Intellifusion Newsletter: 5 Incidents to Catch up on from last 7 days.

Friday 17th September 2021
Hi Dhananjaya, Here’s your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place from each region in the last seven days; 
Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Asia?
MIDDLE EAST & ASIADemocratic People’s Republic of KoreaOver the weekend of 11th-12th September, the DPRK tested a new long-range land-attack cruise missile (LACM). According to a DPRK government statement the missile flew 1,500km in a figure-eight pattern before striking its target. Few details can be confirmed due to the low radar signature of LACMs, but if the claims are true the test marks a significant increase in missile capabilities for the DPRK, which has likely been developing the missile for some time as part of an effort to improve mid-range and tactical strike capabilities after a period of ballistic missile development. It is likely that the LACM could be capable of carrying a nuclear payload, although it is not certain if North Korea yet has the technology to create a small enough warhead. The test came just days before the launch of two ballistic missiles from a new railway-mobile launch platform in Yangdok, South Pyongyang on 15th September. The new launch platform highlights efforts by North Korea to increase the survivability of their growing nuclear arsenal and cause further concern as South Korean, U.S. and Japanese representatives met in Tokyo this week to discuss the North Korean WMD issue. Combined with recent satellite imagery showing reactor reactivation and construction work at the Yongbyon reactor, indicating that the DPRK will soon begin enriching uranium and plutonium again, these tests confirm the implacable progress of North Korea towards a comprehensive nuclear capability.
Insight Weekly - Europe Image
EUROPEUkraineOn 15th September, two Ukrainians were killed by a car bomb explosion in Dnipro; a city to the west of Donetsk and serves as a logistics hub/thoroughfare for the Ukraine military in Donbass). The casualties were a Public Affairs Officer for the State Emergency Service and a member of a firm called ‘Ukrainian Legion;’ a Private Security Company which provides military training in Kyiv, Lviv and Kharkiv regions. Given the nature of the bombing (an under-vehicle IED), the casualties and the disclosure by the SBU they are investigating it as a terrorist attack; it is likely this incident was carried out by pro-Russia separatists (either/both the Donetsk People’s Republic and/or the Luhansk People’s Republic). Intelligence Fusion’s monitoring of the Donbass conflict continues to feature incidents outside of the Donbass region. Dnipro has often featured shipments of Ukrainian military being transported through to the Donbass region and there have been incidents of espionage in the city too; car bombings are certainly out of the ordinary. Furthermore, this recent attack occurred shortly after an SBU team came under mortar fire while investigating an artillery strike which wounded six Ukrainian soldiers in Trokhizbenko, Luhansk Oblast on 8th September. This incident appears to be the first time for 2021 where pro-Russia separatists directly targeted personnel other than Ukrainian military. These incidents could be an indication that pro-Russia separatists in the Donbass region are beginning to slowly expand their targeting; both in terms of types of targets and locations. This could possibly mean there is an increased threat from the Donbass conflict outside of the Donbass region itself; particularly in cities between (and including) Kyiv and Donetsk/Luhansk. ➡️ SEEN FIRST ON OUR EUROPE TWITTER
Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Africa?
AFRICAGreater Sahara President Macron this week confirmed that French forces have neutralised Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the head of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). Sahrawi was killed during a reconnaissance and harassment operation carried out by forces of Operation Barkhane and the Malian armed forces (FAMa) south of Indelimane in Dangarous Forest, Menaka Cercle, between 17th and 22nd August 2021. A number of logistics plots were also destroyed during the air and land operation. The announcement by President Macron comes at a time of fraught relations between Mali and France with French Defence Minister Florence Parly warning that relations could be pushed to breaking point amid claims of a deal being made between Mali and Russian private security group Wagner that will see the government hire 1,000 mercenaries to train its armed forces and protection government figures. Protests have been held in the recent past to demand the intervention of Russia in the country amid rising anger with French Barkhane forces and UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA.
Insight Weekly - North America Image
NORTH AMERICAWashington D.C.A ‘Justice for J6’ rally is planned at the U.S. Capitol for 12:00 on 18th September by Look Ahead America. The organisation is led by Matt Braynard, former Director of Data and Strategy for the Trump campaign. Approximately 700 protesters are expected at the demonstration to campaign on behalf of those charged in connection with the 6th January Capitol riot. Congress will be on recess and there are expected to be few lawmakers and staff at the Capitol. The complex has been reinforced with an increased police presence and re-erection of 7ft/2.1m protective fencing. However, the Department of Homeland Security has warned of possible violence leading up to and during the rally. A counter-protest has been planned for 12:00 at nearby Freedom Plaza which is likely to include Antifa activists. There are conflicting reports whether Proud Boys and Oath Keepers will attend the J6 rally in force; the event has been dismissed by some right-wing activists as a false-flag or honeypot entrapment operation designed to coerce participants into violence. People and businesses should be prepared for traffic disruption as hundreds of protesters travel into central Washington D.C. alongside increased security measures. The relatively low predicted turnout and increased presence of law enforcement means that while serious unrest is unlikely; the possibility of spontaneous violence cannot be discounted.
Insight Weekly - South America Image
SOUTH AMERICAColombiaOn 13th September, the Venezuelan hacker group ‘TeamHDP’ leaked top secret documents of Venezuela’s General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM). According to the documents, the DGCIM has deployed spies amongst Venezuelan refugees who now maintain a low profile by acting as ordinary workers in countries across the Americas. Most of the obtained data refers to Venezuelan spies operating in Colombia. According to the leaked documents, over 200 Venezuelan spies were active in Colombia as of 2nd March 2021. Their objective: to undermine the Colombian government of President Iván Duque by destabilizing the country. The documents mention a series of safe houses in Colombian territory and a group of informants within the Colombian government and military. Additionally, the documents mention that the Venezuelan spies are being assisted by the ELN, specifically when it comes to the abduction of Colombian officials and Venezuelan deserters. Fortunately for Colombian authorities, the documents include detailed descriptions of the spies and their activities. It is therefore likely that the leak will lead to counterintelligence operations across the country.
📽️🎙️🖥️ THE INSIGHT: An Intelligence Fusion Video Series  The Insight series aims to take a headline, topical subject or geopolitical development and explain exactly what’s happening and why it matters to you – all in under ten minutes.
The Myanmar Coup: Protests, Conflict, and the Future of Myanmar In the latest episode of The Insight, Regional Analyst Alex Smith takes a look at the development of a resistance movement following a military coup in Myanmar, the responses to the coup, and what the future may hold for Myanmar.
Watch now

Why do we sleep?

Adults sleep less than babies. Sperm whales sleep less again. A new mathematical theory unlocks the mysteries of slumber

Did you know..

Did you know…

… that today is the Home Improvement Birthday? In 1991, the TV comedy “Home Improvement” premiered on ABC-TV. Celebrate Tim the Tool Man Taylor as you do some work on your own home!


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“It is not daily increase but daily decrease, hack away the unessential.”

— Bruce Lee


Scumble SKUM-bəlPart of speech: verbOrigin: Unknown location, late 17th century
1[With object] ​​modify (a painting or color) by applying a very thin coat of opaque paint to give a softer or duller effect.2Modify (a drawing) with light shading in pencil or charcoal to give a softer effect.
Examples of Scumble in a sentence “Today’s online art lesson will teach students how to scumble.” “Pablo decided to scumble the sharp lines in his painting.”

