes the door to your office.

    Words to live by that have nothing to do with feng-shui.

    September 20, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  20. Luis

    Corwin7, Edison could hardly add 2 + 2 without trying several times. The guy who came up with the formula was AA. And he did know that music was not just a form of energy.

    September 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  21. Dave Horne

    I just realized something, this story is singled out as an Editor's Choice!

    This isn't news people, this is fluff material for People magazine.

    September 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  22. littledebbieoatmealcookie

    actually, the image of the source of Feng shui is available at

    September 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  23. ClydeHopper

    Why is the media "promoting" Feng Shui? The last several days they have had multiple articles on Feng Shui. Up to this point the only people who cared a hoot about Fen Shui is wacky idle rich women with nothing to do but re-arrange furniture. Now .. the past week they make it front page news. Why?

    September 20, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  24. Aisha

    Why are these posts so negative??? It sounds like you all need positive energy whether it comes from feng shui or not. Ridiculous.

    September 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  25. Wonhunglow

    I lived in China all last year – the Chinese are famous for coming up with stuff like this and many other ways to make a buck off of stupid foreigners who are tempted with the 'ancient' ways thinking they are mysterious and elusive without insider knowledge...Feng-shui should be called Dung-shui and more than a handful of Chinese kids and adults laugh openly at how gullible you Westerner's are...they also have palm readers, astrology, star charts – all the idiotic ramblings based on no science at all, but if you say anything with passion someone will believe you and part with their money...

    September 20, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  26. Oladipo Akinyemi Omole

    I agree that good energy is dynamic and that it moves around.That's quite obvious in a thriving and flourishing enterprise.feng-shui sounds great doesn't it? There has to be a philosophy or rule or practice that shapes an enterprise and makes it thrive.Cheers.

    September 20, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  27. Anu

    I see a lot of people put down eastern medicine and other beleifs. It is only as much junk as western stuff. Its easy to dismiss anything you don't understand as junk. Eastern people are only too ready to sell their believes as some sort of hippy ,ancient, exotic stuff that can be westernized and made easy to understand. I see this with the concept of reincarnation( do you want to be born as a puppy in next birth ??arrgghhh) and other things.

    True that many people claim to be experts in feng-shui, astrology and other stuff. They are only out there to make money, and they don't know the real science behind it because the scriptures are corrupted and no on can translate them properly anymore. But if Lindsay Lohan is given media space, why not this?

    September 20, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  28. Richard Schelin

    Here's a good technical answer from an Anglo-American.
    Feng Shui is an attempt to "manage space within time" you dont get it maybe you should talk to Stephen Hawkings he would get it.. Also Feng shui is one of the 8 branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine it is like acupuncture for houses, the reason it changes locations and energies is that every year on chinese new year the readings change with the year. Here in Seattle I practice both TCM and Feng Shui. Why send home a sick patient to a sick house, when they have been feeding on each other all along. TCM is the answer to our health care crisis, cheaper better no side effects, but you all can keep looking for the magic pill and refuse to take responsibility for your own behaviour. Then you will come looking for help after "the well goes dry".

    September 20, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  29. Stephen Frost

    Interesting, I live in Japan and lots of people here work with Feng Shui, maybe it's just a Kansai or Osaka thing vs. Tokyo!? The Chinese have worked with Feng Shui for thousands of years and are a more dominant force in the world than the US now, so to dismiss them and it as hocus pocus is kind of strange, are people just sticking their heads in the sand and not wanting to listen to what is going on in the world? The west lost a huge amount of its Esoteric knowledge in the last few hundred years, knowledge that much of these principles are based on. There are a few very successful organisations that still use these principles, yet people disregard them as being weirdos. Why? Because they do things differently? Results speak for themselves! I have seen interesting changes since I started working with these principles and I used to work as a successful business coach, dismiss them at your own whim, though people do get good results from them. Energies move shift and change, work with them and you can transform your business and your life, check and always be wise with what you dismiss, especially when it has been tested for thousands of years. We all know there are good and not so good consultants out there, so why blame advice from the not so good consultants on an entire system of knowledge?

    September 20, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  30. JC

    This is not a weight loss technique, ponzi scheme, new piece of exercise equipment or religious fanatacism. Why is it so hard for some people to believe that this is a part of Chinese culture and it will continue, whether ir not you call it "fluff". Just b/c you don't understand it, doesn't make it a scam.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  31. Ocip

    Garbage, garbage, garbage. Quit promoting a scam, CNN.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:03 am |
  32. Ramana Shiu

    Coming from one of the oldest civilisations on earth and considered the highest possible branch of knowledge, only ignorant people can think of this as hocus pocus. Granted there are inferior practitioners.
    There is fengshui for the living and another system for the dead with ever more far reaching results, working through DNA resonance. Enemies at
    war would try to dig up the tombs of their opponents.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:30 am |
  33. Scott Guthrie

    More smoke and mirrors...I would like a glass of snake oil...

    September 21, 2010 at 2:04 am |
  34. Mochach1na

    I love how all these people are spewing negative comments they know nothing about, nor have they personally tried Feng Shui to denounce it. Would it kill you to be a little open-minded about something that's new to you?

    There are millions of people who practice Feng Shui for THOUSANDS of years and are very successful (probably more successful than any of the nay sayers) and personally, if Westerners don't buy into it, it's not the end of the world... but don't disparage something you know nothing about.

