Leadership Lessons From The Great Books

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe w/Tom Libby
  • Welcome and Introduction - 00:00:18 
  • Late Career Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe - 00:12:46 
  • Poe, Hawthorne, and Puritanism in Boston - 00:21:53 
  • Geography Shapes Identity and Makes for Powerful Writing - 00:30:41
  • Texas Business Culture Versus Northeast Business Culture - 00:46:24 
  • Zig Ziglar Was Only in Deals for Five Years  - 00:50:31 
  • Leaders Should Understand Dynamics Before Taking Action - 00:57:45
  • On Roderick Usher - 01:01:19 
  • From Opium to Fast Food: Addictions Versus Habits - 01:12:12 
  • Leaders Should Understand and Listen to Their Employees' Habits and Motivations - 01:25:34 
  • Vaults, Basements, Crypts, and Other Creepy Places - 01:31:15 
  • "The Fall of the House of Usher: Layers and Hidden Realities" - 01:36:56 
  • Staying on the Leadership Path: Don't feel like you have to do it alone - 01:46:55 
  • Close - 01:50:38 

Creators & Guests

Jesan Sorrells
CEO of HSCT Publishing, home of Leadership ToolBox and LeadingKeys
Thomas Libby
Leadership Toolbox
The home of Leadership ToolBox, LeaderBuzz, and LeadingKeys. Leadership Lessons From The Great Books podcast link here: https://t.co/3VmtjgqTUz

What is Leadership Lessons From The Great Books?

Because understanding great literature is better than trying to read and understand (yet) another business book, Leadership Lessons From The Great Books leverages insights from the GREAT BOOKS of the Western canon to explain, dissect, and analyze leadership best practices for the post-modern leader.

Hello. My name is Jesan Sorrells and this is the Leadership

Lessons from the Great Books podcast, episode number

70, with, of course, our

usual guest host, Tom Libby.

Hey, everyone. I'm doing fantastic. Tom's doing

fantastic. It feels like it's been a while since we talked to Tom, but we

just talked to him. I mean, we just talked to him last month. So as

we go into the month of August, we are going to begin

going down a particular road here. We've already started exploring some of this in our

shorts episodes, talking about geography and place

and talking about the impacts of geography and place on the

psychology of not only writers but also on the psychology

of leaders. And we're going to start this

wandering meditation well, where

I'm at anyway, the triple-digit degree heat of

the summer. We're going to start this in a little

bit more of well, a little bit more of a

northeasterly place, a little bit northeasterly location and a little

bit of a colder environment.

And the author that we are going to bring to you today

is delivering a

meditation on madness, nervousness,

melancholy and the transcendent power of place.

And it's a story that we probably should have covered in October, but what

the hell, we're going to do it in August because that's how I roll.

The Fall of the House of Usher by

that great creepy writer

Edgar Allan Poe

from The Fall of the House of Usher. By the way, I'm

reading from the Project Gutenberg version of this. Your

Mileage Will Vary by Edgar

Allan Poe. And I quote during the

whole of a dull, dark and soundless day on the autumn of the year, when

the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone on

horseback through a singularly dreary tract of country and at

length found myself, as the shades of evening drew on, within view of the

melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it

was, but with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of

insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say

insufferable, for the feeling was unrelieved by any of the of that half

pleasurable because poetic sentiment with which the mind

usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or

terrible. I looked upon the scene before me upon the

mere house and the simple landscape features of the domain upon the bleak

walls upon the vacant eyelike windows upon a few rank sedges and

upon a few white trunks of decayed trees with an utter depression of soul which

I could compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the afterdream

of the reveler upon opium, the bitter lapse into

everyday life, the hideous dropping off of the veil.

There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart,

an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the

imagination could torture into aught of the sublime.

What was it? I paused to think. What was it that so unnerved me in

the contemplation of the House of Usher?

It was a mystery all insoluble. Nor could I grapple with the shadowy

fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered, I was forced to

fall back upon this unsatisfactory conclusion that while beyond doubt, there

are combinations of very simple, natural objects which have the power of thus affecting

us, still, the analysis of this power lies among

considerations beyond our depth. It was possible,

I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of

the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its

capacity for sorrowful, impression. And

acting upon this idea, I reigned my horse to the precipitous brink of

a black and lurid tarn that lay an unruffled luster by the dwelling, and

gaze down, but with a shudder

even more thrilling than before, upon the remodeled and

inverted images of the gray sedge and the

ghastly tree stems and the vacant

eyelike windows.

Edgar Allan Poe when I

say that name, it conjures up several things in your head,

not only the writer, but it also conjures up

the character that the writer has become over the course of time.

As a matter of fact, we talked a little bit about Edgar Allan

Poe. We referenced Edgar Allan Poe's great poem, The

Raven when we were talking about Albert Camus

and the Myth of Sisyphus with Claire Chandler. Go listen to that episode. I believe

that's episode number 66.

But when you think about Poe, you think about, like I said, the

character, and you also think about the writer, and you sort of merge those two

things together. He's that weird person in American literature, and

it could only have come out of American literature where the writer began to

transcend even his own work, even while becoming part of

his own work in subsequent years.

Partially, this is because of the terms of his life. So he

was a writer, a poet, an editor, and a literary critic who

was best known for his poetry and his short stories, particularly Tales of

Mystery and, of course, The Macabre. And I'm thinking of this

in terms I don't know why, but as I talk about Edgar Allan Poe and

I talk about his literary life, I'm seeing a combination in my head

of the tiny, toons animated series

version of Edgar Allan Poe where they did The Raven on that

cartoon combined with Vincent Price's voice. And if you don't know who Vincent

Price was, go look it up on YouTube.

Born in 1819 and dying under

unusual circumstances in 1849, poe was

a writer shaped by existential distress and

trauma, rarely placed alongside the

fellow romantic New England writers of his time, including Emerson,

Hawthorne and Melville, who we'll also be covering on the podcast we're going to

read Moby Dick coming up here in a couple of weeks. Poe stands in a

league all his own where he's become both a myth and, like I said, as

a character as well. In the American literary history.

He was a writer of strict conventions and convictions.

He infamously reviewed Hawthorne's books. Twice Told Tales

and Moses from an Old Man's. And with an assessment

partly informed by his contempt for allegory and moral tales

and his chronic accusations of plagiarism, he admitted

in this critical review, and I quote, the style of Mr.

Hawthorne is purity itself. His tone is singularly

effective, wild, plaintiff, thoughtful, and in full accordance with his

themes. We look upon him as one of the few men of indisputable

genius to whom our country has yet given

birth. By the way, that was about the

last nice thing he said about

Hawthorne. Paul was known

to have his literary fights

and he engaged in battles

in the pen with poets such as Henry

wasworth Longfellow. And most notoriously, he got into

it with Ralph Waldo Emerson,

kind of like the celebrity death match between Elon Musk and Mark

Zuckerberg. That's coming up here fairly soon

in our history. Good fight and good night. All right

on that. So we're going to talk

about Poe. We're going to talk about place. We're going to talk about

geography. We're going to talk about maybe we'll even talk about literary fights.

Who would win in a fight? Poe versus

Emerson. Who do you take on that one with?

Of course, our usual RaconTour, usual man about

town. The indispensable. Indisputable.

Because who else would dispute him? Tom Libby.

So, Tom, talk a little bit about the

reputation because you live in the Northeast. I kind of picked these

guys, and I started with Poe. Because you live in the Northeast, we'll leave it

at an undisclosed location. But you live in the Northeast in an undisclosed

location, kind of close to where Poe might have potentially

wandered around. And so you're

knee deep in this, right? A little bit. So talk a little bit

about the writing and the reputation of Edgar Allan Poe, what you know about him

from high school, maybe, or maybe, you know, nothing. I don't know. But let's sort

of break apart this. A little bit of this for our listeners.

Mean, first things first, right?

I do know a little bit about

and then think of other authors from the

have Walden. We have Walden Pond right here. Right? Like right down

the road. Yeah. Row, right? Frost. There's like a

whole museum dedicated to Frost right down the street as well.

But I feel like it's one of these

weird things and this is going to sound very morbid and I

don't mean it this way but I think he did himself a

service. By dying.

Early, stopping when he did. Right. Because think

about this. If he had continued on, his

credibility probably would have continued to go downward, spiral, not up.

Because he's attacking these authors and writers that have been,

I mean, super glorified. Right? Like some of these writers are,

from a historical perspective, the tops of the

tops of the best of the best of whatever, right? Like, we reference them

all the time. So if he was continuously just crapping on them all the time,

eventually people would have stopped listening to him, right? Number one,

and he wasn't well respected. In his time anyway. He wasn't his literary

criticism. And then he had to wait a while to get published. And then the

biggest thing that he got published that he got recognition for in

his time wasn't any of his short stories. It was the Raven. The raven,

right? Yeah. But again, to your point,

he was he was like that I don't even know how to explain it, but

he was like that kid that just he just did enough of this jabbing. And

then when he stopped jabbing, everyone was like, oh, wait, where'd that noise go? We

should probably go look. What was that noise about? And then they listened to it

and they go, oh, maybe he did know a little bit of something, what he

was talking about. And then it was like almost like a backward thing, right?

Let me just give you the modern day version of this, right? Which what

could have been I feel like the same thing could have potentially happened

to he had stopped if he had stopped writing

right after Pet did Chris, he

did Christine and The Shining and Carrie and then the Pet

Sematary. If he just stopped right there, we would have been like, oh, where'd that

go? And then we would have started lifting him on some sort of

pedestal. Because we don't really talk about Stephen King. We all

like his writing. We all read it. When is he ever

involved in conversation outside of real literary people? Like people who really

like literature, right? But I don't talk about Stephen King on

a day to day basis ever. But Edgar Allan Poe pops up every once in

a while. Like he still pops up. I just feel like Stephen King could

have been that guy of this generation if something happened to him. So

Stephen King and,

you know, I follow, as you probably would guess, I follow literary

Twitter, I would imagine

it comes with its own problems, but it comes

with its own challenges, I should say. And Stephen King

is huge on Twitter. He's huge, as you would

expect. Now, there's three phase. It's interesting you brought up Stephen

King, because I would not have made that intuitive

leap. So that's good way to bring that to me because I would not have

made that intuitive know you had early Stephen King

which know Cujo which was his first book

all the way through I would say the cocaine fueled and he's even admitted

cocaine fueled tommy knockers, which if you ever read that

book you have to be high out your mind.

Oh, my God, like glowing

aliens. It's a whole thing.

Never read TommyKnockers. Go read it. My God.

