Michael on ‘The Problem of Business’ …

Nearly all of business education–even at postgraduate level–is misguided, even misleading. It is, for the most part, faithfully based on a false premise–that the problem of business is growth. When, in fact, the problem of business is survival.

Most business leaders spend their time and energy on solving the wrong problem. Yes, of course, growth is critical in business but the MAIN PROBLEM is that most business fail to survive long enough to grow.

Of the Fortune 500 class of 1974 only 22 of those businesses still survive. These are the big companies. The failure to survive of smaller companies is ten times worse.

Since Darwin explained the reasons 150 years ago, we know that it’s not the strongest or the largest that survive but it’s those best prepared to cope with change.

On this BIG PROBLEM of survival, most business executives are shockingly ignorant and deplete in their formal education. They know little or nothing useful about the science of strategic darwinian thinking. They venture forth naked and ill-equipped in their approach to the chaos of the marketplace–the whirling, howling, cacophonous wilderness of the global marketplace with its ferocious fads, toxic wastes, and vicious moods, its callous explosions and cruel extinctions putting capricious end to the blind and righteous rivalry across pointless medieval double-entry boardrooms.

Extravagant expenditures of directors’ time and energy are squandered on the talmudic reading of balance-sheets and P&Ls, like the obsesive pre-scientific study of entrails, when less than one director in a hundred could give an intelligent, educated account of what strategy it would take for their business to survive in the fast-changing environment of the next decade.

Experiment: Ask any director you know to demonstrate their strategic understanding of darwinian evolution and to show how s/he uses that knowledge to safeguard the future of the company in the faster-changing environment of the marketplace. If you get a clear, articulate response it will be a surprise.

Is there any business school in Australia that insists their graduates understand the strategic business application of the darwinian imperative? Are there any of the endless ‘case studies’ churned out by business schools devoted to darwinian business strategy?

Do let me know if you find one.

As we yawn and open our eyes in the morning, the brain stem sends little puffs of nitric oxide to another part of the brain, the thalamus, which then directs it elsewhere.


    Like a computer booting up its operating system before running more complicated programs, the nitric oxide triggers certain functions that set the stage for more complex brain operations, according to a new study.

    In these first moments of the day, sensory information floods the system–the bright sunlight coming through the curtains, the time on the screeching alarm clock–and all of it needs to be processed and organized, so the brain can understand its surroundings and begin to perform more complex tasks.

    More on this article …

    Professor Richard Wiseman Meet Professor Richard Wiseman who holds Britain’s only chair in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.

    Prof Wiseman’s latest book, Quirkology, explores the curious science of everyday life, including the psychology of lying, love, and laughter. His work is fun, quirky and science-based. Find out:

    How does your surname influence your life?

    What does the way you walk reveal about your personality?

    Why should women have men write their personal ads?

    What is the funniest joke in the world?

    Why are people in Delhi more helpful than Londoners?

    How can you tell when someone is lying?

    Why do incompetent politicians win elections?

    What is the best chat-up line?

    Online Experiments

    This New York Times (07/01/07) article was reprinted in GOOD WEEKEND August 11, 2007:

    The Geelong Grammar School, a prestigious boarding and day school in Australia, is planning to shape its curriculum around the precepts of positive psychology in 2008, and the government of Scotland has also been in touch with Seligman to see whether the discipline might help its citizens. “Our old nation has been renewed through our new Parliament, and if we can embrace this new science of positive psychology, we have the opportunity to create a new Enlightenment,” one government official announced.

    See: Positive Thinking Makes You Happier

    images.jpg   Brain Facts:
    Your brain weighs about 3 pounds (1,300-1,400 g).

    Your brain has about 100,000,000,000 (100 billion) neurons.

    There are 1,000 to 10,000 synapses for your “typical” neuron.

    The total surface area of your cerebral cortex is about 2500 sq. cm.

    Unconsciousness will occur 8-10 seconds after loss of blood supply to your brain.

    Neurons multiply at a rate 250,000 neurons/minute during early pregnancy.

    You have 12 pairs of cranial nerves.

    You have 31 pairs of spinal nerves.

    There are about 13,500,000 neurons in your spinal cord.

    You can hear in the range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.