Aeron Chairs and Solyndra

October 23, 2011

Introduced in 1994, the Herman Miller Aeron chair, with its comfortable and sleek ergonomic design, was popular among many startups during the Dot Com Boom. But at a cost of upwards of $1000, the chairs eventually became a symbol of the bubble that was forming. Flush with oodles of cash investors were pumping into their […]

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Tinkerers and Innovation

October 16, 2011

(George Stephenson. Source: Wikipedia) At the age of 18, George Stephenson (1781-1848), later known as the “Father of Railways”, had no formal education. In fact, he could neither read nor write. Coming from the northeastern coal-country of England, he was not only unschooled, but also penniless and without any sort of family connections with which […]

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The Passions, Relationships, and the Send Button

September 30, 2011

When John Adams was just about to be inaugurated as the second President of the United States of America, he had tremendous shoes to fill from George Washington. Not only that, the government was still very much in its infant stages and was highly vulnerable to destabilizing internal and external forces. (Writing the Declaration of […]

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Mentoring and Winston Churchill

September 19, 2011

Before setting sail for Troy to join battle in the Trojan War, Odysseus entrusted the care of his infant son, Telemachus, with his old friend Mentor. Eventually, as Telemachus grew up and started assuming duties as head-of-household in Odysseus’s long absence, Athena, disguised as Mentor, advised him to stand up to all of his mother’s […]

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The Unhappy Power of Dictators

September 7, 2011

(Bust of Cicero – Source: Wikipedia) In a philosophical dialogue, the great Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero explains that a poor, yet morally good person will find much more happiness than a rich, morally bankrupt person. To illustrate his contention, he tells the story of Dionysius, a tyrant of the ancient Sicilian city of Syracuse. […]

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Teams and Creative Tension

September 2, 2011

When you’re the leader for any undertaking, assembling a team under you is an especially important job. The quality of the people who have working with you and for you will significantly affect the outcome of your task at hand. And not just the quality of the team members, but their attitudes, beliefs, characters, and […]

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Thoughts on Revolutions and the Arab Spring

August 30, 2011

A year before his assassination, Julius Caesar prophetically said, as we are told by Suetonius, “Should anything happen to me, Rome will enjoy no peace. A new civil war will break out under far worse conditions than the last one.” Indeed, after Caesar’s death, Rome was embroiled in another civil war lasting 13 years and […]

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My Final Letter from the President of Purdue Engineering Alumni Association

August 25, 2011

This appears in our Fall 2011 Newsletter: — Fellow Purdue Engineers, Looking back in history, there appears to have been two big developments that have shaped the course of mankind in the 20th Century.  One was the advancement of science and technology, and the other was the rise of violent global ideologies.  From the former […]

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Israeli Airport Security and Learning from Other Countries

August 22, 2011

I was pleased to hear recently that Boston’s busy Logan Airport is now implementing a behavior-based airport security system. This system, referred to as Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques (or SPOT), will non-intrusively screen passengers through the entire airport process – from the moment they enter the departure terminal, through bag check and while at […]

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Abraham Lincoln and the Illusion of Being Fully Prepared

August 19, 2011

I recently finished David Herbert Donald’s excellent one-volume book on Abraham Lincoln.  I read it while researching for my thesis, but felt compelled to re-read it. When you read a book for pleasure, as opposed for research, especially under a very tight deadline, you’re left with a very different lasting impression. Your objective in reading […]

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