This book promises “practical techniques for a sharper mind”. If you believe, as the author does, that a sharper mind means being able to remember stuff, then it delivers. It walks you through easy, step-by-step exercises to build your ability to remember. The author is a US memory champion, so we can believe him when he says you have to study and practise, as he does.

Why bother? The examples in the introduction aren’t convincing, Read More

Books | August 2016

“Learn how to read others and communicate with confidence” says the subtitle. It’s a useful reminder to be conscious of your own body language and that of others, but if there is a universal body language you can learn to read and to speak, this little book only does pidgin level. Approach it as a refresher of the basics you already know. It doesn’t reveal any great secrets, but there are a few useful tips to help you maximise positive impact. Read More

Books | August 2016

Marketing Week recently claimed that marketing and sales are pretty much the same these days (lead article on 12 May 2016). They are wrong. It is a dangerous idea. The more a company believes marketing and sales are the same thing, the harder they will need to push to persuade customers to buy. And if they think marketing is about persuasion, or even about communication, they are in big trouble. Read More


Many business people are surprised and shaken by the out vote. That’s regardless of which party they supported at the last election.  Labour fans are blaming Cameron for promising a referendum in the Tory manifesto, and those who voted him in for letting it happen. Pro-EU Tories are blaming him too for the naivete of that pledge, but also wondering how all those Labour voters in the midlands and north came to side with the likes of Boris and Nigel – hardly their natural bedfellows. Read More


Is this the most embarrassing brand launch event ever? It’s Siemens 120-year-old healthcare division’s rebranding to Siemens Healthineers. Brand and company names get attention because they signal what’s inside. That leads to the fallacious logic that if you change the name, what’s inside will change too. Sometimes it doesn’t work out well. Like when Royal Mail became Consignia. Or when PwC’s consulting division became Monday. That lasted until Tuesday, when they were swallowed up by IBM Global Services. Read More


“Creativity is not a talent. It’s a way of operating.”

John Cleese, comedy genius Read More

Quotes | May 2016

The economist John Maynard Keynes said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Brands are the antidote to that. After the emissions-rigging scandal, many people predicted the demise of Volkswagen. I saw it differently. Brands are a shortcut to a view. In psychology terms, a brand is a heuristic – a ready-made shortcut which saves you the brain-ache of having to think about things and weigh up options every time. Read More

Comment | April 2016

Do you care who wins the Premiership this season? You would if you had a £250,000 bet riding on it. That’s the potential pay-out for a £50 bet placed before the first match was played, when you could get odds of 5000 to 1 on Leicester City Football Club.

Now imagine the bookies are offering you the chance to cash out that bet, today, for £72,000. Take the money? A return of 1440 times on a £50 stake that you kissed goodbye. Read More

Comment | March 2016

The best reason to read this short book is to spend time in the company of the author. Dan Ariely is funny and wise, thought-provoking and outspoken, prejudiced and playful, and not afraid to stick his neck out (for example, on the merits of marriage, and how to decide whether to get married). The book is an entertaining collection from his Wall Street Journal advice column, each question and response complemented by a witty cartoon. Read More

Books | March 2016

Age UK are in trouble for doing a deal with an energy provider that raised £6m a year for the charity. It’s tough, and probably feels unfair to them. But this is what happens when the operational needs of the business get dissociated from its core purpose. Fundraising is essential but it is not why Age UK exists.

The charity aims to help everyone make the most of later life. Undoubtedly some older people are confused by energy tariffs, Read More

Comment | February 2016