Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned – The Myth of the Objective

October 15, 2015 1 comment

If you are like most people, you have at least a couple of goals. Some of these goals may even be explicit, written down and follow the SMART model (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound). For instance, you may have written down that your goal is to lose five pounds by November 1 so that you can enjoy the holiday season. Bigger goals (eg; getting promoted, launching a successful company, curing cancer) may also follow the SMART model. Before you write down one specific goal, however, consider this – objectives just might make you less likely to achieve what you set out to do.

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5 Podcasts that Make You Smarter (and Laugh)

September 22, 2015 Leave a comment

In Everything Bad is Good for You, author Steven Johnson offers some incredibly compelling arguments for why pop culture isn’t as bad for us as we may have thought. Johnson puts forward some interesting reasoning to consider when we talk about the negative effects of video games, movies and TV. In fact, he asks how we might think if TV were invented before books. Would we say that books were too linear and didn’t challenge us to interpret non-verbal communication and other subtleties of human interactions? In that spirit, I offer you several alternatives to reading books in the form of my top five favorite podcasts.

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Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

August 16, 2015 Leave a comment
The summer is coming to a close. Vacations are almost over and that feeling of being incredibly busy is creeping back as we start to see those annoyingly upbeat back-to-school commercials that remind us about spending more money than we have to on clothes, supplies and technology. In her 2014 book “Overwhelmed – Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time,” Washington Post reporter (and working mother!) Brigid Schulte takes a painstakingly detailed look at modern life. Just reading it made me feel anxious…

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Moonwalking with Einstein – The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Some time in the mid-1980s, I was attending Mass with my family in New Jersey when I learned an important lesson about memory. We carpooled with our neighbors who lived a couple of houses away. I sat just to the left of Maria and I quietly and piously followed her up to the priest for communion. As Maria approached the altar, the priest held up the Eucharist and said, “The body of Christ.” Maria held out her hands at this very solemn moment, accepted the little piece of bread, replied, “Thank you” and put it in her mouth, finishing with the sign of the cross. All of us within a couple of feet of her turned to look at what had just happened because every Catholic in “good standing” knows that you are supposed to reply, “Amen.” Within a second, or two, Maria realized her mistake and started laughing so hard that she had to cover her mouth as tears rolled down her face. She laughed, on and off, for the rest of Mass and we replayed the incident on the ride home. Thus, a memory was born…

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5 Must-Read Books for the Summer

Ok, so lots of people like to cozy up with a good novel on the beach. If that is the only type of book you like to read during the summer, this list is not for you. This list was meant for those who wouldn’t mind reading something that might make them a little more productive, a little more knowledgeable and a little surprised.

My criteria was simple. To make the list, the book had to meet these standards:

  • It must be less than 300 pages.
  • It must be based on research.
  • It must have the potential to make you think differently.

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The Medici Effect – Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts and Cultures

Nobel laureate in both chemistry and peace, Linus Pauling, once said of creativity and innovation, “The best way to get a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” In corporate America, we often here managers say, “I want to hear some ideas. Let’s brainstorm…” when they are in need of some creativity. Their thinking is that the ideas will just flow from a group of people sitting in the room. While generating a lot of ideas through brainstorming can help, it’s not the only way to make a team creative. And, asking people to “brainstorm” can actually be counterproductive…

In his insightful book, The Medici Effect, author, consultant and entrepreneur, Frans Johansson, set out to find the secrets to creativity and innovation. What he found was that the most inventive people and teams innovate by stepping into the Intersection – a place where different cultures, fields and disciplines can produce an explosion of new ideas.

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Decisive – How to make better choices in life and work

April 14, 2015 1 comment

by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Review by Doug Hensch

I have been fascinated by decision-making for some time. Mostly, because I have made my share of bad decisions. The good news, however, is that I’m not alone. Consider the following statistics regarding the choices we make:

  • 44% of current lawyers would recommend against being a lawyer to young people
  • More than 50% of teachers quit teaching within four years of starting their careers
  • A survey of 20,000 executive coaches found that 40% of senior level new hires had left their respective employers within 18 months of being hired
  • In Philadelphia, PA, a teacher is almost twice as likely to “drop out” than a student
  • 88% of New Year’s resolutions are broken – 68% of which are to “enjoy life more!”

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