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经济学人:不是不讲理 Uncommonly unreasonable

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Book Review;

书评;

Eli Broad

埃利·布罗德

Uncommonly unreasonable

不是不讲理

The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking.

不讲理的艺术:想法脱俗教会我们……

Few businessmen have achieved as much as Eli Broad. Not only did he develop two Fortune 500 businesses from scratch (and launch a third), he has also been a serial entrepreneur in the arts. Mr Broad backed Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman, and founded the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MoCA). This son of the Bronx now calls the City of Angels home and has set out to give it a new heart by driving the development of a downtown area with a strong emphasis on culture. He has also been a significant and controversial philanthropist, funding scientific research and failing schools.

埃利·布罗德的成就在商人中几乎无人可敌。不仅在于他从零开始创办了两家世界500强的企业(并且正在着手建立第三家),而且他还多次投资艺术类项目。布罗德先生是杰夫·昆斯和辛迪·舍曼的资助人,还建立了洛杉矶当代艺术博物馆(MoCA)。出生在布朗克斯的他如今已视洛杉矶为家,并着手开发这座城市的一片闹市区,着重发展文化主题,打造一个新的城市中心。他曾一度是位举足轻重又饱受争议的慈善家,成功建立科研机构但筹建学校却差强人意。

Mr Broad's straight-to-the-point narrative—165 pages of text with a 12-page appendix of his “career highlights” and just the minimum colour necessary to illustrate the important lessons that life has taught him—is part of what he is trying to convey about himself. Where, say, Jack Welch spews out hundreds of pages in “Jack: Straight From the Gut” (2001) and Richard Branson spares no detail as he explains how he has spent his life trying to “Screw Business As Usual” (2011), Mr Broad has delivered a book that is as brief as he likes to keep everything else in life (“I never stay anywhere—parties, museums, meetings—longer than three hours,” he explains in a chapter entitled “How to Work 24/7 and Still Get 8 Hours of Sleep”).

布罗德先生的文章开门见山,直击主题。文章正文共165页,12页的附录中列举了他的“事业亮点”,文章并不华丽,平淡地讲述了他的生活教训,但这些都只是他传达自我的冰山一角。杰克·韦尔奇在他的《杰克·韦尔奇自传》(2001)中洋洋洒洒写了几百页,同样理查德·布兰森不遗余力事无巨细地讲述了他《轻松玩商业》的故事,但布罗德的书却简洁明了,正如他在日常生活中喜欢一切从简那样。(正如他在“如何在满负荷工作中睡够8小时”这一章中说明的:“不论是聚会、博物馆还是会议,我在一个地方从不会停留3小时以上。”)

The brevity of his autobiography is both a strength and a weakness. Messrs Welch and Branson devote much of their books to selling themselves as heroes, whereas Mr Broad's tendency to state the facts and move on often undersells how challenging a life he has led, and how hard won have been his triumphs. He writes of being amused at how films about successful people often condense the “critical ingredient to their success” into “moments overlaid with catchy music”, yet his book does that without the soundtrack.

他的自传简洁明了,是优点也是缺点。韦尔奇和布兰森都在自己的书中都用很大的篇幅把自己渲染成英雄,而布罗德却倾向于平铺直叙地讲述事实,根本不足以将充满挑战的生活和艰难取胜的事迹作为卖点。他在书中写道,电影常常把成功人士的“成功必备要素”简短截拍成“悦乐相伴的瞬间”,总引他发笑,但在他的书中,他如法炮制,只是没了配乐。

For instance, the controversial story of how he fell out with the board of MoCA, which he co-founded in 1980 and then rescued when it came to the brink of liquidation in 2008, is given a mere page, when it alone could have filled an entire book. And he writes nothing about how he fell out with the board at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, let alone about MoCA's more recent troubles.

例如,他在1980年是洛杉矶当代艺术博物馆的创建人之一,后虽与博物馆的董事会几经争吵,但他还是在2008年博物馆面临破产倒闭之时挽回了局面,单单这个故事就足以写作一整本书,但这个众说纷纭的故事在书中仅占据了一页篇幅。他只字未提是怎样陷入与洛杉矶艺术博物馆董事会的争吵中的,读者也就更无从知道当代艺术博物馆新近的麻烦了。

On the other hand, distilling a lifetime into a series of practical lessons has clearly pushed Mr Broad to do some hard thinking and self-analysis, which makes his book a useful read, especially for anyone engaging in entrepreneurship or philanthropy. His personality comes through clearly enough, though one can quibble over whether his choice of “unreasonable” to describe it is exactly right. Mr Broad means it in the same way George Bernard Shaw did, when he said that the unreasonable man “persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.” Mr Broad started adapting the world to himself at an early age, telling classmates to rhyme his name with “road”, rather than his immigrant father's “rod”. But he also adapted himself to the world, not least in fighting to overcome dyslexia, which he says gave him a work ethic that infuses every part of his life (perhaps too much: he describes his six-decade marriage to Edye in glowing terms, but regrets spending too little time with his growing sons).

