In this short video, Dennis Prager tackles a question that often comes up in discussions on ethics:
Are people basically good?
He notes the ramifications of the answer.
Commentary by Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
In this short video, Dennis Prager tackles a question that often comes up in discussions on ethics:
Daniel H. Pink points to a great example of an emotionally intelligent invoice.
Rob Long reviews the first novel from that wild man about town, Ralph Nader:
I'm not a fan of the use of feelings versus logic when making decisions. So often, it is the lazy thinker's way of avoiding the heavy lifting.
Recently, while on a hunting expedition to a used bookstore, I picked up a beaten up first edition of The Wonderful Country by Tom Lea.
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
Political Calculations looks at a homeowner's effort to go solar in Phoenix, Arizona and finds that, in order for it to be feasible, the neighbors have to kick in a significant amount of money.
U.S. News & World Report on the best of the affordable places to retire in the United States.
Don't just read this one, print it out.
Writing in Commentary, James K. Glassman on the hazard of moral hazard:
Coach: And how much TV do you watch?
Client: Oh-don't start that. I have a stressful day. I need to relax. That approach is about as helpful as saying I can save money by changing my venti to a short latte. Where's the fun in that?
Coach: Sure. So how much TV do you watch?
Client: I pay you to help. Not to remind me how lazy I am.
Read the rest of the incomparable Nicholas Bate on probing and candor in a coaching session.
One reason pronouncements like [Tom] Brokaw's are so blatantly foolhardy is because great developments in world history can never be chalked up to a single generation. The other fallacy inherent in his argument lies in the fact that different generations accomplish different things at different points in their lives. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Benjamin Franklin was almost seventy, George Washington was in his forties, Thomas Paine was thirty-eight, Thomas Jefferson thirty-two, and Alexander Hamilton was not yet twenty. Which generation gets credit for midwifing the United States? Franklin's for providing its most revered statesman? Washington's for producing the indispensable military leader? Jefferson's for supplying a man capable of doing the important paperwork? Or Hamilton's for figuring out a way to pay the infant republic's bills?
This post by Tim Berry on the dark side of extreme customer service should be widely read and discussed. An excerpt:
John L. Herman with a reminder of the power of the incremental:
Here are some opinions from The Wharton School on managing in an upturn. An excerpt:
Daniel W. Drezner on what we'd see if author bios were brutally honest. An excerpt:
Read Michael P. Maslanka for a prediction on the new and litigation-prone state of the Americans with Disabilities Act amendments and for some poetry as well.
Somebody decided that [James] Dean was the ideal person to give teenagers advice on safe driving. He filmed a public service announcement for television advising young people about the desirability of a sensible attitude on the road. Actually Dean's qualifications to talk about road safety were the same as a lemming's to talk about cliff-walking.
Cultural Offering gives a sample of Jim Harrison's poetry.
A video of a hotel pod at Heathrow.
I suspect that many people go into teaching because that's one of the few jobs they've seen up front.
Cultural Offering looks at some famous work spaces.
Here's an interview with a highly successful state governor, Mitch Daniels. His focus:
Let us be of good cheer, however, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never come.
You want to clean your computer keyboard with some style?
Ricky Gervais is interviewed about his new film. One of his unique recruitment techniques:
Perhaps the most fearsome example is Pakistan, where only about 16 percent of respondents express a positive view of the United States—a drop of three percentage points from when Bush was president. Thanks in part to terrorist attacks that have killed scores of ordinary Pakistanis, disapproval of terrorism and the Taliban has risen sharply in recent months. Nevertheless, most Pakistanis (64 percent) view the United States as an enemy. The most alarming finding, in view of Pakistan’s nuclear capability, is that more people express positive views of Osama bin Laden than they do of Obama. Let that soak in. Nearly one in five respondents (18 percent) trust bin Laden to “do the right thing” in world affairs, compared to 13 percent for Obama. Given Al Qaeda’s record of slaughtering Muslims as effortlessly as they do Western infidels, the Pakistani psyche seems headed for moral collapse.
Remember when major television and film stars were in ads for healthy products?
Writing in Fortune, Anne Fisher on why more women don't get MBAs.
My post on dangerous gifts is up at U.S. News & World Report.
Let us ensure that little of consequence is accomplished at this meeting.
My mother said to me, "If you become a soldier you'll be a general; if you become a monk you'll end up as the pope." Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
Back from a business trip. Answering and writing e-mail. Preparing for a board meeting for a community group.
Rob Long on the story behind a television hit:
As soon as one deadline is met, another is looming. We work, achieve, and perhaps fail a few times, but then work and achieve some more.
Sometimes insight is found in comic novels.
Employment attorney John Phillips looks at a high-profile termination :
Some music recommendations for autumn from Cultural Offering.
In the spirit of disease control, it should be noted that today is the birthday of that notorious "healthy carrier": Typhoid Mary.
It may be that each individual consciousness is a brain cell in a universal mind.
John Podhoretz on the myth of the star system in Hollywood. An excerpt:
We've heard many of these stories before but the making of "The Godfather" is still inspirational:
If you had to choose, which skill do you think would be more important to your career:
Cultural Offering has ended his experiment with Facebook.
Left, Right, or Center, let's drop the word "reform" when discussing proposed political changes.
Clive James, in the second volume of his marvelous autobiography (Falling Towards England*):
Outside magazine asked 16 of its photographers to show their toughest shots.
Victor Davis Hanson, calling for a return to civility, gives some rules of decorum:
The very best job I can think of is venture capitalist. Not only does it sound great at parties, but you're expected to fail 90 percent of the time. I mean no disrespect to venture capitalists when I say this, but a hamster with Alzheimer's could make those kinds of numbers. It's good work if you can get it.
Christopher Caldwell's Reflections on the Revolution in Europe looks like must reading. An excerpt from The Wall Street Journal review:
From a 1991 lecture by Irving Kristol on "The Capitalist Future":
Are these the 20 best travel books of the past century?
What makes for a weekend well-spent?
In general, a requirement for a good weekend is that time must not be ignored or squandered. That said, there are times when the door should be open to complete sloth and self-indulgence. When those are your goals, they are rarely unattainable.
The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman.
A beautiful way to enter the weekend: The Pastoral Symphony.
Irving Kristol has died.
Writing in The Mississippi Employment Law Letter, Susan Fahey Desmond has some tips on what to do when contagious illnesses come to work. An excerpt:
If we are not careful, we can get drawn into the swirl of myths that destroy careers. Here are seven dangerous ones:
Marta keeps telling me I should try to be more aware of things as they're happening. I think it's Marta who says that.
The death of Mary Travers will bring the inevitable reviews of the days when folk music was extraordinarily popular.
Good news: Eclecticity is back in action.
Everyone has heard the story of Diogenes the Cynic, who went around the sunlit streets of Athens, lantern in hand, looking for an honest man. This same Diogenes, when he heard Plato being praised for defining man as "an animal, biped and featherless," threw a plucked chicken into the Academy, saying, "Here is Platonic man!" These tales display Diogenes' cynicism as both ethical and philosophical: He is remembered for mocking the possibility of finding human virtue and for mocking the possibility of knowing human nature. In these respects, the legendary Diogenes would feel right at home today in many an American university, where a professed interest in human nature and human excellence — or, more generally, in truth and goodness — invites reactions ranging from mild ridicule for one's naïveté to outright denunciation for one's attraction to such discredited and dangerous notions.
Jim Stroup reviews the new management book by Henry "No Nonsense" Mintzberg.
It is frustrating how often jerks get rewarded.
I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.
Bob Stone and Mick Ukleja take on the issue of appearance and ethics:
I'm sorry I missed this one earlier:
I often think that a Not to Do List is as important as a To Do List.
Eric Felten looks at the perils of modern fame:
We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.
Forget about copyright!
The report has been making the rounds. One after another, members of the board have voiced support for its frank analysis and the recommendations for major changes. Several are excited about the chance to bring in fresh ideas. It is clear the report expresses feelings that many board members have held for years.
Barchowsky sat my daughter and me at a slanted writing desk and dictated a paragraph for us to write. She then looked at our work and tried to be diplomatic. She noted that my loops were too big and tended to get tangled in the lines of writing above and below, the sizes of my letters were inconsistent, they slanted in every direction, and certain ones—like R—were illegible while others got omitted altogether. She asked, "Do you ever go back and find you are unable to read your notes?" Yes, all the time!
Writing in City Journal, Claire Berlinski explores a mystery :
I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.
I ran across a worn copy of "Tobacco Road" in a box of old books in my garage. It reminded me of a story a boss of mine once told. He was seated near Erskine Caldwell on a flight and was stunned by the amount of work the novelist completed during the trip. He said the man seemed capable of total focus.
The test tube known as California should be carefully scrutinized lest we duplicate its example on the national scene. From Troy Senik's article in the new publication, National Affairs:
It's not clear whether Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein, the directors of the new documentary No Impact Man (Oscilloscope Pictures), know how irritating their protagonist is. In the fall of 2006, Colin Beavan, a New York-based writer, embarked on a project to reduce his family's environmental footprint to a bare minimum, an experience he would turn into a blog and later a book. Along with his wife, Michelle Conlin, a writer for the thoroughly un-green periodical Business Week, and their 2-year-old daughter Isabella, Beavan would go one year without using any nonself-propelled transportation, eating any nonlocally grown food, or even riding an elevator to their ninth-floor apartment. The family would eschew electricity, commercial cleaning products, retail shopping, and toilet paper.
What kind of watch does the President of the United States wear?
Elizabeth Spencer lists her favorite works of Southern fiction.
Those thinking of taking the big plunge should read Tim Berry on polling, small business, and survivor bias.
Writing in Foreign Policy, Minxin Pei takes a skeptical view of Asia's rise. An excerpt:
Fortune is out with another power list: The 10 most powerful women in Washington.
It has been my experience that the best way to end a project in the "works" is to talk about a project in the works. Mum's the word.
The trailer for the extraordinary film.
My post on the problem of being too sensitive is up at U.S. News & World Report.
