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jerryking : difficult_conversations   16

The Dying Art of Disagreement
SEPT. 24, 2017 | The New York Times | Bret Stephens.

The title of my talk tonight is “The Dying Art of Disagreement.”.......But to say, I disagree; I refuse; you’re wrong; etiam si omnes — ego non — these are the words that define our individuality, give us our freedom, enjoin our tolerance, enlarge our perspectives, seize our attention, energize our progress, make our democracies real, and give hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere. Galileo and Darwin; Mandela, Havel, and Liu Xiaobo; Rosa Parks and Natan Sharansky — such are the ranks of those who disagree......The polarization is geographic.......The polarization is personal........Finally the polarization is electronic and digital, .......What we did was read books that raised serious questions about the human condition, and which invited us to attempt to ask serious questions of our own. Education, in this sense, wasn’t a “teaching” with any fixed lesson. It was an exercise in interrogation.

To listen and understand; to question and disagree; to treat no proposition as sacred and no objection as impious; to be willing to entertain unpopular ideas and cultivate the habits of an open mind ....uChicago showed us something else: that every great idea is really just a spectacular disagreement with some other great idea....to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say........there’s such a thing as private ownership in the public interest, and of fiduciary duties not only to shareholders but also to citizens. Journalism is not just any other business, like trucking or food services. .....But no country can have good government, or a healthy public square, without high-quality journalism — journalism that can distinguish a fact from a belief and again from an opinion; that understands that the purpose of opinion isn’t to depart from facts but to use them as a bridge to a larger idea called “truth”; and that appreciates that truth is a large enough destination that, like Manhattan, it can be reached by many bridges of radically different designs. In other words, journalism that is grounded in facts while abounding in disagreements.

I believe it is still possible — and all the more necessary — for journalism to perform these functions, especially as the other institutions that were meant to do so have fallen short. But that requires proprietors and publishers who understand that their role ought not to be to push a party line, or be a slave to Google hits and Facebook ads, or provide a titillating kind of news entertainment, or help out a president or prime minister who they favor or who’s in trouble.

Their role is to clarify the terms of debate by championing aggressive and objective news reporting, and improve the quality of debate with commentary that opens minds and challenges assumptions rather than merely confirming them.

This is journalism in defense of liberalism, not liberal in the left-wing American or right-wing Australian sense, but liberal in its belief that the individual is more than just an identity, and that free men and women do not need to be protected from discomfiting ideas and unpopular arguments. More than ever, they need to be exposed to them, so that we may revive the arts of disagreement that are the best foundation of intelligent democratic life.
assumptions  Bret_Stephens  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  courage  critical_thinking  dangerous_ideas  demagoguery  difficult_conversations  disagreements  discomforts  dissension  dual-consciousness  free_speech  good_governance  high-quality  identity_politics  journalism  liberalism  open_mind  polarization  the_human_condition  uChicago 
september 2017 by jerryking
‘Locking Up Our Own,’ What Led to Mass Incarceration of Black Men - The New York Times
By JENNIFER SENIOR APRIL 11, 2017

LOCKING UP OUR OWN
Crime and Punishment in Black America
By James Forman Jr.
Illustrated. 306 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. $27

Part of the power of “Locking Up Our Own” is that it’s about Washington — not the swamp of deceit merchants and influence-peddlers that Donald J. Trump promised to drain, but a majority-black city that hundreds of thousands call home, regardless of whose bum is in the Oval Office. Washington only first got the chance to elect its own mayor and city council in 1975, and the city’s coming-of-age story — and the challenges it faced — in some ways mirrored that of other cities with large African-American populations, like Atlanta and Detroit.

“Locking Up Our Own” is also very poignantly a book of the Obama era, when black authors like Alexander and Bryan Stevenson and Ta-Nehisi Coates initiated difficult conversations about racial justice and inequality, believing that their arguments might, for once, gain more meaningful traction. (Often, in fact, they said things the president, burdened with the duty to represent everyone, might not have felt free to say himself.......Forman does not minimize the influence of racism on mass incarceration. And he takes great pains to emphasize that African-Americans almost inevitably agitated for more than just law-enforcement solutions to the problems facing their neighborhoods — they argued for job and housing programs, improvements in education. But their timing in stumping for social programs was terrible. “Such efforts had become an object of ridicule by 1975, a symbol of the hopeless naïveté of 1960s liberalism,” Forman writes.

