Operations Management Quotes

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Some in management positions operate as if they are in a tree of monkeys. They make sure that everyone at the top of the tree looking down sees only smiles. But all too often, those at the bottom looking up see only asses.
Simon Sinek (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action)
But in the end self-confidence mostly comes from a gut-level realization that nobody has ever died from making a wrong business decision, or taking inappropriate action, or being overruled. And everyone in your operation should be made to understand this.
Andrew S. Grove (High Output Management)
Tally-When you looked around at everyone else how come you didn’t notice they were brain damaged? Az - We didn’t have much to compare our fellow citizens with. Only a few colleagues who seemed different from most people, more engaged, but that was hardly a surprise. History would indicate that the majority of people have always been sheep. Before the operation there were wars and mass hatred and clear cutting. Whatever these lesions make us, it isn’t a far cry from how humanity was in the rusty era. These days we’re just a bit easier to manage.
Scott Westerfeld (Uglies (Uglies, #1))
Change waits for no leader and the skills required for leading day-to-day operations are very different to change leadership
Peter F Gallagher
I have a very simple rule when it comes to management: hire the best people from your competitors, pay them more than they were earning, and give them bonuses and incentives based on their performance. That’s how you build a first-class operation.
Donald J. Trump (Trump: The Art of the Deal)
Change Management provides value in part by enabling people to adopt the change and operate in the future state of the company.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
Many small businesses are doomed from day one, not from competition or the economy, but from the ignorance of their owners . . . their destiny is already decided because they have no idea how a business should be operated.
William Manchee (Go Broke, Die Rich: Turning Around the Troubled Small Business)
The world is not made up of separate parts operating in isolation. This reductionist view of an understandable, controlled, and predictable world is flawed. And so, the strings, wires, and controls used to manage this illusionary discrete world are obsolete.
Roger Spitz (The Definitive Guide to Thriving on Disruption: Volume I - Reframing and Navigating Disruption)
At Mayflower-Plymouth, we approach Asset Management from a network and systems perspective as opposed to from just an entity perspective. We learn from nature and we look at how the mycorrhiza network is a manager of Capital and an allocator of Capital, both a means and a method - and we try to operate in the same way.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
Another key to fielding a great team is pairing visionaries, who can generate ideas, with operating managers, who can execute them. Visions without execution are hallucinations.31
Walter Isaacson (The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution)
In Venezuela Chavez has made the co-ops a top political priority, giving them first refusal on government contracts and offering them economic incentives to trade with one another. By 2006, there were roughly 100,000 co-operatives in the country, employing more than 700,000 workers. Many are pieces of state infrastructure – toll booths, highway maintenance, health clinics – handed over to the communities to run. It’s a reverse of the logic of government outsourcing – rather than auctioning off pieces of the state to large corporations and losing democratic control, the people who use the resources are given the power to manage them, creating, at least in theory, both jobs and more responsive public services. Chavez’s many critics have derided these initiatives as handouts and unfair subsidies, of course. Yet in an era when Halliburton treats the U.S. government as its personal ATM for six years, withdraws upward of $20 billion in Iraq contracts alone, refuses to hire local workers either on the Gulf coast or in Iraq, then expresses its gratitude to U.S. taxpayers by moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai (with all the attendant tax and legal benefits), Chavez’s direct subsidies to regular people look significantly less radical.
Naomi Klein
With a Masters in Management from USC, I did some consultant work in Reorganization, New Products, and Change. Amazon was smart to have me as a Beta and got my advice for free. Amazon was the only company who did because for other companies, it wasn't. But what I got from Amazon is a good understanding of how they operate, the culture, and the people behind the business - Strong by Kailin Gow
Kailin Gow
Within the industries where businesses typically operate with tight margins, bartering provides even more of an operational advantage. And by incorporating bartering into those industries, wider margins can maybe become more typical.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
Liquidity is essential in business. So many businesses fail because of a failure to retain liquidity. But the principle is simple - to get things done, businesses need access to cash and capital. And without that access to cash and capital the business will fail because it won't be able to find it's operations.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
Because one’s bank account and one’s friendships can now be managed through identical machinic operations and gestures, there is a growing homogenization of what used to be entirely unrelated areas of experience.
Jonathan Crary (24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep)
The form of association, however, which if mankind continue to improve, must be expected in the end to predominate, is not that which can exist between a capitalist as chief, and work-people without a voice in the management, but the association of the labourers themselves on terms of equality, collectively owning the capital with which they carry on their operations, and working under managers elected and removable by themselves.
John Stuart Mill (Principles of Political Economy: And Chapters on Socialism)
Independently, new technologies can be pretty impactful to businesses. But the whole world in which businesses operate changes with the convergence of many new technologies. So we need to always be mindful of how technologies are converging and how that convergence may pressure us to adapt how we think about business and how we do business.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
Though how you manage to find every asshole who doesn’t know what to do with his penis is beyond me. I mean, they grew up with it, how do they not know how it operates?
Celia Kyle (Wicked Howl (Wicked in Wilder, #1))
Mayflower-Plymouth Capital LLC is a Capital Management Firm based in Arlington Virginia and operating internationally.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
The assault on education began more than a century ago by industrialists and capitalists such as Andrew Carnegie. In 1891, Carnegie congratulated the graduates of the Pierce College of Business for being “fully occupied in obtaining a knowledge of shorthand and typewriting” rather than wasting time “upon dead languages.” The industrialist Richard Teller Crane was even more pointed in his 1911 dismissal of what humanists call the “life of the mind.” No one who has “a taste for literature has a right to be happy” because “the only men entitled to happiness… is those who are useful.” The arrival of industrialists on university boards of trustees began as early as the 1870s and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business offered the first academic credential in business administration in 1881. The capitalists, from the start, complained that universities were unprofitable. These early twentieth century capitalists, like heads of investment houses and hedge-fund managers, were, as Donoghue writes “motivated by an ethically based anti-intellectualism that transcended interest in the financial bottom line. Their distrust of the ideal of intellectual inquiry for its own sake, led them to insist that if universities were to be preserved at all, they must operate on a different set of principles from those governing the liberal arts.
Chris Hedges (Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle)
As the transition becomes more difficult to manage, the family unit must be carefully disintegrated, and state-controlled public education and state-operated child-care centers must become more common and legally enforced so as to begin the detachment of the child from the mother and father at an earlier age.
Milton William Cooper (Behold a Pale Horse)
The Church was the one institution whose mission depended on galvanizing attention; and through its daily and weekly offices, as well as its sometimes central role in education, that is exactly what it managed to do. At the dawn of the attention industries, then, religion was still, in a very real sense, the incumbent operation, the only large-scale human endeavor designed to capture attention and use it.
Tim Wu (The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads)
Unlike computers, however, human beings aren’t meant to operate continuously, at high speeds, for long periods of time. Rather, we’re designed to move rhythmically between spending and renewing our energy.
Jocelyn K. Glei (Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind)
If your bosses see you lifting burdens off their shoulders, and they find out they can trust you, they stay out of your face. And that gives you the freedom you need to operate independently and improve your ship.
D. Michael Abrashoff (It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy)
Even as he dances to the tune of the elite managers of human behavior, the modern man scoffs with a great derision at the idea of the existence and operation of a technology of mass mind control emanating from media and government. Modern man is much too smart to believe anything as superstitious as that! Modern man is the ideal hypnotic subject: puffed up on the idea that he is the crown of creation, he vehemently denies the power of the hypnotist’s control over him as his head bobs up and down on a string.
Michael A. Hoffman II
Matthew Boylan, former NASA operational graphics manager, worked for years creating photo-realistic computer graphics for NASA.  Now a vocal Flat-Earther, Boylan claims that NASA’s sole reason for existence is to propagandize the public and promote this false ball-Earth heliocentric worldview. 
Eric Dubay (The Flat Earth Conspiracy)
Another lesson I learned early is that there is nothing new in Wall Street. There can't be because speculation is as old as the hills. Whatever happens in the stock market to-day has happened before and will happen again. I've never forgotten that. I suppose I really manage to remember when and how it happened. The fact that I remember that way is my way of capitalizing experience.
Edwin Lefèvre (Reminiscences of a Stock Operator)
The defense of the great works of Western literature can no longer be undertaken by central institutional power though it is hard to see how the normal operation of learned institutions, including recruitment can manage without them.
Harold Bloom (The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages)
Yes, they manage to sound very reasonable to themselves as they talk of deterring others from crime; but the act of putting a man in jail remains essentially the act of trying to wish that man out of existence. From the moment of arrest one begins to feel against one's flesh the operation of this crude attempt at sorcery.
Barbara Deming (Prisons That Could Not Hold (Philosophy))
...so I walked down to the operation nearest my office, a brothel, and found the manager. Before he could say anything, I pinned the right side of his cloak to the wall with a throwing knife, about knee level. I did the same with his left side. I put a shuriken into the wall next to each ear, close enough to cut. Then Loiosh went after him and raked his claws down the guy's face. I went up and hit him just below his sternum, then kneed him in the face when he doubled over. He began to understand that I wasn't happy.
Steven Brust (Yendi (Vlad Taltos, #2))
Innovation and progress are achieved only by those who venture beyond standard operating procedure.
D. Michael Abrashoff (It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy)
When he’d joined the Service he’d been in Psych Eval, which had involved evaluating operational strategies for psychological impact – on targets as well as agents – but had also meant carrying out individual assessments; who was stressed, who’d benefit from a change of routine, and who was a psychopath. Every organisation had a few, usually at management level, and it was handy to know who they were in case there was an emergency, or an office party.
Mick Herron (London Rules (Slough House, #5))
You are no use to any family, community, cause or movement unless you are first able to manage, maintain and operate the machinery of your own life. These are the means of production that one must first seize before meaningful change can occur. This doesn't mean resistance has to stop.
Darren McGarvey (Poverty Safari)
Alexia decided, then and there, that Lord Conall Maccon clearly had only two modes of operation: annoyed and aroused. She wondered which one she would prefer to deal with on a regular basis. Her body joined in that discussion without shame, and she managed to shock herself into continued silence.
Gail Carriger (Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1))
used to think that there would one day be a vaccine: that if enough black people named the virus, explained it, demonstrated how it operates, videoed its effects, protested it peacefully, revealed how widespread it really is, how the symptoms arise, how so many Americans keep giving it to each other, irresponsibly and shamefully, generation after generation, causing intolerable and unending damage both to individual bodies and to the body politic—I thought if that knowledge became as widespread as could possibly be managed or imagined that we might finally reach some kind of herd immunity. I don’t think that anymore.
Zadie Smith (Intimations: Six Essays)
How can you be sure?" MacRae asked, one brow lifting in a mocking arch. "Will you be managing the operation yourself?" The way he asked, sarcasm wrapped in silk, elicited an odd little pang of recognition, as if she'd heard him say something in just that tone before. Which made no sense, since they'd never met until this moment.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Disguise (The Ravenels, #7))
You get what you design for. Chester, your peer in Development, is spending all his cycles on features, instead of stability, security, scalability, manageability, operability, continuity, and all those other beautiful ’itties.
Gene Kim (The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win)
Keep his mind on the inner life. He thinks his conversion is something inside him, and his attention is therefore chiefly turned at present to the state of his own mind--or rather to that very expurgated version of them which is all you should allow him to see. Encourage this. Keep his mind off the most elementary duties of directing it to the most advanced and spiritual ones. Aggravate the most useful human characteristics, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practise self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office. 2. It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very 'spiritual', that is is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rhuematism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards are her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. Thus you can keep rubbing the wounds of the day a little sorer even while he is on his knees; the operation is not at all difficult and you will find it very entertaining. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother--the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table. In time you may get the cleavage so wide that no thought or feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one. I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment's notice from impassioned prayer for a wife's or son's soul to beating or insulting the real wife or son without any qualm. 3. When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face whice are almost unedurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother's eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy--if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbablity of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her. As he cannot see or hear himself, this is easily managed.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
Lifting the bedcovers I see out of my one operational eye that my trousers are still wrapped around one leg and I now have a tie on. Now that was a neat trick – how’d I manage to get my shirt off without talking off the tie first?
Poppet (Penance)
Brainstorm your big idea(s). (2 hrs) Identify your product, customer, competition, and sales/marketing strategy. (2 hrs) Identify your plan for operations, management, capitalization, and finances. (4 hrs) Create a life plan. (4 hrs) Validate your business idea. (8 hrs) Type up your finished business plan. (4 hrs) Execute and follow through on your plan.
Steven Fies (24-Hour Business Plan Template)
Companies should care about cash flow because it's the lifeblood of their operations. It determines their ability to pay bills, invest in growth, and navigate financial challenges, making it a fundamental factor for business survival and success.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
When a man invents an image that he wants to propagate, that he may even want to substitute for himself, he starts by experimenting, making mistakes, sketching out freaks and other non-viable monsters that he has to tear up unless they disintegrate of their own accord. But the operative image is the one that's left after the person dies or withdraws from the world, as in the case of Socrates, Christ, Saladin, Saint-Just and so on. They succeeded in projecting an image around themselves and into the future. It doesn't matter whether or not the image corresponds to what they were really like: they managed to wrest a powerful image from that reality.
Jean Genet (Prisoner of Love)
Lowell's cubicle at the office was slightly larger than a toilet stall, but no higher, and although the door said MANAGING EDITOR, Lowell always felt that the words had been printed there in the same spirit that moves service-station operators to paint KING on the door of the men's privy
L.J. Davis (A Meaningful Life (New York Review Books Classics))
we’re hearing more lately: something called “DevOps.” Maybe everyone attending this party is a form of DevOps, but I suspect it’s something much more than that. It’s Product Management, Development, IT Operations, and even Information Security all working together and supporting one another.
Gene Kim (The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win)
Bob Iger, Disney's chief operating officer, had to step in and do damage control. He was as sensible and solid as those around him were volatile. His background was in television; he had been president of the ABC network, which was acquired in 1996 by Disney. His reputation was as an corporate suit, and he excelled at deft management, but he also had a sharp eye for talent, a good-humored ability to understand people, and a quiet flair that he was secure enough to keep muted. Unlike Eisner and Jobs, he had a disciplined calm, which helped him deal with large egos. " Steve did some grandstanding by announcing that he was ending talks with us," Iger later recalled. " We went into crisis mode and I developed some talking points to settle things down.
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
Every entrepreneur and every owner of means of production must daily justify his social function through subservience to the wants of the consumers. The management of a socialist economy is not under the necessity of adjusting itself to the operation of a market. It has an absolute monopoly. It does not depend on the wants of the consumers. It itself decides what must be done. It does not serve the consumers as the businessman does. It provides for them as the father provides for his children or the headmaster of a school for the students. It is the authority bestowing favors, not a businessman eager to attract customers.
Ludwig von Mises (Omnipotent Government)
Historically, shamans have always been part of the society where they lived, taking care of its problems, whenever they were allowed to operate. For centuries shamanic cultures have been persecuted in the western world until they were almost entirely exterminated. They have managed to survive in secrecy or through complex esoteric camouflage. Nowadays there seems to be more freedom and this ancient knowledge can re-emerge and be used in our own cultural context and not relegated somewhere else. The world needs shamans able to function on the roads, among the electronic equipment and engines, in the squares and markets of our contemporary society.
Franco Santoro (Astroshamanism: A Journey into the Inner Universe)
If you don’t drink coffee, you should think about two to four cups a day. It can make you more alert, happier, and more productive. It might even make you live longer. Coffee can also make you more likely to exercise, and it contains beneficial antioxidants and other substances associated with decreased risk of stroke (especially in women), Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. Coffee is also associated with decreased risk of abnormal heart rhythms, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.12, 13 Any one of those benefits of coffee would be persuasive, but cumulatively they’re a no-brainer. An hour ago I considered doing some writing for this book, but I didn’t have the necessary energy or focus to sit down and start working. I did, however, have enough energy to fix myself a cup of coffee. A few sips into it, I was happier to be working than I would have been doing whatever lazy thing was my alternative. Coffee literally makes me enjoy work. No willpower needed. Coffee also allows you to manage your energy levels so you have the most when you need it. My experience is that coffee drinkers have higher highs and lower lows, energywise, than non–coffee drinkers, but that trade-off works. I can guarantee that my best thinking goes into my job, while saving my dull-brain hours for household chores and other simple tasks. The biggest downside of coffee is that once you get addicted to caffeine, you can get a “coffee headache” if you go too long without a cup. Luckily, coffee is one of the most abundant beverages on earth, so you rarely have to worry about being without it. Coffee costs money, takes time, gives you coffee breath, and makes you pee too often. It can also make you jittery and nervous if you have too much. But if success is your dream and operating at peak mental performance is something you want, coffee is a good bet. I highly recommend it. In fact, I recommend it so strongly that I literally feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t developed the habit.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
Mindset is everything: the software operates the hardware.
Richie Norton (Anti-Time Management: Reclaim Your Time and Revolutionize Your Results with the Power of Time Tipping)
Nortel—another troubled networking company that suffered operating problems as a result of botched mergers.
Jeffrey Pfeffer (Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-based Management)
Never be mean to someone who can hurt you by doing nothing.
Chris Voss (Service Operations Dynamics: Managing in an Age of Digitization, Disruption and Discontent)
Strategic-operational KPIs alignment gives the organization a powerful tool to use when implementing change.
Pearl Zhu (Performance Master: Take a Holistic Approach to Unlock Digital Performance)
An organization has integrity—is healthy—when it is whole, consistent, and complete, that is, when its management, operations, strategy, and culture fit together and make sense.
Patrick Lencioni (The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business)
Do not tend to hire only people who see what you see. Such a tendency may lead to a decline in operating profit, and even bankruptcy.
Eraldo Banovac
His management mantra was “Focus.” He eliminated excess product lines and cut extraneous features in the new operating system software that Apple was developing
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
If you think he is the epitome of awesome, tell him. If you don’t think he is operating at the level you’d like to see, he should know that, too, and precisely why you feel that way.
