Articles

What Makes Us Laugh?

Here are some quick, sometimes surprising clues. All Jokes Come Down to One of Four Themes Anywhere in the world, all jokes can be reduced to just one of these themes, according to professor Richard Wiseman, a British psychologist who, via his LaughLab, conducted mass-participation experiments about what we think is funny. (See * below) Also see what was voted as the funniest joke in the world in 2002. What’s the Funniest Animal? Wiseman also found that if you insert different animal names into the same joke, one animal evokes more laughter than any others. Guess which animal? (See **… Read More

Provide Unexpected Customer Service Via Apt Partnerships

Gone are the days when customer service was a boring chore, a necessary evil, an unglamorous afterthought. Today’s customer service has the potential to be nothing short of thrilling. By forging smart partnerships, companies of all sizes can create unexpected benefits and transform customer service from an afterthought into a highlight. 1. Offer a Tantalizing “Extra” Who knows how many people chose to stay at the Ritz Carlton rather than at another luxury hotel because of an added thrill: complimentary use of a new, late-model Mercedes during their stay? Mercedes and Ritz Carlton forged a smart partnership and became the… Read More

What I Ultimately Learned From My Mortifying Mistake

To this day I’m mortified when I see a box of chocolates. Perhaps sharing this story may save you from embarrassing yourself in a similar way. I was in the Antwerp airport, heading back to San Francisco. Before settling into a seat at my gate I bought two indulgences for the flight home, John LeCarre’s Our Kind of Traitor, and a box of Pierre Marcolini truffles, one of the most popular brands in Europe. Within minutes I was swept into LeCarre’s masterful spy mystery. But I promised myself I would savor my truffles, eating each one slowly. At some point… Read More

Articulating Their Specific Talent Can Help Them Strengthen It

When I was a Wall Street Journal reporter, my bureau chief bluntly told me one day that I took too long when interviewing some individuals — and sometimes that was a good thing. I got insights about the interviewees’ views on other topics. He told me that, when I finished writing the story I was assigned, I should write notes about their answers to questions I asked that were not directly related to the story. Then in future stories, I might see where one of those interviewees had an unexpected yet relevant angle and quote them. In effect, my bureau chief showed… Read More

Collaborate to Stay Relevant

To stay relevant and sought-after in this increasingly complex yet connected world, strengthen two intertwined traits that will also enable you to lead a more adventuresome, meaningful life with others. First, continuously hone your greatest talent. Second, seek out others with complementary talents and a “sweet spot” of shared interests, then adopt a collaboration method that enables you to accomplish more together than you can on your own. Read More