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Archive for July, 2008

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Why You Must Keep Reading Books

From the NYTimes Magazine this weekend.

“What we are losing in this country and presumably around the world is the sustained, focused, linear attention developed by reading. I would believe people who tell me that the Internet develops reading if I did not see such a universal decline in reading ability and reading comprehension on virtually all tests.” — Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

“Reading a book, and taking the time to ruminate and make inferences and engage the imaginational processing, is more cognitively enriching, without doubt, than the short little bits that you might get if you’re into the 30-second digital mode.” — Ken Pugh, a cognitive neuroscientist at Yale

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steve’s Selective Disclosure

For those of you that missed that Steve Jobs chatted with the NYTimes, off the record, you can read more here. That this constitutes selective disclosure of material information seems to have been missed by most. Dan Lyons (ironically, once the fake Steve Jobs), says it well:

“Imagine, seriously, the response if Microsoft pulled (crap) like this. Or any company. … Here’s the thing. If you want to appear in public looking like (crap), and you insist on offering no explanation for the way you look, because you believe your privacy is more important than your company’s stock price, then fine. That’s a reasonable position. So do that. Stick to your principles, shut … up, and let the stock do what it’s going to do. But don’t try to have it both ways. Don’t pull this crap with leaks and off-the-record conversations. Either answer the question, out loud, in public, or don’t.”

I’m all for CEOs maintaining their privacy. But you can’t have it both ways – selectively revealing your health status to some while keeping it from others. Those that have the information now possess a unique advantage others don’t. Opacity, Apple’s hallmark, is one thing. Selective disclosure is an entirely different matter.

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The Last Lecture

Sad to read on landing in San Francisco that Randy Pausch died today. If you only had a matter of months to live, this would be the way to live it. He made a difference.

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The Message Men

Good read in the WSJ on the “Message Men” surrounding McCain:

Some of Mr. Schmidt’s campaign changes are easily visible: Sen. McCain now speaks in the round, surrounded by voters, not staid backdrops like in the June 3 event, when an ugly green banner got unwanted attention. But most critical has been shaping a clear, concise message to hammer each day.

Above all, Mr. Schmidt argues that a campaign needs one positive message about its own candidate, and one negative message about the opponent. Sen. Obama has that: He’s for change, while Sen. McCain represents more of the same. Sen. McCain long didn’t have a strong, simple message of his own.

Intriguing that they are the Message Men – a frame imposed by the WSJ and not a label applied by McCain. But just the same, speaks the the diversity of the inner circle.

Either way, he’s got some pretty solid views on messaging.

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the changing newsroom

Great piece on the changing newsroom.

The newsroom staff producing the paper is also smaller, younger, more tech-savvy, and more oriented to serving the demands of both print and the web. The staff also is under greater pressure, has less institutional memory, less knowledge of the community, of how to gather news and the history of individual beats. There are fewer editors to catch mistakes.

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