I watched an inspiring TED Talk by Bob Davids titled “The Rarest Commodity is Leadership Without Ego” (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQrPVmcgJJk ) Mr. Davids discussed why there is a difference between Leadership – and Management.

Management relates to the interaction off three things: quality, time and money. When you sacrifice one of those three – the others suffer. Quality products or services is a goal of many companies. Investment in time and money is the price to be paid for quality. But leadership he said is a rare commodity on our planet. Because leaders – lead people. Dwight D. Eisenhower said that the art of leadership is getting someone to do what you want done because he wants to do it.

Mr. Davids then referenced Robert Townsend’s classic work Up the Organization – first published in 1970. Bob Townsend was the CEO of Avis – who led his company up the ladder to “number two.” Up the Organization has for the last fifty years been number one on the Wharton School of Business “must read” list. I still have my heavily-underlined copy from 1970. And I’m now reading it again. It’s never too late. . . .

Having a good conversation

I watched a TED Talk the other day while pedaling furiously on a recumbent bike. It was an eleven minute offering by Celeste Headlee on how to be more engaging in conversation. The link is https://www.ted.com/talks/celeste_headlee_10_ways_to_have_a_better_conversation?language=en

Ms. Headlee is a radio journalist who has spent the last 20 years working with PBS (Public Broadcasting Service). Much of her job was to interview people. Do you want to be a better conversationalist? Ms. Headlee’s advice can be distilled into ten simple points.

Don’t Multitask – pay attention.

Don’t Pontificate – don’t start talking about your own experience when someone is sharing theirs

Ask Open-Ended Questions – who, what, where, why. . . .

Go With the Flow – be engaged

If You Don’t Know an Answer, Say So

Don’t Equate Your Experience to Theirs

Don’t Repeat Yourself

Stay “Out of the Weeds” – people don’t care about “details

Listen – Buddha said “if your mouth is open, you are not learning

Be Brief- FDR once said “Be sincere, be brief, be seated


“Beatbox.” I’d never heard the term before. Until. . . .

Let me back up. When I go to the local fitness center, I usually hop on the recumbent bike for a half hour or 45 minutes. When I do this, I listen to TED Talks (see posts of 2/5/17 and 12/29/16), language lessons or famous speeches and sermons. So last Friday, I perched on the bike, noodled my Iphone onto the TED channel and began scanning the offerings I’d not seen. One of the “most popular” was “The Orchestra in my Mouth” by an Aussie from Brisbane named Tom Thum. 34 million views. Soooo. . . .

I had no idea what to expect. But it soon became apparent. Tom Thum is a “beatboxer.” He uses his voice to replicate all manner of sound, beat, instrument, and amplitude. Over the years, I’ve used my voice to make various sounds (I’m sure most guys have too) but Mr. Thum’s offering was very different. Verrrry . . . .

I am sure you will enjoy spending 11 minutes to watch this video. When you’re through, I want you to practice Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” It may take a lot of practice. See https://www.ted.com/talks/tom_thum_the_orchestra_in_my_mouth#t-651460 To make a living out of making different noises with your mouth? My kinda job. After all. I’m a lawyer. . . . .

The Secret to Peace is YOU

[A repeat of May 31, 2018]  I just had lunch at my desk.  And watched an 18 minute TED Talk –  http://www.ted.com .   In the past, I have applauded the value of TED Talks.  And I’ve posted on a few favorites (December 29, 2016 and February 5, 2017).  While I am frugal in my recommendations, today’s talk does not deserve frugality. 

I just watched “The Walk from ‘No’ to ‘Yes'” presented by William Ury – an American author, anthropologist and negotiation expert.  Ury co-founded the Harvard Program on Negotiation and helped develop the International Negotiation Network.  He is the author of numerous books including Getting to Yes which describes the method of principled negotiation and establishes the idea of a “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.”  

Ury’s presentation touched on the divisive issues faced in the Middle East — between Israel and Palestinians (and others).  And the religious strife in the region.   And Mr. Ury offered ideas – that are being used today.  In short, he reaches out to each one of us to become a part of the peace process.  I know — sounds simple.  But if you’re having lunch, you’re bored or you want to see how you can make a difference – please — invest 18 minutes and watch  http://www.ted.com/talks/william_ury#t-1105977   The secret to peace is YOU. . . . . 


He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” — Epictetus

It is interesting that many folks who have “everything” – are unhappy.  Yet those who have little or nothing can often be very happy.  Why?   

Part of the reason is that people who feel a sense of gratitude in their lives – are more apt to be happy.  In the past, I’ve referenced TED Talks.  And I’ve posted on a few of my favorites that I watch while having lunch at my desk.  Well. . . . fasten your seat belts.  Here’s one that made my eyes misty.  This 9 minute program is on the subject of gratitude.  http://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_nature_beauty_gratitude?referrer=playlist-give_thanks#t-2392    

We all have reason – to be grateful.  Yet how often do we ponder this sentiment?  The talk ends with a powerful narrative by Brother David Steindl-Rast – a Benedictine monk – who expounds on the why gratitude is such an important emotion.  Among his comments – “Think of this day as the first day and the last day of your life.”  He asks — would you do anything different?  And “Each day is a giftLet your gratitude for this day flow through you and be a blessing to others.”  Strong, compelling words.  Inspiration to give.  Reason to be grateful.      

