Leadership Lessons From The Great Books

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen w/Tom Libby
  • The Cult of Youth in Leadership: Why Wisdom Matters More Than Age
  • Productive Aging: Lessons from Independent In-Laws and Parents
  • Fostering Politeness in Modern Times: A Challenge for Leaders
  • Choosing Your Hierarchy: Personality Match vs Utilitarianism
  • Saving Sentimental Items for Alzheimer's and Dementia: Lessons in Memory and Emotion
  • The Importance of Intergenerational Wisdom in Leadership and Business
  • The Parallels Between Sense and Sensibility and Shakespeare's King Lear
  • The Value of Mentorship Programs with Senior-Level Mentors
  • The Role of Decorum in Preventing Tyranny in Relationships and Society
  • The Extending of Childhood and Adolescence: A Cultural Shift and Its Implications
  • Shakespeare's King Lear w/Libby Unger, Episode #56 --> https://share.transistor.fm/s/16173fef
  • The Annotated Persuasion by David Shepard, Episode #41 --> https://share.transistor.fm/s/bb4a3aa5

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.

You. Hello. My name is Jesan Sorrells

and this is the Leadership Lessons From The Great Books podcast,

episode number 59, with,

of course, our co-host today, Tom Libby. How you doing,

Tom? Doing awesome. Happy to be here again.

And we're going to be covering today as

we go into the merry month of May. We're going to be covering today

a book that is a meditation on

the nature of decorum, which we don't often talk about in our culture anymore.

Politeness, appropriate conduct, and the misleading

and ever-changing nature of that ever-deceptive human

heart. Jane Austin's Sense and

Sensibility. Now, the version that I

have that you can see on the video recording of this podcast

was published by Arc Tourists Publishing

and Arc Tourist Holdings Limited in 2022.

So it's a little bit of a little bit of an updated

version of this book well, not updated version, but an updated edition of

this book with a little bit of a different cover.

It does clock in, since its sensibility does clock in at

365 pages. So it's

definitely a mid level read. It'll take if you're reading it through,

take about a month if you're really clopping through to

cover it. And, of course, our podcast today

acts as an accompaniment to the podcast

that we did where we covered Jane Austen last year and we

talked about Dave Shepard's The Annotated Persuasion.

So I'm going to open from Sense and Sensibility,

chapter one. I'm going to start right at the beginning and get

right into it. The family of Dashwood

had long been settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their

residence was at Norland Park, in the center of their property,

where for many generations they had lived in so respectable a manner

as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance.

The late owner of this estate was a single man who lived to a very

advanced age and who for many years of his life, had a constant companion and

a housekeeper in his sister. But her death,

which happened ten years before his own, produced a great alteration in his home.

For to supply her loss, he invited and received it to his house the family

of his nephew, Mr. Henry Dashwood, the legal inheritor

of the Norland estate and the person to whom he intended to bequeath it

in the society of his nephew and niece and their children.

The old gentleman's days were comfortably spent. His attachment to

them all increased. The constant attention of Mr. And Mrs.

Henry Dashwood to his wishes, which proceeded not merely from

interest, but from goodness of heart, gave him every degree of solid comfort

which his age could receive. And the cheerfulness of

the children added a relish to his existence by

a former marriage. Mr. Henry Dashwood had one son by his present lady three

daughters. The son, a steady, respectable young man,

was amply provided for by the fortune of his mother, which had been

large and half of which devolved on him on his coming of age by

his own marriage likewise, which happened soon afterwards, he added to his wealth.

To him, therefore, the succession to the Norland estate was not so really

important as to his sisters. For their fortune, independent of

what might arise to them from their fathers inheriting that property could

be but small. Their mother had

nothing and their father only 7000 pounds in

his own disposal. For the remaining moiety of his first wife's fortune

was also secured to her first child and he had only a

life interest in it. The old gentleman

died. His will was read and like almost every other

will, gave as much disappointment as pleasure.

He was neither so unjust nor so ungrateful as to leave his

estate from his nephew. But he left it to him on such terms as

destroyed half the value of the bequest. Mr. Dashwood had wished

for it more for the sake of his wife and daughters than for himself or

his son. But to his son, and his son's son, a child of four years

old it was secured in such a way as to leave to himself no power

of providing for those who were most dear to him and who most

needed a provision by any change

on the estate or by any sale of its valuable woods.

The whole was tied up for the benefit of this child, who, in occasional visits

with his father and mother in Norland, had so far gained on the affections of

his uncle by such attractions as are by no

means unusual in children of two or three years old. An imperfect

articulation and earnest desire of having his own way many cunning

tricks and a great deal of noise as to outweigh all the value of

all the attention which for years he had received from his niece and her

daughters. He meant not to be unkind, however and

as a mark of his affection for the three girls he left them

1000 pounds apiece. Mr.

Dashwood's disappointment was at first severe but his temper was cheerful and sanguine and

he might reasonably hope to live many years and by living economically lay by

a considerable sum from the produce of an estate already large and capable of almost

immediate improvement. But the fortune which had been so

tardy and coming was his only 112 month.

He survived his uncle no longer and 10,000 pounds,

including the late legacies, was all that remained for his widow

and daughters. His son was sent for

as soon as his danger was known and to him Mr. Dashwood recommended with all

the strength and urgency which illness could command the interest of his mother in law

and sisters. Mr.

John Dashwood had not the strong feelings of the rest of the family but he

was affected by a recommendation of such a nature at such a time and he

promised to do everything in his power to make them comfortable. His father was rendered

easy by such an assurance, and Mr. John Dashwood had then leisure to consider how

much there might prudently be in his power to do for them.

He was not an ill disposed young man, unless to be rather

cold hearted and rather selfish is to be ill disposed. But he was in

general well respected, for he conducted himself with propriety and the discharge

of his ordinary duties. Had he married a more amiable woman,

he might have been made still more respectable than he was.

He might even have been made amiable himself, for he

was very young when he married and very fond of his wife.

But Mrs. John Dashwood was a strong caricature of himself,

more narrow minded and selfish.

There's an awful lot there right at the opening of Sense and Sensibility,

but it does lay the foundation for where we are going.

It lays the foundation for the politeness and the decorum of the novel.

And it is important to discuss inheritance and though

twists and turns, because this sets the stage for future

drama. We live in a time where

we don't really think too much about inheritance, but it does float

around underneath our perceptions of

fairness, justice, and what one generation owes

another. When thinking about

Sense and Sensibility, we of course, have to think about the literary life of Jane

Austin. And well, if you go and visit the Wikipedia article

about Sense and Sensibility, you will see, and I

quote that Sense of Sensibility tells the story of the Dashwood

sisters, Eleanor, age 19, and Mary Ann, age 16 and a

half. As they come of age. They have an older half brother, John, and a

younger sister, Margaret, age 13.

Senses Sensibility has been adapted to film, radio, television, and it's

never really been out of print ever since its first print run of, get this,

750 copies in the middle of 1813.

It was Jane Austin's first novel, and she was born

in 1775 and died in July of 1817.

And she had modest success as

an author during her time. We mentioned this on our episode around

Persuasion, but little fame

during her lifetime, however posthumously,

when Persuasion was published. She has launched in a J curve up,

as they say, in startup culture and to the right. And she's

never really been out of print and never really been out of discussion, not amongst

her feminist critics, not amongst folks looking for

insight into 18th century

class mores, and even the relationships

between men and women in premodern English

era. Senses Sensibility is written in an

epistolary form, which I didn't know what this meant, but apparently novels

used to be written as if they were or modeled on

the writing of letters right to each other.

It's almost as if the

primary form of the novel in

the 19th century and in the 18th century,

that primary form, if it were updated to today,

would be as if we would be writing a novel based on the types of

emails or, dare I say,

tweets we send to messages or text messages

we send to each other. And by the way, Tom inserted

text messages there. We are starting to see novels that do have a bit of

that and that is starting to show up in movies and in film.

And it's less jarring than it was potentially back in the 1990s,

early 2000s, when it first started showing up. But this

epistolary form, the style of writing in which

all of the action, dialogue and character interactions are

reflected through letters sent from one or more of the characters

to each other, is really the grounding. It's really the basis of sense

and sensibility. And so the chapters are short. They're no more than four pages

and they do move quite quickly.

Austen overcame that form and began to

cobble together the modern novel.

So we're going to talk about that today along with several other areas with,

like I said before, our co host today, our regular co host, Tom Libby.

So the first question that I have or the opener for today after

my long Rample there is,

Tom, why don't we

write letters anymore? And by the way, I was writing this script. It's really

weird. I was writing the script while my daughter in the other room down

the hall around the corner is is clanking out. She found an

old Corona typewriter somewhere in my house and is clanking out something

on an old Corona typewriter. I tremble to ask white she's

doing, but I do hear the clickety, clickety, clickety,

clicky, click. So why is it that

no one sends letters anymore?

It's so weird. Like when I saw your

outline for this podcast and I saw that question, my first instinct

was, how in God's green earth would I know?

And then I thought to myself, well, why don't I write letters anymore?

Am I common enough of a thinker to think that

if I have a reason behind this, that there'd be enough people?

Anyway, I overthink a lot, everyone, just to let

you know. So what happened to writing letter?

It's interesting that you asked that because my

kids and I my children and I joke a lot about the fact that I

actually remember the day that they announced

the invention of the at sign for the emails.

Right? Yes. Tom Libby t Libby,

blah, blah, blah@whatever.com. Right. And I remember this going,

who cares? No one's going to do anything with

this. This is going to be stupid. Right. Little that I know. And that's probably

why I'm not a millionaire with the stock market right now either.

That's right. But I think

the simplest answer to this question honestly is because we have so

many avenues to communicate at this point.

And most of the avenues that we currently have to communicate are

very quick and very quick to respond. Right.

Like we were just joking about the text messages in the dialogue

and books and whatnot. Right. So I can send you,

Hasana, a text message of a very simple question or

that you can respond to almost immediately. Right. So there's literally seconds between

responses. If I have something more in depth, I can write

an email. Technically, if you want to

use that as a form of a letter, sure. But it's not truly

a letter anymore.

I think our mindset has started to change of what

is personal and what is impersonal. Right?

Like, for example, if I I could I could send my

mom a letter, a word. Coming up on Mother's Day my

mother lives in Missouri. I can send my mother a

letter saying, hey Mom, I was thinking about you. Happy Mother's Day. Blah, blah,

blah. And she could look at this and go, why wouldn't

you just send me a text? Or Why wouldn't you just call me?

Right. Because calling her on the phone

and actually speaking to her is more personal than writing

a letter. I don't

know. I think your mindset is changing to that direction, I guess, is my point.

