Rees Morrison Morsels (#36) – small additions to earlier posts

Creativity. I appreciate the line in Eviatar Zerubavel, The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life (Oxford Univ. Press 2006) at 39: “The cognitive ability to integrate conventionally separate mental realms is one of the hallmarks of human creativity.” His footnote mentions Mattei Dogan and Robert Pahre, Creative Marginality: Innovation at the Intersections of the Social Sciences (Westview, 1990). For more on how to boost creativity, see my post of Jan. 10, 2006.).

More laws of human nature. C. Northcote Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law and Other Studies in Administration (Houghton Mifflin 1957) at 2 made famous the law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” A less well known “law” is the one Parkinson discusses later. He calls it “the Law of Triviality.” According to this law, the time spent on any item of an agenda will be in inverse proportion to the amount of money involved (at 24). (See my post of March 27, 2005 on poorly run meetings.).

Savings from online auctions. With reference to an online auction system, such as IQNavigator as described in Fortune, April 3, 2006 at S2, “[T]he typical payoff is savings of 10% to 35% when [companies] use approved vendors who compete with one another” (See my post of Jan. 14, 2007 on auctions and the winner’s curse.).

Whig History. “The historian of ideas Herbert Butterfield coined the term ‘Whig history’ to denote histories that in retrospect focus on the winners,” according to Arthur I. Miller, Insights of Genius: Imagery and Creativity in Science and Art (Springer-Verlag 1996) at 256. Those who write about law department management often succumb to Whig history (See my post of April 2, 2005 on the survivor bias.). .

German and French linguistics and law department management. German emphasizes nouns more than English and French do, which may lead to more conceptual and holistic approaches in the thought of German speakers — just as the English and French focus on verbs may result in more action oriented and empirical thought in their speakers. This idea from Alan Ebenstein, Hayek’s Journey: The Mind of Friedrich Hayek (Palgrave, 2003) at 11 conjured up German law departments awash in legal formalism and hyperkinetic Anglo departments (See my post of Jan. 1, 2006 on Germanic puns.).

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