George Hello, Mike. Welcome to your first day in the division's nerve center. Plenty of excitement here. There are about 200 things to get done in six months, and something tells me that won't be enough for you.
Michael Ha. Just get me started.
George Did you get your office set up?
Michael No problems. It'll be nice to have a window for once.
George Don't forget to use it - for looking, not jumping. By the way, did you get any new angles on Bob Hirsch before you left?
Michael Funny you should ask. He took me out to lunch on Wednesday to prepare me for coming over here. Nice guy. A little mellow maybe, but he was genuinely concerned about my progress and future. Maybe I had him misjudged.
George Bob's a manager, not a technician. He got the work done through you and the other staff people.
Michael Right, and he was real laid back about it. You know, he never barreled in and told us what to do. But somehow we always knew what he expected of us.
George Do you feel you got a lot done?
Michael Sure. And I feel we were the ones to do it, not him. That's why I was coming down hard on him for not knowing some stuff. For a while I thought we were carrying him.
George And now?
Michael Well, like you said, he's the manager.
George When actions are performed
Without unnecessary speech,
People say, "We did it.
Michael Huh?
George That's another line from the Tao Te Ching.
Michael Oh. Look, as long as I'm going to be here for a while, could you just answer one question? What is the Dowday Jing, and what's it got to do with management?
George The Tao that can be told
Is not the eternal Tao.

The name that can be named
Is not the eternal name. (1)
Michael Now, I have no idea what that means.
George I'm teasing you a little, Mike. Tao translates loosely into "the way" and it's spelled T-A-O but the T is pronounced very softly like a D.
Michael Tao, as in Dow Jones.
George That's right.
Michael So, what is the book about? The chemical industry? Ha Ha. The Tao Chemical Corporation. Get it?
George That's good, Mike. In a way the Tao Te Ching is about the chemical industry, our industry, and everything else. In another way the book isn't about anything - it just is.
Michael Well can't you tell what it's about just by reading it?
George Yes and no. It depends on the reader's attitude and what he wants to learn. Your attitude or mood can make it nonsense or make it rich.
Michael Well, I assume you like it because you keep throwing out these little quotes all the time. What does it do for you?
George That's hard to say in words.
Michael How else might you say it?
George An understanding of the Tao comes gradually. It's not like a scheduling algorithm that's comprehensible just by studying the formulas and subroutines. It helps to play with the Tao a little before you understand it. Then you just might come to look at the world in a more holistic way.
Michael Holistic? You meant like a donut?
George Well, closer to donuts than anything I could say right now. I see that you enjoy playing with the words too. That's going to help if you really want to understand.
Michael OK. Tell me quickly how a diet of donuts can make me more holistic. Oh, and I like lifesavers too - and bagels!
George Then you're on your way. But a diet like that would cause some problems for your body. The Tao teaches harmony and balance.
Michael Balance of what?
George Opposites. It tells us to go with the flow.
Michael Opposites? Now you're talking conflict, not harmony.
George Not if you observe carefully. Look outside there. The wind and the tree aren't in conflict. See the way it just bends gracefully. Nature is full of harmony if you look for it. The Tao Te Ching uses a lot of natural metaphors.
Michael And man? Aren't we responsible for messing up that natural harmony? Are you going to tell me that we should return to a simpler, more natural state?
George Well, at this point a complete return wouldn't be that harmonious. But think about your body, those trees out there, the music you enjoy. They've all got rhythms and contrapuntals. They all flow naturally. Let's chat about these ideas again. I'm due at a meeting in five minutes.

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