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I have long believed that what I call "self-study" is the best way to learn what you need to know to become the best professional you can.

I define self-study as follows: "Self-study is an orderly process of learning about a topic by reading books or articles and thinking critically about their content, without the assistance of a teacher."

I learned most of what I know by going to a quiet corner with a book in hand and reading and taking notes. For me, it started when, as a GS-05 Air Force acquisition trainee, I read a regulation about source selection and wondered about the meaning of "evaluation criteria." It started me down a path that I have never left.

The Government has, for all intents and purposes, abandoned trying to educate and train its contracting personnel. No loss—it has never done a very good job. Generally, the official classes it provided were not excellent. But I recently bought a box of books that were printed by the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the 1960s for a group "national security" self-study program in which my uncle, an electrical engineer with the old Rockwell Corporation, had participated. One of the volumes was devoted to "procurement." I think that, though now outdated, they are a model for a self-study program for contracting personnel. I have been in touch with DAU to encourage them to adopt such an approach to educating contracting personnel, but DAU has been slow to get off the dime.

Some weeks ago, after I spoke with some personnel at a GSA regional office, a small group of them set out on a self-study program in which they agreed to undertake a five-week deep read of one long chapter in Administration of Government Contracts, 5th edition, by Cibinic, Nash, and Nagle, a book often cited at Wifcon. They are reading Chapter 2, Contract Interpretation, which is 171 pages long. I obtained permission from the publisher to copy and distribute the text of that chapter, and I wrote a short self-study guide for them. I am  not instructing them, but I have provided them with supplementary reading material along the way. They are reading it all on their own time, without official sponsorship or assistance, because they want to learn as much as they can and be the best they can be, and they meet periodically to discuss what they have read. They seized the day and are undertaking the challenge. They are now nearing the end of their unofficial "pilot program." When it's over, I will meet with them to find out whether they think it was useful. I will report what I learn to you here or in a blog entry.

Process improvement and innovation must be achieved through knowledge of concepts and principles. What is a contract? What are the canons of contract interpretation? My take on the acquisition workforce is that most of its members want to know more so they can do more and do better. If that's what you want, then you must accept that you will not get the education in concepts and principles that you need from your employer. You will have to learn on your own, through broad and deep self-study, the way that I and so many of my colleagues did.

As my old colleagues and I get older, we are saddened to see the general decline in the professional status of the contracting workforce. We want to see a return to the professional standing that some of us once had as people deeply immersed in contracting concepts and principles and respected for what we could contribute, not as paper-pushers, but as thinkers. The path to that return is not through official classrooms and "certification" programs, but through books and personal dedication to career-long systematic reading and self-study. You will be what you teach yourself to be.

"If knowledge is power we should look to its advancement at home, where no resource of power will be unwanting."

—Thomas Jefferson, 1821.

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I’m in total agreement with you, Vern.

 You mentioned Nash and Cibinics’ Administration of Government Contracts. I obtained my first copy about two years after joining the Civil Service, as a civil engineer and contract administrator. I read the Book from cover to cover and took it with me overseas to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1983.

Unfortunately, it was stolen from my office at King Abdulaziz Military Academy one night. There were no personal computers or Internet in Saudi. We had no way to find out how to replace it under the primitive limited communication systems available in the Kingdom in the early 1980’s. One ten minute phone call home per week. I wrote a letter to a Corps of Engineers colleague back in Mobile, AL and he mailed me a Xerox copy !

When transferred to Germany in 1987, I was able to buy a newer edition during a trip home. Have referred to the book extensively over the years regarding contract administration, changes, REAs and claims. It’s been used to help save millions of dollars. Bought a couple of later editions, other books in the GWU Series and other Construction Claims case law topic areas for application to government contracting.

.Also subscribed to numerous periodicals and bought other reference books. Fortunately, we had a law library and a technical library wherever stationed,  after Saudi.

Like Vern, I researched and studied many periodicals, GAO protest decisions and Court cases concerning source selection methods and procedures. Read many claims decisions, too.

Had also to maintain  continuing education proficiency to retain my Professional Engineer licenses and for the DAWIA Certification for warrant.

Studied design-build methods and joined DBIA, practiced and taught complete life cycle phases of D-B. 

