Monday, January 17, 2005

You can see this one a mile away....

I like to visit Joe Carter's blog because his worldview is so counter to mine...anyway, Mr. Carter, in an otherwise admirable post calls Malcolm Gladwell's new book "Blink" "intriguing."

While we Zen folks do a great deal of thinking non-thinking, thinking without thinking, to me, sounds like a ready made recipe for a post-hoc justification of those managers from hell who basically don't use information to make decisions. OK, George W. Bush comes to mind (is it a coincidence that David Brooks reviewed this for the NYT?), I admit it, but the pointy-haired manager in Dilbert is the real horror for whom Gladwell is going to create fodder for years. Can't you just see it?

Manager: I just made a snap decision. Your budget is cut.
Sub-manager: But with the amount I requested we will have a guaranteed increase in revenues of 300%.
Manager: My snap decisions are usually correct. Did you read Gladwell's new book? You shouldn't question "think slicing."

I remember there was ONE really good business book like this years ago. It basically had the theme that all those business books- like Ken Blanchard's "One Minute Manager," "Who Moved My Cheese?" like that other book Gladwell wrote (about stickiness and Tipping Points) etc. were all garbage, every last one of them. Team-building, "Bright-sizing," all those jargon-filled "new" ways to "manage," "lead" "effect change" - all nonsense. There was even hard data on this.

The trendiness of these kinds of things has a life-cycle shorter than the trendiness of research trends, with the exception that good research can't be subverted by ignorance and stupidity.

Better to just pay attention and do your best.

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