G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Good I didn't take Frederick Taylor seriously

I still have "Motion and Time Study: Improving Productivity" by Marvin E. Mundel, fifth edition, first published in May 1973. It was part of my Industrial Management curriculum from 1981-83.

As I thumb through it, I don't find many signs of it being read by me!

Did I miss much?

Frederick Winslow Taylor is considered the father of time and motion studies.

PHILIP DELVES BROUGHTON writes:

“…Mr. Stewart traces the problems with management theory back to Frederick Taylor, the early 20th-century evangelist of efficiency. Taylor’s study of the way pig-iron was handled by laborers at Bethlehem Steel was adored by industrial leaders of the time. It led to the notion of scientific management, even though it was soon discovered that Taylor had fudged both his research and his results. One of his lead associates called parts of Taylor’s work “nothing but fiction.” It was the original sin behind a century of increasingly influential management science..."

(WALL STREET JOURNAL BOOKS, AUGUST 4, 2009 review of "The Management Myth" By Matthew Stewart)

"...The business world, according to Mr. Stewart, has become so obsessed with its own perverse value system and view of human nature that it is undermining the “commons” of society. Workers, for instance, are regarded as dehumanized labor, tools for businesses to use and dispose of at will. Management “science” also fails to take into account the broader context in which businesses function, choosing to focus on the interests of individual businesses at the expense of the rest of society. Mr. Stewart blames the enablers and peddlers of management science..."

"...The greater cause of “The Management Myth” is to introduce more humanity and apply less bad science in the way we think about business...

...Timothy Ferriss, the young author of “The 4-Hour Work Week” believes that most of what we need to know about work and life was written down centuries ago by Seneca, the Roman philosopher. In the hip, technology crowd, Seneca’s essay “On the Shortness of Life”—about living well and behaving honorably—is now required reading..."

At IIT Madras, among my teachers, Prof. R Rajagopalan (RR) knew this and was constantly conveying it to those who cared to listen.

Thank you RR.

An example of Chaplinesque humour on Taylor's productivity techniques being applied in America's military industrial complex:


Artist: Richard Decker, The New Yorker, April 3 1943