Scam

Plugging your new book when it lacks an interview with the chairman’s favourite and, even worse, an endorsement by the man himself, may put some people in a difficult position.

”Read any good books lately?” asked the chairman of the implausibly-sized investment company Second Coming Asset Management as we visited The shameless plug for a pint or two of If You Can’t Shout About Your Own Book The Week It’s Published And In August Too Then Really There Doesn’t Seem to Be A Lot Of Point In Having A Column.

“Funny you should ask,” I replied. “As coincidence would have it, my own co-written effort, Investing in emerging markets – the Bric economies and beyond, has limped on to the market this very week.”

“I’m not sure that actually answers my question,” said the chairman. “But I’ll play along – what’s it about then?”

”If You Can’t Shout About Your Own Book The Week It’s Published And In August Too Then Really There Doesn’t Seem to Be A Lot Of Point In Having A Column”

“It’s about, you know, investing in emerging markets and … um … the Bric economies and stuff,” I replied. “The clue really is in the title.” “No,” said the chairman. “I mean, what’s the intellectual thread running through it? It does have an intellectual thread doesn’t it?”

“Well, it’s no Wealth of Nations or Ferraris for All,” I admitted. “Even so, I like to think it has something to say. For starters, it really is one of the first post-credit crunch books on the asset class. It addressees how the credibility gap has narrowed between emerging and developed markets, partly because of the former’s own positive actions in the wake of previous economic crises and partly due to the self-inflicted harm wrought upon the western financial system – both reputationally and arithmetically.”

“And you came up with all that by yourself?” asked the chairman. “Well, I wouldn’t go that far,” I shrugged, trying to sound modest. “I had a co-author and we interviewed a lot of emerging markets experts when researching the subject.”

“Solid plan,” nodded the chairman. “And what did our very own Jose-Fredo da Bigbadwolff have to contribute?” (article continues below)

“I’m afraid he didn’t contribute,” I replied. “Well, not usefully, of course,” said the chairman. “But what did he have to say?” “Again, nothing,” I said. “We didn’t actually get to speak.” “Please tell me you’re joking,” the chairman exclaimed. “How could you possibly write a book on developing economies – Bric or otherwise – without speaking to Scam’s head of emerging markets?”

“Don’t get me wrong,” I said, holding up my hands. “It certainly wasn’t for want of trying. I promise you, Jose-Fredo was right up there with Mighty Hugh Young and Mobiana Jones and the Templeton of Doom among my first ports of call, but it never quite came off.” “Well, obviously you didn’t try hard enough,” sulked the chairman.

“That depends on your point of view,” I replied. “My email archive tells me I put in six requests to Scam’s press office for an interview over a period of about six months.” “And what happened?” asked the chairman. “The score was five strike-outs and one cancellation an hour before the interview because another meeting came up,” I replied.

“Hmmm,” hmmmed the chairman. “Look, I’m sure he was busy,” I said. “Just as I’m sure his unavailability had nothing to do with that book he was writing at the time that he made you get published for him. What was it called? Emerging Markets and Me? Emerging Markets – A Life?”

“Emerging Markets, Emerging Star,” sighed the chairman. “And thank you very much for dredging up a memory I’ve worked very hard to suppress. Let’s drop the whole subject of the lack of a contribution to your book by your most favourite investment company. What’s more, to show there’s no hard feelings, I’ll even do you a nice quote for the jacket.”

“Er… how very sporting of you,” I prevaricated, hoping the chairman hadn’t noticed me downing nearly all of my pint. “Hang on a moment,” twigged the chairman. “If your book is just coming out, that means you’ve assembled all your testimonials already and that means you didn’t deem it worth asking me for a contribution. Now that really is…” But he was too late – I was out the door and away to check if I had made it into the top 50,000 of Amazon’s bestsellers list.