One result: A wide range of African-American leaders championed tougher penalties for drug crimes and gun possession in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. It was the one option they consistently had, and it seemed a perfectly responsible, moral position. Wasn’t the safety of black law-abiding citizens a basic civil right?
mass_incarceration  African-Americans  men  books  book_reviews  penalties  prisons  unintended_consequences  criminal_justice_system  difficult_conversations 
april 2017 by jerryking
Three tough conversations every leader must face - The Globe and Mail
SUMI KRISHNAN
Young Entrepreneur Council
Published Monday, Dec. 01 2014,

Difficult discussion No. 1: Addressing opposition from your team As your company grows and adapts to new challenges, you’ll inevitably need to pivot your business strategy. But with change can come opposition.

Difficult discussion No. 2: Warning slacking virtual or part-time employees Despite the many benefits of working with virtual employees, falling into the trap of “out of sight, out of mind” can make it difficult to manage them effectively.

When employees aren’t accomplishing their tasks, it’s important that you don’t wait for them to self-correct. It’s easy to let too much time go by and suddenly find yourself buried beneath a mountain of issues. Instead, approach each challenge immediately. It will save you months of headaches.

Difficult discussion No. 3: Telling an employee and friend that she’s slacking It’s hard to work with family, but it’s just as hard to work with friends. When your employees become your good friends, oftentimes they’ll start to take your requirements or expectations for granted.
leaders  CEOs  Communicating_&_Connecting  conversations  candour  stressful  think_threes  dissension  difficult_conversations 
december 2014 by jerryking
‘Being Mortal’ Explores the Benefits of Setting Goals for Death - NYTimes.com
OCT. 6, 2014 | NYT |By ABIGAIL ZUGER, M.D.

Being Mortal
Medicine and What Matters in the End.
By Atul Gawande, M.D.
Metropolitan Books. 282 pages. $26. Credit Alessandra Montalto/The New York Times

Another is the author’s palpable enthusiasm as he learns that many of the most difficult conversations doctors should have with their patients can be initiated with only a few questions. (What are your fears? Your hopes? The trade-offs you will and will not make?) One suspects a new checklist may be in the offing.
Atul_Gawande  books  book_reviews  stressful  conversations  end-of-life  tradeoffs  questions  medical_communication  difficult_conversations  checklists  what_really_matters 
october 2014 by jerryking
Drug-funding sob stories make for good reading, but we need hard evidence to set public policy
Mar. 16 2014 | The Globe and Mail | ANDRÉ PICARD.

the key question in public policy is always: What else could be done with the money that would provide more bang for the buck?

To fund or not fund drugs is not an easy discussion to have. But it is a necessary one. As compelling as the stories of suffering children may be, we have to make decisions based on evidence. We also owe it to ourselves to negotiate firmly with drug-makers.

We cannot continue to fall prey to emotional blackmail, no matter how much the headlines sting.
no_sob_stories  public_policy  André_Picard  pharmaceutical_industry  orphan_drugs  disease  opportunity_costs  evidence_based  emotional_blackmail  evidence  difficult_conversations 
march 2014 by jerryking
What to Say to a Friend Who's Ill - WSJ.com
April 12, 2013 | WSJ | By LETTY COTTIN POGREBIN.
The following are 10 Commandments for Conversing With a Sick Friend.

1. Rejoice at their good news. Don't minimize their bad news. A guy tells you that the doctors got it all, say "Hallelujah!" A man with advanced bladder cancer says that he's taking his kids to Disneyland next summer, don't bite your lip and mutter, "We'll see." Tell him it's a great idea. (What harm can it do?)..."Tell me what I can do to make things easier for you—I really want to help."

2. Treat your sick friends as you always did—but never forget their changed circumstance. Speak to them as you always did (tease them, kid around with them, get mad at them) but indulge their occasional blue moods or hissy-fits. Most important, start conversations about other things (sports, politics, food, movies) as soon as possible and you'll help speed their journey from the morass of illness to the miracle of the ordinary.

3. Avoid self-referential comments. A friend with a hacking cough doesn't need to hear, "You think that's bad? I had double pneumonia."...The truest thing you can say to a sick or suffering friend is, "I can only try to imagine what you're going through."

4. Don't assume, verify. Repeat after me: "Assume nothing."

5. Get the facts straight before you open your mouth.Did your friend have a heart or liver transplant? Chemo or radiation? Don't just ask, "How are you?" Ask questions specific to your friend's health. "How's your rotator cuff these days?" "Did the blood test show Lyme disease?" "Are your new meds working?" If you need help remembering who has shingles and who has lupus, or the date of a friend's operation, enter a health note under the person's name in your contacts list or stick a Post-it by the phone and update the information as needed.

