Valuable business lessons found on reality TV

Regarding the Jan. 16 article "Wanna make it big? Forget hard work. Wow the Donald.": Your article captured the essence and the entertainment of "The Apprentice." With the national policy debate over the level of unemployment, this sparks the imagination about the success ladder.

For many years I worked under the illusion that I had some talent for developing key people. The truth is that development comes from within each employee - it is not primarily an external factor. I realized that I always worked hard to identify talent, which is what Mr. Trump is doing on his show. Then these "fast track" candidates get special development experiences to see how they use their talents. The show telescopes time, but the coaching element is there.

In the end, success is not the result of looks, education, or talent. True success will be obvious when it's based on character, honesty, and sound judgment. These qualities embrace hard work and encourage team work. But the real secret is to serve for the benefit of others, and the rewards that follow are perfectly legitimate.
Jack B. Lindsey

Nukes in space

Your Jan. 16 editorial "A Countdown to Mars" missed an important issue: public acceptance of nuclear-rocket technology. Last year, President Bush launched the Nuclear Systems Initiative to research nuclear power generation in an effort to shorten space travel times, signaling that nuclear nonproliferation is not a US priority. With the renewed interest in moon exploration, major media should have mentioned that the United States never signed the 1979 United Nations Moon Treaty, created to prevent a rush of land claims and military bases.
Michael Stieber
Boulder, Colo.

A better question for government

Regarding the Jan. 20 article "Should government be trying to promote good marriages?": A better question might be: Should government really be trying to make us love our neighbor? A stable society benefits everybody - where each individual, whether in a committed marriage or partnership or single, feels safe, supported, and able to confidently seek assistance from and for others. I would also like to note that the qualities of good parents and stable family environments are not exclusive to marriage.
Malcolm Millington London

Listen to your elders

Regarding the Jan. 13 book review, "Time to retire jokes about age," of Margaret Gullette's "Aged by Culture": Given the propensity for the media to portray aging and older people as dull, boring, and not challenging, it's not surprising that the culture perpetuates these myths, and that students of the behavioral sciences shy away from work with elder individuals. Because students and developing professionals often don't position themselves to work with elders, they deny themselves the chance to learn that many older people share fascinating life experiences.
Jane Roberts
Sarasota, Fla.

Automats served dignity

Thanks for Robert Klose's nostalgic look back at automats in the Jan. 16 essay "Honk if you love the automat." We're not related to the chain's cofounder Joseph Horn, but like Mr. Klose, I accompanied my father to the automat as a child. Dad told me he liked the automat because it provided more than good food; it provided dignity. During the Great Depression, going to a restaurant was humiliating, because the waiter would know how poor you were. But there were no waiters in automats, and nobody cared how much money you had.
David Horn Bloomington, Ind.

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