I started reading Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail a couple nights ago, and to be honest every time I pick up one of these “business” books there is still a part of me that says “Why in the world am I reading this?! What am I getting out of it?” My brother, the businessman of the family, doesn’t bother reading these sorts of books, when he does bother to read books at all, why should I? In fact, I’d venture a guess, that few people who actually earn a paycheck through one business organization or another spend much time reading these books. It’s much the same as English teachers who stop reading new works of fiction, or books about education, or books in general…and who write even less often than their students.
Although I know he is not the model for the entire business community, I have found getting my brother to read an entire book is difficult (I’ve tried several times, unsuccessfully, to get him interested in one book or another)…and yet I think he’d be considered successful by most of today’s standards. His ignorance of where business is heading has in no way impeded his life. He does what he does well, although I have no idea what that is, but I don’t think even he considers what he does very regularly and he in no way finds it odd to discourage his family members to avoid a financial product he simultaneously hopes strangers will consider. I don’t think that’s unique to him.
What would happen if the business model was to change dramatically? What would happen to those like my brother, who for all extents and purposes stopped learning 10 years ago?
If you read enough of these books you’d think that things already HAVE changed dramatically. If you read enough of these books you’d begin to wonder why you were the last one to find out, and why such dramatic change is so “invisible”. As I read in one of Wendell Berry’s essays, knowledge is the revelation of one’s ignorance. The more information there is to wade through, the more of it you ignore.