Do you know someone who always seems to have read the latest books and can cite concepts and ideas and authors and titles in any situation? Do you hate that person? Honestly, so do we. But that didn’t stop us from recording an episode that, potentially, will grate on your nerves in such a way that you have to draw on your inner grit (Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth) to get through it. But, with luck, there will be some good ideas that make it into your long-term memory (Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina), and it will be information delivered in a gender-neutral manner, unlike so much of the world (Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez). Give it a shot, though. It may help you become a better leader in your organization (Dare to Lead by Brené Brown).
Unfortunately, we lost some of this episode (even our recording platform was tired of hearing about books?). We know what we talked about then, even if we have no audio record, so we’ve included those books in the show notes as well.
Books (And Other Things… But Mostly Books) Mentioned in the Episode
- (Book) Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
- (Book) The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
- (Book) The Elements of Style by Strunk & White
- (Book) On Writing Well by William Zinsser
- (Book) Good to Great by Jim Collins
- (Book) Built to Last by Jim Collins
- (Book) Great by Choice by Jim Collins
- (Video) Stockdale Paradox: A Message for Uncertain Times by Jim Collins
- (Video) Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce by Malcolm Gladwell
- (Book) Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
- (Book) Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
- (Book) Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown
- (Book) Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by John Acuff
- (Book) Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina
- (Book) Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
- (Book) Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
- (Book) First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham
- (Book) Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
- (Book) The Trusted Advisor by David Maister, Charles Green, and Robert Galford
- (Book) Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham
- (Book) The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis
- (Book) Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- (Book) Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
- (Book) The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
- (Book) The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
- (Book) Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
- (Book) The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
- (Podcast) Against the Rules with Michael Lewis
- The Measure Slack
00:04 Announcer: Welcome to the Digital Analytics Power Hour. Michael, Moe, Tim and the occasional guest, discussing analytics issues of the day, and periodically using explicit language while doing so. Find them on the web at analyticshour.io, and on Twitter @AnalyticsHour. And now, the Digital Analytics Power Hour.
00:27 Michael Helbling: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Digital Analytics Power Hour. This is episode 147. What does it mean when you’re quarantined, working from home? It’s also hotter than ever outside, at least here in the US it is. And what can a good analyst do to make it through these dog days of summer? Well, when there’s nothing to do, then what we do is read a good book. So what better way to spend some time than going through some of our favorite books. And this is a no-holds barred episode, so book recommendations will be flying off the top rope. So it’s time to introduce our first co-host, and his name is Tim Wilson.
01:16 Tim Wilson: Hey, guys.
01:17 MH: Hopefully we can edit in the John Cena music for that in the… Make it really epic Tim.
01:22 Moe Kiss: Well, you do know with the Australian sport at the moment, they are playing audio tracks of the crowd, even though there’s no crowd at the sports stadium, and it’s weirdly bugging me, but everyone else loves it.
01:37 MH: Yeah. Well, and Moe, welcome, it’s great to have you on the show too. And my knowledge of professional wrestling stopped with my intro of Tim, so I don’t have an analogous professional wrestler to shout in terms of your name, but if you know one, I’d be happy to give it my best shot, but anyways.
02:00 MK: No, but I now understand that there was some kind of reference made to wrestling, so that works too.
02:04 MH: Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, there you go. And I’m Michael Helbling, I’m sort of like the announcer guy.
02:11 TW: You’re the Rock.
02:12 MH: Oh, yeah, you could be Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Moe. And I’ll be…
02:17 TW: Hulk Hogan. Hulk Hogan.
02:19 MH: No, not Hulk Hogan.
02:20 TW: Savage?
02:21 MH: I’d be more like Mankind, I think.
02:24 TW: Oh, see. Look, I’m pretty sure you could come up with a good dozen…
02:29 MH: If we wanted to give a real shout-out to the analytics person most interested in WWE wrestling, it’s probably Bill Bruno. So check out his podcast. Anyways, okay.
02:41 MK: We’re not past the intro and I’m already confused.
02:44 MH: We are not here to talk about wrestling, but I think there’s a couple of great books about wrestling that we can recommend at this point. No, I’m just kidding, that’s not what we’re doing. We do have a big list word of books that we’re definitely not getting through. Moe, I’m picking on you first. If this episode was only five minutes, which book would you tell people to read?
03:05 MK: Oh, come on. I… Duh. And not only that, the one that I would start with was not the one I was gonna say first. So I’m gonna focus on, pretend this is the only one answer I had, the book I would recommend is Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, by Caroline Perez. I feel like it’s just a must-read. It should be on everyone’s list. I think the reason that I love it so much is because it makes you think about these little things that you never even thought about. About the size of a phone or the size of women’s jean pockets or, I don’t know, how people get to work and how that affects different genders or races. And it’s so jam-packed with information and data points that you’re like… Yeah, it’s hands down is one of my top five data books.
