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16 July 2008

Lore of Wizards

I have to share this website with you.



Lore of Wizards is a collection of stories from senior consultants.  Chapter by chapter a book is being released online.  The latest chapter (4) is Managing Client Relationships.  Previous chapters are "How We Got Started", "What it Takes to Succeed" and "Dealing with Clients."  You can access them here.



What I really like; the variety of stories from the elder statesmen of our industry. Wisdom.  Simple messages.  Not trying to sell you something.



The writing is simple and lovely.  The stories range across many perspectives and topics, clustered by the chapter themes.  Here is an excerpt to tease you into clicking through and reading it yourself.



So I took the extra thousand.


I worked in my dad’s business after I got out of school, followed by a stint in the Navy. I had an accounting degree and really wanted to be an auditor. In 1968, a friend of mine, a fraternity brother, called and suggested I try to interview with Arthur Andersen. I did and was very impressed with their approach. I liked their attention to people and professional development. I hadn’t really seen anything like it before. They also said they would pay me $11,000 to be an auditor or $12,000 to be a consultant. I had a wife, one child and another in the oven so I took the extra thousand. And that's how I became a consultant.



Taking the job meant moving to New York from Pennsylvania where I was then working. We didn't have any money and my wife was very pregnant and I had rented this apartment in New Jersey for $190 a month. It was a very small two bedroom with a leaky roof. We had two women of ill repute living below us who entertained people at all hours of the night. The first time my wife saw the place she cried. But it was the only place we could afford and we lived there for three years. 



I’d been working in factories and had ripped all the pants for my suits. So I had no suits, just sport jackets and slacks. Of course, you had to wear a suit at Andersen, so we scraped together all the money we had and I bought myself a suit. On the very first day of work, it rained. I mean it rained big time. And I had to wear that suit every day for two weeks, until I got paid and could buy another one. My wife ironed it every night for two weeks.





Photo from Davisayer, CC @ Flickr