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A Beautiful Constraint: How To Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It's Everyone's Business by Adam Morgan, Mark Barden

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7 THE FERTILE ZERO

Learning from people who succeeded with next to nothing

THIS CHAPTER FOCUSES ON:

  1. What can we learn from people whose constraint is that they have very little or nothing of an essential resource?
  2. What kinds of new capabilities and ways of thinking will that demand of us?

Mick … was natural. It was electrifying the way he could work those small spaces, as a singer and a dancer; fascinating to watch and work with … the spins, the moves. … And he's still good, though to my mind it's dissipated on the big stages. Somewhere … he got unnatural. He forgot how good he was in that small spot.

—Keith Richards1

The Resource Curse is a term coined by the economist Richard Auty to describe the tendency for countries that are rich in natural resources to perform worse economically than countries that have none. While this is not inevitable (those prudent Norwegians), the possession of such resource wealth all too often leads to economic and political behaviors that, in fact, limit the sustainable growth potential of the country, rather than accelerate it.2

The apparently counterintuitive idea that less wealth leads to stronger performance is illustrated by the journey made by the McLaren Formula One team after the EU banned tobacco sponsorship in 2005. Tobacco had bankrolled the business and the lavish lifestyle its eleven teams enjoyed—the private jets that flew the teams to the races, the best hotels, the abundance of resources. And the concomitant mindset in Formula ...

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