Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Givers, Takers, and Matchers

men standing in the middle of forest

Tanmay Vora analyzes and provides a SketchNote of Adam Grant's influential book.

[Photo by Jorge Flores at Unsplash]


Althouse: The Trump administration is "launching a global campaign to end criminalization of homosexuality."

Miscellaneous and Fast

woman standing on the swimming pool near the macarons

[Photo by Noah Buscher at Unsplash]   

Novels for Leaders

Image result for gates of fire amazon

Property's True Value

"Property is not just the house itself but an economic concept about the house, embodied in a legal representation." 

Legal property . . . gave the West the tools to produce surplus value over and above the physical assets. Property representations enabled people to think about assets not only through physical acquaintance but also through the description of their latent economic and social qualities. Whether anyone intended it or not, the legal property systems became the staircase that took these nations from the universe of assets in their natural state to the conceptual universe of capital where assets can be viewed in their full productive potential.

With legal property, the advanced nations of the West had the key to modern development; their citizens now had the means to discover, with great facility and on an on-going basis, the most potentially productive qualities of their resources. As Aristotle discovered 2,500 years ago, what you can do with things increases infinitely when you focus your thinking on their potential. By learning to fix the economic potential of their assets through property records, Westerners created a fast track to explore the most productive aspects of their possessions. Formal property became the staircase to the conceptual realm where the economic meaning of things can be discovered and where capital is born.

- From The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else by Hernando de Soto

[Photo by Scott Webb at Unsplash]

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Variety of Peppers

Behind The Circle has behind-the-scenes photos from the shooting of the Sgt. Pepper album cover.

What Happens Behind Those Doors Marked "Private"

The trailer for "Executive Suite." 

As always, no one steals a scene from Louis Calhern.

Get Ready for Blast-Off

The trailer for "The Wandering Earth."

Novels for Leaders

Image result for back to blood amazon

The old master's last novel and he hit a bull's eye.

Journalism Self-Destructs

woman reading newspaper

Interesting takes on the American media's self-defeating bias at Althouse and at Cultural Offering

All the media have to do is to embrace basic professionalism and that will work wonders for their reliability.

Remember Michael Crichton's observation on the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect?

[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

The "What's Not Happening" Report

group of people talking about chart paper

Progress reports can be informative and yet they often are silent when it comes to items that have been sidelined or not started. That's why it helps to have a section of progress reports that is dedicated to identifying what is not happening. The What is Not Happening section should note uncompleted projects that have been sidelined as well as projects that are important but which have been abandoned entirely or have not been started.

You may be surprised by what emerges. Consider yourself fortunate if you are not.

[Photo by rawpixel at Unsplash]

Monday, February 18, 2019


Brian Keith as Theodore Roosevelt in "The Wind and The Lion."

The Counterinsurgency Novel

"It's difficult to explain exactly, but it's rather like bridge as compared to belote. When we make war, we play belote with thirty-two cards in the pack. But their game is bridge and they have fifty-two cards: twenty more than we do. Those twenty cards short will always prevent us from getting the better of them. They've got nothing to do with traditional warfare, they're marked with the sign of politics, propaganda, faith, agrarian reform . . .
"What's biting Glatigny?"
"I think he's beginning to realize that we've got to play with fifty-two cards and he doesn't like it at all . . . Those twenty extra cards aren't at all to his liking."

- From The Centurions by Jean Lartéguy

Presidents' Day

Image result for warren harding

President Warren G. Harding in a natural pose

Let us remember and honor the giants.

Quick Look

The trailer for "Lincoln."

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Some Bruno Ganz Films

The trailers for:

My New Typist

silver typewriter in shallow focus photography

FutureLawyer has just erased my reluctance and I'm going full Dragon.

[Photo by Peter Lewicki at Unsplash]

Bruno Ganz, R.I.P.

Althouse has a clip from one of his most famous scenes.


Image result for blood on the tracks amazon

Take some time today and check out Cultural Offering's list of perfect albums.

After studying the list, compile the Top Ten.

If none of the following made your list, review your work.

