Practical Marital Guidance

Immensely enjoyed a book by Andrew G. Marshall – ‘Help Your Partner Say Yes’ . So practical and down-to-earth, that it can be applied immediately. Hope his other titles should be as good as this one, they are:

  • Are You Right For Me?
  • Build A Life-Long Love Affair
  • Heal And Move On
  • Learn To Love Yourself Enough
  • Resolve Your Differences

The Lifetime Reading Plan

An happenstance on a book about books – don’t remember the name, talked about life long reading plan by Clifton Fadiman, who first published such in 1960 that outlines a plans of one’s entire life to read them all. The new list is available here. I’d love to trudge on this path to devour all these books but time is pricey and pricier is getting uninterrupted slot in that time, nevertheless a pursuit to be done diligently. I’m interested not only on titles but also about creators themselves and their life. The list is enlightening and enjoyable and want to read The New Lifetime Reading Plan by John S. Major and also enjoy the comments on each title -for brevity of opinions.

DRiVE II – Behaviors, Motivated Types & Elements to Motivate

Meyer Friedman & Ray Rosenman, leading cardiologists in NY noticed similarities in their patients prone to heart disease and classified them as Type A & B.

Type A: Have a particularly complex of personality traits, including excessive competition drive, aggressiveness, impatience, and a harrying sense of time urgency. Individuals displaying this pattern seem to engage in chronic, ceaseless and often fruitless struggle – with themselves, with others, with circumstances, with time, sometimes with life itself. This stood in contrast to Type B: Rarely harried by life or made hostile by its demands. Intelligent, frequently just as ambitious as Type A. They’ve considerable amount of drive but its character is such that it seems to steady him, give confidence and security to him, rather than to goad, irritate, and infuriate, as with Type A man.

Drawing on his understanding of the human psyche, as well as his experience as a leader, McGregor began rethinking the conventions of modern management, and in his groundbreaking book, The Human Side of Enterprise, he argued that those running companies were operating from faulty assumptions about human behavior. McGregor said there was an alternative view of employees – one that offered a more accurate assessment of the human condition and a more effective starting point for running companies. this perspective held that taking an interest in work i s “as natural as play or rest,” that creativity and ingenuity were widely distributed in the population, and that under proper conditions, people will accept, and even seek, responsibility.

To explain the contrasting outlooks, McGregor mined the back end of the alphabet . He called first view Theory X and second Theory Y. If you’re starting point was Theory X, he said, your managerial techniques would inevitably produce limited results, or even go awry entirely. If you believed in “the mediocrity of the masses”, as he put it, then mediocrity became the ceiling on what you could achieve. But if your starting point was theory Y, the possibilities are vast-not simply for the individual’s potential, but for the company’s bottom-line as well. With these 2 people’s comment as the hoist, Pink introduces 2 alphabets about human motivation.

Type eXtrinsic: this behavior is fuelled by extrinsic desires than intrinsic ones. They always neglect inherent enjoyment, deeper satisfaction is welcome but secondary. Type Intrinsic behavior:

  • Almost  always outperform Type X
  • Is both born and made
  • Does not disdain money or recognition
  • is a renewable resource
  • promotes great physical and mental well-being

3 elements to motivate people is Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose


Four Essentials – Task, Technique, Time, Team – What people do, when they do it, How they do it and with whom they do it with

  1. Task: 3M, Google allow experimental doodling – 20% off on what you like
  2. Time: ROWE – results only work environment
  3. Technique: Zappos leave it to call center folks to decide the technique but emphasize on happiness and stickiness as outcomes and they’re ok to hang on the phone for more time as required to service a customer
  4. Team: In Whole Foods, prospective teammates vote whether to hire a person full-time after probation and they also interview


Frequent frustration in workplace is mismatch of what people must do and what people can do, hence  when what they must do exceeds their capabilities, anxiety results and the other hand, boredom. When the match is right, results are glorious and is the essence of flow – walking the tightrope between accident and discipline. There are 3 laws of mastery: It is a mindset, pain and asymptote