Leading Through Uncertainty And Change

Leading Through Uncertainty And Change

The military’s collaborative planning process creates a shared information environment that enables rapid adjustments during changing circumstances. Here’s how you can use it to increase agility and stay competitive.By David Robinson -September 16, 2021

Technological change is accelerating exponentially. Innovations in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering, just to name a few, are expanding the frontiers of what we previously thought was possible. Enabling the speed of innovation are advances in information technology, which are expanding the boundaries of what we previously thought was knowable.[i]

Ninety percent of the data in the world today was created in the last two years. Moreover, the size of the digital universe continues to double every two years.[ii] You have access to more information on your cell phone than previous generations could accumulate in a lifetime. Yet the ability to convert the vast volume and velocity of today’s information flow into actionable knowledge seems more challenging than ever.

The magnitude and rate of change in today’s world are driving unprecedented levels of complexity and uncertainty into organizational operating environments. As a result, one of the most important questions leaders of high-performing teams must ask themselves is, “How can we develop the agility required to maintain a competitive advantage in the face of such rapidly changing complexity and uncertainty?”

Leading Through Uncertainty

When I take a step back and think about the nature of uncertainty, I find it amusing to consider the perspectives of three successful leaders in recent history who had very different backgrounds and opinions on the topic. Yogi Berra, All-Star catcher for the New York Yankees from 1946-1963 and one of America’s most beloved “philosophers” famously stated, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” and “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”[iii] Alan Kay, who was an Advanced Technology Group Fellow with Apple from 1984 to 1997 said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”[iv] And General Dwight D. Eisenhower often said that, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”[v]

As the architect of one of the most complex and successful military operations in history—the invasion of Normandy (codenamed Operation Overlord) on “D-Day” during World War II which resulted in the eventual defeat of Hitler’s Nazi German regime—General Eisenhower was intimately familiar with the military adage that, “No plan survives contact with the enemy” because the enemy gets a vote.[vi] But he also knew that collaborative planning is the foundation for agility, because it creates a common operating baseline in a shared information environment that enables rapid adjustments during changing circumstances in order to maintain a competitive advantage.

In 1997, building on General Eisenhower’s lessons about collaborative planning, the U.S. Army developed its current seven-step Military Decision-Making Process.[vii] It was designed to respond to the “VUCA” (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) environment, and its purpose is to help teams plan for success in exceptionally dynamic environments.

I’ve had the opportunity to share an adaptation of the process with leaders and teams operating in VUCA environments across a wide range of industries outside the military. Because it has proven valuable to many of them, I want to share it with you. I call it the Collaborative Planning Process, and I believe it can be a valuable tool in your leadership toolbox to help you sharpen your focus when your team is challenged with high degrees of uncertainty.

1. Leader’s Guidance. The first step involves you providing your high-level leader’s guidance to your team. Think about this in terms of the mission you need to accomplish. Then define the mission clearly and succinctly in three parts: (1) what needs to be accomplished (i.e., the task), (2) why it’s important (i.e., the purpose), and (3) what success looks like (i.e., the desired end-state).

For example, let’s say a recent strategy review in your organization has highlighted a disproportionate concentration of services and resources in a particular sector that has been identified as having a moderate-to-high probability of disruption within the next three years. Because your team’s work is currently focused in this area, you want to explore options for diversifying in order to manage the risk and maintain a competitive advantage.

You spend some time developing your high-level leader’s guidance. Then you get your team together to share it with them. Starting with the background you explain, “Team, senior leadership just finished a strategy review that shows we may be overconcentrating services and resources in our sector. This creates a risk for us because if there is a future disruption, which is likely, it could force us to downsize. So I need your help.”

Then you shift to articulating the mission, beginning with the task and purpose. “We need to diversify our services into other areas in order to manage the risk of a potential disruption in our sector.” And finally, you paint a picture of the end-state. “If we are successful, within two years we will be serving a portfolio of sectors with the same commitment to excellence that got us where we are today, and we will be poised for sustained growth over time despite a potential downturn in any individual sector.”

Next you select a subset of your team to form a Collaborative Planning Team (CPT) and empower them to tackle the issue. You might start with volunteers. Ultimately though, you need to ensure that the right people are in the room so that the CPT has adequate expertise to consider all likely facets of the solution. Now that you’ve clearly defined the “what” and identified your planning team, it’s time for you to step away and let them get to work developing options that they can present to you later regarding the “how.” Before you go, you remind them of three things that will be critical in generating the best answer: collecting all of the relevant data and facts, encouraging rigorous debate, and remaining tuned in to the strategic context.

2. Mission Analysis. Your CPT then launches into step two—mission analysis. As a group they discuss and analyze what factors could affect the mission. They craft their assessment using the acrostic “CRAFT” to consider competition, available resourcesatmospherics (e.g., social, cultural, political, regulatory, etc.), additional functions (i.e., expertise) you might need as you pursue your objective, and time factors, plus any other unique considerations that could impact mission accomplishment.

Mission analysis is the most commonly overlooked step in effective planning. Most of us want to jump right to solutions. However, if you don’t fully understand important aspects of your mission, you are likely to arrive at a solution that misses the mark. In other words, as Yogi Berra once said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.”[viii]

3. Course of Action (COA) Development. Once your team has a grasp of the key aspects of your mission, they move to step three—COA development. In order to push the depth and breadth of their thinking, you’ve asked them to develop three separate COAs that are feasible and distinguishable, meaning that they are all practically doable and different.

Your planning team begins by brainstorming to identify three high-level concepts of operation that are all feasible and distinguishable. Next, for each COA they break down the concept of operation into discreet steps. Then, for each step they define “who does what when.” This forms the basis for a cross-functional, task-organized team that would be required to execute the COA.

4. Contingency Planning. Since your team has heard you occasionally remind them that, “No plan survives contact with customers, competition, or chance,” they now turn their focus to step four—contingency planning. For each COA they ask each other, “What could go wrong?” in order to capture a list of key risks. Next they ask, “What could go unexpectedly well?” and then create a list of potential opportunities. Then they cluster similar answers into themes and plot them on a simple four-quadrant graph like the one below.

For each risk and opportunity that lands in the top right quadrant (high probability of occurrence and high impact), the CPT develops a contingency plan. Each plan answers two questions. First, “How will we know if the risk or opportunity is developing?” In other words, what critical information will you need, and how will you get it? The second question is, “What will we do about it?” That is, what steps will form your contingency response to mitigate the risk or capitalize on the opportunity?

Now it’s time for your Collaborative Planning Team to brief you on their mission analysis, courses of action, and contingency plans so that you can make a decision on how to move forward. How long should this process take up until this point? It depends on the complexity of the challenge, the urgency of the issue, and the bandwidth of your team. To put this into perspective, it took General Eisenhower and his staff six months to plan Operation Overlord.[ix] Granted, he had a large staff and a sense of urgency driven by the future of the free world hanging in the balance, but the challenge was also enormously complex. As a rule of thumb, unless your mission is winning World War III, we’re probably talking days or weeks rather than months.

5. Decision. Step five is where you make your decision regarding how your team will accomplish the mission that you articulated in your leader’s guidance in step one. Your planning team describes each course of action along with the mission analysis behind them, in addition to the contingency plans associated with each. Furthermore, they provide an assessment of pros and cons for each COA. You are impressed by the innovative thinking, creativity, and rigor behind each option. You ask questions throughout each brief to help clarify key considerations. The team’s answers clearly indicate that they have done their homework and considered each option from all relevant angles. Now it’s time for you to make a decision. But how do you decide?

Effective decision-making boils down to judgment. In a Harvard Business Review article titled, “The Elements of Good Judgment,” Andrew Likierman describes six components of good judgment: learning, trust, experience, detachment, options, and delivery. With respect to learning, leaders with good judgment tend to be good readers and listeners. Regarding trust, they intentionally draw on the diverse perspectives and experiences of others. They combine these factors with their own experience, and try to detach themselves emotionally from the issue in order to minimize bias. They question aspects of the options being offered, and finally factor in the feasibility of being able to deliver on the decision.[x]

Most of these elements are already baked into the Collaborative Planning Process, including asking your planning team to develop feasible and distinguishable COAs, drawing on diverse perspectives and expertise to develop them, and carefully listening to your team explain each COA while leveraging your own personal and professional experience (which has probably been honed through reading) to ask clarifying questions. If you can also listen objectively and minimize any personal bias, then you’ve got them all covered.

But what if you’ve done all of this and the right decision still isn’t clear to you? Making good decisions in an environment of complexity and ambiguity is one of the main reasons why leadership is so hard. When you find yourself in this situation, I’ve found it helpful to run the decision through four filters: ask probing questions, ask yourself three key questions, trust your instinct, and verify the logic.

Decision Filter #1: Ask Probing Questions

The first filter is asking tough, pointed questions until the right decision becomes clear. Often the complexity and ambiguity surrounding a difficult decision is caused by not having an integrated, fused picture of what is really going on. If you are not getting clear, confident answers from your team, keep probing until you do. You don’t need to be a jerk about it, but you do need to be persistent. “I’m sorry to be such a pain, but help me understand  . . . ” can be an effective way to soften the questions. Many times an answer to one of your probing questions will eventually cause the light bulb to come on and you’ll have one of those, “Ahh, now I get it, thank you” moments which will be the key unlock for your decision.

But sometimes the light bulb still doesn’t come on, no matter how many questions you ask. I can tell you from personal experience that some of the worst decisions I made in my military career were a result of moving forward with a decision without being fully satisfied with the answers I was getting from my team. It takes courage and conviction to keep probing when it feels like there is something missing from the answers you are getting, but you can’t put your finger on it and you don’t want to be perceived as a jerk. Sadly, the times I felt like that and failed to persevere with tough questions almost always resulted in tougher challenges and deeper problems for our organization down the road.

Decision Filter #2: Ask Yourself Three Key Questions

When the light bulb doesn’t come on through the first filter of tough questions for your team, then what? I’ve found it helpful to run the decision through a second filter of three key questions for yourself: “Will this decision help accomplish our mission?” “Will it help take care of our people?” “And will it uphold our organizational values?” In other words, will it support your culture, people, and mission? If the answer to all three questions is “yes,” then I’ve almost always found it to be a good decision.

Decision Filter #3: Trust Your Instinct

But what if you are in the fortunate position of having to make a decision involving multiple options where the answer to all three questions is “yes” for all of the options? Then I recommend using a third filter which is sometimes referred to as “rule number one of leadership”—trust your instinct.

In his New York Times bestselling book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel Prize-winning author Daniel Kahneman describes how our intuition (the “fast thinking” part of our brain) can sometimes be more accurate than the logical and deliberate “slow thinking” part of our brain when it comes to judgment and decision-making. Many times this is a result of experience. Other times it’s that our unconscious mind can recognize patterns more quickly and accurately than through conscious calculations and reasoning. His main point is that these two parts or “systems” of our thinking, instinct and logic, work together to help us make decisions, and we should not underestimate the power of our “gut.”[xi]

Decision Filter #4: Verify the Logic

During his nuclear disarmament discussions with the Soviet Union leading up to the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987, Ronald Reagan often used the phrase, “Trust, but verify.”[xii] I think of this as the fourth filter for effective decision-making. Since our minds use both instinct and logic to make decisions, trust your instinct but verify it with logic.

To do this, I like to go through a deliberate decision-making checklist that I’ve developed over the years.

1. Is this a decision that I need to make now? Check.

2. Did I consider the strategic context, including realistic constraints? Check.

3. Did I get the right people with the right expertise in the room? Check.

4. Did I accurately frame the issue and encourage rigorous debate? Check.

5. Did I collect all of the relevant facts and consider all aspects of the issue? Check.

6. Did I identify and appropriately weigh the risks and opportunities? Check.

7. Do I feel enough conviction to be decisive and explain why I made the decision? Let’s talk more about this one.

As a quick review of where we are in the Collaborative Planning Process, recall from our example that your team’s services and resources are too concentrated in a particular sector, and you need to diversify into other areas in order to manage the risk of a potential disruption. In step one you issued your leader’s guidance to your planning team. In step two they conducted their mission analysis, and then in step three they developed three feasible and distinguishable courses of action. In step four your team developed contingency plans to address risks and opportunities associated with each course of action. And now in step five, you need to make a decision.

You’ve applied your best judgment and have run your decision through the four filters we just discussed, but you still don’t feel enough conviction to be decisive about any one of the three courses of action your team has presented. You’ve logically narrowed your decision down to COAs #1 and #3. But your instinct is that you like elements of each option. So you choose to combine those elements into a “hybrid” COA comprising what you believe are the best of each.

Now, both your heart and your mind are convinced that this is the best decision. You finally feel enough conviction to be decisive and explain why you made it. In order to help your team understand your thought process and the purpose behind your decision, you explain to them why you reached this conclusion. Then you ask your team to consolidate these hybrid elements into “the” plan, and now it’s time to execute.

6. Execution. Step six is executing your plan. This starts with confirming who needs to be on your execution team. Often it’s the CPT members since they were originally chosen based on their functional expertise, and they have the most situational awareness to the plan because they developed and analyzed it. But it doesn’t have to be. In the course of their collaborative planning, your team may have identified others who would be better suited for the execution team based on their functional expertise. Or perhaps you might choose different members based on geographical considerations. At a minimum, the execution team needs to include all of the individuals in the COA steps that define “who does what when,” in addition to the people who will be involved in executing potential contingency plans.

The key to successful execution is ensuring that it is decentralized, meaning each member of the team is empowered to perform their role and make real-time adjustments based on rapidly evolving conditions throughout your shared information environment. This requires each member of your execution team to clearly understand the plan and their role in it. A lack of clearly defined and understood roles and responsibilities is the most common cause of mission failure. Clear, deliberate, and consistent communications throughout execution are the best way to avoid this, especially when conditions are rapidly changing.

7. Debrief. The seventh and final step is to debrief your planning and execution. We discussed the power of debriefing in chapter 3 when we talked about the concept of passion for excellence as it relates to mission focus. The point is that debriefs should concentrate on continuous improvement. Depending on the length of time in your execution window, you might want to debrief regularly throughout. Whatever frequency you decide, start every debrief by admitting your own mistakes as the leader. You’ll be amazed by how this will inspire the members of your team to acknowledge their mistakes. Focus on both planning and execution. Evaluate both process and performance. Measure objectives versus outcomes. Remember the three key debrief questions—what happened, why, and how can we improve next time? Leave the “who” out of it. Finally, capture and codify lessons learned for continuous improvement.

