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Self-Renewal and the Courage to Fail

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities – brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. February 16 is the anniversary of the death of John William Gardner, the author of that quote. Gardner was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in the late 1960’s, founder of two influential U.S. organizations (Common Cause and Independent…

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Happy New Year Wine

The Psychology of Wine Labels

After multiple opportunities to do field research this holiday season, I’ve come to the conclusion most of us choose wine based on brand, rather than taste. Sure, many people have an oenophile friend who knows that a bottle of 1787 Château Lafite with the initials Th.J. etched on it sold for more than $150K. However, most of us…

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Twain on Germany

My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. – Mark Twain, “That Awful German Language” Twain was likely making a joke but, in my experience, he is directionally accurate. He provides several examples…

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How To Avoid Getting Sick

For the first time in a few years, I made it through last winter without getting sick. What was my secret? Like the title of the best-selling book, almost everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten. Here’s my 6-pronged advice to avoid getting sick this winter: 1. Wash your hands Yes, germs are…

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An Aerospace Engineer’s Guide to Winning Tennis

Simon “Si” Ramo is a remarkable person. Ramo is a world-renowned scientist and engineer. He was the chief architect of the US intercontinental ballistic missile system. He was the ‘R’ in TRW, the multibillion-dollar aerospace company now part of Northrop Grumman. And last year, at the age of 100, he became the oldest person to be…

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For Networks, Bigger Is Not Always Better

Practically everyone has a machine-to-machine Internet of Things story they like to tell. It might be refrigerators automatically reordering milk, cows that send texts to farmers when they’re in heat, or understanding the demand for ice cream in real-time. We are living in a networked economy. The traditional understanding of networks is based on the…

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