"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I have picked up the fascinating new term "active inertia" from Prof Donald Sull of the London Business School.

I have just started to read his latest book, 'The Upside of Turbulence: Seizing Opportunity in an Uncertain World'. The book has this great tag line on the inside front flap:

"A provocative user's guide to a world where the only thing that doesn't change is change itself."

In the book, he describes "active inertia" as the current preoccupation of today's executives when dealing with turbulence in the marketplace.

They respond to turbulence by accelerating activities that worked in the past.

According to him, drawing on relevant historical examples from the business world, executive saw changes in the market & responded, but hardened commitments channeled their actions into familiar grooves.

In the book, among others, he brings up the classic examples of US Steel & General Motors as well as dinosaurs like Digital, Wang & Data General.

Actually, come to think of it, the term "active inertia" is an oxymoron.

It somehow reminds me of the term "temporary insanity", often attributed to the iconic physicist Albert Einstein, who once commented as follows:

"... doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

As a matter of fact, Dilip Mukerkea has an interesting corollary:

Are you busy living or busy dying?

[In his book, Prof Donald Sull dedicates one whole chapter, Chapter IV, to the subject of "active inertia". Readers can go to this weblink of the author's weblog in Financial Times to read some excerpts from the book.]

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