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November, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 11

People First, Business Second

By Perry Isenberg

After numerous columns dealing with business issues, I wanted to write something a little lighter. While in this frame of mind, I came across some life lessons provided by Ben Franklin that I found interesting and insightful.

The issues he noted generally affect us all: nutrition, fitness, health, wealth, business and marriage (relationships). I trust you'll find them as interesting as I did.

Nutrition: Franklin said: "A full belly makes a dull brain." Why he's right: The gastric acid your stomach uses to digest a protein-heavy meal forms bicarbonate, which alters your blood pH and indeed causes dullness in the brain.

Fitness: Franklin said: "No gains without pains." Why he's right: Weight training creates microscopic tears in muscles, which rebuild themselves (bigger and stronger) while you rest. Soreness is a likely result of these muscle tears and inflammation.

Health: Franklin said: "He's the best physician that knows the worthlessness of the most medicines." Why he's right: Beware of the doctor who dispenses antibiotics as if they were Pez. 75% of prescriptions for upper-respiratory infections are unnecessary, according to a recent study. According to the study, Doctors often prescribe because of patients' insistence, time constraints, and misconceptions about when antibiotics are necessary.

Wealth: Franklin said: "Patience in market is worth pounds in a year." Why he's right: After the last five bear markets, it took only an average of 1 1/2 years for the market to recover. On average, the stock market has grown 10.5 percent a year for 70 years.

Career: Franklin said: "Take council in wine, but resolve afterwards in water." Why he's right: It's okay to brainstorm a project over a beer. Alcohol, when first taken in, loosens inhibitions. Diminished inhibition is the best spur to creativity. But it's important to review those cocktail-napkin notes the next day, to see what will really work.

Marriage (Relationships): Franklin said: "Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards." Why he's right: Premarital counseling -- or simply talking about their relationships --can help starry-eyed young couples with tough issues like money, kids, sex and religion. After marriage, ignore quirks and show tolerance.

Business does not happen without people. One key to business success is the ongoing commitment to communicate with your clients about a wide variety of issues. Take the time to share when you find something interesting, funny, etc. Make copies and, either in person or by mail, send along the tidbit with a handwritten note. The exercise takes very little time, but helps you stay human within your business relationships.

Before I sign off, I wanted to take a moment to praise all the individuals and businesses that have stepped forward to help with the tragedies that have befallen us.

In the meantime, be healthy, be good, and stay focused and motivated.

Click here for previous articles by Perry Isenberg.


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