In my experience, the Collaborative Planning Process can be an extremely effective tool to help you lead your team through uncertainty by creating a common operating baseline in a shared information environment that can enable rapid adjustments during changing circumstances to maintain a competitive advantage. But to implement it effectively, remember the adage that “no plan survives contact” because others (competition, customers, chance, etc.) each get a vote. As a result, you must embrace the inevitability that operational changes will be required to successfully navigate toward your objective.

Leading Operational Change

Some operational changes can be anticipated through contingency planning like we just discussed in step four of the Collaborative Planning Process. But since none of us has a crystal ball and it’s impossible to proactively anticipate every problem that could occur, it is also helpful to have a rapid process for reactive problem-solving. I’ve found the process below helpful in these situations.[xiii]

1. Define the problem. The first step is to define the problem and make sure your problem-solving team is fully aligned on the answer to the question, “What problem are we trying to solve?” You should be able to articulate this clearly and succinctly.

2. Dissect the problem. Step two is to dissect the problem into potential root causes so that you can identify the key issues. One way to “pull the problem apart” is to create an “issue tree.” You can do this by writing your problem statement on the left side of a whiteboard, and then create branches from left to right identifying root issues, and then sub issues, etc.

3. Prioritize key issues. Once you’ve identified the key issues, step three is to prioritize them. Ask yourself, “Which issues seem most critical, and what questions do we need to answer in order to run these issues to ground?”

4. Plan your research. Step four is to plan your research in order to answer the critical questions identified in step three. Consider the amount of time and resources you have available, and develop a plan that focuses on efficiency.

5. Conduct research and analysis. Step five is to do the research that you’ve just planned and analyze what you find. Maybe your team can divide and conquer, and then assemble to discuss findings. Whatever you do, remember the 80-20 rule that we discussed in the previous chapter regarding prioritization, and strive for the 80 percent answer whenever practical. Resist the temptation to get trapped in “paralysis through analysis.”

6. Synthesize your findings. Step six is to synthesize your findings so you can communicate a digestible solution to the decision-maker. If you are the decision-maker, ensure that your team develops a coherent and concise message for communicating the recommendation. The key question from all of your research is, “What’s the ‘so what’?” In other words, what practical actions are implied by the findings so you can answer the question, “What should we do to solve the problem?”

I’ve often found this step to be the hardest. When faced with a basic problem like, “I need to know what time it is,” many teams are inclined to respond by describing in detail how to build a watch. One technique that can help you synthesize your findings is a pyramid structure. Start with a foundation of common themes from the data and facts derived from your research. Then distill those upward into pillars of core logic supporting how to solve the problem. Finally, synthesize your core logic into a governing thought that clearly articulates your recommended solution.

7. Propose your solution. The final step is to propose your solution to the decision-maker by answering the question, “What should we do to solve the problem?” You’ve pulled the problem apart, analyzed the critical issues, and put the problem back together in a solvable way. Now it’s time to present your recommendation. Focus on clarity and impact. Keep in mind that most decision-makers are busy with a lot on their plates, so avoid the temptation to “build a watch” like we just discussed. Instead, get right to the point by starting with your governing thought at the top of your pyramid, and work down from there based on questions that arise from the decision-maker.

So far we’ve talked about operational changes that you may need to make as a leader in the face of uncertainty. Proactively, you can leverage the concept of contingency planning within the Collaborative Planning Process for changes that can be anticipated. For unanticipated problems, you can leverage the Problem-Solving Process that we just discussed to help you navigate unplanned operational changes. However, there will be other times when changes will need to occur at the strategic level, which can require innovation and organizational change. Some of the most common reasons driving the need for organizations to innovate and change include changes among customers, technology, the economy, politics, and your organizational dynamics.[xiv]

Leading Organizational Change

Change management guru John Kotter, a former leadership professor at Harvard Business School and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Leading Change says, “Perhaps the greatest challenge business leaders face today is how to stay competitive amid constant turbulence and disruption.” Yet his research shows that most change efforts fail to achieve their intended result.[xv] History is replete with examples of well-known companies that were once leaders in their respective industries, but failed to keep up with the speed of change. So how can you prevent your team from being left behind? More specifically, how do you effectively lead innovation and change within your organization?

First, it’s important to understand some of the primary inhibitors to innovation and organizational change. Comfort with the status quo, resource constraints, unmotivated employees, opposition from influential stakeholders, and competing interests or priorities are common drivers.[xvi]

Acknowledging these common inhibitors, next consider how to foster an innovative culture (remember the first dimension of our leadership triad). Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and president of Walt Disney Animation Studios, asserts that successful innovation is less about personality, and more about process. It is rarely an “aha” moment. Usually innovation is the result of a painful, disciplined process underpinned by candid collaboration.[xvii] Peter Drucker, whom many have called “the founder of modern management,” describes innovation as a purposeful search for new opportunities through the focused application of knowledge, hard work, and lessons learned from failure.[xviii]

In their book, Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation, Linda Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove, and Kent Lineback assert that, “Innovation is a team sport” that almost always results from “multiple hands, not the genius of some solitary inventor.” Moreover, they describe the essence of leading innovation as “setting the stage” so that others can perform on it.[xix]

The Collective Genius authors also point out that innovation thrives in an environment characterized by diversity of thought, conflicting ideas, patience to test and learn from different approaches, and courage to integrate new possibilities. With this in mind, an effective leader can foster an innovative culture by creating a sense of community within their team where members are connected through a common purpose, shared values, and rules of engagement or behavioral guidelines.[xx] Think back to the concept of your leader’s intent, and consider how it might help you connect this type of culture to your mission in the context of a rapidly changing operating environment.

The bottom line is that implementing new ways of doing business requires transformational leadership. As you adjust and adapt your vision to keep up with a dynamic, rapidly-changing environment, you will need to assess your team’s mission with a frequency that is correlated to the speed of change. Otherwise you will get stuck in the status quo, and your competitive advantage will begin to erode.

As you adjust your mission, you will need to connect your people to it by re-tuning how you articulate, reinforce, and illuminate the new mission. You’ll also need to adjust your leader’s intent to connect your culture to the new mission. And you may also need to emphasize an innovative mindset during coaching and developing sessions with your people, in order to help them embrace the culture of change.

Once you’ve established a culture that can embrace change, you can get down to the business of creating and sustaining change.  In Leading Change, John Kotter describes some key reasons why change efforts fail based on his research. They include complacency, lack of vision and guidance, obstacles, lack of momentum, and lack of follow-through.[xxi] Through my own personal experience with transformations in a number of organizations across a range of industries, I’ve learned seven important steps for creating and sustaining organizational change.

1. Create a compelling case for change. Identify a “burning platform” for your team so they can embrace the idea that you can’t do nothing and must do something.

2. Initiate strategic communication. It should come from top leadership, include the purpose and importance of the effort, and paint a picture of what success looks like. This is your change vision. Ensure it is clear and concise, and that it cascades throughout the organization.

3. Recruit key influencers. Actively pursue and persuade influential people within your organization to join your transformation team. Engage with them to help you collaboratively develop a strategy to achieve the vision. This will help generate top-down buy-in.

4. Engage line-level stakeholders. Identify key stakeholders on the front lines. Explain the importance of effort, and what’s in it for them. This will help generate grass-roots support by creating front-line champions.

5. Celebrate quick wins. This will generate momentum by reinforcing your vision among key influencers, motivating front-line champions, and helping to get skeptics on board.

