The Impulse Factor - Nick Tasler
The Impulse Factor100
This is a thoughtful and thought provoking book. Written with the aim of stimulating discussion and research into the question of ‘why some of us play it safe whilst others risk all.

The scope of the book is impressively wide, spanning the first appearance of a genetic mutation some 50,000 years ago that may have lead humankind to begin farming and creating art, through to the consequences for management of today’s organisations.

Throughout the book there are examples drawn from within business and organisations as well as beyond these. Amongst business leaders, Bill Gates, Ruth Handler (creator of Barbie and Mattel) and Louis V Gerstner Jr (CEO of IBM) are examined.

Beyond business the examples include Francis of Assisi and Henry Dunant, who almost by accident set in train a sequence of events that led to the creation of the Geneva Convention and the formation of The international Red Cross and the United Nations.

Along the way the book explores the tulip-frenzy that engulfed Europe during the 16th century and draws parallels to the modern phenomena characterised by the dotcom bubble.

The book raises a host of interesting questions by contrasting the characteristics of the Potential Seeker with that of the Risk Manager. An online tool is available to allow the reader to evaluate their own characteristics. The book is at pains to point out that neither approach is offered as good or bad, and aims to raise awareness so that knowing your own tendencies, you can exploit the strengths and be aware of the shortcomings.

As such you have the opportunity to try and modify your approach, or recognise the value of surrounding yourself with people with complimentary characteristics.

Overall the book is an interesting and engaging read, which adds to the debate of this interesting topic.

Steve Unwin

September 2010