Sunday, March 21, 2010

Links ...

  1. Annie Murphy Paul in NYTimes: How to be Brilliant [a review of The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong by David Shenk]:

    Shenk doesn’t neglect the take-home point we’re all waiting for, even titling a chapter “How to Be a Genius (or Merely Great).” The answer has less in common with the bromides of motivational speakers than with the old saw about how to get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. Whatever you wish to do well, Shenk writes, you must do over and over again, in a manner involving, as Ericsson put it, “repeated attempts to reach beyond one’s current level,” which results in “frequent failures.” This is known as “deliberate practice,” and over time it can actually produce changes in the brain, making new heights of achievement possible. Behold our long rumored potential, unleashed at last! Shenk is vague about how, exactly, this happens, but to his credit he doesn’t make it sound easy. “You have to want it, want it so bad you will never give up, so bad that you are ready to sacrifice time, money, sleep, friendships, even your reputation,” he writes. “You will have to adopt a particular lifestyle of ambition, not just for a few weeks or months but for years and years and years. You have to want it so bad that you are not only ready to fail, but you actually want to experience failure: revel in it, learn from it.”

  2. Vikram at An Academic View of India: The Three Roles of Caste in Indian Society.

    The third and I believe, most important role is caste as a determinant of social relationships and human behaviour. This affects Indians of almost all caste, religions and language, except the hill people of North East and Central India. The hierarchical, ‘purity’ bound social order has been embedded in the behaviour of Indians for generations and overcoming it will take generations. Indians, urban or rural usually work on a master slave nature of personal relationships. As Pratap Bhanu Mehta points out in ‘The Burden of Democracy’, Indians often fail to see their co-workers, bosses, employees etc. as equal human beings, being constantly aware of one’s ’status’ with respect to the other. One has to work hard and be well off, not simply for material fulfillment, but for expecting the minimum civility and respect that should be accorded to every human. The socio-religious capital of being a Brahmin or a big land-owner has been replaced by financial capital and the social capital of ‘being well known’, ‘working in an MNC’ or ‘having studied abroad’.

  3. I Want 5 Sentences, Not 'War and Peace': An interview of Guy Kawasaki by NYTimes's Adam Bryant.

    Q. Talk more about this notion of dispensability.

    A. Insecure people would rather see the company fail without them than succeed. It’s because their ego is so large that the thought of a company succeeding without them is incomprehensible. They would rather see it fail.

  4. Mikhail Gorbachev: Perestroika Lost. You should read it for the title alone!