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Monday, June 13, 2005 - 5:12pmSanction this postReply
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Re the point on Carnegie's promotion of manners, Rich and Rick, I agree with their value. My comments were more generally about self-help literature than a detailing of pros and cons in Carnegie.

 

I have indeed read his book though, being something of an aficionado of self-literature (for more than one reason), and I'm afraid that I'm not a huge fan. Part of the problem is the over-freighting of simple common sense. For example, Carnegie proclaims that there is "one all-important law" of human conduct, which if we obey "will bring us countless friends and constant happiness," and that is, "make the other person feel important." Dewey and James are called upon in support of this insight.

 

Well, who can dispute that if one can be friendly and diplomatic in interacting with others, and even complimentary when appropriate, you and the other person and society benefit, and a nicer time is had by all? Granted, the personable and civil people would seem to have a pleasanter time of it generally than what Carnegie calls the "crabapples." (Though some of the sweetest people I know are also pretty crabby--four persons come to mind right off the bat, and I wouldn't change anything about their way of being--I'm not sure how that possibility gets incorporated into the Carnegie world view.) And granted, civility and civilization have to be learned and practiced; they're not automatic.

 

I don't say that it is trivial to point all this out. I've worked in offices. I've been in rooms that also had my five siblings in them at the same time. The insight is non-trivial. But it does grate on my sensibilities to be informed of what an all-encompassing cure-all "making the other person feel important" is. Personal relations can sometimes become a machinery under the weight of such instructions. Sometimes you just know when somebody is applying a self-help technique to you instead of just dealing with you naturally.

 

This is what Mencken called "the uplift." In modern self-help, Carnegie-esque insights get refashioned in line with the latest lingo. So a fellow named Wayne Dyer--as friendly in demeanor as you could possibly wish for--suggests that if you're too curt in a particular instance, or you're grumpy with your mate or whatever, or you're a teenager who is belligerent toward his parents, you're "cutting yourself off from Source." Now, aside from the fact that I don't know what the heck that means (except that it has something to do with that darn Ego), there's the further problem that I don't know what the heck that means (except apparently something not too palatable when you try to pin it down). Watch PBS during one of their fundraising weeks and see if you can catch an intelligible definition of "source" in Dyer's spiel. He's one of their stars who get trotted out ad infinitum when they're trying to raise money. 

 

As Luke has pointed out, there's a wheat and chaff problem, and there's wheat as well as chaff in some of these books. The caliber and usefulness varies widely. 

(Edited by David M. Brown on 6/16, 4:17am)

(Edited by David M. Brown on 6/16, 4:38am)

(Edited by David M. Brown on 6/16, 4:43am)




Post 1

Monday, June 13, 2005 - 7:09pmSanction this postReply
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David,

Please stop using those miniscule fonts. They are much too small to read. (And no, I will not increase the font size on my machine for your posts because then the rest of the page would display too large.)



Post 2

Monday, June 13, 2005 - 7:13pmSanction this postReply
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Over the past several months The Atlasphere has posted several articles by Bob Berg on Winning Without Intimidation. His sound advice is also available as a weekly email newsletter.



Post 3

Monday, June 13, 2005 - 10:16pmSanction this postReply
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How fonts are viewed varies widely on monitors, and depends on screen resolution, whether you're using a Mac or PC, etc. I find my posts perfectly legible, regardless of incidental differences in font size from post to post. I doubt what I've posted just now is any smaller than 10 points, for instance. Meanwhile, you're posting in a serif font, which is per se harder to read on a monitor than a sans-serif font.  The only surefire solution, at least with regard to uniformity, is for the site itself to lock in a particular font and size, and say c'est la vie to those whose preferences may differ.



Post 4

Monday, June 13, 2005 - 11:37pmSanction this postReply
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See also Jeff Perren's fine report on the "management philosophy" saturating many workplaces. 

