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I am an honours graduate (BSc. Hons. Strath-Glasgow) coupled with an MBA-ICG (Paris) , experienced, Metallurgist - Materials Scientist and Engineer & Manager turned Consultant & Blogger. I specialised in Superalloys (aero-engine_Seminal Work peer reviewed & published IOM3_MST 1984) but also Special Alloys (Cryogenic,Controlled Expansion-Dilatometric,Magnetic, Corrosion Resistant Grades and finally HSLA-Aircraft Undercarriage. (Great Stuff-I was lucky) My responibilities were especially in Melting & Refining to 1st Forming stage. Responsibilities include QC,QA & Accounting, Melt/Remelt Process  & Products, R&D.  Bilingual English-French. 
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New Scientist - Environment

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


I have chosen to start this post with the following quotation attributed to Vikas Swarup’s co-principle character CEO, Vinay Mohan Acharya.

“A leader doesn't have to be the smartest, the strongest of the prettiest. I’d rather have a less-than-brilliant leader as my CEO than a genius but gutless plodder, because leadership is the most important factor for a business to succeed.” 

Such considerations, phrased in more academic terms, could also be attributed, for example, to HBR author Daniel Goleman in his article; 

“What makes a leader" HBR. Jan 2004.

To quote Goleman;

Every business person knows a story about a highly intelligent, highly skilled executive who was promoted into a leadership position only to fail at the job. And they also know a story about someone with solid—but not extraordinary—intellectual abilities and technical skills who was promoted into a similar position and then soared."


Or in the more vulgar response to bragging used in my youth;
“Put your money where your mouth is!”

Swarup’s CEO illustrates this by some well chosen analogies in the following quotations:

“Just as machines need maintenance, and products need marketing, employees need direction. It is the leader who provides that direction, who encourages and inspires ordinary people to do extra-ordinary tasks. For this the leader has to walk the talk.”

“In matters of style, a leader swims with the current; but, in matters of principle he stands like a rock.”  Swarup again, through his CEO, paraphrases Thomas Jefferson.
Well phrased communication could also be termed “Talking the walk” used mostly in USA. This underscores two points 
-A. that things are being done 
B. that they must be seen to have been done. 

Again this is well illustrated in HBR article by Bill Taylor.

COMMUNICATION: The Best Leaders “Talk the Walk” HBR AUGUST 7, 2014.

NB. Taylor a writer, a speaker, and entrepreneur both “Walks the Talk” and “Talks the Walk”.

He introduces his HBR article as follows:

“One of the most ubiquitous aphorisms in business is that the best leaders understand the need to “walk the talk” — that is, their behaviour and day-to-day actions have to match the aspirations they have for their colleagues and organisation. But the more time I spend with game-changing innovators and high-performing companies, the more I appreciate the need for leaders to “talk the walk” — that is, to be able to explain, in language that is unique to their field and compelling to their colleagues and customers, why what they do matters and how they expect to win. The only sustainable form of business leadership is thought leadership. And leaders that think differently about their business invariably talk about it differently as well.”

The reader may find some historical notes on quotations below. Here the link is directly related to the subject of "Walking the Talk", of course.

1.  Daniel Goleman in his article:

2. Bill Taylor

(Bill Taylor is a writer, a speaker, and entrepreneur who has shaped the global conversation about the best ways to compete, innovate, and succeed. As a co-founder and founding editor of Fast Company,)

3. Historical Sources of the notion  “WALK THE TALK”
1.      Origines: Shakespeare's Richard III, 1594 in the words of his character “The 1st Murderer
                                    Fear not, my lord, we will not stand to prate;
                                    Talkers are no good doers: be assured
                                    We come to use our hands and not our tongues.
2.      Or again; 
         In Man and Superman, 1903, George Bernard Shaw suggested that:
                                  "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches."

NB. No offence is  intended either  to Teachers and Professors in general or to HBR contributors!

3.      Benjamin Franklin is reputed to have coined the proverbial saying:
                                   "Well done is better than well said".   

