Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism

Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism

by Tom Peters  

Nearly 40 years after the publication of the über-bestseller In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters has written his 19th book. His insights on organizational effectiveness (and dysfunction) are as relevant as ever. ‎

“In In Search of Excellence, we defined Excellence in terms of long-term performance. But that begs a/the question. How do you achieve that long-term super-effectiveness? … Excellence is not an ‘aspiration.’ Excellence is not a ‘hill to climb.’ Excellence is the next five minutes.”

Given that Peters has two engineering degrees, an MBA, and a PhD in business, you might be surprised by his findings. “Enterprise excellence is about just two things: People. Service. Excellence = Service. Service to one’s teammates, service to one’s customers and vendors, service to our communities.”

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Intellectual Property and the Law of Ideas

Intellectual Property and the Law of Ideas

by Kurt M. Saunders, J.D., LL.M. 

“Valuable ideas take many directions—ideas for new or improved products, marketing strategies, advertising slogans, manufacturing processes, television show formats and move plots, to name a few.”

“The law of ideas is the area of law involving employees, customers, inventors, and authors, who submit ideas capable of being reduced to practical application to business. It is a somewhat amorphous amalgam of contract law, property law, and tort law precedents that has been stitched together by courts over the years.”

Now there’s a book which pulls it all together.

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Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

by David Epstein

“The response, in every field, to a ballooning library of human knowledge and an interconnected world has been to exalt increasingly narrow focus… Both training and professional incentives are aligning to accelerate specialization, creating intellectual archipelagos.”

In Range, David Epstein examines the advantages of having a range of experiences, a broader perspective, an interdisciplinary approach, and the value of flexible thinking and reasoning in a world full complexity and uncertainty where precise, deterministic solutions are unknowable.

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Making Art Work

Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture

by W. Patrick McCray

This book picks up where C.P. Snow left off in his 1959 book The Two Cultures. Snow was a British chemist turned novelist who had scientist friends and literary friends, but he observed that these groups were two separate cultures who rarely communicated with each other. Patrick McCray is a history professor at UC Santa Barbara. In Making Art Work, he studies several endeavors to bridge this divide, primarily in the 1960s, but also more recently. Specifically the book is about collaborations between artists and engineers.  Continue reading “Making Art Work”

Eat, Sleep, Innovate

Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization

by Scott D. Anthony, Paul Cobban, Natalie Painchaud, Andy Parker

My grandfather used to tell me I was full of beans when I was being rambunctious. In contrast, this book is full of BEANS—behavior enablers, artifacts, and nudges—which are ways to encourage a new behavior.

The book is about developing a culture of innovation—not just for engineers and scientists, but throughout the organization. Three of the co-authors are with Innosight, a consulting firm co-founded by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen (1952-2020), who wrote The Innovator’s Dilemma. Paul Cobban is Chief Data and Transformation Officer at DBS Bank, the largest bank in Singapore. Continue reading “Eat, Sleep, Innovate”

An interview with Peter McGraw author of Shtick to Business

An interview with Peter McGraw
author of Shtick to Business: What the masters of comedy can teach you
about breaking rules, being fearless, and building a serious career.

October 15, 2020 — 38 minutes — Book ReviewAmazon

  • [00:58] “that guy”
  • [03:53] behavioral economics
  • [06:59] group genius
  • [12:09] liminal spaces
  • [15:45] warm team and feature creep
  • [23:26] two paths to a creative solution
  • [26:18] writing is a cheat code for life
  • [34:19] where you find a lot of growth

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Authentic Leadership

Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value

by Bill George

Former Medtronic chairman and CEO Bill George wrote this book following a series of corporate scandals, including Enron, Sunbeam, Tyco, and Worldcom—just to name a few. These companies imploded because management was fixated on maximizing short-term shareholder value.

To paraphrase my favorite line in the book: you are running a business, not a stock. That said, the compound annual growth rate of Medtronic split-adjusted stock price was 28.5% during George’s 12-year tenure, according to my calculations. Not too shabby!

The first part of the book deals with the character, values, and sense of purpose required to inspire employees. George also shares his wisdom and personal experiences regarding customers, quality, market share, growth, innovation, acquisitions, FDA approval delays, Wall Street analysts, and corporate governance. Continue reading “Authentic Leadership”

Marketing and the Bottom Line

Marketing and the Bottom Line

by Tim Ambler

Tim Ambler (now retired) was a professor at the London Business School. He was unique in that he was a marketing professor who was also a Chartered Accountant. Ambler contends that boards of directors should devote more attention to marketing. He puts a particular emphasis on brand equity and innovation.

“The point is simple: if you want to know what your future cash flow will look like, investigate where it comes from—the market… Survival depends on basic wealth creation. And wealth creation depends on how healthy the marketing is… Securing customer preference opens up the main cash flow for every business.” Continue reading “Marketing and the Bottom Line”

Effectiveness in Context: A Manual for Brand Building

Effectiveness in Context: A Manual for Brand Building

by Les Binet and Peter Field

Binet and Field have analyzed 18 years of data (1998-2016) from the London-based Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s IPA Databank, “the confidential data submitted alongside entries to the biennial IPA Effectiveness Awards competition.” This book presents their findings on what works best—in general and in various contexts.

Topics include market penetration, brand-building vs. sales activation, emotional vs. rational consideration, share of voice, pricing, and innovation.  Continue reading “Effectiveness in Context: A Manual for Brand Building”

Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know that Brilliant Machines Never Will

Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know that Brilliant Machines Never Will

by Geoff Colvin

“The number of people who wrongly believed they could never be replaced by a computer keeps growing.” So what are the skills in which humans can maintain a competitive advantage over machines?

“Skills of interaction are becoming the key to success… Now, as technology drives forward more powerfully every year, the transition to the newly valuable skills of empathizing, collaborating, creating, leading, and building relationships is happening faster than corporations, governments, education systems, or most human psyches can keep up with.”  Continue reading “Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know that Brilliant Machines Never Will”