Leadership Lessons From The Great Books

Leadership Lessons From The Great Books #111 - Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston w/Tom Libby
00:00 Welcome and Introduction - Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
02:00 Catching Up With Tom Libby.
04:00 Their Eyes Were Watching God - Chapters 9-12 Summary.
08:30 Janie's Evolution Over Time.
14:43 Leaders and the Class Struggle in America.
19:48 The Envy Machine That is the Mobile Phone.
24:49 Wisdom and Social Media Usage in Workplaces.
28:26 Leaders Enforce Company Policy.
32:46 On Google as a Workplace.
42:05 Leadership and the Seven Deadly Sins.
48:32 Their Eyes Were Watching God - Chapters 13-20 Summary.
49:59 Tea Cake, Hurricanes, and Seminole Indians.
54:50 Their Eyes Are Watching God and the Power of Relationships.
01:04:20 Leaders Lead by Example, Guiding Others Through Chaos.
01:06:50 The Rise of MEI.
01:12:36 Staying on the Leadership Path with Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Opening and closing themes composed by Brian Sanyshyn of Brian Sanyshyn Music.

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 chronologically number 111.

But this is actually going to be part 2 from episode

number 108, where we will continue with

our conversation with Tom Libby around Zora

Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching

God. When we stopped our previous

conversation in part 1, which has already been released, you should go back and listen

to it. We had been talking about,

several different areas that were involved with the book,

including the links between language, dialect, and intellectual

capacity. This idea among the African American

community of talking white or acting white. And, Tom had

brought up the idea of identity based on a card

coming from the federal government. And we both came to the conclusion

that these are nonsensical ways of viewing identity

viewing group, group,

what's the word I'm looking for group loyalty or measuring group loyalty,

or even just strange ways of

looking at class and looking at

class structures. And we were moving

very gradually into the back end of their eyes were watching

God and really exploring, Janie's

Jesan marriage, the back end of her Jesan marriage,

and then the beginnings of her connection to her

to her 3rd marriage. So Janie's Jesan marriage, just so that

you can all get caught up, was Tom Joe Starks. Joe

Starks moved Janie in their eyes were watching God to Eatonville

in writers Florida. In Eatonville, he set her

up as a well, as

a fourth of a kept lady, operating the store in

Eatonville while Joe went out and moved and

shook as an entrepreneur and eventually put the first light in the

town, set the first road and became its first mayor,

which is a role that I've said this before on the podcast that I

often aspire to. I aspire to no higher

than mayor of a town. Don't wanna

be mayor of like Boston or something. That's insane. I don't wanna actually have to

run things, but you're ever a small town? That's

kinda cool. That would be that would be

that's a I think if you just buy a if you buy a big enough

piece of property, you could be the mayor of your own town. How's that? Well,

I'm buying 5 acres coming up here fairly soon, so I'll be the mayor of

my 5 acres. It'll be and Libby be outside the county so no one can

tell me what to do anyway.

Yeah. One of our colleagues actually were talking with him the other day

on another project that Tom and I are involved in. He has a,

large tract of land that is is called a compound.

Yeah. Hashtag not a cult.

Anyway, back to the book. So Jamie

Jamie's life with Joe Starks.

Jamie's life with Joe Starks turned on turned turned

well, on the one hand, was sold to her. Right? Because Joe Starks is a

good salesman, was sold to her as being one turning.

But ultimately and fundamentally, Joe and Janie wound up hating

each other. And that's explored in the book. And she talks

about how the spirit of the marriage left in the bedroom,

and, you know, it moved into different parts of the house and

eventually moved out of the house altogether. I think that's a very

stunning way of explaining how love

can die in a marriage or the beginnings of love can die in a

marriage. And, based off of what 2 people are doing

to each other or not doing for each other in that

in that situation. Janie's marriage ended with

Joe's death in the book and her moving from being a

young married woman to an old widow.

And I put old in quotation marks because I am 5 years

older than Janie is in the book. And I don't feel old

when she is widowed in her forties.

This is a period of Tom. And Zora Neale Hurston explores this.

And, in the back half of their eyes were watching

God, in chapters 9

through 13, where

she looks at and where she begins

to understand after Joe's funeral that she has a certain measure of

freedom that she never had

before, not even with her grandmother when she was 16, not in her first

marriage when she didn't really understand love, and definitely not in her Jesan

marriage gradually over time, with, with Joe

Starks. She

one of the lines that Zora Neale Hurston has, and I've underlined it in their

eyes or what she got. I'll quote from it just very briefly. When

Janie emerged into her morning white, she had hosts of admirers in and

out of town, everything open and Frank men of property

Tom among the crowd, but nobody seemed to get any further than the store.

She was always too busy to take them to the house to entertain. They were

also respectful and stiff with her that she might've been the empress of

Japan. They felt that it was not fitting to mention

desire to the widow of Joseph Starks. You spoke of honor

and respect. And all that they said

and did was refracted by her inattention and shot off towards

the rim bones of nothing. Close

quote. At this part

of the book, this part of the story, Janie is in a weird spot because

she's single for the first time in a very, very long

time. She's not looking to overthrow social

conventions, but she's also not looking to go along. But just

being what she is, being in that turning space is a space

of throwing off social conventions in and of itself. Yeah. I get the feeling

that she didn't feel compelled to worry about social conventions just out of

the simple fact that, like, she wasn't because all of a

sudden, she's not poor. All of a sudden, she's not for

wanting. Like, she's she's very comfortable in her situation,

so she really doesn't care what anybody else thinks at this point. Right. But she

can't say she doesn't care. Right. But she can't say that, right,

to the culture. She can't be like, ah, I don't really care. She's she's

not in a space that we are in in our culture right now, which is

why I guess it resonated with me in this part of these chapters. She's not

this space that we're at in our culture, which I described a few

years ago as the I do what I want kind of culture. Yeah.

Which Tom me strikes me very much as like the fourth to 7 year

old's approach to life. Whereas

Hurston's writing about or portraying Janie

in a way that is counter to the convention of 1930s

African American culture, which is, and by the way, not just

African American culture, just 1930s culture, period. In general. Yeah. In

general, writers? Where there are certain proprieties you will

uphold. You will you will wear black in mourning, not white.

And by the way, wearing writers, just like that threw everybody off in in Eatonville.

But you will wear black. You will show appropriate deference,

to the death of your husband. And then, of course, the thing that will happen

at the back end of that is because you're a woman of property and means,

you will, of course, get married because a woman of property and means can't possibly

manage that herself. And by the way, you'll marry someone that's socially acceptable to

all of us in the community because we have a vote. Which is why she

was getting courted by all the, quote, unquote, right people. Right? That's correct.

That's right. Exactly. Exactly.

And so I kinda like the way that that, that,

that the author I I I just lost her name. I apologize. Fourth, the others.

Zoran. Yes. To Earth Thurston. I like the way she just kinda was like, just

gonna write this how I want. Yeah. I'll do what I want. Well She she

basically did the same thing writing it as her character did in the book. She

just said, I'm just gonna do it the way I want. This is I'm gonna

pretend I'm in New York Libby. I'm doing it my way. This is this goes

along with who she was. I mean, one of the things that Hurston said, and

this is one of the things that you note fourth of about her life, and

it ties in at a deep level into their eyes are watching God,

particularly later on when she's in her finally in her third marriage to Tea Cake, because

we'll talk about that today. But there was a

moment where a hurricane comes, comes through west Florida.

