When More Is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency

When More Is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency

by Roger L. Martin

Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto from 1998 to 2013, writes about a fragile imbalance in the U.S. economy and the erosion of the middle class. Major themes include efficiency vs. resilience, reductionist thinking vs. complex adaptive systems, and gaming the system. He cites examples of companies where an obsession with efficiency was catastrophic, and conversely, where slack is the secret sauce. He offers policy solutions in such areas as antitrust, taxation, stockholder voting rights, and education.

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Freeing Yourself from Anxiety

Freeing Yourself from Anxiety: 4 Simple Steps to Overcome Worry and Create the Life You Want

by Tamar E. Chansky, Ph.D.

2020 has been a mentally-draining year. In this 287-page book, psychologist Tamar Chansky explains why our minds get overwhelmed with worry and she offers advice on how to deal with it. Here are some highlights.

Anxiety is “the first-reaction of a sensitive system that is wired to keep us alert to danger and protected from harm… But today, with our best interests in mind, anxiety sometimes makes mistakes, overshooting… grabbing your attention from what you need to focus on and insisting that you instead grapple with worst-case scenarios.”  Continue reading “Freeing Yourself from Anxiety”

Team of Teams

team-of-teams

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

by General Stanley McChrystal with Tantum Collins, David Silverman, and Chris Fussell

When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2003, he was fighting a 21st-century war with a 20th-century military. This engaging book is about the reconfiguration which led to faster decisions and greater results. McChrystal’s mission was to defeat Al Quaeda in Iraq (AQI), but his leadership insights are applicable to business as well. Continue reading “Team of Teams”

Managing the Unexpected

managing-the-unexpected

Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity

by Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe

University of Michigan business school professors Weick and Sutcliffe studied common management attributes of “high reliability organizations” (HROs) such as aircraft carriers and nuclear power plants, where glitches can have deadly consequences. “The key difference between HROs and other organizations in managing the unexpected often occurs in the earliest stages, when the unexpected may give off only weak signals of trouble… Managing the unexpected is about alertness, sensemaking, updating, and staying in motion.” Continue reading “Managing the Unexpected”