Psychology By Any Other Name
I love the book Nudge—the content's pretty good, the title even better! But I hate—literally hate—the title of the genre. Namely, "behavioral economics."
Oh for God's sake.
(Or as I like to call the field, "Economists discover humans.")
But that's actually not the topic of this post.
As I write I sit in a beautiful British Airways Club Class lounge in Heathrow's opulent Terminal 5.
The lounge is big.
The lounge is well appointed.
There are two parts.
There is no distinction between the two parts in terms of access.
The "half" you come into has the food and drink, and the loos.
The other half has no amenities aside from a flight info screen.
The two halves are separated by a glass wall, with a simple door.
Push the door and, voilà, go from one half to the other.
(No signs, no labels, no designations at all.)
The half you enter, now, at 10 a.m., has a ratio of approximately (I counted but may be off a bit) three full seats to every entry seat—it is obviously "crowded."
The other half has a ratio of 6 empty seats to every full seat! (And ... the space between rows of seats is much greater.)
The simple (and totally transparent) dividing wall did it!
Three-to-one versus one-to-six.
Maybe the folks in the entry side like crowds? Not likely, since you see new entrants apparently looking for places with more privacy.
Maybe it's no food and drink? Nope, the food and drink area is just as close to me, in the nearly empty side, as it is for those on the entry side; there just happens to be a door in the middle.
That is, there's no "sensible" explanation for the radically greater share of free space on "my side" other than something like the assumption, "It's on the 'far side' of the wall—I don't belong there."
The fun (and seriousness) of the nudge-behavioral economics-psychology "thing" is that the differences, like this one in the BA lounge, are often as not extreme. Not a ten percent difference. Or a twenty-five percent difference. (Which would, in fact, be a damn big deal.) But a 180+ degree flip: 3:1 vs. 1:6.
I could go on and on!
I love this stuff!
(Human psychology, that is—I'm not too keen on economics.)
Let me conclude with one pragmatic point: If you become a "nudgist" and a practitioner of "nudgery," the good news is that you don't have to be a Big Boss. These are, in 9 cases out of 10, "below the radar" phenomena. That is, most are unaware of the behavioral consequences of little nudges—and hence anybody at any level who takes the initiative is effectively allowed to play.
Bottom bottom line: This is very-wildly-insanely powerful stuff!!
Tom Peters posted this on 10/29/2009.
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Lucky boy. (He said for the 1000th time.) Had a lovely full-day seminar with wonderful folks in Luanda, Angola. It's said to be the most expensive city in the world—oil related activities booming, and relatively thin infrastructure; hence demand exceeds supply in the likes of the hospitality industry. But now the construction cranes have flocked to Luanda—oil, oil, and more oil (OPEC's #3 producerer?) and available credit courtesy, mostly, the Chinese. At any rate, I enjoyed my brief visit, and was overwhelmed by the kindnesses of my seminar hosts and participants. Progress, oil or not, is remarkable given that Angola is but a half-dozen years past a multi-decade, brutal civil war. As I prepared my "all-knowing" "guru remarks," I couldn't help but reflect that 90% of audience members over, say, 35 were far wiser to the twisted ways of the world than I.
[Get the PPT slides.—CM]
Tom Peters posted this on 10/29/2009.
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See Tom at BVO.com
We have some new friends, and they've started the relationship off nicely by posting videos of Tom on their website. Anthony Gell, who's the founder of The Business Voice, bvo.com, convinced Tom to sit for an interview. They taped it, divided it into topics, and posted it on their website. You can watch the whole interview or choose to watch Tom on innovation, talent, leadership, passion, branding, and more. Our thanks to the folks at bvo!
Cathy Mosca posted this on 10/27/2009.
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"Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated."—Mark Twain
Did you know: 43% of all U.S. venture capital in 2008 went to the San Francisco Bay Area.
California on its last legs? I probably heard that sorry story five times in my 30-plus year residence, roughly 1966–2000.
What a crock!
Check out this week's Time cover story, "The End of California? Dream on!"
