Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Do You Have To Be A Jerk To Be Great?

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Do You Have to Be a Jerk to Be Great?: Navigating the Tension Between Work and Relationships, by David Brooks:

The JerkDo you have to be so obsessively focused to be great? The traditional masculine answer is yes. But probably the right answer is no.

In the first place, being monomaniacal may not even be good for your work. Another book on my summer reading list was “Range,” by David Epstein. It’s a powerful argument that generalists perform better than specialists. ...

He shows the same pattern in domain after domain: People who specialize in one thing succeed early, but then they slide back to mediocrity as their minds rigidify. ...

Furthermore, living a great life is more important than producing great work. A life devoted to one thing is a stunted life, while a pluralistic life is an abundant one. This is a truth feminism has brought into the culture. Women have rarely been able to live as monads. They were generally compelled to switch, hour by hour, between different domains and roles: home, work, market, the neighborhood.

A better definition of success is living within the tension of multiple commitments and trying to make them mutually enhancing. The shape of this success is a pentagram — the five-pointed star. You have your five big passions in life — say, family, vocation, friends, community, faith — and live flexibly within the gravitational pull of each.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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Of course you don't have to be a jerk but how can focusing on goals in a reasonable open-minded way possibly not help with them?

See "Why 'chillaxing' isn't cool," Lucy Kellaway, FT, October 18, 2009, .

Mr. Brooks is just moving the goal-posts :(

Posted by: Anand Desai | Aug 7, 2019 3:06:59 PM