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Download The New Alchemists epub

by Charles Handy,Elizabeth Handy

A fascinating and inspirational investigation into the creative and entrepreneurial process.What drives some people to create something from nothing? Is it ambition, the need for self-fulfillment? Is it about money, power, or even genes? Or, is there a mood of the time that encourages people, and can anyone do it?The world needs new ideas, new products, new kinds of associations and institutions, new initiatives, art and designs. But these new things seldom come from established organizations. They come from individuals — Charles Handy calls them the New Alchemists, and he has talked to a range of extraordinary people — from Trevor Baylis and Richard Branson to Jane Tewson and Terence Conran — to hear from them the secret to turning basic ideas into creative gold. Elizabeth Handy has used her new style of composite portraits to highlight aspects of all the different alchemists in their particular environments.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Download The New Alchemists epub
ISBN: 0091802156
ISBN13: 978-0091802158
Category: Business
Subcategory: Small Business & Entrepreneurship
Author: Charles Handy,Elizabeth Handy
Language: English
Publisher: Hutchinson; Re-issue edition (December 7, 1999)
Pages: 238 pages
ePUB size: 1805 kb
FB2 size: 1721 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 323
Other Formats: lit docx lrf lrf

In medieval times, alchemists set out to transmute base metal into gold, discover a universal cure for sickness, and find the means of infinitely prolonging life. And if the tales we read are true, then the medieval alchemists worked long and hard. They were driven, not by money, but by their passion and by their all consuming quest.
Charles Handy sees modern day entrepreneurs as the new alchemists. In his words they "create something out of nothing and turn the equivalent of base metal into a kind of gold". Similar to the alchemist of old, the entrepreneur is driven by a vision, and is looked upon by society with awe.
Indeed, to many, the entrepreneur is the hero of the free enterprise society. Certainly, those who began with nothing, and create something quite new, often become our role models. Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Sabeer Bhatia, and Richard Branson, to name a few, capture the public imagination in a way that career managers never do.
In `The new Alchemists', Handy interviews twenty-nine entrepreneurs in and around London. They range from well-known success stories such as Richard Branson of Virgin, and Robert Ayling of British Airways to figures less known, but with whom many of us are better able to identify. They come from different areas, - business, social, and the arts - and have different ages and different backgrounds.
Handy does have a framework of what it takes to be a good entrepreneur, namely dedication, doggedness, and difference. It is, he notes, similar to Galton's framework, namely ability, zeal, and capacity for hard work. However, this book is not a profound analysis of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. That is found in more discursive works such as `Innovation and Entrepreneurship', by Peter Drucker, or more recently `Goldfinger', by Robert Heller. Rather he focuses on the entrepreneurs themselves.
Each entrepreneur is the subject of a short piece, based on Handy's interviews. Through these pieces, they offer their insights into the events that shaped their lives, a glimpse into what they find important as people, and in cases heartfelt advice.
With each piece comes a photo-portrait by the author's wife.
Elisabeth Handy is a self-published photographer, and her style, `photo-joiners', provide intriguing images which combine different aspects of the subjects life. Indeed, in some cases, as Charles Handy points out, the pictures reveal more about the subjects than their words. The pictures complement the text and help define the nature of the book.
This book is the ultimate coffee table book. The essays are self-contained and intended for browsing. The pieces are uncritical, but that is indeed their charm. The resultant book is upbeat and will make an inspirational and optimistic statement in your reception room.
Mr & Mrs Handy have done a wonderful job of narrating about some very ordinary people who have taken up challenges or done extraordinary things. Whilst some names will easily be recognised as success stories, they have also featured very ordinary people, like Joanne McFarlane, Rev Andrew Mawson and Jayesh Manek. The three chapters devoted to the making of alchemists viz. The Nature of Alchemy, The Seed of Alchemy & Growing More Alchemist are interesting reading. I am wondering whether alchemist = entrepreneur? Whilst Mr Handy has a way with words, the book also gives an opportunity to see Mrs Handy's creative photography. Multiple photographs of the subjects are creatively juxtapositioned to give a composite photograph to show the subject in various poses. I have found the book not only enjoyable but inspirational!
Let me qualify this review by saying I am a fan of Handy and have read several of his books.

I was disappointed, given the quality of his other works. Although aesthetically pleasing I was not looking for a "coffee table browse" but some insights into wealth creation. There were too many people interviewed to allow any depth (2-3 pages per person) and no new insights.

After you read the first chapter and first profile you are done, unless you have a specific interest in one of the interviewees.