Category Archives: Books

How to Raise the Perfect Dog by Cesar Millan

Summary

  1. Millan walks us through what it takes to raise a well-behaved dog

Key Takeaways

  1. Puppyhood lasts for the first months and after that whatever habits skills are ingrained and part of them
  2. Life’s best teachers are dogs. They teach us to stay in the moment and enjoy the simple things in life and to respect nature and to work with it not against it. You can raise the perfect dog by listening to it respecting it trusting it and honoring its nature
  3. A balanced adult dog can teach you more about raising dogs than any book, video, or tutorial
  4. Temperament is very important. While these principals are always effective, why fight nature when you can select for a puppy with a relaxed and calm temperament built in?
  5. I am a big believer that the stressors and circumstances of mothers are a big impact on personality and neurosis of her kids
  6. Puppy mill puppies pee and poop wherever they are standing. This is something that never happens to those raised in a natural environment
  7. When we fulfill every need of our dogs – taking into account their breed, temperament, and other needs – they will reciprocate by being honest loyal and loving of companions. However, if left unchecked, it can create issues that makes their life and ours miserable 
  8. I have some clients that are leaders of men but pushovers for their dogs 
  9. Being able to read the puppy’s energy yes is a vital skill to home as knowing what breed they are. There are some puppy personality tests but any pet breeder will tell you these are hit or miss whereas engaging with and reading the puppies energy is fullproof 
  10. When selecting a puppy make sure it matches or is lower than the lowest energy member of your household, including other dogs
  11. Dogs speak in energy 24/7 and they can tell you more about another dog or person’s energy than any man-made contraption
  12. I learned the fundamentals of raising dogs from the best teachers there are mother dogs. There is no better blueprint for leader ship and watching how a mother raises her later in the wild see how she guides that supports them teaches them and instills discipline 
  13. An expecting mother demands great respect and status from her pack
  14. Almost immediately, you can tell which of the puppies are dominant, medium energy, or low energy. The dominant ones will take over and lead if they don’t get guidance and rules set by the mother. They need this early on or they won’t be able to lead balanced and healthy lives 
  15. Keep a puppy safe but never rescue them. If you pick them up and comfort them every time they’re scared, they’ll never develop self confidence and will forever be dependent on you 
  16. When you were a pack leader everything you do whether consciously or subconsciously is picked up on by the rest of the pack. It gets stored into their internal database and helps shape how they think and behave
  17. When you are a pack leader, everything you do – whether consciously or subconsciously – is picked up on by the rest of the pack. Let’s get stored into their internal database and help shape how they think and behave. You have to pay attention to every interaction you have with them, especially in this earliest weeks 
  18. Silent, calm, and assertive energy is far more impactful and effective than cooing over them or anything else. The energy you share with your puppy will eventually become their energy 
  19. Never comfort a whining puppy. This is very difficult for humans to do but if we don’t let he puppy work it out by itself, we are hampering it’s long term growth 
  20. Puppies are very perceptive in knowing what triggers you and they will use this against you if they want attention. Dogs and kids will sometimes seek negative attention over no attention
  21. You have to speak in the dogs language if you expect it to listen and learn from you. Calm energy, noises to represent displeasure and pleasure, immediately correcting bad behavior and then showing it good behavior. No amount of yelling and hand waving will change a dogs behavior since they don’t understand what you’re getting at 
  22. Before attempting any sort of training, first make the connection and then learn how to communicate. Only then will training be effective 
  23. As the pack leader, You often have to rise above you’re all emotional stuff in order to set expectations and train your puppy. It will be hard not to indulge their cuteness but it has to be done in order to train a balanced engaged member of the family
  24. When you lose patience and emotionally react, your dog is training you rather than the other way around. Stay calm and assert what you want with your energy more than your words
  25. When you lose patience and emotionally react your dog is training you rather than the other way around. Stay calm and assert what you want with your energy more than your words
  26. Dogs learn in the order: nose, eyes, ears 
  27. Training your puppy requires 4 parts: leadership, persistence, consistency, and patience 

What I got out of it

  1. Really a human management book disguised as a dog training book

A Ghost’s Memoir: The Making of Alfred P. Sloan’s My Years with General Motors by John McDonald

Summary

  1. McDonald wrote Sloan’s biography and was barred from releasing it for a long time because of GM’s fears of revealing too much about their being a monopoly

Key Takeaways

  1. Far from being the legendary crisp man of decision, Mr. Sloan was, when he chose to be, a master of ambivalence. He had described himself remarkably well in his testimony in the Du Pont suit: “It is generally my custom, when I get some resistance, to back out of it and try to do a selling job rather than to force the issue.” And he said: “I have never had much respect for my own ability as a negotiator. I am too apt to look at two sides of the question.”
  2. Its twenty-eight pages, replete with organization charts, set forth the future design of the corporation now known in the famous corporate aphorism “decentralization with coordinated control.”
  3. Mr. Sloan’s genius, as far as I could see, was in a complex of corporate arrangements and activities; his skill was in the internal strategies of the automobile industry and in the market: He could hold that industry, so to speak, in the palm of his hand.
  4. The project had something useful about it for his state of mind after his wife died. On the occasion of his previous birthday, he had written me a thank-you note for noticing it, saying that at eighty “there is little to look forward to … but I have much to look backward on. And, in a way, that’s consolation.”
  5. John J. Raskob was Pierre Du Pont’s mentor and guide in matters of finance, as Charles Kettering came to be in technology-both very good in their fields but with flaws that would endanger the survival of General Motors. With great foresight into the future of the automobile business, Raskob wrote down several good reasons for the Du Pont company to invest in General Motors. Among these reasons, which he numbered, was that together with Durant they could secure joint control of the company and “assume charge and be responsible for the financial operation of the company.” His Point Five would later bring big trouble. He wrote: “Our interest in the General Motors Company will undoubtedly secure for us the entire Fabrikoid, Pyralin, paint, and varnish business of those companies, which is a substantial factor.” The Du Ponts were persuaded, and in1917 the Du Pont company made the large investment in General Motors that gave them about a twenty-three percent interest in the company.
  6. Before considering the subject of particular products it is advisable to outline the controlling purposes that presumably underlie the organization and proposed operations of the Corporation. That is, the whole picture should first be clearly drawn in order that the present particular subject may be considered, not just alone, but in its essential relations to the chief objectives of the General Motors Corporation.It is to be presumed that the first purpose in making a capital investment is the establishment of a business that will both pay satisfactory dividends and preserve and increase the capital value. The primary object of the General Motors Corporation, therefore, is to make money, not just to make motor cars.How is it proposed to earn satisfactory dividends on the investment? And how does the earning purpose of the General Motors Corporation differ from the business objectives of other manufacturers of automobile vehicles?A monopoly is not planned. It is recognized that there will always be competing cars. But it is believed that by “covering the market for all grades of automobiles that can be produced and sold in large quantities” the Corporation will be able to secure many advantages over manufacturers of but one or two grades; even if General Motors cars in the respective grades are no better than the best competing automobiles of the same grade. . . .(Ajs soon as practicable the following grades shall constitute the entire line of cars,(a) $450.00 – $600.00(b) $600.00 – $900.00(c) $900.00 – $1200.00(d) $1200.00 – $1700.00(e) $1700.00 – $2500.00(f) $2500.00 – $3500.00It is recognized that there will always be a considerable market for cars priced above $3500.00, but the demand for any one type will be limited to such a number as would not permit of “quantity” production. These might almost be called custom-built cars, and it is not recommended that the General Motors Corporation attempt to cover that field.
  7. The field of cars of the first grade is now practically monopolized by the Ford. At present it is being invaded by Chevrolet. It is not recommended that the General Motors Corporation attempt to build and sell a car of the Ford grade, as the Ford sells at the lowest price within the first grade. Instead it is recommended that the General Motors Corporation market a car much better than the Ford, with a view to selling it at or near the top price in the first grade. It is not proposed to compete with the Ford grade, but to produce a car that will be so superior to the Ford, yet so near the Ford price, that demand will be drawn from the Ford grade and lifted to the slightly higher price in preference to putting up with the Ford deficiencies.It is believed that the converse of this effect will be produced when the new General Motors first grade car, selling at approximately $600.00, is compared with cars of competitors in the next highest grade, selling at $750.00 or slightly below. Even though the new General Motors (a) grade car may not be quite as good as competing cars selling at approximately $750.00, it should be so near the grade of competing cars selling at the middle of the second price range, that prospective buyers will prefer to save $150.00 and to yield the comparatively slight preference they might have for the competing car if the prices were nearly equal …
  8. There should be absolutely no duplication within the Corporation of any car planned to cover a particular grade field, since a sufficientselection of models will be offered by the overlapping sales scopes of each model, above and below the limits of its planned price range. All competition within the Corporation itself should be eliminated.It is recognized that the future of the Corporation and its earning power depend on its ability to design and produce automobiles of maximum utility value and attractiveness of appearance, in such quantities and by such coordinated methods of efficiency as will result in a minimum cost for the models required to supply all the markets of greatest demand for automobiles….The core of the policy, as we wrote in My Years with General Motors, lay “in its concept of mass producing a line of cars graded upward in quality and price. This principle supplied the first element in differentiating the General Motors concept from the old Ford Model T
  9. Frank Donovan, a lifetime close friend and a lawyer from Detroit. He was known among his friends and clients as a brilliant legal analyst with a nonaggressive temperament. No litigator. When we were both twenty, I remember him saying: “When there’s a fight, I pick up my hat and go home.” He had a large head, somewhat out of proportion to his medium build, and the kind of languid grace that was great for sitting around talking, as we had since our teens. Altogether these characteristics did not quite account for his having been captain of Notre Dame’s tennis team under Knute Rockne’s athletic directorship and three times tennis champion of Detroit.

