LEARNING BY THE WATER-COOLER:Episode 8
LEARNING is everything and everything is learning.
Everyone has a book in them. A friend of mine in the publishing world once said that to me and it has always stuck in my mind.
During this pandemic, through all the lockdowns, the work from home days and forced pauses in our often hectic lifestyles, it has clearly resonated with many others.
Self-publishing, small book deals done to distribute on Amazon, projects that were gathering dust on a home office shelf, all suddenly being sparked into life because their authors finally have the time to focus on them.
It set me thinking, if everyone has a book in them, what was the book that influenced me most in my business life?
The answer may surprise you…
Looked at through the lens of 2021, the answer is thought-provoking and bears careful scrutiny. It was The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump.
I read it three times before I was nineteen years old and it fascinated me. It was 1987, such a different time from now. The era of Gordon Gekko and Wall Street being a blockbuster movie. Greed is good, baby!
If you haven’t read The Art of the Deal, which was (ghost) written with journalist, Tony Schwartz, it’s kind of a mix of autobiography, business manual, and self-help book. As an aspiring entrepreneur, my copy was well-thumbed because there were certain facets of it I just couldn’t get my head around.
Back then, this guy was considered the picture of success, but he saw the world in black and white, winners and losers. A deal wasn’t a good deal to him unless the person he was negotiating with walked away feeling cheated and angry.
This binary view of the world chilled me to the bone. No nuances, no grey areas. Just that.
A different approach to doing business
I had visions of making a way in business by being a collaborator, building fulfilling partnerships. Was I wrong?
Looking back on it, though, that book served its purpose. I read it and I took on board some of the information, but ultimately I decided the course of core behaviour it espoused as the correct path to take just wasn’t for me.
Tony Schwartz later admitted he’d taken on the project simply for the dollars, as he had a young family to support. As Trump’s political career later gathered pace, Donald called The Art of the Deal “his second favourite book after the Bible.”
Schwartz called it “the biggest regret of [his] life.” The journalist insisted if it was written now, instead of 1987, the book would be called The Sociopath. Interesting take.
In this era of self-publishing and passion projects, the tools to getting our thoughts and learning out there are many and varied and they are always there for us.
Yep, everyone has a book in them. Take a minute out of today to think about what yours might look like.