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So far: contrast with strangeness

GK Chesterton seems a little too weirded out by the East. I suppose
‘Orientals’ really were strange and unfamiliar, almost alien, to these
Occidentals. The Chinaman—what an old term—is cited as an example of
the strange and unknowable, because China was not connected to them by
‘a bridge of old tradition’. GK Chesterton could identify more with
David and Isaiah than with Asians in his own time.

I know the influence of Egypt, Babylon, Rome and Greece, but they
don’t account for all that I am. I don’t know enough about the ancient
civilizations of Asia to really identify with them, either, but there
is that feeling of being _home_ here.

I should remember that this ‘civilized history’ he writes of is only
_his_ civilized history. =)

everlasting_man.txt

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Time management for system administrators

John Anderson (genehack) recently reviewed Time Management for System Administrators,
an O’Reilly book on how to survive a highly interrupt-driven job. =)

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I heart the Toronto Public Library

I can’t believe it took me a year to get around to making the most of
the Toronto Public Library. I grew up in a country without a good
public library system and thus had no idea just how cool one could be.
Fortunately, two of my friends are avid fans of the TPL. (Hi
Dan Howard! Hi Quinn Fung!)
Quinn’s always telling me about some book or other that’s available for pick-up, and Dan told me about the trick of reserving one gazillion books.

Today I gave the web-based library catalogue a spin, and promptly requested dozens and dozens of books. I knew they’d take some time to be delivered to the branch nearest me, but I headed to the College and Spadina branch anyway as it was just a few blocks away from my residence and I wanted to raid the stacks for interesting Wednesday night reading.

It was a good thing I took my wheeled grocery bag, as I ended up
checking out far too many books. I winnowed the list down from the
stack of books I’d pulled off the shelves for browsing, but was still
sorely tempted to push the library limit of 50 (50!) books checked out
at any given time.

I’ve already finished one: Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever, by Judy Sheindlin (of Judge Judy fame). The main thing I took away from that book is that guys aren’t built to be nurturing, and there’s nothing wrong with nurturing myself. I knew that. =) Also, the book had interesting anecdotes from the life of a no-nonsense judge. Not a bad read.

I heart the Toronto Public Library. It’s pretty up to date – lots of 2006 titles, yay! – and the web-based reservation system totally rocks. Sweet!

UPDATE: See also Bookmarklet for the Toronto Public Library

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Salesdogs: I’m a Chihuahua!

Are you turned off sales because you think everyone has to be a pit
bull? When most people think of sales, they think of in-your-face
salespeople who just won’t take no for an answer. I have to confess
that even *I* have a hard time remembering that I don’t have to be
like that in order to enjoy and do well at sales.

I’ve read a lot about sales, but books tend to be generic sales tips
that try to apply to everyone. How to start. How to ask questions. How
to close. How to build relationships.
Salesdogs
was the first book I read that talked about personalities. Salesdogs describes five “breeds”.

  • Pit Bulls: will always go for the jugular
  • Golden Retrievers: love customer service and will do anything for clients
  • Poodles: intellectual, classy, appearance-oriented, but a little high-strung
  • Chihuahuas: combine passion with product knowledge; tends to yip if overexcited
  • Basset hounds: loyal to the end, great at building relationships

I’m a Chihuahua through and through. (No, not just because I’m small!)
I *love* absorbing vast quantities of information, and ferreting it
out myself if I must. Learning the product inside and out? Combing the
Web for testimonials in order to find differentiating points? Getting
inside people’s heads? That sounds exciting! I’m always reading,
always trying things out, because I love knowing that one obscure
little thing that’ll get someone hooked. My weakness is that when I
get really excited, I tend to overwhelm people… <laugh>

Pick up the book and find out what kind of salesdog you are. Better
yet, find out how you can improve your performance and that of other
people around you. Don’t have time or can’t stand cheesy metaphors?
Coral.net.au has a great summary of the
different Salesdogs breeds,
including tips for managing them.

You don’t have to be a pit bull. Figure out your personality, play
to your strengths, and cross-train.

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Random Emacs symbol: custom-save-faces – Function: Save all customized faces in `custom-file’.

Time management and work boundaries

 

[Never Wrestle With A Pig]:

McCormack addresses time management here, making several astute points. The biggest one – and the one that I see many people not actually doing – is to set a very strict time for leaving work and sticking to it. Doing that ensures two things: one, that you have adequate time for personal growth and rest so that, two, during the time you’re actually there, you can be highly productive. I’ve seen people burn the midnight oil quite often – it works fine for a little while, but they usually wind up exhausted, underproductive, and bitter about things, none of which are helpful for your career.

The Simple Dollar – Review: Never Wrestle With A Pig
I’m in my twenties, and this is supposed to be when I focus almost exclusively on my career, put in the long hours, and do whatever I need to do in order to get on the fast track and stay there. That might work for other people, but I don’t think it would work for me. I need the space for growth and rest, and there are other important things in life. I’ll work hard when it’s time to work, and I’ll invest time in developing other areas of my life as well.

Library Elf is awesome

image

When I blogged about my totally small-school library reminder script, Claudine recommended Library Elf, which helps people manage their library loans. I hopped over and set weekly reminders to go out on Sunday, just before my Monday book runs. I just got my first reminder e-mail from them, and I am impressed. C’mon. Look at that screenshot. It tells me when books are due and when my holds expire. If I hover over the links, I can see which books they are. The lists of holds ready for pickup and books that are checked out are sorted by date, which makes perfect sense. I can add W-‘s library card and track his books as well. =)

Awesome awesome awesome.