6. Implement a high-visibility reporting cadence. Progress should be measured and briefed to top leadership on a frequent basis. This will drive urgency and accountability into the effort, and help get resisters on board.

7. Embed results in systems and culture. This is the key to long-term sustainability. Changes can be codified in policy and processes. They can also be reflected in your leader’s intent where you connect your culture to your mission. Most importantly, they should be role-modeled by leaders at all levels so that the change will stick.

Leading Through a Crisis

There is one final topic we need to cover about leading through uncertainty and change before we “land the plane” in this chapter. Regardless of how much you plan and how well you lead, you will inevitably encounter crises. I’ve encountered more than I’d like to remember. Nevertheless, I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way about crisis leadership. Some of them I’ve learned the hard way. Others I’ve learned through more favorable outcomes. To help spare you the former and so that you can experience more of the latter, here are five things to think about the next time you find yourself leading your team through a crisis.

1. Rapidly analyze the situation. Huddle with your senior leadership team, including legal and public relations. Also bring into the conversation anyone who has a good grasp of the facts surrounding the crisis. Avoid the temptation to jump to conclusions or prematurely place blame. Focus on what happened given what you currently know, what the implications and impacts are for people within and external to your organization, and what immediate actions you can take to help stem the crisis and mitigate further damage. Once aligned, initiate the immediate actions.

2. Shape your communications. Focus on honesty and empathy. The key is to develop trust with people inside and outside your organization by taking responsibility, telling the truth, and acknowledging the emotional challenges people are experiencing as a result of the crisis. Develop a concise message that describes what happened, empathetically acknowledges the impact, and explains what you are doing about it. Do all of this quickly so you can drive the narrative, rather than react to it. Remember that bad news rarely, if ever, gets better with time.

3. Exercise visible leadership. Step into the spotlight and be ready to take the heat for your team. This is far from comfortable, but it’s one of the most important things you’ll ever do as a leader. Remember our discussion about composure as it relates to your culture in chapter 1? This is your chance to let your true character shine in the face of real adversity. Start by sharing your message with your team and offer them the opportunity to ask questions. Instruct them to refer any media inquiries to your senior leadership team, because your next step is to deliver the same message to people outside your organization through a press release, press conference, video interview, social media, and/or other appropriate communication channels. Conclude by announcing that you’ve commenced an investigation (we’ll talk about this in a second), and will update everyone as you learn more. Throughout this entire process, keep reminding yourself that accountability and transparency are your keys to developing trust.

4. Create a crisis action team. Carefully consider the expertise needed based on the nature of the crisis, and ensure they have adequate information flow to create a data-driven, fact-based common operating picture. Use the Collaborative Planning Process that we previously discussed in this chapter to rapidly generate potential courses of action. Begin by assessing the results of your immediate actions, and adjust next steps accordingly. Accelerate and iterate your COA decision cycle to stay ahead of the crisis, and make sure you have a plan to stay ahead of the media.

5. Initiate an investigation. As soon as the crisis begins to stabilize, commence an investigation. Depending on the nature of the crisis, the investigation can be conducted formally or informally by an internal or external body. When deciding among these options, weigh the importance of resource intensity and speed versus the perception of objectivity and integrity. For example, an informal investigation conducted internally might be the fastest way to generate insights, but this may also increase the risk of cover-up allegations. On the other hand, a formal investigation by an external third party may be more thorough and objective, but this could also result in delayed insights, making it harder for you to stay ahead of the media. Consider balancing these risks by launching an informal, internal investigation to generate rapid initial insights, followed immediately by a formal, external investigation. Thoughtfully assess the expertise you need on the investigating team in order to ensure rigor and accuracy in the findings. Results of the investigation should address, at a minimum, two things: cause(s), and recommendations for how to prevent a similar crisis from occurring in the future. Use these findings to update your internal and external communications. Own your mistakes, vow to do better, and to put into place measures for continuous improvement within your organization.

Although we’ve talked a lot about uncertainty in this chapter, one thing is certain. You will face crises as a leader. While we’d like to avoid them, they’re unavoidable. I can’t tell you when they will happen or what they will look like, but I can tell you that spears will fly and it won’t be fun. It will feel lonely at the top, and you’ll understand more deeply the burden of leadership. Perhaps you’ve been there. I know I have.

During times like these, I’ve found it helpful to remind myself of Theodore Roosevelt’s words about “The Man in the Arena.”[xxii]

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

I encourage you to see crises as crucible opportunities that can help hone you as a leader and prepare you for greater things to come. If leadership was easy, anyone could do it. But leadership is hard. It’s a marathon that requires intense determination and perseverance, especially during difficult times. There are plenty of people out there who can critique leaders during a crisis, but few who can actually lead with character, competence, and composure when the spears are flying.

Excerpted with permission from THE SUBSTANCE OF LEADERSHIP: A Practical Framework for Effectively Leading a High-Performing Team(Per Capita Publishing, September 21, 2021).

[i] Declan Butler, “Tomorrow’s Technological Change is Accelerating Today at an Unprecedented Speed and Could Create a World We Can Barely Begin to Imagine,” Nature, February 25, 2016,!/menu/main/topColumns/ topLeftColumn/pdf/530398a.pdf?origin=ppub.

[ii] IBM, “10 Key Marketing Trends for 2017,” IBM Marketing Cloud,; John Gantz and David Reinsel, “The Digital Universe in 2020,” IDC IVIEW, December 2012,

[iii] “The Perils of Prediction,” The Economist, May 31, 2007,; Nate Scott, “The 50 Greatest Yogi Berra Quotes,” USA Today, March 28, 2019,

[iv] “TED Speaker: Alan Kay——Educator and Computing Pioneer,” TED, March 2008,

[v] William Blair, “President Draws Planning Moral: Recalls Army Days to Show Value of Preparedness in Time of Crisis,” New York Times, November 15, 1957,

[vi] Helmuth von Moltke, quoted in Robert Heinl, Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1966), “Plans,” Kindle.

[vii] United States Army, Field Manual 101-5: Staff Organization and Operations (Washington, DC: Headquarters, Department of the Army, 1997), .

[viii] Nate Scott, “The 50 Greatest Yogi Berra Quotes.”

[ix] National D-Day Memorial Foundation, “Preparation and Planning,”

[x] Andrew Likierman, “The Elements of Good Judgment,” Harvard Business Review, January-February 2020.

[xi] Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011).

[xii] Suzanne Massie, Trust, but Verify: Reagan, Russia, and Me (Blue Hill, ME: Maine Authors Publishing, 2013).

[xiii] Adapted from Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill That Changes Everything, Charles Conn and Robert McLean (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2018) and “How to Master the Seven-Step Problem-Solving Process,” McKinsey & Company, 13 September 2019,

[xiv] William Craig, “Accepting Change is Vital to Your Company’s Growth,” Forbes November 13, 2017,

[xv] John Kotter, “Accelerate!,” Harvard Business Review, November, 2012; John Kotter, “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail,” Harvard Business Review, May-June, 1995; John Kotter, Leading Change (Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 2012).

[xvi] W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, “Tipping Point Leadership,” Harvard Business Review, April 2003; Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, “The Real Reason People Won’t Change,” Harvard Business Review, November 2001.

[xvii] Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc. (New York: Random House, 2014), 85-128.

[xviii] Peter Drucker, “The Discipline of Innovation,” Harvard Business Review, August 2002.

[xix] Linda Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove, and Kent Lineback, Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation (Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2014), Introduction, Kindle.