I think this is what the Northeast winter does to people. Think about

like they're all from here. This is what I want to talk about. This is

the power of place. And then you have like mid career Stephen King

who's, who goes from, I would say Tommy

Knockers. And I can't remember what came after Tommy Knockers,

like different seasons. He starts writing like the Richard Bachman Tales and things like that.

Stand By Me was probably the most infamous kind of short story that got turned

into a film right out of that group. But

he goes from there to I would say mid

career Stephen King is right where he got hit where he had the car accident

in Bangor, where he got hit by the side of the road, right? And at

that time he was working on Gunslinger, which is my personal favorite series of

his. I love the gunslinger. It's an amazing series.

You should go read it. Except kind of at the end where it kind of

falls apart. But anyway, he gets hit in the middle of writing that and

then that's where you go. You have mid career Stephen King

end. And now we're into late career Stephen King and late career

Stephen King. I, and I'm going

to publicly admit this, I have not read a whole lot of

late career Stephen King. I look at his books and I go

and I kind of walk away. And it's terrible because there was a time,

and this is also for Poe, where King

hit me at a particular visceral level from about the age of maybe

like, I think maybe ten or eleven

all the way up to probably about

17 or 18. And then after that

I was done and posed the same way, where,

don't get me wrong, I've read Cask of a Montelado and I've

read oh gosh, it was another few,

one of few of the Gold bug story where he explored

cryptography. Read that now, followed House of Usher.

Read that now a couple of times now. But

you get to a certain point with Poe where you're like, I could probably just


place. Okay, so let's get this out early because

we are going to talk about this a little bit again. But I want to

sort of explore it early and then get back to it. The melancholy


the fall of the House of Usher,

which by the way, is going to be turned into a Netflix series. You might

want to pay attention to that, folks. I can't wait. It's going to be amazing.

Starts from the unnamed

narrator getting a letter from his friend, right? And he has to

go visit him. For those of us who are living in other

places geographically, that's not the Northeast.

Is it really that creepy? Like, really, is it really

past like September? I mean, if I'm

being 100% honest, because I've

born and raised in the Northeast, lived here pretty much my whole life,

right. But I've visited everywhere else. Like, I've been around the country

all the way. I think the only state, US.

State I've never been to is Hawaii. Right. I've been to pretty much every other

state, including Alaska. So I've literally been around

the and throughout the Caribbean, certain

parts of Central, and I've been I've been all over the place. And I got

to be honest with you. Yeah. The only

place I can think of, honest to God, the only place I can think of

that is even on the same

level. It might be a little bit less, but not tremendously less. But it's like

that New Orleans southern plantation kind of environment

where you get like a decrepit building and that one building

is super creepy and it's probably like the creepy part of town or whatever. In

New England, you get like that all over the place. You got to remember you

got to remember we have homes that were built here in the 16 and 17.

Hundreds still up. And if you don't take care of them when I tell

you they look creepy, man, I'm telling you, it's stuff horror movies are made out

of. It really went we just recently

went to see Haunted Mansion, right. And whatever, if you like

Disney or not, it doesn't really matter. But I know you've seen at least the

preview of the house that's in the movie. Oh, yeah. I looked at that and

I was like, what's so scary about that? I could fix that up. That's a

fixer upper. Where's Chipping, Joanne Gaines when you need them?

That's like a New England fixer upper. No big deal. It's a

no demo Renault in the Northeast. I will say,

though, the same house that looks super creepy in October,

november is, like, beautiful. In June and

July, it's literally the same house. But

the time of year matters. It really does. The time of year matters around

here. And again, once you hit late December,

January, and early February, everything snow covered.

Who cares? Nothing looks creepy when it's snow covered. It just looks freaking cold.

It looks like day after tomorrow stuff.

Way to put in the climate change reference. Yeah, go ahead. Right? Anyway,

I thought I'd throw it in there anyway, but you know what I'm saying, right?

It's either super cold

cold can also be creepy, but it isn't necessarily creepy

because cold also can come across as crisp and clean,

right? So sometimes, like in New England, when you get that first

snow cover and it's like 18 degrees outside, and you step outside and

the air just seems more clean than normal, right? Because

the snow just pulled all the pollutants out of the air, and you walk out

there and it looks almost pristine, like this snow covered

landscape, and it's beautiful in the fall. You don't get that.

Is this a function. And I'll ask you this. This is sort of

touching on a little bit of and we have on previous podcast episodes,

touched on this, your Native American heritage, right? Your Native

American background. So is this part of

I wonder how the Native Americans dealt with it when they were there

back in the 15th century, before all these

random let me be blunt. All these random puritans started showing up and

putting up buildings and houses and all that nonsense. How are

you dealing with did they have super creepy.

Know because think of this, right? Think of this. And up here in the Northeast,

we had either Wigwams wiki ups. Those are the dwelling types, right?

And even like the long houses of the Iroquois or the Honda Shoney people,

when that framework was done, you just collapsed it back down into the earth

and it was biodegradable, 100%

biodegradable. You didn't get the creepiness that you get with some of these

cement and stone buildings, and you

got the creeping

vines up when Mother Earth decides to take

over a building that won't fall because it's not biodegradable, it looks

creepy, as opposed to, oh, Mother Earth said, oh, you're done with that wood. We'll

just put that back into the yeah, but I will say, though,

still, I think that's kind of where my interpretation

I let me half a step back. I think

my native side like the deep roots to the native

community I have here. I think that's why I view the winter the way I

do, right? Because the winter, to me, it's

purifying, it's clean, it's beautiful, it's really nice. And

by the way, when native people were required to hunt in the

winter, it was also slightly easier to track animals. They

left trails in the snow. You didn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure

out that the moose went that way or the deer went this way.

Not that it made it easier. It didn't make it easier to hunt and actually

kill them. But I'm just saying, like, you could track them better.

That elk or whatever the hell you're tracking, that shows up really

well against the white snow, like it really does. Yeah.

Okay, so the other follow up

question to this is and we'll kind of explore a little

bit of this, but when we get to the next part coming up here,

but Paul was a master of

understanding psychology before Freud

psychology of the creepy, which I think is what?

Well, his


the events of his lifetime and the writing of his lifetime occurred

during the beginning and the middle of what we

call in the United States at a religious level, the Second Great Awakening,

right? So there was a lot of very powerful preachers working their way through the

Northeast talking about the Holy Spirit and

transcendence and all that kind of stuff. By the way, a lot of the

modern churches that we have today came out of the Second

Great Awakening. And the modern religious denominations like Baptists,

Mormons, presbyterians. Presbyterians.

Right. All of them came out of that. And we're going to get into that,

a little bit of that coming up here. But Poe was

around for the beginning parts of all of that, right?

He's also considered to be a romantic writer who

sort of previewed the worst excesses of the Second Great Awakening. And some of the

worst excesses of the Second Great Awakening were in

Seances and trying to summon people back

from the dead and get them to talk to you. And

Poe sort of anticipated some of this. Sort

of interestingly enough, so did Nathaniel Hawthorne. A lot of what's in The Scarlet Letter,

which we're going to cover in our next couple of episodes coming up on the

podcast this month. Hawthorne

struggled massively with the nature

of his puritan ancestors and how

judgmental and persecutorial he perceived them to be. And

then he went full bore into nihilism, which is a whole other kind of thing

that you get into with Hawthorne. We'll cover that again. We'll cover that on

a later podcast. But got to have all those people

dynamics happening at the same time that you are

building between 1819 and 1849,

Boston out, which is

I mean, the Founding Fathers didn't consider boston

was never a city that was under consideration to be the capital of the United

States. It was never under consideration. Unlike

Philadelphia. Philadelphia was under consideration. New York was

under know, but

Boston never and I've always wondered,

um, and I wonder if it's because of that

puritanical religious

streak that sort of honestly

still exists in Boston, but it's so

muted that if you I mean, you could walk through

Boston. And I've visited Boston several times, and I've always said the interesting

thing about the biggest problem with Boston is it's full of Irish people. That's

the biggest problem. And all my listeners from

Boston cannot come for me. It's fine. All you boys from Southeast. Yeah, you all

come for me. It's fine. It's fine. Whatever. I got something for you. I'm not

afraid of any of you. Any of you schmucks from Lowell. Anybody

wanted to handle me? What? Anybody? Anyhow.

But Boston is its own thing. Like, even as a

sports town, my God,

if you didn't have the Patriots for the last, like, 20 years, be the

worst sports town ever.

Oh, what? Am I wrong? Am I wrong in my

analysis? There's something

in the place. Self

misery. In the last 20 years, all

three of the other major sports have at least won championships. In the last 20

years. All three? Yeah. Now, I'm not saying they win

in tier point. I mean, the Patriots have won, what, six Super Bowls? They've been

to ten. Right? So it's like they're always in it. But if you

even take that out of the equation, the Celtics have won in the last 20

years. They're in it just about every year now. I had no

delusional thought into thinking they were going to win the championship this year. Some of

my colleagues did, some of my co Bostonians or whatever did, and I was

like, they're not going to win anyway. I was actually surprised they made it through

the first round, but whatever. The Bruins the same

thing. The Bruins the same thing. They're always in the conversation, but they have won

a championship in the last 20 years. Actually, two, if I'm correct. If I remember

correctly, they've won two. And they're always in the conversation. But I knew they

weren't going to win this year either. I just knew it. But that sense

right there. Like, I know we're in the conversation, but we're not going to win.

That chip on your shoulder stuff, that comes from somewhere.

No, but I'm not expecting to win. If you talk to 25 other people from

Boston, they're like, yeah, we're going to win it this year. Yeah, we got it.

We got this. And I'm the one sitting there going, we got what?

They're going to be decent. They're going to be good, they're going to be in

the conversation, but they're not going to like, who do you think we are?

We're not New York. Well,

and that's fundamentally the thing that you get the sense of on the

East Coast, that there's three cities on the

East Coast that are constantly it's like three little kids in a.

Like, I know where you're going with this. You know where I'm going with this,

right? You got Philly,

you got New York and you got Boston. Those are your

three cities, right? And that's it. That's it. And New York

City, like, Boston would love to get New York City's

attention. It's like the ugly, the ugly second. Kid that would love

to New York's. Like the big brother, that

middle child is always trying to get like, look what we can do, look what

we can do, look what we can do. But you're not paying attention. And Philadelphia

is like the youngest one of them going F you to all of you, and

I'm going to do whatever I want because I'm a punk and I'm a this

and I'm of that. Hey, Philly fans, listen,

I love the Eagles, just to let you know. They're one of my favorite teams.

