Blogs on Writing

Writing – and reading – like a scientist

Writing – and reading – like a scientist

Thinking like a detective I recently read an article in Psyche, the digital magazine from Aeon, titled How to think like a detective. The article caught my attention because, as a writer of true crime and crime fiction, I understand the importance of employing the...

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Our Most Effective Weapon is Imagination

Our Most Effective Weapon is Imagination

Last year, I wrote a piece called The Prince of Paradox and the Light-Beam Rider in which I discussed the power of awe and wonder. One of the two key players in this piece is Albert Einstein, the preeminent scientist who understood  that “He who can no longer pause to...

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One True Sentence

One True Sentence

To get started, write one true sentence. My wife and I have been watching the documentary on Ernest Hemingway by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Hemingway did his best work very early in the morning. While I would never...

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What We Get Wrong About Joan Didion

What We Get Wrong About Joan Didion

“…style is just the baseline of good writing. Didion’s innovation was something else.” Those who know me well know that I have been a fan of Joan Didion for years. This is a worthy read by Nathan Heller in The New Yorker.

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Mrs. Dalloway and Head-Hopping

Mrs. Dalloway and Head-Hopping

Michael Cunningham is an American novelist and screenwriter best known for his 1998 Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Hours. The December 23, 2020 issue of The New York Times ran a wonderful essay

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Dancing with my Characters

Dancing with my Characters

Mike Cobb My wife and I are huge fans of CBS Sunday Morning. It’s been our weekly morning ritual for years. I love the variety of stories, ranging from human interest to current events––a refreshing alternative to the barrage of political news invading from

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I Write in Service to my Characters

I Write in Service to my Characters

Mike Cobb “Never allow the integrity of your own way of seeing things and saying things to be swamped by the influence of a master, however great.” George P. Lathrop George Parsons Lathrop. Ever

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Wabi-Sabi and the Craft of Writing

Wabi-Sabi and the Craft of Writing

I don’t begin a piece, whether a short story or a novel, with some lofty notion of an ideal plotline that takes the reader through an exposition, a crescendo and a climax, a resolution and a denouement.

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Blogs on Business

One True Sentence

One True Sentence

To get started, write one true sentence. My wife and I have been watching the documentary on Ernest Hemingway by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Hemingway did his best work very early in the morning. While I would never...

read more
Purpose Revisited

Purpose Revisited

Recently I received a Knowledge@Wharton article, “Should Leadership Feel More Like Love?.” It is an interview with Fred Kofman, Google leadership development advisor and former LinkedIn vice president of leadership…

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Man vs Machine … Tim Cook Weighs In

Man vs Machine … Tim Cook Weighs In

Picture this. It’s a mild summer evening in San Francisco. It’s 2018. CEOs and thought leaders from across the country have gathered for the invitation-only Fortune CEO Initiative. The movers and shakers of Silicon Valley are there…

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Who’s more profitable, Amazon or Macy’s?

Who’s more profitable, Amazon or Macy’s?

If you said Amazon … think again. Macy’s operating margin exceeds 6%, while Amazon’s operating margin last quarter was only 3.8% …. but the comparison is even more striking if we look at Amazon’s numbers a little more closely…

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Musk and Moats…A Brief Update

Musk and Moats…A Brief Update

You may have seen my article earlier this week about the war of words between Warren Buffett and Elon Musk over disparate business philosophies. In that article I alluded to the fact that Musk’s investments…

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Musk and Moats … Is a Candy War in the Making?

Musk and Moats … Is a Candy War in the Making?

I couldn’t help myself. I had to weigh in on this. I assume you’ve kept up to date on the war of words between Elon Musk and Warren Buffett of late. If not, you should check it out, . It’s amusing to say the least to see two multi-billionaires have at it over business strategy…

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Eight Keys to Establishing a Daily Routine

Eight Keys to Establishing a Daily Routine

It might not be obvious to you, but I like to write. I may not be a great writer … but I think I’m reasonably good. And I write for myself as much as for anyone else. It helps me focus my thoughts and helps me center. As I learn from the process, it makes me a better…

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When to Run from a Consultant

When to Run from a Consultant

Back in October of last year, in an article about the importance of asking the right questions and not assuming that you have the answers, I recounted an experience in a Delta Sky Club where I witnessed a disturbing conversation…

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Would You Rather Live a Happy Life or Meaningful Life?

Would You Rather Live a Happy Life or Meaningful Life?

I assume that most if not all of us would answer “I want both”. But what if you had to choose one or the other? Would you choose to be happy even if you had no clear, well-defined and committed purpose in life? Or would you choose instead to live a life of meaning even if it meant being miserable? A cogent argument…

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Getting the Questions Right

Getting the Questions Right

Earlier this year I wrote a short piece called For Want of Wonder about curiosity, creativity and innovation. I was reminded of this when I picked up the November 2017 edition of The Atlantic and…

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Buddha’s Brain Meditation Research Reports

Buddha’s Brain Meditation Research Reports

Back in March I wrote an article, Amidst the Cacophony, that touched on the power of silent meditation and attending to the “soft, still voices that come from the depths” in an age of sensory overload. In that article I…

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Larry Jones the Horseman

Larry Jones the Horseman

J. Larry Jones has horse racing in his blood. From an early age he must have known he was destined to be a horseman, and a great one at that. Larry’s a horse trainer. A trainer…

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Your Way, My Way or Our Way?

Your Way, My Way or Our Way?

