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‘Chronicles for the Planet Business’ by Barry Gibbons


Chronicles from the Planet Business
By Barry J Gibbons
Capstone Publishing, Oxford, 2000
Price £16.99

If you are going to write a book then as well as an agent and a publisher, “the book itself, of course, needs a Big Idea”. Well, so says Barry Gibbons on page 154 of this collection of essays that he originally wrote for the Miami Herald.

I have to say that no Big Idea had leaped out at me from the preceding 153 pages. Nor for that matter did I spot one in the remaining 28.

Nonetheless there is the seed of a rather exciting Idea encapsulated in the book’s subtitle, namely “an eyewitness account of the crimes, passions, madness, and downright stupidity of modern business.” In all honesty I can’t say that this book really explores or fleshes out this theme, but it does contain a number of anecdotes and little examples that make entertaining, if light, reading. It is thus well suited for situations where you feel that entertaining, but light, reading is just what you want.

I found myself reacting in various way’s to Barry’s observations. (The whole tone of the book is such that I’m sure he’d like to be referred to as “Barry”, rather than “Mr Gibbons” or “the author”. For example, I rather warmed to

“Gerry Adams…and David Trimble ….reinforce a lesson for us all in business: when there is real impasse and division, you must be prepared to sit down and work with people you despise or maybe even hate. It takes bravery because progress will involve compromise, and you will not only hated by your opponents, but be despised by your own side as well.”

But on the same page I felt pretty uncomfortable with

"Germany has a new Chancellor after 15 years (so you can be sure Poland will be keeping a close eye on the Autobahns for a few weeks)."

On the jacket "a Reader from Portland, Oregon” tells us that “this guy writes with the wit and humour of Tom Peters and the hysterical observations and honesty of Dave Berry.”

I’ve never heard of Dave Berry - not one matching that description. And although I’m not a massive Tom Peters fan, I think he’s some way ahead of our Barry (born in Manchester).

If the Miami herald were my daily paper, I’d quite look forward to this column - assuming I could grow to overlook Barry’s somewhat over-inflated self-opinion. But buy the collected works - I don’t think so.

Tom Boydell

Most of the Capstone titles are available in the Capstone store of the TrainingZONE shopping Mall.


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