“Man’s Flight through Life is Sustained by the Power of his Knowledge”

[Inscription by Austin ‘Dusty’ Miller on the pedestal of a Bronze Sculpture of “The Eagle and Fledglings by Carl Mose. Donated to the United States Air Force Academy by members of Air Training Command in 1958.] 

http://75bestalive.org/history_images/publications/eagle_and_fledglings.pdf

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On 4/29/2021 at 7:44 PM, Vern Edwards said:

I have long believed that what I call "self-study" is the best way to learn what you need to know to become the best professional you can.

I define self-study as follows: "Self-study is an orderly process of learning about a topic by reading books or articles and thinking critically about their content, without the assistance of a teacher."

100% agree.

What's interesting to me about this notion is that is seems to be a bit like how my teenage son learns. Sure, he attends school and does the homework and takes the tests. (The kid is doing well academically.)

But that's really not how he learns. How he learns is that something catches his interest and he follows it down a rabbit hole. There are so many tools available to him via the internet, mostly on YouTube. He turns out to have this surprisingly deep knowledge about a lot of arcane history, just by watching YouTube videos about stuff that interests him. Plus, he is developing critical thinking skills and starting to have an understanding of the process of argument, by comparing various videos (with different points of view) about the same topic.

Yes, it is not organized learning but what do you want from a teen?

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I had the good fortune of starting in the Army intern program.  The initial training was concentrated and I had the five week basis contract class at Ft Lee three weeks after starting.  That was followed by multiple Navy and AF classes.  I was mentored by a senior contract specialist who did some of the largest supply contracts in the government at that time.  During that two year period I got to be a witness at an ASBCA hearing.  After that I spent a year at a major R&D agency followed by doing GSA Schedules.  So I learned a lot from a practical experience standpoint in a short time frame.

But the most satisfying experience was browsing through GAO decisions.  That was when GSA had a great legal library.  I could check out Comptroller General Decisions, both hard bound and monthly published decisions, and read at my desk.  I spent hours reading through those and tried to anticipate the outcome and the rational.  I did this for a couple years and always anticipated the next batch of new GAO and BCA decisions.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/1/2021 at 11:26 PM, formerfed said:

But the most satisfying experience was browsing through GAO decisions.  That was when GSA had a great legal library.  I could check out Comptroller General Decisions, both hard bound and monthly published decisions, and read at my desk.  I spent hours reading through those and tried to anticipate the outcome and the rational.  I did this for a couple years and always anticipated the next batch of new GAO and BCA decisions.

There was a time when I battled the bid protest attorneys in the Law Library for a desk.  Then the attorneys got an online legal service--can't remember the name--and the books slept.  One could read Attorney General (AG) decisions too.  GAO acquired its AG books from one of the agencies within the Treasury Department.  They were first editions.  I told the Librarians they had those books there and they gave me a blank stare.

With a "b" number, I could go to the librarians desk and get all the documents associated with that decision.  I could see from 1st draft to final decision and why the final differed from the first cut.  Same think with legislative histories of Public Laws.  I asked for the legislative history on FPASA and they brought the documents in folders in a shopping cart.  There was a time when I knew everything about FPASA, even when DoD was cutting GSA's legs out from under it in 1949-or so.  (Think Jack Brooks and OFPP.)

Best of all was the "microfiche room."  If you could find an open machine that worked, you had access to the gray boxes of microfiche.  All hearings, House and Senate reports, etc. that an inquiring mind might want.  It was a historical heaven at one's fingertips.  After the attorneys had access to lexis/nexis, or something like that, I was one of the few visitors to the Law Library.  But that was the 20th century.

 

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1 hour ago, bob7947 said:

There was a time when I battled the bid protest attorneys in the Law Library for a desk.  Then the attorneys got an online legal service--can't remember the name--and the books slept.  One could read Attorney General (AG) decisions too.  GAO acquired its AG books from one of the agencies within the Treasury Department.  They were first editions.  I told the Librarians they had those books there and they gave me a blank stare.

With a "b" number, I could go to the librarians desk and get all the documents associated with that decision.  I could see from 1st draft to final decision and why the final differed from the first cut.  Same think with legislative histories of Public Laws.  I asked for the legislative history on FPASA and they brought the documents in folders in a shopping cart.  There was a time when I knew everything about FPASA, even when DoD was cutting GSA's legs out from under it in 1949-or so.  (Think Jack Brooks and OFPP.)