I don't know. I handwrote a letter to my mother during

COVID about something I can't remember.

But I mean, I even wrote in the letter.

It's been years since I actually did this. I don't even think I know how

to do cursive writing anymore, which I

had beautiful penmanship, and it

was very important that I have beautiful penmanship. I won't get into why,

but it was very important that I have beautiful readable penmanship

and penmanship writing

letters. I loved how you talked about the seconds between responses.

I think that's very important.

We did a shorts episode that everybody should go back

and listen to before they listen to this episode. Episode number 78,

I think of the shorts episodes anyway, it doesn't matter, but I talk about

and it kind of relates to what you're saying here. When you lose the small

things, then the larger things aren't far behind.

And maybe it's not losing the small things. Maybe it's redefining what

the small things are.

Yes, but where I was going with this, by the way, is I think that

mindset because I also think and I thought where you were going to

go down, what path you were going to go down was that

if I were to write a letter to an acquaintance, I'm not talking about my

mom. I'm just somebody that I just know, I haven't heard from in a long

time. I'm not connected to them on Facebook or social media, whatever.

Right. I wrote a letter because I had their old address sometimes,

and this actually applies to me, too, sometimes when I get a

letter in the mail, it's almost like a wow factor now.

Right. So we don't use it for day to day

communication anymore because we have this instant.

So it's not that people aren't writing letters. They're only writing

them to get a different visceral response

versus just a quick response or

like an answer to a question. Whereas in Jane Austin's

error, you had to write a letter to get an answer to a question.

Like, you had to send them a letter, then write the letter back and send

it back. You could have a whole conversation that would take you a year.

Right. It took them.

So I think about the Revolutionary War and how the Revolutionary War

was not won but run, how the operation

of that war went, right? Sure. And for

sure. Gutenberg printing press, I mean, whatever, 300 years

of printing press already, everybody kind of knew what that was.

It's what's going to be 300 years into the Internet. Like, we're at the beginning

of the Internet right now, 300 years now. Who the heck knows how

they'll be running the war with the Internet? Okay?

But at that time, if you wanted to get orders from

England about troop

movements or things that needed to happen,

you had to get a letter across the ocean, and it might not make it.

The Atlantic is a big lake, and if it

did make it, then you had to take get it on horseback to the actual

battleground. And so you

didn't deliver military instructions

via mail. You deliver

them via horseback. You deliver via runner in the

theater of battle. But the guys back in England,

the politicians back there, they were arguing about things that had already occurred

six months ago. Yeah, right, exactly. And so you

had a lot of freedom in the field because there wasn't that seconds

between responses and that's in a military

context, in a social context. And Sense and Sensibility

addresses some of this. Like, there's a character in here, Edward,

which we'll talk about some of the characters in here, but the character, Edward,

he just leaves and then magically shows up.

Well, not magically, but shows up later on.

And he's like, yeah, I was riding around.

This is the side. I pop in for

a little cuppa, little cup of tea.

Or you got another character in here who receives a letter,

doesn't explain to anybody what's in the letter and

then just busts out, just pieces out.

I don't think we're going to cover that portion of the podcast today, but that

is seen as such rudeness that he wouldn't

tell them what was in the letter.

So they're making up all these stories, and they're king up all this gossip in

their heads. And of course, they're doing what people do basically now,

human beings, right. And they're building these monuments

in their heads. And it turns out, of course, there's something else later on in

the novel, but it is funny because he holds

that letter so close, and it is and you

can see it in your head. It's the 19th century handwritten letter,

the whole script, whatever. And then he just pieces out and leaves.

We have a version of that today, Hasan. We have a version of that.

It's called the screen lock. So if you don't let anybody own what your screen

lock is, they can't read your text message.

So, in other words, nothing has changed in 200 years.

No, nothing's changed in human communication at all. Very little has changed

all the same thing.

Well, this gets to sort of our second idea here, which we'll cover here in

a little bit, which sort of prefaces a little bit.

So in a letter,

you have to be politeness because you actually have to think about the words

that you're writing and how those words are going to impact somebody else.

Because the paper is permanent, the ink is permanent. There's a

feeling of permanency that goes along with that thing. And this is why I like

the novel, because there's a feeling of permanency. That's why I love books,

even though no one reads anymore. But there's this feeling of permanent

feeling of permanency with a book, whereas with a text or

a tweet or an email, if I lose my Google

Workspace account, that's like 50,000 emails, they're just by

gone, and Google will just google is not going to get them back for me.

Google doesn't care. There's no, like 1800 number for me

to call to get those emails back.

That sense of impermanency.

And I love how you talk about the visceral nature of getting a letter and

the visceral emotion that's attached to that. Yeah. The reaction.

Do you think that that's because of that impermanency? Like we're so familiar with

the impermanency now?

Yeah, absolutely. Because again,

one of the things I find myself doing lately well, I shouldn't

say lately, I've been doing it all along, but it's been

on the forefront of my mind lately is saving that stuff,

right? My mom will send me a birthday

card, and I now save that. Whereas 25,

30 years ago, I would have probably not saved it. I would have been like,

oh, it's just a card, whatever, right? Because I'll get another one next year.

And now it's like that handwritten note inside the card

from my mom. That's what I want to remember when I have Alzheimer's and

I can't remember my own name. I want to be able to open that up

and go, oh my God, I remember how much I loved her, or whatever,

right? So now I got a box. I got a box that I have birthday

cards, Father's Day cards, Christmas cards from all the

people who are important in my life. And I do it because it's

and I have them almost in sequential order, like timeline order, so to speak,

because I fear I got to tell you, out of all the things I fear

in my life, I don't fear death. I have no fear of death.

I don't fear failing. As a matter of fact, I encourage

failing because that's how you learn probably the most life lessons I lear Alzheimer's

being able to be trapped in your own mind and not

being able to know, understand or identify

what's going on around you, but still physically be okay.

petrifies me. One of the ways you can combat this

is doing what I'm doing and having things I'm

not certain I'm going to remember how to use a computer. So saving emails

or saving text messages probably not going to matter.

But saving tangible holdable cards,

letters, it's going to matter. It's going to matter when I get to that age.

Knock on wood. Hopefully I don't ever get truly Alzheimer's,

but hopefully that stuff matters. And to your .1

of the things I spent a lot of time in senior health care, by the

way. So that's why this stuff scares the crap out of me. But one of

the things they talk about all the time is when people do have Alzheimer's or

dementia, especially severe dementia, it's not about what

they think or what they know. It's about how they feel when somebody

walks into a room and they don't recognize them, but they know they feel

good when they see them. That's what's important to

them. So I worry about that stuff. And to your point, the value of this

stuff, the value of the handwritten, whatever it is, whether it's a letter,

a birthday card, Christmas card, whatever, I find that they're going

to become more and more valuable as we go along,

not less and less. Yeah, I think you're right.

It goes to this idea of not how

do you want to be remembered, but how do you want to

remember, which is fundamental,

right? And I know we're a leadership podcast, and we'll get

to the leadership elements here that are in Sense and Sensibility, because there

are leadership elements in Sense and Sensibility here,

particularly around politeness and decorum. I think those are critical

things that don't very often get talked about, and this is where Austen really shines.

But this idea of the epistolary form

as a novel and then taking that form and turning it into something that's more

permanent in order to attach meaning to it, and now,

well over 200 years later, we're at a point where impermanence

is everywhere. And so how do you hold on to that? I think

that's I think that's a critical that's a critical thing because

we built these weird digital towers to ourselves

online, and yet we

also have this fear inside of us that no one's going to care

in 200 years.

Just like 1000 years ago, no one really

cared about the medieval guy who was struggling on

the farm in Europe or hunting

in Africa or riding

a horse along the steps in Asia. Those people are died

unrecorded with their voices unheard.

And that's been the massive tip that's

the normal thing in human nature is

for human beings or not even human nature, but in human existence, the normal

thing is to be forgotten. And the people who remember you are the people in

your community, the people in your family, the people in your tribe.

And by the way, those are the people that you remember.

Those are the people that you remember.

I think you're onto something here.

I should probably save more of my Christmas cards because normally I do

normally I just throw that stuff away or I'll like,

yeah, I don't think I would have to rethink that now.

You're welcome.

Maybe we all get insights on this podcast. It's good for everybody.

All right, back to the book. Back to

Sense and Sensibility. So we're going to move ahead

a little bit. And Sir John Dashwood

has now moved his family into Norland estate.

And Mrs. Dashwood, the widow of Sir John's

father there,

has now been moved to another estate named

Barton Park. So we're going to pick

up with Mrs. Dashwood King

there in Barton Park. And so Mrs. Dashwood's daughters are

the three that we mentioned,

eleanor, Mary, Ann and Margaret.

Okay. And so they're living in Barton Park. They're just moving in,

and we're going to pick them up here because there's a point

that I want to make about, well, about politeness,

about the small things. So back to sense and sensibility.

The arrival of a new family in the country was always a matter of joy

to him. By the way, the hymn is Sir John,

the owner of Barton. So the arrival of a new family in the

country was always a matter of joy to him. And in every point of view,

he was charmed with the inhabitants he had now procured for his cottage

at Barton. The Ms. Dashwoods were young,

pretty and unaffected. It was enough to secure his good

opinion, for to be unaffected was all that a pretty girl could want, to make

her mind as captivating as her person.

The friendliness of his disposition made him happy in accommodating

those whose situation might be considered in comparison with the past as

unfortunate. In shooing kindness to his cousins, therefore,

he had the real satisfaction of a good heart, and in settling a family of

females only in his cottage, he had all the satisfaction

of a sportsman. For a sportsman, though he esteems only those of his

sex who are sportsmen, likewise is not often desirous of

encouraging their taste by admitting them to a residence within his own manner.

Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters were met at the door of the house by Sir

John, who welcomed them to Barton Park with unaffected sincerity.

And as he attended them to the drawing room, repeated to

the young ladies the concern which the same subject had drawn from him the day

before at being unable to get any smart young men to meet

them. They would see, he said, only one gentleman there

beside himself, a particular friend who was staying at the park, but who was

neither very young nor very gay. He hoped they would all

excuse the smallness of the party and could assure them it should never happen so

again. He had been to several families that morning in hopes

of procuring some addition to their number, but it was moonlighting.

It was moonlight, and everybody was full of engagements.

Luckily Lady Middleton's mother had arrived at Barton within the last

hour and as she was a very cheerful, agreeable woman, he hoped the young ladies

would not find it so very dull as they might imagine. The young

ladies, as well as their mother, were perfectly satisfied with having two entire strangers

of the party and wished for no more.

Mrs. Jennings, lady Middleton's mother, was a good humored,

merry, fat, elderly woman, who talked a great deal,

seemed very happy and rather vulgar.

