Margin Days

Every so often a book comes along that changes the way we perceive the world and our place in it.

Dr. Swenson defines margin as “the amount allowed beyond that which is needed.” We each  have a capacity of emotional energy, physical strength, financial assets, and time.  Like a glass that holds eight ounces, once filled to capacity, it overflows.  We tend to run our lives at maximum capacity. There are several ways to add margin into our life or oganization. 

First

Once a month, allow each team member to have a weekday off to spend with family or running errands they are unable to do during the weekend. Start with half days and then move to full margin days. A team member’s absence, one day a month, will not adversely affect your team, and you might find that the remaining workdays have more energy and are more effective.

Second

Set aside a certain period during the work week when each person has uninterrupted time to work on whatever they deem most important. This focused time will yield greater results.

Third

Give descretionary margin days, following a stressful project,. These become days of re-creation, not just recreation.  

Margin Days recharge our batteries and allow us to return ready to tackle the job at hand.  Creativity increases and more work is accomplished in less time. No longer are we operating at the limit of our physical and emotional energy.

Crow Planet by Lynda Haupt

crow-man.jpg

Picked this book up as something to read on a recent trip and  enjoyed the natural history and personal naturalist memoir.

At times it reads like Thoreau musing about the view out the window, yet in an urban setting. 

A surprising amount of information is packed in this small volume. 

We can learn much about human relations by observing crows and ravens. 

 

In The Company of Crows and Ravens is  comprehensive and illustrated with beautiful pen and ink drawings. I read this when it was first published in 2007 and was captivated by crows and ravens ever since. The Corvus  genus are highly intelligent and one of most closely connected species to humans.

Best Business Book Ever Written

I just reread this book, which I tend to do every year of so and was again amazed at Drucker's insight into business and human nature.  

This new edition covers sixty years of Drucker's writings from twenty-six different books. No one has impacted modern business more than he.  

If you have not read Drucker before, this is a great introduction. If you have read him, then this condenses all of his key concepts into a single volume. 

Highly recommended. 

Sketchnote Handbook

This quickly became one of my favorite birthday gifts this year. Pamela knew that I love to sketch as we travel and I have doodled for years in meetings.

This handbook takes notes to a new creative level and the examples are outstanding. 

What surprised me was how much it helped me to focus my thoughts and to better listen to and understand others. 

Highly recommended. 

Manage Money Like Endowments

Ever wonder why the Harvard and Yale Endowments substantially outperform the markets, advisors, and investors? They use a Counter Intuitive approach to investing. This 2009 book Ivy Portfolio explains the process used by Harvard and Yale. To learn how to apply similar Counter Intuitive processes that can easily be used by advisors and their clients register now for the upcoming workshop.

Additional Reading

How Harvard and Yale Beat the Market - by Matthew Tuttle

Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Investment - by David Swensen

Foundation & Endowment Investing: Philosophies and Strategies of Top Investors and Institutions - by Lawrence E. Kochard and Cathleen M. Ritterreiser

The Endowment Model of Investing: Return, Risk and Diversification - by Martin L. Liebowitz, Anthony Bova and P. Brett Hammond

New Orleans: More Odds Than Ends

December 19, 2009 We couldn't resist St. Louis Cathedral courtyard again and made a beeline to a front row, wrought iron bench. That day, a cuban man from Miami, wearing a toque and smoking a smushed cigarette sidled up, quizzed us about the food we liked, the music we listened to, where we've travelled, then blew smoke in my face and said, "Well, I gotta go." Just like that. Tourists wore beaded necklaces strung with beads as big as tennis balls and carried drinks by the litre in weird shaped drinking vessels. A wee girl admired her pink, balloon wings. Street urchins cradled beer cans in paper bags. Just another day...

Our wanderings took us to every bookstore in the French Quarter. Sometimes we risked life and limb as we squeezed through quaking towers of books literally stacked to the ceiling with no evidence of order.

We spent a few minutes sampling the life-size gingerbread house at the Ritz Carlton.

We sauntered aimlessly for a while. Here's a common feature. We've seen these fish gush rainwater by the gallons.

Some heritage buildings have tile placards denoting the historical name of a specific street.

Not all New Orleans balconies boast pristine facades with filigree wrought iron and pretty paint jobs:

The muddy Mississippi, a local paddle boat and the Crescent City Connection a.k.a. Greater New Orleans Bridge:

More familiar Crescent City sights: Street performers and a mule and carriage.

The End.

-P

Obsessions in New Orleans

Our first stop in New Orleans in always The Faulkner House Bookstore. We stocked up on Borges, Irving, Capote, and Carver. After touring the local used bookstores we had to ship eight boxes of books back to Nova Scotia to make room for the new acquisitions. [caption id="attachment_4005" align="alignnone" width="334" caption="Another Great Bookstore"][/caption]

Around the corner from Faulkner House we stopped into the Absinthe Cafe and Bar. I was captivated by the presentation.

The Absinthe is trickled into a special glass and then a cube of sugar is light and later extinguished in the glass.

