Q Research: Portrait of a small Strategic Marketing Research Company
This is a portrait of a small business I started and ran for eight years from 1988 to 1995. It was a small strategic marketing research company that offered something quite different to clients; most of whom appreciated it and some didn’t.
It is perhaps a little self-indulgent publicising Q Research so many years after it closed, but there would have been sensitivities and confidentiality issues previously. Please skip this article, if the topic isn’t of interest.
The key elements described are small business, marketing research and what is involved. The theoretical framework for our approach was based on the work of Australia’s most recognised social scientist Frederick Edmund Emery, with whom I worked at ANU (the Australian National University), and in particular his Search Conference methodology, which I have mentioned several times previously (see The Art of Prophecy). Also relevant are sampling and survey research methodology, questionnaires, quantitative and qualitative approaches and analysis. Don’t switch off. I won’t be providing details.
What is History 8 by EH Carr: The next two Lectures or Chapters 5 and 6
History as Progress & The Widening Horizon
In What is History: Sleep Patterns we found that what we view as normal wasn’t necessarily the same in other periods. Sleep patterns were quite different before the coming of electric and gas lighting. Similarly the view of history has changed as well.
The two brilliant lectures in EH Carr’s What is History on the historian and his facts and causation were covered in the two previous articles: What is History 5: EH Carr Historians & their Facts and What is History 7: Causation in History covering EH Carr’s earlier lectures 1 to 4 in the book.
The current lecture 5 on History as Progress is perhaps Carr’s most brave and modern chapter in the book. While speculative, it raises issues that we still need to deal with, both in our understanding of history and our current understanding of what civilisation means. As such, the topic needs to be confronted and not marginalised.
One Sentence: a story about great sentences and great first sentences
This article on one sentence may veer in an entirely different direction, or not! I don’t always want to be predictable.
Journalists and newspapers often write articles on the first lines or one sentence of novels in holiday periods and the best of them are marvellous. Jane Austen and Tolstoy are always the first cabs off the rank.
Great opening sentences in fiction
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
— Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, 1813
Comment: This one sentence isn’t a bad summary of the novel. Underlying it is an indictment of late 18th Century inheritance laws and the inability of women to make their own way in the world, of which Jane Austen was painfully aware. She covers this topic in all her books on 18th century county life and manners.
The Story: David Bader’s Haiku barely does a better job than Jane’s sentence.
What is History? by EH Carr: The next three Lectures (Chapters 2 to 4)
Society & the individual; History, science & morality; Causation in history
I covered Lecture 1 or Chapter 1 (pp 7-30) in What is History, quite comprehensively in What is History 5: Historians and their facts. This was a very satisfying process because it was easy to tease erudite and incisive answers from Carr’s wonderful sentences and quotations from other historians.
The remaining lectures on initial reading tend to be slightly less incisive and a little more difficult in interpretation. However, there is still a large amount of fascinating material and the content Carr is grappling with, that is, defining a new way of looking at historical method (historiography) is too important to ignore.
The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats — a muse on literature
Cast a cold Eye On Life, on Death. Horseman, pass by!
Epitaph on Yeats grave, Drumcliff, County Sligo
When I was living in Derry, I stopped at Yeats’ grave a couple of times on my way down the west coast. My memory of it was coloured by the season — terribly cold, grim and isolated.
We passed by in 2014, travelling up the west coast in an unlikely Indian summer. The grave was no longer isolated, nasty strip developments along the highway had almost caught up with it. The site was pleasant, warm and sunny with stunning views of the escarpment.
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born in Ireland and died in France. His remains were exhumed and moved to Ireland in 1948.
Percent or (percentage) used to be spelled per cent (and sometimes still is). It comes from the latin per centum meaning by the hundred.
What percent means is changing any list of numbers that add up to an irregular total into a modified list that adds up to 100. Once you get used to it reading a table of percentages becomes familiar and comfortable. Percentages can also be expressed as fractions and odds (think racecourses).
For example, 50% is a half, or odds of 2 to 1 in racecourse parlance (still meaning 1 chance in 2, but expressed this way because you get $2 profit for every $1 bet). 33% is about one third, 25% a quarter, 20% one fifth and 10% one tenth. Continue reading “The Humble Percent & Food Labels”→
What is History 6: The Development or Evolution of Religion
Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens: A brief history of humankind Harper 2014 (first published in Hebrew in 2011).
I feel guilty delving into Harari before embarking on Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel 1997 a much more profound book and one I have spent an enormous amount of time with, by reading and delving into Diamond’s sources. Harari himself acknowledges Diamond. He says:
Special thanks to Jared Diamond, who taught me to see the big picture.
Yuval Noah Harari’s book Sapiens: A brief history of humankind is a brave and ambitious enterprise, but he doesn’t quite carry it off. In some ways, he reminds me of Marvin Harris a popularising anthropologist who wrote Cannibals and Kings in 1977, which I also like immensely. For all his faults, Harari takes us on a great journey.