Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wisdom, Virtue, and the Lack Thereof

My wife just read me this interesting snippet from a book she is reading,
LIVING THE 80/20 WAY by Richard Koch.

Thinking about lunch, the vacationing businessman stared at the calm, blue sea. A small boat, laden with large yellow-fin tuna, docked near the pretty Mexican village. A lone fisherman jumped ashore.
"That's a great catch," said the tourist. "How long did it take you?"
"Not so long," replied the Mexican.
"Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"
"That's enough to keep the family provided for."
"What do you do with the rest of your time?"
"Sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, have lunch, take a siesta with Maria, my wife. Stroll into the village each evening, sip wine, play guitar and cards with my amigos--a full and rich life, senor."
"I think I could help you," the visitor said, wrinkling his nose. "I'm a Harvard MBA and this is the advice you'd get at business school: Spend more time fishing, buy a bigger boat, make more money, then several boats until you've got a fleet. Don't sell the catch to a middleman, sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You'd control the product, production, and distribution. You could then leave this small town behind, move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, perhaps eventually to New York City to run your expanding firm."
"But senor, how long would this take?"
"Fifteen, twenty years."
"But what then, senor?"
"That's the best part," the businessman laughed. "When the time is right, you could float on the stock market and make millions of dollars."
"Hmm. Millions you say. What then, senor?"
"Then you could retire and go home. Move to a pretty village by the sea, sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village evenings, sip wine, and play guitar and cards with your friends."
Pp. 128,129.

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