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Tag / Narratives

Stories We Tell Ourselves

A writer far greater than myself once said we are pattern-seeking animals. But that’s not the story I want to tell; it’s not the story you want to hear, either. The notion that we simply seek out patterns, even when they don’t exist, makes for a very unsettling reality. Before you know it, we’re questioning […]

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It’s Okay. Choose An Enemy.

I have come to understand, to my deepest surprise, that there are people out there I just don’t like. It’s nothing personal. It’s more like an allergy. Some people are allergic to wheat. They don’t actively conspire to harm the wheat industry. They just can’t have wheat in their food. So they keep a distance. […]

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A Chicken’s Body Temperature Is 144 Degrees

In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman features one of my favorite experiments ever conceived. It involves the natural bias we all feel towards familiarity. As something becomes familiar to us, it becomes comfortable. That comfort reduces uncertainty and creates “cognitive ease.” Cognitive ease is a sign of firm understanding; it’s what allows us to […]

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What To Do When You Can’t Define The Problem

A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved. — Charles Kettering The inventor and businessman Charles Kettering produced some truly great insights and this one might be his finest. It points to a classic problem in the modern workplace. Visit any organization and ask people to name the core business problem they should be working on […]

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Your Ego Hates Data

Data doesn’t care about you. Data doesn’t care about anything. And short of casting a few puns about a Star Trek TNG character, Data is something we tend to ignore. That tendency leads us to our own peril. This week’s book, Factfulness, illustrates the data behind a far richer, more hopeful view of the world. […]

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The Great Letdown of Meeting Expectations

Consider outcomes versus expectations. For example, an airline touts its safety as a selling point. But it isn’t. Safety is expected, demanded, and is not thus impressive or surprising. An important line from this week’s book. Outcomes versus expectations in relation to praise. No one will ever call the power company to say thanks for […]

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Something We All Want

This week’s feature is a bit unique. It’s a mix of business and philosophy that stems from a fascinating new book and a classic that I kept thinking about while reading it. Together, this will be a discount bundle of book reviews—two for the price of one—mixing John Carreyrou’s bestseller Bad Blood and Victor Frankl’s […]

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Where Innovation Comes From

I’m really not sure that anyone can intentionally create an innovation from whole cloth. There’s a fine book about this that will be a future review but, for now, consider the beauty of what emerges from great experiments. In other words, consider the accidental discovery that powers much of the office environment: post-it notes. One […]

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The Thrill of the Chase. The Sorrow of the Catch.

When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.  —Plutarch Of all the “good” problems to have, the best might be “post achievement depression”. It comes by way of the arrival fallacy—a term coined by the psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar from his excellent book Happier. The idea has been around […]

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Narratives

The stories we tell ourselves fuel every single action. When the New York Giants faced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, they weren’t just underdogs. They were the greatest underdogs in modern football history. You were considered either foolish or just a blind fan if you picked them to defeat Belichick’s team. The […]

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