What I got out of it

  1. A bit boring and too much legal background but gave some good insights into Alfred Sloan and GM

In Pursuit of the Common Good: Twenty-Five Years of Improving the World, One Bottle of Salad Dressing at a Time by Paul Newman

Summary

  1. Paul describes how he started Newman’s Own

Key Takeaways

  1. You can get straight As in marketing and still flunk ordinary life. —Newman to lee Iacocca after Iacocca’s Pinto caught fire
  2. One day the two of them ran into a friend of a friend, late of the restaurant business, now in shoes, who flatly stuck his finger in PL’s chest and said, “We were always filled to the rafters but no profit. I was skimmed to death, skimmed! Waiters in collusion with the cashier! [This is before computers, remember.] They saved up all the cash register chits in ten-cent increments from $2.50 up into the hundreds. Guy gets a check for $49.50, they go into the chit collection, get a chit for $49.50, guy pays the bill, nothing rung up on the cash register, they pocket the $49.50, and—which really frosted my ass—they get the tip as a bonus!”
  3. From the very beginning, we bucked tradition. When the experts said that something was “always done” in a certain way, we’d do it our way, which was sometimes the very opposite.
  4. It was Newman’s insistent desire to market the dressing that kept Hotch in motion. Scarcely a day passed but what Paul was calling from some unlikely place to discuss a newly discovered source for the perfect olive oil, the perfect red wine vinegar, the perfect mustard, and so on, which he constantly sought. He phoned Hotch from racetracks, in between his races, from mobile dressing rooms on location while shooting Absence of Malice and The Verdict, from airports on his way to make speeches on behalf of the nuclear freeze movement, and even, on one occasion, from where he was making a coffee commercial for a Japanese film crew, a background of cacophonous Nipponese chatter making it difficult to hear him.
  5. Paul had always been perverse about complacency. It was his theory that he had to keep things off balance or it’s finito.
  6. But to Andy’s surprise, after testing, his chemists concluded that since Paul’s dressing consisted of oil and vinegar and contained mustard, those elements combined to form a natural gum.
  7. “We don’t think you’ll get anywhere with Crowley. He already turned us down.” “Gentlemen,” Stew said, “I am Andy’s best customer—I sell more Ken’s than all his other customers combined. If your dressing measures up, I assure you he will bottle it.”
  8. “I think I’ll sleep on it,” Paul said. “Maybe I’ll dream something that will put me straight. I’ve had a lot of luck with my dreams.”
  9. We now needed a name for this sauce, and what we came up with—Newman’s Own Industrial Strength All-natural Venetian-style Spaghetti Sauce—horrified our brokers. “Industrial strength! They’ll think it’s for factories—they’ll never buy it to put on spaghetti.” As usual, we disregarded their “expertise”

What I got out of it

  1. Fun, easy read on Newman and how he got started with Newman’s Own, having donated nearly $250m!

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea by Marc Randolph

Summary

  1. Marc describes the formation and foundation of Netflix, his role, and the evolution of Netflix from DVD store/rental to dominant international media company. “Goal is to puncture myths but also reveal what they did and why it worked, turning Netflix from an unlikely idea into the media behemoth it is today – not let’s or principles but hard won truths (like distrust epiphanies)”

Key Takeaways

  1. The daily car rides with Reed and Marc seem enviable – what an amazing gift to be able to share ideas and have them destroyed without it impacting the relationship 
  2. From the beginning, Reed was intent on focusing on a business with recurring revenues that scaled massively 
  3. In one of the brainstorms with Reid, Marc brought up a VHS delivery service. After doing research it became clear that the tapes and shipping was too expensive, but once DVD’s came out, the whole equation changed and the business model now seemed viable 
  4. One of Marc’s guiding philosophies is to have his team loosely coupled but highly aligned – show the team where you want to go but not how to get there. Treat people like adults, trust them, give them a vision to go all in on
  5. It was expensive to acquire all the dvds at the beginning, trying to claim they have every dvd ever made, but they reframed it so that this expense was really cheap advertising. A dvd costs $20 but the reputation for having every dvd is priceless 
  6. Instituted a Tuesday date night with his wife where he would leave work at 5pm no matter what to spend time with her and no kids 
  7. Learned many of his leadership lessons from his time outdoors and exploring nature 
  8. Focus and doing your core competency extremely well is a matter of life and death for a startup 
  9. Environment of freedom and responsibility coupled with radical honesty is the foundation of Netflix’s culture
  10. They were struggling getting people to rent DVDs although being at success selling online. Eventually they tested out the idea of a subscription service with no late fees and an automatic sending of the next DVD in your queue when you return the old one. Mark would never have thought this was the path Netflix would have taken but it was immediately successful, so they ran with it 
  11. Nobody knows anything. This isn’t an indictment, ira a reminder. If this is true, you have to trust yourself, try things, and be ok with failing
  12. Randolph’s rules for success 
    1. Do at least 10% more than you’re asked to
    2. Never state as fact something which you don’t know 
    3. Be curteous always, up and down 
    4. Never complain 
    5. Don’t be afraid to make decisions when you have the facts 
    6. Be open minded but skeptical 
    7. Quantify whenever possible 
    8. Be prompt 
  13. You have to love the problem rather than the solution. This will keep you engaged and motivated even in difficult times 

What I got out of it

  1. Nobody knows anything so you won’t know whether an idea is good or bad until you try it. Marc’s enthusiasm is palpable even through the pages and the car ride him and Reed shared for years where they discussed and batted down ideas with radical honesty seems like an incredible gift

Get Together by Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, Kai Elmer Sotto

Summary

  1. A concise, simple book that describes hot to build, nurture, and sustain community

Key Takeaways

  1. The master key is to build community WITH people, not for them. 
  2. Great leaders create more leaders
  3. Sparking the Flame
    1. Twitch Partner Program – partners are able to unlock additional ways to earn revenue, a portion of which goes to Twitch 
    2. Who brings the energy – who are the people who already engage and contribute?
    3. Assuming that the community flourishes, who will you stick with?
    4. What do people need more of?
    5. What’s the change we desire?
    6. What’s the problem only we can solve together?
    7. Our community brings together _________ so that we can ________
    8. What’s something your people crave that would be better performed or experienced as a group
    9. Create an undeniably valuable shared experience
    10. Is the activity purposeful?
    11. Is the activity participatory?
    12. Is the activity repeatable?
    13. Find a space so people can get together and give them an excuse to connect for the first time
    14. What structure would make communication in this space more meaningful?
      1. Create strict rules on what you can’t discuss, specifically politics
      2. Moderators who enforce the rules
      3. Participants who seem to enjoy helping others
      4. What’s our purpose?
      5. What is and is NOT okay?
      6. How do members report violations?
      7. How will you investigate and enforce the rules?
  4. Stoking the Fire
    1. Instead of a push, create a pull. Don’t broadcast a mass message to a faceless audience. Rather, work with your members to collectiely send a clear, authentic signal about what your community is all about
    2. Share the recruiting responsibility – grow word of mouth/organically. Make it clear to members that their active involvement is crucial to ensuring the vitality and success of your community. At your gatherings, online or off, carve out time to make sure existing members know that the more people who attend, the more enjoyable and impactful the experience will be for everyone involved. If your members agree, they’ll tkae that sense of responibility to heart. 
    3. Your community centers around in-person experiences – package up interesting insider content that encapsulates those experiences
    4. Your community centers around training or learning – encourage members to share their efforts
    5. Your community centers around contributing and sharing content – make the content that they contribute simple to reshare and discover (fans following their favorite streamers on Twitch can create short, shreable video clips of choice moments from any broadcast – make possible for audio too)
    6. Create loca/regional aspects (Rapha regional badges to tie everyone together, but especially your local tribe)
    7. Do you know how many people show up (no- start counting); do you know who they are (no – make a rolodex); do you know why they are showing up (no – ask); keep it up
  5. Passing the Torch
    1. What does it mean to be a qualified leader in your community?
    2. how can you vet for genuine leaders?
    3. What’s your feedback process with leaders?
    4. Map out the leader journey – what are first steps after someone raises their hands? how are they vetted/welcomed/onboarded/acknowledge? what are the key activities involved in their work? what support do they currently receive?
      1. Which activities are valuable? which aren’t as valuable but are necessary? which activities don’t help at all?
    5. Celebration – what are our badges? (rep them together) what are our rituals (participate in them as a group) got any quirky terminology? (bake your language into the celebration)
      1. Why are we getting everyone together? how will you incorporate your community’s special sauce? what have we accomplished together? reflect on those achievements 

