Sunday, February 9, 2014

Some key quotes from some books (suggested reading for students who want to train to take the initiative): Books for QBE Academy

 Key quotes:  We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We're a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don't really have an explanation for.” 
― Malcolm GladwellBlink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

“Insight is not a lightbulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out.” 
Key quote

What is the difference between choking and panicking? Why are there dozens of varieties of mustard but only one variety of ketchup? What do football players teach us about how to hire teachers? What does hair dye tell us about the history of the 20th century?

Gladwell uses examples here and in his book-length works of inaccurate patterns imposed in fields as diverse as these: a) military intelligence b) stock market analysis c) criminal profiling d) cancer detection, e) nuclear power plants, f) animal control, and g) the staffing decisions for filling corporate positions, political seats, orchestra musician positions and football teams. I suspect that he sells a lot of books to people who are hoping to impose order on things, people and ideas. He's very popular with the business set. But if you pay closer attention, Gladwell makes quiet concessions that despite all this will to order, we are defeated by chaos, whimsy, serendipity, folly, and gremlins. (OK, he didn't list gremlins directly.) I don't think he's telling us to abandon the drive to predict and control, but he's certainly pointing out the hubris in believing that we can do so. Consequently, I will now file something with a little fear and trembling. But before I do, here are some specifics, motivated by my will to order the details of his book. 

"The Pitchman" describes the charismatic Ron Popeil, inventor and demonstrator of the Veg-o-Matic. Gladwell describes this amazing pitchman and others of his ilk, contrasting them with actors and ending with the syngergy created when Popeil's methods met live television. 

"The Ketchup Coundrum" describes how various foods are developed, tested and marketed, but the central example explains why ketchup sells for staying focused whereas mustard and spaghetti sauce have diversified. 

"Blowing Up" contrasts two methods of investing on Wall Street--finding patterns and banking on chaos. 

"True Colors" draws the curtain back from the marketing strategies for hair coloring, revealing something about the mind of American women and how the women's movement made ripples through this market. 

"John's Rock Error" explains the rationale of the Pill's inventor as he worked to resolve the science of birth control with his faith as a practicing Catholic. 

"What the Dog Saw" describes how dogs are highly sensitive to the body language of humans, which explains why Ceasar Milan focuses on training owners as a way to better train dogs. 

"Open Secrets" retraces the signs of Enron's risky practices and explains why people didn't see what became so apparent after its fall. 

"Million Dollar Murray" provides shocking data on how the current policies on homelessness actually costs society a great deal of money.

"The Picture Problem" presents the complexities of properly reading mammographies, making screening for this type of cancer particularly challenging. 

"Something Borrowed" discusses the gray areas in intellectual property and Gladwell's own experience of having his words sampled (without credit) into another person's work. 

"Connecting the Dots" bears some similarity to the pattern problems discussed in the Enron article and the mammography article in its discussion of how challenging it is to predict acts of war and terrorism--not because of lack of information but because of an overabundance of it. 

"Blowup" again talks about the issue of information overload, this time in the safety procedures put in place in the space program. Even though the O-rings were viewed as a trouble spot for any space flight, the risk-benefit analysis employed allowed the Challenger to launch, which resulted in tragedy. 

"Late Bloomers" contrasts two forms of genius: the young, experimental types vs. the older, practice-makes-perfect type. The examples of Picasso vs. Cezzanne crystalize his theory, but this essay contains more examples for good measure. 

"Most Likely to Succeed" describes the challenge talent scouts have in predicting an athlete's performance in the NFL based on his performance in college football. It turns out that the two games are vastly different, requiring a different set of skills for success.

"Dangerous Minds" compares the work of criminal profilers to the work of psychologists, detectives, psychics and other who seek to find a connection between crime and criminal. 

"The Talent Myth" suggests that the value placed on talent has set up some companies and sports teams to overlook other important aspects of their "players." Gladwell examines the corporate culture of a handful of companies, such as Enron, Proctor & Gamble, and Southwest--each time looking at how the leaders evaluate performance, personality and group dynamics. 

"The New-Boy Network" hones in on the job interview as an information-gathering task. He surveys psychologists, human resource directors, job applicants and bosses in an effort to describe the dynamics of the interview. 

"Troublemakers" examines the stereotypes about dangerous dog breeds and the statistics for fatal bites. As he did in the title essay about Milan's work with dogs, Gladwell moves his gaze from examining the dog to examining the environment fostered by the dog's owner to ask whether or not banning particular breeds really serves as the best response to the problem of dangerous breeds. 


Key quote:
 “Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.” 
“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”
― Malcolm GladwellBlink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
“We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We're a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don't really have an explanation for.”
― Malcolm GladwellBlink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
“Who we are cannot be separated from where we're from.”
― Malcolm GladwellOutliers: The Story of Success
“Those three things - autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward - are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.”
― Malcolm GladwellOutliers: The Story of Success
 Key quote:

Freakonomics Quotes

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt
330,802 ratings, 3.86 average rating, 10,171 reviews
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Freakonomics Quotes (showing 1-20 of 20)
“Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work, wheareas economics represents how it actually does work.”
― Steven D. LevittFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
“Information is a beacon, a cudgel, an olive branch, a deterrent--all depending on who wields it and how.”
― Steven D. LevittFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
“As W.C. Fields once said: a thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for.”
― Steven D. LevittFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
“If you both own a gun and a swimming pool in your backyard, the swimming pool is about 100 times more likely to kill a child than the gun is.”
― levitt, stevenFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
“Levitt admits to having the reading interests of a tweener girl, the Twilight series and Harry Potter in particular.”
― Steven D. LevittFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
“An incentive is a bullet, a key: an often tiny object with astonishing power to change a situation”
― Steven D. LevittFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

 Key quote:
“While complying can be an effective strategy
for physical survival, it's a lousy one for personal fulfillment. Living a satisfying life requires more than simply meeting the demands of those in
control. Yet in our offices and our classrooms we have way too much compliance and way too little engagement. The former might get you
through the day, but only the latter will get you through the night.” 
― Daniel H. Pink

See also the Principals blog posts about Drive and the use of the book in Education
 Key quote:
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Books that might guarantee a more secure future for future leaders?

If you read these books, will you be better ready for the future?

Do the right thing:  Click here
and click LIKE
a) look for Cognitive Dissonance:  not wanting to see things that we don't want to believe
b) scan the cover
c) flip through to see what phrases jump out to you
d) read the quotes that are marked
e) read the notes inside the book (left by previous readers)
f) write some clear guidelines and suggestions in the margins (notes to future readers).  Add your point of view.

Warren Bennis (who wrote about Transparency) talks at Harvard University

Yes, thats' David Gerfin in the vdioelk                    

Key quote:  Look out for Cognitive Dissonance... 

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