Friday, June 25, 2010

The Game

In response to my blog on networking, anonymous comments as follows:

"Little and big cliques arise that tend to retard rather than advance the scholarship in that area."

One of the oddest pieces of advice I received from a law professor on trying to break into the academy was to approvingly cite influential scholars and follow up with them to create a "citation ion orgy."

As usual this "A" hits the nail on the head. It also sback a memory of riding in a car several years ago with a more senior law professor. In fact, it was one of my former professors who has done extremely well. WA bit of a mentor. We were chatting about a law professor who had been in the business about as long as I had and he observed "He really knows how to play the game." He said this with complete admiration. Playing the game meant that day's version of self promotion. For example, he might refer to a relatively modest book review in the Harvard Law Review as "my piece in Harvard." Actually today since Harvard has many law reviews this is an even more common ploy. No matter if you are in the 10th ranking specialty review you call it "my piece in Harvard."

But playing the game was so much more than just that. Today's technology means one can be a full time game player.

It reminds of a story told about Harrison Ford trying to get a job in Hollywood. Evidently he was being told why he could not succeed and the person showing him a clip of Tony Curtis playing a delivery boy. The director or agent said about Curtis, "You can just tell he is a star." Ford's reply was "I thought he was supposed to be a delivery boy."

And I thought law professors taught and wrote and did not worry about "the game." What I do not understand is why they did not go into another line of work -- business, sales, administration, politics, etc. Actually both the former professor and the young professor he admired so much did exactly that.

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