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How to Read a Book: The Ultimate Guide by Mortimer Adler
Reading alone isn't enough to improve your knowledge. Learning something insightful requires work. You have to read something above your current level. You need to find writers who are more knowledgeable on a particular subject than yourself. This is how you get smarter.

Reading for understanding narrows the gap between reader and writer.

The Four Levels of Reading
Mortimer Adler literally wrote the book on reading. In his book, How to Read a Book, he identifies four levels of reading:

Elementary
Inspectional
Analytical
Syntopical
The goal of reading determines how you read.

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Become a Demanding Reader
Reading is all about asking the right questions in the right order and seeking answers.

There are four main questions you need to ask of every book:

What is this book about?
What is being said in detail and how?
Is this book true in whole or in part?
What of it?

If all of this sounds like hard work, you’re right. Most people won’t do it. That’s what sets you apart.
advice  asking_the_right_questions  books  critical_thinking  deep_learning  effectiveness  efficiencies  GTD  hard_work  howto  intentionality  metacognition  productivity  purpose  reading  smart_people  work_smarter 
may 2018 by jerryking
A Former CIA Executive’s Advice On How To Make Hard Decisions | The future of business
05.28.15 | Fast Company | BY STEPHANIE VOZZA.
A Former CIA Executive’s Advice On How To Make Hard Decisions
A five-step decision-making process from a man who spent 25 years making life-and-death decisions.
(1) Question
(2) Drivers
(3) Metrics
(4) Data
(5) What's Missing/Blind Spots

1. FIND THE REAL QUESTION
Questions are NOT self-evident, says Mudd. Focusing on better questions up front yields better answers later.
“Good questions are hard to come up with,” he says. Delay data gathering and the conclusions.... think about exactly what it is we want to know..... Start with what you’re trying to accomplish and work your way back, instead of moving forward and making conclusions. The right question provides a decision advantage to the person at the head of the table.

2. IDENTIFY YOUR “DRIVERS”
Break down complex questions into characteristics or “drivers.” This approach gives you a way to manage data.
For example, sort data on Al Qaeda into information baskets that included money, recruits, leadership, communications, training, and access to weapons. When information flows in, rather than adding it to one unmanageable pile, sorting through it periodically, and offering a recitation of what appears to be relevant from the most recent stuff you’ve seen, file each bit into one of your baskets. Limit your drivers to 10.

3. DECIDE ON YOUR METRICS
Identify the metrics you’ll use to measure how the problem and solution are evolving over time.
What are the right metrics?
What are the new information sources and metrics?
Compare your thought process to the training process of an Olympic sprinter who measures success in hundredths of a second. “If we don’t, the analysis we provide will suffer the same fate as a sprinter who thinks he’s great but has never owned a stopwatch: he enters an elite competition, and reality intervenes,” Metrics provide a “mind mirror”–a system for judging your decisions. It provides a foundation for coming back to the table and assessing the process for success.

4. COLLECT THE DATA
Once you’ve built the framework that will help you make the hard decision, it’s time to gather the data. Overcome data overload by plugging data into their driver categories and excising anything that doesn’t fit. “Too much data might provide a false sense of security, and it doesn’t necessarily lead to clearer analytic decision making,”

Avoud intuition. It’s dangerous. Aggressively question the validity of your data. Once you have your data sorted, give yourself a grade that represents your confidence in assessing your question.

5. LOOK FOR WHAT’S MISSING
Complex analysis isn’t easy. Assume that the process is flawed and check for gaps and errors. Three common stumbling blocks are:

Availability bias: The instinct to rely on what you know or what has been most recently in the news.
Halo effect: When you write off the negative characteristics because you’re mesmerized by the positive attributes.
Intuitive versus analytic methodologies: when you go with your gut. Relying on intuition is dangerous.

