Press and Pop Culture

Social Newtonianism again

Social Newtonianism seems to be on the rise. Recently Newton’s three laws of motion were used to describe traffic in Manila and before that Newton’s third law of motion was used to assess risk in banking investments, which I wrote about here.

Now we see an executive coach applying Newton’s “three laws of motion to people and organizations.” While it seems unlikely that social systems can be understood through such reductive simplification, if you are going to invoke Newton’s laws of motion, at least get the laws right. The executive coach bungles Newton’s second law into “Newton said that the amount of force multiplied by the amount of acceleration must be equal to the mass for movement to occur.”

I suppose it is less important for an “credentialed executive coach” to get the science correct than it is to sound science-y.

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