Friendship may be the only retreat from the all-encompassing market society.

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Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

What is the deal you and I have?

It’s a slightly uncomfortable question to ask, especially for me. Deals and I don’t make for good bedfellows. I’m a self-proclaimed romantic and can’t think of a more obvious counterpoint to my worldview than the cut-and-dried, matter-of-fact nature of deals.

Transaction versus transcendence is never a win-win.

But this year is the year of “Concrete Love” at the House of Beautiful Business, culminating in our virtual, global, and local festival from October 28 — November 1. Making our love concrete means stepping into the belly of the beast.

Deals are the arteries…

Paying attention is a start, regenerating attention is the end.

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Photo by Kaci Kellman on Unsplash

Can I please have 5 minutes of your undivided attention?

Attention is the currency of love — and of the digital economy. Both intersect (in fact, collide) at the very moment when the primary challenge for anyone in a relationship is to be more compelling than the partner’s smartphone, as the writer Alain de Botton once put it.

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” the French philosopher and activist Simone Weil said.

And yet, attention is a zero-sum game. The attention we’re paying here, we are not paying there. It’s a spotlight that illuminates some things, while…

It is time to re-think — and re-feel — the king’s discipline of business.

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Photo by Julien DI MAJO on Unsplash

If I’m honest, I make most decisions with my gut, and then I come up with a strategy to post-rationalize them. So I can wholeheartedly relate to what the entrepreneur and writer Luke Burgis says: “Show me your strategy, and I will show you your desire.”

Burgis is the author of the upcoming book Wanting that explores how the concept of “mimetic desire” applies to business. Mimetic desire suggests that humans are imitative beings and essentially desire what they see other people desire. …

Turns out, people behave (and feel) like people

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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

A few years ago, I went to my barber shop in San Francisco’s Noe Valley, and as my barber, Arvin, cut my hair I observed his colleague, Jane, who was serving a customer, an elderly woman. When she was done with the haircut and after the woman had paid, Jane took her and her customer’s coats and they left the shop together. I asked Arvin: “Where are they going?” Arvin said: “Oh…she’s been a customer of hers for more than 40 years. She’s 85 now, so Jane drives her home after the appointment. …

The future workplace won’t be hybrid. Liquid is more like it.

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Photo by Free To Use Sounds

Conferences may be dead, but the panel discussion is alive and kicking — on Clubhouse. The much-hyped social app connects members (one still needs to be invited to join) via audio-only conversation rooms where they can either host, contribute to, or simply listen to a conversation. What started last year as an exclusive forum for Silicon Valley types and celebrities, predominantly from the creative industries, is now going mainstream (the app apparently had its highest download day this past week). Clubhouse has loosened its strict door policy, and is flooded by everyone who knows someone.

Conversations on Clubhouse still revolve…

A conversation with the conductor and page turner Kelly Lovelady

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Artists have suffered tremendously from the pandemic. Many have lost their income and realized that the safety net protecting them is even more fragile than they had feared. Add to this the underlying socio-economic challenges that the cultural critic William Deresiewicz aptly depicts in his recent book, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech. At first glance, the democratization of the arts through digital technology might let you conclude that “There’s never been a better time to be an artist.” Many artists, however, feel differently: There’s never been…

Twitter and Facebook suspended Trump’s accounts. It’s the right thing to do, albeit more than four years too late, and yet still truly disturbing.

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Wikipedia CEO Katherine Maher tweeted: “It must be satisfying to de-platform fascists. Even more satisfying: not platforming them in the first place.”

Indeed, when social media companies suddenly pretend to discover their conscience, like those Trump-enabling Republican leaders — from Betsy DeVos to Mitch McConnell — who are jumping ship after it has sunk, it feels like becoming a vegan after the chickens have come home to roost.

Moreover, Twitter’s and Facebook’s drastic actions are proof of the unwieldy power these companies have amassed. And as much as I welcome their using it now, it also makes me extremely uncomfortable…

To make material and immaterial improvements to business, let’s cut to the heart of the matter.

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Photo by Kellie Shepherd Moeller on Unsplash


I have always tiptoed around it. It’s the most important, most delicate matter. Nothing is more interesting, more essential, but for that very reason there is nothing more trivial.

This is especially true in business, where the use of “love” has become inflationary. From brands as “Lovemarks” to the self-motivational motto “do what you love,” or “love what you do,” love is enlisted to make business sound less transactional. As for Lovemarks, the louder something shouts “love,” the less lovely — or loving — it is. In the same way that Valentine’s Day commodified romance, being expected to “do…

Life between two kingdoms, the loss of control, the end of winning, the microbiocene, intimacy — and silence.

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Photo by Simon Godfrey on Unsplash

Yuri van Geest, Canay Atalay, and Rudy de Waele, the founders of the Conscious Learning Tribe, asked me to contribute to their last Un-Conference of the year. It was great to see Canay and Rudy again — they had spoken and run workshops at the first two House of Beautiful Business gatherings in 2017 — and to join their community. This past weekend, they convened 21 speakers from different walks of life and asked them to reflect on 2020 and look ahead to 2021 by answering three questions. Following is my response:

What did you learn from 2020?

This was the year when metaphysical truth became…

This has been a year of super-recognition: seeing things we hadn’t seen before and understanding how we see.

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Photo by Kyle Smith on Unsplash

Can you still remember the face of the person who sold you your first iPhone way back when? If you answered yes, then you might indeed be a so-called super-recognizer. Think you’ve got what it takes? Take the online test to find out.

James Dunn, a cognitive psychologist at the University of New South Wales who’s studied the results of the test above since 2017, told me that super-recognizers inherit their rare superpowers — it’s not a skill you can train. …

Tim Leberecht

Co-founder and co-CEO of The Business Romantic Society; co-founder and co-curator of the House of Beautiful Business; author of “The Business Romantic”

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