04:04 TW: Is that the one that went through the crash test dummies and had that in it as well with…
04:07 MK: Yes.
04:07 TW: Yeah, it was designed for the…
04:09 MH: Wow.
04:09 TW: I feel like this is where I should admit that as I was prepping for this and realized how many men, and then skewing very, very heavily white men, my reading list was, and that was a little bit alarming, but…
04:24 MH: I didn’t even think about it. And now I’m gonna have to go back through and be like, “Who did I add?” Basically… Oh, I added… Did I add One twice?
04:34 TW: Possibly.
04:35 MK: I might have added one for you.
04:37 MH: That’s funny, I think I added Brandon Sanderson twice, which actually is merited, but we’ll get to that later. Okay, Tim. If this was only a 10-minute podcast, which book would you recommend?
04:52 TW: I think because I don’t generally… I struggle to get through books that are good for me, so I would, if I was recommending one, I didn’t want somebody to say like, “Oh, I had to slog through that.” I would probably recommend The Goal, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. It seemed like it’s required business school reading, but it’s basically written as though… You guys familiar with it at all?
05:16 MK: No, talk to me.
05:18 TW: It’s one of those books that’s written as kind of a novel, so you’ve got a character going through it. And it’s not like a great novel, but it’s a story, and because of the story of this guy, it goes through all of these different… I think it was an Operations Management class. It basically so thoroughly ingrains the theory of constraints and how process works, and it’s told through the story. So it’s readable in that at least reading a story of a character, even if it’s not a very well-developed character, who’s struggling in, I think it’s a manufacturing context, and then he has the wise sage who’s teaching him. But the number of times that I will find myself saying, “This is a process issue. What is the process? Where is the bottleneck in the process?” This is not a complicated concept, but I can’t help but think because I read a whole book that basically belaboured one simple concept, that that has stuck with me, and I think it’s actually a critical part of being successful in business. Okay, Michael, it’s a 15-minute episode.
06:27 MH: Oh, five minutes per.
06:28 TW: I don’t know.
06:31 MH: Okay, so actually, the interesting thing is, Tim…
06:32 TW: And we’re out of time. Back to Moe.
06:33 MH: That’s right.
06:36 MH: I’m actually gonna steal one that you put on the list, because I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. And we spend a lot of time as analysts working on making our data be visually able to be consumed by our audience, but I don’t know that as analysts we talk the same amount about how we should focus on our writing. And you put on there the “Elements of Style” by Strunk and White, and I think that book is a must-have for any analyst for the same reasons that all of us would wanna recommend a great data vis book. Because how you write something has everything to do with how people consume it, understand it, all those things. So, it’s just an idea that’s been going through my head and so I was really delighted to see that on the list Tim, and I thought, “Oh, yeah, that’s a really good… ” I don’t know if you wanted to chime in ’cause you put it on the list, so obviously you were thinking of it too, but it’s just something that’s been going through my head. It’s like we need to be great writers and great at visualizing data. Just to be great communicators generally as best we can.
07:47 TW: I’ll throw in the fun fact trivia that my oldest son’s middle name comes from EB White. So, I’ve got a depth of… And we had a dog named Elwyn, so then Elwyn Brooks White was EB White. Not a whole lot of people probably know what EB White actually stood for. But now I remember reading him, I think it was in high school, the Strunk and White, which it’s just a fascinating story that that was like his college professor was Strunk, right? Strunk was a generation beyond him, but I agree the way that you… Because he’s so much about brevity and clarity, clearly, I need to maybe go read it again, like six times, but…
08:27 MH: Oh, yeah. I’m overdue.
08:29 MK: Do you know the funniest thing is that I had a senior executive ask me to read “On Writing Well,” by William Zinsser, and I was like a bit offended, to be honest because I was like, “I actually think writing is one of the skills I’m pretty good at.” And I did read it. I probably didn’t get… I think I agree with her primary premise, which is that analysts need to be able to write well, and it’s actually something. We have a junior on our team who wrote up some analysis the other day, and I was like, “Damn! She can write. She nailed that first draft,” and it’s a skill that we really need to be able to do, so whether you think you’re a good writer or not, other people might have a different perspective. So I think it’s a skill always worth brushing up on. And I actually still kept, from when I was in government, they have lots of writing style guides. I kept all those manuals with me because I actually refer to them quite a bit.
09:34 MH: You know Moe, not for nothing, but you know who I tend to recommend books to? Is people who are really good, that I think could be great.
09:44 MK: Aw!