Mudd says making complex decisions is hard work. “It’s a lot of fun to be an expert who bases their ideas on history and not a lot of fun to be an analyst who must always be assessing potential scenarios,” he says. “Every time you go into a problem, and before you rip into data, ask yourself, ‘Am I sure where I’m heading?’”
asking_the_right_questions  availability_bias  biases  decision_making  false_sense_of_security  gut_feelings  halo_effects  hard_choices  intuition  intelligence_analysts  life-and-death  metrics  Philip_Mudd  problem_definition  organizing_data  problem_framing  sorting  thinking_backwards 
october 2017 by jerryking
The Great Questions of Tomorrow: David Rothkopf: 9781501119941: Books - Amazon.ca
“Asking the right question is the biggest challenge we face. People typically let the immediate past shape their questions—how do we avoid another shoe bomber is an example, when that’s not a risk that we’re likely to face. Or they let their area of expertise and their desire to be useful shift their focus. This is kind of the when-all-you-have-is-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail problem, and it leads people who feel the future is drone warfare to ask questions that end in answers that require drone warfare. Or, to choose an example, it leads people who have spent much of their adult lives fighting Saddam Hussein to ask questions after 9/11 about his role, even though he didn’t have one. And that did not turn out well.”

So, in the end, Hamlet had it wrong. “To be or not to be” is not the question. The question of questions is, “What is the question?” In this respect, history tells us to start with the basics, the foundational questions that we have for too long taken for granted. There are questions like: “Who am I?” “Who rules?” “What is money?” “What is a job?” “What is peace?” and “What is war?”
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Podcast : http://dcs.megaphone.fm/PNP5814408937.mp3?key=6548e439290ceeb43bb04f17f90d55bf
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"The biggest problems with Trump is that his daily melodramas are distracting us from the big challenges of our age," says David Rothkopf, whose book, The Great Questions of Tomorrow, seems to have bypassed the White House. "You cannot tweet or bully your way to leadership in complex times." [29 April/30 April 2017 | FT Weekend pg. 4 | by Edward Luce]
5_W’s  Amazon  asking_the_right_questions  books  David_Rothkopf  distractions  Edward_Luce  existential  expertise_bias  foundational  metacognition  podcasts  questions  recency_bias 
april 2017 by jerryking
The Power of ‘Why?’ and ‘What If?’ - The New York Times
JULY 2, 2016 | New York Times | By WARREN BERGER.

business leaders want the people working around them to be more curious, more cognizant of what they don’t know, and more inquisitive — about everything, including “Why am I doing my job the way I do it?” and “How might our company find new opportunities?”....Companies in many industries today must contend with rapid change and rising uncertainty. In such conditions, even a well-established company cannot rest on its expertise; there is pressure to keep learning what’s new and anticipating what’s next. It’s hard to do any of that without asking questions.

Steve Quatrano, a member of the Right Question Institute, a nonprofit research group, explains that the act of formulating questions enables us “to organize our thinking around what we don’t know.” This makes questioning a good skill to hone in dynamic times.....So how can companies encourage people to ask more questions? There are simple ways to train people to become more comfortable and proficient at it. For example, question formulation exercises can be used as a substitute for conventional brainstorming sessions. The idea is to put a problem or challenge in front of a group of people and instead of asking for ideas, instruct participants to generate as many relevant questions as they can.......Getting employees to ask more questions is the easy part; getting management to respond well to those questions can be harder.......think of “what if” and “how might we” questions about the company’s goals and plans........Leaders can also encourage companywide questioning by being more curious and inquisitive themselves.
asking_the_right_questions  questions  curiosity  humility  pretense_of_knowledge  unknowns  leadership  innovation  idea_generation  ideas  information_gaps  cost_of_inaction  expertise  anticipating  brainstorming  dynamic  change  uncertainty  rapid_change  inquisitiveness  Dr.Alexander's_Question  incisiveness  leaders  companywide 
july 2016 by jerryking
A rigorous Canadian innovation policy needs to be able to evolve and pivot - The Globe and Mail
BILAL KHAN
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Apr. 15, 2016

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But a big part of the problem is our knee-jerk reaction to expect governments to provide the solutions. Need corporate R&D? Ask Ottawa for more tax credits. Lacking venture capital? Insist tax dollars are put into a fund. Want more high tech? Demand provincial governments to spend more on university research.