What I got out of it

  1. Some beautiful tips on how to build and establish a community, whether online or off

Augustine’s Laws by Norman Augustine

Summary

  1. There have been some many superb books published in recent years dealing with successful busines sundertakings. This book, however, takes a contrapuntal viewpoint and adopts the perspective of learning from a business gone awry. It is much as is the practice at medical conventions – where it is generally considered that a greatl deal can be learned by not focusing on healthy people. 

Key Takeaways

  1. There are 52 total laws, the most compelling (to me), outlined below
    1. There are no lazy veteran lion hunters – margin between victory and defeat is miniscule
    2. If you can afford to advertise, you don’t need to
    3. 1/10th of the participants produce 1/3 of the output. increasing the number of participants simply reduces the average output
    4. The last 10% of performance generates 1/3 of the costs and 2/3 of the problems
    5. It is very expensive to achieve high unreliability. It is not uncommon to increase the cost of an item by a factor of ten for each factor of ten degradation accomplished 
    6. Any task can be completed in only 1/3 more time than is currently estimated
    7. If a sufficient number of management layers are superimposed on top of each other, it can be assured that disaster is not left to chance
    8. The optimum committee has no members
    9. Hiring consultants to conduct studies can be an excellent means of turning problems into gold – your problems into their gold
    10. The weaker the data available upon which to base one’s conclusion, the greater the precision which should be quoted in order to give the data authenticity.
    11. The more time you spend talking about what you have been doing, the less time you have to do what you have been talking about. Eventually, you spend more and more time talkinga bout less and less until finally you spend all your time talking about nothing. 
  2. Other
    1. Managerial intellect wilted in competition with managerial adrenaline
    2. In the words of Rick Mears, “to finish first you must first finish.”
    3. Quantity has a quality all its own
    4. An irate banker demadned that Alexander Graham Bell remove “that toy” from his office. The toy was the telephone. A Hollywood producer scrawled a rejection note on a manuscript that became Gone with the Wind. Henry Ford’s largest origianl investor sold all his stock in 1906. Today, Sears may sell $25,000 of goods in 16 seconds. 
    5. Adding people to speed up a late software project just makes it later
    6. Key Lessons
      1. People are the key to success in most any underatking
      2. Teamwork is the fabric of effective business organizations
      3. Self-image is as important in business as in sports
      4. Motivation makes the diference
      5. Recognition of accomplishment (and lack thereof) is an essential form of feedback
      6. Listening to employees and customers pay dividends – they know their jobs and needs better than anyone else
      7. Delegation, whenver practicable, is the best course. As Plato suggested, justice is everyone doing their own job
      8. Openness with empoyees and customers alike is essential to building trust
      9. Customers deserve the very best
      10. Quality is the key to customer satisfaction. It means giving the customer what was agreed upon – every time.
      11. Stability of funding, schedules, goals, and people is critical to any smooth business operation. Avoid turbulence at all costs
      12. Demanding that last little bit of effort from oneself is essential – it can make the difference against competitors who don’t have the will to put out the extra effort
      13. Provision for the unexpected is a business person’s best insurance policy. It is said that the ultimate form of management is managing under uncertainty. One must identify sources of risks and unknowns and make provisions to overcome them – in the form of financial reserves, schedule reserves, and performance reserves. Promise only that which can be produced and produce that which has been promised.
      14. “Touch Labor” – people who actually come into contact with the product – are the only certain contributors in any organization. Others may contribute – managers, lawyers, accountants, consultants, auditors – but they may not. 
      15. Rules, regulations, policies, reports,a nd organization charts are not a subsitutte for sound management judgment. 
      16. Logic in presenting decision options, consequences, benefits, and risks is imperative. Whenever parameters can be quantified, it is usually desirable to do so
      17. Conservatism, prudent conservatism, is generally the best path in financial matters
      18. Integrity is the sine qua non of all human endeavors including business. It has even been said that if rascals knew the value of honesty they would be honest simply because of their rascality.
      19. Much of the above simply boils down to DISCIPLINE – and in particulars that finest form of the art – SELF-discipline. DIscipline not to take the easy way out, discipline to forgeo “nice-to-have” features, discipline to minimize change, discipline to demand a quality product, discipline to treat a customer fairly even when it costs, and discipline to “tough out” and solve the problems which will occur in even the best-managed undertakings. As Robert Townsend, the former chairman of AVIS, put it in his book Up the Organization, managers must have the discipline not to keep pulling up the flowers to see if their roots are healthy. Most of our problems, it seems, are, as could be their solutions, self-imposed.

What I got out of it

  1. Ironic, sarcastic, hysterical, correct.

Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend by Bill Russell

Summary

  1. Russell describes the amazing relationship that him and coach Red Auerbach were able to cultivate over decades.

Key Takeaways

  1. Russell was ingrained from a young age always stand up for himself to never let anyone impose their will on him – to be committed, loyal, and devoted, and these characteristics all came through when he became a Celtic
    1. Russell’s father instilled in him a sense of pride in his work. Whatever you do, be the best at it. This is the road from journeyman to artist that we should all strive for
  2. It is far more important to understand than to be understood
    1. Russell said this several times in the book and seems to be a driving force for him
  3. Russell had such an unorthodox game – blocking shots, being mostly vertical rather than horizontal – that people didn’t understand his game or really understand how good he was. Even after he won a national championship his junior year of college and averaged 20 points and 20 rebounds a game, people still didn’t think he was very good they gave the national player of the year award to another player
    1. Fascinating to think back to that time and the blind spot people had because Russell didn’t fit the image of what people had for a center! One of the greatest players of all time was “misdiagnosed” because he was different
  4. Red and I shared a superpower – always knowing what was important. We were willing to buck conventional wisdom in order to win. We over me and always looking at trying to find ways to help people better contribute to the team
  5. Story of how Red made sure nobody selected Bill ahead of the Celtics in the draft is awesome. Red deeply understood human nature and was able to take various perspectives to understand what people wanted – creating a win/win for everyone involved
  6. Another of Red’s superpowers was his ability to listen – he had “great ears”
  7. Red treated everyone as equals and with respect, as men on a shared mission to win basketball games 
  8. The guiding light that drove every decision and action was how do we increase the odds of winning as a team? This was the driving force and aligned everyone to achieve this goal
  9. Russell deliberately studied every one of his teammates and competitor’s strengths and weaknesses so he knew how to best help his teammates and be most effective against his competitors. He could visualize in his head how every player in the league moved and how he would defend against them
  10. Red worked through collaboration rather than a dictatorship. He asked everyone questions and got their input making them co-owners of the team and integral to every decision, creating buy in and an aligned and cooperative team
  11. One thing that stood out to me was that Red seem to have no preconceived notion‘s
  12. Red never cared about other players. His focus was solely on the team he has and not the team he wished he had – these are the guys I’m going to war with. How do we win win with what we got?
  13. Russell always aimed to play the perfect game. This included all the normal metrics like rebounds and shooting percentage but also conversation he had with his teammates because of the power of language and psychology
  14. Russell and Red didn’t care what anybody else thought they simply did what they thought was right for them and their team
  15. Red never imposed anything. He set up a system and got people to buy in so that they felt ownership and responsibility for it
  16. Another great example of Red’s psychological mastery was with Frank Ramsey. It used to be that you were either part of the all-star first team or the lowly second team. Red helped Frank understand that he was their “sixth man” – the sixth starter, the first guy off the bench.  The role that used to be looked down upon was now an honor and Red helped build the culture and the game around Frank’s incredible shooting skills so that he always brought a burst of energy and was sa potential game-changer when he did come in.
  17. One of Red’s masterstrokes as a coach was knowing how to treat each player differently yet maintain the cohesiveness of the entire unit
    1. Surprising to me that a team like this had “rules for Russell” and “rules for everyone else.” Red must have masterfully balanced this hierarchy/differentiation in order to keep the rest of the team calm and bought in 
  18. Play like a child, but not childish

