Abundance by Peter H. Diamandis

Medical doctor Peter H. Diamandis and journalist Steven Kotler insist that nothing is wrong that people can’t fix. “Abundance” is about focusing on the positive, and all the amazing movements currently developing. Negativity is prominent in our media, but in reality the world is progressing towards being better off then it has ever been – creating abundance for all. Scarcity has been an issue of public attention for many centuries. The idea that the world is running out of resources, and reaching the limit of its growth is widespread – we know famine and thirst kill millions, oil supplies are depleting, and species are becoming extinct. There is hope however, as emerging forces can help shape massive influences on our world. Today’s remarkable technological and scientific breakthroughs place the world in a better place than you might think – society is poised to solve the most fundamental problems it faces. Famine, disease and energy depletion may all be solved within the coming decades. The movements listed below show some of the changes being made today to create a better world. “Transformational Technologies” – In some cases technology can compensate for natural resource shortages, which can raise living standards around the globe. The “Do-It-Yourself” Revolution – Smart, motivated individuals and groups are developing technologies that were once designated to governments or major conglomerates to create. “Technophilantrophy” – Technology elite, like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, are supporting projects that address global issues like water, disease, and hunger. “The Rising Billion” – Millions of poor people around the world can now participate in the global economy thanks to the web and...

Summary of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

How can you become a highly effective individual? What does it take to become the best you can be, achieve your goals, and overcome obstacles? By implementing these seven habits into your life you can do all of this and more. Take initiative. “Be Pro-Active” Focus on your goals. “Begin With the End in Mind” Set priorities. “Put First Things First” Realize you only win when others win. “Think Win-Win” Communicate. “Seek First to Understand – Then to be Understood” Cooperate. “Synergize” Reflect and act upon yourself. “Sharpen the Saw” By pro-actively implementing these habits into your life you can develop a sound character base from which your personality can flow. Doing this can allow you to develop into the true person that you are – instead of masquerading along pretending to be something your not, which is detrimental not only to you, but to those around you. Being yourself – truly, fully, without a doubt – prepares you to be the most effective you can be. Consistently following these habits, and freeing yourself from the “pre-determined” thoughts and patterns you will form a character that allows you to be more successful in your life’s path. You must KNOW what you want to do – understand what it is and why you want to do it. You must DEVELOP THE SKILLS that will enable you to do this, and you must have the DESIRE to act upon your wants. These combined will push you forward, and ultimately make you the most successful you can be. Be Pro-Active: Take initiative and avoid putting limits on yourself that prevent you from...

The Culture Case Study of Starbucks

After a Howards Schultz themed reading spree that included “Onward”, “Pour Your Heart Into It”, and “The Starbucks Experience” I felt inspired to create an ongoing case study of Starbucks. One interesting thing about the culture of Starbucks is that they originally succeeded thanks to an amazing culture, than sadly went off the path, as many of us Starbucks junkies have experienced over the last couple of years. I had a chat about the culture of Starbucks with a former Starbucks employee. She summarized the decline of the once strong Starbucks culture through one, all to common, example. She said “All the pieces for a great culture were present. We all were told exactly how to live the company values. However, management failed to live by example, so quickly each employee started to deviate from the desired culture and create sub-cultures based on each branch managers behaviors.” I should point out that this former employee worked at Starbucks during the time without Howard Schultz at the helm, and Howard admits and addresses their cultural misalignment in “Onward”. I recommend reading “Pour Your Heart Into It” and “Onward” back to back to truly get an understand of Howard and the vision for Starbucks.   A Summary of “The Starbucks Experience” Starbucks has become a top global brand by adhering to the following five key principles “Make it your own” – Customize the experience. “Everything matters” – Focus on every aspect of the job. Never ever lose your focus on your customer’s experience and point of view. “Surprise and delight” – Do the unexpected to make buying a cup of coffee...

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Happiness: The Key to Success. If you work hard, you will be successful; once you are successful you will be happy. This is a common lesson, learned from a young age. Shawn Achor argues that this conventional wisdom is backwards – stating that people who start off happy are more likely to succeed than their counterparts who start off unhappy. This conclusion comes from Achor’s own studies at Harvard as well as from scientific studies and supporting research from around the world. Achor is an advocate of positive psychology, which, unlike traditional psychology, draws lessons from successful people rather than the failures. In The Happiness Advantage, Achor presents seven principles of happiness and success based on the research and his experience consulting companies around the world. It’s All in the Mind The first principle is also the title of the book: The Happiness Advantage. This principle says that people who are happy have a psychological advantage over people who are unhappy. One way to test this is through studies over time. For example, college freshmen that were empirically shown to be happy had a higher income 19 years later than their unhappy classmates. Other experiments showed that happiness led to more creativity and greater vision. The second principle, The Fulcrum and the Lever, talks about the power of a mindset. The fulcrum is the mindset of the person; the length of the lever corresponds to the potential power and possibility that person believes he or she has. If someone moves the fulcrum in the right direction by adopting a more positive mindset, the lever of possibility lengthens, which leads, as...

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Contagious is an interesting read that delves into the analysis of the science of social transmissions while providing entertaining examples of campaigns that have gone viral. Using this pattern Jonah Berger shows you an outline for creating ideas, campaigns and messages that go viral – spreading contagiously. He claims that there are six essential factors to a contagious idea, all of which are at work to make something truly successful. These are: Social Currency, “we share things that make us look good” – As individuals we tend to share things that make us look good, or compare favorably to others. Social currency is the “prestige” factor involved in an idea. Triggers “top of mind, tip of tongue” – Something that is top of mind spreads. Stories, occurrences and environment can all create trigger responses, reminding people of an idea. Emotion “when we care, we share” – When you care about something, you share. Make your idea stick by creating an emotional response associated with it. Public “built to show, built to grow” – People tend to follow others, and do things by example. Ideas need to be public to be copied. Practical “news you can use” – Everyone loves to give advice and offer tips. Make your idea have practical value, and people will move it forward. Stories “information travels under the guise of idle chatter” – As well as sharing information, people also like to tell stories. Create a story that is related to your company’s products, but make it shareable. Have it carry your ideas, brand and information. This book offers many valuable insights to marketers, and...

The Spider and the Starfish

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations By Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom  Key Take-Aways: Spider organizations have a hierarchal order – they have a head and a body. In contrast Starfish organizations are decentralized because of their undifferentiated neural network. Starfish organizations do not require CEOs or extensive headquarters because they are decentralized. Because of this Starfish organizations are far more flexible, adaptive, and change readily. In Starfish organizations culture matters more than codes of conduct. When attacked centralized organizations – Spiders – become more rigid, whereas decentralized organizations – Starfish – expand and adapt. Starfish organizations stand on five legs: circular structure, a catalyst which “initiates a reaction,” an ideology, a pre-existing network and a champion. Put a catalyst to work if you want to promote your product in an innovative way. There is a current trend of companies becoming hybrids, with traits of both Spiders and Starfish in place. _____________________________________________________________________ The spider is a simple organism. It has a head, body, and legs. Take away a leg or two and it can survive, but if you cut off its head it quickly dies. On the other hand a starfish has many legs, but no central neural centre. You can cut a starfish into pieces, and each piece will grow into a whole new starfish. There is no “command center”, each piece is as equally important. Apply this to your business. Having an organization composed of many strong parts that don’t rely on a hierarchy enables it to adapt and become stronger despite change. If one person, or one aspect of your...