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You Can’t Teach Managers

Memories of …. great actress

Perhaps …. most legendary theatrical figures of that time [1904-1921] were …. international star actresses, those great creatures whose names alone could fill …. theatre. I saw Eleonora Duse in Ghosts at …. New Oxford Theatre in Tottenham Court Road, long since demolished. I stood at …. back of …. packed theatre at …. matinee. Every actor in London was there and …. feeling in …. audience was unforgettable, …. mixture of ….respect and awe, …. sense that we would never see this great woman again. When Duse came on, …. atmosphere was already electric, and she could hardly fail to - make …. most wonderful impression. I did not know …. play very well, but Duse looked infinitely sad and distinguished with her white hair, and wearing …. plain black dress with …. shawl draped over her shoulders. I remember that her acting seemed very, very simple. She had ….marvellous hands and all her movements were weary and poetic. Here was …. legendary figure whose career had spanned fifty or sixty years of …. nineteenth-century theatre, and she succeeded, to my mind, in living up to her legend, although she was evidently old and tired.

Many years later, in 1952, at …. cocktail party in Hollywood, I was introduced to Charlie Chaplin. He took me aside and began to talk to me about his boyhood in London when he used to see Tree's productions from …. gallery at His Majesty's. For some reason we talked about Duse. Chaplin described …. occasion on which he saw her act. He began to imitate …. actor who had appeared that night with Duse. He whipped out …. chair and sat astride it and began to jabber ….bogus Italian. In …. brilliant mime, he showed how …. actor was enthralling …. audience with …. long speech when suddenly …. curtains behind began to move and …. little old lady came out very quietly and glided across …. stage and put her hands towards …. fire. Duse. And at this point …. poor actor who had seemed so remarkable …. moment before was completely blotted out.

An Actor and His Time by John Gielgud (BrE)


…. Harvard Business School is …. ark of …. tabernacle in ….management education. Many schools more or less ape …. HBS, especially its 'case study' method of instruction - though mulling over out-of-date business anecdotes is about as helpful in actual management as ….waging war by tramping over old battlefields. …. specific management element in these mind-bending studies is hard to isolate. Although managers should be numerate (and many are not), they don't require ….skills in higher algebra; and many great businesses have been created by men who all but count on their fingers.

…. story tells of ….two schoolboy friends, one brilliant at ….maths, one innumerate to …. point of idiocy, who meet much later when …. first is …. professor and …. second …. multi-millionaire. Unable to control his curiosity, …. professor asks …. figure-blind dunderhead how he managed to amass his fortune. 'It's simple,' replies Midas. 'I buy things at £1 and sell them for £2, and from that 1% difference I make …. living.' …. business world is full of ….successful one-percenters who live, not by their slide rules, but by knowing …. difference between …. buying price and …. selling price. It is also full of ….clever fools who work out elaborate ….discounted cash flow sums to justify projects that …. one-percenter would laugh out of sight.

…. clever fool syndrome would explain why one controversial study of ….HBS students found that, after …. flying start, …. alumni (presumably among …. ablest young men of their day) gradually slipped back to …. general level inside their chosen management hierarchies. …. HBS graduate has no reason at all to suppose that he will manage more effectively than a less instructed contemporary. The HBS man can only claim that he is more highly educated: and high education and high achievement in practical affairs don't necessarily go together. John F. Kennedy found that assembling America's brightest brains in Washington neither got bills through …Congress nor avoided …. Bay of Pigs; and many companies have discovered that business school diplomas are … thin defence against ….incompetence.

The Naked Manager by Robert Heller (BrE)


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