The Second Order Of Business

[Originally posted on November 16, 2006]

The following books seem to share a common mindset about the nature of modern business that represents a radical break from conventional thinking. But, what exactly *is* the common thread that ties them all together? I don’t know, but I hope that listing all their key findings here will leading to conceptual unification — what I call “Kepler’s Hedgehog.”

The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People (Stephen Covey)

* Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Vision
* Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Leadership
* Put First Things First: Principles of Personal Management
* Think Win/Win: Principles of Interpersonal Leadership
* Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
* Synergize Principles of Creative Communication
* Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal
Good to Great (Jim Collins)
* Level Five Leadership
* First Who, Then What
* The Stockdale Paradox: Confront Brutal Facts Yet Believe in Victory
* The Hedgehog Concept: A Single, Deep Understanding
* The Three Circles: Proficiency, Profit & Passion
* A Culture of Discipline
* Technique (Technology) as Accelerator
* The Flywheel and the Doom Loop
Built to Last (Jim Collins)
* Be clock-builders, not time-tellers
* Embrace the “and”, reject the “or”
* More than profits
* Walk the talk
* Preserve the core [ideology] while stimulating progress
* Never-ending process
* Build the vision (BHAG)
The Innovator’s Dilemma (Clay Christensen )
* Value Networks and the Impetus to Innovate
* What Goes Up, Can’t Go Down
* Give Responsibility for Disruptive Technologies to
* Organizations Whose Customers Need Them
* Match the Size of the Organization to the Size of the
* Market
* Discovering New and Emerging Markets
The Fifth Discipline (Peter Senge)
* Creating Learning Organizations
* Systems Thinking: Positive/Negative Feedback + Delays
* Personal Mastery: Creating Tension between Vision & Reality
* Shared Vision
* Mental Models
* Team Learning: Dialogue vs. Discussion
* Community formation: what to give, not what to get
* Learn when we have power to act, take responsibility to create
The Tipping Point (Malcom Gladwell)
* The Law of the Few: Connectors, Maven, Salesmen
* The Stickiness Factor
* The Power of Context: Broken Windows, Rule of 150
A Study of History (Arnold Toynbee)
1. Genesis: a response to “golden mean” challenges
2. Growth: following a Creative Minority
3. Time of Troubles: loss of creativity/legitimate authority
4. Universal State: Dominant Minority + Internal/External Proletariat
5. Disintegration: complete loss of central control by the State, emergence of a Church
All Marketers are Liars (Seth Godin)
* The Power of Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World
* Wants vs. Needs
* The Needle and The Vise vs. The Rattle
General Systems Theory
* reinforcing destructive vs. constructive
* balancing
* latency
Basics of the Unix Philosophy
* Rule of Modularity: Write simple parts connected by clean interfaces.
* Rule of Clarity: Clarity is better than cleverness.
* Rule of Composition: Design programs to be connected with other programs.
* Rule of Separation: Separate policy from mechanism; separate interfaces from engines.
* Rule of Simplicity: Design for simplicity; add complexity only where you must.
* Rule of Parsimony: Write a big program only when it is clear by demonstration that nothing else will do.
* Rule of Transparency: Design for visibility to make inspection and debugging easier.
* Rule of Robustness: Robustness is the child of transparency and simplicity.
* Rule of Representation: Fold knowledge into data, so program logic can be stupid and robust.
* Rule of Least Surprise: In interface design, always do the least surprising thing.
* Rule of Silence: When a program has nothing surprising to say, it should say nothing.
* Rule of Repair: Repair what you can ? but when you must fail, fail noisily and as soon as possible.
* Rule of Economy: Programmer time is expensive; conserve it in preference to machine time.
* Rule of Generation: Avoid hand-hacking; write programs to write programs when you can.
* Rule of Optimization: Prototype before polishing. Get it working before you optimize it.
* Rule of Diversity: Distrust all claims for one true way.
* Rule of Extensibility: Design for the future, because it will be here sooner than you think.
Rethinking the Social Responsibility of Business (John Mackey)
* Sustainably create value for all stakeholders
Benjamin Franklin’s Lessons for Web 2.0 (Josh Peterson)
* From Expert [back] to Amateur
* For Love and not for Money
* Learning as you go -> making [visible] mistakes is OK (increases trust)
* Work togetherJohn Maxwell: Life @ Work Tim McGuire: More than Work