Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

November 2015

Somewhere along the timeline of my working life, some big changes have taken place.

Airline travel, for instance. Granted, I once thought climbing aboard a TWA Super G Constellation was as good at it got. But you had an assigned seat that was either an aisle or window, snacks and stuff were either free or cheap, and you even got little four-packs of Winston cigarettes and logoed matchbooks. I needn’t tell you what it’s like now.

Seconds. Seconds were blemished products that had to be disposed of at embarrassingly low prices. Sometimes, a manufacturer would be so ashamed of the quality of the product it would be scrapped, thrown in the dumpster, burned, buried, or mashed up. I never liked rework from the time I worked for an ice cream plant and found out that the reworked ice cream (cartons and all) were crushed, covered with chocolate flavoring, run through a glippity-glop machine, and sold as fudge pops.

In time, discounters like the famous Raymond’s in Boston couldn’t get their hands on enough distressed name-brand soft goods, so the manufacturers ripped themselves off with seconds, sometimes making more seconds than firsts to keep the deep discounters supplied. Gaynes Shoppers World in Burlington was a destination store before a T.J. Maxx was on a drawing board, outfitting students, families, and bus loads of Canadians with discounted products.

Phones, of course, are changing every year now. Business people have to pretend they’re talking on the phone when they are really sending pictures or checking their Facebook pages. I once thought I was pretty cool because I had access to a WATS line so I could call from my desk in NYC to a bank in Atlanta to find out if it was time to go to lunch. Now, of course, if you know your party’s extension you may dial it at any time or listen to our menu options, which have recently changed.

But the tried and true business books of yore are still selling. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, first published in 300 BCE, is holding its own with Machiavelli’s The Prince and Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. One list of business book bestsellers in September included Think Big, Act Bigger; Becoming the Best; Superbetter; and #Girlboss.

I take note that dressing for success has progressed from the gray flannel suit days of my youth through power ties to business casual. How to keep up with it all!