Here's an excerpt:
"Ignore the California whinery. It's still a dream state. In fact the pioneering megastate that gave us microchips, freeways, blue jeans, tax revolts, extreme sports, energy efficiency [CA's per capita energy consumption index has gone down steadily for the last 40 years while the U.S. overall has gone up], health clubs, Google searches, Craigslist, iPhones, and the Hollywood vision of success is still the cutting edge of the American future—economically, environmentally, demographically, culturally, and maybe politically. It's the greenest and most diverse state, the most globalized in general and most Asia-oriented in particular at a time when the world is heading in all those directions. It's also an unparalleled engine of innovation, the mecca of high tech, biotech, and now cleantech. In 2008, California's wipeout economy attracted more venture capital than the rest of the nation combined. Somehow its supposedly hostile business climate has nurtured Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Facebook, Twitter, Disney, Cisco, Intel, eBay, YouTube, MySpace, The Gap, and countless other companies that drive the way we live."
I'll close with this quote from genomics guru Craig Venter: "This is the most dynamic place for change on earth. That's why we're here."
I suggest you delay the publication of the obit.
Tom Peters posted this on 10/26/2009.
Roll on, mighty California!
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Tom Peters posted this on 10/20/2009.
- Jobs are not coming back. People are hurting!!!! "Some people" (me!) cheered the return of the DJ average to 10,000 last week. Yup, we're pulling out of the recession! Try telling that to the 15 million out of work in the U.S. And those still working are scoring but 33 hours per week—the least in 60 years. In a horrifying (careful word choice) article by gazillionaire Mort Zuckerman in yesterday's Financial Times ("The Free Market Is Not Up to the Job of Creating Work"), Mr. Z adds a raft of other appalling facts about the astonishing mismatch between areas where job growth might take place and the skillsets of the recently booted. Message: The recession is a long way from "waning" for a bloody lot of people! Keep your cheering to yourself! (You may have to keep it to yourself for, say, the next 10 years.)
- So the reporter at the desk next to yours lost his job. An article in Time focused on the implications of the revolutionary transition to the "new economy." For God's sake, I've been yelling about that for 15 years. And what a bunch of bull! Yup, there is a new economy—and newspapers are getting clobbered. But the large majority of us still work in pharmacies and insurance offices and, yes, car dealerships. Why oh why do we always willfully focus on folks in big companies in sexy industries?
- Gen X (etc.) is bringing a new look to the work force. Yeah, unemployed. Much as we focus on the 52-year-old UAW worker tossed out the door, the fact is that the older folks are doing relatively well in the "contraction"—and the younger folks are taking it in the chops. (See BusinessWeek's "horrifying" October 8 cover story, "The Lost Generation.")
- Don't lose those superstars! Is there any credible evidence that Wall Street's superstars (about to receive mega-bonuses) are actually superstars? If so, it's not clear to me. (I admit to being a slavish devotee of Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Fooled By Randomness—which sets off alarms on this topic.)
- Our gentle neighbors. I was in Toronto last week. (Love that city!) When "we" think of Canada, we often think it's a "very nice place." Well, it is, but life for workers ain't no walk in the park! (Understatement.) Canadian pension plans are going bye-bye like ours (Except for the public sector, like us). Fact is that only 25% of Canadian workers have a pension plan. So much for kindly Canada, the workers paradise. (Yup, they all have health coverage—no small thing. And many I talked to are really pissed off at our willful mis-characterization of their health plan, with which they are more or less quite happy.) (Source for pension information, The Globe and Mail, 10/17/09.)
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Sorry, editing-editing-editing again this week. (Then, on Saturday, off to Angola and Saudi Arabia.)
Tom Peters posted this on 10/20/2009.
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Link Roundup #8
Of the top 50 Most Influential Management Gurus as published by Forbes, Tom is 19.
ABC's Nightline featured Cool Friend Dan Coyle and his book, The Talent Code. Watch it and learn about talent training hotbeds.
