With four [children] of his own, Teller declares a self-interest in how to future-proof the next generation.
“What they need to know is not a specific skill. It’s how to learn, it’s how to think. There is no skill that we could teach them that I have any confidence will be relevant by the time they’re professionals, except the ability to think critically and the desire to be a lifelong learner.”
And does our education system teach those skills?
“Nope,” he shoots back. “I’m sorry, I wish I could say something more positive.”
— Astro Teller, Google X and why moonshots matter
Before you read The Art of War, Hagakure, Book of Five Rings or Tao Te Ching, as they relate to management, read Ray Dalio’s Principles. Then as he suggests, “think for yourself—to decide 1) what you want, 2) what is true and 3) what to do about it.”
Principles are concepts that can be applied over and over again in similar circumstances as distinct from narrow answers to specific questions. Every game has principles that successful players master to achieve winning results. So does life.
Principles are ways of successfully dealing with the laws of nature or the laws of life. Those who understand more of them and understand them well know how to interact with the world more effectively than those who know fewer of them or know them less well.
Different principles apply to different aspects of life—e.g., there are “skiing principles” for skiing, “parenting principles” for parenting, “management principles” for managing, “investment principles” for investing, etc—and there are over-arching “life principles” that influence our approaches to all things.
And, of course, different people subscribe to different principles that they believe work best.
— Ray Dalio, Principles
Sunzi’s Art of War has been a strategic inspiration for Western biz types for many years. Yet strategy without knowing how to conduct oneself in “battle” is of no use. Sunzi says:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Hagakure and Go Rin No Sho teach us how to behave in matters of such engagement, while Tao Te Ching is a path to finding the Way.
In a change of direction for my blog, I look forward to sharing my faves from these and similar books. They teach us a lot about the Art of Management.
The question I would have asked Mark Zuckerberg if I was attending the townhall he recently hosted: how much do you think Twitter’s problems are driven by the fact that Wall Street (and other investors) judge a CEO differently from a strong founder.
— Om Malik via Facebook
Writing “the fact that” doesn’t automagically make anything fact. Does Wall Street really judge founder CEOs differently to non-founder CEOs? I don’t know, but I do know short-term results interest the Street and that they don’t really care who delivers them.
The advantage founder CEO’s have is that they can choose to ignore Wall Street (up to a point). Zuckerberg’s response says as much:
I don’t think there’s anything that makes founders intrinsically better at running companies than non-founder CEOs. There are plenty of good leaders who are both.
That said, there are certain structural advantages that founders may have that can make their jobs easier than those of non-founder CEOs — including extra social capital within a company and control of company governance.
The remainder of Zuckerberg’s (erudite) response is worth reading.