另一方面,布罗德要将自己的一生浓缩成一系列的实践指导,就必然迫使他深入地思考,进行自我分析,也就让他的书读来十分实用,对于那些致力于企业产业和慈善事业的人则更甚。他的个性在书中展露无遗,不过人们对于到底是否应该用 “不讲道理”来形容这种个性可能还会有争议。这和乔治·萧伯纳的理解一致,他曾说过:不讲道理的人会“固执地让整个世界来适应自己。因此,世上所有的进步都来自于不讲道理的人。”布罗德年轻时就想摆脱父亲的移民姓氏“布娄德”,为了押韵让同学们叫他“布罗德”,从那时起他就开始让世界适应自己了。不过他也努力去适应这个世界,尤其是他为克服阅读障碍做出的努力,他认为那让一种职业道德渗透在他生活的方方面面(或许有点过分:他觉得与易迪亚60年的婚姻仍然激情澎湃,但后悔没有花时间多与儿子相处,陪他一同成长)。

Being a solitary child made him less prone than many people to going along with the crowd, and he likes nothing better than to challenge conventional wisdom with a “why not?”. Those are good attributes for an entrepreneur, though they are unlikely to make him loved in the world of art philanthropy, where his “candour” often “ruffled feathers”. (He claims several times not to care what people think of him, but he doth protest too much.) Still, unlike many of his peers among the current generation of American billionaire philanthropists, he does consider giving to the arts a good investment, to “bring beauty, inspiration, and the shock of the new to as many people as possible”.

布罗德从小生性孤僻,与旁人相比不愿多在人群中相处,他最喜欢挑战世俗观点,说上一句:“为什么不能!”。企业家拥有这些特性再好不过,但在艺术品慈善界就不大行得通,没能让他广受欢迎,因为正直,便常常引得他人恼怒。(他多次声称不在乎别人的看法,但他实在是抱怨得太多。)尽管如此,和这一代许多与他同龄的美国亿万富翁慈善家不同,布罗德是真心考虑大力投资艺术,要“将美丽、灵感和新艺术的震撼带给更多的人”。

Two of his rules of business, in particular, are rarely found in books on entrepreneurship. One is that, rather than being the pioneer, it is often better to be second with a new idea—as he was in launching KB Home, which became his first Fortune 500 firm, selling houses that were cheaper because they had no basement, a controversial idea at the time copied from a firm in another state. (“The second guy can just charge along the path the first guy has marked, avoiding the rough patches where he stumbled.”)

他有两条商业规则很特别,在同类企业书籍中很少提及。一是与其做个开拓者,不如做个有新点子的后来者。他就是这样创办了他的第一家世界500强企业科比房(KB Home),出售无地下室所以便宜的房子,这个想法效仿了国外的一家公司,在当时颇受争议。(“后来者有前人之路可循,还能避免开拓者走过的弯路。”)

This second rule challenges the conventional wisdom that the safest diversification is into an industry closely related to your own: after several years and a great deal of research, Mr Broad built his second Fortune 500 firm in an entirely unrelated business: financial products for retirement. He may call himself unreasonable, but in this short book, Mr Broad manages to talk a lot of sense.

人们通常认为最安全的多样化转型是朝现有产业的相关领域发展,但布罗德的第二条规则就挑战了这一观点:经过大量调查,历时数年,布罗德在毫不相干的领域创办了他的第二家500强企业,涉足退休理财产品行业。布罗德也许评价自己是个不讲道理、不可理喻的人,但在这本薄薄的书中,他还是讲出了很多道理。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
amused [ə'mju:zd]

想一想再看

adj. 有趣的

 
protest [prə'test]

想一想再看

n. 抗议,反对,声明
v. 抗议,反对,申明

联想记忆
challenging ['tʃælindʒiŋ]

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adj. 大胆的(复杂的,有前途的,挑战的) n. 复杂

 
convey [kən'vei]

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vt. 传达,表达,运输,转移
vt.

联想记忆
entrepreneur [.ɔntrəprə'nə:]

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n. 企业家,主办者,承包商

联想记忆
glowing ['gləuiŋ]

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adj. 灼热的,热情的,强烈的 动词glow的现在分词

 
engaging [in'geidʒiŋ]

想一想再看

adj. 动人的,迷人的,有魅力的

联想记忆
unlikely [ʌn'laikli]

想一想再看

adj. 不太可能的

 
philanthropy [fi'lænθrəpi, fə-]

想一想再看

n. 慈善事业;博爱,慈善

联想记忆
condense [kən'dens]

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v. 浓缩,摘要,缩短

联想记忆


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