Poetry for the Weekend
Commentary by Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
Michael P. Maslanka examines a very interesting case:
Memories of the AMC Rambler American and, for excitement, the Marlin.
If you want to see an example of tasteful and effective advertising, this safe driving commercial - which has no gore - is a marvelous choice.
Janice Y. K. Lee lists five novels set in the British colonial-East.
As I recall, de Tocqueville wrote about the American proclivity to form community groups to address various issues.
I went to the doctor. I said, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this." The doctor said, "Don't do that."
My post on how to respond to an e-mail that enrages is up at U.S. News & World Report.
Adapting film standards to daily life: "Was that regular stupid or Avatar stupid?"
I love Cultural Offering's theory on business meals:
Peggy Noonan on the State of the Union address:
Choose your pleasures for yourself, and do not let them be imposed upon you.
The Onion: "Bunch of Phonies Mourn J.D. Salinger."
The trailer for "Mary, Queen of Scots."
Writing in Fortune, Alex Taylor III on Toyota's Tylenol moment. An excerpt:
Christopher Caldwell on the fiction of Louis Auchincloss:
Chuck criticizes the changes that Ellen has made, not because he believes they are bad but because as her predecessor in the job he regards any of her accomplishments as an indirect slam of his record.
Charles Murray proposes an item that may get bipartisan support.
Panic Instruction for Industrial Engineers: When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.
Steven Pressfield talks to Seth Godin about the creative process. An excerpt:
A sign for our offices.
How often does this happen when you are shopping?
Captain Kirk or Mr. Spock?
Along with some humor, a Fast Company prediction on the Tablet:
Before the Jan. 27 introduction, most speculation and reports on the tablet focused on ways it will be used to showcase books, newspapers, and entertainment. Yet, Apple's new creation may also have an impact in cubicles and boardrooms. "This is going to be huge for business," says Bruce Francis, vice-president for corporate strategy at Salesforce.com (CRM), which created an application that makes its software-based tools available on Apple's iPhone. "Apple has blown through the barriers with the iPhone, and the same thing is going to happen with the tablet."
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Those of us who bear the scars of battles and blunders can often point to various signals that flashed, blared or buzzed and yet were ignored.
A song from the film "Crazy Heart": Ryan Bingham singing "The Weary Kind."
. . . Ever since I started covering politics, the Democratic ruling class has been driven by one fantasy: that voters will get so furious at people with M.B.A.’s that they will hand power to people with Ph.D.’s. The Republican ruling class has been driven by the fantasy that voters will get so furious at people with Ph.D.’s that they will hand power to people with M.B.A.’s. Members of the ruling class love populism because they think it will help their section of the elite gain power.
I don't have a MacBook or a MacBook Pro, but I think I want one of these.
This story about Justice Brandeis and his advice to people in Washington, D.C. struck home.
E-mail from a die-hard New Orleans fan:
How does my computer resemble a poor employee?
Joe Queenan goes back to Hitler, Chamberlain, and Munich in an analysis of the Jay Leno - Conan O'Brien feud.
Bill Gates has his own website.
Evidence is fact that discriminates between one theory and another. Facts do not "speak for themselves." They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theory or visions are mere isolated curiosities.
Dogs curled at your feet, and a stack of good books nearby.
Back by popular demand: Parks sings McCartney.
Andrew Ferguson on Game Change and its sources:
Voting is on for the 2010 Bloggies.
Fortune lists the 25 top-paying companies.
America is becoming a bilingual society, divided between those who think a pickup is a rugged vehicle useful for transporting heavy-duty items from A to B and those who think a pickup is coded racism.
Pete Dexter lists his favorite novels about families.
No longer talk at all about the kind of man that a good man ought to be, but be such.
At the American Meteorological Society's annual meeting this week, the NOAA's Aviation Weather Center announced that, from 2000 to 2008, hurricane damage cost the United States an estimated $131 billion. To put that in perspective, a recent study by Congress suggested that domestic air traffic delays in 2007 alone cost the United States as much as $41 billion. Most analysts believe that Congress's number is an overestimate, and that the actual suck on the American economy is much lower. Still, you'd have to chop an awful lot off of $41 billion to make up the difference.
The Telegraph provides a slide show of Australian Open tennis fans.
My post on dysfunctional defenders in the workplace is up at U.S. News & World Report.
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong: They Can't Take That Away from Me.
I wanted to be an author as far back as I can remember, mixed with occasional bouts of wanting to be a werewolf when I grew up. But mostly, when I daydreamed, it was about being an author.