She was full of jokes and laughter, and for dinner was over had said many

witty things on a subject of lovers and husbands hoped they had not left their

hearts behind them in Sussex, and pretended to see them blush,

whether they did or not. Mary Anne was vexed at

it for her sister's sake, and turned her eyes towards Eleanor to see how she

bore these attacks with an earnestness which gave Eleanor far more pain

than could arise from such commonplace raillery as Mrs.

Jennings. Colonel Brandon, the friend of Sir John,

seemed no more adapted by resemblance of any manner to be his friend than Lady

Middleton was to be his wife or Mrs. Jennings to be Lady Middleton's

mother. He was silent and grave. His appearance,

however, was not unpleasing, in spite of his being, in the opinion of Marianne and

Margaret, an absolute old bachelor for he was on the wrong side

of five and thirding. But though his face was not handsome,

his countenance was sensible, and his address was particularly gentleman

like. There was nothing in any of the party which

could recommend them as companions to the Dashwoods. But the cold insipidity of

Lady Middleton was so particularly repulsive, that in comparison

of it to the gravity of Colonel Brandon and even the boisterous

mirth of Sir John and his mother in law, was interesting. Lady Middleton

seemed to be roused to enjoyment only by the entrance of her four noisy children

after dinner, who pulled her about, tore her clothes and put an end

to every kind of discourse except what related to themselves.

In the evening Marianne was discovered to be musical. She was

invited to play. The instrument was unlocked, everybody prepared to be charmed.

And Marianne, who sang very well at their request, went through the chief of the

songs which Lady Middleton had brought into the family on her marriage,

and which perhaps had lain ever since in the same position on the

piano fort. For her ladyship had celebrated that event by

giving up music, although by her mother's account she had

played extremely well and by her. Own was very

fond of it.

A lot of dynamics going on in that

little section, that little piece that's only like two pages of

Sense and Sensibility. Lot of dynamics in there.

There's dynamics of interpersonal politeness, there's dynamics

of decorum. What does it mean to

tell the truth to people? Should they have called out

Lady Middleton as being an insipid boar? Or should they have just

let her go? And would that have changed anything?

Anyway, in our modern era,

white, we like to speak truth to power where the personal is political.

We believe that politeness represents oppression

or not living out your quote unquote full self, whatever the

hell that may mean, right? I've also recently

heard, or maybe I've read it on Twitter from people

who are pushing certain agendas

very hard and ideological positions very hard. They're going,

as we used to say back in street ball, hard to the hoop on

this one. But I've heard that politeness is part

of the structure of white supremacy.

Okay, this is nonsense,

though. Once decorum and politeness

is abandoned, we see the creeping specter of tyrannical behavior.

But it's tyrannical behavior at its lowest level, right? It's tyrannical behavior.

It's tyrannical posture in places where

it shouldn't be. Family, friends, relationships. I mean,

how many articles do you read every Thanksgiving

when people are written for people to be able

to talk about politics around the Thanksgiving table so we

won't be so polarized. Look,

politeness and decorum, the way that it's framed in

Sense and Sensibility may to our ears sound as though it is

full of constraints and not allowing people to be their full self.

But that king of constraint from 200 years ago

is in exact opposition to the idea that the personal is political.

Some things are too private, too personal, or even too

beyond the boundaries of decorum to discuss and

should probably be left in that box of the

private and the unspoken. But as we have expanded

the franchise and as the unspoken things now won't shut

the hell up, well, we've gotten

ourselves in a little bit of trouble.

This is a challenge for leaders, right? How do you set up the terms of

the team? How do you set up the environment when everybody

wants to talk about everything, including, well, the three main

things you once never talked about sex, religion and

money. Everybody. And by the way, we replace religion with politics now.

So sex, politics and money, right?

How can leaders replace politeness? How can they come get back to politeness

and decorum. How do we get back to there from here?

Well, it's funny do you

say that because that white supremacy

comment, I'm dead.

I am not kidding you. I see it on Twitter.

I've never really thought about that. Politeness as a

I forget how you worded it. Honestly. Politeness. Politeness as a politeness

as a structural act of white supremacy. White supremacy.

So let me get this straight.

I'm dumbfounded by this one. I got to be honest. So people

are in their brain thinking that somebody who's being

polite to you,

that's part of the system of racism. That's the systematic

just being polite. You'd rather me be rude? I'm sorry.

I want to make sure I understand this. Oh, no,

here's the framing. I can go into these

people's heads. So let me go into these people's heads and walk around for a

little bit here for you, just for a. Second, because I want to get back

to the question. Yeah. So politeness

and decorum by these people's. Framing is

seen as a method of oppression. And all oppression

by the feminist sum

of the feminist theorizing of oppression. All oppression

is structurally based on power. And so when you are

oppressing people from talking about things that are core

to their identity, you are engaged in a position of labeling

and a position of power. And usually that position

of power is patriarchal. And usually the dominant group,

which is from again, they're framing the white

male Christian dominant group. They are framing

that lack of conversation in an attempt to

engage in a power, to engage in hierarchical power

games, which we're going to talk about hierarchy in a minute, but in hierarchical power

games that oppress everybody

who is outside of those dominant power structures from living their full self. That was

a way longer explanation, but that's where they're coming from.

But at the risk of sounding like I'm validating,

which I'm not, I kind

of get it now the way that you framed it. I'm just saying I at

least understand. You can understand.

I'm not saying I agree with it, but okay. At least now I get

a little bit of the insights of it now. And just to remind the viewers

who are looking at this video, please do not let the skin color

fool you. I am of Native American descent, so when Hasan

talks about white supremacy and stuff like that, I'm not taking offense to it.

I just want to be clear on this.

Those of you who are listening to the audio, clear diction

is not a symbol of white supremacy. Yes, I want to be

very clear on this. Clear diction is a sign that you have the skill of

speaking a particular language. I would want clear addiction

if I was speaking Swahili. I would want clear diction if I were speaking Japanese.

I would want clear diction if I were speaking Spanish. Clear diction

is a sign of education. It is a sign of respect,

honestly, for the language and decorum. But anyway, moving on.

How do leaders reclaim politeness in decorum? Listen, it takes

no effort to be polite to somebody. I mean, I've been in

I've been in environments where I'm firing five people,

and when they walk out the room, they're smiling and not

happy that they got fired. But you do

not have to be rude crude or miserable

to get your point across, and you certainly don't. This one kind

of stood out to me, too, when you sent me the outline of the podcast

today, because I'm like, how can leaders reclaim? What is there to reclaim? You should

have been doing it from day one and ongoing.

Well, I think we wind up in a space of polar.

This is that whole Marshall McLuhan the personal is political thing taking all

the way to the bottom level of, like, a thimble full of water.


this is the kinds of conversations you actually wind up having to have

when political topics are discussed in a

leadership context in the workplace. Yeah. And listen,

sometimes it's not even what you say. It's the manner in which you say

it. Right. I can look at you and I think I might have mentioned that

you and I might have had a discussion like this at some point in

the near past, but sometimes it has nothing to

do with the words that are coming out of your mouth. It has more to

do in the way and the manner in which you hold yourself when you say

them. For example, I'll just give the listeners and the viewers a good example.

I can look at you and go, hey, son, you suck.

Right? And then I could look at you a different day, be like, My God.

I'm like, hey, son, you suck, man. It's the same words.

But I'm guaranteeing you, you react differently to the way that I say

it. Right.

If I tell you that I love you, that's a totally different

thing than when I tell my wife I love her. Yes,

exactly. And by the way, if I told it to you the way that I

tell it to my wife, that would. Your wife would have a problem with that?

Yes, that's correct.

My wife would have an issue. Right. But again, in fairness,

I think this question is not so much about reclaiming.

It's more so much about mindfulness and understanding

who you're talking to and how you're talking to people.

I don't think I've ever been considered let

me rephrase this. I'm sure I have. I was going to say,

like, in certain environments, being impolite or having no decorum,

I've never been accused of that in the professional

environments. I have definitely been accused of that in my personal

life. Sometimes I just don't care what my family thinks. I'll just say whatever I

want to say. Okay, well, that's the thing that just don't care thing.

Okay. We are now in a leadership environment, and we have

been for a while now, I would say probably at the last ten years.

And the leadership environment of the last ten years is an environment where,

again, I need to make a space for everyone.

As a leader, I am required to make a space for everyone to show up

with their true selves.

Okay? But here's the pushback on this, and I've

always pushed back on this. Number one, work level

relationships are always what's what we call an anthropology. Second level

relationships. They're not first level relationships. And it

doesn't matter how much of your work is your identity. There is still that separation.

And I don't care if you're working remotely, working from home,

working in a hybrid situation, or working on site. I don't care where

your team is, right? There's a separation that

we create psychologically. And by the way,

we've been doing this ever since we were pushing ever since

people were pushing donkeys behind or

cracking on a donkey to get it to pull a plow, right?

Like, you go out in the field,

right? Or you leave the home to go foraging

or to go hunt, right? Or you go to another

center place in the village to weave the

cotton, right? You talked about being a Native American in Native American

tribal environments, people left the teepee to go do stuff and

then came back. Is that correct? Or left whatever the housing situation was,

right? Am I correct in this? Yeah. Okay. Now,

sometimes they did some stuff, don't get me wrong. They did some stuff in the

home. Everybody did. But for the most part, you left and then come back.

There's something that's important about human beings

physically leaving a space and going into another space. That creates

a barrier. It creates a barrier

separation of place. But now it's a mental mindframe. You change,

right? But now we have all this collapsing of categories that's

happened, happening for the last ten years. And inside

of that collapsing of categories,

some people not everybody, some people are demanding of leaders.

You have to make a space for me to bring my true self, because all

my categories have to collapse here in this space.

And I don't know how you maintain that. I'll be honest. I don't

know how you maintain that. I don't think you can. I had a conversation

again, most all of my kids are adults at this point. I had a conversation

with one of my kids about their job in the past, and they were like,

well, they were complaining about this or that, and I go, well, then get a

new job. Well, I shouldn't have to. They should just no, if you

don't like it, go get a new job. They shouldn't have to fit you

into their it should be a puzzle

piece that fits with everybody. Not everyone's going to fit with everybody,

and you need to make sure that the cogs in the wheel all mesh,


If your current job is not making, as you

put it, making your space for you, then go find one that

will. You should go work where you're wanted and honored

and respected and whatever, and if you are trying to make

an employer forcibly mold into

that, it's not going to happen. At least not

well. But there's a long history but

there was a wait a minute, wait a minute. On the opposite side of that.

There's a long history in the United States of

not even cultural, political institutions having pressure

put on them and changing now,

they're not changing hearts. Let's be real. Okay.

They're just changing the systemic use

a social justice term, the systemic structures of how the system operates.

Right. So the 1964

Civil Rights Act, right, that was evidence

of people putting some external pressure

on not

really systematized racism, but okay, we'll just use that framing for the moment,

systematized racism and creating new laws

that allowed access for African Americans

to places where they had not had access before. Okay, so there's some

evidence, and you can't take this away from this idea from folks,

that if you just put pressure on the structure and don't leave,

the structure will change. There's precedent for that. Sure, yeah.

In the people's minds. They don't separate the government from work.

It's all these larger structures that are outside of themselves that they have no control

over. So why

wouldn't they just hang around with the employer in protest? Why not hold

on now, though. Because here's the difference, the major difference here,

when you're talking about the system, governmental systems and

things like that, then I'd say Rage Against the Machine

because you can make changes. A company is a

little different. If they see that one person, if you are standing alone and

they fire you, you're done. Right? It's completely different.

Where so don't rage against the corporate machine

I don't think that really works with Rage. I don't think Rage really put that

on their last album. I think that one kind of wound up there. I don't

think one made it down the mountain. No, but you know what I'm saying,

right. Unless you are organizing and structured,

you need to have some real support

behind you in the corporate environment. You need to have a certain percentage of the

company that is behind you or it doesn't change. I don't

know whether it's 5%, 10%, 50%.

I'm assuming the company is going to be different. Like that number is

going to change with the company. The size, the structure of the company,

whatever. Government's different with one voice. You can make a

difference if you are stern enough, strong enough, and want to stand firm enough with

one voice because people will eventually start following you.

And you can build it in a corporate environment. You can't build it. You make

that Lear too early, they just fire you.

Okay, is that because and there's been also a lot of lamenting

over the last, I would say 35 years of the

decline of private sector unions.

Oh, definitely, yes.

Because white unions did for the majority well, not even the majority

for at least 30 years of the back half of the 20th

century. What they did was they set up a

system, the unions basically acted

as that structure of negotiated

power against the corporate structure,

right, with government kind of just hanging out over there and

maybe jumping in if they needed to. So you had four major structures, right?

You had family and community, you had government,

you had unions and you had the corporations. Big, small, little,

didn't matter. Now, all of those organizations,

all four of those systems,

if I were more of a social justice warrior, I would say conspired or colluded.

I'm more of a realist. So I'm just going to say made

decisions and then all the other systems made other decisions.

When you have four masses, they're just going to play off of each other.

It's just kind of the human I don't see evil behind that,

but okay, there could be. But I'm just saying, sure there could be.

Your mileage may vary on what you see. I believe in my own

conspiracy theories that I make up. Okay,

so you've got those four systems, right? And the individual inside

of those four systems at least had, from their

perspective, at least had the unions to

be able to go and counterbalance all of those other structures. Now you get on

the other side of globalization. You get on the other side of the 1970s,

and now we're into a different dynamic where you're right, it is

one person alone negotiating with the system.

But to your point, you are right with the unions that one person had a

voice and they weren't fearful of being fired because of their opinion with

that union structure. So now this follows through to the next question,

which is, were things more polite when it was only those

four mass structures, family, community, government,

unions, and and the corporate structure?

I don't know. Honestly, I've never belonged to a unions, so I

couldn't speak to that if there was some advantage to that.

But I've spent a lot of time in the corporate world.

Well, I will say that unions did a really awesome job of

people talk a lot about the top 1% and sort of how

corporate CEOs make too much money and DA DA DA.

What the unions did was they flattened all of that.

So it wasn't that a CEO in the 1950s and

1960s, it wasn't that they were making less

per capita than their comparable

compatriots. 50 years later or 60 years later or 70

years later, they actually were making pretty much the same. Like corporate CEO

salaries are pretty much the same.

But what happened was the compensation structures outside

of salaries became more robust because what the

unions did was they basically forced wage

inflation at the CEO level downward.

And so the compensation then had to shift

into other areas. So for instance, the CEO

of Ford got paid per capita,

pretty much what the CEO of Ford gets paid now.

But their compensation package of stock options,

a private car, a mistress,

whiskey and bourbon in the bottle. Oh, yeah, I said it.

All of that. For those of you who are listening

on the audio, tom is now turning red, laughing when I said mistress as part

of the compensation package. That whole compensation package

is now underwritten in a

different kind of way and has become more robust, particularly because of stock options.

Has become more robust. Whereas back in the day, the unions compressed all of

that. Yeah, I think if I were

to have to answer it just with one word, like yes or no, I would

have to say yes. Right. I think part of

what you're talking about too, is the family

and the union units were almost like on your side

and the corporate and the government was on the other side. And it was even

they had to be polite when the power is even,

right. They had no choice because you couldn't be doing what you're

doing today. Meaning, oh, that guy's a squeaky wheel in the cog, let's fire

him. Right. That didn't happen like that back then. So if

I had to answer a simple answer, I would say then yes.

But again,

we talked a lot about some

of the things that we were hoping took

over for those unions as they dissipated were things like

minimum wage going up at a reasonable rate, the government

getting rid of the time

and a half was now instituted by the government, things like

that. We're all starting to be governed now. So the unions started to kind of

go away. But to your point, I think that

power started to kind of lopside back the other way.

Well, the other dynamic that almost no one ever considers and

this is a business podcast, as well as being a literature podcast, we do have

to mention this dynamic. They kind of tap danced around it. But the other thing

the union does, and no one ever talks about this, but the other thing the

union did was it kept out women and minorities.

Yeah, it did a really awesome job of doing that.

And so if you are a minority male in this country,

I would say you couldn't it was really hard to get

a union job. Yeah, for sure. Like really hard.

Like stupidly hard. And if you were a woman, oh, forget it,

get out of town. You're not going to get a union job. You're going

to be the wife of a person who has a union job. And that's about

where it stops. Now, as unions decline, the franchise, as my lawyer

buddy would say, the franchise expands. Right. So you

have more people in the pool, which from

a corporation's perspective, that's good because now what you

can do is you can spread out the cost of labor across

all of these other demographic areas.

And you can also, because you're the only power in town now, only governments

counterbalancing you. So now you can depress wages.

White also expanding the franchise, which is why every single

time Amazon workers vote for a union,

it fails every single time. I don't know what's happening

with Starbucks, but I do definitely see

a shift happening. But it's going to happen not because

of cultural means of politeness. It's going to happen because of political

issues that are translated into cultural mores.

I can see people unionizing because they

want to use a particular bathroom.

Yeah, but to get back to your original

reclaim politeness in the core, what started this

whole debacle of conversation was,

can leaders reclaim politeness in decorum? I still

stand to my guns here. I think the fact of the matter is we shouldn't

be reclaiming anything. It should have never left in the first place.

You do not need to be told to

treat people with a little bit of dignity and respect.

You shouldn't be told.

I think the other thing in the decorum thing, I think this

could be a podcast all by itself, because I think we are losing grip

on how we present ourselves in certain environments.

I just think it brings me back to the

old Brady Bunch. Put on your Sunday best, kids. We're going to see hers.

Right. People dressed a certain way to go to certain

functions. People dressed a certain way. They held themselves in a

certain way when they're in certain environments, whether it

be weddings or funerals or bridal showers,

corporate parties, corporate functions, things like and

now all of a sudden, it just seems like I can dress in a T

shirt, in shorts. I don't care that I'm going to a wedding.

It just blows my mind how we have deteriorated, how we

present ourselves in a manner like this and back then,

in Jane Austin's time, would have never happened.

Well, this is where we look at the thing that happened in Jane Austin's

time. We look at it through this postmodern lens and we go,

they were repressed. We're just so much freer because we know more.

No, not really.

We talked about this a little bit off the air before we started recording,

but I think it's worthwhile to say here, when the little things go,

the big things aren't far behind. Right? And so people

have been complaining leaders have been complaining about

the casual nature of dress, particularly in

the workplace, for, at minimum, since,

gosh, the early 90s, when I can remember first hearing

that lament. I think

that if leaders

want a tactical thing to take out of this, all this entire conversation in

mishmash around Jane Austin, the tactical thing to take out of this

is you can set the clothing standard.

Yes. Now, you may not have people who want to work with

you, but to Tom's point,

if we really are in a free market of labor

and capital and labor can go wherever the heck it

wants, you set the standard as

the leader. And if labor doesn't agree with it, labor can go pound

sand. There's another job across the street,

right? We dress in top hat and tails here. Well, I don't want to dress

in top hat and tails. There's another job right across the street.

As Alec Baldwin said, infamously in The Departed, the world always these were bartenders

when you go be one over there. And this all stems from

the Steve Jobs era, right? When he came out on that stage as the CEO

of Apple in a turtleneck. Turtleneck, yeah,

right? No shirt and tie, no suit coat. And all

of a sudden, everybody went, well, if he can do it and he's the top

producing, blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever, then everybody should be able to

do it because we learn from the top down, right?

Like, we model from the top down. And I was told as a

kid, don't dress for the job you want. Dress for the job you have.

So now I'm a sales guy back then wearing a suit every day.

And I'm like, well, if I want his job, I have to wear a turtleneck

to work tomorrow. My boss was like, no,

if you want this job, you're wearing a suit tomorrow.

I see these turtlenecks walk through this door, we're going to have a problem.

All right, I guess I'm wearing a suit tomorrow. I don't really want Steve Jobs


Maybe I'm ringing the bell on something that doesn't need to be rung. I do

think that in this is the last thing I'll say about polite is it a

core, but we're going to turn the corner a little bit here. Moving on.

We'll move on. But one last thing that

I think bears stating.

I think in family, in small

businesses, we do have a lot of folks who run small businesses who listen to

our podcast.

Civic government, particularly at the state

level, going all the way down there is still an

understanding that decorum,

politeness, dress,

posture, speech, these are

more than just performative check marks.

These are standards of maintaining

well, no, I'll frame it even more, even more bluntly than this.

They are a thumb in the dam or in

the dike against the crashing

water of chaos that is behind that. And that's all

the civilization is.

Civilization is

the battle to create boundaries around chaos, right?

And to contain it and to hold it down, right?

My youngest son likes to listen to,

and I'm going to give a shout out to this author, john R. R.

Erickson and Hank the Cow Dog. And it's

a whole series of these Western themed books that are about

a cow dog, and it's written from the perspective of the dog, right, and the

dog's adventures and all that. And one episode,

he's basically yelling at another dog for eating too loudly out of a

hubcap. Oh, it's hilarious.

I laugh every time I hear it on the audio recording that my kid has.

