Wandering Into Wisdom

This blog chronicles the knowledge, insight and wisdom I encounter every day as a leadership consultant, executive coach, educator, father, friend and citizen. This site is dedicated to my father, Louis (Jack) Laughlin, who passed on to me an appreciation for wisdom. A special thanks to my friend Isaac Cheifetz, a businessman and journalist, who helped me understand the value of blogs and encouraged me to write one.

Failure and Imagination

J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter book series, delivers her commencement address, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” at the annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association.  It is one of the most remarkable and inspiring speeches I have ever heard.

Truth or Theory

I studied science and did research as an undergraduate and learned very early on that a good explanation, even after testing, is still a theory, not a truth.


"If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find, in each person’s life, sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostilities."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


During a conversation with her kids, a mother I know noticed their distress about the popularity of other children. She thought for a moment then asked them, “Are those popular kids admired or envied and which would you like to be?” To admire someone is to aspire to be like them but to envy them is simply to want what they have.


A talk by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award.

The Written Word

Three things I've learned about writing clearly.

1) Use simple language.
2) Make your point before you explain it.
3) Don’t use more words than necessary.

The American Dream

Fareed Zakaria recently wrote an article for Time Magazine and did a report on his CNN show called "How to Restore the American Dream."  It is a thoughtful and informative analysis of how the global economy is evolving and what we must do to evolve with it.
Time Article
CNN Podcast

In Command

I met someone who was the on-scene supervisor for Emergency Medical Services at a large engineering disaster. One of the things they learned was the need for shared command structure at large events. They typically handled small incidents where a single person could handle command alone. In this case they needed at least one person for inbound communications, another for outbound communications and a third synthesizing the information to maintain situational awareness and make decisions. Although they realized this during the event, the lack of predefined roles and practice with shared command prevented them from making it work in the moment.