Archives: January 2012


The latest installment of Tom's "Mother of All Presentations," or MOAP, is now available at You can download the PowerPoint version or a PDF. We'll be releasing a section every other week throughout 2012.

Part 4 introduces Tom's conviction that encouraging your people to make friends in other functions of the organization should be a top priority. Tom says you should reward such behavior, make it an agenda item. Download Part 4 of Tom's Mother of All Presentations, and learn how and why cross-functional socialization (read, idea-sharing) is essential to business excellence.

Race to Nowhere

Tom has said, "We tell our kids to 'be still,' then tell them to 'read history books'—which are replete (100%!) with tales of people ... who never sat still."

This is obviously not the ideal way to cultivate a talented workforce. The education system in the United States still seems to be attempting to churn out well-behaved factory workers. With the enormous pressure placed on teachers to produce sufficient test results, the classroom becomes more about test preparation than exploration and discovery. Albert Einstein, long since deceased, had this to say:

"It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry."

We recently heard from Matt Lintner, a teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia. He sent Tom his reflections on what children are learning, and not learning, in school in a piece he titled "Race to Nowhere." Tom asked Matt if we could share his thoughts with you, and Matt kindly agreed. We urge you to take a moment, read what Matt has to say, and think about what you can do to help our youth learn what truly matters. Please, fan the flames of their curiosity.

Race to Nowhere

Management guru Peter Drucker famously said, "What gets measured gets managed." But what if we're measuring the wrong things? Consider the following: you can graduate from high school with straight A's without ever having:

  1. Searched for answers to unknown questions.
  2. Budgeted your own time.
  3. Discovered what most interests you.
  4. Initiated a project requiring sustained commitment.
  5. Taken risks or experienced failure.
  6. Led a team in the pursuit of a worthy goal.
  7. Practiced consensus building or the messiness of compromise.
  8. Asserted yourself, even if it meant challenging authority.
  9. Built something of value.
  10. Created art that speaks to the soul.
  11. Explored the natural world.
  12. Interacted with people outside your age group.
  13. Volunteered substantively in your community.
  14. Apprenticed in fields of your choosing.
  15. Started a business.
  16. Traveled and gathered perspectives outside your comfort zone.
  17. Acquired practical skills like saving and investing, handling tools, programming, growing food...

Perhaps most tellingly, you never learned to say "No."

America can continue down the path of national standards, high stakes testing, longer school days, expanded calendar, merit pay, and all the rest—but none of it will cure what ills us if we're not focused on what truly matters.

Matt Lintner


Fairfax County, VA

For What It’s Worth …

I was asked to contribute (a very few words) to a family page offering words of wisdom to a graduating high school senior. That's a serious challenge—and I literally spent days on the task. Here, for better or for worse, is the result:

Rules For Living Life to the Hilt

Nothing will turn out the way you thought it would.

There is no bigger waste of time than making plans.

Any success you have will be the byproduct of having thrown yourself headlong and without reserve into what you were most passionate about—and then ridden the wave you created wherever and at whatever speed it carries you.

The greatest long term satisfaction comes from having behaved at all times with common decency.

(Above: School starts next week in New Zealand. A bit of holiday cricket on the sandy Tasman Sea beach in front of our cottage.)

Off the Cuff Series

We're happy to announce the start of our Off the Cuff video series. A few months ago we asked for you to send us questions you'd like us to ask Tom on camera. The first question was posed by longtime fan Dave Wheeler, about how it came to be that Tom realized the importance of front line supervisors. We find the timing of this particularly remarkable, since it dovetails so well with the latest part of the Mother of All Presentations released at, First-line Supervisors Rule.

RSS at

You can now subscribe via RSS to so that you're alerted as soon as a new Part of the Mother of All Presentations is released. Go to and use the little orange button at the bottom of the Slide Set list to subscribe. Happy reading!

"Tom Peters Still Rocks"

We're quite excited about the overwhelmingly positive response we've seen to our new site. We hope you're finding lots of inspiration about why you do what you do from Part 2's Moral Basis for Enterprise, and are starting to focus in on your front line supervisors after this week's release of Part 3.

Erika Andersen wrote a kind review of the site at that we think you'll enjoy reading. She talks about her first encounter with Tom through In Search of Excellence, and describes him as a "tribal elder." As 2012 marks 30 years since In Search was published, perhaps that moniker is apt.


The next installment from Tom's "Mother of All Presentations" or MOAP, at is now available. You can download the PowerPoint version or a PDF. We'll be releasing a section every other week throughout 2012.

What's Part 3 all about? Given that worker satisfaction in the job is intricately tied to worker satisfaction with their supervisor, Tom sees selecting, training, and nurturing your first-line supervisors as a mandatory strategic part of business practice. I put it mildly. Download Part 3 of Tom's Mother of All Presentations to get his take—that is, care of first-line supervisors should be an obsession.

Trustworthy Business Behavior

There are a lot of lists out there, but Tom was quite pleased to be named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. Despite occasionally referring to himself as a card-carrying capitalist pig, anyone who is familiar with Tom's work, especially his latest book, The Little BIG Things, knows how deeply entwined Tom considers decency and success.

A Traveling Banner

Tom and his wife, Susan, have fallen deeply in love with New Zealand. Each year they spend several months there. Right now, they're making their way to the near-literal antipode of Vermont to begin their 2012 respite. To celebrate, we thought you'd enjoy a New Zealand-themed banner during the time that Tom is staying there. It was designed by the talented Joy Stauber. Tom took the center photo himself.

“This Is It”
Excellence. Now.

This is it.
"It"/MOAP/Mother Of All Presentations/ took three years to write.
And 45 years of preparation.

MOAP is in effect—23 parts and 4,096 slides—"all I know."

And all yours, no strings attached, to be used as you wish and released by us at the rate of one part every two weeks until more or less the end of 2012.