Aristotle on virtue as a mean (4) – leaning out (or “Whose fool are you?”)

On pushing out the boat [Start here] This is quite dense, but interesting. After summarising his argument so far, Aristotle suggests that the best way to aim for the virtuous mean is to lean away (or “hold the ship out”) from the excesses or deficiencies we most naturally tend towards. This leaves us likely to err in the opposite direction,…

The competition

However well things are going, from time to time you might get worried about the competition – people who do what you do, who look like they might be doing it better or cheaper. It’s important to know what’s going on, to think about what you can learn and why. And it’s even more important to think about what it…

Overflow: a little bit extra

We all have moments where it feels like we’re running on empty, and we need other people to help us carry the load. This is a normal part of being human – but it shouldn’t be the default for most of us. It’s desirable and healthy to live (at home, at work, and elsewhere) so that in the usual run…

The Life You Can Save

Singer’s work triggered the Effective Altruism movement, and his hugely influential book is now available as a free download in multiple formats – and as an audiobook – at thelifeyoucansave.org. I’m adding it to my reading list. This interview on The Ezra Klein show is a good place to start.

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne? And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup! and surely I’ll be mine! And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne. We twa hae run about the braes, and pou’d the gowans fine; But we’ve wander’d mony a weary…

Seth Godin on the placebo effect (feat. Kevin Kelly)

In this context, the placebo effect is a metaphor for the story or the ‘show’ that you make around your work that isn’t necessary, but makes it better. The question is this: does something that makes people think your product or service is better (or more fun, or tastier) actually make it better? If what you’re doing is ethical –…

Seth Godin on creating a (generous) monopoly

Every successful business has a monopoly—a monopoly on what it makes that someone else can’t make the way they make it. That leaves out commodity businesses—people who bring coal out of the ground. I don’t think of those businesses as particularly successful. I think of them as useful. I’m glad if I need a bag of coal someone’s doing it,…

Specs, laws and floors

A spec sets standards and defines output, and laws set the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. They are indispensable, but here’s the thing: specs and laws are always floors. You can’t legislate the maximum. There is always an extra mile. There are unlimited extra miles in just about every direction. Once we’re meeting spec (within the law) and doing it consistently…

Back-to-back

Back to back meetings are a bad idea: Unless you or the chairperson is really good, you’re almost certain to be running late at the end of the first meeting. You need time – at least half an hour – to slow down, wrap up your thoughts from the old meeting, and get your head ready for the next one.…

The Toolkit – Part 1: Foundations (2)

This post is part of the working draft of the DriverlessCrocodile Toolkit (read more here). I’d love comments, links to resources related to the theme, and original contributions. Values The best exercise I know for thinking about you values comes from Stephen Covey. If you haven’t done this before, it’s worth taking his advice and taking a few minutes over…