Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Tyranny Of Positive Thinking

Positive thinking, and now, positive action have become the ‘self-help’ industry standards to achieving positive personal change and finding our collective way to being ‘happy, healthy, and wise’. According to Richard Wiseman (self-help guru based in the UK), if you want to be more confident and successful the best thing to do is to act the part.


I, for one, have always been a little skeptical about facile, one size fits all solutions to some of life’s most vexing and, at times, crippling problems.  But now, it appears, that this message of positive thinking has slipped beyond the borders of popular culture and has saturated much of the professional culture in psychology (Held, 2002). Understandably, this message is reinforced by extensive research that does find a correlation between optimism and positivity, and, health and longevity. However, the overriding conclusion that positivity is good and good for you, and conversely, negativity is bad and bad for you, lacks nuance, realism, and context. Continue reading


Can Business Really Appropriate ‘Authenticity’?


Authenticity will be the buzzword of the twenty-first century. And what is authentic? Anything that is not devised and structured to make a profit. Anything that is not controlled by corporations. Anything that exists for its own sake, that assumes its own shape. The modern world is the corporate equivalent of a formal garden, where everything is planted and arranged for effect. Where nothing is untouched, where nothing is authentic.

Robert Doniger, in Michael Crichton’s Timeline

Authenticity is a concept not easily engaged with and, consequently, a concept that many businesses may reluctantly take on. But the warning of many business and technology analysts is: Ignore Authenticity at Your Own Peril!

CRM guru, Paul Greenberg, argues, “ a business model … is no longer just a theoretical nicety. It is … defined by authenticity and transparency.” 1 Business literature is beginning to pay a lot of attention to this topic and the reasons for this refocusing of attention are clear: it makes good business sense. Citing Greenberg again, he claims that since 2003, “there has been a revolution in communications that impacts every institution…” driven largely by the Internet. In a relatively short time, people soon learned that the ability to communicate in real time with friends and peers could move organizations, industries and the political process. This is indeed a very valuable lesson, one that has profoundly and irrevocably altered the relationship between customer and institutional organization – and businesses are at the center of this change. “The way a company differentiates in the 21st century is not just products and services, but visibility into the information that customers need and having an honest, straightforward relationship with those customers.” 3 Continue reading