    Westerners, Americans especially, are so deluded to think that their way is the best way... really!? How f*cked is our economy, our political and educational systems. If we're so great at everything, why are we in this economic, political and educational depression? Americans forget that what makes this country so great is that we took great ideas from different religions and cultures. But it took open-mindedness to see the value in these "other ideas" in order to achieve our "greatness."

    When you close your mind to new ideas, you close yourself to possibilities.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:29 am |
  35. FengShui QuanYuan

    Interesting to note that when Feng Shui reaches the Western shore, it is no longer the same as it is practice in Asia particularly HK, Singapore and Malaysia. The things that is practice is much about placebo effect just liked the many negative connotation about Feng Shui. Perhaps the following site will shed some light to what actual FengShui is all about:

    September 23, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  36. aju

    Feng Shui is a science that can help upliftment of human beings. But the problem is this science is being used to fleece the person who is in deep need of help to mitigate his sufferings. Sham master romp in and make expensive suggestions for improvement. Can we expect the real masters to help the needy without selfish motives. Let us be Human

    September 24, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  37. Schweinsteiger

    See, what will CHina bring us? Superstition. Sometimes CHinese buildings are in chaos. One building may destoy Feng shui of their neighbors.

    If everyone of the city seeks better Feng Shui, it is no using planning our city construction. You have to take Feng Shui into consideration.

    Now, all civil engineers should study Feng Shui. This is the compulsory lesson for all. THey can't get their certificates without passing the Feng shui exam.

    September 24, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  38. Karen

    Imagine a feng shui world. Peace. Calm. Productive.

    September 25, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  39. Fong

    Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese knowledge that have been practicing for thousands of years. It talks about the positive and negative energy that was being giving out through objects and people. This applies to everything, in our daily lives.

    I just can't see why people are so negative about it? It do know harm, just study of negative and positive force. Like atom neutrons, and electrons. A different scientific matter of explaining the changes in the flow of energy.

    for instance, when you are angry: you would give out bad aura that bad aura, if explain in Feng Shui term, you are giving out negative energy.

    Feng Shui also means balance in energy like ying-yang same principle but with different explanations.

    New knowledge seems to be hurting for those who are too ignorant.Why rejected such knowledge when other people accept yours?

    September 27, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  40. Steve Fraser

    Feng Shui serves as a guide, but don't let it rule your life. In short, don't put your ginch in a knot about it. If Chinese has been doing it for more than 5000 years, there must be some truth about it. I repeat, some truth about it. Similarly, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been out there for more than 5000 years. It gives us an alternative to treat and cure some of our diseases and disorders.

    September 29, 2010 at 5:52 am |
  41. Schweinsteiger

    Chinese like this superstition. Chinese films are very childish too. Learn some science please.

    Have you ever seen gongfu films? So naiive. You can fly as a bird. Fengshui is similar to those.

    What will China teach the world? Supersition?

    September 29, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  42. louise

    Yes, In China, people like this superstion.The ancestor make some rules for the offspring to obey.But some of the rules are so unresonable

    September 30, 2010 at 6:44 am |
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    October 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  44. mulan

    Even eating is not easy too... need to chew, swallow, digest and shit. Think of it ... nothing is easy in this world if you do not know how.

    A word to the above pity consumer, do you get the right knowledge and info of fengshui?

    October 7, 2010 at 3:50 am |
  45. Navneet Chandra

    Why are people so surprised at the kind of negative comments that's being posted here? History has shown us that most of the so called 'western" world have always had problems with old cultures.

    In US, the local "red indians" culture was destroyed because the "white man" as they were referred to could not understand what it was all about. In Europe "the Gypsy" clan is still regarded with contempt and their culture looked down upon. But it's not their fault.

    They are simply incapable of broader thought. For most of them broader thought is about how to expand your business ( Out of the box solution..:-) ). They don't mind believing that "Mother Mary" was a virgin after the birth of Christ but have a problem believing that flow of energy does change the productivity of a person. For them life & death is a process, that some one put in place and we are simply !!! Talk to them about why does death happen or is their life after death and you will see expressions of ridicule ( as though you must be out of your mind). Such questions are not "Out of the Box" but "Out of your mind" questions..LOL !!!

    Can just pity such people cause their life will always remain just a process and not an adventure....

    October 7, 2010 at 6:48 am |
  46. mulan

    To one of the un-open minded reader... there are supermen, x-men, spidermen, batmen in the west then whats wrong with flying hero from oriental. You call this childish? Are u a cavemen?????

    October 7, 2010 at 7:26 am |
  47. Bill Rich

    ".. there are supermen, x-men, spidermen, batmen in the west then whats wrong with flying hero from oriental"

    There is a difference. Kids in the west reads and plays with x-man, spiderman, batman, superman, etc. but even kids know these are comic book heroes, not real, and isn't a good career objective.

    Adults of all ages, all walks of life, all social economic strata, spend good money (and bad), lots of it, (hundreds of millions by one rich lady in HK), on fengshui. The lady died shortly after, of terminal cancer, of course. And the fengshui master she used claimed her billion dollar estate.

    See the difference ?

    October 12, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  48. mulan

    There is a difference. Kids in the west reads and plays with x-man, spiderman, batman, superman, etc. but even kids know these are comic book heroes, not real, and isn't a good career objective.


    who told you that super hero is real? Who told you that oriental people out there threat flying kungfu hero as real? In which area of society or business is 'super pure'? Do not twist and turn my post. RE-think and do not short minded.

    October 13, 2010 at 4:33 am |
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