brainroads-toward-tomorrows mental patterns


pyramid to dna

Conceptual resources: uses and abuses

This page is a key brainroad that provides an overview of the tables of content (TOC) tools available on this TLN site.

These tables of content can be viewed as a shopping center or menu from which you can select ideas on which you want to bet (design) your life. It might be productive to augment the contents and links on this page with an search.

Concepts (with the potential for effectiveness) presented in conceptually valid books (and other media) are the raw materials of organization evolution and consequently career evolution, life design, and financial investments. They are the building blocks of social and economic development.

The Changing Social and Economic Picture

Economic content & structure,
money flows, efforts, and consumer lives

Books (and similar media) are storage containers that allow concept transportation between individuals. They are also attention redirecting tools. The ones that are valid and will remain valid should probably be revisited on a conscious schedule. This revisiting redirects attention and should also reveal new external and dynamic realities.

The positive impact of conceptual resources should be visible or detectable in the world around us today and tomorrowS. Following the Korean War (1954), South Korea was without industry, a higher education system and practically no educated people. Today they are world-class in a couple of dozen industries. This contrast is the result of different concepts.

The Management Revolution

The Thinkers 50 — European Foundation for Management Development.

Some concepts are tactical navigation enablers, some are strategic navigation enablers and some are a waste of time

Conceptual resource exploration at Page Elements: Author > Title > Editorial Reviews > Spotlight Reviews > Inside This Book > Statistically Improbable Phrases > Capitalized Phrases > What do customers ultimately buy after viewing items like this? > Customers tagged this product with > Customers who bought this item also bought

Amazon Example: Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes

Time valid concepts are staggered and interdependent. When an organization gives rise to an innovation that results in a new enterprise the time sequencing begins again (hopefully building on previous levels of development). Connections: organization evolution concept map and linear view of organization evolution.

A validity test can be conducted by superimposing a concept on the world of yesterday and seeing if the concept explains or predicts what actually happened.

This area of work is a substantial part of recognizing and defining developmental desires and creating a unique career evolution path. It is also a part of foundation building. Tables of content can also be used for assignment "trapping" (leadership; career evolution module; people decisions).

The previous nine paragraphs taken as a whole builds an even stronger and more elevated foundation for future directed decisions.

We are limited to working on the familiar with the familiar. We can only work with what's on our radar and only with our mental patterns. Also the human brain can only see what it is prepared to see. Part of this preparation can come from reading, so reading is fundamental. Comprehending what we read is enhanced by a broad foundation for making connections.

(see Post-Capitalist Society by Peter Drucker: Knowledge: Its Economics and Its Productivity :: The Management Requirements ::: Only Connect …).

Unfortunately the useful broad foundation that is so valuable is not part of the education system—examine the course content or listen to what the "educators" say (a focus on tools not design, results, work, or tasks).

Useful resources

TLN conceptual resource file listing in the TLN site "conceptual_resource" Internet directory.

Concepts and Information (from Sur/petion by Edward de Bono) What is a concept? It is almost impossible to define—and almost not worth trying. But I recognize concepts, look for them, design them, and use them.

Furthermore, there is a distinction between a concept and an idea. An idea is something specific that you can carry out. A concept is a more general, abstract notion that has to be carried out by means of a specific idea. For example, traveling along a road is a concept, but in practice, you have to do something specific such as walk, ride a bicycle, or drive a car.

Contrary to our normal thinking, concepts are often more useful when they are blurred, vague, and fuzzy, because then they have more potential. If they are too detailed, they cover too little. If they are too general, they cover too much and provide little direction. In time, a creative thinker gets a feeling for when a concept is specific enough, yet general enough at the same time.

There is little distinction between a concept and a perception. When we look out at the world we never see raw data. The data we receive has already been organized into patterns by previous experience (the self-organizing nature of the mind). A person born blind who suddenly becomes able to see cannot see. That person has to learn to see and to build up usable patterns. This organization into patterns, sequences, or groups we call perception. Figure 4.1 (omitted) suggests how we group certain things together to obtain perceptions.