[xx] Hill, Brandeau, Truelove, Lineback, Collective Genius, chap. 4-5.

[xxi] Kotter,  Leading Change, chap. 1.

[xxii] Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship in a Republic and the Man in the Arena: Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910,” Kindle.

10 Inventions and Theories Made by Women but Credited to Men

Startup’s Mushroom Leather Ready for Commercial Production

An Adidas sneaker and Lululemon bags are already in the works.

Bolt Threads

Image by Bolt Threads

A new biotech materials startup called Bolt Threads has created a leather-like material it calls Mylo that could revolutionize the fake leather market — and it’s ready to go mainstream, Fast Company is now reporting.

Bolt Threads says it’s ready to produce the material on a commercial scale, according to the report, producing as much as a million square feet a year. Adidas and Lululemon are already on board.

Advanced faux leather products could help alleviate the burden of raising animals, a heavily polluting — and to many ethically questionable — process. It also doesn’t rely on plastic pollutants like many other varieties of fake leather.

Mylo won’t be replacing conventional leather overnight.


“When we look at leather, it’s a massive industry, like 35 billion square feet per year,” Dan Widmaier, founder and CEO of Bolt Threads, told FastCo. “If we’re really going to make a dent in this problem that we call climate change, we better be able to go really fast.”

The futuristic material is made out of mycelium, a fungus-like bacterial colony that can grow quickly into a massive web of strands. It’s so prolific that if all currently operating mushroom farms were to work on Mylo, it could replace all of the leather on the planet, according to Widmaier’s estimations.

The advantages are plentiful: for one, the mycelium doesn’t rot like real leather and doesn’t have to be preserved.

While Mylo has yet to release exact figures on how much CO2 emissions are saved over the production of real leather, the process is significantly less carbon intensive as well, due to the simple fact that cows don’t have to be raised.


“Growing a cow takes one to two years,” Jamie Bainbridge, vice president of product development at Bolt Threads, told FastCo. “It takes growing the feed before you grow the cow. And so you’ve got a huge impact embedded in that cow. Mylo takes less than two weeks to grow.”

It’s a futuristic and sustainable alternative to an extremely common but polluting material. Like the move towards lab-grown meat, our dependence on raising cattle could soon end — a big win for the environment.

READ MORE: This realistic mushroom ‘leather’ is ready for commercial production [Fast Company]

More on the material: Adidas, Lululemon Say They’ll Make Clothes Out of Mushroom Leather


Futurism Readers: Find out how much you could save by switching to solar power at By signing up through this link, may receive a small commission.

The Best Compost Bins for Beginners to Experts

The absolute best picks for compost bins, one of the most simple, easy ways you can make your home — and this world — a greener place.

How Sept. 11 Supercharged China’s Propaganda

Beijing has used the “war on terror” to target its own minorities like Uyghurs.

India Welcomes AUKUS Pact as China Deterrent

The agreement will help New Delhi with its quest for a stable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific.

Lost perspective? Try this linguistic trick to reset your view

James Clear Newsletter

“The most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”

3-2-1: The measure of success, courage, and knowing what you want


Happy 3-2-1 Thursday,

Here are 3 ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 question to consider this week…

3 Ideas From Me


“Double down on your best relationship.

It’s the investment with the highest return.”

(Share this on Twitter)​


“People who jump from project to project are always dividing their effort, and producing high quality work becomes difficult without intense effort.

Meanwhile, your average work day can be leisurely, yet also productive, if you return to the same project each day.

Do one thing well and watch it compound.”


“Life is easier when you know what you want—but most people don’t take the time to figure out what they want.

It’s not that we are completely lost, but our efforts are often slightly misdirected. People will work for years and ultimately achieve a lifestyle that isn’t quite what they were hoping for—often, simply, because they never clearly defined what they wanted.

An hour of thinking can save you a decade of work.”

2 Quotes From Others


Novelist Toni Morrison on the measure of success:

“For me, success is not a public thing. It’s a private thing. It’s when you have fewer and fewer regrets.”

Source: Interview with The Guardian


Novelist and art theorist André Malraux on courage:

“Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk—and to act.”

Source: Don’t Forget to Sing in the Life Boats

1 Question For You

Was this a productive week? What can you do today to guarantee the answer is yes?

If you enjoyed that, please share with others.

Share this newsletter on TwitterFacebookLinkedInWhatsApp, or via email.

Or, copy and paste the link below:

3-2-1: The measure of success, courage, and knowing what you want

Until next week,

James Clear
Author of the multi-million-copy bestseller, Atomic Habits
Creator of the 
Habit Journal

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is Fast and Furry-ous Day? Today is the anniversary of the first Road Runner cartoon’s debut in 1949. What does that mean? It means Wiley E Coyote and the Road Runner share the same birthday! 🙂


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“All of us are born with a set of instinctive fears – of falling, of the dark, of lobsters, of falling on lobsters in the dark, or speaking before a Rotary Club, and of the words, Some Assembly Required.”

— Dave Barry


Immanent IM-ən-əntPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: Latin, mid 16th century
1Existing or operating within; inherent.2(Of God) permanently pervading and sustaining the universe.
Examples of Immanent in a sentence “The role of government is immanent in the Constitution.” “Teri’s research paper discussed whether altruism is an immanent trait or a learned one.”
ImmanentIM-ən-əntPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: Latin, mid 16th century
1Existing or operating within; inherent.2(Of God) permanently pervading and sustaining the universe.
Examples of Immanent in a sentence “The role of government is immanent in the Constitution.” “Teri’s research paper discussed whether altruism is an immanent trait or a learned one.”

10 Quotes That Reveal the Remarkable Mind of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany, in 1879. At the time, the Einstein family owned an electrical firm that manufactured dynamos and electrical meters. His father wanted Albert to pursue a career in electrical engineering, but young Albert had a rebellious side and never much enjoyed formal learning. He preferred to teach himself, whether it was science or philosophy or music. And that worked out fine for Einstein, who went on to become one of the greatest physicists of all time. ‌‌

In 1905, a year now known as his annus mirabilis (miracle year), Einstein published four revolutionary scientific papers while still working at the patent office in Bern, Switzerland. Among them he outlined the theory of the photoelectric effect, introduced special relativity, and described the principle of the mass-energy equivalence, the latter now associated with the world’s most famous equation: E=mc2. He was later awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, in 1921. ‌‌

Beyond his scientific genius, Albert Einstein was a complex and colorful figure. He loved music almost as much as physics, his love life was active (and not always honorable), and his political views attracted the attention of the FBI. He also didn’t shy away from talking and writing about a wide range of subjects, leaving behind a trove of quotes that give us a fascinating insight into this unique character.


Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations. All this is put in your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it on to your children.

Einstein was an above-average student in many areas, but he especially excelled at mathematics. At 12 years old, he was given a book of geometry that he later called his “sacred little geometry book.” During a single summer, he used the book to teach himself algebra, calculus, and geometry. At 13, he became fascinated with philosophy. He was particularly interested in the philosopher Immanuel Kant and his book Critique of Pure Reason.


If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get most joy in life out of music.

Einstein began playing the violin at the age of five or six, but gave up lessons in his early teens because he found them boring and mechanical. Instead, he began teaching himself. At 13, he discovered the violin sonatas of Mozart and fell in love with them. This changed the way he practiced and studied music, through passion rather than systematic learning. He later said, in regards to learning the violin, that “love is a better teacher than a sense of duty.” Einstein went on to become an accomplished musician.


