After last year's round of visits to see my terminally ill father, I came up with a new set of requirements for a vacation: (1) you have to go somewhere you've never been before, (2) it has to be somewhere where you don't have any relatives, and (3) it must be beautiful.
The idea behind a vacation, of course, is to shake loose the daily doldrums. Stop thinking about work. Get away from it all.
A high school buddy of mine back east is an entrepreneur these days. After being downsized, rightsized, then discharged (and disgusted) from companies for which he did very good work -- and which posted healthy quarterly profits -- he decided that loyalty to an employer was a kind of stupidity.
So he went into business for himself. No more hierarchy. No more out-of-touch corporate big wigs. He was on the front line, and he called the shots. If something needed to change, then, by God, he changed it.
I have never been asked to give a high school (or college, or, for that matter, an elementary school) commencement address. For all I know, I never will be.
But just in case, I have prepared the following remarks.
Dear Graduating Class of [fill in the blank],
The whole idea of historical lessons probably sounds tedious to you right now. The golden days of summer beckon. School is ended.
But before you go, let me tell you about one of history's lessons I find inspiring.
I jumped on a slow couple of days to catch up on my professional reading. Because of the way the pile got stacked (pure accident), I ran across two articles, back to back, that said more together than they would have separately.
The first was a piece called "Books, Bytes, and Buildings," published by the Benton Foundation, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. There were many findings about "the future of [public] libraries in the digital age," based on surveys, phone polls, and focus groups. Here are the two findings I'd like to focus on this week: