Adam Grant

How to Be an Original

All significant achievement demands a journey beyond precedent. Adam Grant’s Originals is not so much a map for this journey as a curriculum for explorers, preparing the “reader as explorer” to handle the kinds of terrain they can expect to encounter. The book is like a mosaic, largely made up of tiles constructed in a… Read more » Read more

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Sasha Dichter’s “Do Button”

I’m a great fan of Sasha Dichter’s: of his work at Acumen, where he’s Chief Innovation Officer and I’m a longtime advisor, and of his blog reflecting on fundraising, non-profit organizations and the practice of leading a life of impact. It’s Sasha’s birthday today, and I can’t imagine a more fitting “present” given Sasha’s value… Read more » Read more

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Democracy as Problem Solving

Near the end of his 2008 book Democracy as Problem Solving, Xavier de Souza Briggs reflects: Many ideas about making democracy work stop at asking the question: how might we improve the relationship between citizens and their government? That is an important question, but I have pursued a broader one: how might we improve the relationships… Read more » Read more

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My Unlikeliest Favorite Business Book

I spend most of my time thinking about how to run companies well. Of course a fair amount of that time is spent absorbed in the particular challenges of running this firm or that firm, and of navigating the specific terrain that a given client or venture has encountered. But an awful lot of time… Read more » Read more

Mixing Power

Mixing Power Right

Jeremy Heimans, cofounder and CEO of Purpose, a social business that builds movements, and Henry Timms, executive director of the 92nd Street Y and founder of #GivingTuesday, a global philanthropic movement, have done us all a service with Understanding “New Power”, their Harvard Business Review piece published this week. Their article delineates the two constructs… Read more » Read more

On and Against Striving

On and Against Striving

I have always been someone whose work is mostly about striving. My clients are people trying to achieve something big enough to be beyond their easy reach. My own ambitions have always been to discover, to build, to reach a standard. As a thinker, my subject is about how people and the organizations build can… Read more » Read more

Work Life Balance

Work and Life: One More Truth

Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams look at a great deal of data on the life contexts and choices of executives, and their Harvard Business Review piece suggests three truths that emerge from amidst great individual variety:  Life Happens  Knowing that, focus on things that matter before they’re gone and build in the capacity to respond… Read more » Read more

What Work Is

Watching Others go to Work

In a meeting with my friend Jennifer McCrea, she described standing on the subway and experiencing an overwhelming sense of people being captives of their routines and their contexts. Montaigne wrote about a very similar idea, in his late essay “Of husbanding your will”:   Men give themselves for hire.  Their faculties are not for… Read more » Read more