Back in the mid- to late-nineties I did a lot of work in South America. While in the throes of working through the terms of a business arrangement, my Colombian business partner made …

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Are You Ready to Transition Your Business?

Are You Ready to Transition Your Business?

Home About Services Blog Call: 12345678 Home About ServicesBlog COACHING PERSONAL & TEAM DEVELOPMENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT  MASTERMIND GROUPS  COACHING PERSONAL & TEAM DEVELOPMENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT MASTERMIND GROUPS Are you prepared to...

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Executive Coaching and Mentoring

For decades we have provided one-on-one executive coaching and mentoring of individuals, ranging from seasoned business executives to tomorrow’s leaders. We provide a highly confidential environment that is conducive to personal development in the pursuit of...

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Free the Radicals

Free the Radicals

Free The Radicals A friend recently sent me a link to a Chicago Ideas presentation by Alexa Clay, Leadership Lessons from King Pins, Hackers, Gangsters and Misfits. I highly recommend it. Ms. Clay’s talk deals with leadership lessons from black market innovators,...

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For Want of Wonder

For Want of Wonder

Gilbert Keith Chesterton, better known as G.K., once said: “We are perishing from want of wonder, not from want of wonders.” I think about this quote a lot. And when I think about it, it is in multiple contexts. I think about it theologically, as G.K. no doubt...

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DIKW and Tribal Knowledge

DIKW and Tribal Knowledge

In a recent article I touched on the role “tribal knowledge” plays in the decision-making process in many organizations (Do You Think It Or Do You Know It). Early in my career I had the opportunity to head up a product development group for a major chemical company....

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Do you think it or do you know it?

Do you think it or do you know it?

Years ago I advised a CEO whose first question, whenever anyone came to him with a bold statement or seeming revelation related to the business was “Do you think it or do you know it?” He constantly challenged his leaders to test their assumptions. And as we walked...

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William of Ockham has left the building

William of Ockham has left the building

I sometimes wonder what William of Ockham would think if he were alive today. He was, if you recall, a Franciscan friar and philosopher who lived in the 14th century, and to whom the “law of parsimony” is attributed. Also known as Ockham’s Razor (or Occam’s Razor),...

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Made in the USA

Made in the USA

I recently read an article in CNNMoney [1] (Made in the USA is not Dead) about the manufacturing sector in the US and the fact that manufacturing is booming in this country, several sectors are producing record outputs and foreign companies are investing heavily in US...

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Hanjin 3

A couple of weeks ago I posted a short article on how companies can prepare for and respond to supply chain disruptions (Hanjin Revisited). This was a follow-up to an earlier article on the Hanjin bankruptcy and its impact on businesses globally (Hanjin and Turmoil in...

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Hanjin Revisited

Hanjin Revisited

September 30th. It’s been a month now since Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy. So what has happened over the past month? A lot … but not enough. A little over a week into the chaos U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Sherwood granted the company provisional protection from...

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Entrepreneurism and Free Markets

Entrepreneurism and Free Markets

My professional life (if you don’t count selling Christmas cards door-to-door when I was a kid and, for a very short while, the most amazing and the last pair of scissors one would ever need to buy) began when I got out of graduate school. I made the transition from...

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The Six Hardest Words?

Sometimes I think the six hardest words in the English language are “I don’t know” and “I was wrong”. There is often an aversion to admit that we know less than we really do, to owning up to our shortcomings, or to being willing to seek insights from others....

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Lavish Perks Revisited

I recently read a report, “How Millennials Want to Work and Live”, published earlier this year by the Gallup organization[1]. The findings, resulting from extensive research, identified six changes that leaders must make to effectively lead those members of the...

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Marshmallows, Spaghetti and The Planning Fallacy

Recently while facilitating a class for a group of graduate students and post docs, I touched on the fallacy of strategic planning as it has been taught for generations in business schools across the country. The traditional planning approach, with the usual...

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Fix The Business, Not The Culture

When my copy of the April 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review arrived in the mail, the headline across the front cover, in bright orange type, resonated with me: “You Can’t Fix Culture”. This is a message I have been preaching for years. Focus on your business, not...

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Developing Dashboards That Work

Check out this article on designing a business dashboard that’s right for you, written by my InnovaNet colleague, Terry Mushrush. I Want A Dashboard by Terry Mushrush April 2016

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MODEX 2016

I spoke at MODEX in Atlanta yesterday. I wanted to share my presentation with everyone. Click the picture below to download it.  

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Is Running Your Company Like Riding a Bicycle?

I remember well the first time I rode a bike. Or, rather, tried to ride a bike. The initial excitement and confidence (“I can do that, it looks so easy”) soon followed by an almost immobilizing fear that froze me in place. This was before the scrapes and bruises that...

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How a Lightning Strike Almost Destroyed a Company

Friday, March 17, 2000.  By all accounts it was a typical day. The week was winding down and preparations were being made for the weekend. There was a lot to talk about in the news. The US elections were heating up in the lead-up to what would prove to be one of the...

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Risk-embracing Organizations

It seems that almost every day there’s a new book or article about risk-tolerant versus risk-averse organizations. These authors tell us how it is through taking risks that we change and grow, both as individuals and as companies. However, the most successful,...

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Risk Innovation and Kodak

T.S. Eliot once said, “"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go." Innovation Innovation is about pushing boundaries. It’s about venturing from the world of the known to the world of the unknown. It’s about uncertainty....

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