How to succeed in business
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York City, was asked by a caller to his radio show this morning to share his personal formula for success.
Among his more interesting recipe items? Limiting bathroom breaks to avoid leaving your desk and picking up garbage from the street.
Here, in full, are his words of wisdom:
Esquire editor at large AJ Jacobs is starting a new advice column, he announced today in a blog post. But it is not just a regular old advice column. Instead of just getting advice from Mr. Jacobs, the column will include curated advice from his “100,000 Facebook Friends*” with whom he is sharing the byline.
“You will be getting the combined experience of a brigade of Ann Landerses, a stadium full of Dan Savages,” Mr. Jacobs wrote. “As for me, I will be the Nate Silver of this experiment, curating and collating and commenting on the mass’s responses. I will print the best, funniest, and oddest answers (providing full credit, of course). And we will determine the best course together.”
What motivates people to write in to advice columns? It’s hardly the most efficient way to solve life’s dilemmas. The lead time is too long for any truly pressing, agonizing situations. And by the time the magazine or column comes out, even milder complaints will have been solved or forgotten about or morphed into totally different problems.
To us, agony aunt letter writing always seemed like a faintly exhibitionist way to get a verdict on your personal life, like People’s Court with the faces blurred out. Cheaper than couples therapy, writing into an advice column is private, but only in the sense that it won’t wreck your Google. Ideally, those in your cohort (especially he or she who has wronged you) will read it, recognize you and—thanks to the authority and impartiality of the advice columnist—realize that you were right all along, finally understanding the full magnitude of your suffering.
Thorns With Occasional Roses
You know what I hate? Flowers. I was at a dinner party recently when the conversation turned to gardening; the warm winter has people anxious to begin planting, and with spring, the beloved “Season of Birth,” just around the corner, my friend Allison (she’s not really my friend) expressed concern that the petunias around her home’s foundation would once again fail to thrive.
“Do you think,” she asked me, “it might be a soil-preparation issue?”
Well, I said to her, yes and no. Some years ago, I explained, my wife and I moved to the country, full of hope and joy at the prospect of returning to the land, of filling ourselves with that which was pure and good and natural. Of course, the very first thing we did was to get a dog. She was a beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback pup, with dark brown eyes and adorable white feet. We named her Harley, and watched with amazement as she bonded with our young son, playing in the yard with him or just curling up, a boy and his dog, on the couch in front of the crackling fire.
The second thing we did was to get a bird feeder.