Friday, December 31, 2021
I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep...
Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.
- From The Journals of May Sarton, Volume One: Journal of a Solitude
[HT: James Clear]
On a breezy night in March 2016 at the Tesla design studio, Elon Musk took the stage in front of a crowd of supporters. Dressed like a James Bond villain, in a black jacket with the collar up, he was on the cusp of achieving a decade-long dream, a goal the famed entrepreneur had spent years building toward: the grand reveal of his Model 3 electric car.
- From Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and The Bet of the Century by Tim Higgins
Thursday, December 30, 2021
In early 1861, on his long, meandering journey from Springfield, Illinois, to Washington, DC, president-elect Abraham Lincoln stopped in Philadelphia on February 21 and gave a couple of brief but revealing speeches. By then six slave states had seceded from the Union - a Union Lincoln was determined to hold together. At Independence Hall, inspired by the place where his country had been founded, Lincoln could "listen to those breathings rising within the consecrated walls where the Constitution of the United States, and, I will add, the Declaration of American Independence was originally framed." Lincoln believed that, taken together, these two documents - the Declaration and the Constitution - stated plainly the bedrock principles of the American nation. In one of those biblical allusions at which he was so adept, Lincoln swore an oath: "May my right hand forget its cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if ever I prove false to those teachings."
- From The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution by James Oakes
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
It is a common mistake to underestimate the damage which one bad executive or manager can do to an organization.
It is also a common mistake to underestimate the good which an excellent executive or manager can do.
And remember, each type tends to attract others who share their nature.
[Photo by Dan-Cristian Paduret at Unsplash]
In the aftermath of World War II, America - the new leader of the West - stood alone as the world's premier military power. Yet its martial confidence contrasted vividly with its sense of cultural inferiority. Still looking to a defeated and dispirited Europe for intellectual and artistic guidance, a burgeoning elite in New York City and Washington, D.C., embraced not only the war's refugees but also many of their resolutely nineteenth-century "modern" ideas as well.
- From The Devil's Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West by Michael Walsh
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Monday, December 27, 2021
Given the choice, would you rather your teenager hang around with friends who are heavily engaged with their smartphones (and all that such phones can provide) or ones who have a simple flip-phone or perhaps even no phone at all?
"Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you." - Flannery O'Connor
[Photo by Debby Hudson at Unsplash]
Sunday, December 26, 2021
Saturday, December 25, 2021
I've seen some miracles in my life and I don't use that word lightly. I also rarely talk about them.
As C. S. Lewis noted in his book on miracles, there is no miracle so impressive or extreme that it could not - and would not - be quickly dismissed by those eager to do so. You can guess the explanations: deception, misperception, hallucination, mass hallucinations.
Those of us who have experienced them are more inclined to believe that there is far more to life than is generally acknowledged.
Friday, December 24, 2021
Fife Symington had just finished reciting the Lord's Prayer during a Saturday morning prayer breakfast in early 2001 when he felt the quaking of the phone in his pocket.
- From Old Money, New West: Fife Symington and the Uniquely American Landscapes that Made Him, Broke Him, and Made Him Anew by Robert Nelson and Jack L. August, Jr.
Her hair was the same thin shade of gray as the weather-beaten pickets of the fence around her frozen garden. She had a way with horses, and she was alone on Christmas Eve. There is little in my life I regret as much as that I would not stay for just one cookie, just one cup of tea.
- Joseph Bottum
Thursday, December 23, 2021
FutureLawyer has a confession: He owned (and wore!) a leisure suit in the 1970s.
For those of you who are too young to recall the Seventies, it was a toxic waste dump for fashion. Otherwise sane people wore bellbottoms. The men's ties were wider-than-wide. The colors were bold, brash, and cartoonish.
I hope that we've acquired herd-immunity.
All this might just be a species of prudence if it wasn’t contributing to a psychological orientation that can no longer gauge relative risk. Indeed, it’s a persuasion that rejects the compartmentalization of relative risk entirely.Read the rest of Noah Rothman's essay in Commentary magazine.
