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Integrated Thinking: The New IT
Integrated Thinking: The New IT
by Ms Sue Pearson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 18.90
7 used & new from CDN$ 9.89

5.0 out of 5 stars The potential power and impact of a new way of thinking in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous global marketplace, March 8 2016
Note: My review is of the second edition of a book first published in 2013.

In The Opposable Mind, Roger Martin explains how successful leaders “win through integrative thinking.” Lincoln, for example, had ”the predisposition and the capacity to hold two [or more] diametrically opposed ideas” in his head and then "without panicking or simply settling for one alternative or the other," was able to "produce a synthesis that is superior to either opposing idea." Throughout his presidency, Lincoln frequently demonstrated integrative thinking, a “discipline of consideration and synthesis [that] is the hallmark of exceptional businesses [as well as of democratic governments] and those who lead them." Thomas C. Chamberlain has characterized as “multiple working hypotheses” when required to make especially complicated decisions. Successful leaders such as Lincoln did not merely tolerate contradictory points of view, they encouraged them. In the business world today, the greatest leaders not only encourage but indeed [begin italics] insist [end italics] on principled dissent.

I mention all this by way of “setting the table” for a consideration of what Sue Pearson has to say about “a new way of thinking, called Integrated Thinking or the New IT. To think in a new way means we have to change the way we use our brains, so before we change anything, we first need to know how our brains work.” She carefully organizes and presents her material within three Sections. First, she examines the stages of human development “in order to understand our present way of thinking better, and to create the basic New IT framework. Section 2 explores the links between human and social/political development, with particular reference to Britain today. In Section 3, we expand the new IT framework to include global development, and in the final Section, we will integrate the Mind and spirit into this new model.”

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Pearson’s coverage in Sections 1-3:

o Two Sides of the New Brain (Pages 9-12)
o Crossroads (14-15)
o The Emotional Wheel (17-22)
o Decision-Making (26-27)
o The Unconscious (29-30)
o Gatekeeper (35-36)
o Adolescence (42-49)
o Section 1 Review (52-53
o Four Fs: Fight, Flee, Feed, and [Reproduce] (59-63)
o Rebalancing (73-77)
o In Opposition (83-90)
o Better Decision-Making (93-94)
o The Bottom Line (102-105)
o Young People (109-114)
o Section 2 Review (118)
o History of Organizational Crises (121-130)
o Global Stage (133-136)
o Bridging the Gap (141)
o I-Brain (143-148)
o Game Change (153-154)
o Walls Coming Down (156-157)
o Section Three Review(163-164)
Plus: Section 4 Review (212)

Pearson should be commended for her skillful use of various-reader-friendly devices such as a “Chapter Review” and also (as indicated) a review for each Section. She and her editors make excellent use of formatting (e.g. use of bold type face and capitalization) to emphasize key terms. She has a crisp and lucid writing style that energizes her eloquent narrative. I especially appreciate her presentation of neuroscientific information in layman’s terms, at least to the extent that she can without compromising the integrity of the given material.

For whom did Sue Pearson write this book? The answer to that is suggested in her concluding remarks when she notes that, over a period of more than thirty years, she was given knowledge of subjects outside her own experience and even of subjects she had no name for. "Before the age of books and computers, the Mind-brain link was how people discovered and explored their inner and outer worlds. This book is the result of my own inner journey of discovery, rewritten and revised over many years, using other people’s later books as supporting evidence, as I tried to incorporate the changes I understood intellectually into the reality of my own life and to make the knowledge accessible to all.”

If you are curious to know more about what your brain is and how it works. More specifically, if you are curious to understand how integrating different ways of thinking can increase your brain power, help you make better decisions, and help reduce tension and conflict in your life, this book was written for you. And there is a substantial value-added benefit that must also be mentioned: The material in this book can also help you to help others to achieve those same objectives and thereby accelerate their own personal growth and professional development.

Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools
Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools
by Ron Ritchhart
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 26.71
34 used & new from CDN$ 24.31

5.0 out of 5 stars “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” Pablo Picasso, March 7 2016
“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” Pablo Picasso

As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of an observation by John Kotter years ago that the most difficult change to make happen is to change how people think about change. That is why it is imperative to think creatively when creating a workplace culture within which creative thinking is most likely to thrive.

