Tuesday, July 31, 2018

At Last, a Workplace Film I've Never Heard Of

Image result for extract movie poster amazon

The trailer for "Extract."

Watch. James Bond's Watch.

The Rake looks at James Bond's greatest watches.

Nice, but Dick Tracy had the first smartwatch.

A Touch of Humor in The Old West

The trailer for "Damsel."

Doing Nothing

[Photo by Kinga Cichewicz at Unsplash]

Vacations are routinely touted but there is one practice that can be highly beneficial if it is used both properly and sparingly. That practice is doing nothing.

I don't mean that you should stare at a wall - unless it is a particularly interesting wall - but that a brief walk or a 30 to 60 minute get-away at a coffee shop, library, park or bookstore can work wonders.  Don't take work along. Shift your mind into another perspective. Play Sherlock Holmes and see how much you can observe in a simple setting.[How many people were in the coffee shop? Who was seated near the door? What newspapers were being read? Were there any beards or mustaches?]

Push your mind out of a rut.

And don't forget to notice their shoes.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Dust Storm

My car may be in there somewhere.

A mega dust storm just rolled into Phoenix.

Since I washed my car the other day it was inevitable.

The dog, never a fan of storms, is not amused.

Quick Look

The trailer for "In Times of Fading Light."

First Paragraph

Cloud shadows carpeted the African countryside as a privately owned matatu rattled along the dusty lorry route toward the capital. Four passengers had been on board as it rolled out of Kyotera just past daybreak. Now, as the bus neared Kampala, every seat was taken, with nine men standing, gripping the overhead straps. Several transistor radios played incongruously - gospel, raga, soca - their signals becoming clearer as the city loomed. The passengers were villagers and farmers, many of them carrying goods to sell at the open-air markets of the city: Nile perch and tilapia, tomatoes and maize, basket-ware, gourds, kikoy cloth.

- From Viral: A Novel by James Lilliefors

Writing That Memo Seems Easier Now

What it's like to land on an aircraft carrier.

Bioterror Threats and Killer Viruses

The researchers say that the simulation would have ended with up to 900 million dead, nearly 10% of the world’s population.

Read the rest here.

In the Rush

A blurred image of lights that say "FOCUS."

[Photo by Stefan Cosma at Unsplash]

In the rush of tight deadlines, heavy workloads, and hurried analysis, there is one fact that is often overlooked: An apple is not an orange.

Watch out for that one.

Confessions of a Passionate Introvert

[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

Brian Little's TED talk.

[HT: Jonathan]

These Look Interesting

The trailer for "Occupied."

The trailer for "The Bureau."

Quote of the Day

It is a curse to have ideas that people understand only when it is too late.

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Saturday, July 28, 2018

First Paragraph

In Fort Repose, a river town in Central Florida, it was said that sending a message by Western Union was the same as broadcasting it over the combined networks. This was not entirely true. It was true that Florence Wechek, the manager, gossiped. Yet she judiciously classified the personal intelligence that flowed under her plump fingers, and maintained a prudent censorship over her tongue. The scandalous and the embarrassing she excised from her conversation. Sprightly, trivial, and harmless items she passed on to friends, thus enhancing her status and relieving the tedium of spinsterhood. If your sister was in trouble, and wired for money, the secret was safe with Florence Wechek. But if your sister bore a legitimate baby, its sex and weight would soon be known all over town.

- From Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank


John Podhoretz, editor and occasional film critic, has criticized "Napoleon Dynamite."

Proving that even bright people can sometimes make grievous errors.

He's Bock

[Photo by Kyle Glenn at Unsplash]

Don't forget Wally Bock's weekend leadership reading assignments. 

"The Second World Wars"

Victor Davis Hanson speaking about World War II.

Fascinating. I have his book but haven't started it. Thanks to this, it has just moved up several spots in the stack.

Quick Look

The trailer for "I Think We're Alone Now."

Late Night Revelation

Last night, I was jotting down some thoughts in an effort to clarify my thinking on a client project. The dog wandered off to bed and then my wife followed. I just had a few pages to go.