Peggy Noonan on the Massachusetts election:
Whenever possible, the Clintons expressed empathy with suburban and small-town voters. In contrast, the Obama administration seems almost willfully city-centric. Few top appointees have come from either red states or suburbs; the top echelons of the administration draw almost completely on big city urbanites—most notably from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. They sometimes don’t even seem to understand why people move to suburbs.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Philip K. Howard reviews a new book by Atul Gawande on the power of checklists. An excerpt:
. . . As it's happening, incremental decline is extremely seductive. Great powers aren't Chad or Rwanda, where you're sliding from the Dump category to the Even Crummier Dump category. Take a city like Vienna. Once upon a time it was an imperial capital. The empire busted up, but the capital still had magnificent architecture, handsome palaces, treasure houses of great art, a world-class orchestra, fabulous restaurants . . . who wouldn't enjoy such "decline"? You benefit from all the accumulated capital of the past without being troubled by any of the tedious responsibilities. Have another coffee and a piece of strudel and watch the world go by.
Neatorama: The Beatles's working schedule 1963 - 1966.
Bruce Bawer examines the trial of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands:
A touch of civilization with soprano Shu Cheen Yu.
After overcoming any number of hurdles with production, distribution, and design, all explained rather rivetingly by Vuic, the Yugo finally made it to America, where it went from "Yugomania" media sensation to late-night joke staple almost overnight. (Leno: "Yugo has come out with a very clever anti-theft device: They made their name bigger.") But it sold. As Vuic writes, the Yugo was the "fastest-selling first-year European import in history." For some, it was a perfect third car; for others, it was a rare chance to own a new car. The ad campaign bore a cheeky, pragmatic message of thrift ("the Road Back to Sanity"). But as the new-car smell began to fade, Yugo's reputation began to catch up with it. Consumer Reports panned it, saving the deadliest line for last: "If $4,400 is the most you can spend on a car, we think you'd get better value from a good used car than a new Yugo."
He pulled up to a log-cabin style tavern in the village of St. Saveur, killed the engine, and cajoled me into the place for a meal and beer on him. He didn't mention that there would be some impromptu music and even some sashaying by the tavern's guests that night. There was an upright piano in the place, a bit worn at the edges and covered with dried salt on the side facing the entrance door. A long-haired woman was sitting at the piano, fooling around with the keys with a young girl. A pony-tailed guy was close by, plucking and tuning his guitar. A tall bearded young fellow with a fiddle comfortably tucked under his arm was talking to a younger woman by the far side of the piano. I remember her laugh, so comfortable and private in such a public place.
In his instant business classic, Claw Your Way to the Top: How to Become the Head of a Major Corporation in Roughly a Week, humorist Dave Barry addressed the importance of luncheon meetings and gave a helpful list of restaurant names.
Writing in Reason, Greg Beato on how Bible publishers went forth and multiplied:
Effective police officers think like criminals; effective criminals think like police officers.
Dennis Prager on why actions, not thoughts, matter.
The brilliance of Buster Keaton as seen in these scenes from Sherlock Jr.
Slate provides some classic photographs of Dr. King and his times.
Business Pundit provides 12 practical business lessons from social psychology.
We can learn a great deal by watching for gaps in our stereotypes. So many people who appear to fit a mode don't really do so and their difference can be a valuable distinction. It may be the product of a conscious choice of another way, one that they've found via reason.
Nicholas Bate had better turn this into a novel.
Seth Godin looks at Tim Burton's many unrealized projects:
Popular culture tells you that schools and parents don't know what's going on, the police are dogs, politicians are all liars and scum, and any crime that's not committed by the Mafia is done by the CIA.
Scandinavian sleuths may be eminently relatable and fallible but—and here's the important part—they still get their man. It's just that rather than relying on the brilliant feats of deduction exhibited by Sherlock Holmes or the formidable fists and cocky wisecracks of Robert Parker's Spenser, these ordinary schlubs have no flashier alternative than to knuckle down and gut it out. Occasionally their efforts do turn out to be pointless; Nordic noir abounds in red herrings and wild goose chases. And lest you assume that life as a public servant is what has relegated these detectives to a life of ego-grinding routine, they're surrounded by other characters in much the same boat. Take Wallander's father: he's an "artist" whose entire career has consisted of painting the same woodland scene over and over again in nearly identical copies (some pictures have a grouse in them, and some don't).
Until we are assured that there will be an appropriate mix of:
we will be inclined to micromanage.
Wired reviews the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge notebook:
Too many people do not care what happens as long as it does not happen to them.
Nat King Cole singing the Hoagy Carmichael classic. [Is anyone writing songs that good these days?]
"We have never ever, outside of the defense industry, seen commercial industrial companies come under that level of sophisticated attack,” says Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research for McAfee. “It’s totally changing the threat model.”