Even though I live in New England, I love the Philadelphia Eagles.

So I'm just letting that out there right now.

It's one of my favorites. Listen, if the NFC is I'm

rooting for Philly or my two my two NFC teams, I

love both of those two teams anyway. But anyway, my point

is but Philadelphia, you think Boston's those people are nuts,

man. The police department had to grease

the lamp pole so people didn't climb up and do stuff to

them. You don't have to do that in Boston

anyway. But you're right.

There are three towns that really make

the sports community the sports community. Now, don't get me wrong. There are other

towns that want to be there. They'll put their hand up every once in a

while. But they're like that cousin. Like Baltimore.

We got a football team. We've won a championship before. Yeah. Nobody listens. No

one cares. Nobody cares.

You got Toronto, which is your weird Canadian cousin. Why do you always show

up? Who is that? Those are out

of town. We still have family in other countries.

Anyway, back to Poe. We could talk about this all day.

Long, but anyway, welcome back from Swartz. Talk on me.

I think you're heading down a question here as to why was Boston never

considered in the conversation of

national capitals. Honestly, I think part of it was just

location. If you think about where Philadelphia is and where

eventually Washington, DC. Ended up, it's more middle

ground. Like, it's more middle toward the middle of the country, even though it's on

the coast, but it's, like, middle. So I think Boston was never and by

the way, think about the time frame, the time of this, right

in the 1718 hundreds. When you'd have literal

icebergs in the harbors, you don't want your delegates from other

countries coming into Boston in Been.

That's terrible. That's why none of

these World Summits are not held in Oslo in January.

Like, if you're going to Oslo for a summit, it's in

August. There's a reason for.

It. Klaus Schwab doesn't want to rent

an icebreaker. Exactly. To

get through Boston Harbor. And I think New York was at least

in the conversation because it was just south enough that it doesn't quite

get that bad. New York's cold in the winter, don't get me wrong. But

it's always like when we're having a

Northeastern, which is one of the worst storms we can have up here, and we're

getting dumped with 3ft of snow. New York is like

3ft. We got three inches. You guys have good luck with

that. Whatever. So they'll get snow, they'll get cold, but it

doesn't quite get as bad as Boston. I think that's more of the reason.

Somebody might have brought up Boston one time and they would have been like, yeah,

shut that down real quick because we're not having the King of France

and the King of Spain coming over to Boston in December. It's not

happening. I think it was more of a logistical thing.

And then the delegate from Massachusetts went off and decided he was going to split

Maine off of Maine off and just have them go be their own thing.

Okay. That was his revenge. All right. I think we've covered a lot of

things here. I think we've gone around the horn. I'm sorry. What story we were

reading? Yeah, back to the book.

Actually, back to the story. Back to the fall of the House of Usher. This

is what we were. Reading. That's what it was.

No, you're not listening to sports talk. You have not stumbled into the wrong

podcast. We just went down a road there, as we often do sometimes

here, just to explore some things. All right.

Back to The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. So we're

going to pick up at this idea of place, and I quote,

although as boys and it's the narrator talking about

himself and Roderick Usher, the second

character here. Although as boys we had been even intimate

associates, yet I really knew little of my friend.

His reserve had been always excessive and habitual.

I was aware, however, that his very ancient family had been

noted time out of mind for peculiar sensibility of temperament

displaying itself through long ages in many works of exalted art and

manifested of late in repeated deeds of municent yet

unobtrusive charity as well as in a passionate devotion to the

intricacies, perhaps even more than to the orthodox and easily

recognizable beauties of musical science. I had

learned, too, the very remarkable fact that the stem of the Usher

race, all time honored as it was, had put forth at

no period any enduring branch, in other words, that the entire family lay

in the direct line of descent and had always, with very trifling and

very temporary variation, so lame. It was

this deficiency I considered while running over in thought the perfect keeping

of the character of the premises with the accredited character of the

people, and while speculating upon the possible influence which the

one in the long lapse of centuries might have exercised upon the other.

It was this deficiency, perhaps of collateral issue and the

consequent undeviating transmission from sire to sun of the

patrimony with the name which had at length so identified the two

as to merge the original title of the estate in the quaint and equivocal

appellation of the House of Usher. An

appellation which seemed to include in the minds of the peasantry who used

it both the family and the

family mansion.

As we were just talking about, this is part of the melancholy of

place, right or subtitled. Never go visit

your sick friend whom you haven't seen in many years. You don't know what you're

going to be running into

geography like we were just talking about and just kind of breaking down in place

where you happen to be on the map carries as much meaning in

your life as other elements do. And I want to talk about this, yes, in

the context of the Northeast, which we've kind of broken down,

but then also because I'm as well traveled as Tom is in the

context of the rest of the United States. I, too, have visited

almost every single state in the Union. I've been to

haven't been fortunate enough to go to Central America. Oh, yes, I have. I've been

to Central America and the Caribbean. I have not been to

alaska, but I have been to Hawaii, most recently this year, so we're kind of

flip flopping on that. But

geography and place mean things to people. Geography

shapes. We don't in our

very modern, very sophisticated world, we don't really pay too

much attention to this. And I think that's one of the knock on effects of

globalization. And if people do

think about it, it's sort of in a transient, flittering sort of thinking that

doesn't really land on the whole of the problem or the whole of the nut

to crack. Where you are on the

map matters for who you are as well as for what you like,

and it matters for what you write, if you're a writer. So

you have a country, and this is the big thing to consider here, and for

my international listeners as well, you may want to think about

this. The United States of America

spans a third of the okay,

I believe it's the second largest continental

landmass on Earth after

okay, we're a third of that

landmass. And so the United States, of

course, is going to produce writers as varied as Edgar Allan

Poe all the way to Charles Portis. And we just

sort of take that as being well, we take that for granted here in this

country. We just do. And yet think

about it with other countries. Indian writers you can definitely identify

as being from India. Russian writers,

Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy and Chekhov, like, those are the big

three, right? And then you come to the 20th century and you've got

solzhenitsyn. I'm not going to say

that that's about it, but you've got solzhenitsen, right, in the 20th century.

And maybe there are more excellent Russian writers that I'm

unaware of, but they would be clearly distinctively Russian.

Swedish writers, like the guy who wrote or the person who wrote

the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, they are distinctly

Swedish. Or amitav ghosh. Right?

The Indian writer who wrote a series of

books that has been compared to the Moby Dick of books from

India. Right. He's a distinctly Indian

writer, or other international writers that we've covered on

this podcast from places as varied as Nigeria and

Brazil, Japan, and, of

course, Germany. But those

writers coming from those places have distinctive voices. But America.

The United States of America, specifically. My God,

we're all over the map. Literally all over the

map. So, Tom,

we've got a country that's got Cormac McCarthy, that could hold Cormac McCarthy,

who just recently passed away, who can write about

being in New Mexico and being in the high desert,

but who can also hold the creepiness of Poe. Right. Or the judgmentalism

of Nathaniel Hawthorne all in the same bucket.

Right? For leaders, this is a real challenge, right. And leaders

don't really think too much about it, but talk about

the power of place. And again, this is something I think maybe you resonate with

from your background and your experience you resonate with, but talk about the power of

place in geography and how that all has come together for

the United States. Well,

and also how it changes

you and your interaction with those other places, right? So it's not

just about you and your place. It's about you and your place interacting with them

and their places, right? So what I mean by that is, it's

brought up to me often that literally born and raised here in

Boston, but people have a hard time hearing the accent that they're

thinking should be coming out of my mouth. But that's very

purposeful, right? Because the very first so

for those of you who don't know me, I also spent a lot of time

in sales and marketing. But my very

first sales job was fine. It was a local job, so I was only

talking to local people, and I can say CAD and whatever,

but the very first role that I took, where

I interacted with multiple people throughout

the country and multiple layers of people throughout the country,

it hit me. Like, it hit me really hard. Where so I was a

major account rep. I had very big companies as my clientele, and

they were scattered throughout the United States. And I was talking to somebody from

Irvine, California, or another person the very next day was from

whatever, right? So but this woman I got on

the call with, and she's like,

oh, how's everything doing up there in the in the Northeast? Or whatever? And I

was like, oh. It was literally the first time I ever had ever heard somebody

single me out, because listening to the sound of my voice, right?

And again, I was a kid, so, again, in fairness to me, I was a

kid. I was, like, 25. I didn't know diddly squat from anything.

And and I was like I'm like, oh, how did you know that? She was

like, oh, I can hear it in your accent. I'm like, I don't have an

accent. You have an accent. Like, I can hear your accent a mile away. It's

some Southern accent or whatever. And she's like, oh, sweetie, we all

have accents depending on where we're from. And I went, oh. And it made me

think, right? Like, it really made me think. And I went, first of all, let's

get this Boston accent right out of my mouth right now.

Somebody be able to tell where I'm from just because of the

word, a single word that comes out of my mouth. They go, oh, I can

tell. But I will tell you, as much as I've tried to

work it out, it still pops up every once in a while. Either if I

get super excited or super mad, or if any emotion goes

to an extreme happy, sad, mad, glad, doesn't matter. Any

emotion goes to the extreme. My control of the English language

goes right out the window, and the Boston accent just comes flying

to I just wanted the listeners to understand where I'm coming from when I

this is where. You get Matt Damon in goodwill hunting. This is where in the

bar when he's like, go get your.

Like, you want to hear me talk about my car and have it? Like,

I never realized how odd it sounded until

she said that to me. And then I was like, oh. I was like, oh,

damn. I'm never letting that happen ever again. Right? So I started making

a very conscious effort to enunciate pronunciate

all that stuff better. Now, that being said,

I didn't want a Southern accent where they're

over accentuating certain vowels and

letters either. And then I'm told the

Midwest has no accent. So I was like, well, I don't want that. I

want somebody to know I'm a person like, that. I come from somewhere in the

United States. But anyway, but to your

point, back to the question again, I just wanted to lay some foundation for why

people that being said,

I do think especially in business, right? So if you're talking about business

leaders, I think it's super important, even with the

globalization of things, even with the commodity of communication

that we have right now, right? So I, as a consultant,

can do business with anybody in the world real time, right? Like, it doesn't even

matter. I have clients right now around the globe. I have clients

in India. I have clients here in the US. Southeast,

as a matter of fact. Anyway, just thought I'd bring that up for

you. That's fine. I'm okay. That's fine.

They're not going to care anyway. They're not going to find me. Yeah, that's

true. But the

globalization of communication, I think it makes it really interesting.

