Maurice Ashley is a Chess Grandmaster, a chess commentator, a national championship coach, and an author. In 1999 he earned the title of Chess Grandmaster, making him the first African American Grandmaster in the game’s history, and was later inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame.  His latest book is titled Move by Move: Life Lessons On and Off the Chessboard.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Going into any big moment, the best way to calm your nerves is to get into the right mindset which is that you can’t be better than yourself. Don’t focus on the results.  Just focus on being yourself and the rest will take care of itself.
  • He is able to play up to ten people simultaneously while blindfolded and win each game.
  • It’s important to cultivate a beginner’s mind and approach the game as if you’re viewing it for the very first time. That way you’re open to seeing something new and having a fresh perspective.
  • Upper echelon thinking is to keep growing every day. Today you need to be a little bit better than yesterday.  Your only race is against yesterday’s self.
  • Focus often dips when you’re ahead and your lowest concentration is often when you have the biggest advantage.
  • To stay mentally sharp and focused over the course of a prolonged game, you have to learn to continually check yourself. You have to be your own barometer. Counting breaths also helps to calm down and stay in the moment.
  • Retrograde analysis is envisioning a future state and then working backwards.
  • When conducting post mortems it’s important to categorize your mistakes so you can become more self aware of the patterns behind the mistake and preempt their happening in the future.

 

Notes:

Book: Move by Move: Life Lessons On and Off the Chessboard

Personal website: Maurice Ashley

Kara Swisher is the host of the podcast On with Kara Swisher and the co-host of the Pivot podcast with Scott Galloway, both distributed by New York magazine. She was also the cofounder and editor-at-large of Recode, host of the Recode Decode podcast, and co-executive producer of the Code conference. She was a former contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and host of its Sway podcast and has also worked for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Her latest book it titled: Burn Book: A Tech Love Story.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Her father’s passing when she was just five made her appreciate the ephemeral nature of life and focus on what truly matters.
  • A lot of big tech titans have a big deficit in their upbringing and replace it with enablers and fence themselves off from the population, hence their isolation and loneliness.
  • With her direct no nonsense approach, she has an uncanny ability to get big people to open up and share unique insights.
  • She has been as entrepreneurial and innovative with her career as the tech entrepreneurs she covers for a living.
  • She feels Steve Jobs is the most consequential figure of the modern tech era.
  • She has called Mark Zuckerberg one of the most carelessly dangerous men in the history of technology.
  • “Excellence is doing your very best to get to the heart of something, doing your very best to create something fresh and new, and doing your very best to get it right.”

 

Notes:

Book: Burn Book: A Tech Love Story

Podcasts: Pivot   On with Kara Swisher

Daniel Goleman is a psychologist, former science journalist for the New York Times, and the author of 13 books including the #1 bestseller Emotional Intelligence.  He has worked with organizations around the globe, examining the way social and emotional competencies impact the bottom-line. Ranked one of the 10 most influential business thinkers by the Wall Street Journal, Daniel has won several awards including the HBR McKinsey Award for the best article of the year and the Centennial Medallion awarded to him by Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  His latest book which is titled: Optimal: How to Sustain Personal and Organizational Excellence Every Day shows how emotional intelligence can help us have rewarding and productive days every day.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • There are four parts to emotional intelligence: Self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and relationship management. The latter builds on the first three parts.
  • There are three kinds of empathy – cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and empathic concern.
  • When you’re in an optimal state, you’re highly productive, highly engaged, you care about others, you feel connected to your work, and connected to others.
  • The ability to focus is one of the pathways into the optimal state.
  • People who have a sense of purpose and feel inspired in their work, do it better.
  • It’s never too late to increase your level of emotional intelligence.
  • In emotionally intelligent organizations, it’s not just about hitting your targets but how you went about it. Did you get them by inspiring people to give their best or was it by fear and pressure?
  • Team EI is how people on a team relate to one another. And teams with highest team EI are often the most productive.

 

Notes:

Optimal: How to Sustain Personal and Organizational Excellence Every Day

Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ

Daniel Goleman website

Emotional Intelligence Courses

Kristin Harila is a Norwegian mountain climber who recently set a world speed record for climbing the 14 highest peaks in just 92 days.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • She quit her job and sold her home and put everything on the line to achieve this goal.
  • “If you are happy with less than your goal, then you’ll never reach your goal.”
  • You have to truly believe in what you’re doing if you want to achieve a goal.
  • Working together as a team with her Sherpa was a key component of allowing her to pull off this world record.
  • Many people think that the summit is the goal but the goal is actually to come safely back down the mountain.
  • “On almost all the peaks, there are dead people. If it happens to me, I will have died happy.”

