Reference, 2

Previous: Reference (2021-07-30)

After reading a book or paper—the boring, sometimes informative kind, but I suppose that's obvious from the title of the post—I grab a pile of references and store them nicely and neatly in a place where I will never ever look at them again. I do this dutifully. I don't know why.

I finished reading Managing with Power a week or two ago, then tonight I thumbed through the bibliography and grabbed citations for books and papers that I remembered from the text, or had titles that seemed like something I wanted to read.

Hold on—just wanted to address the last sentence in the first paragraph. I think I know why. Even when alone, there is some kind of strange allure to appearing smart. Nobody knows I'm jotting down all these academic reference, but I still get something of the... I don't know... dopamine response to behaving in a way that would get some kind of "check out the big brain on this guy" reaction. It's weird. Not surprising, I suppose. We all have our self-images that we fight to maintain.

Anyway, here I am with a pretty large pile of references about psychology and sociology and so on in large organizations. I'm glad someone's thinking about it. Large organizations could use some work. But am I really going to sit down with those and read them? Any of the papers? Any of the books? Maybe. Should I? I'm not totally convinced. Is that the thing I want to know more about? To be better at? Sort of—in a stiff-arming-the-thing-that-annoys-me kind of way, it would be nice to navigate large organizations without getting mired in the hassles. But is that as interesting as doing the job itself better? No, not really. But do you ever get to just do the job in a large organization. No, not really. So, learning how to do the job and survive the culture both have a place, for good or ill. Interested yet? Eh. Not as interested in reading the references as collecting them, perhaps.

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