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.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

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."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

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.


“…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