If you are the kind of person who is always thinking about how to make things better at work, then “Rebels At Work” is for you. Written by Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina, two seasoned “rebels”, it covers quite a bit of territory in less than 150 pages.

Sometimes, books that bill themselves as “handbooks” are not quite that, but this one can definitely be used as one. Based on real world experience and backed up with science, the authors provide mentoring — in book form — for those of us who would like more success in our attempts to improve culture and processes at work.

Title: Rebels At Work
Sub-Title: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within
Author: Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina
Publisher: O’Reilly
Copyright: 2015
ISBN: 978-1-49190-395-7

 

 

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Recently, a letter of Albert Einstein’s was sold for US$ 1.5 million. He wrote it while travelling in Japan in 1922. He was short of money for a tip, so he wrote a letter containing some life advice, which could also be called tips. From the following article https://www.livescience.com/60771-einstein-happiness-letter-auctioned.html , here is part of what he wrote:

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

It goes without saying that I’m not as smart as Albert Einstein and I never will be. And, I’m not disagreeing with the advice, especially since I had alreay come to a similar conclusion years ago.

But, if I were to say it, would it be less true because I haven’t and won’t have the success he enjoyed? Can someone say to me “sour grapes” and be using the expression correctly? (Do a search for Aesop’s fable “The Fox and the Grapes” if you aren’t familiar with the expression.)

Or, perhaps it is Einstein who isn’t the reliable advisor here. By the time Einstein had written the letter, his place in history was already assured. When discussing the great people of science, such as Newton and Aristotle, you will have to mention to his name, too. So, if he is advising not to pursue success, does it hold much weight? I don’t think so.

Of course, it’s OK if you don’t agree with me — I’m no Einstein!

I was going to write something profound about misunderstanding or finding your place in the world, instead I’m just posting a photo of a bird in a tree.  Also, I’m easing back into blogging…

Pigeon in Dollar Tree Sign.jpg

I haven’t blogged much over winter (although I have been writing other things). If I had to state a reason, I could say something about work-life balance, but that wouldn’t make me look good. Instead, I’m blaming the English language.

Let’s face it, there are too many letters in the alphabet. Here’s my theory: if there were half the letters, I could write twice as much in the same amount of time. So, in an attempt to help ALL English speakers, below is how I’m suggesting the alphabet should be.

A – keep
B – keep
C – discard (use S or K)
D – keep
E – keep
F – keep
G – keep
H – discard (I don’t have a reason)
I – discard (use E)
J – discard (use G or maybe I)
K – keep
L – keep
M – keep
N – discard (similar to M)
O – keep
P – discard (similar to B)
Q – discard (similar to K)
R – keep
S – keep
T – discard (similar to D)
U – discard (use O)
V – keep
W – discard (use V)
X – discard (use S)
Y – discard (use I or E for vowels, G otherwise)
Z – discard (use S)

All together there will be 13 letters. (13 is prime number — who could have a problem with that?) If you learned the classic nursery rhyme when you were young, you will see it can be made to work. Try it:

“A B D E F G K L M O R S V. Nov I kmo me A, B, Ds, vom’d o kome and blae ved me.”

I think the history books will show that April 1st, 2018 was a pivotal day for the English language. Of course, I’m available for TED talks and Noble Prizes.

GD Konstantine (a.k.a. GD Komsdadene)

 

I have always been grateful for all opportunities to either start something new or to renew something established. Last year, some people close to me went through some serious health issues. I don’t know what the future holds, but as I see them recovering, I feel that the time for renewal is here. For me, it has also been a chance to refocus on what is really important.

The other day, while walking through the Toronto Botanical Garden, I saw another kind of renewal. Spring bulbs are starting to show their colours. (The photo below shows some of the crocus plants poking out through the ground.) I hope wherever you are, and whatever season it is, you and your loved ones are well and getting better!

By the way, the next post will be a lot less serious.

Spring Bulbs

Whenever I hear someone talk about the “purpose of art” I think of the following quote from Richard Serra:

“If you rob art of its uselessness, then what you are doing is not art,” says Serra, adding: “I’m interested in sculpture, which is neither useful nor functional.”

With that in mind, I’ll end here before I say something useful and this blog post loses its artistic integrity.

The photo below is a sculpture of Richard Serra’s (‘Tilted Spheres’) found in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.  (If I remember right, the plates are 2″ thick steel.)

Serra Art YYZ

The quote is found on page 149 in the book “50 Sculptures You Should Know”.

50 Sculptures You Should Know
Written by: Isabel Kuhl, Klaus Reichold, Kristina Lowis, Christine Weidemann
Prestel
2009
ISBN 978-3-7913-4338-9
Website

As I write this, 2017 is just about to finish. The title of this post comes from Lucy Stone. Stone was an American suffragist who helped put women in her country on the path to the right to vote and improvements towards equality. She figures prominently in the fifth chapter of Adam Grant’s excellent book, “Originals.”

There is much to say about 2017 and there are many others who will say it better than me. So, I will just focus on a wish for the future. Speaking to her daughter, Lucy Stone’s final words were, “Make the world better.” A goal for all of us in 2018 and beyond.

Best wishes to everyone for a great year!