Review: The Unforced Error

The concept of the “unforced error” is a pivotal one in tennis…”a mistake by the player who hits a shot…when the player has time to prepare and position himself to get the ball back in play and (still) makes an error.”

In professional tennis, the player with the fewest unforced errors usually wins.  The same is true in business.  (Pg. 1)


The Unforced Error is a book by Jeffrey A. Krames that I picked up in the Orlando International Airport for my return flight home from my honeymoon.  At 155 pages long, with big type and small overall page dimensions, and using tennis examples as metaphors, it’s not a particularly taxing read; in fact, I read the entire book about halfway through my flight from Orlando to Philly.

What drew me to this book was not that it was short, but rather the secondary headline:  Why Some Managers Get Promoted, While Others Get Eliminated. This is definitely a topic that I’ve always wondered about!  When I was starting out in my career, I would just chalk up confusing promotions to favoritism or something else unobservable to the general workforce.  Now that I’m a bit older, completing an MBA and developing a ‘bigger picture’ view for my career, it’s becoming quite clear to me that there are behaviors that improve your career, and we’ve all observed career limiting moves (or, “CLM’s”).  According to this book, I’ve got quite a few CLM’s…but here is the main one:

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Review: The Logic of Life, part 2 – Malthus vs. Kremer

Nearly two months after writing the first post in this review, I’ve finally gotten around to writing the follow-up.  I hope no one was holding their breath...

As I wrote in the first post, one of the unfortunate side-effects to the residency portion of the CCMBA program is that you have a LOT of time on the plane to kill (if you’re not sleeping).  Dubai was a good 12 hour flight or so, India was 14 hours, and China will no doubt be another marathon flight.  Sleep aids are good, but books also work in a pinch.  Just make sure they aren’t textbooks (those aren’t even good for sleep aids!)

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Review: The Logic of Life, part 1

On my way home from Dubai, I was presented with a “problem” that I usually don’t encounter when I’m at home:  I had too much local currency!  Between the Dirhams that I took out when I arrived, the Duke per diem, and the cash leftover from when Kerry’s boat trip didn’t materialize, I had well over 1000 Dirham (~$250) in my pocket at the airport.

The entire bottom level of this airport is Duty-Free!

Of course, I could’ve taken this money to the currency exchange and gotten hammered on the transaction fees.  But since we got to the airport pretty early, I decided to wander around the massive Duty-Free for a while and see what I could spend it on instead.  Walking around, it’s unclear whether there is an airport at the Dubai (Airport) Mall, or if there’s a mall inside of the Dubai Airport!  When you can buy a $12,000 IWC Big Pilot watch, gold bars, or even a 6-foot hookah with complementary shisha, it stops being just an airport…

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