One of the more popular business buzz-phrases today is "Emotional Intelligence," or EI, whose popularity has grown thanks to the same-titled book by Daniel Goleman. Without attempting to analyze at length this latest in a long line of business management hoo-haw, the concept refers to using non-cognitive (non-intellective) skills to succeed in business.

 

Among such "skills" are Empathy, Managing Relationships, Self-Awareness (of one's emotions), and several others.

 

As with many "cover" philosophies, or sets of beliefs that use valid facts, phenomena, or concerns as cover to put over a hidden agenda of questionable views (such as Environmentalism), EI is one more in a long line of management "philosophies" whose putative purpose is to elucidate the proper code of goals and behavior for those working in large businesses....

 

Well, what's so wrong with self-awareness, empathy, etc.? On the face of it, nothing.

 

But EI advocates don't stop there. Even a cursory review of the literature shows one thing very clearly--these attributes are considered far more important than the 'traditional' intellectual qualities, such as high IQ, abstract reasoning ability, creative insight, deep knowledge of subject matter, etc....

 

Apart from this being an obvious false alternative, is it even true? Are "affective" (resulting from emotion) considerations more important than "intellectual" ones?

These pitched battles or non-battles over patent baloney are not only about philosophies but also about communication.

 

Unclear communication obscures the badness of bad advice--or even the lack of anything to say altogether. I witnessed this kind of thing playing out in many of the "reports" I word-processed, some years ago, for a Jersey City consulting firm. I still remember how proud was one gal, a fresh college grad, of her essentially vacuous but high-sounding wordology. How it could have helped the client I don't know, but that is what she had imbibed about how to shine in the job. It reminded me of how a "smart kid" in school might try to fake a report after having failed to do any of the necessary research. The tactic is to just keep babbling in as portentous a way as possible, making sure the abstract pronouncements never come within a light year of any single particular fact. Then hope the teacher doesn't notice.

 

This was the same firm at which the CEO periodically brought the whole company together in a sort of town hall to emote and discuss how interpersonal relations might improve. Further, various departments were regularly invited to submit their written "evaluations" of how employees in other departments were doing. All this accomplished approximately zero; that's not how management and procedures get improved. That's not how performance and results get assessed. It's okay for an "Oprah Winfrey" show, but not for doing your job.

 

Yes, this stuff is discouragingly omnipresent. As long as we're more free than not, though, genuine talent, brains and dedication still has a chance to win out over expertise in faddish jargon-spewing or sentiment-spewing. But people holding the jobs at the firms must develop the habit of declaring the emperor's state of dress or undress. Because they know--a lot more than they are often willing to say.

(Edited by David M. Brown on 6/13, 11:48pm)




Post 5

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 4:11amSanction this postReply
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I agree with David Brown's assessment of much of the Self-Help and Actualization Movement (SHAM) as a true sham.  That said, an Objectivist who scans these types of books can still extract from them a few nuggets of practical wisdom.  I agree with David that those not trained in the skills of critical thinking and integrative reasoning, i.e. Objectivism, will find themselves groping in the dark when attempting to digest and to employ much of the material in those books.  Those of us who do know how to obtain and to validate objective knowledge can quickly sort the wheat from the chaff to expand our abilities to experience life with "total passion for the total height."



Post 6

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 4:54amSanction this postReply
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David M. Brown wrote:
How fonts are viewed varies widely on monitors, and depends on screen resolution, whether you're using a Mac or PC, etc.
Precisely. That is why you you should not change them. The user has his system set to what is comfortable for him to read. Respect that.
Meanwhile, you're posting in a serif font, which is per se harder to read on a monitor than a sans-serif font.
Wrong. I do not set the font at all. I post plain text.Your default is serif. If you don't like it then you should change it.
(Edited by Rick Pasotto
on 6/14, 4:59am)




Post 7

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 7:55amSanction this postReply
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I never look to much into these types of books because they really seem like a "Peter Keating's guide to living"  Looking over Lukeís synopsis of the points made really emphasizes that to me.  Letís try to rewrite it as an objectivists guide to living.  Off the top of my head...

