To The Pointwith Boris Bozic
Commentary, Opinions, Thoughts and Discussion on Current Events, Politics and The Mortgage Industry

0 Comments Talent Is Overrated

Article written by on the 10 Apr 2015 in Book Review,Business,Merix Financial,Sports,World Events

That’s the title of a book I came across while wandering around an airport a few years ago.  The title of the book was such a contradiction of my own personal belief that I was left with no choice but to pick up the book and read the overview inside the book jacket.  I’m not sure if the author, Geoff Colvin, came up with the tittle or not.  Whoever it was, kudos.  It made me pick up the book, and eventually buy it.  It’s an interesting and fairly simple read.  The book is based on research, and Colvin’s interpretation of the data.  His findings and conclusions are based on empirical data, and there is not a single suggestion that to be great at what you do is easy.  On the contrary, Colvin concludes that to be great requires painstaking work and dedication. 

 The reason the book came to mind was because of the Masters Golf Tournament.  Golf enthusiasts know that the Masters is being played this weekend, actually, Thursday through Sunday.  The Masters is a unique tournament.  Its mystique is unparalleled.    Augusta National, where the Masters is played, is sacred soil for golfers.  Golfers would pay a “stupid” sum of money for the privilege of playing that course, just once in a lifetime.  It would be the ultimate bucket list experience.  I’ve had the privilege of attending the Master’s on a few occasions.  The first time I walked on the grounds I was mesmerized.   It was one of those rare moments where you can say the experience was better than what you anticipated it would be.  So, what does this have to do with a book entitled Talent Is Overrated?  The author dedicated a chapter to Tiger Woods, who just happens to be playing at this year’s Masters golf tournament.

Tiger Woods is one of those rare athletes who transcends a sport.  People who don’t even like golf know who Tiger Woods is.  He is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.  Many people adore him, and many people dislike him.  But there’s no denying that everyone has heard of him, and can recognize Tiger Woods.    That’s a result of being a generational athlete, who is responsible for a transformational change of a sport.  Some know him more for his personal shortcomings, which I could care less about, but everyone knows him because he was that damn good at his chosen profession.  Colvin posed the question, “why was Tiger Woods that good?”  Is it a God given talent?  Does he possess a golf gene that no others have?  How many times have we explained extraordinary results by simply  saying, “he/she was born that way”.  Colvin debunks that myth, and I think he’s on to something.

SPOILER ALERT –  I’m going to share some of his findings so stop reading if you want to pick up the book and be surprised.  Tiger Woods was programmed to be a golfer, specifically by his father.  Earl Woods, Tigers father, served in the military.  He did two tours in Vietnam, the second tour as a member of the United States Army Special Forces.  In other words, a bad ass you didn’t want to mess with.  He knew all about structure and discipline.  He also had a teaching background.  His background was the perfect for molding and programming his son to become one of the greatest golfers of all time.  Example, when Tiger was an infant, his father would take him into the garage, put him in a high chair, and make him watch his golf swing for hours on end.  Tiger’s father loved golf, and he was determined to make his son love the game even more.  At four years of age Tiger and his father appeared on the Mike Douglas Show, a well-known TV Talk Show back in the day, to demonstrate his golfing prowess at such an early age.  Tiger’s entire life was golf and school. Apparently the focus on education was his mother’s doing.  Tiger was programmed to think, eat, drink and practice golf.  Thousands and thousands of hours dedicated to hitting a little white ball.  The dedication to practice, to sacrifice “normal” child experiences, created a golfing virtuoso.   So is Tiger’s mastery of the sport nature or nurture?  After reading Talent Is Overrated, I lean more towards nurture.

Everyone knows about Tiger’s personal challenges.  Golf fans know that Tiger’s body is breaking down, and his age is becoming a factor.  The hundreds of thousands of violent swings, which is the only I can describe Tiger’s golf swing, has to eventually take a toll.  The golf world so badly wants Tiger to be Tiger of old.  Everyone was surprised to see Tiger embracing other golfers  on the practice range at this year’s Masters.  Tiger joking around with the media, spending time with his children.  Everyone is saying it’s a new Tiger Woods.  The Tiger of old had little time for comradery, kibitzing with the press, and family was used as a prop.  Can he ever win again with this new found attitude?  I think it might be a matter of too little, too late.    As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect”.  But perfect has a price. 

Until Next Time.



