Think Better: The Best Stuff I Read This Week – October 28, 2011

Ain’t Exactly Clear – Mike Metzger – Doggie Head Tilt

A critique of last week’s New York Times article “Something’s Happening Here” by Thomas Friedman. Friedman posited that there were two approaches to looking at the Occupy Wall Street movement and other things that indicate “something’s happening here” – “The Great Disruption” and “The Big Shift.” Metzger has three main points:

  1. Our common definition of capitalism is sourced by Karl Marx, so any critique of “capitalism” doesn’t really address the way the economic system is intended to work. (I will pause to note that the best way to solve a debate is to define terms)
  2. “The Great Disruption” takes an incorrect assumption about the role of capitalism in its fundamental argument, and “The Big Shift” takes an incorrect assumption of the role, power, and opportunity that individuals have
  3. Friedman incorrectly posits that the only two ways of looking at this issue are those of disruption and shift. There are more possibilities at hand than Friedman’s dichotomy.

Selling Is Not About Relationships – Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson – Harvard Business Review

New research shows there are 5 distinct types of sales people: Relationship Builders, Hard Workers, Lone Wolves, Reactive Problem Solvers, and Challengers. Surprisingly, the least effective type is the Relationship Builder. The research notes that this is because, while professional and enjoyable, this type doesn’t really help their clients achieve their goals.

On the other hand, the Challengers are the most successful sales type. They challenge their customers to think differently, they push them forward, and they take relational risks. They sell solutions. These findings, while they make sense, were very surprising to me. This article (and the upcoming series from HBR) will be very instructive and insightful.

Anomaly – Roy H. Williams – The Monday Morning Memo

  • “Your brain is hardwired to notice the exception…”
  • “Islands are made larger, paradoxically, by the scale of the sea that surrounds them. The element which might reduce them, which might be thought to besiege them, has the opposite effect.… The sea makes islands signficant.” – Adam Nicholson, Sea Room
  • Discoveries are often made by accident. Discoveries are the signature of adventure. Take more adventure.

Seeing Red: To Write is to Edit – Josh Ritter – Wall Street Journal

A personal look at how acclaimed singer-songwriter Josh Ritter learned to write. It was all because of the red pen marks and edits of his father, and his father’s insistence on asking questions that forced Josh to get it just right.

Does Hollywood Need Its Own Brand of Moneyball? – Patrick Hruby – Washington Times

Major movie studios are reducing the number of films they release every year and seem to have their entire financial model wrapped up in releasing home-run blockbusters. That, however, is incredibly risky due to the budget requirements of creating these types of films. By contrast, there are plenty of movies made with much smaller budgets that become very profitable. Paradoxically, the risk makes studios less likely to want to “hit singles” because they don’t know how to operate in this way. It’s basically a mess in Hollywood right now. Funtamentally, it’s even harder to create a computer model that predicts the success of movies than baseball teams.

Arguing With Success – Seth Godin

Failure has already failed. Question success if you want to keep getting better.

When Is It Ok to Start Worrying? – Seth Godin

Worry is a useless, unproductive response.

The Full Walter Isaacson/Steve Jobs Interview from 60 Minutes


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