And, we'll talk about this a little bit more, but there are Indians or Seminole

Indians that are escaping the hurricane. And she

has interesting thoughts about the Indians, which I want to get

into that, that Hurston puts into Janie's brain, basically.

But one Tom, and I'm tying these 2 ideas together. One Tom, I think Hurston

was interviewed and she said that, like, yeah, I

couldn't couldn't find the quote on Google. Someone will go out and find it for

me. But she said something to the effect of I've been the only

African American in the room that didn't have that

didn't have, that didn't have a teepee or feathers in my

background or something like that or didn't claim it because every African

American claims that there's some Indian in their background. Every

single one. I've never been in a room where there hasn't been one. It's weird.

Right? And she was very proud of that fact. She was very

proud of the fact that I can trace all my ancestry back to here, and

she was an anthropologist anyway. I can trace all my ancestry back to here,

and I'm not trying to claim and I I get a sense

this is what she meant. I'm not trying to claim extra oppression here to win

some weird game. I'm just I'm

violating social conventions by not doing that. Because everyone in the Harlem Renaissance

was running around claiming that they were really good, so they were really bad. She's

like, no. Come on. I guess, be real here, people. And so you get that

with Janie. You get that that that that flying in the face of social conventions

in, in this part of the book, which I love. Yeah.

Same. I love that.

In our time, of course, we're consumed more with race than we are with class.

We've kind of talked about a little bit on the podcast. We talked about a

little bit in, To Kill A Mockingbird, the episode that comes in between this

one, by Harper Lee. And, of course, we'll talk about it

again. There's no wants to talk about there's a loss of things

to talk about with that. But

I think the fact that we are consumed more with race than with class is

a triumph of the approach to culture, by those in the political

activist camp of African Americans, the W. E. B. Du

Bois camp. And

I don't know what to make of that. I think it's very interesting

that in

a class based life evolution occurs more

subtly. People adapt more subtly. And you

and I were kind of talking a little bit about this earlier.

You know, when you have the ability to when

you have the ability to take your life savings and put it into a business

take a business venture, that's a class based

act. There's something there that, quite

frankly, I mean, you mentioned earlier on this podcast

in the previous episode, but also subsequent podcast you've mentioned, you've talked

about this. And with To Kill A Mockingbird that you talked about this, Tom, how

you grew up poor. Right. I grew up working class. Like

my parents were turning class poor. Right. I don't think my

mother made it, made, made any more than $32,000 until the time she

was, like, 50. That's the same. Right? Yeah.

Uh-huh. And raised 4 kids and everything else. Right?

fourth years ago, $32,000 a year was actually not terrible.

Like, that was Not terrible? What No. No. No. Don't get me wrong. I'm not

I'm not saying that you were upper middle class. I'm just saying, like, it was

survivable is really what I should say. And let and let me frame this this

way. My kids know what arugula is.

Like, I get that arugula on it's very it's rolling fry. I

get that arugula on layaway.

So to your point, I mean, I grew up very poor. I didn't know what

quinoa was until I was an adult. My kids knew what quinoa was.

That's what I'm saying. They were. Right? Like, this so, yeah, I

get it. So it's only got better than we did. Oh,

what? Oh my gosh. Please. Please. A feast

of riches. I tell this to them all the time. When my when my boy

or not even my boy. I pick on him a lot on this. I do.

I I'd write him a lot. But but my middle daughter, my my youngest I'm

dumb. Not middle daughter. Youngest daughter, when she's laying on the couch

just, oh, should I watch, like, Avengers for

the 4th time? It's another 899 on Amazon.

Dear god. Yeah. How many

times you gotta watch Infinity War? You

already got the plot. Yeah. When my kid so to your

point, my kids are going, oh, should I watch cable or prime, or should

I find something on Netflix or Hulu? Like, no. I I'll check

Disney Plus. And I'm thinking to myself, I had, like, 4 channels, and they were

all just disgustingly staticky. The Remember

the remember the UHF channels? We didn't have a color TV in my house

until I was like, the until I was adults.

I knew it was out of control when I when at one point

in time and this doesn't exist anymore, but at one point in time in our

house, we had, like, 4 remote controls. Oh, yeah. I knew it was out of

control. I was like, this is this is this is this is nuts. This is

out of control. We gotta stop this. Like, somebody's gotta put the brakes

on this. But, yeah, like, your kids know what quinoa is. My

kids know what arugula is. I mean, they're living better

lives than we lived. And to to our

credit, I think that that's because we worked hard at it. I don't believe in

luck. For sure. But I also think

that there are certain evolutions that occur as you

move up or down the class structure. I think

Hurston was sensitive to that. I think any creative is sensitive to

that. And I think leaders should be sensitive to that. So

I guess I'd like to sort of officially open up the question


Just like leading people in in with any other differences, right, leaders

have to be aware of class literature. But we have a real

struggle wrapping our mouth around those ideas, you know, in

America. Because I was telling you this is somebody who I was talking to a

few days ago who's from, who's a Dutch person from,

from, from England. And I had to

explain to him that everybody in America thinks they're middle class from bill gates

to the homeless guy in San Francisco. Who's mainlining, like,

you know, heroin with a touch of Fentanyl. Like, you know? Like

like, I mean, you know, he thinks he's middle class too. He thinks he's

just he's just one more syringe away from hitting

that middle class dream. And

so talk a little bit about that dichotomy because I've

never I came to that conclusion years ago that this is how people

think, but, I don't know if I'm

maybe I'm an outlier on that. So let's start with that. Like, what do what

do how do we think about class in America?

Well, I mean, you know, I I think it's funny. When I grew up, I

always I always had to hear about you know, there was the

there was the the low like, you had low class, then you

had lower middle class, then middle class, then upper middle class,

and then upper class, then you had rich people. Right? Yes, sir.

Turning about lower class, there was, like, there was even, like, these

subsets of lower class. Right? There was, like, you're just basically living in

poverty. Like that like or like or you're not even living at all. You're a

you're a homeless guy in in San Francisco. I mean, you've got nothing

except the shopping carriage you're pushing down the street. That was even different

than being poor because being poor just meant you didn't have extra money.

Right? Like, you you could you could survive on your basic needs, and

then that was it. That was like you you were literally living

day by day on whether or not you could or couldn't afford food, but you

still had a roof over your head and, you know, whatever. Right? So,

I I I think that I think that those most

I think we we've tried so hard to eliminate most of

those variances or subset of of,

of classes that, like, we just want there to be an upper,

middle, and lower class and that's it. Like, we just want it to be those

three things. And in in order in in trying to do

that, we've just blurred the lines even more. Like, we've just basically said,

you know what? The class you belong in is the class

that you feel most comfortable in. How's that? Like, if you if you made $40

a year and you think you're middle class, then go for it. Call yourself middle

class because nobody's gonna argue. Right? Like, that's kinda where we're at at this

point. It's essentially where you've declared yourself and not

really where fourth actual Well, except the problem

is reality with that. Right? Like, if I'm making 40,000 a

year, that means my take home is 40,000 gross. That means

my take home is, if I'm lucky,

32. I was thinking closer to 27 or 28, but sure.

32. Sure. That's why I said if I'm Libby, 32. Right?

Depending on and by the way, 32 in Arkansas goes a hell of a lot

further than 32 in Chicago. Absolutely. Yes. Okay.