What I got out of it

  1. Beautiful to hear the relationship that Red and Russell built over the decades. Much of it was unsaid, and that’s the amazing part of it. They came from such different “tribes,” as Russell said, but they instinctively understood each other and came to respect and trust each other. They both were willing to do whatever it took for the team to win

Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life by Michael Lewis

Summary

  1. This book is about Michael Lewis high school baseball coach Billy Fitzgerald. Lewis can still recall the feelings his coach helped instill in him – the idea that he is about to show world and himself what he can do

Key Takeaways

  1. From the safe age of 43, 12 looks less an age than a disease
  2. Success to Fitz was a process and it was about sacrifice and dedication, not trophies and outcomes 
  3. He taught us how to cope and deal with the two enemies of a well-lived life. Fear and failure. We can never completely get rid of our weaknesses, fears, and failures, but we can’t get better. It is the quality of the struggle, the quality of the journey that counts

What I got out of it

  1. Beautiful story about Michael Lewis and his influential basketball coach, Billy Fitzgerald. The impact one person can have is just amazing and I’ve personally been lucky enough to experience that with several coaches/mentors and seek to be that mentor however and whenever I can

Linked by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

Summary

  1. This book’s aim is simple. To help you understand what networks are, how they form, what they look like, and how they evolve. This is a new framework, a web-based and interconnected view, for understanding the world and how to navigate it. Networks are present everywhere, we just need an eye to spot them

Key Takeaways

  1. Amazingly simple and far reaching natural laws govern the structure and evolution of all the complex systems around us. This book will help us understand what those are and why networks from cells to the internet evolve similarly 
  2. Complexity doesn’t allow for us to understand how the parts make the whole. Reductionism breaks down with complexity 
  3. Everything is linked to everything else. We are only beginning to understand the role of complexity in nature and our lives. Networks will come to dominate our understanding of the world and how to navigate it
  4. The construction and structure of graphs (networks) are key to understanding the complex world around us. Small changes in the nodes or links open up new possibilities to emerge. Links (bridges, relationships, etc.) connect nodes. Although the networks all represent different realities, they are all composed of nodes and links. When you randomly add enough links and nodes, something special emerges. Such discipline has a different name for it, phase transition or community, but the network changes so that clusters of nodes connect everyone. 1 link per node is the critical threshold. Anything more than that and you get an interconnected web that communicates. Anything less, and you have a disparate network that doesn’t. As the number of links increases, the number of nodes left out decreases exponentially. Nature does not take risks. By staying close to the threshold. She builds in a large margin of safety 
  5. The power of the web is in the links. Geographic distance is no longer the barrier it once was
  6. Clustering and small world networks are extremely important characteristics. These characteristics help show that week links such as acquaintances help make the network more robust more efficient and more interconnected with fewer links. Take advantage of this in your life by maintaining many weak ties which can expose you to new groups and new information. These dense clusters are considered hubs “connectors” and destroy the random world theory. They are so well connected that they shorten the distance on average between nodes 
  7. The appearance of power laws (such as those exhibited by phase transitions) indicate a transition from disorder to order
  8. Networks always display growth which means the static random hypothesis no longer holds true and nodes are always being added
  9. In real life, linking is never random. Popularity leads to more popularity which leads to certain nodes being exponentially larger and more connected than others. Think Google, Amazon, Facebook and a fat tail of everyone else. This is also known as preferential attachment
  10. Most networks are not a winner take all. the rich get richer scenario. Instead, they are a fitness driven function that allows for the superior product to displace the incumbent
  11. In a networked economy, the hubs continuously get larger. This leads to M&A, making the large even larger. Understanding network effects is the key to surviving in a rapidly adopting, interconnected world 
  12. Too much control and organization slows things down today where power lies in links and ideas. This shifts organization from hierarchical to web-based. From top-down and linear to decentralized, flexible, and robust 
  13. In markets, you aim to drive the hardest possible bargain. But, in networks, you aim for win/win, relationships, reliance and indebtedness over the long haul. 

What I got out of it

  1. A great overview on networks and how prevalent they are in our every day lives. Understanding and honoring them will be valuable regardless of context, industry, or situation

How to Argue and Win Every Time by Gerry Spence

Summary

  1. Spence believes that argument begins with the person, and that to argue successfully one must accomplish more than mere technique. He maintains that success in argument, as in life, is a derivative of personal growth, of discovering who we are, and embracing the uniqueness that is individual to each of us.

