What Money Cannot Buy

Human red blood cells magnified 1000 times
Human red blood cells magnified 1000 times

I recently came across the work of Richard Titmuss (1907-1973). He was the father of social policy and was known as the ‘high priest of the welfare state’.

His most famous book was his last one called “The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood to Social Policy”In it, he studied what was the most effective method for people to give blood – the market (i.e. paying them) or altruism (i.e. goodness of their own heart). Luckily for him, he had both systems in place in the real world with the US using the market and the UK using voluntary donations.  Continue reading “What Money Cannot Buy”

Would You Agree With These Words?

“The case for militancy as a political method is unassailable…Violence is wrong, say the anti-militants. Nothing could be more untrue. Violence has no moral complexion whatsoever. In itself it is neither right nor wrong. Its rightness or wrongness depends entirely upon the circumstances under which it is used.”

Continue reading “Would You Agree With These Words?”

Dealing With Success And Loss

Crying-girl

One thing is clear in life: there will times of success and there will be times of loss. When I think of the economy, I think of market bubbles and their collapse. When I think of my personal life, I think of times of being “in the zone” and times when I feel I have lost something or someone dear to me. So how to get one’s head around all of this? Continue reading “Dealing With Success And Loss”

The Alex Ferguson Way

Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has just come out with a book called “Leading” which he co-authored with Sir Michael Moritz, chairman of Sequoia Capital. I was lucky enough to see them interviewed  by the Financial Times editor, Lionel Barber, at the Southbank centre in London. The talk was fascinating, and the book is well worth reading.

Indeed, even as a Liverpool fan , I have to admire Alex Ferguson’s track record as manager of Manchester United: he won 13 league titles, 5 FA Cups and 2 Champions leagues. Admittedly, he didn’t reach Liverpool manager Bob Paisley’s 3 Champions leagues, but no-one is perfect. To get some sense of what made him tick is intriguing. Continue reading “The Alex Ferguson Way”

The 3 Stages Of Life According to Shakespeare

500px-Shakespeare

The beauty of Shakespeare’s works is that they can interpreted in many different ways. One of my favourite is to think of his biggest plays as representing the three stages of life- youth, adulthood and old-age: Continue reading “The 3 Stages Of Life According to Shakespeare”

Three Quick Tests To Know Yourself

NAMA_Femme_au_miroir

Knowing ourselves appears to the foundation to success – that includes our darker side as well the lighter side. . At the same time, being able to read and understand others is key to work well in groups. So here’s three free online tests that I have used and found useful to better understand myself: Continue reading “Three Quick Tests To Know Yourself”

Confucius On Management

Confucius_Tang_Dynasty

It’s easy to get caught up with the latest management fads, but hard to know which ones will endure. Indeed, Nassim Taleb writes about how time is the ultimate test for the fragility of ideas. So with China in the news, what better ideas to look at than Confucius’, who lived over 2,500 years ago. His sayings are in the “Analects”, which are said to have been recorded by his disciples. What I’ve found is that Confucius was very good at understanding how to get the best out of hierarchical structures, which today would equate just as easily to corporations as governments. So I’ve picked out the best bits for business and modified the language to sound more contemporary: Continue reading “Confucius On Management”

Don’t Iterate, Be Bold

Whereismyflyingcar

“We were promised flying cars and we got 140 characters” says Peter Thiel. He co-founded PayPal with Elon Musk, Palantir* and was the first outside investor in Facebook. Thiel is perhaps one of most original thinkers to come out of Silicon Valley. In his book “Zero to One”, he outlines his take on the world. Continue reading “Don’t Iterate, Be Bold”