09:44 MH: And so maybe that recommendation from someone was maybe something coming from the same place. Or they’re just a total jerk. But I know a lot of times when I say to somebody like, “Hey, there’s a great book idea,” it’s not because they’re terrible at it. It’s usually because they show potential, and I think this could add to it…
10:03 MK: Aw. Well, that’s a very thoughtful contribution, thank you.
10:06 MH: “Alternate Theory,” which is a book I wrote. No, I’m just kidding.
10:13 MH: Yeah, good thing no one has written any books about like how to do a great podcast and be concise and everything.
10:20 MH: No, I’m just kidding.
10:22 MH: Alright. And that was an excellent addition. Okay, Tim, what about you? If this was only a 18 and a half minute podcast? No, I’m so sorry, I’ll quit with that now.
10:34 TW: I feel like free association, you said, “Good to Great,” and I think that was on the list, but I never made it to “Good to Great,” but I read “Built to Last,” which I believe in the Jim Collins cannon was “Built to Last” first, and then “Good to Great” was kind of the… I think?
10:49 MK: And then “Great by Choice.”
10:51 TW: And then “Great by Choice.” “Built to Last” was like almost a required reading at a company that I worked at for eight years, and so we would regularly do those as like a book group. And to me, every time somebody says, “Oh, what kind of culture are we gonna create here? We’re gonna change our culture.” And I’m like, “No, you cannot change your culture.” But to me, I think that was the first time that I realized that there are people who would be very valuable, they’re just not a fit for a particular organization, and I think that also had the fail forward stuff in it. So, I don’t know. Did you read all three of them, Moe?
11:29 MK: I’ve read “Good to Great” and “Great by Choice.” I haven’t read “Built to Last,” but I confess… So my former CEO was obsessed. I mean, obsessed with “Good to Great” and “Great by Choice,” and he had a box of both of those books in his office. And so he said to me one Friday night, he’s like, “Hey, Moe, I really think you should read this.” And I decided that I had to read it by the time I saw him next, which was like Wednesday the next week, and thankfully, I had a 10-hour drive ahead of me. So I just listened to it as an audio book and turned up the Wednesday morning being like, “So about that book, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” “Great by Choice,” some people love those type of books and some people are not into them. It talks a lot about… Collins has this way of wrapping up business strategy into these really neat analogies with cool little names about hedgehogs and 20-mile marches and stuff.
12:32 MK: But the bit that I probably learnt the most was Collins shares what these two teams did on their journey to the South Pole in 1911, and he talks about this concept, the 20-mile march. And so basically one team committed to walking 20 miles every single day, whether it snowed, whether there was a blizzard, they walked 20 miles everyday, which was, I think it’s pronounced Amundsen. I can never say his name. And then Scott’s team just did what they could on each day, so some days they walked 20 miles, some days they walked 10, some days they walked 30. Scott’s team died and the other team made it successfully. But the reason it became really important is because we actually started applying this concept to one of our KPIs. We had a company level KPI, which was our MPS, and we decided to make it a 20-mile march. So I think often when you think of a KPI, people are like, “It should always be going up,” like, one season it’s 80%, the next season, it’s gonna be 85, the next season it’s gonna be 90.
13:36 MK: But I really liked how the CEO took this concept out of the book and was like, “Actually our company is growing, which means we’re gonna have more new customers, which actually means that this KPI could go down. And so for us, the KPI is actually to have a 20-mile march, which is to keep the KPI the same, like let’s say 80%, even as we grow or we get new customers.” And it was just this way of thinking about a KPI that I hadn’t really thought about before. So I think that’s why I’ve got this real zest for this book because it informed so much of the way that I think about metrics. Okay, off the soapbox.
14:16 TW: Well, that does just for a small video insert here, Jim Collins who is still very much around, and a video that got circulated and I’m in a company where it’s like, Oh, we got people who consume a lot of content, but there’s a video where he talks about the Stockdale Paradox, given the time that we’re in right now. I guess, people were asking Jim Collins like, “What do you do in the middle of this disaster that we’re in?” And so, he has a video where he talks about the Stockdale Paradox which was James Stockdale Admiral along one of the seven years prisoner of war, Vietnam war. And it’s interesting ’cause it’s similar, there were… Stockdale talks about, or did talk to Jim Collins about, “How do you survive being a POW for that long?” He said there were optimists who were… And then there was Stockdale who had the attitude that, “I can survive this and I will get through it,” like it’s bad or something like that. I’m probably butchering it ’cause it’s not really my cup of tea, but the optimists actually did worse because they could only sell you so many times, we’ll probably be out by Christmas before they realized that it was all hopeless and they would just lose it. Whereas, Stockdale had a little bit more of a duality of perspective, and if you’re a Jim Collins fan and haven’t tracked down, it’s like a six- or seven-minute video where he talks through in the current context.
15:45 MK: Where does he come up with these examples? He must read very widely.
15:50 MH: He probably has a team that just dig stuff up like, “Hey, go find me an inspirational story about this.” No, I’m just kidding.
15:56 TW: I wanna ask that question for Malcolm Gladwell ’cause I think people either love or hate Malcolm Gladwell, and I am absolutely in the fan.
16:04 MH: He recorded a good podcast episode, I’ll tell you that, he’s fascinating to listen to.
16:10 TW: But even if he was just writing, he was doing TED Talks, it seemed like every two weeks, he’d tell the spaghetti sauce story or whatever.
16:18 MH: Oh, right, yeah, yeah, that’s one of the classics. Ragu or Prego or whatever.
16:23 MK: Wait, I don’t think I’ve heard that one. What’s the spaghetti sauce story?
16:27 MH: Well, a long time ago, basically spaghetti sauce, there was one major brand or one or two major brands in the aisle, and then basically someone had this idea of segmenting customer likes based on different kinds and doing six or seven different kinds of spaghetti sauce, and it made sales go through the roof. So, I can’t remember what the point is, but basically do market research and build products that people like. And also there’s a measurement of how spaghetti sticks to the noodles, that part, I remember that. It’s a long time ago.
17:03 TW: But his book, “Blink,” I have my… Actually, I feel like “Blink”… I’ve heard most of his books, but I wound up reading “Blink” right as I was getting into reading on data visualization more. So there were like multiple books that all, in some cases, I feel like I get them confused as to which is which, but “Blink” was to me kind of a masterful telling the story of how the brain does all these weird little things that we don’t realize or understand, which to me was somewhat kind of profound with all the pre-cognitive stuff your brain is doing and how your life experience up to a given point, like how you do. An analyst looks at a line chart and says, “That’s a time series,” and it is completely intuitive. If you take somebody straight out of school who’s only seen 50 line charts in their career aren’t gonna have the same intuitive understanding. So I remember reading that, and that whole like, Oh, this is where the analyst needs to recognize that what we’re familiar with and what we’ve gotten really deep into, that’s not what our audience has plus delightful read, ’cause he does it all through a whole bunch of stories that are delightful and fun and easy to read.
18:23 MK: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
18:25 MH: Very nice. Okay Moe, I sort of need to split this one with you a little bit. That would be… We actually listed different books but the same author which is Brené Brown so… [chuckle]
18:38 MK: Oh God! I love her so much. Do you know how many in times a week that I say “The story you tell yourself? What is the story you’re telling yourself?”
18:46 MH: It’s super crucial stuff and so I think in a similar fashion Moe, her work has been very influential on me over the last four or five years and the book I have of hers is called “Daring Greatly” but actually the one you listed was “Dare to Lead” right? And there’s a lot of similarities in concepts inside of both of those books. I haven’t read all of that one but Brené Brown has just really locked in on something pretty valuable that people can take to heart and understand and it makes a tremendous difference in how you actually live your life. At least from my perspective, in terms of understanding yourself and then being able to choose a more positive outcome for how you’re gonna go live and have the courage to go do that. So I don’t know if you wanted to talk a little about it Moe too. I just… It’s one of those ones that really affected me.
19:44 MK: Yeah. I think the bit that I just… You know when you read a book and there’s one chunk or paragraph that constantly circulates in your mind? The bit for me is about oversharing and I think… I thought that building a connection and getting your team to trust you was about being vulnerable and sharing stuff but she makes this really good point. It’s not about oversharing. It’s about being very specific with what you do share and when you are vulnerable and for me, that’s been a really big lesson because I think my default is always like “If I am my authentic self, then I’m gonna have really great relationships.” And Tim’s like “What do you mean you share shit about yourself?” I can see his mind ticking.
20:32 MK: But for me, it’s actually been really important to be like “There is a boundary to that.” and making sure that you share points that you’re vulnerable in is not the same as just sharing everything that’s going on in your life. So that’s been a really good lesson.
20:47 TW: Isn’t that exhausting? Isn’t… So does that mean you’re processing that as you’re having a conversation? Oh is this… Do you have to…
20:56 MK: No, I think it’s about intentionally… So for example, if someone in the team is having a really hard time being like a mentor for the first time, that might be a really good occasion to share, for example, a story about when I’ve had a tough time being a mentor and what I learned from that experience but that doesn’t mean I… I don’t know, need to tell her that I’m having a fight with my husband or something. You share contextual to what the conversation is. Does that make sense?