And then the idea arrived. It involved the old concept of finding an opportunity in a problem. An easy to remember ground rule but equally easy to forget.

What did the process resemble? Coup d'oeil.

At one point the answer wasn't visible - although I'd been surrounded by it - and then it was.

And this morning has only added to its promise.

First Paragraph

The girl was young with a dancer's body and a dress that clung expensively and just right. She was the hostess and knew everyone around her. He stood over near the draperies drawn across the windows against the dusk, watching her drink heavily, hearing the dissonant tautness of her voice - and he thought how incredible it was that she had given up all the things she could have become in order to marry Gus Lench, in order to have this Westchester home. And in this long room softly lighted, here in the mechanical babble of the cocktail party, she had become the assistant executioner.

- From "Secret Stain" in More Good Old Stuff by John D. Macdonald

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Acts of Delegation

Too much writing about delegation ignores the realities. One reality is that delegation is not a single act, it’s a whole series of connected acts.

So Much for Appearance

Image result for john adams book amazon

It's odd. He didn't look like a rebel.

But true rebels seldom do.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Mighty Eighth."

Sharpening the Saw

There's only one meeting today so projects are being organized, letters are being written, and next week is being planned. 

In the background: Respighi's "Ancient Airs and Dances." Instant mood improvement/inspiration.

Project boxes abound.

And a whole bunch of stuff is being thrown out.

Miscellaneous and Fast

A Stoic's Reflections


FutureLawyer has an important message: "It's a wonderful life. Except when it isn't."

Quote of the Day

Practice begins when you get it right.

- Kimberly Meier-Sims

Thursday, July 26, 2018

I Hope There's a Car Chase

The trailer for the latest Mission: Impossible film.

First Paragraph

The tall black door in the narrow city street remained closed. I rang and knocked and rang again. I could not hear the bell ringing; to ring it again and again was simply an act of faith or despair, and later sitting before a hut in French Guinea, where I never meant to find myself, I remembered this first going astray, the buses passing at the corner and the pale autumn sun.

- From Journey Without Maps by Graham Greene


The trailer for "The Tempest."

Reality Break

[Photo by Isabela Martins at Unsplash]

Reality is a mean trick that grown-ups play on the young. Companies really do schedule annual meetings where everybody is required to see "Jersey Boys." Managers really do give motivational speeches with lines like "If we can't enhance value for our shareholders, why on Earth are we here?"

- Joe Queenan

Wyeth Break

Image result for last of the mohicans nc wyeth amazon

Which shows the wisdom in the saying that an illustrator is an artist who can draw.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Quick Look

Image result for oliver twist david lean movie poster amazon

The trailer for "Oliver Twist."

[The old version, of course, with Obi Wan Kenobi.]

The Rude Dutch Post

For some reason, an item that I posted many years ago on the issue of rudeness in the Netherlands does not permit the posting additional comments. [The post continues to get comments over a decade after it was posted.]

I've tried to sort out the reason for the block and cannot find an answer. I apologize to anyone who has submitted comments that were not published. The problem has not arisen on any other posts on this blog.

Brave Pilots and a Great Plane

The trailer for the "Spitfire" documentary.

Attention: Artists

[Photo by Behzad Ghaffarian at Unsplash]

Applications are being accepted for the Christopher H. Browne Paris Drawing Tour.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Pennies from Heaven."

The Second-Guessers

[Photo by Casey Allen at Unsplash]

The second-guessers always have plenty of time. They don't need to make decisions in seconds or when events are changing and unpredictable and when much matters. The only threats they encounter are viewed from afar and to them the price is always theoretical since it is paid by others. Refreshments and naps sharpen their perception and help them to declare in full voice just what they would have done had they been in your shoes.

But, of course, they weren't.


Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. . .

- A.A. Milne

Producing the Knowledge of How

[Photo by Matt Ragland at Unsplash]

I've often seen this in organizations. A goal is set for some point in the distant future. After that date has passed, the results are reviewed. If the goal is not met, various excuses are offered and, in most cases, they are accepted.

That game can go on for years.

