Star Man. A session with John P Milton

Another refugee from Evernote, from a SoLA session Wednesday, November 24, 2010, some stream of consciousness notes:

International college of management, growth – info systems a mess, Indigenous work, sacred passage, mungo park, book synchronicity, Joe someone, Lapps, sami, the last wave, look 7 generations ahead, impact of innovation, co2 change impacts, limits to growth, club of Rome, book of constraints, Gaia, ecological principles book, not building sustainable principles into systems, mental models flawed and inadequate, holonomics, indigenous cultures 9 years in darkness to get in touch with earth, dark retreat, how to connect the species w sustainable life for all species, Cheryl Esposito, sky based meditation, rock chairs, Presence, Senge, sky seats, also Baja California coast, ocean as metaphor for vastness and complexity of life, learning to use the senses to connect with the inner sense, focus, mind in one place, mandalas, stay in tents, 12 principles, awake, design map for the experience, presence allied with relaxation, relax first, enacting emerging futures, re-enacting patterns, listening with the whole being, open to receive the totality of an individual, nature as gateway, create the space for creativity, great illustrations, do a course, Otto and Joe, offering substances, Sweden, lake siljen, tograd forum, sustainable forum, nature quest,   How to live together on peace, Bo Ekland

Ripped from the event details:

Professor John P. Milton has worked with CEOs and leaders worldwide including Royal Dutch Shell, Kraft, Sony Ericsson and Nokia, led work for the World Bank and advised governments.

He is the spiritual mentor of business luminaries including, amongst others, Peter Senge (5th Discipline), Otto Scharmer (Theory U) and Joe Jaworksy (Presence) and he is referenced in these books.

John will be in Australia in November to lead and teach a Sacred Passage on Flinders Island, and will be giving a talk to SoLA, to share:

    How he works with Peter Senge and Otto Scharmer – both in the corporate sphere and in the more personal, spiritual space. 
    The work he has done with the Talberg Forum in Sweden, where 500 World Leaders were taken on a solo experience in nature, in the French Pyrenees
    How this work impacts on the individuals and organisations he works with,
    About Professor John P Milton:
    John, a revered global Elder of the environmental movement, served as one of the first ecologists on staff at the White House, studied as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at the Smithsonian Institute, and for many years directed the International Programs Division of the Conservation Foundation, now a part of the World Wildlife Fund. He is one of the founding members of Friends of the Earth and has served on various committees at the National Academy of Sciences.

    In addition John has spent decades studying with practitioners of Ancient Eastern spiritual pathways, including Taoism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Tibetan Dzogchen, Tantra, and Hindu Vedanta – as well as the Native American Way and Christianity.

    From these broad and deep experiences, John has developed a powerful approach to leadership in both business and life, which he calls the Way of Nature.  This is taught on the nature retreats which he leads.

Paperback writer. 12 years of reading

Sitting on the bed on NYE 2000, reading a trashy paperback , I decided to record what I read, at least for a while.

In some ways I wish I’d kept more details, but then I would have stopped sooner. It’s fun to see them in the order they were read, to see the clusters and so on. Maybe one day, I’ll map them against the course of my life, jobs, homes, family events, and so on. Or not 🙂


Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson

Idoru – William Gibson

About a Boy – Nick Hornby

East and West – Chris Patten

The Last Precinct – Patricia Cornwall

Riding the Rap – Elmore Leonard

In Good Company – Cohen and Prusak

The Mile High Club – Kinky Friedman

Starship Titanic – Terry Gilliam

The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson

Faster – James Gleick

7 Habits of highly effective people – Stephen Covey

Area 7 – Matthew Riley

Speed – James Gleick

Chaos – James Gleick

Visual display of quantitative information – Edward R Tufte

Dead white males (play) – David Williamson

Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C Clarke

How to be good – Nick Hornby


USSA – David Maddsen

Word of honour – Nelson DeMille

Detox – Penelope Sachs

Plan your work, work your plan – James Sheridan

The true history of the Kelly Gang – Peter Carey

Greenwich killing time – Kinky Friedman

The Bear and the Dragon – Tom Clancy

The Trusted Advisor – David Maister

The Book of Excellence – Byrd Bagget

Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey Moore

Steppin on a Rainbow – Kinky Friedman

The Quiet American – Graham Greene

French country cooking – Elizabeth David

Selected poems – Robert Lowell

Soul on ice – Eldridge Cleaver

The springboard – Stephen Denning

The Shadow Man – John Katzenbach

Among equals – David Maister

History of Western Philosophy – Bertrand Russell

History of Australia – Manning Clark


That ole ace in the hole – Annie Proulx

The Spike – Damian Broderick

The Charisma Effect – Desmond Guilfoyle

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

Consilience – Edward O Wilson

How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie

Postmodernism for beginners – Jim Powell

Love song of J Edgar Hoover – Kinky Friedman

Surely you’re joking Mr Feynman – Richard Feynman

Red Rabbit – Tom Clancy

Blast from the past – Kinky Friedman

Harry Potter & the philosophers stone – JK Rowling

Zero Space – Frank Lepanne Deprez & Rene Tissen

Harry Potter & the chamber of secrets – JK Rowling

Brideshead revisted – Evelyn Waugh

Harry Potter & the prisoner of Azkeban – JK Rowling

Winning is kids’ stuff – Denis Baker

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling

Teaching soccer fundamentals – Nelson McAvoy

Harry Potter & the Order of the Pheonix – JK Rowling

Contact – Carl Sagan

Soccer skills – Michael Owen

The Universe – DK Books

God Bless John Wayne – Kinky Friedman

A short history of nearly everything – Bill Bryson


The teeth of the tiger – Tom Clancy

Mind of a manager, soul of a leader – Craig Hickman

The knowledge web – James Burke

The Silmarillion – JRR Tolkien

Zarafa – Michael Allin

Equation for evil – Philip Caputo

The wisdom of crocodiles – Paul Hoffman

The Da Vinci code – Dan Brown

Catcher in the rye – JD Salinger

For Esme – With love and squalor  – JD Salinger

31 songs – Nick Hornby

Armadillos and old lace – Kinky Friedman

Going solo – Roald Dahl

Weapons of choice – John Birmingham

Conversations with Feynman – Leonard Mlodinow

Past Mortem – Ben Elton

In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin


Bridget Jones Edge of Reason – Helen Fielding

Designated Targets – John Birmingham

Notes from a big country – Bill Bryson


The Last Empire – Gore Vidal

Maximum Bob – Elmore Leonard

Zodiac – Neal Stephenson

Imperial Ambitions – Noam Chomsky

Inventing a nation – Gore Vidal

Dis Information – Dr Karl Kruszenicki

Freakonomics – Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner

Harry Potter and the half blood prince – JK Rowling

Unconscious civilisation – John Ralston Saul

Tintin in South America –  Herge

Everything bad is good for you – Tony Johnston

Consulting Demons – Lewis Pinault

Political ideas – David Thomson (ed)

Final Conflict WW2.3 – John Birmingham

A long way down – Nick Hornby

The Riders – Tim Winton

A midsummer night’s dream – William Shakespeare

Ice station – Matthew Reilly

The business – Iain Banks

Things fall apart – Chinua Achebe

The Time Travellers – Simon Guerrier

Tricky business – Dave Barry

Our days are few – Martin Godleman

Revolution in the revolution – Regis Debray


The Google Story – David Vise & Mark Malseed

Chronicles – Bob Dylan

Going Postal – Terry Pratchett

Small Gods – Terry Pratchett

Mort – Terry Pratchett

Statistics without tears – Derek Rowntree

Clockers – Richard Price

Willie’s Bar and Grill – Rob Hirst

Dr Who: Venderkerken’s Children – Christopher Bulis

Contact Zero – David Wolstencroft

1776 – David McCullough

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling

Light in August – William Faulkner

Guards! Guards! – Terry Pratchett

Jingo – Terry Pratchett

The New CIO Leader – Marianne Broadbent

The Bourne Legacy – Eric Von Lustbader

Making Money – Terry Pratchett

My Place – Sally Morgan

Carpentaria – Alexis Wright

Beach Road – James Patterson


Blind Faith – Ben Elton

Jack and Jill – James Patterson

Odd One Out – Monica McInerny

H+ – Edward de Bono

Do I get a drop? – Doug Anderson

Flawless Consulting – Peter Block

The Big Bad Wolf – James Patterson

Cross – James Patterson

The Ambler Warning – Robert Ludlum


The Reader – Bernhard Schlink

The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gadwell

Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud – Jonathan Safran Foer

Blink – Malcolm Gladwell

The Meeting of the Waters –

Caisal Mor

The Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Nifenegger

Perfume – Patrick Suskind

State of Fear – Michael Crichton

City of Falling Angels – John Berendt

Breath – Tim Winton

The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett

Atonement – Ian McEwan

Saturday – Ian McEwan

Bombproof – Michael Robotham

The household guide to dying – Deborah Adelaide

The Leopard – Tomasi da Lapadusa

No 1 Ladies Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith

The white tiger – Aravinda Adiga

Surveillence – Jonathan Raban

The pleasures and sorrows of work – Alain De Botton

The missing symbol – Dan Brown

The meaning of recognition – Clive James

High Voltage RocknRoll – Christie Elezer

The complete polysyllabic spree – Nick Hornby

Lost in translation – screenplay – Sofia Coppola

Into the wild – Jon Krakauer

Shakespeare – Bill Bryson

Clive James – North Face of Soho

Hamlet & Rosencrantz and Guidenstern Are Dead Study Guide – Lloyd Cameron & Rebecca Barnes

