Print Story There's a gun in your hand and it's pointing at your head
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 09:05:51 AM EST) Reading, Theatre, Me, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "How to Talk to Anyone". Theatre: "La Fanciulla del West". Me. Links.


What I'm Reading
How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes. The title's a bit misleading: it's mainly about how to schmooze with powerful people to sell your products and services. It's kind of half a guide to social climbing, half a guide to presenting yourself well.

Does have a few interesting tips. Recommends recording all your calls so you don't have to ask people to repeat things, and can always look at the top of your game. Also points out that people are on the alert for fake cheer and has specific techniques to fake things more conveniently. For instance, it recommends that you answer the phone without particular warmth, but then greet who answers effusively as if you're pleased to meet them. Also suggests the "flooding smile", where you don't smile too much at first, but then give the important person a big, deep smile when you see them.

This book has a more blatantly manipulative tone than usual, with lots of specific tips. The books "How to Win Friend and Influence People" and "How to Work a Room" pay at least more lip service to the idea of sincerity.

Overall, a few useful things, but I think unless you're a salesperson who deals with CEOs a lot, you're better off with those other books.

Theatre
Saw the pub opera La Fanciulla del West (or West End Girl) at the Kings Head Theatre. Very loosely adapted and cut-down version of the Puccini opera, translated to demotic, slangy English and relocated from a mining town to a sleazy Soho Internet cafe filled with East European gangsters. Has five, good, singers; but strips the orchestra down to a pianist and violinist, both working very hard.

Really liked it. The libretto isn't particularly witty, but it is very clear to understand, and raised a lot of laughs at the right moments by combining modern slang with classical style. I'm no great judge of opera, but the singers seemed very powerful and impressive to me.

Tickets are £25 full price, and available pretty late. That's pretty good value for an opera. Theoretically you can get cheap tickets to the bigger opera houses, e.g. £29 for the ENO at the Coliseum London, but you have to book very far in advance, and sit in the most distant seats. The £25 here gets you right up close and you can book a couple of days ahead.

Well worth seeing. We'll probably be checking out other things at the Kings Head too now.

Museums
Saw the Scott's Last Expedition exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Has a lot of artefacts and photographs from the famous trip. The cutlery and menus from the base hut were interesting: also has an actual egg from the Winter Journey recorded in the classic book "The Worst Journey in the World".

Good exhibition, worth a look if you're interested in the subject. Might be a bit dull if you're not.

Me
So the work situation is that I'm going to lose my job sometime up to the end of September. My main product shuts down then: the theory was that I would be moved to the web side, but that's now being outsourced too.

The process is pretty glacial. We've now been told that the official "consultation process" is planned to start in July, so I'm probably not going to be kicked out till then. The redundancy package is pretty good, could come to 7 or 8 months pay tax free if I get pay in lieu of notice. However, nothing is very official so far, and they're careful not to commit to anything in writing.

I've been doing a bit of job-hunting, but not having much luck. I've had two interviews now, but didn't get either job.

Links
Economics. Economic sim shows inequality will steadily rise even with equal skill and patience. Rise in self-employment is no cause for celebration. US is not a small business country, Tax land. Why is Britain a tax haven for the super-rich? If Britain were Greece. Disabled charged more for car repairs. Maximizing shareholder value is a dumb idea (maybe a repeat).

Society. Fewer young people driving. Misrepresenting crime in TV documentaries. Gendered wine.

Politics. Sex-selective abortion in the UK not that significant. Rochdale takeaway attacked as youths clash with police (chants of EDL), fears of more violence. EU Fiscal Compact bad? What would Britain outside the EU look like? US Republican primary: Conservative Chickens Come Home to Roost, Not rhinos but opossums. Watership Down may be concreted over to provide land for 2,000 houses. More NHS target manipulation.

Video. Fighting a cat. Nick Clegg calls unemployed "cunts" at 30secs.

Pics. Time-lapse firefiles. Snow patterns, Bicycle chain sculptures.

Random. Words: Goosebury as slang. Millions back removal of dirty hippies with whom they are in complete agreement. Darth Vader motorcycle toy. How to delete your Google Browsing History before March 1st. Adam Roberts reviews Atlas Shrugged, via.

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There's a gun in your hand and it's pointing at your head | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
That small business graph is retarded. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 10:21:41 AM EST
I am not self-employed, but I work for a small-business owner.

Also - now I have to scrape the Jezebel stank off my browser. Turn in your Man Card, mate.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Inequality by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 10:42:55 AM EST
Not everyone has equal luck.  Since money tends make it easier to get more money, initial fluctuations will magnify.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
One thing I agree with Rouseau about ... by lm (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 11:22:44 AM EST
... inequality will always be with us because different people are naturally bestowed unequally with the various virtues. But the mechanism of inheritance allows for artificial inequality to develop and profoundly magnify inequality across generations.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Roberts on Ayn Rand by lm (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 11:19:01 AM EST
His review of Atlas Shrugged makes Rand's novel sound quite a bit like L. Ron Hubbard's thousand page Battlefield Earth "epic" and the Mission Earth decology.

This diminishes my almost already non-existent desire to read Atlas Shrugged.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
That does it a disservice by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 12:25:24 PM EST
It does have a philosophical idea at its core, and does a decent enough job at that makes it very appealing to teenagers and others who have never encountered real life.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Does which a disservice? by lm (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 12:29:49 PM EST
The Objectivism at the core of Atlas Shrugged or the Scientology at the core of Battlefield Earth?

From where I sit, they look about equal. In fact, the ethics promulgated by both amount to something fairly close to being the same thing. If there is any significant difference, it pales in comparison to their substantial similarities.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Well... by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 04:11:42 PM EST
I think the difference is that Scientology was an intentional money making scam.  Rand really believe that crap.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Is that a substantive difference? by lm (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 08:22:27 PM EST
Let's presume for the sake of argument that it is not controversial to say that Ayn Rand honestly believed her theories and that Ron Hubbard was only in it for the money.

It may be controversial, but I think it evident that the logic and the premises for both Scientology and Objectivism are largely the same on a number of fronts, but especially with regards to the way the protagonists in the novels of Rand and Hubbard exemplified personal virtue.

I'm not sure that the Rand being a True Believer and Hubbard being a sophist makes it any better for Rand.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Isn't it worse for Rand? by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 10:00:25 AM EST
In that while Scientology may be said by some to have become a scheme oriented on abstracting money from worshippers for the benefit of elite believers... Objectivism appears to be a scheme for extracting money from society for the benefit of elite believers...

[ Parent ]
Shreholder Value by Herring (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 11:42:44 AM EST
Interesting article. But it suggests that the stock market is not an all-knowing, super-wise thing that can appropriately value everything. And that's heresey. The market is infallible.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
pay in lieu of notice. by dev trash (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 06:56:28 PM EST
But haven't you been given notice?  September is 6 months away.

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I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR BALLS! ->clock
Nothing in writing. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #12 Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 07:12:29 AM EST
I wouldn't want to crow, but UK employment law is pretty generous to the employee compared to the US's. And, I think, fair to the employer (because too little job security affects productivity more than it increases barriers to hiring).

[ Parent ]
We have the WARN act. by dev trash (4.00 / 1) #13 Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 07:07:47 PM EST
but wouldn't you know floating the idea that layoffs are coming but not actually provide for it in writing be just as stressful?


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I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR BALLS! ->clock
[ Parent ]
There's a gun in your hand and it's pointing at your head | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback