30 August 2013

Nice Threads

Back in 1955, one Sloan Wilson wrote a book "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit". I don't know whether I've read it; in 1955 I wasn't reading at adult level. By the 1960's, when I was, it was certainly well known; likely as a prescient omen. The counter-culture and all that. Other books from the 50's: "The Hidden Persuaders" (1957), "The Power Elite" (1956). Here's a factoid: in surfing the Wiki for other forgotten books, I tried 'keeping up with the joneses', expecting to find something from about the same period; post WWII, in particular. But Nooooooo. Turns out that's the title of a comic strip from 1913!! I'll bet you thought McMansions and two car garages were a recent phenomenon. Apparently the rot has been simmering for a century.

Anyway, IBM's been running a series of ads on the TV about 'social biz'. You can YouTube for some of them, but I didn't find a link for the one that set me off, in which we see a series of interviewees and a narrator bemoaning the fact that too many hires just don't work out. Use social/psych methods to weed out the undesirables. This from what is, superficially, a high tech outfit (it isn't, and never was, but that's a much longer Other Story).

That's the potatoes and onions. Here's the meat for the stew.

Yesterday it was reported:
"Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was," said a former U.S. official with knowledge of the case. "This is why you don't hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble."

I suppose that means brilliance comes with a conscience. Einstein was a pacifist.

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