Dr. Burleson's Posts

Belief and Doubt.

Belief and Doubt.

One of the best television commercials in history only aired one time. In it, a young girl is shown in a field, picking pedals from a flower she holds in her hand. As she pulls off each pedal, she counts and then drops them to the ground. The commercial starts off warm and makes viewers smile, but just before she reaches the final count, she looks up at the camera with a suddenly worried expressio... »

Know Thyself.

Know Thyself.

One of the most difficult tasks I face as a coach and consultant is helping doctors better understand what it is they want and who they want to become. It’s also the most rewarding part of my job. Erich Fromm said, “Man’s main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become who he potentially is.” I’ve spent private coaching days with hundreds and hundreds of doctors and small business owners ... »

Some Things Never Change.

Some Things Never Change.

The Smithsonian magazine reported recently that archaeologists uncovered an ancient Roman bathroom, decorated with suggestive mosaics, meaning dirty jokes were built right into the walls. Just like bathroom humor has been around since the dawn of time, there are many things that never change, even in today’s fast-paced, always-on, hyper-connected society. For example, your patients will alwa... »

Different, Not Better.

Different, Not Better.

For many years now, I’ve taught doctors it’s best to position their practices as different not better. Consumers cannot judge whether your treatment is better or not until after the fact, so you might as well get on with the task of showing them how your office is different and solves problems that others are either unwilling or unable to solve. Consumers assume you’re going to provide great quali... »

Carry More Tools.

Carry More Tools.

You’ve probably heard me repeat the following proverb many times: “To a man with only a hammer, every problem tends to look pretty much like a nail.” Unfortunately, orthodontics is a narrow professional doctrine and liable to suffer from man-with-hammer thinking. I’ve witnessed this in my own practices and in those of the orthodontists I coach. The most-successful orthodontists study broadly outsi... »

Perspective.

Perspective.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ted Williams, one of the greatest hitters to ever play professional baseball. PBS and Major League Baseball recently aired a special documentary about Williams and his last four plate appearances at Fenway Park. For the last six decades, every single frame of film documenting Williams and his last at bat ever, where he hit his final of 521 home... »

On Competition and Circumvention.

On Competition and Circumvention.

This weekend on the way home from one of our satellite locations, I listened to an interesting segment on NPR about competition in healthcare. Two economists were quoting Milton Friedman. That’s a quick way to get my attention. If you haven’t read Friedman, you’re doing yourself a disservice. One of the economists has made it his life mission to take down the California Medical Association and the... »

Perception and Reality.

Perception and Reality.

Geraint Thomas won the 2018 Tour de France, becoming the first Welshman to take the top prize. I stopped watching the Tour several years ago, for the most part, because of the doping scandals that continue to reappear and the wide disparity in the funding of the top one or two teams and everyone else. Chris Froome, last year’s winner and Sky teammate of this year’s winner, tested positive for exce... »

The Way Forward.

The Way Forward.

On a recent monthly coaching call, an exceptionally bright client and successful orthodontist in California asked me what are the key characteristics of my top students. It’s a smart question. One I imagine Munger or Buffett might ask of a leader in any worthwhile organization. At the top of my list, resting on four or five other characteristics, was the fact that the most successful members of Bu... »

Choice.

Choice.

In his book Free Market Madness, Peter Ubel illustrates the risk many parents took in the 1970s by choosing not to vaccinate their children for polio. The main reason in deciding not to vaccinate was that 1 in 2.4 million could actually contract the disease from the vaccine. Parents overlooked the fact that the risk of contracting the disease, without the vaccination, was exponentially higher than... »

Adapt.

Adapt.

Quincy Jones has been nominated for more Grammy Awards than any other person and has won a total of twenty-seven times in ten different fields. From Children’s to Pop, Rap, Jazz, R&B, and more. He has worked with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Miles Davis and the list goes on. He produced the best-selling album of all time: Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Q, as ... »

Training

Training

In a large study of over 5,000 workers in Spain, the University of Madeira discovered that employer-provided training has the same effect on job satisfaction as a 17.7% net wage increase. I’ve been teaching for years that your employees don’t always want more money in order to increase their engagement and overall job satisfaction with your company. The ability to learn something new or achieve ma... »

Fox vs. Rabbit.

Fox vs. Rabbit.

John Gribbin illustrates a point in one of his books that should smack readers into attention, like a 2×4 to the forehead: “A rabbit who runs away from a fox is not competing with the fox, in evolutionary terms. It is competing with the other rabbits. The ones who run fastest and zigzag most unpredictably, will survive and breed; the ones who don’t will get eaten. The fox, of course, is in co... »

What They Believe.

What They Believe.

My friend, Dan Kennedy, shared some great inside baseball at The Advanced Trust and Authority-Building Academy with Burleson Seminars in Cleveland recently. If you missed it, I’m not going to give you all of his pearls, but I will share a BIG one with you below. When practically applied to your business, the marketing principle can transform your business. If you look around, you’ll find ver... »

Messy.

Messy.

It’s time to replace the Italian espresso machine in my upstairs kitchen. I rarely spend much time researching options. I’d rather make a decision and adjust as I go, but the current machine served faithfully for 10 years so I feel a little obligated to replace it with something as durable. Tasked to my personal assistant, already knee-deep in the process of replacing two other commercial coffee m... »

Productivity Gains.

Productivity Gains.

Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize-winning economist. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he hit the nail on the head when he said, “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it’s almost everything.” U.S. productivity gains over the last decade are 50% lower than they were, on average, from World War II until 2006. Economists and government leaders are worr... »

2018 U.S. Marketing Spending Forecast

2018 U.S. Marketing Spending Forecast

According to AdAge and Zenith, the estimated U.S. spending in media nd marketing services is $446 billion. In the US, internet ad spending surpassed TV for the first time ever. Market share will increase 13% year-over-year with $1,354 spent per person on marketing and advertising this year. As more big dumb companies rush into online advertising and pull out of traditional media, a window of oppor... »

Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team

Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team

Simon Sinek rose to business fame with his TED Talk, “Start with Why.” His book of the same name is a brilliant look at how most companies know what they do, some can tell you how they do it, but very few have a compelling reason why. It’s a great book to help business owners think about why they exist in the marketplace. I’ve long taught doctors, “You must have a more profound reason why you exis... »

Standing in Your Own Way.

Standing in Your Own Way.

Marcus Aurelius said, “Our actions may be impeded… but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” This simple but profound maxim became Ryan Holiday’s impetus for writing The Obstacl... »

End the Search Quickly.

End the Search Quickly.

In training over 1,500 orthodontists and their treatment coordinators how to ethically help more new patients say “yes” to treatment, I’ve discovered several sacred-cow biases or status-quo biases that need to be killed. At the top of the list, is the excuse, “I have to go talk to mom or dad.” When consumers tell you they have to “talk to their spouse before making a decision,” they are really say... »

Never Enough.

Never Enough.

Jay Papasan, coach to fortune 500 CEOs instructs, “financially wealthy people are those who have enough money coming in without having to work to finance their true purpose in life.” If you haven’t found your true purpose in life, there is no amount of money that will satisfy you. You’ll never know if you have enough money. You can never technically be financially wealthy without purpose. Try find... »

An Age of Distraction

An Age of Distraction

Today, Millennials spend 93.5 hours per month inside an app. Years ago, I made a bold claim that “those who are unable to control their attention will have it bought and sold by those who can.” Facebook has become one of the biggest media companies on the planet, selling billions of dollars of advertising to its user base each quarter. My prediction was correct, but it is not limited to technology... »

Something for Nothing.

Something for Nothing.

I’ll let you in on two little secrets that have forever shaped my life. They were taught to me by my parents, which were taught to them by their parents. I’ve been teaching them to my kids ever since they were old enough to listen and pay attention: You are of no good to yourself, let alone to anyone else, if you are not prosperous. You are prosperous to the degree you are experiencing peace, heal... »

Perception vs. Reality

Perception vs. Reality

Paco Underhill, author of several books on why consumers buy and consultant to large retailers, knows as much as any author I’ve read about where to place items on shelves, how consumers make buying decisions and specifically what drives female consumer choices. His work warrants your study and this weekly fax does not offer enough real estate to properly review the body of evidence his research h... »

How to Test Your Assumptions

How to Test Your Assumptions

Jon Fjeld is the executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He’s a professor of strategy and philosophy and used to work at Align Technology, where he helped the company prevent some serious cash burn in the 1990s. His latest article in the MIT Sloan Management Review looks at the best ways to test your assumptions. He kicks ... »

The Typewriter Revolution

The Typewriter Revolution

Some clients know I use a 1941 Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter for personal communication and for many of my book drafts. It was Hemingway’s favorite typewriter and the same one my grandfather kept in his office. There’s something truly different about sitting down with a mechanical typewriter and watching your thoughts fly onto the page. On a computer, I can’t write in any of the ... »

A Century of Wealth in America

A Century of Wealth in America

Weighing in at 880 pages, Edward Wolff’s A Century of Wealth in America is no light read for the beach. Like Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the book is dense, packed with equations and statistics, citing more references than ten books in the same category. Yet, it is important and timely. Any smart business owner who wants to understand the economic trends that shape our w... »

Understanding Your Customers.

