Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Americans' circle of close friends shrinking - Yahoo! News

Americans' circle of close friends shrinking - Yahoo! News: "Offbeat News

We can't be far behind.

Americans' circle of close friends shrinking

By Amanda BeckMon Jun 26, 8:48 AM ET
Americans are more socially isolated than they were 20 years ago, separated by work, commuting and the single life, researchers reported on Friday.
Nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they had "zero" close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. More than 50 percent named two or fewer confidants, most often immediate family members, the researchers said.
"This is a big social change, and it indicates something that's not good for our society," said Duke University Professor Lynn Smith-Lovin, lead author on the study to be published in the American Sociological Review.
Smith-Lovin's group used data from a national survey of 1,500 American adults that has been ongoing since 1972.
She said it indicated people had a surprising drop in the number of close friends since 1985. At that time, Americans most commonly said they had three close friends whom they had known for a long time, saw often, and with whom they shared a number of interests.
They were almost as likely to name four or five friends, and the relationships often sprang from their neighborhoods or communities.
Ties to a close network of friends create a social safety net that is good for society, and for the individual. Research has linked social support and civic participation to a longer life, Smith-Lovin said.
People were not asked why they had fewer intimate ties, but Smith-Lovin said that part of the cause could be that Americans are working more, marrying later, having fewer children, and commuting longer distances.
The data also show the social isolation trend mirrors other class divides: Non-whites and people with less education tend to have smaller social networks than white Americans and the highly educated.
That means that in daily life, personal emergencies and national disasters like Hurricane Katrina, those with the fewest resources also have the fewest personal friends to call for advice and assistance.
"It's one thing to know someone and exchange e-mails with them. It's another thing to say, 'Will you give me a ride out of town with all of my possessions and pets? And can I stay with you for a couple or three months?" Smith-Lovin said.
"Worrying about social isolation is not a matter of nostalgia for a warm and cuddly past. Real things are strongly connected with that," added Harvard University Public Policy Professor Robert Putnam, author of "Bowling Alone," a book on the decline of American community.
He suggested flexible work schedules would allow Americans to tend both personal and professional lives.

Build, Buy or Borrow For Your Home - Newcastle NSW

When You Want To Build, Buy or Borrow For A Home -- Newcastle NSW Australia on Squidoo

Come visit the Newcastle Build, Buy and Borrow For Your Home Info Lens at Squidoo. What's a Lens you ask? It's a way to focus the information from the internet, on a particular topic. Great idea, huh?

New DNA Sampling Spills The Beans On Family Secrets

Who are you?

More and more people are trying to trace their ancestry with a quick DNA test. A new book -- and my own experiment -- show that science can reveal some interesting things about your past, but not necessarily what you want to know.

By Laura Miller

June 26, 2006 | Every family has its genealogical myths, legends and secrets. There's the Native American ancestor some clans like to talk about and the Jewish or black (or in the case of African-American families, white) great-great-grandparent that no one mentions or even knows for sure existed. Whole nations tell themselves similar stories about the past. Icelanders believe their country was settled by Norsemen and the British or Irish women they brought (often unwillingly) with them. British schoolchildren are taught that when the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain in the 5th century, they pushed Britain's Celtic inhabitants out to the hinterlands of Scotland and Wales and made England an essentially Anglo-Saxon country.

Until recently, it's been impossible to prove or disprove any of these stories. DNA analysis has changed all that, and as New York Times science reporter Nicholas Wade explains in his new book, "Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors," in the process it has toppled more than one cherished belief. It turns out, for example, that most Icelanders are probably descended from Norsewomen and that a large proportion of the male population of Britain carries the Y chromosome of the Celtic speakers who were supposedly chased off the land by the Anglo-Saxons. Similar research has established that an astonishing 8 percent of the men living in the vast territory formerly controlled by the Mongol Empire are most likely direct descendants of Genghis Khan.

The power of DNA analysis to nab criminals, exonerate the wrongly convicted and determine a baby's true paternity has understandably impressed everyone and provided new fodder for trashy daytime talk shows. With "Before the Dawn," however, Wade goes further, offering a survey of how cutting-edge genetics has been combined with a variety of other sciences to solve, or at least further illuminate, some long-standing puzzles in humanity's distant -- and more recent -- past. As with any powerful%

Monday, June 19, 2006

Do You Really Want Relationships With Clients?

David Maister --Do You Really Want Relationships?
It's easy to say we are committed to developing strong relationships with clients. There is a long way from saying, to doing though, as David Maister reveals in this article

by David Maister 2005

In The Trusted Advisor (Free Press, 2000), my coauthors and I pointed out that building trusting relationships with clients leads to many benefits: less fee resistance, more future work, more referrals to new clients, and more effective and harmonious work relationships with the clients.

However, many people have built their past success on having a transactional view of their clients, not a relationship one, and it is not clear that they really want to change. Stated bluntly, professionals say that they want the benefits of romance, yet they still act in ways that suggest that what they are really interested in is a one-night stand.

In romance, both sides work at building a mutually supportive, mutually beneficial relationship. They work hard to create a sense of togetherness, a feeling of “US.”

Each tries to truly listen to what the other is saying and feeling. The emphasis in discussions is less on the immediate topic at hand, and more about preserving the emotional bond and the mutual commitment.

Rather than seeking immediate short-term gratification and reward, romance relies on making investments in the relationship in order to obtain long-term, future benefits.

This is all seemingly attractive, but it is not an accurate description of the way most professionals deal with their clients, nor how many clients deal with their professional providers.

Most professional-to-client interactions involve little if any commitment to each other beyond the current deal. The prevailing principle is “buyer beware.” Mutual guardedness and suspicion exist, and the interaction is full of negotiation, bargaining, and adversarial activity. Both sides focus on the terms, conditions, and costs of temporary contact. Each side treats THEM as “different,” as “other.”

This is the way many professionals and their clients want it to be. They want a transaction, and may not yet (if ever) be ready for relationships. Rather than acting to build relationships, both sides might initially have the brakes on...
Find the rest of the article here

Friday, June 09, 2006

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Put Your Sandals On Your Head - Taking Action

Ordinary Mind Zendo

The buddhist tradition involves many sometimes crytic but ultimately thought-provoking teaching tales known as Koans. Here is one that seems to touch on a topic that is close to my heart, as the endless procession of talking not doing seems to occur at every turn. In business there seems to often be a lot of talking and much less formulation of the talk into an action plan and the action plan then followed through to full implementation and achievement of intended result.

In your own experience, have you talked about what you want to do or achieve, and yet never got beyond that loop of discussion?

See if you can relate some experiences you have had where talking goes on and on and around and around with no clear action ensuing. Perhaps the thought here is: Act Now.

Nansen Kills The Cat.

Once the monks of the eastern and western Zen halls were quarrelling about a cat. Nansen held up the cat and said, "You monks! If one of you can say a word, I will spare the cat. If you can't say anything, I will put it to the sword." No one could answer, so Nansen finally slew it. In the evening, when Joshu returned, Nansen told him what had happened. Joshu, thereupon, took off his sandals, put them on his head and walked off. Nansen said, "If you had been there, I could have spared the cat." Click on the link to discover the analysis of this koan.
Nansen Kills The Cat . A Koan

...And put your sandals on your head!