Now, again, that being said, I

think it's interesting that my attitude,

my thought process, the way that I approach

problem solving changes depending on who I'm talking to

from around the country, people down

south. Again, when I'm talking down south, my brother moved

from here in Massachusetts. My brother moved down to North Carolina,

and after being there for about 15 years, I mean, to me, he's north

Carolina. I'm sorry. He's a hurricane now. I don't care. He's not from

Massachusetts anymore, because his whole

mentality of how to deal with things changed, right? They have a little bit more

relaxed attitude. They have a little bit more relaxed way of

approaching things. They have a little bit more relaxed. So when I deal with a

customer that's down in that area of the country, I can't come at them

with the Northeast mentality of bull in the China.

We just are the Northeast is very fast,

very highly motivated, very challenged. We just think and it's not just

Boston, by the way. It is that I tell people all the

time, if you take the Northeast from Philadelphia north,

we're basically the same people. I'm sorry. I hate to tell you that in New

York. But you're the same as us. We're the same as you. So is Philadelphia.

We're all the same people. But if you go after

Philadelphia and down toward that southern part of the country,

minus Florida, and I'll explain in a minute if you minus

Florida from that, you talk about the southeast. You

talk about, like, south of Pennsylvania to Florida line,

to the Georgia Florida line. Florida is its own little entity

because Florida has its influx from a lot of different places.

There's a tremendous amount of northeasterners that retire to

so Florida's a little different. Florida's got, like, a weird mix

mentality. But again, so northeast, southeast. But if the northeast is dealing

with the southeast, and again, the perspective of are you the

customer or the client? Matters, because if the

customer is in the northeast and I need to make sure that I mold my

viewpoints to try to match their viewpoints or vantage points. I

shouldn't say viewpoints, their vantage points, so I can at least see and understand

where they're coming from, right? So I can't come for example, I have a

gentleman down in the south east right now that I'm dealing with. I can't just

hit him between the eyes with something that I feel like that I can do

with. Somebody here from the northeast, right? I'm going to sell you this phone. I'm

like, listen, dumbass, this phone is what you're asking for. I'm going to sell you

the phone. Give me the $1,000. Take the phone, you're done.

You gave me all the parameters this phone fits. You're selling it.

The guy from North Carolina says the same thing, and they're like,

so here's the

it. Why don't you take it out of my hands? You hold it. You hold

it for a minute, and you tell me how that feels. Does it feel good?

All right, we're ready to do business now, right? And I'm not making fun of

them. I'm not. That's not my intent. My intent is just that

the point of business is a little different now. Again, same

thing. You can say the same thing going across the entire country, right? Where you

grow up and how you do business as a young

entrepreneur matters. Like where you go to school matters. Again,

we have people. My daughter's first roommate come from

La. Her first winter in Boston, I thought the poor girl was going to have

a heart attack. She was like, what is going on right now?

This stuff coming from the sky. I don't know what

she's like, what? I didn't realize the thermostats went down

below. That's actually an honest to God statement, by the way.

She thought that the thermostat went to zero and stopped like nothing went colder

than zero. And I was like, what? Are you kidding me?

The wind chill out there is negative 22. The thermostat has to tell you

that. Anyway,

but again, back to the point at hand, right? So

I think it's important not only to understand where you

are and where you're from and how business happens where you're

from, but I think it's also important to understand if you're going to go

outside of that comfort zone and you're king to sell from the northeast to any

other part of the country, it's up to you. It's your responsibility to know and

understand how business is done. In the rest of it, you cannot force them to

fit your if they're the customer, if they're the customer, you can't force

them to fit into your box. You have to make sure you fit into their

box. And the sale goes a lot faster. The

interaction goes a lot better. If you are the seller and you

understand the buyer, you understand the buyer better. Now,

again, the other way around, if somebody from outside of the northeast tries to call

me and sell me something and they do what I just did with the cell

phone, I'm hanging up on just I'm hanging up on them.

I don't need to hold the phone. Tell me what it does. Tell me what

it does. Tell it how it works, if it works, if it does what it

I'll do it. I'll buy it. I'll buy it, and then let me buy it

and go away. So it's interesting that you're bringing this up,

because I just had

not a revelation.

So here's how I'll frame this. Somebody gave me feedback about

doing business. So I'm in texas,

right? Different than tom and I came out of the northeast and came to texas

in the great american move around known as

so I was part of the great american move around, right? And so I

came here three years ago, and I am in a

spot in the core training and development business right

now where, weirdly, I'm back in startup mode

because of having to re

move my business out of the northeast, the business structure, and move the structure

into texas and do all those kinds of transitions. And tom

is exactly correct. The way business happens in texas

is radically different than the way business happens in the northeast. And

the thing that struck me was that I was actually told this by a

real estate agent when I was shopping for a house here. And one of the

things he said was and he was exactly correct

he's like, you in the northeast, you do the business first,

and then you have the relationship. US here,

we need to have the relationship first before we do the business. And at the

time, I was like, oh, that's a good piece of feedback. I'll keep it, and

I put it in the back of my head. But it took like three years.

It's like yeast working its way through the dough. It took three years for the

yeast to work its way through the dough. And I had a revelation. Gosh.

Probably about two or three weeks ago. So this is interesting that Tom is bringing

this up because I had the exact same revelation. Now, the emotional impact of

that statement has now hit me where

it's not necessarily about the relationship. It's the

way in which trust is established is different in different regions. Here

you talk about the southeast Texas. For all of you who are

listening, Texas is so big, it's the size of

Germany that it can actually be divided up into four different regions.

And the region that I live in is closer

in posture to the northeast,

closer in posture to the northeast, but it's still Texas.

So you still have guys walking around in cowboy

hats and cowboy

boots and jeans in, like, 110 degree heat,

unironically, and they're doing just fine

with no irony at all whatsoever. This is how they dressed this

morning when they got up to go to work,

like they just do. And so

the piece of feedback that I got from that person, that real estate agent, now

clicks together in my head with something that I heard from, and Tom will like

this, from the great sales coach and leadership development and

motivational speaker guy or not guy, but professional,

who died probably about ten years ago now. Twelve years ago now.

Zig Ziglar. He's a huge zig ziglar

guy. Huge, love Zig Ziglar. And he was telling a story because he was from

Yazoo City, Mississippi, which Mississippi is fundamentally

different even than Texas. My God.

He wasn't from Yazoo City, but he was born there, and he went to Arkansas

and spent a lot of time his sales career back in the 1950s and 60s

when you had to drive around to talk to people and knock on doors

and go do demonstrations in people's homes and things like that,

selling what was it? Cast iron cookware, door to

door. And Tom's a salesperson, so he'll

appreciate the difficulty of exactly how hard that was. No, thank

you, but what are you. Going to do back in the day? What are you

going to do? There was no Internet. Like, no phone. Like, what are you going

to do? You got to get out. There no ecommerce platform. What?

I got to go to people's house. It's insane.

Can't just go to Amazon. Anyway, so

Zeke told a story about his wife, and this

is how this relates about his wife and how she supported him during the time

that he was launching basically Zig Ziglar Industries and turning himself

into a speaking and motivational person. And he know during

the five years that I was doing this, all I was in was

deals, no money, exchanged hands for five

years. And at the time when I first heard

this, I was a young person, relatively young, younger than I am

now, driving around upstate New York trying to make deals happen, right? And I heard

this, and I couldn't comprehend because I was in the Northeast. I was in upstate

New York. I couldn't comprehend how you could just have deals for five years and

not have any money exchange hands. Because I was in

deals for four months or nine months or six months or eight

months, and then money would exchange hands and it would be fine. Like, how do

you hold on for five years? But when

I moved my business here to Texas, then all those

three data points started to click together in my head and they started to layer

together. And it's true in north

central Texas, the relationship has to come before the

business and no one's really too concerned. I won't say no one's really

too concerned how you eat for five years is your business.

You didn't get the sale today. Sucks to be you. Good Luck.

You need to have my trust before I'll give you

money. In the Northeast. They don't care. I won't say

don't care, but in the Northeast, the

business and this is to Tom's point the business brings

the trust, and the relationship can come later if it's going to

come at all. But here where I live now. And this is,

again, something that I had to get my emotions around because it is an emotional

state. You got to get around, too. In sales. The

relationship has to happen to build the trust

before the business can just

it's a major adjustment. It's taken me, like, three years to kind of

really turn that boat in my head. And

it does shift, by the way, to Tom's point again, how I deal with people

from other parts of the country. So if I'm dealing with people from the Northeast,

I can literally go right to, like I'm having a sales meeting this week with

someone from the Northeast. I can literally go to

well, I won't say, like, goodfellas. I'm not king to say f you pay me,

but pay. Like, I can literally say that,

but I would never say that to a client in Texas.

The door closes. Well and by the way, it's not that

not to contradict what you're saying, but there's a little bit of, like

I think there's a sped up process. Right.

So here in the Northeast, I'm not going to just hand somebody money for a

phone. Like I used the phone as an example earlier. I'm not just going to

hand somebody money and take their word for it. The phone's going to

work. There are certain things that we do. And

again, to your point, building a relationship with somebody first

and really getting and understanding them and trusting them and all that stuff. And it's

wonderful. And it's great. In the Northeast, we're like, no, show me.

There's a guarantee. A warranty? I can return it. If it doesn't do what you're

saying it's going to do, I'm giving it right back to you. And I want

that in writing. I Don't Need To Trust You I just need to trust that

that legal document is going to give me permission to go take my money back.

Right, but the relationship

after the fact is when it does what you say it's going to do, when

it does work the way you promise it's going to work now, they'll buy anything

from you, it opens floodgates

where you guys do that in reverse. Right. So, again, there has to be trust

involved, but we get our trust in the Northeast from fact

figure legal, right? Fact figure legal. It's like if you

can prove it, you can show it. We can do all right, I'll buy it.

I don't care. Because quite honestly, the other philosophy that we have up here

is I don't need to like you to do business with you. If you solve

my problem, I will give you money to solve this problem, even if I

don't ever have to talk to you ever again. I don't care. I don't need

to like you. Now. If I happen to like you after the fact, all the

better. Which is where the relationship after comes.

If you if you do what you say you're going to do and it works

and everything's great, and I like

like you. We don't have to like you to solve a problem.

And in major cities, I would argue Texas, and

in the west, yes, in major cities, it

works. Kind of like that. Similar. Yeah, absolutely. But I

live adjacent to Dallas Fort Worth and doing business in

a town that's adjacent to Dallas Fort Worth where it is a touch


Sorry, I'm not going to give you don't.

