By Steve Farber, Kaplan Business, April 1, 2006, 1419511319
Steve Farber is a good writer. This companion to the The Radical Leapis almost identical in style, and just as entertaining. The book is a mix of factual and fictional stories, and he does not let on which is which. This is good. The point is that you have to Love Your Customers to succeed in business, and, I believe, to be happy in your work life.
I found the start of the book a bit slow, and a partly pedantic. He is not nearly as naive as he makes himself out to be. At the same time, it is a good device for the problem at hand, and it works well towards the end.
[p72] “It was nothing formal, Steve. At first, he was my customer. He’d come in here with little Theodore–sorry, Edg–and our friendship just developed over the years. We did a lot of talking, that’s all. Do enough talking, for enough years, and you’re bound to not only learn from each other, but also help each other out along the way. He was the real genius; I just kind of goosed him along.” She paused for a moment, obviously lost in reverie, and then let out a deep, trembling sigh. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that customers are just customers. If that’d been my attitude, I’d have missed out on one of my life’s greatest treasures: Billy ‘Pops’ Maritime and his little boy, Edg.”
I don’t know if she’d meant to, but Agnes had baited the hook, tossed it into the pond, and jerked the line with perfect finesse. Cam was snagged. For him, merely mentioning the Maritime name made Agnes ripple with credibility; the fact that she knew Pops so well made her virtually irresistible. That’s pretty much how I felt, too.
[p78] Well, baby,” Agnes sighed, “contrary to what the oldschool bureaucrats would have you think, business is a deeply personal endeavor. Whether you intend to or not, you put your stamp on every bit of work you do, and you leave an indelible impression on every customer and colleague you touch. Each one of those impressions speaks volumes of truth about who you are. Business is not a mask; it doesn’t hide your face. It unveils it–wrinkles, moles, warts, and all.”
[p113] “The modern malady, Steve, is people living lives of quiet desperation. The three of us here, and many others like us-the ones who want to use their gifts to change the world for the better-prefer to live lives of amplified exuberance. That’s how we move mountains, baby. Cam isn’t ready to look deep enough into himself to find that clear, inspiring voice. So, even though it’s in there somewhere, he’s got nothing to amplify. Not yet, anyway.”
[p129] “The only similarities we look for are intent and conviction. We are interested in those who strive-and that’s an important word-to change a piece of their world for the better. We’re not interested in talkers; only practitioners. And there’s one more critical factor.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Let me put it this way: when we get together it feels much more like a reunion than a work session. We love each other’s company; therefore, we only invite people whom we’re pretty sure we’re going to love.”
“Well. . . then I’m honored, I guess. I’m a loveable guy, that’s true,” I mugged. “But I don’t know if I qualify as a practitioner.”
“We think you’re underestimating yourself, but let me finish telling you what we do here. Once a month we get together and compare notes about what we’re seeing in the world around us and what we’re trying to do in response to it.”