Key Takeaways

  1. The art of arguing is the art of living. We argue because we must, because life demands it, because, at last, life itself is but an argument.
  2. Everyone, every breathing person can make the winning argument.
  3. The enemy is not the Other against whom our failing arguments are made. The fault is not God’s, or fate’s, or the bad luck of the draw that has left us with wee voices or unimposing presences. We do not fail to make a brilliant riposte or persuasive argument because we lack electric genius, or lightning wit. We do not fail because we possess but a sparse fund of words. We fail to make the successful argument because we affix certain locks to ourselves, locks that imprison our arguments, or, having made the argument, locks that bar us from assuming a successful stance or from adopting a winning method. The method of this book is to identify the locks from time to time and to offer the key with which to unlock them. The lock is, of course, your lock. But you also possess the key. I have fashioned this book itself as an argument—an argument that identifies the disabling LOCK and provides the enabling KEY. The structure I have devised here reflects my method of communicating with people, in the courtroom and out, at work and at home. It has been developed and refined over a lifetime in which I have been a worker, a prosecutor, a trial lawyer, a husband, and a father.
  4. If we have mastered the skills, the procedures, the methodologies, yes, even the art of argument, but are still locked behind our psychic doors, we cannot win. If we have no concept as to when to argue and when to remain mute, if we do not understand how to use power and how to avoid its devastation in our own hands or the hands of others, we cannot win. If we do not grasp the incredible power of credibility or the magical power of listening we can argue with all the skill and artistry of the greatest orators ever spawned by history, but we will never win. To win, we need a saddle, all right, but we need to mount it on a powerful horse.
  5. From the moment we were born we have been conditioned to avoid confrontation. If we opened our tiny mouth to cry, a bottle was hastily used to muffle our cries. We’ve been taught, as puppies are taught: Don’t bark! Thoroughly domesticated, we have been conditioned to comply, to remain silent, to plod on.
  6. Fear Is our ally. Fear confirms us. Fear Is energy that is convertible to power—our power. Fear is friend and foe alike, adversary and ally. Fear is painful. I hate its frequent companionship. Yet it challenges me. It energizes my senses. Like the sparrow, watching, watching, in the presence of fear I become alert.
  7. The perpetual quest for acceptance as parts of the social machinery is a form of psychic self-destruction. I am repulsed at the thought of our need to conform—to give up that which distinguishes us from all others so that we may become mere impersonations! How can one argue at all if one argues not from one’s own authority but from the inimitable imitation of another? When we imitate another we murder ourselves and, thus dead, are as powerless as the dead. As imitators we are, by definition, fakes, and the counterfeit is valueless. What a crime to commit against one’s self!
  8. I argue that when my argument begins with me, when it emanates from my authority, it will be unique among all arguments.
  9. The lawyers speak to the other jurors. They speak to the banker’s wife. They speak to the schoolteacher in the back row. They speak to the manager of a local chain store. They speak to the lineman for the electric company. But they do not speak much to her. Yet who knows more about the human condition than she? Who knows more about sorrow and poverty, and hard work and loneliness? Who is more courageous? She harbors a deep knowledge. When she speaks the other jurors will have to listen carefully, for her voice is soft and it is difficult for her to find the words. But the words she finds will come from her heart because she knows no other way to argue.
  10. Wisdom usually does not fall from high places. The mighty and the splendid have taught me little. I have learned more from my dogs than from all the great books I have read. I have learned more from my children than from all the professors who have importuned themselves upon me in the exercise of their tenure. The wisdom of children is the product of their unsullied ability to tap their innate fund of knowledge and innocently to disclose it. The wisdom of my dog is the product of his inability to conceal his wants. When he yearns to be loved, there is no pouting in the corner. There are no games entitled “Guess what is the matter with me.” He puts his head on my lap, wags his tail and looks up at me with kind eyes, waiting to be petted. No professor or sage ever told me I might live a more successful life if I simply asked for love when I needed it.
  11. We begin to understand: Successful argument is a communication between the acknowledged authority of both parties to the argument. Moreover, that I argue concedes to the Other the right to argue back. That I speak and wish to be heard admits the Other’s right to also be heard.
  12. The wife could have avoided this brawl by simply “getting on the right side of the lawnmower,” that is, for her to have said when the husband complained that the lawnmower wouldn’t start, “I wonder why? It’s brand new. I don’t blame you for being upset.” By getting on the husband’s side of the argument, she would have pulled none of his triggers and the lawnmower would have lived to mow another day. In a similar manner the husband could have gotten on the wife’s side of the lawnmower as easily. The minute she began to defend the lawnmower, all he had to say was, “I know how disappointed this must make you. Maybe I’d better read the instruction book.”
  13. Winning is getting what we want, which often includes assisting others in getting what they want.
  14. Argument and mental illness are rarely compatible.
  15. The power of the mirror, which we shall encounter again and again in these pages, did its work. Trust begets trust, and I became trustworthy. I learned again that night what I had learned so many times before and forgotten as often—that demonstrations of love, whether in the kitchen, the bedroom, or the courtroom, are the most powerful of all arguments.
  16. Learning when to argue is as important to winning as learning how to argue.
  17. Understanding Power THE PISTOL THAT FIRES IN BOTH DIRECTIONS
  18. The power peculiar to each of us is that force that distinguishes each of us from all other beings. Our power permits us to grow and to fulfill our potential. It is the surf, the swell, the wave, the storm we feel in our veins that propels us into action. It is our creativity. It is our joy, our sorrow, our anger, our pain. This energy is our personhood—the extraordinary mix of traits and talents and experience that makes up the fingerprint of our souls.
  19. Understanding how power works: Power is first an idea, first a perception. The power I face is always the power I perceive. Let me say it differently. Their power is my perception of their power. Their power is my thought. The source of their power is, therefore, in my mind.
  20. Any discussion of power would be incomplete without acknowledging Lord Acton’s immortal law: Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That unalterable rule applies both to God and man.
  21. On the other hand, when we realize that we are the source of all power over ourselves, this recognition is divinely empowering. When we understand our power, we are freed from intimidation, delivered from fear, and provided with the magical wherewithal to realize our perfect potential.
  22. Power, the pistol that fires in both directions: Power is like a pistol with barrels that point in both directions. When one with power pulls the trigger against someone with lesser power, one barrel fires in the direction of the intended victim while the other fires into the person who has pulled the trigger. As a weapon, power has little to offer. It germinates resentment and reaps hatred. It fosters the deep and abiding need for revenge. Power exercised without love releases an adverse Karma that returns to defeat us—where or when we never know. But it will return with all its destructive force, with all its gathered vengeance. Revenge is the bastard child of justice.
  23. It is clear that we require power. But the power we need is our own. The power exhibited in the winning argument may not be overtly powerful at all, for power may be experienced as gentleness, as compassion, as love, as humility, as sensitivity.
  24. To win, we must be believed. To be believed, we must be believable. To be believable, we must tell the truth, the truth about ourselves—the whole truth. Winston Churchill once said, “What the people really want to hear is the truth—it is the exciting thing—to speak the truth.”
  25. We must argue from the place where the frightened child abides. We must argue from the place where the whimpers and wailing are held back, where the anger boils, where the monster rises up and screams, where the lover and the saint and the ancient warrior fuse. That is where we must focus, in that rare, rich place, that nucleus of our being. That is the magical place where credibility dwells.
  26. As we shall learn in later chapters, we communicate not only with words, but with the various sounds of words and their rhythms. We speak with silences. We speak with hands, and bodies, with physical words—the way we pose or stand or move.
  27. Despite what we have learned to the contrary, I say we must all learn to disrobe our psyches. But before I can persuade you to take off your psychic garments I must take off mine. Pursuing the metaphor, I admit I am afraid of what I might expose were I to disrobe—my sagging middle, my pale, unenvied chest, my whatever else that might not measure up. But still I say we need to speak as if we were naked.
  28. Revealing our honest desires, asking for what we want, makes it difficult for the Other to refuse us.
  29. In my argument to the jury in the Randy Weaver case, I used a similar strategy. I told the jury straight out what I wanted. I said, “At the end of this case I want us to walk out of this courtroom together—all of us.” I pointed to my client. “I want you to free Randy Weaver. I want Randy Weaver’s children who sit over there”—I pointed to them—”to walk out with us—right out the front door of this courthouse with him and with you and with me.” I walked slowly toward the children and as I did the jury watched the children, saw their faces, saw them listening, waiting, hoping. Then the jurors looked back at me. “I want your verdict to free us all.”
  30. People are afraid to tell others what their services are worth. They are afraid to ask the doctor what the doctor expects to be paid. In a civil money case, I tell the jury outright that I want them to give my client money, and how much. When the jury retires to reach its verdict, it knows exactly what I want. Such openness also serves my credibility. How can we feel comfortable with someone who we know wants something from us but who will never be honest about it?
  31. Winning a raise by asking: I will discuss how to argue with the boss in a later chapter. But how do you ask for a raise? I say, simply ask for it. “Mr. Jones, I’ve been wanting to talk to you. But I’ve been afraid to. This morning it finally came to me that you’d want to hear me out because you’re a fair man.”
  32. “I’d like to talk to you about a raise. Could I have a couple of minutes?” Take your time. Look the boss in the eye. Now describe the work you’ve done, the loyalty you feel and have demonstrated. Identify the one thing you can do better than anyone else. Go slow with it. Why are you unique? What quality, trait, or talent, what skill do you have that no one else can match? Do people especially like you? Are you easier to talk to than the others? Do you have the ability to see a problem and find its solution before damage sets in? Are you a better organizer? Can you produce more? Speak out of your own authority. Ask for what you want. And be exceedingly straight about it. Ask for the money you want, for the money you deserve. You might add, “I know times are hard for you. I know, because times are hard for me.” Give him time to absorb what you have just said. The boss knows you have heard his prior argument about tough times. Now you have asked him to hear yours.
