Articles

Winners Take All

August 16, 2019

A Fabulous Synthesis of The Breakdown Between Economics and Governance

Capitalism is the economic model that drives how a majority of the people in the world earn their livelihoods. Democracy is how that same majority govern themselves. These two systems are deeply intertwined and deeply interdependent. Over the last several decades the elites who drive — and thrive in — capitalism have distorted our system of governance to their advantage.

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Must-Read Books for Introverts (and those who love them)

June 21, 2019

People often ask me what books I recommend for introverts. These are my current top three.

  • The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life In a Noisy World by Sophia Dembling
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference by Jennifer Kahnweiler
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Out of the Wreckage

December 9, 2017

There is something deeply weird about humanity. … This phrase does not refer to our skills with language or our use of tools or ability to change our environment, remarkable though these are. It refers to our astonishing degree of altruism: our kindness towards other members of our species. We possess an unparalleled sensitivity to the needs of others, a unique level of concern about their welfare, and a peerless ability to create moral norms that generalise and enforce these tendencies.

— George Monbiot. Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis

Democracy is under siege. Authoritarianism is on the rise. This is true, not only in America, but in the UK and other parts of Europe as well. Bills in the US Congress that are highly unpopular are passed by politicians who are equally so. The elected officials at the local and federal levels work for their donors, not for the people who elected them. How can this be happening? In the developed world? In the 21st century?

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Cover of Dark Money

Dark Money

November 10, 2017

Dark Money is the inside story of how 400 of the richest people in America are putting their money to work to bend academia, the media, churches, and the courts to their self-interest. If you want to understand what is happening at the political — and to some degree, cultural — level in America today, you must read this book.

Jane Mayer’s deep research and lucid writing is the perfect companion to Nancy MacLean’s brilliant work, Democracy in ChainsWhile Democracy in Chains is about the philosophy and ideology that underlies the thinking of those on the far right, Dark Money is about the players, their money, and how they are propagating their narcissistic values and beliefs to change the face of America.

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Cover for Democracy in Chaings: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, by Nancy MacLean

Democracy in Chains

November 8, 2017

As it subtitle states, Democracy in Chains is a deep history of the radical right’s stealth plan for America. It is the utterly chilling story of the ideological origins of the single most powerful and least understood threat to democracy today: the attempt by the billionaire-backed radical right to undo democratic governance. … [they are on] a stealth bid to reverse-engineer all of America, at both the state and the national levels, back to the political economy and oligarchic governance of midcentury Virginia, minus the segregation.

Read this book if you want to understand what is happening in America today.

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Cover of "The Warmth of Other Suns" by Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns

June 11, 2015

I just finished The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Wow. It’s easy to see why it won the Pulitzer Prize.

I was born in Canada, and have lived in Arizona, the Midwest, Colorado, New Mexico, Northern California, the UK, the Northeast, and now the South. It is the South that has been the most perplexing. This book has helped me understand not only the South, but the rest of the country as well. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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Cover of "To Sell is Human" by Daniel Pink

To Sell Is Human

February 14, 2014

Daniel Pink is a master of the art of the amplification of curated research. Like his kindred spirit, Malcolm Gladwell, Pink has taken keen insights in real life, organized them into a theme, woven the theme together with interesting and germane research, and capped it all off with regular doses of great advice.

This is not a book about sales — at least not in the classic sense. Instead, To Sell Is Human is a book for people who want to improve other’s lives and make the world a better place. I’m guessing that includes just about all of us.

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Cover of "Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life" by Steve Martin

Born Standing Up

October 24, 2012

I did stand-up comedy for eighteen years. Ten of those years were spent learning, four years were spent refining, and four were spent in wild success. My most persistent memory of stand-up is of my mouth being in the present and my mind being in the future: the mouth speaking the line, the body delivering the gesture, while the mind looks back, observing, analyzing, judging, worrying, and then deciding when and what to say next. Enjoyment while performing was rare—enjoyment would have been an indulgent loss of focus that comedy cannot afford. After the shows, however, I experienced long hours of elation or misery depending on how the show went, because doing comedy alone onstage is the ego’s last stand.

— Steve Martin, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Biography

 

Although I read Steve Martin’s excellent biography a few years ago I was reminded recently of these great thoughts in the opening paragraph. I would like to believe that I am charting a similar life course. It feels like I am in the refining years right now.

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What Got You Here Won't Get You There

March 30, 2011

A little bit of success is a dangerous thing. It lulls us into believing that we are savvy and invincible, that what got us to this point will continue to propel us forward.

I learned so many things from this book. Goldsmith is the preeminent executive coach of our time. I learned as much about my craft as an executive coach from reading between the lines as I did from digesting the text.

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Book Cover for The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo

The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs

February 2, 2011

You can say a lot of things about Steve Jobs. You can quote him, disagree with him, glorify or vilify him. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore him. In his lifetime he has managed to transform four industries. He has radically reinvented the computer, music, movie, and telecommunications industries. I would add, along with a chorus of others, that Jobs and Apple have transformed retail as well.

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