I agree with Ron Ritchhart that schools must be about developing students’ thinking dispositions, the need to make students’ thinking visible, and the crucial role of classroom culture in supporting and shaping learning are the three core ideas that serve as the foundation of his mission to help schools to transform themselves into cultures of thinking. However U.S. public schools are ranked in relation to those in other developed countries, the fact remains that U.S. public schools do little (if anything) to strengthen their students’ learning skills, except on an ad hoc basis

As Ritchhart explains, his book is about transforming our schools and classrooms into enriched and dynamic learning communities. “As educators, parents, and citizens we must settle for nothing less than environments that bring out the best in people, take learning to the next level, allow for great discoveries, and propel both the individual and the group forward into a lifetime of learning. This is something all teachers want and all students deserve…I believe that culture is the hidden tool for transforming out school and offering our students the best learning possible…Change the deliverable — Common Core, National Curriculum, International Baccalaureate Diploma — and you have transformed education they assume. In reality, curriculum is something that is [begin italics] enacted [end italics] with students. It plays out with the dynamics of the school and the classroom culture. Thus culture is foundational. It will determine how any culture comes to life” or, I perfume to add, does not. Insofar as learning is concerned, too many public schools (notably those with classes in grades 5-12) are dreary mausoleums rather than dynamic laboratories.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Richhart’s coverage in Chapters 1-4

o A New Standard for Education, and, The Forces That Shape Culture (Pages 5-10)
o Tools for Transformation (10-11)
o Thinking Differently About Outcomes (16-19)
o Culture as the Enactment of a Story (20-29)
o Crafting a Different Story for Schools (29-34)
o Focusing Students on Learning vs. the Work (43-46)
o Teaching for Understanding vs. Knowledge (47-50)
o Encouraging Deep vs. Surface Learning Strategies (50-54)
o The Language of Thinking (68-71)
o The Language of Community (71-74)
o The Language of Identity (74-75)
o The Language of Initiative (75-78)
o The Language of Mindfulness (78-80)
o The Language of Listening (82-83)
o Recognizing Time as a Statement of Your Values (96-98)
o Learning to Prioritize and Always Prioritizing Learning (98-102)
o Giving Thinking Time (102-105)
o Managing Energy, Not Time (107-110)

Richhart discusses in detail each of the eight forces that shape culture: Expectations, Language, Time, Modeling, Opportunities, Routines, and Iterations. “Awareness of the presence of the cultural forces in any group context [for better or worse] helps prospective and experienced educators alike take a more active role in shaping culture. In doing so, we move away from the view of teaching as transmission and toward the creation of a culture of thinking and learning in which curriculum comes alive. Let the transformation begin.”

I commend Richhart on his provision of a boxed mini-commentary on key issues with which he concludes each chapter. He also provides (count ‘em) eight appendices. In Appendix E, he identifies and discusses six key principles of the cultures of the Cultures of Thinking Project:

1. Sills are not sufficient; we must also have the disposition to use them.
2. The development of thinking and understanding is fundamentally a social endeavor.
3. The culture of the classroom teaches.
4. As educators, we must strive it make students’ thinking visible.
5. Good thinking utilizes a variety of resources and is facilitated by the use of external tools to “download” or “distribute” one’s thinking.
6. For classrooms to be cultures of thinking for students, schools must be cultures of thinking for teachers.

These principles are evident in the mini-case studies that Richhart includes. They demonstrate “the importance of allowing teachers to own the process of creating culture of thinking. This means listening to teachers, engaging teachers in teaching one another, and providing avenues for teacher leadership…Creating a culture of thinking must always be a goal that individuals embrace to improve their teaching and advance the learning of their students. From this place, teachers can then support, push, and nourish the efforts of their colleagues as the school collectively grows into a culture of thinking, and the lives and learning of all are truly transformed.” Idealistic? Of course. Should that vision not be?

I share Richhart’s deep concerns about the serious problems that most public schools now face. The low quality of thinking that created those problems cannot be expected to solve them. There really must be a transformation of thinking before the schools can be transformed. Only then can what James O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom” be overcome by much better thinking than what has been brought to bear until now.

I selected the Picasso comment because it correctly reminds us we must eliminate in order to create. Long ago, Michelangelo stared at a slab of marble, saw David within it, and began to chip away. Those of us who share Ron Richhart’s vision must join in chipping away to create a culture of thinking for as many students and teachers as we can.

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind
Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant explanation of creativity as a habit, as a way of life, and as a style of engaging with the world, March 2 2016
Years ago, John Kotter told me during an interview that one of the greatest challenges to change agents is to change their thinking about change. I was again reminded of that as I began to work my way through Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregory's brilliant examination of 'the mysteries of the creative mind.' In the Preface, they cite these observations by Francis X. Barron: 'The creative genius may be at once naive and knowledgeable, being at home equally to primitive symbolism and to rigorous logic. He is both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner, than the average person.'