And he sort of sort of memorized this. But one of the things that the

dog says, that Hank the dog says to the other dog,

drover is eating

loudly is basically a lack of decorum, is what he's saying.

Eating loudly, having bad manners means that you're behaving like

a hog. But no one expects hogs to have civilization. But we're

dogs. We're supposed to hold back the chaos and

be the representatives of civilization. And the other dog, of course,

is the comedic straight man and kind of goes, what? I didn't hear that

the colonels were hard. Like not holding

back chaos is hard. The colonels were hard. And I crack up every time I

hear it. But it's going down to the five year old set, right?

Still the same, though. We're still doing this. This is what I'm saying.

I think we are still holding on. I just think it's our cultural

elite, maybe our political elite, maybe our

thought elites. This is why I've never styled myself as a thought leader.

I think those folks are operating in a different kind of atmosphere.

But even there, I will bet you if

I leapfrogged into that space, I'm not coming in there with a turtleneck

and saying, as my grandmother would have said back in the day this year,

and that there. It's not happening.

I'm with you. All right, back to the book,

back to Sense and Sensibility. We almost did have a whole entire podcast

on that one thing just by itself.

This is a topic that we're going to revisit because I do believe Austin has

a lot. This is where Austin and Bronte we're

going to cover some of the works of Charlotte Bronte. I think we're going to

be talking about Jane Eyre coming up here fairly soon on the podcast.

When women writers write, particularly women writers

of the 17th and 18th and 19th century, when they white, they are

writing about the things they are observing in the

intimate areas of family,

of community. They're not writing about the large,

sweeping trajectory areas like men tend to write about. They're writing

about the small things. We need both of those. We need the big thing.

We need the big vision, we need the great man idea, but we also need

the great woman idea or the great person idea. If we don't want

to be gendered of people,

behaving in small spheres in ways that invents

leadership, because that is where leadership really begins,

is in those small spheres. Back to the book,

back to Sense and Sensibility. We're going to go move ahead here to

chapter ten, and this

gentleman named Willoughby, who's now going to start showing up.

Willoughby is the gentleman caller, along with Edward,

who is romancing one of

the characters in here,

Mary Ann. And so,

chapter ten, we talk about Willoughby and sort of

his nature of being attracted to Marianne.

And keep in mind, Marianne in this book is

16 and a half, right? And so we're going. To talk a little bit about.

What does it mean? What does it mean to be

past your prime? They speedily

discovered that their enjoyment of dancing and music this is Willoughby and Mary

Ann was mutual, and that it arose from a general conformity

of judgment in all that related to either.

Encouraged by this to a further examination of his opinion, she proceeded

to question him on the subject of books. Her favorite authors were

brought forward and dwelt upon white so rapturous a delight that any young man

of five and 20 must have been insensible indeed, not to become

an immediate convert to the excellence of such works. However disregarded

before, their taste was strikingly

alike. The same books, the same passages, were idolized by each or if any

difference appeared, any objection arose. It lasted no longer

than till the force of her arguments and the brightness of her eyes could be

displayed. He acquiesced in all her decisions, caught all

her enthusiasm, and long before his visit concluded, they conversed with the familiarity

of a long established acquaintance. Well,

Mary Anne, said Eleanor, as soon as he had left them for

one morning, I think you have done pretty well. You have already,

ascertained Mr. Willoughby's opinion, in almost every matter of importance. You know what

he thinks of Cowper and Scott. You are certain of his estimating their beauties as

he ought and you have received every assurance of his admiring pope no more

than his proper. But how is your acquaintance to be long

supported under such extraordinary dispatch of every subject

for discourse? You will soon have exhausted each favorite

topic. Another meeting will suffice to explain his sentiments on picturesque beauty

and second marriages, and then you can have nothing farther to ask.

Eleanor. Cried Mary Ann. Is this fair? Is this just?

Are my ideas so scanty? But I see what you mean.

I have been too much at my ease, too happy, too frank. I have erred

against every commonplace notion of decorum.

I have been open, sincere, where I ought to have been reserved, spiritless dull and

deceitful. Had I talked only of the weather and the roads, and I had

spoken only once in ten minutes, this reproach would have been spared.

My love, said her mother, you must not be offended with Eleanor. She was only

in jest. I should scold her myself if she were capable of wishing

to check the delight of your conversation with our new friend.

Marianne was softened in a moment.

Willoughby, on his side, gave every proof of his pleasure in their acquaintance,

which an evident wish of improving it could offer. He came to them

every day to inquire after. Marianne was at first his excuse,

but the encouragement of his reception, to which every day gave greater kindness, made such

an excuse unnecessary. Before it ceased to be possible by Marianne's

perfect recovery, she was confined for some days to the house,

but never had any confinement been less irksome. Willoughby was a

young man of good abilities, quick imagination, lively spirits and an

open, affectionate manner. He was exactly formed to

engage Marianne's heart. For with all this he joined not only a captivating

person, but a natural ardor of mind which was

now roused and increased by the example of her own, and which

recommended him to her affection beyond everything else. The society

became gradually her most exquisite enjoyment. They read, they talked,

they sang together. His musical talents were considerable and he read with

all the sensibility and spirit which Edward had unfortunately wanted.

In Mrs. Dashwood's estimation, he was as faultless as

in Mary Anne's and in Eleanor. And Eleanor saw nothing to censor in

him but a propensity in which he strongly remember and peculiarly delighted

her sister of saying too much what he thought on every occasion,

without attention to persons or circumstances

in hastily forming. And giving his opinions of other people in sacrificing general

politeness to the enjoyment of the undivided attention where his heart was engaged

and in slighting too easily the forms of worldly propriety he displayed

a want of caution which Eleanor could not approve

in spite of all that he and Mary Anne could say in its support.

I'm going to skip over a few things here, and I'm going to go right

to one point here. Colonel Brandon's partiality

for Marianne, which had so early been discovered by his friends, now first became perceptible

to Eleanor. Now Colonel Brandon is another gentleman who has come along.

He was originally at Barton Park and was considered

to be old by Marianne's standards.

Their attention at wit were drawn off to his more fortunate rival,

that would be Willoughby. And the railery which the other had incurred before any partiality

arose was removed. When his feelings began really to call for the

ridicule so justly annexed to Sensibility,

eleanor was obliged, though unwillingly to believe that the sentiments which

Mrsings. Had assigned to him for her own satisfaction were now

actually excited by her sister and that however a general resemblance of

disposition between the parties might forward the affection of Mr. Willoughby. An equally

striking opposition of character was no hindrance to the regard of Colonel Brandon.

She saw it with concern. For what could a silent man of

five and 30 hope when opposed to a very lively one of

five n 20 and as she could not even wish

him successful, she hardly wished him indifferent. She liked him

in spite of his gravity and reserve. She beheld him an object of interest.

His manners, though serious, were mild and his reserve appeared rather the

result of some oppression of spirits than of any natural gloominess of

temper. Sir John had dropped hints of past injuries and disappointments

which justified her belief of his being an unfortunate man and she

regarded him with respect and


35 and 16 and a half. Oh,

and 25 and 16 and a half.

I'm going to let you all white. You're listening kind of wander through that in

your head for a minute. But back in the premodern era,

back in the pre industrial era,

1615, even 14,

that was marriageable age for a woman.

And there were many women who married men

who were considered to be old in their 30s,

even up into their forty s and fifty s. And these women were

barely teenagers, what we would call teenagers these days

themselves. However, that concept of

adolescence didn't exist back in the day. That's something that has

really come about. It really began post World

War I, but really gained speed in America post World War II.

And the reality is that right along

with this concept of adolescence, industrialization cultural changes in

the west and globalization have reduced the number of children that individuals

have had and thus created a reality where we are

now through the looking glass. On the other side, where childhood

and adolescence has been extended out to 25,

in some cases 30 or 35.

And those of you who are listening know exactly what I'm talking

about. You have an adult in your basement.

But then there's biology. And biology doesn't

care about industrialization, and biology doesn't care about cultural more rays.

And biology doesn't care about what is

proper or appropriate. Biology merely cares about itself,

right? And it will not be denied no matter what fancy technology

humans throw at it. And we're doing a really awesome job of throwing a lot

of fancy technology at biology. And it doesn't matter

because here's the reality.

The human species wants to propagate, and what they're

talking about is instant sensibility are the cultural acts what Austin is

talking about, a sense of sensibility are the cultural acts that exist around the propagation

of the species. How do people get together? How do they make babies?

How does the species continue? That's all biology

cares about. And what's interesting in our era

is we've also got 40 under 40 lists and 30 under

30 lists and increasingly weirdly enough, 50 under 50

lists. Tom's looking for an invite to that one,

as am I, by the way.

It has to come soon.

And white quick.

How can leaders embrace their age, right? And by the

way, let's go back to the text a little bit here. What can a man

of five and 30 say to a man of

five and 20 that could possibly be competitive?

Well, it's funny. It is funny how things

kind of change like this. It's so weird,

right? To think the biology of it all. I think,

again, if you go back to Jane Austen's time,

the average lifespan was a hell of a lot shorter than today.

You're talking 50, 55 was a really good

life. I mean, you probably live into your early sixty s and then you're done,

right? If you moved into your early to mid 60s,

you were like ancient. They were thinking you're around when Socrates was

around, you know what I mean? Well, there is interesting image of Socrates.

There is some evidence that Romans, I've been hearing, reading this recently

based on some new DNA stuff and some ways that they've been able to look

at anthropological samples and kind of date those. There is

some evidence that Romans, at the very minimum, anyway,

lived into at least their 70s, sometimes their 80s

right now in pre industrialized

England where the diets were a little bit more funky and

where the genetic,

how can I put it material was kind

of in one little bottle for quite some time.

That probably presented some challenges as well. There's also something to

be said too, and you guys can go research this all you want,

but there is a lot of evidence that shows that the native peoples

of this continent aren't my people, would live into their seventy

s and eighty s on a very regular basis, okay? Our lifestyle

was different. The way that we viewed personal hygiene was

different. There was a lot of differences in that. Anyway,

regardless, my point is it was not uncommon for people to die in

their late 50s, early 60s back then. Today we're looking

at people still working into their seventy s.

I think just even from that perspective, that changes that

entire dynamic. Because if your

life expectancy is that much better, then why

would you want to marry at that age? Why would you want to marry at

that young? There's a lot to be learned about life before you marry if you're

thinking about it from that 16 year old's perspective,

right? But then again so to your

question though, how leaders can embrace their age

when it comes to I think,

look, I'm never going to be one that people are going to accuse of being

wise, right?

I still look to some of my mentors,

people that I've known for years and years that are a significant amount

of years older than me. I constantly go back to them

because even at 55,

65, you are still in a

position to continue learning as you go.

