Jack Uldrich
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When Your Neck is On the Line: Unlearn

Posted in Black Swans, Books, Stories

In honor of tomorrow being Thanksgiving, I thought I would recount a wonderful story from Nassim Taleb’s outstanding book, The Black Swan: “Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird’s belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members…


My 10 Favorite Books (on Unlearning) of 2010

Posted in Black Swans, Books, Business, Creativity, Illusion, Innovation, Unlearn Strategy, Wisdom

Dear Reader: It is the time of the year for lists, so I figured I would put together a list of the books which most influenced my thinking on the topic of unlearning this year. The list is in no particular order: #1: The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects by Marshall McLuhan….


Unlearning is as Simple as Tic-Tac-Toe

Posted in Black Swans, Business, Future, Games, General, Quiz, Unlearn Strategy

Take a look at the familiar tic-tac-toe grid to the right. In how many different ways could you make the journey? It is not common for people to guess 27, 81 or even 243. The answer, however, is 362,800. This is because the number of permutations is 362,800. (The actual number of winning or draw…


Study at an Anti-Library

Posted in Black Swans, Books, Business, Culture, Education, General, Quiz, Unlearn Strategy

  "There is a huge difference between what people actually know and how much they think they know." – Nassim Taleb   Question: Which of these animals is more likely to kill you: A shark or a deer?   If you said a shark you are not alone. The right answer, however, is the deer….


Unlearning from the Perspective of a Turkey

Posted in Analogy, Black Swans, General, History, Quiz, Unlearn Strategy

Being the day before Thanksgiving here in America, I thought I would recount a wonderful story from Nassim Taleb's outstanding book, The Black Swan:    "Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird's belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day…


To Unlearn: Try Reading the Newspaper Backwards

Posted in Advertising, Agriculture, Automobile, Black Swans, Books, Business, Creativity, Current Affairs, Education, Energy, Future, General, Innovation, Internet, Marketing, Newspaper, Publishing, Unlearn Strategy

In my 2008 book, Jump the Curve: 50 Essential Strategies to Help Your Company Stay Ahead of Emerging Technologies, one strategy I encourage people to employ from time to time is that of reading the newspaper backwards. Why? Because it can help you more clearly see where the future is headed. This, in turn, will…


Unlearning Prediction

Posted in Black Swans, Business, Education, Future, General, Insurance, Jump the Curve, Nanotechnology, Unlearn Strategy

"Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.” Lao Tzu This famous quote was uttered over 2500 years ago and may strike some people as odd that, as a professional futurist, I have chosen to highlight it. My rationale is two-fold. First, as I have said many times before, the chief…


Unlearning Streaks as Feats of Excellence

Posted in Analogy, Banking, Black Swans, Books, Business, Culture, Education, General, Human Resources, Marketing, Psychology, Quiz, Science, Stories, Unlearn Strategy

"That randomness naturally leads to streaks contradicts people's intuition." Leonard Mlodinow As luck (or, perhaps, random chance would have it), I was just in the process of finishing Leonard Mlodinow's excellent book, "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives," when I came upon this article written by him in today's Wall Street Journal. It…


What If Society Has to Unlearn Death?

Posted in Black Swans, Culture, Health Care, Jump the Curve, Nanotechnology, Religion, Zenzizenzizenzic

In 1899, just a few years before the Wright brothers achieved their historic accomplishment, Lord Kelvin—then one of the world’s brightest men and most accomplished scientists—declared heavier than air machines to be “impossible.” He was wrong. To add insult to injury, Lord Kelvin was proved wrong by a pair of bicycle repairmen from Dayton, Ohio….


A Lesson in Unlearning from Peter Bernstein

Posted in Banking, Black Swans, Business, Future, General, Insurance, Quotes

“We simply do not know what the future holds.” — Peter Bernstein Peter Bernstein, a best-selling author and risk management pioneer, passed away earlier this month. On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal ran a nice remembrance. I especially liked the final paragraph which read: “Asked in 2004 to name the most important lesson he had…


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