Saturday, November 19, 2022

Highly recommended.............

      Lincoln shook hands with the bedraggled Irishmen, offering encouragement.  Bull Run was just one battle, not the war.  Next time would be better, and there was certainly a place in the vast new American force for the immigrants.  More than a nod to ethnic tolerance, Lincoln needed the nearly two million Irish in the country to fight for a splintered nation.  Northern factory owners, businessmen and Main Street merchants weren't about to give up their livelihoods to risk death in the South.  The farmers, from whose ranks the American revolutionists had drawn some of their best marksmen, were seasoned soldiers—available mainly in the winter, when fields were dormant but fighting was a logistical nightmare.  The urban poor, the immigrants without trades, might have to form the backbone of the new Union Army.  Whether then would die for this country was still an open question.  To Lincoln's kind words, the Irish 69th gave a president they would never vote for a Gaelic cheer.  He was moved, a crooked smile breaking the untertaker's face—"I confess I rather like it."  Was there anything he could do for them?  Be honest, he told the men.  Meagher stepped forward.  Since being thrown from his horse, and losing friends to combat, the shine of the orator was gone.  He looked haggard, with lips tight, eyes clouded, a full half foot shorter than Lincoln.

     "Mr. President, I have a cause of grievance."


       "The morning I went to Colonel Sherman and he threatened to shoot me."

        Lincoln tipped his head, puzzled.  Unwilling to get in the middle of a spat between officers, he threw off a joke, with some truth to it.  "If I were you," he said, "and he threatened to shoot, I would trust him."  For one of the few times in his life Meagher was speechless.  Still, the 69th was mustered out of duty for a few days leave to return home, as the Irish captain had requested.  Lincoln would remember Thomas Francis Meagher.

On optimism.....................

     Optimism is not utopian. It’s protopian -- a slow march toward incremental betterment. Over time we continue to get better not only in living standards, but in being able to solve problems. Each year we know a little more, including how to fix things. But the cost of that overall betterment is a barrage of bewildering new problems brought on by progress. We can easily imagine some of the horrific downsides in future scenarios, but the biggest and most difficult problems in the future are actually beyond our capacity to predict. We can’t even imagine the worst. But as bad as the world’s future problems will be, the reason we can and should be optimistic is that our estimates of future woes don’t take into account our ability to solve them. The ultimate reason we should (and can) be optimistic is not because we must ignore the reality of huge, planetary-scale illnesses and deep systemic problems. We should be optimistic not because our problems are smaller than we thought, but because our capacity to solve them is larger than we thought.

-Kevin Kelly, as culled from this essay

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Highly recommended..................


Self-esteem is a huge factor to negotiation, and many people set modest goals to protect it.  It's easier to claim victory when you aim low.  That's why some negotiation experts say that many people who thing they have "win-win" goals really have a "wimp-win" mentality.  The "wimp-win" negotiator focuses on his or her bottom line, and they's where they end up. . . . Remember, never be so sure of what you want that you wouldn't take something better.

Figuring out what the other party is worried about sounds simple, but our basic human expectations about negotiation often gets in the way.  Most of us tend to assume that the needs of the other side conflict with our own.  We tend to limit our field of vision to our issues and problems, and forget that the other side has its own unique issues based on its own unique world view.  Great negotiators get past these blinders by being relentlessly curious about what is really motivating the other side.

If this book accomplishes only one thing, I hope it gets you over that fear of conflict and encouraged you to navigate it with empathy.  If you're going to be great at anything—a great negotiator, a great manager, a great husband, a great wife—you're going to have to do that.  You're going to have to ignore that little genie who's telling you to give up, to just get along—as well as the genie who's telling you to lash out and yell.

     You're going to have to embrace regular, thoughtful conflict as the basis of effective negotiation—and of life.  Please remember that our emphasis throughout the book is that the adversary is the situation and that the person you appear to be in conflict with is actually your partner.

     More than a little research has shown that genuine, honest conflict between people over their goals actually helps the problem-solving process in a collaborative way.  Skilled negotiators have a talent for using conflict to keep the negotiation going without stumbling into a personal battle. . . .

     And so I'm going to leave you with one request.  Whether it's in the office or around the family dinner table, don't avoid honest, clear conflict.  It will get you the best car price, the higher salary, and the largest donation.  It will also save your marriage, your friendship, and your family.

Monday, November 14, 2022


  Risk-takers challenge the comfortable warmth of the status quo; they are willing to trade their potential within the hierarchy for accepting a degree of responsibility the bureaucracy has decided to find distasteful. Even legitimate risk-takers disturb the hierarchy because they refuse to "stay in the box." And there’s no risk-taking, or Auftragstaktik, in the box.

-from this post at The Hammock Papers

Highly recommended...................

 Save.  Just save.  You don't need a specific reason to save.  It's great to save for a car, or a down payment, or a medical emergency.  But saving for things that are impossible to predict or define is one of the best reasons to save.  Everyone's life is a continuous chain of surprises.  Savings that aren't earmarked for anything in particular is a hedge against life's inevitable ability to surprise the hell out of you at the worst possible moment.

Be nicer and less flashy.  No one is impressed with your possessions as much as you are.  You might think that you want a fancy car or a nice watch.  But what you probably want is respect and admiration.  And you're more likely to gain those things through kindness and humility than horsepower and chrome.

Define the game you're playing, and make sure your actions are not being influenced by people playing a different game.

Respect the mess.  Smart, informed, and reasonable people can disagree in finance, because people have vastly different goals and desires.  There is no single right answer, just the answer that works for you.