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A Few Random Thoughts in Reading

I’m a huge book nerd. I geek out over reading lists, love visiting physical bookstores when I travel, and am in the minority of people still collecting physical books in the age of Kindle. I try to start every day with 10 pages of reading, and reading a physical book…

The Positive Impact Test

In the most recent Distributed podcast, Matt chatted with Vanessa Van Edwards of Science of People. I’ve had the episode queued up in Overcast since it came out, and I finally had an opportunity to listen to it yesterday during some yard work. I thought the conversation was wonderful and…

Two Criteria for Believability

Back in 2017, I read Principles by Ray Dalio. It has since become one of my favorite professional books of all time and one I’d certainly recommend to anyone. Dalio ran Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, for many years and created a unique culture that he describes in…

Three Routines for Right Now

I’ve spent more time than usual watching the news and scanning social media over the past week. I don’t think I’m alone. “Normal” today looks much different than it did even a week ago. COVID-19 has taken over the world stage and will likely continue to do so for quite…

The Care and Feeding of Monkeys

A fellow Automattician passed along this older HBR article that originally appeared in 1974. In the piece, the author describes how managers and leaders often take on unnecessary responsibility from teammates inadvertently. These responsibilities are referred to as “monkeys.” An example from the article: A fourth subordinate, Reed, has just…

On High Standards (Part 2)

Yesterday, I shared two takeaways related to high standards based on a few recent podcasts. It’s okay to have high standards and to hold people to them. A prerequisite is to hold yourself to an even higher set of standards. On Facebook, a friend pointed out an important missing piece—people…

A Few Related Thoughts on High Standards

After some discussion on this post, I wrote a follow-up post here—On High Standards (Part 2). It expands on some elements this post misses. While traveling to New York, I recently listened to two podcasts related to high standards. First, I listened to the interview with Dave Castro (Director of…

Four Questions Worth Asking

In a recent episode of his podcast, Tim Ferriss recounted a discussion he had with executive coach Jerry Colonna. In that discussion, Colonna mentioned four powerful questions that I feel are worth keeping top of mind: How am I complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want? What…

A Step-by-Step Outline for Starting a Tough Conversation

Let’s say you need to deliver some critical feedback. How do you kick off the conversation? Maybe you get straight to the point and rip off the band-aid. Just go straight for the jugular. Alternatively, maybe you start with a simple question, “How are things going?” Your hope is that…

A Checklist to Follow After Success

The story of Michael Eisner is a compelling one. It’s a story of a quick rise to become one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, and a cautionary tale of how to remain humble.