It seems a good week for mis-attributed Francis of Assisi quotes. Someone on Facebook posted an image with the following quote: “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. St. Francis of Assisi” That’s simply “Francis of “Assisi” for the non-Catholics among us, of course. But even without the questionable transformation of … click below for more!
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” Allegedly by Mark Twain, but unlikely, and not found in any published source I have of Twain’s quotations. Online sources, of course, don’t count as authorities because they lack all credibility. As one person commented on Yahoo, The fact that “Quora attributes it to him” is worthless. Quora is yet another one of those idiotic “quote websites” that misquote and misattribute things all the time. Note that … click below for more!
Municipal World has released my newest book: Digital Connections. It came out this week. This book is about the benefits and challenges of using social media for municipalities and municipal politicians. The target audience is politicians, staff, boards and committees, but a lot of what I wrote can apply to anyone in business or industry. The sell sheet says: Social media: everyone’s using it today. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, blogs, and photo/video sharing sites. These and other services have literally … click below for more!
I was in a bookstore in Israel in 1980 or thereabouts, looking for a book in English to read during my visit. I found Terra Nostra, a 900-page novel by Carlos Fuentes, in a Penguin paperback edition. I had read another Fuentes’ book, A Change of Skin, a few years earlier, so I picked it up. I’ve carried Terra Nostra with me ever since that day in Israel. It’s still on my bookshelf. I don’t remember if I ever finished … click below for more!
I passed 54,000 words yesterday in my book on Machiavelli for municipal politicians. A little tweaking today, and an additional selection from The Discourses pushed it to 54,232 words. It prints out at 163 letter-sized pages. Even though that count includes chapter titles and subheads, as well as the opening notes and quotes, dedication, bibliography, and back page copy, it’s still about 20,000 more than my original target. I just don’t seem to be able to stop working on it. … click below for more!
Watched a delightful, satirical farce last night, called Anonymous. It’s a spoof about the conspiracy theory that the Earl of Oxford (Edward de Vere) wrote the works of William Shakespeare. This conspiracy notion has a pop following, but lacks significant scholarly and any historical support. Like other conspiracy theories, it has gained ground on the Internet from the simple fact that most people are naturally superstitious and suspicious, and would rather not apply critical thinking or do any serious research … click below for more!
This morning I crossed the 50,000 word mark in my book on Machiavelli’s The Prince for municipal politicians. It’s longer than I had originally intended, but I think it’s a reasonable length for the content. I’m pleased with the current draft and should have my reading and self-editing done by next Monday. Then it’s on to my next book, about e-government. I have an overhead of perhaps 2,000 words I could reduce it by through my own editing. Primarily that … click below for more!
Whilst perusing the Net for some material for my book on Machiavelli, I came across this maxim: “Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” It’s attributed on many, many sites to Machiavelli in his most famous work, The Prince. Sounds pretty Machiavellian, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. Machiavelli never wrote those words. Sun Tzu wrote that, “All warfare is based on deception.” (Book 1, 18), which is close. Sun Tzu went on to add in … click below for more!
A graphic novel about Niccolo Machiavelli… who woulda thought? It’s not like the Florentine was exactly the X Men or Mr. Natural as a comic book hero. Artist Don MacDonald has put together a graphic biography of Machiavelli on his blog, stretching more than 150 pages (so far) ranging through the entire span of Niccolo’s life. He even includes footnotes for some of the historical material he has drawn on, with sources listed. It does help to read his notes, … click below for more!
Just passed the 13,000 word mark on my current book about Machiavelli and municipal politics, this weekend. So far, I have gone through explanations of Chapters 1-10 of The Prince. The Prince has 26 chapters, so I’m about 40% of the way through my analysis, more or less on track for a 35,000-40,000 word book. It’s a little tough in places trying to fit Machiavelli’s words and ideas to modern issues and themes, but so far I think I’ve done … click below for more!
I stumbled across a story this week about a school district in Ontario that had decided to disallow free distribution of the Bible by the Gideons in its schools. My first thought was, “Wow. I didn’t even know the Gideons were still in business.” Then I wondered why anyone was distributing bibles at a secular school in the first place. The story actually originated in the Toronto Star. The Gideons have been distributing bibles since 1908, and in Canada since … click below for more!
Are the political theories of a 16th-century Italian diplomat relevant to today’s municipal politics? Yes, assuming you know and have read his works, not just the bumper-sticker over-simplification that says, “The end justifies the means.” Actually, Machiavelli never wrote those words. That’s a modern condensation. It’s also an erroneous paraphrase of what he wrote in The Prince, because it overlooks a lot of his comments on the effect of some types of behaviour on the honour and reputation of the … click below for more!
Another New Age quote showed up on Facebook today, one of those warn-n-fuzzy, touchy-feely sayings that either make you gag or go weak at the knees. This one is ascribed to James D. Miles. Miles was, according to answers.com (a site of dubious factuality and not terribly reliable at the best of timns), “…an associate professor of Psychology at Purdue University.” The author of this answer claimed Miles was “…quoting the German poet, novelist, playwright, scientist and philosopher Johann Wofgang … click below for more!
Another quote meme going around on the Internet claims to be from Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake), the famous Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux chief. A fascinating man in a difficult time, and a source of inspiration today. He was brave, intelligent and, from all accounts, wise. So when I read the quote below, I was torn. It’s a good comment, one that sounds like it should come from a wise man. But was that wise man really Sitting Bull? Or perhaps these … click below for more!