Life’s a pitch – Stephen Bailey & Roger Mavity

Juliet Naked – Nick Hornby

A Week At The Airport – Alain De Botton

The lost continent – Bill Bryson


More than a game – John Major

Not a star – Nick Hornby

How Proust can change your life –  Alain De Botton

The Hours – Michael Cunningham

The Art of Travel – Alain De Botton

In a sunburned country – Bill Bryson

An Education – Nick Hornby

Dance, Dance, Dance – Huraki Murikami

Angels and Demons – Dan Brown

My Favourite Year – Nick Hornby (Ed)

Cosmopolis – Don DeLillo

Through the Land of Fire – Ben Pester

Beautiful Evidence – Edward Tufte

Memory of Running – Ron McLarty

Imperium – Robert Harris

Julius Caesar –  William Shakespeare

Virginia Woolf in 90 mins – Paul Strathern

Ancient Rome – Peter Ackroyd

The other hand – Chris Cleave

History of Philosophy – Bryan Magee

Mix Tape – Thurston Moore

Amsterdam – Ian McEwan

Consider Phlebas – Iain M Banks

State building – Francis Fukayama

Consolations of Philosophy -Alain De Botton

Trim – Matthew Flinders

On Reading – Marcel Proust

Enough Rope 2 – Andrew Denton

And Another Thing – Eoin Colfer

Social Media 101 – Chris Brogan

Confederates in the Attic – Tony Horwitz

Norwegian Wood – Huraki Murikami

Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemier Hansson

Bon Appetit – Peter Mayle

Solar – IanMcEwan

On Chesil Beach –  IanMcEwan

Life studies – Robert Lowell

The Boat – Nam Le

Red Dog – Louis de Bernieres

The World Is Flat – Thomas L Friedman

High Fidelity – Nick Hornby

Zero History – William Gibson

Click – Various

The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai

The Lacuna – Barbara Kingsolver

HBR: On Creativity, Innovation and Renewal – Hesselbien and Johnston (EDS)

Enduring Love – Ian McEwan

Romulus My Father – Raimond Gaita

Design Thinking – Gavin Ambrose and Paul Harris

The Comfort of Strangers – Ian McEwan

When Managers Rebel – David Courpasson & Jean-Claude Theonig


Business Model Generation – Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneurs

The back of the napkin – Dan Roam

Captain’s Innings – Keith Fletcher

Devil May Care – Sebastian Faulkes (as Ian Fleming)

Star Trek Mission’s End – Ty Templeton and Stephen Molnar

Away – Michael Gow

Brand Media Strategy – Antony Young

Ten Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell

Hell Island – Matthew Reilly

Atlantic – Simon Winchester

After Dark – Huraki Murikami

Do androids dream of electric sheep? Philip K Dick

Homage to Barcelona – Colm Toibin

Gaudi – Yukio Futagawa

Javier Mariscal – Designing the New Spain – Emma Dent Coad

Essays In Love – Alain de Botton

Phuket Encounter – Adam Skolnick

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn and David Leviston

Heroes of a Texas Childhood – Kinky Friedman

Generation A – Douglas Coupland

Bossypants – Tina Fey

Mythology – Edith Hamilton

The Information – James Gleick

Without Warning – John Birmingham

The Arrivals – Meg Mitchell Moore

A Short Walk In The Hindu Kush – Eric Newby

Reamde – Neal Stephenson


Jimmy Corrigan The Smartest Kid – Chuck Ware

11.22.63 – Stephen King

On bullshit – Harry G Frankfurt

The Seed – Kate Mulvany

Hela – the Henrietta Lacks story – Rebecca Skloot

Spice – Ian Hemphill

Song lines – Bruce Chatwin

The Paris Option – Robert Ludlum

Truth – Peter Temple

The Bicycle Book – Bella Bathurst

Marching Powder – Rusty Young

Death of a cruise ship – Tom O’Connor

Working man blues. Jobs and automation

Workers always lose. Economics always wins.’