Understanding Your Customers.

Born on a Missouri farm in 1875, James Cash Penney started in the retail business in 1898 as a store clerk in Colorado. He quickly moved up the ranks and in 1902, he was offered a partnership in the Golden Rule store. He soon bought the entire operation and by 1914 he moved the company headquarters to New York City and had built the largest department-store chain in the United States by 1917. At t... »

Shorten the Curve.

Shorten the Curve.

Amazon will add 120,000 new seasonal employees this year, up 20%. (Source: Wall Street Journal) What could be more impressive than Amazon’s seasonal growth data? Consider this: Amazon has reduced the on-boarding time for new warehouse employees from 6 weeks to 2 days. Automation has been implemented in every nook and cranny of their business. Something we started back in 2009 with InfusionSoft. It... »

Your Fake News or Mine?

Your Fake News or Mine?

I read five newspapers per day. I quickly go through a system I developed years ago, asking “Does this apply to me, my market, my patients, my clients, any stakeholder in one of my companies?” I look for trends and actionable data. Most of the articles talk about things that are out of my control. Unless I’m betting on corn futures, I don’t really care about the weather. So, 90% of the stuff I rea... »

Leadership.

Leadership.

In a recent article published in The Harvard Business Review, Jesse Sostrin points out the leadership paradox: “You need to be more essential and less involved. When you justify your hold on work, you’re confusing being involved with being essential.” This was the biggest leap in my transition from a solo-practitioner with one location to a business leader with multiple offices and scores of team ... »

The Death of Expertise.

The Death of Expertise.

The Death of Expertise is a fascinating book I’m re-reading this year by Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College and Harvard. With so much information at our fingertips, anyone can know anything at the swipe of a finger on their smartphone. Yet, there is a lot of misguided information as the news has transformed into a 24/7 entertainment machine. Nichols argues that “an increasingly demo... »

Tireless.

Tireless.

I don’t watch much television unless I have a specific objective in mind, like reviewing the two-part biography on Walt Disney produced and aired by PBS last year or the production and writing lessons demonstrated by really good scriptwriters. One such show is House of Cards, produced by Beau Willimon, a tireless playwright. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Willimon admitted to ... »

Embracing Facts.

Embracing Facts.

“The vast accumulations of knowledge – or at least of information – deposited by this century have been responsible for an equally vast ignorance. When there is so much to be known, when there are so many fields of knowledge in which the same words are used with different meanings, when every one knows a little about a great many things, it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone to ... »

Break a Little Glass.

Break a Little Glass.

Kevin Kelly, the co-founder of Wired Magazine, gave one of the best definitions of the word progress that I’ve ever heard. In an interview, he said, “Ever since the Enlightenment and the invention of science, we’ve managed to create a tiny bit more than we’ve destroyed each year.” He went on to explain that the problems of today were caused by yesterday’s technological successes. It doesn’t take a... »

Progress.

Progress.

John Stuart Mill wrote this in the Principles of Political Economy (1848): “Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being.” Film and television critic, Nathan Heller, writes in a recent New Yorker column: “A measure of industrial progress is the speed with which inventions grow insufferable. The elevator, once a marvel of eff... »

Push it Upside Down.

Push it Upside Down.

In his classic text, M.R. Kopmeyer teaches, “push your wheelbarrow upside down.” Walking through life with your wheelbarrow right side up allows anyone to dump their burdens, worries and issues into your wheelbarrow, making your load heavier to carry. When people see that there is a man going around collecting problems, they will easily add their problems to his load. Kopmeyer wasn’t teachin... »

Stop Becoming. Start Being.

Stop Becoming. Start Being.

Edward Kramer tells the story of three brick layers building a wall on a warm summer day. A stranger passes by for a moment to watch. He asks the first brick layer, “What are you doing?” Without looking up, the man replies, “I’m laying brick.” The stranger continued walking by the wall and stopped at the second brick layer. He asked, “What are you doing?” The second man slapped on some mortar and ... »

The Need to Learn.

The Need to Learn.

