credit: iStock / Dilok Klaisataporn

I was reading recently about a couple of different situations involving traits of both leadership and followership.

First, there was the statement by Liz Cheney that “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” contradicting recent statements from Donald Trump, setting up a battle for Republican Party leadership, and prompting a Tweet from Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) asserting that “Liz Cheney does not understand the responsibilities of leadership.”

Then there was the brouhaha at and around Basecamp, following some controversial leadership decisions announced by the founders, including: “no more societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account,” and “no more…


We all know that the economy is important. We talk about it every day. But do we ever think about… how we think about it? How we visualize it? How we’ve been conditioned to think about it, perhaps unknowingly?

I. What I’m Proposing

Let me start with a pretty simple and straightforward picture of how I have come to see these things.

A. The Four Stakeholders

All significant economic activity involves exchanges between four different sets of stakeholders:

  • Consumers — Those who exchange small sums of money for goods and services.
  • Business (aka Capital) — Those who exchange large sums of money for the tools and buildings and…


Faces of many hues, viewed in profile, all looking to the right.
Faces of many hues, viewed in profile, all looking to the right.
credit: iStock / wildpixel

It was just a little over four years ago that I remember sitting in front of our TV with our neighbors, watching the election returns, preparing to celebrate.

I think it was the New York Times website that I had open on my iPad, showing a dynamic chart tracking the projected probability of victory for each presidential candidate.

And then, within what seemed like only a few minutes, those two lines — one red, one blue — changed direction, crossed one another, and reversed positions.

So much for the value of political prognostication.

It was a month or two after…


Credit: iStock / alphaspirit

Ernest Hemingway supplied two of his characters in The Sun Also Rises with a pair of memorably terse lines.

‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked.

‘Two ways,’ Mike said. ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’

Mike’s answer has been quoted endlessly since then, probably because it seems to perfectly encapsulate a recurring modern sensation of having things firmly under control, then seeing them start to slip slowly from our grasp, and then the next minute realizing we’ve lost hold completely.

And now, in 2021, the modern Republican Party seems to be taking its turn in Mike’s spot, sliding slowly — and…


credit: iStock/Duettographics

No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, questions surrounding free speech are hot-button items these days. Should anyone be free to say anything, about anyone, at any time, and to any audience? If not, who’s responsible for moderation, and what are the rules? And at what point does moderation become censorship?

Before we consider these questions directly, let’s start with a review of relevant legislation and technology, using our situation in the US as a point of focus.

The US Bill of Rights

The First Amendment to the US Constitution, ratified in 1791, states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of…


The cover of “The Notes & Commonplace Book” by H.P. Lovecraft, with an image of a dragon.
The cover of “The Notes & Commonplace Book” by H.P. Lovecraft, with an image of a dragon.
Commonplace books have been around for a while

In the last week or so I’ve come across a couple of articles touting some trendy ways for individuals to collect information that is personally meaningful to them.

First, there was this New York Times piece by J. D. Biersdorfer telling you how to “Create a Digital Commonplace Book.”

Then there was a blog post at The Sweet Setup offering a “PKM Primer: An Introduction to Personal Knowledge Management for Creatives.”

Both pieces were well done, and I encourage you to read the pair.

A commonplace book, it turns out, is “a book into which notable extracts from other works…


credit: iStock/hkeita

As I watched the Biden-Harris inaugural ceremonies this week, I found myself overcome by unanticipated thoughts and feelings.

Although I’ve been aware of presidential inaugurations since 1960, when I was nine, this is the first one I’ve ever taken the time to watch in its entirety.

Of course, as a reliable Democrat, there were the expected feelings of relief as the political pendulum swung in favor of my preferred affiliation.

And obviously, given the armed insurrection we witnessed in our Capitol building only a couple of weeks ago, there was great relief as the wheels of democracy once again seemed…


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As I write these words, the invasion of our US Capitol in DC is only a week behind us.

At least in terms of what I’ve been reading (and writing) over the intervening period, many of us are wracked anew by the question of how it could have come to this, and what these actions might mean for our future.

In particular, many of us are wondering how so many people could have come to believe The Big Lie. Under Trump, the Lie has taken many forms, but by now its general outline is clear: Trump is the ultimate winner…


credit: iStock/miljko

The invasion of our Capitol building on January 6th, 2021, and the accompanying disruption of the work of our duly elected members of Congress, was certainly an unprecedented and frightening addition to our American history books.

And yet, when added to the list of coup attempts that have taken place around the world throughout human history, this action seems a bit out of place.

The New Oxford American Dictionary on my Mac defines the word coup in several ways, with the first entry going like this:

(also coup d’état) a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government…


Credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

Is It Really So?

Yes. We have this truth from no less an authority than Sir Raymond Douglas Davies, testifying back in 1971:

Gotta stand and face it:
Life is so complicated.

Even earlier, back in 1920, H. L. Mencken offered us this comforting assurance:

There is always an easy solution to every human problem — neat, plausible and wrong.

I was thinking about life’s complications recently when I heard Barack Obama’s insightful interview with Brené Brown. The whole podcast episode is well worth a listen, but just to cherry pick a few relevant nuggets:

When I actually took my theories and started testing…

Herb Bowie

Chief Practopian at The Practical Utopian

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