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Gordon Gecko, Greed is Good

Creator

Gordon Gecko is a character portrayed by Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street (1987).

The movie was directed by Oliver Stone, produced by Edward R Pressman and written by Oliver Stone and Stanley Weiser.

Purpose

The story of the movie is about a wealthy corporate raider Gordon Gecko played by Michael Douglas and his interactions with the young stockbroker Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen.

Douglas won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Gecko.

The character Gordon Gecko is said to be a composite of several people – including Stone’s father who was a stockbroker on Wall Street during the Great Depression.

The film portrays an archetypal view of 1980’s success. The lead character famously states: “greed, for lack of a better word, is good”.

It contrasts the desire for a quick-buck or fast result epitomized by Wall Street as compared to the traditional steady, hard work approach of many companies and individual workers. 

Gordon Gecko - Greed is Good - Wall Street Movie 1987

Manifesto

The manifesto or philosophy of the movie is best captured in a scene where Gecko (Douglas) speaks to the stockholders of the fictional company Teldar Paper.

Here is an extract from that speech:

I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them!

The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed – for lack of a better word – is good.

Greed is right.

Greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind.

And greed – you mark my words – will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

Source

Comment

Does a manifesto have to be ‘real’ to be valuable? Not in this case.

The success of this manifesto is that it was able to capture and speak to the prevailing mood of the 1980s – it simply presented it in as an easy to digest movie morsel.

In particular, this fictionalized account has a licence that a true story based on specific individuals probably would not have been able to – except with a certain promise of a law suit.

Interestingly, while the purpose of this manifesto was as a social commentary, it did have the unexpected side-effect of inspiring many people to work on Wall Street – based on the number of comments that Stone, Sheen and Douglas received over the years.

Also, it shows that a manifesto always sits within a wider context of people, story and narrative. It highlights that some will adhere to your viewpoint, others will not and there will be consequences for the actions that follow.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

Creator

Adolf Hitler was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party. He was Fuhrer or leader of Germany from 1934 until his suicide in 1945. He provoked World War II by invading Poland in 1939.

Purpose

Mein Kampf was written as a launchpad for Hitler’s political career. Many potential leaders – for example US Presidential candidates – continue to use this strategy to launch their campaigns.

Hitler wrote these books while interned as a prisoner for political crimes. His intent was to share and strengthen his position within the German Socialist Party.

The book was a best seller in Germany in the 1930s and by the end of World War II, about 10 million copies had been sold or distributed in Germany – including a copy for every soldier fighting at the front.

Interestingly, when he became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 he distanced himself from his writings suggesting they were mere “fantasies behind bars”

Adolf Hitler - Mein Kampf

Manifesto

Mein Kampf translates from German into English as either ‘My Struggle’ or ‘My Fight’.

Hitler’s manifesto was published as two volumes – one in 1925 and one in 1926. It has been suggested that the second version was written because he believed that the ideas in the first volume were misunderstood. They are part autobiography and part political ideology.

The primary thesis of Mein Kampf is his belief of “the Jewish Peril” – a conspiracy by the Jewish people to gain world leadership. This follows his first encounters with Jews when he moved to Vienna and his growing hatred of them. He also shares his disdain for Communism.

From this base, Hitler also proposes a “New Order” for Germany that includes military action and hints at the genocide of the Jewish people.

He also shared his intent to completely destroy the German parliamentary system because he believed it was corrupt.

The books were banned in many countries and in some cases remain so. In Germany, their copyright laws enabled the book to pass into the public domain in on January 1, 2016 – 70 years after Hitler’s death in 1945.

Source

Comment

This is one of the great examples of the potential sharp edge of a manifesto. They are often offered as a statement of belief and this means not all of us are going to agree with all of them.

They also show the awesome power of a strong manifesto, which can equally be used for both good and evil.

Paul Roos: 25 Points to Success

Paul Roos - Here It Is - book coverCreator

Paul Roos is a former AFL (Australian Football League) player and coach. He played a total of 356 games for Fitzroy and Sydney and was a two-time All-Australian captain. He also coached Sydney and Melbourne. Roos was the coach of the Sydney Swans in 2005 when they won their first premiership in 72 years. Roos is a member of the AFL Hall of Fame and currently works in the media.

Purpose

When Roos finished his playing career after 16 years and 356 games (only 12 people have played more games) he sat down and made a list of 25 things “I liked and disliked about coaching and playing. I wanted to make sure I never forgot what it was like to be a player.” (Page 5)

The list became the basis for his coaching at both Sydney and Melbourne.

