US State Department report on failed crisis management during the Afghanistan withdrawal.
Friday, June 30, 2023
So on my path to adulthood, I did some bad work and I did some good work. And the difference between the good and the bad had less to do with my actual duties than it did with the context in which my duties were embedded. Someone working beside me, either in my family's business or in the psychology lab, might have regarded what she did as just a job, or even a bad job. But not me. There was meaning to be found in those activities, and I was able to find it.
- Barry Schwartz, Why We Work
Thursday, June 29, 2023
The U.S. Supreme Court decides on affirmative action preferences.
This will receive intense scrutiny over the coming days.
As an old EEO/Affirmative Action officer and consultant, I am very pleased but I also expect that the universities will do their best to weasel around the changes.
Incidentally, here are biographies of the Supreme Court Justices.
City Journal: Pascal Bruckner on how ideology has distorted art.
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
The Big Paper Purge continues. Mega-trash bags. Changing desks. Updating computers. Shifting book shelves to reflect key projects.
Staring and thinking.
Lots of staring and thinking.
The biggest danger zone is the usually-out-of-sight office area over my shoulder. It contains multiple briefcases as well as stacks of books and papers.
Going through that is like an Indiana Jones film.
Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Their plan was simple: Replace the objectionable leader with the one they favor.
That new leader would, in turn, bring in other good people. At least, that was the assumption.
Did they try to keep good people from leaving?
"No. They probably would not have accepted our new program anyway. Their departure gives us the chance to bring in more like-minded leaders."
The message quickly spread.
What they overlooked was that the previous leadership was actually quite good.
A truth they did not want to hear.
Monday, June 26, 2023
Newsweek: Matthew Wilson on the need for institutional neutrality at universities.
Breakfast reading was Timothy Garton Ash's book on his Stasi file. I'll get to The Wall Street Journal later.
The kitchen remodeling continues. The cabinets are expected today. I am meeting with my son on a consulting project. A stack of papers is on my desk and I am going to break in my new Lenovo laptop over the next few days. Billing also needs to be reviewed.
In short, the usual. Semi-retired but still in the game and a mega-project awaits. It whispers ideas.
Sunday, June 25, 2023
Saturday, June 24, 2023
Friday, June 23, 2023
The Atlantic: Robert P. George on why the universities shouldn't be ideological churches.
Thursday, June 22, 2023
SCOTUSblog is a great place to find updates on the new U.S. Supreme Court opinions.
The New Criterion: Glenn Harlan Reynolds on challenges to free speech.
"We live in a gotcha environment. You have to choose words carefully. Very carefully." ~ "People used to be in the office but now a chunk of them are at home and I honestly don't know what they're doing. Worse yet, I don't really know many of them." ~ "The top executives have just enough knowledge of what we do to turn them into well-meaning adversaries." ~ "Once upon a time - not that long ago - I could tell you how we operate. You might say that we had a shade-tree mechanic type of system. Relatively simple and understandable. We're way beyond that now. I'm not sure if anyone here really knows how we operate. I sort of know, but not really." ~ "We have some young workers who can barely carry on a conversation." ~ "I've started banning smartphones at meetings just to get people talking to one another." ~ "A lot of junk comes in through HR. What the hell are they learning at their professional conferences?" ~ "There's a courage deficit at the top." ~ "The people who deserve praise don't get it because the bosses are more interested in placating complainers." ~ "Good people leave and no one tries to persuade them to stay. We're more interested in hanging onto good computers than keeping good people." ~ "I have become very suspicious of management trends. Most are diseases disguised as cures." ~ "We're too busy to be effective." ~ "We don't have silos. We have kingdoms."
Unherd magazine: Olympian Sharron Davies on unfairness in women's sports.
Wednesday, June 21, 2023
Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Today's class will have plenty of case examples and discussion. There will be some theory but it will be mainly used to explain context. Much time will be spent on clarifications since a great deal assumed by those new to the subject isn't quite right. Interruptions will be encouraged so people don't need to sit on their questions. The interruptions also make the questions more timely.
I pander to my classes by giving lots of breaks so any specialized or sensitive questions can be asked then.
We'll identify the dots and connect them but we'll also discuss which areas are vague.
The idea is to know when to act and when to consult. The knowledge should expand one's intuition.