Julie Zhuo (The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You)
In the Trinity, the Father is the manager. The Son is the lover of operations. Holy Spirit is worker. So it's the three-in-one getting things done. --- Joshiah's thoughts typed on his iPad
Tahni Cullen (Josiah's Fire: Autism Stole His Words, God Gave Him a Voice (Paperback) – Inspirational Book on Overcoming Adversity Through God)
JESUS’S PATH WAS exactly that, a radically unmanageable simplicity—nothing held back, nothing held onto. It was almost too much for his followers to bear. Even within the gospels themselves, we see a tendency to rope him back in again, to turn his teachings into a manageable complexity. Take his radically simple saying: “Those who would lose their life will find it; and those who would keep it will lose it.” Very quickly the gospels add a caveat: “Those who would lose their life for my sake and the sake of the gospel will find it.” That may be the way you’ve always heard this teaching, even though most biblical scholars agree that the italicized words are a later addition. But you can see what this little addition has done: it has shifted the ballpark away from the transformation of consciousness (Jesus’s original intention) and into martyrdom, a set of sacrificial actions you can perform with your egoic operating system still intact. Right from
Cynthia Bourgeault (The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind)
An active manager must overcome the drag of about 3.25 percent in annual operating costs. If the fund manager is only to match the market’s historical 9 percent return, he or she must return 12.25 percent before all those costs. In other words, to do merely as well as the market, an active fund manager must be able to outperform the market return by over one-third or 34.1 percent!5
Charles D. Ellis (Winning the Loser's Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing)
The operating management, providing as it does for the care of near thirty thousand miles of railway, is far more important than that for construction in which there is comparatively little doing.
John Bloomfield Jervis
Rather than dedicated emergency motors, the system was driven by the same electric servos that moved the manual reactor control rods, used by the operators to manage reactor power during normal operation.
Adam Higginbotham (Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster)
Ian also had issues with Elizabeth’s management, especially the way she siloed the groups off from one another and discouraged them from communicating. The reason she and Sunny invoked for this way of operating was that Theranos was “in stealth mode,” but it made no sense to Ian. At the other diagnostics companies where he had worked, there had always been cross-functional teams with representatives from the chemistry, engineering, manufacturing, quality control, and regulatory departments working toward a common objective. That was how you got everyone on the same page, solved problems, and met deadlines.
John Carreyrou (Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup)
Those who were called skillful leaders of old knew how to drive a wedge between the enemy's front and rear; [More literally, "cause the front and rear to lose touch with each other."] to prevent co-operation between his large and small divisions; to hinder the good troops from rescuing the bad, the officers from rallying their men. 16. When the enemy's men were united, they managed to keep them in disorder.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
One of the most important decisions any CEO makes is how he spends his time—specifically, how much time he spends in three essential areas: management of operations, capital allocation, and investor relations.
William N. Thorndike Jr. (The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success)
She just wouldn’t stop reimplementing operating system features for her programming class. The only thing keeping her alive was a feeding tube the docs had managed to force up her nose while she was in restraints.
Annalee Newitz (Autonomous)
To be a manager, one must be able to manage her own relationship with the people around her, as well as the relationships among her subordinates. Just being perfect in paperwork and operations does not make one a good manager.
Sophie L. Rose
Perhaps most unsettling, Quigley reveals that real power operates behind the scenes, in secrecy, and with little to fear from so-called democratic elections. He proves that conspiracies, secret societies, and small, powerful networks of individuals are not only real; they’re extremely effective at creating or destroying entire nations and shaping the world as a whole. We learn that “representative government” is, at best, a carefully managed con game.
Joseph Plummer (Tragedy and Hope 101: The Illusion of Justice, Freedom, and Democracy)
Kuslich SD, Ulstrom CL, Michael CJ. The tissue origin of low back pain and sciatica: a report of pain response to tissue stimulation during operations on the lumbar spine using local anesthesia. Orthop Clin North Am. 1991;22(2):181
Timothy R. Deer (Comprehensive Treatment of Chronic Pain by Medical, Interventional, and Integrative Approaches: The American Academy of Pain Medicine Textbook on Patient Management)
ESG is already built into our Principles of Permaculture Capital Stewardship. By modeling nature, we operate in a way that respects the environment, promotes thriving beyond sustainability, and applies high ethical standards to governance.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr.
term Lean was coined by John Krafcik in a 1988 article based on his master’s thesis at MIT Sloan School of Management1 and then popularized in The Machine that Changed the World and Lean Thinking. Lean Thinking summarized Womack and Jones’s findings from studying how Toyota operates, an approach that was spearheaded by Taiichi Ohno, codified by Shigeo Shingo, and strongly influenced by the work of W. Edwards Deming, Joseph Juran, Henry Ford, and U.S. grocery stores. Lean Thinking framed Toyota’s
Karen Martin (Value Stream Mapping: How to Visualize Work and Align Leadership for Organizational Transformation)
Left to themselves, humans have always managed their own affairs creatively and well. Indeed, for most of human evolution and history people have lived peaceful, co-operative lives without rulers, leaders, politicians, soldiers, policemen and taxmen.
Peter H. Marshall (Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism)
What’s crucial, from my point of view as a teacher, is that students learn to manage their anxiety. As we know, stress in life is inevitable; a student who opts for less stress is only hurting his or her chances of learning how to operate well under stress.
Wendy Suzuki (Good Anxiety: Harnessing the Power of the Most Misunderstood Emotion)
As the manager of my hedge fund, I’ve shorted the stocks of over two hundred companies that have eventually gone bankrupt. Many of these businesses started out with promising, even inspired ideas: natural cures for common diseases, for example, or a cool new kind of sporting goods product. Others were once-thriving organizations trying to rebound from hard times. Despite their differences, they all failed because their leaders made one or more of six common mistakes that I look for: They learned from only the recent past. They relied too heavily on a formula for success. They misread or alienated their customers. They fell victim to a mania. They failed to adapt to tectonic shifts in their industries. They were physically or emotionally removed from their companies’ operations.
Scott Fearon (Dead Companies Walking: How A Hedge Fund Manager Finds Opportunity in Unexpected Places)
I had fled that place in hopes of finding another that had been founded upon different principles and operated under a different order. But there was no such place, or none that I could find. It seemed the only course of action left to me was to make an end of it.
Thomas Ligotti (Teatro Grottesco)
I’ve managed to stay in a perpetual state of learning only by maintaining what I think of as a posture of ignorant humility. This humility is as mandatory as arrogance… There is only one way to deal with this humiliation: bow you head, let go of the idea that you know anything, and ask politely of this new machine “How do you wish to be operated?” If you accept your ignorance, once you really admit to yourself that everything you know is now useles, the new machine will be good to you and tell you: here is how to operate me.
Ellen Ullman (Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents)
It is surprising that nobody actually knows how many hedge funds or money management firms operating as hedge funds exist in this country. There are no regulations that require funds to register; in fact, there are actually few regulations that they have to follow.
Harry Markopolos (No One Would Listen)
The most common cause of plans going wrong and operations collapsing can usually be traced to a communication breakdown. The secret to management success, in peace or war, is to explain strategy in clear terms, and to listen. Acquire those two skills, and fate will be kind.
Jack McDevitt (Octavia Gone (Alex Benedict #8))
If you think of capital allocation more broadly as resource allocation and include the deployment of human resources, you find again that Singleton had a highly differentiated approach. Specifically, he believed in an extreme form of organizational decentralization with a wafer-thin corporate staff at headquarters and operational responsibility and authority concentrated in the general managers of the business units. This was very different from the approach of his peers, who typically had elaborate headquarters staffs replete with vice presidents and MBAs.
William N. Thorndike Jr. (The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success)
Radical Candor is so often misunderstood is that it’s confused with Ray Dalio’s Radical Transparency. While Dalio and I are very much aligned on the importance of challenging directly, there’s not much focus on care personally in his “manage as someone operating a machine to achieve a goal” philosophy.1 Furthermore, relationships require some privacy, so while I am all for transparency when it comes to business results, I don’t believe that Radical Transparency fosters good working relationships, contributes to psychological safety, or results in a productive, happy culture.
Kim Malone Scott (Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity)
I held a brain for the cameras at St Paul’s teaching hospital in Addis. It is the most complex single object in the known universe, a most intricate example of emergent complexity assembled over 4 billion years by natural selection operating within the constraints placed upon it by the laws of physics and the particular biochemistry of life on Earth. It contains around 85 billion individual neurons, which is of the same order as the number of stars in an average galaxy. But that doesn’t begin to describe its complexity. Each neuron is thought to make between 10,000 and 100,000 connections to other neurons, making the brain a computer way beyond anything our current technology can simulate. When we do manage to simulate one, I have no doubt that sentience will emerge; consciousness is not magic, it is an emergent property consistent with the known laws of nature.
Brian Cox (Human Universe)
The management no longer depends upon the talents or skills of its workers---those things are built into the operating systems and machines. Jobs that have been "deskilled" can be filled cheaply. The need to retain any individual worker is greatly reduced by the ease with which he or she can be replaced.
Eric Schlosser
Granny Weatherwax was in trouble. First of all, she decided, she should never have allowed Hilta to talk her into borrowing her broomstick. It was elderly, erratic, would fly only at night and even then couldn't manage a speed much above a trot. Its lifting spells had worn so thin that it wouldn't even begin to operate until it was already moving at a fair lick. It was, in fact, the only broomstick ever to need bump-starting. And it was while Granny Weatherwax, sweating and cursing, was running along a forest path holding the damn thing at shoulder height for the tenth time that she had found the bear trap. The second problem was that a bear had found it first. In fact this hadn’t been too much of a problem because Granny, already in a bad temper, hit it right between the eyes with the broomstick and it was now sitting as far away from her as it was possible to get in a pit, and trying to think happy thoughts.
Terry Pratchett (Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches, #1))
Intellectuals analyze the operations of international systems; statesmen build them. And there is a vast difference between the perspective of an analyst and that of a statesman. The analyst can choose which problem he wishes to study, whereas the statesman’s problems are imposed on him. The analyst can allot whatever time is necessary to come to a clear conclusion; the overwhelming challenge to the statesman is the pressure of time. The analyst runs no risk. If his conclusions prove wrong, he can write another treatise. The statesman is permitted only one guess; his mistakes are irretrievable. The analyst has available to him all the facts; he will be judged on his intellectual power. The statesman must act on assessments that cannot be proved at the time that he is making them; he will be judged by history on the basis of how wisely he managed the inevitable change and, above all, by how well he preserves the peace.
Henry Kissinger (Diplomacy)
Meanwhile, bank executives bristled—sometimes privately, but often in the press—at any suggestion that they had in any way screwed up, or should be subject to any constraints when it came to running their business. This last bit of chutzpah was most pronounced in the two savviest operators on Wall Street, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, both of whom insisted that their institutions had avoided the poor management decisions that plagued other banks and neither needed nor wanted government assistance. These claims were true only if you ignored the fact that the solvency of both outfits depended entirely on the ability of the Treasury and the Fed to keep the rest of the financial system afloat, as well as the fact that Goldman in particular had been one of the biggest peddlers of subprime-based derivatives—and had dumped them onto less sophisticated customers right before the bottom fell out.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
Managers are not confronted with problems that are independent of each other, but with dynamic situations that consist of complex systems of changing problems that interact with each other. I call such situations messes.... Managers do not solve problems, they manage messes. -RUSSELL ACKOFF,' operations theorist
Donella H. Meadows (Thinking in Systems: A Primer: International Bestseller)
Only experience can refine a leader's art. High-uncertainty projects are full of anxiety, change, and ambiguity that the team must deal with. It takes a different style of project management, a different pattern of team operation, and a different type of project leader. I've labeled this type of management leadership-collaboration.
Jim Highsmith (Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products)
We find that firms with award-winning CEOs subsequently underperform, in terms both of stock and of operating performance. At the same time, CEO compensation increases, CEOs spend more time on activities outside the company such as writing books and sitting on outside boards, and they are more likely to engage in earnings management.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
It’s difficult to overstate the enormity of this problem—it affects every organization, independent of the industry we operate in, the size of our organization, whether we are profit or non-profit. Now more than ever, how technology work is managed and performed predicts whether our organizations will win in the marketplace, or even survive.
Gene Kim (The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations)
Each system may have a specific purpose but it links with others to achieve a common goal. Systems ensure a solid working approach across the board to make sure your company runs as efficiently as possible. Typical systems include operations, product development, billing and accounting, customer service, marketing, HR, and resource management.
Andrea Plos (Sources of Wealth)
It has come to my belated attention, due to a loop that I only recently managed to break, that, although you are undoubtedly human, and fragile, I am still fond of you. I’ve tried to fight it. I’ve asked the doctor if I can be cured or operated on, but it seems there is no cure, lobotomy, or programming solution to my dilemma but one. I need to keep you.
Eve Langlais (Aramus (Cyborgs: More Than Machines, #4))
It isn’t possible to really know a city without working in it. Not because work forces you to interact with unpleasant people you would otherwise avoid (which can easily be managed by hanging around an art gallery or going to the beach), but because a city is essentially a massive production line, and only by entering its infernal machinery can you see how it operates.
André Forget (In the City of Pigs)
Non-Essentialists apply implicit or unspoken criteria to the decisions they make in both their personal and their professional lives. For example, when deciding what projects to take on at work, a non-Essentialist may operate by the implicit criterion, “If my manager asks me to do it, then I should do it.” Or even more broadly, “If someone asks me to do something, I should try to do it.” Or
Greg McKeown (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less)
Life is an opportunity to create meaning by our deeds, our actions and how we manage our way through the short part of infinity we're given to operate in. And once our life is finished, our atoms go back to forming other interesting configurations with those of other people, animals, plants and anything else that happens to be around, as we all roll along in one big, ever changing, universe.
William Meikle (The Concordances of the Red Serpent)
We became the most successful advanced projects company in the world by hiring talented people, paying them top dollar, and motivating them into believing that they could produce a Mach 3 airplane like the Blackbird a generation or two ahead of anybody else. Our design engineers had the keen experience to conceive the whole airplane in their mind’s-eye, doing the trade-offs in their heads between aerodynamic needs and weapons requirements. We created a practical and open work environment for engineers and shop workers, forcing the guys behind the drawing boards onto the shop floor to see how their ideas were being translated into actual parts and to make any necessary changes on the spot. We made every shop worker who designed or handled a part responsible for quality control. Any worker—not just a supervisor or a manager—could send back a part that didn’t meet his or her standards. That way we reduced rework and scrap waste. We encouraged our people to work imaginatively, to improvise and try unconventional approaches to problem solving, and then got out of their way. By applying the most commonsense methods to develop new technologies, we saved tremendous amounts of time and money, while operating in an atmosphere of trust and cooperation both with our government customers and between our white-collar and blue-collar employees. In the end, Lockheed’s Skunk Works demonstrated the awesome capabilities of American inventiveness when free to operate under near ideal working conditions. That may be our most enduring legacy as well as our source of lasting pride.
Ben R. Rich (Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed)
It was history’s first co-operative international scientific venture, and almost everywhere it ran into problems. Many observers were waylaid by war, sickness or shipwreck. Others made their destinations but opened their crates to find equipment broken or warped by tropical heat. Once again the French seemed fated to provide the most memorably unlucky participants. Jean Chappe spent months travelling to Siberia by coach, boat and sleigh, nursing his delicate instruments over every perilous bump, only to find the last vital stretch blocked by swollen rivers, the result of unusually heavy spring rains, which the locals were swift to blame on him after they saw him pointing strange instruments at the sky. Chappe managed to escape with his life, but with no useful measurements. Unluckier
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
If we don't manage our feelings, thoughts, actions, and patterns, they operate on automatic and can sabotage our dreams, place stress on our personal and professional relationships, and distract us from our goals. Just as we need lots of practice to learn to ride a bike and to speak a second language, we need practice to become skillful at managing our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and patterns.
Patricia Lynn Reilly (A Deeper Wisdom: The 12 Steps from a Woman's Perspective)
Poor fool! If he had only left that shutter alone. He had no restraint, no restraint—just like Kurtz—a tree swayed by the wind. As soon as I had put on a dry pair of slippers, I dragged him out, after first jerking the spear out of his side, which operation I confess I performed with my eyes shut tight. His heels leaped together over the little doorstep; his shoulders were pressed to my breast; I hugged him from behind desperately. Oh! he was heavy, heavy; heavier than any man on earth, I should imagine. Then without more ado I tipped him overboard. The current snatched him as though he had been a wisp of grass, and I saw the body roll over twice before I lost sight of it for ever. All the pilgrims and the manager were then congregated on the awning–deck about the pilot–house, chattering at each other like a flock of excited magpies, and there was a scandalized murmur at my heartless promptitude. What they wanted to keep that body hanging about for I can’t guess. Embalm it, maybe. But I had also heard another, and a very ominous, murmur on the deck below. My friends the wood–cutters were likewise scandalized, and with a better show of reason—though I admit that the reason itself was quite inadmissible. Oh, quite! I had made up my mind that if my late helmsman was to be eaten, the fishes alone should have him. He had been a very second–rate helmsman while alive, but now he was dead he might have become a first–class temptation, and possibly cause some startling trouble. Besides, I was anxious to take the wheel, the man in pink pyjamas showing himself a hopeless duffer at the business.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
Mook was already operating inside a framework first developed for Hillary by David Plouffe, President Barack Obama’s longtime strategist, who had put together a preliminary memo for Hillary in December 2013. As Obama’s campaign manager in 2008, Plouffe had despised Clinton; that he was now advising her was an important signal of just how completely she would co-opt the Democratic establishment even before she began running. Plouffe
Jonathan Allen (Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign)
You know, I still feel in my wrists certain echoes of the pram-pusher’s knack, such as, for example, the glib downward pressure one applied to the handle in order to have the carriage tip up and climb the curb. First came an elaborate mouse-gray vehicle of Belgian make, with fat autoid tires and luxurious springs, so large that it could not enter our puny elevator. It rolled on sidewalks in a slow stately mystery, with the trapped baby inside lying supine, well covered with down, silk and fur; only his eyes moved, warily, and sometimes they turned upward with one swift sweep of their showy lashes to follow the receding of branch-patterned blueness that flowed away from the edge of the half-cocked hood of the carriage, and presently he would dart a suspicious glance at my face to see if the teasing trees and sky did not belong, perhaps to the same order of things as did rattles and parental humor. There followed a lighter carriage, and in this, as he spun along, he would tend to rise, straining at his straps; clutching at the edges; standing there less like the groggy passenger of a pleasure boat than like an entranced scientist in a spaceship; surveying the speckled skeins of a live, warm world; eyeing with philosophic interest the pillow he had managed to throw overboard; falling out himself when a strap burst one day. Still later he rode in one of those small contraptions called strollers; from initial springy and secure heights the child came lower and lower, until, when he was about one and a half, he touched ground in front of the moving stroller by slipping forward out of his seat and beating the sidewalk with his heels in anticipation of being set loose in some public garden. A new wave of evolution started to swell, gradually lifting him again from the ground, when, for his second birthday, he received a four-foot-long, silver-painted Mercedes racing car operated by inside pedals, like an organ, and in this he used to drive with a pumping, clanking noise up and down the sidewalk of the Kurfurstendamm while from open windows came the multiplied roar of a dictator still pounding his chest in the Neander valley we had left far behind.
