I started The Final Days, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. I figured that this was an appropriate book to read soon after finishing Richard Reeves’ President Nixon: Alone in the White House. I had expected for Reeves’ book to go from the first day of Richard Nixon’s Presidency up to the very last day, and, while it technically did that, it cramped the events after the resignations of Haldeman and Ehrlichman into a short epilogue. Well, The Final Days primarily focuses on the Nixon White House after the resignations of Haldeman and Ehrlichman, so it’s a good book to read soon after finishing Reeves’ book!
On page 31, we read that “when Haldeman resigned, he had warned Haig about Nixon’s tendency to isolate himself, to refuse to see advisers with bad news or unpalatable recommendations.”
How am I on this? Well, there are things that I just don’t want to hear! Recently, I’ve been saying to myself a lot, “Don’t ask questions that you don’t want to hear the answer to.” I don’t want to hear what people are saying about me, or what they really think about me. Even if I suspect that I have a hunch what they are thinking about me, I don’t want to hear it! I have enough problems struggling with grudges and a depressing recognition of my own limitations, without having to be saddled with additional burdens, as people judgmentally deconstruct me and attribute to me flaws, both real and imagined. Maybe that sort of attitude means I’m not strong enough. Oh well.
As I’ve said before on this blog, however, I respond well to certain types of constructive criticism. When it’s mocking and belittling, I don’t respond well to it. When it’s matter-of-fact and mentions things I can do, I’m more open to it. Of course, there are many people in the world who have bosses who delight in the former sort of criticism. Many of them learn to cope with it and not to let it bother them the rest of the day. Some are more successful at this than others are.