19 de mayo de 2009

La indecisión

Estoy indeciso. No se cual de los dos textos es el más interesante que he leído el día de hoy.

El primero son los párrafos iniciales de la columna de David Brooks en el New York Times que se titula In Praise of Dullness (ver aquí texto completo). En el editorial, Brooks analiza las cualidades que tienden a tener los CEOs más exitosos.

Should C.E.O.’s read novels? The question seems to answer itself. After all, C.E.O.’s work with people all day. Novel-reading should give them greater psychological insight, a feel for human relationships, a greater sensitivity toward their own emotional chords.

Sadly, though, most of the recent research suggests that these are not the most important talents for a person who is trying to run a company. Steven Kaplan, Mark Klebanov and Morten Sorensen recently completed a study called “Which C.E.O. Characteristics and Abilities Matter?”

They relied on detailed personality assessments of 316 C.E.O.’s and measured their companies’ performances. They found that strong people skills correlate loosely or not at all with being a good C.E.O. Traits like being a good listener, a good team builder, an enthusiastic colleague, a great communicator do not seem to be very important when it comes to leading successful companies.

What mattered, it turned out, were execution and organizational skills. The traits that correlated most powerfully with success were attention to detail, persistence, efficiency, analytic thoroughness and the ability to work long hours.

El segundo texto es un párrafo del libro The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World de Steven Johnson.

... Cities continue to be tremendous engines of wealth, innovation, and creativity, but in the 150 years that have passed since Snow and Whitehead watched the death carts make their rounds through Soho, they have become something else as well: engines of health. Two-thirds of women living in rural areas receive some kind of prenatal care, but in cities, the number is more than ninety percent. Nearly eighty percent of birth in cities take place in hospitals or other medical institutions, as opposed to thirty-five percent in countryside ...

... Cities are a force of environmental health as well. This may be the most surprising new credo of green politics, which has in the past largely associated itself with a back-to-nature ethos that was explicitly antiurban in its values. Dense urban environments may do away with nature altogether -there are many vibrantly healthy neighborhoods in Paris or Manhattan that lack even a single tree- but they also perform the crucial service of reducing mankind's environmental footprint...

... By far, the most significant environmental cause that cities support is simple population control. People have more babies in the country ... Economically, having more children makes sense in agrarian environments: more hands to help in the fields..."