Help me. Please help me. . . . .

On December 29, 2016, I mentioned that I normally have lunch at my desk.  While doing so, I often watch a Ted Talk (  http://www.ted.com  ).   A few weeks later (2/5/17), I shared with you some of my favorite Ted Talks.  

I just had lunch at my desk (avocado and green pea soup plus a few squares of 72% dark chocolate).  And I watched a Ted Talk that had me pulling out my handkerchief.    Do me a favor.  Watch https://www.ted.com/talks/sophie_andrews_the_best_way_to_help_is_often_just_to_listen#t-851577   The presentation is 14 minutes and 24 seconds.  And worth your investment of time. 

The presenter, Sophie Andrews, speaks of her personal experience with two 24/7 lifeline organizations in the UK — Samaritans and The Silver Line.  She speaks of the agonizing desperation of people who are abused, alone, depressed.  And she speaks of how an army of volunteers in the UK are there — to help address this painful problem.  By listening.  Offering shoulders to lean on.  It’s not the government (don’t get me started on that).  It’s individuals — like most of you who are reading this post — who step up.  Listen.  Act.  And make a difference in the world.            

So How do we Heal?

Raise your hand if you want to spend the next year as angry and as worried about politics, political parties, liberals, conservatives, global tensions, social trauma, antifa, alt right and “stuff” that you don’t like.  Come on.  Hands up?    

I don’t see any hands. . . . .

In my prior post, I spoke of Jonathan Haidt’s classic book – The Righteous Mind.  It is – in my opinion – an excellent distillation of (as the subtitle says) – why good people are divided by politics and religion.  If you don’t have the time (or will) to read it, I want you to do something.  Please.  I am asking you. . . .   Spend 20 minutes to watch a Ted Talk.  It is an interview with Jonathan Haidt, the author.   The subject is “Can a Divided America Heal.”     http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_can_a_divided_america_heal  

Pew Research shows that our feelings about those on the “other side” of our hardwired beliefs have now morphed from dislike into disgust.  And hatred.  And a belief that the “other side” is a threat to us and to our nation.  Each side is developing its own moral matrix of what is right (or righteous) such that the issues that divide us are now greater than ever before.

This is a Ted Talk worth watching.  Twice.  Or three times.  And worth sending on to others.  I want my grandchildren – and their grandchildren – to grow up in an America that has civil discourse.  And respectful disagreement.  I believe you do too.    

Please.  20 minutes is all I ask. . . . . 



On December 29th I spoke of TED Talks.  I continue to be enlightened, motivated, inspired and nourished by TED Talks – while lunching at my desk.  Some of you may have read the post and thought “interesting.”  And clicked “delete.”  Lemme try once more.  Below are a few of my favorite TED Talks.  Simple.  Straightforward.  And easy listening.  All 10 minutes or so.  C’mon.  Click.   The first one follows up my post of February 23, 2014:

The music of sign language http://www.ted.com/talks/christine_sun_kim_the_enchanting_music_of_sign_language 

Talking to strangers http://www.ted.com/talks/kio_stark_why_you_should_talk_to_strangers  

David Brooks – what’s better.  Your resume virtues?  Or eulogy virtues?http://www.ted.com/talks/david_brooks_should_you_live_for_your_resume_or_your_eulogy  

Before I die – http://www.ted.com/talks/candy_chang_before_i_die_i_want_to

Reclaiming religion  http://www.ted.com/talks/sharon_brous_it_s_time_to_reclaim_and_reinvent_religion

Having better political discussions http://www.ted.com/talks/robb_willer_how_to_have_better_political_conversations

Having lunch at your desk?  Bored?  Need a swift kick in the caboose?  Log on to http://www.ted.com – close your eyes and click.  You won’t be disappointed. 


I have lunch at my desk nearly every day. And during that 20 to 30 minute break, I usually watch something that helps enlighten and develop my meager brain.  I may work on sign (or other) language skills (see post of 2/23/14).  Sometimes I take a continuing legal education course (I need at least 24 hours every two years).   Other times, I brush up on first aid know-how (see post of 6/12/14).  Lately, I’ve been listening to “TED Talks.”  

TED (Technology Entertainment Design) Talks was founded in 1984 as a Silicon Valley conference – which featured speakers on technology and design.  Since then, TED has blossomed into a free-viewing online educational network – on a host of topics.  TED’s slogan is “Ideas worth spreading.”  By November 2012, TED Talks had over one billion views.  

Live TED events are offered throughout North America, Europe and Asia.  But most of those who listen simply log in to http://www.ted.com and make a selection that suits their interest.  

TED speakers — who are carefully vetted —  are given a maximum of 18 minutes to make their pitch.  That fits perfectly into my midday nibble.   If you have 18 minutes to spare — you could not go wrong.  Listening to and learning from – TED. . . . . .