Number of View: 28



  • I take 15 minutes to explain what is in a book and discuss the content
  • Attendees apply the thinking to their business, customers, clients, or staff
  • This generates a minimum of 10 ideas per book
  • Repeat 6-10 times and you have 60-100 ideas to stimulate the business
  • 300 books to choose from


Superforecasting: Tetlock & Gardner

Number of View: 350

The one sentence summary

It is possible to increase the accuracy of forecasts by acting as superforecasters do.


  • Philip Tetlock ran a twenty year study showing that so-called experts were only slightly better at prediction than random guesswork, or, as he put it, “a dart throwing chimp”.
  • There is however a group of ordinary people that can predict the future with a degree of accuracy 60% greater than average. They are superforecasters. 3,000 of them were recruited in 2008 by a US government backed initiative called IARPA. This is how they do it:
  1. Concentrate on clear questions that can be answered, albeit with hard work.
  2. Break seemingly intractable problems into tractable sub-problems.
  3. Strike the right balance between inside and outside views.
  4. Strike the right balance between under- and overreacting to evidence.
  5. Look for the clashing causal forces at work in each problem.
  6. Strive to distinguish as many degrees of doubt as the problem permits, but no more.
  7. Strike the right balance between under- and overconfidence.
  8. Look for the errors behind your mistakes but beware of rear-view mirror hindsight biases.
  9. Bring out the best in others and let others bring out the best in you.
  10. Master the error-balancing cycle: try, fail, analyse, adjust, try again.
  11. Don’t treat commandments as commandments.


  • The dragonfly eye is made up of thousands of tiny lenses, each with a slightly different perspective, allowing it to see in almost every direction simultaneously. An aggregation of views is what makes accurate forecasts.
  • Good forecasters have no illusion of control or prediction. It is important to appreciate the limits of prediction, without necessarily being pessimistic about their value.
  • The US National Intelligence Agency has a scale for certainty v. the general area of possibility.

100%: certain

93% (give or take about 6%): almost certain

75% (give or take about 12%): probable

50% (give or take about 10%): chances about even

30% (give or take about 10%): probably not

7% (give or take about 5%): almost certainly not

0%: impossible

  • Old joke: statisticians sleep with their feet in an oven and their head in the freezer because the average temperature is comfortable.


  • Not much. It’s longer than it needs to be, but the points are excellent.




We Are All Weird – Seth Godin

Number of View: 368

The one sentence summary

Weird is the new normal, so only companies that work that out have any chance of survival.


  • Let’s face it – we’re all weird. So why are companies still trying to build products for the masses? Why are we still acting as though the masses even exist?

~ Mass is what allowed us to become efficient. It’s what we call the undifferentiated, the easily reached majority that seeks to conform.

~ Normal is what we call the people in the middle. It is localised – what’s normal here is not necessarily normal somewhere else.

~ Weird is what we call people who aren’t normal. This means by choice, rather than unusual by nature or physique.

~ Rich refers to anyone who can make choices, who has enough resources to do more than merely survive.

  • Everything about capitalism, industry and education trains people to conform and shun outliers. This rewards companies that create efficient mass market products.
  • There are four forces for weird:

1. Creation is amplified. Anyone can produce pretty much anything, and reach someone else immediately via the internet.

2. Being rich allows us to do what we want, and we want to be weird. Standing out takes time, money and confidence. More of us now have all three.

3. Marketing is far more efficient at reaching the weird. The long tail isn’t just a clever phrase – it’s an accurate description of the market for just about everything.

4. Tribes are better connected. Because you can now find others who share your interests, weird is perversely becoming more normal.


  • The book challenges the reader do make two decisions: to create for and market to the fast-increasing population that isn’t normal; and to encourage people to do what’s right, useful and joyful, as opposed to what the system suggests.
  • Antelopes don’t have hobbies. You need to be rich to be weird.
  • 2,200 years ago you needed to work 50 hours to buy an hour of light from a lantern. You can do that today in about half a second.
  • The bell curve is spreading. The bump of normal in the middle isn’t gone, but it’s much flatter, and flanked by many more weird outlying groups.
  • There are 10 billion items for sale in New York alone. 500 years ago there were 200.


  • Not much. This is a celebration of originality and individuality, and larger companies involved in old-fashioned mass production should take note.

The Innovation Workout – Lucy Gower

Number of View: 330

The one sentence summary

You can improve your innovation skills by following a proven sequence.


  • This is a primer for any individual or company wishing to embark on an innovation process.
  • It guides the reader through 10 steps to enhance their innovation skills.

1. Pinpoint your purpose: think big to start with, and articulate the problem or unmet need in an inspiring way.

2. Know and understand your customers: innovations only work if people want them and can see how to use them.

3. Your market today and predicting the trends of tomorrow: being able to spot trends in sufficient time is pretty crucial.

4. Build your creative capacity: expand your experience, break routines and learn how to connect ideas together.

5. Creative superstardom and lots of ideas: have fun practising different techniques to help you and your colleagues to generate lots of ideas.

6. Don’t expect anyone else to like your idea: if it’s new or different (which it certainly should be), then you will have to spend time getting others to like it.

7. Filter and choose the best ideas: chance of success is one factor, as is the ability to say no to weaker ideas.

8. Prototype, fail fast and refine: creating working versions of the proposed innovation is vital to working out likelihood of success.

9. Pilot, adapt and invest: design, deliver and evaluate pilots without breaking the bank, often by borrowing resources from other interested parties.

10. Take your ideas to market: build a proper business case in conjunction with what you learn in the pilot phase.

  • It then runs through a series of scenarios in which you might be enacting innovation: in a big organisation, on your own, with a team, with clients and customers, and so on.


  • There are suggestions for how to innovate when no one else gets it, with no budget, by imitation, and when you feel like you are stuck.
  • It takes you through how to develop an innovation framework, how to build an innovation network, and how to create the time to innovate.
  • There is a self-assessment questionnaire at the beginning to weigh up your current innovation confidence and skills. This is repeated at the end to see how much progress you have made.
  • The templates in the book are all available online at thebusinessgym.net – a helpful resource.


  • This book will be very helpful to anyone entering the field for the first time, but there is little new for any long-term students of the genre.

The Silo Effect – Gillian Tett

Number of View: 456

The one sentence summary

The world does not function effectively if it is always streamlined, so businesses should strive to prevent silos.


  • Putting everything in its place isn’t such a bright idea.
  • Ever since civilised society began, we have felt the need to classify, categorise and specialise. This can make things more efficient, and help give the leaders in organisations a sense of confidence that all is well.
  • But it can also create a structural fog, with the full picture of where the organisation is heading hidden from view.
  • The word silo comes from the Greek siros meaning corn pit, and the meaning then moved across to military missile silos, and then to systems and departments that work in isolation. Synonyms include ghettos, buckets and tribes.
  • Silos are rife in many modern institutions. They have the power to collapse companies and destabilise financial markets.
  • They blind and confuse, often making companies act in risky and damaging ways, particularly in financial trading.
  • Anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu believed that human society creates certain patterns of thought and classification, usually to reproduce the status of the elite, albeit unintentionally. What matters in a society’s mental map is not what is overtly stated, but what is not discussed.
  • However, people do not have to be trapped in the mental maps they inherit. There are 5 things that can help prevent silos being detrimental:

1. Keep team boundaries flexible and fluid

2. Make pay and incentives holistic, not conducive to tribe behaviour.

3. Information flows really matter so that knowledge is truly shared.

4. Periodically try to reimagine taxonomies used to recognise the world.

5. Technology can help because it does not suffer from human bias (assuming it is set up appropriately).


  • The author is an anthropologist as well as a journalist, and so is used to questioning the assumptions and practices of a culture.
  • She uses an anthropological lens to explore how companies work in silos of thought, process and product, drawing widely from Sony, UBS, JP Morgan, police forces, hospitals, and more.
  • “I classify, therefore I think I am a social being.”
  • “People don’t do what you expect, but what you inspect.” Lou Gerstner


  • This is not a pure business book, more an anthropologist’s take on business that has implications for the way businesses behave.