Ayn Rand

On money…

“So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Anconia, “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?”

“Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants: money will not give him a code of values if he’s evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he’s evaded the choice of what to seek.”

“The man who damns money has obtained it dishonourably; the man who respects it has earned it.”


Spock Logic or McCoy Compassion – where should we start?

What should we do when we are asked to help someone develop their project, and we really don’t like what we see?

Top to bottom, wall to wall the project just seems to be full of problems.  To our eye it seem poorly conceived, badly executed and almost pre-destined to fail.

Where should we start?

Well the classic ‘expert’ approach is to diagnose the problems and put them on the table.  We confront them with the reality of the situation as WE see it.  If our relationship is strong enough and our credibility is robust they might just take it on board.  But more often than not what we get is denial, and shown the door.

Because this is a person who has taken their very best shot, using the resources they have available to make something happen. It is as if they had shown us a photo of their children and we respond by rattling through a list of their obvious deficiencies ‘bad skin’, ‘overweight’, ‘terrible dress sense’ and ‘awful smile’.  We might be trying to help, but….

…this IS their baby….

So, when someone shows us their idea and asks us to help, and we see it as full of flaws where should we start?

By pointing out ‘the obvious’ or rolling up our sleeves and helping?

What will really help?

Spock’s logic or McCoy’s compassion?


Leeds Progress School

We have a few spaces left at Leeds Progress School tomorrow, Feb 9th, from 4-6pm at the QU2 Centre in Queens Square, Leeds, near the Merrion Centre.

It would be lovely if you could join us.  We also have another Progress School in March which you can also book now.


  1. Movement, as toward a goal; advance
  2. Development or growth
  3. Steady improvement, as of a society or civilization
  4. To advance; proceed
  5. To advance toward a higher or better stage; improve steadily
  6. To increase in scope or severity

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Leadership – mass participation or elite sport?

Leadership in Leeds

How does a community get the leadership that it needs to thrive?

Is it a question of finding an elite cadre of movers and shakers, networking them, hot-housing them and amplifying their power?

Or is it about offering the opportunity for anyone to ‘lead’ on whatever matters most to them, their loved ones and their neighbours?

Can we design leadership development processes that:

  • support and reward mass participation?
  • are inclusive rather than exclusive?
  • respect local starting conditions (values, cultures and issues)?

Certainly this kind of leadership development is possible.

By giving people space to talk about what matters to them and encouraging them to think through what they can do about it and whether they want to move from words to actions we can find ‘leaders’.  But they rarely see themselves as such.  They don’t see their agenda as being ‘leadership’.  They may see it as developing a ‘local community website’, or ‘starting an urban gardening project’ or ‘finding opportunities for young people to learn and earn in our community’.  There are plenty of people looking to do plenty of good things and the truth is that what we usually describe as ‘Leadership Development’  is unlikely to help them in their work…