21:27 TW: Isn’t that just like how to communicate in a two-way conversation? [chuckle]
21:34 MK: Okay Tim, there is one on here that I’ve had on my list forever, which I would love you to chat a bit about. ‘Cause I needed someone to give me a boot up the butt to read it and that’s “Brain Rules”.
21:48 TW: “Brain Rules”? So that’s part of… I kinda think of these three books as being a little bit of a… My personal trilogy so “Blink” we mentioned right around the same time I read “Brain Rules,” by John Medina, I think it’s Madina, might be Medina and then “Stumbling on Happiness,” by Daniel Gilbert, which was always weird ’cause “Stumbling on Happiness,” is in the self-help section of the book store but “Brain Rules”… There was another one that just… The premise, although I’ve gone back and it’s… My brain playing tricks ’cause I went recently and tried to actually find the quote. I know that he said or I believe my brain knows that he said, there’s a ton of stuff we don’t understand about how the brain works. There’s way more we don’t understand about how the brain works than what we do but there are things that we have studied and tested and we do understand about the brain and if we isolate those and then look at how we actually do things in our world, the way we set up education, the way we… It’s kind of like the why we sleep, like we literally do everything completely ass backwards for the brain but because there’s just these set of rules, each chapter is kind of a different…
23:02 TW: This is how memory works or this is why we’re gonna remember things better when they stimulate two senses rather than just one sense. This is where sleep plays in. So to me, that was another book that just fell on the Oh, when we’re communicating as analysts, we need to recognize that we’re trying to get the brain to do something and retain information. So it was good. He’s also does not take himself too seriously. I mean he is a neuroscientist but he’s… I guess I like that. He’s vulnerable. I’d love to hear what… How Brené Brown feels about John Medina’s writing.
23:49 TW: He shares, this is the stuff we don’t know and then it’s got a degree of the Gladwellian like these are the different… I’ve now heard this story so many times, the guy who had the big, the railroad tire or post like it shot all the way through his head, like it took half of his skull, a dynamite blew up, it’s in various books and he was basically fine, his temperament changed ’cause now they know that it’s severed some part of the brain but these early evidence where they had major brain trauma and what happened and that’s part of his point too so it just to me was sort of… I do have a little bit of… I’m kind of fascinated by the whole world of neuroscience in ways that they try to figure out what the hell is actually going on. So I don’t know if that convinces you.
24:39 MK: It does convince me it does but my new thing is, I don’t know if I told you guys this, I started making a change where I was writing little workbooks and it just was stopping me from reading at all because I kinda get to the end of the day and you’re like, I wanna read something light and then you’re like deep in this “Oh, I’m thinking about work and how I’m going to apply this and writing notes in the margin.” and so I started to make… I made the choice that any workbooks I listen to on Audible and any fun books I read in a hard copy or on Kindle and that’s actually been a really nice strategy for me to still keep reading as a hobby versus and still get through the work content that I want but keep reading as my hobby.
25:21 TW: I feel like this needs to be my confessional part too. I’m just… I’ve been in… I’ve been working for a quarter of a century so I’ve managed to rack up some of these books that are good for me but my ratio of reading basically fiction and fun stuff to reading it’s good for me stuff has gotta be like eight or nine to one. I read way more fiction and stuff than I actually read of these. I just feel like there are times where I’m like “I hope this is not like… ” Well, there are times where people are like “Where do you do all this?” I’m like “Well, you chip away at them one at a time.” I’ll occasionally do… I have a strategy if I really feel like I need to read a book, I may get a hard copy or I may still read it on an e-book, I can’t listen to books but I’ll do like the… I’ll read one chapter and then I’m gonna go and read my pleasure book for as long as I want to until I fall asleep.
26:16 MK: Another book on the list that I’ve got here is “Originals” by Adam Grant which I love and look, to be honest, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve lent it to a few people and they’re like “meh” bit underwhelmed. I loved it and my favorite thing about that book was that I turned the corner on lots of pages and I write notes and then I lent it to a girlfriend of mine who did the same and so then going back and reading it again and reading her comments was like the best bit of the book.
26:42 MK: But the reason that “Originals” really stuck in my mind, it goes through basically how to be like… I don’t know. It talks about innovation and what kind of attributes make a good startup founder and that sort of stuff but the bit that really stuck with me is it talks about an example, which is a woman who worked at the CIA and was basically trying to change something in the organization but she was still pretty junior and kinda was beating her head against a wall and she eventually took a step back and was like “Hang on a minute, I’m not in the right place to make this kind of change. I actually need to have more credibility, which means I need to be more senior in order to have this massive change.”