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2 Comments Cranial Cramps

Article written by on the 05 Sep 2014 in Book Review,Business,Current Events,Merix Financial

The week after Labour Day weekend is not unlike the first week after New Year’s.  It is almost like play time is over, and it’s time to get back to work.  Just driving into work on Tuesday I could feel a difference.  Traffic is always brutal in Toronto, so using traffic as any sort of bench mark is futile.  It’s hard to pinpoint or accurately describe what it is, and without sounding esoteric, there’s an energy level that just seems to be heightened.  Not something you can see, but it’s something you can feel. One place where the heightened energy level manifests itself is between the ears.  The brain goes back to work. 

A great way for me to exercise a lethargic brain is to start reading,  Not just skimming, but actually taking the time to comprehend what’s written.  At times that can be painful.  As an example I’m reading a book now that will probably take me another two years to finish.  The book in question? “War and Peace.”  My God it is a difficult read!  The list of characters is endless, and trying to remember them all is next to impossible.  It doesn’t help that I pick up the book every three months, and plow through another 100 pages.  The main characters are Bezukhov, Bolonsky, Rostova, and the  Kurigan clan, more specifically Natasha and Nikola.  The secondary characters are but a mere 1,000, well, it seems that way to me.  And there’s not a “Smith” in the bunch. So why am I reading” War and Peace?”  Because it’s a challenge, and I can say to myself I finished reading a book which is considered a literary classic.

If you’re looking for a good read, and I can assure you that it’s a quick read, I would recommend the book “David and Goliath”, by Malcolm Gladwell.  I came across the book courtesy of an inspiring entrepreneur,  Sarah Schiess.  Ms. Schiess  works and resides in Saskatchewan, and from my vantage point I see great things for her in the future.  To Sarah, thank you for your thoughtfulness, and for sharing the gift of knowledge.  I won’t get into the details of the book, suffice to say that after reading the book you will challenge conventional wisdom and thinking.  Gladwell is a renowned author, and his books are worth the investment.  Below is a review of the book I found on-line.  A tad wordy, but very well written.

Review: Malcom and Goliath

Until next time.


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2 Comments A Good Read

Article written by on the 06 Dec 2012 in Book Review

“And we think Obama’s oratory skills are good?  Sir John A. had depth and great vision.”

As I mentioned in my last blog my goal is to write about positive stories for the remainder of the year.  Positive stories about mortgages may be a bit of a stretch or at the very least a search for silver linings.  There’s some data that just came out which suggests there may be some silver linings for our industry, and I’ll attempt to piece some of the data together for a future blog; for now the search continues.

I came across a really good magazine that I never knew existed.  The magazine is called “Canada’s History”, formerly “The Beaver”; nope, never heard of the Beaver either.  The only Beaver I’m aware of had a brother named Wally, a father and mother named Ward and June. I picked up the magazine while in the Maple Leaf Lounge at the airport.  I always have to pick up reading materials prior to take off because apparently my Kindle can bring a plane down during takeoff and landings; seems perfectly plausible to me.  So, I pick up this magazine which had a picture of Sir John A. MacDonald on the cover.  I rack my brain to come up with things I know about Sir John Eh, get it? Never mind.  The only thing I could come up with was that he was Canada’s first Prime Minister, and Conservative. Beyond that I really didn’t know much about our first Prime Minister.  That’s a little embarrassing, and I was determined to change that.

What a fascinating man, with such a rich story.  Oh sure, he liked to drink a little but what politician doesn’t?  Even today’s politicians that are stone cold sober usually sound like they’re inebriated.  There was that issue with Pacific Railway where Sir John was caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  The lesson there?  Political corruption has a long and distinguished history in this country.  Character flaws aside, there was a lot substance to Sir John.  The magazine story provides some detail on how concerned our first Prime Minister was with the possibility that the U.S. would attempt to swallow us up.  He was determined not to let this happen and fought with all his will and intellect to keep Canada out America’s clutches.  He was the first national leader in the world, who suggested that woman should have the right to vote.  Oh how the opposition Liberals howled in protest over that.  Truth be told, not many in his own party supported him on this initiative but that didn’t stop him from fighting the good fight.  Here’s an expert of a speech he gave in the house in 1885, “I had hoped that Canada would have the honour of first placing woman in the position she is certain, eventually after centuries of oppression, to obtain of completely establishing her equality as a human being and as a member of society with men”.  And we think Obama’s oratory skills are good?  Sir John A. had depth and great vision.