Vladimir Nabokov
The academic literature describes marshals who “‘police’ other demonstrators,” and who have a “collaborative relationship” with the authorities. This is essentially a strategy of co-optation. The police enlist the protest organizers to control the demonstrators, putting the organization at least partly in the service of the state and intensifying the function of control. (...) Police/protestor cooperation required a fundamental adjustment in the attitude of the authorities. The Negotiated Management approach demanded the institutionalization of protest. Demonstrations had to be granted some degree of legitimacy so they could be carefully managed rather than simply shoved about. This approach de-emphasized the radical or antagonistic aspects of protest in favor of a routinized and collaborative approach. Naturally such a relationship brought with it some fairly tight constraints as to the kinds of protest activity available. Rallies, marches, polite picketing, symbolic civil disobedience actions, and even legal direct action — such as strikes or boycotts — were likely to be acceptable, within certain limits. Violence, obviously, would not be tolerated. Neither would property destruction. Nor would any of the variety of tactics that had been developed to close businesses, prevent logging, disrupt government meetings, or otherwise interfere with the operation of some part of society. That is to say, picketing may be fine, barricades are not. Rallies were in, riots were out. Taking to the streets — under certain circumstances — may be acceptable; taking over the factories was not. The danger, for activists, is that they might permanently limit themselves to tactics that were predictable, non-disruptive, and ultimately ineffective.
Kristian Williams (Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America)
In some organizations, they can succeed if they are simply good at making presentations to the board of directors or writing strategies or plans. The tragedy is that these talents mask real deficiencies in overall management capabilities. These talented performers run for cover when grubby operating decisions must be made and often fail miserably when they are charged with earning a profit, getting things done and moving an organization forward.
Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies)
This kind of management system clearly has its risks. It meant Van Riper didn't always have a clear idea of what his troops were up to. It meant he had to place a lot of trust in his subordinates. It was, by his own admission, a "messy" way to make decisions. But it had one overwhelming advantage: allowing people to operate without having to explain themselves constantly turns out to be like the rule of agreement in improv. It enables rapid cognition.
Malcolm Gladwell (Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking)
Speaking of body decorations, I luuhhhvv your belly piercing!” Heeb said, looking at the gold ring in the center of her slim, tan waist. Despite the artic cold, Angelina had opted for a skin tight, black tube top that ended just above her belly, on the assumption that a warm cab, a winter coat, and a short wait to get into the club was an adequate frosty weather strategy. Heeb was still reverently staring at her belly when Angelina finally caught her breath from laughing. “Do you really like it? You’re just saying that so that you can check out my belly!” “And what’s so bad about that? I mean, didn’t you get that belly piercing so that people would check out your belly?” “No. I just thought it would look cool…Do you have any piercings?” “Actually, I do,” Heeb replied. “Where?” “My appendix.” “Huh?” “I wanted to be the first guy with a pierced organ. And the appendix is a totally useless organ anyway, so I figured why the hell not?” “That’s pretty original,” she replied, amused. “Oh yeah. I’ve outdone every piercing fanatic out there. The only problem is when I have to go through metal detectors at the airport.” Angelina burst into laughs again, and then managed to say, “Don’t you have to take it out occasionally for a cleaning?” “Nah. I figure I’ll just get it removed when my appendix bursts. It’ll be a two for one operation, if you know what I mean.
Zack Love (Sex in the Title: A Comedy about Dating, Sex, and Romance in NYC (Back When Phones Weren't So Smart))
There are plenty of attributes that separate the great leader from the good manager. Both may put their work before family and friends, survive on little sleep, endure a lifetime of red-eye flights. Look more closely and you will find that the great leader possesses an unusual, and essential, characteristic – he will think and operate like an owner, or a person who owns a substantial stake of the business, even if, in a financial or legal sense, he is neither.
Alex Ferguson (Leading: Lessons in leadership from the legendary Manchester United manager)
The myth is tenderly parodied in a 1928 silent film, The Cameraman, which has an inept dreamy Buster Keaton vainly struggling with his dilapidated apparatus, knocking out windows and doors whenever he picks up his tripod, never managing to take one decent picture, yet finally getting some great footage (a photojournalist scoop of a tong war in New York’s Chinatown)—by inadvertence. It is the hero’s pet monkey who loads the camera with film and operates it part of the time.
Susan Sontag (On Photography)
A successful special operation defies conventional wisdom by using a small force to defeat a much larger or well-entrenched opponent. This book develops a theory of special operations that explains why this phenomenon occurs. I will show that through the use of certain principles of warfare a special operations force can reduce what Carl von Clausewitz calls the frictions of war to a manageable level. By minimizing these frictions the special operations force can achieve relative superiority over the enemy. Once relative superiority is achieved, the attacking force is no longer at a disadvantage and has the initiative to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses and secure victory. Although gaining relative superiority doesn’t guarantee success, it is necessary for success. If we can determine, prior to an operation, the best way to achieve relative superiority, then we can tailor special operations planning and preparation to improve our chances of victory.
William H. McRaven (Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice)
Once the managers consoldiate their position within an institution, their objective interests no longer fully correspond to the interests of the other groups involved – voters, owners, members, teachers, students or consumers. A decision on dividends, mergers, labor contracts, prices, curriculum, class size, scope of government operations, armament, strikes, etc. may serve the best interests of the manager without necessarily contributing to the well-being of the other groups.
James Burnham (The Managerial Revolution: What is Happening in the World)
What have they fixed?” asked former McKinsey consultant Michael Lanning. “What have they changed? Did they take any voice in the way banking has evolved in the past thirty years? They did study after study at GM, and that place needed the most radical kind of change you can imagine. The place was dead, and it was just going to take a long time for the body to die unless they changed how they operated. McKinsey was in there with huge teams, charging huge fees, for several decades. And look where GM came out.”13 In the end, all the GM work did was provide a revenue stream to enrich a group of McKinsey partners, especially those working with the automaker. The last time McKinsey was influential at Apple Computer was when John Sculley was there, and that’s because he’d had a brand-marketing heritage from Pepsi. And Sculley was a disaster. Did McKinsey do anything to help the great companies of today become what they are? Amazon, Microsoft, Google? In short, no.
Duff McDonald (The Firm)
In the beginning, the U.S. government was happy with its secret operations, since it thought it had managed to gather all the evils of the world in GTMO, and had circumvented U.S. law and international treaties so that it could perform its revenge. But then it realized, after a lot of painful work, that it had gathered a bunch of non-combatants. Now the U.S. government is stuck with the problem, but it is not willing to be forthcoming and disclose the truth about the whole operation.
Mohamedou Ould Slahi (The Mauritanian (originally published as Guantánamo Diary))
For the existing enterprise, whether business or public-service institution, the controlling word in the term ‘entrepreneurial management’ is ‘entrepreneurial’. For the new venture, it is ‘management’. In the existing business, it is the existing that is the main obstacle to entrepreneurship. In the new venture, it is its absence. The new venture has an idea. It may have a product or a service. It may even have sales, and sometimes quite a substantial volume of them. It surely has costs. And it may have revenues and even profits. What it does not have is a ‘business’, a viable, operating, organized ‘present’ in which people know where they are going, what they are supposed to do, and what the results are or should be. But unless a new venture develops into a new business and makes sure of being ‘managed’, it will not survive no matter how brilliant the entrepreneurial idea, how much money it attracts, how good its products, nor even how great the demand for them.
Peter F. Drucker (Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Routledge Classics))
Nobody else in Special Operations knows about this, and I really don’t want Skirata to know, because … fine man though he might be, he does have an issue with Kaminoans. Any man who refers to them as tatsushi and actually boasts of recipes is probably best kept out of the loop. Dismissed.” Scorch chuckled approvingly as they clunked their way down the corridor toward the mess with Maze at their heels. “You think Skirata would really eat a Kaminoan?” Fixer managed a sentence, which was good going for him. “Only if he had hot sauce.
Karen Traviss (True Colors (Star Wars: Republic Commando, #3))
I frequently detect a hint of satisfaction in the accounts that manage to excavate moral and individual responsibility from the historical debris. Perhaps it is because of the unspoken belief that changing the people will change the outcome. 'No Hitler, no Holocaust.' If only a few individuals had resolved that it was unconscionable to be a bystander, then perhaps thousands would have been saved. I suppose there is some solace in recovering a history in which altering an isolated event transforms all that follows. But personalizing the story in this way can obscure how these were not isolated individuals operating on their own but rather were people situated in an organizational and historical context that profoundly shaped how they looked upon the world, what they believed they could do, and what they wanted to do. The UN staff and diplomats in New York, in the main, were highly decent, hard-working, and honorable individuals who believed that they were acting properly when they decided not to try to put an end to genocide. It is this history that stays with me.
Michael Barnett
Rowan didn’t speak as she turned on her heel and strode to the door. Didn’t speak as she opened it, exited, and shut it behind her with a gentle click. Then he swiveled in his chair and leveled Sean with a dark glare. “What the hell just happened?” “That’s called a strikeout,” Sean said with a grin. “I’ve never seen you crash and burn like that, my friend.” “I know. Embarrassing is what it is. I mean, really.” Rowan tangled his fingers through his hair. “You got a better response than I did.” “Please, I got nothing, same as you.” Rowan offered him a sheepish smile. “I know. But I felt the heat pulsing off you the moment she stepped into the office. Then I saw the fantasies you were weaving about her and decided to throw you a bone. So you want her, huh?” Sean lost his grin but managed to shrug. “Doesn’t matter. Unless you picked up on her weaving fantasies about me?” A sigh. “Sorry. Her mind was a blank slate to me. I didn’t pick up on a single thought, emotion, or desire. It’s like she operates on a completely different frequency than the rest of the world.” She probably did, with all those wires and chips in her head. “Still,” Rowan continued, “we can call Bill and tell him you’re the one who should be—” “Nope.” The word burned his tongue, and he hated himself for saying it, but he didn’t take it back. Success was too important. “I don’t exactly inspire trust in the women I date. The opposite, in fact. Something about me makes people distrust every word and action.” His affiliation with the shadows, with darkness, most likely. They must have sensed it on some level. “You’re better at romancing and I’m better at killing.
Gena Showalter (The Bodyguard (Includes: T-FLAC, #14.5))
The damage caused by overconfident CEOs is compounded when the business press anoints them as celebrities; the evidence indicates that prestigious press awards to the CEO are costly to stockholders. The authors write, “We find that firms with award-winning CEOs subsequently underperform, in terms both of stock and of operating performance. At the same time, CEO compensation increases, CEOs spend more time on activities outside the company such as writing books and sitting on outside boards, and they are more likely to engage in earnings management.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
It is unlike the industrial era, when corporations depended on people with a wide range of skills: managers and marketers, engineers and technicians, warehouse workers and salespeople. These jobs were often unionized, at least in the manufacturing and energy sectors, so that upper management was compelled at least to consider diverse views on how the business should operate. In contrast, tech firms are rarely unionized, and none of the largest internet-based firms are.7 Crucially, the tech giants employ relatively few people in proportion to their revenues.
Joel Kotkin (The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class)
My ten years of bank experience should be of interest to a rapidly growing bank like yours. In various capacities in bank operations with the Bankers Trust Company in New York, leading to my present assignment as Branch Manager, I have acquired skills in all phases of banking including depositor relations, credits, loans and administration. I will be relocating to Phoenix in May and I am sure I can contribute to your growth and profit. I will be in Phoenix the week of April 3 and would appreciate the opportunity to show you how I can help your bank meet its goals.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
To manage people effectively, you must be able to get your ego out of the way so people are allowed to grow and develop on their own, find their voice, and discover their real gifts. If you can help a person do that, they’re going to be worth a kazillion times more to you than they would if you have to scare them into working. People don’t function as optimally when they operate from a place of fear. Acting from fear will always result in fear of taking a chance. The people who work from a place of love are going to be creative and productive and hopeful and fruitful.
Christopher Catranis (Disruptive Leadership: 8 Counterintuitive Secrets for Running a Successful Business)
Smart clients say that the best way to use McKinsey is not to let them insinuate themselves—to prohibit walking the halls of the client’s offices looking for new business. Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, for example, will hire McKinsey, but for one-off projects in which the entire body of knowledge generated is transferred to JPMorgan Chase at the end of the project. The firm’s operating committee has to approve any consulting engagement, and the JPMorgan Chase executives don’t take just any consultants; they pick and choose the specific people they want on the project.
Duff McDonald (The Firm)
The entire United States government had been drifting that way for some time—management jobs once done by career civil servants being turned into roles performed by people appointed by the president. One of the problems this created was management inexperience: the average tenure of the appointees fluctuated between eighteen months and two years, depending on the administration. Another was the kind of person the job now selected for. There would be exceptions, of course, but the odds favored the pleaser. The person who did not present risks to the White House’s political operation.
Michael Lewis (The Premonition: A Pandemic Story)
All around the world, people have an overwhelming sense that something is broken. This is leading to record levels of populism in the United States and Europe, resurgent intolerance, and a desire to upend the existing order. The left and right cannot agree on what is wrong, but they both know that something is rotten. Capitalism has been the greatest system in history to lift people out of poverty and create wealth, but the “capitalism” we see today in the United States is a far cry from competitive markets. What we have today is a grotesque, deformed version of capitalism. Economists such as Joseph Stiglitz have referred to it as “ersatz capitalism,” where the distorted representation we see is as far away from the real thing as Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean are from real pirates. If what we have is a fake version of capitalism, what does the real thing look like? What should we have? According to the dictionary, the idealized state of capitalism is “an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, characterized by the freedom of capitalists to operate or manage their property for profit in competitive conditions.
Jonathan Tepper (The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition)
In airplane crashes and chemical industry accidents, in the infrequent but serious nuclear plant accidents, in the NASA Challenger and Columbia disasters, and in the British Petroleum gulf spill, a common finding is that lower-ranking employees had information that would have prevented or lessened the consequences of the accident, but either it was not passed up to higher levels, or it was ignored, or it was overridden. When I talk to senior managers, they always assure me that they are open, that they want to hear from their subordinates, and that they take the information seriously. However, when I talk to the subordinates in those same organizations, they tell me either they do not feel safe bringing bad news to their bosses or they’ve tried but never got any response or even acknowledgment, so they concluded that their input wasn’t welcome and gave up. Shockingly often, they settled for risky alternatives rather than upset their bosses with potentially bad news. When I look at what goes on in hospitals, in operating rooms, and in the health care system generally, I find the same problems of communication exist and that patients frequently pay the price. Nurses and technicians do not feel safe bringing negative information to doctors or correcting a doctor who is about to make a mistake. Doctors will argue that if the others were “professionals” they would speak up, but in many a hospital the nurses will tell you that doctors feel free to yell at nurses in a punishing way, which creates a climate where nurses will certainly not speak up. Doctors engage patients in one-way conversations in which they ask only enough questions to make a diagnosis and sometimes make misdiagnoses because they don’t ask enough questions before they begin to tell patients what they should do.
Edgar H. Schein (Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling)
You didn’t warn us about this, Readier,’ said Stowley resentfully. Gilt waved his hands. ‘We must speculate to accumulate!’ he said. ‘The Post Office? Trickery and sleight of hand. Oh, von Lipwig is an ideas man, but that’s all he is. He’s made a splash, but he’s not got the stamina for the long haul. Yet as it turns out he will do us a favour. Perhaps we have been . . . a little smug, a little lax, but we have learned our lesson! Spurred by the competition we are investing several hundred thousand dollars—’ ‘Several hundred?’ said Greenyham. Gilt waved him into silence, and continued: ‘—several hundred thousand dollars in a challenging, relevant and exciting systemic overhaul of our entire organization, focusing on our core competencies while maintaining full and listening co-operation with the communities we are proud to serve. We fully realize that our energetic attempts to mobilize the flawed infrastructure we inherited have been less than totally satisfactory, and hope and trust that our valued and loyal customers will bear with us in the coming months as we interact synergistically with change management in our striving for excellence. That is our mission.’ An awed silence followed.
Terry Pratchett (Going Postal (Discworld, #33; Moist von Lipwig, #1))
Dear Sir: My ten years of bank experience should be of interest to a rapidly growing bank like yours. In various capacities in bank operations with the Bankers Trust Company in New York, leading to my present assignment as Branch Manager, I have acquired skills in all phases of banking including depositor relations, credits, loans and administration. I will be relocating to Phoenix in May and I am sure I can contribute to your growth and profit. I will be in Phoenix the week of April 3 and would appreciate the opportunity to show you how I can help your bank meet its goals. Sincerely, Barbara L. Anderson
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
But once it was conceded that Kissinger operated from a Realpolitik framework with intellectual, even moral principles of its own that were larger than himself or his personal advantage, then difficult questions about which decisions best served American interests or humanitarian ends were open to debate. Judgment calls weren’t the same as the perpetration of crimes (although some Realpolitikers were sure to recall Talleyrand’s words upon hearing of the murder of the Duc D’Enghien: “It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder”). Because Kissinger’s leftist critics didn’t accept Realism as a legitimate basis for foreign policy, they didn’t see any need to debate matters of judgment. What was more, locked in their partisan cocoons, they had trouble acknowledging that policymakers frequently made those judgment calls in a fog of ambiguity, in which outcomes could not be predicted and the ethics of a situation could point in several directions at once. “Statesmanship,” Kissinger said, “needs to be judged by the management of ambiguities, not absolutes.” But what the left craved, what they insisted on, was moral certainty in an uncertain world, or what Kissinger, in a combative mood, called “a nihilistic perfectionism.
Barry Gewen (The Inevitability of Tragedy: Henry Kissinger and His World)
Marshall was more effective at his job because of his ability to focus on important issues—giving each full attention before moving on to the next. If he had instead accepted the status quo of the War Department operation, with sixty officers pulling him into their decision making and hundreds of commands looking for his approval on routine activity, he would have fallen into the frantic and predictably busy whirlwind familiar to most managers, and this almost certainly would have harmed his performance. Indeed, if something like a hyperactive hive mind workflow had persisted in the 1940s War Department, we might have even lost the war.
Cal Newport (A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload)
By 1986 the CIA was spending 70 per cent of its entire operations budget funding a Muslim jihad to kill Russians. The whole campaign was managed by a bunch of Islamists who were giving the lion’s share of the US money and weapons to people who wanted to kill Americans. The US was happy to use Islam as a rallying cry. The CIA funded the printing of Korans to be distributed throughout the region, and the University of Nebraska produced primary-school textbooks, known as ‘the ABC of Jihad’, which taught children the alphabet and to count with Kalashnikovs and swords instead of apples and oranges, and were filled with images of Islamic warriors. Alphabet
Christina Lamb (Farewell Kabul: From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World)
When we put a new liver in her, this simply reset the clock. It didn’t do anything to treat her disease. In some ways, this is a microcosm of how our whole health care system works. We celebrate, and pay for, the big, sexy interventions—the operation, the cardiac catheterization, the heroic treatment that is technically challenging and potentially risky. But what really matters, and yet what our health care system doesn’t prioritize, is the day-to-day caring for chronic disease, the incremental, preventative care that can avert transplant altogether. Alcoholism is never actually cured. It can be managed, it can go into remission, but it is always there.
