- Hybrid workplaces
- Vichy France
- Email alternatives
- Critical Race Theory
- Mission creep
- German bureaucracy
- Executive decision-making
Commentary by management consultant Michael Wade on Leadership, Ethics, Management, and Life
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Topics on My Desk
Get Woke, Go Insane
FutureLawyer (and Bill Maher) on making the Olympics into the Oscars.
Radio Around the World
If I could pick one intellectual who deserves a far greater attention and readership in international as well as American circles it would be Thomas Sowell. I first started reading him years ago when I was the EEO Administrator for the City of Phoenix. It was a revelatory moment.
The Male Friendship Recession
At The Art of Manliness they are talking about the timely subject of loneliness and the declining number of male friends.
Friday, July 30, 2021
Art Contrarian looks at the work of Georges Rochegrosse.
Follow-Up Questions Help
"What do you drive?"
"Nothing extraordinary. Just a sports utility vehicle."
A Family Business
Big Tech and Free Speech
Althouse points to an interview with former ACLU president Nadine Strossen in which she expresses concern about the free speech restrictions by Big Tech.
Modern Times: The Virus
Andrew Sullivan on "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Live With The Virus."
He Ends By Quoting Orwell
Jonathan Turley on using social media to squelch speech.
Book Beginnings for Our Times
"Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested."
- From The Trial by Franz Kafka
"It was a pleasure to burn."
- From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
- From 1984 by George Orwell
"I looked at my notes and I didn't like them. I'd spent three days at U.S. Robots and might as well have spent them at home with the Encyclopedia Tellurica."
- From I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Remember the Beepocalypse?
I recall an exterminator telling me that he was baffled by the news reports that honeybees were dying out. He cited some experts who were skeptical.
But journalists continued to write dire stories on the subject so I wondered if there was something to it.
Thursday, July 29, 2021
101 Years of Movies
John Althouse Cohen is listing his favorite movies.
"The Third Man" is not listed! Well, John is listing his favorite movies, not the best ones.
In the Mood for Italian
Pew Research Center's Michael Dimock on where the Millennials end and Generation Z begins. An excerpt:
The iPhone launched in 2007, when the oldest Gen Zers were 10. By the time they were in their teens, the primary means by which young Americans connected with the web was through mobile devices, WiFi and high-bandwidth cellular service. Social media, constant connectivity and on-demand entertainment and communication are innovations Millennials adapted to as they came of age. For those born after 1996, these are largely assumed.
To Find the Big Challenges of Your Future
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Twenty years ago, as a practicing clinical psychologist, if I had met a college junior who called her mother fifteen times a day, checking in about what shoes to buy and what dress to wear, extolling a new kind of decaffeinated tea, and complaining about the difficulty of a physics problem set, I would have thought her behavior problematic. I would have encouraged her to explore difficulties with separation. I would have assumed that these had to be addressed for her to proceed to successful adulthood. But these days, a college student who texts home fifteen times a day is not unusual.
- Sherry Turkle in Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
On My List
When the Campus Changed
". . .[T]he campus trends that led us to write about our original Atlantic article - particularly the requests for safe spaces and trigger warnings - started to spread only when iGen began arriving on campus, around 2013. The demands for safety and censorship accelerated rapidly over the next four years as the last of the Millennials graduated, to be replaced by iGen. This is not a book about Millennials; indeed, Millennials are getting a bad rap these days, as many people erroneously attribute recent campus trends to them. This is a book about the very different attitudes toward speech and safety that spread across universities as the Millennials were leaving. We are not blaming iGen. Rather, we are proposing that today's college students were raised by parents and teachers who had children's best interests at heart but who often did not give them the freedom to develop their antifragility."
- Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt in The Coddling of the American Mind
When Conversation Goes, So Does Debate
There are disturbing reports that many young people are so immersed in text messages, Twitter, and email that they have not developed conversational skills.
You remember conversation, that old-fashioned ritual where you listen to the other person and that person listens to you and, if the two of you disagree, both of you may listen more carefully to understand the other person's point of view. You might even find that you agree on some things.
Well, if people are not keen on conversation, then their ability to handle disagreements will be even more limited. If you want some samples, go to Twitter and read the comments on any political tweet.
Based on that, I'd say that young people are not the only ones who may have limited conversational skills.
We make the technology and then it makes us.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
I may be off the grid for a while while some experts sort out the gremlins hiding in the depths of my computer.
