Mary McCarthy famously said of Lillian Hellman, “Every word she writes is a lie–and that includes ‘and’ and ‘the’.” In terms of his conclusions, that pretty much describes the depth of my disagreement with Paul Krugman, columnist for the New York Times.
I disagree with just about every opinion Paul Krugman voices. I am a believer in the free market, he seems to be a committed socialist. I am a fiscal conservative with a fierce belief in balanced budgets, he an unapologetic Keynesian. I feel the current health care reform bill will be catastrophic for small business and employment, he feels it is salvific. (Note his most recent op-ed in the December 4 New York Times.)
Nevertheless, I view Paul Krugman as by far the most useful popular economic writer out there. He has a real didactic gift for simply explaining his process, analyses, and conclusions. I would love to have him as a professor (which he is at Princeton University). He’s a damn good (and unpretentious) writer. He’s just a terrific explainer. He illuminates the most byzantine financial matters with a clarifying ease that is most helpful to me as an entrepreneur seeking to understand the world macro-economic picture.
I bring this up because I increasingly notice people of both liberal and conservative persuasions are losing a fair-minded and objective openness to quality argumentation.
It is a practical value for an entrepreneur to constantly be open to new thoughts, to consider the discomforting. For me, one way to enforce this discipline is to actively read and engage with those I disagree with. I really try to keep my firm, Corporate Rain, a forum for open discussion with colleagues and employees. Healthy dialogue and disagreement in a corporate community is creative and energizing. It fosters a frisson of aliveness and passion.
That said, ultimately there is only one boss, and, in the immortal word of Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be King.”