HOW we do things means everything

HOW we do things means everything

Dov Seidman, author of "How... Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything... in Business and in Life

Dov Seidman, author of “How… Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything… in Business and in Life

Philosopher, attorney and business consultant Dov Seidman was interviewed by Tom Friedman on a NYTimes colloquium and Tom spoke very highly of this book. Extensively footnoted and drawing from a wide range of sources, it is both scholarly and informative. But it boils down to, “if more people did the right thing more often, the world would be a better place.” Check out the website for the book

Several interesting insights included the paradox of the Hills of Knowledge. He ended each chapter with a graph showing two hills with a saddle in between. The lower hill, on the left, represented B students, the saddle represented C students and the higher hill, on the right, represented A students. He had learned, during his teaching years, that the students who synthesized the class material with their own experiences and ambitions and expressed their changed understanding clearly, got As. Those who did all the work and hit all the marks but created nothing new got Bs. Those who struggled to synthesize or expressed it poorly got Cs, even though they had a better grasp of the material than the Bs.

In this book, Dov mainly talks about a paradigm shift in business and life from following the rules to a values-based integrity that drives decision making and choices. He advocates inspiration rather than motivation. The Bs are the attorneys who write long documents in an effort to foresee every possible outcome. Dov talks about how the diamond trade has worked for centuries on a handshake and a “mazel.” He contrasts the management styles of blind obedience and informed acquiescence with the recommended Self-Governance. We would like to see better people and fewer rules. This book sets out the benefits to choosing to be a better person.

Also fascinating was the Afterward where he references Danny Meyer’s book “Setting the Table” for the insight that we have moved from a service economy to a hospitality economy.

“If you simply have a superior product or deliver on your promises, that’s not enough to distinguish your business. There will always be someone else who can do it or make it as well as you… Service is a monologue: we decide on standards for service. Hospitality is a dialogue: to listen to a customer’s needs and meet them. It takes both great service and hospitality to be at the top.”

The book I got from the library was not the edition with the forward by Bill Clinton. His take on integrity would have been interesting.

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