“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” Thomas Jefferson.
We have a tendency to ‘communicate’ too much. Too many fillers when we speak – circumlocution which we think displays erudition, but in fact avoids getting to the point as we talk round the core issue but evade making the proposition or asking a direct question. Similarly, too many extraneous phrases when we write - ‘in the event of’, ‘on the occasion of’, ‘the July time
“There’s a lot worse out there.” E – a long-standing friend – was wondering whether he had one more career move in him. “Coming up to 20 years with the company, albeit under four different owners. “A lot of change, and there’s more to come. I wonder if I should get out before the new owners make that decision for me? “But while it isn’t perfect, there’s a lot worse out there.” E’s comments sent me on a flashback, to my first full-time job after graduation. The company owner g
(It was early 1980s: I had my marketing degree, and a new job at an agency. Not long after my first day, I met Larry - a new client who was adding a security hardware business to his growing portfolio. I asked him how he started…) Larry’s first venture was selling carpets.
His office was a back bedroom at home, his logistics operation was a white van. He gave the impression that he ran a big company because his wife answered calls by saying “this is reception”, and he had t
"Every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: 'Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path?' If you don't ask those questions, your governance will not be good." Pope Francis "I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen." Ernest Hemingway “An appreciative listener i
(A belated 're-print' of lessons from one of the greatest physical achievements of the past sixty years - by one of the most modest men. RIP Sir Roger Bannister.) After Olympic and Paralymic over-achievement for team GB, the British public will have an embarrassment of riches to choose from for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. This annual sports shindig has become more glitz than game, yet despite the showbiz presentation, at heart it’s a celebration of what we still need
A venture fund investor asked me to look into a small company that had attracted him a couple of years before, now he wasn’t so sure.
“Either the proposition is falling behind a fast moving market, or it’s the way the Founder addresses the market. Take up the drains and let me know what you find.”
He was right about both.
Founder wasn’t a bad person, just someone who was in love with the technology and had no interest in his customers.
Of course, he wanted to sell his sol
I don’t know the origin of this story; there are several variations out in the digital ether. Sometimes the moral is spelt out explicitly; I prefer a looser interpretation. The professor stood at the front of the lecture theatre behind a large workbench. On it stood a large glass specimen jar, the sort that collectors of the macabre use to exhibit animals with too many limbs. It was the start of term, so he was playing to a full house. From beneath the table he lifted a bucke
Epictetus (55-135 CE): a Greek/Roman philosopher and perhaps the most influential teacher of the Stoicism school. Not bad for someone who started life as a crippled slave, was subsequently expelled from Rome, and never wrote a word.
Academics know of him through two volumes composed by his student Arrian - The Discourses and The Enchiroden (aka 'Handbook'). A wider audience found him at the start of the C20th through The Golden Sayings of Epictetus, a sort of greatest hits
Let’s start with a paradox: this post is writing about not writing.
A couple of days ago, I was noodling a 500-word piece as a possible blog post, and thought it would be perfectly ended by a Coachaiku: my hybrid term for a 17-syllable reflection, in a 5-7-5 form, for personal and professional development.
It would be the synthesis of the post’s central idea. A pay-off for the insight.
Walking home from the railway station that evening, I was half juggling words to fit
US defence lawyer Gerry Spence championed underdogs.
His clients included the Karen Silkwood estate in its battle with a nuclear power contractor and native American Indians trying to protect their land rights.
Big cases, with enough blind alleys to keep juries confused for months. In his book *How to Argue and Win Every Time*, Spence says that one of his biggest challenges was keeping on course through long, protracted trials.
After amassing rooms-full of information,