Updates from April, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Doug Belshaw 12:33 pm on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , organisations,   

    My suspicion – especially if you’ve been following along – is that processes are alluring for a number of reasons. They relieve the burden of decision-making, which in general we like because thinking is hard and expends energy. They also relieve us of the burden of fault: us humans are a fickle bunch and it’s easy for something to make us feel guilty (when we haven’t lived up to our own standards), or ashamed (when we don’t live up to others’ standards) or angry (when we’re stopped from achieving an outcome that we desire). The existence of process can be an emotional shield that means that we don’t have to be responsible. In Bezos’ example above, the junior leader who defends a bad outcome with “Well, we followed the process” is also someone who is able to defend an attack on their character and also of their self worth, if their sense of self worth is weighted to include the outcome of their actions.

    dan hon, s4e12: End of Process
     
  • Doug Belshaw 6:10 am on April 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , productivity,   

    Our minds must relax: they will rise better and keener after a rest. Just as you must not force fertile farmland, as uninterrupted productivity will soon exhaust it, so constant effort will sap our mental vigour, while a short period of rest and relaxation will restore our powers. Unremitting effort leads to a kind of mental dullness and lethargy.

    – Seneca, On Tranquility of Mind

     
  • Doug Belshaw 7:52 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: co-operation, , spectrum   

    The Spectrum of Exchange 

    On page 72 of Richard Sennett’s book Together: the rituals, pleasures, and politics of cooperation, he outlines five different ways social animals engage:

    1. Altruistic exchange (entails self-sacrifice)
    2. Win-win exchange (both parties benefit)
    3. Differentiating exchange (partners become aware of their differences)
    4. Zero-sum exchange (one party prevails at the expense of another)
    5. Winner-takes-all exchange (one party wipes out the other)

    Sennett explains:

    In animal terms, this spectrum runs from the worker ant which offers up its body as food for other ants, to the wolf whose exchanges with sheep are invariably lethal; in human terms, the spectrum runs from Joan of Arc to genocide.

     
  • Doug Belshaw 7:33 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Tag it   

    Sprezzatura

    “An Italian word originating from Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier, where it is defined by the author as ‘a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it’.”

    Mentioned in Richard Sennett’s book Together: the rituals, pleasures, and politics of cooperation, p.117

     
  • Doug Belshaw 6:47 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    ‘Recte facti, fecisse merces est;’ [The reward for acting properly is to have done so]

    Michel de Montaigne, ‘On glory’, The Complete Essays
     
  • Doug Belshaw 6:46 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    I a not so much worried about how I am in the minds of other men as how I am to myself. I want to be enriched by me not by borrowings from others. Those outside us only see events and external appearances: anyone can put on a good outward show while inside he is full of fever and fright. They do not see my mind: they only see the looks on my face.

    Michel de Montaigne, ‘On glory’, The Complete Essays
     
  • Doug Belshaw 6:44 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Whoever acts worthily only when others can know of it (and think better of him when they do), whoever never wishes to act well in circumstances where his virtue cannot come to the knowledge of men, is not a man who will be of much use to you.

    Michel de Montaigne, ‘On glory’, The Complete Essays
     
  • Doug Belshaw 6:42 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    All the glory I claim for my life is to have lived a tranquil one — not tranquil according to the standards of Metrodorus or Arcesilas or Aristippus but my own. Since Philosophy has been able to discover no good method leading to tranquillity which is common to all men, let each man seek his own one as an individual.

    Michel de Montaigne, ‘On glory’, The Complete Essays
     
  • Doug Belshaw 6:41 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Yet within ourselves we are somehow double creatures, with the result that what we believe we do not believe, what we condemn we cannot rid ourselves of.

    Michel de Montaigne, ‘On glory’, The Complete Essays
     
  • Doug Belshaw 6:39 am on April 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    That was also one of the principal doctrines of Epicurus: for that precept of his School, Conceal thy life (which enjoins men not to lumber themselves with business and affairs) also necessarily presupposes a contempt for glory, which is the world’s approbation of such of our actions as we make public.

    Michel de Montaigne, ‘On glory’, The Complete Essays
     
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