Several dozen creative geniuses immediately come to mind as I re-read those comments. However different they may be in most respects, all of them seem (at least to me) to share a quite unique talent for seeing or hearing works of art that have not as yet been created. Their imaginations and intuitions enable them not only to connect 'dots' that no one else has as yet recognized but also to connect other 'dots' that do not even as yet exist. Kaufman and Gregory cite an abundance of research and share what they have learned from it.

For example, 'Creative people are hubs of diverse interests, influences, behaviors, qualities, and ideas ' and through their work, they find a way to bring these many disparate elements together.' However, that said, the Berkeley study indicates that 'the ingredients of creativity are too complex and multifaceted to be reduced to a single factor' and this new way of thinking about creative genius 'gave rise to some fascinating ' and perplexing ' contradictions' that are best revealed within the narrative, in context. It can be noted now that the creative process draws on the [begin italics] whole [end italics] brain' and many different neural networks can be involved, including the default network' of the brain that Kaufman and Gregory characterize as 'the imagination network.'

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Kaufman and Gregoire's coverage:

o Intelligence as related to creativity (Pages xxii-xxiii)
o Play (3-13)
o Passion (14-29)
o Thomas Edison (25-26 and 179-180)
o Hard work and passion (26-29)
o Daydreaming (30-44)
o Solitude (45-57
o Intuition (58-80)
o Expertise (66-67 and 78-80)
o Neurological aspects of creativity and direct stimulation of the brain (76-77)
o Openness to new experiences (81-98)
o Neurological aspects of creativity and dopamine (85-87 and 89-90)
o Nonconformity (90-91)
o Outsider's mind-set (94-98 and 176-178) o Bias against creativity (170-172)
o Mindfulness (99-121)
o Meditation and distraction (108-111)
o Neurological aspects of creativity and mindfulness (111-114
o Sensitivity (122-144)
o Adversity (145-162)
o Viktor Frankl (147-148 and 150-151)
o Conformity (172-175 and 181-185)
o Steve Jobs and Apple's 'Think Different' campaign (163-164)
o Thinking differently (163-186)

After interviewing 40 recipients of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Denise Shekerjian wrote Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas are Born in which she observes, 'What harnesses the idea of vision to the creative impulse is the notion that dreams unleash the imagination. And taking this one step further, where the dream addresses some greater good, there is an even stronger tendency to take risks and make the innovative leaps necessary to accomplish its goals. Limit yourself to your own private world and you've limited your creativity by worrying about how to protect what you've got and how to get what you're missing. Get yourself out of the way in pursuit of some greater good, in response to a strong pull of mission, and you've liberated the mind."

I commend Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregory on Wired to Create while acknowledging that no brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the information, insights, and counsel they provide in it.

With all due respect to 'the mysteries of the creative mind,' however, I wholly agree with them that almost anyone can live and work much more creatively than they do now. 'Creativity isn't just about innovating of making art ' its' about [begin italics] living [end italics] creatively. We can approach any situation in life with a creative spirit. We all have the capacity to dream, explore, discover, build, ask questions, and seek answers ' in other words, to be creators.'

Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life
Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life
by Ron Clark
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.30
33 used & new from CDN$ 6.87

5.0 out of 5 stars How to accelerate "the relentless pursuit of excellence" and do so with people power, March 1 2016
Ron Clark's use of an extended metaphor (i.e. a bus) may result in some of the same confusion as did Jim Collins' use of the same metaphor in Good to Great (2001). Both discuss passengers but classify them differently. Collins urges companies to get 'the right people' on the bus and get 'the wrong people' off whereas Clark differentiates people as follows:

o Former Runners are burned out and coasting.
o Walkers want to run but are exhausted.
o Potential Runners have a career that is blocked by an unappreciative boss who prefers to walk.
o Riders want to be better but have no idea how to begin to walk, much less run.
o Runners look around and realize that there is a new generation of Runners 'who seem to be accelerating with turbo boosters that make [their] run look like a trot
o Others have had all manner of serious pro0fessioinal and personal problems and feel that they now lack the will and energy to run.
o Still others 'may even feel that [they] have fallen off the bus and have been run over by it.

These comprise the 'cast of characters' in Clark's parable: Rufus the Runner, Joan the Jogger, Wanda the Walker, Ridley the Rider, and Drew the Driver. It is important to keep in mind that the term 'bus' could refer to all of an organization and even a country or federation of countries (e.g. United Nations); to a part of an organization such as a division, department, committee, o0r even a brand; and also to a movement to make a vision a reality (e.g. securing independence for India within the United Kingdom).

As Clark explains, 'Remember, the bus represents your goals and achievements as an organization, which could be anything from your business to your family unit to the committee you chair for your neighborhood association. And don't forget that the bus has no gas tank and is therefore not self-propelled ' you're going to pull it along solely with people power.'

