When the Sun Comes Up You Better Start Running!

A Vietnamese friend of mine wanted a good business book. She is a budding entrepreneur with a small profitable business. As we walked into the bookstore “The Lexus and Olive Tree” in Vietnamese jumped out at me.

Wikipedia summary for those who have not read it:

“A 1999 book by Thomas L. Friedman that posits that the world is currently undergoing two struggles: the drive for prosperity and development, symbolized by the Lexus, and the desire to retain identity and traditions, symbolized by the olive tree. The big idea in The Lexus and the Olive Tree: “if you can’t see the world, and you can’t see the interactions that are shaping the world, you surely cannot strategize about the world.”

It is a tough book to argue with. Straightforward. Truth.

Immediately my blurt out was to read it, “great book”. She said she had, did not like it, and kept walking down the aisle with the dismissive air that I should immediately respect her view with no debate. The issue was pressed hard, “Why this view?” Her view made no sense. It was defeatist. She offered two reasons. Her friend had read it and was still “average” in life. Second, she disagreed with this African proverb in the book:

“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle. When the sun comes up, you better start running.”

She was somewhat surprised when she learned that passage was the opening for my book “The Complete TurtleTrader”. Lessons here? Statistical thinking and critical thinking are the downfall of many across all countries. I made sure to let my friend know that my fight would be against anyone with her arguments. Bottom line, if there is no search for the truth, if there is no desire to clarify and illuminate, why bother. Or at least, why bother with me.