Share your views on Nov 25

No man is an island, as the British bard John Donne once said, so why is it most people mind only their turf even if that affects how well their workplace runs?

Join senior writer Cheong Suk-Wai to ponder this issue, raised by Gillian Tett's new book, The Silo Effect, at The Big Read Meet from 6.30pm on Nov 25 in the Central Public Library at Basement 1, National Library Board (NLB) head- quarters in 100 Victoria Street.

Sign up at any NLB e-Kiosk or click on www.nlb.gov.sg/ golibrary, search for The Big Read Meet and follow the steps there.

Reader Lee Teck Chuan, 50, who lectures in finance, has this to say about The Silo Effect: "The Industrial Revolution brought about specialisation with the aim to increase production and maximise profits.  It changed the way people worked. Human beings became cogs in the larger scheme of things, oblivious even to the next person on the value chain.

"People go to work only to be housed in cubicles. Structures and hierarchies keep everyone on a leash for the greater good. All this runs counter to Man's nature as a social being. This is evident from how people reach out through social media, e-mail and habitual pantry forays for needed human interactions.

"But everyone needs to put food on the table. So he gives up his natural affinity for freedom in exchange for often paltry paycheques that buy him a little self-esteem and independence.

"The reward system is perverse.  While it encourages teamwork, it rewards individual performance. Thus everyone becomes more entrenched in man-made silos, with the attendant isolation from their souls."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 15, 2015, with the headline 'Share your views on Nov 25'. Print Edition | Subscribe