A Concise and Brilliant Peer-Reviewed Article on Writer’s Block

I’m passing this along from Bob Sutton’s blog (which you ought to be reading if you care about management and leadership in today’s enterprises).

Below you can see an entire article (including a reviewer’s comment) that may look fake, but is legitimate. It was published by Dennis Upper in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis in 1974, and is funny, true, and inspired — and a great demonstration that "brevity is the soul of wit."   Academics, especially the editor’s of our journals, have a well-deserved reputation for being humorless assholes (note I edited a couple academic journals and include myself in this swipe), so I give these editors a lot of credit.  A big thanks to Thomas Haymore for telling me about this masterpiece and to Professor Brad DeLong for publishing it on his blog a few days ago.


A Concise and Brilliant Peer-Reviewed Article on Writer’s Block
Mon, 06 Dec 2010 17:52:26 GMT

Nine years and counting here at McGee’s Musings

Today is the ninth anniversary of my first post here. It remains the primary place where I work out my thinking about the challenges of knowledge work in today’s world and how to operate at the boundaries between technology opportunities and organizational reality.

It’s also a place that continues to introduce and connect me to other people wrestling with the same kinds of questions. The human connections that flow from this effort remain the real reward.

I would like to ask a few questions from those of you who find this valuable in some way:

  • What would you like to see more of here?
  • What would you like to see less of?
  • What topics would you like to see me address that haven’t been addressed here yet?
  • What else would make this a better resource for you?
  • Who else should I be listening to?

Are you reading McGee’s Musings via Bloglines?

My good friend Jack Vinson has put together the following useful information for blog readers who are using Bloglines and now in need of a new solution. Like Jack, it appears that about a quarter of my current subscribers use Bloglines to follow McGee’s Musings. If that applies to you, Jack’s advice is applicable to your needs.

Bloglines no moreBloglines is shutting down at the end of September.  If you are using Bloglines to read Knowledge Jolt, please find a new RSS reader.  Here are some possibilities for your switch from Bloglines.   

For what it’s worth, about 1/4 of the people reading my blog come from Bloglines, according to Feedburner.  When I look at website referrer information, I see a very small number of people coming to my website from Bloglines.

First off, you need to get your subscriptions.  Some services know how to read from Bloglines, but in case they don’t you need to find the "Export Subscriptions" option under the Feeds tab.  Your browser should offer to save the file to your computer.  You can then import these subscriptions into any other reader.  (Bloglines are showing you how to do that on the home page.)

Then you need to pick a new reader.  As far as reading options, the biggest player in the room is Google Reader (50% of my readers – and similar statistics for many others).  The Google Reader team have even written a welcome post for people who might be making the switch.  A welcome and a look back:

We know that nothing will be quite like Bloglines in the hearts of its users, but if you’re looking for another online feed reader, we encourage you to give Reader a shot. All you need is a Google account (you already have one if you use Gmail) — and here’s a video to help you get started. It’s also very easy to bring your Bloglines subscriptions over, you just have to export them from Bloglines and import them into Reader.

There are a number of other web-based options.  And, like Google Reader, there are some that provide access via multiple devices, such as Netvibes and NewsGator.  I’ve noticed that there are some of the newer "social dashboard" applications that incorporate feed reading, such as Seesmic.  And there are a number of standalone applications (RSS readers or news aggregators), such as my recent looks at RSS Bandit.  It’s also possible to pull a web feed into Outlook or Firefox or Internet Explorer directly.

[Image is my mashup on the Bloglines logo.]

Are you reading Knowledge Jolt via Bloglines?
Jack Vinson
Fri, 17 Sep 2010 23:03:27 GMT

Time for the Larry story again

For me, this has always been the Jessica story, as will make sense when you read it. I, too, tell it from time to time. The actual timing was late in 1993, as I left Ernst & Young at the start of 1994 to co-found Diamond.

I’ve told this one in different forums since it happened in 1995-ish. A recent incident prompts this version.

Back in the days when Harvard Square was one giant bookstore, a corner of two floors was occupied by Wordsworth. Always jammed, knowledgeable clerkery, books, books, and more books, the place where it was easy to walk out with two shopping bagsful of books.

"The TeamNet Factor is faceout at Wordsworth," Daughter #2 said. It was a star from Kirkus at the time, an acknowledgement from the arbiter of good books that this was worth reading.

So I went to take a look and there it was, third shelf up faceout.

I gasped and the man next to me said: "What’s wrong?"

"That’s my book!"

"Great book," said he, "I read it. And have you read my book?" He reached across, a couple of shelves down to hand me Managing Information Strategically, inadvertently pushing me into the woman just beside us.

"Oh, is that your book?" she said. "Well, this is my book, or I mean his book," pointing to the man to her left. "I’m just the editor."

Rewind: The author who reached in front was Jim McGee. The man with the editor was Charles Handy.

Jim and I chatted for a while; he mentioned that he was at Ernst & Young; we exchanged contact info; and I formulated The Bookstore Theorem: The only people there are authors.

Fast forward a year or two to the mail dock at Bear Island where I spotted a couple looking for directions. They wanted to find the girls’ camp that their daughter had gone to; they were staying nearby at the Appalachian Mountain Club on Three Mile Island; they’d just paddled over.

Me: "The girls’ camp is close to our cabin." Off we went, following the red trail, chatting, who are you, what do you do, until eventually the husband said, "I work at Ernst & Young."

Perfect entre for my book-story to which he had the perfect rejoinder.

"I’m Jim McGee’s co-author on that book," said Larry Prusak.

Fast forward again to very recently. Two good friends decided to go to the AMC camp on Three Mile for the weekend so we visited, got the tour of the camp (go, that’s all I can say, it’s beautiful).

Outside the dining hall was a list of those present for the weekend.

Guess who?

Yes, Larry, who, by the way, is reading Jonathan Franzen’s new one, Freedom. "Beautifully written," he says.

Time for the Larry story again
Jessica Lipnack
Mon, 06 Sep 2010 12:57:28 GMT