During his retirement, my grandfather wrote some notes about his life, family, and memories of his work as a barber and tobacconist, and some of the people he knew in Bristol. Some of his material I have recorded here.
Reflecting back upon my life, I often light upon some incident or detail, which is then as soon forgotten. So it was that I resolved to write them down as I could, ‘for the record’.
Regarding my maternal ancestors, I have only vague information. My grandparents were Yarnalls, Tewkesbury born and bred, and conducted a very successful Ironmongery, corn and forage business in Barton Street, occupying two shop premises. Continue reading Leonard Eric Grogan, 1903 – 1989
This book has consistently influenced me for many years. It highlights the importance of our need for control, real and perceived, over our environment. I first read it in connection with my work, but have found the theory of great personal benefit also. It may appear daunting if you are used to self-help books of a lighter tone, but deserves to be better known in the UK. I think this quote might explain its purpose. ” Learned helplessness refers to three things: First, an environment in which some important outcome is beyond control, second, the response of giving up, and third, the expectation that no voluntary action can control the outcome“. The book gives many of the famous studies of behavioral psychologists who worked with animals, with analysis of how they may shed light on human behaviour. Below, I quote from pages 174 to 183.
Early in the Second World War, a young man in a small Hungarian town, along with a number of other Jews, started to prepare against a German invasion. It eventually happened on 19 March 1944. They survived, because they faced the challenge by loosening ties to their jobs, possessions and a normal life; moving in anonymity from city to city. The man was unable to persuade other members of his family to go with him. At some risk to himself, he returned at least three times to plead with his relatives, pointing out to them the growing persecution of the Jews, and later, transportation to the concentration camps had already begun. He could not convince these Jews to take action.
In the beginning the dashing, non-conformist Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and his wife Felicity (Meryl Streep) raid a squab (pidgeon) farm. After they get ensnared by a trap, Felicity makes her husband promise he’ll give up thievery if they make it out alive. After this alarming wake-up call, he takes up a steady job as a newspaper columnist, but he can’t suppress his wild leanings for long. Against the advice of his lawyer friend Badger (“You’re borrowing at nine-and-half per-cent, no fixed rate, and it’s in a neighbourhood totally unsuited to your species”), he moves the family into a large tree on a hill with a view overlooking Boggis, Bunce, and Bean’s farms, and soon sets about stealing and antagonizing them. This sets off a full-scale war that drives Mr. Fox, his family, and all the other neighbourhood animals deep underground.
Interviewing Ricardo Semler of Semco Partners, for TED.com. Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a clearinghouse of knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers.
Ricardo Semler advocates revolutionary stuff that only a handful of companies worldwide practise. He dismisses as corporate window dressing ‘mission statements’ and ‘employee consultation’ and points out how far we claim to defend democracy, but practice Eastern bloc centralisation in our workplace.
He encourages people to start where they are and affect the few people under them, instead of moaning that it’s impossible. He notes how many business schools and consultants preach empowerment, but run autocratic, tightly controlled organisations themselves.
He writes about how he works constantly to pull back from being placed in the role of a guru with the Midas touch, how he wants the business to be sustainable through the efforts of all employees, not only the one with a reputation.
At most companies in the United States, vacation starts in the most un-relaxing way possible: filling in a permission form. Accruing enough time to go on vacation then having to go and ask for permission felt more like a school field trip than a grown-up getaway. Worse, many companies insist employees take vacation time before a year-end deadline or lose out. Is there a better way to care for every companies greatest resource – their employees?
At HubSpot , they designed a progressive policy that allows employees to build their work around their life, not the other way around. They are part of a growing trend, now around 3 percent of US companies.
“I will not make any deals with you… I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own…”
The Prisoner was one of the most original dramas ever aired on television. Brainchild of producer and star Patrick McGoohan (1928- 2009) the series portrays a high-ranking but un-named secret agent in the Government who resigns from his position and while leaving for a holiday, is immediately abducted and taken to what looks like an idyllic resort, but is really a sinister prison known only as “The Village.” No one has a name. Everyone has a number, all are watched continually by unseen eyes, both in and out of the homes that are given to them. Escape is regarded as impossible by those who have come to accept their captivity. The residents generally appear very ordinary, but there is no knowing who are friends and who are enemies; who are fellow Prisoners and who are spies.
“I am not a number. I am a person”.
Number 6 ( the new “identity” given to him by his captors) soon learns that no one can be trusted, not even one of his oldest and closest friends whom he finds is there, and certainly not the girls who come into his new life, right from the start.
Gary infuriated his fiancé Ellen, because even though he was intelligent, thoughtful, and a successful surgeon, Gary was emotionally flat, unresponsive to any and all shows of feeling. While Gary could speak brilliantly of science and art, when it came to his feelings- even for Ellen- he fell silent. He lacked emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and responding appropriately by using emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour. Emotions are, in essence, impulses to act, clearly seen in child and animal behaviour, often suppressed in adults, sometimes rightly, often not.
The term became widely known with the publication, twenty years ago, of Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ (1995). It is to this book’s best-selling status that the term can attribute its popularity. Goleman has followed up with several further popular publications of a similar theme that reinforce use of the term. To date though, tests measuring EI have not replaced IQ tests as a standard metric of intelligence…
The years 1680 and 1682 were years of unusually bright comets. Many pamphlets were printed, especially in Germany, on the imminent end of the world; at the very least, great catastrophes were expected. This was nothing new. In earlier centuries and also earlier in the seventeenth century, comets were regarded with awe and every possible evil effect was ascribed to them.