PARIS— "What barnacular song do the puddering sirens sing, to lure the writer into the land of jargantua?"
Invited by the British Treasury to do something about the lax standards of official English in the 1950s, the grammarian Sir Ernest Gowers thus mocked the average civil servant's propensity to invent words, to use a long one when a short one would do, and to use 10 words when three would be enough.
Sir Ernest should have seen some of the current crop of modern business books. They groan with what H.G. Wells's Mr. Polly called "sesquippledan verboojuice," making no concession to style and little to syntax.
Frequently, they are written - it would often be more accurate to describe them as boilerplated together in committee-speak - by teams of two, three or more. Judge from the following examples, taken at random from some current guru-tomes:
"Core competencies are not just another way of describing vertical integration."
"Differences in value creation insights and parenting characteristics are reflected in different criteria for heartland businesses."
"Leaders need to take their businesses ahead of prosumerism [sic] and the process-cost curve."
"Our idea is that, eventually, within any holon [sic] in the holonic network, all support and management processes will be outsourced."
No wonder that one company, Executive Book Summaries of Bristol, Vermont, makes a living by selling eight- page summaries of the top business books, revealing the ideas, if any, without the flab.
The company receives more than 1,200 books a year, and Jeff Olson, one of the company's three editors, acknowledged that the staff had problems staying awake some afternoons as it culled this overabundance for insights. "We drink a lot of coffee," he said.
Executive Book Summaries selects 30 books a year to summarize and about 120 to review.
What makes a good business book? "It must be immediately useful," Mr. Olson said. "And we are always looking for something new."
His favorite business writer is Peter Drucker, but not many come up to this standard. His main dislikes are the uneven quality of the writing in books done by committees, the lobotomized quality of much academic prose and the fact that many books come from the publishers "almost completely unedited."
If reading the average business book makes you believe that business schools ought to teach more creative writing and less creative accounting, here is one that, for a change, is well enough written to be enjoyable. "Prophet of Management," a collection of the writings of Mary Parker Follett, comes courtesy of the Harvard Business School Press.
Mrs. Follett, who died in 1933, brought the brisk directness of an old- fashioned school principal to business writing. One feels instinctively that she would have despised a holon or a prosumer as much as a split infinitive and would have raised the eyebrows behind her wire-rimmed spectacles at some of the random polysyllables that pass for English in many business books today. She had high ideals for industry and commerce, and these included style, elegance and good expression.
"I see no reason why businessmen should have lower ideals than artists or professional men," she said. "Let us, indeed, do everything possible to make business management a profession, but while we are doing it, I think we may feel that businessmen can make as large a contribution to professional ideas as the so-called learned professions."
How holonic!

A holon (Greek: ὅλον, holon neuter form of ὅλος, holos "whole") is something that is simultaneously a whole and a part. The word was coined by Arthur Koestler in his book The Ghost in the Machine (1967, p. 48). Koestler was compelled by two observations in proposing the notion of the holon. The first observation was influenced by Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon's parable of the two watchmakers, wherein Simon concludes that complex systems will evolve from simple systems much more rapidly if there are stable intermediate forms present in that evolutionary process than if they are not present. The second observation was made by Koestler himself in his analysis of hierarchies and stable intermediate forms in both living organisms and social organizations. He concluded that, although it is easy to identify sub-wholes or parts, wholes and parts in an absolute sense do not exist anywhere. Koestler proposed the word holon to describe the hybrid nature of sub-wholes and parts within in vivo systems. From this perspective, holons exist simultaneously as self-contained wholes in relation to their sub-ordinate parts, and dependent parts when considered from the inverse direction.
Koestler also points out that holons are autonomous, self-reliant units that possess a degree of independence and handle contingencies without asking higher authorities for instructions. These holons are also simultaneously subject to control from one or more of these higher authorities. The first property ensures that holons are stable forms that are able to withstand disturbances, while the latter property signifies that they are intermediate forms, providing a context for the proper functionality for the larger whole.
Finally, Koestler defines a holarchy as a hierarchy of self-regulating holons that function first as autonomous wholes in supra-ordination to their parts, secondly as dependent parts in sub- ordination to controls on higher levels, and thirdly in coordination with their local environment.

Such portraits are often the most interesting, and sometimes the only interesting parts of their
writings; and if they be sincere, we seldom complain of the minuteness or prolixity of these personal memorials.
by Edward Gibbon

Poland plans to tear down hundreds of Soviet memorials

Since 1989, Poles have removed hundreds of memorials erected after World
War II thanking the Red Army for liberating Poland from the Nazis. But
around 200 memorials still remain. Now, the government wants them gone.


  • 発音記号[proulíks | –]
[形]長ったらしい, 冗長な;〈人が〉冗長に書く[話す].


  • 発音記号[kɑ`nsəkwénʃəl | kɔ`n-]
2 〈人が〉(社会的に)重きをなす;重要な, 重大な.
3 〈人・態度などが〉尊大な, もったいぶった, うぬぼれの強い.