Manifesto

The secrets of the Roos method: 25 points to success

  1. Always remember to enjoy what you’re doing.
  2. Coach’s attitude will rub off on the players.
  3. If coach doesn’t appear happy/relaxed, players will adopt same mentality.
  4. Never lose sight of the fact it is a game of football.
  5. Coach’s job is to set strategies: team plans, team rules, team disciplines, specific instructions to players.
  6. Good communication skills.
  7. Treat people as you want to be treated yourself.
  8. Positive reinforcement to players.
  9. Players don’t mean to make mistakes – don’t go out to lose.
  10. 42 senior players – all different personalities, deal with each one individually to get the best out of him.
  11. Never drag a player for making a mistake.
  12. Don’t overuse interchange.
  13. Players go into a game with different mental approach.
  14. Enjoy training.
  15. Make players accountable for training, discipline, team plans – it is their team too.
  16. Weekly meetings with team leaders.
  17. Be specific at quarter, half, three-quarter time by re-addressing strategies – don’t just verbally abuse.
  18. Motivate players by being positive.
  19. After game don’t fly off the handle. If too emotional say nothing, wait until Monday.
  20. Surround yourself with coaches and personnel you know and respect.
  21. Be prepared to listen to advice from advisers.
  22. Keep training interesting and vary when necessary.
  23. Team bonding and camaraderie is important for a winning team.
  24. Make injured players feel as much a part of the team as possible (players don’t usually make up injuries).
  25. Training should be game-related.

Source

Paul Roos, Here It Is: Coaching Leadership and Life; Viking, Penguin Random House, 2017, Pages 21-22.

Comment

This is a classic list manifesto. What stands out in reading his book is that he demonstrates and examples of each of the principles and how he used them throughout his coaching career.

The most interesting thing is the insight – to be a good coach, I need to remember what it’s like to be a player.

This applies in some many places. For instance:

  • To be a good manager I need to remember what it’s like starting out in your career
  • To be a good presenter I need to remember what it’s like to be an audience member
  • To be a good writer I need to remember what it’s like to be a reader

I think most of us can apply that rule to our own work in some way.

More

Paul Roos website

Paul Roos podcast – he shares these lessons applied to work, life and business

Dr Alan Goldman – A Toxic Leader Manifesto (a great comparison – how many show up on both lists?)

Quigley and Baghaic: As One Manifesto

Sally Mabelle: From Separation to Connection

 

Derek Sivers – A New Kind of Entrepreneur

Derek Sivers - Anything You WantCreator

Derek Sivers the founder of CD Baby once the largest seller of independent music on the web with more than $100 millon in sales for over 150,000 musician clients. He later sold this business for $22 million.

Purpose

Given his success, a lot of people were asking Derek for advice on how to approach their lives or their business. This is his experience and philosophies from the ten years he spent starting and growing a small business.

Manifesto

  • Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself.
  • Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself.
  • When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world.
  • Never do anything for the money.
  • Don’t pursue business just for your own gain. Only answer the calls for help.
  • Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what’s not working.
  • Your business plan is moot. You don’t know what people really want until you start doing it.
  • Starting with no money is an advantage. You don’t need money to start helping people.
  • You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people.
  • Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business.
  • The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy.

Source

In a chapter titled ‘What’s your compass?’ of Derek Sivers’ book Anything You Want he offers the above words as some of his common themes. (Pages 2-3)

Comment

A classic rule based manifesto.

What I like about this one is that it’s a personal manifesto he applied to his own business. As he suggests in his book, “This is most of what I learned in ten years, compacted into something you can read in an hour.” (Page 1)

More

If you want more the sub-title of the book is: 40 Lessons for a new kind of Entrepreneur – read the rest of the book. It’s short, engaging and insightful.

Derek Sivers website – includes links to videos of his presentations

Derek’s most popular presentation – How to start a movement

Ian Berry – Changing What’s Normal

Geoff McDonald – The Expert Manifesto

The Flying Solo Micro and Small Business Manifesto

 

Google: AI Principles

Creator

Google

Purpose

Google uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) in lots of ways – to help customers, create better products and to help people tackle urgent problems.

“We recognize that such powerful technology raises equally powerful questions about its use. How AI is developed and used will have a significant impact on society for many years to come. As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right. So today, we’re announcing seven principles to guide our work going forward. These are not theoretical concepts; they are concrete standards that will actively govern our research and product development and will impact our business decisions.”

Manifesto

Objectives for AI Applications

1 Be socially beneficial

2 Avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias

3 Be built and tested for safety

4 Be accountable to people

5 Incorporate privacy design principles

6 Uphold high standards of scientific excellence

7 Be made available for uses that accord with these principles

AI Applications we will not pursue

  1. Technologies that cause or are likely to cause overall harm.
  2. Weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people.
  3. Technologies that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms.
  4. Technologies whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.

Source

Google Blog post by Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Comment

What I love about this manifesto is that it address both sides of the equation. Part One offers some objectives – this is where we would like to go. And Part Two offers ‘applications we will not pursue’ which tells where we’re not headed.

