My Writing

My Writing

I get my best ideas from listening to people. Fortunately, that’s my job.

I like to say that people are my library, and my daily writing practice is a way to discover what’s in it: new ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little whimsy for good measure.  As your humble librarian I invite you to check out a new idea every day. No late fees ever.


Leadership and Resilience

“If you want to be resilient, find the right amount of generosity and authenticity and grit.” 

This from Adam Grant, author of Give and Take and a featured Paradigm Smasher on this site, in a commencement speech he gave this year. When Adam gave this speech in May 2017, he and Sheryl Sandberg had just published Option B, a book centreed around resilience. In Give and Take, he talks about how the most successful leaders are “Givers”, and at the same time they set boundaries, they find a balance.

It is key to recognise that, despite the typical desire of “Givers” to be loved, it is dangerous and ineffective if they (ok “we”, I hold a mirror up to myself on this one!) allow themselves to become a “doormat”, to focus too much on pleasing people by giving without consideration for self. Giving without limits can create burnout, or, to be clearer and more direct, mental distress and mental health trauma. (more…)

If it looks like a tulip..

On October 23rd, I wrote “What a fool believes about Bitcoin“. Quoting the Doobie Brothers : “But what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away”

Price of Bitcoin on October 23rd ? ~$6,000

On November 23rd, I wrote : “Avoiding group think – Ipcha Mistabra“. In this I reference the Talmudic phrase in Aramaic : “Ipcha Mistabra”, translated as: “on the contrary, it appears that”.

Price of Bitcoin on November 23rd ? ~$8000

Today ?

Price of Bitcoin on December 10th ? ~$16000

I love observing events and behaviours, then asking questions or posing puzzles to myself to then seek answers to. I tend to start by looking at what thinkers and researchers I respect are saying. In this case, here is something Ian Bremmer (a very, very smart person!) posted on Friday December 8th.

bitcoin and tulips

“The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour” ~ Mark Twain

When Ian Bremmer posted his charts side by side, it was without comment.

The time for comment on the bubble is past.

I’m simply posting this on Sunday December 10th to mark the date.


“Ah, but this is different !”

~ every taxi and uber driver in London I’ve spoken to who is “investing” in Bitcoin


To which I don’t, but could say, “Ipcha Mistabra – on the contrary, it appears that”

Oh, and I do close by reinforcing that I do strongly believe that Blockchain is going to be responsible for truly #SmashingParadigms as we enter the age of Distributed Trust. Bitcoin though ? If it looks like a tulip….

This might work – flying close to the sun

Five years ago, Seth Godin published the Icarus Deception, his most personal, and, I would argue, most impactful work.


Actually, he really published it over six months earlier, when he wrote a blog called “this might work” in which he launched a Kickstarter to crowdfund the publication. I was one of the many disciples who made it a massively successful Kickstarter and turned “might” into “did”. This did work. (more…)

Movies with meaning 3

{a weekly series – welcome guest contributions such as “Movies with Meaning 2“, a guest contribution from a twitter conversation with my friend Jacob Aldridge. This week some other contributors from Twitter too. Do share your ideas and share on twitter too}

A reminder of our format  :

  • Three movies with meaning
  • One sentence on the core meaning you take from it
  • Send me a link to a YouTube clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning

WARNING : Many of these include spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movies…

So, here we go for this week :

Interstellar (2014)

“about time and making the most of it” ~ anonymous

After Cooper wastes a few short hours on a watery planet with an immense gravitational field, the relativity of time means he has lost decades. He gets back to the spacecraft and feels the enormity of losing 23 years as he watches the messages from his family.

Make the most of our time. Never settle.


To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) :

 @MickPuck : “racism is s***e”

The movie of the book every child in Britain read at school in my era. Beautifully concise meaning in the movie from one of my musical heroes


Horton hears a Who (2008) :

@MarlaDukharan : “vested interests & deeply entrenched norms/ societal structures can only temporarily stall genuine progress. Small is still important!”

{Tom : “a person’s a person, no matter how small” Equality respects differences. }



Books I Love – Give and Take by Adam Grant


Recently I wrote a post called “What do you do ?“, where I voiced some frustration at the emptiness of the energy behind the question people always ask in London when they meet someone for the first time.