Best of all was the "microfiche room."  If you could find an open machine that worked, you had access to the gray boxes of microfiche.  All hearings, House and Senate reports, etc. that an inquiring mind might want.  It was a historical heaven at one's fingertips.  After the attorneys had access to lexis/nexis, or something like that, I was one of the few visitors to the Law Library.  But that was the 20th century.

 

Love it and am jealous!! 
Our Federal Courthouse next door also had a law library that I would visit if our own USACE law library didn’t have something. But they didn’t have what you had.

I did subscribe to several design and construction case law services, both books with annual updates and also to weekly, monthly and quarterly periodicals. 

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New here, so please be gentle :) 

I 100% agree with learning as much as you can and being a professional. As someone new to government contracting, I'm grateful for forums like this one, where I've gotten many great ideas for suggested reading, viewing, and listening material. I'm a bookworm by nature, so I've been trying to get my hands on as much reading material as possible.

However, one thing that seems to be a challenge is obtaining or reviewing some of the "classics"  (e.g. Administration of Government Contracts, Contracting with the Federal Government, etc.) as the prices (+$100) on Amazon are showstoppers. Are there any alternative low-cost reading resources out there? 

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@Mike TwardoskiGood quality professional reading materials are often prohibitively expensive for individuals. That's why every contracting office should have a publications budget and an office library. One problem with an office library, aside from the expense, is that agencies no longer have the secretarial and clerical support needed to administer and maintain a library. It must be done by volunteers. Moreover, office personnel are notorious for not returning materials on time, if at all.

All of us who write professional materials complain to publishers about the prices they charge. But sales of professional publications are low volume, and the prices are necessary to ensure printing, publication, and distribution. The same is true of almost all technical publications.

The GSA self-study group has just finished its reading project. I spoke with some of the participants on Monday, and they were pleased with the project and eager to take on another, so we're working on choosing our next reaad And Professor Ralph Nash has agreed to participate in an "Oxford tutorial" project.

What I especially loved about the GSA project group was how it included both contracting and program office people, all of which enjoyed learning about the rules of contract interpretation and about the process of deep reading, and are eager to learn more.

 

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While I was able to get my government offices to purchase reference books and periodical subscriptions, I also purchased at least two copies of the  Nash and Cibinic series later editions at local college book stores back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. They cost about $85 each from two different bookstores and I considered them to be well worth my personal investment. I didn’t think much of it at the time because I was used to buying my own engineering reference books for years prior to Civil Service. 

Heck, when I worked for the Army COE in Riyadh Saudi Arabia in early to late 1980’s, everyone who wanted a personal desktop computer ordered and bought our own from the US and bought our own software - which I admit was possibly pirate copies from local Saudi stores. I could not afford a hard drive so my computer had two floppy disk drives.

We all brought them to our offices and used them. They beat the heck out of having to share batch runs and typing out punch card programs and data on the only main frame computer the District had and our major site office’s smaller IBM , where we had to go through the computer operator. The alternative was using (personal) TI calculators and hand written/calculated spreadsheets, manually written databases and hand written correspondence for a typist to type and retype...

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If today’s price is $100 jump on it, if your cheapskate federal office won’t buy it. However, shame on them if they won’t spend $100 for a reference book that could save millions. That’s less than one man hour of fully burdened civil-service labor cost for a GS 11.

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31 minutes ago, joel hoffman said:

If today’s price is $100 jump on it, if your cheapskate federal office won’t buy it. However, shame on them if they won’t spend $100 for a reference book that could save millions. That’s less than one man hour of fully burdened civil-service labor cost for a GS 11.

Thank you, Joel and Vern. I may just bite the bullet after searching for better deals over the past few months. It sounds like worthy investment! 

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  • 7 months later...
On 4/29/2021 at 10:44 PM, Vern Edwards said:

Some weeks ago, after I spoke with some personnel at a GSA regional office, a small group of them set out on a self-study program in which they agreed to undertake a five-week deep read of one long chapter in Administration of Government Contracts, 5th edition, by Cibinic, Nash, and Nagle, a book often cited at Wifcon. They are reading Chapter 2, Contract Interpretation, which is 171 pages long. I obtained permission from the publisher to copy and distribute the text of that chapter, and I wrote a short self-study guide for them. I am  not instructing them, but I have provided them with supplementary reading material along the way. They are reading it all on their own time, without official sponsorship or assistance, because they want to learn as much as they can and be the best they can be, and they meet periodically to discuss what they have read. They seized the day and are undertaking the challenge. They are now nearing the end of their unofficial "pilot program." When it's over, I will meet with them to find out whether they think it was useful. I will report what I learn to you here or in a blog entry.

