The Technical Term for No Change

The best quote from a conference I was at this week came via Linda Cannell. She cites Mark Yudof, president of the University of California:

The saga of efforts to reform higher education often seems like a Russian novel: long, tedious, and everyone dies in the end.

Second best quote comes from Linda herself:

There is a technical term for people who do not change: dead.

OK, full disclosure: change is hard from me. (My coworker’s response to this, quoting Bartok in Anastasia: “I think I’m gonna die of not-surprise.”) I could bore you with all the deep-seated psychological reasons why this is so, but I shall resist.

Change is inevitable, of course. So the question is not “Will we change?” but, “How will we change?” Change is hard for many because it implies (and almost inevitably includes) some kind of loss. When we embrace or face something new, that requires letting go of something else which we may have appreciated or just gotten used to.

So for me, it helps to try to see the positive and not fixate on the negative. For example, it helps to look at change in terms of creativity, something I find energizing.

While–as I’ve said here and here–I don’t believe in change for the sake of change, our publishing environment has made change (and probably lots of it) inevitable. The solution is not longing for the good ol’ days (though appreciate and learn from them we must) but finding ways for us and our coworkers to honor the past and find the motivating benefits in the new.

Author: Andy Le Peau

I've been an editor and writer for over forty years. I am passionate about ideas and how we can express them clearly, beautifully, and persuasively. I love reading good books, talking about them, and recommending them. I thoroughly enjoy my family who help me continue on the path of a lifelong learner.

5 thoughts on “The Technical Term for No Change”

  1. Steph

    You are absolutely right! I’ll have to fire my research assistant. (Wait! I don’t have a research assistant–oh,oh!)


  2. I think the actual quote is something like ‘I’m going to have a heart attack and die from not-surprise’. I have four kids and Aladdin has superseded their generations. What can I say. 🙂

    By the way, Linda’s opening quote was my favorite, too. That conference was a once-in-a-lifer one for me. Great content, great people. Loved it all!


  3. Mark

    Thanks for the link. Lessig has some excellent ideas and Hart is right to highlight them. We find ourselves embroiled in this very issue at IVP–we often have difficulty publishing our own books electronically–trying to track down permissions, trying to negotiate reasonable terms if we do find them. Sometimes we just have to walk away from the possibility.


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