Sweeping in front of your doors
David Buchan points to the quote by Jim McGee that I missed with my vacation:
There’s an old story that I’ve heard described as a Russion proverb. It says that if each one of us takes care of sweeping the sidewalk in front of our own home, we won’t need streetsweepers. It’s worth thinking about how that might apply to the world of knowledge work, both on the level of being an individual knowledge worker yourself and on the level of helping make the other knowledge workers that surround you more effective.
1. Great metaphor to use thinking about knowledge workers.
2. I was curious about Russian proverb as I can’t easily recall it (although it looked familiar). I did a search and found that this is a citation from Leo Tolstoy that is used in slightly different variants as a proverb (or may be he used the proverb in his writing?).
In original it looks like (my not perfect translation from Russian version):
Don’t ask others to do things you can do yourself. Let everyone sweep in front of his or her door. If each [of us] will do it, the whole street will be clean.
Here’s a wonderful illustration of what makes blogging so much fun and why aggregators are the only way to keep up with the flow. Lilia’s Mathemagenic is one of the blogs that have been in my subscription lists for months. She’s been away, but picks up on one of my posts from two weeks ago. She tracks down the story behind something I’ve used and enriches it for me in a way that I could never find on my own. And it all shows up in my aggregator for when I’m ready to look at it. I don’t have to remember to go check her site. I don’t risk missing the post because it scrolls off the front page into the archives. And, in its own right, Lilia’s post is a nice little self-referential example of the point that I was making originally.
With RSS and my aggregator working for me, these wonderful little gifts show up on a regular basis.