I was having one of those semi-intellectual chats you have after a bottle of fine 12-year old single malt whisky, with a top pal of mine. He’s quite into reading books on business and gave me a hefty tome from 91, called The Great Reckoning by James Davidson & Wiliam Rees-Mogg. I was quite intrigued, because when I first got into reading the (so-called) quality press, The Independent launched, and Rees-Mogg used to write pretty insightful political analysis in a column for them. Also, my friend Henry mentioned that it’s a book of predictions, and what they’d forseen before had come true.
Their topics are political and economic. And I began enjoying the use of words, but a bit frustrated at how unwelcoming the flow of the text actually was (not that mine is any better, but if I was being paid to write, I’d make sure it wasn’t impenetrable!). Then I started to become increasingly annoyed at how many times I gestured to throw the book down, and started swearing out loud about bits.
The deal is, I was hoping to glean pointers as to what business and sales opportunities I could take from it. Yet absolutely everything was negative, negative and negative. They don’t have a single word to say that was optimistic. I hate people like this.
There’s nothing worse in a sales team than someone always moaning. If you can’t see the half-full part of the glass, then you should do something else. If you think the Japanese, American and European economies will collapse within months, that’s fine, but how would you ameliorate the situation? Or how would you survive in its aftermath? Who wants to hear someone all doom and gloom, with no remedy profferred? Sales people are fixers, problem-solvers, do’ers. So such a book full of ‘the end is nigh’ for me is a complete waste of time.
Even in 91, with global recession, technology removing layers of jobs and middle-management being eradicated, you knew things would get better. And would you know it, the later nineties saw the internet open people’s eyes, and the noughties heralded the new Indian-Chinese wild west. Both signify huge opportunities.
Whenever someone thinks something is on a downer, you’ll be seen of in better light if you can justify an argument that says at the end of the rainbow, there is indeed a pot of gold.
There. Got that off my chest.