27:25 MK: So she basically just put that to one side, worked her butt off for a couple years, got promoted, had that credibility and seniority and then pursued her idea a few years later and it was really successful and it’s still in place today and it made me think so much because sometimes when I get an idea in my head of like “Oh, we’ve gotta make this change.” you can really just get in the fast lane and you want it to happen but it makes you really have perspective around like am I in the right place to influence that type of change now or do I need to give a bit more thought to it before I pursue it. So that was the bit of the book and also it talks a lot about siblings and whether the younger one is smarter. I didn’t like that chapter ’cause we all know my sister and she’s stupid smart.
28:13 TW: So what you’re saying is you’re keeping your Canva but you do it with pen and paper. You’re keeping that idea in your back pocket for another couple of years before you bring it out, like here’s the future.
28:26 TW: That’s an intriguing idea. I’ve never thought of… I think more often than not, I buy a physical version of the book, if it’s come recommended, I have high expectations because I wanna write in it. Even though I think that’s more of me being conditioned to when in school, knowing that if I was highlighting stuff I would retain it better. I’ll highlight stuff in my Kindle version of books too and right now, I’m realizing that I have literally never gone back to actually track down what I’d highlighted but I’m intrigued with this idea of having a book and actually passing it along a chain of people and like “Oh, you mark… You do yours in purple and you do yours and you can respond to a comment or you could”… That would be fun exercise.
29:15 MK: And so Tim, just for context, the person I did this with was my girlfriend Fontaine who is a really deep thinker and completely amazing. She’s a PM at Google and yeah, you can imagine her notes were bloody good so…
29:28 TW: Yeah. I spent several hours in a car with Fontaine immediately after meeting her. So she is definitely sharp and a very deep thinker. Can I… I’ll throw out… And some of these are, I guess oldies but goodies. Definitely one that I’ve mentioned on the podcast before is “First Break All the Rules” which was the first book and then “Now, Discover Your Strengths” was the second one so the fact that I loved “First, Break All the Rules” and highly irritated by “Now, Discover Your Strengths” and “Strengths Finder” but I don’t know the number of times that I’ve talked to somebody who is new to managing or even if they’ve been managing for a while and said “You should go read “First, Break All the Rules”. You should understand trying to teach somebody how to do something that they don’t have a talent for” and it is a talent-based thing. If somebody said “We’re gonna turn… We’re gonna just keep sending Tim to training on how to be empathetic and really wanna get into the soft side and the emotional connection with co-workers” like that would be a high investment with a very, very low return.
30:43 TW: So I don’t know, the fact that it goes through talents versus skills, the fact that it’s like you’re gonna be drawn to spending your time with your low performers and that just how completely ass backwards that is, the high performers get neglected. It just had some things that have stuck with me for years.
31:03 MK: Yeah. I had that thought pop up in my head the other day about you should spend the most time with your high performers and the least time with your mediocre performers and I just was like why do we all do this backwards, everyone does it backwards, like what, why? So the other book that I really love, you know you have these books that are really influential was oh fuck, I love Simon Sinek. I just heart that man so much, is “Leaders Eat Last” but then I also had this real existential crisis whenever I read it ’cause I’m like, I never eat last and it’s normally because I’ve cooked all the food and I wanna make sure I get the good bit of the steak before the masses go for it.
31:44 MK: So it always makes me think reading it that I’m a really shitty leader but one of the things I probably found most interesting about this book is that Simon Sinek uses a lot of metaphors from defense, which I find really interesting because having worked in defense, yeah there’s some really good things but there’s also some bad things and I find it really interesting that so many examples do come from that space.
32:09 TW: What’s his kind of premise or thing or what’s his… What’s his angle?
32:15 MK: I think it’s… Well, it’s pretty explanatory, right? You always put your team before you put yourself is the overarching theme of the book and so that comes true whether it’s about eating or I don’t know, equipment or energy or whatever the thing is but then it’s actually really interesting because at the moment I’m going through this whole self-journey, whatever the hell you wanna call it, where I’ve had this epiphany with my internal coach where I’ve realized that I do this stupid thing where I feel like if I’m putting energy into other people and their goals, it’s a useful use of my time but if I’m putting energy into my own goals, then it’s selfish and not a good use of my time and I wonder how much of that has been shaped by reading things like this which try and persuade you that it’s worth spending time on other people but not yourself and so now I’m kind of like unlearn that as well. Tim’s like I don’t know what to do with this. He’s like having a conniption over there.