Which is probably where really where more of what that comes from is what we

were talking about a few minutes ago. Yes. Exactly. You know?

So if I'm making 32 in Fayetteville, Arkansas,

my class is and by the way, Fayetteville is not a bad town. I don't

have a problem with Fayetteville. It'd be writers for Fayetteville. That's a great place to

live. Very inexpensive. I would encourage you go from Chicago,

not to move to Fayetteville, but, like, just consider

it. Anyway, get out of New York. Well, if at least if you're making fourth

grand a year in Chicago, you're not serious. Exactly.

Get yourself out of Chicago. My god. You're dying. You think it's a good year

in Chicago, you're living on south side. Right? Like, it looks like south side Chicago

that is not a very good neighborhood apparently. You might you might actually be

in one of those tents we're talking about earlier.

Because that's all you could afford. Yeah. But $32,000

in Fayetteville, Arkansas, $32,000 take home.

That goes a lot further in Fayetteville. Yeah. I I think

the challenge, particularly of the last 20 years in in our era, has

been the envy machine that is the mobile phone. Because I

can look around and see it was easier maybe

maybe 30, 40 years ago. In our historical memory, it was easier. Because

like when I was a kid, I didn't know that there were other

people who lived the way that I did that were like

across the world or across the country. I didn't know that. I just knew the

people essays thing with you. I just knew the people in my neighborhood. Like, I

didn't I'll be honest. Like, I didn't know you. Like, I like, the the

concept of talking to somebody. Like, my father

was a huge radio guy and would have loved the Internet, would have loved podcasts,

would have loved all this. Like, if I had told

him that I could have a chat with somebody in London, he'd be like,

why? It's Why do they what do you

care with somebody in London? Is that gonna change your life somehow?

Like, what do you and and he wouldn't have asked the why for, like, an

economic end. It would have been the why from, like, you're getting an

English degree. Why? You speak English? The hell's your

problem? Yeah. Yeah. So it goes

Tom that same space. And so where class ties into that is

when I can see someone that I use this example, because it's the most

recent one, but when I could see one of my quote unquote friends in Fayetteville,

who went to Little Rock this weekend to go see a Taylor Swift

concert and I know Taylor Swift tickets cost $1,000, and he

took 6 people to the Taylor Swift concert, and they took a bunch of pictures.

They took a bunch of videos, and I see the highlights. I can go to

Ticketmaster and see that those concert tickets are $1,000.

And now and I'm making $32,000 a year in Fayetteville, or I can

see that,

you know, Brad Pitt shot his new movie in Chicago when I can see all

the shots in Chicago because they're all on Brad Pitt's Twitter Twitter feed.

Right? I can see all of this stuff now. And so

the envy that maybe wouldn't have been there for that lifestyle, for

that class, now comes downstream to me.

And by the way, the biggest purveyors, I think, in our time of this crap

actually aren't the cell the cell phones. I think well, no. I think it's the

cell phones plus the Kardashians. I'll put those 2 together.

What the hell? I'll blame the Kardashian and all that and and and Fourth and

all that entire crew of nonsense that's going on over there.

Because I think those people made they made envy

cool. Sure. Them and the Real

Housewives of whoever the hell, wherever. Like, it's never the Real Housewives

of Fayetteville, Arkansas. It's never that. Right. Yeah. Like,

who cares? Like, you wanna see The Real Housewives of, like, Dubai. Well, why do

we wanna see The Real Housewives of Dubai? We went from lifestyles of the rich

and famous to the Real Housewives and Kim Kardashian. Can we just

say, like, I missed that show? I really missed that show. I don't know why.

House is rich and famous. Yeah. Maybe it's just Robin Leach's voice. I don't know,

but I actually do miss that show. And I think the

Kardashians ruined it because they basically became that show. Like, it took over

and whatever. But anyway Well, okay. Is that like what what

was it? The the MTV show about,

the the, the the the MTV show that that

toward the rich people's houses. Like, I forgot the name of Cribs. Thank

you. I love that show. Between that show and the Kardashians and Tom

My Ride, Robin Leach had no shot.

I wonder I wonder what Zora Neale Hurston would think of Pimp My Ride. I

wonder what she would think of that. I wonder what she would say. I don't

know the woman myself, but just based on some of the stuff I've read about

her, I think she'd had problem with this. She might've had an issue. She might've

had a challenge. If this was one of her children, I think she would've just

smacked it outside the head and said, what are you doing? Fix the car. Fix

the car. Stop it. Okay. So

what do leaders do with class envy then? Like, because we see

a lot of it now, and it's it's driven by this like you

said, we've tried to flatten everybody into the middle class, but then we have

that other tension on the other side, which is I can look at what everybody

else has. Yeah. And and and I think I think

that this beholds leaders to even be

more diligent about treating people based on their merits

and not Yeah. Yeah. Their not their optics. Right? Or

Yeah. Any optic, by the way. I don't care what it is. I don't care

if it's race, color, creed, class, whatever it

looks like from the outside, and basically being and and saying to

somebody that we are going to treat you

based on your actions, your

your actions and reactions and and how you and and how you perform for

the company. It's really that simple. And I think that leaders have to be

that much more diligent because it's so easy. Right?

It's so easy to get distracted with this other stuff that we're talking about. It's

easy to get distract my opinion this is

strictly opinion, by the way. If I as a leaders, as a person who

has run sales teams and so on and so forth, I refuse. I will

not go on anybody on any of my sales rep's social media.

I do not wanna see what they're doing on social media. Now if I happen

to see on our company site that they shared one of our company posts, I

might like it. Great. Put a thumbs up on there. But I'm not going

down a rabbit hole looking at their social media because that could potentially

very heavily influence the way I think about them the next day.

Right? And videos of them on the some table in a bar

drinking and whatever. And if I'm if I'm a recovering alcoholic, which I'm not, by

the way. I'm just saying, if I'm a recovering alcoholic, I see that kind of

behavior, I all of a sudden have this trip wire, and I don't like that

person tomorrow morning. Right. I have been pretty diligent

about not going down the rabbit holes of looking at social

media of my employees. And I think that that's wisdom. That could

potentially be something that other people don't do and gets them in some trouble.

