Business 101

Cambridge: Russell House Tavern

the secret of life itself

Here's how Dilusha and I decide where to go. She sends a text, "I'm hungry, let's eat," and I have to find a place. We're always lucky in Cambridge and so we are at the Russell House Tavern for "classic American fare." Where this tavern is, once sat the Wursthaus. From 1917 to 1996 it catered to the likes of Derek Bok, the Aga Khan and Robert Reich among others. (The Cambridge Historical Society also says Wursthaus closed because of "non-bratwurst eating masses of the '90s." True, and even in the '80s it was hard sidestepping platters of meat.) Read the story


CORPORATE EDGE: Get organized at work

  • Work or home, organized
  • Clear out, clean out
  • Donate, errands
  • Simplify, systems
  • Gone: stacks, cartons, bags, piles, dust. Gone. Wouldn't it be cool to transform the junk room into an asset? Turn a part-time office into a full-time conference room? Dump invoices from the last century? Make cartons disappear? Give your shredder a workout? Make room for new clothes? New books?
  • We see things from a different perspective. Rearrange? Recycle? Ditch? Move? Small stuff, you say? It's not small. If you'd like to calm a rising sea of paper or just get yourself and the office in order, we're here. By the hour or week at your place.
  • No secret: Goodwill on Comm Avenue in Allston near Boston University recycles home computer gear. It's Dell's Reconnect program for residential equipment. It's convenient and responsible. You drop off any brand at participating Goodwill stores. And it's free. I did it and so can you. Goodwill takes monitors, scanners, mice, printers, keyboards, laptop batteries, ink and toner cartridges, hard drives, speakers, cords and cables. Goodwill shares all


  • by the day/week in your office
  • You work better under pressure so you wait til the last minute? Not so much. Let's set goals you can keep. Cleaning off your desk in a free hour, yes; losing 10 pounds before next week's vacation, nuts. Big project? Let's cut it into tasks with interim deadlines.

  • space
  • Hate space planning? Delegate. A colleague may do it better and with gusto.

  • logistics, errands
  • Lark or night owl? Time your efforts, like reading junk mail when you're toast. Let no one waste your best time on trivia. We like waiting rooms for two things: People magazine, and creating. You just never know.

  • clutter
  • We never know how much junk we have until . . . we move, change offices or the painter's here. You can trash/recycle a lot in an hour. The 80/20 rule holds: 80% of what you keep you never need. Check your files and see.

  • systems
  • It's an app, or filing cabinets, folders, storage, notebooks, lists, schedules. Be good, not perfect. A good project on time today is better than a late one next week. And no taking work home. Extra hours will become expected and the rule.

  • moving
  • No one's favorite: Office, building, home, garage, car. Relocation people live on stress: let them call vendors, movers, utilities, packers, cleaners and those guys who wire everything.

  • paper
  • Write everything: Post-its, phone, notebooks (some of the best people do.) Jot deadlines at once. We know someone who does it while you watch and it makes us feel mahvelous. And if it looks like a project needs an hour's work, allow two. Everything takes longer than you think.

Filing, deadlines, tax time or listening, we're business pros helping business pros at work. Together we help with priorities, work out logistics and come up with solutions at work.


CASE HISTORY: One fun gig was a corporate makeover. We were called project managers and nearly everyone, nearly, bought in. Departments were growing like mad and what had passed for organization when they were small needed a tune-up and they were smart enough to know it.

The president, a dynamo and the smartest man I know, had the corner office. It was lovely even as it overlooked the parking lot. There was just one thing: piles of paper on the floor. His desk, as it turns out, was immaculate. I mean, what can you say? To myself I said all the drawers and filing furniture must be full. We talked for a while and he told me he is a visual worker: he knows what to do next if he can see it. Clearly, a stack of to-do folders or even one folder was not going to work. I got up and walked around to where he sat behind the desk. I apologized and opened a drawer. It was empty. Then another and another. Each one had nothing in it, not even the center where people usually stash pens and keys. The desk was empty.


limes in gin - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - eat

We had lobster with gin and margaritas on New Year's Eve at Island Creek

"Conviviality at the bar big time. Everyone talks to us. It's a club, that bar. And yes, for the eating bar at the back, you need a reservation even on Mondays. One Friday night we get the last two seats and I'm chatting with a woman next to me. We introduce ourselves and I ask what she's drinking. It's a cocktail Jesse made just for her. She offers me a taste and yes, I take it."

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