  • Abbey Road
  • Blood on the Tracks
  • Brothers in Arms
  • In the Wee Small Hours
  • Kind of Blue
  • Red Headed Stranger
  • Revolver

Attention: All Beatles Fans

stack of white books

Nicholas Bate - consultant, blogger, author, Man Who Never Sleeps and major Beatles fan  - should check out this trailer for the new film "Yesterday."


[Photo by Umberto Cofini at Unsplash]

Problem or Inconvenience?

man standing under gray bridge

I think the oddest thing about the advanced people is that, while they are always talking about things as problems, they have hardly any notion of what a real problem is.

- G. K. Chesterton

[Photo by Sebastiaan Stam at Unsplash]

Weekend Leadership Reading

wooden furniture inside library

Wally Bock has assignments for us.

[Photo by Michael D Beckwith at Unsplash]

Friday, February 15, 2019


The trailer for "Long Shot."

Novels for Leaders

Image result for moby dick amazon

It could be the ultimate "bad boss" novel.

As the Weekend Approaches

shallow focus photography of dwarf figurine

Notes to coaching clients. Billing. Preparatory test for some surgery. Dog to groomer. Finalizing a briefing on Arizona's leadership. Thank-you notes that are long overdue. Book suggestions requested by clients. Resolving a question about a board's policies. Reading two novels about French Indochina. Haircut. More material on Machiavelli. Drafting a solution to conflicts between an organization's departments.

And the inadvertent but seemingly unavoidable goofing-off.

[Photo by Craig McLachlan at Unsplash]

Always Worth Checking

person standing beside car

The Sovereign Professional combines classic wisdom with what's happening out there right now.

[Photo by NICO BHLR at Unsplash]

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Time to Get Away

The trailer for "Withnail and I."

Words and Wishes

two person talking while standing near wall

"It was a long while ago that the words God be with you disappeared into the word good-bye, but every now and again some trace of them still glimmers through."

- Frederick Buechner

[Photo by Cristina Gottardi at Unsplash]

Happy Valentine's Day

"A Tale of Teens in Two States"

four person sitting on bench in front of body of water

Political Calculations compares California and Texas. An excerpt:

Here, we see that both states start out in a similar place, where from 2003 to 2005, the share of the teen population with jobs in California and Texas was about the same.
Since 2006 however, a persistent gap has opened up, with a larger share of Texas' teen population working as compared to California. In 2018, 28.1% of Texas' working-age teen population were earning paychecks, while only 22.7% of California's Age 16-19 population had jobs.

How big is that difference? If the same share of its teen population were working as in Texas, over 108,000 more Californian teens would have had jobs in 2018. At the same time, if the same share of its teen population were working as in California, over 84,000 fewer Texan teens would have jobs in the same year.

[Photo by Sammie Vasquez at Unsplash]

No Problem

The judge in the El Chapo trial warned the jurors not to speak to the press.

Quick Look

The trailer for "The Hustle."

El Chapo Act

I eagerly await the vote on this bill.

The Line

I told the young man not to worry so much about making mistakes but instead to focus on doing his best.

He looked puzzled and no doubt wondered what the difference was between the two. 

That part of the coaching session required more time.

First Paragraph

First came the routine request for a breach of privacy permit. A police officer took down the details and forwarded the request to a clerk, who saw that the tape reached the appropriate civic judge. The judge was reluctant, for privacy is a precious thing in a world of eighteen billion, but in the end he could find no reason to refuse. On November 2, 2123, he granted the permit.

- From Flatlander by Larry Niven

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Song as Novel

Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe."

William Faulkner would have loved it.

Business Travel

Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering discusses the difficulty/impossibility of getting a decent night's sleep at a hotel.

I have the same problem. The closest I've gotten to a solution is to bring my own pillow but that only improves the situation while not removing the overall problem.

Let's face it. For the most part, business travel is hellish. Its time demands are so constrained that there is little space to ease into the experience. Airports have lost their glamour and have become bus stations. 

The one advantage of great wealth is the ability to have a private jet. That single element of control would reduce the hotel hassle while eliminating the airport one.

There is a Quiet Joy

There is a quiet joy when preparing a class that has so many good things that the challenge is in deciding what to leave out.