Joshua D. Mezrich (When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon)
On one end it had a few tables and a little kitchen that served as a diner where the old men sat and drank their coffee in the morning. “Sweaty Betty” Johnson (we called her Mrs. Johnson to her face) ran the diner and has for longer than I can remember. She’s a one woman operation - she cooks, waitresses, and manages it all on her own. She makes fluffy homemade donuts and the best greasy french fries on the planet. Everything she makes is deep-fried, and her face has a permanent sheen from the grease and the heat – which is how she got the nickname Sweaty Betty. Even cleaned up for church on Sundays her face glows and sadly, it isn’t from the Holy Spirit.
Amy Harmon (Running Barefoot)
especially in the key task of translating broad strategic concepts into feasible operational orders. Marshall understood that Eisenhower had a talent for implementing strategy. And that job, Marshall believed, was more difficult than designing it. “There’s nothing so profound in the logic of the thing,” he said years later, discussing his own role in winning approval for the Marshall Plan. “But the execution of it, that’s another matter.” In other words, successful generalship involves first figuring out what to do, then getting people to do it. It has one foot in the intellectual realm of critical thinking and the other in the human world of management and leadership. It
Thomas E. Ricks (The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today)
Things didn’t seem promising initially. I arrived like everyone else did, after swearing that I wasn’t a spy or guilty of moral turpitude, and that I hadn’t got any snails. In the first, bewildering minutes outside JFK, on a Friday night in the rain, I stared out at veering yellow cabs, airport staff screaming abuse at cowboy operators, sleek limos nosing along the bedlam, the whole teetering on the brink of chaos. I thought, as many people do, This is impossible. I won’t be able to manage this. But then, we do manage- we manage to get into the city without being murdered, and wake up the next day still alive, and shortly afterwards we are striding down Broadway in the sun.
Deborah Meyler (The Bookstore)
The larger Europe grows, the more diverse must be the forms of co-operation it requires. Instead of a centralised bureaucracy, the model should be a market — not only a market of individuals and companies, but also a market in which the players are governments. Thus governments would compete with each other for foreign investments, top management and high earners through lower taxes and less regulation. Such a market would impose a fiscal discipline on governments because they would not want to drive away expertise and business. It would also help to establish which fiscal and regulatory policies produced the best overall economic results. No wonder socialists don't like it.
Margaret Thatcher
Perhaps the CEO’s most important operational responsibility is designing and implementing the communication architecture for her company. The architecture might include the organizational design, meetings, processes, email, yammer, and even one-on-one meetings with managers and employees. Absent a well-designed communication architecture, information and ideas will stagnate, and your company will degenerate into a bad place to work. While it is quite possible to design a great communication architecture without one-on-one meetings, in most cases one-on-ones provide an excellent mechanism for information and ideas to flow up the organization and should be part of your design.
Ben Horowitz (The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers)
Managerial activity tends to become inbred and self-justifying. The enterprise comes to be thought of as existing for the sake of its managers – not the managers for the enterprise. A high percentage of the time of the managers and their staff is spent on “housekeeping” and other internal problems. Self-justifying managerial control tends to keep alive operations which have little social purpose other than to nourish an enclave of of managers. Tis is conspicuously true of governments. Many acute, expensive problems which our society faces – for example, in agriculture, radio-TV, railroads, finance, etc. - are largely manufactured by the managerial agencies founded to solve them.
James Burnham (The Managerial Revolution: What is Happening in the World)
Mook had chosen not to spend money on polling, to the great frustration of some of the campaign’s aides and advisers in key states. In Florida, Craig Smith, the former White House political director, and Scott Arceneaux, a veteran southern Democratic political operative, had begged Mook to poll the state in October to no avail. Mook believed it was a waste of money. He had learned from David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, that old-school polling should be used for testing messages and gauging the sentiments of the electorate and that analytics were just as good for tracking which candidate was ahead and by how much in each state. Plus, the analytics were quicker and much cheaper.
Jonathan Allen (Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign)
Complex operations, in which agencies assume complementary roles and operate in close proximity-often with similar missions but conflicting mandates-accentuate these tensions. The tensions are evident in the processes of analyzing complex environments, planning for complex interventions, and implementing complex operations. Many reports and analyses forecast that these complex operations are precisely those that will demand our attention most in the indefinite future. As essayist Barton and O'Connell note, our intelligence and understanding of the root cause of conflict, multiplicity of motivations and grievances, and disposition of actors is often inadequate. Moreover, the problems that complex operations are intended and implemented to address are convoluted, and often inscrutable. They exhibit many if not all the characteristics of "wicked problems," as enumerated by Rittel and Webber in 1973: they defy definitive formulations; any proposed solution or intervention causes the problem to mutate, so there is no second chance at a solution; every situation is unique; each wicked problem can be considered a symptom of another problem. As a result, policy objectives are often compound and ambiguous. The requirements of stability, for example, in Afghanistan today, may conflict with the requirements for democratic governance. Efforts to establish an equitable social contract may well exacerbate inter-communal tensions that can lead to violence. The rule of law, as we understand it, may displace indigenous conflict management and stabilization systems. The law of unintended consequences may indeed be the only law of the land. The complexity of the challenges we face in the current global environment would suggest the obvious benefit of joint analysis - bringing to bear on any given problem the analytic tools of military, diplomatic and development analysts. Instead, efforts to analyze jointly are most often an afterthought, initiated long after a problem has escalated to a level of urgency that negates much of the utility of deliberate planning.
Michael Miklaucic (Commanding Heights: Strategic Lessons from Complex Operations)
The divorce of control, or power, from ownership has been due in large part to the growth of public corporations. So long as a single person, family or comparatively small group held a substantial portion of the common shares of a corporation, the legal “owner” could control its affairs. Even if they no longer actually conducted the business, the operating managers were functioning as their accountable agents. But when the enterprise became more vast in scope and at the same time, the stock certificates became spread in small bundles among thousands of persons, the managers were gradually released from subordination to the nominal owners. De facto control passed, for the most part, to non-owning management.
James Burnham (The Managerial Revolution: What is Happening in the World)
One way to get a life and keep it is to put energy into being an S&M (success and money) queen. I first heard this term in Karen Salmansohn’s fabulous book The 30-Day Plan to Whip Your Career Into Submission. Here’s how to do it: be a star at work. I don’t care if you flip burgers at McDonald’s or run a Fortune 500 company. Do everything with totality and excellence. Show up on time, all the time. Do what you say you will do. Contribute ideas. Take care of the people around you. Solve problems. Be an agent for change. Invest in being the best in your industry or the best in the world! If you’ve been thinking about changing professions, that’s even more reason to be a star at your current job. Operating with excellence now will get you back up to speed mentally and energetically so you can hit the ground running in your new position. It will also create good karma. When and if you finally do leave, your current employers will be happy to support you with a great reference and often leave an open door for additional work in the future. If you’re an entrepreneur, look at ways to enhance your business. Is there a new product or service you’ve wanted to offer? How can you create raving fans by making your customer service sparkle? How can you reach more people with your product or service? Can you impact thousands or even millions more? Let’s not forget the M in S&M. Getting a life and keeping it includes having strong financial health as well. This area is crucial because many women delay taking charge of their financial lives as they believe (or have been culturally conditioned to believe) that a man will come along and take care of it for them. This is a setup for disaster. You are an intelligent and capable woman. If you want to fully unleash your irresistibility, invest in your financial health now and don’t stop once you get involved in a relationship. If money management is a challenge for you, I highly recommend my favorite financial coach: David Bach. He is the bestselling author of many books, including The Automatic Millionaire, Smart Women Finish Rich, and Smart Couples Finish Rich. His advice is clear-cut and straightforward, and, most important, it works.
Marie Forleo (Make Every Man Want You: How to Be So Irresistible You'll Barely Keep from Dating Yourself!)
There was another inspiring moment: a rough, choppy, moonlit night on the water, and the Dreadnaught's manager looked out the window suddenly to spy thousands of tiny baitfish breaking the surface, rushing frantically toward shore. He knew what that meant, as did everyone else in town with a boat, a gaff and a loaf of Wonder bread to use as bait: the stripers were running! Thousands of the highly prized, relatively expensive striped bass were, in a rare feeding frenzy, suddenly there for the taking. You had literally only to throw bread on the water, bash the tasty fish on the head with a gaff and then haul them in. They were taking them by the hundreds of pounds. Every restaurant in town was loading up on them, their parking lots, like ours, suddenly a Coleman-lit staging area for scaling, gutting and wrapping operations. The Dreadnaught lot, like every other lot in town, was suddenly filled with gore-covered cooks and dishwashers, laboring under flickering gaslamps and naked bulbs to clean, wrap and freeze the valuable white meat. We worked for hours with our knives, our hair sparkling with snowflake-like fish scales, scraping, tearing, filleting. At the end of the night's work, I took home a 35-pound monster, still twisted with rigor. My room-mates were smoking weed when I got back to our little place on the beach and, as often happens on such occasions, were hungry. We had only the bass, some butter and a lemon to work with, but we cooked that sucker up under the tiny home broiler and served it on aluminum foil, tearing at it with our fingers. It was a bright, moonlit sky now, a mean high tide was lapping at the edges of our house, and as the windows began to shake in their frames, a smell of white spindrift and salt saturated the air as we ate. It was the freshest piece of fish I'd ever eaten, and I don't know if it was due to the dramatic quality the weather was beginning to take on, but it hit me right in the brainpan, a meal that made me feel better about things, made me better for eating it, somehow even smarter, somehow . . . It was a protein rush to the cortex, a clean, three-ingredient ingredient high, eaten with the hands. Could anything be better than that?
Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)
Fifteen years ago, a business manager from the United States came to Plum Village to visit me. His conscience was troubled because he was the head of a firm that designed atomic bombs. I listened as he expressed his concerns. I knew if I advised him to quit his job, another person would only replace him. If he were to quit, he might help himself, but he would not help his company, society, or country. I urged him to remain the director of his firm, to bring mindfulness into his daily work, and to use his position to communicate his concerns and doubts about the production of atomic bombs. In the Sutra on Happiness, the Buddha says it is great fortune to have an occupation that allows us to be happy, to help others, and to generate compassion and understanding in this world. Those in the helping professions have occupations that give them this wonderful opportunity. Yet many social workers, physicians, and therapists work in a way that does not cultivate their compassion, instead doing their job only to earn money. If the bomb designer practises and does his work with mindfulness, his job can still nourish his compassion and in some way allow him to help others. He can still influence his government and fellow citizens by bringing greater awareness to the situation. He can give the whole nation an opportunity to question the necessity of bomb production. Many people who are wealthy, powerful, and important in business, politics, and entertainment are not happy. They are seeking empty things - wealth, fame, power, sex - and in the process they are destroying themselves and those around them. In Plum Village, we have organised retreats for businesspeople. We see that they have many problems and suffer just as others do, sometimes even more. We see that their wealth allows them to live in comfortable conditions, yet they still suffer a great deal. Some businesspeople, even those who have persuaded themselves that their work is very important, feel empty in their occupation. They provide employment to many people in their factories, newspapers, insurance firms, and supermarket chains, yet their financial success is an empty happiness because it is not motivated by understanding or compassion. Caught up in their small world of profit and loss, they are unaware of the suffering and poverty in the world. When we are not int ouch with this larger reality, we will lack the compassion we need to nourish and guide us to happiness. Once you begin to realise your interconnectedness with others, your interbeing, you begin to see how your actions affect you and all other life. You begin to question your way of living, to look with new eyes at the quality of your relationships and the way you work. You begin to see, 'I have to earn a living, yes, but I want to earn a living mindfully. I want to try to select a vocation not harmful to others and to the natural world, one that does not misuse resources.' Entire companies can also adopt this way of thinking. Companies have the right to pursue economic growth, but not at the expense of other life. They should respect the life and integrity of people, animals, plants and minerals. Do not invest your time or money in companies that deprive others of their lives, that operate in a way that exploits people or animals, and destroys nature. Businesspeople who visit Plum Village often find that getting in touch with the suffering of others and cultivating understanding brings them happiness. They practise like Anathapindika, a successful businessman who lived at the time of the Buddha, who with the practise of mindfulness throughout his life did everything he could to help the poor and sick people in his homeland.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World)
Can you think of another business in the world that would continue to exist as a going concern even after it had been proven definitively—as John Bogle of Vanguard proved about the financial industry—that most of its products are vastly inferior to other, cheaper alternatives like index funds? I can’t. How about a business whose most prestigious firms have been caught defrauding their own customers not once, but over and over again? In the normal corporate world, would such a business not only continue to operate, but actually make more and more money every year? Of course not. It would be long dead by now. And yet deceiving its clients and foisting inferior and even fraudulent products on them is exactly how Wall Street stays in business!
Scott Fearon (Dead Companies Walking: How A Hedge Fund Manager Finds Opportunity in Unexpected Places)
I've found that, in most cases, managers greatly underestimate the impact that a comment or quick gesture of approval has on employees. They'll spend weeks trying to tweak an annual bonus program or some other compensation system, believing that their employees are coin-operated, but they'll neglect to stop someone during a meeting and say, “Hey, that's a fantastic example of hunger. We should all try to be more like that.” I'm not saying that compensation doesn't matter. But if we want to create a culture of humility, hunger, and smarts, the best way to do it is to constantly be catching people exhibiting those virtues and publicly holding them up as examples. No balloons, pastries, or plastic tchotchkes are necessary, just genuine, in-the-moment appreciation.
Patrick Lencioni (The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues (J-B Lencioni Series))
All these rich people with their private-jet escape routes to New Zealand—maybe it’s the operational manager in me, but all I can think about are apocalypse logistics: What zombie pilot is going to fly all those planes, and which zombie air-traffic controller is going to help land them? And who is going to do all the ongoing work of cooking and cleaning and shopping? Is the New Zealand infrastructure prepared for this? And why would people in New Zealand allow planes full of potential plague-germ carriers onto their island, no matter how much money they have? Would money have value in the new postapocalyptic economy—or would toilet paper be worth even more? Do the pilot and crew who flew you to New Zealand get saved, or do they get barred at the security gate of the bunker?
Ellen Pao (Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change)
Characteristics of the Council 1. The council exists as a device to gain understanding about important issues facing the organization. 2. The Council is assembled and used by the leading executive and usually consists of five to twelve people. 3. Each Council member has the ability to argue and debate in search of understanding, not from the egoistic need to win a point or protect a parochial interest. 4. Each Council member retains the respect of every other Council member, without exception. 5. Council members come from a range of perspectives, but each member has deep knowledge about some aspect of the organization and/or the environment in which it operates. 6. The Council includes key members of the management team but is not limited to members of the management team, nor is every executive automatically a member. 7. The Council is a standing body, not an ad hoc committee assembled for a specific project. 8. The Council meets periodically, as much as once a week or as infrequently as once per quarter. 9. The Council does not seek consensus, recognizing that consensus decisions are often at odds with intelligent decisions. The responsibility for the final decision remains with the leading executive. 10. The Council is an informal body, not listed on any formal organization chart or in any formal documents. 11. The Council can have a range of possible names, usually quite innocuous. In the good-to-great companies, they had benign names like Long-Range Profit Improvement Committee, Corporate Products Committee, Strategic Thinking Group, and Executive Council.
James C. Collins (Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't)
blackout one New York newspaper managed to appear: The New York Times. It had shifted its printing operations immediately across the Hudson to Newark, New Jersey, where the power plants were functioning and where a local paper, The Newark Evening News, had a substantial printing plant. But instead of the million copies the Times management had ordered, fewer than half this number actually reached the readers. Just as the Times went to press (so at least goes a widely told anecdote) the executive editor and three of his assistants started arguing how to hyphenate one word. This took them forty-eight minutes (so it is said)—or half of the available press time. The Times, the editor argued, sets a standard for written English in the United States and therefore cannot afford a grammatical mistake.
Peter F. Drucker (The Effective Executive)
In the wider context, there is an ongoing shift from industrial economies to knowledge economies and creative economies, from manufacturing-based processes to information-based and idea-based processes, and from international trade agreements and restrictions to increasingly competitive market challenges from emerging and expanding economies worldwide. In terms of design, this impact is apparent in the evolution of design debates: from ‘style and aesthetics’ to a means of improving products, services, innovation processes and operational efficiencies. The focus of design is now on improving customer services and experiences, and creating better efficiencies and waste reduction strategies in both the private and public sectors. It is inevitable that how design is managed in this shifting context will also change.
Kathryn Best (Design Management: Managing Design Strategy, Process and Implementation (Required Reading Range))
GET BEYOND THE ONE-MAN SHOW Great organizations are never one-man operations. There are 22 million licensed small businesses in America that have no employees. Forbes suggests 75 percent of all businesses operate with one person. And the average income of those companies is a sad $44,000. That’s not a business—that’s torture. That is a prison where you are both the warden and the prisoner. What makes a person start a business and then be the only person who works there? Are they committed to staying small? Or maybe an entrepreneur decides that because the talent pool is so poor, they can’t hire anyone who can do it as well as them, and they give up. My guess is the latter: Most people have just given up and said, “It’s easier if I just do it myself.” I know, because that’s what I did—and it was suicidal. Because my business was totally dependent on me and only me, I was barely able to survive, much less grow, for the first ten years. Instead I contracted another company to promote my seminars. When I hired just one person to assist me out of my home office, I thought I was so smart: Keep it small. Keep expenses low. Run a tight ship. Bigger isn’t always better. These were the things I told myself to justify not growing my business. I did this for years and even bragged about how well I was doing on my own. Then I started a second company with a partner, a consulting business that ran parallel to my seminar business. This consulting business quickly grew bigger than my first business because my partner hired people to work for us. But even then I resisted bringing other people into the company because I had this idea that I didn’t want the headaches and costs that come with managing people. My margins were monster when I had no employees, but I could never grow my revenue line without killing myself, and I have since learned that is where all my attention and effort should have gone. But with the efforts of one person and one contracted marketing company, I could expand only so much. I know that a lot of speakers and business gurus run their companies as one-man shows. Which means that while they are giving advice to others about how to grow a business, they may have never grown one themselves! Their one-man show is simply a guy or gal going out, collecting a fee, selling time and a few books. And when they are out speaking, the business terminates all activity. I started studying other people and companies that had made it big and discovered they all had lots of employees. The reality is you cannot have a great business if it’s just you. You need to add other people. If you don’t believe me, try to name one truly great business that is successful, ongoing, viable, and growing that doesn’t have many people making it happen. Good luck. Businesses are made of people, not just machines, automations, and technology. You need people around you to implement programs, to add passion to the technology, to serve customers, and ultimately to get you where you want to go. Consider the behemoth online company Amazon: It has more than 220,000 employees. Apple has more than 100,000; Microsoft has around the same number. Ernst & Young has more than 200,000 people. Apple calls the employees working in its stores “Geniuses.” Don’t you want to hire employees deserving of that title too? Think of how powerful they could make your business.