So I think that's wisdom. I mean, a lot I train a lot of, a

lot of groups of employees and managers and supervisors,

And I've done that work for quite some time and through my

consultancy and particularly in the civil

service, like, it's it's they are encouraged to

keep their social media on lockdown, which is

hugely important. And

I know that when I was in higher education as well,

I was not and this is in the early days of social media before everything

sort of got to where it is now. But you could see you can begin

to see the clearing at the end of the path, you know, on some of

this. I was encouraged, and I took the posture with my

employees who were 18, 19, 20 years old. I said, I'm not gonna

be, we're not gonna be friends on Facebook. That was a big thing at the

time. We're not gonna be friends on Facebook until after you're graduated

and already done. Because I if you're drinking in your room with

peers or you're drinking in a place where you need to be drinking at and

you're doing it irresponsibly. I never said that. But if you're doing it irresponsibly, I

don't wanna know. Yeah. Right. I really don't wanna know because what I have

what I know about, I have to do something about. And if I don't know,

I don't have to do anything about it. I don't even follow my own kids

on on social media for the same reason that you just mentioned. I don't wanna

know. I don't know if they're doing it like that. Well, and for kids for

my kids, I I solved that problem in a different kind of way.

I just banned all cell phones. But, I'm working on I'm working

on a deeper cut than even that. But my point is that

those kinds of boundaries between leaders and

followers have to be maintained. But what do you do when,

what do you do when followers are friends with each other on social media?

And now because this has been happening quite a bit over the

last 5 to 7 years where I follow you

on social, I'm your co worker, and you post

something I don't like. Oh, yeah. The this

I can only imagine what some of the yeah.

Anyway, go ahead. Sorry. And that right. Right. Right. Right. Oh, you know where I'm

going with this. And and now we're all policing each other in this

weird pseudo virtual environment that, again,

doesn't have anything to do with with with the material

real world we're all living in instead is a reflection,

a highlight reel of reality.

But because human the human brain can't

distinguish between what's real and fake without being told, you have to be

told what's real or fake. Right?

People don't have good critical thinking skills to be able to tell themselves that or

to be able to make those delineations. And so, you know,

my my coworker posts essays, well, I mean, the month we're in,

so I might as well just go for it. My my coworker posts a rainbow

flag right in their bio or whatever fourth writes

some post about something. And I didn't know

that thing about my coworker. I never asked that thing about my coworker,

but I'm friends with my coworker. And maybe I have

a difference of thought. And so I write something

that's opposite to that. And I respond to my

coworker. By the way, these things happen. The leader

is usually the last to know by the time this stuff

explodes. What how do leaders deal with that? This is a huge Jesan this

stuff explodes? Because usually they're the last they're not invited they're not invited to the

original posting. I think,

I think one thing, you know, let let's let's take a step back for a

second. Sure. I I I think I think if you can

find a way, shape, or form Tom get ahead of

it with some really good written company

policy to begin with, this may not end

up becoming a problem in the first place. Right? So Yeah. What I mean by

this is, for example, you know,

maybe it's a a company policy of not I

don't know. Maybe I don't think we could do this, but I'm just saying, like,

you're not allowed to follow fellow employees that are that are

in the same group that you are. Like, again so, like, somebody in the

finance somebody in the finance department wants to be friends with sales and they follow

each other, fine. Because guess what? If they get mad at each other, they're probably

not impacting each other's day. Right? Like, you can you can stay away from each

other. But somebody on the in the finance department following another finance department

person may be a bad idea. Right? Like, so let's let's avoid that. Now,

again, I don't know if that's actually even legal, to be honest with you, to

tell somebody they can or can't follow each other on social media. But let's just

say that it's not legal and you can't do it that way. You

can still you can still put some sort of company policy in place that

says that fourth and and be very

clear about it. Your personal things,

where where again, whether it's your personal belief systems or your personal

social media, your personal family life, whatever that is, is not

allowed to implode the

the the workplace. And by implode, you list them out. Like,

if you see something if a coworker's doing something on social media you don't like,

that's okay for you not to like it, but it cannot impact your workday.

If and and literally list out some, like, really clear

versions of this. Now that being said, even in doing that, I don't know if

you're gonna avoid that problem. I still think there's a possibility you'll avoid that problem.

So in that case, but but at least the leader has

something to defer to as a guiding principle as to how to handle the

issue. Right? Sure. So employee a and employee b come into my

office. What's going on? Well, they posted something on social media and they posted

something on social media and we didn't like it. Okay. Let me refer to this

policy right here. Do you remember signing off on this? So tell me

what about this policy you can't live with and and and, like,

and kinda make it make it more a a matter of fact thing than

a, like, a personal attack on either one of their belief systems because you

certainly don't wanna get certainly don't don't wanna go down that rabbit hole because if

you attack either one of their or even if you allude to what looks like

an attack on either one of their personal belief systems, you forget about

employee problems. You're opening yourself up to lawsuits. So you

can't do that. But, again Well and this is and this is the brave new

world because you're also into, like again, remember I said, the

leader usually doesn't find out about this Yeah. Until after

the problem is already, like, begun. Right? And we're well

down the road. We're well down the road. I mean, I've read

stories about employees doxing and harassing each other,

you know, gaslighting, and just all kinds of nonsense. Right?

And again, the

manager, the supervisor, usually the last in line to even

realize that this is going on, although increasingly and a lot of this I think

was broken during COVID because

remote workers are working so much on instant messaging systems like

Slack or chat or whatever your internal system is. And

we saw this at Google actually with the employee, the employees who

organized and Google. So here's what Google. Instead of having

everybody follow everybody on social media or on Google because Google doesn't do social,

there are surveillance and data scraping company.

Instead instead, what they oh, everybody

knows. Instead, what, what they did was

they instituted sort of a Slack and internal Slack

where they allowed people to kind of blow off steam and kind of unite in

the internal Slack, thinking that that was going to be the thing that was going

to eliminate conflicts, particularly around 2020 and DEI

and social justice and all these other sort of hot button social issues that are

going on in the culture. And, of course, Google's in San Francisco. So, of course,

everybody's got an opinion about these Sorrells issues because they're not in Fayetteville,

Arkansas, where people would just be like,

go outside. I don't know. Like, leave it what?

Stop. Okay. So, and I'm not saying that

when you get people that would get upset about DEI, payable, Arkansas, but the the

vast majority of folks there are going to be probably a little bit more down

to earth than the folks who are in Mountain View.

Okay? Now

that didn't work out for Google. That internal

Slack channel didn't work out. As a matter of fact, it didn't work

out so well that some Google employees decided they were

going to protest, the Palestinian, Hamas,

Israeli, Gaza war in the offices

of people who weren't even in their work group, leaders who weren't even their leaders.

And so they went and they boycotted the offices or not boycotted, but they went,

they barricaded themselves in the office and basically

disturbed the workday. And I'll give you the punchline.

This happened probably about a month and a half, maybe 6 weeks ago, and all

those employees were fired.

I don't think Google had a policy for that. Google didn't

have the Google didn't have the Google didn't have

the the in case the people decide to take the thing off the internal

Slack and go and barricade themselves in the office of people who don't even supervise

them policy, I don't think they had that written down, and I don't know how

HR even covers that. Yeah.

