Thursday, February 29, 2024

On Government

No matter how profoundly they’ve failed, their response is always:

 “Give us more money. Give us more power. Let us do more.”

- Abigail Shrier

The Meaning of Citizenship


Fewer Male Teachers in the Classroom

 Richard Reeves on a subject that deserves far more attention.

A question: How do you think the decline in male teachers has affected viewpoint diversity in the classroom?

Laughter as Therapy

 From The Washington Post in 1986

Flat on his back in a New York hospital, Cousins persuaded the nurses to read him excerpts from the humor columns of E.B. White and Max Eastman and show him "Candid Camera" reruns and old Marx Brothers movies.

Prepare for the Backlash Against Smartphones

There are several revolutionary items in the pipeline that will denounce the time squandered on smartphones.

The Anxious Generation by Jonathan Haidt comes out in March. It will be a rallying cry that will soon be joined by others.

[I have a smartphone but I'm reducing its usage and am seriously considering a return to a flip phone.]

This may be the precisely right time to go Old School.

Canceled Meetings

 My killer cold has caused me to cancel some meetings. While in the "I may snap out of this soon" stage, I briefly considered going ahead with some of them, but common sense intervened. 

Fortunately, the earliest one was time-sensitive and while I was still alert. It was conducted via Teams and I got through my recommendations without coughing or sneezing.

And as for the others, the postponements were gifts. 

In the world of work, few things match the joy of a canceled meeting.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Creative Film Technique


Questions for Innovative Proposals

I know that many innovative things have turned out to be great successes, but these are some questions to consider:

  1. Has this, or a version of this, ever worked in a similarly situated organization? What were the results?
  2. If it has not worked, what is it about our circumstances and resources that makes you think we'll be different?

The Noble Patient

 Chills. Fever. Exhaustion. 

Even the dog feels sorry for me.

My wife stands at a distance and throws provisions.

All blankets will be burned.

Updates to follow.

Get Ready


Universities Are Making Us Dumber

The political affiliations of the faculty now appear to be appropriately synchronized. According to Mitchell Langbert’s 2018 “Homogenous: The Political Affiliations of Elite Liberal Arts Faculty,” faculty members at the top academically ranked universities vote Democrat to Republican at a 21.5 to 1 ratio. At the lowest tier schools, that ratio is 6.9 to 1. The ratio of liberal to conservative faculty at Harvard, per The Harvard Crimson, is 56.4 to 1. If one imagines that sharing the exact same political viewpoints as one’s colleagues is a likely sign of intellectual independence and originality, then places like Harvard are clearly thriving.Yet, to most people, these institutions now look less like traditional universities than places of worship, where congregants sing and chant in unison.

Read Sergiu Klainerman's entire article at Tablet magazine.

Popular One Act Play

 "Come on in. There are two groups, each with a distinctive role. The first group will pretend to give its honest opinions. The second group will pretend to listen."

Blind Spots

 All organizations and individuals have blind spots. 

The question is whether they know where and what those spots are.

And whether they care.

And They're Selling Insurance


Monday, February 26, 2024

Too Clever By Half

 A part of my coaching practice consists of dealing with management moves that are, to use an old expression, too clever by half.

As a result, I've upped my espresso consumption.

When Bureaucracy Murders


A Few Dusty Volumes to Understand Our Times


  • Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
  • The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig
  • Chronicles of Wasted Time by Malcolm Muggeridge
  • Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak-Catchers by Tom Wolfe
  • The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam

Embrace Life

 Cultural Offering has important advice from Anthony Hopkins.

Woke Marxism


Liberty's Measurements

 "Liberty is to be measured not by what the law permits you to do, but by - to use a whimsical criterion - how far from your house you feel comfortable allowing your child to play. These days I often see a line of cars, with women usually behind the wheel, waiting at the bus stop near my house to pick up their children so that they do not have to walk the few hundred yards home. Or rather liberty is to be measured not by whether you are allowed to cast a vote for the candidate who you believe will best be able to deal with A, B, C, to Z, then A2, B2, C2, and so forth, but by the range of things that will not be in the province of the politicians at all, because you yourselves, in your families, your local businesses, your local schools, your local beneficent societies, and your churches will deal with them quite well and in your own way, thank you."

- Anthony Esolen, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Find Something Beautiful Today

And when you go there, check out Domino Park.

[Photo by Lucas Pelucas at Unsplash]

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Not All Clueless Old Men are Clueless

 Details at Cultural Offering.

A Danger Within

 UnHerd magazine: Ayaan Hirsi Ali on how Islamism is exploiting Britain's political vacuum.

Save Your Self

"If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self - himself - he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it."

- Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

As If the Election Is Our Only Problem


On My List


The Journal Coach

 A daily journal can be a great way of keeping track of what you did.

It can also be a helpful account of what you should have done.

Daily diligence and honesty, of course, are key elements but if you have a lapse, get back with your program.

You can be your best coach.

"Snow Moon"

 We'll have a snow moon this weekend.

As an astronomy-loving friend of mine puts it, when we look at the moon, we are seeing what a person who helped to build the Pyramids saw. We are seeing what vast numbers of people watched with awe throughout the centuries.

Beauty and wonder.

And the show is free.

Friday, February 23, 2024

From Oz to Kansas

 CBS News: Another high altitude balloon flying over the United States.

Get Hitched

 The Free Press: Brad Wilcox, the author of Get Married, makes his case.

Coming Again to a Neighborhood Near You


A Few Common Mistakes


  • Relying on a once-solid practice that is now degraded.
  • Relying on the kindness of strangers.
  • Thinking that if you build it, they will come.
  • Believing that a point is obvious.
  • Assuming that everyone knows the mission.
  • Not giving the why.
  • Thinking outside of the box when the key decision-makers are inside the box.
  • Believing that mistakes will be promptly corrected.
  • Assuming that rules are rules.
  • Not checking the basics.


 Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember.

- Oscar Levant

Dating at Work

The fact that anyone still dates at work is a testament to human nature; individuals, particularly men, will occasionally take personal and financial risks in order to form relationships with someone they find attractive.

- From The Origins of Woke: Civil Rights Law, Corporate America, and the Triumph of Identity Politics by Richard Hanania

There are Ways

Sometimes, rather than launching a direct attack on a castle, it is wiser to adopt strategies that would diminish its supplies, spread illness and rumors, increase distrust, distract its guards, and open its gates while requiring that any additional fortifications be done with imported wood instead of costly stone.

[Photo by Hannah Wright at Unsplash]

We are Surrounded by Lessons


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Social Media Solutions

 Jonathan Haidt on why content moderation is a red herring

His book, The Anxious Generation, will be out in March.

Modern Times

 City Journal: The plagiarism issue continues at Harvard.

The Saving Democracy by Destroying Democracy Crowd

 Cultural Offering has the details.

Minding the Business


Reaching the Deep Bench

There are several people in my personal circle of friends who'd be a better choice for president than the current main contenders. 

These individuals, who are far from famous, have the right mixture of knowledge and temperament. They wouldn't embarrass us. They would assemble a serious group of advisors. They are highly ethical and insightful. I'd gladly drop them into conferences with world leaders.

But when political viability is considered, they may as well be on Mars.

We have a very deep bench of untapped talent in this country, but more avenues to power are needed. 

The traditional avenues are dark alleys that deter the obscure best while attracting the unduly ambitious. Getting through them may be a life-altering experience but it is far from an uplifting one.

We can do better than that. 

As the old line goes, if we keep on doing what we've been doing, we'll keep on getting what we've been getting.

[Photo by Davide Everett Strickler at Unsplash]

The Incrementals

The incrementals are never neutral. They operate in packs that separately will be working for you or against you.

If incrementals operate in your favor when they are neglected, that is grand news. It permits you to focus on the areas that need to be turned around.

The trick, of course, is to identify those areas.

First Paragraph

 At its core, what is American politics about? In some democracies, voters are clearly divided along lines of religion, ethnicity, religion, or class. Although such divides clearly exist to a certain extent in the United States, the white majority is relatively split between the two major parties, and economic circumstances are a weak predictor of political attitudes. If there is one lesson that political scientists have learned over the last several decades, it is that American voting behavior is driven by cultural and moral values rather than material interests. If you want to know how the average American voted in the last election, you're better off asking about her attitudes toward political correctness and declaring gender pronouns than about last year's income.

- From The Origins of Woke: Civil Rights Law, Corporate America, and the Triumph of Identity Politics by Richard Hanania

Wednesday, February 21, 2024





Religious Scientists


The Two O's

 This is very simple advice, but over the decades I have found it to be profound. 

Keep an eye open for these two subjects: Opportunities and the Obvious.

The second is often harder to spot than the first.

Andrew Roberts: Why Hitler Lost the War


First Paragraph

 According to the story, Peter Drucker once remarked that he had "invented management." But how can that be, his listener responded, given that people had been running organizations for centuries, millennia? True, the sage replied, but when he first went to study the subject in the 1930s and 1940s, he could only find two or three books describing the functions he came to group under that rubric. By naming them management, pulling them together with that term, he gave those practicing the art a new way of understanding what they were doing. And a new way of studying and improving their practice.

- From The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World by Walter Kiechel III

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Thinking of Leadership

 One of the most important ways to promote leadership in any organization is to avoid regarding leaders as members of some sort of elite caste.

Leadership is a responsibility. Anyone regardless of job title can, under certain circumstances, be a leader.


 A Large Regular has Sam Altman's take on focus.

And it is right on target.

The Fall of Journalism

 Commentary magazine: Christine Rosen with "Don't Blame Us. We're Journalists."

Matt Taibbi on a Lawfare Election: Winning by Eliminating Your Opponents


In the Pipeline


Risk of Extinction?

 "Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war."

- The Center for AI Safety

The Gorilla

When analyzing why major decisions were made, it is sometimes said that there was a gorilla in the room and that gorilla was ignored.

What should be considered is there may be more than one gorilla and there may be more than one room.

[Photo by Laura Seaman at Unsplash]

Let's Boost Marriage

 UnHerd magazine: Brad Wilcox on marriage and the loneliness crisis.

A Strange Passivity

 In recent years, I have noticed a strange passivity in some organizations. Actions that once would have surfaced strong opinions and exchanges are ignored or, at most, greeted with shrugs.

This, of course, is not always bad but there are moments when some passion and anger would be appropriate, especially when an injustice is being perpetrated.

The new policy seems to be one of peace at any price and, as you might suspect, it is a gift to the world's weasels.

The weasels, however, have also adopted a new practice: they don't gloat.

At least not publicly.

Bring back the good old days.

My Favorite "Management Lessons" Film


Monday, February 19, 2024

As in "Remember When?"

 The chief executive officer who makes an unannounced 2 a.m. visit to a 24-hour branch office does not need to do so very often. That one appearance will be remembered for years.

Why The Modern World Makes No Sense: Eric Weinstein and Chris Williamson


Where's Your Attention?

 The formal stuff can be important, but it is rarely as important as the informal stuff which operates quietly and in small increments day-by-day.

First Paragraph

 Fred Rogers had given some very specific instructions to David Newell, who handled public relations for the PBS children's show Mister Roger's Neighborhood. Rogers said he wanted no children - absolutely none - to be present when he appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago. No children? How could that be? By the mid-1980s, Rogers was an icon of children's television, known for communicating with his young viewers in the most fundamental and profound way. Why would he want to exclude them from a program showcasing his views on how they should be understood and taught?

- From The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King

Politics 101


Sunday, February 18, 2024

Saturday, February 17, 2024

AI As Theft

 Commentary: James B. Meigs on "Is AI Just Theft Under Another Name?"



The Missing Question

 Where will you be before, during, and after a project are common questions.

What will you be once it is finished is a far less common query and yet it can be infinitely more important.

Jonah Hill and His Therapist


Friday, February 16, 2024

Back By Popular Demand


Dreams and Reality

A "To Do List" is not the same as a "How I Will Do It List." 

The first is a list of goals. The second is a guide to achieving the goal.

Roland Fryer: Police Shooting, Independent Thinking, and the Pursuit of Truth


Canadian Politics


A Few Workplace Memories

Interviewing police officers who worked undercover in biker bars. Investigating a couple of cases in which curses had been placed on supervisors. Discussing management issues with a union leader whose entire philosophy of life was drawn from "The Godfather." Watching as a transit department director completely won over a hostile audience. Hearing a council member complain that the city was not losing "enough" discrimination cases. Watching a disastrous fire drill in a high-rise building. Hearing an audience confess that they did not understand anything in an IT director's presentation. Telling some young sanitation workers that the job of emptying garbage cans was going to disappear. (It did, two years later.) Discovering that the nicest people weren't always the nicest people. 

One solid memory: Muttered remarks were usually more accurate than grand pronouncements.