Will you accept nothing short of being passionate about your work? This article continues the debate over the importance of happiness at work.
Cool Friend Rosabeth Moss Kanter has a new book out called SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good in which she highlights that doing good and making money do not have to be mutually exclusive.
We can always count on Cool Friend Dan Pink to provide us with fascinating facts, but this one really stood out: "A study of the top fifty game-changing innovations over a hundred-year period showed that nearly 80 percent of those innovations were sparked by someone whose primary expertise was outside the field in which the innovation breakthrough took place."
Need new marketing ideas? Michele Miller at WonderBranding recommends three new blogs to add to your feeds.
Cathy Mosca posted this on 10/19/2009.
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It's All About the Talent
[Our guest blogger is Valarie Willis. Find out more about Val here.]
We have known for years that the focus should be on talent and not jobs. I was intrigued as I read this article today in the New York Times telling people to think of their careers like a business.
Even people inside organizations today should view their work and career as if they owned them. How differently would we act if we approached our work with an entrepreneurial spirit? Would you go after new skills, would you promote yourself more, would you find new projects to associate yourself with?
Talent is still key, work doesn't get done without the right talent in place. Today, however, the way organizations obtain the talent they need is changing. Talent will be brought in for projects, short and long term, and then released, and the cycle will start all over again. People who keep their skills up to date, watch the market for future skill needs, and adapt will survive. Some companies have cut personnel too deep and will be looking for the right talent to bring onboard.
So, now would be a great time to think about how you differentiate yourself in the market when your only opportunity to "interview" may be via one of the social networking media. I recently hired someone from the Elance site to do some IT work for me. I never met them in person—our entire relationship was Web based. From this site, you can put out a request for proposal on what you need done, people bid on the job, and you have your pick of great talent. You can even see the feedback and ratings from others that they have worked for, so it is in the best interest of talent to do excellent work. What if your company put up a public rating scale, how would you fare? How would you rate others on your project team?
It is certainly something to think about as we strive to manage our careers and do our absolute best work.
Val Willis posted this on 10/16/2009.
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Excellence Slides: Toronto
Tom is speaking today in Toronto at an all-day event called "The Art of
Management." Among others with whom he'll be sharing the podium is Marcus
Buckingham. "There's nobody," Tom says, "in 'this business,' whatever 'this
business' is, whom I respect more than Marcus. It's that simple." (Tom also
reports gleefully that the promised overnight snow did not materialize.)
To get the slides, use these links:
Cathy Mosca posted this on 10/16/2009.
The Art of Management, Toronto, Final
The Art of Management, Toronto, Long Version
Once again, AWOL. This time a weeklong trip to India followed by a 40-hour journey from New Delhi to Austin TX via god-knows-where-cubed. Then back from Austin to Boston, logging my third consecutive midnight in the air—followed by a return to intensive book editing, about round #6 or #7 or #8 as I figure. (And the editing to a manuscript that was supposedly "ready to go" when I started the half-dozen or so rounds in late June—summer, where did thou go? Snow predicted for VT tomorrow, and also for Toronto where my carcass will be, eh?) At least at an Austin signing for airport managers and board members, I had the thrill of autographing 250 sets of our galleys. And all this from a body that's 23 days from finishing up its 67th year—dear God Almighty that's frigging old.
FYI, one other highlight ...
Tom Peters posted this on 10/15/2009.
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Sir, May I Clean Your Glasses?
"Airline service"—I've called it the ultimate oxymoron for years and years and then more years. Well, that was before I met Kingfisher Air on a roundtrip to Mumbai last week. First there were the "butlers," I guess you'd call them, that carried our bags on and off the plane for those of us lucky enough to be in business class.
Courtesy piled upon courtesy, all at a decent price—the food was grand. (Though, truth be known, I think almost all Indian food, as prepared in India, is pretty grand.)
But it was that last touch. As we neared the beginning of our descent, the flight attendant in biz class walked down the aisle asking us if we'd like her to clean our glasses.
(Sorry for the expletive.)
