A book to read to stop being “stupid”
There is a preconception among Romanian readers that the majority of business books on the market here are boring, dry, without any memorable ideas, and it is not worth putting up with them. It’s better to go on social media to learn from someone’s experience!
Well, Peter H. Frank’s book, “M-am saturat sa fiu prost”, published by Humanitas (2015), and translated by Cecilia Laslo, goes against this general observation. With a provocative title, this book is quite a smart one! Certainly, it’s not boring. On the contrary!
A graduate of Georgetown University, Peter H. Frank (photo) has been, for 12 years, an economic journalist, writing articles and editorials for The New York Times, The Sun, and The News Journal. Like a true American, who jauntily moves all over the world, Frank worked in communication, marketing and banking in the USA, Mexico and Europe.
In 2009. he relocated to Bucharest, working in media and marketing. Here, on the banks of the Dambovita, he didn’t give up writing, and he published articles in important magazines. In his career, he also gave classes and lectures on different topics – from bank operations to marketing, strategy and critical thinking – mainly in UK.
“M-am saturat sa fiu prost” is a book that can be read both by business people and people outside business. Accessibility is the main quality of this book. It’s not an esoteric book, written from the heights of an academic chair lost up in the clouds.
It’s a book for smart people, but also for “stupid” ones as well. Despite the challenging title, the author makes a polite specification right on the cover: “No one is born stupid. We are born merely ignorant. It takes a willful determination to become and to remain truly stupid.”
But “stupidity” and “smartness” are not the goal of this book. Peter H. Frank is a well-seasoned specialist in business. He writes with wit and aplomb. Here’s how he forces you to pay attention to anything you do: “So now have you decided the definition of your business? Really? Are you sure that’s the definition? And what is the business you are in? Or is that what your business does?”
The author’s insistence could seem annoying to a superficial reader. But it’s exactly the deep knowledge of a business that makes the strong foundation of any entrepreneurial enterprise. In fact, Peter H. Frank is pleading for meticulous knowledge. He doesn’t wear a cheap moralizing teacher’s coat. His discourse is direct and pragmatic: “How can you excel at an activity if you don’t know the point? Would you recruit someone for your football team if that person didn’t know the objective of the game? (…) Would you hire someone in a sales position who didn’t know, or couldn’t define, their goal? Would you want a chef who did not understand the point of cooking?”
While reading these, think about how many “analysts” you see, night after night, on TV talk shows speaking about serious issues without any minimal research. Or how many persons here are running all sorts of departments in companies without knowing in detail elementary things about the market, competitors, or their own company.
Radu Craciun, chief-economist at BCR, is completely right in the preface of Frank’s book: “A book that would help you be less stupid. That’s some kind of a challenge! If only you look in the mirror and accept that once in a while there are reasons to be vigilant.” As I said earlier, “stupidity” is about knowledge.
It’s important to know! And Peter H. Frank’s book is a plea to be aware of the fact that you need to be informed and to know. So that you won’t stay “ignorant” (stupid), of course!