Good public policies can certainly nudge us in the right direction, but it’s lazy to sit back and wait for government to solve the problem. The truth is that tax credits and research subsidies do not drive innovation. Curiosity drives innovation.

Maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of “what policy can drive innovation?”, we need to ask “how can we become a society of inquisitive individuals?” That’s a more difficult question. It is too simplistic to call for more creativity in the classrooms, but surely strong literacy skills at an early age form the bedrock of curiosity and innovative thinking in adulthood. Children who are encouraged to read, to question, to wonder and to imagine will carry those abilities with them into adulthood.

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innovation  innovation_policies  public_policy  agility  risk-taking  Todd_Hirsch  curiosity  organizational_culture  inquisitiveness  questions  bottom-up  hard_questions  asking_the_right_questions  tax_codes 
april 2016 by jerryking
If you ever wondered how math class could help you later in life, here’s your answer - The Globe and Mail
Jun. 18 2014 | The Globe and Mail | ERIN ANDERSSEN

Jordan Ellenberg’s new book, How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking.

In a world brimming with information, math is an important tool to help spot statistical glitches and everyday fallacies, but it’s being lost. “Math is the science of not being wrong about things,” he writes. “Knowing math is like wearing a pair of X-ray specs that reveal hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of the world.”....Mathematical amateurs have all kinds of reasons to use math. It helps them learn the difference between correlation and causation, to see the flaw in statistics, to spot a sneaky sell.

“Math is the science of not being wrong.” Ellenberg writes. In the real world, it doesn’t just find the right answers – it teaches us to ask the right question in the first place.
mathematics  books  messiness  correlations  anomalies  numeracy  mistakes  sleaze  questions  tools  ratios  asking_the_right_questions  causality  statistics  in_the_real_world 
june 2014 by jerryking
When it comes to innovation, Canada needs more inquisitive minds
Sept. 11 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by TODD HIRSCH.

There are solutions to Canada’s innovation deficit. The Conference Board of Canada, which prepared the Canadian analysis for the WEF report, makes several smart suggestions. Encouraging more spending on R&D, making better use of advanced technology, and increasing the research linkages between universities and industry all make sense.

But a big part of the problem is our knee-jerk reaction to expect governments to provide the solutions. Need corporate R&D? Ask Ottawa for more tax credits. Lacking venture capital? Insist tax dollars are put into a fund. Want more high tech? Demand provincial governments to spend more on university research.

Good public policies can certainly nudge us in the right direction, but it’s lazy to sit back and wait for government to solve the problem. The truth is that tax credits and research subsidies do not drive innovation. Curiosity drives innovation.

Maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of “what policy can drive innovation?”, we need to ask “how can we become a society of inquisitive individuals?” That’s a more difficult question. It is too simplistic to call for more creativity in the classrooms, but surely strong literacy skills at an early age form the bedrock of curiosity and innovative thinking in adulthood. Children who are encouraged to read, to question, to wonder and to imagine will carry those abilities with them into adulthood.
bottom-up  Todd_Hirsch  economists  innovation  competitiveness_of_nations  Canada  Canadian  WEF  rankings  curiosity  counterintuitive  public_policy  inquisitiveness  literacy  reframing  problem_framing  children  parenting  fascination  asking_the_right_questions  questions 
september 2013 by jerryking
Big Data Is Great, but Don’t Forget Intuition
December 29, 2012 | NYTimes.com |By STEVE LOHR.

