Intermediate Form

Introduction -- Seven Signs of Success

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In 1998, Ralph Peters wrote an essay called Spotting the Losers: Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States. In it, he lists seven signs of failing states. Being, on occasion, a somewhat positive person, I prefer to list them as positives, as seven conditions for success:

  1. The free flow of information.
  2. No subjugation of women.
  3. Ability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure.
  4. Lack of the extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization.
  5. Freedom from restrictive religion.
  6. A high valuation of education.
  7. High prestige assigned to work.

While these may not be, on their own, enough to guarantee success, the less they are practiced, the more failure is ensured. This is not just true for large bodies, like countries. I'd like to say that these are good guidelines for individuals, but all I can really say is that every time I've tried to conform to them myself, it's been to my benefit.

I've always placed a high value on education. It's lead me to become a graduate student in computer science. I'm now a Ph.D. student at Stony Brook University.

Recently I've gotten an office at school, and it's lead me to re-evaluate work. As I take work more and more seriously, I accomplish more, and feel better about how I spend my time. I think that that's a success in and of itself.

I've also had the opportunity recently to accept responsibility for a failure. I had mis-scheduled my time. As a result I was faced with a choice about the fate of a paper I was writing. The choice was to rush out a paper and hope (without good reason) that it would be accepted by a conference, or to admit that I would not make it and slip the deadline to that of a different conference. I had to admit that I would not make it, but the decision was the right one, and the paper is better for it.

I could continue with examples, but there's only one point that I want to address today. That's the first, the free flow of information, and that's why I'm starting this blog. I think that people are served by the flow of information between blogs on the net, and I want to be part of that.

Hence, this blog.

What can you see here? A mix of posts, ranging from interesting links I've found to larger essays (such as this one). I plan to cover a range of topics, generally in response to other things I see. This will especially cover responses to some of the dumber editorials in the Stony Brook campus papers. Politically, since September 11th I've been conservative on most issues, although I'm still somewhat liberal on social ones.

You'll find out more later. Welcome.

- Tom | permalink | changelog | Last updated: 2002-11-29 00:23

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