NB: The wonderful founder is Branson-like in his peculiarities!
Tom Peters posted this on 10/15/2009.
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The Final Question on the Exam Is a Ladle-dropper!
The book starts with a story of a college exam for which students had more-than-adequate time to prepare. Nonetheless, there was moaning of the highest (lowest?) order as students got to the last question. Which was ...
"What is the first name of the man who cleans our school?" Damn few, or fewer than few, aced that one. The prof explained, "As you go forward in life, you will meet many people. All of them are important. No matter what their position, everyone you cross paths with deserves your attention and respect, even if all you do is just smile and say hello." (Reminds me of a brief exchange I had with a flight attendant once. I asked her how many people said "Thank you" as they get off the plane. Damn few, though she said it didn't matter: "They don't have to say anything—just a smile will do fine.")
Frankly, never thought I'd be touting a book by a "TV personality." But this is the exception. It's titled The Power of Respect: Benefit from the Most Forgotten Element of Success. The author is Deborah Norville. My new book, which I really don't mean to plug (truly!), is called The Little BIG Things—and this from Ms. Norville is the mother of all little big things.
It's chock-a-block with stories like the one above—and the over-riding point is literally matchless.
"Power tool" #1!
(Reminds me of another favorite, Respect, by Harvard professor Sara Lightfoot-Lawrence, mentioned before at tompeters.com.)
(NB: Is that opening story apocryphal? Don't know, don't care.)
Tom Peters posted this on 10/15/2009.
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Maybe all the bitching about the ephemeral economy is justified. And the death of non-virtual (real) stuff, that is, manufactured stuff that absorbs lots of jobs, is a fact-of-life.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal (I think—four consecutive midnights in the air, remember) reported the amazing and wildly increased share of our gross domestic profits that come from financial services. Today's Financial Times comments on new cars, labeled by the headline writer "a shiny new software appmobile." The author, Chris Nuttall, reports "a new iPhone app from Ahamobile allowing drivers to record 'Caraoke' [sic] singalongs to the car radio and post them straight to their Facebook page."
Dear God—that's, in effect, Mr. Nuttall's response as well.
I read awhile back an analysis that suggests that our "age of abundance" only dates back perhaps 40 years. That is, in the OECD nations at least, we've pretty much all got all the stuff we need and are "reduced" to consuming non-necessities. Maybe that's it, an economy that produces mainly, mostly, almost totally ephemeral things we don't need. Hence huge amounts are spent on healthcare (with not much improvement in health), financial services scarfs up huge bucks for, often, doing absolutely nothing (derivatives of derivatives of derivatives) and "high tech" that lets us "record 'Caraoke' singalongs to the car radio and post them straight to their Facebook page."
Think about it.
(NB1: When I landed in Boston at about 1:00 a.m. yesterday, literally, at 1:00 a.m., all 9 people I could see were checking their email within 30 seconds of wheels-on-the-tarmac. [Yes, no kidding, 9 for 9—and me feeling bad because I wasn't.] I'm right, right: Talk about the absolutely-totally-completely un-necessary! Age of Abundance indeed!)
(NB 2: A friend had prostate surgery recently, a bright and technologically brilliant guy. He went on and on about the robotic surgery he'd decided upon. Statistically minimal side effects, etc. Well, yesterday's Boston Globe reported a new study from the Harvard Med School concluding that nasty side effects from the robotic procedure are twice as prevalent as side effects from old-fashioned knife stuff. One more time our medical profession's passionate love affair with very sexy stuff scores. This time, incontinence and impotence are the winning lottery ticket.)
Tom Peters posted this on 10/15/2009.
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The Business World's Biggest Wasted Opportunity
[Read more by guest blogger Steve Yastrow at yastrow.com.]
There are hundreds of thousands of retail stores in the world. Today, millions of customers will walk into those stores and interact with owners or employees. Within hours, most of those interactions will have been forgotten by those millions of customers. Why? Because most of the retail interactions that occur today will be flat, uninspired, perfunctory, and transactional. Most interactions won't create sales, and an even greater number will not build a relationship between the store and the customer.
