The Moonshine War (1969)

There is little surprise that you can put together a good action novel based upon the partnership of a corrupt federal officer (a “revenuer”) and a bunch of city thugs to try to take over a cache of moonshine is rural Kentucky in the 1930’s. A decent writer can create a suspenseful book based on that premise.
Elmore Leonard populates this tale with his normal abnormal cast of broken people, and makes them seem realistic. Good dialog and complex relationships that show real feeling. The work of a great writer.
But what makes this book stand out is a scenario I have not heard existed since the Civil War. The “war” between the evil gang and the bootlegger protagonist is witnessed. The town comes out, sets up blankets, shade, and liquid refreshments to watch and comment on the proceedings.

Elmore Leonard’s genius is mixing hilarious contexts with very serious plot items, and making it work.
Highly recommended.

Has anyone attempted to apply Business Process Improvement (BPI) or Lean Six Sigma techniques to the recruitment and hiring process?

The past few months of dealing with this has convinced me that the process is broken. I’m not making that judgment because of failures to find me job opportunities. I’m actually making good progress in that area. An empirical look, however, shows many areas that need examination.
There is tremendous waste in the process. A few examples:

  • Resumes – tremendous ambiguity in purpose, form, usage. There’s a whole industry that is feeding off this information gap.
  • Requisitions – again ambiguity in what to include and why. Requirements are over-specified. The processing of the requisition has numerous inefficient and ineffective hand-offs. Tracking is usually manual.
  • References – who is going to list a bad reference? Why bother with these?
  • Recruiters – poor souls who are under more performance pressure that telemarketers. There is no time to do the job right. The greatest tell here is that the initial contact from many of them is hurry, hurry, hurry. Then …….. nothing. Communication skills are omitted.
  • Interviews – I happen to be good at these. However, that has absolutely no correlation with job performance. It would be better to invite a candidate to work for a day, observed, and evaluate them based upon that. But, I’m getting into solutions.

So, I would like to know if anyone has researched this out carefully. It seems like there are billions of dollars in wasted effort in this area. If we tolerated that kind of drain on any other process, we’d go out of business. What do you think?

Seeing Dune Messiah

Just finished re-reading Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert (1975). I was busy working and studying for my masters when I first read this. It was a time that I experimented with speed reading, so this re-read allowed me to savor some of the many levels to this novel.

Dune, the first novel, was a tale of politics and conquest. Dune Messiah is a tale of sacrifice to pay the price for the conquest. The theme is blindness. Oracles that cannot see key parts of the future. Plots with unseen complexities that undo the scheme. Physical blindness that gives sight. The Fremen traditionally abandon the blind to the desert – a metaphor for all those who are caught up in their particular blindness.