I learned a lot reading this story, and I would encourage you to pick up the magazine if for no other reason to remind yourself that this country’s history may be short but it possess great substance.  And if your kid is spending too much time playing video games or making friends on Facebook, tell them to read this magazine and share with you what they’ve learned.
Knowledge is a great gift, and this country is a gift to us all.

Until next time,


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1 Comments A Labour of Love

Article written by on the 26 Jul 2011 in Book Review,Business

This is the best way I know how to describe the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.  It’s a labour of love because you have to be committed to reading a book that’s 754 pages long. This is no weekend read or a book that you will devour while on vacation, unless you plan on taking a couple of months off.  That being said, making the commitment to read the entire book is worth the effort.  Team of Rivals provided many business lessons for me, yet the book has nothing to do with business.  Team of Rivals is a biography of Abraham Lincoln, written by an extraordinary author,  Doris Kerns Goodwin.

Ms. Goodwin won the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.  She also authored other best sellers, Wait Till Next Year:A Memoir (the Fitzgerald’s and the Kennedy’s), and Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. Besides being a gifted writer, Ms Goodwin is a very effective public speaker. I had the good fortune of hearing Ms. Goodwin speak at an MBA conference in Boston a few years ago, and she was talking about her newly published book, which happened to be Team of Rivals.  I must confess that I’m somewhat of a political junkie, therefore, the subject matter had instant appeal for me.  But at that time I wasn’t really into biographies, yet after hearing Ms. Goodwin speak I decided it was a must read.  What makes Ms. Goodwin such an extraordinary author is even though I know how the book ends (first President to die of assassination by being shot in the back of the head) her writing style makes you forget about the ending of the book because of her story telling abilities.  She weaves historical facts in a way that you have to remind yourself this isn’t fiction.  The events actually occurred and yet the facts are written in an entertaining way.

Some of the business lessons I learned from reading this book:

The devil is in the detail.  To write an extraordinary book like this requires extensive research, and commitment to getting the facts right.  I later learned that Ms. Goodwin employs a number of researchers, and they are mechanically focused on getting the facts right.  A historian cannot afford to have their facts questioned by critics.  The reasons are obvious, reputation risk and poor book sales. The same applies to business.  A product launch, a compensation model, new hires etc, will fail unless you sweat the details.  An idea is just that.  What makes it work is execution. 

It’s not about geography, it’s about the people.  Lincoln was from Kentucky, not exactly a breeding ground for future presidents.  Yet he accomplished his goal because he was committed to bettering himself, and he preserved after failing so many times to get elected.  From a business standpoint the best don’t necessarily reside in Toronto, Vancouver or other major urban Centers.   In this day and age of technology, and the ability to communicate irrespective of geography, home address is secondary. First and foremost it’s about finding the right people. 

It doesn’t matter if I like you or not.  During Lincoln’s primary campaign,  his opponents (members of his own party) were at the very least condescending, and at the very worst, cruel.  They tried to humiliate him because he wasn’t a blue blood, and he had no pedigree.  They ridiculed him because of his birth place, the backwaters of Kentucky.  They questioned his intellectual capacity.  They even ridiculed him for his physical appearance. Yet after winning the presidency, he asked these individuals to join his cabinet.  He put aside the humiliation, and degradation, he faced because he believed these individuals were the best qualified to serve their nation.  From a business standpoint there are many lessons to be learned.  The ability to put slights (real or perceived) and  differences aside, should come first for the greater good. 

As you can see I’m a huge fan of this book. I enjoyed the story but I also learned a great deal. Did you know that Lincoln was a Republican, and it was the Democrats who wanted no part of freeing the slaves?  Interesting given today’s political discourse and so-called ideological differences. If you buy the book but don’t end up reading it, there’s still some benefits. Carry it around with you or have it displayed on your bookshelf.  People will think you’re really smart.

Until next time


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    "I work in a world of numbers, process, execution, risk mitigation and all kinds of other sexy stuff. To share my thoughts, opinions and personal tidbits does have some creative appeal for me. It will also push me to do something that I am not totally comfortable with, writing. Get me in front of a room full of people to do a presentation and I'm on. Writing a story that others may actually be interested in reading sounds like a challenge to me. The reality is that I enjoy a good challenge and if it ends up that mom is the only reader of my blog so be it."

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