Glatigny liked the commissar better when he was carried away by his hatred, for by restoring his natural reactions this hatred made him seem more human. When he became smarmy and sanctimonious like this, he frightened and at the same time fascinated him. This sad little man, who hovered about like a ghost in clothes several sizes too large for him and who spoke about Truth with the vacant gaze of a prophet, plunged him back into the termite nightmare. He was one of the antennae of the monstrous brain which wanted to reduce the world to a civilization of insects rooted in their certainty and efficiency.

- From The Centurions by Jean Lartéguy

Monday, February 11, 2019


Back by popular demand: Jay Thomas recalls an encounter with The Lone Ranger.

The Why of Drucker

Harvard Business Review: Alan Kantrow on "Why Read Peter Drucker?"

Nominee for Perfect Album

Nominate an Album

person holding Elvis Presley vinyl sleeve

Cultural Offering has the nominees for Perfect Album.

Any additions?

[Photo by Jamakassi at Unsplash]

When Slow is More

There is an odd prejudice in favor of speed. The idea that faster is better makes no sense in many situations, especially those related to pleasure. Rushing through a gourmet meal or a great novel or a conversation with a loved one reduces the joy and yet many people will forego pleasure so they can hurry along to their next stilted experience.

Just as less can be more, so too can slow be more. 

Fast is not the only speed.

[Photo by Monika Kozub at Unsplash]

Prime Mystery in Hong Kong

The trailer for "White Dragon."

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Albert Finney, RIP

The trailer for "Tom Jones."

He will be missed.

Recently Arrived

Image result for freedom's forge arthur herman amazon

When Attitude Meets Skill

From January: the now viral video showing the contagious emotion of Katelyn Ohashi.


Zapping Duke

Newmark's Door points to some interesting criticisms of Duke University.

[The Duke grads I've encountered were not snobbish at all.]

Time Travel: LA

A fascinating video of a trip through Los Angeles in the 1940s.

Shades of Raymond Chandler.

Some day in the future, people would love to see a clip of the everyday trips we take through our neighborhoods.

Modern Times: Down Near the Border

The Border Patrol in southern Arizona checks out the report of a possible camp fire and makes a discovery.


East or West coast? West
London or New York? London
Dog or cat? Dog
Red or white wine? Red
Summer or fall? Fall
Hammett or Chandler? Chandler
Nixon or McGovern? Nixon
Lee or Grant? Grant
Mozart or Handel? Handel
Drucker or Peters? Drucker
E-book or paper? Paper
Aristotle or Plato? Aristotle
Steak or fish? Steak
Macbeth or Julius Caesar? Julius Caesar
Nap or no nap? Nap
Blue or black ink? Blue
Snickers or Mounds? Mounds
Red or green chili? Red
High Noon or The Wild Bunch? High Noon
Blog or Tweet? Blog
Eisenhower or Patton? Eisenhower
Sports car or SUV? SUV
New York Times or Wall Street Journal? Wall Street Journal
Digital or analog watch? Analog
Adams or Jefferson? Adams
Audrey or Marilyn? Audrey
Mountains or beach? Beach
Orwell or Huxley? Orwell
Television or reading? Reading
Giuliani or Bloomberg? Giuliani
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
Reason or experience? Experience
Wellington or Napoleon? Wellington
FDR or Hoover? FDR
My Fair Lady or Phantom of the Opera? My Fair Lady
Swimming or running? Swimming
Army or Navy? Army
Truman or MacArthur? Truman
Cake or pie? Cake
Springsteen or Dylan? Dylan
Leno or Letterman? Leno
Three Stooges or Marx Brothers? Marx Brothers
Sinatra or Crosby? Sinatra
The Byrds or The Animals? The Byrds
Krugman or Friedman? Friedman
Cocktail party or bookstore? Bookstore
Churchill or Attlee? Churchill
Thanksgiving or Halloween? Thanksgiving
Baseball or football? Baseball
Beatles or Stones? Beatles
Sgt. Pepper or Abbey Road? Abbey Road
Downton Abbey or Justified? Justified
Blues or jazz? Blues
Coffee or tea? Coffee
History or science? History
Dickens or Austen? Dickens

Weekend Leadership Reading

books on top of table located in the library

Wally Bock has some assignments for us.

