Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday Stuff

What follows is a roundup of stuff I thought important to notice, but which I don't necessarily have the time to delve into in a larger way just now. But don't be shy, dear reader. If any of these happen to hit your interest button, please do pipe up and comment to get the conversation started.

Why We Love Bookslut, Part 67. How can you resist a blog that's as lively and earnest as the writing in this entry, from Bookslut's 20-something Jessa Crispin, posted on Dec. 18th: "Back when I was 19 and an idiot, I was very swoony for Glenn Gould. Not as swoony as the girl I knew in Canada who went to his grave and wept, saying she had no hope for love because only Glenn Gould would ever really be able to understand her, but still about as swoony as some girls got over Morrissey. (Never understood that one, myself.) And let's not think about the fact that I've switched my dead guy crush from Gould to William James, who was also not in the best of health, but at least he didn't have the weird scarf thing." We've enthused about the Chicago-based literary blog earlier--here, here, here, here and here.

Hollywood Producer Peter Guber on the Importance of Storytelling. Though it's not available online for nonsubscribers (and it's among the priciest pubs on the planet), this piece in the current Harvard Business Review is worth finding at the bookstore or library. Here's how it begins: "The power of storytelling is also central to my work as a business executive and entrepreneur. Over the years, I've learned that the ability to articulate your story or that of your company is crucial in almost every phase of enterprise management. It works all along the business food chain: A great salesperson knows how to tell a story in which the product is the hero. A successful line manager can rally the team to extraordinary efforts through a story that shows how short-term sacrifice leads to long-term success. An effective CEO uses an emotional narrative about the company's mission to attract investors and partners, to set lofty goals, and to inspire employees. "

Speaking of Hollywood...Looking for a fresh take on the writer's strike, which next week will enter its third month? I'd recommend this piece in the lively lefty journal In These Times. I learned some things from this piece that I've seen nowhere else, including the fact that the Writer's Guild used to represent about 95% of those who write for film and TV, but that cable and reality shows have helped whittle that down by about half, to 55%. The author argues that the growing concentration of corporate ownership has allowed these deep-pocketed companies to ride out strikes their predecessors couldn't.

Stop the Presses: Rich Districts Produce Good Schools. Solon and Chagrin Falls high schools are ranked #s 126 & 127 in Newsweek's new listing of the top 1,300 public high schools in the U.S. They had the top slots for this region (a couple of Cincinnati-area schools were in the top 100). Then again, I have about as much faith in these kinds of lists as I do in energy healing and Cleveland magazine's annual "rating the suburbs" feature. In other words, not much. (So why even mention it, you ask? Because we believe in the bedrock principle of we report, you decide!)

CIO Magazine on how Wal-Mart Lost its Technology Edge. CIO, owned by the same company that publishes Britain's stately and authoritative Economist, is a great and often-overlooked pub, the kind that often serves as both a feeder system and crib notes for larger, more prominent news organizations. Anyway, since technology has always been the crucial factor in this omnivorous company's rise, I found this piece about Wal-Mart's waning tech edge to be of special interest, and you might too. Here's a prediction: you'll soon see this same theme cropping up all over the rest of the media, in many cases mostly just repackaging of this piece, with perhaps a little different slant and a sprinking of additional reporting. In fact, we just may consider awarding a prize to the first reader who can provide such a link. By the way, for non-techie readers, CIO stands for chief information officer.


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