Bear with me. Don't forget to check back.
Monday, July 26, 2021
Democracy versus Bureaucracy
Philip K. Howard on how to counter the continuing power of the bureaucracy.
It was a miserable day in Walham Green, gloomy and wind-lashed and rain-soaked, and it seemed every pedestrian for miles had taken shelter in this Lyons Tea Room. The windows streamed with condensation, and the air was thick with hot breath and the smell of damp wool and camphor and boiled mutton. I'd been lucky to get a table to myself, and I was keeping it to myself, spreading out my legs and seeing off with a cold stare any customer who dared to approach. Selfish of me, perhaps, but I was on Queen's business and expecting a guest. The waitress, a thin, nervous woman in her thirties, looked worn-out and listless, much like the paper garlands that still festooned the place three weeks after Christmas. She could barely move between the tables, the place was so packed with customers and their sodden overcoats and dripping umbrellas. Stopping by my table she topped up my cup hastily, slopping tea into the saucer, but I made no remarks. There are times when it serves to make a scene and times to bite your tongue.
- From M, King's Bodyguard: A Novel by Niall Leonard
Any blog with a post on pocket watches has my attention.
Be Wary of Magical Thinking
- An aspiring actress goes to Hollywood. She is working at a drugstore soda fountain (remember those?) when a casting director notices her and a star is born.
- A better mousetrap is invented. The world automatically beats a path to the inventor's door.
- A farmer builds a ballpark in a cornfield. Without any publicity whatsoever, masses of people begin to arrive.
- An extremely complicated military operation is cobbled together at the last minute. It is executed on time with no surprises or glitches and produces total success.
Don't look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement, one day at a time. That's the only way it happens - and when it happens, it lasts.
- John Wooden
Sunday, July 25, 2021
Find Something Beautiful Today
Saturday, July 24, 2021
Wally Bock reviews Effortless.
I agree: read Essentialism first.
Rules for a Happy Life
When the coronavirus pandemic took root in the United States, we entered a time machine to the future. Practically overnight, people in industries that had restricted telecommuting found themselves crawling out of bed and dialing into Zoom conference calls from their couch. For many teachers, bankers, lawyers, even NASA aerospace engineers, the coronavirus crisis was a trial run for remote work. With most of the country under orders to shelter in place, many business leaders pivoted on a dime to reimagine products, reassign workers, reshape supply chains, and reconfigure operations to join the heated race to save lives. Near the top of the critical list of needs was the demand for ventilators, potentially hundreds of thousands of ventilators. In an unprecedented move, Ford and General Motors shut down car production and went into the ventilator production business.
- From Work Disrupted: Opportunity, Resilience, and Growth in the Accelerated Future of Work by Jeff Schwartz
[Execupundit note: I don't think the Ford and General Motors moves were unprecedented. Consider what they did during World War II.]
Inspired by an opinion piece, Althouse (of Madison, Wisconsin) does some checking and finds that she lives in one of the smallest of bubbles.
What's the Worst City for Traffic?
The Washington Examiner reports that it is no longer Los Angeles.
But we already knew that.
Reading Like a Pro
Friday, July 23, 2021
The Ultimate Quality Control Problem
"Italian tank armor sometimes shattered like glass."
- McGregor Knox, "The Italian Armed Forces, 1940-3" in Military Effectiveness, Volume III, The Second World War edited by Allan R. Millett and Williamson Murray
Scribbling During Bad Times
Bad times make for good diaries.
- Robert O. Paxton in his introduction to Season of Infamy: A Diary of War and Occupation 1939-1945 by Charles Rist
Hard to Finish Books
Here's a list of books people can't finish.
Hmm. I enjoyed Lord of the Rings, Catch-22, and Moby-Dick. I'm still wrestling with Ulysses. Perhaps Atlas Shrugged deserves another try. [I got a third of the way in before giving up.]
An observation: Few books would have been better if they were longer but many books would have benefited by being shorter.
[HT: A Large Regular]
Monsoon Season Returneth
The rains have returned to the Valley of the Sun. I was up part of the night with The Wonder Dog. She is not a fan of thunderstorms and it will be stormy today and throughout the weekend.
As things go, that is a good problem.