Contemplating this, I realising that “what I do” is look for ways to help others. I have interesting conversations with interesting people, explore, flow, and always look to find some way to be of value to them, whether it is by co-creating with them, or perhaps by connecting or introducing  them to an idea, person, concept, story or simply a book.

Sometimes after I explain this people look, then ask again: “yes, but what do you DO?”, meaning what do I do to earn money in the world and how to you go about it.

That one I find more difficult. Yes, I work 1:1 with leaders as a sounding board, and currently I’m super excited to be launching a peer group to scale that further than the 1:1. However, where do those people come from ? That is where people can get confused. You see, I simply go out in the world looking to help people and everything seem to work out from there.

This seems to intrigue people, so then I remembered Adam Grant’s book “Give and Take” and have been recommending it often ! (more…)

Favourite quote – Our deepest fear


Yesterday I wrote about flipping procrastination and fear into growth.

This reminded me of probably my favourite quote of all time. Given how many quotes I love, the fact that this one stands above all others says a lot to and about me.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson


Flip procrastination and fear to growth


Ok, ok, so I prefer ‘Do, or do not, there is no try”. However, though I aspire to be Yoda-like, sometimes my humanity takes the form of procrastination.

I don’t write every day for the daily posts here, I post every day. Big difference. I reserve time for writing. When I am in flow it is wonderful, sometimes sitting for hours and writing 4, 6, even as many as 8 posts at one time. Forgetting to eat, realising I’m sitting in the dark, totally in “Flow”.

The thing is, sometimes I get deep into procrastination too, even though I am well past the “30 days to make a habit” stage of daily posting. As the saying goes “why put something off today that you can put off until tomorrow”.

What is the secret to overcoming this with writing ? (more…)

Seth Godin repost : Two kinds of practice

I am inspired by many leaders in areas of life, and one of them is absolutely Seth Godin, who recently hit the milestone of posting 7,000 days in a row. Take that in for a moment.

He is such a leader in so many ways, with so many of the terms he has coined entering into our language as leaders, as well as marketers and entrepreneurs.

Some of you may not know of him, so though I won’t often simply repost something in entirety, I just saw this post from Seth the day after I both wrote about failure as a necessity for growth, as well as talked about it on a podcast. This post from Seth is a perfect addendum. (more…)

Elite lessons : Katie Ledecky (aka The GOAT)

Elite lessons series : I have spent much of my life fascinated by elite performance, with a focus on studying elite athletes and elite leaders and what makes them different, a well as what elite performers can learn from others in different fields.

Katie Ledecky : THE “Goat”

My sons introduced me to the term “Goat”, meaning “Greatest of all Time”. A great and fun conversation that can go within and across sports, from Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Pele and many more.

For those who follow the sport of swimming though, the goat is the great Katie Ledecky.


Movies with meaning 2

After “Movies with Meaning 1“, a guest contribution for this Wednesday from the twitter conversation that followed this with my friend Jacob Aldridge.

I’d love to make this a weekly post, so please do give me your movies with meaning. Format looks like :

  • Three movies with meaning
  • One sentence on the core meaning you take from it
  • Send me a link to a YouTube clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning

That’s it, let’s roll ! (more…)

Smashing Paradigms – River Boats

In yesterday’s post I shared a story I tell to bring people to a common understanding of the word “Paradigm”

Linked to this is the phrase : ‘We’ve always done it this way”

To me, a paradigm implies a lack of awareness that one even exists (hence the story of the four monkeys to demonstrate what this feels like rather than intellectualising it !

For today, then, an example I’ve come across since moving to London. I sense this may be a recurring series, as in considering this, I can already think of many similar themes I can write stories about. So… (more…)

What is a Paradigm ?

Before starting the post proper, recently I wrote the first “Movies with Meaning” post in which a quote from the movie “Lucy” was :

“The whole purpose of life has been to pass on what was learned. There is no higher purpose” 

From this, today’s post and a number in the future will see me share “stories that make a point” that I have found valuable to share in the past in workshops and with groups and individuals.

So, for today, do you know what the word Paradigm means ?

Yes ? Ok, what does it mean ? (more…)

Thank you for visiting my website

People are my library, my daily writing a way to discover what’s in it: ideas, inspiration, wisdom, and a little fun. As your humble librarian, I invite you to subscribe to check out a digest of daily emails emailed twice each week. No late fees, ever.