“The emergence of interest to incentivize lending is the most significant of all innovations in the history of finance,” according to the financial historian William Goetzmann. Edward Chancellor is also a financial historian who included that quote in his captivating book, The Price of Time. Chancellor reveals the origin story of interest, how rates were set in different civilizations, and the negative consequences of ultra-low interest rates for extended periods of time.[Read more…] about Interest, The Price of Time
Sophie Theen is the author of The Soul of Startups. Sophie reveals the misconception that a company’s people make its culture. Instead, that culture starts at the top and works its way down into other teams which is consistently changing. That can lead to unplanned and unforeseen consequences for the staff working in these startups. In the chaotic world of startups, we learn how founders can overcome the lack of emotional maturity in building teams.[Read more…] about The Soul of Startups
Why did the statistician who couldn’t swim drown as he attempted to cross the river? He had been told that the average depth of the river was just three feet. Yet, he perished. That’s because the middle part of the river was nine feet deep. Dr. Sam Savage reminds us of that humorous story in his books and online tutorials. Nevertheless, many of us still succumb to the flaw of averages in our personal and professional lives. Sam teaches us a new skill — the arithmetic of uncertainty.[Read more…] about The Flaw of Averages
Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson could possibly be the simplest book I’ve read on the simplification of four basic personality types that we can all understand. Thomas is an expert in the DISC profile systems, but he’s converted the assessment results into a digestible four-color system along a two-by-two matrix. In this conversation, we will gain an understanding of the purpose of such assessments. We also learn what can cause decision inertia in any senior leadership team.[Read more…] about Surrounded by Idiots
When I think of books geared toward professional services firms, only one author comes to mind. His name is David Maister and some of his titles include Managing the Professional Services Firm, The Trusted Advisor, and Strategy and the Fat Smoker (my favorite). The newest title in this genre is now my favorite, and it’s entitled The Boutique: How to Start, Scale, and Sell a Professional Services Firm by Greg Alexander.[Read more…] about The Best Book for Professional Services Firms
If you’ve read Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited, you are familiar with his mantra of working on the business instead of in the business. Even financial leaders should be working on their departments, not just in them. But is that the right or full message?[Read more…] about Gerber is Partly Right, Partly Wrong
If you think the fall of BlackBerry could have been prevented because it failed to act quickly on new technologies and fend off Apple’s, iPhone, it’s time to turn back the clock and look closer at its fast rise to $20 billion in annual revenues along with the issues the two brilliant founders of RIM faced as its business model started showing cracks in its foundation. The best place to start is the book, Losing The Signal.[Read more…] about The Rise and Fall of BlackBerry
As a long-time financial professional and a neverending lifelong learner, reading fiction has its place for any student of business. Most of the best novels are about anything but business. That means fiction lovers are relegated to works like The Goal, Lencioni’s fables, or The Phoenix Project. Finally, Hernan Diaz has released a novel in which a wealthy financier is a central character. But is it any good?[Read more…] about Is Trust by Hernan Diaz a 3-Star Book?
When I read a biography of someone I have not heard of, I want the words to jump out and grab me with the impact they had on others and the world they lived in. I want to learn from them and I especially want to be inspired. Harry Guggenheim is a larger-than-life historical figure who checks all of those boxes, and he’s far more than the godfather of flight, a publisher accolade given to this extraordinary visionary.[Read more…] about Who Was Harry Guggenheim?
Should business professionals read more fiction and if so, why? Dr. Christy Seifert is a professor at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, and she wrote the 2020 article, The Case for Fiction in the Harvard Business Review. After reading that article, I just had to hear directly from this gifted communicator. I was especially intrigued by her discussion about cognitive agility and acuity along with the concepts and ideas behind cognitive openness.[Read more…] about The Business Case for Reading Fiction