"CEOs can't wait to read Sunny Bindra's articles every week."

Apr 14, 2019
So digital, so analogue

You approach a junction, and see some swish-looking traffic lights, complete with digital countdown timers. Nice, you think. Except no one is looking at the lights. There is a traffic policeman on duty guiding the vehicles, badly, even as the lights do their thing above his head. No matter how much was paid for those […]

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Apr 07, 2019
Are you a vanilla, chocolate and strawberry business?

Image by Andrey Cojocaru from Pixabay Q: Which flavours of ice-cream do you offer? A: Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry How often does that happen to you when seated at a restaurant, thinking about your dessert options? In my lifetime, too many times to count. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, it is true, are consistently amongst the […]

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Mar 31, 2019
Who created the story your group believes?

For the past two weeks I’ve been discussing the stories of the mind on this page: the stories that our narrating self propagates and embellishes, in defiance of our experiencing self – the one that records facts and stays objective. The narrating self holds sway most of the time – and that makes us vulnerable […]

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Mar 24, 2019
The fictions we create about ourselves can imprison us

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay Suppose you are a physically attractive person. You are known for your looks. You were the belle of the school ball, or the hunk on the sports team. Being attractive becomes your identity, your calling card, your unique position in life. It’s what gives you self-esteem. Looks don’t last, though. […]

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Mar 17, 2019
The person you call ‘I’ may be a fictional character

A few years ago I wrote here: watch out for the stories your mind is capable of spinning. You will easily believe lies are truth, and the truth is a lie. Consider the example I gave you then. You are deep in sleep, and immersed in a vivid dream. A sound from the outside world […]

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Mar 10, 2019
Just been promoted? Now stop dealing in excuses

Adam Lashinsky once provided an interesting little vignette about Steve Jobs. According to the reporter, Apple’s founding CEO used to give employees a little speech when they were promoted to Vice President. Lashinsky called it the ‘Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President.’ Jobs told new VPs that if the garbage in his office […]

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Mar 03, 2019
Are you living your life in denial of your own death?

As a young boy sitting in temples and community halls I would wonder why almost everything had some human’s name on it. A hall, a library, even the folding chairs. Someone’s name would be there, preceded by the words ‘donated by…’ or ‘in memory of…’ Anthropologist Ernest Becker wrote a remarkable book around the same […]

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Feb 24, 2019
How many unread emails do you have?

How many email messages are currently sitting in your inbox, unread? Most busy professionals are overwhelmed by their email. They get far more messages than they can ever respond to in any credible or worthwhile way. And their answer is simple: just ignore most of the messages. Plead ‘busy-busy’ status; reply only to the most […]

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Feb 17, 2019
Need to reinvent your traditional business? Be ready to do these three things

I asked here last week: what makes big, established businesses so reluctant to change in the face of overwhelming new realities in their markets? Their customers may be moving on rapidly, but so many large corporations hang on doggedly to the past. Their widely experienced board members and highly paid executives just refuse to get […]

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Feb 10, 2019
Are you engaged in a war with the 21st century?

I saw a tweet the other day by Robert Colvile that made me laugh out loud: ‘Dear London taxi drivers, if you want to win your war with the 21st century, maybe stop using the phrase “Oh, you’re paying by card, are you?” as though you’re being presented with mysterious spices from the East.’ After […]

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Feb 03, 2019
Be better than the person you were, not the person beside you

There seems to be something embedded in our natures that impels us to keep comparing ourselves with others. We are constantly looking over the fence, or across our shoulders, at what others are up to, what acclaim they are receiving, what numbers they are clocking. And then we feel that we might be falling short, […]

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Jan 27, 2019
Small companies, here’s how you whack the big players

Big firms with long histories and huge market shares tend to dominate many an industry. If you’re a small, modest new player trying to make your mark, what should you do? First, a recent real-life story. My family hit an unexpected problem at home. An essential piece of equipment failed, leaving the household in some […]

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Jan 20, 2019
Here’s to the mavericks who light up organizations

I don’t often do obituaries in this column. And certainly not of chief executives. But exceptions have to be made. Herb Kelleher, cofounder of Southwest Airlines, was indeed special. I have talked about him and his remarkable company many times in seminars and lectures. Now he’s gone, and those who love to see business (or […]

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Jan 13, 2019
Pay attention to the ingenuity technology is throwing up

Photo by Isaac Mehegan on Unsplash We were driving back home from the other side of Nairobi. I tapped Google Maps on and connected it to the car’s display. It showed the route home, and indicated that the journey would take 31 minutes. We decided to keep track of this. The road was clear of […]

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Jan 06, 2019
In 2019, outread your competitors

Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash A new year has just kicked off, so regular readers of this column know exactly what I’m about to say: read more books! I am delighted to see that my regular exhortations seem to be having some effect. A good number of readers checked in during December to confirm […]

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Dec 30, 2018
Who’s waiting for your ‘funeral’?

