Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Subversive Visions

I'm rereading Bellwether by Connie Willis. Her characters work for a tech firm keen on creating (yet another) vision/mission/goals statement; at the meeting the staff break into small groups to come up with suggested wording. The characters spend the session talking about something else. When it's announced time is up, one of them quickly writes down what she always uses in these (or similar) situations: "Optimize potential; facilitate empowerment; implement visioning; augment core structures. " Sound familiar?

The main character in the book is trying to work out what causes something to become a fad. Because of various factoids about real fads at the start of each chapter, plus general comments on how fads might start, Bellwether complements Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, which was published four years after Bellwether.

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