You might like to think of this as creating a pair of railway tracks. We want to steer in this direction but not too far here or there.

If you’re in a delicate, hotly debated or fast moving space it might be appropriate to include both ‘toward’ and ‘away’ from guidelines as part of your manifesto. If this fits your situation then Google’s AI Principles is an example worth following.

More

Google: Ten things we know to be true (an early manifesto from Google)

The Science Code Manifesto (software guidelines in science)

Eric Raymond – The Cathedral and the Bazaar (Open Source software manifesto)

 

Manifesto for Smarter Working

Creator

Mark Grant, GTM Manager: Digital Workspace Productivity from Dimension Data

Purpose

“Many organisations are being held back from adopting smarter, more flexible ways of working due to their own cultural intransigence.”

“The benefits of flexible and remote ways of working have been well-documented, from increased productivity to improved staff morale. But there remains a tendency among some employers to view such smarter working practices with cynicism and suspicion. For many years it was believed technology was the most significant hurdle to overcome in opening up deskbound office staff to more flexible ways of working.”

Manifesto

Five points we believe employers and employees need to discuss and reach agreement on:

1 We agree the office is just one place we can work

Even the sleekest of offices only suit most of the people, most of the time. There will always be instances where the office isn’t the best environment to work.

2 We do not need excuses to work smarter

Many people feel the need to excuse remote working with reasons unrelated to work, such as waiting in for a plumber. But “I will get more work done, to a higher standard” should be the only reason anybody needs.

3 We know trust isn’t about turning up

Healthy relationships rely on trust earned through mutual respect and value. We shouldn’t have to be in an office for people to trust we’re working.

4 We believe great work can happen any time

When we do our best work is rarely dictated by what time it is. What matters most is delivering the best work possible, with consideration for others involved in the process.

5 We value working smarter over working longer

Being first in and last out doesn’t mean someone is working better or harder. We need to evolve the way we measure performance to focus on productivity, not hours and minutes.

Source

Article by Mark Grant on TheHRDirector.com – June 12, 2018

Comment

This is a great example of a simple five-point manifesto making a complex situation simple and manageable. By offering a handful of principles, a clear set of flexible and innovative actions could follow.

In particular, general rules of thumb are open to interpretation rather than being prescriptive. “We believe great work can happen any time.”

(Right now, I’m writing on a kitchen bench as I house-sit two dogs while I watch the football on a cold and wet Sunday afternoon. Great work? Maybe, may be not. You get the point!)

More

The 37 Signals Manifesto from the book Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansso

Haydn Shaughnessy – The New Work Manifesto

Tim Ferriss – The Four Hour Work Week

 

Lebbeus Woods, Slow Manifesto

Creator

Lebbeus Woods (1940-2012) is the author of several books published by Princeton Architectural Press books. Woods was an architectural illustrator.

A curation of Woods blog became a book edited by Clare Jacobson: Lebbeus Woods, Slow Manifesto

Purpose

The slow movement principles applied to architecture.

Manifesto

The new cities demand an architecture that rises from and sinks back into fluidity, into the turbulence of a continually changing matrix of conditions, into an eternal, ceaseless flux

architecture drawing its sinews from webbings of shifting forces, from patterns of unpredictable movements, from abrupt changes of mind, alterations of position, spontaneous disintegrations and syntheses

architecture resisting change, even as it flows from it, struggling to crystallize and become eternal, even as it is broken and scattered

architecture seeking nobility of presence, yet possessed of the knowledge that only the incomplete can claim nobility in a world of the gratuitous, the packaged, the promoted, the already sold

architecture seeking persistence in a world of the eternally perishing, itself giving way to the necessity of its moment

architecture writhing, twisted, rising, and pinioned to the uncertain moment, but not martyred, or sentimental, or pathetic, the coldness of its surfaces resisting all comfort

architecture that moves, slowly or quickly, delicately or violently, resisting the false assurance of stability

architecture that comforts, but only those who ask for no comfort

architecture of gypsies, who are driven from place to place, because they have no home

architecture of circuses, transient and unknown, but for the day and night of their departure

architecture of migrants, fleeing the advent of night’s bitter hunger

architecture of a philosophy of interference, the forms of which are infinitely varied, a vocabulary of words spoken only once, then forgotten

architecture bending and bending more, in continual struggle against gravity, against time, against, against, against

barbaric architecture, rough and insolent in its vitality and pride

sinuous architecture, winding endlessly and through a scaffolding of reasons

architecture caught in sudden light, then broken in a continuum of darkness

architecture embracing the sudden shifts of its too-delicate forms, therefore indifferent to its own destruction

architecture that destroys, but only with the coldness of profound respect

neglected architecture, insisting that its own beauty is deeper yet

abandoned architecture, not waiting to be filled, but serene in its transcendence

architecture that transmits the feel of movements and shifts, resonating with every force applied to it, because it both resists and gives way

architecture that moves, the better to gain its poise

architecture that insults politicians, because they cannot claim it as their own

architecture whose forms and spaces are the causes of rebellions, against them, against the world that brought them into being

architecture drawn as though it were already built

architecture built as though it had never been drawn

Source

https://lebbeuswoods.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/slow-manifesto/

Comment

A classic long list manifesto based on the slow movement. This time applied to architecture. It’s a good example of a philosophy – slow – being applied to a range of new areas.

