Thursday, January 18, 2018

"American Epidemic"

The Wall Street Journal video on the opioid epidemic.

The chart in this FiveThirtyEight article is jarring. [Look at the numbers for Ohio.]

The Washington Post on the White House report.

First Paragraph

The man arrived after morning prayers. Word spread quickly that someone had come, and the boys of Saint Anthony's orphanage elbowed each other and strained to catch a glimpse as he unhitched his horse and led it to the trough for drinking. The man's face was hard to make out, his hat was pulled so far down that the brim nearly touched his nose. He tied the reins to a post and then stood there, patting the horse's neck as it drank. The man waited, and the boys watched, and when the mare finally lifted her head, they saw the man lean forward, stroke the animal's nose, and kiss her. Then he wiped his lips with the back of his hand, removed his hat, and made his way across the yard to the monastery.

From The Good Thief: A Novel by Hannah Tinti

No Blank Slates


The employee seated across the table is not simply reacting to you. He or she may be reacting to a parent, an elementary school teacher, a neighbor, a drill sergeant, a boss or someone else encountered five, ten, or even fifty years ago.

People are not blank slates.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Whiplash."

Branson's Advice to Young Entrepreneurs

Several people fist bumping over a busy workspace

Inc. magazine has some advice from that noted failure, Richard Branson.

[Photo by rawpixel.com at Unsplash]

Quote of the Day

The temptation is always to reduce life to size. A bowl of cherries. A rat race. Amino acids. Even to call it a mystery smacks of reductionism. It is the mystery.

- Frederick Buechner

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Noir Break

Image result for noir novels amazon

Management Classics

From the 2005 Harvard Business Review

Marcus Buckingham on "What Great Managers Do." An excerpt:

After a couple of months, she noticed that when she gave Jeffrey a vague assignment, such as “Straighten up the merchandise in every aisle,” what should have been a two-hour job would take him all night—and wouldn’t be done very well. But if she gave him a more specific task, such as “Put up all the risers for Christmas,” all the risers would be symmetrical, with the right merchandise on each one, perfectly priced, labeled, and “faced” (turned toward the customer). Give Jeffrey a generic task, and he would struggle. Give him one that forced him to be accurate and analytical, and he would excel.

To Gain Perspective and Calm



  • Take a walk.
  • Spend some time with a dog.
  • Watch "Groundhog Day."
  • Slow down. Way down.
  • Look at the sky.
  • Write a note to a friend.
  • Shine your shoes.
  • Do ten push-ups.
  • Clean something, anything.
  • Read Bleak House by Charles Dickens.
  • Other?

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." [Language caution]

Which Role?


I recently spoke with an executive about how roles can change. Depending on the circumstances, the person may be a leader, manager, judge, mediator, spokesperson, liaison, diplomat, investigator, planner, motivator, student, teacher, and a variety of other roles. It is not unusual to wear several hats at once.

Depending upon the role, the definition of success can vary. Under some circumstances, being The Grand Clarifier is as good as it gets and clarification is a form of winning.

Pausing to determine your current role is a helpful practice and yet often we accept a blur.

Blurs usually don't work that well.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie."

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals.

- Homer Simpson

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "A Wrinkle in Time."

First Paragraph

There is more in a human life than our theories of it allow. Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path. You may remember this "something" as a signal moment in childhood when an urge out of nowhere, a fascination, a peculiar turn of events struck like an annunciation: This is what I must do, this is what I've got to have. This is who I am.

- From The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling by James Hillman

Current Reading

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Blinders


They were so biased, they could not see their bias. They were so smug, they could not see their smugness. They were so knowledgeable, they could not see their ignorance. They were so pure, they could not see their corruption.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Eye of the Needle."

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.

- Abraham Lincoln

Monday, January 15, 2018

Letter from Birmingham Jail

The Atlantic has the memorable message.

If I have said anything in this letter that is an overstatement of the truth and is indicative of an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything in this letter that is an understatement of the truth and is indicative of my having a patience that makes me patient with anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

Bear With Me

Changes and updates are slowly being made to the design of the blog. It has been long overdue for some changes but will take a while to sort things out.

If you don't like the current version, don't worry. Others are being considered.

Baby steps.


Quick Look

The trailer for the HBO version of "Fahrenheit 451."

Fear is Useful


FutureLawyer has a brief and fascinating video of the famed trial attorney Gerry Spence talking about fear.

His central message is very important.

I'd add a strong recommendation of Gavin de Becker's book, The Gift of Fear.

Two Magic Words


Wally Bock takes us on a journey. Be sure to read the entire piece. It goes way beyond ice cream.

[Photo by Jennifer Pallian at Unsplash]

Quick Look

The trailer for "Selma."

Great Book Titles

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Quote of the Day

I have a dream.

- The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Dale Carnegie

Image result for how to win friends and influence people amazon

Cultural Offering is correct: Dale Carnegie is timeless.

One Person?



Hawaii experiences a systems problem.

[I asked myself what I would have done if I'd gotten that message on my smartphone. Given the accuracy of the other warnings I receive, probably not much. Of course, a slice of chocolate cake and a glass of cold milk would have been nice.]

Where Does He Find This Stuff?


Eclecticity Light is on a roll.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Beirut."

First Paragraph

Life has become busier. Somehow there seems to be less time in the day, although days remain indisputably twenty-four hours long. In truth, time isn't vanishing, only free time is. How can this be? We are living in the most prosperous era in human history, and prosperity supposedly brings leisure. Yet, quietly, subtly, even furtively, new tasks have infiltrated our days, nibbling off bits of free time like the sea eroding sand from the beach. We find ourselves doing a stack of jobs we never volunteered for, chores that showed up in our lives below the scan of awareness. They are the incoming tidal wave of shadow work.

- From Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day by Craig Lambert

Quick Look

The trailer for "Patrick Melrose."

The Greatest Spy Novel?


What is the greatest spy novel you've ever read? 

It has to be a novel, not a film, and it cannot simply be a thriller. It has to have an espionage agent. 

I know which one would be my choice and also know a few people with very strong opinions on the subject.

A Variety of Focus

A woman holding a white cup while working on a laptop near a window

Do not delve, dabble, or divert. 

Do nothing that does not directly contribute to getting something important done.


[Photo by Andrew Neel at Unsplash]

Character Take

But the chairman also had withdrawn from a lot of the hard decisions, Shillingsworth thought. The result was that power was flowing from Maddox to Ames. The vice chairman seemed to be taking over the building lately. That worried Shillingsworth even more. He had known Ames for two decades and hadn't trusted him for one day.

- From A Soldier's Duty: A Novel by Thomas E. Ricks

Quick Look

The trailer for "Thunderball."

Great Book Titles

Image result for the woman in cabin 10

Quote of the Day

Well done is better than well said.

- Zig Ziglar