Thursday, May 24, 2007

How to get ahead

With many readers graduating or returning from drug binges in foreign countries this month, I thought I'd share this article by conservative Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, outlining 10 steps to becoming a federal judge by age 35. Even though it's 10 years old, it's is a useful guide for avoiding the peskiness of a meritocracy in any field.

My favorite step is number 7:
Most people believe that the way to get ahead in politics is to do a lot of favors for others so they'll owe you favors when you need help. In fact, people hate to pay back favors -- it makes them feel cheap; anyway, they always think the favor you're cashing in is worth much less than the one you're asking in return. ...

The way to get ahead in politics, in fact, works just the opposite; call it Kozinski's Axiom: Get people to do you small favors and next time they'll owe you big favors. Once people have a stake in your career they start to take pride in your success.
Thanks to Will Evans for the tip.

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