Amy Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, renowned for her research on psychological safety over twenty years. Her award-winning work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Psychology Today, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, and more. Named by Thinkers50 in 2021 as the #1 Management Thinker in the world, Edmondson’s TED Talk “How to Turn a Group of Strangers into a Team” has been viewed over three million times. She received her PhD, AM, and AB from Harvard University. Her latest book is titled: The Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • A good failure is an undesired outcome that brings you new knowledge that could have not been gained any other way. It should be just big enough to get new information without wasting unnecessary time.
  • Most of us have shifted from curiosity and learning in our childhood to defensiveness and self-protection in our adulthood because of the belief that we had to be right or successful to be worthy.
  • Psychological safety Is a belief that one can take interpersonal risks without the fear of punishment or rejection.
  • You need psychological safety in order to cultivate a culture of intelligent failure.
  • Reframing is one of the techniques we can use to learn from failure. It’s the ability to challenge the automatic thinking and come up with a healthier, more productive way to think about the same situation.
  • A culture of accountability and high-performance standards can coexist with a culture of psychological safety and embracing failure.
  • “The easiest way to not fail at all is to not take risks at all.”
  • “Excellence is doing as well as you can in your chosen field and making a positive difference.”

 

Notes:

Books:

Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth

Websites:

Amy Edmondson personal page

Harvard Business School bio

Chris Voss is one of the preeminent practitioners and professors of negotiation skills in the world. He was formerly the lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FBI as well as the FBI’s hostage negotiation representative for the National Security Council’s Hostage Working Group.  He is the founder of The Black Swan Group, a consulting firm that provides training and advises Fortune 500 companies through complex negotiations.  He has taught business negotiation in MBA programs at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. He also taught business negotiation at Harvard and guest lectured at other leading universities including the MIT Sloan School of Management and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.  His book is titled: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Working the crisis hotline was where Chris first learned the power of empathy. Showing someone that they feel heard is often enough to get them to change their behavior.
  • Empathy is about the transmission of information whereas compassion is about the reaction to that transmission.
  • Any time you relax into stress, you’ll handle it far better. The act of relaxation increases your body’s ability to handle its stress demands.
  • Labeling is a verbal observation of an emotion or a dynamic. It’s a way of demonstrating that you’re listening and understanding the other side.
  • Meeting someone halfway (i.e. splitting the difference) rarely works since it never feels like it’s really halfway. You feel the transaction was unfair.  Reason being, based on the economist Daniel Kahneman, people tend to fear a loss twice as much as they are likely to welcome an equivalent gain.
  • “Excellence is a delight with learning and growing. It is not the pursuit of perfection which is a fool’s errand.”

 

Notes:

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your Life Depended on It

Black Swan Group

Fireside Black Swan Group Coaching Program

Jason Belmonte is an Australian pro bowler. He has won 31 PBA titles including a record 15 major championships.  He is one of two bowlers in PBA history to have won the Super Slam, winning all five PBA major titles. He has been named PBA Player of the Year seven times.  He is widely considered one of the greatest bowlers of all time.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • When he was just 10 he told his mother he planned to one day bowl 100 perfect games which he actually accomplished a couple years ago.
  • He chose to pursue bowling over the more popular sports like rugby and cricket given his love for the game despite the fact that it would never be as lucrative.
  • He was often teased and mocked for his two handed style of bowling but he let his impressive scores shut the naysayers down.
  • His unique two handed technique allowed him to spin the ball twice as fast as most other bowlers which allowed him to strike with much greater frequency.
  • He has never had a coach and has always been self-taught, learning from his own mistakes and continually improving his game.
  • A turning point that allowed him to begin dominating the sport is when he shifted his mindset from being worried about failure when everything was on the line to just being in the moment and enjoying himself.
  • “Excellence is working and striving toward a better version of yourself every single day.”

 

Show Notes:

Jason Belmonte website

YouTube videos:

Jason Belmonte YouTube Channel

Nascar bowling: fastest strike ever recorded

Bowling trick shots with Dude Perfect

Frans Lanting has been hailed as one of the great photographers of our time. For more than three decades he has documented wildlife from the Amazon to Antarctica to promote understanding about the Earth and its natural history through images that convey a passion for nature and a sense of wonder about our living planet.  He has received many honors including Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the Lennart Nilsson Award, The Netherlands’ highest conservation honor – the Royal Order of the Golden Ark, the Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in nature photography. His latest book is titled: Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Not knowing the rules will make you experiment with anything and everything. Be aware of the rules but then put them to the side and do things your own way.
  • His empathy toward animals allows him to capture their personalities which are as distinct as our own personalities.
  • Unlike the prevailing methods of photographing the animals from a distance, Frans likes to get up close and personal and take his pictures at eye level to create a more intimate interaction.
  • Too many people are overly fixated with technology but what’s most important is knowing what’s interesting to you and your connection with the subject in front of you.
  • Unlike painting where you start with a blank canvas, with photography you go in the opposite direction and have to delete as much as possible until there is clarity.
  • His photography evolved from capturing a single species to capturing the essence of nature as a network of relationships amongst many species.

 

Notes:

Books:

Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales

Into Africa

Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape

Other books by Frans

Exhibitions:

LIFE: A Journey Through Time

Bay of Life

Website:

Frans Lanting