Thoughts on Life

Today, I’m going to cover something different. I’m to going to explain how to be one of the 500 most powerful people in America… to be a U.S. Congressman (or woman). Actually, I’ll explain a behind-the-scenes look of how one such person came to power — and how the underlying lessons are applicable to any [...]

If you want to make an impressive first impression with someone, show them how smart, brilliant, and accomplished you are. Share with them your resume, income, and job title. If you want to make a lasting impression, treat them with kindness. I have met hundreds of very accomplished, wicked smart, and talented people over the years. [...]

In a recent article, I wrote about an interesting application of the 80/20 rule as it applies to musical songwriting. I had no idea it would generate so much backlash. There are so many lessons to be learned and taught from the response. I thought it would be instructive to go through it all. As a [...]

The majority of the time, it pays to be an “A” player — a superstar achiever — in your company. However, there are some times when being an A player is a liability. In a moment, I will share with you the specific circumstances where being an A player is problematic. My intent is not [...]

I spend the bulk of my time in my career either learning, teaching, or troubleshooting. I just got off the phone with a new client and had a small epiphany. During the call, I essentially gave away one of my secrets to one of my new clients. We were discussing the concept of idea transplantation. [...]

When I left McKinsey to start my own company, a number of my McKinsey friends also left to do the same. My two back-to-back startup attempts failed. A number of my McKinsey friends’ startups succeeded, in some cases wildly so (one of them was StubHub). For the first time in my career (and actually life), [...]

My favorite quote from the 2014 Superbowl was, “Why Not You?” It was a saying attributed to the father of Russell Wilson, quarterback of the 2014 champion Seattle Seahawks. The quote was referenced by the sports commentators and again by Wilson in a post-game interview. It was something Wilson’s father said to him many years ago when [...]

I find the word paradox fascinating. Definition: A paradox is a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true. Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking. A paradox I’ve noticed in my own writing is how sometimes I will knowingly contradict myself. One of [...]

A few days ago, I was in Manhattan taking a seminar on screenplay writing. During my time there, I had one night where I didn’t have any plans or commitments. As an experiment, I invited a few dozen CIBs, 1Y, 2Y to a last-minute, impromptu Q&A session in the lobby of my hotel. (The crowd [...]

Something just went wrong; really wrong. What’s the first instinct you and others have? In many company cultures (and in many family, marriage or parent/child relationship cultures), the first order of business is to decide whom to blame. Much of corporate politics (not to mention governmental politics) is based on this principle. “I don’t want [...]

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