This represents millions of missed opportunities. Imagine if thousands of these retail interactions could be improved, so they are not flat, but instead, interesting, enthusiastic, engaging, and memorable. Would more sales be created for today? Would more relationships be created for tomorrow?
I happened to meet an interesting retail salesperson a few days ago. His name is Jacob Lahr, and he is a manager at the CUSP store for women at Water Tower Place in Chicago. "Even when the store is filled with tourists, who we may never see again, it's possible to clientele," Jacob explained.
"To what?" I asked. "Did you say 'to clientele'?" "Sure," Jacob continued. "It's always possible to clientele. It depends on how you relate to your customers."
Well, that's certainly my favorite new verb of the week. I asked Jacob if he coined the phrase "to clientele," and he couldn't remember if he did or if he had heard it when learning to work in retail. I googled "to clientele" and only found it listed as a noun, so I'm willing to give neologism credit to Jacob. Here's how I'll define it: "To clientele is to create a relationship-building encounter with your customer, so that the customer's relationship with the store is better when she leaves than it was when she came in." Notice that the definition doesn't say anything about making a purchase.
Jacob doesn't want to waste retail interactions. He knows how valuable they are. Not to clientele is to let a precious opportunity slip through your fingers.
So, when you enter stores this week, see if the person who interacts with you is doing a good job "clienteling," or is he/she just going through the basics of serving you. If you work in retail, how often are you able to clientele?
Just imagine how much loyalty stores could create if they were better at clienteling? Too bad most aren't very good at it. Yes, the retail encounter may be the business world's biggest untapped, wasted opportunity.
Steve Yastrow posted this on 10/13/2009.
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Excellence Slides: Leaders in India, Mumbai
Tom's in Mumbai, speaking at the Leaders in India Business Forum. He's done by now, since it's nine hours later compared to Boston where I'm located as I post this announcement. So, if you were there, let us hear from you in the comments. And if you'd like the slides, here are the links:
Cathy Mosca posted this on 10/09/2009.
Leaders in India, Mumbai Final
Leaders in India, Mumbai Long
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Cool Friend #143: Hal Movius
Think you're prepared to negotiate? Think again. New Cool Friend Hal Movius, author of Built to Win: Creating a World-Class Negotiating Organization, warns you that you should change your approach. It's not about getting the biggest piece of the pie, it's about making sure the pie is big enough so that the other side doesn't walk away feeling robbed. Educate yourself about all the interests involved and you'll be able to not only get what your organization needs but create value for the other side and leave the relationship in a better place. Read his Cool Friends interview and find out more about what Hal Movius and coauthor Lawrence Susskind are up to at the Consensus Building Institute.
Shelley Dolley posted this on 10/08/2009.
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50 Million First Dates
[Our guest blogger is Cool Friend Steve Yastrow. Find out more about Steve at Yastrow.com.]
You have shopped at a local clothing store for twenty years, visiting the store about five times each year. Today, you walk in the store again—it's your 101st visit. A sales clerk approaches you and asks, "May I help you?"
In the 2004 movie, 50 First Dates, Henry (Adam Sandler) and Lucy (Drew Barrymore) meet, have a great first date, and plan to see each other again. But the next day Lucy acts like she doesn't know Henry. Lucy has a short-term memory loss problem, so each day is a new "first date," in which Henry has to attempt to rekindle the relationship.
Most people think of 50 First Dates as a romantic comedy. Not me. I think it is a business movie.
Isn't this what it is like to do business with most companies?
Steve Yastrow posted this on 10/06/2009.
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My Kinda Guy!
Several Sunday papers reviewed Neil Sheehan's A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon. It's a "one guy against the world" story of the first order. Schriever either did a very good thing or a very questionable thing, depending on the reviewer. But what he did was clear. Against very powerful forces, such as bomber maniac and Strategic Air Command boss Curtis LeMay, Schriever proposed and developed, more or less singlehandedly, America's ICBM capability—mainstay of our defense ever since.
