Commentary by Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
Monday, November 30, 2015
Art Break: Freud
Art Contrarian looks at the work of Lucian Freud.
The Future of Libraries
Ben Schiller at Fast Company explores the future of libraries.
My quick reaction: A raised eyebrow.
Any time I see the word "collaborative" I want more details. Is there a "wow" item?
Anderson Layman's Blog has the annual Iron Butterfly extravaganza.
Quickly name three songs by Iron Butterfly.
On the other hand, it is better to have one memorable song than no songs at all.
Increasing the Difficulty
There is so much wisdom in Anthony Trollope's Phineas Finn that I regret not having read it as a young man.
Quote of the Day
Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
- Bill Gates
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Most of our struggles and conflicts in life involve good people who happen to disagree with our perspective on a particular matter.
They are not evil. The sad news, however, is that good people - and let's throw ourselves in that pool - are capable to doing some pretty shabby things; a fact that needs to be remembered more often.
The evil individuals, of course, are in an entirely different realm but are not on a different planet. There is a road connecting their realm to our own world.
It runs in both directions and the trip to and fro can be made quickly.
Quote of the Day
An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the wind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.
- Washington Irving
Friday, November 27, 2015
Simon and Garfunkel with "The Boxer."
"At Least He Did Something"
"At least he (or she) did something."
That's a very low bar. It may even be a counter-productive one because it assumes that any action is better than none and that a policy of inaction would not have ultimately produced far superior results.
- Neville Chamberlain? "At least he did something."
- The Bay of Pigs? "At least he did something."
When you explore many of the "did something" moments you find that the bold action made matters worse.
Now I'm as action-oriented as most Americans. I like to see things moving along and am not in love with paralysis-by-analysis. At the same time, action for action's sake is seldom a good move. Later, when reality begins to intervene, you'll hear the "At least he or she did something" excuses.
Don't buy them.
Secretary of State George Shultz used to urge, "Don't just do something, stand there."
My own advice would be, "Do something wise but recognize that may mean sitting tight. Don't succumb to the temptation to do something so you can later say you did something. Action for action's sake is the policy of someone looking for an alibi, not the measured action of a real leader who seeks real progress."
Art Break: Schiele
Art Contrarian looks at the "nicer" paintings of Egon Schiele.
There is something about sharing a fine meal with your family even if Old Dad's midsection is bound by a giant device that looks like an ACME rubber band in the Roadrunner cartoons.
Good stories, laughter, and a dog nearby to remind us of higher responsibilities.
Thanksgiving is a truly great holiday.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
A memorable introduction and performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Still Another Music Break
The Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra with the overture to Barber's "The School for Scandal."
1939: Marian Anderson sings at the Lincoln Memorial.
Talent and grace.
Health Food Update
The Pioneer Woman shows how to make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.
It is one o'clock in the morning. I have at least two more hours of studying to do, and I am struggling to stay alert by gulping coffee that was cold at midnight.
My friend Steven warned me before I came here that most of my classmates would be former engineers, consultants, and financial analysts, people who knew who to work with numbers. "Then there'll be a few students with flaky backgrounds like yours," he said. "Poets. You know, people who've never done anything real for a living."
Today this poet sat through all three of his classes feeling utterly lost, then went to the library and studied "utility maximization" models for two hours but still couldn't do the problem. Finally, I gave up and went to the campus bookstore. When I picked up a book I recognized, the Divine Comedy, I flipped to the canto in which Dante finds himself standing at the gates of the inferno, looking up at the inscription:
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE.
That's me all right, I thought. A poet in hell.
- From Snapshots From Hell: The Making of an MBA by Peter Robinson
Althouse: In a stylish form of complaint, a man sends 240 coconut-covered donuts to the police.
I thought his note was well-done but am perplexed at the prejudice against coconut donuts.
BTW: The donuts were donated to the Salvation Army.
This brief video clip should be on a running loop in every student union in America.
Is There a "Release the Hounds" Option?
FutureLawyer looks at the Ring Video Doorbell; a rather nifty product that allows you to be in Rangoon and see who's at your front door in Walla Walla.
Singing Songs of Love
The Hurdy Gurdy Man is at Anderson Layman's Blog.
Just in time to memorize it for your completely unsolicited Thanksgiving dinner solo.
Missing in Action
Quote of the Day
Seek out that particular mental attitude which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, "This is the real me," and when you have found that attitude, follow it.
- William James
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Customer Service and Mrs. Smith
A short video of former Phoenix fire chief Alan Brunacini on customer service.
Brunacini is an old friend and a legend in the fire service. One of his concepts is a fictitious customer named "Mrs. Smith." You'll hear some Mrs. Smith references in the video.
The idea is a river fed by small streams. I could see the connections and its nature but was unclear as to its direction and its boundaries until this morning when I was lying in bed and could jot down the governing premise.
I've been looking at the river for years but could not see it through the fog.
That happens more than we realize.
News You Can Use
Althouse points to a toilets around the world slide show.
Don't pretend you don't want to check it out.
Insert Brilliant Post Here
Make it sharp and pithy. Approach a topic in a new way or remind people of something they may have forgotten. Evoke a strong desire to forward the message to others.
Oh yes, put the text beneath a picture of an attractive person even if the photo is only slightly related to the topic.
Go back to bed.
Quote of the Day
Within you right now is the power to do things you never dreamed possible. This power becomes available to you just as soon as you can change your beliefs.
- Maxwell Maltz
Monday, November 23, 2015
Leo Rosten and Friedrich Hayek discussing democracy, special interests, and dictatorships.
Glued up. Taped up. Cleaned up.
Aside from occasional exhaustion, I'm ready for the week.
Or at least for the day.
This does not come without difficulties. In order to avoid nursing duties, my wife fell and broke her arm on the day I returned from the hospital.
Impeccable timing but since I'm a world-class tripper I can hardly find fault.
We've since adopted a mutual recovery alliance and monitor each other's progress. The children have been particularly helpful via frequent visits to keep the house in order. The dog is eager to see us shift back into full elderly retainer mode.
My condition is far more serious and deserves far greater sympathy and support - the sort normally given to royalty - so I've suggested a formula to apportion assistance fairly.
"I wish only to please" is one of the key phrases.
My wife finds this highly amusing. She's already on the mend.