Although the primary purpose of much of the information, insights, and counsel in this book is to help his readers accelerate 'the relentless pursuit of excellence' and do so with people power, he also observes in the Epilogue: 'With all the talk of making the bus run, I felt the need to mention that sometimes it's necessary to stop the bus completely, for the right reason.' (This is what happens in Toyota's factories whenever someone detects a flaw or problem of some kind. They can stop the production line by pushing a big red button.) All organizations have Runners, Joggers, Walkers, Riders, and Drivers. Many of them also have one or more Saboteurs.

As I worked my way through this book, I was again reminded of two quotations that seem especially relevant to Ron Clark's compelling vision of what can be accomplished. First, an African proverb: "If you want to go fast...go alone. If you want to go far...go together." Also this observation by Margaret Mead: 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World
Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World
by Christine L. Borgman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 40.55
24 used & new from CDN$ 30.28

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why 'the value of data lies in their use., Feb. 24 2016
The best business books such as this one are driven by scholarship, a process during which information about a given subject is accumulated and evaluated, then shared with others. Christine Borgman is among the most highly-regarded knowledge leaders in the burgeoning field of data scholarship. It came as no surprise to me that she needed 91 pages to cite the scope and depth of her own research for this book.

Those who have read any of her previously published works ' notably Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet (2007) and From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure: Access to Information in the Networked World (2000), both also published by MIT Press ' already know that she thinks with exceptional rigor and writes with uncommon eloquence. Non-scholars such as I also appreciate her ability to explain complicated relationships (e.g. disciplinary knowledge infrastructures) without dumbing down their unique significance. Here's a brief sample of her style and grace in the first paragraph of her preface:

'Big data begets big attention these days, but little data are equally essential to scholarly inquiry. As the absolute volume of data increases, the ability to inspect individual observation decreases. The observer must step ever further away from the phenomena of interest. New tools and new perspectives are required. However, big data is not necessarily better data. The father the observer is from the point of origin, the more difficult it can be to determine what those observations mean ' how they were collected; how they were handled, reduced, and transformed; and with what assumptions and purposes in mind. Scholars often prefer smaller amounts of data that they can inspect closely. When data are undiscovered or undiscoverable, scholars may have no data.' See what I mean?

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Borgman's coverage:

o Data management (Pages xviii-xix)
o Data definition (4-5 and 18-29)
o Provocations (13-15)
o Digital data collections (21-26)
o Knowledge infrastructures (32-35)
o Open access to research (39-42)
o Open technologies (45-47)
o Metadata (65-70 and 79-80)
o Common resources in astronomy (71-76)
o Ethics (77-79)
o Research Methods and data practices, and, Sensor-networked science and technology (84-85 and 106-113)
o Knowledge infrastructures (94-100)
o COMPLETE survey (102-106)
o Internet surveys (128-143)
o Internet survey (128-143)
o Twitter (130-133, 138-141, and 157-158(
o Pisa Clark/CLAROS project (179-185)
o Collecting Data, Analyzing Data, and Publishing Findings (181-184)
o Buddhist studies 186-200)
o Data citation (241-268)
o Negotiating authorship credit (253-256)
o Personal names (258-261)
o Citation metrics (266-209)
o Access to data (279-283)

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that Borgmnan provides but I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of her and this work.

Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data ' so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. I agree with Christine Borgman: 'The challenge is to make data discoverable, usable, assessable, intelligible, and interpretable, and do so for extended periods of time'To restate the premise of this book, the value of data lies in their use. Unless stakeholders can agree on what to keep and why, and invest in the invisible work necessary to sustain knowledge infrastructures, big data and little data alike will become no data.' That is the peril and, yes, the opportunity that await in months and years to come.

The Storyteller's Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don't
The Storyteller's Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don't
by Carmine Gallo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.78
28 used & new from CDN$ 24.35

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How and why 'storytelling is not something we do. Storytelling is who we are.' Carmine Gallo, Feb. 23 2016
Carmine Gallo is uniquely well qualified to explain why some ideas catch on and others don't. Being able to communicate effectively in a one-on-one informal conversation can be at least as important as making a formal presentation to a large audience. I agree with Gallo: 'Storytelling is the act of framing an idea as a narrative to inform, illuminate, and inspire.' He then explains that The Storyteller's Secret 'is about the stories you tell to advance your career, build a company, pitch an idea, and to take your dreams from imagination to reality'In these pages I will introduce you to some of the greatest brand storytellers of our time: Richard Branson, Howard Schultz, Sheryl Sandberg, Joel Osteen, Herb Kelleher, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mark Burnett, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Steve Wynn, and Steve Jobs'Many of the people in this book have given TED talks that have gone viral, not because of the data they presented, but because of the stories they told. Ideas that catch on are wrapped in story'Storytelling is not something we do. Storytelling is who we are.'

