(FORTUNE Magazine) – Secrets of Greatness: How I Work I APPRECIATE the superhuman effort and hours put in by the superachievers profiled in the March 20 issue ("All in a Day's Work"). What is missing is how they balance life with work. You call Jim Buckmaster, who leads a very balanced life, the "anti-CEO." In my opinion he is the ideal. Brett Yormark, who puts in a grueling 19 hours at work, leaving only five hours for everything else, including sleep, is "the overtime guy." Even the Army calls four hours a night sleep deprivation and has used it most notably at Abu Ghraib. Young people need role models who are good citizens and family members as well as achievers of "greatness." Unfortunately you reinforce the idea that to attain one, you have to sacrifice the other.
TEDDY SHAH, Mission Viejo, Calif.
How the Rest of Us Work I'D LIKE TO SEE a similar story ("How I Work," March 20) on the executives of firms under 1,000 employees, particularly those under 100. Leaders of major corporations have staffs to handle details and screen problems. Managers of smaller firms must deal with everything from leaky roofs to acquisitions and business development. Let's not forget those leaders who are just as pressed for time but not as famous.
MARK R. HALDEMAN VP, Northwest Engineering Service Tigard, Ore.
Most Admired I WAS HAPPY TO READ Professor Clay Christensen's critical comments on GE's alleged greatness ("What Makes GE Great?" March 6). But he may be wrong in criticizing the company for its focus on growth through acquisitions: GE's real capability is precisely its capacity to absorb and fully integrate other firms into its corporate structure. If only HP and GM had that capacity.
ALAIN VERBEKE Haskayne School of Business University of Calgary, Alberta
THERE ARE CERTAINLY plenty of reasons to admire GE . The company seems blessed with pioneering spirit, unafraid to try new things, and willing to learn from failure. However, in the picture of Jeff Immelt addressing "GE's future generals," his audience seems to be largely Caucasian males. While I suspect the picture you used isn't representative, it left me wondering if we're admiring all the right things.
EDWARD HARE Allentown, Pa.
Train Tracking IF THE DAKOTA Minnesota & Eastern Railroad project is all Barney Gimbel suggests ("What It Takes to Build a 21st-Century Railroad," March 20), why must it rely on a public subsidy to be constructed? Where are the private-sector investors? Perhaps they recognize that since DM&E doesn't offer direct service to the utilities that might burn the coal it originates, connecting railroads such as CSX and Norfolk Southern will siphon off the economic rents and leave DM&E barely able to stay in operation. Moreover, if the federal government subsidizes DM&E construction, privately held competitors BSNF and Union Pacific may cut back on their own plans for capacity expansion.
The pregnant question is why the DM&E should be an island of socialism in a sea of railroad capitalism. This may be why the Bush administration seeks to scrap this $35 billion federal loan-guarantee program.
FRANK N. WILNER Alexandria, Va.
Where's Annie? I MISS ASK ANNIE by Anne Fisher. It was a source of practical information on real office problems. I hope it's only on hiatus. CHRISTINE DITULLIO REITER Pasadena, Calif.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We love Annie too--so much so that we've asked her to focus her prodigious energies on bigger features about career and workplace issues. Her column still appears on fortune.com, under Careers.
Bashing Buffett Back
IT PAINS ME to say that Warren Buffett seems to be losing his edge. In "Cut Your Gains" (Dispatches, March 20), he bashes all professional financial advisors, ignoring the fact that there are unethical people in every profession. An honest, professional, intelligent advisor can actually lower costs, decrease risk, and increase return over the long run. Since Mr. Buffett owns 12.1% of Ameriprise Financial, his tirade seems hypocritical at best and completely irresponsible to his shareholders at worst.
KURT D. BUCHERT, CFP, CLU, CHFC
CORRECTION In "The Price of Iraq" (April 3), we said that Operation Swarmer, launched March 16, 2006, began "three years to the day" after the invasion of Iraq. It did not. The U.S. attack began on March 19-20, 2003.
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