Dan Ariely’s revised model of labor

Below is a fantastic TED Talk from Dan Ariely on why people work hard, when they’re willing to make extreme efforts, and how easy it is to crush their motivation. Among the insights and provocations: “Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort in front of their eyes.” “Is efficiency […]


Is your focus prevention or promotion? 5 questions for Halvorson & Higgins

On the cover of Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence are a red light and a green light. The symbols nicely capture the central idea in this fascinating book (Buy it on Amazon, BN, 800CeoRead, or IndieBound), which debuts today. Heidi Grant Halvorson and E. Tory Higgins, who together […]


Why givers (often) succeed: 5 questions for Adam Grant

Every so often a book comes along that changes the way you see the world. Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, which comes out today, is one of those books. In 305 insightful pages, Wharton professor Adam Grant recasts our notions of what it takes to succeed. Talent is a factor, of course. […]


Does the “school cliff” matter more than the fiscal cliff?

For all the yammering about the fiscal cliff, another cliff might present a more perilous danger — what the folks at Gallup call the “school cliff.” Never heard of that one? Take a look at chart below — and you’ll grok it immediately. As this Gallup blog post explains: “[Our] research strongly suggests that the longer […]


Genius vs. Talent

The latest issue of Scientific American Mind, which I read during a vacation last week (yes, I’m an exciting guy), takes on the subject of genius. “Genius” is one of those freighted words, something we consider exceedingly rare and overwhelming innate. But after reading SciAm’s package of articles, one of my takeaways is that genius […]


The best 82-minute movie on mastery I’ve ever seen

I don’t get to see a lot of movies these days — and it’s almost unheard of that I’ll watch one twice. But this weekend marked my second viewing of the short documentary film, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If you’re interested in the alluring, frustrating, asymptotic pursuit of mastery, this is movie is a must-see. […]


Are you as bold as this Oregon insurance agency?

Chris Nordyke runs an insurance agency in Corvallis, Oregon. But it’s a different kind of agency — with a unique approach to sales, service, and motivation. Just look at the sign in its lobby.


The 3 quotations I keep on my office wall

Some of you asked. Here’s the answer: “Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now.” – Viktor Frankl “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the […]


How to move people with two irrational questions

Unless you’re a hermit in a cave somewhere (and if so, how are you reading this blog?), you’re probably in a position to influence someone in your circle – children, a significant other, your co-workers, your boss – several times a day. Lately I’ve been digging into this broad question of how of we move […]


50 centuries of work = 5 important lessons

Cornell professor Karl Pillemer admits he’s an advice junkie.  Yet even amid the groaning self-help shelves at his local bookstore, he felt something was missing. As he asks in 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans (Amazon, BN.com, IndieBound), “Why, if we have so many professional advice givers, are so many people […]