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I only skimmed the article, I swear

There's no accounting for taste, as they say. So when the New York Times suggests (to its Sunday business readers), "When the Going Gets Tough, Learn From a Book", citing various businesspeople's reading recommendations, you don't even need to ask if they brought in Arthur Andersen to cook the books.

I suppose I'm thinking, in particular, of Kenny Moore, who says he's twice read Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov (though perhaps not in that particular (excellent) translation), but recommends instead Ten Fun Things to Do Before You Die, one of several flimsy-looking collections of supposedly humorously presented platitudes for living by "nun other than" Karol Jackowski, a nun living in New York City.

"I'm still left unmoved and morally ungrounded," Moore says of his experience reading Dostoevsky. But Jackowski's book, on the other hand, has changed his life. "Over the past decade, I've regularly picked it up and found sound business advice, like No. 3, 'Get some depth,' and No. 7, 'Make yourself interesting.' "

Now, that's great stuff; one hasn't the slightest doubt that Mr. Moore has achieved a subtle and profound (or, perhaps, "deep" and "interesting") understanding of life and how to live it. In fact, he clearly thinks so, too — here he is sharing his thoughts on our old friend Feodor: "Had Dostoevsky had access to this book, I believe that the four Karamazov brothers would have fared a lot better than they did."

Ah, yes — The Brothers Karamazov as idyllic fairy tale. How wonderful that would be. See how the whole world could profit from American businesspeople's reading lists?

December 24, 2002 10:52 AM

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