Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for December 10th, 2016

Which is better: competent jerk? or affable incompetent?

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Interesting answer by Michael Barnard at Quora:

My favourite study on this subject was published in the Harvard Business Review a few years ago. They studied a set of European companies and executives and asked a very similar question:

Our research showed (not surprisingly) that, no matter what kind of organization we studied, everybody wanted to work with the lovable star, and nobody wanted to work with the incompetent jerk. Things got a lot more interesting, though, when people faced the choice between competent jerks and lovable fools.


Ask managers about this choice—and we’ve asked many of them, both as part of our research and in executive education programs we teach—and you’ll often hear them say that when it comes to getting a job done, of course competence trumps likability.
But despite what such people might say about their preferences, the reverse turned out to be true in practice in the organizations we analyzed. Personal feelings played a more important role in forming work relationships—not friendships at work but job-oriented relationships—than is commonly acknowledged. They were even more important than evaluations of competence. In fact, feelings worked as a gating factor: We found that if someone is strongly disliked, it’s almost irrelevant whether or not she is competent; people won’t want to work with her anyway. By contrast, if someone is liked, his colleagues will seek out every little bit of competence he has to offer. And this tendency didn’t exist only in extreme cases; it was true across the board. Generally speaking, a little extra likability goes a longer way than a little extra competence in making someone desirable to work with.
But there are justifiable reasons to avoid the jerk. Sometimes it can be difficult to pry the needed information from him simply because he is a jerk. And knowledge often requires explanation to be useful—you might, for instance, want to brainstorm with someone or ask follow-up questions—and this kind of interaction may be difficult with a competent jerk. Furthermore, in order to learn, you often have to reveal your vulnerabilities, which also may be difficult with the competent jerk—especially if you are afraid of how this might affect your reputation in his eyes or in the eyes of others to whom he may reveal your limitations. By contrast, the lovable fool may be more likely to freely share whatever (albeit modest) information or skills he has and, without any intention of gaining an advantage, help others put them to use.

Competent Jerks, Lovable Fools, and the Formation of Social Networks

What becomes important in context of this is the social network aspect. Competent jerks frequently have only their own competence to rely upon, but likeable people have much greater social leverage to be able to rely upon the competence of others. To extend this to 7 Habits territory, your sphere of influence can be much greater through someone who is liked than someone who is merely personally competent. Your social graph and hence your ability to perform is improved by connecting through the person with more connections. . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

10 December 2016 at 7:33 pm

Very tasty—and very easy—wintertime dinner recipe

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This one, with these changes:

Two ounces of butter, total, split 1 ounce (2 Tbsp) for cabbage, 1 ounce for ground meat.

With shredded cabbage include 1 large chopped onion (and forget the onion powder) or 4 shallots, along with 2 chopped green bell peppers. You’ll thank me.

I use 1 teaspoon (or a little more) freshly ground black pepper.

I have no idea what “Tex-Mex” seasoning is, so I just taco seasoning, and it was fine.

I baked at 400ºF for 15 minutes, and I roasted it in the same sauté pan in which I had cookd the cabbage, onions, and peppers, and then the ground meat. No reason to dirty another dish. (My sauté pan has metal handles, so no worries about oven temperature.)

It was really delicious, but we agree that the blue-cheese version is better, so I’ll be making that again soon. With mushrooms.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 December 2016 at 7:29 pm

The GOP unveils a ‘permanent save’ for Social Security — with massive benefit cuts

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The GOP is ascendant now, so the wrecking crew is going to work. This initiative seems to me to be outright class warfare: the wealthy punishing those who lack wealth. Michael Hiltzik reports in the LA Times:

Amid all the hand-wringing over Republican plans to eviscerate Medicare and Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the GOP has the knives out for Social Security too.

The latest reminder comes from Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Tex., chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee. Johnson on Thursday uncorked what he termed a “plan to permanently save Social Security.”

Followers of GOP habits won’t be surprised to learn that it achieves this goal entirely through benefit cuts, without a dime of new revenues such as higher payroll taxes on the wealthy. In fact, Johnson’s plan reduces the resources coming into the program by eliminating a key tax –another way that he absolves richer Americans of paying their fair share, while increasing the burdens of retirement for almost everyone else.

Predictably, this plan has already been hailed by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a billionaire’s front group that likes to portray itself as a neutral budget watchdog. (The foundation of hedge fund billionaire Peter G. Peterson, whose hostility to Social Security is well-documented, provided $3.3 million in funding for the committee in 2015; that’s the equivalent of about half the group’s revenue of $7.1 million in 2014)

The group calls Johnson’s proposal “a thoughtful plan” and the product of “true leadership.” But it also says that “revenue and benefit changes both need to be on the table.” Johnson’s plan doesn’t meet that standard at all.

Typically, Social Security “reform” proposals at least pay lip service to the fact that the payroll tax has been giving the wealthy a larger and larger pass, by covering an ever-shrinking percentage of their wages and exempting the capital gains and dividends that make up a larger share of high-end income.

Johnson’s plan doesn’t mention that at all. It does, however, give higher-income beneficiaries a tax cut by eliminating income tax on benefits starting in 2045. The tax affects about 30% of retirees by treating at least half of the benefits of those earning more than $32,000 as taxable income.

By law, the tax must be credited to the Social Security system. It’s scheduled to bring in as much as $78 billion in 2025. Johnson’s rationale here is murky. If Social Security is in such bad shape that he sees the need to slash benefits, why cut its revenue, too?

Social Security’s actuaries, who analyzed the plan at Johnson’s request, agreed that it would improve the program’s finances, but noted that virtually every provision involved a benefit cut.

Let’s take a look. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 December 2016 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Congress, GOP, Government

H.L. Thäter and Van Yulay Achilles, with the Maggard V2 open-comb

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SOTD 2016-12-10

Yesterday I enjoy the Thäter brush so much, I decided to use my other one today, and much the same is true of the Van Yulay soap. Achilles is quite a nice soap—and I highly recommend trying some samples of their soaps. The samples are nicely packaged for easy loading and bear the label of the soap inside.

I easily got a very nice lather, and as usual with a clay-based soap, I added water during the loading. This soap is definitely not vegan: it has tallow in addition to emu oil:

Stearic Acid, Coconut Fatty Acid, Palm Stearic, Castor, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Tobacco Tea, Aloe Vera, Coconut-Emu-Tallow-Meadow Foam-Borage-Argan- Oils, Kentucky Bourbon, Sodium Lactate, Herbal Ground Tea, Calendula, Extracts, Poly Quats, Allantoin, Silica, Bentonite Clay, Glycerin Soap, Tobacco Absolute, Mica and Fragrance.

The fragrance appeals to me, but I suggest you try a sample: tastes vary.

Tobacco with the perfect amount of Kentucky bourbon, hints of cherry, notes of vanilla, of rosewood, cedar, smoke, and sweet birch.

My Maggard V2 open-comb head is on their MR7 handle. I’ve seen some discuss Zamak razor as though they were as brittle as glass, but I dropped this razor this morning without incident. (It’s head is Zamak; the handle is stainless steel.)

Three passes to a totally smooth finish—this is for me quite a good razor and one of my standard recommendations for a novice since the razor is both extremely comfortable and extremely efficient.

A splash of Achilles aftershave, and the weekend begins.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 December 2016 at 9:55 am

Posted in Shaving

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