More

Christopher Richards, The Slow Movement

Academic Slow Food Manifesto

 

Academic Slow Food Manifesto

Creator

‘Allegra Lab: Anthropology, Law, Art & World’ (allegralaboratory.net) is a collective of academics, an association and an online experiment founded in 2013. It explores creative ways to fill the ‘dead space’ that exists between traditional modes of academic publication and ongoing scholarly and societal debates. Allegra Lab discusses issues related to anthropology, law, art and beyond, and it is run by a diligent editorial team of professional scholars.

Purpose

Despite the name the Academic Slow Food Manifesto is not about food! This manifesto is a guide for better academic writing based on ‘real scholarship’ – which like the slow movement takes time to craft.

Manifesto

More more more!
This constant pressure to write more.
More of what?
Slogans, catch phrases?
Analysis for tid-bit quotations?
The same-old, same-old?
They want to stuff our brain
with indicators,
guidelines,
readily-chewed soundbites,
impact and
expected outcomes.
That is not stuff of real scholarship!
That is the stuff of auditing,
of successful annual reporting;
Signs of yielding to extra-academic pressures.
We reclaim the space
for the real pursuit
of unknown horizons,
Of reflection, philosophising
and mind-wandering
We want words, imagination, poetry!
Things impossible to report,
but only thus with real meaning.
But, like slow food,
REAL research takes time
to mature.
It needs tender love and caring;
A space to freely grow.
Less but more
of something
immeasurable
and only thus of true importance.

Source

http://allegralaboratory.net/academic-slow-food-manifesto/

Comment

A list-based manifesto is easy to create. All you need is a list of rules, qualities or statements one after the other.

In contrast, crafting a worldview manifesto takes a little more care and attention to put it all together. Thus this style of manifesto is a consistent fit for the aim: considered academic writing.

More: Four Types of Manifestos

More

Christopher Richards, The Slow Movement

Lebbeus Woods, Slow Manifesto

Todd Henry – Die Empty

Creator

Todd Henry - Die EmptyTodd Henry, Author of multiple books including:

  • The Accidental Creative
  • Louder than Words
  • Herding Tigers, and
  • Die Empty

Purpose

The clue is in the sub-title of the book: Unleash your best work every day

Manifesto – Die Empty

  1. Value your contribution
  2. Avoid mediocrity
  3. Define your battles
  4. Be fiercely curious
  5. Step out of your comfort zone
  6. Know yourself
  7. Be confidently adaptable
  8. Find your voice
  9. Stay connected
  10. Live EMPTY!

Source

Todd Henry, Die Empty

Comment

What a great book title! Die Empty is a powerful call to arms in only two words.

It’s a powerful declaration of your intent to live life in a particular way. I love this manifesto and it’s direct call to action.

I’ve written the chapter headings of Todd Henry’s book Die Empty as a 10-point list manifesto.

More

Book Review of Todd Henry’s Die Empty

And Todd Henry and Three Types of Work

Related

Die Empty is a Rules for Life manifesto. Here are some other manifesto’s that share rules for life:

Jordan B Peterson – 12 Rules for Life

Lori Deschene – Five Rules for Life

Brian Johnson – Five Rules for Life

Got Funny – The 36 Rules of Life

Dr Jordan B Peterson – 12 Rules for Life

Creator

Dr Jordan B Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.

Purpose

The 12 Rules for Life are derived from his best selling book of the same name.

Manifesto

  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back
  2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
  3. Make friends with people who want the best for you
  4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today
  5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
  6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
  7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
  8. Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie
  9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t
  10. Be precise in your speech
  11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
  12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

Source

Peterson’s Wikipedia page

Comment

For me, there is a wonderful mismatch here. These are the 12 rules from a world-wide best selling book. And yet, they don’t seem that special. I expected they’d be miracle insights and instead they almost seem home-grown, down-to-earth and even folksy. This might be their charm and the reason they have cut through all of the noise out there.

More

The Most Valuable Things Everyone Should Know – a posting of 42 Life Rules on Quora by Peterson that preceded this book.

Related

Lori Deschene – Five Rules for Life

Brian Johnson – Five Rules for Life

Got Funny – The 36 Rules of Life

Charlie Sheen’s Manifesto for Life

Miyamoto Musahi – 21 Rules to Live Your Life – the great Samurai Warrior