What I’m Thinking About

Thank you to all of the readers who reached out to me last month to give their own opinions on the articles and topics. It was great to have a conversation!

Don’t hold back this month. Do one of these articles spark a brilliant idea? A pressing question?

What’s Going On (And Why You Should Care)

Why I let Domino’s fill my city’s potholes (Eric Norenberg) – If the name of the piece doesn’t get your attention, the content will. While Domino’s may have some of the most pathetic pizza I’ve ever had the displeasure of consuming, they have been at the vanguard of marketing for decades. Don’t forget, they were the ones that launched (and patented, with questionable validity, ) the pizza tracker over a decade ago. While they may not get my pizza order, I cannot help but love their marketing.

Why should you care? It’s a valuable lesson in creative marketing and local government engagement. Who would have thought a pizza chain could teach us to appreciate tax dollars?

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The psychology of money (Morgan Housel) – This is a must-read for so many reasons. “…investing is not the study of finance. It’s the study of how people behave with money…The finance industry talks too much about what to do, and not enough about what happens in your head when you try to do it.” Charlie Munger understands this all too well.

Why should you care? Think investing requires financial skills? Think again. It requires disciplined behavior.

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Leaders Focus Too Much on Changing Policies, and Not Enough on Changing Minds (Tony Schwartz) – Imposing policy does not carry the emotional costs of changing the mindset of individual players on your team. As we know, people tend to avoid emotional pain the most. Therefore, this is a great reminder that policy is simply a fail-safe, not a magic wand.

Why should you care? “…the invisible fears and insecurities that keep us locked into behaviors even when we know rationally that they don’t serve us well.” This is something we all can relate to.

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How language shapes our perception of reality (Vivian Giang) – It isn’t until we find ourselves in a position where we “can’t find the right words” that we realize the limitations of language; even though they are ample. This article puts those limits into the perspective of how we see the world. Bonus: Lera Boroditsky’s Ted Talk on the same topic.

Why should you care? Think those four years of high school German were just a college application booster? They may have given you so much more than that. They may just have changed the way you think.

Books I Read Last Month (That You Might Enjoy)

I read several stinkers this past month. One of them was the acclaimed Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. It was garbage. If you want a great book on corporate scandal and greed, read The Smartest Guys in the Room.

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The Paradox of Choice (Barry Schwartz) – I’ve taught from this book for four years now and every time I come back to it for a class refresher, the material becomes more relevant than ever. In short, while unencumbered choice is one of the hallmarks of a free society, it is making us miserable, inefficient, and full of regret. While this book was written over 15 years ago, it is an irreplaceable foundation to understanding the big-data-driven, artificial intelligence, machine-learning world. If you want a primer that is worth watching, check out Dr. Schwartz’s TED talk.