If you think it's obvious that the public should know what is being taught in the public schools, think again if you live in Pennsylvania.
The argument that transparency would be burdensome is ridiculous. So too is the view that the legislation is not needed because parents can already request such information from individual schools. Most parents will not do so unless they sense that there might be a problem. Why not provide the basic information upfront so they can decide if additional questions are appropriate?
I think we know the answer to that.
An HR professional once told me that he didn't want an easy-to-understand complaint process because it might result in the employees filing more complaints. He didn't want a credible and substantive complaint system. He wanted a superficial one.
There's a similar game being played in Pennsylvania.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Political Calculations has the details.
The year was 1978. Americans were suffering under the weak leadership of an ineffective president. Inflation was running hot and about to get much worse. And then, as if to put an exclamation point on just how bad things were getting, one of the three broadcast television networks that existed at the time aired The Star Wars Holiday Special.
Benjamin Morley on speaking out against discriminatory training.
At Organization #1, the customer was told that everything was ready and that the order would be shipped by Organization #2.
Just be patient, they said. It may take around 10 days.
In the meantime, Organization #2 was awaiting notice from the customer that a separate product had been received from another organization we'll call Organization #3.
But no one told the customer, so no notice was sent to Organization #2.
Then again, that would have been impossible even if notice had been given to the customer because Organization #3 was not going to send the separate product until they'd gotten a document from the customer.
But no one told the customer.
In short, the process was blocked at Organizations #2 and #3 because they were awaiting information from the customer, but no one told the customer and so the customer and Organizations #2 and #3 continued to wait.
Lessons Learned: Overcommunicate, follow-up, and look for areas in which projects can fall between the cracks and be forgotten or lost.
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Monday, December 20, 2021
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Saturday, December 18, 2021
Well, he gets some points for being candid when questioned. The grade for the formal report is another matter.
- Ann Althouse
Read the whole pathetic story here.
Walter Berns, Making Patriots. [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.]
Peter Block, Community: The Structure of Belonging. [Oakland: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2018.]
Christopher Caldwell, The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties. [New York: Simon and Schuster, 2020.]
Donald T. Critchlow, Revolutionary Monsters: Five Men Who Turned Liberation into Tyranny. [Washington, DC: Regnery History, 2021.]
Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. [New York: New York University Press, 2017.]
Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. [New York: Ballentine Books, 2008.]
Daniel A. Farber and Suzanna Sherry, Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law. [New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.]
Malcolm Gladwell, Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know. [New York: Little, Brown & Company, 2019.]
Mike Gonzales, The Plot to Change America: How Identity Politics is Dividing the Land of the Free. [New York: Encounter Books, 2020.]
Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. [New York: Vintage Books, 2012.]
Victor Davis Hanson, The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America. [New York: Basics Books, 2021.]
Noreena Hertz, The Lonely Century: How to Restore Human Connection in a World That’s Pulling Apart. [New York: Currency, 2021.]
Paul Hollander, Anti-Americanism. [New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers,1995.]
Samuel P. Huntington, Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity. [New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.]
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist. [New York: One World, 2019.]
Rushworth M. Kidder, Moral Courage. [New York: William Morrow, 2005.]
Roger Kimball, The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America. [San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2000.]
Richard D. Lamm, Two Wands, One Nation: An Essay on Race and Community in America. [Golden: Fulgrum Publishing, 2006.]
Yuval Levin, The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism. [New York: Basic Books, 2016.]
Greg Lukianoff, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. [New York: Encounter Books, 2012.]
Gred Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. [New York: Penguin Books, 2018.]
Heather Mac Donald, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture. [New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2018.]
Irshad Manji, Don’t Label Me: How to Do Diversity Without Inflaming the Culture Wars. [New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2019.]
David McCullough, The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For. [New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017.]
John McWhorter, Winning the Race. [New York: Gotham Books, 2005.]
John McWhorter, Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America. [New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2021.]
Douglas Murray, The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity. [London: Bloomsbury Continuum, 2019.]
