Select the link below to read the script of this video.
Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote of the distinction between "starting power" and "staying power." I had been trying to put into words the effect of people's opinions expressed "in the raw" on social media on both myself and others around me. Sometimes it feels as though the "staying power" of whole generations is being attacked by this new outlet of unchecked, unverified, and too-many-times illiterate, opinions of the opinionated.
I know I need to refresh my "staying power." This is the topic Dr. Fosdick spoke on in 1935.
This is a short excerpt.
"Staying power is associated with a certain central integrity of conscience. Whatever else life may give or may deny, one thing is absolutely indispensable—that a man should not break faith with himself, that he should keep his honor bright. … that whatever else may fail he should not inwardly be a failure. …
"Whatever happens, a man living on high terms with himself, is the essence of "staying power."
Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Power to See It Through, 1935
If I had been sitting in the church pew this day in 1935, I would have shouted "Amen, Dr. Fosdick!"
"The secret of culture is to learn that a few great points throughout history steadily reappear … and that these few are alone are to be regarded:
I do wonder how many of us when we talk about our "work culture" or our "societal culture" apply these standards to our individual, daily contributions?
Especially, do we wish to serve … to add somewhat to the well-being of mankind?
Peter E. Greulich
Quotes from Peter F. Drucker's "The Effective Executive"
Achieving Effectiveness, not Efficiency?
"For manual work, we need only efficiency; that is, the ability to do things right rather than the ability to get the right things done. … Working on the right things is what makes knowledge work effective."
Why Do Employees Check Out?
"The knowledge worker cannot be supervised closely or in detail. He can only be helped. But he must direct himself, and he must direct himself toward performance and contribution, that is, toward effectiveness. … The motivation of the knowledge worker depends on his being effective, on his being able to achieve.
"If effectiveness is lacking in his work, his commitment to work and to contribution will soon wither, and he will become a time-server going through the motions from 9 to 5."
What is an Executive?
"I have called 'executives' those knowledge workers, managers, or individual professionals who are expected by virtue of their position or their knowledge to make decisions in the normal course of their work that have significant impact on the performance and results of the whole."
"It dawned upon me that interpretation of truth, or the righteousness of either side of a question depended upon the sources of information and an open-minded willingness to examine different views."
Daniel C. Roper's Autobiography, Fifty Years of Public Life, 1941
As applicable today in a social-media-driven world as it was in the rock-and-spear Stone Age, and all the eras in between. Daniel C. Roper was the United States Secretary of Commerce during Tom Watson's time at IBM. Fundamentally, thinking is important but also the sources of information that your thinking is founded on.
A good case for the social sciences and attaining a wide, generalized education.
Peter E. Greulich, January 19, 2023
“I don't have much patience with people I hear saying that it is impossible to get good people for jobs. . . . Won't it follow naturally that if a business idea is basically sound it will draw to itself quality people, not only because of the job but because they want to be connected with a business whose underlying idea has vigor, and offers scope for individual initiative?"
“My advice to young people today is to let no day pass without pushing personal standards a notch higher. The law of struggle is the essence of all life—animal, vegetable, and human. Our progress from birth to death is marked by struggle, and rightly so, for when we cease to struggle, dry rot takes over. . . . Young people who count not their hours but their opportunities are the ones who maintain the difficult road to success.”
Select the link below to read book reviews of J. C. Penney's "Fifty Years With the Golden Rule."
Peter E. Greulich, Author
"When the last glacier retreated northward from what is now Connecticut, it left behind as mementos of its visit, great boulders of rock which are now strewn lavishly across the state.
"Today, its irresistible growth has torn the massive rock into fragments. This is the law of life. The future belongs not to rigid absolutes, whether they are primal rocks of unyielding social arrangements, but to the thing that can grow, whether it is a tree or a democracy."
