Thursday, December 28, 2006

I took some books out from the library for some holiday reading for JP. One was called "Lessons from the Top" by Thomas J. Neff & James M. Citrin. After JP finished reading it, he told me that three of the people profiled are in jail, (and perhaps others we just aren't aware of). So what lessons are we really learning? The authors wanted to show us leadership. Does leadership also include a lack of scruples or ethics?

Perhaps our world is just moving too fast?

Back in the 80's when Tom Peters wrote In Search of Excellence I think the people that were profiled 20 years ago had very different agendas than people today.

What does it mean to be a business leader? Oh the $64,000,000 question. I'm not even going to attempt to answer that one.

But here's another question: what does it take to publish a book? About 10 years ago as the popularity of the computer was steadfastly rising and there was a buzz about e-books, etc. it looked as though the lowly book might fall the way of the LP record. There was so much competition for our attention, who had time to read? Or the money to buy a book? Or the space to keep them? And then a revolution happened and Chapters and Barnes & Noble became household names and on everyone's radar. And some grocery stores created deluxe aisles with faux hardwood flooring and wooden bookshelves and people learned about Amazon. com so gaining access to books and lots of them was as easy as buying a dozen eggs. And it was no longer nerdy to sit at Starbucks with a gigantic coffee and a book. And all of that caused a huge demand for books and publishers were in a tizzy and books had to get published so fast, that sometimes proper research wasn't done on the author or the subjects or both. (remember "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey, anyone?)

That and the fact that humans are completely unpredicatable and continue to surprise each other on a daily basis by doing and saying the craziest things! And not just wacky celebrities but also Heads of State or CEOs, etc. No one and no profession is exempt - it's just that for some unlucky folks their trainwreck of a story winds up on Craigslist or the national news etc.

As children, schools taught us to believe what books had to say. As we grew up we heard about text books that gave us a very skewed history of the world - textbooks that had omitted facts or changed the outcome of wars. How many times have you read the newspaper and noticed a small little box with a correction notice - sometimes just correcting a store's flyer, but sometimes correcting a pretty damming allegation. So we must learn that we can't really take anything too seriously and to always be on the lookout for the truth, or for the lies. We must learn that unless you're wearing a lab coat and standing in a sterile environment, that there most likely won't be any absolutes in our daily lives.

Is that why so many people come home from a hectic day of work, after battling horrible traffic, eat their dinner from a can or box and vegetate in front of the TV watching Survivor, or those evening game shows? Have people given up trying to decipher all of this? I know there are many who don't even try, they hide in their own worlds never listening to the news, or reading a paper or journalist magazine and decide to avoid the world and watch sports instead. Many, I am sure, have not even made a conscious decision to do so.

Perhaps that should be our New Year's Resolution? To try to become more aware of our world, to not follow any one person or ideal, to become a "jack of all trades" and to be afraid of having an opinion? Gee, this sounds like a whole book topic, I'd better call an agent.......

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