Bookcase: Biologies with bite: Making a Difference

• By Owen Glenn
• Random House NZ
• RRP $39.99

Owen Glenn, New Zealand’s financially successful freight forwarder, penned his memoirs to make difference. They probably won’t.
Making Difference is more business rollick than revelation. That doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. It just means that the most valuable lessons it contains aren’t necessarily those the author intended to deliver. They are, nevertheless, equally telling about how many successful business people perceive both themselves and the value of their accomplishments.
Glenn, who likes buildings, trophies and other tangible things to be named after him, worked his butt off to become wealthy and commercially successful. Success, as he and popular mythology measure it, cost him couple of marriages, and few friends and colleagues, and carried some fairly drastic health repercussions. It also seems to have infected him with desperate need to be acknowledged for what he has done.
It isn’t an easy book to read, generously studded as it is with the first person singular pronoun. But relax into the unusually colloquial writing style and the reader breezes through it. Glenn’s story is almost classic rags to riches, making the indelible point that by working 15 plus hours day, seven days week, not spending much time on anything other than workplace relationships and making the most of salesman’s occasional run of luck, you too might make millions.
The question that hangs unanswered is: do these attributes and competencies breed the strain of insight that is of any particular use to anyone else, including political leaders and policy makers?
Owen Glenn is now generous philanthropist, contributing to many worthwhile causes. And that is surely the best measure of his success. He seems genuinely committed to sharing some of the fruits of his labours.
But as business, strategic or even best practice management book, Making Difference doesn’t really cut the mustard. But then, why should it? Glenn built good business.
Like many successful business people of the past 40 something years, he worked hard to get himself in the right place at the right time. He also had the commercial cunning to know when to flick it and turn it to account. But those lessons, while undoubtedly the stuff of good tale, seldom come the way of managers at the coalface.

Visited 4 times, 1 visit(s) today

Business benefits of privacy

Privacy Week (13-17 May) is a great time to consider the importance of privacy and to help ensure you and your company have good privacy practices in place, writes Privacy

Read More »
Close Search Window