Johann Goethe wrote in Maxims and Reflections, “There is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.” To build a private practice with sustainable growth, you need an understanding of everything the business world can throw at you. Demographic analysis and site selection, marketing and positioning, recruitment, management and motivation of employees, clinical and administrative systems, leade... »

Delusion.

Delusion.

Why do so many business owners fail to hit their goals? Why do your employees often fail to reach their targets and projects on time and under budget? Researchers in something as innocuous as the sport of golf have published some new insights on an old concept that we’ve covered here and in the Look Over My Shoulder Monthly Marketing Program, called cognitive bias. David Dunning, a psychology prof... »

You Set the Expectations

You Set the Expectations

Ask Paul Abbot, the Executive Vice President of Commercial Payments at American Express what he thinks separates AmEx from the competition and he will give you three simple differentiators: trust, service and relationships. In an interview with CEO magazine, he said, “Service is very much the heart and soul of the company… Our customers expect exceptional service every day because that is the stan... »

Your Thoughts Are Things

Your Thoughts Are Things

After I published a recent Burleson Report: A Weekend Update for Orthodontists, a private client whom I consider a friend and mentor to many of the younger members in my coaching groups, Dr. Ron Barnett, wrote me a kind note, thanking me for the insight in the articles and echoing something he’s taught his employees for years: “Your thoughts are things.” I couldn’t possibly... »

Your Brain and Information Overload

Your Brain and Information Overload

In his book, Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind, Dr. Srini Pillay reminds us that often more focus is not the solution to achieving our goals. As a Harvard-trained and practicing psychiatrist, he lectures around the world on the power of the untrained mind. Pillay says, “Every experience contributes to brain development. Deviations from the straight and narrow path ca... »

Knowing Your Own Brand of Crazy

Knowing Your Own Brand of Crazy

A quick, fun read by Bryant McBride in Worth magazine recently reminded me of the story of so many of my top clients… and my own story. In 1982, after being notified by their landlord that their rent would go up from $2,000 per month to $10,000 per month in less than 60 days, Tim and Dagny DuVal scrambled to find new space in a city that didn’t have a whole lot of what they wanted. In a bad part o... »

Chaos and the Creative Process

Chaos and the Creative Process

When any company leads their field for over 25 years and then gets invited to showcase their work in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian, I pay attention. House Industries has been the leader in American graphic design for decades. Starting in the summer of 2017, their work will also be featured at the Henry Ford Museum. In their new book, House Industries: The Process Is the Inspiration, ... »

The Most Underrated Skill in Management

The Most Underrated Skill in Management

Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of one of my favorite magazines, The Idler, said, “To solve the right problems for your patients, customers, clients or donors, you just need to step outside and pay attention to what is so commonplace, so everyday, so mundane that everyone else misses it.” He’s right, but how can orthodontists pay better attention to what their competition misses? First, through clari... »

Returning to Your Roots

Returning to Your Roots

Recently, McDonald’s announced it is switching to fresh beef after nearly 40 years of using frozen meat for their hamburgers. (Source: New York Times) The company will start with the quarter pounder, then gradually shift the entire burger menu to fresh, never-frozen beef, as they refocus on “returning to their roots” as a burger joint. Several failed attempts to introduce healthier items like smoo... »

The Wisdom of Insecurity

The Wisdom of Insecurity

British Philsopher, Alan Watts, said the only way to make sense out of change is to “plunge into it, move with it and join the dance.” In my favorite book of his, The Wisdom of Insecurity, Watts tells a story about his childhood desire to send someone a parcel of water in the mail: “The recipient unties the string, releasing the deluge in his lap. But the game would never work, since it is irritat... »

The Strange Persistence of Guilt

The Strange Persistence of Guilt

From another brilliant opinion piece in the New York Times by David Brooks: “American life has secularized and grand political ideologies have fallen away, but moral conflict has only grown. In fact, it’s the people who go to church least — like the members of the alt-right — who seem the most fervent moral crusaders. We’re living in an age of great moral pressure, even if we lack the words ... »

Two Simple Strategies for Better Leadership

Two Simple Strategies for Better Leadership

In a recent Strategy+Business article, adapted from his book, 63 Innovation Nuggets, Professor George Barbee shares two simple leadership concepts. First, he teaches to “pilot simultaneously at 30,000 feet and at ground level.” The best leaders can see the big picture but are also aware of the facts and details on the ground. I’ve done both separately and they will destroy trust and accountability... »

