Literature and Business Education

Literature and Business Education

The Importance of Literature in Professional Life.wmv – YouTube

Adam Crowley in a wonderful presentation talks about the importance of understanding literature for the professions. In my introductory lectures to my business law classes, I often refer to the importance of other courses like science, math, English and literature. Business teaching can only go so far in educating a human being, we need more intellectual nourishment to be whole.

Adam Crowley
Adam Crowley
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Benjamin Franklin, Business Ethics And How To Approach An Opponent!

An excerpt from The True Benjamin Franklin

Author: Sydney George Fisher

Franklin was by nature a public man; but the beginning of his life as an office-holder may be said to have dated from his appointment as clerk of the Assembly. This took place in 1736, when he had been in business for himself for some years, and his newspaper and “Poor Richard” were well under way. It was a tiresome task to sit for hours listening to buncombe speeches, and drawing magic squares and circles to while away the time. But he valued the appointment because it gave him influence with the members and a hold on the public printing.

The second year his election to the office was opposed; an influential member wanted the place for a friend, and Franklin had a chance to show a philosopher’s skill in practical politics.

“Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met, in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends and our friendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says ‘He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.’” (Bigelow’s Franklin from his own Writings, vol. i. p. 260.)

Some people have professed to be very much shocked at this disingenuous trick, as they call it, although perhaps capable of far more discreditable ones themselves. It would be well if no worse could be said of modern practical politics.

I confess to have done similar things myself having been a student of Franklin since I was in high school. (It took me an age to figure out what venery was!) 

There was a mail service in the building where I worked. The mail often contained items of some confidentiality so I asked the our version of a postman to give the letters only to me. Well, a few days passed and the office gossip brought in the letters after having gone through them. I was enraged and decided to go out and tell off the guy. Fortunately this thought passed away instantly as I realized that the busybody would have the letters from then on.

So, the next day I went over and told him how much I appreciated his giving the mail to me only, how it helped me with my work and how few people who did his work would have realized its importance and helped me in the matter. The office busybody never got the mail again. (And the postman and I were buddies from then on.)

Needless to say, I don’t consider Franklin’s action a mean trick. I think it is just a good way to get to know someone.

James Pilant

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Diogo on The Myth of Morality (via Patrick Nathan)

This is Diogo commenting on an earlier post. His comments are intelligent and most welcome. In fact, I like putting up comments as full fledged posts.

James Pilant

Here is the comment –


I think it would be rather important that Mr. Wallace could read some of the works of Frans de Waal, or even Daniel Goleman. What’s interesting in Frans de Waal, a primatologist, is his experiences with bonobos, considered our greatest ancestors, along with the chimpazes. And while chimpazes are more, let’s say, self centered and violent, bonobos are much more social, being called by Frans de Waal the “make love, not war” primates. Another argument of paramount importance is the kind of conclusions that we can learn from neuroscience, where in some experiments showed that when we feel emphaty there’s an old area from our brain that makes a “click”. Another argument used by Daniel Goleman is that, and concerning the traffic example, when we deal with these kind of situations we are just centered on our goal: getting home. So it is usually a question of focus, rather than genetic.

What leads us to this: our empathy, moral, is a human thing, and that argument of self-centered and selfish individuals is just used to brainwash our society and, yes, is just used to “justify cruel and immoral policies and actions”. I totally agree on that. In fact, Margaret Tatcher and Ronald Reagan took great advantage of this misleading arguments to transform society in a jailed space where the more selfish you are, the strongest you’ll be.

The works of these 2 guys are really worth reading, beacuse they go straight to the point! To our past!

Long live to science!

The Myth of Morality (via Patrick Nathan)

I found this an interesting review with many references to morality. Take this quote below –

Everyone agrees that The Pale King enshrines boredom. What has been glossed over, however, is how fiercely and unrepentantly American these pages are. Yes, the book expounds upon the marvels of boredom and the “heroic” nature of doing a quiet but necessary task without audience or recognition, but juxtaposed are endless descriptions of bureaucracies, American culture at its most dysfunctional, and even extended Platonian dialogues about the decline of American society, complete with terms that never fail to surface in today’s news: “liberal individualism,” “corporations,” “conservatives,” “founding fathers,” “consumer capitalism,” etc. “Americans are crazy,” one character remarks to another: “We infantilize ourselves. We don’t think of ourselves as citizens—parts of something larger to which we have profound responsibilities. We think of ourselves as citizens when it comes to our rights but not our responsibilities.” The selfishness described here again harkens back to Wallace’s speech, in which he revealed that our “natural, hardwired default setting” is to be “deeply and literally self-centered.”

If the reference is to our ethical and moral responsibility, I quite agree. However, the “hard wired” setting to be deeply and literally self centered, is ridiculous, we are just as hard wired to be cooperative and self sacrificing. That being deeply and literally self centered is an American doctrine used to justify cruel and immoral policies and actions. If humans are self centered monsters salivating after every last moment of pleasure and every conceivable possession, than we can justify every kind of lie and cruelty in the name of social control.

Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed the review and I would like you to read it.

James Pilant

My thanks to Patrick Nathan

The Myth of Morality In 2005, novelist David Foster Wallace was invited to give a commencement speech to the graduates of Kenyon College. Captivating, inquisitive, and in no way didactic, Wallace unveiled to them the oncoming drudgery of adult life and all its routines—certainly nothing an ambitious twenty-two year old wants to hear. But Wallace offered an alternative to mental and emotional atrophy. The liberal arts degree, he said, not only teaches us how to think … Read More

via Patrick Nathan