And by the way, this is why I like Westerners, too. I like people from

the west, too, a little bit more than people from the Northeast, because people from

the Northeast will sometimes snow you with the smile and be like

and the Upper Midwest, oh, my God, they'll do the same thing. I lived in

Minnesota for ten years. Oh, my God. They'll do the same thing. But here

they'll tell you straight up, I don't like you.

Go away.

I like that. I like the directness I'd be like. All right,

now at least I know where I stand, right? Thank you,

sir. I will get right in my truck and drive away. You have a good

day. And after that, they're

basically done. And by the way, they won't give you a

bad review. They're not going to go do some passive aggressive stuff on like,

Yelp. They're not going to do any of that nonsense. They're going to tell you

I don't like you. I don't like the way you showed up. I don't like

the way you presented yourself. I had a person tell me, you're a

little bit of a fast talker. I don't like that. And I was like,

this is just a speech. Okay, you know what? You have a good day. No,

you have a good day. I'm having a good day. I'm leaving about.

You kind of have. Those conversations

from a sales perspective, but this also applies to how you

lead leaders or how you lead followers, right. How you lead groups. Because

if you're leading a group of people who are maybe from it's easy

to pick on Texas. Let's not pick on Texas. Let's say rural Montana, right.

You're going to have to understand the geography of rural

Montana and how that has led to, particularly in a country like

the United States, how that geography has led to

not arrogance and not hubris, but it's more like a sense of

self reliance, because who's going to I try to explain this to folks in the

Northeast. The reason and this is parallel to a lot of things with like you

see in gun culture in the western United States, who's going to show

up to save you?

The cops aren't four minutes away. The cops are 28

minutes away. I mean, let's face it, though, downtown. I mean, if

you're in New York City, the cops aren't four minutes away. Well,

yeah, the cops aren't showing up anyway, right. That's another thing for another day.

But we're being broad. But I know what you mean. Right. And so

that gets to a sense of self reliance. Well, how are you going to lead

a bunch of self reliant people from Montana? You're going to have to make

appeals to that in some kind of meaningful way. Well, it kind of goes back

to something. So I've made this comment on your podcast

now probably at least two times, probably maybe three, and this

might be the third or fourth, but again, if

you're leading people from different parts of the country so I'm here from the Northeast.

If somebody picked me up and said, tom, we love how

you we're going to hire you. We want you to come lead our sales team

in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, pick a state, doesn't

matter. And if I have the mentality of, well, I'm the

boss, I'm the leader, I'm in charge, I'm going down there and I'm going to

tell them to do this and that you're going to fail, you're going to fail.

So I've said this a couple of times on your podcast, whereas don't just do

something. Stand there, which is the complete opposite. We're taught when we're kids, right?

We're always taught, don't just stand there, do something. Like, oh, people are freaking out.

Don't just stand there, do something. Well, I was always taught the opposite

effect, which is don't just do something, stand there. Meaning don't just go in there

and start making policy changes and changing processes and all that

stuff without knowing and understanding the dynamics, the landscape, the whatever. That's not

to say that you can't, but it's weird. This

is going to sound really funny because I literally just had this conversation with a

client at noon. I got off the call with. Them at about 01:00 today

because she said, I was on a call with a salesperson. This is a

sales engineer. So they have sales engineers and BDR

type people, whatever. So they called me because they wanted my

advice. The BDR was just talking to talk,

and they wouldn't let the customer finish their sentences. They wouldn't let

how do I deal with that? And I go, well,

first things first. Don't just go at them with it. Don't just go in there

and be like, listen, don't do this, don't do that, don't do this. If you

just beat them up, you could potentially lose that person as an

employee. And before you do that, ask yourself, do I want to lose

that person? Do I care if that person? If you don't care, then go ahead

and hit them with a ton of bricks. Like, go ahead and hit them with

everything. If you do care, if you don't want to lose this person, if this

is the first time that you've had this experience with them, you have to

stop and step back for a second, maybe ask them a few questions.

They might know something that you didn't. For example, they're a

BDR. They've been on the calls with this particular customer two or three times

before they bring a sales engineer into the call. So for all you know,

that's normal interaction with them. So why are you going to ridicule a

salesperson for doing what is normal for their relationship

with that client, with that customer? I said, so don't just react.

Listen, ask some questions. Understand. Make sure you understand

the dynamics of what's going on before you just go in there and say so.

I would say the same thing to leaders going into different areas of the

country. Don't just go in there like a bull in a china shop. Don't just

go in there and King from the Northeast, believe me, it takes some

reserve. Like, it takes some talent for you to not do that, because I walk

in there and I'm like, no, I see 100 things I want to change because

these people suck. Whatever. But I can't, right? I go in there, I

stop, take a second, understand the dynamics, understand the

landscape, make sure I understand who they're selling to,

because who they're selling to may make a difference in the way I react to

process changes or process improvement or whatever. Right? So,

again, the landscape matters.

It matters geographically. It matters

hierarchically. Depending on where in the hierarchy that you're

selling to, you could be selling to direct managers, could be selling

to, you know, mid level, C level C

suite, whatever. Like, Allan, that you you need to really know and

understand before you absolutely.

Absolutely. Well, back to the Fall of the House of

Usher by Edgar

Allan Poe. We're going to kind of switch

gears a little bit here. We're going to talk about well,

let's talk about depression. With a New England

touch, which you have to when you're talking about

Edgar Allan Poe.

Upon my entrance, Usher this is him now walking

in and first meeting Roderick. This is where we're at in the

story. Upon my entrance, Usher rose from a sofa which he had

been lying at full length and greeted me with a vivacious warmth which

had much in it. I at first thought of an

overdone cordiality,

speaking of going directly to the thing overdone cordiality of the

constrained effort of the enui man of the world.

A glance, however, at his countenance convinced me of

his perfect sincerity. We sat down, and for

some moments, while he, poe not I, gazed upon him with a feeling half of

pity, half of awe. Surely a man never before so terribly

altered in so brief a period as had Roderick Usher. It was

with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the man before

me with the companion of my early boyhood. Yet the character of his face

had been at all times remarkable.

A cadaverousness of complexion that's a word,

an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison, lips

somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly beautiful

curve, a nose of a delicate Hebrew model, but

with a breath of nostril unusual in

similar formations, by the way, pause. That's Poe's gentle

way of telling the paying attention reader,

or the attentive reader of the 19th century that Roderick Usher is

Jewish. Just want to point that out. Going

back. A finely molded chin, speaking in its

want of prominence, of a want of moral

energy, hair, of a more than weblike softness and

tenuity. These features within inordinate expansion above the regions of the

temple, made of altogether accountenance not easily to be forgotten. And

now, in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and of the

expression they were wanted to convey, lay so much of the change that I doubted

to whom I spoke. The now ghastly, pale pallor of

the skin and the now miraculous luster of the eye above all things startled and

even awed me. The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow

all unheeded, and as in its wild gossamer

texture, it floated rather than fell about the face. I could not even with an

effort connect its arabesque expression with any

idea of simple humanity. In the

manner of my friend, I was at once struck with an incoherence and

inconsistency, and I soon found this to arise from a series of feeble

and futile struggles to overcome a habitual trapeendency and

excessive nervous agitation. By the way, pausing. What that

means is the guy was suffering from anxiety. Going back

to that for something of this nature, I had indeed been prepared no less by

his letter than by reminiscence of a certain boyish trait

and by conclusions deduced from his peculiar physical confirmation

and temperament. His action was

alternatively vivacious and sullen. His voice varied rapidly

from a tremulous indecision when the animal spirits seemed utterly

in abeyance to that species of energetic concision

that abrupt, weighty, unhurried and hollowed sounding enunciation that

leaden self balanced and perfectly modulated guttural utterance

which may be observed in the lost drunkard or in

the irreclaimable eater of opium during

the periods of his most intense


Let's have a chat

about opium.

So Poe there is describing

Roderick Usher, right? And he's describing and by the way, a lot of the

sentences in Fall of the House of Usher and Tom Can attest to this, as

he did his homework before this podcast and read the

story. A lot of the lines in there are

complicated, multilayer sentences, right, with a lot of

semicolons, a lot of M dashes being used to

separate ideas radically different than the ways in which we

consume written material or even the ways in which we

speak now, right? It's almost written in a

Shakespearean fashion, or, if you will, a poetic fashion,

which is why, again, Poe got fame for The Raven

and sort of laggard in fame for his prose. I think he was

probably a much better poet than a prose writer,

but he was also a Romanticist. And this goes along

with conceptions

of the Second Great Awakening and the ideas that came out

of the Second Great Awakening religiously that led, of course, to the

creation of the Baptists and the Episcopalians and the

Pentecostals and other folks in the

19th century. But the

subplot underneath there, right, was a plot

of or the sub idea underneath the Second Great Awakening was this idea of

Romanticism. By the way, this was even a thing in Europe at the time, right?

So the Romantics were folks who believed

in the ability of

feeling and emotion to overcome

rationality and logic. And

they believed that feeling and emotion were a better particularly

feeling and emotion through art were a better measure of

the impact of a piece of literature, a piece of

art than rationality itself.

Romanticism in literature showed up in Poe. Romanticism in the visual

art showed up in a guy like Gabriel

Rossetti over in Europe. Let's

see. Romanticism in music showed up

early in a guy like, I would say,


well, no, I'll go a little bit later in German music, in Wagner. Actually,

that's where Romanticism showed up, was in Wagner, in music. So kind

of think of Romanticism in that arc, as I mentioned, these kinds

of ideas that I have here. But Romanticism also had a dark side to

it, and Poe explored a lot of this. And it was a dark side that

was focused around depression, around anxiety, nervous,

agitation, anui, which we would just call

a depressive state, basically, and existential crises

that were kind of welded onto this feeling of Romanticism,

right? It was this idea that you could romanticize

depressive feelings and depressive states that they would become part of your character and make

you, in essence, interesting.

But there was a tool for these depressive states that was

used. And David Courtwright,

the author of Dark Paradise a History of Opiate Addiction in

America, estimates that the annual total of opium

imports for all of the US. Ports between

1827 and 1842 was over

27,000 pounds a year.

That's insane. And Boston merchants,

according to Mr. Court Wright in his book, were the dominant

American opium traders.

Boston was ground zero. All right.

Untrambled opium addiction in the 19th century.

Let's just clarify one thing here. At that time,

people thought of it as medicine. I understand it was an addictive thing. I

understand it was a property. But they were used in hospitals and

Boston even to this day. So before you get all defensive,

the Bostonian gets all defensive, let me point out that,

yes, you are correct.