Mindset: Getting A in French is a performance goal whereas being able to speak French is learning goal. Both can fuel achievement but only one can lead to mastery.
Pain: The importance of working hard is easily apprehended, the importance of working longer without switching objectives may be less perceptible…in every field, grit may be as essential as talent to high accomplishment, hence passion and perseverance for long-term goals is essential
Asymptote: Is a curved line that approaches a horizontal line but never quite reaches it. Professional players when being amateurs say they can and must. Even after a terrific outing, they say they’re amateurs and still pursuing mastery, hence something you can never attain. The joy is in the pursuit more than in realization.


Create a sustainable economic, social and environmental prosperity worldwide. Humans by their nature, seek purpose – to make a contribution and to be part of a cause greater and more enduring than themselves.


Daniel H Pink’s book is a stimulating read on how to motivate and reward gen Y in ever increasing daunting and chaotic job & work scope.

Excerpts from the book to note:

Harry F. Harlow was studying primate behavior using rhesus monkeys using Harlow’s puzzles and found the primates were adept at solving them without any rewards. Two main drivers powers human/animal behavior: 1st was the biological drive. They ate to sate their hunger, drank ti quench their thirst, and copulated to satisfy their carnal urges. But that wasn’t happening here but amounted to the 3rd drive – The performance of the task – monkeys found gratifying to solve puzzles and enjoyed. The joy of the task was its own reward.

Carrots & sticks part of Motivation 2.0 is fundamentally flawed because for growing numbers of people, work is creative, interesting and self-directed rather than unrelentingly routine, boring and other-directed.

Twain from his “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” extracts a motivational principle namely “that Work consists of whatever a body is OBLIGED to do, and that PLAY consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.” In other words rewards can perform wired sort of behavioral alchemy: They can transform an interesting task in to a drudge. They can turn play into work. And by diminishing intrinsic motivation, they can send performance, creativity and upstanding behavior toppling like dominoes.

If-then rewards require people to forfeit some of their autonomy. Try to encourage a kid to learn math by paying her for each workbook page she completes – for short tern she’ll be diligent and will lose interest in long term. Raising incentives doesn’t always improves performance. Which of the following policy make creativity thrive? “Short review cycles, pre-defined deliverables, and renewal policies unforgiving of failure” vs. tolerates early failure, rewards long tern success, and gives its appointees great freedom to experiment”. Those were the policies of National Institute of Health vs. Howard Hughes Medical Institute and invariably HHMI produced high-impact papers at a much higher rate.

Classic experiment is to fine late comers in a day care center and it actually aggravates the problem and hence you need to word and appeal differently to the patrons to reduce latecomers. Also raising rewards may induce unwanted risk taking mistakes and this explains why casinos surround their guests with reward cues (inexpensive food, free liquor, surprise gifts, potential jackpot prizes). The earnings-obsessed companies typically invest less in R&D and successfully achieve their short term goals , but threaten the health of the company 2 or 3 years hence. The very presence of goals (rewards) may lead employees to focus myopically on short-term and to lose sight of potentially devastating long-term opportunities.

Carrot & Sticks: The 7 deadly flaws, they can: extinguish intrinsic motivation, diminish performance, crush creativity, crowd out good behaviors, encourage cheating / shortcuts / unethical behaviors, become addictive and foster short-term thinking.

What’s the best way to enlist your staff of ten, in a massive weekend  poster mailing session? the task is the very definition of routine. One managerial option is coercion. You could just force people to do it. Since most people think of far better ways to spend a weekend, possibly a “if-then” reward might be effective – big office wide party or gift certificate. As this assignment neither inspires deep passion nor requires deep thinking, Carrots won’t hurt and night help. And you’ll increase your chances of success by supplementing the poster-packing with three important practices:

  • Offer a rationale for why the task is necessary
  • Acknowledge that the task is boring
  • Allow people to complete the task their own way