 

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.  (criticize or condemn when deserved, donít complain but instead act to change what you do not like)

  Give honest and sincere appreciation. (when deserved, give honest criticism when deserved and asked for)

  Arouse in the other person an eager want.  (eagerly respect the individuality of other people and their sacrosanct right to live their own life)

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  Become genuinely interested in other people.  (who meet your own high standards of value and return the same respect you give them)

  Smile.  (if you are happy)

  Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.  (? So say their name a lot to make them feel all squishy?  Dont remember this.)

  Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. (if they are genuinely interesting to you and have interesting things to say)

  Talk in terms of the other person's interests. (find a mutual goal that it is beneficial for you to both work toward, in the best interest of both of you)

  Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely. (base your assessment of yourself and others on a reverent love for the truth )

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

  Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong." (unless they are wrong, you could say 'I think you are wrong, and this is why I think itÖ' Be polite and respectful of the person, establish reason and objectivity as your guides to truth, if they are not discontinue all discussion or attempt to persuade the other person why reason is right.  )

  If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. (emphatically?  How about just quickly and honestly.  Be objective about it.)

  Begin in a friendly way.

  Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately. (?)

  Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. (?)

  Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. !!!!! Keatingism alert. ( Give credit in appropriate proportions to the idea)

  Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.

  Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.

  Appeal to the nobler motives.

  Dramatize your ideas.
  Throw down a challenge.

Any comments, changes, or additions?

Michael




Post 8

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 11:52amSanction this postReply
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I believe Luke is pointing out the book as a classic, and I agree with him. It was very much ahead of it's time when it came out, and there are some timeless bits in it. It would be true, on first blush, to have concern about parts like where it talks about never telling someone they are wrong. But, I understand the context and purpose, which is selling. It is, in essence, a sales book written by a salesman, that happens to have applications outside of that. I think what he was getting at is not bringing it forward that someone is wrong, but how it gets brought forward- use a discovery process for the person to find their own error, which preserves the relationship, something crucial in any negotiating process.

I prefer thinking not self-help, but personal development. I've been heavily involved in that world for years, mostly driven by my business life. There is definitely a lot of schlock- especially in the motivational area. A lot of it involves what I call "pumping"- blowing people up who first have core issues involving self-esteem, be they more on the self-worth side, the efficacy side, or both.

Some of this stuff is like when you'd send away for a kung-fu course out of the back of a magazine that promised you the ten key things you need to kick ass like Bruce Lee would. The bottom line is that things have principles, and what you study is principles and their application. There will always be a lot of sheep-shearing going on.

There is a lot of good work out there though. Nathaniel Branden has an excellent business book called Self Esteem at Work: How Confident People Make Powerful Companies . The Sandler Selling System is extremely powerful stuff.




Post 9

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 1:07pmSanction this postReply
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I agree with David that those not trained in the skills of critical thinking and integrative reasoning, i.e. Objectivism, will find themselves groping in the dark when attempting to digest and to employ much of the material in those books.
 
You're agreeing with me on something I don't quite believe. In my view, no special training is required to separate most of this wheat and chaff beyond the ordinary willingness to perceive and think logically that we call common sense. Yes, that is critical thinking. And sure, the more sophistication in one's thinking, the better. But the arch reporting in SHAM is really not from an Objectivist perspective, and there are aspects of the critique I would take issue with. It's just a smart reporter who's been around the block a few times saying "Wait a minute, this doesn't add up." "What's the warrant for such a claim?" "Why do people keep going back for more of the same if it isn't working for them?" "Really?" etc.
 
And in fact, people do notice the problems. Salerno quotes from the discussion boards on the web sites of some of these gurus (critical comments, of course, often have a mysterious way of disappearing from these boards). It's not that people can't perceive unless "specially trained," it's that they're sometimes not willing to credit and act on their own perceptions, or to inquire further when substantive doubts give them warrant to. Or they give the benefit of the doubt way too long before acting on their skepticism. Objectivist training, per se, is no prophylactic against such lapses. In fact, I think there is a large group of ostensible adherents of the philosophy who fall precisely into the unreflective self-help mold.
 