Hello Vern,

I am curious how this pilot program turned out.  Not interested in specific results, as each person's will be their own.  Really just want to know do you have an update to this post, from last year's experience?  I have my copy of Administration of Government Contracts, 4th edition, and am considering this endeavor.  Thanks.

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The participants told me they enjoyed it and found it useful. They told me they learned a lot. I didn't act as a discussion leader, and I didn't participate in all their discussions. In retrospect, I wish I had. Group discussion is hard and requires a guiding hand. I now think that a tutorial approach, in the style of Oxford University, is a good technique, but it requires skill on the part of the tutor that most teachers, including me, don't have and must develop.

See https://www.osapabroad.com/academics/the-oxford-tutorial/ 

That's one reason I'm reading Ward Farnsworth's book about the Socratic method. It also requires some aggressiveness and self-confidence on the part of students.

The reading and discussion group approach requires real commitment on the part of each and every participant, which we had in the pilot program. 

I think lectures are still useful, but the approach must be active—show them, rather than tell them. I find students today to be lousy note takers. And nothing annoys me more than people with open laptops tapping away madly while you lecture. 

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  • 1 month later...

@Vern Edwards I'm guessing you did all this virtually...did you find that effective? 

Back in January 2020, I started a similar project. I put together a nine course syllabus and asked our most junior employees to go on that journey with me. The classes consisted of about 50 pages of prior-to-class reading (Formation and Administration factored heavily into this reading), a short lecture by me on the topic at hand, and then an open discussion. I created discussion questions to prompt conversation. I had big plans to do a subsequent course on more advanced topics. (I've attached the syllabus here in case anyone is interested. I would note that I have no pedagogical training.)

It was going pretty well, I did four lessons, the last one was on March 11, 2020. Then the pandemic hit. I was overwhelmed, especially early, in how much time I was spending in video calls so I suspended the class indefinitely, pending return to building. And nearly two years later, we have not returned to the building. 

In the intervening two years, there has been plenty of discourse on virtual vs. in person learning. One of my biggest intentions with my class was to get these younger COs talking to each other about contracting and I would maintain, to this day, that the best way for that to happen is in person. But that ship may have sailed. 

So anyway, if you did it virtually, any lessons learned on how to make that most effective? 

Basic Contracting Education Syllabus.docx

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@KeithB18

On 2/10/2022 at 8:26 AM, KeithB18 said:

I'm guessing you did all this virtually...did you find that effective? 

Yes, within limits. In my opinion, virtual discussion is not as effective as face-to-face. I have found that to be true even in Zoom get-togethers with old friends. Good discussion requires more than virtual allows. The interface platform gets in the way. Faces and voices are not the same. You can't see body positions or hear sighs of disagreement.

On 2/10/2022 at 8:26 AM, KeithB18 said:

So anyway, if you did it virtually, any lessons learned on how to make that most effective? 

The main lesson is to keep the discussion group small. I'm not sure what the limit is. More than 10 is too many. The more people in the group, the lower the participation rate. And it bothers me to be in a discussion group in which some people don't participate. I always wonder what they're thinking. I think virtual makes some people shy, unless the other participants are close colleagues.

One of the keys to an effective discussion group is a high level of participation.

Another thought: Don't mix newbies with knowledgable people. That might sound counterintuitive—the thought being that it will be beneficial to the newbies—but newbies will be too shy to voice an opinion or will distract the others by interrupting to ask very basic questions. Is the purpose basic education? Then put newbies in your group. If the purpose is to advance the thinking of experienced people, then put experienced people in the group.

There are good arguments against that. Newbies might ask questions that make everyone think. But in my experience the group membership should reflect the objective. Pursuing the objective generally outweighs incidental benefits.

When I started out, I learned a lot by listening to journeymen contract specialists debate rules and procedures. But I listened, kept my mouth shut, made notes, and then did research. I was not invited, and would not have been welcomed, as a participant.

I have taught in-house sessions for government agencies and companies in which they put brand new people in with people who had 20 years of experience. Not smart, in my opinion, from a teaching point of view. That's training for the sake of saying that you've done training. The senior people get defensive if the instructor contradicts them in front of the newbies or says something contrary to what they told a newbie who's in the class, and the newbies just get confused.

