"Who are you? Why are you here? How are you unique?" Tom Peters
Someone passed along a book on business etiquette.
Not a thing wrong with it.
I relearned a few "correct fork" tips.
[I'm 58, and I'll doubtless go to my grave with the wrong fork stuck in my ear … or somewhere.]
BUT I WON'T ENDORSE THE BOOK.
WHY? Miss Manners and her ilk are full of shit.
I don't go out of my way to be rude.
[Though I do fart, belch, and snore like any other declining 58-year-old.
And my gas isn't always passed at the appropriate time.
WHY DO WE INVARIABLY SAVE THE BEST-WORST ONES FOR A CROWDED ELEVATOR?]
Maybe I'm pissed at Miss Manners because I grew up in the South, a half century ago, where we were polite as hell, always said "sir" and "ma'am"
[I do to this day] … as we enforced segregation laws with untold zeal.
Or maybe it's a reaction to perfectly turned-out execs … who recklessly toss workers aside by the thousands.
My goal: REDEFINE "MANNERS." How? FOCUS ON THE ONE THING IN HUMAN RELATIONS THAT REALLY MATTERS … RESPECT.
I'm in love, it turns out.
I'm in love with Harvard prof Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot's book.
It has a one-word title: Respect.
"It was much later that I realized Dad's secret.
He gained respect by giving it. He talked and listened to the fourth-grade kids in
Spring Valley who shined shoes the same way he talked and listened to a bishop or a college president.
He was seriously interested in who you were and what you had to say."
A respected mental health professional, Norman Guitry, gave a guest
lecture, in which he baldly claimed that 95 percent of our mental health
problems, including most crime, could be rectified if we would just pay
[RELIGIOUS] attention to one, humble, two-word phrase.
To wit ...
[I don't think I'm arrogant. I pray not.
But I must admit I occasionally catch myself - Al Gore style - going into my "pontificating mode."
HOW INSUFFERABLE IT SOUNDS … AS I CATCH MYSELF OUT!]
The great American psychologist William James explains "it" this way:
"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."
Manners = Respect + Connection with one's Fellow Human Beings,
poor humble, confused laborers-in-life's-vineyard that we all are.
[A/K/A: SCREW THE RIGHT - OR WRONG - FORK OR FART.]
Former Los Angeles Philharmonic Conductor Carlo Maria Giulini lays "it" out as follows:
"My intention has always been to arrive at human contact without enforcing authority.
A musician, after all, is not a military officer.
WHAT MATTERS MOST IS HUMAN CONTACT.
The great mystery of music making requires real friendship among those who work together.
Every member of the orchestra knows I am with him or her in my heart."
Hyper-powerful sports agent Mark McCormack offers a potent lesson in one of his books.
He insists that - even in the Age of the Internet [especially in the A. of the I-net?]
- it is often worth while to undertake a 6,000 mile round trip to consummate a 5 [FIVE] - minute, face-to-face meeting.
Why is McC so insistent: RESPECT RULES!
"Manners": Respect + Connection + Appreciation + Showing Up are the Ultimate Manners … and let the forks fall where they may!
Oh yeah … and DON'T BELITTLE!
- Tom Peters/London/11-28-2000
The President of the United States is E.M.P.H.
That is, Earth's Most Powerful Human.
He - W. or Al - will be elected in 2000 … BY DESIGN.
I've ranted about design for almost a decade.
Now I have the ultimate "Exhibit A." Namely, the Palm Beach County ballot.
A national election hinges on about 300 votes. Florida's.
The Palm Beach County ballot is … THE MOST STUPIDLY DESIGNED … "GRAPHIC THING" … IN HISTORY.
Have you seen a close up of it????
IT IS TOTALLY CONFUSING. Totally. Period.
U.A.A. … Ultimate Academy Award: to Palm Beach County, for Real Shit with BIG Consequences … when it comes to design.
Message2000: Design … really does/will … RULE.
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.