The Daily Paradox

What will you do to win?

The football coach being interviewed on Sport Today replied “We’re going out there to put the ball in the net”. Not, perhaps, the most creative idea, nor very aggressive. Not even boastful, but so clear that it must have been more motivating for the team members than all the hyperbole and rubbish most would have…
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Late developers have advantages

Are you a late developer? In my first job in London, at the age of 20, I was told by my boss that late developers often do better than early stars. At the time I wondered if he was referring to me – twenty seems very old if five years earlier you were a mere…
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A politician’s purpose

I asked a leading British politician what her purpose was. “To become Prime Minister” was the quick and explicit answer. I persisted with “Why?” “To have more influence with those I govern” was the reply. “A” for honesty, I admit. Personal ambition is acceptable, indeed praiseworthy. Achievement brings benefits both personal and public. To be…
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Better judgments Part 4

Our judgments only become useful when we employ them to make forecasts. Forecasting and judgment are inextricably intertwined. We assess our forecasting skill by finding out what happened as a result of the conclusions we came to. We can only do that systematically if we record our forecast of what will happen and then see…
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Better judgments Part 3

Equally important as Perception is Asking. We all know the social questions about job, family, travel, holidays. Useful, but they only tell you basic information about someone you may have to judge. However, the kind of questions that would give you real insight may be too personal, too impertinent to ask, certainly on first acquaintance.…
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Better judgments Part 2

Most of the forecasting we have to do has more serious implications than getting wet today. Water usage and the available precipitation ten years from now is a major headache for planners and governments in countries that are getting hotter and drier. Their forecasting is critical to the support of life. Usually our forecasts have…
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Better judgments Part 1

We can’t measure everything. Beauty, love, affection, caring, the meaning of an abstract painting, some ethereal music – these are important parts of our lives but measuring them is a subjective business. The coffee flavour I like may be quite different from your preference. What makes me laugh or cry may leave you unamused or…
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The tyranny of the short-term

A wonderful book given to me when I started travelling the world was called The Tyranny of Distance. In it Geoffrey Blainey describes how vast distances both to other countries and within Australia shaped that country’s history. Threats you can see but may not understand. We have many tyrannies today. The Tyranny of Possessions, of…
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Nervous economies 2016

Not since 2006 has the world been so nervous about its economies. Doesn’t matter if it is China, Russia, Europe, Trump, India, New money, we are all aware of massive debt and we wonder how and when it will have to be repaid. Of all the dangers the GFC heaped on us nearly ten years…
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Competition and cooperation

Specialisation has taken us to a new level of focus. We saw it coming a long time ago. I remember meeting a scientist back in the early 70’s who sole purpose was to measure the length of an artificial fibre. Not the thickness but the length. It was a very demanding job. He worked for…
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