Days x X = Life

 The way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives.

– Annie Dillard

 What you are is what you have been, and what you will be is what you do now.

– The Buddha

Busy, yes, realizing our potential in modern society

A …group of economists challenges the Keynesian presumption that leisure is preferable to labor. In the view of Edward Phelps of Columbia University, a career provides “most, if not all of the attainable self-realization in modern societies.”  Richard Freedman, of Harvard, is, if possible more emphatic.  “Hard work is the only way forward,” he writes. ” There is so much to learn and produce and improve that we should not spend more than a dribble of time living as if we were in Eden.  Grandchildren, keep trucking.”

From “No Time: How did we get so busy,” the book review column, The New Yorker, May 26, 2014, by Elizabeth Kolbert

Step back and see


I hired really good people and paid them top wages. I made sure we were all very much involved, but I was also able to step out and watch the operation from the other side of the window.

Mario Batali, Interviewed by Katherine Bell for Harvard Business Review

Purpose-driven career requires courage and fortitude


Quote of the Week: Last week, when [The Drucker Exchange] asked about the importance of purpose in a career, reader Anthony Ghosn had this to say:

The challenge is that the individual power [of a purpose-driven leader] is a threat to the shallow management and executive control that we have all experienced in organizational behavior through executives driven by fear and short-sighted initiatives.The real breakthrough is when the organizational leader unleashes the power of purpose-driven aspirations.

The leader that can stand back, let go and watch the power of a collective purpose-driven organization will realize unmatched success. It is a balancing act, and this approach requires fortitude and courage, but many organizations have succeeded and have sustainable organizational models with ‘purpose’ as an underlying and guiding principle.

via What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading | The Drucker Exchange | Daily Blog by The Drucker Institute.

Leadership Lessons: Francis Ford Coppola


If my intuition doesn’t give me an answer [to the question how to get past a creative obstacle], I have a little exercise: What’s the theme in a word or two?  In The Conversation, it was privacy.  In The Godfather, it was succession. If you have that word, then when you reach an impasse, you say, “Well, what does the theme tell me?” And usually that will suggest to you which way to go and break the roadblock.

Francis Ford Coppola, interviewed by Allison Beard for Harvard Business Review

Leadership Lessons: Cat Stevens


Yusef Islam, rocker

“I’m not happy about the part of entering the [Rock and Roll] Hall of Fame that means I’m entering history.  What I’m happy about is that I’m bursting with music — my new album is very bluesy, actually.  I’m singing again because it’s the best way to communicate without politics, without all this mess!”  He gestured toward the window, beyond which lay all his past incarnations and impediments. “And because your identity is the thing you never stop becoming.”

Yusef Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, in The New Yorker (interviewed by Tad Friend)

Leadership Lessons: Quotes


I feel powerless all the time but I regain my energy by making a very small difference that won’t cost me much.  I think many people give up because they don’t know how to change just a little bit to reach a better position.

Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist, interviewed by Brook Larmer, Harvard Business School