November 14, 2006

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects: Follow the Other Hand

By: Jack @ 8:16 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Follow the Other Hand: A Remarkable Fable that Will Energize Your Business, Profits, and Life by Andy Cohen, St. Martins Press, 150 Pages, $22.95, Hardcover, October 2006, ISBN 0312357931
In case you havent noticed, I like fables. I seem to learn better when lessons are in context and presented in story form. I think that I am not unusual in that. The popularity of fables lately supports my assumption. The stories usually involve a troubled business person and a sage/guru/seer who will lead the businessperson to see how to fix a problem. The journey to that realization is the story. The key to a successful fable is great writing. Your involvement in the story drives the book. This book accomplishes all these things.
Follow the Other Hand is the story of Jonathan West who runs a family business selling olive oil. He is being hammered by big box retailers and the disappearance of his core customers, the mom and pop stores. A successful friend tells him to meet a guy that helped him turn around his business. What makes this story unique is that the guru is a magician (hence the name of the book) aptly named Merlin. Merlin explains that Misdirection is essential in magic.
Mis-di-rec-tion exclaimed Merlin, is not only a method for achieving magic. It is a reminder of a simple question that we must constantly ask ourselves, or else be willing to accept the consequences if we dont. Which hand do we choose to follow? Do we follow what everyone else is thinking or do we challenge their assumptions and look in the other hand for new ideas?
This is a surprisingly simple metaphor for thinking outside the box or looking at a problem differently.
The author is a consultant and an expert magician. He explains the process that a magic trick needs to go through to bewellmagic. It starts with the effect which is what you want to domake an elephant disappear, for example. Followed by the method which is how you do it. Then finally the performance which is how you present the trick. It doesnt take much to see how all these various parts can be introduced in a business environment to begin a conversation about new product development, a new strategic plan or any business problem.
Follow the Other Hand is readable and illustrated with diagrams of magic tricks; the perfect book to use to begin change within your organization.