It is a far different scenario when the goal is set and the person in charge of achieving it develops a plan for doing so. Specific actions that can achieve the goal are identified and the progress on those actions is monitored. If adjustments need to be made, they can be. The emphasis is on the How: the efforts that are likely to produce favorable results.

It becomes a system of producing knowledge about how things can best be achieved.

Remember: Actions aren't just for achieving results. They are also for the production of knowledge.

Quote of the Day

People typically only take action to fix their problem when it's damn near too late.

- Larry Winget 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "A Long Way Down."

I loved the book. Haven't seen the film.

"The Public Humiliation Diet"

Quillette: Toby Young recalls his own public shaming.

Formula: Find some poor fish who has uttered or written something outside the norm. Pound him into paste. Search for another offender.

[Updated to remove sloppy error. I'm getting more coffee.]


[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

A schedule and 'no' will get amazing things achieved.

- Nicholas Bate

The Accident That Didn't Happen

Two businesspeople talking at a table over a laptop with line charts

[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

It is the accident that didn't happen. The lawsuit that was avoided. The negative story that was never published because a negative story didn't exist.

Don't just recognize those who perform well in a crisis. Reward those who are far-sighted enough to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. 

They are quiet heroes.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Station Agent."


[Photo by Marco Secchi at Unsplash]

Stress-Reducing. Perspective-Providing. Awe-Inspiring.

[Photo by Nathan Anderson at Unsplash]

FutureLawyer, NASA, and Debussy take us to the moon.

I need to put that video on a loop on my computer screen.

Fun Times at Court

The trailer for "The Favourite."

Don't Know

[Photo by Michael Liao at Unsplash]

  1. Which items did the customers like best? Don't know.
  2. Which did they like least? Don't know.
  3. How much time did we spend on it? Don't know.
  4. Could any money have been saved? Don't know.
  5. What are the risks? Don't know.
  6. What could have been done better? Don't know.
  7. How much advertising was done? Don't know.
  8. How much did the ads cost? Don't know.
  9. What were the best ads? Don't know.
  10. Does anything need to be updated? Don't know.
  11. Are there any programs that should be dropped? Don't know.
  12. What do we need to do more of? Don't know.
  13. What are our competitors up to? Don't know.
  14. Should we try social media? Don't know.
  15. Are we rewarding poor conduct? Don't know.
  16. How do we create a customer? Don't know.
  17. How do we lose customers? Don't know.
  18. Which practices or programs do we need to clone? Don't know.
  19. What could we do more quickly? Don't know.
  20. What do people think of us? Don't know.
  21. How can we do better? Don't know.

Get Some Big Mo for Monday

Mozart, of course, at Cultural Offering.

Quote of the Day

Think like a gardener, work like a carpenter.

- Slogan at Spartak Tennis Club, Moscow

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Bizarre and Funny: Check It Out

Image result for the price you pay aidan truhen

Some More "Feel Good" Movies from Hollywood

Horror film alert. The trailers for:
Just once I'd like to see a film where when people are told not to enter a room, they don't. 

Justice as a Game of Chance

If justice is a neutral process - with no effort by judges to rein in extreme claims or dubious defenses - then people know they can't rely on their instincts of what's reasonable. They become self-conscious and defensive in daily dealings. For them to feel free in daily interactions, legal boundaries must correspond with their reasonable sense of right and wrong. 

- Philip K. Howard

Old School: The Allure of a Tangible Product

Following the Old School redevelopment updates at Anderson Layman's Blog has been a pleasure.

[For the latest, see the boiler room update and the paving of the parking area.]

Their first tenant will arrive in August.

The Joys of Summer

The trailer for "Stealing Beauty."

The Formidable Complaint of the Patient Person

The Hammock Papers - always a place for calm deliberation - has an observation by William F. Buckley Jr. on complaining.

The Incomparable Bate

[Photo by Sidharth Bhatia at Unsplash]

Whether his thoughts are brilliant or jagged, Nicholas Bate deserves a daily visit.

Our Man Marcus

The Sovereign Professional is adding to my reading stack.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Quick Look

The trailer for "Edie."

Bock's Assignments

Wally Bock has posted leadership reading assignments for the weekend.