                                                             Ref : The Phrase Finder 

Thursday, 13 November 2014



 (Note? V. SWARUP is also the author of SLUM DOG MILLIONAIRE, now also a renowned film of the same name.)

In his knowledgeable and suspense filled novel, Swarup invents the gripping story of a fabulously rich Company Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Vinay Mohan Acharya, in search of his successor. His search leads him to choose a most surprising candidate, named, Sapna Sinha, an ordinary sales girl in an electronics boutique in the centre of Delhi.

However there is a catch, a twist to the story of course:

Sapna must accept to undergo seven qualifying tests, tests to be taken from “life" situations.
So begins the most challenging journey of Sapna’s life and these situations Sapna must face are not difficult enough, the plot deepens. Are the tests real or is CEO, Acharya playing a deeper game, one driven by a perverse fantasy?

Swarap unravels each of his seven “life” stories as test situations in seven easy to follow chapters.

The resulting lessons learned are worthy Harvard Business Review (HBR) stuff. The teaching is at least as efficient as the more careful professorial approach by mainstream HBR, or J. of Leadership and Organisational Studies, contributors. It caught my attention enough to blog the novel and to return to HBR. 

Swarup, of course, has the advantage of the novelist’s poetic license in creating more daring and dangerous stories than true CEO's or perhaps not? And more work for biographers and novelists

In true HBR-Harvard Business Review tradition of shock awakening readers’ attention; the author contends that:

“Leadership is the one compentency cannot be learnt in Management School.”

Also Cf. Journal of Leadership and Organisation.

Rules & Attributes
LEADERSHIP is illustrated in the context, or against the background of great difficulties and dangerous situations.  In SARUP’s India, one such extreme situation is set in a background of honour killings and forced marriages. Here the heroine, as any other person in real life, can choose to turn their back on a problem and just walk away or, alternatively, take responsibility, take a responsible stance and choose to do the right things.

-1a. A manager learns how to do things right but, the Leader does what is right.

It is easy to imagine that these considerations come straight from the famous business review (HBR)

According to SWARUP, It’s all about:

-1b. Instinct & Conscience.  He, or in this case She, instinctively takes an ethical and moral stance. Many authors of work published in HBR would probably agree. cf inset

2. Integrity.
Integrity is illustrated, in Vikas Swarups novel, by the story whereby his heroine, “the apprentice leader” finds and returns an extremely valuable diamond ring to its rightful owner, inspite of her own great needs.
He points out in passing that in the words of his other central character, the Company President who is seeking his successor that: “From a high building” (an allergy to his very high position as Company President) you can see people’s heads, but you cannot see within them. He adds that; “people have become masters at hiding their true nature”.

3. Courage.
The CEO’s fear is FEAR of FAILURE.

   His greatest fear is that of “not taking        action”!
 Regret, his only regret is having not tried.

We must not let fear limit ourselves.

In his novel, Vikas Swaraps gives the reader vivid examples of the courage required of a leader.

4. The Fourth Test or the Blindness of Fame
Here his example takes the form of unmasking of a traitor. The story takes the form of a so called blind man who, as it turns out, is not totally blind…

5. Fifth test:  Atlas of Fame, Resourcefulness
The author uses “the fight against corruption”
Above all he or she must be a “Master Strategist”
He illustrates this topic through one of his character’s (Marmeh Ben), “hunger strike”. Which the “Accidental Apprentice” turns into a massive success.

6. Decisiveness in an extreme situations, here “great sacrifice” via the case of a kidney donation.


 “The first secret to becoming a CEO is knowing that there are no secrets to success. 
It is always the result of hard work, concentration, careful planning and persistence."

-7b.Success is not a lottery but a system.

Knowing the World is cleverness.  Knowing yourself is Wisdom.

-Be yourself; listen to your heart,

-Do what you think is right
-Stand up for the principle you believe in
It comes from:
-a combination of “intuition” + “Values”
- making choices and learning from them.
It comes from: 
-the ability to handle failure and rejection.

