The Definition of Business

Back in the 1980s at the height of yuppiehood (to which I was demographically associated, though not  by personal practice), I used to read Esquire Magazine, a journal of serious journalism mixed with serious fun, all aimed at a sophisticated, semi-affulent male readership (or at least a readership that thought of itself that way). I haven’t paid much attention to it since, maybe because these days it looks like a lad magazine to a guy who is no longer a lad.  In any event, one particular reason I liked Esquire was a regular feature by Stanley Bing, the pseudonymn of a senior muckety-muck in some global conglomerate. Bing wrote spot on satire about the Darwinian struggle among outsized egos that populated life in the corporate hallways (back when they had actual hallways) that reflected my own close encounters with the business borg. 

I bring this all up because I’m happy to report that Bing is alive and well, apparently, and has a new book out called, The Curriculumm: Everything You Need to Know to be a Master of Business Arts. I’m equally happy to report that Bing’s caustic commentary remains painfully accurate even in this much different business era dominated by the Internet, casual dress, open office space and smart lads who don’t have the time to read Esquire or anything else  because they are too busy thinking up apps. Here’s just one example from his glossary for workplace survival that rings oh, so true:

Business is what we all do for a living. Running a gas station is business. Selling lemondade on the street is business. Writing for an online publisher that pays a penny a word is not business. It’s stupid.

Amen to that, brother. 


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