Always good stuff.

Stop Feeling Guilty about It

Sidewalk sign displaying "Good Vibes Only" on Sunset Strip

[Photo by Mark Adriane at Unsplash]

Art Markman at Harvard Business Review notes we're never going to get "caught up" at work.

Today is the Birthday of The Rigg

The Joy of Job Searches

The trailer for "Post Grad."

Another Knife Fight with the Skin Doc

Fun in the sun

I have a pressure bandage on my forehead that is. well, exerting pressure. I get to replace it around noon. The stitches will be removed in a week. I look like Herman Munster on a bad day. The skin doc is quite expert at carving parts of my forehead: products of a childhood staked out in the sun.

Fortunately, today can be spent with a client project in front of a computer so I don't need to sport my new look in front of an audience that would be collectively wondering, "What the hell happened to him?"

Just took some Tylenol and am waiting for it to kick in. It's taking its sweet time.

Neighborhood House Names

There's a house in our neighborhood that we refer to as "the Goldstein house." Although the Goldsteins have not lived in the house for years, that house, like a few other houses near us, continues to carry the name of the previous owner.

Or, in some cases, the previous previous previous owner.

This odd practice may occur even if we know the names of the current residents. A house gets named and that's it. Boom. Next subject. Mentioning the current owner would simply confuse things. They must live with the knowledge that the long-time families in the neighborhood pigeon-holed their property with a name from days of yore.

Perhaps after a decade or so the current owner's name will be used.


Quote of the Day

How to write. Butt in chair. Start each day anywhere. Let yourself do it badly. Just take one passage at a time. Get butt back in chair.

- Anne Lamott

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


The trailer for "Three Identical Strangers."

The Proposed Three States of California

[Photo by Conner Murphy at Unsplash]

The drive to split California into three states has hit a roadblock.

One of the early mistakes was not naming them Larry, Moe, and Curly.

Quick Look

The trailer for "One, Two, Three."

Advice to the World: Relax

[Photo by Leslie Jones at Unsplash]

Update: The Execupundit Batch of Leadership and Management Books

[Photo by Us Wah at Unsplash]

I have no doubt that the list has omitted some great books.

Arbinger Institute, The. Leadership and Self-Deception.

Aurelius, Marcus, Meditations.

Barnes, John A. Ulysses S. Grant on Leadership: Executive Lessons from the Front Lines.

Bate, Nicholas. Instant MBA.

Bennis, Warren. On Becoming a Leader.

Bennis, Warren and Burt Nanus. Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge. 

Berlinski, Claire. There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters.

Blanchard, Ken. Leading at a Higher Level.

Buckingham, Marcus, and Curt Coffman. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently.

Chernow, Ron. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller.

Clavell, James. Tai-Pan.

Clearfield, Chris and Andras Tilcsik. Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It.

Collins, James C. Good to Great.

Collins, James C.  and Jerry I. Porras. Built to Last.

Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Drucker, Peter F. The Effective Executive.

Drucker, Peter F. The Practice of Management.

Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Farson, Richard. Management of the Absurd: Paradoxes in Leadership. 

Ferriss, Tim. Tools of Titans.

Fick, Nathaniel. One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer.

Fink, Steven. Crisis Management.

Fournies, Ferdinand. Why Employees Don’t Do What They are Supposed to Do and What to Do About It.

Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning.

Frisch, Bob. Who’s in the Room? How Great Leaders Structure and Manage the Teams Around Them. 

Gaddis, John Lewis. On Grand Strategy.

Gates, Robert M. A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service.

Gray, Colin S. Fighting Talk: Forty Maxims on War, Peace, and Strategy.

Graves, Robert. I, Claudius.

Grenny, Joseph, Kerry Patterson, David Maxwell, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change. 

Halberstam, David. The Best and the Brightest.

Hall, Thomas and Wally Bock. Ruthless Focus: How to Use Key Core Strategies to Grown Your Business.

Heath, Chip and Dan Heath. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. 

Heifetz, Ronald and Marty Linsky. Leadership On the Line: Staying Alive Through The Dangers of Change. 

