business management

No Management Myth

May 4, 2011

The Atlantic has an interesting article by Matthew Stewart where he posits that most management theory is useless and you don’t need an MBA to succeed in business. Some of the major points that he makes are He worked seven years as a successful management consultant despite having no MBA, but only a doctorate in […]

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Do Companies have Freedom of Data?

April 23, 2011

A little shocking to see the corporate skeptic Scott Adams write this unrealistic view of corporations just to make a point about China (or maybe this is all tongue-in-cheek): In a corporation, you’re generally free to disagree with higher ups if you do it with data, and in a professional manner. Usually you need to go through […]

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Necessary and Sufficient

April 22, 2011

A useful nonsense detector method for assessing the quality of someone’s argument is to use the “Necessary and Sufficient” Test. Let us say someone makes an assertion, “If X is done, then Y will happen”. There are two questions to ask here: Is it Necessary?: “If X is *not* done, will Y *not* happen?” (i.e., […]

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Unknown Unknowns

January 7, 2011

Jurgen Appelo’s take on unknown unknowns needs a little more work: It is important to understand that the unknown always depends on the observer. Some people already knew about black swans, but that didn’t make them any less surprising to those who had never seen them. My fellow board members already knew they wanted to leave […]

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Hot Blood, Cold Blood

January 6, 2011

How do you go about making good decisions? Well, a lot of business books and writers think that if you follow their “tried-and-tested” methods for decision-making, you will be very successful. They also think that you live in a perfect world where those methods can be used for every possible problem. A world where people […]

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Good Boss, Bad Boss, by Bob Sutton — Book Review

August 9, 2010

Bob Sutton was kind enough to send me the galley of his forthcoming book “Good Boss, Bad Boss” (GBBB) a few weeks ago. I am quite fond of Bob’s books and blog posts, and was eagerly looking forward to this book. Bob’s previous book, “The No-Asshole Rule” was one of the best books I read in […]

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Convincing People

July 14, 2010

How do you make someone change their opinions? Scott Berkun has an article with some thoughts on how to convince people, primarily that you have to understand the viewpoint of the other person and try to put your argument in their terms. Instead of what a change means in abstract terms, explain the benefits that will accrue to […]

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37 Signals’ Rework: A Missed Opportunity

June 28, 2010

37Signals is one of my favorite companies; their flagship product, Basecamp, one of the best web applications I have used. Their blog, Signal vs. Noise (SVN), is a great resource for application designers and small business entrepreneurs. So I was excited about reading their new book “Rework”. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a major […]

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Confusing Arrogance with Benevolence

June 8, 2010

In the way that only David Heinemeier Hansson can: Where to start? For people who complain about bad luck, it doesn’t really matter what a successful person is talking about. If the complainer has put in no or little effort, the complaints are just excuses. If they have put in a lot of effort, they […]

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Security Theater

January 12, 2010

Bruce Schneier (the author of “Applied Cryptography” and other books) explains why security theater (where security measures do not do much to improve real security) has its benefits: Tamper-resistant packaging for over-the-counter drugs started to appear in the ’80s, in response to some highly publicized poisonings. As a countermeasure, it’s largely security theater. It’s easy […]

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