Don't Leave Money on the Table
My wife, Peggy, and I watched the lead story of the March 14 “60 Minutes,” where Scott Pelley interviewed author Michael Lewis, who dissected the recent financial crisis. Lewis’ new book, “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” was hitting the publicity jackpot.
Unlike many stiff, stuffy authors, Lewis was loose, brilliant, articulate, charming and very persuasive as he detailed the stupidity and utter incompetence of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, as well as the bankers, brokers, fund managers and corporate directors who contributed to the disaster.
None of them understood the toxic financial cocktail they'd mixed, nor had any clue that human nature is driven by pure greed to the exclusion of common sense and moral decency.
At the conclusion of the Michael Lewis segment, Peggy said, “He is one very smart guy.”
As a news junkie, I was hot. I wanted his book—NOW!
I fired up my Kindle to order it instantly—fully intending to pay cash money so I could start devouring it in the promised 60 seconds.
It wasn't available on the Kindle.
A Personal Digression
On my left hand I have what the doctor calls “trigger fingers”—a pinky and fourth digit that painfully snap open and shut due to a mass of something or other at their bases, possibly the residue from a fracture when I was 9. And from endless hours on the computer mouse, my right hand has developed carpal tunnel syndrome, requiring a wrist brace.
As a result, I no longer buy, read or travel with heavy, cumbersome books. I order information as bits of weightless electricity that show up as books on my tiny Kindle, literally in seconds. It holds 200 titles and slips into my jacket pocket.
Launching a Product
I started out in the book business—first as a publicist, later as a traveling salesman and finally a sales manager. One lesson I learned early on: Never spend time and money advertising a book, or anything else, that's not yet available for purchase. The exceptions: films, theatrical productions and travel, where pre-orders are essential.