Soundview Executive Book Summaries

A Search for Lost Wisdom

Say what you’d like about the continuing decline of the printed word, but The New York Times, particularly its Sunday magazine, is still delivering the goods. I have to offer full congratulations to Sara Corbett for writing one of the most captivating articles I’ve read in months. She tells the story of the upcoming publication of a long-hidden manuscript from psychology pioneer Carl Jung. As Corbett notes in her opening paragraphs, the story behind Jung’s long-sought book reads like the script for an adventure film. The fact that Jung’s work is in the process of being published is a delight to the scores of devotees who practice Jungian psychology, or at the very least, are interested in the depths of human consciousness.

This led me to speculate about the possibility of unpublished books in general and business books in particular. Suppose Dale Carnegie (who is profiled in this summary) wrote a sequel to How to Win Friends and Influence People? What if in some crate in a government warehouse, tucked comfortably next to the Ark of the Covenant, there were manuscripts for additional titles by Peter Drucker or Warren Buffett?

It seems odd to consider such a prospect, but there is no limit to what scholars are able to mine from the legacy of the greats in each industry. In many cases, as in the case of Jung, the decision to make available previously unreleased material falls to the estate. Corbett’s story profiles the difficulty researchers have had in attempting to persuade Jung’s descendants to allow his secret “Red Book” to see the light of day. We’re fortunate that in the world of business books, authors generally do everything possible to allow their message to reach eager eyes and ears.

However, I can’t prevent myself from wondering … what if? In the meantime, do yourself a favor a check out Corbett’s piece. It makes for a great read while we’re waiting for the hidden tomes from business greats to be unearthed.


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