Quote – Lao-tzu

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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Quote – Winston Churchill

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

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Book Review – “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development” by Cooper and Vlaskovits

This book is a must-read for anyone considering starting a startup. While its title is misleading – it only focuses on Step 1 of Customer Development, Customer Discovery – it is easy to read and understand and packed with both conceptual and actionable information. After discussing key theory and concepts, the authors provide step-by-step directions for how to actually begin. Get this book, read it, and then “Get out of the building!”

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Book Review – “On Speaking Well: How to Give a Speech with Style, Substance, and Clarity” by Peggy Noonan

This small book is a gem. Noonan immediately sets you at ease and provides valuable suggestions, illustrated with anecdotes, enabling you to feel confident and relaxed about the prospect of writing and/or giving a speech. Anyone in such a position should read this book prior to starting the process.

Not only did her book help me with the task set before me, but it also aided me in feeling much more relaxed and less anxious about the whole process – and it helped me summon up, from within myself, content for my upcoming speech!

I can’t recommend this book highly enough – even if you’re not facing a speech!

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Word of the Moment: Qat

an evergreen shrub

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Book Review – “Nudge” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

“Nudge” is a fabulous book. It is informative, thought-provoking, and fun – everything you’d hope to find in a good read. Falling into the broad category of behavioral economics, it describes and explains the power of nudges to make people happier and healthier – as measured by themselves.

The authors’ movement – libertarian paternalism – is one that can be embraced by many people. It is a system of choice where the decision is left completely up to individuals (the libertarian part), but with mild nudges (the paternalistic part) from choice architects (those who set up the context of the choices). The goal, for the choice architect, is for costs to be zero, or as close to zero as possible, for those who would rather not have the default option, while setting a default that is beneficial – as measured by those who choose it or have it thrust upon them due to lack of choosing. Of course, sometimes the choice architect won’t allow for any default, and will insist upon forced choosing.

Almost everyone will be a choice architect at some point, and we are all affected by choice architects around us. This book enables us both to help others, and ourselves, make better decisions.

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Word of the Moment: Foehn

a warm, dry wind blowing down the side of a mountain

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Book Review – “Medium Raw” by Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain’s ten-year follow-up to Kitchen Confidential shows how parenthood, exposure to other cultures, and life in general have contributed to his greater maturity and growth, making Medium Raw perhaps even more enjoyable and interesting than his earlier work. Fans of his will appreciate his greater depth of understanding and appreciation of others and of himself. This underlying theme is just as intriguing as the story itself for those of us who enjoy psychology.

His chapters vary widely in topic – it seems he touches on all relevant issues and ideas, and he addresses much of what he wrote about in his earlier book. However, for those who missed the first book, this one can and does stand alone, and you don’t feel lost if you read it before Kitchen Confidential (as I did). It also incorporates information relevant to his travel book, A Cook’s Tour (which corresponds to his show, No Reservations), but without being redundant or unrelated to his premise and theme.

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