There's so much change that happens that these people are

still learning. And there's something to be said about taking that

new knowledge and battering

ramming it with the older knowledge. And you come out

with wisdom, right? Like you know this, you know that you're going to smash them

together and it creates this ball of wisdom that we can all lear from.

I think when you get to a certain age, and I think I might be

coming up on that age, but when you get to a certain age,

you have to recognize that that

old knowledge is now enough

backfilled. That the new knowledge you have to

I don't know how if I'm wording this right, but I feel like I am

getting to that age that the new stuff that I learn has to be

managed with the old stuff that I already know and then relay

that and relay that in a way that someone is going

to learn from it. Right? Because they're coming

up with the new stuff already. They're seeing the new stuff,

and I'm seeing how the new stuff impacts the old stuff.

But I think we have to riddles.

Well, but I think we have to separate. What new stuff are we talking about?

So I separate out. I'll use

a perfect example of this. Substac and medium.

Remember when everybody had medium? Remember when everybody

was like, oh, go look at my Medium account. Go. Look at my medium.

Remember that? Right? Okay. Then substat

came along and people are like, people ran away from Medium and ran right

to Substac. Now, I'm not

a person of wisdom either. I have a few interesting

ideas, but I wouldn't say I'm a person of wisdom yet.

Got a few more years before my cranky old man years kick in. And then

and it'll be really dynamic. I'll still be doing the podcast. It's king to be


But I looked at the people moving, the writers

moving from Medium to Substac, and I thought

that's just more of the same. Their model is going to be,

how are you going to get paid differently? Fast forward

seven, six years and guess what

Substac's model is now getting? Getting ready

to get eaten by Twitter community Notes.

Am I going to run to Twitter Community Notes because it's

the new thing? No,

I don't need it now. I think we've got to separate out,

but I think we have to separate that kind of dynamic out from

the other pieces of that. And that's where I

reject like the 40 under 40 list and the 30 under 30 list. I know

things are nonsense. I agree with that. But I

was thinking more in the lines of you're thinking more in the lines of

these physical I can wrap my hands

around this. I was thinking more like when I talk to

young people, like young salespeople again, remind everybody I'm a sales and marketing

consultant, right? I spend my world around sales and marketing software,

sales and marketing processes, blah, blah, blah. So when

I think about learning new things, I'm talking about learning a new

piece of marketing software or learning and trying to

blend that in with some of the marketing,

like some of the things that you learn about sales and marketing at a very

young age. Because here's the thing, especially in sales and marketing,

I tell people all the time, the more things change, the more things stay the

same. Just remember, when you're selling a product or service and

you're looking at a customer,

the interaction is going to be the same whether you're using technology

or not. You're going to talk to that person, you're going to message

that person. When you're talking about a

true enterprise level sales professional,

no matter what technology you throw in there. People still buy from

people that they know, like, and trust. People still buy from brands

that they know, like, and trust.

It has less to do with the newest, greatest,

latest technology that's out there. It has less to

do with that. Now, the way that you drive that information

to them might be different. It's the vehicle might

change, but the thing is the same. Like,

the result is the same, and the words are

the same. It's the vehicle that changes. And who cares about the vehicle?

I don't care what it is. I can change this vehicle 100 times. So this

is the thing we have to separate, I think. I think we have to separate.

I'm a big fan. Talk about mart sales marketing. I have

both of David Ogilvy's books, ogilvy on Advertising and

Confessions of an Ad Man. Brilliant books.

Learned a lot about branding, learned a lot about advertising from reading

David Ogilvy. You know how David Ogilvy, I mean, he was notorious for this,

right? Someone would ask him, how do you come up with all these great ads?

And he would say, I go into a room with a pencil and a bottle

of whiskey, and I come out and there's an ad.

Yeah, you don't need a fancy

phone. You don't need, like, a fancy laptop.

You don't need and by the way, you're in the marketing

tech space a little bit, so my God,

the number of Martech things that just have just exploded in the last 25

years, unbelievably stupid. I'm like, how many more snippets do we

need? Five years. Hasan the last five

years, it's just been ridiculous. It's insane. And so at

a certain point, this is the wisdom part, right? At a certain

point, as a leader, as a sales and marketing person, you got

to go, I just need a bottle of whiskey and a

pencil. Absolutely. Isn't that just good

enough? Yeah, well, again,

that's the mindset for the marketing piece, but on the sales piece,

it's even simpler. I just need a handshake,

right? Let's shake hands and agree,

and we'll go figure out the details later.

It's still a thing. The more hands you shake, the more

deals you do, the more money comes in your pocket.

This seems to be, like, Sales 101, right? And I never took a sales class,

ever. I'm terrible. I don't know anything about sales.

I know nothing about sales. But I do know that you have to shake hands.

I get that concept. And so that part has worked out pretty

well for me, the shaking of the hands part.

Okay, so what

can a band of 35 tell a band of 25, then?

Because it used to you got a. Long way to go.

Well, okay, maybe in the 17th century,

maybe the 18th century. But in fairness,

even today, what a 35 year old tells a 25 year old, in my opinion,

it really is. Don't think you know everything,

right? Leave yourself room to allow yourself to

learn. Because as much as you think, you know, there's always it's

the whole Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan mentality.

The fear of always having somebody better than you is real.

Like, that is a real thing. There's always going to be somebody coming up.

I got a piece of advice. When I was a kid, the very

first management job I ever had, and somebody said to me, listen,

make sure you're nice to them on your way up because you're going to see

them again on your way down. And I still think that holds true.

No matter what industry you're in, you're going to go up. You're going to hit

a peak of some sort. Regardless of where that peak is, whether it's management,

ownership, leadership, it doesn't matter. Wherever that peak is,

you're going to come back down to earth at some point, back down to

entry level, whatever, because that's just what happens. Think about it.

I've seen a person I've known this person most of my life.

I've seen a person own his own business for almost his entire life.

Sold the business, retired, couldn't stand retirement.

Went to work at Walmart as a greeter. This guy

owned a multimillion dollar company. He just wanted something

to do. He was 70 years old. He just wanted to go work. So now

people look at him and they're like, oh, he's just the old guy at Walmart.

And he's like I'm thinking to myself, if you could just tap into 1oz of

what that guy knows, I'd be a millionaire too. I don't understand how people

just walk by these people and not think. Now, again,

culturally speaking, this is a completely different question for me because

culturally speaking, our elders and our ancestors get put on a pedestal.

We will worship the ground they walk on because we know they've been there,

done that. They have something to say. They have knowledge to

teach. They have wisdom. We almost inherently

buy into the fact that our elders have wisdom just because

that's part of our culture. So for me, it's a lot easier than

a lot of other people to look at an older person. I don't know if

anybody there's organizations out there like

Score and things like that where you have these senior level mentors that will go

help you for free. I say, if you're not using situations like that,

you're crazy. Done that, know what they're doing.

You have a resource available to you, and it's free,

and they have no problem giving you advice. Now,

you don't always take it the same thing for me. I've had mentors in my

life where I don't always take what they say. I listen,

I thank them. I might not do what their advice, but I

certainly will have a damn good reason why I'm not going to do what they

suggested I do. And whether the reason is internally for me or

externally for pressures that they don't understand,

whatever. But the reality of it is that I

think that if you are embracing whatever

level you're at, whether it be age or level

in a company, if you are embracing that as a leadership

role, as a wisdom giving role, people will gravitate

toward you. If you're willing and you're open and you're allowing it and you're talking

to people, I do think people will gravitate to it. Now, again, whether they

listen to you or not, I can't say, but I think there will be some

pluses there. Okay. It's interesting you brought up culture because

in some parts not

all, but some parts of African American culture,

black American culture that reverence for

the elderly and the agent is there. I grew up

with my grandmother in my house, right? And so that

is one of the things that, unfortunately, my children

have been not able to experience on

the one hand, but then on the other hand, both of my in laws on

either side, and my wife's parents and my parents have

been able to be independent and work, to your point,

well into their 70s. Okay. So been

able to have those productive lives. I've actually seen that. Right. I know what that

looks like. The millionaire working at Walmart. I'm not shocked about that. That doesn't

surprise me in the least. And even in my own life,

I'm trying to set up structures right now where I can at

least be interested in doing one thing or two things or three things,

all the way up until I can't stop doing them anymore,

until I can't do them anywhere, whenever that will be, which is hopefully when my

mental faculties have mental faculties run out.

The question that occurs to me, though, is and then we're going to

turn the corner and get into our last part here. But the question that

occurs to me, though, as a follow up is this. You talked about elders.

I talked about elders. There's a cultural aspect to that

which is also intention against this larger societal,

cultural, Western society sort of idea,

which is something we talked about again in a shorts episode recently,

I think 77 or 76, this idea of the

cult of youth. Are we at the end

finally are we

finally at the end of the cult of youth? Have we finally

reached the end of that sort of don't

trust anyone under 30 or I'm sorry, don't trust anyone over

30 kind of mentality that really started with the baby boomer generation

in the 1960s and reverberated out,

reverberated out, reverberated out. And now we've got

Sam Bankwood Freed, who's easy to pick on, but Travis Kalanick

or Sam Baked Freed or Elizabeth Holmes, who's running companies into the ground

and are terrible leaders, and they're all under 30. Like, if you're on the Forbes

30 under 30 list or 40 under 40 list, you're probably going

to get sued for fraud and yeah, I know, but the majority

of them don't make it. They're terrible leaders because they don't have wisdom.

Are we at the end of the cult of youth in leadership and

in business? Or do we still have a few more cycles of reverberation

of that to go before we're finally done? I think we have one.

That's just my opinion, but I think we are at the tail end

of it. But I think we have this current generation of 25

year olds. I think they still have a little bit of that mentality.

Okay. But I think

we'll see it come out of the college graduates of the

next year or two, maybe three, that are going to

start again. I have a daughter who's she's

going into her senior year in college and

her thought process is already different than my 25 and 28 year

old. Okay.

Unfortunately, I kind of bubble them in with that group that you're

talking about. And I think that now,

again, my kids grew up in our culture, so I think there is some cultural

differences that they kind of still hold to because

it was just embedded in them from a very young age.

But in the corporate world, I think they fall

right in line with that group that you're talking about that don't trust anybody over

30, whatever. But I think that my daughter's group

and you notice I'm saying group and not generation, right? Because I don't

think this is generational. I think we're talking about differences in like five

years, six year groupage.

I think my daughter's group coming up as they graduate.

I think just in talking to her and her

and her friends, I think she does understand that people in their

thirty s and forty s in the workforce hold

a different kind of value. I think she does understand that,

but I think it's slower than we would have liked,

is all I'm saying. Yeah, well and I think there's probably well,

not I think there's probably there's clearly been a lot of damage along the way.