Grant Cardone (Be Obsessed or Be Average)
Throughout the Scriptures, God gives us constant reminders of his vastness and majesty. He reveals and invites us into relationship, but he never allows us to forget how big he is. In the Old Testament, his name served that purpose. So did the fact that he appeared to people without form. But the Israelites couldn’t handle a God that awesome, and they set about, time and again, to reduce him to a more manageable size. This has always been the temptation of the people of God—to tame him. He increases mystery; we desire to remove it. He introduces paradox; we seek to solve it. We, like the Israelites before us, want a God who is understandable and predictable and safe. We want a God who makes sense and operates according to generally accepted accounting principles. But instead, we meet YHWH and his son, Ye’shua, who don’t play by our rules.3
Mike Erre (The Jesus of Suburbia: Have We Tamed the Son of God to Fit Our Lifestyle?)
As it turned out, Sharpe was right. Cooperation succumbed to market forces, but even more to the war waged on it by the business classes. By 1887 the latter were determined to destroy the Knights, with their incessant boycotts, their strikes (sometimes involving hundreds of thousands), their revolutionary agitation, and their labor parties organized across the country. In the two years after the infamous Haymarket bombing in Chicago and the Great Upheaval of 1886, in which 200,000 trade unionists across the country went on a four-day-long strike for the eight-hour day but in most cases failed—partly because Terence Powderly, the leader of the Knights, who had always disliked strikes, refused to endorse the action and encouraged the Knights not to participate—capitalist repression swept the nation. Joseph Rayback summarizes: The first of the Knights’ ventures to feel the full effect of the post-Haymarket reaction were their cooperative enterprises. In part the very nature of such enterprises worked against them. The successful ventures became joint-stock corporations, the wage-earning shareholders and managers hiring labor like any other industrial unit. In part the cooperatives were destroyed by inefficient managers, squabbles among shareholders, lack of capital, and injudicious borrowing of money at high rates of interest. Just as important was the attitude of competitors. Railroads delayed the building of tracks, refused to furnish cars, or refused to haul them. Manufacturers of machinery and producers of raw materials, pressed by private business, refused to sell their products to the cooperative workshops and paralyzed operations. By 1888 none of the Order’s cooperatives were in existence.170
Chris Wright (Worker Cooperatives and Revolution: History and Possibilities in the United States)
Security is a big and serious deal, but it’s also largely a solved problem. That’s why the average person is quite willing to do their banking online and why nobody is afraid of entering their credit card number on Amazon. At 37signals, we’ve devised a simple security checklist all employees must follow: 1. All computers must use hard drive encryption, like the built-in FileVault feature in Apple’s OS X operating system. This ensures that a lost laptop is merely an inconvenience and an insurance claim, not a company-wide emergency and a scramble to change passwords and worry about what documents might be leaked. 2. Disable automatic login, require a password when waking from sleep, and set the computer to automatically lock after ten inactive minutes. 3. Turn on encryption for all sites you visit, especially critical services like Gmail. These days all sites use something called HTTPS or SSL. Look for the little lock icon in front of the Internet address. (We forced all 37signals products onto SSL a few years back to help with this.) 4. Make sure all smartphones and tablets use lock codes and can be wiped remotely. On the iPhone, you can do this through the “Find iPhone” application. This rule is easily forgotten as we tend to think of these tools as something for the home, but inevitably you’ll check your work email or log into Basecamp using your tablet. A smartphone or tablet needs to be treated with as much respect as your laptop. 5. Use a unique, generated, long-form password for each site you visit, kept by password-managing software, such as 1Password.§ We’re sorry to say, “secretmonkey” is not going to fool anyone. And even if you manage to remember UM6vDjwidQE9C28Z, it’s no good if it’s used on every site and one of them is hacked. (It happens all the time!) 6. Turn on two-factor authentication when using Gmail, so you can’t log in without having access to your cell phone for a login code (this means that someone who gets hold of your login and password also needs to get hold of your phone to login). And keep in mind: if your email security fails, all other online services will fail too, since an intruder can use the “password reset” from any other site to have a new password sent to the email account they now have access to. Creating security protocols and algorithms is the computer equivalent of rocket science, but taking advantage of them isn’t. Take the time to learn the basics and they’ll cease being scary voodoo that you can’t trust. These days, security for your devices is just simple good sense, like putting on your seat belt.
Jason Fried (Remote: Office Not Required)
A classic LBO works this way: An investor decides to buy a company by putting up equity, similar to the down payment on a house, and borrowing the rest, the leverage. Once acquired, the company, if public, is delisted, and its shares are taken private, the “private” in the term “private equity.” The company pays the interest on its debt from its own cash flow while the investor improves various areas of a business’s operations in an attempt to grow the company. The investor collects a management fee and eventually a share of the profits earned whenever the investment in monetized. The operational improvements that are implemented can range from greater efficiencies in manufacturing, energy utilization, and procurement; to new product lines and expansion into new markets; to upgraded technology; and even leadership development of the company’s management team.
Stephen A. Schwarzman (What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence)
It is interesting to note that in nearly all the economics courses it is taught that the income tax is the proper instrument for the regulation of the country’s economy; that private property is not an inalienable right (in fact, there are no inalienable rights); that the economic ills of the country are traceable to the remnants of free enterprise; that the economy of the nation can be sound only when the government manages prices, controls wages, and regulates operations. This was not taught in the colleges before 1913. Is there a relationship between the results of the income tax and the thinking of the professors? There is now a strong movement in this country to bring the publicschool system under federal domination. The movement could not have been thought of before the government had the means for carrying out the idea; that is, before income taxation. The question is, have those who plug for nationalization of the schools come to the idea by independent thought, or have they been influenced by the bureaucrats who see in nationalization a wider opportunity for themselves? We must lean to the latter conclusion, because among the leaders of the movement are many bureaucrats. However, if the movement is successful, if the schools are brought under the watching eye of the federal government, it is a certainty that the curriculum will conform to the ideals of Big Government. The child’s mind will never be exposed to the idea that the individual is the one big thing in the world, that he has rights which come from a higher source than the bureaucracy. Thus, the immunities of property, body and mind have been undermined by the Sixteenth Amendment. The freedoms won by Americans in 1776 were lost in the revolution of 1913.
Frank Chodorov (The Income Tax: Root of All Evil)
HSBC's executives saw an emerging class of global rich as the bank's path to prosperity. The superwealthy were increasingly stateless. They banked in Geneva. Lived in London and New York. Shopped in Paris and Milan. And they held their assets through offshore companies registered in places like the British Virgin Islands. HSBC executives were reading the telltale signs of a new age of inequality, even if they didn't recognize it as such. Governments were retreating from providing their citizens pension and health organizations, and HSBC strategy report observed. The stateless rich balked at paying taxes in their home countries, to which they felt little allegiance. It made sense to them to base their operations inside tax havens and to bank in Switzerland, where discretion was woven into the country's DNA. These trends represented an opportunity for the wealth management industry.
Jake Bernstein (Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite)
That makes a lot of sense to me. Do you believe in God?” “I believe we all share a soul and co-create a universal story that is constantly evolving. That when you share an authentic and wholesome story, it goes viral and becomes part of our collective consciousness. Truthful stories are powerful.” “So, we’re all just…stories connected to other stories by larger narratives.” “Yeah, there are books, and series, and interconnected story worlds…and fan fiction, and derivative works. A babushka doll of stories inspired by other stories. Ai ai…Harry is going to kill me. He doesn’t believe in my cosmic consciousness theory, and now I’ve managed to lose credibility with the entire scientific community.” He chuckled, tousling his hair with his fingers. “Don’t worry, folks, Harry runs the platform based on objective, observable evidence. No magical thinking is allowed in Down Below’s strategy and operations.
Alexandra Almeida (Unanimity (Spiral Worlds, #1))
Although some organizations today may survive and prosper because they have intu- itive geniuses managing them, most are not so fortunate. Most organizations can benefit from strategic management, which is based upon integrating intuition and analysis in decision making. Choosing an intuitive or analytic approach to decision making is not an either–or proposition. Managers at all levels in an organization inject their intuition and judgment into strategic-management analyses. Analytical thinking and intuitive thinking complement each other. Operating from the I’ve-already-made-up-my-mind-don’t-bother-me-with-the-facts mode is not management by intuition; it is management by ignorance. Drucker says, “I believe in intuition only if you discipline it. ‘Hunch’ artists, who make a diagnosis but don’t check it out with the facts, are the ones in medicine who kill people, and in management kill businesses.
Fred R. David (Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases, Instructor Review Copy)
If you’re going to make an error in life, err on the side of overestimating your capabilities (obviously, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize your life). By the way, this is something that’s hard to do, since the human capacity is so much greater than most of us would ever dream. In fact, many studies have focused on the differences between people who are depressed and people who are extremely optimistic. After attempting to learn a new skill, the pessimists are always more accurate about how they did, while the optimists see their behavior as being more effective than it actually was. Yet this unrealistic evaluation of their own performance is the secret of their future success. Invariably the optimists eventually end up mastering the skill while the pessimists fail. Why? Optimists are those who, despite having no references for success, or even references of failure, manage to ignore those references, leaving unassembled such cognitive tabletops as “I failed” or “I can’t succeed.” Instead, optimists produce faith references, summoning forth their imagination to picture themselves doing something different next time and succeeding. It is this special ability, this unique focus, which allows them to persist until eventually they gain the distinctions that put them over the top. The reason success eludes most people is that they have insufficient references of succeeding in the past. But an optimist operates with beliefs such as, “The past doesn’t equal the future.” All great leaders, all people who have achieved success in any area of life, know the power of continuously pursuing their vision, even if all the details of how to achieve it aren’t yet available. If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible.
Anthony Robbins (Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!)
The people in a position to resolve the financial crisis were, of course, the very same people who had failed to foresee it: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, future Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, and so on. A few Wall Street CEOs had been fired for their roles in the subprime mortgage catastrophe, but most remained in their jobs, and they, of all people, became important characters operating behind the closed doors, trying to figure out what to do next. With them were a handful of government officials—the same government officials who should have known a lot more about what Wall Street firms were doing, back when they were doing it. All shared a distinction: They had proven far less capable of grasping basic truths in the heart of the U.S. financial system than a one-eyed money manager with Asperger’s syndrome.
Michael Lewis (The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine)
First, banish the lawyers from the land. Currently the SEC, like most Washington agencies, is dominated by lawyers. In 2009 all five SEC Commissioners were lawyers. Now, I have nothing against lawyers. I’m sure they are good to their children, and many of them contribute to charities. But putting them in charge of supervising our capital markets has been an unmitigated disaster. It would be like putting a political appointee in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and expecting him to handle a flood. Very few SEC lawyers understand the complex financial instruments of the twenty-first century, and almost none have ever sat on a trading desk or worked in the industry other than doing legal work. A primary reason the SEC has reached this point is that historically the SEC Commissioners have been lawyers who may know where to find the best power lunches in Washington, D.C., but don’t have a clue as to how the financial industry actually operates on a day-to-day basis.
Harry Markopolos (No One Would Listen)
You needn't instruct me to think about my children's welfare," Phoebe said quietly. "I've always put them first, and always will. As for me being a child... I'm afraid I'm not nearly enough like one." A faint smile touched her lips. "Children are optimistic. They have a natural sense of adventure. To them, the world has no limitations, only possibilities. Henry was always a bit childlike in that way- he never became disenchanted with life. That was what I loved most about him." "If you loved Henry, you will honor his wishes. He wanted Edward to have charge of his family and estate." "Henry wanted to make sure our future would be in capable hands. But it already is." "Yes. Edward's." "No, mine. I'll learn everything I need to know about managing this estate. I'll hire people to help me if necessary. I'll have this place thriving. I don't need a husband to do it for me. If I marry again, it will be to a man of my choosing, in my own time. I can't promise it will be Edward. I've changed during the past two years, but so far, he doesn't see me for who I am, only who I was. For that matter, he doesn't see how the world has changed- he ignores the realities he doesn't like. How can I trust him with our future?" Georgiana regarded her bitterly. "Edward is not the one who is ignoring reality. How can you imagine yourself capable of running this estate?" "Why wouldn't I be?" "Women aren't capable of leadership. Our intelligence is no less than men's, but it is shaped for the purpose of motherhood. We're clever enough to operate the sewing machine, but not to have invented it. If you asked the opinions of a thousand people whether they would trust you or Edward to make decisions for the estate, whom do you think they would choose?" "I'm not going to ask a thousand people for their opinions," Phoebe said evenly. "Only one opinion is required, and it happens to be mine." She went to the doorway and paused, unable to resist adding, "That's leadership." And she left the dowager fuming in silence.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5))
Dangerous systems usually required standardized procedures and some form of centralized control to prevent mistakes. That sort of management was likely to work well during routine operations. But during an accident, Perrow argued, “those closest to the system, the operators, have to be able to take independent and sometimes quite creative action.” Few bureaucracies were flexible enough to allow both centralized and decentralized decision making, especially in a crisis that could threaten hundreds or thousands of lives. And the large bureaucracies necessary to run high-risk systems usually resented criticism, feeling threatened by any challenge to their authority. “Time and time again, warnings are ignored, unnecessary risks taken, sloppy work done, deception and downright lying practiced,” Perrow found. The instinct to blame the people at the bottom not only protected those at the top, it also obscured an underlying truth. The fallibility of human beings guarantees that no technological system will ever be infallible.
Eric Schlosser (Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety)
He kissed his way across my chest and down between my breasts, over my shirt. His fingers moved to the waistband of my panties and he slowly tried to peel them down my legs. Tried being the operative word because five pairs of underwear don’t really fit the same way as one . . . “What in the actual fuck—” he started to say, tugging at the fabric. “Just . . . Oh my God, Will—” I curled on my side, laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. He managed the first pair, holding them up victoriously before he went back for the second. “Jesus Christ,” he said, attempting to pull them down without stretching them or damaging the elastic. “Are these on with some kind of adhesive?” “No!” “Okay . . . It’s possible this wasn’t my best plan. And will you hold still! It’s like trying to peel a wiggly onion!” “I’m going to die of laughter and when the police finally get here I’ll still be wearing these hideous underwear. Why didn’t you just take them all off at once?” “You can’t expect me to think when all my blood is in my dick!
Christina Lauren (Beautiful Boss (Beautiful Bastard, #4.5))
Human evolution is not over, but the chances of natural selection adapting our species in dramatic, major ways to common non-infectious mismatch diseases are remote unless conditions change dramatically. One reason is that many of these diseases have little to no effect on fertility. Type 2 diabetes, for example, generally develops after people have reproduced, and even then, it is highly manageable for many years.8 Another consideration is that natural selection can act only on variations that affect reproductive success and that are also genetically passed from parent to offspring. Some obesity-related illnesses can hinder reproductive function, but these problems have strong environmental causes.9 Finally, although culture sometimes spurs selection, it is also a powerful buffer. Every year new products and therapies are being developed that allow people with common mismatch diseases to cope better with their symptoms. Whatever selection is operating is probably occurring at a pace too slow to measure in our lifetimes.
Daniel E. Lieberman (The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease)
Lazlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, made the following comments in an interview published by the New York Times in June 2013: “One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s (grade point averages) are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless. Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.’s and test scores, but we don’t anymore…. We found that they don’t predict anything. What’s interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well. So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who’ve never gone to college.” Doing well in college—earning high test scores and grades—has no measurable correlation with becoming an effective worker or manager.  This is incontrovertible evidence that the entire Higher Education system is detached from the real economy: excelling in higher education has little discernible correlation to real-world skills or performance.
Charles Hugh Smith (Get a Job, Build a Real Career, and Defy a Bewildering Economy)
Pointsman is the only one here maintaining his calm. He appears unruffled and strong. His lab coats have even begun lately to take on a Savile Row serenity, suppressed waist, flaring vents, finer material, rather rakishly notched lapels. In this parched and fallow time, he gushes affluence. After the baying has quieted down at last, he speaks, soothing: “There’s no danger.” “No danger?” screams Aaron Throwster, and the lot of them are off again muttering and growling. “Slothrop’s knocked out Dodson-Truck and the girl in one day!” “The whole thing’s falling apart, Pointsman!” “Since Sir Stephen came back, Fitzmaurice House has dropped out of our scheme, and there’ve been embarrassing inquires down from Duncan Sandys—“ “That’s the P.M.’s son-in-law, Pointsman, not good, not good!” “We’ve already begun to run into a deficit—“ “Funding,” IF you can keep your head, “is available, and will be coming in before long… certainly before we run into any serious trouble. Sir Stephen, far from being ‘knocked out,’ is quite happily at work at Fitzmaurice House, and is At Home there should any of you wish to confirm. Miss Borgesius is still active in the program, and Mr. Duncan Sandys is having all his questions answered. But best of all, we are budgeted well into fiscal ’46 before anything like a deficit begins to rear its head.” “Your Interested Parties again?” sez Rollo Groast. “Ah, I noticed Clive Mossmoon from Imperial Chemicals closeted with you day before yesterday,” Edwin Treacle mentions now. “Clive Mossmoon and I took an organic chemistry course or two together back at Manchester. Is ICI one of our, ah, sponsors, Pointsman?” “No,” smoothly, “Mossmoon, actually, is working out of Malet Street these days. I’m afraid we were up to nothing more sinister than a bit of routine coordination over the Schwarzkommando business.” “The hell you were. I happen to know Clive’s at ICI, managing some sort of polymer research.” They stare at each other. One is lying, or bluffing, or both are, or all of the above. But whatever it is Pointsman has a slight advantage. By facing squarely the extinction of his program, he has gained a great of bit of Wisdom: that if there is a life force operating in Nature, still there is nothing so analogous in a bureaucracy. Nothing so mystical. It all comes down, as it must, to the desires of men. Oh, and women too of course, bless their empty little heads. But survival depends on having strong enough desires—on knowing the System better than the other chap, and how to use it. It’s work, that’s all it is, and there’s no room for any extrahuman anxieties—they only weaken, effeminize the will: a man either indulges them, or fights to win, und so weiter. “I do wish ICI would finance part of this,” Pointsman smiles. “Lame, lame,” mutters the younger Dr. Groast. “What’s it matter?” cries Aaron Throwster. “If the old man gets moody at the wrong time this whole show can prang.” “Brigadier Pudding will not go back on any of his commitments,” Pointsman very steady, calm, “we have made arrangements with him. The details aren’t important.” They never are, in these meetings of his.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
Mafiosi, for Franchetti, were entrepreneurs in violence, specialists who had developed what today would be called the most sophisticated business model in the marketplace. Under the leadership of their bosses, mafia bands ‘invested’ violence in various commercial spheres in order to extort protection money and guarantee monopolies. This was what he called the violence industry. As Franchetti wrote, [in the violence industry] the mafia boss . . . acts as capitalist, impresario and manager. He unifies the management of the crimes committed . . . he regulates the way labour and duties are divided out, and controls discipline amongst the workers. (Discipline is indispensable in this as in any other industry if abundant and constant profits are to be obtained.) It is the mafia boss’s job to judge from circumstances whether the acts of violence should be suspended for a while, or multiplied and made fiercer. He has to adapt to market conditions to choose which operations to carry out, which people to exploit, which form of violence to use.