“As power increased so does control diminish. Nothing remains constant."

THIS ABOVE ALL: Enjoy reading V. SWARUP’s great new story “THE ACCIDENTAL APPRENTICE”, useful learning which will help put flesh your HBR and J of Leadership & Organisation reading. 

PS. It now remains to be put into practice. This is where our individual and collective (unfortuneately numerous) flaws and insufficiences appear. 

Simon & Schuster © 2013 ISBN978-1-47111-317-8-318-5.

Further Reading: Free Issue of Sage Journal of Leadership & Organisational Studies

LINK: Special Issue_Emerging Research Trends in Leadership


Friday, 15 August 2014

Scotland: Wind will power the Scots green ambitions - environment - 28 May 2014 - New Scientist

Scotland: Wind will power the Scots green ambitions - environment - 28 May 2014 - New Scientist

Scotland is argueably the best choice for as a renewable energy model. It has already committed it's self to stop new nuclear power  development. Although a longstanding net exporter of electricity notebly to it's southern neighbour England, this is not necessarily an ideal economic advantage but is rather an indication of insuffient industrial presence. Any new (renewable) energy policy
 will ideally take into account the parallel industrial development with associated employment.

Cheers up North and remember the unofficial national anthem, "Flower of Scotland" which intellegently remembers past conflicts with close neighbour England in particular and firmly puts these in the past. Remember too that both UK & USA have similar concept
s of "A Commonwealth". Could this be more wide spread through the global issue of climate change, rising sea-levels, unharnessed population increases, consumeism and resulting human induced pollution land sea and air!!!

Awe ra best !

A global temperature conundrum: Cooling or warming climate? _Does not, the authors emphasize, change the evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century.

"The scientists call this problem the Holocene temperature conundrum. It has important implications for understanding  and evaluating climate models, as well as for the benchmarks used to create  for the future. It does not, the authors emphasize, change the evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century."

A global temperature conundrum: Cooling or warming climate?

Nor must this, I contend, diminish our resolve to take the necessary actions to manage Climate Change deleterious effects both for our sake,for our economies and for future generations (self-interest is a well known motivator & must not be forgotten or excluded by pious calls in abnegation in favour of future generations who naturally have no "voting" power. 

Read more at:

A global temperature conundrum: Cooling or warming climate?

An 'F' to Fracking_A new look at what’s in “fracking” fluids raises red flags


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Why The Three Biggest Economic Lessons Were Forgotten by ROBERT B. REICH, Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley

Reich introduces his 11th of February blog by asking the retorical question " Why has America forgotten (as have many others I may add-eg France's UMP leading up to the election of N. Sarkozy) the three most important economic lessons we learned in the thirty years following World War II?  

In Reich's words this goes as follows:

First, America’s (& Co) real job creators are consumers, whose rising wages generate jobs and growth. If average people don’t have decent wages there can be no real recovery and no sustained growth.

In those years, business boomed because American workers were getting raises, and had enough purchasing power to buy what expanding businesses had to offer. Strong labor unions ensured American workers got a fair share of the economy’s gains. It was a virtuous cycle.

Second, the rich do better with a smaller share of a rapidly-growing economy than they do with a large share of an economy that’s barely growing at all.

Between 1946 and 1974, the economy grew faster than it’s grown since, on average, because the nation was creating the largest middle class in history. The overall size of the economy doubled, as did the earnings of almost everyone. CEOs rarely took home more than forty times the average worker’s wage, yet were riding high.

Third, higher taxes on the wealthy to finance public investments — better roads, bridges, public transportation, basic research, world-class K-12 education, and affordable higher education – improve the future productivity of America. All of us gain from these investments, including the wealthy.

In those years, the top marginal tax rate on America’s highest earners never fell below 70 percent. Under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower the tax rate was 91 percent. Combined with tax revenues from a growing middle class, these were enough to build the Interstate Highway system, dramatically expand public higher education, and make American public education the envy of the world.