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Gallo's coverage in Parts I and II:

o The Amygdala: A Storyteller's Best Friend (Pages 5-6)
o We're All Storytellers (6-7)
o The Story You Choose to Tell Yourself (28-29)
o The Gift of Your Past Creates a Vision for Your Future (32-34)
o The Dramatic Arc (37-39)
o Authentic Stories Connect People in a Deep, Meaningful Way (49-50)
o Mission as a Competitive Edge (53-54)
o Analogy: The storyteller's secret weapon (77-78)
o Personal Stories Grab Attention (78-82)
o SAP Unleashes the Power of 65,000 Storytellers (90-91)
o The Serious Reasons to Use Humor (96-97)
o Know Your Stuff, but Be True to Your Brand (100-102)
o The Mind Is Wired for Stories, Not Abstractions (106-107)

This book's title refers to one 'secret' but in fact Gallo identifies 21 from dozens of storytellers and concludes each of the 37 chapters with a secret to accompany the 'Storyteller's Tools' on which he focuses in the chapter. Think of the material as the contents of an operations manual in which Gallo provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that will help each reader to master storytelling skills and then apply them effectively in ways and to an extent appropriate to the given situation.

More specifically, Gallo explains HOW you can

o Become inspired and share your passion
o Reframe the story you tell yourself before telling your story to others
o Introduce a reliable 'hero' or 'heroine' who overcomes hardship and learns a valuable lesson
o Build story in three steps (Please see pages 56-59)
o See and articulate the Big Picture before providing details
o Stick to the Rule of Three (Aristotle's three keys of persuasion: pathos, logos, and ethos)
o Use video, 'a storyteller's best friend"
o Use pictures to trump words
o Make your story not only readable but compelling and memorable
o Share stories that can strengthen a culture
o Use words that have longer lasting impact
o Use analogies and metaphors that 'work like magic'

This book should be required reading for school, college, and university students who need to improve their communication skills, especially those preparing for a career in business. It will also be invaluable to those entrusted with the privilege of teaching them. Few will ever give a TED Talk and fewer yet will ever make what Steve Jobs once characterized as an 'insanely great presentation.' That is not why Carmine Gallo wrote this book. He remains determined (obsessed?) to help as many people as he can to communicate as well as they can. The Storyteller's Secret should also be "must reading" for all executives, especially those who are leaders or aspire to become leaders. Without communication in any organization, there can be no cooperation and certainly no collaboration. There is no better way to explain, describe, or convince than by telling a story. For me, that is the single most important '"secret" in this brilliant book.

Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age
Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age
by Bruce Watson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 34.65
34 used & new from CDN$ 24.26

5.0 out of 5 stars For the rest of my life, I will reflect on what light is.' Albert Einstein, Feb. 22 2016
As Bruce Watson explains, 'The truth is that, despite three millennia of investigation by humanity's most brilliant detectives, light refuses to surrender all its secrets. As familiar as our own faces, light is the first thing we see at birth, the last before dying. Some, having seen a warm glow as they flirted with death, swear that light will welcome us to another life. 'Painting is light,' the Italian master Caravaggio noted, and each day light paints a mural that sweeps around the globe, propelling into the morning. Ever since the Big Bang, light has been stealing the show. And for countless scientists, philosophers, poets, painters, mystics, and anyone who ever stood in awe of a sunrise, light [begin italics] is [end italics] the show.'

Watson provides an eloquent and enlightening account of illumination from a solstice sunrise ('the dawn of humanity') until laser beams in our own time. He helps his reader to understand why Einstein and countless others have struggled ' and failed ' to grasp the full meaning and significance of what Loren Eiseley once characterized as 'the magician of the cosmos.' But what indeed is light? 'What meaning have our brilliant detectives found in it? Is it God? Truth? Mere energy? Since the dawn of curiosity, these questions have been at the core of human existence. The struggle for answers has given light a history of its own.'

