The Rosy View From the Top


One of my favorite stories growing up was one written by Dr Suess entitled, Yertle the Turtle. The story teaches children about authority, contempt and leadership in a way elementary school children can understand. The TED lecture by Alain de Botton below provides another point of view on contempt and snobs.

Alain de Botton: A Kinder Gentler Philosophy of Success

Botton has touched upon an extremely important social problem. The definition of what defines success or failure in life affects us all. One of the leading feminists of the 20th century, Betty Friedan, wrote a famous book that touched upon the same theme as de Botton, namely, what defines success, self-worth, achievement, merit for women. Her definition of success for modern women sounded just like the definition of success for modern man. Wo/men ought to be given the same opportunities for professional achievement that are open to men. It is an argument that resonated with millions of women and, in countless ways, improved the social fabric of our country. But, at the same time, the modern feminist movement brought with it the problem of snobbery, contempt and distain for women who chose to focus their talents on improving the lives of those near and dear to them. Success, for some women who achieved positions of national or international leadership, meant leadership at the national or international level. Anything less, well, let’s say these other women could have done it if they tried harder.

To be continued…