I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

For Einstein, imagination and curiosity were fundamental to understanding and intelligence. In a letter to his biographer Carl Seelig, Einstein famously wrote, “I have no special talent, but am only passionately curious.”


I must love someone, otherwise it is a miserable existence. And that someone is you.

Einstein married twice, first to Mileva Marić from 1903 to 1919, during which time they had a daughter and two sons. While still married to Marić, he fell in love with his cousin Elsa Löwenthal. He divorced Marić, and married Löwenthal in 1919. They were together until her death in 1936, and it was to her that Einstein wrote the above quote. Einstein’s extramarital affairs were well known, in part because he didn’t do much to hide them. But he was aware of his weaknesses. He once wrote in a letter to the son of a friend who died, “What I admire in your father is that, for his whole life, he stayed with only one woman. This is a project in which I grossly failed, twice.”


Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the Old One. I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.

These words, written by Einstein in a letter to German physicist Max Born, are the source of the famous but much misunderstood — and misquoted — “God does not play dice with the universe.” They are a prime example of how people have tried to pin down Einstein’s religious beliefs, even when he was talking metaphorically about quantum mechanics. Raised Jewish, Einstein was religious as a boy but later called himself an agnostic and said he didn’t believe in an afterlife. Perhaps most telling, however, was a letter he wrote in 1954 (a year before his death), in which he revealed, “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”


I have never had a particularly favorable opinion of the Germans (morally and politically speaking), but I must confess that the degree of their brutality and cowardice came as something of a surprise to me.

In 1933, Einstein went into exile, abandoning his homeland of Germany following the rise of the Nazis under Adolf Hitler. Einstein became increasingly outspoken about the regime, rallying against Hitler and, to some extent, putting aside his deeply held pacifism in the face of the growing threat. “I should not, in the present circumstances, refuse military service,” he said at the time. “Rather I should enter such service cheerfully in the belief that I would thereby be helping to save European civilization.”


What strikes a visitor is the joyous, positive attitude to life… The American is friendly, self-confident, optimistic, and without envy.

Einstein renounced his German citizenship after the rise of the Nazis. He moved to the United States and became an American citizen in 1940. Einstein had a positive outlook regarding his adopted home, but considered racism America’s “worst disease,” further saying that “Being a Jew myself, perhaps I can understand and empathize with how Black people feel as victims of discrimination.”


Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

Einstein wasn’t shy about expressing his political views. He was an outspoken critic of racism and nationalism, a pacifist, and critical of capitalism and in favor of socialism. When Einstein moved to America, it didn’t take long before he was on the radar of J. Edgar Hoover, who called the physicist “an extreme radical.” By the time of Einstein’s death, the FBI file on him was 1,427 pages long.


I made one great mistake in my life — when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made. But there was some justification — the danger that the Germans would make them.

Einstein was a lifelong pacifist, but the rise of Nazi Germany tested his beliefs. He later said that in some circumstances, “force was appropriate — namely, in the face of an enemy unconditionally bent on destroying me and my people.” Still, he forever regretted his involvement in the development of the atom bomb.


I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share; it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.

Einstein died on April 18, 1955, aged 76, from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The previous day, he had been working on a speech to honor Israel’s seventh anniversary. He was taken to hospital but refused surgery, feeling that his time had come. ‌‌

20 Quotes From the Icons of Hollywood’s Golden Age

20 Quotes From the Icons of Hollywood’s Golden Age

Moviemaking in the Golden Age of Hollywood — the era from the 1920s to 1960s when the studio system controlled American film production — is remembered for its glitz and glamour. But the movie business was also cutthroat. The studios, and in particular the Big Five (Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney, and Columbia), owned everything from the scripts to the sets to the theaters — and infamously controlled the careers of its biggest stars, who were held to stringent standards and often told how to eat, what to wear, and even who to date.

In 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to break up the monopoly of the Big Five, and in the 1960s, when television became a dominant medium, the Golden Age of film finally faded. We still have movie stars, of course, but none that shine so bright as the stars of the early 20th century.

Just about every movie star from those glitzy years has left some record of how they viewed themselves and their peers during those times. Some remained ever optimistic, while others turned to comedy to make sense of their unusual lives, but they all seemed to appreciate that they held a special place in the history of film and pop culture. Here, we’ve compiled 20 of our favorite one-liners from the icons of that time — sentiments of kindness, humor, and endurance that still ring true today.

Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.
— Lucille Ball

I’m fortunate to be a coward, to have a low threshold of fear, because a hero couldn’t make a good suspense film.
— Alfred Hitchcock

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
— Judy Garland

Intentions often melt in the face of unexpected opportunity.
— Shirley Temple

Things are never so bad they can’t be made worse.
— Humphrey Bogart

Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.
— Marlon Brando

So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness.
— Sidney Poitier

You don’t always win your battles, but it’s good to know you fought.
— Lauren Bacall

The problem with the people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.
— Elizabeth Taylor

Happiness is good health and a bad memory.
— Ingrid Bergman

A shot of brandy can save your life, but a bottle of brandy can kill you.
— Cary Grant

One nice thing about silence is that it can’t be repeated.
— Gary Cooper

Men who think deeply say little in ordinary conversations.
— Charlie Chaplin

You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.
— Audrey Hepburn

There was more good acting at Hollywood parties than ever appeared on the screen.
— Bette Davis

Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.
— Joan Crawford

The best gift you can give yourself is the gift of possibility.
— Paul Newman

Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes.
— Sophia Loren

You’ve achieved success in your field when you don’t know whether what you’re doing is work or play.
— Warren Beatty

5 Iron Age Tools and Innovations

New techniques helped make iron stronger—but there were also innovations in the use of gold,

Lockheed Martin Secures $2 Billion in Pentagon Contracts for F-35 Fighter Jet Program

Sept. 15, 2021

By Marin Wolf

Source The Dallas Morning News (TNS)

Living 25000 days. My experience.

I check BioRhythm Calculator App daily by habit. I was Happy to see I have lived till date 25000 days of this life. And I thanked God, my parents, my family, friends, Gurus.

I read bio-hythms in a book first some 20 years ago. Wanted to buy a German/Japanese Bio-rhythm watch but could not afford but when the Biorhythm App appeared on Google play, I am using it daily. The 4 Rhythms for some reason match me and the predictions of the day usually good.

I feel 25 years Young person. Reason: My wish was to have Years calculated in Metric system and Year should be 1000 days long. Getting the drift!

Seriously, I recall the 25th year – the year I began working in PSU – Madras Fertilizers Ltd as Marketing Extension Appentice after having done my nearly 3 year stint in a Nationalised bank Bank of India’s Village branch and living in a Hut.

By now, I had acquired a Yezdi and my company also gave me a Royal Enfield Bullet 350 for official use. Life was fun, it was hard, lots of travel, speeds that one could achieve on village roads and the single lane “High”ways!

I now spend lot of time reading as Second cataract surgery and later – I am able to Read clearly and concentrate in Spiritual readings I always wanted to do. There is of course, the WhataApp/ Google University and MOOC courses on UDEMY that I find very interesting learning.

A Guru once said to me, “When you will know, what you do not know and your curiosity creates a quest to find that knowledge, you will begin and like Gautam Buddha said – “Master will appear when the Pupil is ready” and you will find Gurus and Sadgurus in your life again. In my childhood and youth I was blessed by many but I did not pursue for whatever reasons. Later, I started learning what my Mentees needed from me. Now I learn for “Swantah Sukhay” for my own pleasure like Goswami Tulsidas ji said.