Yeah. I I yeah. Good question. Right. I got it. I

I yeah. I don't know. But it was one of the more ridiculous things that

I saw, And I suspect that and again this

is related to class if you work at Google, you're of a

different class than someone who works in I picked a lot on Arkansas today, so

I won't. I'll move along. I'll move across the country. You you

probably are of a different think of yourself in a different

class structure or in a different class distinction than

someone who works in Memphis, Tennessee. For

sure. Good, bad, ugly, or indifferent, you probably think of yours even though you both

may make the same amount of money, you know, a $150,000

in Memphis, Tennessee and a $150,000 in Mountain View is still

$150,000. Alright. But in Mountain View, you're living in a shack, and

in Tennessee, you're living in a mansion. Correct. But you

still but living in that shack, you think that you're of a better class because

I work at Google. Meanwhile, the person in Memphis, Tennessee may work

for a plumbing company that's been there for 150 years.

For sure. So class is weird and I think Hurston hit on it.

By the way one last point on this, so I

follow a I follow

a magazine, I guess, a newsletter called Pirate Wires. I'm gonna give a shout out

to those guys here. They probably won't hear this, but I'm gonna give a shout

out to those guys. You should subscribe if you're listening to Pirate Wires Daily.

They are very, very book, and they track a lot of this sort

of in the sort of interesting things that occur

around, the intricacies of class

in tech, along with many, many other things in tech. And it's one of

those daily newsletters that I get. And Mike Solana is the,

the editor in chief. And, one of the 3 takes, I get a I

get a daily update. It's 3 take daily update. They have 3 articles in one

newsletter. And the one that I happened to see, dated,

today, got it at 5 am, 10 hours ago as of this recording,

which is, June 14th, flag day, 2024.

Mike Solana wrote yesterday scales and

scale as an AI company. I think scales, Alex Wang fourth announced

his company's new hiring policy. And we're talking about this

MEI fourth merit, excellence, and intelligence

explicitly banning race, gender, and identity based hiring from the company,

quote, that means we hire only the best person for the job,

the founder controversially explained, and, quote, hiring on merit

will be a permanent policy of scale, he further controversially added.

Partly a public gesture of this kind was inevitable following years of DEI backlash.

Partly, it's probably close to the law at this point following the supreme court's

ruling over Harvard's racist admissions practices.

But mostly, it's just interesting how few people melted down over his decision.

No massive media backlash, no staff exodus. The man

said, quote, we are hiring smart people. I don't care if they look alike. I

don't care what they look like. And everyone said,

okay. Then he got a bunch of love

online. Stay losing, Robin D'Angelo

obsessed HR cat ladies. It's the revolution of the same. That's

fourth Mike Salata. Those are not my words. Closed quote.

Merit, excellence, and intelligence, m e I.

I mean, welcome to the 21st century. Like, shouldn't everyone be out? What the hell?

Who can are we we're gonna applaud him for something that, like,

everybody should be doing anyway? What the hell?

This is where we're at. Something like that. He wants a button. He wants a

like button. Well but but see but see now you can you can look at

his posting, that was somewhere. I think it was on Twitter that he

made this announcement. And you can like it and or you can look at it

and not like it and feel envious. Hey.

Yeah. Hey. Sure. This is the envy machine of social media.

Oh my gosh. Alright. I lost

I lost the the ability to have envy when I realized that when I when

I was a kid that everybody had more than me, so I would be envying

the entire world if I like, it's a useless emotion. I'm

not gonna worry about envy anymore. Just skip it.

This is gonna skip envy and go straight to jealousy on the people that I

know I can support. There you go.

Well, this is One of the things I sometimes

will talk on our solo episodes, I sometimes talk about this, whenever

we talk about sort of more theologically oriented books like Mere Christianity

by CS Lewis, or we'll talk about Reinhold Niebuhr,

fourth even Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Right? You know, anything by a

theologian. I I

I'm fascinated by the fact that

almost no one in our culture, our modern postmodern

culture, uses those old school words like envy and jealousy

anymore, even though we know what those emotions are. Right? And we seem to

have lost that language. Greed. Oh, we know

that word fourth sure. Like, greed, please. I mean, who is it that said in

the 1980s, you know, quote, unquote greed is book? I think there was some movie

Wall Street. You know? Yeah. Oliver Stone put that put those words

in Michael Douglas's mouth. So greed, we absolutely know, and greed, we could

spot like dimes on the highway. But the other ones interchange greed with

capitalism. Right. But the other ones, we don't. We don't interchange,

like, vanity with the Kardashians. Right.

Like, we don't interchange envy with social media.

We don't interchange lust with pornography. We don't. No.

We don't do that. It's just empowered sex work.

Okay. Please, let's be real, People, come

on. And so we have all these old school human nature things,

which Hurston would appreciate because she came out of anthropology. And

there's nothing fourth. There's no other field, I

think, that clearly shows exactly man's inhumanity to

man at a visceral level than anthropology. Probably psychology

gets there too. But, like, human beings are driven by these

base appetites, and then we just try to put masks and levels and

layers on top of them. And and and those

masks and layers and levels we call civilization.

Like we just do. That's what we call civilization. Because if we if we strip

all that away I mean, we've seen this in war zones. You strip all that

away and the guy or the guy you're into something

else. The the take all those emotions, wrap them up in a in in a

version where you can control, and we call that humanity.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And things still and things still leak out the sides. Like,

forget it. You can't Yeah. Exactly. I mean, this is


this is why it's interesting that they're called the 7 deadly sins and not the

7 kind of fourth of maybe dangerous sins.

I mean, just take out all of the other vernacular. Just say the 7

dangerous sins would even be, like like okay.

They're kinda maybe not great. You don't wanna

maybe do this. No. Like, pride.

Again, the month we're in.

If we're using that term, when we really mean dignity,

we fundamentally misunderstood what's at the bottom of both of

those words. And we're literature leadership

podcast, so words matter. The word pride,

just like the word vanity or envy or lust or

jealousy, there's a darker thing at the root

of all of those words. But words like

dignity and honor and duty and,

well, and faith, there's something that's not dark

at the bottom and the root of those words. And we used to kind of

understand that, I think, in our culture. I I also think and I I

said it I I made this comment on the, episode,

the part one of this of this podcast episode with with Thurston.

Words have the power that we give them.

So if you're gonna take pride and turn it into a negative,

that's because we've given it that kind of negative power.

There's there's a there's there it's

not a sin to be prideful of something that that you have worked

your tail off to accomplish. Like, you can be being

prideful of that is not a sin, but we give

that word, that negative power or the sinful power based on

other things, not being prideful about something you've worked on. It's a different kind

of so we gotta be careful how we how we, assign the

words, basically, in in in the in the the

manner in which we're using them and deploying them for certain

things. Like, it that all matters. Right? Like, to Tom my point earlier in that

the first fourth first episode of this podcast, The words

have power that we give them. Like, it's we we give them that power. The

word pride does not have power all by itself standing there. The

the word dignity, the word the gluttony fourth any of the other

7, almost dangerous sins that we

we're we're giving them that power. It's it's us we're we're giving them

that power. It's not it's not as like, we can take

those same exact words and move them into a different segment.

It turns into something different. So I would like to use this opportunity to give

the to give the the makers of Ozempic some

marketing advice. Call it a

gluttony reducing medicine, and we will be fine.

People will line up around the block for it. That means fine.

