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A parallelism between books and business

Di Antonio Caneva, 5 Ottobre 2017

I recently read three books: The Cracow Ghetto Pharmacy, Mio fratello rincorre i dinosauri (My brother runs after dinosaurs), and Open. The first one, written by the pharmacist Tadeuz Pankiewicz, speaks about his experience – as a Jew – in the Cracow ghetto at the time of Nazism; the second book is the story of a boy with Down’s syndrome, recounted by his brother Giacomo Mazzariol; the third is a biography of tennis player André Agassi, officially written by himself, while J.R. Moehringer was the ghost writer.
The Cracow Ghetto Pharmacy speaks of history with a capital H; it is a snapshot of an appalling tragedy, which is painful to relive even in stories. It is a very important and touching topic, and yet the book is bland, just a report that conveys no emotions (and I wouldn’t have reached the end had I not recently visited the place where the pharmacy was operating). The second book is about the birth and family inclusion of Giacomo’s brother Giovanni, with acceptance turning into love, and you read it with pleasure and empathy. The one that truly conveys intense emotions, and feels like a book of adventures, however, is Agassi’s biography.
How can it be that topics of such diverse impact may have a profoundly different outcome, inversely proportional to the importance of the subject addressed? The answer is to be found in the calibre of the author. The first is a pharmacist, who just reports about a period; the second is a young man with writing skills, and the third is a top-notcher, a writer who even won a Pulitzer Prize, and is able to bring pages to life and spellbind his readers.
Similarly, in tourism, we sometimes find hotels with immense potential that never achieve real success, while others, regardless of adverse circumstances, thrive and progress brilliantly.
Here again, I believe it depends on “authors”. In tourism – and particularly in hospitality – personnel’s characteristics are fundamental, whether in terms of personality, skills, or shared goals.
Hence the need for scrupulous attention in the selection of staff (from the manager to the dishwasher). It is no easy undertaking, in that it involves a careful evaluation of each company’s characteristics, so that adequate resources can be introduced accordingly.
By adequate resources we don’t necessarily mean those with a richer CV or more significant experiences, but those that are best suited for a specific company. This is where the real difficulty lies, because, while it is reasonably easy to select people on the basis of objective information (such as the schools attended and grades achieved, languages spoken, previous work experiences, and so on), it is not so easy to evaluate the intangible aspects that contribute to a candidate’s suitability.
It is a job that requires experience and sensitivity; the reward is the success of a business.

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