After receiving a pretty lucrative grant from some folks I just can't name here, at my former gig at Pacific Tech, I recruited a large group of our best and brightest to help me work on some really exciting, cutting-edge science. We were building a laser--something that could revolutionize the industry. But these kids--bright as they may have been--needed motivation. They were a slack bunch, always goofing off. I needed to ride them hard, and I did. Without my sense of discipline, all bets would have been off--they'd have faded into the muddling mediocrity that is American higher ed.
The worst offender was Chris Knight. Worst because Knight was probably the most intelligent and the least ambitious, and his sarcasm and tomfoolery tainted everyone. I was working very hard to get young Mitch (whose last name I'll keep mum, to protect him) on track, but Knight... Knight really steams me, you know? With his pool parties and his ironic t-shirts. The project did get back on track for a while, 'til Knight famously blew up my plans with that popcorn stunt. That shit-eating little weasel confirms everything this book argues.