06/21/05 - indecision

In today's excerpts - Ulysses S. Grant comments on the crucial role of decisionmaking in war and Linda Obst, producer of such films Sleepless in Seattle and Contact, comments on decisionmaking in movie production:

"That winter James Rusling, a colonel in the quartermaster's department, caught his first look the hero of Chattanooga [Grant], and was disappointed. Here was no shiny general with brass buttons, sash and sword, but a rather common-looking man, just like 'a country storekeeper or a western farmer.' The general was 'evidently intent on everything but show.' But when it came to giving orders, Grant came alive, his 'clear and penetrating eye' and set jaw suggesting that he could 'dare great things, and hold on mightily, and toil terribly' in pursuit of his objective. He might be a man of few words, but 'he knew exactly what he wanted, and why and when he wanted it." Nearly every night the general could be found using the telegraph to keep tabs on his command (and the enemy), as he pondered the next move.

"Once, the colonel approached Grant with a requisition order authorizing large expenditures. Briefly reviewing the report, the general gave his approval, catching the colonel by surprise. Might the general want to ponder the matter a little longer? Was he sure he was right? Grant looked up? 'No, I am not," he responded, 'but in war anything is better than indecision. We must decide. If I am wrong, we shall soon find it out and can do the other thing. But not to decide wastes both time and money, and may ruin everything."

- Brooks D. Simpson, Ulysses 

"A show falls behind when decisions aren't made on time. A show in trouble in prep has critical casting still open in the last few weeks and some of its locations are not locked in. If a movie falls behind in prep, it will stay behind and is likely never to recover.

- Linda Obst, Hello, He Lied

author: Linda Obst
title: Hello, He Lied
publisher: Broadway Books
date: Copyright 1996 by Lynda Obst
pages: 204


Brooks D. Simpson


Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph Over Adversity, 1822-1865


Houghton Mifflin Company


Copyright 2000 by Brooks D. Simpson


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