Water is then dribbled into the glass and the "green fairies" appear even when you are not intoxicated. We just had to have some for the bus.

If you visit we will light a sugar cube for you. -L

Buzz at the BE

October 31, 2009 The Biscuit Eater is a local hot spot for anyone who craves a java jumpstart, the comfort or thrill of a new-to-you book, great conversation and delectable sweets and other eats made with a local and organic focus.

Expect a warm and sincere welcome. Jo, horse lover, barista extraordinaire and sweet and special:

We find some of our favourite people in the world here, where coffee is just one source of "the buzz". Good things happen here. What began as a bookselling cafe has become a mecca for literary and community-minded locals. Biscuit Eater's keepers host author readings, intimate concerts and stirring discussions and projects that range from nieghbourhood garden ventures and local environmental topics to global and mind-expanding subjects. Also, we're pretty sure you'll get a charge from the floor to rafter shelves crammed with books. And we can't forget ... the biscuits. I've heard them described as buttery and melt-in-your-mouth and awesome. We just know they're the best. Buzz! We always leave The Biscuit Eater inspired and, well, buzzed.

Our dear friend (and Biscuit Eater proprietress), Dawn, with friend, sea-kayak instructor and contractor Scott:

Local artists' work deck the cafe walls every month or so. The paintings above were created by Deb, who also works at Biscuit Eater. We couldn't begin to tell you of the talent that touches this place... But we feel it every time, an amazing creative energy.

Friend and proprietor Alden joins us for a gab:

Aaah... See? A haven of paper and words ...

... or an escapade if you prefer.

We miss everything about this place. It's a joy to tell you about it and introduce some of the people that make The Biscuit Eater what it is.

A shout out and love to our beloved BE people. xoxo...

-P

Buzz at the BE

October 31, 2009 The Biscuit Eater is a local hot spot for anyone who craves a java jumpstart, the comfort or thrill of a new-to-you book, great conversation and delectable sweets and other eats made with a local and organic focus.

Expect a warm and sincere welcome. Jo, horse lover, barista extraordinaire and sweet and special:

We find some of our favourite people in the world here, where coffee is just one source of "the buzz". Good things happen here. What began as a bookselling cafe has become a mecca for literary and community-minded locals. Biscuit Eater's keepers host author readings, intimate concerts and stirring discussions and projects that range from nieghbourhood garden ventures and local environmental topics to global and mind-expanding subjects. Also, we're pretty sure you'll get a charge from the floor to rafter shelves crammed with books. And we can't forget ... the biscuits. I've heard them described as buttery and melt-in-your-mouth and awesome. We just know they're the best. Buzz! We always leave The Biscuit Eater inspired and, well, buzzed.

Our dear friend (and Biscuit Eater proprietress), Dawn, with friend, sea-kayak instructor and contractor Scott:

Local artists' work deck the cafe walls every month or so. The paintings above were created by Deb, who also works at Biscuit Eater. We couldn't begin to tell you of the talent that touches this place... But we feel it every time, an amazing creative energy.

Friend and proprietor Alden joins us for a gab:

Aaah... See? A haven of paper and words ...

... or an escapade if you prefer.

We miss everything about this place. It's a joy to tell you about it and introduce some of the people that make The Biscuit Eater what it is.

A shout out and love to our beloved BE people. xoxo...

-P

Resistance: Overcoming the Enemy

warofart Occasionally a book comes along that helps us understand our own behavior in a meaningful way. Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art defines for us the nature of our greatest enemy and how to combat what holds us back from the results we desire. Whether you are an artist, writer, entrepreneur, or professional this short book clearly identifies the source of procrastination and internal obstacles to our success in part one. The cure is clearly defined in part two. Like Robert McKee, who wrote the foreword, I too see in part three the effect of inspiration the same and the cause of inspiration differently.

This is a quick read and can immediately be applied to your current practice. Great books can change your life. This in one of them. For more information on The War of Art.

Simplified GTD

Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen revolutionized productivity, though many find it overly complicated. For those of us less inclined to be engineers or lacking follow through, we need a simpler solution. Thank you Leo Babauta for writing Zen to Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System.

ad-ztd1 This short book simplifies the entire GTD system down to very specific actions that are easily implemented into your current routine. No longer are you burdened with maintaining a large organization system. You can apply the concepts at you own pace and decide what is most important for your needs.

Leo writes a great blog at ZenHabits.net which is a valuable resource. Take a moment and read this short book, then apply one habit this week and add another when you master the first.

Naked Bookseller in Quartzsite

naked-bookseller We love bookstores and found a great one in Quartzsite. It even included a naked bookseller. We were lucky to pick up several books and Pamela got a hug and a photograph. -L

That's Paul, co-owner of Reader's Oasis on Main Street. Super nice guy. Also very ... nut-brown, evenly ... toasted. No tanlines. Uh hum. He performed a one man show years ago and thought he could simply drive from Montreal to Halifax in a day, in the winter. Now he knows. :)

-P