[Photo by Jack B at Unsplash]

Friday, February 08, 2019

Just Because

A few reasons to make a daily visit to A Layman's Blog.

First Paragraph

Whatever Mum's saying's drowned out by the grimy roar of the bus pulling away, revealing a pub called The Fox and Hounds. The sign shows three beagles cornering a fox. They're about to pounce and rip it apart. A street sign underneath says WESTWOOD ROAD. Lords and ladies are supposed to be rich, so I was expecting swimming pools and Lamborghinis, but Westwood Road looks pretty normal to me. Normal brick houses, detached or semidetached, with little front gardens and normal cars. The damp sky's the color of old hankies. Seven magpies fly by. Seven's good. Mum's face is inches away from mine, though I'm not sure if that's an angry face or a worried one. "Nathan? Are you even listening?" Mum's wearing makeup today. That shade of lipstick's called Morning Lilac but it smells more like Pritt Stick than lilacs. Mum's face hasn't gone away, so I say, "What?"

- From Slade House by David Mitchell

Noir Break

The trailer for "Detour."

No Hubris Here

Because of the build-up of vast levels of personal, corporate and government debts since the 1970s, the need for redemption of these debts will be immense. After hubris must come catharsis. It is our view that societies might have to introduce a global ‘jubilee’ of debt cancellation – an extraordinary amnesty for debtors. The first purpose of such an amnesty would be to release millions of people, business enterprises and governments from the grip of parasitical creditors, draining them of every last asset. The second purpose would be to restore debtors to viability, enabling them once again to become productive and economically active. 

Read all of "A Green New Deal."

Case Examples

I love using case examples when teaching. People like stories and the case examples permit them to see how key principles fit into the real world. Besides that, a good case example permits me to play with their minds and to twist the example around so they can see how close to the edge what initially appears to be an easy call may be.

That part of the lesson is crucial because no matter how much you learn in the classroom, the world awaits with curve balls and sinkers. I want them to leave with the confidence that the subject is not beyond their grasp and with a healthy sense of paranoia so they'll retain the ability and willingness to question.

Novels for Leaders

Image result for doomsday book amazon

If you want a look at a very different world.

Thursday, February 07, 2019


Back from teaching a lengthy but enjoyable workshop.

Am trying to regain the use of my legs. Testing the medicinal qualities of some Thin Mints purchased from a pusher just down the street. May move treatment to a whole new realm via some Samoas.

The Beauty of Silence

river surrounded by trees

Julian Summerhayes on "Embracing Silence."

[Photo by Sam Wheeler at Unsplash]

Novels for Leaders

Image result for A soldier's duty amazon

Well-written, thrilling, and with a clear eye on how power can corrupt.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

TV Back Then

grey pedestal fan near brown wooden rack inside house

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "Escape to Sonoita."

[Photo by Joshua Ness at Unsplash]

No Problem

FutureLawyer on how to stay productive when there is a snowstorm.

"The Journey"

The Ridley Scott film for Turkish Airlines.

Novels for Leaders

Image result for lonesome dove amazon

And it may also be The Great American Novel.


The trailer for "Never Look Away."

If it is as good as "The Lives of Others" it will be a masterpiece.

Questionable Career Advice

three women sitting beside table

It started in high school. I began to hear bits of advice ("If you want to be a doctor, you should study German") that turned out to be so far off the mark that I wish I'd jotted them down. Some others that proved equally worthless:

  • "You have to be fluent in a foreign language in order to earn a Ph.D."
  • "You have to be fluent in two foreign languages in order to earn a Ph.D."
  • "The CIA doesn't hire people with military backgrounds."
  • "The CIA only recruits from Ivy League universities."
  • "You must have a doctorate in order to be a college professor."
  • "Political science is the best major for pre-law students."
  • "It is always wise to go straight on to graduate school after earning your bachelor's degree."
  • "If an employer asks for six years of experience, then that is strictly required in order to be seriously considered."
  • "Supervising in the military is easy because all you have to do is issue orders."

Are there any memorable ones that you've encountered?

[Photo by Tim Gouw at Unsplash]