6. Help your sick friend feel useful. Zero in on one of their skills and lead to it. Assuming they're up to the task, ask a cybersmart patient to set up a Web page for you; ask a bridge or chess maven to give you pointers on the game; ask a retired teacher to guide your teenager through the college application process. In most cases, your request won't be seen as an imposition but a vote of confidence in your friend's talent and worth.

7. Don't infantilize the patient. Never speak to a grown-up the way you'd talk to a child. Objectionable sentences include, "How are we today, dearie?" "That's a good boy." "I bet you could swallow this teeny-tiny pill if you really tried." And the most wince-worthy, "Are we ready to go wee-wee?" Protect your friend's dignity at all costs.

8. Think twice before giving advice.Don't forward medical alerts, newspaper clippings or your Aunt Sadie's cure for gout. Your idea of a health bulletin that's useful or revelatory may mislead, upset, confuse or agitate your friend. Sick people have doctors to tell them what to do. Your job is simply to be their friend.

9. Let patients who are terminally ill set the conversational agenda.If they're unaware that they're dying, don't be the one to tell them. If they know they're at the end of life and want to talk about it, don't contradict or interrupt them; let them vent or weep or curse the Fates. Hand them a tissue and cry with them. If they want to confide their last wish, or trust you with a long-kept secret, thank them for the honor and listen hard. Someday you'll want to remember every word they say.

10. Don't pressure them to practice 'positive thinking.' The implication is that they caused their illness in the first place by negative thinking—by feeling discouraged, depressed or not having the "right attitude." Positive thinking can't cure Huntington's disease, ALS or inoperable brain cancer....As one hospice patient put it, "All I want from my friends right now is the freedom to sulk and say goodbye."
bad_news  conversations  Communicating_&_Connecting  difficult_conversations  dignity  etiquette  hospice  ice-breakers  illness  positive_thinking  stressful  tension 
april 2013 by jerryking
Romil Bahl of PRGX, on the Emergence of Great Ideas - NYTimes.com
By ADAM BRYANT
March 12, 2011

“tactful audacity.” = you can’t give feedback to clients in anything but
a constructive fashion. You can’t sort of just push back willy-nilly,
and you don’t win arguments with clients, period. ..Now, having said
that, if you aren’t being audacious, if you aren’t challenging, if you
aren’t pushing back, you’re on your way out the door, right? You’re done
as the trusted adviser and partner. So now it’s in our value set. It’s
about tone and how you pass along a difficult message. You sort of flip
that around and say, “How do I like to hear advice and how do I not like
to hear it?” You’re doing it because you’re trying to help.
management_consulting  advice  indispensable  CEOs  audacity  howto  feedback  emotional_intelligence  enterprise_clients  JCK  chutzpah  core_values  EQ  difficult_conversations 
march 2011 by jerryking
Ease the way to difficult conversations
Aug 21, 2009 | The Globe and Mail. pg. B.12 | by Wallace
Immen. What are the keys to delivering tough news effectively? There
are four steps in the process, according to Richard Gallagher, author of
How to Tell Anyone Anything, Breakthrough Techniques for Handling
Difficult Conversations at Work: (1) Start in the neutral zone; (2)
Acknowledge the person's point of view; (3) Find the biggest incentive
for change; (4) Make the listener part of the solution.
Communicating_&_Connecting  challenges  stressful  Wallace_Immen  howto  rules_of_the_game  workplaces  conversations  difficult_conversations 
november 2009 by jerryking
7 Tips for Difficult Conversations
March 11, 2009 | blogs.harvardbusiness.org| Daisy Wademan Dowling

Tags:Communication, Giving feedback, Managing people
Communicating_&_Connecting  providing_feedback  managing_people  conversations  problems  challenges  stressful  difficult_conversations  tips 
march 2009 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: Best to deliver bad news facts
February 18, 2009 G&M column by SUSAN PINKER. When it
comes to bad news, we first protect ourselves, and then we protect
others through "Denial". When there's really bad news, there's reliable
evidence that it really is best to face the facts. First, you have to
know what the bad news is, what the outcomes are, what the percentages
are," Dr. Feldman says. "Then you have to give people options. You have
to give them some power - ideas about how they're going to manage
because you don't just leave them hanging there. You have to hold out
some hope."
anomalies  base_rates  Communicating_&_Connecting  crisis  difficult_conversations  forecasting  generating_strategic_options  guessing  managing_people  predictions  probabilities  ratios  Susan_Pinker  face_the_facts  bad_news 
february 2009 by jerryking

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