What I would agree with is that criticism alone is not enough. People want the inspiration and guidance of a positive alternative. But if a person is willing at least to go by his own judgment and credit what he himself sees, and not let other people tell him how to live his life or Get to the Next Level, I don't think it matters all that much if some aspects of his personal philosophy are just plain bad. He'll punch his way out. People can believe a lot of screwy things and get along well in life. It depends on how they let what they believe affect what they do.




Post 10

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 1:17pmSanction this postReply
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Precisely. That is why you you should not change them.
Change what? You've lost me. I normally prepare especially longer posts outside of SoloHQ and paste them into the box. In any case, if you look at the buttons on the side, you'll see that there are all kinds of font and size options for posting. That isn't something I rigged up. The system itself accepts what I post in the form that I typed it up.
 
I'm doing nothing to determine the fonts in your own posts, certainly.  
Your default is serif. If you don't like it then you should change it. 
Which is it? I should change it or I shouldn't change it? In any case, when I post Verdana, I see Verdana. So I'm really not sure what the issue is. The default font I started with persists. A 10-pt. sans-serif font is standard on many sites, and I have no difficulty reading it myself. But if you have difficulty reading a particular text in a particular post because it appears too small on your own screen, in IE it's a matter of a click on "text size" under View to alter the size. Another second to click it back. Problem solved.
 
Now, please don't send the cops after me.

(Edited by David M. Brown on 6/14, 1:30pm)




Post 11

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 2:40pmSanction this postReply
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Michael F Dickey,

I suggest that your additions and changes to Carnegie's maxims are precisely why Objectivism is growing as slowly as it is. They are the cause of the current brouhaha here on SOLO.

In her post Jennifer wrote:

"Just don't be surprised when there is no demand for your supply."

People are not likely to want to deal with you if you treat them like children. You can let people know you disagree with them, that you believe they are wrong, without saying "Only idiots believe that!" or worse.

Carnegie didn't develop his ideas while sitting in an armchair. He experimented and revised them over many years of actual experience applying the ideas himself and incorporating feedback from others.

Objectivist activists need to heed Carnegie's words.

I suggest you actually read his books. In fact, I suggest that all Objectivists should read his books.



Post 12

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 2:53pmSanction this postReply
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David,

How you find your posts on your machine is irrelevant. You should be more concerned with how your potential readers see them. Are you writing to read your own words or because you want others to read them?

The web is not print.

You write your posts in a program that is designed for print. It necessarily sets a font and font size. That works for print but it does not work for the web.

(And no, I do not have all those little buttons on the side of my edit window since I use neither IE nor any other Microsoft product.)



Post 13

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 5:56pmSanction this postReply
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As for font, this site is set up to let people do their own fonts if they want. I don't think it's too big of a deal. If you see a post that you can't read, just hit "ctrl +" in Firfox, or "View->Text Size->Larger" in IE.



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Post 14

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 7:17pmSanction this postReply
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Given what has been happening on other threads in recent days, and the dramatic exits of a number of people from SOLO, it strikes me that criticisms of Dale Carnegie's classic might be a wee bit premature.

Sure, we'd all die from a steady diet of his unremitting sweetness. But a few spoonfuls of that sugar might offset the sour taste left in our mouths -- perhaps even dispose some to temper scorching assertions of their own rectitude with something that has been in short supply around here: a touch of class.

I wonder at the message these public feuds are transmitting to the world. They seem to be saying that being an Objectivist -- like being in love -- means never having to say you're sorry.




Post 15

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 7:56pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff,

You and David are missing the point. If an author wants to be read he should make it easy for his reader. Posting in a font size significantly smaller than what is comfortable for the reader is counter-productive. What, you say, you don't know what is comfortable for the reader? Precisely. That's why font changes should always be relative rather than absolute and should be done for a limited specific effect only.

BTW, changing the browser font size is not instantaneous and also shifts the viewport which necessitates scrolling to get back to where you were. Why create that annoyance for your prospective reader?



