Thinking

Inside Bill’s Brain is a documentary series that invites us to see how Bill Gates thinks. Among the more remarkable practices is his long standing “think weeks,” where perplexed by a particular problem, he loads up a bag of books on that topic and takes off to a secluded cabin where he just thinks about that issue. Returning hopefully with a deeper understanding, a plan of action, perhaps even some solutions worthy of exploration.…


Investments

Two weeks ago my daughter asked me for some help on a school math assignment. She was given an imaginary $100,000 to invest in ten stocks and track how they performed over the course of two weeks.

In selecting her stocks, she picked things she believed in or liked. She likes to listen to music, so she chose Spotify. She loves to read, so she chose Scholastic.…


Open?

There has been a lot of talk and some action about “opening” lately.  Most of it has been focused on opening the economy, or more specifically businesses.  Some are clamoring to get back to life “as normal” while others are concerned that such a move would endanger our individual and collective health. This debate, if you want to call it that, is taking different shapes depending upon circumstance, geography and is greatly affected by leadership of lack thereof.…


What are you doing with your money…?

Whether you are an individual giving $50 to a small charity or a philanthropist giving $5 million to a large non-profit, how you look at this transfer of funds says a lot.
 
Are you giving it away or buying impact?
 
In the former, the agency is with the donor. Their giving assumes altruism or largesse. They have the power, control and responsibility.
 
In the latter, the agency is shared.…


Could this be the best way to reduce stress?

While watching the Red Sox get shellacked by the Seattle Mariners on Opening Day, I grew so stressed that I decided to hit pause, record the rest of the game and turn my attention to something, anything else on TV.

Appropriately enough, the documentary One Nation Under Stress was on HBO. My first inclination was to take a hard pass. The title itself sounded stressful. Upon second thought, I decided I would watch for a few minutes and an hour later was glad I did.…


How open minded are you?

Most people probably consider themselves open-minded.  Especially considering the connotations with being the alternative.
 
Yet as I learned in reading David Epstein’s book, Range:  Why Generalist Triumph in a Specialized World, open-minded isn’t simply a passive way of being but an active way of thinking. (The book refers to the work of psychologist Jonathan Baron who coined the term “active open-mindedness.”)
 
When given the choice, our natural inclination is to seek out information that confirms our own beliefs, expertise or intentions – rather than searching out information to that may challenge them.…


The Hidden Costs in Your Shopping Cart

It’s hard to argue with the convenience shopping carts have added to our shopping experience. But upon further inspection this seemingly innocuous invention may be both a cause and symptom of some of society’s gravest ills.

In 1937, Sylvan Goldman the owner of Humpty Dumpty grocery stores in Oklahoma created the first shopping cart by attaching wheels and two shopping baskets to a chair. His goal wasn’t shopper convenience but a desire for people to be able to carry more groceries around and out of his stores.…


What You Can Learn From 2 Bankers Named George

Two of the most beloved family movies of all-time focus on a banker named George.

I’ll give you a moment to see if you can guess either or both.

The first, George Banks, works for Fidelity Fiduciary Bank in London. His job is securing investments from customers whose money can help build “railways through Africa, dams across the Nile, fleets of ocean greyhounds, majestic, self-amortizing canals, plantations of ripening tea.” …


Losing When You Win

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were the fiercest competitors but always respectful of each other’s talent and drive – whether in victory or defeat. By the end of their playing careers, they had become close friends.

Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have formed one of the most unique political friendships in our history. The foundation of which was laid, according to Bush, with how Clinton was humble after the 1988 election, “choosing not to lord his victory over Dad.”…