33:16 TW: No, no, no. I’m thinking there’s… Some of these are definitely ones that I’m like these will be good for me. There’s only so many hours in the day. How do you pick which one to read and certainly picking ones to read that, picking ones to read that like honestly, I feel like “Trusted Advisor” is one where I feel like I kinda think from the little nuggets that I’ve gotten here and there, it seems like common sense. My sense is I would read it and be like nodding my head, which isn’t all that useful whereas if you take a Brené Brown or Simon Sinek, oh if it makes me… Of course, I see Simon Sinek I always think why it’s Sinek.
33:56 MK: Okay, does anyone use… Does anyone use Blinkist? Is it Blinkist or Blinklist? Blinkist?
34:03 TW: Blinkist. No, I don’t.
34:04 MK: Does anyone use it? I wonder sometimes with workbooks if I should because it’s like eh, normally from the title and a good half an hour, hour summary, you can get the key points but then is it gonna sink in as much if it’s only an hour versus listening to the whole thing? I’d be really curious if anyone, any of our listeners do use Blinkist and find it really useful, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Oh! We haven’t even talked about Michael Lewis, one of my favorite authors. I feel like I’ve talked about him so much on the show.
34:36 TW: So which… I mean I almost had Moneyball. I’ve read, I think three of…
34:40 MK: “The Undoing Project” hands down ’cause it actually makes reading “Thinking, Fast and Slow” worthwhile. Like I’ve seen… I was talking about it last weekend ’cause I was away with a girlfriend who was reading “Thinking, Fast and Slow” and I’m like “Oh doll. It’s such a good book but it’s tough.” Like I’ve picked it up and put it down so many times but reading “The Undoing Project” was what finally got me through it because I had all this extra context around Amos and Travoski that suddenly made the whole thing stick.
35:13 TW: ’cause definitely that is a book that I read through a recommendation on this podcast so and that’s fun, it’s knowing kind of their history and their relationship was pretty interesting.
35:25 MK: And then Michael Lewis also wrote the “Fifth Risk”, which I really don’t recommend reading right now ’cause it will make you cry when you think about US politics.
35:35 TW: And then he wrote the “The Big Short”, right?
35:39 MK: Yep, yeah.
35:40 TW: And…
35:40 MK: He can make any topic interesting and a page turner. He’s got this skill.
35:46 TW: So yeah so Michael Lewis’ podcast, I think he’s had two seasons, it’s Against The Rules and he’s kind of fun to listen to because he’s kind of self-deprecating and he’s very curious and maybe that’s where it’s on the same Pushkin Industries, which is where Revisionist History and what’s their music one, Broken Record, that Malcolm Gladwell has his so they’re kind of building their little group of journalists who have curiosity and pursue these sorts of things. Actually Tim Harford has, I cannot remember the name of his, Cautionary Tales is also on it but I don’t know. I, at the same time, I don’t feel like Michael Lewis is quite as tight and engaging in the podcast format as he is in his books. So…
36:32 MH: Yeah. I agree with that, although I did find the episode about the NBA referees pretty fascinating. It was in season one.
36:38 TW: Yeah.
36:39 MH: But I agree, it’s not as good as his books, that’s for sure.
36:43 MK: Hmm, I’m gonna have a listen.
36:44 TW: ‘Cause the first season was around referees. The first was around referees but he makes it much broader, it’s not around just sports referees. He talks about all the… And then the second season was around coaches but then he actually gets into disparities that oh, you have all these life coaches and types of coaches in life but wow, who’s able to afford the coaches? Well, those who have privilege, therefore is perpetuating a cycle of money coaches, financial planners, if you’ve got money, you can afford a financial planner and your money works out better, if you’re struggling to get by, you don’t and he actually winds up getting some people who found companies that try to address specific issues so he winds up doing like total free media for various startups that are doing things so it’s worth a listen. I’ve listened to every episode so I can’t not like it that much.
37:36 MH: There you go. Well you know what you never have to pay for is this podcast so mention it to your friends and hey…
37:46 TW: If you get Stitcher Premium, you can hear…
37:48 MH: Yeah, that’s right.
37:49 TW: The next episode three days early.
37:51 MH: Next year premium content with special edition stickers for your laptop. [chuckle] No, not really. Okay, we do have to start to wrap up and since this whole episode is basically one huge last call, we’ll skip last calls this time but if you have a book recommendation or a book you’ve read that’s really meant a lot to you in your professional journey, we’d love to hear from you and actually share with the community and the best way to do that is on the Measure Slack. I’ve been able to recommend the Measure Slack group to a bunch of people lately in my work and so it’s always delightful to be feeding people towards communication and connection with that amazing group of people, which is now over 11,000 people worldwide so well worth your time.
