How to Succeed in Business? Do Less
"Top performers master selectivity ... Whenever they can, they carefully selected which priorities, tasks, meetings, customers, ideas or steps to undertake and which to let go. They then apply intense, targeted effort on those few priorities in order to excel."
"What happens to our minds when we allow a single tool such dominion over our perception and cognition?"
"We live in an era of previously unimaginable luxury. Without leaving our sofas, we can conjure almost any book or film on our phone and enjoy it with exotic cuisine delivered right to our doorstep via an app. But there is a cost to this convenience that doesn’t appear on your credit-card statement. Our indoor, sedentary and socially isolated lives leave us vulnerable to depression. The U.S., the most technologically advanced nation on the planet, is also the most depressed: Three in 10 Americans will battle depressive illness at some point in their lives, an estimated tenfold increase since World War II."
"Every year, I find myself in awe at how much I have changed, how much I have learned, and how little I know. It’s humbling in the best of ways."
"The more we talk about features and functions, the further we are apt to stray from what we're trying to accomplish in the first place. We distract ourselves with concerns about process, scale and cost, and end up building things for companies and departments, not for the people who work in them. We forget our priorities—as business leaders, builders, creators and inhabitants of this world—to place humans at the center of our problem-solving and let technology enable that process, not define it."
"Great performance requires great strategy and great execution, but poor execution is often used as an excuse for flawed strategy."
"Friction is anything that gets in the way of a customer and a task. Put another way, it’s any obstacle that prevents a user from trying or using a product or service."
"When retail brands no longer help users narrow product options, much of the burden of decision-making shifts back to the user."
"Strategy as learning is an executive activity characterized by ongoing cycles of testing and adjusting, fueled by data that can only be obtained through execution."
"If cognitive diversity is what we need to succeed in dealing with new, uncertain, and complex situations, we need to encourage people to reveal and deploy their different modes of thinking. We need to make it safe to try things multiple ways."
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said, “If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out all right.” I take this one step further: If you can stay focused on eliminating the obstacles along your customers’ journeys, your company will turn out much more than all right.
What determines your success isn’t “What do you want to enjoy?” The question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?”
"If you want to go far, borrow the mindset known in Zen Buddhism as shoshin, or learner's mind. That means you don't pretend to know it all but are open to learning and growth and development, with a mind that's fresh and enthusiastic and free of bias."
"The benefits of contemplation through narrative offer another story ... reading creates new white matter in the brain, which improves system-wide communication. White matter carries information between regions of grey matter, where any information is processed. Not only does reading increase white matter, it helps information be processed more efficiently."
"If success is a catalyst for failure because it leads to the 'undisciplined pursuit of more,' then one simple antidote is the disciplined pursuit of less."
"The single most important thing a boss can do, Scott has learned, is focus on guidance: giving it, receiving it, and encouraging it. Guidance, which is fundamentally just praise and criticism, is usually called “feedback,” but feedback is screechy and makes us want to put our hands over our ears. Guidance is something most of us long for."
"An industry becomes susceptible to disruption when it becomes entrenched in its longstanding solutions and financial structure. Disruptive innovations provide simpler or more elegant solutions to existing problems, enabled by new technology and often at a lower cost."
"If it’s normal, it’s average. If it’s average, it’s probably closer to mediocre than you really want to be."
"Businesses today are constantly generating enormous amounts of data, but that doesn’t always translate to actionable information."
"You are not the work you do; you are the person you are."
"The best thinking comes from structured reflection."
"The best way to get attention is to say that everything has changed – and, conveniently, that you have the best solution in response."
How do Google, Facebook and IDEO jumpstart the process that leads to innovation? Often by using the same three words: "How Might We."
"The big-data revolution has reinforced the belief that all business decisions should be reached through scientific analysis. But this approach has its limits, and it tends to narrow strategic options and hinder innovation."
"It’s funny to realize, after envying Wallace’s brain so much, that he frequently didn’t like having such a singular device. He didn’t like being a genius, so he treasured what wasn’t."
"Almost every major retailer, from grocery chains to investment banks to the U.S. Postal Service, has a predictive analytics department devoted to understanding not just consumers’ shopping habits but also their personal habits, so as to more efficiently market to them."
"These are the books that you’ll keep coming back to, over and over, through your career."
"When you have a really tough problem, it often helps to expand skill domains beyond specialists in a single field. Many believe it is just these kinds of unlikely combinations that are key to coming up with breakthroughs."
"A reader recently wrote to me, 'If it can’t be used for evil, it’s not a superpower.' He’s right. And under this definition, habit design is indeed a super power."
"Effective creativity—the kind that drives growth and business performance—comes from “working the problem” and having in place disciplined management practices that can foster sparks of insight and then shepherding them into tangible business outcomes."
If your segment is populated by different people who want different things, it is not a segment. It’s a joke and so are your skills as a marketer.
That feeling. You’re stuck. Nothing is coming out right, and you can’t seem to figure out what to do.
There are seven elements of a creative personality, so if you’re thinking about quitting your job as a lawyer or stock analyst to go on tour with your band or finally write that novel, you might want to consider the list below.
Sometimes you have to know when to zig where others zag.
“Several brain regions, and the connections between them, were what was most important to general intelligence.”
The reader wants to see; your job is to do the pointing.
There's way too much consensus. Way too much cordiality. Way too little controversy.
Investigation leads to information: information leads to the solution.
What if boredom is a meaningful experience—one that propels us to states of deeper thoughtfulness or creativity?