Archive | books

Word Cloud for MBWA, 2015 edition

More than six years ago, I created a wordle of my 10 most popular blog posts. Back then, word clouds were relatively new and I thought it was an interesting way to explore what I had been writing about. Some words were expected – performance, scorecard, objectives, strategy, metrics. Others were a bit more surprising –…

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How to Make Better Decisions

I always ask aspiring business people: How do you beat Bobby Fischer, the renowned chess champion of the 1970’s? The Answer: Play him at anything but chess. This excerpt is from the second chapter of Seymour Schulich’s book, Get Smarter: Life and Business Lessons. Schulich is a self-made billionaire and one of Canada’s greatest philanthropists, having…

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What The Heck Is Antifragile?

OK, an admission. I’ve been avoiding reading Antifragile, the latest but now three-year-old book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Nothing against Taleb; I follow him on twitter and really enjoyed his earlier books, The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness. The buzz surrounding Antifragile was mixed. A friend of mine summed up his opinion in one word:…

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Quotes about Technology

In the past, I’ve compiled quotes about performance management and about failure. Here are some of my favorite ones about technology: “But they are useless. They can only give you answers.” Pablo Picasso, 1964 conversation with William Fifield about computers (source) “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate…

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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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