※ The librarian’s service

The librarian’s service:

I saw a great story in James Clear’s “3-2-1” today.

Lillian Moore shares a quick story that reveals what really motivates people:

“A few months after my husband and I moved to a small Massachusetts town I grumbled to a resident about the poor service at the library, hoping she would repeat my complaints to the librarian. The next time I went to the library, the librarian had set aside two bestsellers for me and a new biography for my husband. What’s more, she appeared to be genuinely glad to see me.

Later I reported the miraculous change to my friend. “I suppose you told her how poor we thought the service was?” I asked.

“No,” she confessed. “In fact—I hope you don’t mind—I told her your husband was amazed at the way she had built up this small town library, and that you thought she showed unusually good taste in the new books she ordered.”

This reminded me of the parable of the wind and the sun. It is an idea I don’t implement often enough.


I also subscribe to James Clear’s newsletter and read the same bit.

When I read this story I immediately thought, this is not repeatable. Even if it is, how is going to a third party with an issue and hoping they’ll accurately convey your issues only to have the third party change it going to necessarily benefit the original person? There are any number of points in this story where things could have gone poorly and, as far as I can tell, exactly one that ends in this sunny outcome.

This is a passive-aggressive’s dream result. It’s impractical in practice.

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About Paul

I’m a Detroit expat recently returned from Tokyo living in Chattanooga. I’m a consulting security professional and father of two. I promise that my views and politics are mine; not yours or my employer’s or anyone’s. I follow no party or affiliation or anything. My things are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license unless otherwise stated.

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