Archives: April 2010

New Audio Read by Tom

Tom read The Little BIG Things for the audio version. We are posting one section at a time of audio files on our book page. Today's section is "Others," which follows "Self" in the text. In other words, first Tom gave ideas for working on yourself to improve your own business performance, and next he gave ideas for how to treat others to the same end. I think the titles of the entries in the "Others" section tell a great deal of the story, but you might want to listen to the audio items to get more of it.

#27. Kindness Is Free!
#28. Civil! Civil! Civil!
#29. Listen to Ann—and "Act Accordingly."
#30. "Being There." (Or: How I Learned First Principles from My Grandfather's Last Rites.)
#31. Appreciating the Great Battle: A Case for Consideration.
#32. Thoughtfulness Is Free (or Close Thereto).

Excellence: On Enterprise

In a new video from The Little Big Things Video Series, Tom defines the aspiration of organizations. After all, "organizations exist for one and only one reason, and that is to be of service."

Please watch the video. [Time: 2 minutes, 26 seconds]

[A PDF transcript of the video's content is also available: Excellence: On Enterprise.]

Cool Friend #147: Joy Panos Stauber

Erik Hansen, our Cool Friend interviewer (among the many other hats he wears), recently chatted with Joy Panos Stauber, the woman behind our beautiful banners. They covered design, being a designer, and of particular interest, the design of Tom's new book, The Little BIG Things, which Joy had a significant hand in. You can read the interview here and find out more about Joy here.

Cool Friend News

Our Cool Friends are always moving and shaking. Here are a few things they've been up to lately:

Sylvia Ann Hewlett just published a study through the Harvard Business Review called "The Globe: The Battle for Female Talent in Emerging Markets."

Lior Arussy has a new book, Customer Experience Strategy: The Complete Guide From Innovation to Execution. Sally Helgesen's new book, The Female Vision: Women's Real Power at Work, will be coming out in June.

Charles H. Green interviewed Chris Brogan and we think you'll enjoy reading it.

Brand You: Build Your Legacy

In the latest installment from The Little Big Things Video Series, Tom asks, "What will your legacy be from today?"

You can watch the video here, or click on the video window in the right column of this page. [Time: 2 minutes, 5 seconds]

[A PDF transcript of the video's content is also available: Brand You: Legacy.]

Been Hacked? There's Hope.

[Our guest blogger is John O'Leary. It seems Erik called him upon receiving spam from John's email address. The conversation led to this idea. The post is a re-blog from John's website.]

One nice thing about being repeatedly hacked in your email and social networking accounts is hearing back from old friends and business colleagues you haven't been in touch with for years! I'm sure you can relate. In my case I can't say that everyone on my spammed contact list has been entirely pleased to hear from me—or who they thought was me—but amazingly many of them have taken the bait. It appears that hundreds of folks are now wondering how I've been able to start so many multi-million-dollar home businesses this year AND successfully sell cheap meds on the side (while maintaining a consulting practice). Well, I've decided to exploit this opportunity and share my trade secrets in a new book I'm working on: How *YOU* Can Make Millions From Getting Hacked & Spammed in Your Spare Time. (The first step is: Don't give up that AOL account.) Subtitle: Business Lessons From Viagra.


This really great review of The Little BIG Things showed up in our Google alerts yesterday. Ian Paul Marshall, who posted it on his personal development blog, gets our thanks!

Antidote to iPad Frenzy


iPads. iPhones. iPods. Blackberrys. SM. "60/60/24/7."

And Spring:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep and cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to wait until her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davies
from The Nation's Favourite Poems*

(*The BBC had a contest to select Britain's favorite poems. The cynics assumed that the riffraff would choose mindless jingles. Instead the winners were thoughtful and powerful, Mr. Davies' verses among them.)

(The photo credit goes to me, he said immodestly. And Sony's dinky little camera!!)

I'm Not Making This Up!


Doubtless, despite the passage of 67 years, I'm still naïve. That's what I decided as I dove into Eamon Javers' Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage.

Of course I know about private security firms. Among other things, one of my Cornell classmates was Jules Kroll, founder of Kroll Associates. His shop, since sold, was perhaps the most powerful in a now enormous industry.

But on the second page of the prologue I found the following, which I literally read with my mouth agape:

"Day and his employees [at Diligence] had run a months-long covert undercover operation designed to penetrate the offices of KPMG, the global accounting giant. They'd done it on behalf of a Washington lobbying firm that was in turn working for a company controlled by one of Russia's most powerful oligarchs. And they'd gotten caught."

(A KPMG employee that Diligence "turned," after painstaking research, by appealing to his patriotism, regularly used the likes of dead drops and other accoutrements of the espionage trade. And there are all the bits about tag team efforts to follow someone, and of course follower v. follower, that equal Le Carré's world of Smiley.)

I've only advanced to page 16, thanks to that rarity among rarities, an on-time doctor's appointment. The book is a no-baloney "page turner," and I (VERY) highly recommend it for fun or to stoke your mind.

(Above: Cow. Vermont. I loved the pose so much that I risked life and limb to take the photo.)


If I had a Worst Instructions & Controls award, it would have to be retired courtesy my hotel-room bedside clock radio, otherwise known as XtremeMac. The following was on the top of the clock in fine print, to guide one through the process of setting the alarm:

  1. Press and hold the "Alarm 1" or "Alarm 2" button until "Alarm Time" appears on the display. Press the "Settings" knob and the alarm hour will blink.
  2. Rotate the "Settings" knob to change the hour and press to set.
  3. Rotate the "Settings" knob to change the minutes and press to set.
  4. Rotate the "Settings" knob until "Source" appears on the display and press to select iPod, buzzer, FM or AM and press to set.
  5. Rotate the "Settings" knob until "Exit" appears on the display and press to exit.

Of course it was virtually impossible to read all the gibberish that appeared on the clock's screen. Add the fact that while you were holding and pressing you could not simultaneously see what was on the screen. (At one point I was pushing and pressing and had the damn thing cradled in my lap so that I could at least partially see what I was doing.) The final indignity was that by the time you had twirled and pushed and pressed and then pressed and twirled and pushed, you had ... ZERO ... confidence that you had set the damn alarm correctly.

Excellence in design is on the tip of many a tongue.
That's great, and a monumental change in a decade.
We've come a long way.
We ain't there yet.