While Hackers & Painters seems like a book on programming and ‘nerds’ it’s got a bunch more to say about life in general. It’s not just about running a team and software design.
When a politician says his opponent is mistaken, that’s a straightforward criticism, but when he attacks a statement as “divisive” or “racially insensitive” instead of arguing that it’s false, we should start paying attention.
Labelling an idea with words as we see in the quote just allows us to dismiss them without arguing the truth. I know that I should watch my language and thoughts to make sure that argue the truth of a statement and don’t just dismiss it.
It’s harder in a business setting when it’s your employees or direct reports that are questioning how things are done. It’s certainly ‘safer’ to dismiss what they say, but it’s probably not the best long term move for your business.