NYT: Can You Pass a C.E.O. Test?

From Corner Office - Can You Pass a C.E.O. Test?, featuring a Q & A with Greg Brenneman. Lots of interesting management/leadership insights which resonated for me, but I especially liked this perspective:

"it’s important to talk to people about how we’re in a fundamentally different world. Ask the question, “If compensation isn’t going to be the same for a while, where do you get your fulfillment in life?” Certainly, work is a big piece of that and work is rewarding well beyond compensation. But faith, family, friends and hobbies create real balance. The conversation I’ve had with a lot of people, both in large groups and small, is make sure you have balance in your life and make sure that all your fulfillment doesn’t come out of economic gain.

I’ve talked to a lot of people on Wall Street where their entire fulfillment came from the answer to, “Is my bonus bigger this year than last year?” Or, “If I worked 100 hours a week this year, can I work 101 next year?” It’s actually a great time for us as leaders to help people to step back and ask the question: “Where do I get the fulfillment in my life? And how do I make sure my job is a big piece of that?” I’ve found that employees who are fulfilled on a much broader basis in their lives usually do a much better job of work than those that are completely, single-mindedly focused on and get all their value out of"

See also my earlier post: Maintaining Perspective

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Some Of My Favorite Photography Stuff

Bayou City Farmers Market, Houston, March 2009

Had a long talk yesterday with a friend who is interested in taking the plunge and buying a digital SLR. I put together some notes for her about links and products I've found useful which I figured I'd share with all of you as well. As I said to her, I love talking and sharing photography, so let me know if you have any questions.

Photography blogs:
www.kenrockwell.com (I don't love his tone all the time, but he tends to zero in on what's really worth paying for. There's a Nikon link on his home page which will show you all his Nikon stuff.
Photoshop Insider
www.bythom.com (particularly good for Nikon stuff)
http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/ (check out his video work - particularly a short movie called Requiem - as an example of what can be done with a digital slr with video capabilities
B & H Photo - my favorite NYC camera store. Very good and very reliable - be sure you look for products with a USA warranty
Digital Photography Review (encyclopedic collection of camera reviews)
Digital Camera Resource Page (another encyclopedic collection of reviews)
Flickr - great for photo sharing (you can see some of my pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/aweber9/)
Picasa - google's free and very good photo editor; integrates automatically (automagically) with picasa web albums; both picasa web albums and flickr have excellent blogging integration

And some product links of interest:
The Digital Photography Book (less about buying a camera and more about how to get the most out of it; very good and very practical)
Nikon D90 (midrange Nikon with HD video capabilities)
Nikon 18-200 VR lens (this is one lots of people like as an everyday lens)
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (terrific editing program, somewhat expensive but very good for managing a large library of photos)

NYT: Growing Up On Facebook

I'm very interested in the process and journey of personal development, particularly the challenge of leaving behind old behaviors, mental maps, and self-definitions. I'm also interested in how that process plays out in interpersonal relationships, having observed how difficult it can be for other people to see you as the person you've become as opposed to the person you've always been (for them).

Peggy Orenstein's article in today's New York Times, Growing Up On Facebook, touches on these issues and how they may play out at a time when we increasingly share the details (minutiae?) of our lives on facebook, twitter, blogs (!), etc..

Orenstein writes:

college was my big chance to doff the roles in my family and community that I had outgrown, to reinvent myself, to get busy with the embarrassing, exciting, muddy, wonderful work of creating an adult identity. Can you really do that with your 450 closest friends watching, all tweeting to affirm ad nauseam your present self?.....

Certainly, I kept in touch with a few true old friends, but no one else — thank goodness! — witnessed the many and spectacular metaphoric pratfalls I took on the way to figuring out what and whom I wanted to be. Even now, time bends when I open Facebook: it’s as if I’m simultaneously a journalist/wife/mother in Berkeley and the goofy girl I left behind in Minneapolis. Could I have become the former if I had remained perpetually tethered to the latter?.....

Thought-provoking stuff.

On a related note, I recommend you check out my friend Eileen's new blog - it's terrific. You can find it here: Nurves-Circuit Therapy with Eileen J. Dordek, LCSW; Snippets of Psychotherapy for Everyday Life


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Baking Bread



Inspired by The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread and by Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking, I've been on a bread-baking tear.

Pictured above is my first sourdough loaf, which was made completely from scratch (including making my own sourdough starter from rye flour and pineapple juice!). As is often the case, I've jumped in all the way and have become a regular customer at the King Arthur Flour shop online. Last weekend I also made pizza from scratch according to a recipe from Bread Baker's Apprentice with fantastic results. If you are interested in learning bread-making or just love reading beautiful cookbooks, check out Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Things I May Have In Common With Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez sharing his thoughts on a calle...Image via Wikipedia

Saw the physical therapist today for treatment of my ongoing leg/back pain. He thinks maybe it's time for an MRI and that I might have something called FAI.....just like Alex Rodriguez. From cnnsi.com: Expert: A-Rod's pending surgery necessary to prevent hip arthritis

As finely tuned a baseball machine as Alex Rodriguez might appear to be, a critical part of his body's machinery has long been working its way toward malfunction. The cyst on his hip that was drained last week is not the problem, but simply a result of a deeper structural problem with the joint itself; one that has developed over years and resulted in a condition that is increasingly being recognized in both athletes -- and the general population -- as a common cause of chronic groin and back pain.

According to a rough estimate by Rodriguez's surgeon, Dr.Marc Philippon, who has operated on dozens of pro athletes, perhaps 20 percent of people have a structural abnormality that can impair internal rotation of the hip joint. (Internal rotation is what happens when you flare your foot to the outside of your body.) The problem is that the head of the femur -- the bone that runs from knee to hip -- rubs against the socket excessively either because there is too much bone covering the head, or because the head itself is not, as it should be, round like a baseball. The condition is called femoracetabular impingement, or FAI -- orthopedic lingo for the square-peg-in-the-round-hole.

Picture Rodriguez, staring down a pitcher, waiting for a fastball. When the pitch comes, he generates his power by pivoting on his back foot and swinging his hips open. The head of the bat follows, like the end of a whip trailing the handle. The more force with which he can throw open his hips, the harder and faster his bat will come around. That motion causes a powerful internal rotation of Rodriguez's right hip -- the one being repaired on Monday. Rodriguez has probably taken hundreds of thousands of swings in his life, not to mention the hip rotation that comes with throwing to first or second base from shortstop or third base.

Rodriguez is one of those people who has a misshapen head of his femur. According to Philippon and other doctors, there is very likely a genetic component to this, but they also believe that stressing the hip joint -- doing deep squats with heavy weights is one sure way to stress the joint -- can cause the femoral head to deform further. So now picture Rodriguez's hip: instead of a round ball rotating smoothly in a cup, his formidable muscles jam his misshapen ball into the socket, where it scrapes along the surface of the cup, meticulously rubbing away the protective cartilage until it tears the labrum -- the band of tissue that rings the hip joint, securing the head of the femur.

The sooner someone with FAI gets surgery, the better. If left untreated, Rodriguez would likely end up with bone scraping bone inside his joint, and would be at risk for early arthritis or in need of a hip replacement. Philippon has seen athletes as young as 25 who have needed total hip replacement, surgery that would seem more to befit their grandparents.

The most insidious part of FAI is that it often manifests as something other than hip pain. Hockey goalies who have impingement use the butterfly technique, in which they go down on their knees and splay their feet out, will sometimes develop chronic groin pulls. The pain may actually be a result of muscles around the hip working hard to make the head of the femur fit into the socket. The trouble gets worse if the athlete is made to stretch the groin more, as most who complain of groin pain are. "If you're stretching and the ball doesn't fit in the socket," Philippon says, "you're going to accentuate the contact stress, you're going to accentuate the conflict."

Chronic back pain can be a sign of impingement, as well. Philippon once operated on a woman with back pain so excruciating that she was wheelchair bound. The woman had an MRI which showed no damage, and visited several surgeons who told her that her pain was from an old back injury. Finally, one doctor suggested she get an MRI arthrogram, a particular type of MRI in which dye is injected into the hip to highlight damaged areas. That test revealed multiple tears in her labrum. After Philippon operated on her, the woman was eventually walking pain-free. Vesa Toskala, the Maple Leafs goalie who had hip surgery, had a similar experience in which an initial MRI was negative, but an arthrogram showed a torn labrum. "I want to say to everybody who thinks they have hip problems," Toskala says, "when they go to take an MRI ... you have to put the dye on it so you're able to see it."

As he has helped to spread the word about FAI, Philippon has treated not only hockey and baseball players, but, among others, football players, skiers, golfers (Greg Norman broadcast his surgery live on his Web site), and figure skaters. Remember Michelle Kwan's tearful departure from the 2006 Olympics with groin trouble? Turns out the problem was actually her hip, and she was under Philippon's knife soon after the Games.

The good news is that the operation seems to be a permanent fix. Philippon will repair the tears in Rodriguez's labrum, and shave the head of his femur into a sphere. In an interview before Rodriguez's impingement was reported, Philippon said that the goal of surgery to fix impingement is "to improve the movement, but by improving the movement, by shaving the bone, you're basically resolving the conflict between the ball and the socket. You're making it fit better." For some athletes, there seems to be a performance benefit to the newly crafted joint with its increased range of motion. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Anaheim Ducks goalie, had the surgery in 2005, and says that it was like having a ball bearing in his right hip oiled for the first time. "It feels pretty good," Giguere says. "It actually feels better than the other hip."

A better rotating A-Rod? Could be a scary thought for pitchers when he returns to the field in a few months.


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