Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cathie Black's Four Tips On How To Be A Leader

Cathie Black is back in the news, offering advice on how to be a leader to the Daily Muse.

She is described as a "former chairman of Hearst Magazines, best-selling author, advisor, investor and board member in digital start-ups and entrepreneurial companies," but not once is her ill-fated 96 day chancellorship of NYC schools mentioned in the piece.

We here at Perdido Street School, having been keen Black-watchers the past few years since she got run out of the NYCDOE, have our own Cathie Black tips for leadership.

First, know absolutely nothing about the job you're doing, the people who work under you, and the kids you're supposed to be working for.  If possible, have contempt for all of those people and things and show that contempt by mocking people as you close their kids' schools or by suggesting birth control as a solution for all the problems those people bring to you for resolution.  Or even better - reference the Holocaust when talking about making choices about schools.

Second, hide in your office when it becomes clear that the people and your own underlings (including those at Tweed) have as much contempt for you as you have for them.  Go MIA for as long as possible, never give an interview to the press or allow a reporter anywhere near you, as you have no idea what you're talking about and can be assured that if you open your mouth to the press, you will only confirm that fact to others.

Third, drink as much as possible to hide your pain.  Attend as many parties as possible, where social drinking is accepted, but go over the limit as often as you can and sometimes take out a tree on the way home with your car.  Then have your p.r. flak insist you weren't driving drunk and tell the press that the driveaway where the other 20 cars made it out okay was too narrow for you and you just couldn't help but ding a couple of cars and killing a tree on the way out.

Fourth, try and re-emerge into the business world after the disaster that was your 96 day wonder chancellorship by offering an idiotic little piece like "How To Be A Leader" at the Daily Muse even though it's clear you do not know the first thing about good leadership and frankly wouldn't know a good leader if you fell over one on the way home from Happy Hour.  Know that your entire career has been enabled by nepotism and cronyism, that knowing and socializing with the right people means more than anything else in 2013 America.

These are the tips we here at Perdido Street School have picked up from watching Ms. Black work her magic on both the private and the public sectors.

Now you don't have to read her little Daily Muse article or, heaven forbid, buy her books on leadership skills.


  1. I grew up in the Brooklyn of the 1950's and we had insight into women such as Ms Black. In fact, we had a crude saying that went something like this. "You can go much further with a good B_ _ _ J_ b, then with just a pretty face. Ms Black is far from pretty and I suspect not good at anything other than social climbing.

    1. The profound vision for humanity you've outlined in your comment and your beautiful choice of words have left me almost speechless.
      I thank you for sharing the advice you received from your mentors -- what an inspiring quote! -- about how to get along in your first job. I feel for you, and celebrate with you the amazing professional success you've achieved.
      I fully trust your judgement of Ms. Black's character and track record in the publishing industry. Thanks for sharing your painful memories of growing up with limited options and how much further you have gone in life!

  2. I miss her, don't you?

    As long as she was there, Bloomberg's arrogance, his contempt for students, pawns and teachers was on tragicomic display all the time. She did more to discredit the Mayor' dictatorship of the schools more than any other factor.

    Walcott's pedigree with the Urban League and his relative competence - not in running the schools,f curse, but in managing perceptions - have allowed him to divert and neutralize public anger with the terrible damage the Mayor has done to the public schools.

  3. Arrrgh. Good gnuz from the hinterlandz. B-lo's Board of ed managed to tell our local Zillionaire the CEO of M&T Bank to piss off with his suggestion to hire 30 TfA ers for the Fall term here. Crank that I am I actually enjoyed some positive emails from a Board member who agrees with me that TFa is bad medicine. Life is Beautiful my friends.

  4. Yes, we here in Buffalo managed to stave off TFA, but only for a short while. Superintendent Brown, in cahoots with our local Billionaire had this to say: " “It was a very short time frame for the board. We are definitely going to continue our discussions for possibly next year,”.
    But I digress. This is a delightful post regarding Cathie Black. The memory of her ineptitude is always good for a giggle. And your photo says a thousand words. With two bottles of water and a pop can in front of her, she looks like she is working off a major hangover. Thanks for the laugh! :)