I just want to make sure it's different than the opiate imports today.

These are legal imports because they thought they

were doing the right thing. Medicine. Again, I'm

not defending Boston per se. I'm defending the country as a whole at that

point. Well, opium was importing a lot of opium. The

country as a whole was importing opium. Poe lived and came to his

maturity in his writing on the edge of the beginning of

an untrammeled opium addiction problem that was beginning in the 19th century.

And so he got to see ground zero, this sort of develop.

And by the way, he had personal experience with this because the typical

treatment for maladies such as

tuberculosis, depression,

anxiety, and by the way, his 13 year old wife that he

married, his 13 year old cousin, that he married. More on that

later. But he married his 13 year old cousin, she eventually

died eleven years later of tuberculosis or consumption.

And the number one treatment, or not the number one, but one of the main

treatments for tuberculosis, if you could not go out west to the Western

territories and dry yourself out and this is where

folks like, oh, what's his

name that rode with Wyatt

Earp after the Civil War anyway, doesn't

matter. It'll come to me in a minute. But the gunslinger that rode with Wyatt

Earp back in the day, he went west, right, because the New Mexico territories

had opened, but there was no territory at the beginning of the opium addiction

or the beginning of the opium importation in the 19th

century. So you just died of tuberculosis. Well, there was a ton of

pain involved in that. And so, of course,

the doctors opioid, prescribing opioids, exactly. Were

prescribing opium. Now, the other thing,

it's not that dramatically different than today. Than today, that's right,

exactly. Or you have some sort of surgery

and the first thing they give you is some sort of painkiller after the fact.

Right. Like, oh, you're going to be in a lot of pain. Take this opioid.

And if they're not careful with getting you off of it quickly, that

transition from percocet or Demerol

or any of those other can very quickly turn into something that's

uncontrollable. Absolutely. And then you wind up in the bottom of

fentanyl, right? So then you have literally the same problem in

2023 that they had in 18.

It's insane to me. This is the point that David

Courtwright makes in his book, where I pulled that statistic from

talking about how basically and you've said this on the podcast,

you know how more things change the more they are the same. Right?

It's literally the exact same cycle. The only difference

between now and then is the pharmaceutical companies are

now, shall we say, or were anyway. Well, and

it's been proven in court, too, compensating doctors

for the pushing of these prescriptions. And the other major difference

is when the prescriptions can no longer be had these days, people

immediately or not immediately, but people can go to fentanyl,

which, by the way, interestingly enough, most opium

came out of China and was imported back into China by the British in

order to addict the Chinese. And now the Chinese

have turned around and are making fentanyl and exporting it through

Mexico into the United States.

Just think about that, folks. So opium addiction and

poe. So he was around all of this, right? And the typical treatment, by the

way, for tuberculosis was laudnum. Laudnum was almost, I think,

like 80% opium. It was just literally straight opium that you could

drink. You could just go get it if you were a person who

needed it. Mostly women were addicted to opium. And

so that's the other sort of insinuation that he's making

about Roderick Gusher, is that he is sort of a feminine temperament.

This is one of those things where every detail in the story matters. This is

one of those stories like no detail is sort of thrown

away or wasted. And so the question

becomes, Tom, why do Americans like their

addictive substances? Why do we seem to

like, if it's not bad food, that we shouldn't be eating from,

like, McDonald's? And no, we shouldn't be eating McDonald's. They're not a sponsor on the

show. So I could say, like, we shouldn't be eating McDonald's. Like, fried foods are

like, everybody knows this. Everybody knows. And yet from

fried foods, which are socially acceptable, by the way, no one's boycotting McDonald's or

shutting down McDonald's, but from fried foods to

fentanyl and that's gap, we really

like our addictive substances. And by the way, with social media, we really like our

addictive TikToks. We really like our addictive Netflix

shows. Why are we so

well, first things first. I don't think that's an

American thing, right? For those of you who don't

know, my son moved to Spain, so he lives

in Europe right now, and he deals with similar things over in Europe,

right? So I think it's a human thing. I don't know my point. I think

it's a human thing, right? Not an American thing. But I think and

if you watch the movie The Social Dilemma, I think that does actually

explain a little bit of it. I think that movie

explains the addiction to social media, but I don't think the rules are

different until you get to a physical

addiction. Those are a little bit different, obviously. Like when you're talking about

Opioids Fentanyl, that's a physical addiction, that you need

medical help to get rid of those addictions. But

habits can come across as addictions.

I get into these conversations with my kids a lot. They're like, I'm addicted

to this, or I'm addicted to that. And I'm like, no, you have created a

habit around that that is not an addiction. Because if you stop doing it right

now, nothing happens to you, right? Addiction addiction is when

you have a physical reaction to the stopping of something that you're doing,

right? So, again, Opioids Fentanyl, that's truly an

addiction. That's a problem. You go through withdrawal symptoms. You go

through real hardship on yourself, on your body, on your

psyche. There's hardships involved in that when you try to come off of those

substances. I guarantee

you, anybody listening to this podcast right now has had some sort

of experience with this, whether them themselves or a family member.

But I don't know a single person I do not

know a single person that has never had experience or been through some sort of

addiction problem with a family member or something like that. It's heart wrenching. It's

heart wrenching when you are not the one that's addicted to these things. And you

have to watch your family member go through this. It's terrible.

But I want to change this conversation a

little bit to be more productive about your

question, which is, like, why do Americans like their addictive?

Why do Americans like their habits? I'd like to talk because

I think that's more appropriate, right? Because.

Let'S talk about why we like our habits, right?

This goes back hundreds of years, right? Because everything that we

do has to be systematic, right? Like, you want to change a law, you have

to do this, you have to do that, you have to do this. There's like,

these systems involved. So in order for you to get this

habit, you have to form this habit into a system. Because,

again, your TV program I'm going to watch this TV program because I like this

TV program. I'm going to watch it. I'm going to watch it. I'm going to

watch it every night. Tuesday, Tuesday, 08:00.

I'll use myself as an example because I am a lunatic

when it comes to Jeopardy. I love it. I watch Jeopardy every night. I

have to I plan my dinners around it. This is a habit of

mine, not an addiction, because if I stop doing it, it's not going to cause

me any visceral harm, right? Like, it's not going to cause me any problem, but

I love it. I love jeopardy. I'm going to watch it every time. Now, I

justify this by saying I learned something. I learned stuff. When I

watch Jeopardy. I learn it. I learn stuff. Do I really? I don't know. But

I'm just going to go with it because that's

my justification. That's my justification for forming the habit that I

formed, and I don't think anyone's ever going to talk me out of it.

Now, when you form habits that are not able to be

justified that easily, and you defend them based on

emptiness, I e. I'm king to eat McDonald's because I love McDonald's.

McDonald's is awesome. I'm addicted to McDonald's. I love no, no, you're not addicted

to McDonald's. If you stopped eating McDonald's tomorrow, nothing's going to happen to you. And

what exact argument are you using for eating McDonald's? Because it's useless. It's

pointless, and it's not going to work. You're not going to be able to justify

it's healthy.

What justification could you use? I

really like the yellow and

red logo. You can't take

that away from me. Sure I can. What if McDonald's changed their logo

tomorrow? McDonald's could change their logo tomorrow. You don't know it's not the

logo you're attached to. I'm going to go to Long John Silvers.

Exactly. Because it's got the yellow.

But you see where I'm going with this, right? I see where you're

like, we form these habits, and then I

think the bigger problem is how we've

manipulated the idea or concept of habits to

addiction. Okay. Because addiction is a

real medical problem. It's a real problem.

Do you think that this is because do you think we've mapped addiction

to habits? Because now this is something that occurred to me. Has now occurred to

me a couple of times while you've been talking. Do you think that we've done

that? Because unlike the romantics

of the last of a couple of centuries ago,

we don't really romanticize habits,

and we don't romanticize addiction. We don't think

that there's some higher good that we can get to by doing

these things. Now, partially that's because we live in the wake of in the 21st

century. We live in the wake of the death of God. So we've talked about

that on the podcast. Before you kick out the transcendent, then what do you got?

Right? You just got your addictions, and you got your or

your habits. That's all you have. But they don't raise you up to any

higher level. And by the way, other people know that,

and so they have no appeal to

you at a higher philosophical level. So if I come to you and

you really like McDonald's, what arguments am I going to make to you to get

you to stop eating McDonald's? Exactly. Yeah.

That's the point I make, right? Yeah. But if you give somebody

an alternative habit so, again,

if you said to me, I don't know, Tom, did you know

that in order to get all those hamburgers, McDonald's kills little

babies in Afghanistan? I don't know, whatever, right? And I went wait, what?

And you go, but yeah, Burger King doesn't do that. Burger King. Same food. You

can eat the same shitty stuff. Burger King

donates money to those same children's organizations, and you're like, Screw it, I'm

in Burger King now. My habit changed like that. Right, but that's the

power of right, right? Yes, yes. But

addiction addiction, tom, you're hooked on cocaine.

Take, know, pseudophed or whatever, like this

pill, because, no, it doesn't work. That

addictive. If you're truly addicted to something, you can't get off of it by replacing

it with something else. Okay, so how do

we a better. Example of that would probably be heroin and, like, Suboxone and

methadone and those kinds of things. Yeah, you're just trading one addiction for the other.

Granted, one's probably a little better for your long term health, but

you're still trading one addiction for another. Sure. And everybody who goes through

or not everybody, but a lot of people who go through AA or

go through Narcotics Anonymous or

who. Exactly. And to your point,

I've had friends who have gone through those processes. I have friends who

have anyway, I've had my own personal history

with that, and even in my own family had history with

that. And even me, myself,

I flirted with being on the edge of addictive. Not only behaviors

that could have led to potential addictive problems,

but we're on that line of what you're talking about between habit and

addiction, where that physical need now kicks in, and now we're in another

spot. Right, okay.

And by the way, just for the purposes of our listeners, just so we can

be completely transparent here, alcohol

has always been, in America, the number one

addictive substance. It's always been, hands down going

away, ever since people.

I don't think it is anymore. I think today, if you look at the statistics,

it might be caffeine. Okay,

but alcohol, it's the big Boy, right? Yes, for

sure. And we did prohibition. Caffeine has never ruined

families, and alcohol has. So we'll just leave it at that.

Right. And we did Prohibition in this country in the

1920s that didn't work.

And then we sort of wandered into this area where we kind of

talk but don't talk about alcohol. Okay. Yeah, exactly.