Oh yes, it will also be fun. Most of the class members arrive with the assumption that the class will be very boring and are pleasantly surprised.
I thrive on low expectations.
Monday, June 19, 2023
City Journal: Erica Sandberg on the disaster known as San Francisco.
Sunday, June 18, 2023
Saturday, June 17, 2023
- Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
- Life With a Star by Jiri Weil
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
- The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- Bleak House by Charles Dickens
- The Warden by Anthony Trollope
- Chronicles of Wasted Time by Malcolm Muggeridge
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
- Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Friday, June 16, 2023
At the heart of every European city lies a mystery: the figure of the cross. From the hulk of Saint Paul's in the sleek, financialized core of London to the dome of Saint Peter's in the Vatican statelet within Rome; from the spare façade of Saint Dominic's on the island of Corsica to the pale-wood-panelled apse of the Swalbard Church in Longyearbyen, Norway: the architectural lines of European settlements converge on a cruciform structure, a church, at the heart of which is set, in a state of semi-darkness and silence, the figure of the cross.
- From The Innocence of Pontius Pilate: How the Roman Trial of Jesus Shaped History by David Lloyd Dusenbury
Thursday, June 15, 2023
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
UnHerd magazine: Joel Kotkin finds that youth alienation isn't confined to the West.
[Photo by Kyle Glenn at Unsplash]
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn’t.
Cultural Offering has Wodehouse and a bunch of other neat things.
Monday, June 12, 2023
The old man loved Capri. It was a pleasure to be back, if only for a few days. The visit would not be much longer than that, for he was about to manage his own death. Every detail had been decided.
- From Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony Everitt
Sunday, June 11, 2023
Saturday, June 10, 2023
Friday, June 09, 2023
I was no stranger to the flash of lightning; I was no stranger to the thunderbolt. Enviably experienced in these matters, I was no stranger to the cloudburst - the cloudburst, and then the sunshine and the rainbow.
- From The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis
Thursday, June 08, 2023
America was built on the belief that every person is guaranteed the right to life, liberty, and the founding of a startup. Yet somehow conventional wisdom has created a laundry list of requirements to be an entrepreneur: Drop out of Harvard, sit in on a calligraphy class to develop multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts, build a computer in a garage, etc., etc. This kind of thinking is wrong! In fact, we contend that there is only one requirement to being a successful entrepreneur: reading this handbook.
- From The Global Silicon Valley Handbook by Michael Moe and The Global Silicon Valley Team
Wednesday, June 07, 2023
I sit down at a small plastic-wood table in Frau Schulz's cramped room in the Federal Authority for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic: the ministry of the files. As I open the binder, I find myself thinking of an odd moment in my East German life.
- From The File: A Personal History by Timothy Garton Ash
Abigail Shrier says it is not wise to expect that the Gender Pendulum will swing back.
Tuesday, June 06, 2023
In the summer of 2019, I began to notice a concerning trend among my coaching clients - high-ranking executives, successful entrepreneurs, physician leaders, and elite athletes. Whereas I used to spend most of my time with them discussing high-performance habits and routines, over the past few years I'd been hearing something else. "I'm dying for a break," said my client Tim, the chief physician of adult and family medicine at a large health care system. "But even when I try to take a single weekend off, I can't seem to go more than a few hours without opening my work email. Logically I know I don't have to - and I don't really want to - but I feel compelled to check. To be honest, I become restless and insecure if I don't."
- From The Practice of Groundedness: A Transformative Path to Success That Feeds - Not Crushes - Your Soul by Brad Stulberg
Monday, June 05, 2023
A friend who dropped by to see me a few nights ago expressed two fears in the course of the conversation. One was that, if he did not slow down, he would have a heart attack. The other was that, if he did not hurry up, he would not be able to accomplish enough that was useful before he had his heart attack.
- From The Decline of Pleasure by Walter Kerr, published in 1962
Kurt Harden goes to the bookstore.
Note to bookstore management: If a book lover like Kurt Harden leaves without a large number of purchases, you are doing something wrong.
I buy most of my new books from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but the vast majority of my used book purchases are from a local used bookstore in Phoenix.
There are so many great writers whose works are never on the shelves in the major bookstores.