As we close the year, here’s a thought for you: “Science advances one funeral at a time.” That was stated by Paul Samuelson, the man who taught me economics without my ever meeting him, through his landmark book. Samuelson was in turn paraphrasing the thoughts of the legendary physicist, Max Planck: “A new scientific truth […]

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Dec 27, 2018
My Top Books of 2018

Another year is ending, so let’s do this again: here are the best books I read in 2018. I used to confine myself to telling you about just 12 books every year, but that seems arbitrary. It forces me to knock some worthy contenders out for no reason. So this year I have 14 books […]

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Dec 23, 2018
If you love bookshops, buy from them

When I was a young boy, I would regularly gather my pocket money and take a bus into Nairobi’s central district to buy books. My perambulations would begin at the famous second-hand shop, Toddlers Bazaar, just off Koinange Street. This ever-busy shop was a prime place to find unusual, affordable novels. From there I would […]

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Dec 16, 2018
The fallacy of grading humans

There are numbers attached to every human being, numbers that follow us around all our lives. These numbers – our exam grades, our performance appraisal results, our bank balances – purport to measure our achievements. But do they? Yuval Noah Harari is the author of the moment. This mild-mannered professor of history has become a […]

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Dec 09, 2018
Ever wonder why your customers don’t trust you?

Two years ago I wrote on this page that insurance companies have a lot to think about. They face profound disruption. You might think this is for the usual reason – digital technologies – but you would be wrong. Yes, accelerated technological change is shaking every sector up, dramatically; but insurance faces a special problem […]

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Dec 02, 2018
Generating the will to win is more important than buying top talent

Photo by Margarida CSilva on Unsplash I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat in boardrooms and heard the assembled say they are engaged in a “war for talent.” The gist is as follows: talented people drive results. We must have the best talent in this company. Top talent is scarce. Top talent […]

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Nov 25, 2018
Those were the days – or were they?

I tweeted a visual joke recently. It involved people making the connection between an audio-cassette tape and a pencil. Most people on Twitter, in these parts at least, are too young to get it. Heck, most are too young to know what a cassette is… Yes, young ones: once upon a time the most common […]

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Nov 18, 2018
A life where money is the tool, not the target

Last week I discussed why our relationship with money is so toxic: because it is ruled by fear and greed. We are driven to daftness by money because we are afraid of losing it or not having enough. But what if we could conquer those emotions? What if we could quell our fear and shackle […]

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Nov 11, 2018
What if you could change your relationship with money?

Photo by Lucas Favre on Unsplash Money deranges us. We never seem to think we have enough, and the pursuit of more distorts and damages our lives. Yet we persist in our madness. Steven Harrison wrote a remarkable book a few years ago. It was called Doing Nothing. As someone who wonders why most of […]

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Nov 04, 2018
Whose child do you choose to be?

Photo by Tim Wright on Unsplash I have just finished reading my 55th book of the year. So I am well ahead of schedule in my #50BooksIn2018 challenge. How are you doing? There is still time for a late burst. Allow me to give you another reason to keep reading books. Consider this remarkable wisdom […]

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Oct 28, 2018
When was the last time you heard your employees laugh?

Fear at work is a good thing, right? If employees are not afraid of you, they will just take advantage of you, no? They’ll slack off work, they’ll run side hustles using your time and resources, they’ll even steal from you – correct? A question, though: many business bosses have been making their employees feel […]

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Oct 21, 2018
How many more cars do you hope to buy?

Could you have bought your last-ever ‘traditional’ car? It seems unlikely, doesn’t it? But if you live in an advanced economy and have just bought a petrol car, it could well turn out to be your last one. If you’re young and haven’t bought one to date, perhaps you never will. Five years from now, […]

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Oct 14, 2018
So you’ve built a successful business? Now leave it alone.

You’ve done the hard work. You’ve put in the long hours and sleepless nights. You secured the loans and serviced them. Your payroll no longer gives you higher blood pressure as the end of the month approaches. Your business is established; it’s secure; it’s viable; and it’s throwing up positive cash flow. Now please learn […]

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