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Watson's coverage:

o Buddha and Buddhism (Pages 10-11, and 32-33)
o Aristotle (14-15 and 18-19)
o Christianity (30-31, 34-37, and 40-41)
o Roger Bacon (57-58)
o Light in painting (64-78)
o Codex Urbinas (67-69)
o Astronomy (79-80 and 111-112)
o Christian Huygens (102-104 and 141-143)
o Wave theory of light (103-104 and 133-144)
o Francois Arago (138-144 and 152-153)
o Electromagnetic energy (164-169)
o Artificial light (169-174)
o Nicolo Tesla and alternating current (173-174)
o Albert Einstein (175-176 and 181-192)
o Aether (178-181)
o Quantum theory (183-192)
o Theory of special relativity (185-186)
o Theory of general relativity (187-192)
o Hans Bethe (193-194 and 202-203)
o College of Optical Sciences (215-217)
o Light in death (223-226)

This is a 'radiant history,' not of light but of man''s struggles throughout three millennia to understand what light is and isn't'what it does and doesn't do. I agree with Alan Lightman (that really is his last name) who observes in his review off the book for the Washington Post, 'If the book has a climax, it is in one of the final chapters, titled 'Einstein and the Quanta, Particle, and Wave,' where Watson celebrates the ultimate enigma of light ' that it acts both like waves, simultaneously spread over an extended region of space, and particles, each located at only one point of space at a time. Such seemingly mutually exclusive descriptions violate our human experience with the world. That enigma reaches far beyond light. It applies to all of reality at the tiny scale of the atom. Above all else, modern physics has shown us that what we humans perceive with our limited bodies, and all of our notions based on those perceptions, are an illusion, an approximation of a strange cosmos we can touch only with our instruments and equations.'

It seems likely that definitions of 'light' as well as interpretations of its significance will continue to differ. Even when scientists get it right with regard to issues concerning, for example, explanations of the photoelectric effect, black body radiation, and James Clark Maxwell's work predicting electromagnetic waves, there will still be lively arguments about other topics such as near-death experience (NDE). As Bruce Watson suggests, 'In its fourth millennium, just as in its first, the Light Euphoric still beckons.' For many of us, its appeal is irresistible.

The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley
The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley
by Eric Weiner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 30.31
34 used & new from CDN$ 24.78

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why 'certain places, at certain times, produce a bumper crop of brilliant minds and good ideas. The question is why., Feb. 20 2016
e continents and centuries, I vow to keep this important truth in mind.”

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Weiner’s coverage:

o Genius and Geniuses (Pages 2-3, 8-9, 17-18, 68-69, 84-85, 126-127, 148-149, and 287-288)
o Florence (7-9, 97-109, 112-139, 295-296, 318-319, and 323-325)
o Creativity (7-11, 103-104, 113-114, 161-168, 274-278, and 323-326)
o Greece (13-18, 40-41, 43-52, and 54-63)
o Athens (15-17, 19-34, 43-63, 86-87, 116-117, 156-157, 318-319, and 323-326)
o Socrates (19-20, 31-34, 36-38, 61-62, 48-49, and 324-325)
o Scotland (42-43, 142-153, 153-159, 165-169, and 171-183)
o Hangzhou (65-75, 87-89, and 318-319)
o China (68-75, 77-80, 82-95, 288-289, and 317-318)
o Great Britain (75-79 82-83, and 253-254)
o Florence and the Arts (97-100, 102-104, 118-121, 123-125, 129-130, and 133-138)
o Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance (111-114 and 125-126)
o Edinburgh (141-144, 146-170, 172-174, 178-182, 193-194, and 318-319)
o Calcutta (185-195, 201-205, and 210-215)
o India (186-195 and 201-207)
o Culture (196-197 and 246-248)
o Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (221-229 and 236-240)
o Vienna (226-239, 251-267, and 276-285)
o Environment (229-230, 236-238, and 280-281)
o Ludwig von Beethoven (234-239 and 241-246)
o Sigmund Freud (239-278)
o Ethnic diversity and creativity (256-257)
o Silicon Valley (288-319)

Weiner observes, “For me, cafés are a kind of second home, a prime example of what sociologist Ray Oldenburg calls a ‘great good place.’ The food and rink are nearly irrelevant, or nearly so. What matters is the atmosphere — not the table cloths or the furniture but a more tangible ambience, once that encourages guilt-free lingering and strikes just the right balance of background din and contemplative silence.” Obviously, he could not return in time and roam such long-ago gathering places in six of the locations but he could — and did — gain a clearer sense of what could roughly be characterized as “the soul” of each. In Athens, for example, the “great good place” he found is The Bridge. “An appropriate name, I decide, since I’m attempting the quixotic task of bridging the centuries.” He eventually found the answer to what he characterizes as “the Great Greek Mystery”: What made this place shine? In fact, there are different answers in the other locations but they also share much in common. What? Read the book. Details are best revealed within the narrative, in context.

Ever since Francis Galton coined the term “nature versus nurture,” people have debated the relative merits of each. Weiner’s response? “It’s a silly argument, and unnecessary. Creativity doesn’t happen ‘in here’ or ‘out there’ but in the spaces in between. Creativity is a [begin italics] relationship [end italics], one that unfolds at the intersection of person and place. This intersection, like all such crossroads, is a dangerous, unforgiving place. You have to pay attention, slow down, and stay alert for the idiots out there. It’s worth the risk, though, for the humble intersection, be it in ancient Athens or a strip-mall Sunnyvale, is the true genius loci. The place where genius lives.”

