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Better Conversations in Three Steps

Unless you’re a hermit, monk, or writing a book, your life is likely filled with conversations. Looking back, it’s not hard to put the ones you had yesterday (or last week) into three buckets: Great Not Great Don’t Recall We all have different ideas about what those buckets mean. It’s also true that you and […]

You Can’t Hack Your Way to Great

Sivanandan is nine years old. She took up chess during lockdown, which made her, what, six when she started? She is one of five players chosen for England’s women’s team to play in the Chess Olympiad in September. Maybe she’ll be ten! The next youngest player is an ancient 23. You and I aren’t Sivanandan. […]

There is Only One You

There is only one you. Only one me. There are many like us, but you are completely unique. So am I. Your peculiarities, differences, idiosyncrasies, weirdness, specialness, quirks, and ordinariness or not your enemies. They are not to be put aside. They are your friends. Your best friends. The point isn’t to master these parts […]

Decision Quality Starts with the Exam Question

Decision traps – we’ve all stumbled into them at some point. These pitfalls can stem from our biases, organizational issues, lack of awareness about our agenda, or simply lacking decision-making skills. The first step in quality decision-making is “framing,” figuring out the question you mean to ask and answer. It’s useful to think of this […]

Role Models and Teachers. Choose Wisely.

Perhaps you have too. Over the years, I’ve read broadly the stories of the titans of business, statecraft, and war: Rockefeller, Morgan, Lazard, Duveen, Rommel, and Patton are some names that come to mind. The same is true for biographies and hagiographies of contemporaneous figures like Pat Reilly, Phil Jackson, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Tim […]

Be Worthy of Trust

Trust. It’s the mechanism and byproduct of social engagement. Trust and its cousin, reciprocity, were the necessary ingredients that helped our ancestors form tribes 2.5 million years ago. Trust is also hard to define with precision, at least if you’re not an academic. It’s like the famous Oliver Wendell Holmes comment about obscenity. “I know […]

What’s Your Scurvy?

We don’t talk a lot about scurvy these days. Vitamin C deficiency is still a thing, but other things feel more interesting and urgent a quarter of the way into this century. Go back in time, and it’s a different thing altogether. We find evidence of it recorded as far back as 1500 BC, and […]

Making Friends, Fast

In 1997, five people at Stony Brook University published a paper suggesting people could become good friends in under an hour. The term “good” obviously covers a lot of ground, but bear with me. The initial study paired two complete strangers. The intuition was that questions inviting personal disclosure would lead to more disclosure and […]

An Amateur, a Hack, and a Professional Walk Into a Bar . . .

Jimmy Quitting. You’ll regret it for the rest of your life . . . Baseball is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up. You can’t deny that. Dotty It just got too hard Jimmy It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it […]

Are You Sure? Really?

Philo means “love” or “friendship.” It comes from the Greek verb “philein.” Sophia means “wisdom,” “learning,” and “knowledge.” Historians think the philosopher Pythagoras (the guy who developed the theorem about right triangles) was the originator of the combination, “Philosophy” . . . a friend of wisdom. I think we would be better all around if […]