John Dickie (Cosa Nostra: The Definitive History of the Sicilian Mafia)
A number of factors contribute to the development of an individual’s “practiced self-deception.” First, people who live primarily in fantasy confuse fantasy images with real, goal-directed action. They believe that they are actively pursuing their goals, when in fact they are not taking the steps necessary for success. For example, an executive in the business world may only perform the functions that enhance an image of himself as the “boss,” and leave essential management tasks unattended. The distinction between the image of success and its actual achievement is blurred. Retreat from action-oriented behavior is masked by the person’s focus on superficial signs and activities that preserve vanity and the fantasy image. Secondly, involvement in fantasy distorts one’s perception of reality, making self-deception more possible. Kierkegaard (1849/1954) alluded to this power of fantasy to attract and deceive when he observed: Sometimes the inventiveness of the human imagination suffices to procure possibility. Instead of summoning back possibility into necessity, the man pursues the possibility—and at last cannot find his way back to himself. (p. 77, 79) Thirdly, through its assigned roles and its rules for role-designated behavior, including age-appropriate activities, our culture actively supports people’s tendencies to give themselves up to more and more passivity and fantasy as they move through the life process. In addition, the discrepancy between society’s professed values on the one hand, and how society actually operates, on the other, tends to distort a person’s perceptions of reality, further confusing the difference between idealistic fantasies and actual accomplishments. The general level of pretense, duplicity, and deception existing in our society contributes to everyone’s disillusionment, cynicism, resignation, and passivity. The pooling of the individual defenses and fantasies of all society’s members makes it possible for each person to practice self-delusion under the guise of normalcy. Thus chronic self-denial becomes a socially acceptable defense against death anxiety.
Robert W. Firestone (The Fantasy Bond: Structure of Psychological Defenses)
Joan Blondell had it all: looks, talent, energy, humor. If she never became a top-flight superstar, the fault lies mostly with Warner Brothers. At MGM, Joan could have easily had Jean Harlow’s career; at Paramount, Claudette Colbert’s or Carole Lombard’s; at Fox, Loretta Young’s; at RKO, Ginger Rogers’. Some of the fault lies, too, with Blondell herself, who later admitted, “The instant they said ‘cut!’ I was whammo out of that studio and into the car . . . In order to be a top star and remain a top star and to get all the fantastic roles that you yearned for, you’ve got to fight for it and you’ve got to devote your twenty-four hours to just that; you’ve got to think of yourself as a star, operate as a star; do all the press that is necessary . . . What meant most to me was getting home, and that’s the truth.” But if Joan Blondell got slightly lost in the shuffle at Warners, she still managed to turn in some delightfully snappy performances and typify the warm-hearted, wisecracking Depression dame. And when she aged, she did so with grace and humor.
Eve Golden (Bride of Golden Images)
Distinguish between you as the designer of your machine and you as a worker with your machine. One of the hardest things for people to do is to objectively look down on themselves within their circumstances (i.e., their machine) so that they can act as the machine’s designer and manager. Most people remain stuck in the perspective of being a worker within the machine. If you can recognize the differences between those roles and that it is much more important that you are a good designer/manager of your life than a good worker in it, you will be on the right path. To be successful, the “designer/manager you” has to be objective about what the “worker you” is really like, not believing in him more than he deserves, or putting him in jobs he shouldn’t be in. Instead of having this strategic perspective, most people operate emotionally and in the moment; their lives are a series of undirected emotional experiences, going from one thing to the next. If you want to look back on your life and feel you’ve achieved what you wanted to, you can’t operate that way.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Not coincidentally, another who noted their extermination was Hitler, who had a first-hand witness of it among his closest associates in Munich. The former German consul in Erzerum, Max von Scheubner-Richter, reported to his superiors in detail on the ways they were wiped out. A virulent racist, who became manager of the early Nazi Kampfbund and the party’s key liaison with big business, aristocracy and the church, he fell to a shot while holding hands with Hitler in the Beerhall putsch of 1923. ‘Had the bullet which killed Scheubner-Richter been a foot to the right, history would have taken a different course,’ Ian Kershaw remarks. Hitler mourned him as ‘irreplaceable’. Invading Poland 16 years later, he would famously ask his commanders, referring to the Poles, but with obvious implications for the Jews: ‘Who now remembers the Armenians?’ The Third Reich did not need the Turkish precedent for its own genocides. But that Hitler was well aware of it, and cited its success to encourage German operations, is beyond question. Whoever has doubted the comparability of the two, it was not the Nazis themselves.
Perry Anderson
The quality of the people involved in the company was just as critical. I use the word quality to encompass two quite different characteristics. One of these is business ability. Business ability can be further broken down into two very different types of skills. One of these is handling the day-to-day tasks of business with above-average efficiency. In the day-to-day tasks, I include a hundred and one matters, varying all the way from constantly seeking and finding better ways to produce more efficiently to watching receivables with sufficient closeness. In other words, operating skill implies above-average handling of the many things that have to do with the near-term operation of the business. However, in the business world, top-notch managerial ability also calls for another skill that is quite different. This is the ability to look ahead and make long-range plans that will produce significant future growth for the business without at the same time running financial risks that may invite disaster. Many companies contain managements that are very good at one or the other of these skills. However, for real success, both are necessary.
Philip A. Fisher (Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings (Wiley Investment Classics))
Why hives? Despite unfortunate terms like “queen” and “worker,” hives are actually distributed, nonhierarchical systems. For a swarm of insects, the mission might be “relocate the food source,” which they carry out algorithmically through regurgitated food or pheromone secretions. But there are no managers, no directors, and no assignments from above. Planning, such as there is, is carried out in highly localized fashion by ad hoc teams operating according to their commitment to a mission. When I pressed Green about operating in some sort of organizational anarchy, he replied: “I guess it is anarchy in the sense that there’s no structural chain of command or hierarchy—no ‘government’ of sorts. But it would be a mistake to assume that it’s disordered or without structure. On the contrary, it’s very ordered and there is structure.” The difference in these organizations is how one arrives at order and structure. In traditional firms, it happens by design, that is, through some sort of command-and-control hierarchy. But at firms like Morning Star, groups of individuals create order through social networks built around circumstances and needs. It’s as if the firm had an invisible hand.
Max Borders (The Social Singularity: How decentralization will allow us to transcend politics, create global prosperity, and avoid the robot apocalypse)
AS ALL-CONSUMING AS the economic crisis was, my fledgling administration didn’t have the luxury of putting everything else on hold, for the machinery of the federal government stretched across the globe, churning every minute of every day, indifferent to overstuffed in-boxes and human sleep cycles. Many of its functions (generating Social Security checks, keeping weather satellites aloft, processing agricultural loans, issuing passports) required no specific instructions from the White House, operating much like a human body breathes or sweats, outside the brain’s conscious control. But this still left countless agencies and buildings full of people in need of our daily attention: looking for policy guidance or help with staffing, seeking advice because some internal breakdown or external event had thrown the system for a loop. After our first weekly Oval Office meeting, I asked Bob Gates, who’d served under seven previous presidents, for any advice he might have in managing the executive branch. He gave me one of his wry, crinkly smiles. “There’s only one thing you can count on, Mr. President,” he said. “On any given moment in any given day, somebody somewhere is screwing up.” We went to work trying to minimize screw-ups.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
A year after Calder Hall opened, in October 1957, technicians at the neighboring Windscale breeder reactor faced an almost impossible deadline to produce the tritium needed to detonate a British hydrogen bomb. Hopelessly understaffed, and working with an incompletely understood technology, they operated in emergency conditions and cut corners on safety. On October 9 the two thousand tons of graphite in Windscale Pile Number One caught fire. It burned for two days, releasing radiation across the United Kingdom and Europe and contaminating local dairy farms with high levels of iodine 131. As a last resort, the plant manager ordered water poured onto the pile, not knowing whether it would douse the blaze or cause an explosion that would render large parts of Great Britain uninhabitable. A board of inquiry completed a full report soon afterward, but, on the eve of publication, the British prime minister ordered all but two or three existing copies recalled and had the metal type prepared to print it broken up. He then released his own bowdlerized version to the public, edited to place the blame for the fire on the plant operators. The British government would not fully acknowledge the scale of the accident for another thirty years.
Adam Higginbotham (Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster)
President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), accountable for the overall achievement of the Strategic Objective and reporting to the SHAREHOLDERS who include, on an equal basis, Jack and Murray. • Vice-President/Marketing, accountable for finding customers and finding new ways to provide customers with the satisfactions they derive from widgets, at lower cost, and with greater ease, and reporting to the COO. • Vice-President/Operations, accountable for keeping customers by delivering to them what is promised by Marketing, and for discovering new ways of assembling widgets, at lower cost, and with greater efficiency so as to provide the customer with better service, reporting to the COO. • Vice-President/Finance, accountable for supporting both Marketing and Operations in the fulfillment of their accountabilities by achieving the company’s profitability standards, and by securing capital whenever it’s needed, and at the best rates, also reporting to the COO. • Reporting to the Vice-President/Marketing are two positions: Sales Manager and Advertising/Research Manager. • Reporting to the Vice-President/Operations are three positions: Production Manager, Service Manager, and Facilities Manager. • Reporting to the Vice-President/Finance are two positions: Accounts Receivable Manager and Accounts Payable Manager.
Michael E. Gerber (The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It)
FOLKSBIENE, an impoverished, frail Yiddish theater company in constant danger of annihilation, had outlasted all the giants. The year of Schwartz's death the little troupe moved into the Forward building, guaranteeing it a permanent home with four walls and a roof, plus heat in the winter, fans in the summer, and best of all, continuing subsidies from the newspaper and the Workmen's Circle. Sporadically, other Yiddish productions would take place in New York, but they were one-shots, musicals, and charity fund-raisers. Ensconced in their new place, Folksbiene managers claimed that theirs was the oldest continuously operating Yiddish theater in the world. As proof, all past productions were listed year by year, ranging all the way back to 1915. It was an impressive roster. Among the authors included were Sholem Aleichem, Leon Kobrin, and both Singer brothers, Israel Joshua and Isaac Bashevis; also the Russians Alexander Pushkin and Maxim Gorki; and such American authors as Theodore Dreiser, Eugene O'Neill, Sherwood Anderson, and Clifford Odets. It didn't matter how well attended those shows were, or how well acted, or the duration of their runs. The point was that the Folksbiene had survived, just as the Jewish people had survived. Together, they were the keepers of the flame. It was a very small candle in a very big city.
Stefan Kanfer (Stardust Lost: The Triumph, Tragedy, and Meshugas of the Yiddish Theater in America)
2006 interview by Jim Gray, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels recalled another watershed moment: We went through a period of serious introspection and concluded that a service-oriented architecture would give us the level of isolation that would allow us to build many software components rapidly and independently. By the way, this was way before service-oriented was a buzzword. For us service orientation means encapsulating the data with the business logic that operates on the data, with the only access through a published service interface. No direct database access is allowed from outside the service, and there’s no data sharing among the services.3 That’s a lot to unpack for non–software engineers, but the basic idea is this: If multiple teams have direct access to a shared block of software code or some part of a database, they slow each other down. Whether they’re allowed to change the way the code works, change how the data are organized, or merely build something that uses the shared code or data, everybody is at risk if anybody makes a change. Managing that risk requires a lot of time spent in coordination. The solution is to encapsulate, that is, assign ownership of a given block of code or part of a database to one team. Anyone else who wants something from that walled-off area must make a well-documented service request via an API.
Colin Bryar (Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon)
The myriad activities that go into creating, producing, selling, and delivering a product or service are the basic units of competitive advantage. Operational effectiveness means performing these activities better—that is, faster, or with fewer inputs and defects—than rivals. Companies can reap enormous advantages from operational effectiveness, as Japanese firms demonstrated in the 1970s and 1980s with such practices as total quality management and continuous improvement. But from a competitive standpoint, the problem with operational effectiveness is that best practices are easily emulated. As all competitors in an industry adopt them, the productivity frontier—the maximum value a company can deliver at a given cost, given the best available technology, skills, and management techniques—shifts outward, lowering costs and improving value at the same time. Such competition produces absolute improvement in operational effectiveness, but relative improvement for no one. And the more benchmarking that companies do, the more competitive convergence you have—that is, the more indistinguishable companies are from one another. Strategic positioning attempts to achieve sustainable competitive advantage by preserving what is distinctive about a company. It means performing different activities from rivals, or performing similar activities in different ways.
Michael E. Porter (HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy)
This kind of speculation reached a high point with the Pentagon's initiative of creating a 'futures market in events', a stock market of prices for terrorist attacks or catastrophes. You bet on the probable occurrence of such events against those who don't believe they'll happen. This speculative market is intended to operate like the market in soya or sugar. You might speculate on the number of AIDS victims in Africa or on the probability that the San Andreas Fault will give way (the Pentagon's initiative is said to derive from the fact that they credit the free market in speculation with better forecasting powers than the secret services). Of course it is merely a step from here to insider trading: betting on the event before you cause it is still the surest way (they say Bin Laden did this, speculating on TWA shares before 11 September). It's like taking out life insurance on your wife before you murder her. There's a great difference between the event that happens (happened) in historical time and the event that happens in the real time of information. To the pure management of flows and markets under the banner of planetary deregulation, there corresponds the 'global' event- or rather the globalized non-event: the French victory in the World Cup, the year 2000, the death of Diana, The Matrix, etc. Whether or not these events are manufactured, they are orchestrated by the silent epidemic of the information networks. Fake events.
Jean Baudrillard (The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images))
If anything, the LAPD had long and famously been guilty of overreaction, as they had shown, for example, during the infamous 1988 raid on two small, adjacent apartment buildings on South Central’s Dalton Avenue. There, eighty LAPD officers had stormed the buildings looking for drugs on a bullshit tip. After handcuffing the terrorized residents—including small children and their grandparents—they then spent the next several hours tearing all the toilets from the floors; smashing in walls, stairwells, bedroom sets, and televisions with sledgehammers; slashing open furniture; and then sending it all crashing through windows into the front yard and arresting anyone who happened by to watch. As they were leaving, the officers spray-painted a large board located down the street with some graffiti. “LAPD Rules,” read one message; “Rolling 30s Die” read another. So completely uninhabitable were the apartments rendered that the Red Cross had to provide the occupants with temporary shelter, as if some kind of natural disaster had occurred. No gang members lived there, no charges were ever filed. In the end, the city paid $3.8 million to the victims of the destruction. A report later written by LAPD assistant chief Robert Vernon called it “a poorly planned and executed field operation [that] involved . . . an improperly focused and supervised aggressive attitude of police officers, supervisors and managers toward being ‘at war’ with gang members.” The
Joe Domanick (Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing)
You sound off,” he said. “Why are you whispering? I thought you and Ana were having dinner together.” I bit my lip. “It’s kind of a funny story, but you have to promise not to yell.” “Why would a funny story make me yell?” he asked warily. “Well,” I drawled. “I was on my way to meet up with Ana, and there was this truck parked in an alley that didn’t look right. So, I left my bike on the street and went to check it out.” “Jordan.” I didn’t need to see him to know he was pinching the bridge of his nose, something he’d been doing a lot in the last few months. “Don’t worry. They didn’t see me.” His tone sharpened. “Who didn’t see you?” “The Gulaks. They were too busy loading the girls into the back.” I paused as the truck slowed going around a curve. “I slipped on without them having a clue I was there.” He swore. “Do not tell me you climbed into a truck with a bunch of Gulak slavers.” I scoffed softly. “Of course not. Give me some credit. I’m on the roof of the truck.” He growled something, and I heard another male laughing. It sounded like Mario, one of the warriors we were working with on this job, along with his mate, Ana. We’d been in Panama for two weeks, at the request of the government, to locate and shut down a human trafficking ring. But this one was a lot more sophisticated than any other Gulak operation we’d encountered, and they’d managed to evade us completely. Until now. “This is not a funny story,” he said in an exasperated voice.
Karen Lynch (Hellion (Relentless, #7))
One winter day in 1993, Bob, Giselle, and Dan proposed taking me out to dinner with the stated purpose of “giving Ray feedback about how he affects people and company morale.” They sent me a memo first, the gist of which was that my way of operating was having a negative effect on everyone in the company. Here’s how they put it: What does Ray do well? He is very bright and innovative. He understands markets and money management. He is intense and energetic. He has very high standards and passes these to others around him. He has good intentions about teamwork, building group ownership, providing flexible work conditions to employees, and compensating people well. What Ray doesn’t do as well: Ray sometimes says or does things to employees which makes them feel incompetent, unnecessary, humiliated, overwhelmed, belittled, oppressed, or otherwise bad. The odds of this happening rise when Ray is under stress. At these times, his words and actions toward others create animosity toward him and leave a lasting impression. The impact of this is that people are demotivated rather than motivated. This reduces productivity and the quality of the environment. The effect reaches far beyond the single employee. The smallness of the company and the openness of communication means that everyone is affected when one person is demotivated, treated badly, not given due respect. The future success of the company is highly dependent on Ray’s ability to manage people as well as money. If he doesn’t manage people well, growth will be stunted and we will all be affected.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
language . . . what exactly was it, and how did it happen? Celeste shrugged. “Some people think it was just business as usual—mutation, adaptation, selection, mutation, adaptation, selection, a slow continuity kind of thing, for hundreds of thousands of years. But other people think it happened incredibly fast, within about forty thousand years. And that this capacity that made it possible—this built-in capacity for the operation that lets us merge expressible things into other expressible things to make more and more complex expressible things—appeared in an instant! Which makes complete sense, even though it could not be more bizarre. One tiny molecular irregularity in one tiny fetus, in a very small population of humans somewhere in Africa! One instant! A universe-altering mutation!” “But what about . . . ,” he began, but ran aground. “What about the other stuff? The stuff we can’t manage to think?” “Yeah,” he said. “Or . . . well, I mean, yeah.” “Uh-huh, that’s a problem. Actually, Friedlander was pretty interested in that. In his opinion, language developed as a way for us to deceive ourselves into believing that we understand things, so then we can just go ahead and do stuff that’s more ruthless than what any other animal does. According to him, we can formulate like a fraction of what’s inside our heads and that what’s inside our heads is mostly . . . drainage, basically, sloshing around, that doesn’t have too much to do with what’s actually out there . . .” They looked at each other, and vague shapes, like amoebas, rose, morphed, blended, and faded between them. “But at least it’s all ours,” she said. “It’s the main unique thing we’ve got. It’s our gift.
Deborah Eisenberg (Your Duck Is My Duck: Stories)
One particularly distressing example of the high cost to feminist progress exacted by the war is what happened in Pakistan after the capture of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011. In the run-up to his capture, the CIA and the U.S. military allegedly worked with the charity Save the Children in hiring Dr. Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani physician, to run a fake Hepatitis B vaccination program as a front for their surveillance operations.15 Per CIA instructions, Dr. Afridi and a female healthcare worker visited the bin Laden compound under the guise of administering vaccinations and managed to gain access, although they did not see bin Laden. In 2012, all foreign Save the Children staff were expelled from Pakistan, and in 2015, the entire organization there was required to shut its doors, despite having denied (and continuing to deny) that it was involved in this effort. The CIA managed to get their guy, but when the Pakistanis, irate at not having been told about the raid, expelled U.S. military trainers from Islamabad, they were immediately threatened with a cut of the $800 million aid package that the U.S. had promised, thus exposing yet again the coercive power that aid wields. The loss of aid money was not, however, the worst impact of the tragedy. As the British medical journal The Lancet reported, the unintended victims of the tragedy were the millions of Pakistani children whose parents now refused to have them vaccinated amidst rising rates of polio, a disease that vaccination had essentially extinguished in Western countries by the mid-twentieth century.16 In their view, if the CIA could hire a doctor to run a fake vaccine program, then the whole premise of vaccinations became untrustworthy. Within a few years of the raid, Pakistan had 60 percent of all the world’s confirmed polio cases.17
Rafia Zakaria (Against White Feminism: Notes on Disruption)
Managerial abilities, bureaucratic skills, technical expertise, and political talent are all necessary, but they can be applied only to goals that have already been defined by military policies, broad and narrow. And those policies can be only as good as strategy, operational art of war, tactical thought, and plain military craft that have gone into their making. At present, the defects of structure submerge or distort strategy and operational art, they out rightly suppress tactical ingenuity, and they displace the traditional insights and rules of military craft in favor of bureaucratic preferences, administrative convenience, and abstract notions of efficiency derived from the world of business management. First there is the defective structure for making of military decisions under the futile supervision of the civilian Defense Department; then come the deeply flawed defense policies and military choices, replete with unnecessary costs and hidden risks; finally there come the undoubted managerial abilities, bureaucratic skills, technical expertise, and political talents, all applied to achieve those flawed policies and to implement those flawed choices. By this same sequence was the fatally incomplete Maginot Line built, as were all the Maginot Lines of history, each made no better by good government, technical talent, careful accounting, or sheer hard work. Hence the futility of all the managerial innovations tried in the Pentagon over the years. In the purchasing of weapons, for example, “total package” procurement, cost plus incentive contracting, “firm fixed price” purchasing have all been introduced with much fanfare, only to be abandoned, retried, and repudiated once again. And each time a new Secretary of Defense arrives, with him come the latest batch of managerial innovations, many of them aimed at reducing fraud, waste, and mismanagement-the classic trio endlessly denounced in Congress, even though they account for mere percentage points in the total budget, and have no relevance at all to the failures of combat. The persistence of the Administrator’s Delusion has long kept the Pentagon on a treadmill of futile procedural “reforms” that have no impact at all on the military substance of our defense. It is through strategy, operational art, tactical ingenuity, and military craft that the large savings can be made, and the nation’s military strength greatly increased, but achieving long-overdue structural innovations, from the central headquarters to the combat forces, from the overhead of bases and installations to the current purchase of new weapons. Then, and only then, will it be useful to pursue fraud, waste, and mismanagement, if only to save a few dollars more after the billions have already been saved. At present, by contrast, the Defense Department administers ineffectively, while the public, Congress, and the media apply their energies to such petty matters as overpriced spare parts for a given device in a given weapon of a given ship, overlooking at the same time the multibillion dollar question of money spent for the Navy as a whole instead of the Army – whose weakness diminishes our diplomatic weight in peacetime, and which could one day cause us to resort to nuclear weapons in the face of imminent debacle. If we had a central military authority and a Defense Department capable of strategy, we should cheerfully tolerate much fraud, waste, and mismanagement; but so long as there are competing military bureaucracies organically incapable of strategic combat, neither safety nor economy will be ensured, even if we could totally eliminate every last cent of fraud, waste, and mismanagement.
Edward N. Luttwak
Yet the deepest and most enduring forms of cultural change nearly always occurs from the “top down.” In other words, the work of world-making and world-changing are, by and large, the work of elites: gatekeepers who provide creative direction and management within spheres of social life. Even where the impetus for change draws from popular agitation, it does not gain traction until it is embraced and propagated by elites. The reason for this, as I have said, is that culture is about how societies define reality—what is good, bad, right, wrong, real, unreal, important, unimportant, and so on. This capacity is not evenly distributed in a society, but is concentrated in certain institutions and among certain leadership groups who have a lopsided access to the means of cultural production. These elites operate in well-developed networks and powerful institutions. Over time, cultural innovation is translated and diffused. Deep-rooted cultural change tends to begin with those whose work is most conceptual and invisible and it moves through to those whose work is most concrete and visible. In a very crude formulation, the process begins with theorists who generate ideas and knowledge; moves to researchers who explore, revise, expand, and validate ideas; moves on to teachers and educators who pass those ideas on to others, then passes on to popularizers who simplify ideas and practitioners who apply those ideas. All of this, of course, transpires through networks and structures of cultural production. Cultural change is most enduring when it penetrates the structure of our imagination, frameworks of knowledge and discussion, the perception of everyday reality. This rarely if ever happens through grassroots political mobilization though grassroots mobilization can be a manifestation of deeper cultural transformation.
James Davison Hunter (To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World)
God continually chooses the least likely to be chosen, the broken and the humble. It’s clearly His modus operandi. I’ve heard this response from people when I talk about this idea: “But how can we possibly get things done without big-time visionaries? Without massive plans to save the world?” Well, the Bible actually singles out a specific, heroic animal species to illustrate how to get things done. If you want to know how to do it, don’t go to the soaring eagle. Don’t go to the impressive, roaring lion, either. God may have a different idea: Go watch the ants, you lazy person. Watch what they do and be wise. Ants have no commander, no leader or ruler, but they store up food in the summer and gather their supplies at harvest. (Prov. 6:6–8 NCV) Yes. Watch how the ants operate. They get it. Sure enough, modern research shows just how remarkable ants are. They all know what to do and when to do it. They know when to rest, when to battle intruders, when to take care of their eggs, all of it. If there are too many ants foraging, just enough ants decide to quit foraging and take on other jobs. They know how to build massive anthills that are marvels of construction engineering. And they do it all without a hierarchy. They manage it all without management. They get it done without any one ant knowing the “big picture.” No ant is a superstar. No ant is irreplaceable. How they operate is still somewhat mysterious to science, but scientists do know that ants just use the information that’s in front of them, and then they respond. That’s it. That’s all the information an ant has. The Bible singles out a species wherein every individual member does whatever needs doing, just by responding to what’s in front of it. An ant can’t worry about the big blueprint. No ant actually has the big picture. If they each do their thing, the thing right in front of them, the big picture takes care of itself.
Brant Hansen (Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better)
Okay.” The leader stood on the bed of his truck and clapped his hands over his head. “Listen up, everyone.” No one was really listening, though they had dressed right. Everyone was all in black. A few guys wore ski masks, and others had black marks on their cheeks like football players. Personally, I didn’t understand the need for the black camouflage. Caden had explained that the cops had already been looped in on the operation. A few of the lawns getting flocked tonight actually belonged to cops, and anyway the whole blending-with-the-night effect didn’t work when you were carrying a bright neon-pink flamingo. Still, I couldn’t deny the little spark of excitement building in my stomach. We were all standing in some guy’s driveway, and as I looked around, I seemed to be the only girl. These guys meant business. I was in the middle of a real life Call of Duty operation. The leader began speaking, his voice booming. “This is going to happen with precision and professionalism. No lingering, loitering, acting like stupid shits, and definitely no joking around. We’re not ladies. This isn’t going to be run like a bunch of pansy-shopping, pink-nail-polish pussies. You got that?!” I frowned, tucking my nails inside my jacket. “Every vehicle’s been filled with birds. The driver should have a text with all the locations, and the number of birds for each target. Pull up, find the group of birds labeled for that house, and work together. Take one bird a trip, two if you can manage, and ram those suckers down in the grass. Hurry back to the truck and keep going until all the birds for that location are in the ground. Shotgun Sally is in charge of hanging the sign on the bird closest to the street. Once the sign is hung, get back in the truck, and move to the next target. NO TALKING! This mission is all radio silent. Communicate with signals, and if you don’t know the appropriate signals, just SHUT THE HELL UP! Okay? Now, go flock some fuckers!
Tijan (Anti-Stepbrother)
Professional Bio of Shahin Shardi, P.Eng. Materials Engineer Welding and Pressure Equipment Inspector, QA/QC Specialist Shahin Shardi is a Materials Engineer with experience in integrity management, inspection of pressure equipment, quality control/assurance of large scale oil and gas projects and welding inspection. He stared his career in trades which helped him understand fundamentals of operation of a construction site and execution of large scale projects. This invaluable experience provided him with boots on the ground perspective of requirements of running a successful project and job site. After obtaining an engineering degree from university of British Columbia, he started a career in asset integrity management for oil and gas facilities and inspection of pressure equipment in Alberta, Canada. He has been involved with numerus maintenance shutdowns at various facilities providing engineering support to the maintenance, operations and project personnel regarding selection, repair, maintenance, troubleshooting and long term reliability of equipment. In addition he has extensive experience in area of quality control and assurance of new construction activities in oil and gas industry. He has performed Owner’s Inspector and welding inspector roles in this area. Shahin has extensively applied industry codes of constructions such as ASME Pressure Vessel Code (ASME VIII), Welding (ASME IX), Process Piping (ASME B31.3), Pipe Flanges (ASME B16.5) and various pressure equipment codes and standards. Familiarity with NDT techniques like magnetic particle, liquid penetrant, eddy current, ultrasonic and digital radiography is another valuable knowledge base gained during various projects. Some of his industry certificates are CWB Level 2 Certified Welding Inspector, API 510 Pressure Vessel Inspector, Alberta ABSA In-Service Pressure Vessel Inspector and Saskatchewan TSASK Pressure Equipment Inspector. Shahin is a professional member of Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.
Shahin Shardi
The climate for relationships within an innovation group is shaped by the climate outside it. Having a negative instead of a positive culture can cost a company real money. During Seagate Technology’s troubled period in the mid-to-late 1990s, the company, a large manufacturer of disk drives for personal computers, had seven different design centers working on innovation, yet it had the lowest R&D productivity in the industry because the centers competed rather than cooperated. Attempts to bring them together merely led people to advocate for their own groups rather than find common ground. Not only did Seagate’s engineers and managers lack positive norms for group interaction, but they had the opposite in place: People who yelled in executive meetings received “Dog’s Head” awards for the worst conduct. Lack of product and process innovation was reflected in loss of market share, disgruntled customers, and declining sales. Seagate, with its dwindling PC sales and fading customer base, was threatening to become a commodity producer in a changing technology environment. Under a new CEO and COO, Steve Luczo and Bill Watkins, who operated as partners, Seagate developed new norms for how people should treat one another, starting with the executive group. Their raised consciousness led to a systemic process for forming and running “core teams” (cross-functional innovation groups), and Seagate employees were trained in common methodologies for team building, both in conventional training programs and through participation in difficult outdoor activities in New Zealand and other remote locations. To lead core teams, Seagate promoted people who were known for strong relationship skills above others with greater technical skills. Unlike the antagonistic committees convened during the years of decline, the core teams created dramatic process and product innovations that brought the company back to market leadership. The new Seagate was able to create innovations embedded in a wide range of new electronic devices, such as iPods and cell phones.
Harvard Business School Press (HBR's 10 Must Reads on Innovation (with featured article "The Discipline of Innovation," by Peter F. Drucker))
SCULLEY. Pepsi executive recruited by Jobs in 1983 to be Apple’s CEO, clashed with and ousted Jobs in 1985. JOANNE SCHIEBLE JANDALI SIMPSON. Wisconsin-born biological mother of Steve Jobs, whom she put up for adoption, and Mona Simpson, whom she raised. MONA SIMPSON. Biological full sister of Jobs; they discovered their relationship in 1986 and became close. She wrote novels loosely based on her mother Joanne (Anywhere but Here), Jobs and his daughter Lisa (A Regular Guy), and her father Abdulfattah Jandali (The Lost Father). ALVY RAY SMITH. A cofounder of Pixar who clashed with Jobs. BURRELL SMITH. Brilliant, troubled hardware designer on the original Mac team, afflicted with schizophrenia in the 1990s. AVADIS “AVIE” TEVANIAN. Worked with Jobs and Rubinstein at NeXT, became chief software engineer at Apple in 1997. JAMES VINCENT. A music-loving Brit, the younger partner with Lee Clow and Duncan Milner at the ad agency Apple hired. RON WAYNE. Met Jobs at Atari, became first partner with Jobs and Wozniak at fledgling Apple, but unwisely decided to forgo his equity stake. STEPHEN WOZNIAK. The star electronics geek at Homestead High; Jobs figured out how to package and market his amazing circuit boards and became his partner in founding Apple. DEL YOCAM. Early Apple employee who became the General Manager of the Apple II Group and later Apple’s Chief Operating Officer. INTRODUCTION How This Book Came to Be In the early summer of 2004, I got a phone call from Steve Jobs. He had been scattershot friendly to me over the years, with occasional bursts of intensity, especially when he was launching a new product that he wanted on the cover of Time or featured on CNN, places where I’d worked. But now that I was no longer at either of those places, I hadn’t heard from him much. We talked a bit about the Aspen Institute, which I had recently joined, and I invited him to speak at our summer campus in Colorado. He’d be happy to come, he said, but not to be onstage. He wanted instead to take a walk so that we could talk. That seemed a bit odd. I didn’t yet
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
The scheme began to unravel following the Panic of 1873 when railroad investments failed. The bank experienced several runs at the height of the panic. The panic would not have affected the bank if it had been a savings bank, but by 1866, the business of the bank had become…reckless speculation, over-capitalization, stock manipulation, intrigue and bribery, and downright plundering…. In a last ditch effort to save the bank, the Trustees appointed Frederick Douglas as Bank President in March of 1874. Douglass did not ask to be nominated and the Bank Board knew that Douglass had no experience in banking, but they felt that his reputation and popularity would restore confidence to fleeing depositors….Douglas lent the bank $10,000 of his own money to cover the bank’s illiquid assets….Douglass quickly discovered that the bank was full of dead men’s bones, rottenness and corruption. As soon as Douglass realized that the bank was headed towards certain failure, he imposed drastic spending cuts to limit depositors’ losses. He then relayed this information to Congress, underscoring the bank’s insolvency, and declaring that he could no longer ask his people to deposit their money in it. Despite the other Trustees’ attempts to convince Congress otherwise, Congress sided with Douglass, and on June 20, 1874, Congress amended the Charter to authorize the Trustees to end operations. Within a few weeks’ time, the bank’s doors were shut for good on June 29, 1874, leaving 61,131 depositors without access to nearly $3 million dollars in deposits. More than half of accumulated black wealth disappeared through the mismanagement of the Freedman’s Savings Bank. And what is most lamentable…is the fact that only a few of those who embezzled and defrauded the one-time liquid assets of this bank were ever prosecuted….Congress did appoint a commission led by John AJ Cresswell to look into the failure and to recover as much of the deposits as possible. In 1880, Henry Cook testified about the bank failure and said that bank’s depositors were victims of a widespread universal sweeping financial disaster. In other words, it was the Market’s fault, not his. The misdeeds of the bank’s management never came to light.
Mehrsa Baradaran (The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap)
Even though the Internet provided a tool for virtual and distant collaborations, another lesson of digital-age innovation is that, now as in the past, physical proximity is beneficial. There is something special, as evidenced at Bell Labs, about meetings in the flesh, which cannot be replicated digitally. The founders of Intel created a sprawling, team-oriented open workspace where employees from Noyce on down all rubbed against one another. It was a model that became common in Silicon Valley. Predictions that digital tools would allow workers to telecommute were never fully realized. One of Marissa Mayer’s first acts as CEO of Yahoo! was to discourage the practice of working from home, rightly pointing out that “people are more collaborative and innovative when they’re together.” When Steve Jobs designed a new headquarters for Pixar, he obsessed over ways to structure the atrium, and even where to locate the bathrooms, so that serendipitous personal encounters would occur. Among his last creations was the plan for Apple’s new signature headquarters, a circle with rings of open workspaces surrounding a central courtyard. Throughout history the best leadership has come from teams that combined people with complementary styles. That was the case with the founding of the United States. The leaders included an icon of rectitude, George Washington; brilliant thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; men of vision and passion, including Samuel and John Adams; and a sage conciliator, Benjamin Franklin. Likewise, the founders of the ARPANET included visionaries such as Licklider, crisp decision-making engineers such as Larry Roberts, politically adroit people handlers such as Bob Taylor, and collaborative oarsmen such as Steve Crocker and Vint Cerf. Another key to fielding a great team is pairing visionaries, who can generate ideas, with operating managers, who can execute them. Visions without execution are hallucinations.31 Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore were both visionaries, which is why it was important that their first hire at Intel was Andy Grove, who knew how to impose crisp management procedures, force people to focus, and get things done. Visionaries who lack such teams around them often go down in history as merely footnotes.
