Things I Learned in 2016

It’s easier to learn things at your age, Vera, than it is at mine. Everything is new to you. Much less is new to me.

Nonetheless, there are always opportunities to learn new things, regardless of age. In fact, I can’t imagine living without learning. It’s what makes life interesting.

So, as I’m sitting in Starbucks in southern California early this morning, I’m reflecting on what I learned this year. Here are just a few highlights: Continue reading

What I’ve Learned About Christmas

_dsc0362I was telling the person who cuts my hair that Christmas wasn’t my favorite holiday — in fact, that I had come to not like it all that much. She reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas. And then she told me about the car load of presents she had bought for her grandkids.

It’s not that I don’t like Christmas per se; rather, it’s that I’m not particularly wild about what we’ve done with it or, more precisely, what I allowed to be done with it in my life.

Continue reading

Christmas Is a Great Time for Choosing How to Live

Whining gets old fast. No one like to be around a whiner.

If I find myself complaining about something, I have to ask myself, then why am I not doing something about it?

No one likes to be around a complainer. Incessant complaining makes for a very sour person. It’s hard to be happy if you’re always complaining.

So one thing I’ve learned over the years, Vera, is either do something about it or shut up. Continue reading

Final Exams May Be a Waste of Time

I graded final exams this week. Once again, I’m thinking it makes no sense to keep giving final exams. I haven’t had a long track record of teaching college students, but in courses I’ve taught thus far I haven’t been surprised by a student’s final grade — not once. Which leads me to believe I should save myself the time and effort of developing and grading the exams. Continue reading

Why I No Longer Contribute to Most Nonprofits

For most of my life, I thought of nonprofits as charitable institutions. I learned I was wrong. Later, I stopped writing checks to most of them.

My eyes were first opened to the nonprofit world when, as CEO of a large corporation in Philadelphia, I served on a United Way committee. United Way is the conduit through which corporations and individuals fund local nonprofits, which are usually billed as charitable organizations (whether or not they truly are). That was my first glimpse behind the nonprofit world’s curtain. Here is what I found: Continue reading

People Are People But Cultures Are Different

When you’ve lived as long as I have, you’ve met a lot of people — people of many walks of life and personalities. You end up liking some more than others. But one thing you come to realize is that people are people. We have different personalities and aspirations, but, in the end, we’re constructed the same. Cultures, on the other hand, are a different matter. Continue reading

Trump Is So Much Smarter Than So Many Politicians and Academics

Yesterday’s event at Carrier in Indianapolis put me over the top. Well, actually, it wasn’t the event itself, where the president-elect announced he had saved some (but not all) of the jobs that were slated to move to Mexico. Rather, it was the reaction to the announcement by The Wall Street Journal (a Republican media mouthpiece, which hated the deal) and many liberal politicians, economists and talking heads (the people who populate Twitter and TV cable shows). You know something is amiss when the WSJ and liberal academics agree. Continue reading