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In effect, the conference has become, the world over, a substitute for the work. That is its appeal. Take at any instant a census of the great talents of the world and you will find the large proportion preparing, attending, or recovering from a conference. When you add to the burden of the physical event itself the mass of ancillary paper work required, from the preparatory letter writing to the transcripts of discussions that nobody reads (except to correct his own stammerings before publication), you may conclude that here make-believe reaches its apogee.—J. Barzun, The House of Intellect, New York, Harper, 1959.
THE CONFERENCE. JAMA. 1960;172(8):824. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020080054018