Holiday, Ryan. The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph.

Johnson, Paul. Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties.

Kaufman, Josh. The Personal MBA.

Keller, Gary with Jay Papasan. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.

Kets de Vries, Manfred. The Leadership Mystique: A User’s Manual for Human Enterprise. 

Kidder, Rushworth M. Moral Courage.

Koch, Richard. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less.

Kotter, John P. A Sense of Urgency. 

LeBoeuf, Michael. GMP: The Greatest Management Principle in the World. 

Martin, Roger. The Responsibility Virus. 

McChesney, Chris, Sean Covey and Jim Huling. The 4 Disciplines of Execution.

McChrystal, General Stanley. Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World. 

McCullough, David. John Adams.

McKeown, Greg. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

Miller, Donald. Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen.

Mintzberg, Henry. Simply Managing: What Managers Do – and Can Do Better. 

Murrow, David. Why Men Hate Going to Church. 

Pascale, Richard Tanner. Managing on The Edge: How the Smartest Companies Use Conflict to Stay Ahead. 

Myrer, Anton, Once an Eagle.

O'Brian, Patrick. Master and Commander and the entire Aubrey-Maturin series of novels.

O'Connor, Edwin. The Last Hurrah.

Peters, Tom. The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last.

Peters, Tom and Robert Waterman. In Search of Excellence.

Peterson, Jordan B. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

Rapaille, Clotaire. The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do. 

Ricks, Thomas E. The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today.

Ries, Eric. The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture & Drive Long-Term Growth.

Sacks, Rabbi Jonathan. Lessons in Leadership: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible.

Schlender, Brent and Rick Tetzeli. Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader.

Seidman, Dov. How: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything. 

Sowell, Thomas. A Conflict of Visions.

Stavridis, James and R. Manning Ancell. The Leader's Bookshelf.

Stroup, Jim. Managing Leadership: Toward a New and Usable Understanding of What Leadership Really Is - and How to Manage It. 

Sull, Donald and Kathleen Eisenhardt. Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World.

Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. 

Tannen, Deborah. That’s Not What I Meant! 

Tett, Gillian. The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers. 

Thiel, Peter. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. 

Thompson, George J. and Jerry B. Jenkins. Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion.

Trompenaars, Fons. Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business. 

Vidal, Gore. Lincoln.

Wade, Michael. All I Said Was: What Every Supervisor, Employee, and Team Should Know to Avoid Insults, Lawsuits, and the Six O'Clock News.

Wade, Michael. EEO Management: How to Advance Equal Opportunity Without Using Quotas or Singing Kumbaya.

Wade, Michael. How to Make Presentations to Councils and Boards: The Presentation Guide to Read When You Don't Have Time to Read a Guide.

Whittle, Chris. The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.

Williams, T. Harry. Lincoln and His Generals.

Wilson, James Q. Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It.

Winget, Larry. It's Called Work for a Reason: Your Success is Your Own Damn Fault.

A Must Buy

Photo of Andrew Wyeth Stamp

The Andrew Wyeth stamps.

[HT: Texas Leigh]

Quote of the Day

An idea can be as flawless as can be, but its execution will always be full of mistakes.

- Brent Scowcroft

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


The trailer for "Bohemian Rhapsody."

On the Off Chance

1965 Chevy Corvette, Blue - Maisto 31640 - 1/18 Scale Diecast Model Toy Car

Caught in the Amazon Prime Days sales frenzy, I checked to see if they offer a 1965 Corvette. 

Unfortunately, they only have a scale model. 

Get with it, Bezos.

John Huston

Image result for the maltese falcon movie poster amazon

Back by popular demand: John Huston accepting the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 1983.

Take a few minutes. You will smile.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Tailor of Panama."

I had a chance to visit the Panama Canal Zone on an interesting project at one point in the Seventies but my schedule wouldn't permit it. That remains a great regret.

First Paragraph

Each day begins like any other. Gently. Cautiously. The way he likes it. A dawn wind through the forest, the questioning calls of obscure birds. He hears the flutelike song, cool as silver, of a hermit thrush.

- From Black Sun by Edward Abbey