Plan B

Always have a backup plan. Cliché? David Kord Murray, author of the influential Borrowing Brilliance, thinks not. Even the most careful strategy isn't as good as the one that expects to change course -- and can thus improve on the original concept in unexpected ways. Examples abound, from Wal-Mart and Facebook to Eisenhower's nimble approach to D-Day.

April 16: ""Blue pottery vases and bowls for flowers are most attractive, and certain blue books...will repeat and emphasize color."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…