Institutions and Evil

What do we do when we believe that people we disagree with are not only misguided, but evil, and a threat to our society, values, or even the world? If we believe that the depth of the threat excuses actions we would otherwise condemn (e.g., violence, humiliation, theft, separation of families), we are confronted with…

Interlude: In Defense of Books

Three years ago I set out to read one book from every aisle in the stacks of Cornell University’s Olin library. 60 books later (and nearly halfway through the third floor) I am certain that I would not have requested or sought out more than two of those books from other libraries, but I am…

Power and Identity

Project status update: I realized I’ve been doing this reading project for over three years; I’ve read 60 books, done write-ups on 13, and am over halfway through one side of one floor of the library. At this rate it would take me another 40 years. Time to pick up the pace. Yvonne Chireau’s Black…

Individualism and Community

I really enjoy being a part of a University community. Even though I’m staff and not faculty, I like the sense of shared purpose, identity, and value of knowledge that it implies and conveys. At the same time, I often want to think/exist as an individual, and believe that mindlessly accepting communal ideals is an…

Exceptionalism and Principles

In my day job advising MBAs pursuing consulting careers, I give a lot of students practice interviews, especially case interviews. A typical case interview presents a hypothetical business/client problem and asks the student to lay out a structured approach to the problem. So far, so good. At some point in some cases, however, the student…

Intentions and Actions

I was excited to see “The Sea of Precious Virtues” as an option on this shelf. A “mirror for princes,” it purports to be a leadership guide, but is more about living a good Islamic life than leadership per se. As I’ve been reading more about religion, one of the major philosophical differences that has…

Life Lessons from Pull-ups

Another year, another intention to write more/read more/work out more to become more of the intellectual/Renaissance man I aspire to be. I completed one of my resolutions last year, however, which was to do pull-ups on 100 days in the year (I fell laughably short on two others: to read 50 pages/day and to blog…