Friday, July 2, 2010

Charms and Mogul Dust

The recent discussion of Seth Godin (see here, here and here) got me thinking about how far business gurus will go out their way to build an association with the fabulously successful, even when that success is built on incredible talent and/or luck and could not possibly be applicable to a general audience. Godin does it with Dylan, probably the most influential songwriter of the second half of the Twentieth Century. Another popular example is Michael Jordan, quite possibly the greatest basketball player ever.

There is really no way to draw a useful analogy between the careers of Dylan and Jordan and what the rest of us face, but of course, that's not the point. The gurus use these men in their examples for the same reason that our ancestors would dress up like bears and growl and snarl at each other around the campfire. It's a primitive but still appealing magic of association and imitation.

Eating a box of Wheaties with Derek Jeter on the front will not raise your batting average, wearing a LeBron James jersey will not help your jump shot and trying a career move just because it worked for Dylan or Jordan will probably turn out to be a bad idea.

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