Malicious Mouser*

Posted by jlubans on February 16, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

Caption: Getting an earful. Illustration by Edward Eksergian, 1906.

“In the top of a tree was an old eagle's nest,
Where she and her young with contentment were blest.
A sow and her family took up their abode
In the hollow trunk, just close on the road,
While a wild cat reposed in a hole in the middle,
And all went as happy and gay as a fiddle,
Till the cat, with her evil and treacherous mind,
Which to trouble and mischief was always inclined,
Crept up to the eagle and said, ‘Woe is me!
The old sow I am sure is uprooting the tree!
She will root all around till down it will fall,
And then she'll devour us, young ones, and all!’
The eagle, affrighted, would not leave her brood,
Lest they all perish while she went for food.
This done, the old cat went down to the sow,
Saying, ‘Friend, I'll tell yon, you'll have trouble now,
The old eagle is watching till you go away,
To get one of your piggies for dinner today.’
The sow was now frightened as much as the eagle,
And nothing could her from the hollow inveigle,
So both of these families were starved in the tree,
And the wild cat and her young ones feasted in glee.
The friend who drops in to slander a neighbor
Is more to be shunned than a foe with a saber.”

And there you have it, how to sow dissent in an organization.
The Malicious Mouser, seen at tree’s base, undermines trust and brings ruin with her slander.
How often have I fallen for this ploy? How about you?
The antidote has always been for direct communication between the aggrieved; go direct to the alleged wrong doer. You’ll discover no wretched plot or plan, other than that cooked up by the go-between.
The go-between – inclined for “trouble and mischief” - always has his or her own agenda, as they say, and I can assure you it is never for your benefit.
Is not that the point of all gossip, to turn one against the other, to pretend a moral superiority to others?
Samantha Hines review of Fables suggests that the book could be a way to broach and air workplace problems.
Thummel’s clever verse just might get people talking about trust and how to keep it strong and sturdy.

*Source: Aesop in Rhyme by Mary Leone Gilliam Thummel with illustrations by Edward Eksergian. St. Louis, MO? 1906.

Fables for Leaders Library of the Week: University of Arkansas University Library, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Get your copy of Fables for Leaders at Amazon.

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

“(T)horoughly enjoyable both in content and in design…”

Posted by jlubans on February 14, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

Samantha Hines, the editor of the PNLA Quarterly, reviews “Fables for Leaders” in the February issue.
You can click on the review from the table of contents.
Or you can go directly to the review by clicking here.
Ms. Hines thoughtful and insightful review includes suggestions for using the book for raising staff awareness and understanding of organizational issues.
Quoting Hines:
“The presentation of the fables and accompanying text provides an excellent launching point for conversation among fellow library workers. I could see this book being the basis of a leadership discussion group, with meetings to discuss one or two of the fables at a time. Discussing a fable might also liven up a staff meeting or serve as an icebreaker activity for an association or organizational retreat.”
So, “Hear ye, Hear ye” aspiring leaders and followers: Get a copy of “Fables for Leaders” and try out her ideas. You will not regret it.

© Copyright John Lubans 2018


Posted by jlubans on February 09, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

Caption: Illustration by Percy J. Billinghurst (1871 -1933)

Whoe’er by practice indiscreet
Has pass’d for a notorious cheat,
Will shortly find his credit fail,

Though he speak truth, says Esop’s tale.
The Wolf the Fox for theft arraign’d;
The Fox her innocence maintain’d:
The Ape, as umpire, takes his seat;
Each pleads his cause with skill and heat.
Then thus the Ape, with aspect grave,
The sentence from the hustings gave:
“For you, Sir Wolf, I do descry
That all your losses are a lie—
And you, with negatives so stout,
O Fox! have stolen the goods no doubt.”

And so it can be at work.
If you are a lowdown, deceitful, conniving, treacherous double dealer, well what would you expect your work mates to think when you do something right? (“Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” comes to mind)
Or, as one moralist puts it: “The dishonest, if they act honestly, get no credit.”

*Source: The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

“Original, practical and worthy”

Posted by jlubans on February 06, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)


TD, the magazine of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), reviews Fables for Leaders in its February print issue:
“… this self-proclaimed "anti-textbook" is simply a collection of fables and commentary centered around the idea that people have spent thousands of years learning from stories, and that those stories still have lessons for today.
… (T)his book is original, practical, and worthy of a spot on any leader's shelf.”
For the full review, please click here.
TD is ATD’s flagship print publication, with a readership of 120,000, sharing best practices with high-level training professionals.

Posted by jlubans on February 06, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

Friday Fable. Phaedrus’ “THE PROUD FROG”*

Posted by jlubans on February 02, 2018  •  Leave comment (0)

Caption: Who croaks first?

“When poor men to expenses run,
And ape their betters, they’re undone.

An Ox the Frog a-grazing view’d,
And envying his magnitude,
She puffs her wrinkled skin, and tries
To vie with his enormous size:
Then asks her young to own at least
That she was bigger than the beast.
They answer, No. With might and main
She swells and strains, and swells again.
“Now for it, who has got the day?”
The Ox is larger still, they say.
At length, with more and more ado,
She raged and puffed, and burst in two.”

Right now I am in Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico, where not long ago one could buy froggy souvenirs: blown up, taxidermied frogs downing beer, playing the saxophone, the trumpet, the accordion and the guitar, or dealing cards and smoking cigars; whatever your gringo heart might desire.
Alas, the “raged and puffed, and burst” condition can afflict the less than mighty among us who profess to be wiser, better, cooler, etc.
Apoplexy in humans is often caused by overweening ambition just like for the “proud frog”.
So, entertain yourself at your next panel of experts by listening for loud popping noises.

**Source: The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.

“Fables for Leaders” Library of the Week: The Veterinary Medicine Library of the North Carolina State University.
Get it? Stories for vets to tell their talking animals. Maybe someone in the business school will borrow it?
Karen Muller reviews Fables for Leaders in “American Libraries” in her “How We Lead” column. Click here.

© Copyright John Lubans 2018