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Medium 9781609945367

10 Distracted Beyond Recall

Wheatley, Margaret J. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


For years I assumed that the Titanic tragedy was a result of human arrogance, a belief in the indestructibility of the newest, largest, fastest, fanciest ship of all time.

But, in fact, the Titanic went down because of distraction. It was sailing in iceberg-filled waters, and other ships had been warning them for many days prior. The captain changed course, but only slightly, and did nothing about speed. On the night of its sinking, two ships sent warnings of icebergs, but the radio operator never passed them on. When he received a call from a ship nearby surrounded by ice, less than an hour before the collision, he responded, “Shut up, shut up, I’m busy.” By the time lookouts spotted the iceberg ahead, it was too late to slow down the Titan-ic’s nearly full-speed momentum.42

The Titanic as a metaphor for our time, while overused, is frighteningly accurate. Distracted people don’t notice they are in danger. Ignorant of their vulnerability, they discount warnings or evidence that they are about to perish. My favorite quote from Rumi, the thirteenth-century Sufi mystic and poet, is “Sit down and be quiet. You are drunk and this is the edge of the roof.”

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Medium 9780253019042

Part 5 The Present Past

Douglas A. Wissing Quarry Books ePub

Famous pose of Indiana outlaw John Dillinger holding a Thompson machine gun in one hand and a pistol in the other, circa 1930s.

Courtesy of Indiana Historical Society, Bass Photo Company Collection, P 130.

BANK ROBBER JOHN DILLINGER CAME BACK TO CROWN HILL on Wednesday July 5, 1934, three days after he had died in a rain of bullets outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater. His killing ended a nearly yearlong escapade that had captured America’s imagination. During his rampage, he and his gang had stolen $300,000 in multiple bank robberies, including $21,000 from Indianapolis’s Massachusetts Avenue Bank on September 6, 1933. When casing banks and jails, Dillinger’s gang had been wily: posing as Indiana State Police, bank security alarm salesmen, and movie executives scouting for locations. Dillinger had escaped supposedly impregnable jails, once with a carved wooden gun. “See what I locked all of you monkeys up with,” he laughed at his disarmed jailers as he turned the key on them. For months Dillinger led hundreds of police officers and federal agents on a wild chase across four states. To some Great Depression-ravaged Americans who had lost farms and homes to voracious banks and felt abandoned by an uncaring government, Dillinger looked like a Hoosier Robin Hood. To the authorities who counted as many as twenty-three people killed by the gang, John Dillinger was Public Enemy Number 1.

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Medium 9781574410297


Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press ePub

The Nice Facade


Charlie's involvement with Boy Scout Troop 5 of the Methodist Church and his reported membership in the Lion's Club suggest some openness to camaraderie, but he struggled to establish relationships. Members of study groups in the College of Engineering found him difficult to deal with. His life was complicated. He convinced himself that he had too much to do, and he seemed incapable of establishing priorities. A lifelong friend described him as a thinker and a planner, but he had serious problems deciding what to do with his life. In early 1964, Charlie wrote in his diary, “I would definitely like to develop an interest in electronics.…” He used the word “definitely” frequently in his notebooks and diary, yet he seldom displayed definitiveness. Perhaps Kathy's academic success and her timely graduation inspired his renewed drive towards finishing his degree program as early as possible. Or he may have interpreted her success in teaching as a blow to his ego. She provided most of the income and all of the health care coverage in their household. 1 Regardless, he took moderate to heavy course loads for the remaining semesters of his academic career.

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Medium 9780253347572

6 “Where the Hell Is Harrisburg?”

RushJr. Loving Indiana University Press ePub

The merger started at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, February 1, 1968, a cold, rainy night in Philadelphia. The system that the marriage brought together was larger than anything American railroaders had ever seen. Penn Central was the longest investor-owned railroad in the world. If coupled end to end, its fleet of cars and locomotives would stretch from New York to Laramie, and its tracks could stretch all the way around the world and then some. In one day all its trains combined traveled the equivalent of halfway to the moon. Even if their cultures had not clashed and even if their computers had blended, they were not prepared, and combining everything the first day made Penn Central almost impossible to manage.

No sooner had they merged than they were plunged into chaos. “It was just a goddamned operating mess,” said one veteran railroader. Routes were changed immediately for some types of shipments, but none of the classification clerks had been taught the 5,000 new combinations of routings. By the thousands, cars began flowing into the wrong yards. As the yardmaster at Selkirk described it: “They’d get a car for Harrisburg, which wasn’t on the old Central, and they’d say, “Where the hell is Harrisburg? I know where Pittsburgh is. Shit! I’ll send it to Pittsburgh.’”

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Medium 9781780491721

Chapter One: Introduction

St John-Brooks, Katharine Karnac Books ePub

There is a multitude of coaching books on the market, but none focusing exclusively on internal executive coaching. You might think that the dearth of attention is because, to all intents and purposes, there are few differences between internal and external executive coaching but this is not so—neither from the point of view of the coaches nor of the organisations that deploy them. The fact that internal coaches coach within the organisation that employs them has a variety of consequences for the coaches, some beneficial, some less so, that need exploring. Also, from the point of view of an organisation wanting to provide coaching for its managers, the processes involved in selecting, training, and supporting a cadre of internal coaches are vastly different from those required for procuring the services of external coaches. The costs, benefits, and challenges presented by the two options for providing coaching are sufficiently different for internal coaching to deserve special attention.

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