Hello again Thrivers,

The last few weeks were very eventful and productive. I’ve been working diligently on my unveil for TT 100 and making progress on several personal and professional initiatives.

Since I last wrote, my wife and I saw Christopher Nolan’s epic biopic Oppenheimer. I like Nolan’s non-linear, mind-bending storytelling style and have enjoyed many of his films. This is easily my favorite of all his work I’ve seen. The characters were well-developed, the cinematography was stunning, the actors were enrapturing, and the narrative arch was beautifully designed. Most importantly, I left considering the profound ethical dilemmas that plagued Oppenheimer approach to patriotism, science as progress, military power, and political power. Chilling and compelling.

I also received my advance copy of David Dodson’s recently published Manager’s Handbook and devoured it in a few nights. Dodson was the professor that impressed me the absolute most (by orders of magnitude), and I jumped on the pre-order when I saw it come up. I’ll write a more complete review in the coming weeks, but suffice it to say that even though I went to GSB (where Dodson teaches) and took one of Dodson’s classes,

I learned a stunning amount from his book. I don’t agree with everything he suggests (at least not for early-stage startups where I’ve had the most experience). But a surprising number of his recommendations are clearly better than anything I’ve seen in my decades in business. I’ve already started strategically implementing the most immediately relevant suggestions (at the day job and for GIFT). Whoever masters his “5 simple steps” will undoubtedly be in the top 1% of all executive leadership. Spoiler:simple is not easy.

With that, let’s sip a manager’s Manhattan into this week’s Thriving Thursday.


Current mood: Searching through all the parts // Artist: Adrian Borda

On the enigmatic origins of the Enneagram

For a recent team-building event at work we hired an Enneagram practitioner (?? tea leaf reader ??) to look deep within our souls then put us in a tidy, numerically numbered box. To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement.

I was so frustrated by this experience that I’ve spent hours reading about the origins, applications, and business models of this cult … ahem … classic. What’s extra fascinating to me is the widespread popularity, especially spiking within the last five years.

What started as a short TT entry ballooned into a spitfire essay on my site that I thoroughly enjoyed writing. Here are some excerpts for flavor.

First, I found the sorting hat questionnaire to be questionable at best. The 175 questions often posed orthogonal binary options. “When you experience conflict, do you A) punch holes in the wall or B) gorge on cookies until you want to vomit?” Ummm …

Here is an example from a real (sample) test: