Positive, Fun and Easy Leading

Check out this list.  What do these things have in common:


Deck of cards

Answering machine

Phone book




Tape recorder


Cup of Dice

Alarm clock





Street map





Outdoor thermometer


Hint: You may be reading or listening to this edition of Read2Lead on the object that has made this whole list obsolete if not extinct. The cell phone.

I sourced this list (embellished slightly) from Steven Pinker’s best-seller Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.  (You may have read Bill Gates’ oxymoronic comment that it’s his “new favorite book of all time.”)  Pinker is a massively positive champion of progress, introducing this list of disruptions with the line, “Just think of all the plastic, metal and paper that go into the 40-odd consumer products that can be replaced by a single smartphone.” He refers to this as de-materialism, exemplified by his music that went from “cubic yards of vinyl…to cubic inches of compacts disks and then to the nothingness of MP3’s.”  Your phone may be running slow, but your apartment’s a whole lot less cluttered!

We do and should worry about all this disruption.  Technology isn’t a big peace march.  It leads to jobs lost, data hacked, democracy threatened, technology (porn and gambling) addicts, and all manner of other problems.

Leading in time of tech and disruption puts a major premium on good choices! On remembering efficiency is just one value. On choosing face-to-face human leadership and human relationship.

But…maybe it’s worth it to take a minute today to give thanks that we live in this time of incredible advances that allow us, for example to reach our kids and our parents in an instant anywhere in the world at any time.  We can organize our work, and empower and encourage our teams, getting things done faster than ever. You could take a walk at lunch today and listen to a great podcast, whereas for centuries only a few lucky elites could hear from a great Harvard prof, or you can bop down the street to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, playing in the background of the audio version of today’s R2L or playable in the following video:


Celebrate your great fortune as you lead with your best self!


Footnote:  Pinker’s book has drawn fire for the accuracy of his account of Enlightenment philosophy, for some of his data interpretations, and for what some see as his unacknowledged and debatable values.  Despite the critiques, I’ve found him incredibly challenging to my little brain and some of my fixed views.