Sure. Because what we're doing is

we're actually using this drug to reduce our

appetite so that we are not gluttonous,

Sorrells. I feel good about putting those two

words together. I feel just fine about that. So, you know, at the

dinner table or, you know, quite frankly, anywhere else. Yeah.

You know, I understand that there's many, there's very few

things, and this Seth Godin said this years years ago, we wrote it in a

book, fourth might have written it in a blog post or I might have heard

him say it. Might have been in a blog post or maybe a book. But

human beings don't like and you'll appreciate this, Tom, being in the

marketing space. Human beings don't like things being marketed Tom that marketed

to them baldly. They don't like being told the full

truth of a thing. That's why we have marketing. And of course

he referenced back to, as I always do, the graffiti on the

walls of Pompeii advertising ladies of the night. Like there's very

few things that human beings want to have marketed to

them as the truth of the thing.

But 99.9 percent of everything else,

people want a gloss on it. They don't want the word used.

That's why Ozempic is a weight loss drug, not a gluttony

reducing pill. That will probably screw you up later. By the

way, I'm waiting for Ozempic just like olestra. Anybody remember that? I'm

waiting for the for the devil to come due on that. Waiting for that class

action suit to be filled? Oh, I'm waiting. It's I think and I think I

I don't think I'm gonna have to wait really long. I think it's gonna come

right around the corner. Yeah. You might be right.

Anyway, back to the book.

Back to their eyes are watching God. By the way,

a great title, You might

wanna research where she got that where she got that title from. It's an interesting

little story. It's funny that you say that because I was gonna I was gonna

ask that because I found the I I didn't I didn't research where it came

from, but I remember thinking to myself, I really like to

know how she came up with it. Like, what what is the impact to her?

Because there there seems to be a story there for her on the title, not

for the story itself. Yep. Yep. Well, this is one of the

lines that that they actually

say here, in

the they could see is it close to the end,

Maybe. Yeah. Feet cake dies

and, and sort of the the

circle gets closed. Right. And she talks about

well, she essays, Jane Janie talks about several different or or not talks about

reflects, on her life and on the nature of her life.

And so that's sort of where that idea gets to

be gets gets closed in. The other thing is the end of the

end of the novel, which we're wandering towards the end of the novel, the end

of the novel and the beginning of the novel Libby together quite tightly,

which is just like just like the end of, the beginning of the end of,

To Kill a Mockingbird linked together quite tightly. And so which is the

sign of, a writer who did not lose the

thread, of the narrative. She didn't, she didn't

lose the, she didn't lose the narrative. And, I could

appreciate that. So the back half, right, of their eyes are

watching god. So Janie and TK get married. Well, actually, before that,

Janie meets a woman. Not meets a woman, but well, yes. She

meets a woman, and there's other people who are, like, sort of floating around her

turning to get her married off and and all this kind of stuff. And she's

like, I'm a woman in my forties. I'm really enjoying having this, having this

shop. I'm really enjoying having my freedom. I'm not really looking for a man. She

doesn't really say that, but that's what she Jesan. That's what she means.

And she's hanging out. And all of a sudden, this guy comes rambling down

the road. And his name is, I love this name, Virgible

Woods, aka

tea cake. And

he courts her not by chasing after

her money and not by chasing after her

body and not by chasing after

any of the sort of material things

that may be in an environment

like that, you would, you would anticipate that a man would come

along and chase after a woman if she had them. Right. He wasn't interested in

her class. He wasn't interested. And this is something that women need to pay

attention to. And I thought it was interesting how Fourth hit on this in

the book. Tea Cake was not interested in

Janie's money. Janie thought that Tea

Cake was interested in her money. As a matter of fact, there's an interesting literature

moment that they have when they move from

Eatonville to the West Everglades where Tea Cake is going to go make some money.

And, Janie brings basically her life savings pinned

inside of her dress And she wakes up and she finds out

that it sees that it's gone. And it turns out that,

he goes and gambles it and he loses some of

the money, but he brings back, you know, more, money.

And, you know, she's freaking out, you know, and she

doesn't understand that he's a gambler because he didn't tell her this from the jump.

He just sort of presented himself as being this jokester kind of


And she starts losing her mind about the money, and she starts losing her mind

about him going on and on with another woman. And he comes back to her.

He says, I don't really need I don't need your money. I just use it

as a stake to start me off, but I can make my own money and

watch. And he goes and he does. And he's a hard worker,

in addition to being a gambler. He's a guitar player

and, took any odd job he could possibly be offered to make

any money. And these days, Seacake would be called a

hustler, not a scammer, but just a hustler. Right?

Hustled into his work, did hard work, and he

was an honest hustler. Right? He was even an honest gambler, which

is which is so strange for Hurston to

structure TK's personality this way because I'm sure the

vast majority of African American gamblers she ran across

were guys who were on the make. Guys who were,

not to put you find a point on it, but guys who were pimps, writers?

Who were who were, were money

hustlers, who put on a good show but could lose it all on a

Saturday night. I'm sure that's the milieu that she was writing

against with Tea Cake's character. He also possesses a deep

devotion to being married to Janie in chapters 13 through

20, a devotion that runs so deep that when a hurricane comes through,

he tries to well, they try to move to higher ground.

Writers. And, they get the warning that the hurricane is coming, but they

don't they don't take it


And and they don't take it

seriously because, well, because they're quite frankly, living

the high life. Writers. They're making friends with Bahamian workers.

They are figuring out how their culture goes. But as the

hurricane begins to draw closer, they notice that the animals are

starting to migrate. Right. And the workers are starting to really realize the workers who

are familiar with how hurricanes come through the Everglades are starting to pack up and

leave. And there's a moment that happens in Chapter 18

where Janie is at home and t k is off in the field

working, trying to get his last few dollars that he can get before the hurricane

comes. And this happens, which I thought I thought of Tom when I

read this actually, in chapter 18 and I quote,

so she was home by herself one afternoon when she saw a band of

Seminoles passing by the men walking in front and the

laden stolid women following them like bureaus like burrows.

She had seen Indians several times in the glades in twos and threes, but this

was a large party. They were headed towards the Palm Beach Road and kept

moving steadily. About an hour later, another party appeared and went the

same way. Then another just before sundown. This

time she asked where they were all going. And at last, one of the men

answered her. Going to high ground, saw grass book,

hurricane coming. Everybody was

talking about it that night, but nobody was worried. The fire dance kept

up till nearly dawn. The next day, more Indians

moved east unhurried, but steady, still a blue sky and fair

weather beans turning fine and price is good. So the Indians

could be, must be wrong. You You couldn't have a hurricane where you're making

7 $8 a day picking beans. Indians are dumb

anyhow. Always were. Close quote.

I did. I sat there, and I I underlined it, and I thought,

okay, Zohra. Alright.

But this is the overlap. I mean, we ran into this when we read black

Indian slave narratives. Narratives. Right? Like we this is the overlap between

cultures in America. And it's so subtle what

she's doing there. You know, Janie's perception

and then the Indians as the warning and not taking the warning

seriously. Like, why wouldn't you? Right? But then the Bahamians were

fourth the books from from the Bahamas who were there, they didn't take it seriously

either. They were staying out in the field, making 7, $8 a day.

