Independent in All Things, Neutral in Nothing

Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

Col. Littleton No. 9 Journal: The Near-Perfect Writing Companion

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Late in 2010, I began writing a journal every day, having abandoned the practice several years ago. Going full-time on Chiefist prompted  me to start again. As my friends know, I like, use and admire high quality products, preferring a nice fountain pen to a Bic any day. So I looked around for a nice journal, and found an outstanding one in the Col. Littleton No. 9 JournalRead the rest of this entry »


Written by Russell S.

February 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Investing Illusions and Delusions

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The latest issue of my company’s newsletter, Chiefist Positions, went out today. In it, we examine “investing illusions and delusions,” through the lens of two powerful and outstanding books:

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
  • The Halo Effect, by Phil Rosenzweig

You can find Kahneman’s book on Amazon or in most bookstores. You can find Rosenzweig’s book in used bookstores, Amazon marketplace,, or With shipping, it will cost you about $6, which will be the best $6 you spend all year. Get them both, and read them.

Written by Russell S.

January 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Review: Field Notes Brand Memo Books — They’re a Must Carry

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Ever since I went full-time on Chiefist last year, I wanted to find a small, easy-to-carry notebook to record thoughts, jot down ideas, and keep my To-Do list in. Reading the Art of Manliness site, I ran across Field Notes Brand products and have used them ever since.

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Written by Russell S.

December 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Review: Robert Morgan’s Boone

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My uncle recommended Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan to me. Morgan has crafted that rare biography in which the critical lessons of the subject do not become lost in the details of his life. Indeed, Morgan evokes those lessons in the best pieces of writing in the book; the lessons seem to haunt the pages. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Russell S.

November 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm

On Human Reason and its Evolution

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A new theory of cognitive and behavioral science, called the argumentative theory of reasoning, asserts that discourse and discursive reason evolved in human beings for no other purpose than to win debates.  “It [reason] was a purely social phenomenon.  It evolved to help us convince others and to be careful when others try to convince us.”  The argumentative theory is the brainchild of French cognitive social scientists, stirring intriguing discussion and abhorred dissent among academics of all stripes—philosophers, political scientists, educators, and psychologists alike. Read the rest of this entry »

On the Overconfidence of Consciousness

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Striking a similar tone to a speech I reviewed last week by William Deresiewicz, David Brooks’ recent piece in The New Yorker also addresses the theme of over-achieving people and understanding their paths to success and happiness.  Arguing that “brain science helps fill the hole left by the atrophy of theology and philosophy” in our understanding of the human person, Brooks notes that “Researchers at the University of Minnesota can look at attachment patterns of children at forty-two months, and predict with seventy-seven percent accuracy who will graduate from high school.”  The early experiences of life do not determine us, but they certainly provide us with pathways, “changed or reinforced by later experiences.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ryancberg

January 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Review: The Back of the Napkin

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Over my past several visits to bookstores and Amazon, I’d found two books of especial interest: The Back of the Napkin, by Dan Roam, and Visual Meetings, by David Sibbet. After reading a few reviews and taking a closer look at them, I decided to read The Back of the Napkin first, and hold off reading Visual Meetings.

Despite spending a good part of my career in consulting and executive education, I struggle with creating compelling visuals to convey key messages. Read the rest of this entry »