We romanticize it. Now you're talking about romanticizing. Think about the

marketing commercials and stuff that come out after about alcohol.

We don't talk about the problem, but we certainly romanticize

the partying. Not even just that,

but the affluentness of certain alcohol marketing has

ruled the world when it comes to alcohol. Are you kidding me? That is true.

No, I agree with that. No, that's a point we're

taking. I'll take that point for sure.

So how do we

if we don't know the difference between our addictions and our habits and I think

your broader point is absolutely true. I think people don't know the addiction, the difference

between their addictions and their habits. I think people merge it all together because they're

merging different stuff in the hierarchy, in their head. Right. They're just collapsing it all

together. So when I'm I'll use myself as an

example, when I'm laying in bed at night watching reruns

of NYPD Blue on Hulu, which, by the

way, yes, ladies and gentlemen, I do sometimes do this

show instead of reading Moby Dick, and

my wife comes in and gives me this look like, what are you doing? And

then walks out. I have a choice

there that I can make. I can either turn off NYPD Blue and go to

sleep, or I can watch the rest of the episode

and then watch another episode, or then now I'm

into binge watching. Or I can turn off NYPD blue. I can pick

up my copy of Mopey Dick that I have by the side of my bed,

read a couple of pages of Moby Dick, and then I can leave. I can

go to sleep, or I can

turn off I can never turn on NYPD Blue in the first place, and I

could read Moby Dick. Right. And my wife will ask me a different kind of

question, which is, what are you reading there? You read Moby Dick. Okay. And then

she's going to walk out. Okay. Those are all of the options that I have

for various pursuing various


Is there an argument to be made that leaders need to

pay attention to their habits and the habits of their followers? Oh, good

God, yes. Absolutely. You know, the one

thing that we don't talk about anymore that I think when I first came into

the workforce was talked about a lot. It was valuable,

and for some reason, we don't talk about it anymore. And a lot of it's

remote working, and there's a lot of things. But do you remember talking about the

conversations at the water cooler? Right, and you didn't necessarily have to have a

water cooler, but I'm just saying leaders could learn a lot

by overhearing conversation from their employees,

talking to each other about what's going on, their habits, their

work. Absolutely. I think we can not only that,

we can learn a lot about our people knowing what

their personal habits are, like watching NYPD versus

reading a book versus whatever, because

let's talk about this for a half a second. When people

ask me, how do I motivate my salespeople better? Like, how do I get my

salespeople to do this, do that, more this, more that, whatever, and I go, we

have to find out what motivates them. And they go, well, they're salespeople. They're motivated

by money. Nobody is motivated by money. Nobody,

zero. People are motivated by money. You have to figure

out what motivates them to earn their pay. They make money

to live. They make money to do the things that they

want to do, to spend the time the way that they want to spend it.

I e reading Moby Dick or watching NYPD Blue or whitewater

Rafting or whatever the hell it is that they want to go do.

They work so that they have enough money to do that. You

occasionally will have somebody who has thoughts of grandeur and say, I'm going to be

the best salesperson in the world. I'm going to make millions of dollars selling whatever.

So my goal is to be the number one salesperson in the world because I

know that person makes $10 million a year. That's my

barometer. But think about what I just said there. What's really driving

that person is making $10 million a year driving that person

or being number one in the world driving that person.

Because everybody mistakes it for money, right? So to your point about what

leaders? I think leaders can learn a tremendous amount

about their people by listening to and understanding their

habits. And it doesn't even have to be their work habits, but it should

be. I'm just saying it doesn't have to be. It could be a lot of

things outside of work. But if you really, truly know and understand what motivates

people, and some people get motivated by different things at different places and different

times, meaning when I'm at work, maybe I just want

to be recognized as a good employee. Maybe that motivates me. Really,

I will go above and beyond my job every single

time somebody says something to me like,

man, Tom, that was unbelievable. You're one of the best employees we

have. Trigger habit. I'm going to go do it again. I'm going

to go find whereas at home it's different. My motivation at home might be a

little different. So learning and understanding all of those dynamics might be a little

much. Unless you're one of those kinds of employers

where you think of your employees as family. Great.

Then go figure out go know all their wives names and husband's names and

kids names and dogs names and what motivates them is go for

it. But at the very minimum, the minimum bar to hit

should be knowing and understanding what motivates them at work. And if it happens to

be their family, then let them know that you care about them, that you care

about that family. I know you're here to earn a paycheck, to take care of

have family. I'm going to help you do that. Here's how I help you be

an employee that's never going to be at risk of getting fired. You're always going

to have a job here because you're going to do this, this and this. Motivate

them the way that they want to be motivated. Don't motivate them the way you

think they want to be motivated. That's not a good leader. That's a

dictator. Come on.

You've seen these memes a thousand times. On social media, right? Where the leaders

standing in the sled whipping the people

sorry. The dictate like the boss, right? My way or the

highway. It's my company. I own it. I'm going to whip everybody into shade

standing up versus a leader that's in front of them pulling

the sled with them, right? There's a big difference to that. Well, that leader that's

in front of them pulling the sled with them is asking them about themselves the

whole time. How do I make you better? How do I help you out? How

do I help you help me? Mr. Jerry Maguire.

You don't know what it's like for me being out here for you. That's two

movie references in one podcast. I don't know what's going on.

We're going to challenge each other here about movies in a minute. But

back to the book. Back to Fall of The House of Usher by Edgar Allan

Poe. We're going to turn a corner here on this one because I think we

probably squeezed about as much out of this as we possibly can. But there's a

little more juice left in the bottom of the rind

on this one. And by the way, it is a short story. So when it's

printed out, it's only around seven pages. You can go burn through it really very

quickly. A short story that's going to take you 20 minutes to read and us

2 hours to talk about. That's right. Exactly. That's correct.

It's a little services that we provide here on the leadership lessons from the Great

Books podcast. All

right. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. Back to the

book or the short story around in the corner

here. I could not help thinking of the wild ritual of this work and of

its probable influence upon the hypochondriac, when one evening, having

informed me abruptly that the Lady Madeline was no more by the way, the Lady

Madeline is Roderick Usher's sister. He stated his

intention of preserving her corpse for a fortnight

previously to his final internment in one of the numerous vaults within

the main walls of the building. By the way, pause.

Poe really, really liked vaults and tombs and caves

and basements. The power of place.

Well, because in the northeast, all of those things are creepy. All of them are

creepy. All of them.

Back to the book. The worldly reason, however, assigned for this singular

proceeding, was one which I did not feel at

liberty to dispute. The brother had been led to his resolution. So he told me

by consideration of the unusual character of the malady of the deceased of

certain obtrusive and eager inquiries on the part of her medical men and of the

remote and exposed situation of the burial ground of the family. I will not deny

that when I called to mind the sinister countenance of the person whom I met

upon that staircase on the day of my arrival at the house I had no

desire to oppose what I regarded as at best but a

harmless and by no means an unnatural precaution.

At the request of Usher, I personally aided him in the arrangements of the temporary

entombment. The body having been encoffened, we too,

alone bore it to its rest. The vault in which we placed it, by the

way, he also liked vaults, and which had long been so

unopened that our torches, half smothered in its oppressive atmosphere,

gave us little opportunity for investigation, was small, damp, and entirely

without means of admission for Light King at great depth.

Immediately beneath that portion of the building in which was my own sleeping

apartment. It had been used, apparently in remote feudal times for the

worst purposes of a dungeon keep, and in later days as a place of deposit

for powder or some other highly compostable substance. As a portion of its

floor and the whole interior of a long archway through which we reached it were

carefully sheathed with copper. The door of

massive iron had been also similarly protected. Its immense weight

caused an unusually sharp grating sound as it moved

upon its hinges. Having deposited

our mournful burden upon trestles within this region of horror,

we partially turned aside the yet unscrewed lid of the coffin and

looked upon the face of the tenant. A striking

similitude between brother and sister now first arrested

my attention, and Usher divining. Perhaps my

thoughts, murmured out some few words from which I learned that deceased

himself had been twins and that sympathies of a scarcely

intelligible nature had always existed between them. Our glances,

however, rested not long upon the dead, for we could not regard her

unawed. The disease which had thus entuned the lady in the

maturity of youth had left, as usual, in all

maladies of a strict catalyptical character the mockery of

a faint blush upon the bosom and the face, and that

suspiciously lingering smile upon the lip which is so terrible in

death. We replaced and screwed down the lid and having

secured the door of iron, made our way with toil into the

scarcely less gloomy apartments of the upper

portion of the house.

Vaults, crypts,


Something interesting when you move to other parts of the country. So you mentioned

Florida. I do know people in Florida, and I've been to

Florida a couple times. Florida is an interesting state.

It is a conglomeration of about eight different things altogether,

all of which, I'm shocked, work in one geographic area

and are probably barely held together with spit and

tape and super string.

But in Florida, there are no basements.

Now, there's a reason for that. The reason is that Florida is

a peninsula. You try to dig a basement, you go down

15ft, you're going to hit the Gulf of Mexico, okay? Or the

Atlantic Ocean, depending upon which side of the peninsula you happen to be on.

In Texas, where I live, there are very few people who

are any expertise in building houses, in building

basements. And it's not because you couldn't build a basement in Texas. You actually

can. It's because the dirt that Texas sits

on top of is so fine and sifting that

concrete and cement actually don't hold up. Friend of mine actually just

put in a walkout basement and he had to pour in, get

this, $120,000 of concrete just to do a walkout

basement. Oh, my good Lord. Yeah.

Now, in the Northeast, you could have a basement from Vermont all the way to

Philadelphia because it's all granite. Well, not

only could you, but it's very highly recommended. Highly

recommended, right. But that's because you're

in the northern ranges of the Appalachian Mountains, right? The Alleghenies and

all of that, all of y'all geographically are placed up against that

rock. And of course, if you go out to Colorado

and points further west, which are closer to the Rocky Mountains

or the Sierra Nevadas, you will run into basements there. And this is just an

example I'm just bringing this up as an example of something,

a function of a house, a function of your home that

is fundamental to how people live. But

it's driven by geography. It's driven by place.

Roderick Usher put his sister in

a tomb. And I don't want to ruin the surprise, but let's I was going

to. Say something about that, too. I was like, oh, you left out the last

part of the story. I did. Let's

just say, in true Poe fashion. Well, what

is all things aren't what they seem. All things aren't what they seem? No. And

the mockery of faint blush upon the bosom and face in the strictly

cataleptical character well,

that strictly cataleptical character reveals itself towards the

end of the story.

