“One always dies too soon—or too late,” I told him. “And yet one’s whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are—your life, and nothing else.”
“Okay,” he said. “But I’m just the UPS guy.”
“Mercenaries are driven by paranoia; missionaries are driven by passion,” he says. “Mercenaries think opportunistically; missionaries think strategically. Mercenaries go for the sprint; missionaries go for the marathon. Mercenaries focus on their competitors and financial statements; missionaries focus on their customers and value statements. Mercenaries are bosses of wolf packs; missionaries are mentors or coaches of teams. Mercenaries worry about entitlements; missionaries are obsessed with making a contribution. Mercenaries are motivated by the lust for making money; missionaries, while recognizing the importance of money, are fundamentally driven by the desire to make meaning.” — John Doerr
Once again, the New Yorker exceeds all expectations with its piece on Christian Tetzlaff — and keep in mind I’m very far from being a classical music buff:
[Performing music] is the job that has the most to do with the belief in the existence of a soul. I deal in Berg’s soul, in Brahms’s soul — that’s my job. […] Trying to turn lead into gold is nothing compared to taking something mechanical like an instrument — a string and a bow — and using it to evoke a human soul, preserved through the century. – Christian Tetzlaff
This I think embodies the whole reason for the uncommon attraction some New Yorker pieces exert. I know of no other periodical that so consistently exposes its readers to some of the best writing on fields that are definitely not germane to their daily hopes and preoccupations, while convincingly making the case that these alternate world-views are all part of the same reality anyway.
A friend of mine went to college at MIT.
“One of my professors repeated himself,” she said. “Every lecture was the same.” The class was introductory physics.
“You mean he gave the same lecture year after year?” I said. “No. Every lecture.”
You would wrap a tree trunk with ropes, and keep punching it. You throw 5000 punches day and night — do that for a month, the inside of your fist swells up until you can barely curl your fingers. Then you open a tin can and set it up on a stand. You keep punching the sharp part. When your hand turns into mush with blood and pus, you start punching a pile of salt. Repeat it, and your hands become like a stone.
L’entraînement des forces spéciales en Corée du Nord.
It turns out that while large companies and organizations are phenomenally good at managing complexity, they’re actually quite bad at tackling ambiguity.
Eloge de la pensée hybride – Why Can’t Big Companies Solve Big Problems? | Co.Design: business innovation design
Sorrow comes in great waves—no one can know that better than you—but it rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us it leaves us on the spot and we know that if it is strong we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain.
I don’t know why we live—the gift of life comes to us from I don’t know what source or for what purpose; but I believe we can go on living for the reason that (always of course up to a certain point) life is the most valuable thing we know anything about and it is therefore presumptively a great mistake to surrender it while there is any yet left in the cup.
When you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot… And so if your main argument for how to grow the economy is ‘I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,’ then you’re missing what this job is about.
President Obama on why Mitt Romney’s record in the private sector matters (via barackobama)