Vivek H. Murthy, MD, Together: The Healing Power of Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. [New York: HarperWave, 2020.]
Jacob Needleman, The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders. [New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2003.]
Steven Pinker, Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters. [New York: Viking, 2021.]
Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity and Why This Harms Everybody. [Durham: Pitchstone Publishing, 2020.]
Vivek Ramaswamy, Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam. [New York: Center Street, 2021.]
Marshall B. Rosenberg, Nonviolent Conversation: A Language of Life. [Encinitas: PuddleDancer Press, 2015.]
Noah Rothman, Unjust: Social Justice and the Unmaking of America. [Washington D.C., Regnery Gateway, 2019.]
Gad Saad, The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense. [Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2020.]
Ben Sasse, Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal. [New York: St. Martin’s, 2018.]
Ben Shapiro, The Authoritarian Moment: How the Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent. [New York: Broadside Books, 2021.]
Thomas Sowell, Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? [New York: Quill William Morrow, 1984.]
Thomas Sowell, Discrimination and Disparities. [New York: Basic Books, 2019.]
Shelby Steele, The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America. [New York: Harper Perennial, 1998.]
Shelby Steele, White Guilt. [New York: Harper Collins, 2006]
Deborah Tannen, That’s Not What I Meant! How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships. [New York: Harper, 1986.]
Sherry Turkle, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. [New York: Penguin Books, 2015.]
Jay J. Van Bavel and Dominic J. Packer, The Power of Us: Harnessing Our Shared Identities to Improve Performance, Increase Cooperation, and Promote Social Harmony. [New York: Little, Brown Spark, 2021.]
Charles H. Vogl, The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging. [Oakland: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2016.]
Peter Wood, Wrath: America Enraged. [New York: Encounter Books, 2021.]
Kenny Xu, An Inconvenient Minority: The Attack on American Excellence and the Fight for Meritocracy. [New York: Diversion Books, 2021.]
Friday, December 17, 2021
The times that are in-between meetings and projects can be invaluable when it comes to discovering fresh approaches. Recently, through a combination of things, I wound up having to handle an organization's exhibit booth at a large convention. I have not done anything of that nature in years (lucky me) and I quickly encountered the usual array of bureaucratic rules. Rather than be bothered, I decided to use the time in-between the rush of crowds as a chance to make notes on how the booth could be designed in the future.
It was very helpful. I doubt if several thoughts would have emerged if I were not making observations so close to the moment. It may have been the productive equivalent of taking a walk or a shower.
And we all know how productive those can be.
[Photo by Branden Skeli at Unsplash.]
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
My wife is sick. My dog is sick. The woman who was going to handle the booth at an important conference today and tomorrow is sick.
But I'm up and moving and making plans.
Listen to the rocks grow. Fast is slow. Slow is fast.
Everything that needs to get done will get done.
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
- Doesn't ban books.
- Doesn't restrict freedom of speech.
- Doesn't "cancel" people.
- Doesn't end friendships because of political differences.
- Doesn't assume that it is always right.
- Is willing to listen - genuinely listen - to others.
- Avoids quick labels.
- Accords the presumption of innocence.
- Doesn't hold people (or nations) to impossible standards.
Monday, December 13, 2021
Sunday, December 12, 2021
Check out the page on which Britannica Kids describes Communism.
One of my favorite lines:
"After World War II ended in 1945, the Soviet Union encouraged many countries in eastern Europe to set up Communist governments."
"Encouraged" via the Red Army and the secret police.
Saturday, December 11, 2021
Read the rest of Theodore Dalrymple's article in City Journal.
David Boyd was with Sherman when the read the news [of South Carolina's secession], recalling he "burst out crying like a child, and pacing the room in that nervous way of his, he turned to me & exclaimed: 'Boyd, you people of the South don't know what you are doing! You think you can tear to pieces this great union without war! But I tell you there will be blood-shed - and plenty of it.' Sherman's agony was real. Secession cut him to the depths of his nationalistic soul: what he had been avoiding all his life had come to pass. It made no sense. 'The North can make a steam-engine, locomotive or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on earth....You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war."
