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Episode 314 | October 19, 2023


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Alan Weiss PhD

Meet Your Host, Alan Weiss

Alan Weiss is one of those rare people who can say he is a consultant, speaker, and author and mean it.

His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients such as Merck, Hewlett-Packard, GE, Mercedes-Benz, State Street Corporation, Times Mirror Group, The Federal Reserve, The New York Times Corporation, Toyota, and over 500 other leading organizations. He has served on several boards of directors in various capacities.

His prolific publishing includes over 500 articles and 60 books, including his best-seller, Million Dollar Consulting (from McGraw-Hill) now in its 30th year and sixth edition. His newest is Your Legacy is Now: Life is not about a search for meaning but the creation of meaning (Routledge, 2021). His books have been on the curricula at Villanova, Temple University, and the Wharton School of Business, and have been translated into 15 languages.

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Show Notes

Bonanza: A situation or event that creates a sudden increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits.

It was also a TV show in the heyday of westerns, and ran from 1959 to 1973, second only to Gunsmoke in longevity. It’s still shown in reruns on a variety of cable channels.

By accident, I happened to see one the other day with a disclaimer on the screen, citing racial stereotyping on the show and to be aware of it. My first reaction was that this racial and gender stereotyping was all-too-common in the past. My second, however, is that wouldn’t a viewer know that and understand how far we’ve come and how far we still may need to go? (I don’t readily recall stereotyping on Bonanza, although maybe their Asian cook was the problem somehow.)

I believe we’re all adults above a certain age, imbued with intelligence and judgment, which allows us to hold jobs, drive cars, and feed ourselves. (If a child were watching that rerun, somehow, would the kid understand the “trigger warning”?)

Is this a legitimate warning or is it just more virtue signaling, like signs and flags on lawns? Those represent to me people trying to convince you of their virtue without necessarily behaving with virtue. (I’m all for stopping at a “stop” sign for everyone, but for me a “rolling stop” is okay.) After all, the station doesn’t have to run Bonanza at all. (CVS has taken tobacco out of its stores but not sugary candies and processed foods.)

My feeling is that we learn from the past, both in our victories and our defeats, in our honorable behavior and in our sins. That’s the only way to improve the future, not by eradicating the past, or shouting opposing views down on campuses, or demanding we all take loyalty oaths to whatever cause. (Don’t laugh, they’re required in some universities for newly hired professors. You have to sign a diversity or inclusion oath, or the offer is rescinded. Remember when we were proud of having Communist professors speak their peace?)

The media today are full of derivatives (a new “Frasier” with some new characters, appropriately diverse, which is not going to equal the original); new takes on “reality” shows (a 72-year-old “golden bachelor”); celebrity game shows (Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy) where the questions are either easier or the answers are hinted at. 

Let’s be honest about the past and optimistic about the future. Revising or eradicating the past doesn’t improve the present and pretty much undermines the future.

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Alan Weiss’s The Uncomfortable Truth® is a weekly broadcast from “The Rock Star of Consulting,” Alan Weiss, who holds forth with his best (and often most contrarian) ideas about society, culture, business, and personal growth. His 60+ books in 12 languages, and his travels to, and work in, 50 countries contribute to a fascinating and often belief-challenging 20 minutes that might just change your next 20 years.

Introduction to the show recorded by Connie Dieken