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The Upside of Turbulence by Donald Sull

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1.

THE STONE IN DAVID’S SLINGSHOT

I was six years old when my grandfather first took me to see the American Steel and Wire plant in Cleveland, Ohio, where he worked for forty-two years as an engineer and then as a supervisor. As a guest, I could only proceed as far as the guard house, but even from that distance the plant terrified me—it was enormous, loud, and smoky. My grandfather held my hand and reassured me that the plant was a safe place, like a fortress. When we went back to his house for lunch, I colored pictures of the mill as a giant castle with cauldrons of molten metal to pour on attackers, defended by an army of burly soldiers clad in steel armor.

In the 1960s, the United States Steel Corporation, which owned the plant where ...

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