We learned, in other words, that broadly-shared prosperity isn’t just compatible with a healthy economy that benefits everyone — it’s essential to it.

But then we forgot these lessons. "For the last three decades the American economy has continued to grow but most peoples’ earnings have gone nowhere. Since the start of the recovery in 2009, 95 percent of the gains have gone to the top 1 percent."

For starters, too many of us bought the snake oil of “supply-side” economics, which said big corporations and the wealthy are the job creators – and if we cut their taxes the benefits will trickle down to everyone else. Of course, nothing trickled down!!!!

Reich explains
"For starters, too many of us bought the snake oil of “supply-side” economics, which said big corporations and the wealthy are the job creators – and if we cut their taxes the benefits will trickle down to everyone else. Of course, nothing trickled down.

Let me repeat this remark "for starters" above; for this was the line an local UMP(right wing party in France) tried to sell me. I thought to myself he believes I'm an idiot and thinks everyone else is too. Well Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP won the french presidential election that year.  No offence intended but better safe (warned) than sorry. 

Reich concludes:
"As the gap between America’s wealthy and the middle has widened, those at the top have felt even richer by comparison. Although a rising tide would lift all boats, many of America’s richest prefer a lower tide and bigger yachts."

ROBERT B. REICH, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century."


My attention was brought to this work  from an article "Lettre de Wall Street" - Letter from Wall Street  by Stephane Lauer in the french journal Le Monde 19 Feb 2014, Eco&Entreprise p7. 

More from S. Lauer:

La rémunération du PDG de JPMorgan a presque doublé en 2013 
President & DG salary almost doubled inspite of justace problems
Malgré les déboires judiciaires de la banque américaine, Jamie Dimon a touché 20 millions de dollars.

Une année 2013 médiocre pour JP Morgan

Bad year for JP Morgan but a great year for the Boss!!!!

Le salaire du PDG de JPMorgan a augmenté de 74 % en 2013 16 Increased salary  of 74% accepted by the board
Le conseil d'administration a accordé à Jamie Dimon lasomme totale de 20 millions de dollars, dont 18,5 millions en actions, malgré les déboires judiciaires de la plus grande banque américaine.

I shall be pleased to respond to questions concerning my treatment, following my humble effort  to eliminate a particularly nocive element from aero-engine special steels-the well named & specified as superalloys. In fact the findings were extended throughout a large range of similar materials!!!! Damnit! cf my published work in Materials Science & Technology Maney Press for IOM3.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Public Understanding vs. Scientific Consensus via Yale

"Public understanding of climate change, however, is starkly different than the expert consensus: only 44% of Americans think global warming is both happening and human caused. " says Yale, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

- See more at: See More at Yale Univ. 

Heh! Come on you guys, come on Yale: When the chips are down, and they are down, who do you believe, Scientists whom you do not know and how do not pay your daily bills or Your Boss whom you know and who pays your every day lively hood!!!!

You swallow and hope maybe something will turn up and try to forget for the time being or if you are a real toughy you stick you chest out and bellow any old denial theory posing to be a hard boiled sceptical scientific enquiring mind. So it's

"BUSINESS AS USUAL"  & The boss is happy, hoping he will be in the next issue of Forbes Magazine's Worlds Richest individuals!

SEE for EXAMPLE (cf.): 

ExxonMobil Ignores IPCC Warning, Vows to Burn All Oil Reserves

You can add the strong negative message given by USA in the Huge Shale Fracking industry , huge GHG emission technique in itself and whose poor management of environmental concerns have been underlined by French Publc Television Programme "Envoye Speciale" if I remember correctly.

The public cannot lead on such an issue.  I believe only strongly led International Co-operation(s) at the highest levels can adaquatly respond to such an enormous challenge.  Suggestions I have made may be found in my previous post entitled insired by a summary by New Scientist link as follows:

 A Security Council Issue_Climate science: Why the world won't listen - opinion - 26 September 2013 - New Scientist