They began jumping not long after the first plane hit the North Tower, not long after the fire started. They kept jumping until the tower fell. They jumped through windows already broken and then, later, through windows they broke themselves. They jumped to escape the smoke and the fire; they jumped when the ceilings fell and the floors collapsed; they jumped just to breathe once more before they died. They jumped continually, from all four sides of the building, and from all floors above and around the building's fatal wound. They jumped from the offices of Marsh & McLennan, the insurance company; from the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald, the bond-trading company; from Windows on the World, the restaurant on the 106th and 107th floors -- the top. For more than an hour and a half, they streamed from the building, one after another, consecutively rather than en masse, as if each individual required the sight of another individual jumping before mustering the courage to jump himself or herself. One photograph, taken at a distance, shows people jumping in perfect sequence, like parachutists, forming an arc composed of three plummeting people, evenly spaced. Indeed, there were reports that some tried parachuting, before the force generated by their fall ripped the drapes, the tablecloths, the desperately gathered fabric, from their hands. They were all, obviously, very much alive on their way down, and their way down lasted an approximate count of ten seconds. They were all, obviously, not just killed when they landed but destroyed, in body though not, one prays, in soul. One hit a fireman on the ground and killed him; the fireman's body was anointed by Father Mychal Judge, whose own death, shortly thereafter, was embraced as an example of martyrdom after the photograph -- the redemptive tableau -- of firefighters carrying his body from the rubble made its way around the world.
Gloucester, 'tis true that we are in great danger; the greater therefore should our courage be.
When I joined the US Marine Corps, it wasn’t to become a Marine, but a lawyer. I had finally decided what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I didn’t have the financial resources to get there. So, I enlisted in order to qualify for the GI Bill benefits, which help military members pursue a college education. I figured I would serve my country, see a bit of the world, save a little money into the bargain, and then get out, finish my degree, and go to law school. That was the plan, and off to the recruiting station I went.
Approximately one year later I was sitting in a two-man fighting hole filled with me, another Marine, and water from both the constant rain and the rising water table we seem to have tapped when we dug the hole. Periodically a corpsman would come by and order us out of the hole so we didn’t get hypothermia. Shortly later, the lieutenant, checking the lines, would order us back in so we didn’t break combat training discipline. Both the corpsmen and the lieutenant made regular rounds, so the hilarity was only bound to ensue.
It starts with a church in Phoenix called Christ the King Church. Prior to May, the church rang its bells every hour on the hour, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Despite all that is wonderful with hourly dinging-and-donging, some of the neighborhood’s residents got annoyed and asked a judge to shut down the racket.
I had no idea that John Phillips was going to post a video of my typical work day.
Fortune has released its list of the 50 most powerful women in business.
Many people select motivators as if they were picking bon bons off of a dessert tray. This one is vanilla and that one is dark chocolate.
Succinct and wise: Why so many of us read Nicholas Bate every day.
I love the idea of the "mailbox effect." We should call it the "Blackberry effect" or the "email effect" today. My professor, Raymond Tucker explained that deep within us (in 1985) we believe that we will walk to the mailbox each day and open it. There will be a nice letter there addressed to us. It will say "(insert your name here) you are a good person. You have worked hard and deserve to be rewarded so we are sending you a check for $20 million. Congratulations."
Gene Marks is baffled by a number of things in modern life:
As often as any important business has to be done in the monastery, let the abbot call together the whole community and himself set forth the matter. And, having heard the counsel of the brethren, let him think it over by himself and then do what he shall judge to be most expedient....
Even in his best days in Medford, running the family clothing store, Altman had always imagined that he would return to Africa, to the Lower River. It had been his Eden, for those four years he had spent in a village called Malabo as a young man. Now, after nearly forty years, he was on his way back. The decades in between seemed almost a digression: the business, the marriage, the children. Altman’s Store for Men had closed, the marriage had failed, Altman’s children were grown, absent, living their lives. A little over sixty, he was alone again. He had enough money to see him into his old age, yet he wanted more than that. No one needed him in Medford, and he wondered if the people of Malabo might still remember what he had done there.
Writing in American Heritage, James R. Chiles examines how the necessity to rescue people from disasters has spawned a series of innovations. An excerpt:
Consider the language that is often used when a person leaves an organization:
Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.
"This destructive kitty has been trained as a proud warrior and will fiercely defend your house, even against you. Has a very soft and furry belly, like a teddy bear - however he will bite your face if you try to touch it. For the love of God, someone please take this thing out of my house."
There are a few books out on followership; a clever way of addressing the responsibilities of those who may be leaders in their own right but who also report to leaders.
Business Week has an interesting - and I thought somewhat surprising - slideshow of the countries with the most cybercrime.
The resume made its way around the company, and ended up in the inbox of the company CEO. The CEO, apparently thinking that he was responding to his own HR staff, actually sent an email to the plaintiff which stated, in part: "Damn. I'm here late trying to get through emails -- I just saw this one I missed somehow and it is a week old. Check it out -- I don't know what I think. He must be old -- and just looking for something to do."
From Fortune: What Google searches say about life. An excerpt:
Here is the White House press release of President Obama's remarks to the schoolchildren of America.