Never Mind What Others Think…What Do YOU Think? (Podcast)

Far too often, we base our opinions on what we absorb from others. But if you have done the homework, if you have done the heavy lifting, and if you know the material, you should have the confidence to form your own thoughts. People read your writings because they want to know what YOU think, not what some other nibbler thinks. A critical step in intellectual independence is having the courage to state your own opinion on some learned topic, once you have earned the rights to do so.

Continue reading

Captain Adolf Von Schell On Leadership And Composure In Adversity (Podcast)

Captain Adolf Von Schell was an infantry officer in the German Army during the First World War.  In 1930 he gave a series of lectures on battle leadership to American officers at the Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia.  These presentations were later collected into a book called Battle Leadership.  In this podcast, I read a short selection from Capt. Von Schell’s book, and discuss its relevance for today.

Continue reading

Grave Offenses, And Little Thanks

In a letter to Titinius Capito, the Roman official and career lawyer Pliny discusses the idea of writing a book of history.  Of particular concern to him was the choice of topic:  he was uncertain whether he should treat an ancient or a modern subject.  Valid arguments existed for both options.  An older subject might allow for a more considered perspective, far removed from the passions of immediate memory; whereas the treatment of a current subject might inflame unreasonable emotions in his readers.  Pliny has serious doubts about choosing a subject that might be within the living memory of his readers.  He summarizes his feelings with this sentence:

Continue reading