Walter Isaacson (The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution)
They heard Hugo ask if the plan for the hors d'oeuvres was still in operation, and they heard Colette ask about plucking the feathers off crows, and they heard Kevin complain that he didn't know whether to hold the birdpaper in his right hand or his left hand, and they heard Mr. Lesko insult Mrs. Morrow, and the bearded man sing a song to the woman with the crow-shaped hat, and they heard a man call for Bruce and a woman call for her mother and dozens of people whisper to and shout at, argue with and agree upon, angrily accuse and meekly defend, furiously compliment and kindly insult dozens of other people, both inside and outside the Hotel Denouement, whose names the Baudelaires recognized, forgot, and had never heard before. Each story had its story, and each story's story was unfathomable in the Baudelaire orphans' short journey, and many of the stories' stories are unfathomable to me, even after all these lonely years and all this lonely research. Perhaps some of these stories are clearer to you, because you have spied upon the people involved. Perhaps Mrs. Bass has changed her name and lives near you, or perhaps Mr. Remora's name is the same, and he lives far away. Perhaps Nero now works as a grocery store clerk, or Geraldine Julienne now teaches arts and crafts. Perhaps Charles and Sir are no longer partners, and you have had the occasion to study one of them as he sat across from you on a bus, or perhaps Hugo, Colette, and Kevin are still comrades, and you have followed these unfathomable people after noticing that one of them used both hands equally. Perhaps Mr. Lesko is now your neighbor, or Mrs. Morrow is now your sister, or your mother, or your aunt or wife or even your husband. Perhaps the noise you hear outside your door is a bearded man trying to climb into your window, or perhaps it is a woman in a crow-shaped hat hailing a taxi. Perhaps you have spotted the managers of the Hotel Denouement, or the judges of the High Court, or the waiters of Cafe Salmonella or the Anxious Clown, or perhaps you have met an expert on injustice or become one yourself. Perhaps the people in your unfathomable life, and their unfathomable stories, are clear to you as you make your way in the world, but when the elevator stopped for the last time, and the doors slid open to reveal the tilted roof of the Hotel Denouement, the Baudelaires felt as if they were balancing very delicately on a mysterious and perplexing heap of unfathomable mysteries.
Lemony Snicket (The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #12))
Less is more. “A few extremely well-chosen objectives,” Grove wrote, “impart a clear message about what we say ‘yes’ to and what we say ‘no’ to.” A limit of three to five OKRs per cycle leads companies, teams, and individuals to choose what matters most. In general, each objective should be tied to five or fewer key results. (See chapter 4, “Superpower #1: Focus and Commit to Priorities.”) Set goals from the bottom up. To promote engagement, teams and individuals should be encouraged to create roughly half of their own OKRs, in consultation with managers. When all goals are set top-down, motivation is corroded. (See chapter 7, “Superpower #2: Align and Connect for Teamwork.”) No dictating. OKRs are a cooperative social contract to establish priorities and define how progress will be measured. Even after company objectives are closed to debate, their key results continue to be negotiated. Collective agreement is essential to maximum goal achievement. (See chapter 7, “Superpower #2: Align and Connect for Teamwork.”) Stay flexible. If the climate has changed and an objective no longer seems practical or relevant as written, key results can be modified or even discarded mid-cycle. (See chapter 10, “Superpower #3: Track for Accountability.”) Dare to fail. “Output will tend to be greater,” Grove wrote, “when everybody strives for a level of achievement beyond [their] immediate grasp. . . . Such goal-setting is extremely important if what you want is peak performance from yourself and your subordinates.” While certain operational objectives must be met in full, aspirational OKRs should be uncomfortable and possibly unattainable. “Stretched goals,” as Grove called them, push organizations to new heights. (See chapter 12, “Superpower #4: Stretch for Amazing.”) A tool, not a weapon. The OKR system, Grove wrote, “is meant to pace a person—to put a stopwatch in his own hand so he can gauge his own performance. It is not a legal document upon which to base a performance review.” To encourage risk taking and prevent sandbagging, OKRs and bonuses are best kept separate. (See chapter 15, “Continuous Performance Management: OKRs and CFRs.”) Be patient; be resolute. Every process requires trial and error. As Grove told his iOPEC students, Intel “stumbled a lot of times” after adopting OKRs: “We didn’t fully understand the principal purpose of it. And we are kind of doing better with it as time goes on.” An organization may need up to four or five quarterly cycles to fully embrace the system, and even more than that to build mature goal muscle.
John Doerr (Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs)
In the future that globalists and feminists have imagined, for most of us there will only be more clerkdom and masturbation. There will only be more apologizing, more submission, more asking for permission to be men. There will only be more examinations, more certifications, mandatory prerequisites, screening processes, background checks, personality tests, and politicized diagnoses. There will only be more medication. There will be more presenting the secretary with a cup of your own warm urine. There will be mandatory morning stretches and video safety presentations and sign-off sheets for your file. There will be more helmets and goggles and harnesses and bright orange vests with reflective tape. There can only be more counseling and sensitivity training. There will be more administrative hoops to jump through to start your own business and keep it running. There will be more mandatory insurance policies. There will definitely be more taxes. There will probably be more Byzantine sexual harassment laws and corporate policies and more ways for women and protected identity groups to accuse you of misconduct. There will be more micro-managed living, pettier regulations, heavier fines, and harsher penalties. There will be more ways to run afoul of the law and more ways for society to maintain its pleasant illusions by sweeping you under the rug. In 2009 there were almost five times more men either on parole or serving prison terms in the United States than were actively serving in all of the armed forces.[64] If you’re a good boy and you follow the rules, if you learn how to speak passively and inoffensively, if you can convince some other poor sleepwalking sap that you are possessed with an almost unhealthy desire to provide outstanding customer service or increase operational efficiency through the improvement of internal processes and effective organizational communication, if you can say stupid shit like that without laughing, if your record checks out and your pee smells right—you can get yourself a J-O-B. Maybe you can be the guy who administers the test or authorizes the insurance policy. Maybe you can be the guy who helps make some soulless global corporation a little more money. Maybe you can get a pat on the head for coming up with the bright idea to put a bunch of other guys out of work and outsource their boring jobs to guys in some other place who are willing to work longer hours for less money. Whatever you do, no matter what people say, no matter how many team-building activities you attend or how many birthday cards you get from someone’s secretary, you will know that you are a completely replaceable unit of labor in the big scheme of things.
Jack Donovan (The Way of Men)
The US traded its manufacturing sector’s health for its entertainment industry, hoping that Police Academy sequels could take the place of the rustbelt. The US bet wrong. But like a losing gambler who keeps on doubling down, the US doesn’t know when to quit. It keeps meeting with its entertainment giants, asking how US foreign and domestic policy can preserve its business-model. Criminalize 70 million American file-sharers? Check. Turn the world’s copyright laws upside down? Check. Cream the IT industry by criminalizing attempted infringement? Check. It’ll never work. It can never work. There will always be an entertainment industry, but not one based on excluding access to published digital works. Once it’s in the world, it’ll be copied. This is why I give away digital copies of my books and make money on the printed editions: I’m not going to stop people from copying the electronic editions, so I might as well treat them as an enticement to buy the printed objects. But there is an information economy. You don’t even need a computer to participate. My barber, an avowed technophobe who rebuilds antique motorcycles and doesn’t own a PC, benefited from the information economy when I found him by googling for barbershops in my neighborhood. Teachers benefit from the information economy when they share lesson plans with their colleagues around the world by email. Doctors benefit from the information economy when they move their patient files to efficient digital formats. Insurance companies benefit from the information economy through better access to fresh data used in the preparation of actuarial tables. Marinas benefit from the information economy when office-slaves look up the weekend’s weather online and decide to skip out on Friday for a weekend’s sailing. Families of migrant workers benefit from the information economy when their sons and daughters wire cash home from a convenience store Western Union terminal. This stuff generates wealth for those who practice it. It enriches the country and improves our lives. And it can peacefully co-exist with movies, music and microcode, but not if Hollywood gets to call the shots. Where IT managers are expected to police their networks and systems for unauthorized copying – no matter what that does to productivity – they cannot co-exist. Where our operating systems are rendered inoperable by “copy protection,” they cannot co-exist. Where our educational institutions are turned into conscript enforcers for the record industry, they cannot co-exist. The information economy is all around us. The countries that embrace it will emerge as global economic superpowers. The countries that stubbornly hold to the simplistic idea that the information economy is about selling information will end up at the bottom of the pile. What country do you want to live in?
Cory Doctorow (Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future)
told my people that I wanted only the best, whatever it took, wherever they came from, whatever it cost. We assembled thirty people, the brightest cybersecurity minds we have. A few are on loan, pursuant to strict confidentiality agreements, from the private sector—software companies, telecommunications giants, cybersecurity firms, military contractors. Two are former hackers themselves, one of them currently serving a thirteen-year sentence in a federal penitentiary. Most are from various agencies of the federal government—Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, NSA. Half our team is devoted to threat mitigation—how to limit the damage to our systems and infrastructure after the virus hits. But right now, I’m concerned with the other half, the threat-response team that Devin and Casey are running. They’re devoted to stopping the virus, something they’ve been unable to do for the last two weeks. “Good morning, Mr. President,” says Devin Wittmer. He comes from NSA. After graduating from Berkeley, he started designing cyberdefense software for clients like Apple before the NSA recruited him away. He has developed federal cybersecurity assessment tools to help industries and governments understand their preparedness against cyberattacks. When the major health-care systems in France were hit with a ransomware virus three years ago, we lent them Devin, who was able to locate and disable it. Nobody in America, I’ve been assured, is better at finding holes in cyberdefense systems or at plugging them. “Mr. President,” says Casey Alvarez. Casey is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who settled in Arizona to start a family and built up a fleet of grocery stores in the Southwest along the way. Casey showed no interest in the business, taking quickly to computers and wanting to join law enforcement. When she was a grad student at Penn, she got turned down for a position at the Department of Justice. So Casey got on her computer and managed to do what state and federal authorities had been unable to do for years—she hacked into an underground child-pornography website and disclosed the identities of all the website’s patrons, basically gift-wrapping a federal prosecution for Justice and shutting down an operation that was believed to be the largest purveyor of kiddie porn in the country. DOJ hired her on the spot, and she stayed there until she went to work for the CIA. She’s been most recently deployed in the Middle East with US Central Command, where she intercepts, decodes, and disrupts cybercommunications among terrorist groups. I’ve been assured that these two are, by far, the best we have. And they are about to meet the person who, so far, has been better. There is a hint of reverence in their expressions as I introduce them to Augie. The Sons of Jihad is the all-star team of cyberterrorists, mythical figures in that world. But I sense some competitive fire, too, which will be a good thing.
Bill Clinton (The President Is Missing)
One evening in April a thirty-two-year-old woman, unconscious and severely injured, was admitted to the hospital in a provincial town south of Copenhagen. She had a concussion and internal bleeding, her legs and arms were broken in several places, and she had deep lesions in her face. A gas station attendant in a neighboring village, beside the bridge over the highway to Copenhagen, had seen her go the wrong way up the exit and drive at high speed into the oncoming traffic. The first three approaching cars managed to maneuver around her, but about 200 meters after the junction she collided head-on with a truck. The Dutch driver was admitted for observation but released the next day. According to his statement he started to brake a good 100 meters before the crash, while the car seemed to actually increase its speed over the last stretch. The front of the vehicle was totally crushed, part of the radiator was stuck between the road and the truck's bumper, and the woman had to be cut free. The spokesman for emergency services said it was a miracle she had survived. On arrival at the hospital the woman was in very critical condition, and it was twenty-four hours before she was out of serious danger. Her eyes were so badly damaged that she lost her sight. Her name was Lucca. Lucca Montale. Despite the name there was nothing particularly Italian about her appearance. She had auburn hair and green eyes in a narrow face with high cheek-bones. She was slim and fairly tall. It turned out she was Danish, born in Copenhagen. Her husband, Andreas Bark, arrived with their small son while she was still on the operating table. The couple's home was an isolated old farmhouse in the woods seven kilometers from the site of the accident. Andreas Bark told the police he had tried to stop his wife from driving. He thought she had just gone out for a breath of air when he heard the car start. By the time he got outside he saw it disappearing along the road. She had been drinking a lot. They had had a marital disagreement. Those were the words he used; he was not questioned further on that point. Early in the morning, when Lucca Montale was moved from the operating room into intensive care, her husband was still in the waiting room with the sleeping boy's head on his lap. He was looking out at the sky and the dark trees when Robert sat down next to him. Andreas Bark went on staring into the gray morning light with an exhausted, absent gaze. He seemed slightly younger than Robert, in his late thirties. He had dark, wavy hair and a prominent chin, his eyes were narrow and deep-set, and he was wearing a shabby leather jacket. Robert rested his hands on his knees in the green cotton trousers and looked down at the perforations in the leather uppers of his white clogs. He realized he had forgotten to take off his plastic cap after the operation. The thin plastic crackled between his hands. Andreas looked at him and Robert straightened up to meet his gaze. The boy woke.
Jens Christian Grøndahl (Lucca)
I’d known him just ten days, and it had just left his mouth in an unexpected whisper. It had been purely instinctive, it seemed--something entirely unplanned. He clearly hadn’t planned to say those words to me that night; that wasn’t the way he operated. He was a man who had a thought and acted on it immediately, as evidenced by his sweet, whispery phone calls right after our dates. He spent no time at all calculating moves; he had better things to do with his time. When we held each other on that chilly spring night and his feelings had come rushing to the surface, he’d felt no need to slap a filter over his mouth. It had come out in a breath: I love you. It was as if he had to say it, in the same way air has to escape a person’s longs. It was involuntary. Necessary. Natural. But as beautiful and warm a moment as it was, I froze on the spot. Once I realized it had been real--that he’d actually said the words--it seemed too late to respond; the window had closed, the shutters had clapped shut. I responded in the only way my cowardice would allow: by holding him tighter, burying my face deeper into his neck, feeling equal parts stupid and awkward. What is your problem? I asked myself. I was in the midst of what was possibly the most romantic, emotionally charged moment of my life, in the embrace of a man who embodied not only everything I’d ever understood about the textbook definition of lust, but everything I’d ever dreamed about in a man. He was a specimen--tall, strong, masculine, quiet. But it was much more than that. He was honest. Real. And affectionate and accessible, quite unlike J and most of the men I’d casually dated since I’d returned home from Los Angeles months earlier. I was in a foreign land. I didn’t know what to do. I love you. He’d said it. And I knew his words had been sincere. I knew, because I felt it, too, even though I couldn’t say it. Marlboro Man continued to hold me tightly on that patio chair, undeterred by my silence, likely resting easily in the knowledge that at least he’d been able to say what he felt. “I’d better go home,” I whispered, suddenly feeling pulled away by some imaginary force. Marlboro Man nodded, helping me to my feet. Holding hands, we walked around his house to my car, where we stopped for a final hug and a kiss or two. Or eight. “Thanks for having me over,” I managed. Man, I was smooth. “Any time,” he replied, locking his arms around my waist during the final kiss. This was the stuff that dreams were made of. I was glad my eyes were closed, because they were rolled all the way into the back of my head. It wouldn’t have been an attractive sight. He opened the door to my car, and I climbed inside. As I backed out of his driveway, he walked toward his front door and turned around, giving me his characteristic wave in his characteristic Wranglers. Driving away, I felt strange, flushed, tingly. Burdened. Confused. Tortured. Thirty minutes into my drive home, he called. I’d almost grown to need it. “Hey,” he said. His voice. Help me. “Oh, hi,” I replied, pretending to be surprised. Even though I wasn’t. “Hey, I…,” Marlboro Man began. “I really don’t want you to go.” I giggled. How cute. “Well…I’m already halfway home!” I replied, a playful lilt to my voice. A long pause followed. Then, his voice serious, he continued, “That’s not what I’m talking about.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
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In the tumultuous business of cutting-in and attending to a whale, there is much running backwards and forwards among the crew. Now hands are wanted here, and then again hands are wanted there. There is no staying in any one place; for at one and the same time everything has to be done everywhere. It is much the same with him who endeavors the description of the scene. We must now retrace our way a little. It was mentioned that upon first breaking ground in the whale’s back, the blubber-hook was inserted into the original hole there cut by the spades of the mates. But how did so clumsy and weighty a mass as that same hook get fixed in that hole? It was inserted there by my particular friend Queequeg, whose duty it was, as harpooneer, to descend upon the monster’s back for the special purpose referred to. But in very many cases, circumstances require that the harpooneer shall remain on the whale till the whole flensing or stripping operation is concluded. The whale, be it observed, lies almost entirely submerged, excepting the immediate parts operated upon. So down there, some ten feet below the level of the deck, the poor harpooneer flounders about, half on the whale and half in the water, as the vast mass revolves like a tread-mill beneath him. On the occasion in question, Queequeg figured in the Highland costume—a shirt and socks—in which to my eyes, at least, he appeared to uncommon advantage; and no one had a better chance to observe him, as will presently be seen. Being the savage’s bowsman, that is, the person who pulled the bow-oar in his boat (the second one from forward), it was my cheerful duty to attend upon him while taking that hard-scrabble scramble upon the dead whale’s back. You have seen Italian organ-boys holding a dancing-ape by a long cord. Just so, from the ship’s steep side, did I hold Queequeg down there in the sea, by what is technically called in the fishery a monkey-rope, attached to a strong strip of canvas belted round his waist. It was a humorously perilous business for both of us. For, before we proceed further, it must be said that the monkey-rope was fast at both ends; fast to Queequeg’s broad canvas belt, and fast to my narrow leather one. So that for better or for worse, we two, for the time, were wedded; and should poor Queequeg sink to rise no more, then both usage and honor demanded, that instead of cutting the cord, it should drag me down in his wake. So, then, an elongated Siamese ligature united us. Queequeg was my own inseparable twin brother; nor could I any way get rid of the dangerous liabilities which the hempen bond entailed. So strongly and metaphysically did I conceive of my situation then, that while earnestly watching his motions, I seemed distinctly to perceive that my own individuality was now merged in a joint stock company of two; that my free will had received a mortal wound; and that another’s mistake or misfortune might plunge innocent me into unmerited disaster and death. Therefore, I saw that here was a sort of interregnum in Providence; for its even-handed equity never could have so gross an injustice. And yet still further pondering—while I jerked him now and then from between the whale and ship, which would threaten to jam him—still further pondering, I say, I saw that this situation of mine was the precise situation of every mortal that breathes; only, in most cases, he, one way or other, has this Siamese connexion with a plurality of other mortals. If your banker breaks, you snap; if your apothecary by mistake sends you poison in your pills, you die. True, you may say that, by exceeding caution, you may possibly escape these and the multitudinous other evil chances of life. But handle Queequeg’s monkey-rope heedfully as I would, sometimes he jerked it so, that I came very near sliding overboard. Nor could I possibly forget that, do what I would, I only had the management of one end of it.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, The Whale)