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Brad Pitt … and John Grinder – Moneyball and NLP!

Truly, incredibly, thanks to the UK monsoon, I spent the weekend reading Moneyball by Michael Lewis.

Incredibly, because what I know, understand and care about baseball is zero. Even saying that doesn’t quite convey the deep chasms of my ignorance and lack of concern, like, as the young folks say….whatever.

According to  Gary Trudeau  (Doonsbury), “You win by not getting out.” Hmmm.

I picked it up because I had enjoyed the author’s brilliant The Big Short about the money markets and the great collapse of our world economy. Oh and it has a nice picture of Brad Pitt on the cover.

Anyway, it turns out that baseball is a world of passions running high, of insanely committed fans, huge money, players traded like serfs and, until recently, a secret world of nerds and geeks crunching the stats and disputing the received wisdom about what creates success in the game.

So although on one level I learnt nothing, I was completely intrigued by this story of Billy Beane and his quest to take on the big league, superstar teams who can massively outspend him in getting the ‘top’ players.

It’s all about patterning and bias and actually looking to see what’s effective, what works…   compiling data sets to prove it and then, most thrillingly, acting on your new knowledge.

This means Mr Beane, in defiance of conventional ideas,  picked up excellent and underrated players at rock bottom prices and took his team up through the ranks to some big game thing – ‘the playoffs'(?) and after that it’s all about luck.

Don’t ask.  It’s a good thing and means you’ve outsmarted the most mega-expensive players in the baseball  universe.

NLP is fundamentally about patterning and being able to uncrinkle our perceptual biases and fetid old habits of mind which lead us down the same old garden path again and again.

We say ‘the map is not the territory’ and then create tools and deepen our skills to attempt to counter the deeply acquired deletions, distortions and generalisations which generate and dominate our sense of reality.

A lot of the moves are unconventional and counterintuitive… patterning and correcting biases and blind spots, looking to actual feedback in the live, sensory world of experience.

On a recent programme  there was  a young man with a fear of heights and after fifteen minutes he was ready to book a flight on the London Eye… I’ll let you know.

Change is not always as quick as that but sometimes it is.. if you know how the pattern is working.

Anyhow, I was so reminded of the fantastic, original R & D by Bandler and Grinder and pals, along with the unique integration of ideas of their times – the excitement of seeing and testing the patterns and then creating the tools.

And, like what happened to Billy Beane in baseball, in the NLP world we are still waiting for recognition of our patterning skills.

And wanting to make our essential contribution in the bigger game.

However,  it’s still all to play for…


Starting Again… me and my NLP blog.

In October this happened (i) and I wanted to focus my energy on keeping the main show on the road – i.e. me and PPD Learning, my NLP Institute in London (ii).

And now it’s glorious summer I’m looking forward to writing more – about NLP, what’s going on in the field, thoughts on related books etc.. oh, and occasionally  frivolous unrelated TV and political stuff too.

In NLP I’m pretty interested in how to convey the more subtle, somatic skill-base – the delivery system for the tools and techniques. It’s a hugely under-represented and under-described dimension of the practice of NLP and what is meant by having ‘integrated’ skills and ‘NLP in the muscle’.

You really don’t read about it much in the NLP primers which are mainly techniques focussed. And yet it’s the core, refined skill-set that brings emotional and social intelligence into the actual practice of NLP and thus the generative quality of the results and changes.

Also this relates to the idea of standards and creating a shared reality about what constitutes adequate skill and adequate training and practice.

The meme of an ‘NLP Practitioner Certificate is like a Driving License’ is  actually highly flawed and misleading. One day I’ll attempt to explain why and point to the absence of agreed observable data as part of my evidence.

(And yes I am pissed off that the completer courses are framed as thus being ‘for slow learners’..  highly distorted, negative framing.)

More anon…

In terms of the NLP research base, I’m a keen reader of psychology books and articles and want to point out some of the links between what we are doing in NLP and contemporary research.

Maybe I’ll do some book reviews here too like my Changes ones (iii)  but a bit longer and chattier..

I’m a big US elections junkie – yes Obama, if I had a vote. I watch with rising horror the sheer level of outright lies and propaganda from the Romney camp. He doesn’t even appear to care about telling the truth.. it’s amazing.

The Republicans learnt a lot about frames and framing years back. As George Lakoff says ‘frames trump facts’. The Democrats still believe ‘the truth will set you free’ – not in this election it won’t.

Lastly, I’ve derived a lot of solace from beautiful walks in the countryside this year. Definitely part of  the healing process…Lovely quote from Bateson I can’t quite remember but it’s how much spirituality is a deep, felt sense of the inter-connectness of all living things and of the beauty in the natural world. I’m very grateful  and at last learning the names of wild flowers.

Currently Reading;                                                                                                            Thinking Fast and Slow/ Daniel Kahneman                                                                            23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism / Ha-Joon Chang                                Proust was a Neuro-Scientist /Jonah Lehrer                                                                 Stranger Magic /Marina Warner  – about the Arabian Nights stories                                 Secret Places of West Dorset/ Louise Hodgson

Websites;                                                                       The wonderful Rachel Maddow show , news, politics ,opinions, cocktails.

TV Comedy                                                                                                                           30 Rock – Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, New York – whats not to love?!                                  Community – I know it’s a bit hip and cool of me but I really like it.

Back soon this time…. !



(iii) Book reviews here – pdf



Getting Started

I want to write about what interests me – in the world of NLP of course and also capture some of my thoughts, book reviews, passionate discussions et al.

This has to be the tiniest window ever for trying to write anything at length… I hope I will a. either get used to it or b. find out that actually there’s a whole better way of doing this than peering sideways at a 1×10 cm box!

So my first thought – yesterday I was teaching the Precision Model, John Grinder’s brilliant 3 frame/ 5 pattern model for, as it says on the tin, gathering high quality info in a business setting.

I like to slow people down enough to really see and experience how a question changes the pictures in their mind and how that changes the choices and actions they will make.

It’s quite a revelation as most of us are used to just firing off questions on a quantity of information basis.

To see how this elegant model helps people synchronise and jointly, relevantly, expand their ‘maps’ is a revelation.

The great puzzle – how come this is not better known? It’s such an outstandingly intelligent tool!