Essay: Have We Abandoned Excellence?

A new biography of Admiral Hyman Rickover records a Navy captain's assessment: " 'Look around. Do you see excellence anywhere? In medicine? In law? Religion? Anywhere? We have abandoned excellence . . . But Rickover was a genius who gave a generation of naval officers the idea that excellence was the standard.' " Only the nuclear submarines ran on time."

"Abandoned" seems a little strong to describe what we have done to excellence. But of course a note of elegy always haunts discussions of excellence and quality. It is human nature to imagine that...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!