It is a story of a "good strategic idea" (in the real world context of the Cold War) and overcoming immense technical-engineering challenges.
But that's not why I'm writing this.
As most of you know, I think political skill is as important or more important than brilliance. And Schriever, a talented engineer, was an Uber-master Politican. The forces lined up against him amount to a list as long as your arm, with most of those named having far more rank than Schriever. Yet he prevailed—eventually convincing one of the most pragmatic people ever to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Dwight David Eisenhower.
Want to accomplish something, any-damn-thing?
Tom Peters posted this on 10/05/2009.
Sharpen your political skills!
(And this holds for a 24-year-old non-manager working on her small part of a project almost as much as it did for Bernard Schriever.)
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Coming Up! Tom In Toronto
This could be a great opportunity for those of you who live on the East Coast (U.S. and Canada) and don't mind driving. On October 16th, 2009, in Toronto, Tom and Marcus Buckingham are to be together at a seminar titled Management & Innovation in a New Era. The latest book from Marcus is subtitled What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently. There's a match with Tom! Here's the blurb from the organizers of the event, The Art of ... Productions presented by Microsoft Dynamics CRM:
How would you like to spend a day working with the world's most influential management & leadership authorities on your key business challenges? The Art of ... events is excited to offer you the opportunity to do just that. Tom Peters' & Marcus Buckingham's ground-breaking concepts have transformed management strategies and leadership practices around the world. Together with David Allen [Getting Things Done] & Mitch Joel [Six Pixels of Separation], they will lead 1,200 managers and leaders in an intensive and interactive seminar on how to go about implementing these practices.
Cathy Mosca posted this on 10/02/2009.
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The Little BIG Things
Once again, I've been AWOL. Once again it was "the book."
(This is the first time since I started blogging in 2004 that I've had a new book in progress. I'd forgotten—fortunately—the intensity of the process. "Fortunately," because if I'd remembered correctly, I'd have run at 100mph from the idea of going after "it" again.)
At any rate, the 4th complete edit by me (two others by outside editors) went off to HarperStudio, our publisher, on Monday—Erik and Cathy also won front row streets on the "18-hour days" bandwagon. Now, for the next few days the Beloved Manuscript is in the hands of the nasty-brutal-unforgiving-nitpicking Copyeditor. (God bless Copyeditors!)
The book is due to appear in early February, but we thought we'd let you take a look at the Introduction—remember, with at least a couple of rounds of editing to go.
On July 28, 2004, I made my first Blogpost at tompeters.com. The topic was then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama's speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston. In an apolitical Post, I said that it had been one helluva speech—take it from someone who knows a good speech when he hears one. (Me.) Since then, I've made over 1,700 Posts, and with the help of many friends the Blog has prospered—even bagging a "Top 500" designation in 2007!
On September 18, six weeks after beginning my blogging adventure, I happened by a particularly messy chain-store branch in the Natick Mall outside of Boston. I followed the visit with a spur-of-the-moment, throwaway Post that I called "100 Ways to Succeed/Make Money #1": "THE CLEAN & NEAT TEAM! (TEAM TIDY?)"; I suggested that the store's blatant disarray screamed ...
"We don't care."
I said that stores, and even accounting offices, were judged as much or more on appearance as on "substance." In fact the appearance is a non-trivial part of the overall assessment of the "substance."
I promised that I'd proceed to supply 100 such "success tips"—God alone knows why!
I enjoyed the process, and by July 2009 we'd posted precisely 176 of the promised 100! Somewhere along the way, Bob Miller, first boss of the publisher Hyperion, and currently launching HarperStudio, ran (surfed) across the tips, got in touch with us, and said, in effect, "You've inadvertently written a book." He sent along a contract—and we signed, despite my prior vow, recorded in blood, that I'd never write another book. But, hey, why not, a few books sold, a little publicity—and no work!
Tom Peters posted this on 10/01/2009.
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What we're talking about on the front page.