“Oh, I Never Read… Fiction,” He Sniffs.

Whenever one makes a new acquaintance socially, within seconds the conversation will turn to the hackneyed drill about each other’s occupation.

“I’m in sales,” the other says.

“Oh,” I reply cordially. “I spent years in marketing.” I smile, trying to be nice. “What sort of sales?”

“Computers,” he says, peering off into the crowded room. “Not consumer. I work with businesses.” Pause; rattle the ice cubes, take a sip.

“Hardware?” I ask. “Software?” I know the drill.

“Applications.” He says. “On site. At their offices.”

“You’re a field tech, then,” I respond.

He warms a little. “Yes. And what do you do?”

“I’m a writer.”

“Ahh. What do you write? You said, uh, marketing?”

“Well, that was some time ago. I’m an author.”

“Oh. What kind of books do you write?”

“Novels. Some opinion pieces, but mostly fiction.” A beat… I ask amiably, “Do you read for pleasure?”

He glances into his empty highball glass of watery ice cubes, sniffs, and scoffs, “Yes, but…” Continue reading

Book Learning

A Lecturer Learns a Lesson

As a guest speaker at one of the nation’s top MBA schools, I was once invited to develop a series of four or five lectures to an advanced marketing class. These young men (happens they were all males) would be future corporate decision makers. All had been steeped in leading edge analytical management systems and theory. But many would be hiring, evaluating, and directing right-brain talent, so the department head spoke to the Dean about an idea, and one fall afternoon, there I was.

My topic: The Creative Process in Marketing Communications. Continue reading