The death of a satirist – and more

Bill Strauss, the creator of Capitol Steps died at the young age of 60 years. Not only was he and his troop fabulous satirists, Bill was also an author who focused on generational differences.  I first was introduced to the Capitol Steps at an ABA gathering in Washington, D.C. I couldn’t remember when I had laughed so hard.

Without knowing his connection to the Capitol Steps, I invited him to be a keynote speaker at my Managing Partners Roundtable’s Diversity Conference in 2006. During his presentation, he talked about his theory of “5 generations.” Paraphrasing him, he said that every 4 (5?) generations repeats itself. The first generation creates a new world, the 2nd generation sustains this new world, the 3rd generation enhances or expands or grows the world, the 4th generation destroys the world and the 5th generation starts with a new world again.  While my paraphrase clearly does not do Bill Strauss’ comments justice, the concept of “history repeating itself” is important. Bill said that one can trace and support this theory merely by looking at the history of the world.

With his theory, he drew certain conclusions about the differences among today’s generations, what we call the generation gap. His comments resonated well with the managing partners, the partners and the younger associates in our audience of more than 200 lawyers.

With increasing longevity, and therefore more generations co-existing than ever before, it’s essential that we understand these issues if we’re to cooperate and continue to grow as a society. With his death, we have lost an important contributor to this conversation.

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