Thursday, July 26, 2007

Good Leadership Philosophy, But Will You Get a Raise?

"When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally."
- Lao Tzu

Does Time Exist?

If time doesn't actually exist, why do I have to shave every morning? This sort of physics information sort of makes sense to me in a big picture (like an expanding universe), but in particular examples I have a lot of trouble integrating it with my perceived reality. Interesting stuff, though. If you have time to think about it...

The Decline of the Private Self

This is a very interesting article, and the more I think about it, the more it seems that we are becoming more and more virtual human beings than people. What do I mean by that? Well, let's start with the cell phone. It is now commonplace for one human being, while transacting business with another human being, to speak to a third human being about another matter while ignoring the human being with whom the first human being is transacting in person. Confusing? Imagine being a ticketing agent and having someone check in, check baggage, ask if the flight is on time - without ever actually speaking with the ticket agent. I've seen this, and I admit, when my boss called just as I reached the front of the line, I have done this. The virtual person checking in, treated the actual person the same as the disembodied person on the other end of the phone line. We are becoming desensitized by the sheer volume of information that is coming our way, and are simultaneously surrendering privacy while lowering our standards for interpersonal contact.

How is this changing who we are and how we relate to others? More to follow tomorrow.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Spoiler Free)

I wanted to wait to read the Harry Potter books with my kids. But, my wife really enjoyed the series and somehow she got me I started reading the books last year.

Once I got into the first book, I was eager to read the rest. I have been enchanted by JK Rowling's imagination - one which I have heard called "first rate" by a first rate imagination in his own right. The world, history, plot lines and most especially the characters in her books are rich and delightful, and I came to like many and enjoy all of them. I have read the 'Lord of the Rings' series, the 'Chronicles of Narnia' and I enjoyed the former far more because the background was so rich. Rowling's work is equally rich, but I must say that it engages without relying on the gravitas of epic. Tolkien's wonderful books make it clear early on that this is the story of the struggle of good and evil, and on it rests the fate of the world (Middle Earth). Rowling starts us in a cupboard beneath the stairs, with a young boy beginning an adventure. Only later does it become clear that around this boy swirls the epic struggle of good and evil. He becomes lovable to us, as do many of his friends, before we learn of the great quest that will settle the fate of this imagined world.

Now, having read the final installment, I must say that Rowling truly ended the series admirably. Many things we wondered about and hoped for and feared came to pass, but the end of the series was brilliantly wrought and as well-plotted as any part of the story. No spoiler here, but I must say that I was pleasantly surprised that she was able to wrap the series up without artifice and without hitting a false note. And, I am grateful that my wife talked me into reading the books, so that I can enjoy them again as I read them with the kids.

Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
As always, the photos we use are either my own, or in the public domain. Please let me know if there are any errors and I'll correct them immediately.