3 Things: Advice from 2 business eminences — plus cautionary tales from con men and music prodigies

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1. A 19-minute fire hose of advice, insights, and the occasional rant

Thirty-five years ago, Tom Peters and Bob Waterman published In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies. It was one of the most influential non-fiction books of the late 20th century — a work that birthed the category we now know as “business books.”

Last week, Tom published his latest book — The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last. It’s full of leadership maxims and workplace koans like these: 

— "Excellence is the next five minutes.”

— “Business has to give people enriching, rewarding lives or it’s simply not worth doing.” 

— “I would sooner die than work in an open office!"

— “Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes.”

I had a chance to interview Tom for the latest 1-3-20 podcast. In 19 spirited and often hilarious minutes, he outlines his view of modern business and sprays a fire hose of useful advice. 

Listen:

1-3-20 on iTunes

1-3-20 on Google Play 

1-3-20 on Stitcher

1-3-20 on SoundCloud

1-3-20 Overcast.fm

2. Amazing true stories: Con artists, dissidents, and fallen prodigies

This year I’m trying to spend far less time on social media and far more on long-form journalism. In the last few weeks, I’ve encountered four pieces that have been well worth my time and might be worth yours:

The Perfect Man Who Wasn’t — In The Atlantic, Rachel Monroe tells the story of career conman Derek Alldred, who duped dozens of women into romantic entanglements. (Read to the end of the article to discover the full extent of his persuasive powers.) 

Worst Roommate Ever — Another bizarro tale. Jamison Bachman got his kicks by answering ads from people needing roommates, pretending to be a nice guy, moving in — and then trying to force out the owner. 

House Arrest in Venezuela & Refusing to Stay Silent — As Venezuela descends into ever greater chaos and despair, its government has placed the top opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, under house arrest. But unbeknownst to authorities, Lopez spent months secretly talking to a New York Times reporter. This two-part episode from the Daily podcast is as riveting as a movie thriller. 

Redemption of a Lost Prodigy — Saul Chandler, who performed at Carnegie Hall before he turned 13, was one of the greatest young violinists the world had ever seen. But in his late teens he put away his violin and never played it again. Why? This piece will make you think deeply about talent, childhood, and what we expect of ourselves and others. 

3. A simple equation for doing good work

On the wall of my office, just in front of my desk, is a magnet I bought at the Hirshhorn Museum that’s based on an installation by the American artist Barbara Kruger.  Here it is:

BELIEF+DOUBT=SANITY.

This equation has helped me on some days. Maybe it’ll help you. (See the original here.)

PINKCAST: Life advice from Warren Buffet

In the latest Pinkcast, I tell a story about Warren Buffet and offer his quick technique for figuring out what to do with your life.

You can watch the 81-second video by clicking the link below.

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