Many years ago, one of the French Romantic poets (probably Baudelaire) was asked how to write a poem. He paused for several thoughtful moments, then replied “Draw a birdcage and leave the door open. Then wait. You may have to wait for quite a while. Be patient. Eventually, if you’re very lucky, a bird will fly in the door. Then you erase the cage.” I was reminded of that anecdote as I read Eric Weiner’s brilliant book, especially his comments about the “intersection” at which a genius and a place are combined. My own opinion is, if those whom we regard as a genius today were to be relocated to ancient Athens or Renaissance Florence, or if Pericles and Leonardo da Vinci were relocated to Silicon Valley, we would still include them among those who possess “the ability to come up with ideas that are new, surprising, and valuable.”

Cultural Transformations: Lessons of Leadership and Corporate Reinvention
Cultural Transformations: Lessons of Leadership and Corporate Reinvention
by John Mattone
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.44
31 used & new from CDN$ 23.01

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why organizations that thrive have launched preemptive transformation to dominate their competition, Feb. 17 2016
Most change initiatives either fail or fall far short of original (usually unrealistic) expectations. Not all of what Jim Collins characterizes as BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) are attainable. Resistance to changing the given status quo is often cultural in nature, the result of what Jim O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” I agree. In fact, my own rather extensive experience with change initiatives suggests that the greatest resistance is by those who replaced the previous status quo and now stoutly defend what they have established in its place.

In this volume, John Mattone and Nick Vaidya suggest two other reason why few change initiatives achieve their given objectives: poor leadership and obsolete business models. As they explain, within a volatile global marketplace, “operating models are coming obsolete and the once dominant players are increasingly being overtaken by more agile, entrepreneurial companies with business models that are built on changed…The most forward-thinking companies are launching [begin italics] preemptive [end italics] transformations, retooling themselves to stay [begin italics] ahead [end italics] of their competitors.”

I agree with Mattone and Vaidya that culture and leadership are the keys to organizational transformation. (I also agree with Thomas Edison that vision without execution is “hallucination.”) They share what they have learned thus far from wide and deep experience working with all manner of organizations and their C-level executives. They also share insights and counsel obtained during attire’s interviews of 14 CEOs who have each, in their own way, exemplified the transformational leadership within their companies.

“There’s the story of Kathy Mazzarella, who started working for Graybar without a degree and rose through the ranks to become the first female CEO in the company’s history. You’ll hear from Kris Canekeratne, a Sri Lankan native who instilled a commitment to perpetual improvement into the core business culture of Virtusa from the beginning, allowing the company to survive several evolutions in the tech sector and remain one of the top companies in the world for two decades. There’s a conversation with Hap Klopp, who started his company with a group of fellow outdoor enthusiasts and, thanks to an uncompromising commitment to creating products that they love, grew The North Face into the world’s most respected outdoor equipment company. And you’ll learn how Eddie Machaalani built Bigcommerce on a foundation of hard-working family values that he learned growing up in the Lebanese immigrant community in Sydney, Australia.”

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Mattone and Vaidya’s coverage:

o What’s the Problem? (Pages 6-8)
o Understanding the Culture of Leadership (8-10)
o Match the Culture to there Need, and Taking Time to Reflect Is Critical (10-15)
o The Secrets to Changing Mindsets and Behavior, and, The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Your Team on Board (30-34)

Mattone’s Interviews

o Kathy Mazzarella (39-46)
o Kris Canekeratne (49-60)
o Eddie Machaalani (63-70)
o Harib Al Kitani (73-83)
o Kenneth (“Happy”) Klopp (87-97)
o Russ Klein (99-114)
o Rohit Mehrotra (119-127)
o Irv Rothman (131-145)
o Juan Carlos Archila Cabal (149-154)
o Nabil Al Alawi (158-165)
o Cathy Benko (170-179)
o Deva Bharathi (183-193)
o NV (“Tiger”) Tyagarajuan (197-205)
o Anthony Wedo (209-217)

o Appendix A: John Mattone’s 20 Laws of Intelligent Leadership (223-224)
o Appendix B: John Mattone’s Cultural Transformation Readiness Assessment-40 (227-233)

I presume to add that human beings achieve organizational transformations. Each of them must be both willing and able to transform (i.e. give new shape, substance, and priority) with regard to what they do and how they do it. New business models must guide and inform their preemptive efforts. When talking about transforming culture, Mattone and Vaidya mean “shifting the key values and principles that define corporate cultures into ones that embrace rather than resist change…By leadership we mean finding and developing the right leaders at all levels of the organization who are able to embody and instill these cultural values so they cab successfully guider their employees, teams, and organizations through the transformation process.”

Obviously, John Mattone and Nick Vaidya do not know what the nature and extent will be of the cultural transformation that each reader’s organization must initiate. However, and this is a key point, they have provided in this book just about all the information, insights, and counsel that business leaders in all organizations now need, whatever their size and circumstances may be.

Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations
Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations
by Benjamin Gomes-Casseres
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.04
32 used & new from CDN$ 21.65

5.0 out of 5 stars How to create organizational value with a strategy that maximizes the impact of both internal and external resource, Feb. 12 2016
As Benjamin Gomes-Casseres observes in the first chapter, “Although the remixing of businesses is not a new phenomenon, we have not previously recognized full how to use it to advance strategy. The real issue is not whether you should be looking outside your walls for resources. The question is how are these ventures going to enhance your competitive position? How will they create value? And how are you going g to capture that value? Whether you are at the top of the company driving the remix, in the middle managing an acquisition or a partnership, or among the operating ranks keeping the pieces humming, you need to know the answers such questions.”

Gomes-Casseres offers a three-law framework within which to create, strengthen, and then sustain a successful business combination: “First, it must have the potential to create an amount of joint value in that market that exceeds the total value that would degenerated by the same resources without the combination…Sec kind, the way the combination is designed and managed must enable you to actually create the joint value…Third, each party involved in the combination must earn a share of the joint value produced — a profit — that provides the incentive for the party to commit its resources to the joint effort…Furthermore, you need to remindful of the relationships between all of these laws.”

Although Gomes-Casseres calls them ”laws,” they are in fact realities, indeed necessities, that must be taken into full account. With regard to the process — identify potential joint value, govern the collaboration, and share the value created — he quickly identifies the “What,” then devotes the bulk of his attention to explaining the “How.” He also points out that it remains for each reader to determine what is most relevant in the material provided and then modify in ways and to the extent that are appropriate to the given enterprise.

Many (most?) organizations now face or will soon face a major challenge, in two parts: whether or not to combine internal and external resources; in that event, how to formulate a remix strategy to drive that combination and, meanwhile, make that strategy part of everyday business thinking and operations. It is important to keep in mind that a remix strategy will have a significant impact on decisions that must be made in five key areas: strategy, competitive advantage, governance, change and innovation, and ROI. Years ago, someone whose name is unknown to be suggested that managing computer programmers resembles “herding cats.” Based on what Gomes-Casseres shares in this book, managing those who pursue a remix strategy would probably resemble herding kangaroos on steroids.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of his coverage in Chapters 1-6:

o Why Business Combinations Are Now Vital (Pages 9-14)
o The Three Laws (14-21)
o How to Use the Three Law Model (22-23)
o The Relationship Spectrum (32-39)
o Visualizing Your Relational Footprint (48-50)
o Value Creation in Combination (56-59)
o The Five Main Sources of Joint Value (65-70)
o Divestments: The Mirror Image of Combinations (78-79
o Three Relationship Models (87-93)
o Tools for Alliance Design (107-116)
o Rivalry Remains, Despite Collaboration (118-121)
o How to Manage Co-opetition (130-136)
o An Approach to Managing Your Share of Value (144-147)
o Competition Between Bundles of Assets (154-156)
o Joint Value Potential in Constellations (158-172)
o Governance of Constellations (172-186)

Also, be sure to check out “Complete Collection of Remix Strategy Tools” (Pages 219-241). This material all by itself is worth far most than the purchase price of the book in which it appears. Of course, obviously, the value of the 20 management “Tools” will be determined almost entirely by how effectively they are used when mastered and adapted to the given situation. “In reality, every business combination involves complexities theater not covered by these tools — regulations, legal frameworks, cultural considerations, personal, cities, and the like. As you navigate these complexities, these tools will help you stay focused on the strategic goal of creating value for your business.”

I cannot think off a better way to create value for a business than to create value for the clients and customers it is privileged to serve. Many years ago, when asked to explain the extraordinary success of Southwest Airlines, its then chairman and CEO, Herb Kelleher, replied, “We take great care of our people, they take great care of our customers, and our customers take great care of our shareholders.”

When concluding his book, Benjamin Gomes-Casseres reminds his reader, “What matters most, though, is what you ultimately make of the ideas in this book. Recombine these ideas with your own and with those of others [such as Kelleher]. The theme of this book applies not just to business strategy. Mixing and matching is a way of life in the arts, in invention and innovation, and in personal life. The real value of this book for you will emerge from your own remix.” There’s your challenge…and, yes, your opportunity.

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