Post 16

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 11:39amSanction this postReply
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One thing Dale Carnegie teaches very strongly  is manners. People seriously underestimate how impactful manners (or the absence of them) are in dealing effectively with others.  Dale Carnegie assumes good social skills are a primary for success.

Maybe we should start a thread on "manners," and then...

rde
Never Mind<tm>




Post 17

Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 3:35amSanction this postReply
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>Posting in a font size significantly smaller than what is comfortable for the reader
 
I'm not sure why you're seeing the font smaller than I'm seeing it, though I understand that the specs of your monitor may be different from mine. 10 pt. sans serif is very standard on many web sites, and I assume must be generally legible. As I look at the screen, the dimensions of my posts and that of other posts look roughly equivalent. 
 
I use sans-serif precisely because the monitor is a different medium from the page--while a serif font like Times Roman looks better and reads better on the printed page, sans-serif works better on the screen. That's not my exclusive view, it's a widely held one. You don't say which browser you are using if not IE, but if Mozilla there's also a "text size" option; and you can simply use Control and + key to increase text size, Control plus - key to decrease. If that's not helpful, maybe we can just agree to disagree on this question. 
 
 




Post 18

Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 4:14amSanction this postReply
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Re the point on Carnegie's promotion of manners, Rich and Rick, I agree with their value. My comments were more generally about self-help literature than a detailing of pros and cons in Carnegie.

 

I have indeed read his book though, being something of an aficionado of self-literature (for more than one reason), and I'm afraid that I'm not a huge fan. Part of the problem is the over-freighting of simple common sense. For example, Carnegie proclaims that there is "one all-important law" of human conduct, which if we obey "will bring us countless friends and constant happiness," and that is, "make the other person feel important." Dewey and James are called upon in support of this insight.

 

Well, who can dispute that if one can be friendly and diplomatic in interacting with others, and even complimentary when appropriate, you and the other person and society benefit, and a nicer time is had by all? Granted, the personable and civil people would seem to have a pleasanter time of it generally than what Carnegie calls the "crabapples." (Though some of the sweetest people I know are also pretty crabby--four persons come to mind right off the bat, and I wouldn't change anything about their way of being...I'm not sure how that possibility gets incorporated into the Carnegie world view.) And granted, civility and civilization have to be learned and practiced; they're not automatic.

 

I don't say that it is trivial to point all this out. I've worked in offices. I've been in rooms that also had my five siblings in them at the same time. The insight is non-trivial. But it does grate on my sensibilities to be informed of what an all-encompassing cure-all "making the other person feel important" is. Personal relations can sometimes become a machinery under the weight of such instructions. Sometimes you just know when somebody is applying a self-help technique to you instead of just dealing with you naturally.

 

This is what Mencken called "the uplift." In modern self-help, Carnegie-esque insights get refashioned in line with the latest lingo. So a fellow named Wayne Dyer--as friendly in demeanor as you could possibly wish for--suggests that if you're too curt in a particular instance, or you're grumpy with your mate or whatever, or you're a teenager who is belligerent toward his parents, you're "cutting yourself off from Source." Now, aside from the fact that I don't know what the heck that means (except that it has something to do with that darn Ego), there's the further problem that I don't know what the heck that means (except apparently something not too palatable when you try to pin it down). Watch PBS during one of their fundraising weeks and see if you can catch an intelligible definition of "source" in Dyer's spiel. He's one of their stars who get trotted out ad infinitum when they're trying to raise money. 

 

As Luke has pointed out, there's a wheat and chaff problem, and there's wheat as well as chaff in some of these books. The caliber and usefulness varies widely. 

(Edited by David M. Brown on 6/16, 4:47am)




Post 19

Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 4:55amSanction this postReply
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I'm not sure how it happened but it looks like I accidentally replaced my first post in this thread with the last post...and now I can't figure out how to "edit" the first post to rectify it. So that first post is going to look like a non sequitur. Sorry about the confusion.



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