38:34 MH: Also on our Twitter account and in our LinkedIn group, we’d love to hear from you. As always, no show would be complete without talking a little bit about our producer, Josh Crowhurst who probably has a book or two that he can recommend, given he’s doing all this from Hong Kong where he’s managing and leading an analytics team over there so we wish you the best Josh, thanks for all you do for the Power Hour community and listeners and I don’t know, now that it’s not last calls, I sort of forget like what we should do next but I think we should just wrap up. [chuckle]
39:11 TW: What should analysts do? What should all analysts do?
39:13 MH: What should analysts do?
39:13 TW: What should they do?
39:14 MH: I don’t know Tim, what should they do? No matter what books you read. I guess ’cause we don’t have a guest either so Moe, as always, a pleasure to have you on the show. [chuckle]
39:27 MK: Wow!
39:27 MH: No. No Tim too, all of us, we’re delightful. [chuckle] No I was just like we’re the guests this time, I don’t know what I’m saying. Okay so remember, I think I do speak for Tim Wilson and Moe, my co-hosts, when I tell you, with all the books you read, whether they be for business or for pleasure, remember use them to keep analyzing.
39:54 Announcer: Thanks for listening and don’t forget to join the conversation on Twitter or in the Measure Slack. We welcome your comments and questions. Visit us on the web at AnalyticsHour.io or on Twitter @AnalyticsHour.
40:08 Charles Barkley: So smart guys want to fit in So, they made up a term called analytic. Analytic don’t work.
40:13 Thom Hammerschmidt: Analytics. Oh my God! What the fuck does that even mean?
40:25 TW: Yeah, they didn’t give you anywhere to write and draw. I realized.
40:26 MH: I made a little tab for myself. I’m attempting to be self-sufficient at some point here. [chuckle] But I had a great thought for you Tim, about how to fill out some of those forms. It’s called Markov chains. [chuckle] Just to…
40:42 TW: I already had a plan when I gave my shitty answer or my very, very brief answer but one of the courses we’d had to go through was on Lynda which has transcription. So I’m like if this gets kicked back in a timely fashion, not the morning of the week, like I finished this like a week… I was just gonna go and copy like a section of the transcript and paste it in but…
41:03 MH: I believe… Yeah. Isn’t there like a predicts AI online too?
41:09 TW: Oh yeah. I should’ve just put the “be supportive” and sing what it auto-wrote after that.
41:15 MH: Oh yeah.
41:15 TW: Yeah, ’cause the whole thing did… There was a whole… That was a thing. That was like a last call I had a while back.
41:21 MK: Oh my God! So The Iconic is going to mass redundancies. I had a girl from my team call me up yesterday being like “Moe, I think I’m getting fired.” and I’m like “Okay, talk to me. What’s going on?” And then when you’re like “Oh fuck, she’s getting fired.” And then, she called me later that day and was like “Yup.”
41:39 MH: Oh, they’re laying people off?
41:40 MK: Mm-mm.
41:41 MK: You said The Iconic?
41:43 MK: Mm-mm.
41:44 MH: Oh.
41:44 TW: Wow!
41:45 MK: And the problem is… This is gonna sound awful. They’re not gonna lay off the really good people I wanna poach.
41:51 MH: Well but they’ll… But here’s the thing though Moe and this will work in your advantage, all the good people will still be nervous and upset about it so you’re very poachable. This is how I got Allison Murphy from Moss. They weren’t gonna let go of her.
42:05 MK: Oh okay! So should I send out another… Should I send out another link and message to anyone I wanna poach?
42:11 MH: Yeah yeah. So here’s what you do. If you reach out and be like “Oh my gosh! I just heard about the layoffs. I’m just so bummed to hear about it. How are you doing? Are you okay?” And then just let them come back to you and then be like “Are things okay over there?” I mean, what are you feeling like?” And then see if there’s a way for you to get a job discussion there. One of Helb’s timely tips. One of my tried-and-true methods. [chuckle] Await for something bad to happen and then swoop in. Oh we’re recording this.
42:44 MH: That’s terrible. That sounds really bad.
42:55 MK: I still don’t get “YA” category.
42:58 TW: Young adult.
43:00 MK: Oh! Okay. That makes sense. Wow! I can’t believe we had a “YA” category.
43:06 TW: It’s Y-A. Y-A. I threw it in my notes up at the top.
43:10 MK: I did read that. I was still like “I don’t get it.” I thought it was like “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Like you would try to pep me up Tim ’cause you’re known for trying to pep me up.
43:21 MH: Moe, did you put in the one about sleeping?
43:25 MK: Tim did it on my behalf. Yes.
43:27 TW: Yeah, I put in one for each of you.
43:29 MH: Okay. Yeah, I saw the one you put in for me.
43:32 MK: And then, I love that you put “Hell, no.”
43:35 TW: Rock flag and read a book. It’s kinda lame, nothing else came to me.