Year: 2011

We live in infantile times

Mothers increasingly look like their daughters, and they, mothers and daughters, both behave like little girls. Fathers compete with their sons. We all try to stay young until we die. Nobody wants to be lumped in the “old jerks” category anymore. That’s why the world, or the richest and “luckiest” part of it, resembles a kindergarten.

Popular culture, TV shows, movies, books, games, the Internet, media, technology—these are our favorite toys. Vladimir Putin miserably singing “Blueberry Hill,” accompanied by the best American musicians and applauded by the best American actors, is one of the most grotesque recent images of life in our kindergarten.

via These Infantile Times.

Vaclav Havel, leader surréaliste

J’ai lu quelque part une phrase d’Arthur Miller qui dit que c’était « le premier président surréaliste au monde », est-ce une bonne définition ?

« Oui, il est toujours resté un homme. C’était délicieux de le voir dans une négociation importante en tant que président, il a toujours su s’adresser à ses partenaires d’une manière tellement amicale et même avec de l’humour. Cela a fait son succès, non seulement ses belles idées qu’il savait énoncer mais également son attitude amicale, toujours avec ce léger sourire, parfois avec de l’humour. Son autorité ne s’imposait jamais. »

via Radio Prague.

Mintzberg: Who Will Fix the US Economy?

The place to start is America’s executive suites, which should be cleared of mercenaries in order to encourage real leadership. That is the easy part: get rid of the obscene compensation packages and watch the mercenaries disappear. People who care about building and sustaining decent enterprises – and who understand that doing so is a team exercise ­– can then take over. (…)

Public support should be shifted from protecting large established corporations to encouraging the growth of newer enterprises. And startups should be discouraged from rushing into the embrace of the stock market’s short-sighted analysts and many an established corporation should be encouraged to escape that embrace. At the same time, regulation and taxation should be used to rein in disruptive day trading and other exploitative speculation that crowds out sustainable investment and disrupts regular business activities.

Above all, what the American economy needs now are managers who know and care about their businesses. Armies of MBAs who have been trained to manage everything in general but nothing in particular are part of the problem, not the solution.

via Project Syndicate.


Connecting by reading out loud

THINK of it as an antidote to the electronic era. For 12 continuous hours last spring, 60 students and teachers at Hamilton College in upstate New York read aloud from John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” which spans a dozen volumes.

“Most of us became interested in reading because of being read to,” says Margaret Thickstun, a professor of English at Hamilton, who will orchestrate another “Milton Marathon” in February. She hopes to condense this one to 10 uninterrupted hours. “These readings revive the notion that poetry is not a private, silent thing you do in a room with a piece of paper,” she says, “but something you actually speak.”

The marathon, or long, read is giving new life to a centuries-old oral tradition. St. Olaf College and the University of Arizona have similarly hosted readings of epic works, start to finish.

In November, the Russian department at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, read aloud all 1,358 pages of “War and Peace” on the 100th year of Tolstoy’s death. It took 24 hours. Kathleen Macfie, a professor of Russian who organized the reading, describes it as a lesson in slowing down: “It’s not part of their generational experience, to share something in real time, face-to-face, in a group.” —via

The tyranny of things

In 1917 as today…

But to some of us a day comes when we begin to grow weary of things. We realize that we do not possess them; they possess us. Our books are a burden to us, our pictures have destroyed every restful wall-space, our china is a care, our photographs drive us mad, our programmes and alpenstocks fill us with loathing. We feel stifled with the sense of things, and our problem becomes, not how much we can accumulate, but how much we can do without. We send our books to the village library, and our pictures to the college settlement. Such things as we cannot give away, and have not the courage to destroy, we stack in the garret, where they lie huddled in dim and dusty heaps, removed from our sight, to be sure, yet still faintly importunate.

Then, as we breathe more freely in the clear space that we have made for ourselves, we grow aware that we must not relax our vigilance, or we shall be once more overwhelmed. – via Quotidiana.

ALSO see this documentary on or ask George Carlin about stuff.

French-German misunderstanding

he was looking for total unification with his beloved, she was after a few aphorisms from the master

Though it does read like the Sarkozy-Merkel marriage of convenience of current EU negotiations, it’s actually about older French writer Cioran and his younger German mistress.

A Romanian immigrant who chose to write in French, Cioran is never an easy read (plenty of darkness and pessimism) but I enjoy his precise prose and his unusual perspective.



Numbers: each mile you live away from work costs $795

García-Noblejas: “La comunicación no debe ser histérica”

Promuevo que la comunicación no sea histérica, ni repentina, ni de instintos. Hoy tenemos asociado el sonido de la llegada de un mensaje a través de cualquiera de los nuevos dispositivos con la inmediatez y esto es una esclavitud. Los esclavos son los que hoy no pueden prescindir de la red, del ordenador, de las llamadas, etc. Los señores de sí mismos son capaces de desconectarse. Esto es lo que llamo lentitud Slow Communication, no estar acelerado.

Por ejemplo, si estas con una persona pensando en lo que va a pasar después, entonces no estás con la persona. La comunicación debe respetar el presente de las personas.

Tengo un día a la semana que no uso la red. Si quiero leer, anulo el correo, el teléfono y me desconecto. 24 horas a la semana sin estar en contacto con la red es muy saludable. Algunos sienten que no pueden estar desconectados y el efecto carencia es muy parecido al del fumador empedernido. Eso es lo malo y es de lo que conviene saber gobernar. Prefiero ser un protagonista de mi propia vida que ser un reaccionario de acuerdo a las motivaciones externas.

via U de los Andes.

Engouement facebook-twitter-linkedin-google+

Celui d’une civilisation où on n’existe que si l’on est médiatisé.

Prémisse: Je n’existe que si les autres le savent.

There’s nothing more toxic to productivity than a meeting

Here’s [sic] a few reasons why:

  • They break your work day into small, incoherent pieces that disrupt your natural workflow
  • They’re usually about words and abstract concepts, not real things (like a piece of code or some interface design)
  • They usually convey an abysmally small amount of information per minute
  • They often contain at least one moron that inevitably gets his turn to waste everyone’s time with nonsense
  • They drift off-subject easier than a Chicago cab in heavy snow
  • They frequently have agendas so vague nobody is really sure what they are about
  • They require thorough preparation that people rarely do anyway – via Getting Real.

If you absolutely MUST have a meeting, follow these rules.