In the Stack


Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Demise of Europe


10 Public Speaking Rules to Tuck into Your Wallet


  1.  Unless it's unavoidable, don't wing a speech. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
  2. Nervousness is reduced by striving to put your audience at ease. 
  3. Get some perspective. If your speech doesn't soar, what are they going to do? Burn down your house? 
  4. Have a main theme. You'll be informing, persuading or inspiring; sometimes a mixture of all three.
  5. Understate your case. One overstatement can erode your credibility.
  6. Avoid jargon, even if most of your audience knows the lingo. 
  7. Review all of your content with this in mind: If you can't explain a point in plain language, you probably don't know it.
  8. Poor speakers use PowerPoint as a crutch. Visual aids should be simple and few. There is a reason for the expression "Death by PowerPoint."
  9. Prepare so that if the electricity went and the flip chat broke and you had to draw in the dirt with a stick, you'd still be effective.
  10. Never forget that your role is that of a caring and knowledgeable guide, not a wizard. Establish eye contact. Vary your tone and rate of speech. Study their body language. Consider their concerns. Connect.

[Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen at Unsplash]

The Anxious Generation



The world's first platform for the unvaccinated.

Love it. 

[And I say that as someone who got the first two vaccinations.]

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

No, They Are Not Too Old

 Granted, I'm an old guy who, after many decades, is still advising organizations on leadership, ethics, and equal opportunity, but most people should find something wrong with the assertion that Joe Biden and Donald Trump are too old for the presidency.

The question should be about ability, not age.


Great Name for a Dating Site

 Coffee Meets Bagel.

Back By Popular Demand


Serious Reader


If you are going to be a serious reader, you have to set aside time for it. 

Grab at least 10 or 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon and then a good 40 to 50 minutes in the evening. If you can get more, go for it, but recognize that life will throw distractions your way and you'll have to work around them. 

You don't have to finish everything you start, and you don't need to restrict your reading to the classics. At the same time, however, classics are classics for a reason. It is a real omission to go through life without having read "A Tale of Two Cities" or "The Grapes of Wrath." Or, yes, "War and Peace."

And there are plenty of great magazines out there.

Don't read quickly. Savor the words. Looking at what the author is doing is nice but that's a distant second to losing yourself in the story. Enjoyment can be lost if there is too much analysis, particularly when reading fiction. [I am a margin-scrawler when reading non-fiction.]

Earlier today, I thought of some books I should re-read. My short list is the following:

  • "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
  • "Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell
  • "The Last Hurrah" by Edwin O'Connor
  • "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison
  • "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens
  • "The Effective Executive" by Peter Drucker
  • "The First Circle" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • "Parties and Politics in America" by Clinton Rossiter
  • "The Closing of the American Mind" by Allan Bloom
There are many more, of course. 

Confession: I need to set aside more time to read.

[Photo by Tom Hermans at Unsplash]

Happy Valentine's Day

FutureLawyer (aka. The Late FutureLawyer) has a gift suggestion.

[Photo by Jamie Street at Unsplash]

Monday, February 12, 2024

I Give You Joy

 The Gunroom of HMS

On Campus


The Big Three

As a management consultant, I have a range of specific services, but these are my most popular products:

  •  Fresh perspectives
  • Control
  • Peace of mind.

[Photo by Daniil Silantev at Unsplash]

Everybody Does It

 The fact that everybody does something is not, of course, a signal that the practice should be adopted or rejected. The wisdom of a particular course should stand or fall on its own.

All of us know that and yet it is surprisingly easy to forget.





Sunday, February 11, 2024

Friday, February 09, 2024

Crank It Up


Call Your Family

 This post by Kurt Harden at Cultural Offering should make the rounds in many an office.

The Twilight Press Conference

We may well look back on February 8, 2024 as the specific moment in time Joe Biden’s bid for reelection was lost. The report of the special prosecutor issued this afternoon effectively said Biden was guilty of willfully mishandling classified documents—but that he could not be successfully prosecuted (and would not be until he was out of office anyway) because he is a nice senile old man and no jury would convict him.

Read the rest of John Podhoretz at Commentary magazine.

[Execupundit note: When Biden turned to go back to the lectern after his initial statement, my reaction was "Bad move. Keep on walking." I bet some White House staffers were cringing.]

