Category Archives: Interpersonal Strategy

Transcendence

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Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft

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Nope, not a vaudeville duo. Rather, an 1887 division of social-group types by the German proto-sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies. Gemeinschaft (more or less meaning “community”) is a group of people who work to maintain bonds with one another, who know one another well enough that a sense of belonging matters for its… Read more »

A Job I Can’t Imagine Wanting

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I have two good friends who have both recently become college presidents. One visited last weekend. And as part of a long and wide-ranging dinner conversation with her and her family, blessedly little of which was about higher ed, she did happen to mention that she’d discovered how much money her… Read more »

Wait, what?

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One of the joys of being on my small community’s selectboard is that you never know what the next meeting is going to bring. Buy 440 cubic yards of gravel? No problem. The ATV club wants permission to operate four-wheelers on North Street? Sure, we’ll consider that. Property tax rates,… Read more »

Ready to be a dandelion?

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I’ve just been pointed to science fiction writer Cory Doctorow’s blog post in which he claims that the characteristics of intellectual work in the Internet age (ease of duplication and transmission, immediacy of reach, lack of reader focus and followthrough, an immense ocean of choices) means that artists of all… Read more »

Another Burden of Administrative Life

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Sectarian Violence

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The comedian Emo Phillips performed a routine (click that link) that has been voted the greatest religious joke ever written. Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?” He… Read more »

Free Agent

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I just saw Michael Moore’s movie Where to Invade Next with some friends on Saturday night. It’s a terrific movie, as he usually delivers, though not I think as powerful as Roger & Me or Bowling for Columbine. But one of the ideas that he hopes to “colonize” for America… Read more »

80-15-5

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A colleague recently shared with me a model of triage that comes from public health management. The model posits that 80% of people with a problem will come through it just fine; 15% will need some special attention to manage their specific context; and 5% will be in real crisis. Hold… Read more »

The Bright Side of Office Politics

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I used to work pretty hard at managing upward—saying the same thing, gently, to my provost or president enough times to eventually hear those ideas come from them as though they’d just thought them up. You can take credit for the work, or you can get the work done. From The Office… Read more »