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/29/2021 at 10:44 PM, Vern Edwards said:

I have long believed that what I call "self-study" is the best way to learn what you need to know to become the best professional you can.

I define self-study as follows: "Self-study is an orderly process of learning about a topic by reading books or articles and thinking critically about their content, without the assistance of a teacher."

I learned most of what I know by going to a quiet corner with a book in hand and reading and taking notes. For me, it started when, as a GS-05 Air Force acquisition trainee, I read a regulation about source selection and wondered about the meaning of "evaluation criteria." It started me down a path that I have never left.

The Government has, for all intents and purposes, abandoned trying to educate and train its contracting personnel. No loss—it has never done a very good job. Generally, the official classes it provided were not excellent. But I recently bought a box of books that were printed by the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in the 1960s for a group "national security" self-study program in which my uncle, an electrical engineer with the old Rockwell Corporation, had participated. One of the volumes was devoted to "procurement." I think that, though now outdated, they are a model for a self-study program for contracting personnel. I have been in touch with DAU to encourage them to adopt such an approach to educating contracting personnel, but DAU has been slow to get off the dime.

Some weeks ago, after I spoke with some personnel at a GSA regional office, a small group of them set out on a self-study program in which they agreed to undertake a five-week deep read of one long chapter in Administration of Government Contracts, 5th edition, by Cibinic, Nash, and Nagle, a book often cited at Wifcon. They are reading Chapter 2, Contract Interpretation, which is 171 pages long. I obtained permission from the publisher to copy and distribute the text of that chapter, and I wrote a short self-study guide for them. I am  not instructing them, but I have provided them with supplementary reading material along the way. They are reading it all on their own time, without official sponsorship or assistance, because they want to learn as much as they can and be the best they can be, and they meet periodically to discuss what they have read. They seized the day and are undertaking the challenge. They are now nearing the end of their unofficial "pilot program." When it's over, I will meet with them to find out whether they think it was useful. I will report what I learn to you here or in a blog entry.

Process improvement and innovation must be achieved through knowledge of concepts and principles. What is a contract? What are the canons of contract interpretation? My take on the acquisition workforce is that most of its members want to know more so they can do more and do better. If that's what you want, then you must accept that you will not get the education in concepts and principles that you need from your employer. You will have to learn on your own, through broad and deep self-study, the way that I and so many of my colleagues did.

As my old colleagues and I get older, we are saddened to see the general decline in the professional status of the contracting workforce. We want to see a return to the professional standing that some of us once had as people deeply immersed in contracting concepts and principles and respected for what we could contribute, not as paper-pushers, but as thinkers. The path to that return is not through official classrooms and "certification" programs, but through books and personal dedication to career-long systematic reading and self-study. You will be what you teach yourself to be.

"If knowledge is power we should look to its advancement at home, where no resource of power will be unwanting."

—Thomas Jefferson, 1821.

It has been a long time away from WifCon but am glad to start getting back and engaging with a community I respect, and ironically people and a platform that fed my self-study as I was starting out as an 1102.  I like that there are some familiar virtual presences I see, binded together in a common desire to see in the public sector (particularly in operational contracting) something more than it is today.

Self-study is not limited to contracting topics.  Contracting as a discipline is influenced by other disciplines.  As a good hillbilly philosopher would say...always drink upstream from the herd.  In order to get upstream you have to follow the streams to see where it comes from.  This leads often to matters that come from elsewhere, and self study is mandatory for not just becoming part of the herd but for greater understanding of what is being proposed, and why.  It is also why my favorite parts of a book are the references so I can see where their ideas came from...continuing to work my way up stream.  

Since my realm is primarily with commercial Information and Communications Technology contracting I have had to learn enough about all types of things that enter the federal lexicon and pushed through OMB/OFPP.  Cloud Computing, Mobile Technology, Strategic Sourcing, Category Management, Supply-Chain Risk Management (and now Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management), Internet of Things, Zero Trust, are just a few examples.  More often then not these are trends that when initially introduced lack meaning, are concepts misapplied, have not been made sense of yet, and become regurgitated thoughtlessly.  Maybe it is my natural skepticism, but I like to understand what I am being sold because in government we are sold to constantly - not just products and services but also ideas. 

