If Business is War, Jeff Bezos is a lot like Ulysses S. Grant

In 1861, Ulysses S. Grant was managing his brother’s leather goods store in Galena, IL, having retired from the military seven years prior. When the Civil War broke out later that year, he reenlisted and quickly rose through the ranks. The officers Grant replaced on his meteoric rise to Commanding General of the Union Army[…]

The 8 Best CEOs from the Past 50 Years

In the 2012 Berkshire Hathaway Letter to Shareholders, Warren Buffett recommended the book The Outsiders, by William Thorndike, calling it “an outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation.” It tells the story of eight unconventional CEOs who managed to outperform the S&P 500 by over twenty times. How did they do it? It[…]

Setting A Goal this Year? Make it a Process Goal

Source: Reference-Dependent Preferences: Evidence from Marathon Runners It is the distribution of marathon finishing times collected from over 9 million runners. You might expect to see a smooth bell curve centered around the average time, but that is not what is depicted here. The general outline of the bell curve is evident, but it is[…]

Charlie Munger on Bitcoin and Second-Order Thinking

Charlie Munger turned 94 this year. He grew up in Omaha, Nebraska during the Great Depression. Through hard work, continuous learning, persistence, and generally avoiding stupidity, Munger has become one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet. Warren Buffett looks to Munger for advice. He’s literally seen it all. So I find it fascinating that[…]

To Improve Decision Making, Focus on the Process not the Outcome

Imagine walking through a Las Vegas casino and observing the following: A patron at the Blackjack table is dealt a 17. The gambler decides to take a hit. The dealer turns over a 4. The player wins. The dealer says to the gambler, “good decision.” But was it? Well, in this particular case the outcome[…]

My Favorite Books of 2017

A list of the top 15 books I read in 2017: Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson.  This is the same biographer that wrote wonderful biographies of Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.  The power of Da Vinci’s intellect and the insatiable nature of his curiosity is well detailed in this volume.  Isaacson focuses[…]

Leadership Lessons from Lewis & Clark

Charles M. Russell: Lewis and Clark on the Lower Columbia From May 1804 to September 1806, two men led an expedition from St. Louis, Missouri to the Pacific Ocean and back again. The group covered over 7,000 miles, crossed the Rocky Mountains in harsh conditions, and encountered numerous Native American tribes, both friendly and hostile. They[…]

Management vs. Leadership

I’m often asked, “what is the difference between management and leadership?”  The best answer I’ve ever heard, and the one I usually give is: Management is about doing things right.  Leadership is about doing the right thing. Like any great aphorism, it is short and memorable.  It does a decent job communicating the big concept,[…]