Category Archives: Interpersonal Strategy

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 »

Cycles of the Day

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I’m old enough to remember (I start a lot of sentences that way now…) when computers were something of a novelty, when the bowling alley I worked in started installing arcade games like Asteroids and Missile Command and Centipede. But there were low-tech versions as well, and one of them… Read more »

The Anonymous Professor

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Her son was murdered, and she began to study sociology as a way to understand the world her son had travelled in. She now teaches at a small college, a 5/5 load, trying to bring other students to understand of the duties of friends. He grew up in wheat country,… Read more »

Unseen Allies

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Years ago, I read an interview with John Updike in which he talked about the joy of receiving a fresh box of his new books. He smelled them. He held them in his hands, admiring their covers, turning them gently so they’d catch the light like a jewel. He opened… Read more »

Yes, but…

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Why are faculty meetings so miserable? I think it’s because, as scholars, we’ve trained ourselves in ways that make it almost inevitable. Think about the basic moves of a scholar’s career. To paraphrase Birkenstein & Graff’s work on academic templates, the origin of almost every piece of research can be… Read more »

Unseen Work

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I tend to mistrust “how-to” books. I think they’re too sanitized to be trustworthy, reducing complex and contextual circumstances to linear recipes. Much more interesting are the “how-it-happened” books, in which some person talks about how their amazing life got to be so amazing. Filled with stories and accidents and roads… Read more »

Yet again, in the anteroom…

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I went up to Middlebury College last night to watch a marvelous movie, Mr. Turner, about the English painter JMW Turner. It’s absolutely a marvel, with Timothy Spall giving a fully embodied performance of a deeply talented and deeply unlikeable man. But for our purposes, I’d like us to consider this… Read more »