To be read daily: Nicholas Bate on "Just for the Heck of It."
In 1991, a book editor at Random House pulled from the heaps of unsolicited manuscripts a novel about a murder that roils a Baltimore suburb. Written by a first-time author and mother-to-be named Mary Cahill, "Carpool" was published to fanfare. Ms. Cahill was interviewed on the "Today" show. "Carpool" was a best seller.
That was the last time Random House, the largest publisher in the U.S., remembers publishing anything found in a slush pile. Today, Random House and most of its major counterparts refuse to accept unsolicited material.
Read the rest of The Wall Street Journal article.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
Zero in on an extrepreneur who has built a large business that has provided jobs for hundreds or even thousands of people and has also produced products or services that have benefited equally large numbers.
Christopher Beam answers common questions about the earthquake in Haiti:
Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering gives a collection of starting blog posts.
Jack really does not care if he has a corner office but he sees himself as Mary's equal and if she is going to get a corner office then by God Jack is going to fight for his because if he doesn't his department will say he got duped or he's a wimp or the CEO doesn't value him and so Jack, who was prepared to be reasonable and all that is on the verge of turning into a Tasmanian Devil in front of the management intern who was given the job of negotiating who gets which size offices and is wondering why Jack seems to be acting like such a jerk when Mary was such a good sport but then, of course, Mary knew she had the corner office and Jack suspects she schmoozed the intern into giving her first choice and the cards are stacked which makes him just all the madder as he watches the intern draw boundaries on a floor plan and ask, "Will this work?"
The sails are set. The crew is ready. The breeze is missing.
Here is a list of organizations that are taking contributions for Haiti.
Mary Jo Asmus interviews the author of The Introverted Leader.
An already terrible situation made much, much worse:
In April 2008, The Orange County Register published a bombshell of an investigation about a license plate program for California government workers and their families. Drivers of nearly 1 million cars and light trucks—out of a total 22 million vehicles registered statewide—were protected by a “shield” in the state records system between their license plate numbers and their home addresses. There were, the newspaper found, great practical benefits to this secrecy.
What happens when you're out of the office?
In some cases, a system can be beaten by rigorously following its rules and regulations.
Via Daniel H. Pink, information on a class that could make a difference. From the Seattle Times article:
What Would Dad Say is putting together a dream team of creative thinkers to come up with unconventional solutions to terrorism. So far he has Steve Jobs, Fred Wilson, and Scott Adams on the list but he's soliciting additional names. Hmm. Herb Kelleher? Ross Perot? Christopher Hitchens?
Since he's in the news quite a bit lately, it is time to revisit Conan O'Brien's marvelous speech to the Harvard class of 2000. An excerpt:
A number of years ago I interviewed an old journalist who'd met every Arizona governor except the first one. (Arizona became a state in 1912 and the first governor was in office a long time so it wasn't impossible.) He'd covered a lot of political campaigns and had colorful and candid opinions about the local politicians.
The discovery of the Antikythera Device; some ancient high tech that shouldn't exist:
We've never tried to be like other airlines. From the very beginning, we told our people, "Question it. Challenge it. Remember, decades of conventional wisdom has sometimes led the airline industry into huge losses."
Driving out of town, defroster roaring, you barely noted the bank thermometer on the town square: minus 27 degrees at 6:36. The radio weather report warned of a deep mass of arctic air settling over the region. The man who took your money at the Conoco station shook his head at the register and said he wouldn't be going anywhere tonight if he were you. You smiled. A little chill never hurt anybody with enough fleece and a good four-wheel-drive.
Seth Godin and the lesson from two lemonade stands. It doesn't take long to spot the loser and the psychology.
Cultural Offering with a must read. An excerpt:
I was listening to Frank Sinatra singing "My Way" and when the line of "Regrets, I've had a few" came up, I thought, "Well, I've certainly had more than a few regrets. In fact, I've got several volumes of them."
Management scholar Michael LeBoeuf once described the greatest management principle in the world as "That which is rewarded gets done." He then noted that we often inadvertently reward negative behavior. The office politician gets the promotion over the person who is more innovative and productive. The unit that cranks out the most product is ranked highly even if the quality of the work is poor. The department that is fiscally prudent gets hit with a budget cut ("Use it or lose it!"). The chronic complainer gets special privileges while the person who never complains gets zip.
Business Week reports that the Smart Car is not selling well in the United States:
This has happened before and I know not the reason why but it has happened again. Some people submitted some comments for posting, I clicked to post them, and then the comments went off into the cosmos.
The difference between a crisis and an opportunity is when you learn of it.
Great song. Great singer. Judy Collins, playing the piano and singing "Both Sides Now."
From the handbook of an elementary school in an eastern state: