Music Reviews and Features
Originally published on Monday, March 16, 2004 in The Miami Herald.
The idea that we can learn how to conduct our business more effectively
by emulating the behavior of others is a no-brainer. But our attraction
to successful individuals and organizations is often built upon
illusions and conceits. I may admire an athlete like Michael Jordan,
but my physicality, intellect, emotions and circumstances shape
my actual performance no matter how much I may want to ``be like
We'll look at some military-intelligence-cum-business books next week. This week, we'll consider the value of guidance from sources both sacred and profane.
Religious orders impose structure on the spiritual. Where cults require the subjugation and sublimation of id, ego and libido, organizations fueled by righteous determination that perform selfless services require a business-like discipline. The Benedictines were founded fifteen centuries ago, and their organization served as the basis for many of the monastic orders that followed.
The authors do a nice job of explaining how the Benedictines have functioned successfully for the last millennium and half. Though the personal devotion and sacrifice of its members are probably not exactly analogous to employees and executives, their hierarchical and ethical structures are worth studying.
The popularity of television's The Sopranos confounds
many traditionalists. The characters lie, steal, kill, commit adultery
and more. Yet within their perversity (and perversions), some find
an admirable morality that transcends their criminality. Values
such as loyalty and honor are displayed in each episode alongside
the mayhem. The head of the family, Tony Soprano, is viewed as a
management model in two recent books. But why?
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