Thursday, July 22, 2021
On My List
Failing looks bad but provides more information than success. Trying to understand why you got a good grade on a test isn't all that informative because you had to do well on every part of it. But analyzing a bad grade forces you to zero in on what you got wrong. In European military history, the strongest armies have repeatedly turned out to be the ones who lost the previous war, because the defeat inspired them to reorganize and make strategic innovations while the victors remained complacent. A reward forces you inward; a penalty forces you to look at the world more carefully and make changes.
- John Tierney and Roy F. Baumeister in The Power of Bad
John McWhorter on CRT
"The California Dream is Dying"
In The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf explores the decline of the once-golden state.
[Photo by Chris Grafton at Unsplash]
The Excitement of the Water Cooler
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Ping and Pong
I knew that when I posted about the need for a Ping for lost books, there would be stirrings in south Florida: drinks with paper umbrellas would be dropped, parrots disturbed, and alligators kicked off the front porch.
The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
We tend to evaluate America based on day-to-day news stories and immediate trends and feelings, but the larger wheels of America are driven by two very orderly cycles - the institutional and the socioeconomic. The institutional cycle controls the relationship between the federal government and the rest of American society, and it runs its course roughly every eighty years. The socioeconomic cycle shifts around every fifty years and alters the dynamic of the American economy and society. Each cycle goes through the same process. The characteristics of a current cycle stop being effective, and the model begins to break down. A period of political tension emerges, ultimately forcing a change in the way things are done. New models emerge and solve the problems, and the country begins a new cycle which operates until that cycle runs into trouble. . . .
- George Friedman, The Storm Before the Calm: America's Discord, the Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph Beyond
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
There is a technical problem with this blog and so it may be off-line for awhile I use hammer and tongs to fix it.
Your patience is greatly appreciated.
[The above is from the Wynwood Studio Store on Amazon.]
I propose a modification:
- Dress like Cary Grant
- Speak like Shelby Foote
- Work like Agatha Christie
- Play like Willie Mays
- Argue like Abba Eban
- Write like Gabriel García Márquez
- Party like Bill Murray
Answers to Anti-Free Speech Arguments
Areo: Greg Lukianoff, co-author of The Coddling of the American Mind, presents counter-arguments to the "Speech is violence" movement.
[Photo by Brian Wangenheim at Unsplash]
Monday, July 19, 2021
Doesn't Everyone Make It That Way?
The Art of Manliness: "How to Make Coffee Like a Civil War Soldier."
[HT: Jonathan Wade]
The Viral Pandemic and the Panic Pandemic
City Journal: John Tierney on "The Panic Pandemic." An excerpt:
The leaders responsible for these disasters continue to pretend that their policies worked and assume that they can keep fooling the public. They’ve promised to deploy these strategies again in the future, and they might even succeed in doing so—unless we begin to understand what went wrong.
The Creative Life
Signs of Decline
It was a sad day when the architecture of many schools began to resemble that of prisons.
Nothing uplifting. Nothing indicating the noble nature of the mission. Purely utilitarian and defensive.
No wonder the students want to escape.
[Photo by Yan Bertemy at Unsplash]
We Need a Ping for Books
I saw that book just the other day. Where did it go to? It's large - that doesn't narrow the field - and I think I recall the color of the book cover. I know it's not in the stack on the table.
Who cares about phones? A "ping" device is needed for missing books.
Find Your Style
Sunday, July 18, 2021
Find Something Beautiful Today
Saturday, July 17, 2021
"The Myth of the Winnable Culture War"
Matt Taibbi suggests something radical: talking to one another.
The Man Who Never Sleeps
Remember, Nicholas Bate has one novel out there so it is a safe bet that he's working on another.
Innovative. Thoughtful. Prolific.
One of the Must Reads
The Big One
Speech, Well Chilled
Our noble side states facts. Our opponents state misinformation.
There are some very interesting perspectives on the post-pandemic world by an eclectic group of thinkers (Stephanie Kelton, Mohamed A. El-Erian, Dambisa Moyo, Mariana Mazzucato, Ian Bremmer, Jayati Ghosh, Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, Ruchir Sharma, Vera Songwe, Kevin Rudd, Niall Ferguson, Antoine Van Agtmael, and Betsey Stevenson) in Foreign Policy magazine.
[Photo by Ryo Tanaka at Unsplash]
Follow the Bureaucracy
America is losing its soul. Instead of creating legal structures that support our values, Americans are abandoning our values in deference to the bureaucratic structures.
