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April 24, 2009

News & Opinion: 445 Years and Still Going Strong!

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 2:30 PM – Filed under: Leadership & Strategy, Management & Workplace Culture

Today is William Shakespeare's birthday (if he had lived past his death, he'd be 445 years old today) Anyway, here's to the man that created entertainment, thought provoking monologues on the human condition and many, many quotes to fill tons of 365 day calendars on office desks. Today, NPRR ran a little story about Will and his marvelous cliches (er quotes). Granted in Will's time, these were NOT cliches - but our overuse of them have almost rendered them mute.
Well, almost.
With out 'To Be or Not To Be', 'Out Damned Spot', or 'What Fools These Mortals Be' I don't know where we as a literate society would be. Surely not as good as we are with good ol' Will's insight! If you're not sure about what a cliche is NPR put this little check list to make sure writers can not put themselves in that big, box overused phrases (Thanks Linton Weeks of NPR):
"It is a cliche that most cliches are true," observed Stephen Fry in his 1997 book, Moab Is My Washpot, "but then like most cliches, that cliche is untrue." Ah, the cliche. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 1) The cliche can be shorthand for imparting information. 2) It can be an acknowledgment that we are drinking from the same Big Gulp, that we share a canon of literature in this brave new world. 3) It can convey a sense of innocence and sincerity. 4) Or it can be groan-inducingly funny.
So, here's to William S. and his wise ways! (For more about it, check NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103376025&ft=1&f=1032)
Oh, and if you're feeling really 'Shakespeare' today.. Check out Paul Corrigan's book: Shakespeare on Management in the funky Andy Wharhol cover art. This book is about the psychology of leadership using Shakespeare's characters. Could this be viewed as Elizabethan overload? I don't think so!!
Happy Reading, everyone... and Happy Birthday, Will!

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.