  33. If I were required to choose the single essential skill from the many that make up the art of argument, it would be the ability to listen.
  34. Listening is the ability to hear what people are saying, or not saying as distinguished from the words they enunciate.
  35. (The words It must have been are magical words that say to the Other, “I understand how it was.”)
  36. For if we are never heard, if we are never understood, if we are never loved, we find ourselves alone even when we are with someone. In short, there is usually a need to be heard behind the racket, usually pain behind the rage.
  37. Have you ever seen two dogs standing nose to nose, hair bristling on their backs, tails wagging in those short, stiff wags? Then someone pokes the larger of the dogs with a stick, and the larger dog attacks, not the person who poked him, but the smaller dog. People are like that. Both dogs and humans search for scapegoats. The parent often takes out his pain on the helpless child, not on the spouse who caused the pain. The foreman takes it out on the hapless worker, not the vice president who has just read him the riot act, who in turn was threatened by the president of the company, who was himself embarrassed by the board of directors, who had seen the company’s stock go to hell on the big board. It reminds me of the biblical lepers who believed that if they could pass on their disease to another they would thereby be cleansed. It is important to understand this process of surrogate rage, this anger vented not on the person responsible, but on a substitute, usually powerless person.
  38. Listening to the soul’s ear: Endless knowledge lies like hidden treasure to be gleaned if only the soul’s ear will listen. Let the soul’s ear tell us what it hears. Then trust it. I am not speaking here of something mystical. I am merely giving full faith and credit, as it were, to the vast storehouse of knowledge with which we were born and have gathered in a lifetime. As we proceed through life, our reservoir of knowledge fills, gradually, steadily, imperceptibly. Words are chosen, usually unconsciously. And how they come together—the syntax, the tone, the inflection with which the Other flavors the words—carries more information about what is being said and who is saying it than the words themselves.
  39. How can we believe such an unverified, unsupported report from within? We are taught to be logical and to demand proof. But the conscious, logical mind can gather only a few facts, wrestle with only a few concepts, and even then we are never sure of our logic, for logic is often a perilous gift. On the other hand the soul’s ear listens to whole libraries of data from which it constantly constructs its bottom line, the feeling. There is no operator’s manual to explain how the soul’s ear works. But one does not need explanation of how to operare the soul’s ear any more than one requires an explanation to the secrets of the beating heart. The heart beats. The soul’s ear hears. We can tune into the heart and hear its beat. We can tune into the soul’s ear and hear its wisdom as well.
  40. Sometimes when I am listening to the final argument of my opponent, I lay my head back, close my eyes, let the words drift by and focus only on the sounds. The sounds always carry the argument better than the words. The sounds betray the urgency, the sense of caring, the anger, the ring of truth, the power that can change the jury. If the sound of the words, no matter how powerful the words may be, does not move me, it will not move the jury. Sounds carry the meaning. It is only when the sounds penetrate and prod and awaken that I take a note for rebuttal.
  41. The manner in which jurors carry themselves is a stamp that life has placed on them. I see people who walk as if they are trudging uphill. I see women hop about as if they are sparrows about to take flight. I see young men prance like stallions in the ring. I see people shuffle, slither, slink, creep, glide, tiptoe—the way people move is their autobiography in motion.
  42. Peeping into a prejudiced mind is like opening the door to a room packed to the ceiling with junk. Nothing whatsoever can get in, and when the door opens, the junk comes tumbling out. Those whose minds are jammed with prejudice have room for little else. Growth is dead. Learning is gridlocked.
  43. Identifying personality clusters: I often rely on the “cluster concept.” People’s personalities, their likes and dislikes, their attitudes, their viewpoints, their prejudices come in clusters, as grapes come in bunches. If you examine one grape you will know pretty much what the rest of the grapes on the cluster look like. If you taste one you know how the others will taste. There may be minute differences from grape to grape, but you can bet that the grape you didn’t taste does not taste like beefsteak.
  44. Those from moneyed parents often are sentenced to private schools where they are dunked in old ink, soaked in Latin and Greek, and suffer the education of the elite. I know the arguments for a classical education. However, the point I labor toward is this: our perception of the people we deal with every day depends upon who we are ourselves. When our cluster of experiences matches those of the Other, we are more likely to understand and predict the Other than if we had not been so enriched. The working man understands another working man better than the scholar understands the working man. Nothing is sadder, yet more amusing, than to watch a lawyer who has been given a stiff Ivy League education arguing to a jury of ordinary people. His choice of words, the syntax he constructs, the metaphors he chooses, his ideas of what is persuasive to a judge and jury all reflect the pool of experience from which he operates. Often he comes off as snobbish or patronizing. It is hard for the jury to empathize with him or to trust him because its members are not familiar with his clusters. I tell young people that if they want to be fine trial lawyers, indeed, if they want to be successful in any calling, they should learn as much as possible about every aspect of the human condition, hopefully by experience. I argue that young people, as a part of their education, as a part of preparing for a lifetime of play, should work a lot. They should learn what it is to pinch a penny, to worry about coming up with the rent, to come home at night tired, to do without, to experience the joy of completing small tasks. I want my children to know a wide variety of things: how to clean a latrine, how to frame a house, how to carry hod, to lay a brick. They should know how to attend the sick, to irrigate a pasture, to climb a mountain, to write a poem, to sing the songs of people, to lie by a stream and dream, to know the joy of love and the pain of loss. I consider the young who have never had to work, worry, or struggle to be seriously underprivileged in much the same way that young people who grow up in the ghettos are underprivileged. Affluent parents most often make the mistake of sending their children off to some safe place where they are isolated from the rest of the world, after which these children are expected magically to become fully operative individuals in the adult real world. One does not prepare for a fight in the boxing ring by becoming an expert in the highly formalized techniques of ballet (although, I admit, any boxer could improve himself by learning to be a better dancer).
  45. Self-interest, the impenetrable wall: When the Other realizes that his self-interest is at stake, no winning argument is possible. This is so because the core prejudice of any living creature, man or forest fern, is for its continued existence. No matter how skillfully we may argue, we cannot win when the Other is asked to decide against his self-interest.
  46. I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.
  47. Winning, as I have previously defined it, is getting what we want. What we want in the long run is to preserve our supply of productive life for use in fruitful endeavors. We do not want to be wasted. I reserved for myself the right to determine what wars I will fight, what battles, what arguments I will make and to whom. If I were a general, I would never launch my army into a battle in which the enemy was so entrenched it would be suicide for my troops. We should care for ourselves as much as that general cares for his soldiers. Winning, therefore, is not always winning. Winning is sometimes appreciating the wisdom of a tactical withdrawl, especially in the face of immutable prejudice—in the face of this impenetrable vault that locks the mind.
  48. We no longer speak the language of the common man. We begin to favor larger words that affirm that we are, indeed, more learned than those around us. Having begun to live more in our heads than in the heart zone, we begin to think out our sentences, one fancy word at a time.
  49. Words that do not create images should be discarded. Words that have no intrinsic emotional or visual content ought to be avoided. Words that are directed to the sterile intellectual head-place should be abandoned. Use simple words, words that create pictures and action and that generate feeling. I am not as concerned about choosing the right words as I am in letting the words flow naturally. Word choosing is a mental process, a process clearly on the conscious level. When one chooses one’s words, one is involved in sorting through the mental dictionary, where one picks the words, one at a time, which is not a very good way to communicate.
  50. The strongest structure for any argument is story. “Let me tell you a story.” Storytelling has been the principal means by which we have taught one another from the beginning of time. The campfire. The tribal members gathered around, the little children peeping from behind the adults, their eyes as wide as dollars, listening, listening. The old man—can you hear his crackly voice, telling his stories of days gone by? Something is learned from the story—the
  51. Storytelling is in the genes. Listening to stories is also in the genes. It follows, therefore, that the most effective structure for any argument will always be story.
  52. The story is the easiest form for almost any argument to take. You don’t have to remember the next thought, the next sentence. You don’t have to memorize anything. You already know the whole story. You see it in your mind’s eye, whereas you may or may not be able to remember the structure and sequence of the formal argument.
  53. The simple questions of structure: And so, when we begin to prepare our argument we ask these simple questions: • What do we want? • What is the principal argument that supports us? • Why should we win what we want? That is, what facts, what reasons, what justice exists to support the thesis? • And, at last, what is the story that best makes all of the above arguments?
  54. Preparation calls into operation a simple and obvious rule of physics: Unless there is something in the reservoir, nothing can flow from it. “Nothing in, nothing out,” as computer people say.
  55. Yet after all this preparation, I will still write out the story. Writing is the process by which the computer of my mind is loaded. Writing one’s argument in longhand, on one’s word processor or computer confirms that the argument is important enough to devote the time and thought to the proposition one wishes to forward. Such an act of preparation is an affirmation of one’s self and of the importance of one’s argument. It also confirms our respect for those to whom we will deliver the argument so that both we and the Other are acknowledged as persons worthy of the effort, for we do not take the time to exquisitely prepare an argument to those who mean nothing to us, or spend our lives preparing arguments on meaningless or empty issues. The fact that we have shown the Other respect by careful preparation will be revealed in our immediate possession of the most intimate details of the argument, in the clarity of our thought and the depth of our passion. That we are committed to our argument will be proven by our preparation, and, in return, our preparation will cause the Other to respect us. Respect is a wondrous mirror.
  56. I prepare by writing my argument for yet another reason—to explore what I know. We never know what is hidden in our psychic cracks and crevices until we search for it. As I began to write my thoughts about why writing our arguments is so important, I began to consider the relationship of the physical act of writing—the use of the fingers and the hands—to the creative act—the use of the right brain. Without having thought of it beforehand, I found myself writing the following: The fingers and the creative portion of the brain are somehow joined by ancient connections, for creativity was always tied to the hands—the shaping of spear points, the fashioning of scrapers and awls, the weaving of baskets, the drawing of petroglyphs on rock walls, the fashioning of pots—all man’s creativity seems to have been tied to his hands. And so I think it is today. When we engage in the physical act of writing, a connection is struck between the hands and that portion of the brain where our creative powers are stored, so that we are more likely to produce a new idea while we write or type than while we engage in the simple act of thinking alone.
  57. How the mind works: Over the years, as I have prepared my arguments, I have discovered a remarkable similarity in the way the computer and the human mind seem to work. Since the former is the product of the latter, it is not surprising they should mimic one another. Data is stored in the mind in such a fashion that it can be sorted and retrieved in various ways. But the computer is able to retrieve merely that which it has been fed, while the mind can not only retrieve whole sentences, but reconstruct them as it pleases, gild the words with emotion, and play back the words with lyrical sound and oratorical fury, calling into service the entire body to support the argument. It can cause the hands and arms to provide appropriate gestures, the face to take on the correct expression, the eyes to gleam in sync with the message being delivered, and it can do all of this automatically.
  58. (Humor can be one of the most devastating weapons in your arsenal. But, used inappropriately, humor can also be dangerous,
  59. The selection of a theme aids us in understanding the nucleus of the argument and creates a mental image more moving than all the words we so carefully choose to describe it.
  60. The magic, the Joy of preparation: Ah, preparation! There is where the magic begins! Yet young lawyers seem disappointed when I tell them so. They yearn for an easy formula that will permit them to bypass the stodgy stuff called work. I wish I could explain to them that true preparation is not work. It is the joy of creating. Preparation is wading into life, languishing in it, rolling in it, embracing it, smearing it over one’s self, living it. I doubt you could have gotten Mozart to admit he ever worked. But his life, his breath, was his music. His argument, rendered with immortal notes, was the product of intense preparation—preparation that consumed him every day of his life. I would rather be a regular person who has eloquently prepared than a person with an extraordinarily high IQ who hasn’t been bright enough to prepare. Preparation is simply the nourishment of the heart zone. At last, genius is not some fortunate arrangement of brain cells. Genius is energy, only directed energy. Genius is preparation. I do not work when I prepare my arguments. I am not working as I write this. I am in play. I am my child when I prepare. As child, I never tire of my play. As child I am self-centered, focused—greedy for the pleasure of my play. As child I am enthralled, delighted, curious, joyous, excited like bees and butterflies and birds busy in the business of play.
  61. My opponent, of course, did not understand preparation. He mistook me for a Svengali. He had prepared to attack me rather than to learn and prepare his own case. He had little idea of the weeks, indeed, sometimes the months that I spend in lonely isolation preparing my case. What he saw, without knowing it, was a lawyer who had been freed by acquiring a fund of eloquently prepared facts.
  62. I visualize my arguments: I don’t intellectualize them. I don’t choose the intellectual words like, “My client suffered grave emotional distress as a result of the evil fraud committed against him by the defendant bank.” Instead, in my mind’s eye I see my client coming home at night and I tell the story: “I see Joe Radovick trudging home at night to face a heap of unpaid bills sitting on the kitchen table. Nothing but the cold bills greets him in that cold, empty place, the pipes frozen, the heat turned off by the power company. I see my client, a tired man, worn-out, exhausted, a man without a penny, without pride, without hope. An empty man. The bank had it all. Even all of Joe Radovick.” By visualizing the argument in human terms, we tune in to the power of the heart zone and avoid dull and empty abstractions. Abstractions are on a second level, a level beyond the action.
  63. Stick with the action—avoid the abstraction, that is the rule. When you prepare your argument, ask, “Am I abstracting or am I showing and telling as we once learned to do as children?” Remember, the power of the story is in its ability to create action, and to avoid abstraction. When someone abstracts in his argument to me, it requires me to supply the mental images on my own. Often I do not understand the abstraction sufficiently to create a mental image. Often I do not care. Often the words pass through my ears without leaving a trace.
  64. Concession is a proper method both to establish credibility, as we have already seen, and to structure a successful argument successfully. I always concede at the outset whatever is true even if it is detrimental to my argument. Be up-front with the facts that confront you. A concession coming from your mouth is not nearly as hurtful as an exposure coming from your opponent’s. We can be forgiven for a wrongdoing we have committed. We cannot be forgiven for a wrongdoing we have committed and tried to cover up. A point against us can be confessed and minimized, conceded and explained. The Other will hear us if the concession comes from us. But the Other retains little patience for hearing our explanations after we have been exposed. Presidents should learn this simple rule. Nixon could have avoided Watergate by simply admitting, “I knew about this whole messy thing. It got out of hand when zealous people, who believed in me, did the wrong thing. I wish to God it had never happened. I hope the American people will forgive me.”
  65. Empowering of the Other to accept or reject our arguments removes the Other’s fear, the fear that always defeats us.
  66. The chairman had introduced me simply by saying, “Here, in the flesh, is a living, breathing enemy of free speech, one who, by contagious hyperbole, was able to talk a jury into foregoing our sacred rights to free speech and to thereafter award his client twenty-five million dollars in damages for her alleged hurt feelings. That’s justice, right? Well, ladies and gentlemen, here is the man who knows how to butcher the First Amendment, Mr. Gerry Spence.” I stepped to the lectern and looked over a silent, hostile crowd. I felt like I had been accused of raping Little Red Riding Hood and was facing the lynch mob just before the hanging. I waited. Nothing. I waited some more. Nothing. Then I said, “Well, fuck you, too.” With that, the audience burst into great laughter. Some began to applaud, and the ice was broken. My having told the audience exactly how I felt—the truth—permitted us to breach the gap, to relate to each other, after which the audience was able to conclude that my suit against Penthouse had not been an assault on the First Amendment after all, but one to obtain justice for an abuse of the First Amendment by Penthouse for its profit.
  67. To open the Other to your argument, tell the truth. Be yourself. That’s enough.
  68. The voice plays the music of the soul. Listen to the sounds people make when they speak—only the sounds. Listen to the sounds made by your wife, by your children. Listen to the sounds made by the boss, by your colleagues, your husband. Listen to the sound of television announcers, to the preachers, to actors. Listen, not to the words, but to the sounds, and you will discover something of the person who is playing the instrument. The voice reveals who we are and how we are more than the words we choose.
  69. Charisma is energy, energy from the heart zone. If the speaker has no feeling, he has nothing to transfer and hence he cannot create charisma. We shall endure, instead, only his dead sounds, or the sound of the trained television voice that is little better than dead. Charisma occurs when the speaker’s feelings are transferred in their purest form to the Other. Charisma is not diluted feeling. It is not disguised. It is raw feeling. Charisma is the passing of our pure energy, our pure passion, to the Other.
  70. One word spoken after the argument is complete can destroy the argument. We must know when to stop.
  71. How do we express out of our hearts the feelings suffered by another? There is a cold intellectual word for it. It is called empathy. I call it crawling into the hide of the Other.
  72. The power of love, of understanding, of being able to feel the feelings of the Other vests us with a much greater power than the more common ability to attack. Love is power. Understanding is power. Feeling is power. But one cannot feel as the other must feel without first being exquisitely aware of one’s own feelings. It all begins with us. With our feeling.
  73. People who are telling the truth are not as concerned with making pretty phrases as they are with letting their souls run free. Concentrated on their feelings, people who are telling the truth speak from the heart, which is incapable of composing the precise linear thought of a plodding brain. And hearing stuff from the heart, the listener is called to listen from the listener’s heart as well.
  74. Final arguments should be stories, not strategies.
  75. Two simple elements are necessary: the first, preparation, which we have already explored in Chapter 8; and the second, mustering the courage to give one’s self over to the magical power of the self.
  76. I speak of my own feelings. I say, “Judge, I feel helpless. I don’t know how to proceed. I wish I didn’t feel so intimidated. I wish I didn’t feel so ashamed.” Magically, having faced my feelings, I no longer feel so intimidated or ashamed. At first the response of the judge may be even more caustic, but the issue is not the judge’s feelings but my own, for it is I, not the judge, who must break free.
  77. If our audience speaks and understands only English, we would be foolish to attempt a winning argument in Latin. Why then would we choose to speak to the Other with a different language from the language employed by the Other in making his decision? Why would we choose to speak to the Other in head language when the Other’s decision is always made out of the heart zone?
  78. For me, truth begins to reveal itself only in proportion to my ability to discard all that has heretofore been presented to me as true.
  79. I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.
  80. Bragging is a standard symptom of insecurity, and threatening is a universal display of weakness. The strong do not threaten. They need not.
  81. When does one attack? Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, declares, “Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack. One defends when his strength is inadequate; he attacks when it is abundant.
  82. And the attack must always be fair. Fairness is the tiny voice that thunders from behind every argument.
  83. Two worlds always exist: one is the world that is apparent, the one we see, the bare facts; the other is the world we do not see, a world that is personal, sometimes secret, the world in which the respondent lives and acts. In defending the actions of one who wears the black hat, we must discover that world, understand it and reveal it.
  84. Here are the ten elements that make up the great power argument.
  85. Prepare. Prepare until we have become the argument. Prepare until you know every scale on the hide of the fish. Having prepared, next understand that good preparation is like writing a script for a screenplay. Proper preparation requires one to tell the story and to assign roles to the parties. Cast your side as the good guys, as the side that is unjustly accused, wrongly despised, gravely misunderstood. Cast your side as the underdog. And, when those for whom we argue cannot wear the white hat, argue their case from inside their hides. 2. Open the Other to receive your argument. You have already learned how: empower the other to receive or reject your argument. 3. Give the argument in the form of story.
  86. Tell the truth. With ordinary words you have learned the incredible power of credibility. Being who you are is powerful. Saying how you feel is powerful. To be open and real and afraid, if you are afraid, is powerful.
  87. Tell the Other what you want. If you are arguing before a jury for money, ask for money.
  88. Avoid sarcasm, scorn, and ridicule. Use humor cautiously. Hold back insult. No one admires the cynic, the scoffer, the mocker, the small, and the petty. Giving respect to one’s opponent elevates us. Those who insult and slight do so from low places.
  89. Logic is power. If logic is on your side, ride it—ride it all the way. If logic is not on your side, if logic leads to an unjust result, it will have no power. As Samuel
  90. Do not give up creativity for logic. However, the creative mind will soon see that creativity is often served by logic.
  91. Action and winning are brothers. The worst of head-on attacks is often better than the most sophisticated defense. Never permit your opponent to take control. Do not defend when you can attack. Counterpunching is for boxers, and counterpunchers most often lose. The great champions of the world take control. The great generals attack first, and attack again. Take the initiative. Do something. But with those we love, the best attack is often to attack with love, and, as we shall see, winning is often accomplished by the art of losing.
  92. Admit at the outset the weak points in your argument. You can expose your weaknesses in a better light than your opponent, who will expose them in the darkest possible way. An honest admission, having come from you, not only endows you with credibility, it also leaves your opponent with nothing to say except what you have already admitted.
  93. Understand your power. Give yourself permission—only to win. But remember, arrogance, insolence, and stupidity are close relatives. Take the winning stance. Turn on the Magical Argument. Open up and let the magic out. Trust it. Take the risk. Jump.
  94. All power arguments should begin from a position of power. By power, as I use it here, I mean the argument must begin from a position that generates acceptance or approval. We must be right, or justice must be on our side, or we must be the fighting underdog seeking redemption, or we must be the victim who struggles, smiling through our tears. We must evoke admiration, at least respect, at least understanding, at least sympathy—the latter being the weakest of the power positions. (I often say to a jury, “Do not give my client sympathy. He does not want sympathy. He asks for your understanding. He asks for justice—not sympathy.”)
  95. Let Jimmy make this right. Let Jimmy learn and grow from this. Give Jimmy another chance. You won’t be sorry.” This close openly empowers the board. It beseeches power. It is not arrogant. It permits the board to do what the speaker has asked for, and in doing so, the board can feel good about what it has done. We all want to feel good about what we do. The argument addresses the feelings of the board in a simple but direct way. The argument will win.
  96. once inside the hide of the respondent we begin to care, and as we begin to care we also acquire the power to cause others to care. The power of empathy is nearly invincible. AND
  97. Understanding that the nature of the love relationship, we also understand that all attempts to exert power over the Other are assaults on the relationship that put the relationship at risk, for when the self is diminished, so is the relationship diminished. To the extent that one wins this battle, to the extent that the Other submits, to that extent one has, paradoxically, lost.
  98. First, we want to love and to be loved, do we not? We want to be happy; we want to be secure. We want to grow, to discover. The love relationship is the garden in which we plant, cultivate, and harvest the most precious of crops, ourselves, and in which the Other is provided the same rich soil from which to grow and to bloom. If this is what we want, only a fool would diminish its prodigious possibilities by attempting to control the relationship, for control and love, indeed, control and a successful relationship, are antithetical.
  99. To excel in the art of domestic argument, one must master the art of losing.
  100. But control in marriage has nothing to do with ability or success or even manliness. Strangely, it is the opposite. Everything in the love relationship mysteriously works in opposites.
  101. Modern psychologists are taken with the paradigm of the “win-win” solution. In marriage, the solutions are more a “lose-lose” solution out of which both parties win, for in the love configuration losing provides the gift, the gift that always returns.
  102. Yet, in forty years I have never once cursed a judge. I have never once been held in contempt. I have never lost it. Why? Is it because I exhibit such extraordinary self-control? I think not. The reason I have never slipped over the edge is because I know better. I know that if I slip over the edge I will pay the price, and the price will not be worth it. I never felt the urge to take up residence in the county jail.
  103. The winning response when one is hurt is to acknowledge it and communicate it: It is the winning response because it is honest and tends to stop the progression of injury begetting injury. Exposing one’s “tenders,” becoming vulnerable to the Other, is, strangely, the best argument, the most effective way to obtain from the relationship what one wants.
  104. It was only when I realized many years later that I was in some ways a miserable failure as a parent that I began learning how to become a better one. I watched my wife Imaging. Her view of her two boys was different from my approach to child rearing. She saw her children as individuals who were fully entitled to her respect—even as infants. She listened to them. She trusted them. She gave them freedom. She never nagged them—never once did I hear her tell them to pick up their room or do their homework or mow the lawn. As a matter of fact, she wouldn’t let them mow the lawn, which resulted in their demanding the right to do so. As the important issues of their lives arose, she made room for them to make their own decisions. I found the dynamic fascinating. The more she trusted her children, the more trustworthy they became. The key to the parent-child relationship is respect. It is not enough merely to love a child. We commit the most heinous wrongs in the name of love. Most child abuse is perpetrated under the guise of love: “I punish you in this fiendish fashion only because I love you.” “This hurts me worse than it does you.” I saw Imaging treating her children as friends.
  105. The parent-child mirror: In the days of my early parenthood, I had not learned that a relationship is always a mirror—that children cannot respect us if we do not respect them—that if we use power against our children our children will use power, sometimes in perverted forms, in return. I had not yet learned that if we treat our children as friends they will treat us in kind. We do not use power on friends. We do not manipulate or punish friends. We trust friends, love friends, and help friends. We accept friends for who they are. We do not try to change friends. We do not try to mold friends into our own image. We do not punish friends for possessing the same instincts, the same raw desires, the same frailties we possess. Would that we treated our children as friends. Instead we demand that our children, as children, conform to standards we as adults have never been able to meet.
  106. Good parenting opens minds. Good parenting encourages children to ask questions and provides the child with a guilt-free environment in which to bud and bloom.
  107. Moral values are taught by example. They are taught by a mother such as mine, who during the depression years always shared the little we had with less fortunate neighbors.
  108. I believe that much of today’s crime is also a function of space. We cannot pack a dozen young rats in a concrete shoebox without their attacking and killing each other. We cannot pack millions of our young into the concrete boxes of our cities without expecting them to lash out in pain and anger and violence.
  109. The problem is, of course, that there are sides. The problem is that there is argument. The cure is for the parent to get on the side of the child, to argue for the child, and to end, forever, the war. Otherwise the parents’ argument is but the further presentation of power, and the child’s argument is not argument, but rebellion against power. Power against power, that is the definition of war.
  110. The argument with children is won many years before adolescence sets in. It is won with unconditional love, with respect, and with trust. It is won by having been the child’s advocate, the child’s friend from the beginning, without having expected anything in return. It is not a conditional love given with the expectation of future compliance or submission. It is an unconditional love that is experienced by the child whether the child responds as the parent may desire or not. It is a love that takes the risk of loving without expectation of anything in return. Between parent and child, love begets love, and power begets monsters.
  111. Perhaps I learned that children know the difference between right and wrong, that they do not need to be punished for wrongs they did not intend to commit, and that the wrong itself contains its own punishment. My father was a very wise man. He understood children.
  112. Work teaches children more about themselves than any activity I know, other than play. For myself, I was never forced to work. I was simply never given anything but a minimal allowance. I needed more money than my parents provided and found work an adventure.
  113. If you want her to hate you, force her to obey you. Force and hate are twins.
  114. Parents must rear their children toward that one day when the child begins to seek his or her freedom, when the insect, whether an ugly moth or a beautiful butterfly, seeks to abandon the cocoon. During the years between infancy and adolescence, the winning argument will have already been made. The winning argument will have been love; the losing argument, discipline. The winning argument will have been respect; the losing argument, manipulation. The winning argument will have been honesty; the losing argument, hypocrisy. The winning argument will have been freedom; the losing argument, control. If the child has been afforded winning arguments during the child’s lifetime, there is little against which the adolescent can revolt. The child will spring forth into the world with joy, not hate; with respect and love, not fury and violence. To give to the world a child who is capable of joyously blooming is the gift of the successful parent.
  115. If the boss respects us, he will pay us a fair wage, provide us ample security, and furnish us with safe and comfortable working conditions. He will listen to what we have to say, implement our ideas, and encourage our creativity. Respect. That is all we want—that the boss will not view us as disposable commodities, as a bag of rags to use to wipe the grease off the engines, and, when we are used up, discard us; that at the workplace we will not become the breathing dead; that at the workplace, despite what we think, what we do, or how hard we work, we do not become nameless, faceless units of labor; that the boss will not refer to us as “bodies” and see us as bodies.
  116. Before the pollution can be stopped, the directors must, of course, learn of the pollution. This may never happen, for there is an indigenous corporate phenomenon concerning bad news. Bad news weighs a lot, and as a consequence bad news does not tend to filter upward.
  117. The more one seeks security the less secure one will be. And further: The more security one appears to acquire, the less security one actually possesses.
  118. The ultimate security in the corporate milieu or elsewhere, anywhere, is the self. I say it again. The self is the source of all security, not the boss, not the corporation, not the pension plan, but the self.

What I got out of it

  1. A beautiful look into how Gerry Spence argues, thinks about arguing, and why he argues. Interesting to think that arguing is a “duty” when we witness an injustice, as a way to sharpen our thinking, or as a way of passing on knowledge