The Social Network

According to research, about 85% of all jobs are filled through some form of personal referral. Understanding this simple fact is essential for making progress in your career and in your life in general. Back when I worked in recruitment, we used to have a saying that “People hire people.” And it’s as true now as then. The word “networking” …

Are You Experienced?

My friend’s son Dylan is six years old and off-the-charts gifted. He knows this, and has begun to hold himself to impossibly high standards because of it. For instance, he’s learning to play guitar and an absolute natural at it. So my friend took him to see a concert by a local Jazz guitar legend, expecting it to inspire him. …

Shadowboxing

Growing up, my father worked two jobs to support his growing family. It was unglamorous work, the kind that requires sturdy boots year round and insulated overalls during freezing winter months. After work, he liked to unwind with a couple of beers while he sloughed off the day. As a child, I was sometimes fascinated to witness him engaged in …

The Art of Make Believe

Not long ago, I found myself listening with fascination to a radio piece on NPR about a family growing up in Chicago during the 1980s. The father, Jim Steinfel, had been in the Navy as a young man. Now married with 12 children (yes, that’s right, twelve children), he invented an elaborate game in order to amuse, distract and occupy …

Four Walls of Freedom

Yesterday, I sat on a beach watching my son as he filled a bucket with briny slop, his face a study in concentration. Then a wave came crashing in and swept the bucket away from us. After righting himself and collecting his bucket, he then set about his task again with a singular focus – scoop the sand, fill up …

Adaptation

While I am not usually drawn to military memoirs, I found I could not put down General Stanley McChrystal’s Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement For a Complex world. The book is an easy read, even for military know-nothings like myself. He does a masterful job of telling his own story, while extrapolating from it some great lessons in …

Adult Education

When you’re a kid, nothing spells your doom quite like those ubiquitous “back-to-school” ads running through the full month of August. Even now, they still have the capacity to conjure that sinking feeling that heralds the end of lazy summer days and a return to normal operations. Once again, I am 9-years-old, going with my mother to get a new …

Typecasting

When he was a 9-year-old schoolboy, Neil deGrasse Tyson first visited the Hayden Planetarium in New York. Sure, he had glimpsed at the night sky before, but that was from the rooftop of an apartment building in the Bronx. Never before had he seen the Milky Way like this. Lit up like a Christmas tree inside the planetarium’s darkened theater, …

Castles in the Air

As a child, Foster Huntington dreamed of living in a treehouse. Now, at the ripe old age of 27, he divides his time between two adjoining treehouses – one to live in, the other to work in – both perched precariously on a grassy hilltop overlooking the vast wilderness of the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state. What started out …

Weeds

Ask anyone who owns a garden and they will tell you that weeds are a constant battle – and an absolute nuisance. These pesky, seemingly indestructible super plants will take over any patch of dirt if you let them. You can pull them out or whack them down, but like credit card bills and dental plaque, they inevitably spring right …