Monthly Archives: February 2009

What I have been Tweeting

  • @BrotherMagneto It depends on the DVD. For “serious” movies I like commentaries. For funny/humorous/romantic comedy… bloopers. in reply to BrotherMagneto #
  • Robert Half is talking to our #AITP chapter over hiring (and firing) trends in IT. 8th to mention “soft skills” in the last 4 weeks. #
  • #AITP comment by Robert Half “More poeple are loose their jobs because they were difficult to work with than because of performance.” #
  • @BrotherMagneto hey J, do you consider yourself a Hipster? in reply to BrotherMagneto #
  • OK, what the heck does RT mean? #
  • In my job, I am more and more torn. I still want to be the guy that plays with IT; but that isn’t the job of exec level IT. #
  • @BrotherMagneto OMG, tell me you are not following British football… in reply to BrotherMagneto #

Almost, but nothing like, a book review.

Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box” by The Arbinger Institute, falls into the leadership/management book category of “philosophy lite”.  It has been my experience that anyone who has had even casually exposure to some basic philosophical ideas is often amazed at how common those themes come up in business books.  This is not, at all, surprising as leadership and management is often focused directly at understanding ourselves, understanding others, and understanding the relationships between the two.  There are even a number of business authors who have effectively made a career out of simplifying and re-publishing the concepts of other notables like Kant, Heidegger, and Locke. “Leadership and Self Deception” barrows heavily from Martin Buber and with significant influence from Freud’s concept of resistance in its later chapters on “self-deception.”

Without getting into the book too much, let me just say that I really enjoyed it. It seems to me that a great number of “hard” philosophy types strongly reject these obvious attempts at watering it down; but the problem that in many cases it is the only they would ever get broad exposure.

People do not generally operate their daily lives from a position of depth. One may get such depth on specific subject matter that is of personal or professional interest; but most cannot do it for all subjects necessary to operate all aspects of life. This is even more true for subject material that is arguably second in complexity only to high-level math (just try reading “I and Thou” through the first time without saying, “huh??”).  These simplified models can, therefore, provide value in spaces where they would otherwise not get used.

Additionally, this kind of leadership book is its usefulness at providing real-world examples of the more esoteric philosophical concepts.  It is not unusual for philosophy to suffer the criticism that its theories are not directly applicable to real life.  Yet, the fact is they are referenced (if not directly) for use in two of the most real-world fields available, business and leadership.  I think it would behoove some professional intellectuals to view the applicability of their theories in places other than literature and the movies.

“Leadership and Self Deception” is a great book and possibly, for some previously unexposed, a life changing book. The ideas in it may not be ground breaking but they are worthy of modeling. It is because of all of these reasons that it is one of the few leadership books that I think should be on everyone’s book shelf.

The way things were

For the last six months or so almost every post on Vault has been a daily collection of micro-posts from my Twitter account.  Twitter is a micro-blogging utility that allows me to send 140 character posts to everyone who subscribes to me.  Think of it as broadcast text messaging.  While it has been a wonderful tool for quick brain dumps of information; it is worthless as a meaningful medium for presenting ideas.  Twitter is particularly useful when I am not in front of a computer because every smart phone in existence has a client for it.

Because of the limited usefulness of my tweets (what Twitter calls individual posts,)  I am changing the configuration to only post summaries weekly.  This should reduce the clutter on Vault.  Of course this will only really help if I increase the number of honest-to-god blog posts.

In other news, my wife and I are getting ready for the birth of our third child.  We are expecting sometime in the next couple weeks.  Work has been been amazingly good but causes me to be busier than I have ever been (partly explaining the lack of blog posts.)  The two weeks at home for the birth will be a welcome rest… or not.

On a side note let me post this link our Host Monster referral page.  I have always felt strongly about putting advertising on my private blog but HostMonster.com has been such a great web hosting service for us that I regularly recommend them to friends/family.  But because I have never posted the link I continually forget to use the referral (Vault gets $50 credit every time someone registers a domain through it) or I have trouble finding the referral when I do remember.  Now I can find it easily via the Vault search function.