- From Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman by Robert L. O'Connell
Those who are in the market for good advice should be wary.
When applied to the complexities of people, advice often has a short shelf-life. Wisdom can evaporate in hours and what produces an astounding success in one setting can be far less effective in another.
It is not "one size fits all."
Friday, December 10, 2021
"All of which is to say: I'm not a provocateur. I don't get a rush from making people angry. You don't have to be a troll to find yourself in the center of controversy. You need only be two things: effective and unwilling to back down."
Read all of the important essay by Abigail Shrier at Substack.
Thursday, December 09, 2021
Back soon. Some quotes in the meantime:
For a long, long time it seemed to me that I was about to begin real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
- Alfred Souza
- Calvin Coolidge
For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.
- Larry Eisenberg
We are all of us compelled to read for profit, party for contacts, bowl for charity, drive for mileage, gamble for charity, go out for the evening for the greater glory of the municipality, and stay home for the weekend to rebuild the house. Minutes, hours, and days have been spared us. The prospect of filling them with the pleasures for which they were spared us has somehow come to seem meaningless, meaningless enough to drive some of us to drink and some of us to doctors and all of us to the satisfactions of an insatiate industry.
– Walter Kerr
The thing to remember is that the future comes one day at a time.
- Dean Acheson
Wednesday, December 08, 2021
Read the rest Peter Savodnik's essay at Common Sense with Bari Weiss.
Many organizations assume that if they achieve racial or ethnic diversity, they will also achieve viewpoint diversity.
Which is not correct.
Examine a diverse department of sociology at a large university and try to find a political conservative.
Viewpoint diversity itself is not always desirable. You don't want frequent dissent when it comes to ethics and legal compliance. There are many areas, however, where getting other perspectives is very valuable and may even be an essential ingredient in the organization's success.
If you want those fresh perspectives, you'll have to search for them.
Tuesday, December 07, 2021
Kyle Smith on the Smollet trial. An excerpt:As for the Smollett pals testifying against him, they produced a $3,500 check Jussie had written them as advance payment, because the ringmaster of this flea circus was too dumb to understand that cash is the preferred payment method when doing stuff you don’t want others to find out about. Smollett’s lawyers’ explanation? That was merely for nutritional tips. The supposed nutritional-advisory siblings said no one had ever paid them more than $100 for such advice before.
Through democracy, bureaucracy has consistently expanded, the result of the rising number of social and economic functions taken on by the democratic state. But when bureaucracy reaches a certain degree of mass and power, it becomes almost automatically resistant to any will, including the elected will of the people, that is not of its own making.
- Robert Nisbet
Monday, December 06, 2021
Only 2 percent of those polled refer to themselves as Latinx, while 68 percent call themselves “Hispanic” and 21 percent favored “Latino” or “Latina” to describe their ethnic background, according to the survey from Bendixen & Amandi International, a top Democratic firm specializing in Latino outreach.
Read the rest at Politico.
Quillette: Andrew Roberts on The Decline of American Power: A Kübler-Ross Analysis. An excerpt:
"The via dolorosa presently stretched before the United States will likely encompass the replacement of the dollar as the global currency of last resort, the recognition that the South China Seas are no longer navigable by the US Navy, the understanding that Africa has been effectively colonized by China, and the possible swallowing of Ukraine by Russia and Taiwan by China. If the United States maintains its present course, Americans should prepare themselves for a century of humiliating retreats. So, how are these developments likely to play out in an already deeply divided polity and society?"
The white space between the boxes on the org chart. The information that was not passed on. The multitude of assumptions. Turf wars. Insecurity. Arrogance. Annual reports that are fiction. Watchdogs napping. Candor evaporating. Mission creep. Institutional memory fading or pushed out. Rationalizations. Ego games. An exodus of expertise. Twisted priorities. Unspoken fears.
Watch out for the intangibles.