A major part of managing Big Data projects is asking the right questions: How do you define the problem? What data do you need? Where does it come from? What are the assumptions behind the model that the data is fed into? How is the model different from reality?...recognize the limits and shortcomings of the Big Data technology that they are building. Listening to the data is important, they say, but so is experience and intuition. After all, what is intuition at its best but large amounts of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a math model?
Andrew_McAfee  asking_the_right_questions  bubbles  conferences  critical_thinking  data_scientists  Erik_Brynjolfsson  failure  hedge_funds  human_brains  information-literate  information-savvy  intuition  massive_data_sets  MIT  models  problems  problem_awareness  problem_definition  problem_framing  questions  skepticism  Steve_Lohr  Wall_Street 
january 2013 by jerryking
Right Questions
New businesses proceed through distinct stages, each requiring a different management approach.Experimentation is only the first step in an extended, multistage process of business development. Each stage
introduces a different set of questions and challenges. (See the exhibit "The Right Questions.").Each stage also demands different talents and perspectives, and new leaders usually have to be brought in as businesses progress. The visionary who is well suited to leading a new business through its early experimental
stages is often poorly equipped to guide the venture through the expansion and integration stages, when sales and organizational skills become more important than bold thinking and creativity. Nor can performance measures remain immutable. Because new businesses are seldom profitable in their early, formative years, financial metrics
make little sense as a starting point for evaluation. Instead, milestones of various sorts-the number of prototypes in customers' hands; the number of times analysts mention a hot, new technology; the number of salespeople bringing in leads-are more useful indicators of early progress. During expansion, measures of market penetration and market share become important; as the business becomes established, traditional financial measures can be
installed.
asking_the_right_questions  start_ups  lean  experimentation  metrics  measurements  questions  new_businesses  Michael_McDerment 
december 2012 by jerryking
Effective Leadership Skills of Barack Obama in Crisis | Effective Leadership Skills Blog
September 15, 2012 by successtv
1. Stay Confident.
2. Get Diverse Opinions.
3. Ask the right questions.
Obama  decision_making  probabilities  asking_the_right_questions 
october 2012 by jerryking
Talent Shortage Looms Over Big Data - WSJ.com
April 29, 2012 | WSJ | By BEN ROONEY

Big Data's Big Problem: Little Talent

"A significant constraint on realizing value from Big Data will be a shortage of talent, particularly of people with deep expertise in statistics and machine learning, and the managers and analysts who know how to operate companies by using insights from Big Data," the report said. "We project a need for 1.5 million additional managers and analysts in the United States who can ask the right questions and consume the results of the analysis of Big Data effectively." What the industry needs is a new type of person: the data scientist.....Hilary Mason, chief scientist for the URL shortening service bit.ly, says a data scientist must have three key skills. "They can take a data set and model it mathematically and understand the math required to build those models; they can actually do that, which means they have the engineering skills…and finally they are someone who can find insights and tell stories from their data. That means asking the right questions, and that is usually the hardest piece."

It is this ability to turn data into information into action that presents the most challenges. It requires a deep understanding of the business to know the questions to ask. The problem that a lot of companies face is that they don't know what they don't know, as former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would say. The job of the data scientist isn't simply to uncover lost nuggets, but discover new ones and more importantly, turn them into actions. Providing ever-larger screeds of information doesn't help anyone.

One of the earliest tests for biggish data was applying it to the battlefield. The Pentagon ran a number of field exercises of its Force XXI—a device that allows commanders to track forces on the battlefield—around the turn of the century. The hope was that giving generals "exquisite situational awareness" (i.e. knowing everything about everyone on the battlefield) would turn the art of warfare into a science. What they found was that just giving bad generals more information didn't make them good generals; they were still bad generals, just better informed.

"People have been doing data mining for years, but that was on the premise that the data was quite well behaved and lived in big relational databases," said Mr. Shadbolt. "How do you deal with data sets that might be very ragged, unreliable, with missing data?"

In the meantime, companies will have to be largely self-taught, said Nick Halstead, CEO of DataSift, one of the U.K. start-ups actually doing Big Data. When recruiting, he said that the ability to ask questions about the data is the key, not mathematical prowess. "You have to be confident at the math, but one of our top people used to be an architect".
data_scientists  massive_data_sets  talent_management  talent  Pentagon  SecDef  limitations  shortages  McKinsey  war_for_talent  recruiting  Colleges_&_Universities  situational_awareness  questions  Donald_Rumsfeld  asking_the_right_questions 
june 2012 by jerryking
The Future of the Future
September 30, 2005 |Special to the Toronto Star | By Alan Webber.

From Toronto to Tokyo, from Copenhagen to Chicago, from San Paulo to San Francisco—in virtually every major city in every industrialized country in the world—leaders of business, government, and not-for-profits are preoccupied with the same fundamental question: What do we need to do to compete successfully in the economy of the future?...it’s not hard to locate the source of so much economic soul-searching spread over so many historically prosperous countries. Most observers could cull their list of explanations to two simple words: China, India.

there are four additional revolutions going on that all of us must attend to if we want to shape our future, and not simply watch it shape us.
Briefly, the four are:
􀂗 The convergence of politics, religion, and culture as a powerful force for national and international identity and change.
􀂗 The transformational power of technology, and in particular, bio-technology and the new sciences.
􀂗 The revolution in art and self-expression.
􀂗 The global search for personal meaning.

Some of the operating rules that we can apply as we participate in the creation of our own future.
(1) innovation and creativity are the coin of the realm; talent,
diversity, design, and leadership are the metals that make up that coin.
(2) If we want to see the future, we will have to ask the right questions about it...Leif Edvinsson, the world’s first professor of Intellectual Capital, is pioneering a new field: “quizzics”—the art of asking the right question, the right way, because in every field, the question we ask will determine the answer we get.
(3) The future will be created in the interplay of these five revolutions, and at the boundaries of discrete disciplines. Most of us are trained in one profession, one discipline, one career; most of us are rewarded for our expertise in that one area. And yet, increasingly, the future that is emerging requires cross-disciplinary thinking, the ability to work across categories and at the boundaries of expertise.
asking_the_right_questions  intellectual_capital  future  trends  China  India  rules_of_the_game  innovation  creativity  soul-searching  cross-pollination  interdisciplinary  cross-disciplinary  questions 
may 2012 by jerryking
Find a Job Using Disruptive Innovation - Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen - Harvard Business Review
10:55 AM Wednesday March 7, 2012
by Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen

Disruptive innovators ask the right questions, observe the world like anthropologists, network for novel ideas, and experiment to make things work. (For a more detailed look at these skills, see The Innovator's DNA).
anthropologists  asking_the_right_questions  innovation  disruption  job_search  Managing_Your_Career  new_graduates  JCK  questions 
march 2012 by jerryking
Harvard Business Review Group News | LinkedIn
August 30, 2011 | HBR | RON ASHKENAS (managing partner of Schaffer Consulting and a co-author of The GE Work-Out and The Boundaryless Organization. His latest book is Simply Effective.The Art of Asking Questions
1:39 PM Tuesday
HBR  questions  asking_the_right_questions  GE  books 
december 2011 by jerryking
The Door-To-Door Billionaire Daryl Harms knows how to turn dull businesses into big profits. But can he really do it with your garbage? - May 1, 2003
By Ed Welles
May 1, 2003