Anyway, yeah. Again, we could talk about certain topics. For a

long time.

I know I said one last one other thing,

I think that is worthwhile to point out. In that little section that I read

Eleanor was talking about, one of her critiques of Willoughby was

that he basically opened his mouth and let everything fall out. Right.

I do think that it is a mark of wisdom, even as a person

who hosts a podcast and makes my living, or has

made my living in the past from running my mouth, quite frankly.

There are times, and I even tell my kids this where everything

doesn't need to be sated, everything doesn't need to be responded to.

And sometimes that in and of itself, that silence in

and of itself is an act of politeness and decorum.

It may not feel like it in the moment.

I know you want to move on, but I have to say this. I have

to go ahead. Exactly what you're talking about. Exactly what

I just said. Here's the difference in the two groups of age groups. My son

will send me a text, I will not reply. He sees me, he says,

you never replied to my text. What the heck? And I go,

you didn't ask me a question. There was nothing to reply to. My daughter sends

me a text, I don't reply, never talks about it again. Like she just realizes

that it didn't require a reply. I didn't have to

say anything back. You sent me a statement of

knowledge that I took and accepted and said thanks, and I

didn't even have to say, Good point, my son,

I have to say thanks. My daughter, nothing.

They both react the same way.

Anyway, back to the book,

sensibility. Remember I said it is the

Arcturus Holdings Limited to 2022 edition,

published by Arcturus Publishing, Limited, 26 27

Bickles Yard, 151 to 153 Bermanzi

Street, London. So go check them out.

I don't know much about Arcturus Holdings Limited, but I do like this

addition of Citizen sensibility. It feels hefty

right, it feels solid. So we're

going to move into this piece here, and it's a very short little piece

that we will talk about. Colonel Brandon receives a

letter and he leaves. Won't get into why

he leaves, but he leaves when he receives a letter, going back to

the point that we were making earlier about the writing of letters.

So Colonel Brandon, that man of 35 now,

has busted out and we open Chapter 14

with the well,

with the results of that leaving from

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. The sudden termination of Colonel Brandon's

visit at the park with his steadiness in concealing its cause

filled the mind and raised the wonder of Mrs. Jennings for two or three days.

She was a great wonderer, as everyone must be, who takes a very lively interest

in all the comings and goings of all their acquaintance.

She wondered, with little intermission what could be the reason of it, was sure there

must be some bad news, and thought over every kind of distress that could have

befallen him, with a fixed determination that he should not escape them

at all. Something very melancholy must be the matter.

I am sure, said she, I could see it in his face, poor man.

I'm afraid his circumstances may be bad. The estate

at Della Ford was never reckoned more than 2000 a year and his brother

left everything sadly involved. I do think he must have been sent

for about money matters. For what else can it be, I wonder whether it

is so. I would give anything to know the truth of it. Perhaps it is

about Ms. Williams. And by the by, I dare say it is

because he looks so conscious when I mentioned her.

Maybe she is. Ill in town. Nothing in the world more likely,

for I have an ocean. She is always rather sickly. I would lay any

wager it is about Ms. Williams. It is not so likely that he should be

distressed in his circumstances now, for he is a very prudent man, and to be

sure, must have cleared the estate by this time. I wonder what it can be.

Maybe his sister is worse at Avignon and has sent for him.

He's setting off in such a hurry. Seems very like it. Well, I wish him

out of all his trouble with all my heart and a good wife into the

bargain. So wondered, so talked Mrs.

Jennings, her opinion varying with every fresh conjecture and

all seemingly equally probable as they arose.

Eleanor, though she felt really interested in the welfare of Cronal Brandon,

could not bestow all the wonder on his going so suddenly away,

which Ms. Jennings was desirous of her feeling. For besides that

the circumstance did not, in her opinion, justify such lasting amazement or

variety of speculation, her wonder was otherwise disposed of it.

It was engrossed by the or extraordinary silence of her sister and Willoughby on the

subject, which they must know to be peculiarly interesting to

them all. As the silence continued every day made it appear more strange and

more incompatible with the disposition of both. Why they should not openly

acknowledge to her mother and herself what their constant behavior to each other

had declared to have taken place, eleanor could not imagine.

She could easily conceive that marriage might not be immediately in

their power for though Willoughby was independent, there was no reason to believe him rich.

His estate had been raided by Sir John at about six or 700 a year

but he lived at an expense to which that income could hardly be equal.

And he himself had often complained of his poverty. For this strange

kind of secrecy maintained by them relative to their engagement, which in fact concealed

nothing at all, she could not account. And it was so wholly contradictory to their

general opinions and practice that a doubt sometimes entered her mind of their

really being engaged. And this doubt was enough to prevent her making

any inquiry of Marianne. Nothing could be

more expressive of attachment to them all than Willoughby's behavior to

Mariana had all the distinguishing tenderness which a lover's heart could give. And to

the rest of the family it was the affectionate attention of a son and a

brother. The cottage seemed to be considered and loved by him

as his home. Many more of his hours were spent there than at Allenham.

And if no general engagement collected them at the park, the exercise of which called

him out in the morning, was almost certain of ending there, where the

rest of the day was spent by himself at the side of Marianne

and by his favorite pointer at her feet.

Why did Colonel Brandon leave what was he rutted up and jumping about?

Oh, my gosh. There's going to be all this speculation. We're going to make up

stories in our head because we couldn't king out from the person

the truth of the matter that we wanted.

Mrs. Jennings stands in as an avatar for

the modern era. Mrs. Jennings would have really liked Facebook and Twitter.

We talk a lot about social media on this platform, but she would have loved

that. Turns out that gossip

is no new thing under the sun. And making up stories in our heads

and then elaborating on them as truth,

particularly objective truth, is not that

new. In that

little clip, we do see some faint beginning parallels

in the first part of Sense and Sensibility to Shakespeare's King

Lear, which we covered in episode number 56.

And if you recall, King Lear is the

story of the King Lear who has three daughters

reagan, Cordelia, and Gonoril. And he divides up the

kingdom among them. Since its incomability is King Lear in reverse

with Mrs. Dasherwood playing would

be cast in the role of King Lear and then, of course, Mary, Anne,

Eleanor and Margaret in the role of the three sisters.

Now, that is a feminist critique of Sense and

Sensibility. But Jane Austen's writing, as we made the

point in Persuasion, and I feel it needs to be made here jane Austen's writing

defies feminism. It defies easy

categorization, easy pigeonholing.

Right? Austin was consumed,

and we've already mentioned this white revealing the tyranny of the small

things, as we saw in that little that little piece there.

Mrs. Jennings running around creating towers

of truth in her head. Eleanor Critiquing Willoughby and his

poverty, and, of course, Willoughby claiming poverty in order

to lure in Marianne, and, of course,

Marianne allowing herself to be lured.

She was also consumed. Austen was with presenting and representing

social hierarchical structures and the nature of the struggle

that the classes were having in England to maintain those structures.

They weren't, as in our modern era, with our elites trying to

pull up the structures. And by the way, the characters in Jane Austin's

novels were very often middle class, what we would call middle class.

They were trying to maintain middle class decorum. They were trying to maintain middle class

structure. They were trying to maintain a middle class way

of civilization, right, in order

to maintain society. There is a weird

modern belief and I heard this recently, that in

transcending the system or if you're not able to transcend

the system that you are in and we talked a little

bit about this just now if you're not able to transcend the system that you

are unfortunately, happy to be born in, then you can rebel against

it and you can destroy it. We have this idea now as moderns,

but the fact of the matter is, and Austin is very, very real about this,

as most genuinely great authors are,

steinbeck, Hemingway, faulkner,

Shakespeare, even the Greeks, the tragedy

of human hierarchies and the tragedy of human systems. And Austin

demonstrates this just in this little clip. It's in its instability. The tragedy of

all this is that you're going to operate in some kind of a system

and that the rules in that system were made for you before you were born.

And you may not like it and you may have a thought about it,

but you're going to serve the system. As Bob

Dylan said back in the day, I don't care whether you're the pope in Rome

or the homeless man on the street in San Francisco. You're going to serve somebody

or something. You might want to choose what

you're going to serve, but you're going to serve.

There's no such thing as floating transcendently above

the system, above the thing. And Austen

tries to ground that idea in

sentence sensibility.

So, Tom, there's this idea and we haven't really talked about on the podcast,

you and I have not this idea of hierarchies, right?

There's the men, there's the women. There's who's getting what money,

there's who's inheriting what, who's poor,

who's rich. It's kind of gauche for

us to talk about that, but we do care very much about

it, and we do care very much about hierarchies. And I always just tell my

kids, I've recently begun

in the last couple of years telling my kids, if you want to move to

the top of a dominance hierarchy, be the big the Venus dog on the block,

basically, that's what you have to be in order to move to the top of

a dominance hierarchy. But very often, people don't get that message,

and leaders really hate to, like, be seen in that

mode. They like to be seen in the sort of Steve Jobs technocratic kind

of Vneck whatever.

Not Vneck, a turtleneck, black turtleneck sort of mode.

But I'm getting a sense there's a shift that's happening in the Zeitgeist. I mean,

for God's sakes, I just saw recently that Mark Zuckerberg was at a Brazilian jiu

jitsu tournament, right?

What's happening with hierarchies? It's not like we're throwing them out, right? So how

do leaders navigate hierarchies? How do they operate in hierarchies

that aren't really made for them? And by the way, this is a challenge for

all of us because we were all born into this world, and we have to

operate inside of the system. Yeah, this was

a good one for me, too, when I started thinking about and as you were

reading the section of the book and thinking about so

there's a little bit of like that.

And we saw this a little bit in the 2008 crash when

there was just a boatload of layoffs, right? People were getting laid

off left and right. And you basically had there

was a huge surge of

people starting their own companies because of it. Right?

In other words, I didn't like the way that

hierarchy treated me, I'm just going to go create my own

I'm just going to make my own hierarchy. But the thing that I

think people forget is exactly what you're talking about.

Even if I start my own company, I own my own company.

I start it, I build it. I'm the top dog in

my hierarchy. There's still a bigger hierarchy out

there that I still feed into that machine,

right? Unless you are

the Forbes 100, when it comes to a corporate sense

or ownership sense of a company, unless you are the

Forbes 100, you are being dictated to by

some sort of something above you, right? In the tech world it's Apple

or Google. In the retail world it's Amazon, whatever, right?

Unless you are one of those top companies,

if you try to look at it from a different like if you try to

separate that out and look at it from a different perspective, even there's hierarchies

even in our own families, right? Like again, we were talking about our elders

and cultural advances to the elders.

