I’m not a Buffettologist but this book might have become my first step towards that path. I particularly enjoyed No. 47:
In looking for someone to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. But the most important is integrity, because if they don’t have that, the other two qualities, intelligence and energy, are going to kill you.
Feels very law10-ish to me.
I’m not a heavy Starbucks drinker, but I think practically everyone I know is. There seem to be a lot of books about Starbucks, but this particular one hit the spot for me and scored as a Venti.
I enjoyed Howard Behar’s wisdom, and particularly this quote he had collected and placed on his wall, “If there was no praise or criticism in the world, then who would you be?” It felt very much like the one thing to remember for me.
This year I think I’ve read every “Three Habits” or “Twelve Principles” or “Seven Salamis” of “Effective CEOs” as a self-prescribed hobby. No book did this job better for me than Phil Jackson’s Sacred Hoops. I know absolutely nothing about basketball but I do know who Michael Jordan is. To imagine that MJ had “a boss” was sort of hard for me to imagine, and this book is about the story of MJ’s boss and how he motivated his players’ path towards winning with compassion and love. It was a surprisingly law7-al book that I wish all CEOs would read.
This book posits that to be law2-d is a bad thing. The authors argue that when you add up all the time you might spend cleaning up your office, that the actual time savings gained in finding things later falls short of the total time you spent cleaning. In other words, that there is no savings in law3 by being tidy. Furthermore they make a case for messiness as an all-important catalyst for being creative. Are they right? Well, given that they wrote a well-organized book, it sort of runs counter to their overall thinking…
Being a big fan of duct tape, I couldn’t resist picking up Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath with its clever embossed image of my favorite adhesive technology. The premise of the book is that there are certain characteristics of ideas that become “sticky” in the minds of consumers: simplicity, unexpectedness ( law5), concreteness, credibility ( law8), emotion ( law7), and stories. I enjoyed their treatise on simplicity where they defined the equation of simplicity = core + compact. Their definition certainly embodies their own principle.
I’m trying to end the year on a high note, but it’s not so easy due to the current hospitalization of a noted colleague at MIT named Seymour Papert.
To occupy my mind and to build a better appreciation of Papert’s contributions, I (tried to) read John Dewey’s How We Think. It’s a slender volume of 224 pages, but it certainly packs an intellectual punch. Lucky for me, Dewey has left many marginalia throughout the book to help non-theory folks like myself decipher his writings.
Here in pages 188 to 196, Dewey exhorts that facts-based learning in schools is insufficient, and that learning how to think happens best when actually doing things — or as they say “learning by doing.” Papert’s contribution to the education field follows with Papert’s adherence to the constructionist “learning by making” approach.
Papert’s current medical status can be reviewed here, and you can sign a get-well card I created for well-wishers around the world.
As part of my holiday readings, I opened a gift from a few years ago. I wish I could remember who gave this to me. It is a Sherlock Holmes book entitled The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. By the fifth page, I realized how much a simplicity-buff Sherlock Holmes really was. I guess the famous phrase, “Elementary, my dear Watson,” might just as easily have turned out, “Simplicity, my dear Watson.” I think I need to go and grab my bent Briar pipe now …
At TED last year, the high point for me was seeing Sir Ken Robinson talk. I remember how at the end of TED, Diego Rodriguez and I were both knocked out by Robinson’s PowerPoint-less, completely a capella delivery.
His book Out of Our Minds
was something I bought at the conference, but I never had a chance to read it until recently. In a way it’s similar to A Whole New Mind
but it achieves greater depth based upon Robinson’s tremendous wealth of experiences. You’d be “out of your mind” not to read it at the first chance possible.
I was happy to read Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers will Rule the Future because I’ve heard his book quoted by many thought-leaders. Affirmations like “MFA’s are the new MBA” and other global cheerleading for more right-brain inspired approaches to problem solving owe Pink a great deal of thanks. Pink’s heavily researched “Six Senses” of Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning are actually quite compatible with the Ten Laws so I feel that my conjectures are flying in the right air space. Or maybe that’s my left side of the brain doing the talking here. I have to be careful because I now know that left is the new wrong.
Although the title isn’t great, it’s still a great book. One of Jim Collins’ points of philosophy is his “Hedgehog Concept.” According to Jim, hedgehogs understand that the essence of profound insight is simplicity. He elaborates further on these animals that — “They see what is essential, and ignore the rest.” — which sounds an awfully lot like the tenth Law law10. I sincerely hope I haven’t inadvertently upset these little fellas.