Be a yogi scientist

A long time ago in a culture far, far away, a sophisticated system of knowledge — spanning the human body and mind, stars and planets, physical space, and more — was created by a people equipped with their five senses and the only computer around at the time: the human brain. “They outlined techniques that include body exercise, mind exercise, . . . and many other methods that are now proving to be some of the most integrated ways to leverage our human potential.” The Business Casual Yogi: Take Charge of Your Body, Mind, and Career (BCY), by Vish Chattergie* with Yogrishi Vishvketu, translates this Vedic system of knowledge (believed to have originated over five thousand years ago in the foothills of the Himalayas) into a “comprehensible and relevant” set of tools for modern leaders.

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Hard Things

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There are No Easy Answers. A young, first-time entrepreneur CEO recently reminded me of this gem. There isn’t a better operating manual for the rough-and-tumble of starting up a company, clawing a way to survival, and (if you’re lucky) thriving. The reminder is timely, as Ben Horowitz has a second book coming out this month.

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Back to Built to Last

WeWork’s IPO debacle and CEO ouster, Juul’s comeuppance, and many other recent fallen giants and C-suite changes spurred David Gelles’ acerbic piece in the NYT. He reminds us, among other things, that the now commonplace “utopian mission statements” from “Christ-like” founders that temporarily intoxicate the market eventually come down to the numbers when investors sober up.

Gelle’s fun-poking at these companies’ “yoga babble” made me want to revisit the seminal research that discovered the critical role of vision, mission, and values in organizations that stand the test of time.

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Dabbler Obsessive Hacker Master

When Mastery: Taking it Home by George Leonard hit the pages of Esquire’s May 1,1987 “Ultimate Fitness” feature, along with John Poppy’s The Keys to Mastery, it went the viral equivalent of its time — lots of letters to the editor, requests for copies and reprints, and CEOs disseminating it widely within their organizations. “A navy carrier pilot . . . wrote that he had been having trouble landing the F-14 Tomcat on an aircraft carrier . . . ‘Insights from Mr. Leonard’s outline of the master’s journey gave me the extra 10 percent of mental discipline that I needed to make the trek down this portion of my path a relatively easy one.’”

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Where have I been?

It has happened several times in the last few months — young leaders I’ve encountered calling out Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People as inspiring, guiding, and causing them to change how they are navigating the world. The book even served as the basis for one company’s core values. Of course I’d known about it for decades, though I’d not read it — it seemed dated and sales-y — a sort of “to seem rather than to be” thing.

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Not yet

The first thing I’ll say about Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck is this is a must read if you’re raising kids. I read it after raising my kids. I offer a blanket apology. 

In the decade plus since this research was published, what Dweck calls a “growth-mindset” vs. a “fixed-mindset” has influenced school curriculums, organizational thinking and practices, parenting, sports, and relationships.

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The search is over

I was late to the game on this one. On second thought, when something is as useful and unique as this is, there is no “late,” only the moment of discovery. I discovered the book Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace), and it’s non-profit outgrowth,  Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, (SIYLI, pronounced “Silly”) last year, devoured the book, attended a workshop, and spread the word far and wide.

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The best business book you’ve never heard of

My first week on the job at Heath Ceramics, I stopped by the showroom and picked up a copy of a business book I’d never seen, by an author I didn’t know, who co-founded and led a business I’d never heard of, yet it boasted endorsements from some pretty major names. I was pretty sure I was at least familiar with all the business books you’re supposed to read: from the classics, to the wave of stuff from the 90’s that has held up, to the sea of current influencers. What was this?

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