So a perception is a grouping of things realized when we look out at the world. A concept is a grouping of things realized when we look inwardly at our available experience.

When we have grouped things into a perception, we often put a name on that grouping: a flower, a mountain, a restaurant.

When we have grouped things into a concept, there is a purpose or benefit that arises from the grouping: sales tax, traffic control, a restaurant franchise.

A restaurant is both a description and a concept; it sells people food and is a place to eat it. The purpose and benefit are obvious.

See chapter five of Sur/petition for a continued exploration of concepts and information.

A cautionary note

None of the strategic authors or actors (people having a significant impact on the content and structure of the economy) address how and when to integrate their work or ideas into the life of a specific individual. Its up to us, but we need a foundation and life-long work approach.


A generalization: The actors I'm referring to are people like Julius Rosenwald (Sears), Thomas Watson (IBM), Alfred Sloan (GM), and Jack Welch (GE) in the business arena. At the end of their careers many write or collaborate on books about their work at a particular point in time (forming of the automobile industry) and a particular set of circumstances (a state in the general development of the economy). These stories are like the perfect storm that can't be replicated. They reflect individuals taking advantage of the "opportunities that time and history placed within their grasp." Alfred Sloan's My Years with General Motors wasn't the end of the GM story. The individuals who were supporting characters of the winners rode with the momentum and the losers and their supporting characters had to move on. This is in the business news everyday.

Google: "inside the mac revolution" with quotes


Authors write (at a particular time in history) about subjects, tools, historical examples (above) and maybe speculate about the future in general. There are vast arrays of different situations in the world to which these subjects, tools, and ideas about the future are totally irrelevant or not relevant right now.

Reading and thinking about these subjects etc. is useful for getting things on our radar and giving us new action choices. I think I remember Peter Drucker once wrote something to the effect: "don't base your life on anything I or anybody else writes." This is a reminder to "look out the window" and be aware of the "current" situation (part of which is invisible, but its there anyway).

When I go to the trouble to buy a book, I outline it, add notes, and maybe an action column. This provides a resource that can be quickly scanned for current relevance and maybe added to a work map.


We are born at a particular place and a specific point in time (set of conditions). Our lives progress uniquely from our point of origins. It is up us to use subjects and tools to figure where we want to go and then use our strengths plus the subjects and tools available at the time to navigate to our transitory destinations. So there is time, life, and navigation, but most everybody is already subconsciously aware of this (backdrop of many movies and celebrity life stories) and just "distracted" by the flow of today's events.

A Druckerism: Jobs and assignments should fit an individual's career (not an occupation title) and careers should fit a life worth living (in time).

A Century of Social Transformation

Career and Life Guidance from Peter Drucker



Knowledge: Its Economics and Its Productivity



Peter Drucker: Conceptual Resources

The Über Mentor

A political / social ecologist
a different way of seeing and thinking about
the big picture
— lead to his top-of-the-food-chain reputation

drucker business week

about Management (a shock to the system)


“I am not a ‘theoretician’; through my consulting practice I am in daily touch with the concrete opportunities and problems of a fairly large number of institutions, foremost among them businesses but also hospitals, government agencies and public-service institutions such as museums and universities.

And I am working with such institutions on several continents: North America, including Canada and Mexico; Latin America; Europe; Japan and South East Asia.” — PFD




List of his books


Large combined outline of Drucker’s books — useful for topic searching.




High tech is living in the nineteenth century,
the pre-management world.
They believe that people pay for technology.
They have a romance with technology.
But people don't pay for technology:
they pay for what they get out of technology.” —
The Frontiers of Management

Creating new realities from concepts requires getting from concepts to new daily actions (a more detailed view)


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself (PDF) is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving relentlessly toward unimagined futures.



What’s the next effective action on the road ahead


It’s up to you to figure out what to harvest and calendarize
working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then working out a plan for coping with what you’ve rejected.

Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise. A site exploration starting pointThe memo THEY don't want you to see



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