Sunday, February 16, 2014


Forbes Thought Of The Day

“ I never remember feeling tired by work, though idleness exhausts me completely. ”

— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I love quotes, but haven’t yet decided to incorporate them into this blog on a regular basis. Essentially, I feel that I should be writing rather than curating quotes. That said, some are so good, I’m tempted to compromise.

I left the FORBES name in because since they picked the quote, I feel they should get the credit. Also, I have started reading their magazine again—albeit online. It’s a better magazine than I remember.

Robert C. Neff:  portraitMy favorite business magazine is BUSINESS WEEK—largely because it is not blindly pro-business, but is intelligently critical and displays considerable social concern. Also, I have been reading it since I first went to university at the age of 16 so it is practically incorporated into my DNA. A further connection was that their Japan correspondent, BOB NEFF, was very kind to me when I was in Tokyo—and a temporary member of the Foreign Correspondents Club. I have never been much of a joiner, but I loved that place and met some remarkable people there. One of most impressive was MURRAY SAYLE—a war correspondent of both experience and integrity who was actually living in Japan at the time. Spending time with him and his family was very special. Sadly, he died a few years back—but what a man and what a life! Amongst other things, he climbed Everest, tracked down Che Guevara, and wrote the definitive account of the Hiroshima bombing. He also covered the Vietnam War superbly.

I regard it as tragedy that U.S. media corporations have cut back so much on their foreign correspondents—and truly ironic given that we have never needed to know more about “what lies on the other side of the hill (to use the Duke of Wellington’s phrase).” The thing is that you have to live in a country for a while before you get to understand it. Flying in just for a crisis is not the same thing at all.

The best foreign correspondents are widely read, widely travelled, empathetic people whose company you would be hard put not to enjoy. I have been honored to know more than a few. Most were men though I can think of a few women who were just as remarkable. All drank more than is considered advisable—and reported superbly. All were cynical optimists, had a great sense of humor, and a deep understanding of humanity.

These were not petty people—and I wish there were more of them. Americans need to know and understand more about the rest of the world. We have much to learn from it.

Top photo is of foreign correspondent and friend, Murray Sayle—a truly magnificent human being—with a family to match.

Lower photo is of Tokyo Bureau Chief of Business Week 1989-1995

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