Great Op-Ed piece in the NY Times about a time, not so long ago, when Bell Labs actually paid its executives to repair to the University of Pennsylvania campus to study James Joyce, and be lectured to by “the poets W. H. Auden and Delmore Schwartz, the Princeton literary critic R. P. Blackmur, the architectural historian Lewis Mumford, the composer Virgil Thomson,” and others.
The reason: to broaden their intellectual outlooks.
The author, my friend Wes Davis, reports that the program was halted in 1960, eight years after it started:
Bell gradually withdrew its support after yet another positive assessment found that while executives came out of the program more confident and more intellectually engaged, they were also less interested in putting the company’s bottom line ahead of their commitments to their families and communities.
Nice try while it lasted.