work smarter and harder

The false axiom “work harder not smarter” came up in conversation today. Which reminded me of this paragraph I did on the book Rework called When to Apply Business Advice:

Sometimes advice is populist, but there is a logical flaw. A company who follows the infamous “work smarter not harder“ quickly falls to a company that believes “work smarter AND harder.“ Working smarter-not-harder would only work if hard workers were dumb. But we get smarter through experience! So unfortunately, hard workers are typically also smarter than you. Oooops. But we don’t like to admit that. What we want to hear is that the  4 hour work week is a winner.  I certainly wish the global economy worked that way. (But it doesn’t)

You can read the full post at When to Apply Business Advice.

every society has to engird capitalism in a restraining value system

“I guess I’d put it this way. Every society has to engird capitalism in a restraining value system, or else it turns nihilistic and out of control. The Germans have a Christian Democratic set of institutions, enforced by law. The Swedes have their egalitarianism. Since the days of Jonathan Edwards, we have developed a quasi-religious spirituality that informally restrains the excesses of the market. God and Mammon are intertwined.

Many people feel that the values side of this arrangement is dissolving. Both the government and Wall Street are leaping into the void, to bad effect.” – David Brooks, NYT