| Peter Klein |
1. We are not big on Jim Collins here at O&M but Toyota president Akio Toyoda is a fan, explaining his company’s woes in terms of Collins’s five stages of business decline. (Is “be headquartered in a country with an overvalued currency” one of the stages?)
2. Karen Ho’s Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Duke, 2008) is reviewed by fellow anthropologist Gillian Tett in the FT. The key to understanding the financial crisis, we learn, is Bourdieu (why haven’t I read about this book on orgtheory.net?). “Massive corporate restructurings are not caused so much by abstract financial models as by the local, cultural habitus of investment bankers, the mission-driven narratives of shareholder value and the institutional culture of Wall Street.” Why didn’t I think of that?
3. I’ve been reading Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, the first of great dystopian novels (in Natasha Randall’s new translation). I had head that Taylorism figures prominently in the novel, but didn’t know Taylor would be mentioned by name. “Yes, that Taylor was, without doubt, the most brilliant of the Ancients. True, he didn’t think everything through, didn’t extend his method throughout life, to each step, around the clock. He wasn’t able to integrate his system from an hour to all twenty-four. But all the same: how they could have written whole libraries about the likes of Kant — and not take notice of Taylor, a prophet, with the ability to see ten centuries ahead?” Of course, as we’ve noted before, there’s more to Taylor than meets the eye.