And as that sort

of unwound, Hurston did a really good job in these back

chapters of the book, dripping

out that drama, that was happening. And so the

hurricane did come, and it did sweep away everything

that wasn't on high ground. And the Indians weren't dumb. They did

know things. You should have listened. You should have paid

attention. But it swept away everything and

fundamentally wound up, well, Tea Cake and

Janie tried to escape, successfully escaped for a little bit,

and then wound up in a spot where,

well, Janie almost drowned. And in the process of saving

her, tea cake got bitten by a rabid dog

in the face. No Jesan. Now

that bite doesn't kill him immediately. He shakes

off the dog, fights the dog, whatever. But it winds

up being a problem much leaders, as

rabies moves through his body.

And, eventually, Janie has to do the thing

that you do with a rabid dog, but she has to do it with tea

cake. By the way, after the hurricane

well, the physical hurricane anyway is over.

Their Eyes Are Watching God ends with Janie becoming

a whole Jesan, weirdly enough, and winding up back where she started

at her home where her grandma was.

And she becomes a whole person who

can live by the truth of herself rather than

seeing herself through other people.

And the challenge I think that Zora Neale Hurston puts forth in Their Eyes Were

Watching God is this one: how do you find meaning in relationships

with other people? And how do you in spite

of class, in spite of cultural differences, in spite of race,

in spite of how much money you have or don't have, where's the

actual meaning in a life? Right? Where's the actual meaning in a life

from, like, 16 to fourth or 16 to 50?

And the only place I think where you find that meaning is

in marriage. And I think Zora Neale Hurston was a big fan of marriage. I

think she thought that that was the social construct that was going to hold

together not only African American culture, but all cultures in general.

And we live in a weird spot where

marriage and familial behaviors and behaviors that lead to marriage have

been unraveling for about the last 100 years. And that

unraveling has created a sense of deep chaos between men and women. I mean, we're

seeing it right now in in gen z, you know, the youngest generation that's

in America right now. The rates of virginity are going

up. Like, it's not just not dating, people not

having sex. Now pornography use isn't going

down. You know, that continues to trend up as a matter of fact.

Studies show that in general this is why I banned

phones from my house. In general, a child,

a young man, has his first touch with pornography these days at the

age of 7, which is insane. And

for young women, it's at the age of 10.

There's something broken in that, and

I suspect what it is. Actually, I know what it is. I have a good

or I have a good idea of what it is, but you

can't in can't give that to a 7 year old or a 10 year old

via the dopamine inducing machine known as social media, known as the

cell phone, without creating downstream

chaos in an institution that's designed to find meaning.

And meaning is hard to come by a social and moral environment

where we don't want to sacrifice ourselves in favor of

responsibilities to somebody else. And even childbearing

itself is on the decline. I Jesan, the United States is now below replacement writers.

And what's weird is, globally, most

countries are below replacement rate. And this does not bode

well. I mean, Elon Musk talks about how to save civilization, you have to have

babies. Everybody laughs at him. He's right.

He's exactly correct. Now I have 5 kids my I have 4

kids myself. Tom had 5. I think Tom's got had 2 marriages under

his belt. You know, I was a divorce and family mediator for

many years. I saw people's marriages fall apart. And so by hook or by crook,

I'm staying married to this woman even if I gotta move into another how part

of the house. Like, it's gonna happen.

But I also think that this is an individual thing. Right? So the meeting crisis

is at the 50,000 foot level. Marriage and family is probably a little bit

above that, or or maybe it's right in there. But I think all these things

linked together in Hurston with Janie Was trying

to show I think that that marriage and family and and and even

children, even though Janie didn't have any, can drive

where you wanna go and can give you a solid life.

I don't know that love solves everything. I don't necessarily believe that. I'm

too old for that. But I do believe that relationships can be

the beginning of how you, well how you

can have your eyes watching God just in real

life. I think she makes that relatively evident by the fact that think of the

timeframe that this book was writers. The idea of a woman being married three times

was almost non existent, But she didn't she couldn't

envision a, a world with with this strong of a woman not

being married. So I to your to I think to your point, and and the

only relevance I'm making there is I think you're right that she valued

the institution of married very highly marriage very highly. And I think

she had I think she had, had tied that

to not just her own moral compass,

but what she felt should have been society's moral compass. Right? Like, she

felt Right. Because if not, then she wouldn't have written it in 3 times. Like,

she there was plenty of opportunity, especially when the second husband

dies and she's got that wealth status

money. She's got all that stuff that she needs. She's got everything she needs to

live the rest of her life in a in a positive

fashion, but yet still finds a way to get married

marries her off in the book to to another person. So I I do think

you're right. I think she does value that institute very highly. Well

and there's something else, and I think it's a subtle point that

most people miss in any kind of analysis of any form of

entertainment, whether it's, literature or

film or television. As forms

of entertainment, creators put forth ideas

into these vehicles that can move culture. We talked a

little bit about this with To Kill a Mockingbird. Right? Sometimes you're too early,

sometimes you're too late, and sometimes you're right on time.

And that individual creator

imbues that product with their own moral view.

Okay, cool. Atticus Finch. Right? Perfect

example. Into Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch, you know,

raising 2 kids with Calpurnia, who's the

stand in for the mother because the mother died, and Atticus stands as

that whether we like it or not, I mean, he's the the paternal

moral compass of that book. Right? Whereas in

their eyes are watching God, Janie is the maternal

moral compass in this book. And

Hurston herself never had kids.

And I believe, if I remember her biography correctly,

she was no. I might be confusing her with Catherine and Porter.

I have to go back and look at that. But I don't I don't think

she was married fourth she was married. It was only once, and it didn't work

out. But be that as it

may, a good creator and this is a

subtle distinction in our culture, and I think we're missing it. A good

creator or creative looks at the

structures of culture and essays, even though those didn't work for me and

my individualistic situation, They are still good for the

vast majority of people. Yeah. Yeah.

And I think as our culture has become more and more individualistic and by the

way, individualistic, meaning because it's good for me, it must be good for society.

And so what's good for me has to scale up to society. But what's good

for society doesn't have to scale down to me. Screw those guys. They don't know

what they're thinking. It's it's the whole idea

that the state is is messed up and I'm fine. And

if the state would just change, then I'd be good. Except the

problem is you're screwed up. Like

like, we're all individual. I'm screwed up. Tom's screwed up.

All of our listeners, we're all screwed up in our own individual ways as Charles

Dickens would would say fourth Neil Tolstoy, actually. You know,

every family is, you know, uniquely dysfunctional in its own

uniquely dysfunctional way. Right? Like, we're all we're all

dysfunctional. We're all screwed up. But that doesn't mean that I can

take my screwed up ness to society and be like, it's your fault. Fix it.

Or the choices that I've made in my individual life

it would be arrogant to the point of unbelievable

to ask the laws to match my life.

