CategoryPurpose

Maximize the Gift

M

I lost my father in 2021 and his death provoked a lot of reflection on mortality, including my own. The fact that we’re all going to die someday is sobering and frightening on one level, and yet it also infuses our life with meaning. In his book Four Thousand Weeks, author Oliver Burkeman writes: “It is by consciously confronting the certainty of death, and what follows in the certainty of death, that we finally become truly present in our lives.” The “four thousand...

Steve Jobs on the Creative Process

S

It’s been ten years since Steve Jobs died and to commemorate his death, Jony Ive, Jobs’ longtime friend and collaborator at Apple, wrote a short piece in the WSJ.  It’s a beautiful reflection on their friendship – it’s obvious the two men had a deep respect for one another – but it also describes how Jobs approached the creative process and reveals insights we can apply to our own creative endeavors. Creativity begins with curiosity.  To imagine something new and bring it into the...

What’s Your Personal Vision?

W

A Path in Oregon. Source: Sean P. Murray Richard Hamming makes a stunning observation in his book Learning to Learn: “The main difference between those who go far and those who do not is some people have a vision and others do not and therefore can only react to the current events as they happen.” – Richard Hamming in Learning to Learn It’s easier than ever to spend our time reacting to current events – just browse Facebook, scroll Twitter or bounce among your favorite news sites on your...

My 10 Favorite Books of 2019

M

As the year comes to a close, it’s helpful to look back on what you’ve read and take stock of the learning.  Here are my favorite books of 2019.  Note, not all of these books were published this year, some were published in 2018 and I only got around to reading this this year.  In no particular order, here is the best of what I read: 1. Our Great Purpose: Adam Smith on Living A Better Life by Ryan Patrick Hanley.  This book has the most “wisdom per page” of any book I read this...

Steve Jobs’ Most Important Decision Making Tip

S

Our lives are defined by our decisions.  Try this thought experiment: consider your life as separate from the decisions you have made.  You can’t.  They are one in the same. Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and the author of the book Principles, put it eloquently: “The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our decisions.” If Dalio is right, and I believe he is, then the study of decision making should take up a much larger percentage of our education and...

Vision is Fixed, Strategy is Flexible

V

The movie “Lincoln” (2012) focuses on a critical period during the Civil War – January 1865 – when President Lincoln makes a high-stakes attempt to pass the Thirteenth Amendment through the House of Representatives. It was clear by this time in the war that the Union would prevail. Lincoln thought it imperative that the U.S. Constitution abolish slavery once and for all, so that as southern states were readmitted to the Union, there was no question about the status of African...

The Power of We versus Me

T

At the age of twenty, Art Unruh flew 50 missions into enemy territory in the European theater of World War II. The first six missions he served as a tail gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. Protecting the B-17 from all threats behind the plane was a dangerous assignment, but it wasn’t the most dangerous – that belonged to the waist gunners. The waist gunner had to stand, which exposed them to more enemy fire. For the next 46 missions, Army Staff Sgt. Art Unruh served as a waste gunner, and...

Jeff Bezos and the Role of Intuition in Decision Making

J

When it comes to decision making, Jeff Bezos is quite comfortable relying on his intuition. This may come as a surprise given Amazon’s reputation for data analytics. Bezos has said in the past, “Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.” Judging from this quote alone one might imagine that employees at Amazon are like scientist in the lab, carefully tracking results from experiments and analyzing the date to make each decision...

Use this Richard Feynman Technique to Increase Your Team’s Productivity

U

As World War II broke out, the physicist Richard Feynman was recruited to Los Alamos to assist in the development of the first atomic bomb. He was tasked with calculating the energy released by the nuclear explosion. Machines were brought in from IBM to assist in the task. Although state of art in their day, they were crude mechanical calculators that used punch cards to execute complicated calculations. The Army dispatched a group called the Special Engineering Detachment to operate the...

50 Days of Silence: Lessons from Adventurer Erling Kagge

5

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...

Recent Posts

Archives

Categories