And now in today's world,

you do have family members that feel like they don't

belong in that hierarchy and that they are trying to reinvent

themselves or move themselves out of that firing

line. And they're trying to put themselves in a different firing

line. And I'm trying to be pretty generic

here, but again,

and I've said this on this podcast more than once,

I think the true key here is regardless

of whether you're trying to build your own hierarchy, falling within

the current one moving, manipulate, whatever. It's really

about how

you treat yourself, how you treat

your peers and how you are allowing other people to treat yourself

because it is entirely up to you. You dictate how people treat you.

You dictate how you treat other people. You are the only one

that you have 100% control over, right?

There's a book by Rick Patino called Success Is

a Choice. He talks about how

your decision making process will directly impact

your success. Not somebody else, not the government,

not some big company you work for. You yourself will make

decisions that will impact your own success.

And I'm going to give you an example of something real quick.

As I was reading this book, one of my sons at the

time was about twelve years old

and something that I read the night before really impacted me. So I looked

at him and I were talking about it and I was like,

yeah, do you get this? You're twelve

years old. You have your whole life ahead of you. Every decision you make could

impact your success. You are in control.

And I'm trying to beat this into his head and he goes,

no I'm not. He goes,

I got to go to school today. He's like, I have to go to school?

And I go, no, but that's the brilliance of this.

It's your choice to go to school. He goes, okay, so I can stay home.

I go, yeah, I go, but then you have to deal with the consequences,

like, of me. And he goes, well, then I have to go to school,

because I don't want no, the choice is stay home or go to school.

You choose to go to school because you don't want to deal with the consequences.

But this is a similar kind of argument or not argument. This is a similar

kind of philosophy here. It's still your choice on whether or not

you have to operate within the hierarchy or not.

We choose to because we don't want the consequences

that are outside of that world. We tend to, and I

don't want to say we fall in line because we try to make our own

waves. We try to ripple it. We try. People try.

But like I said, unless you're the Forbes 100, they are the ones

really creating that hierarchy, and then everybody else just kind of falls in a line,

and you could try to disrupt them. And I'm sure the Forbes 100 will

love the fact that somebody new dips into that. Probably not.

I'm just kidding. Because they love having

the 100 be the same for the last ten years or whatever. They thrive

on that because they're the ones dictating those hierarchies in the corporate

world. Outside of the corporate world, I think there's

way too many opportunities, like, to talk about

this is way too much. It's too big of a subject. But I think it

will well, like. I said, I like that you

talked about consequences, right? Because we don't one of the points I've made

on this podcast as well is that we

as leaders sometimes refuse to engage

in consequentialist thinking. We refuse to acknowledge

that there will be a consequence for this thing.

We sort of want to pretend or want to act as if

we can make decisions or take actions or serve hierarchies

in a vacuum. And I wish my

genuine wish for leaders is that they would say to their

followers, we're in this hierarchy. There are consequences

for being in this hierarchy. This is what they are.

Are you in or out? Love it or leave it. Are you in or

out? Right? You don't have to do

it in a direct way that makes everybody feel uncomfortable,

that's confrontational. You can be winsome,

and you can be introverted, and you can do all these okay,

you can do all those things. Deliver it however the hell you want to deliver

it, but deliver that message. Deliver the message that,

listen, this thing

that we're doing here, you talked about a small business that was started in

2008. Okay, let's go with that. This small business that

we started in 2008 has a hierarchy.

I founded it. I stay up late at night thinking about it.

You all collect a salary if you want

to, at a certain point,

start thinking about the things I'm thinking about as the owner of this

business, stop collecting a salary

and walk with me down this path.

That's the honest statement that has to be made.

If I'm a manager, not one of the Forbes 100

but if I'm in a manager in one of the Forbes

10,000 businesses that

serve the Forbes 100, by the way, that are on the supply chain,

if I'm a manager, leader inside of those structures.

My role is to say to those individuals look,

we have all agreed by dint of our

voting with our feet and collecting a paycheck to be here.

We voted with our feet. That is the decision we made. There are consequences

to that decision. There's monetary consequences.

There's financial consequences, there's economic consequences, there's personnel consequences.

These are all of the plethora of consequences that exist for us. If we

want to experience different ones, we have to make different decisions. And by

the way, we have to do this actively and intentionally, which is why my book

is called Intentional Leadership, right? Because if we're not doing that with our brain

on and we're doing it with our brain off, then we're engaged in

we're engaged in story building structure. Like Mrs. Jennings.

We're building structures of stories about reality that may have absolutely nothing

to do with the objective thing that's out there. Right. I wish more leaders

were focused in that kind

of way, because I think then leadership becomes

less tyrannical and it becomes more collaborative, but in a real.

Kind of way, there's a very simple explanation

as to why they're not okay. What's a simple explanation?


And with that, they're scared to do it.

You're not wrong. It is scary. Scary to kind of say that, because if you

don't, if you well,

there's consequences to saying that. Right, exactly.

There's consequences to acknowledging the hierarchy. There's consequences to well,

and you know what? Maybe it's a weird thing. So I transitioned

from being in a higher education hierarchy to owning my

own thing to now I'm in a different hierarchy doing something else.

I'm at the bottom of a dominance hierarchy yet again right now on another project.

And so one

of the things that I've become better at

in the course of my career is recognizing where those hierarchical

structures are, really figuring out how the pyramid is working fairly quickly

and making a decision fairly quickly

of, yes, I want to be in, or no, I don't. And the

faster that I can make that decision intuitively,

even before I go and interview for a position

or even before I go and have a meeting, or even before I go right.

And trust me, there's times when I look at a structure and I go and

I've gotten this feedback from people, well, you don't really know everything that's in the

structure. No, I don't. But I also don't know everything that goes on

in a prison. I don't want to go there.

I don't want to know. I don't feel compelled

to have to know everything that goes on inside of a structure to know that

I don't want to be part of it. And if I have multiple choices for

multiple hierarchies that I could be engaged in, why would I pick one

that doesn't work for me, right? Like you talked about, the multimillionaire

who's now the greeter at Walmart.

I have zero interest in being a greeter at Walmart.

Now, I'm not saying that that's not something that if

circumstances or whatever and I had to take it, I wouldn't take it.

Sure, okay. Who knows, right?

And if I had to use an old school word, my druthers,

I'm going to do the scary thing of picking

a hierarchy that matches closer my personality,

and Walmart doesn't match my personality,

then it's a purely utilitarian choice at that point,

and that's scary in its own kind of way. But weirdly enough, it's less scary

than just sort of being transparent and picking the hierarchy intentionally

with your eyes wide open. All right,

well, how do we stay on the path then? Let's wrap this sucker up.

Let's bring this sucker home. How do we stay on the path, Tom?

Well, I think the simplest answer to this

sometimes I think I oversimplify things,

but I think realistically, if you find the path that's right

for you, this question isn't even a question. It just becomes second nature,

right? If the path is right, there's no effort that you

have to use or leverage to stay, quote,

unquote, stay on the path. If you find yourself having to overwork

to really drive, to stay on that same path,

maybe you need to take a closer look at the path. Maybe you need to

actually look and say, am I really on the right path, or am I just

doing am I going through the motions because it's expected of me?

Am I going through the motions because it's financially advantageous,

but not necessarily what I truly want? There's validity behind

you've all heard the statement, if you love what you do, you'll never work a

day in your life. That is really true. I love sales and marketing. I never

think of anything that I do as real work.

Believe me. I flipped burgers as a kid. You know what I mean?

That was work. That was real work.

Tom smelled like grease from the fryer back

in the day. Terrible. I should say.

I spun pizzas. I actually work for pizza places,

but same rule, right? Same thing, right? Yeah.

I wasn't so in love with it that it was so easy to do.

I found the place where I feel like I fit. And for

me to stay on the path is not difficult. There's not a

lot of effort that I have to put into. Now, I just

want to be clear here. Do not mistake that statement for me thinking that I

don't have anything that's difficult to do. I have lots of

tasks that are hard and that I don't always enjoy. There are certain parts and

components that I have to convince myself to get up in the morning for and

blah, blah, blah. There's certain part, but overall,

the huge, overall sprawling

piece of this landscape, I find it fascinating

and fun and intriguing, and I love it. I love

being elbow deep into this stuff. I love solving problems that are

based on sales and marketing. I love it. Even in my personal life,

we were joking around, being on the 50 under 50 or whatever. I turned 49

this month. Okay. I now find myself in a

position in my personal life that I don't feel like I have to put a

lot of effort into being happy. I really don't.

I love being where I am in my personal life.

I finally feel like I'm on that path that doesn't take

a lot of effort to stay on.

And I remember and it's

so funny, too, because I always tell people, if it wasn't for hindsight,

I'd be blind. Right? Because hindsight is always 2020.

That's actually not true. You can look at your past and

still look at it through fogged glasses,

thinking that I would have, shoulda, could have had whatever.

Right. And that's not necessarily the case if you're looking through it

with clear lenses saying, I made that decision because of X and

I did it, and it ended up this way, and I'm now on the right

path, so I'm okay. I'm okay with that decision.

Right. I just

find that staying on the path should not be as much work

as people think it is. I just don't think it. I think if

you're putting in time and effort and hammering yourself

every day and constantly trying to that you might be on the wrong

path. You might want to do some soul searching


That is an excellent point. Yes.

I would add to it, in order to determine if you're on

the right path or not, you want to probably send yourself a personal letter.

Like that old song Back in the day, take a Letter, Maria.

Right. Except that one he was addressing to

his wife about not coming back home. So maybe the lyrics don't really

apply necessarily for leaders, but take time

to write down what you're thinking about the path

you're on. Get real close

to your core values of politeness and decorum.

Heck, sometimes it starts with being polite, even to yourself,

treating yourself as if you are a person who can be who's

worthwhile to be polite, to understand

that all of your experiences bring something to the table.

Whether you're 49 or 39 or 29, your experiences

bring something to the table. They do have some value. They do have some merit.

They have some weight. Don't dismiss that. But also, don't overweigh it.

I've said that on this podcast with you, Hasan. You should

be able to learn from anybody. It doesn't matter what age

they are. They've got something to teach you. They really do. And you should be

able to learn from yourself and your experiences, no matter

what age you're bringing those experiences from.

And then, of course, understand that you live in a world of systems.

I live in a world of systems. There's absolutely zero

way out of it. So choose,

as the knight said in Indiana, jane down there with the Holy Grail

Cup. Choose wisely.

And with that, I'd like to thank Tom Libby

for joining us today on the Leadership Lessons or the Great Books podcast.

You're welcome, my son. And this is

us signing off.