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Green-to-tee Strategy, and other fun

“For smart, talented, and ambitious people, winning is sometimes so easy that it makes true success elusive. That’s because victories, easily obtained, can obscure the ultimate goal.”

That’s a quote out of Hannibal and Me, Chapter 6, which is about life strategy. It’s also how I open my latest “teaser” post in the Harvard Business Review. It segues, as one does, from Hannibal in 216 BC to Carl von Clausewitz to, yes, Tiger Woods. ;)

It’s all about strategy, you see — about thinking backwards, from the green to the tee, no matter what the life situation happens to be. (Thank you to Ryan D., who suggested this angle last time.)

Meanwhile, Doug Desalles and I had a great chat on his cool radio station in Sacramento, Radio Parallax. It’s about a half hour long, but we really go quite deep towards the end.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. “It’s all about strategy, you see —
    about thinking backwards, from the green to the tee,
    no matter what the life situation happens to be.”

    Way to Dr. Seuss it up!

    No more rhymes now, I mean it…

    March 6, 2012
    • Oh my, did I really write that in prose without realizing the Seussiness? Gotta work on my rhythm, though.

      March 6, 2012
    • Actually, my comment was just a set-up for the last line: “No more rhymes now, I mean it!”

      Somebody was supposed to channel “The Princess Bride” with me and respond with:

      “Anybody got a peanut?”

      Standard goofiness. Alas, I cannot always will folks to say what I want them to say.

      But, here’s something beyond goofy. You’ve written so much (and I’ve taken away so much) about writing on this blog. And, once in while, the question of poetry arises. Here’s a thought from Howard Nemerov called “Because You Asked About the Line Between Prose and Poetry”:

      Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
      That while you watched turned to pieces of snow
      Riding a gradient invisible
      From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.

      There came a moment that you couldn’t tell.
      And then they clearly flew instead of fell.

      Cheers!

      March 18, 2012
  2. I found your site last week and was so inspired I bought your book and am already half way through it. Love the concept and your engaging style. I even decided to talk about it today on my blog here: http://lifesflightplan.com/2012/03/06/the-tale-of-mr-varneys-two-airlines/

    March 6, 2012
    • Thanks, Korry. I’m delighted you’re inspired. I love the way you encapsulate my book in your blog post in this phrase:

      “… although we often judge a person’s success or failure based on what they do or do not accomplish, the real measure of a man is how he responds to that success or failure…”

      I’ll turn “man” into “person” and start using it. ;)

      March 6, 2012
  3. The universal adoration of the prelapsarian Tiger Woods is as good an example as any of the human predilection to turn fallible people into idols and myths.

    It behooves the historian always to take this predilection into account.

    March 7, 2012
    • I don’t think he’s “universally adored.” It’s precisely his “fallibility” that fascinates nowadays.

      March 8, 2012
  4. The phrase of Korry was very well written. In Brazil I obtain to find its book? It would be very good! I liked to have cited Clausewitz as success example. Taste very of the history of it, is inspired!

    I hug!

    March 8, 2012
    • I hug too. ;)
      I’d love it if you could find the book in Brazil. Thanks, Emerson.

      March 8, 2012
  5. “That’s because victories, easily obtained, can obscure the ultimate goal.”

    I need to remember that; after all, the journey is what prepares us for the destination.

    March 13, 2012
  6. Jim M. #

    At the end of the first Sherlock Holmes story, Holmes explains his technique to Watson:

    “In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practise it much. In the every-day affairs of life it is more useful to reason forwards, and so the other comes to be neglected.”

    May 4, 2012
    • If I’d remembered it, I would have put this quote in the book, right in that chapter, perhaps as one of the quotes at the chapter title.

      May 5, 2012

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