This & That …

1. Freeze-Frame: One Minute Stress Management: A Scientifically Proven Technique for Clear Decision Making and Improved Health, by Doc Lew Childre and Bruce Cryer. I learned this technique at Canyon Ranch/Lenox MA a few years ago. And, improbable as it seems, it works—in even less than a minute, say, 30 seconds—or even 15. There may be more than you want to know in this book, and you may be skeptical—I was—but I will stick my neck out and call “it” “revolutionary;” it’s lasted over 5 years for me and gotten better with age. Works in traffic, before a speech, during a meeting when something pisses you off, in the airport when something really pisses you off, in the middle of a delicate phone call, before your next serve, before your next M&M, etc. It’s good for your professional life—and your health. (As advertised, it does take practice!)

2. As long as I’m doing “self help” (God help me), there’s a lot of wisdom in Gordon Livingston, M.D.’s Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now. E.g.: “If the map doesn’t agree with the ground, the map is wrong.” (#1.) “We are what we do.” “Our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses.” “Not all who wander are lost.” “It’s a poor idea to lie to oneself.” “Nobody likes to be told what to do.” “Of all the forms of courage, the ability to laugh is the most profoundly therapeutic.”

3. While my social views are liberal (I’d call them leave-me-the-hell-alone libertarian), my economics are unadulterated capitalist pig. They may stay that way, and probably will. Yet my entrepreneurial friend Alan Webber (Fast Company founder, TP partner in inventing “the brand called you”) got me thinking when we met in Santa Fe last week—and got me reading afterwards. So far: Peter Navarro, The Coming China Wars; and (on order from Amazon) Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Mindless capitalist pig-ism is just that … mindless. I’ve been a believer so long (35 years, I was somewhat collectivist in the 60s, not hippie, but a devotee of John Kenneth Galbraith, whom I now call “the man who got everything wrong;” now I’m true blue Hayek-ian) that I need to challenge my beliefs, rough myself up. Will let you know from time to time how it’s coming.

4. Taxachusetts. On my way back to my part-time Boston home yesterday, after a root canal, I was struck by the obvious—how damn many colleges and universities there are in this town. After the procedure I stopped at a Starbucks inside the Boston University Barnes & Noble. A few blocks later I dropped into another bookstore (true addiction), this one associated with Berklee College of Music. (Walked out with a Berklee Hockey bball cap—bball caps another addiction.) Then an optometry college. Then etc. All in the space of a 45-minute walk.

It may be Taxachussetts, but once again—three in a row since it started—Massachusetts, underpinned by Boston-Cambridge, ranked #1 on the Milken Institute’s very sophisticated evaluation-index of the U.S.’s “top technology incubators.” (FYI, Maryland, Colorado, and CA were #s 2, 3, & 4.) Tax rates or not, the joint is a/the hotbed of profitable, high-growth intellectual activity. (MA & CA account for 50% of the World’s Top Ten universities.) (Interestingly, and perhaps contrary to conventional wisdom, MA also gets very high marks on many-most social indicators, such as 2nd lowest divorce rate in the U.S.—FYI, D.C., PA, and IL #s 1, 3, 4.)

5. Kluge. Nudge. Sway. All terrific books. The world ain’t rational my friends! (Duh.) (Even the economists now agree; God may not be dead as Nietzsche predicted, but “rational man” is in the ICU and a thunderstorm just knocked out the respirator’s power.) (Godfathers of all this: Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. See: Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases by Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky.) (My pick of picks, as you probably know by now, are Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan.)