I will also add a lament of lack of good conversations with people outside of your practice, which is a key piece of the self-study and learning process.  As I would study a technical topic I would engage in conversations with technical people, not to be technically proficient but to understand the technology proficiently in order to help acquisition personnel with buying process that serves their mission needs.  I imagine the same to be true if you are buying weapon systems, doing construction contracting, utilities and fuel contracting, or any other discipline for that matter.

I am interested in reading Vern's repot on what he observed as a result of this exercise.  In the mean time I will give a little thought as to the kind of self-study that matters most at different points in one's career.  My gut imagines that there tactical self-study for better execution, leadership self-study for better operations and working in various management roles (tactics for mangers?), and strategic self-study for larger understanding, breadth, and change.

So an open question...what kind of self-study is best depending on the point in your career?  

 

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Welcome back, Jon. I got your email and will respond soon.

Rather than say what kind of self-study is best (I'll do that later), I thought I'd show what kinds of stuff I've studied. I'm doing that because it's spring cleaning time and my wife has ordered be to get rid of some of my 50 file boxes of old stuff that I couldn't bear to throw away. So I started going through it and tossing some stuff. Here's a short, random, eclectic list of some of the stuff I found in one box. This is stuff I'm keeping.

Some of this is stuff I copied from a book or journal in my local public library, and I don't have all the source information.

BOX # 30

  1. Contract Negotiations and Results in Aircraft Procurement: Case Studies of the B-52 and B-58, Preston, Rand Corp, 1962
  2. Decisionmaking Among Multiple-Attribute Alternatives: A Survey and Consolidated Approach, MacCrimmon, Rand Corp, 1968
  3. SMARTS and SMARTER: Improved Simple Methods for Multiattribute Utility Measurement, Edwards (not me) and Barron, 1994
  4. Toward a Definition of Organizational Incompetence: A Neglected Variable in Organizational Theory, Orr and Shafritz, 1994
  5. The Role of Questions in Teaching, Thinking and Learning (webpage download)
  6. Three Categories of Questions: Crucial Distinctions (webpage download)
  7. The Critical Mind is A Questioning Mind: Learning How to Ask Powerful, Probing Questions (webpage download)
  8. What Should We Teach About Questions? Harrah, 1982
  9. The Nature of Questions (webpage discussion)
  10. How to Ask a Smart Question, Snyder (webpage article)
  11. 7 Must-Ask Questions in Any Negotiation, Lewis-Fernandez, businessknowhow.com
  12. Karrass Effective Negotiating Tip: What Questions Do You Ask, webpage download
  13. Use Clever Questions in Your Negotiations (webpage download)
  14. How to Ask a Question, Johnson, Review of General Semantics, 1983
  15. What Is A Question? Cohen, The Monist, 1929
  16. The Iliad, or the Poem of Force, Weil (1945)
  17. Slow Reading - the affirmation of authorial intent, Fletcher (webpage download) 2013
  18. A Theory of Questions and Question Asking, Ram, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1991
  19. A Lesson from Michelangelo, Fenton, NY Review of Books, 1995
  20. Alternate Fighter Engine Competition: Source Selection Advisory Council  Proposal Analysis Report, 1983
  21. Military Aircraft and Aircraft Procurement: The Case of the C-5A, Knaack, USAF History & Museums Program
  22. The Dismissal of A. Ernest Fitzgerald by the Department of Defense, congressional hearings, 1969
  23. The Source Selection Decision Process in Aeronautical Systems Division, Barclay and Nido, AFIT-LSSR 12-81 (1982)
  24. Legislative History of the Armed Services Procurement Act of 1947, congressional hearings, 1948
  25. A Comparison of DOD and Commercial Airline Purchasing Practices, GAO/NSIAD-00-22 (1999)
  26. Presolicitation Discussions and the "Unfair" Competitive Advantage, Femino, Army Lawyer, 1990
  27. Legal Theories of Profit, Foreman, Columbia Law Review, 1918
  28. Competitive Bidding: A Comprehensive Bibliography, Stark and Rothkopf, Operations Research, 1979
  29. The Nature of the Firm, Coase, Economica, 1937
  30. Paperwork: The State of the Discipline, Kafka (not THAT Kafka(, Book History, 2009

One box down. Twenty-nine to go. I'll cut a deal with my wife about keeping some stuff.

Jon, I know one guy (you know him, too, from Ruth's Chris in Crystal City), who might have more stuff than me. John Krieger of DAU. That guy has a lot of stuff. When I don't have something I call him.

Pack rats of the world, Unite!

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On 3/22/2022 at 8:36 PM, Vern Edwards said:

Welcome back, Jon. I got your email and will respond soon.

Rather than say what kind of self-study is best (I'll do that later), I thought I'd show what kinds of stuff I've studied. I'm doing that because it's spring cleaning time and my wife has ordered be to get rid of some of my 50 file boxes of old stuff that I couldn't bear to throw away. So I started going through it and tossing some stuff. Here's a short, random, eclectic list of some of the stuff I found in one box. This is stuff I'm keeping.

Some of this is stuff I copied from a book or journal in my local public library, and I don't have all the source information.

BOX # 30

  1. Contract Negotiations and Results in Aircraft Procurement: Case Studies of the B-52 and B-58, Preston, Rand Corp, 1962
  2. Decisionmaking Among Multiple-Attribute Alternatives: A Survey and Consolidated Approach, MacCrimmon, Rand Corp, 1968
  3. SMARTS and SMARTER: Improved Simple Methods for Multiattribute Utility Measurement, Edwards (not me) and Barron, 1994
  4. Toward a Definition of Organizational Incompetence: A Neglected Variable in Organizational Theory, Orr and Shafritz, 1994
  5. The Role of Questions in Teaching, Thinking and Learning (webpage download)
  6. Three Categories of Questions: Crucial Distinctions (webpage download)
  7. The Critical Mind is A Questioning Mind: Learning How to Ask Powerful, Probing Questions (webpage download)
  8. What Should We Teach About Questions? Harrah, 1982
  9. The Nature of Questions (webpage discussion)
  10. How to Ask a Smart Question, Snyder (webpage article)
  11. 7 Must-Ask Questions in Any Negotiation, Lewis-Fernandez, businessknowhow.com
  12. Karrass Effective Negotiating Tip: What Questions Do You Ask, webpage download
  13. Use Clever Questions in Your Negotiations (webpage download)
  14. How to Ask a Question, Johnson, Review of General Semantics, 1983
  15. What Is A Question? Cohen, The Monist, 1929
  16. The Iliad, or the Poem of Force, Weil (1945)
  17. Slow Reading - the affirmation of authorial intent, Fletcher (webpage download) 2013
  18. A Theory of Questions and Question Asking, Ram, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1991
  19. A Lesson from Michelangelo, Fenton, NY Review of Books, 1995
  20. Alternate Fighter Engine Competition: Source Selection Advisory Council  Proposal Analysis Report, 1983
  21. Military Aircraft and Aircraft Procurement: The Case of the C-5A, Knaack, USAF History & Museums Program
  22. The Dismissal of A. Ernest Fitzgerald by the Department of Defense, congressional hearings, 1969
  23. The Source Selection Decision Process in Aeronautical Systems Division, Barclay and Nido, AFIT-LSSR 12-81 (1982)
  24. Legislative History of the Armed Services Procurement Act of 1947, congressional hearings, 1948
  25. A Comparison of DOD and Commercial Airline Purchasing Practices, GAO/NSIAD-00-22 (1999)
  26. Presolicitation Discussions and the "Unfair" Competitive Advantage, Femino, Army Lawyer, 1990
  27. Legal Theories of Profit, Foreman, Columbia Law Review, 1918
  28. Competitive Bidding: A Comprehensive Bibliography, Stark and Rothkopf, Operations Research, 1979
  29. The Nature of the Firm, Coase, Economica, 1937
  30. Paperwork: The State of the Discipline, Kafka (not THAT Kafka(, Book History, 2009

One box down. Twenty-nine to go. I'll cut a deal with my wife about keeping some stuff.

Jon, I know one guy (you know him, too, from Ruth's Chris in Crystal City), who might have more stuff than me. John Krieger of DAU. That guy has a lot of stuff. When I don't have something I call him.

Pack rats of the world, Unite!

What I like about this has less to do with the content (though I am currently accessing every piece you have cited on questions and reading 5-15, 17-18 ) than the practice that you are showing about how to capture and categorize information, which would help with my retention and recognition.  I will see if I can capture anything that didn't slip through my mental sieve.  More water is out than in I am afraid. 

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