James Comey, the former director of the FBI, recently published his account of working under the Trump administration in the book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership”. It’s the second high-profile book of the workings of the Trump administration – the other being Michael Wolf’s “Fire and Fury”. That was revealing in parts, and Comey’s book is also revealing, though not in the way many reviewers have focused on. Continue reading “The James Comey Book – Be Afraid, Very Afraid (6 min read)”
In a chilling experiment conducted in the early 1960s, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram set out to understand why Nazi soldiers followed orders to murder millions. The set-up of the experiment was clever. Members of the public would act as a teacher and test another supposed member of the public, the learner, on simple word association tests. A scientist, the experimenter, would oversee this.
The teacher was told by the experimenter to impart successively larger electric shocks to the learner when they made errors – the voltage started at 15V and would go up to 450V. Continue reading “Are You Obedient To Authority? (3 min read)”
Remember 1997? The year of Titanic, the first Harry Potter book and the best-selling Nokia 610. It was also the first year Jeff Bezos wrote a shareholder letter for his three-year old Amazon.com.
It makes fascinating reading. He talks about expanding staff from 158 to 614, having cash balances of $125mn and establishing strategic relationships with Yahoo, Netscape, GeoCities (I vaguely remember them), @Home (?) and Prodigy (?). He was especially proud of increasing sales from $16 million to $148 million. Continue reading “What Amazon’s Bezos Told Us In 1997”
I’m a man, yet I’d like to think I see beyond gender, especially at work. Moreover, I have females in my family, so I’m “incentivised” to be fair. I’m sure many of the men recently engulfed in sexual harassment and abuse scandals form Harvey Weinstein to Roger Ailes probably told themselves that too. So, am I really as “unbiased” as I think I am? Continue reading “How Men See Women Differently and Put Them Down At Work”
Growing up I loved Bruce Lee. His fighting skills, elegance and wit were unique. But beyond that, he showed that someone who looked different from the conventional superstar could become a global icon (a bit like Muhammad Ali). I wasn’t alone in thinking that. In a strange mash-up, the American rap scene took him up as an icon most notably with the American hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan. Continue reading “Enter the Way Of Bruce Lee (3 min read)”
What is the purpose of our life? We don’t often think of that question, especially when at work. Many of us will say that it is to be happy and healthy. Others may say to have a fun time. For me, it would have to be leaving the world in a better place than when I entered it. This would be at every level from family to work to community to the world. Another related question, then, is what is the biggest problem in the world? Some may say climate change, others income inequality, yet others war and terrorism. For me though, when I think about this I think is the lack trust that pervades our culture. Continue reading “How Bankers Can Save the World (8 mins)”
Many political leaders like to surround themselves with military men, but what is it about military men that can help political leadership. Well, I came across an impressive character called Jocko Willink. He spent 20 years in the US Navy and commanded SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, the most highly decorated special ops unit from the Iraq War. He later ran the training of the West Coast SEAL teams. He’s now retired from the Navy and runs a leadership consultancy, Echelon Front. Continue reading “Learn To Lead…Navy SEALS Style!”
I can’t help but write about Trump! This time I’ve looked into other instances of celebrities that have become leader of their nations in their first elections. I can only find two cases: Sweet Micky of Haiti and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. If you know of any other, let me know, but here are the details of how they did it and what happened during their leadership:
The one thing we have learnt from the US election campaign is that social media (and regular media) can easily paint a one-sided picture of the “other side”. Donald Trump exploited this to his advantage to ensure he was able to get the coverage needed to become president. But using the image of Trump seen in that medium would then by definition be distorted. To get a better handle on who Trump really is, I thought it would be better to trawl through all his views and show them in his own words. Thankfully I came across a book called “Trump on Trump” by George Beahm that collated much of his speeches and interviews since 2015. I’ve picked out the bits I thought most relevant for us all, and you’ll find Trump is not who you imagined to be: Continue reading “The Real Trump In His Own Words (5 min read)”
I often get asked what the best books are to help one at work. As it turns out, I give reading lists to whoever works for me. One list is focused on developing good character and “soft skills” and is relevant for whichever line of work you are in. The other list is on more technical knowledge related to the finance industry. Below is the first list, I’ll post the second one next week: Continue reading “My Reading List For Success At Work (Part 1)”