Blog

6 CONCEPTS TO MAKE US HAPPY & USEFUL

6 CONCEPTS TO MAKE US HAPPY & USEFUL

If you went on a bike ride in strong wind, as I did this morning, would you want to be against the wind on the way there and with it behind you on the return, or the other way round?  If you like the icing on a cake, would you eat it last or first?   (1)  Defer Gratification If you like to save the best for last, you defer gratification.  Psychologists have shown that people who acquire...

Read More

THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE

THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE

“Business thinking starts with an intuitive choice of assumptions.  Its progress as analysis is intertwined with intuition.  The final choice is almost always intuitive.  If that were not true, all problems would be solved by mathematicians.”   So starts a provocative and seminal essay by Bruce Henderson in 1977, the year after I joined his Boston Consulting Group. Intuition, says Bruce,...

Read More

THE BEST THING EVER WRITTEN ABOUT STRATEGY

THE BEST THING EVER WRITTEN ABOUT STRATEGY

This weekend I’ve been revisiting my misspent youth, by reading again the musings of Bruce Doolin Henderson and his colleagues from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in its early years.

Read More

THE KNOWLEDGE PHILOSOPHY – ANCIENT & MODERN

THE KNOWLEDGE PHILOSOPHY – ANCIENT & MODERN

 I’m excited.  I’ve been studying first and second century AD philosophers, including Jesus and the Christian “Gnostics”.  The Gnostics placed the greatest value on knowledge – the hope for mankind and the possibility of salvation, they believed, came from understanding the nature of the universe; and the best place to start was with introspection and the psychology of the...

Read More

GIVING UP WHAT WE LOVE DOING

GIVING UP WHAT WE LOVE DOING

When I arrived as a spotty 18-year-old at my new college, its head was Maurice Bowra, a don famous throughout Oxford for outrageous acts and aggressive wit.  When told an academic rival was sick, his response was “Nothing trivial, I hope?”  It was in this atmosphere I learned to love verbal sparring, the university’s currency of talk, where we would blithely argue that black was white...

Read More

THE 80/20 VIEW OF THE UNCONSCIOUS

THE 80/20 VIEW OF THE UNCONSCIOUS

Have you ever had the experience of finding a problem insoluble, giving up, and then having the answer come back to you when you were not thinking about it and least expected it?  Henri Poincaré, the great French mathematician, solved a particular tricky issue, that had eluded him for years, while boarding a bus.  Bertrand Russell reached a philosophical breakthrough when buying a tin of...

Read More