Sh. Eknathji Ranade – Founder of Vivekananda Kendra, Kanya Kumari selected me among first 5 Ajivan Non-Sanyasi-Workers but I was not allowed to go by mother as for a single parent/ with only child – she had expectations from me. Eknathji said to me that I have “Two great qualities – I have “Chitta Shuddhi – Purity of Heart” and I have a curiosity to learn and satiate my thirst by Reading, but he called it “Buddhi Vilaas” Or Indulging in luxury of mind” – he said, learn to Empty the cup – share knowledge with needy freely – it will create space to learn more and then it won’t be a luxury – it will be a Regular Need/ Need fulfillment and Parmaarth” – Helping others, helping needy those who can not afford this Gyan.”

Now of course, in Internet Age, everything is online and available to anyone.

So living 25000 days reminds me of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale “The Positive Thinking Guru” who said ” In life, things average out – good and bad days come in exactly equal proportion and life balances out” . I think it came true in my case.

I wish, I am still not indulging in luxury of mind but be able to help.

Everyone needs more of this one skill

Adaptability has helped employees thrive and grow during change. Here’s how to cultivate it quickly and at scale. Newsletter

This is Brain Pickings midweek pick-me-up, drawn from my fifteen-year archive of ideas unblunted by time, resurfaced as timeless nourishment for heart, mind, and spirit. (If you don’t yet subscribe to the standard Sunday newsletter of new pieces published each week, you can sign up here — it’s free.) If you missed last week’s archival resurrection — Mary Shelley, writing 200 years ago about a 21st-century world savaged by a deadly pandemic, on what makes life worth living — you can catch up right here. If my labor of love enriches your life in any way, please consider supporting it with a donation – all these years, I have spent tens of thousands of hours, made many personal sacrifices, and invested tremendous resources in Brain Pickings, which remains free and ad-free and alive thanks to reader patronage. If you already donate: THANK YOU.

FROM THE ARCHIVE | The Osbick Bird: Edward Gorey’s Tender and Surprising Vintage Illustrated Allegory About the Meaning of True Love

Great loves, like great works of art, live at the crossing point of the improbable and the inevitable. That, at least, has been my experience, both as a scholar of history and as a private participant in the lives of the heart. Such loves come unbidden, without warning or presentiment, and that is their supreme insurance against the projectionist fantasy that so frequently disguises not-love — infatuation, obsession, jealousy, longing — as love. But when they do come, with all the delirium of the improbable, they enter the house of the heart as if they have always lived there, instantly at home; they enter like light bending at a certain angle to reveal, without fuss or fanfare, some corner of the universe for the very first time — but the corner has always been there, dusty and dim, and the light has always been ambient, unlensed and unbent into illumination. For great love, as the Nobel-winning Polish poet Wisława Szymborska observed in her splendid meditation on its mystery, is “never justified” but is rather “like the little tree that springs up in some inexplicable fashion on the side of a cliff: where are its roots, what does it feed on, what miracle produces those green leaves?”

That improbable and inexplicable miracle is what Edward Gorey (February 22, 1925–April 15, 2000) celebrates with his signature faux-terse tenderness and soulful oddness in the vintage gem The Osbick Bird (public library).

Written in 1969 — several years after Gorey created his now-iconic Gashlycrumb Tinies, but well before his work for PBS and his fantastical reimagining of Dracula made him a household name — it was originally published under Gorey’s own Fantod Press, whose author list included such venerated names as Ogdred Weary, Madame Groeda Weyrd, O. Müde, Mrs. Regera Dowdy, Raddory Gewe, Garrod Weedy, and the Oprah-like first-name-only Om — Gorey’s delightful menagerie of pseudonyms.

Edward Gorey by Richard Avedon (Richard Avedon Foundation)

This tiny treasure of a book, itself improbable and inevitable given its subject and its creator’s nature, lay dormant and forgotten for decades, until Pomegranate Press, heroic stewards of Gorey’s legacy, resurrected it twelve years after he became the posthumous author he had always lived as.

In spare lines and spare verses, Gorey tells the singsong story of the osbick bird — a creature of his wild and wondrous imagination — who alights one day to lonely, dignified Emblus Figby’s bowler hat, out of the blue, or rather, out of the sky-implying negative space of Gorey’s minimalist, consummately cross-hatched black-and-white worldscapes.

And then, just like that, Emblus Figby and the osbick bird commence a life together — as if life was always meant to be lived in this particular tandem; as if each of the two was written into being just to complete the other’s rhyme.

This charmingly eccentric shared life unspools in Gorey’s playful verses, evocative of Victorian nursery rhymes, and when the spool runs out, Gorey’s romantic realism takes over — the osbick bird flits out of the frame just like it had flitted into it, by that miraculous consonance of the improbable and the inevitable.

“There is grandeur in this view of life,” Darwin had written a century earlier in the final passage of On the Origin of Species — in the view that death is the very mechanism ensuring the unstoppable ongoingness of life, the fulcrum by which ever shifts into after. There is grandeur, too, in Gorey’s subversive ending. There is beauty and bravery in its counterpoint to our incomplete happily-ever-after cultural mythos and its deep-seated denial of death as an integral part of life, and therefore of love; beauty and bravery in the reminder that the measure of a great love — as of a great life — is not in the happy ending, for all endings followed to the ultimate finality are the same, but in all the happy durings.

Complement The Osbick Bird with Shell Silverstein’s tender line-drawn allegory for the simple secret of true love, then revisit Hannah Arendt on love and how to live with the fundamental fear of its loss and W.H. Auden on what it means to be the more loving one.

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The Truelove: Poet and Philosopher David Whyte on Reaching Beyond Our Limiting Beliefs About What We Deserve

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Hannah Arendt on Love and How to Live with the Fundamental Fear of Loss

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Rilke on the Relationship Between Solitude, Love, Sex, and Creativity

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Our Greatest Misconception About Love: Philosopher-Psychiatrist Esther Perel on Modern Loneliness as Ambiguous Loss and the Essential Elements of Healthy Relationships

How to enjoy coffee

Smooth like chocolate or fruity like a berry, coffee has as many tastes as wine or beer – you just need to know your beans

by Jessica Easto 

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is International Day of Democracy? In 2007, the UN passed a resolution that September 15 of each year would be observed as the International Day of Democracy. It’s easy to take freedoms for granted so please reflect on the history of democracy, thank those who influenced the development of our government, and look for ways to promote and protect our own democracy.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

— C.S. Lewis


Eureka yoo-REE-kəPart of speech: exclamationOrigin: Greek, early 17th century
1A cry of joy or satisfaction when one finds or discovers something.2Marked by usually sudden triumphant discovery.
Examples of Eureka in a sentence “When Seth solved the complicated problem, he cried out “Eureka!”” “Maria had a eureka moment that made the rest of her day much easier.”

10 Criminal Groups That Were Founded With Good Intentions

Al Qaeda Versus ISIS

The Jihadi Power Struggle in the Taliban’s Afghanistan

Life Under the Taliban

A few weeks after militants took over Kabul and the country, Afghanistan has gone back to a past it didn’t miss.

The World Still Needs the UN

Building Global Governance From Scratch Is a Fool’s Errand