First Paragraph

 I step into a familiar graveyard. My husband is with me, and so is our oldest daughter, a curly-haired girl with dark lashes and thoughtful eyes. I am showing them the graves of my forebears, here where generations of my family rest in the soil of Emmett, Idaho.

- From Uprooted: Recovering the Legacy of the Places We've Left Behind by Grace Olmstead

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Vice President Harris on Line One

Special Counsel Report: "a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory."

Colorado Ballot Case

 SCOTUS Blog: The U.S. Supreme Court seems unlikely to uphold the removal of Donald Trump from the Colorado ballot.

Our Ugly Architecture

 You get used to the ugly architecture that afflicts so much of American life: schools that look like prisons, post offices that resemble something out of the Gulag, high rises that have only one merit: height.

The main library in Phoenix looks like a giant air conditioning unit.

There were people who applauded it.

How often do you see architecture that inspires or uplifts?

A Draft

 A draft was written and submitted and soon there will be another and another until we all decide what needs to be omitted.

That which remains will stand. 

Thought is important, but exhaustion is a great editor.


Deadlines are important until they are not. 

"Rush, rush, rush" shouts one side, but when the deadline is met early and the burden of response shifts to them, all urgency is quickly forgotten.

What was once thought to be a wall becomes a spider's web. 

Keep Your Voice Down


Wednesday, February 07, 2024


 Whatever happened to Black Swan Europa?

Free Speech! Gina Carano versus Disney, aka the House of Mouse

 Jonathan Turley has the details.



People to Avoid


Meritless Meritocracy

 Like the late Angelo Codevilla, I don't mind the idea of a meritocracy in theory; I just dislike the one we've got, which consists of overeducated and cosmopolitan pseudoaristocrats who have more sense of solidarity with their counterparts in other countries than with their fellow countrymen of the populus.

- From James Bowman's essay on "Meritless meritocracy" (The New Criterion January 2024)

Just Arrived


Tuesday, February 06, 2024

Crank It Up


To Be Frequently Asked

 Is what I am doing advancing or weakening my progress?

The Tide Is Turning


Work or Rest, But Don't Do Both

A vacation is a dedicated segment of time to regain strength and renew perspective. There is a raw honesty to vacations in that you are not expected to work or even to pretend to work.

After all, you are "on" vacation.

The blur between professional and private life, however, increases the risk that your rest and escape hours may be tucked into your normal workday. That practice does justice neither to work nor leisure because focus is diluted. A multitude of distractions rob work and leisure of their desired strength.

A few suggestions:

  • It is far better to take a decent nap than to fall sleep at your desk or to complete work while in a state that is quasi-conscious.
  • Beware of taking a day or two here and there as a substitute for vacation. It isn't. Give yourself a meaningful amount of time to recharge and revive.
  • Shun any guilt feelings. The work will be waiting for you when you return.
  • Treat distractions as a robber of time because that's what they are. When you are supposed to be doing meaningful things, do so. Don't stir in distractions and think you're improving the product. A good carpenter does not watch television while making a table.
  • Respect your time. It's one of the most valuable commodities you possess and someday, believe me, it will become very scarce. 

Sunday, February 04, 2024

Saturday, February 03, 2024

This Should Be Played on High School and College Campuses


The Small Undones

They gnaw at you, the small undones.

Large undone projects are gorillas and cannot be ignored, but the small undones are content to sit in the corner and stare.

Stare at you.

And they look nowhere else.

Set aside one hour to complete the small undones.

You'll be better prepared for the gorillas.

The Skills Gap and College Degrees


Farm Land Ownership

 I'm late in getting to this. 

Law Latte has some interesting statistics on foreign-owned agricultural land in the United States.

Thursday, February 01, 2024


It makes sense for us to put as much effort into understanding people as we do to understanding dogs. 

Back By Popular Demand


Providing Needed Treatment

City Journal: Carolyn D. Gorman on the importance of focusing on treatment, not stigma, in cases of serious mental illness.

The Advantages of Going Solo


Reasons amid kindness from FutureLawyer.

[Photo by frank mckenna at Unsplash]

A Few Current Workplace Questions


  1.  How do we cultivate teams when more and more team members are working from home?
  2. DEI came in through HR. How do we head off other questionable programs in the future?
  3. How do we deal with employees who would rather text than talk and who avoid face-to-face meetings?
  4. How do we create a reading culture instead of a viewing culture?
  5. In this blurred world, where do we draw the line between professional life and personal life?

From 2005


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