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Showing posts from July, 2012

Two great (short) reads: "How will you measure your life?" and "Managing oneself"

I ended up actually getting some reading done on long train rides over the summer break.

Two short articles ended up giving me more to think than I'd expected.

Clayton Christensen's  How will you measure your life?Peter Drucker's: Managing oneself The former isn't behind an HBR paywall and well worth the read. A couple of people had told me about this article and had discussed a lot of what was in it with me, but reading was still well worth it.
The latter is behind a paywall, and while there's a lot to take away form it (find your strengths, understand how you learn, grow your strengths etc.), the point that stayed with me was the final one: know your values and if your values aren't consistent with those of where you're working, it doesn't matter how good you are or what you do, you're unlikely to be successful there. So find a place and role where you fit.
If you're in the mood for some career-ish reading, I highly recommend both.

Yup - humans still lack humanity

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.

My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.

She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.

No one did.

The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.

Still nobody moved.

My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn&#…

You don't get experience without pausing for reflection

One my favorite professional-ish quotes (source is hazy) is
"There's a huge difference between 20 years experience and 1 years experience 20 times." I interpret that as a few different things: the need to constantly grow, to learn new things, develop professionally etc. etc. - but for the past couple of weeks, in brief pauses while being on vacation, I've been thinking about when and how that actually happens.

We're in execution mode most of the time. We're doing things either for work or in our personal lives and we often measure how well we're doing by the sheer number of things we do. We are programmed to favor things that seem urgent over things that are important.

Learning, however, is most effective in the pauses - i.e. not when you're doing but when you have a chance to step back and review what you actually did. If we're not regularly reviewing we're not likely to improve, and even more importantly less likely to learn from our experie…