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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

I recently grabbed a book by A.H. Maslow, a series of essays ranging across creativity, education, and society. I don’t know enough about Maslow to decide if I should be embarrassed or excited, but I really enjoy some of what he wrote.

In an essay called, “Self-Actualizing and Beyond”, he discusses eight prerequisites for self-actualization. Self-actualization is Maslow’s characterization of a person able to experience life fully, vividly and with complete selflessness. Yeah, loaded words but getting past them, Maslow captures a cool thought:

We must teach people to listen to their own tastes. Most people don’t do it. When standing in a gallery before a puzzling painting, one rarely hears, ‘That is a puzzling painting’ … Making an honest statement involves daring to be different, unpopular, nonconformist.

Maslow wrote this in 1967. It was republished under a new title and with new authors and in a much longer version in 2001. It’s now called “Cluetrain Manifesto”.

I’m not trying to play down Cluetrain, or play up Maslow. I’m just highlighting two interesting points. One, a single powerful statement can contain sufficient principles to revolutionise business. Two, a principle from psychotherapy has potent implications for modern business.

A single principle can be the foundation for significant change. One Maslowian principle might be: True value comes from honesty. Consider the implications:

The idea behind sift works because principles are trans-discipline in their implications. An economic principle has implications for scientists. A psychotherapeutic principle has implications for economics. And all these principles have implications for entrepreneurs and business. Conclusion: teaming the meta-skill of cognitive linking with a wide range of learning gives businesses a competitive edge – the sift hypothesis.

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