The Latest Couponing Device: Your Car

The Latest Couponing Device: Your Car

According to Kate Kaye’s recent article in Advertising Age, the next frontier in advertising coupons is coming to a car near you. Kaye shares details on the collaboration between General Motors, their OnStar equipped vehicles and Koupon Media. “The relationship reflects what’s becoming an everyday reality for consumers: more ads in connected things, including their vehicles. Koupon helps GM ... »

How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market

How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market

Gerry Zaltman is a distinguished professor at the Harvard Business School. I first discovered him in my own MBA studies where he was a guest lecturer and it’s obvious why large clients like Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble hire his consulting firm to better understand how consumers think. When I watched Gerry’s team go through an interview process that analyzes a consumer’s deep metaphors and li... »

Traditional TV’s Surprising Staying Power

Traditional TV’s Surprising Staying Power

A special report in The Economist examines the extremely slow changes in television viewing habits and why, as I’ve been teaching for years, it takes media decades to really change. On-line marketers have predicted the death of direct mail, email, cold-calling, radio, television and everything else that was supposed to be completed replaced by the web. Yet, here we are with television approaching ... »

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction

Derek Thompson, senior editor of the Atlantic, is one of my favorite writers. Although I frequently disagree with his views and politics, I appreciate any writer who can make me think and Thompson does a great job. I also appreciate his broad knowledge base and thorough research on any topic he investigates. His first book, Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction, does not d... »

Employee Engagement vs. Productivity

Employee Engagement vs. Productivity

A sign on the wall of my employee break room reads, “Are you being BUSY or are you being PRODUCTIVE?” If you’ve been following me for long, the most-recent employee engagement survey by Gallup should not be surprising to you. Only 33% of U.S. employees are engaged on the job. Internationally, the number is worse: only 13% of employees are engaged at work. Two researchers in the Harvard Business Re... »

Execution Is a People Problem, Not a Strategy Problem

Execution Is a People Problem, Not a Strategy Problem

From Peter Bregman’s article in the Harvard Business Review comes a great reminder to orthodontists: your problems implementing new strategies or following-through on the tried-and-true is not a strategy problem, but a people problem. Doctors from all over the globe fly to Kansas City to spend a consulting day with me and, without fail, the topic of “getting my team to do what I ask... »

The Necessity of Self-Help Lit

The Necessity of Self-Help Lit

Joseph Davis takes a unique stand against the contempt dished out by his fellow journalists and intellectuals towards self-help books and journals. Granted, there are a lot of self-help books that are peddled by “snakeoil salesmen,” as some of Davis’ colleagues demonstrate. Yet, there is a deeper lesson to be learned by the long-standing use and wide range of books and articles that have our atten... »

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter

I was fortunate enough to hear David Sax speak at the Kansas City Public Library about his new book, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter. In it he shares how tangible things have experienced a resurgence of popularity. When the digital book reader became popular, people proclaimed the end of the book, yet physical book sales are up significantly in the last few years. When exper... »

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

I don’t always agree with Thomas Friedman, but it’s hard to argue with someone who has won 3 Pulitzer prizes and countless journalistic accolades in a respected career. In his latest book, “Thank You for Being Late,” he gets far more right than in any of his previous works and gives society a powerful and timely assessment of our current world and its rapidly-accelerating pace, change and technolo... »

Mobile Advertising Trends

Mobile Advertising Trends

According to ComScore Mobile Metrix, the average 18-24 year old spends 93.5 hours per month using smartphone apps. That’s 28 forty-hour work weeks per year. Time spent on desktop and traditional media is holding steady or going down while time on mobile continues to increase. By 2018, AdAge predicts the share of internet advertising going to mobile platforms will be 53%. As of 2016, mobile represe... »

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

If you or your parents grew up when the popular opinion in Congress, the news media and universities aligned with Roosevelt’s New Deal and the idea of redistribution of wealth, you’ve seen things come a long way from that ideal to Regan, who brought back the old Federalist lines of argument. These aligned closely to Alexander Hamilton, who has garnered much current interest and is the subject of a... »

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind

I enjoy authors who can mix and match stories and lessons from figures as diverse as Picasso, Proust, Edison, John Lennon and Michael Jackson while creating a book that still maintains a common theme and excellent core concepts. Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire have written such a book, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, and it’s been one of my favorite referen... »

Relativism vs. Reality

Relativism vs. Reality

As The New Criterion turns 35 years old this year, editor Roger Kimball is exploring the topic of conservatism and populism. I’ve often been warned not to mix religion or politics into my coaching and consulting and I’ve equally-as-often reminded those critics that I do this for my cleft palate foundation, as a charity and as part of my mission to pay it forward and help other doctors in their pra... »