And yet we do this all the time in our postmodern society, our postmodern

culture. And I think Hurst didn't re re I think she saw that

coming in the 19 thirties and the 19 forties, and I think she

rejected all of that in a way that, like, a Richard Wright

didn't, or the way that a Ralph Ellison

didn't. And I think that fundamentally was the

the the thing that caused Wright to have a problem with her and

Ellison Tom, like, just totally, completely kind of kind of book her off, kinda be

like, oh, that's interesting, but I'm I'm going in a different different direction. Like her

and particularly her and Richard Wright, they like they butted heads because they were like

they they fundamental their fundamental world views were just different.

How can leaders stay on the path with leadership

lessons from their eyes watching God? What what should leaders take from

this book, Tom? Well,

I don't know. We've talked about an awful lot with this. We have talked a

lot a lot all the time. It's, it's taken up, you know, 2 episodes of

the podcast. So, I'm I'm hopefully you know, the

the the problem for me is I I don't think I have, like, this

this epiphany about about leaders with this book other than the

fact that, like, some of the things that we've already talked about, like,

being able to judge people based on their merits, being able to

keep, you know, the keep the the the the the

insanity at bay by kind of

the the the whole, you know, lead by example situation where, you know,

she's writing this stuff because she feel we just talked just 2

seconds ago, She feels that the institution of marriage is important, so she writes

about it. She leads by example there. Like, she's trying to give everybody

some insights into her own, you know, her own, worldview.

And I think that leaders can do the same thing by by being

true to themselves and being able to I I think

there's a I think there's a really hard thing to

disassociate yourself from from the

the chaos, but still

be a guiding light to get people through it. I I I think there's a

very this very difficult version of people that they

we're all capable of it, though. That's the thing I find the most interesting about

us as, you know, as as a as a society in general. I think we're

all capable of it. It's just whether or not you choose to do it. And

I think for leaders today, they have not they have to they have to

be able to based and judge people on their merit and,

again, to your point a few minute a little while ago,

including things like their class, their social status,

their their social media activity, their race,

their color, the all of that. And and I we

kinda poke fun a little bit at that founder of of of scales there.

But the reality of it is that should be the norm. Like, we should be

able to do that. Like, why are we? Jesan.

I I I tell I made a joke one day. It didn't go over too

well. But, you know, one day I I said I

said, I'm not racist. I'm an equal opportunity hater. Right. And

people were like, wait. What? Like, I don't care if the person's black, white, red,

brown, whatever. If I don't like them, I don't like them. I don't care what

color they are or what race they are or whatever. And it it

struck them as because they were expecting me to say something different,

like, that, you know, that I'm not racist because I love everybody and all that.

None of that. I can I'm still allowed to not like people. I don't care

that they're a different color than me or a different like, that doesn't matter. I

still should I should be able to base that on your merits as a person,

not may base it on your merits as whatever race, religion,

color, creed, sex, whatever. If I don't like

you, I don't like you. And it the leadership should still look at that and

and from both sides of that coin. You should like or dislike your employees

based on their production, based on their importance to the company,

their willingness to be a company person, drink the Kool Aid, whatever

the however whatever phrase you wanna use. But most of those things

should apply to and and and warrant

your thought process based on their merit, not anything else. I

think I think Thurston as an author

kinda got that. I think she understood that. And and we talked

about her own quotes and her own life in the last section of the

episode. And I think just from her own statements

and her anthropological research and all this other stuff, she already had that

worldview in 1930. So, I mean, the the fact

that we're still talking about it in fourth, to me,

is completely and utterly asinine that we still

have people deciding whether they like or

dislike somebody based on the color of their skin fourth based on their their social

scale or based on their economic fourth socio Sorrells socioeconomical

situation, it blows my mind. It just blows my mind that somebody from

1930 can already have this thought and we haven't learned this lesson yet.

So I think I think we can learn something from her dramatically, actually.

Yeah. Yeah. I I agree. And I think that

I think that the only way we're going

to get there is

at a one to one level. Sure.

You know, if you wanna sure. Books,

movies, plays, operas, songs. These things

have meaning, right? These, these things have weight. They

influence and impact the culture. And And one of the things we've talked about this

month is sort of where do, where does a leader find their moral compass from?

We talked about this with to kill a mockingbird. You know,

we just, we just, came off of,

D day, the 80th anniversary of D day, a truly

amazing act of military

prowess, and just national will,

that we kind of don't understand, fully.

We are in June, so, of course, Father's Day is coming up. You'll probably

hear this podcast episode after Father's Day. So for all of you out there who

are fathers, including Tom, happy Father's Day.

I know. Worst there's a comedian, and I think I've mentioned this to

you fourth. Worst holiday ever. Like, worst

holiday ever. And you can go find that joke somewhere.

It's floating around TikTok somewhere. Or Instagram reels. I don't know. That might have been

where I saw it. But my point

is, when we talk about where

a moral compass comes from and when we talk about,

how do leaders get something and stay on the

leadership path while also treating everybody

equally, right? We have to acknowledge that

people have biases, and that's okay, by the way.

And our biases, I think, are strongest Tom

your point when they are against people who are just

not behaving well. And I don't think

it's hard for us to determine what bad

behavior is, but it's become harder over

time because we've allowed

I think, we've allowed the removal of

not just books but also ideas from our culture. We just talked about

the 7 deadly sins, you know, in this episode. Right? We've we've

removed that language, and so we struggle

to put words next to these things that we see. Or even more weirdly

enough, like vanity, we don't talk about vanity.

Like I, I, like I just mentioned, Ozempic should be like a gluttony

reducing, reducing disease. Well, you know, Botox should be a vanity

helping dizzy helping tool. It's a vanity helping tool. You wanna have thick

lips and you don't wanna, like, go have a baby with somebody else

who has thick lips genetically? Well, guess what? We're gonna help you out because you're

so vain to paraphrase from Carly's side.

Or or Kate Hudson from Or Kate Hudson. Sorry. Donathan's

got 10 days. Bro, that's right. Like,

we're not marketing it that boldly, but it is a vanity cure

fourth or or a, a comb over

or a, or a bald baldness treatment.

Right? These are all solutions to the problem of vanity. I

wanna look good to other people, but I also wanna

look good to myself. Right? And we wonder

why there's a rise in narcissism in our culture. Well, it's it's not really

an accident. So I think

leaders have to pay attention to these kinds of things. I think Hurston gives us

the way Tom your point about her her anthropological research. I

think that that that as I said all the way at the beginning of our

last episode I think that that undergirds everything

that she did. She she knew something deep about the human

condition. Yeah. And she tried to put that in her books and in

her writers. So hats off to her, and,

read the read the rest of her of her, resume. You know?

Get all of it underneath you. The more I the more I read about her,

I gotta be honest with you, the more she crept up my list of people

in history that I would like to have lunch with. You know, like, you always

ask that question. If you could pick one person from history, who who would it

be? And and my list is relatively long, by the way,

but she was not even on it. And now, like, I think she's crept up

quite a bit. I think Yeah. I think if I let let me rephrase it

this way. I would definitely not say no to it if if somebody

said to me, she's the only person you go back in history and have lunch

with. Would you be willing to do it? I would do it in a second

without even thinking about it. Yeah. Like so

She was great. She was great. Well, with

that, I'd like to thank Tom for coming on for part 2.

Oh, the leadership lessons from the great books, Their Eyes Were Watching God.

And, with that, well,

we're out.