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How to Castrate a Bull: Unexpected Lessons on Risk, Growth, and Success in Business by Pat Walsh, Dave Hitz

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INTERLUDE: Speckled-Egg Thinking

An article about cliff-dwelling seagulls and the challenges they face helped shape my view of human nature. Small rocks are always falling down the cliffs and landing in the birds' nests. That's bad, because rocks can crack eggs and hurt chicks, so the gulls push them out of their nests. Sometimes eggs roll out of the nest and onto the rock ledge. The birds naturally pull escaped eggs back into their nests.

How do the gulls decide what to push out and what to pull in? Or to put it another way, how do bird brains identify stones and eggs? To find out, researchers put objects with various shapes and colors into the nests. The gulls pushed out anything with sharp, pointy corners. They apparently identify rocks by feel, ...

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