“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit,” Hemingway confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934. “I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”
The demise of publishing has been predicted since the days of Gutenberg. But for most of the past century—through wars and depressions—the business of books has jogged along at a steady pace. It’s one of the main (some would say only) advantages of working in a “mature” industry: no unsustainable highs, no devastating lows. A stoic calm, peppered with a bit of gallows humor, prevailed in the industry.
Survey New York’s oldest culture industry this season, however, and you won’t find many stoics. What you will find are prophets of doom, Cassandras in blazers and black dresses arguing at elegant lunches over What Is to Be Done. Even best-selling publishers and agents fresh from seven-figure deals worry about what’s coming next. Two, five years from now—who knows? Life moves fast in the waning era of print; publishing doesn’t.
This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty's Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both:
If we can learn how to be more content, our productivity can have more meaning. Our productivity can be the result of our happiness. Not the other way around. Cultivate meaningful productivity and start to re-claim your time.
Remember, time is not money. Time is life.
1. The government (i.e. taxpayers) gets an equity stake in every Wall Street financial company proportional to the amount of bad debt that company shoves onto the public. So when and if Wall Street shares rise, taxpayers are rewarded for accepting so much risk.
…Wall Streeters may not like these conditions. Well, you should tell them that the public doesn’t like the idea of bailing out Wall Street. So if Wall Street doesn’t accept these conditions, it doesn’t get the blank check.
Donaldson says companies continually underestimate what they have to lose by allowing their reputations to be tarnished through "corporate Watergates." Every year, companies lose more through damaged reputations than they do from regulatory fines or legal actions…
Companies can get into dire straits when they ignore early signals of problems like those at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, says Robert Mittelstaedt, a former Wharton dean who now leads the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. "These warnings kept popping up. At some point in time there had to be somebody somewhere in these organizations that said, 'This just doesn't feel right.' It's a common mistake."
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