We just took a story here that

on the surface doesn't really have that much, but allows us to jump off into

other things. And this is one of the conceits of this podcast, is that

we can actually do this. And in

thinking about the end of the

story, which we did not get to when we talked about addiction, a bunch of

other things, there's a poem in here about dragons,

right? And Poe does an interesting layering piece, not in the piece that I

was reading, but he does an interesting layering piece after Madeline is entombed

and tells an entire story about dragons and about

the lady, basically the lady fair being saved from a dragon.

There's a whole Poe in there. The lady fair being saved from a dragon. And

of course, Poe is bringing in elements

of this mythical story to indicate that Roderick

Usher was trying to position himself or

maybe it was the narrator trying to position himself, I can't really tell.

But one of those gentlemen was trying to position himself

as sort of a Sir Lancelot type, right.

He was going to save Madeline and then that all sort

of inverts on itself. When you're running,


the question becomes if

dead things don't stay dead. William Faulkner, infamously back in

the day, that great Southern writer from Mississippi who

served in World War I, he said, you know, the past ain't the

past. It ain't even done with us yet, basically.

It's not done right. Poe took that or began

really that idea and know longfellow and then

folks who came after the Civil War, by the way, point of order,

civil War is when opium addiction really kicked up in the United States because now

you could deliver it in syringe form to Civil War

folks, right? And it was the only thing that helped when you

were amputating people to stop infection,

which when I read that, I was like, oh, okay.

How do we as leaders, what do we as leaders

take from the Fall of the House of Usher about geography and

place? A lot of this story is driven by

hypochondria. So it's driven by the idea that something's happening

when our scientific rational materialism in our

day tells us nothing's happening there. You're just winding yourself up over nothing.

It's hypochondria built up and ramped up to the level

of a mental illness. And I think this, by the way,

resonates in our time, particularly coming out of COVID I think this

resonates in our time because it's the things that we can't see that

get us and the things that we can't see. And by the

way we struggle with this this is the other aside thought here. We struggle with

this as postmoderns because we think that we've mastered everything that can be

seen, but we know or

we have an intuition in our hearts that there's all this other

stuff underneath the water

and at a certain point

Madeline's going to come up and she's going to want to have a conversation with

us. So how do leaders deal with

that dynamic on their teams? We'll kind of

close out with that question for you, Tom. How do we deal with that dynamic

of all the other stuff underneath the surface that could get us the boo? Creepy.

Mean, I don't mean to sound repetitive here, but

you don't know what you don't know. So don't create something that isn't

there. Which is what hypochondria is, by the way.

It really is. Yeah, but how

do you stop yourself from doing that? It's by asking questions

and getting involved with the right people and making sure you're

listen. I'm not a business coach, but I'm going to tell you right

now that the best

athletes in the world still have coaches. I don't care if you're a Tom

Brady fan or a Michael Jordan fan or LeBron James, Michael

Phelps, pick some all the Wayne Gretzky, whatever

sport you want. There's always like the greatest of the greats of the greats. Guess

what all of them have in common? They all have a good coach. They all

have coaches that were there for them. Even if it's not to

perfect them, even if it's them for them to bounce ideas off of and

say, again, I go back to business. Right? It's

like, go find a business coach that

you can use as a sounding board. Now, by the way, it doesn't have to

be a business coach. It could also be somebody. If you're a bigger company, use

somebody on your C level team. You're the CEO. President.

CEO. Talk to your COO, your chief operator, or your

CFO. Make sure that one of those two guys are checking and

balancing your brain, making sure that you're not seeing stuff that isn't there

or you're not creating a mountain out of a

molehill. Maybe there's something small that you are all of a sudden thinking it's a

big deal or that kind of stuff. But it doesn't have to be an external

source. It can be somebody on your team. If you don't have that, go get

somebody outside of your team. If your team's too small or you feel

they're too close to the problem, go get somebody who is.

I'm sorry, I hate to say this, but pay them. Pay somebody

to be your Jiminy Cricket, to be your extra set of eyes or

ears. Fourth movie reference.

All right, let me make a fizz movie reference. Office Space.

Bill Lumberg did not know how to deal with Milton with

the stapler. Milton was considered a creepy guy. Milton was a character

right out of Poe. And if he hadn't been out of Poe, Poe would have

written him. Okay?

Lumberg had no clue how to deal with that guy other than to fire him

and put him in, ironically, the basement. Basement. Go

figure. And yet,

not to ruin the surprise on Office Space, one of the greatest work

movies of our time, bar none.

Totally agree. Bar none.

He burned the entire place down, just like he

threatened he would. But no one wanted to deal with Milton.

Why? Because Milton was considered to be what? By the people in

the office. It's a C word, and it rhymes with EP.

He was too creepy. That's right. Nobody wanted to deal with him.

So should Lumberg have gotten a coach? Definitely

deal with Milton. Well, no, in that case I mean, if they're that creepy. Come

on, dude, just fire the guy. I mean, you know, if you know, you know.

I was talking about jumping to conclusions about things that you don't

know, right? By the way, that was a game that was created in Office Space

by the guy who got his neck broken in the car accident. Jump to conclusions.

They would jump on the dots. Jump on the dots. Yeah.

But in all seriousness, right,

there's reasons why the best of the best still have coaches.

So even if you feel like you're at the top of your game in your

industry, that does not mean that a person with a fresh set of eyes

and ears can't give you something, something that's worth it for you

to make. Maybe it's not about making you or your company better. Maybe it's just

simply about making your people better, like making you a better

leader. Maybe you don't get more profit out of it, but maybe you

get easier profit. Maybe it's like something

doesn't come naturally to you so you figure out a way.

Again, I think part of it is just like,

listen, we all have blind spots. All of us have blind spots in everything

that we do. It's not a matter of being

perfect. It's just a matter of getting a little bit better every

day, improving every day, right?

That's really what it's all about. And if you can't do that on your own,

you can't do that by reading a book, by reading

or watching a motivational speaker,

listening to podcasts, whatever, then you should go and

find somebody who can help you walk through this. And again, it

doesn't listen. You don't have to pay them.

It could be your wife, your husband. It could even be one of your

kids. I found this fascinating at the

time. My now 24 year old son was about eight years old,

and I was going through this weird phase at work with like,

I felt like I had hit as many home runs as I was going to

hit in the job that I was in. And no matter what I did

was it didn't matter. Nothing mattered to what I did.

I was going to maintain that level of this is where I'm going to be

for money or for whatever. So my son eight years old

at the time. Him and I were I was bringing him to baseball

practice or something like that, and we're just shooting the breeze. He's like, what's the

matter, dad? I'm like, Work's just been tough. This is an eight year old kid,

and he goes, Tell me about it. I'm like wait, what?

So I told him. I was like, you know what, bud?

Screw it. I'll tell you. Because I

was also at the thought, like, if I say it out loud, if I get

it off my chest, maybe it won't bother me. Maybe it won't bother me as

much that I'm going to stay stagnant that whole therapy thing,

right? Whatever. And I'm not downplaying therapy.

You're just putting in it. You're just using a term that you're fine, right?

I tell my son about this whole thing, and I'm like, listen, and I

translate it because we're going to baseball practice. I was like they'll be like, do

you know how sometimes when you play a game of baseball, you only get up

to bat, like, four times? If you hit a home run all four of those

times, that's it, you're done. That's the game,

right? Like, you don't get to hit another time just because you hit a home

run, right? I go, that's kind of like the way I'm feeling at work. And

he goes, yeah, but you can't start the day like that. And I go, what

do you mean? He goes, what if you go into extra innings? And

I went, okay, but that doesn't mean anything to me, right? Whatever,

right? Okay. And I go, yeah, but what if you don't? And he

goes, yeah, but you don't know that when the day starts, when the game starts,

you don't know if there's extra innings. You can hit two more home runs. If

they hit two more home runs, it's like somebody else on the other team hits

two more. I'm like, okay,

now I'm exploring this with my eight year old son, okay?

I'm like, So tell me more.

But what I got out of that conversation honestly, what I got out of that

conversation had nothing to do with baseball. It had nothing to do with home runs.

It had more to do with my own preconceived notion

that I don't know what I don't know. I don't know

what tomorrow is going to bring. I don't know what the next day is going

to bring. But I walked into every day thinking I knew

I walked into every day thinking, this is it. This is the end. This

is judgment day. This is it. Not realizing

that I'll even tell you what ended up the

end of the story was so I was

at a maxed out client level, right? The way that the job that I had,

I could only have so many clients. I was at the maxed out job client

level, and they were at like, I maxed out their budgets, man. I'm like when

I figured out a way for them to spend all their money.

What happened about, I don't know, two months, three months after my son's

conversation was one of my clients split off

into another company and refused to work with any other person than

me. So even though, as a company policy,

we had a max at the level of customers that we were supposed to have,

I kind of broke that by the customer saying, we're

not dealing with your company unless we deal with Tom, right? So then I

looked at my boss, and I was like, all right, well, if I have to

lose, my first thought was, which client are you taking from me? And he's

like, I'm not taking any of them from you. They're all spending all their money.

If I take them from you and we drop our revenue because of it,

I'm going to get fired, right? I'm just going to add him to

your account database. But isn't that against the company rules? He

goes, Screw it. I'm like, oh, so in other words, there's no rules. I

was like, all right, now that I know that, I'm going to go find more

companies to do business with so I can be better at what I do.

Anyway, I guess the point I'm making here is

you should never be thinking you're alone in any of this. Because you can

use your wife, your husband, your kids, your cousin, your friend, go

to the bar and talk to the bartender. Don't give away trade secrets. But you

know what mean. But like, you need a sounding board. You

are only one person. You're only one human being. Your conceptual mind can only go

so far by itself. I don't care if you're Elon Musk or if

you're Mark Zuckerberg, as you talked about your celebrity death match

earlier. Those guys did not do that

by themselves. They just didn't. I'm sorry. Facebook was not designed by Mark

Zuckerberg all by himself, nor was

SpaceX designed by or Tesla or Twitter, whatever

the hell the Twitter thing is now. I stopped keeping track of it. But you

know what, guys? None of these people did

this by themselves. None of yep. So don't feel like you have

to. That's all.

I think that's a good place to stop. I'm going to ask Tom to

hang around a little bit here because we're going to have a little bonus

deal here. Talking about not being able to build something by yourself, you may want

to hang around for, but if you can't,

that's okay. So this is

our regular episode of Leadership lessons

from the Great Books podcast. I'd like to thank Tom Libby for coming on and

talking with us today, always. And with that

for right now. Anyway, we're out.