Booz & Co.’s Strategy + Business publication has a story with their top-3 management books of 2016 – part of a larger story on the best Business books overall. Long-time readers of this blog should be at least a little bit enticed by two of those books: one is by Robert “Persuasion” Cialdini and the other has a title to die for (“The Process Matters: Engaging and Equipping People for Success”).
From the comic strip in the beginning and the poem in the end, and right through the writing and the amazing Cognitive Bias Codex, the post I link to is a can’t-miss story on biases. Congrats to Better Humans’ Buster Benson for the writing and thanks to fellow PLDer Boris Tsimerinov for the heads-up on LinkedIn.
An CNN interview with illusionist Franz Harary, which seems so out of place in this blog, actually resonated deeply with me: Mr. Harary is very honest about what glitches in how we think he taps into, and describes his work/craft very interestingly as “a catalyst for creativity”, imagination and curiosity.
Today’s post is just an image, a scan of an Isaac Asimov 1971 short note to kids apparently getting a new library somewhere. It’s brilliant. We complement it with our post citing “anti-libraries”.
Less than 24h after publishing our rant on Economic models, we get John Kay’s brilliant piece in our inbox – “A wise man knows one thing – the limits of his knowledge”. It is the ultimate summary of the many dangers of modelling in general, not just in economics – among which dangers we count over-complicating things, but most importantly over-estimating a model’s value as predictive/forecasting tool. In fact, as the article argues and as we’ve seen countless times, we tend to over-estimate models even in their ability to analyze the past, especially if one is asking the wrong questions. We also cite a few quotes by Taleb and an article on Edge.org by Emanuel Derman.
We highlight three articles about old truths and new business models. First the truth about economic models, according to the Scientific American magazine; second an old and huge sector disrupted by tiny start-ups; and third an entirely new business model that is becoming very relevant.
If you haven’t read “Moneyball”, by Michael Lewis, please do so – or watch the movie. The 2003 book was about revolutionary data analysis that changed baseball forever. However, the article we link to here is about the fact that all revolutions have an ending, and not always a happy one. Inefficiencies get taken out, or are at least softened. This article is about what happens after change. It doesn’t mean one shouldn’t pursue change, much to the contrary, nor does it mean that inefficiencies shouldn’t be sought out and explored. The point is that once you’ve found a “method”/framework, use it but don’t marry it, don’t bet the farm on it, and assume its mortality.
Maybe it’s not a coincidence today – the last possible day for it – when it appears that there will finally be an agreement on the US debt ceiling, that we’ve decided to post on Leadership. There was an interesting book review last week in the Financial Times, and it raises the question in this post’s title. “Like other fuzzy concepts such as love and beauty, we need to study leadership even though it is ultimately mysterious. Perhaps the real aim of studying leadership, as with contemplating beauty, is to learn more about ourselves” – nicely put.
Interesting preliminary finding by researchers looking at 18,000 professional basketball games: ending the first half losing by one point actually increases a team’s chance of winning the game. If a team was winning by 4 points at halftime, the chance of winning the full game was 70%. If the advantage was 6 points, the chance of winning jumped to 80%. However, when the margin was 1 point then the team had a better chance of losing… The study seems well done, but take it with a grain of salt before applying it to motivational “tools” inside your company.
Don Taspcott, author of Wikinomics, was interviewed by Brazilian magazine Veja. We liked Wikinomics in “broad” terms: we’re firm believers in the power of crowdsourcing done right, mass collaboration made easier via social media etc.. The problem is summarized in the old saying: “To the man who only has a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” Mr. Taspcott falls into that trap, which is avoidable.