University of Technology Sydney Vice Chancellor Attila Brungs referenced a video at a conference I attended last year. Humans need not apply doesn’t need much of an introduction but it does flesh out more of the ideas, opportunities and threats inherent in automation, especially robotics, driver-less cars and the broader themes of autos, and the use of self-teaching bots.

Technology-based automation, in this case AI, is a threat to pretty much any job:

Data Scientist? Try Quill…

A ‘natural language generation platform for the enterprise that goes beyond reporting the numbers—it creates perfectly written narratives to convey meaning for any intended audience (that) adds value to data by identifying the most relevant information and relaying it through professional, conversational language. The result? Intelligent narratives that efficiently communicate the insights buried in Big Data that people can comprehend, act on and trust.’ Quill

Doctor, teacher, lawyer or other professional? Watson

According to IBM, ‘We produce over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data everyday and 80% of it is unstructured. Therefore, it’s invisible to current technology. IBM Watson is a cognitive system that can understand that data, learn from it and reason through it. That’s how industries as diverse as healthcare, retail, banking and travel are using Watson to reshape their industries.‘…

‘The world witnessed an early preview of cognitive computing in 2011, when Watson won the famous TV show using just one API (application programming interface). Today, Watson has 28, powered by 50 different technologies.’

According to Humans need not apply, 25% of the workforce could be made unemployable by technologies available and working today, 45% by the technologies outlined in the 15 minute film.

Automation, the driver of abundance, is going to deliver an abundance of people without jobs, so what to do with those people, that human capacity?And how does all that fit with capitalism?

Let’s leave that for another day…


This is the 21st century. Jobs and automation

Two recent videos compel me to comment on emerging angst (not just mine) over the future of work. The first is a short film, The last job on Earth, and the second, a call to action by Annalie Killian, founder of the Amplify Festival, on the need to rediscover the magic of ‘people’ in work, Are Employees part of the Human-Centred Design focus of corporations? #Humanatwork

Having worked under the tagline, ‘Better, Faster, Cheaper, More Sustainable’ for almost a quarter of a century, I’ve been part of many teams developing collaboration and automated solutions for business problems. My aim has always been to keep my employers nimble, and ‘smarter’, by reducing waste, time and costs of operation, and create environments that permit people a higher order ‘human’ contribution, rather than having to serf an ever growing tide of administration (sorry, ‘dad joke’).

Matthew Moore (@Innotecture) wrote recently (in Yammered) that the vision for Enterprise Social practices has changed since we started down the collaboration track (for me the mid 90s, for him, mid noughties) and under the heading, ‘The Death of the Utopian Vision of Enterprise Social’, Matt makes the following observation (my emphasis),

‘…the world has changed. The utopian vision of business in 2007 was all of us on social software talking like equals and forging a new egalitarian world together. The current vision of business in 2016 is somewhat different. Lets go back to Tom Davenport and Andrew McAfee. Both are now writing about automation (and also analytics for Davenport). The business vision of the organisation is one where we’ve removed everyone. We don’t need to give employees enterprise social platforms because there will be no one to talk to on them. Whether this is a utopian or dystopian future depends on whether you own the machines or are replaced by them.’ 

Can Matt’s point about Enterprise Social (collaboration) be extrapolated to motives driving business strategy and outcomes? To what extent? And what’s our role in this process?

Can we (re)find the magic Annalie is looking for? Or are we heading for ‘the last job on Earth’? And if we are, as Marillion might have asked, ‘Where’s the wisdom in that?

Moonage daydream. Blogging and ideas

cropped-knowhere.jpegSo what’s Knowhere about? Work stuff, such as education, technology and innovation. society, government (good and bad), community, philosophy, the future, the past, the present. Business and organisations, leadership, entrepreneurship, management, and strategy. Systems Thinking, Design Thinking, automation, robotics, gamification, diversity, decision-making, intranets and the web. Start ups and stuff ups. Data, information and knowledge. People and the way we collaborate.

And non-work interests, such as science, movies, theatre, music, visual arts, books, food, feminism, and stuff. This isn’t a showcase for work or career, it’s more holistic than that.

The audience is me, primarily. I want to be able to connect the dots of my own thoughts and those of others, and see where that goes. I also want to be able to find stuff I like and so I see this blog and Pinterest as memory extenders.

Of course the world doesn’t need another blog, more digital documents or anything else. It’s a postmodern world (or post postmodern, I can never remember). So, I’m just going to do what I want, for a change.