Harms spots trends sooner and bears down harder than most entrepreneurs--a combination that has made him wildly wealthy, if not exactly famous. But his next venture--more on that later-- just might transform him into a household name on the order of, say, Warren Buffett. Like Buffett, Daryl Harms, 51, patiently trolls for perfect businesses in which he can build long-term value via his Masada Resource Group, based in Birmingham. He hunts down overlooked opportunities that don't trade on trendy brand names or cutting-edge technologies...When selling cable service, Harms went block to block, zeroing in on houses with the tallest antennas. Other salesfolk reflexively bypassed such homes because they assumed that better reception wasn't an issue for them. Harms targeted those customers first. "I told them, 'I can see you stand tall. Of all the people on the street you understand the value of TV,' " he recalls saying. " 'If we put cable in, you can compare it with what you have now. If you don't like it, we'll come back and take it out.' " Such "influencers," in Harms's lingo, made it easier for him to convert whole blocks....Spurred by a poll that showed that 92% of Americans considered themselves "environmentalists," Harms and his employees spent a year studying the recycling market only to decide that the real money lay in garbage. From there they sought out the best ethanol conversion technology. Having found it--at the Tennessee Valley Authority--they worked for five years to tweak the science, an effort that has earned Masada 18 patents. "Today's risky business climate warrants thoroughness," Harms says..."The theme is that there is always a consumer need to be addressed," explains Wheeler. "People will always talk on the phone, watch television, and produce garbage."...Asking the right question, it seems, comes naturally to Harms. Entrepreneurs fail, he believes, because they "get too microscopic in their thinking. In business it's very easy to get the right answer to the wrong question." According to Wheeler, Harms failed to ask the right question when he set up a venture called Postron, which allowed cable TV subscribers to receive their bills via cable and print them out on a printer attached to their TVs. What Harms didn't ask, says Wheeler, was "whether consumers wanted another piece of hardware." They didn't...Harms finds customers where no one else thinks to look. When he started selling burglar alarms in 1985, he didn't target high-crime areas. Instead he identified places where the perception of vulnerability was greatest--which he determined by calculating how much space the local paper devoted to crime. The first cellphone license he sought was for a desolate stretch of highway between Lincoln and Omaha rather than in a major population center. Why? Because, as Page says, "what else were people going to do in their cars but talk on the phone?" Aside from overlooked customers, Harms seeks another component to every business: recurring revenue of roughly $25 a month per user. "That's a bite that most people can get used to paying," he reasons. For him it translates into healthy cash flow, which fosters predictability and enables a business to survive hard times. Besides, "the more reliable the cash flow, the higher a multiple of that cash flow you can get for your company," he notes.
entrepreneur  moguls  counterintuitive  overlooked_opportunities  unglamorous  latent  hidden  cash_flows  questions  missed_opportunities  wide-framing  hard_times  predictability  consumer_needs  subscriptions  thinking_big  asking_the_right_questions 
november 2011 by jerryking
Tackling Canada's thorniest issue
Dec 21, 2001 |The Globe and Mail. pg. A.19 | Jeffrey SimpsonJohn Stackhouse's magnificent series on Canada's aboriginals deepened his reputation as one of the two or three best journalists in the country.

Here was a series in The Globe and Mail crafted by an inquiring mind, written with a rare clarity of expression, and based on wisdom's first principle -- an appreciation of complexity.

Mr. Stackhouse was an eyewitness rather than an "I" witness. He invited readers to understand what he saw and heard rather than what he ate for lunch. The best journalists are shoe-leather sociologists who ask, listen and observe.

Mr. Stackhouse displayed a rare gift as a foreign correspondent for asking the right questions, understanding the answers and conveying the complexities of what he found. What worked for him in the developing world was perfectly suited to tackling Canada's thorniest issue: relations between aboriginals and the rest of us.

His series seemed effortlessly written, the way people at the top of their game make whatever they do appear easy.
5_W’s  aboriginals  complexity  curiosity  first_principle  Jeffrey_Simpson  John_Stackhouse  journalists  journalism  wisdom  developing_countries  asking_the_right_questions 
october 2011 by jerryking
20 Ways to Derail a Successful Sales Career | Company Activities & Management > Sales & Selling from AllBusiness.com
September 1 2002 | American Salesman | Bill Brooks.

