AuthorSean P. Murray

What Baseball Can Teach Us About Team Chemistry

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In the movie, Miracle about the 1980 US men’s Olympic hockey team, there is a scene where head coach Herb Brooks is evaluating talent. At one point he turns to his assistant coach Craig Patrick and says: “I’m not looking for the best players, Craig. I’m looking for the right ones.” Brooks was searching for that elusive element: Team Chemistry. What is Team Chemistry exactly? It is something that has vexed coaches, players and fans for ages. It appears that successful teams have Team Chemistry...

50 Days of Silence: Lessons from Adventurer Erling Kagge

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In the early 1990s, Erling Kagge completed the first unsupported solo expedition to the South Pole. He covered 815 miles in 50 days. During that time he had no radio contact and no support from the outside world. He was completely alone. What hit him the hardest was the silence. At first his mind was racing with thoughts and worries. He found the silence disturbing. “Everything seemed completely flat and white, kilometre after kilometre all the way to the horizon…Eventually, in...

If You Want to Succeed, First Define Success

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In 1934, an English teacher in South Bend, IN was discouraged by parents who complained when their son or daughter received a “C.”  It seems “C” was perfectly fine for their neighbor’s children, because it was average and the neighbor’s children were, of course, average. However, for their own children, a “C” was disappointing, and the parents would try to make the teacher and student feel like they had failed. The teacher didn’t feel this was right. He could see that...

What the Amish can Teach Us about Technology

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I had always understood the Amish to be a community that chose to live permanently in the technological past. That is, at a certain point in time, the community said “no more” to new technology.  From that point forward new technology was rejected out of hand. However, the Amish relationship to technology is more complicated. The author Kevin Kelly has written about this.  The Amish are constantly evolving with respect to technology. Thus, the Amish don’t use cars or bicycles for...

Leadership & Solitude: Scheduling Time to Think

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On August 11, 1984, the USA Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team faced off against Brazil for a gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics. The coach of the U.S. Team, Doug Beal, arrived at the arena hours before the match. Joining him was his assistant coach and best friend, Bill Neville. The players would arrive later, closer to game time. They walked into a mostly empty arena. In a few hours it would be a madhouse, but at the moment it was quiet. The two men sat in the empty stands. They reflected on...

10 Lessons from Benjamin Franklin on Wisdom

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The investor Mohnish Pabrai was having lunch with Warren Buffett, and he asked him, “if you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?” Buffett replied with a smile, “I’d love to have lunch with Sophia Loren.” But then he got serious and he said, “scratch that answer. I’d really like to have lunch with Isaac Newton.” Mohnish probed Buffett further and asked him “why Isaac Newton?” Buffett replied, “Isaac newton is probably the smartest guy who ever walked this earth. It...

Richard III, Prince Harry, Nassim Taleb, Warren Buffett and Skin-in-the-Game

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Battle of Bosworth, as depicted by Philip James de Loutherbourg (1740–1812) On August 22, 1485, King Richard III led his troops into the Battle of Bosworth Field in Leicestershire, England. Things didn’t go well for Richard III that day. In the heat of battle, he found himself unhorsed and in desperate need of help. Shakespeare immortalized the moment with the famous line; “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!” A horse was not forthcoming and Richard III was eventually slain on the...

5 Lessons from Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning”

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In 1945, within months of his liberation from a concentration camp in Nazi Germany, Viktor Frankl sat down to write a book. He was forty years old. Before the war he worked as a successful psychologist in Vienna. He wrote the manuscript in nine successive days. Although the book tells the story of the unfathomable horrors and suffering he endured as a prisoner at Auschwitz, Dachau and other camps, the primary purpose of the text is to explore the source of his will to survive. The book...

10 Lessons from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting

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 1. “All you had to do was figure that America was going to do well overtime.” – Buffett Buffett kicked off the meeting by providing the audience with “a perspective on how you might think about investing.” The entire audience leaned in. Isn’t this why we all traveled to Omaha? On March 11, 1942, young Warren Buffett made his first stock purchase. He was eleven years old. Warren held up a copy of the front page of the New York Times that day.  It was filled with bad news...

5 Tips for Better Decision Making from a Professional Poker Player

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Every decision we make is a bet. A bet is essentially an investment in a future outcome that is uncertain. That investment could be money, time, attention or some other resource. When we think of decisions as bets, we are more likely to think probabilistically, adopt an open-mind, consider diverse options and learn from our mistakes. If every decision is a bet, then we can learn to become better decision makers by studying the ultimate betting game: poker. People often compare life to chess...

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