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The Wiley Book of Business Quotations

Ehrlich, Henry
Publisher:  Wiley
Year Published:  1998  
Pages:  430pp   Price:  $42.50   ISBN:  0-471-18207-9
Library of Congress Number:  PN6084.B87W55 1998   Dewey:  650--dc21

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"There's no business like show business" is not a quote from The Wiley Book of Business Quotations. While it contains, "more than 5,000 insights, opinions, and witticisms about doing business today," these are not the "Let them eat cake's" of the quotation world. Largely drawn from the press and speeches of business leaders, these quotes are clever, topical, alarming and amusing, but not very familiar. Ehrlich himself offers, "Many of the entries in this book haven't been read since the magazines disappeared from your dentist's waiting room."

"A longtime speechwriter for some of the world's most influential corporations", editor Henry Ehrlich knows as well as anyone how handy an appropriate business quote can be to business people, writers and politicians.

Neatly ordered by topic and sub-topic, this collection is also indexed by organization and by individual speaker. The topics tend toward Wall Street with titles like 'The Global Economy', 'Banking and Insurance', 'Business and Marketing', 'Corporations', 'Customers' and 'Competition'.

In case it wasn't clear that this book reflects the thoughts and opinions of the pin-stripe set, the topic 'Executive Diversions' is divided only into 'Golf' and 'Alternatives to Golf'. Within 'Golf' are nine categories including the cute and clever 'The Grass Ceiling'. 'Alternatives to Golf' offers only 'Dogs', 'Football' and 'Shooting'. Yikes.

One of the zestier categories is "Diversity and Sexual Issues". Mingling witty, progressive quotes with jarringly offensive ones, this section even manages to include a quote or two that attempts to span the range, as Richard J. Ferris's (president of United Airlines), "It is now possible for a flight attendant to get a pilot pregnant".

Each quote is accompanied by its author and its context. While some entries are entertaining a la carte, as President Herbert Hoover's, "Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt", and Mark H. McCormack's, "If Thomas Edison had gone to business school, we would all be reading by larger candles", many rely on their authors and context for their value. While that value is greatest to businesspeople, speechwriters and journalists, the modern relevance, humour and insight of The Wiley Book of Business Quotations make it valuable addition to any corner office.

[Review by Rachel Kramer]

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