Cory Leonard

Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Daniel W. Drezner Against Public Intellectuals in Decline

In Uncategorized on July 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Great discussion surrounding the bookTwilight of the Elites with David Brooks and Drezner going the rounds on whether our public intellectuals are as good as theirs (from the past.) Drezner opines:

Most of the obituaries for the public intellectual suffer from the cognitive bias that comes with comparing the annals of history to the present day. Over time, lesser intellectual lights tend to fade from view – only the canon remains. When one looks back at only the great thinkers, it is natural to presume that all of the writers from a bygone era are great. Even when looking at the intellectual giants of the past, current public commentary is more likely to gloss over past intellectual errors and instead focus on their greatest moments. Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man might look wrong in retrospect, but it is not more wrong than Daniel Bell’s The End of Ideology.

Intellectuals like Sontag or Friedman occupy their exalted status in the present only because they survived the crucible of history. As Posner acknowledges, “One of the chief sources of cultural pessimism is the tendency to compare the best of the past with the average of the present, because the passage of time filters out the worst of the past.” It is riskier to assess the legacies of current public intellectuals – their ability to misstep or err remains.

via Daniel W. Drezner | FOREIGN POLICY.


Why We’re Afraid of Mormons | BU Today | Boston University

In politics on July 5, 2012 at 6:04 pm

One of the best stories of late (and there have been quite a few) addressing many of the issues Mormonism confronts in contemporary American political life, written by Rich Barlow for Boston University Today and interviewing religion scholar Cristine Hutchison-Jones, who coincidentally, isn’t married:

The other people who are uncomfortable with Mormons are socially and politically liberal Americans. Polls ask, would you vote for a Mormon presidential candidate? People who self-identify as liberal have a tendency to say no. There’s a tendency to see Mormons as a hegemony, as if they were en masse in thrall to church leadership. The Moral Majority reached out to Mormons, and because of that association, liberals tend to see Mormons as off-limits. I had to get over some of that myself. That was the expectation I came into my research with. I headed off to the Mormon History Association national conference, and the group of scholars there are by and large Mormon, and they are not in any kind of political lockstep. There’s a wide diversity of opinion.

With the Moral Majority, it seems Mormons were crawling into bed politically with people who had a prejudice against them.

It’s true. In the 1980s, the New York Times didn’t know what to do with Orrin Hatch, who rode into the Senate as a conservative Republican Mormon. Then conservative Republicans proposed a school prayer amendment to the Constitution. He said, “Absolutely not. I am part of a minority religion that has been abused, and I am not going to be party to telling anyone how they should or should not pray.” Hatch famously went on to work with Ted Kennedy for federally funded children’s health care. Mormons have a very strong sense of the common good.

via Why We’re Afraid of Mormons | BU Today | Boston University.

via Why We’re Afraid of Mormons | BU Today | Boston University.

Why You Should Run Your Career Like a Startup – Knowledge@Wharton

In career on July 3, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Strategies for making it in a hard-to-break-into career:

Mollick: What about planning for careers where the odds of success are small but very rewarding? For example, choosing to be an entrepreneur, an artist, a video game designer…

Hoffman: The general pattern that we suggest is A-to-Z planning to figure out how to take intelligent risks. [To say to yourself], all right, I want to do this, but it’s a low probability of success. Even if I’m really good, my probability of success might be very low, [or it] might be moderately low. What you want to do is … to [make and keep a] plan…. You [need] a strategy to take a risk for competitive differentiation. Part of having plan B and plan Z is to think about [what will happen] if this doesn’t work: How do I … move around, try it again, try it different ways? If it isn’t really working, how do I reset to grow a plan Z? That allows you [to] try something but [also have the opportunity to replay] it. And you may decide to replay multiple times….

When I came back from Oxford, I told my dad it would take me somewhere between three and five startups to be successful. When I was doing each startup, even though I was putting my all in to try to make each startup successful, I was paying attention to … all the things I was learning: the network that I was building, the skills that I was building, the fact that the next play would be the one that would be more likely to be successful, just because I was learning a bunch of things while doing it. In all the flexible planning, make sure that you are always investigating your network and your skills and your [potential to increase the odds] for the next play. That’s the tight corpus of a mental framework for how to approach low-probability success ventures and careers.

via LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman: Why You Should Run Your Career Like a Startup – Knowledge@Wharton.

via Why You Should Run Your Career Like a Startup – Knowledge@Wharton.