#4.. They fail to prospect. Perhaps the greatest cause of failure in
salespeople is an inconsistent flow of qualified prospects. What causes
this? Becoming overly comfortable with existing customers, believing you
are in control of your marketplace... the list is endless.
#17. They never learn how to ask questions. Remember earlier I discussed
the concept salespeople fail to ask the right questions ... this is a
corollary to that flaw. Asking questions in the correct order, and in a
way that is non-threatening, open-ended and qualitative in nature, is
essential to sales success.
complacency  sales  selling  prospecting  tips  questions  sequencing  non-threatening  open-ended  qualitative  asking_the_right_questions 
december 2010 by jerryking
Good Execution Beats a Bad Idea
Nov 23, 2009 | Fortune Vol. 160, Iss. 10; pg. 42 | by Mina
Kimes. "During my second year at Harvard Business School, I had a
fascinating professor named Gen. Georges Doriot. One of the things he
told me was, You're better off backing a mediocre idea that's
brilliantly implemented than a brilliant idea that's badly executed. My
Advice to You: 1. Reward Efficiency. 2. Ask the Right Questions. 3. Set a
Walking-Away Price 4. Don't Bet on a Recovery 5. Keep Your Cool 6.Study
Before You Leap
Wilbur_Ross  turnarounds  moguls  execution  rules_of_the_game  tips  Georges_Doriot  questions  thinking_tragically  dispassion  preparation  reservation_prices  HBS  efficiencies  asking_the_right_questions 
november 2009 by jerryking
Letters - How to Build a Successful CEO - NYTimes.com
May 20, 2009 | NYT |

Successful chief executives combine four abilities:

¶The ability to allocate cash flow for growth. Without growth, little else matters.

¶The ability to pick the right managers for the operating jobs. C.E.O. “vision” is largely realized through the people in the critical posts.

¶The ability to inspire the troops. Charisma comes in many colors; getting others to be excited about the mission is one of them.

¶The ability to be aware of and understand all the moving parts. Chief executives don’t need in-depth knowledge of every discipline — accounting, marketing, sales, benefits, taxes and so on — but they need to know enough about each one to ask the right questions.

None of these four are easy, and in combination, they are very hard to find.
letters_to_the_editor  CEOs  howto  ksfs  fingerspitzengefühl  contextual_intelligence  growth  hiring  executive_management  charisma  cash_flows  capital_allocation  hard_to_find  asking_the_right_questions  talent_acquisition  the_right_people 
may 2009 by jerryking
Information Wants to Be Expensive - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 23, 2009 WSJ op-ed by L. GORDON CROVITZ arguing that newspapers need to act like they're worth something.


Time magazine published a cover story earlier this month headlined "How to Save Your Newspaper." In it, former Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson noted how odd it is to charge for subscriptions in print but not online. "Even an old print junkie like me has quit subscribing to the New York Times, because if it doesn't see fit to charge me for its content, I'd feel like a fool paying for it. This is not a business model that makes sense."......People are happy to pay for news and information however it's delivered, but only if it has real, differentiated value. Traders must have their Bloomberg or Thomson Reuters terminal. Lawyers wouldn't go to court without accessing the Lexis or West online service..........By 2007, the Journal's Web site had reached one million paying subscribers who value full access and convenient navigation to its unique business news. Another 20 million people each month read Journal articles made available free. Likewise, the Financial Times and ESPN generate significant online revenues from subscribers, along with free content. So do consumer services such as Consumer Reports and Zagat. Steve Jobs proved we'll pay up to $1 for digital songs on iTunes, and Amazon's Kindle established $10 as reasonable for a digital book. .........For years, publishers and editors have asked the wrong question: Will people pay to access my newspaper content on the Web? The right question is: What kind of journalism can my staff produce that is different and valuable enough that people will pay for it online?..........newspaper journalists still report the key local news. American Lawyer founder Steven Brill argues that "local newspapers are the best brands, and people will pay a small amount to get information -- whether it be a zoning board or a Little League game -- that they can't get anywhere else." A few local newspapers, such as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, charge for access online, knowing their news can't be found elsewhere...........When author Stewart Brand coined the expression "Information wants to be free," he focused on how technology makes it cheap and easy to communicate and share knowledge. But the rest of his quote is rarely noticed.