In Pursuit of Good Karma: When Charitable Appeals to Do Right Go Wrong

In Pursuit of Good Karma: When Charitable Appeals to Do Right Go Wrong

I’ve been teaching for years that rational thought is not required in decisions that are often based largely on emotion. Recent research by Kulow and Kramer, “In Pursuit of Good Karma: When Charitable Appeals to Do Right Go Wrong” continues to support my theory. Study after study have shown that, although most Americans will not admit that they are irrational, their actual decisions on product pur... »

Meetings Suck : Turning One of the Most Loathed Elements of Business Into One of the Most Valuable

Meetings Suck : Turning One of the Most Loathed Elements of Business Into One of the Most Valuable

Cameron Herold has been called the “CEO Whisperer” by the publisher of Forbes magazine. Not only does he consult with CEOs and C-suite executives from Fortune 500 companies but he was also the COO at 1-800-GOT-JUNK and grew revenue from $2 million to over $106 million in less than 6 years. A self-described “poor student” in school and university who was always looking for t... »

Dynamics of Communication

Dynamics of Communication

From the Journal of Consumer Research, Dubois, Rucker and Galinsky; June, 2016. Researchers have examined how power arises and is distributed via socioeconomic status, how it affects consumer behavior and even how it affects psychological state or mindset. One area researchers haven’t fully explored is how power affects the creation and reception of persuasive messages. Having power, researchers h... »

Tech Slowdown Threatens the American Dream

Tech Slowdown Threatens the American Dream

Ask anyone today about technology and you’re likely to hear about the amazing transformations happening across the board.  Silicon Valley has exponentially grown the number of tech startups and has created millions of jobs.  Here’s the only problem: today’s apps and tech startups like Nest and Alphabet’s other Google projects can’t hold a candle to the benefit indoor ... »

Ego Is the Enemy

Ego Is the Enemy

I’ve long been a fan of Holiday’s writing. In Trust Me I’m Lying and The Obstacle is the Way, Holiday presented refreshing views on marketing and Stoicism. In his latest book, Ego is the Enemy, Holiday asks the next question when embracing the obstacles in your life, namely how to achieve your goals with your ego in check. Holiday points out, although the world and its history books have been shap... »

Mindfulness and Team Meetings

Mindfulness and Team Meetings

In an article in Strategy + Business, Charlotte Roberts and Martha Summerville review the components to a mindful board of directors. Their wisdom has direct application to how you run your team leader meetings and entire company meetings as an orthodontist. To begin each meeting, the authors suggest you have a “connect to purpose” moment, like showing a video or telling a short story. Each time w... »

There’s Gold in the Old

There’s Gold in the Old

Here’s a shocker: network television continues to cling to programming that works. We’re basically seeing the faithful formulas that worked decades ago continue to succeed today. Even the popular series, Empire, is only a slight twist on the traditional soap opera format. An article in the Atlantic by David Sims reviews the trend in more detail, but below I’ve summarized the most important p... »

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction

I often lament the fact that the average American watches 38 hours of television per week but only reads one book per year. I shouldn’t get too excited about averages. Alan Jacobs, professor of the humanities at Baylor University, sets out to make the case that reading is alive and well with large bookstores both online and off being supported by large numbers of book clubs and readers of all ages... »

When We Are No More: How Digital Memory is Shaping Our Future

When We Are No More: How Digital Memory is Shaping Our Future

Rumsey sets out on an ambitious book that reviews the history of the Library of Congress and asks how we remember, how it has changed and what influences our instant society plays in the process. In a world where people document their entire lives with digital photography, we seem to remember less and less about our lives. In a world with instant answers to any question on Google or Wikipedia, wit... »

Quench Your Own Thirst

Quench Your Own Thirst

Jim Koch, the founder of Samuel Adams brewery, is a fifth-generation brewmaster. In his new book, Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two, he recalls the when starting Sam Adams of wasting a lot of time and potentially a lot of money trying to figure out which computer system to use. His uncle offered some sound and blunt advice. “I’ve never known a business to go bankr... »

Positive Personality and Resilience

Positive Personality and Resilience

Although there are hundreds of studies that support the findings from this article in the Journal of Psychology & Behavioral Science, it reminded me of an excellent TED talk and review of the world’s longest-lasting study on happiness. Known as the Harvard Study of Adult Development, for over 75 years they have been “tracking the lives of 724 men, year after year, asking about thei... »