- Philip Howard, The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government
Waiting for Sukarno
Friday, July 16, 2021
Cultural Offering - my favorite site for a life well lived - has the right priorities.
Something to Ponder
Past experience carries with its advantages the drawback that things never happen the same way again. Otherwise I suppose life would be too easy.
- Winston Churchill
Films with Perspective
One of the Must Reads
Attorney at Beach
Any honorary society is going to have to up its game to lure the FutureLawyer.
Perhaps more parrots, beach time, mobile offices, Disney passes, cigars, and scotch might do the trick.
But I doubt it.
Thursday, July 15, 2021
2021 Audubon Photography Awards
Kottke has some of the extraordinary photos.
Something to Ponder
Clearly, historical events have varying degrees of intensity. Some may almost fail to impinge on true reality, that is, on the central, most personal part of a person's life. Others can wreak such havoc there that nothing is left standing. The usual way in which history is written fails to reveal this. "1890: Wilhelm II dismisses Bismarck." Certainly a key event in German history, but scarcely an event at all in the biography of any German outside its small circle of protagonists. Life went on as before. No family was torn apart, no friendship broke up, no one fled their country. Not even a rendezvous was missed or an opera performance canceled. Those in love, whether happily or not, remained so; the poor remained poor, and the rich rich. Now compare that with "1933: Hindenburg sends for Hitler." An earthquake shatters 66 million lives.
- From Defying Hitler: A Memoir by Sebastian Haffner
More Summer Reading Lists
Wally Bock has a nice variety of lists.
[Photo by Ethan Robertson at Unsplash]
"The Man Who Re-Made Sinatra"
Commentary magazine: Terry Teachout on Nelson Riddle.
[Photo by Andrea Riondino at Unsplash]
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
The Real Cuba: Not a Potemkin Airbnb
Common Sense with Bari Weiss features an essay describing what living in Cuba is really like.
Steven Pressfield has wisdom from The Simpsons.
Two Questions When Pondering the News
- What's the Exaggeration or Crisis of the Day? [Remember the Greek debt articles?]
- Which truly important stories are not being covered?
Find Your Style
In-Between Fight and Flight
There is a stage between Fight and Flight.
It's called Freeze, Wait, or Stay.
Sometimes the stage is a wise choice. Other times it is very dangerous.
City Journal: Guy Sorman explores the significance of La Bastille.
[Photo by Joe DeSousa at Unsplash]
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
- Glenn Greenwald: Darryl Cooper's famous thread on MAGA think.
- Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox on "California Fleeing."
- Conor Friedersdorf examines legislation on teaching about race.
- Theodore Dalrymple on abstentions in the French elections.
Wit and Great Guests
From 2018: Paul Ingrassia remembers The Dick Cavett Show.
A conversation that took place years ago:
Manager: "These young employees aren't like us."
Department Director: "Thank God. Do you remember what screw-ups we were?"
Although that brings a smile, it should not lead to a blanket endorsement. Sometimes, there are problems exhibited by particular generations.
Humility and introspection are important but pretending that all changes are minor deviations or even improvements may not be wise.
Monday, July 12, 2021
Life is Often Unscheduled
Accidents. Illnesses. Problems at work or at home. Broken equipment. Delays. Unpleasant surprises. Challenges. Crises. Setbacks.
They aren't on your schedule but they are lurking.
Bless the days when they don't appear.
Billionaire in Space. Heads on Earth Explode.
The moment I saw the videos of Sir Richard Branson in space, I knew that a swarm of critics would soon form. Such is the nature of our times.
Sunday, July 11, 2021
Freedom for Cuba
[Photo by Alexander Kunze at Unsplash]
[Update: President Biden's statement on the protests.]
Find Something Beautiful Today
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Films with Perspective
I read The Wall years ago while in high school. The hard-bound copy I had came with a List of Characters; a feature the new paperback version is missing.
But a great book nonetheless.
Why I Live in the Desert
Speech for Me But Not for Thee
Jonathan Turley on yet another free speech challenge at a university.
Life Is About Taking Risks
FutureLawyer has the details.
"What Happened to You?"
Andrew Sullivan on the radicalization of the American elite against liberalism.
Work Like a Lazy Person
There are many days when an executive, manager or supervisor should work like a lazy person and stop complicating matters by adding unnecessary work.
Make that "most days."
Trade-Offs and Solutions
Wally Bock notes two great leadership trade-offs.