Archive | books

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:…

Continue Reading 2

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…

Continue Reading 2

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…

Continue Reading 3
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…

Continue Reading 8

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…

Continue Reading 3

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…

Continue Reading 3