Make Better, Faster Decisions

Make Better, Faster Decisions

When a new client comes to me for help growing the practice, there is often confusion and frustration at the overwhelming inability to get things done. “Where do I start,” and, “How will I find the time to get everything implemented,” are the most popular questions for doctors staring at the work required to double, triple or even quadruple their annual revenue and net income. In a recent article ... »

The World Beyond Your Head : On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction

The World Beyond Your Head : On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction

In Matthew Crawford’s latest book, The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction, you’ll discover how few are aware that “we are separating thought from labor in pursuit of a destructive freedom.” Crawford is no lightweight thinker. This book has challenged how I think about communication and distraction more than any other book that has come before it, and I’ve re... »

Why Millennials Aren’t Consuming Mass Media

Why Millennials Aren’t Consuming Mass Media

Ask any younger person, as I do with my residents each week, whether they read the newspaper or watch the nightly news and no hands will go up. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though it is different than how previous generations acquired news and interacted with media. You must pay attention to the trends in media consumption amongst this group, as they are your patients and/or parents o... »

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Work in a Distracted World

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Work in a Distracted World

I’ve been a grumpy and cantankerous curmudgeon for years about the ills of always-on social media, constant email connectivity, relentless meetings and silly technology productivity tools that actually take more time than getting out an old fashioned pen and paper or reading a map once, then driving the route once and having a new city more or less memorized without further need to use GPS every 1... »

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Someone once said you should never talk about religion, money or politics. I suppose the first nitwit to utter this horrible advice wanted to fly below the radar and was horrified at the possibility he might offend someone. I talk about religion, politics and money frequently. But, I have no desire to fly under the radar and I’m comfortable with the fact that you and I might disagree, even though ... »

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness

How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness

Though I’m guessing all of you were required to read Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, most of you will be surprised that Smith, the father of modern capitalism, had a whole lot of advice about how to live a meaningful life, how to treat others and what it really means to pursue happiness successfully. These concepts were fleshed out in a book that very few of my clients have ever heard of: Adam Smi... »

The Art of Worldly Wisdom

The Art of Worldly Wisdom

A collection of 300 aphorisms written by Baltasar Gracian in 17th century Spain, The Art of Worldly Wisdom is the best translation on the market, by Christopher Maurer. If one did nothing other than print out each of the 300 short truths and taped one to the bathroom mirror each morning, reflecting on it and applying it to his day, I’m confident he could take the last 65 days of the year off and s... »

The Con Men: Hustling in New York City

The Con Men: Hustling in New York City

If nothing else than to appreciate the dedication of two sociologists who spent years following New York City con artists uncovering their secrets, this book by Williams and Milton follows in the precendent of many of their other projects in that it is immense and thoroughly researched. The Con Men: Hustling in New York City reads like the script to a reality television show and anyone who has not... »

Why More and More Companies Are Ditching Performance Ratings

Why More and More Companies Are Ditching Performance Ratings

Every year in the United States, we waste 2 million hours on performance reviews. Business and research leaders are encouraging companies to ditch the traditional performance review. In this interesting article from the Harvard Business Review, David Rock and Beth Jones explain how companies can still maintain a pay for performance culture without clinging to “forced ranking” or rating... »

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era

Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era

I always enjoy when experts from two different fields come together to ask questions and seek solutions to problems no one else has approached in quite the same fashion. Such is true with the partnership between Tony Wagner, an Expert in Residence at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab and leader in education has teamed up with Ted Dintersmith, one of the world’s leading venture capita... »

Team Genius

Team Genius

Team leadership is the number one skill most doctors list in pre-consulting surveys when asked what they would like for me to help them improve about their practice. A quick search on Amazon reveals over 191,755 results for the term “leadership.” Every year at professional meetings, there are leadership development panels and guru after guru trotting out their latest advancements in th... »

What Does the Future of Digital Health Look Like?

What Does the Future of Digital Health Look Like?

Although we’re a long way off from printing complex organs via bioengineering, digital health promises to change the way patients interact with doctors, giving them more control and providing researchers and healthcare leaders greater ability to identify broad trends.  Andrew Ward provides an interesting look at the future of digital health with several trends that you should pay attention t... »

Pew Research Report on Dental Sealant Programs

Pew Research Report on Dental Sealant Programs

The Pew Charitable Trusts are often quoted and mentioned in my newsletters as sources of excellent survey data and reports on topics of interest. Recently, Pew published a report on the state of dental sealants throughout the U.S. Many states are pushing in-school programs with dental sealants placed by hygienists.  With as many variations on the programs as there are states, Pew’s in-depth ... »

The Road to Character

The Road to Character

David Brooks has been one of my favorite columnists in the New York Times for years. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite thought leaders in today’s cluttered world of noise. If you’ve followed me for very long at all, you’ve heard me teach the virtues of avoiding all of the noise and distractions in your life and Brooks certainly appears to be a man who has mastered the ability to focus on wh... »

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

It’s rare when a business book finds the right balance of practical advice, referenced background research and relevant stories but that’s exactly what Greg McKeown has assembled in his latest book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Greg received his MBA from Stanford after coming to realize that completing law school in England wasn’t the best use of his most productive energy. He ha... »

Multitasking and Employee Happiness

Multitasking and Employee Happiness

– DUSTIN BURLESON, DDS In this month’s Harvard Buiness Review, Jordan Etkin and Cassie Mogilner take a look at one of my favorite pet peeves, multitasking. Years ago, when I was involved in the hiring process and actually read resumes, (we have a much more sophisticated system for seeking out great talent now) nearly every applicant listed the word “multitasking” as a job strength. If you’ve hung ... »

Journal of Marketing

Feature Search Trends

How do you pay attention to Feature Search Trends in our industry?  If you’re not asking your patients exactly what they searched for when they found your practice on Google, now is the time to get serious about monitoring precisely what features and benefits patients are looking for when shopping for a pediatric dentist or orthodontist. Research out of the Bauer College of Business in Houst... »

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, is a neat little reminder to focus on the one thing that can make everything else easier or unnecessary, moving forward. It’s a great book for achieving maximum results in your life, both personally and professionally. It’s written by two great business minds; one who built Keller Williams Realty and the other who coa... »

Doctors and Empathy

Doctors and Empathy

In a brilliant and visceral essay published in this month’s Atlantic, Meghan O’Rourke takes us through the current state of doctors, empathy and the American health care system that has not only complicated how patients receive care but also how doctors become fulfilled in their professions.  Although many doctors enter the profession to become healers, teachers and care givers, too ma... »

Culture and Your People

Culture and Your People

Container Store CEO Kip Tindell was one of the Inc. 5000 Awards Gala keynote speakers this year with a powerful message for business owners both large and small.  Conscious capitalism, as he calls it, is building a business where everyone around you thrives.  Employees, customers, vendors, share holders and the community.  It’s possible and Tindell is proving the point.  With 3 year growth o... »

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal in 1998 and first outside investor in Facebook and other brilliant startups through his venture capital firm, and his student Blake Masters have expanded their notes from Peter’s class in Stanford Law on what it takes to make meaningful and valuable startup companies and see them transform the world.  If it sounds like a big promise, Thiel’s concepts and ... »

The Obstacle is the Way

The Obstacle is the Way

Ryan Holiday’s new book, The Obstacle is the Way, offers a fascinating and well-researched look at the classic philosophers and their lessons on overcoming obstacles.  Ryan takes it a step further, however, in laying out practical steps you can take in your business and in your life to not only overcome obstacles but actually embrace each setback and discover the inherent opportunity within every ... »

The Lexus and the Olive Tree

The Lexus and the Olive Tree

One of the great thinkers of our time, Thomas Friedman, consistently provides in-depth reporting on a range of topics that affect us all.  His book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, provides an interesting look at what the New York Times calls “a brilliant guide for the here and now.”  Just as relevant today as it was when it was initially published in 1999, Friedman, a three-time Pulitze... »

All In Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything Is on the Line

All In Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything Is on the Line

The brightest entrepreneurs I’ve met take calculated risks.  Diana Kander’s book, All In Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything is on the Line, is an excellent look at how the smartest minds in business know exactly when to go “all in.”  The defining characteristic of true entrepreneurs and those who want to “play business” is clearly defined in Kander... »

Roadside MBA: Back Road Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners

Roadside MBA: Back Road Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners

What happens when three Kellogg School of Management professors hop in a car and take a road trip? Not only will you read about some great stories, but also you will discover a host of significant business lessons as told through the perspective of a classic American road trip in the book Roadside MBA: Back Road Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners. I appreciate the prac... »

The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do

The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do

Clotaire Rapaille’s bestseller, The Culture Code:An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do, deserves a spot on the shelf of any serious marketer.  Known for his pivotal work with Chrylser and other major brands, Dr. Rapaille’s depth of market knowledge is unsurpassed.  He has the innate ability to break things (products, systems, services and br... »