Monday, October 31, 2016

That is Teaching

My greatest debt, though I did not fully appreciate it at the time, was to Dunn, then a very young college Research Fellow, now a distinguished professor emeritus. It was John who--in the course of one extended conversation on the political thought of John Locke--broke through my well-armored adolescent Marxism and first introduced me to the challenges of intellectual history. He managed this by the simple device of listening very intently to everything I said, taking it with extraordinary seriousness on its own terms, and then picking it gently and firmly apart in a way that I could both accept and respect.

That is teaching. It is also a certain sort of liberalism: the kind that engages in good faith with dissenting (or simply mistaken) opinions across a broad political spectrum.
from Tony Judt's “The Memory Chalet

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Prayer is Not an Option

My advice, minister, is that you:

■ Disregard any debt sustainability analysis that assigns a greater than 50% probability to the occurrence of the second coming of Christ before the next bond maturity.

■ While avoiding unrealistic optimism, do not careen to the other extreme of soul-destroying despair. A request for financial assistance addressed to the executive board of the IMF should not begin with the sentence: “The last camel died at noon.” Panic is as infectious as yawning. So, however, is a sense of composure and control.

■ Once it becomes clear that the debt stock must be addressed, get on with it. Creditors may not like the prospect of having to write off a portion of their claims or defer repayment dates, but they positively loathe prolonged periods of indecision and dithering. Efficiency, discipline and fairness, even in carrying out a disagreeable task, will be remembered by markets long after the financial pain of a sovereign debt restructuring has been forgotten.

A sovereign debt crisis is just that: a crisis. It does not have to become a catastrophe.
"An open letter to the minister of finance of Ruritania" by Lee C Buchheit

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Only one idea per article

I once offered an editor an 800-word article. I told him various brilliant points I wanted to make. He pretended to listen patiently, and then said: “Most readers can remember only one idea from an article.” Just make one good point, he said, and buttress it with facts and anecdotes. If an hour later the reader can remember your point, that’s a triumph. Since then I have tried to make only one point per article, though not today.
Simon Kuper - Lessons from the Field

Thursday, October 20, 2016

An Existing Niche Where they Overlap

It’s not whether you get knocked down, but how — or whether — you get up. In today’s professional environment, you can’t just be smart and driven. You need to be flexible and resilient too.

So the question is: do you go ‘deep’ and master a discipline, or ‘broad’ and take on a whole slate of pursuits?

In my experience, the answer is neither. It’s not enough to have a wealth of knowledge in one area, or to be a keen generalist with limited knowledge in many — it’s critical to establish multiple areas of passion and expertise, and find — or develop! — a space that combines them.
"If I Were 22: Apples or Oranges? Choose Both for a Creative Career" by Ian Bremmer