Who is Paul Barrett?
I'm a veteran journalist who has written and edited articles on a wide range of business topics, ranging from regulation and litigation to corporate racial relations to interaction between companies and consumers. I'm interested in illustrating how the realities of the business world frequently clash with the theories and principles that business people find appealing.
Question: How did your background shape you?
Barrett: I grew up primarily in suburban New Jersey not far from New York City where my parents worked. And I think I’m very much a product of the, you know, middle class, upper middle class, suburban environment that I grew up in – an environment in which achievement in school and achievement in the professional world beyond school were, you know, very, very high values. And I think that, you know, shaped me tremendously.
Question: As a child, what did you want to do professionally
Barrett: Well I usually say I got into journalism because it was the family business. My parents met when they were the successive editors of the undergraduate newspaper at NYU where they were both commuter students. My father went on to spend his entire career in journalism, primarily at the late great New York Herald Tribune, and then for 35 years at Time magazine. So I grew up carrying a little reporter’s pad and pencil in my pocket just imitating my father. And as a child a big adventure for me was to come into the city from New Jersey to visit him at the Time and Life building and send messages through the old pneumatic tubes, and play ping pong in the hallway with the other journalists – people who I thought were these exotic, kooky, off the wall people. And I thought it was just the coolest thing in the world that my father worked with these people. So as a kid I just assumed I would become a journalist because that’s what people did when they got older.
As the son of journalists, Paul Barrett assumed journalism was "what people did when they got older."
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They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.
- Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
- To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
- They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
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