The Circuit: Smarty Pants




This week I’ve got a round-up of some super smart insights from some unlikely places—a former convict, a professional poker player, the former leader of a luxury brand. And then, an announcement about our former director of national intelligence. If you spend 10 to 15 minutes with today’s Circuit, I’m sure you are going to be talking about at least one of these stories—and looking pretty smart yourself.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

You Did What Now?

While serving 11 years in federal prison for the armed robbery of five banks, Shon Hopwood educated himself about the law. (This is an understatement.) While incarcerated he filed a petition to the Supreme Court, which they agreed to hear. After being asked to argue the case before the court, former solicitor general of the United States Seth Waxman agreed only of Hopwood would work on the case as part of the team. They were successful. Suddenly a life after prison became a hope for Hopwood who went on to earn an undergraduate degree and then a JD from the University of Washington. He was told by 300 lawyers that no bar association would ever give him a license because of his conviction. Undeterred, Hopwood is today liscensed in two states to practice law and a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center. Watch his story of redemption and second chances here.


Wanna Bet?

In a world filled with decision-making we all make our fair share of bad ones. What if there was a way to stack the deck so you made less than your fair share? Professional poker player and cognitive scientist Annie Duke offers a few keys to unlocking the secret of retraining your brain to evaluate risk. In her book, Thinking in Bets, Duke describes why life is more like poker than chess and calculates the role that luck plays in success. A point to carry with you? Approach the world with more objective skepticism and ask “Why am I wrong? Instead of “Why am I right?”


The New Buzzword

In your strategic discussions, are you including conversations about “aesthetic intelligence” or “aesthetic empathy” – also known as good personal taste combined with a good understanding of what pleases others? Former chair of North America for LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Harvard Business school lecturer Pauline Brown offers insights to the business of making beautiful products and experiences. From her position that “people do not need more stuff but they do need pleasure,” Brown shares why storytelling is at the crux of a brand promise and how aesthetic value creates financial value.


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