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BEWARE OF THE NARCISSISTIC LEADER

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in Blog | 3 comments

BEWARE OF THE NARCISSISTIC LEADER

I’ve been reviewing a study of the top 25 instances of corporate fraud between 1998 and 2005, and there are some fascinating lessons that still apply today.  The research, by Kees Cools, a professor at Groningen University in the Netherlands affiliated to the Boston Consulting Group, accounted for $25 billion of corporate malfeasance.  Some of the headlines: 21 of the 25 companies involved were American They were all large publicly traded corporations, including Enron, WorldCom, Ahold, and Parmalat One surprise was that the cause of...

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Simplify

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in Books | 0 comments

Simplify

For the past 40 years I have searched for simple and parsimonious principles to help individuals create great new businesses, and thus enrich the world and the people involved. In SIMPLIFY, Greg Lockwood and I have come up with a new answer. Most of the best businesses in the world have simplified a product or service, and therefore a market. There are two almost opposite ways to simplify: Price-simplifying – the route taken by Henry Ford, by McDonald’s, Southwest Airlines, IKEA, Charles Schwab, and Honda – reduces the price and...

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THE RISE & FALL OF ORGANIZATION MAN

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Blog | 4 comments

THE RISE & FALL OF ORGANIZATION MAN

One of the surprise bestsellers of 1956 – frequently reprinted throughout the 1960s – was an epoch-defining book by William H. Whyte called simply The Organization Man.  Those were the blessed days when books didn’t have to have subtitles to tell you what they were about.  One of my odd habits is re-reading important books of social commentary from the past.  The habit often reveals how hard it is to read social trends, and yet throws a lot of light on what has happened to define our own times. The Organization Man Thesis It is about...

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NINE THINGS YOU MIGHT CHOOSE TO BELIEVE

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in Blog | 3 comments

NINE THINGS YOU MIGHT CHOOSE TO BELIEVE

I keep coming back to the words of Leonard Mlodinow: “We choose the facts we want to believe.  Unlike phenomena in physics, in life, events can often obey one theory or another, and what actually happens can depend largely upon which theory we choose to believe.  It is a gift of the human mind to be extraordinarily open to accepting the theory of ourselves that pushes us in the direction of survival, and even happiness.” It is because he is a professor of physics and neuroscience, not a preacher or a self-help guru, that I find it easier...

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WANTED: A NEW WAY TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in Blog | 3 comments

WANTED: A NEW WAY TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

America does need to be made great again.  But it cannot be done by warmed-up nationalism.  It has to be done through a new political ideal.  This is not an opinion.  It is written into the warp and woof of American history and American identity. The US is unique in many ways, but most importantly in this: it was settled by dissidents pursuing an idea.  The settlers were seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Protestants.  Their idea was a homogeneous Puritan community of independent citizens – God-fearing, hard-working, self-improving. ...

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IS PROGRESS REAL?

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in Blog | 4 comments

IS PROGRESS REAL?

Is modern society better than that of the eighteenth century, or the Renaissance, or ancient Greece or Rome?  The relentless 24/7 news media portray a world of conflict, disaster, and human turpitude. Was there ever a golden age, or are we living in it?  I believe there is a clear answer to this question, and it is good for us to realize it. I have just been re-reading a splendid essay on the subject by historians Will and Ariel Durant, written in 1968. I will summarize it before adding my own views, based partly on a difference of...

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WHAT ARE YOUR HAPPINESS & ACHIEVEMENT ISLANDS?

Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in Blog | 2 comments

WHAT ARE YOUR HAPPINESS & ACHIEVEMENT ISLANDS?

One of my good Twitter friends, Shola Abidoye, has asked me to write a post on these islands. The idea is simple but surprisingly powerful.  Happiness islands are the times when we are happiest, cut off by warm, gently lapping seas, from the worries and woes of the rest of our lives. They can happen in life now, or for sustained periods in different parts of our life – maybe you were happiest in college, or living with a friend or friends, or doing a particular job. But you can swim to your happiness island at any time if you do the right...

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WHAT IS YOUR THEORY OF WHY YOU WILL SUCCEED?

Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Blog | 1 comment

WHAT IS YOUR THEORY OF WHY YOU WILL SUCCEED?

“Unlike phenomena in physics,” writes Professor Leonard Mlodinow, “events can often obey one theory or another, and what actually happens can depend largely upon which theory we choose to believe.”  This profound observation is my theme today. Mlodinow is a physicist turned student of the human mind, and in particular the unconscious mind – the mind that we are not aware of, but which is actually far more important than the conscious mind with which we reason and of which we are aware.  The unconscious mind actually does much of...

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ON THE FOLLY OF EVER FEELING BLUE

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in Blog | 11 comments

ON THE FOLLY OF EVER FEELING BLUE

This week a close friend called me to ask for counsel because he was feeling seriously down.  We all feel blue at some times, and it’s good to be clear that it is never helpful to let such feelings persist.  I was able to say three things that helped my friend – things that I have said to myself at similar times: The Psychological Immune System Psychologist and neurologist Timothy Wilson explains how we vastly over-estimate the happiness that winning the lottery – or any other event – will bring us, and that we similarly...

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REWRITING THE NARRATIVE OF YOUR LIFE

Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Blog | 10 comments

REWRITING THE NARRATIVE OF YOUR LIFE

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live … We live entirely by the imposition of a narrative upon disparate images, by the “ideas” which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.” I was struck this week by this quote from Joan Didion’s book The White Album.  Whether we realize it or not, we all impose a narrative on our lives.  But I want to relate this thought to the one which I explored in my previous blog – Walt Whitman’s “Do I contradict myself?  Very well, I contradict...

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