Tom Peters on the dull old days / life before “disruption”

“It is the conceit of every age to say that we live in confusing times compared to the placid age the prior generation experienced.”

Henry Mintzberg

While we’re on the topic of perpetual and accelerating change, here’s a helpful reminder from Tom Peters:

I like to laugh at myself as I huff and puff and proclaim these to be times of unprecedented exponential change. I love Henry Mintzberg’s wonderful line, “It is the conceit of every age to say that we live in confusing times compared to the placid age the prior generation experienced.”

Madness is the watchword of 2018, but my mom, Evelyn Peters, 1909–2005, lived through rather turbulent times as well:

The Model T, cell phones, satellites, TV, TV dinners, microwave ovens, jets, the Great Depression, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Derek Jeter, the civil rights movement, gay pride, women’s suffrage, Gandhi, Oklahoma and New Mexico and Arizona and Hawaii and Alaska become states, Churchill, World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, the A-bomb, the H-bomb, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, 9/11, the Cold War, the disintegration of the USSR, William Howard Taft (just missed Teddy Roosevelt!), FDR, Ronald Reagan, mainframe computers, PCs, the iPod, the Internet, air-conditioning, Weedwackers, Mickey Mouse, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles, Madonna, Nancy Drew, the first five Harry Potter books, antibiotics, MRIs, polio vaccine, genetic mapping, man on the moon, more or less permanent space station. (But, alas, she didn’t live long enough to see the Cubs win another World Series or to take a selfie.)

I will not retract a word in this chapter on madcap change, but I will acknowledge that we are not the first to experience a ceaseless string of immodest disruptions. Your call, but I’d stack the madness of my mom’s ninety-five years with what’s on the plate today.

Tom PetersThe Excellence Dividend

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