Friday, September 07, 2007

Amtower’s Epiphany: a book for our times

Mark Amtower’s current book, Why Epiphanies Never Occur to Couch Potatoes, could be boiled down to one phrase, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

What, at first glance, appears to be a straightforward business book, turns out to be a compelling description of a personal journey and its lessons for entrepreneurs. Amtower’s thesis is that nice guys do not finish last, that business is about providing value and building relationships. Those who fail to provide value, those who do not build relationships based of shared values of decency and integrity, will either fail, or succeed in a way that makes life not worth living.

Amtower has an unpretentious style of writing that is at once disarming and compelling. He is persuasive precisely because he maintains that he is not an exceptionally gifted, not God’s brightest child as he puts it. Amtower does not ask us to admire him, but rather to conduct our business and life, in such a fashion that we admire ourselves.

This book is about the value of persistence, work ethic, and above all, doing the right thing. Robert Strauss used to say that good government was good politics; Amtower teaches us that good conduct is good business.

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