Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category
Tough sanctions by the NCAA, but still unsatisfying. Probably no penalty would have satisfied, even the death penalty. Somehow, though, the NCAA comes off badly, perhaps because so many presidents passed the buck to Emmert.
For the football team, I still think the NCAA and the school should have: kept the statue at PSU, and team got the death penalty. Colin Cowherd of ESPN got the statue question right — keeping it would have warned PSU (and many others) not to foist godliness upon mortal, fallible men. Juxtaposing that reminder with the death penalty – “This is the man you loved, but he helped destroy his and your football program” — would not have helped with the healing at PSU, but it would have powerfully reminded many other schools to shine cleansing daylight upon all corners of their worlds, including athletic teams.
As an aside, ‘healing’ at Penn State doesn’t matter a whit. The healing of the victims– as much as possible in this case — does. But how silly to think that a senior at PSU, whose view of Coach Paterno has shattered and who now faces a far less boisterous last year at the school because of the penalties, needs “healing”. Ridiculous.
With regards to Paterno, the NCAA sanctions do somehow seem appropriate. For years, observers bemoaned his remaining the coach. In hindsight, those commentators appear both right and wrong. Right, because they perceived something had gone wrong. Wrong, because they worried whether Coach Paterno, as he aged, could maintain control of the program. We now know he exercised far too much control on it, and on the university at large.
Finally, I empathetically repeat my Facebook post from July 12: “Penn State Trustees: You are all pieces of shit. If you had any decency left, you’d give up your cushy, esteemed posts and let better men and women assume the mantle of leadership to restore the university’s good name.”
- Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
- The Halo Effect, by Phil Rosenzweig
You can find Kahneman’s book on Amazon or in most bookstores. You can find Rosenzweig’s book in used bookstores, Amazon marketplace, Alibris.com, Abebooks.com or Bookfinder.com. With shipping, it will cost you about $6, which will be the best $6 you spend all year. Get them both, and read them.
Always a source for excellent books, especially Westerns, my uncle gave me Heart of the Country, by Greg Matthews, for Christmas. Anticipating the receipt of a good book for the holiday, I uncharacteristically brought no books on my travel to Louisville, and began reading it immediately. From the start, I could not put it down. Read the rest of this entry »
My uncle recommended Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan to me. Morgan has crafted that rare biography in which the critical lessons of the subject do not become lost in the details of his life. Indeed, Morgan evokes those lessons in the best pieces of writing in the book; the lessons seem to haunt the pages. Read the rest of this entry »
“I think no greater good has ever befallen you in the city than my zeal for the service of the god. For I go about doing nothing else than persuading you to take no care either of the body or for riches, prior so much as for the soul, how that it may be made most perfect, telling you that virtue does not spring from riches, but riches and all other human blessings, both private and public, from virtue.”
– Socrates, The Apology by Plato
Now that it is summer time, my reading schedule is in full swing—and Levi’s books were in my queue for a while. Born in Turin, Levi trained as a chemist before joining an anti-Fascist resistance movement. In early 1944, the Nazis captured and imprisoned Levi at Auschwitz where he witnessed the horrors of the German Lager. Under normal circumstances, the Germans would spare political prisoners the fate of Auschwitz’s concentrationary system, instead placing them in better-fed, better-kept gaols with their fellow ‘conspirators.’ But Levi was Jewish. Read the rest of this entry »
Most of our clients and subscribers have a keen interest in leadership. As investors, you must judge leaders – their abilities, skills, character and performance. As leaders in your firms, you must motivate your teams, make critical decisions and find ways to differentiate your firm and services in a crowded, competitive industry.
At Chiefist, we primarily serve clients in that first role. With our analytical tools, executive profiles and searches, and actionable trading ideas, we support the appraisal of corporate leadership as a key element of investment due diligence. But more broadly, we aid clients by offering unique ideas. And when we find a good leadership idea, we would be remiss not to share it — in this case, a book of fascinating ideas.
In Leading & Leadership, editor Timothy Fuller surveys some of history’s greatest thinking on the subject of leadership. He includes writings from Confucius, Homer, Plato, Machiavelli, Aquinas, Washington, Tocqueville, Frederick Douglass and Woodrow Wilson. It also contains important contributions from modern writers, including Ronald Glassman and Abraham Zaleznik. (Future editions would benefit from adding William Deresiewicz’s excellent speech, “Solitude and Leadership”.)
The book contains much wisdom about the characteristics and ethos of leadership. Every executive should read Zaleznik on “Managers and Leaders: Are They Different?” Washington’s “Farewell Address” should serve as a model for thoughtful succession transitions. The tension between Machiavelli’s and Aquinas’s conceptions of leadership are played out in organizations every day.
Individual readers will of course find their favorites among the chapters. Taken as a whole, the book offers a useful and needed counterweight to today’s often vacuous prattle on the subject. Our study of leadership needs practical advice, analysis of hard numbers and modern examples. But it also requires philosophical reflection, reasoned and dispassionate consideration, and a historical perspective. What emerges is a powerful reminder of the complexities and nuances of leadership. That reminder can only help us both to better evaluate the leaders in investments we’re considering, and to more effectively lead our own organizations.
Normally I do not put much stock in political polling, especially on deep policy issues after politicians on both sides of the aisle demagogue political talking points with the American people. However, this recent poll on the front page of The New York Times certainly caught my attention. Although the poll includes policy-oriented questions, it also includes emotive questions and shows that nearly 70% of Americans believe the nation is on the wrong track; meanwhile, disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy has never been higher—57% of Americans. The poll concludes: “Americans are more pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama’s first two months in office, when the country was still officially ensnared in the Great Recession.” Read the rest of this entry »