Raymond B. Fosdick, "We Must Not Be Afraid of Change,"
The New York Times, April 3, 1949
This is the starting few paragraphs to a full article written by Raymond B. Fosdick. If you think that what we are facing today is a new threat to democracy, I would highly recommend reading it in its entirety. Change and the discussion of change is the way of a people united through democracy . . . a diversity, not so much achieved through shades of color or non-color—black and white, but . . . through thoughtful discussion.
Peter E. Greulich
"We got a peace of a sort almost five years ago [post World War II]. It has been more or less with us in the guise of what we call a cold war. …
It would seem that this fundamental truth holds true whether it is in international relationships or within our own political system here at home. "Bodily harm" cannot be the means to make individuals agree.
To preserve the freedom of speech, we have an obligation to listen to each other.
Peter E. Greulich, December 2022
Dangers of Data Centralization Circa 1971
“In this scatteration lies our protection. But put everything in one place, computerize it, and add to it without limit, and a thieving electronic blackmailer would have just one electronic safe to crack to get a victim's complete dossier—tough as that job would be.
"And a malevolent Big Brother would not even have to do that, he could sit in his office, punch a few keys, and arm himself with all he needed to know to crush any citizen who threatened his power.
“Along with the bugged olive in the Martini, the psychological test, and the spike microphone, the critics have seen ‘data surveillance’ as an ultimate destroyer of the individual American citizen's right to privacy--his right to call his soul his own.”
This was included in a statement from Robert P. Bigelow, Attorney at Law, Boston, quoting Thomas J. Watson Jr. before a U.S. Senate Congressional Hearing: "Federal Data Bank, Computers, and the Bill of Rights" on March 10, 1971
For more business insights, quips and witticisms select the image above or the link below.
Attribution: John R. Bangs Jr., “Human-O-Grams,” The Ithaca Journal, April 14, 1938, p. 12
"In our hatred of war—in our repudiation of rule by force which means enslavement—we still cannot forget those ennobling traits of human character which alone can carry men forward to victory, when war is thrust upon us. … Weakness cannot cooperate with anything.
"We have got to be strong."
It is this last quote that reminds me of IBM's Open Door policy from the 20th Century. It seems that we IBMers knew that if we could just get the information to one of the Watsons ... everything would be alright. Then again, so did first-line and middle management who made it a point to seriously consider all their actions in the area of human relations.
Select the icon below to read the full book review of John Gunther's "Eisenhower: The Man and the Symbol."
"Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil; our great hope lies in developing what is good."
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States
I have just finished reading Volume I of "The Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts on the Business of Life." It is amazing how just reading a few of the thoughts of a man or woman can be enough to make me wonder why I was never taught more about great men and women of American history … or, maybe, to keep the blame where it best rests:
Why I have been negligent in my studies until I am an old man who can see the end of days ahead? Do not waste thy youth, young man or woman!
Peter E. Greulich
This quote also shows up credited to Mr. Morley in B. C. Forbes' Scrapbook of Thoughts: Volume I from 1953. Trying to find information on Mr. Morley proved challenging. It seems that if Wikipedia doesn't know about you, you just don't exist, eh? Which means I don't exist either, right? (Thank God!)
So, I did a little digging, and this is what I found.
- Peter E.
"In a world where so much seems to be hidden by the smoke of falsity and moral degeneration, we Americans must grasp firmly the ideals which have made this country great.
A thought to consider as Memorial Day is upon us one more time. "What our country has done for us" is "what each of us (and our forefathers) have done as individuals for their fellow citizens." Many have given their lives for our freedoms. Select the image above or the link below to read about Peter E. Greulich's experience with one man who never returned from war.
"Capitalism and socialism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this:
Adapted and updated by Peter E. Greulich from a Phelps Adams' quotation
The Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts, 1950
"By justice the lawyer generally means the prompt, fair, and open application of impartial rules: but we call ours a Christian civilization, and a Christian conception of justice must be much higher.
Woodrow Wilson, "The Road Away from Revolution"
Peter E. Greulich
Pete has been studying IBM and early American corporate history since his retirement in 2011. These are his thoughts and musings, and of those whose biographies he has read with links to articles and book reviews on this website.