This says, "Information also wants to be expensive." The right information in today's complex economy and society can make a huge difference in our professional and personal lives. Not having this information can also make a big difference, especially if someone else does have it. And for valuable information, online is a great new way for it to be valued.
asking_the_right_questions  Bloomberg  brands  differentiation  digital_media  information  iTunes  journalism  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  Lexis  local_journalism  newspapers  op_ed  questions  Steve_Jobs  Steven_Brill  Stewart_Brand  subscriptions  Thomson_Reuters  TIME_Inc.  traders  Walter_Isaacson 
february 2009 by jerryking
Information Haves and Have-Nots - WSJ.com
Sept. 22, 2008 | Wall Street Journal | by L. Gordon Crovitz.
Piece on the ramifications of not having access to good information has
had on pricing securities. No one asks the right questions as research
analysts desert Wall Street.
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...The credit crunch can be reduced to a single word. Not "greed," which also exists in stable markets. The word is "information," the absence of which has put taxpayers on the hook for billions, ruined Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and led to the fire sale of Merrill Lynch and AIG. The continuing absence of information about the true value of underlying securities means no one knows when the market has hit a new normal for the important purpose of rebuilding.

Why did so many smart people at so many top firms make dodgy investments? Why were there so many unknown unknowns, now at least becoming known unknowns? One explanation is the absence of warnings from research analysts. For decades, the large Wall Street brokerages had armies of analysts who, when they did their jobs right, asked the hard questions and issued tough reports that often alerted both company executives and public investors to market-moving issues.

There are now about half as many Wall Street analysts as in 2000......."Research analysts have gone the way of high-button shoes and buggy whips." Alas, unknown risks have not. The now-former senior executives at Bear Stearns, Lehman and Merrill must wish they had been able to retain all their star banking analysts. Those analysts just might have waved enough red flags -- in public or even in the hallways of the banks themselves -- to alert management to risks in their portfolios......a few of those analysts left these Wall Street firms for the "buy side," such as hedge funds, which keep their research proprietary, for their own trading. Predictably, it was well-informed short sellers at these firms who first alerted the market to the true value of credit derivatives and other mispriced instruments by driving down shares of firms such as Lehman.

At a time when real understanding is at a premium, we're increasingly in a world of information haves and have-nots......A corollary is that proprietary information will be more valuable than ever, giving well-informed traders an even bigger edge.

What's the solution? The temporary ban on short selling of financial firms will have the unintended effect of worsening the information gap. Professionals will perform the equivalent of short selling through nontransparent instruments and markets, leaving individual investors to be guided by public share prices that no longer reflect all known information......Part of the answer came in news earlier this month that Credit Suisse will make macroeconomic research from its analysts available to noninvestor clients of Gerson Lehrman Group, a powerful force in the world of independent research such as for hedge funds. Equity researchers from Credit Suisse joined the some 200,000 expert consultants that Gerson Lehrman has attracted to its network.......Clients of Gerson Lehrman pay hefty fees to tap this deep knowledge through one-on-one phone calls and meetings. Serving these clients will help Credit Suisse fund its 700-person research department.

When Gerson Lehrman launched a decade ago, it was to serve the deep information needs of investors in highly technical areas such as health and biotechnology. As Wall Street analysts began to leave the scene, it brought on experts in virtually every industry globally, with 150 research managers to help clients conduct more than 10,000 consultations monthly. These are often on arcane topics, such as the likely growth in salmon farming in Norway, or the odds of success for a particular drug trial. Perhaps some research was even done on, say, the proper pricing of derivatives.

Regulators can try to put genies back in bottles, but complex financial instruments that, when properly used, create value will only become more commonplace. Innovation will also be required for better-informed markets. By recruiting a huge number of experts and using online social-media tools to connect them to clients, firms like Gerson Lehrman can bring information, knowledge and insights to the people who most value and need it.
arcane  asking_the_right_questions  buy_side  equity_research  expert_networks  Gerson_Lehrman  hedge_funds  information  information_gaps  information-poor  information-rich  L._Gordon_Crovtiz  market_intelligence  proprietary  research_analysts  short_selling  uncertainty  unknowns  Wall_Street 
january 2009 by jerryking

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