Established: Lessons from the world’s oldest companies

 

Help us publish Established at Unbound, a crowd-funded publisher in London.

Established: 1198, 1498, 1515, 1519, 1534, 1570, 1698, 1705, 1715, 1759, 1824, 1891. An inn, a removals company, a butchers, a ferry, a printing press, a bell foundry, a wine merchants, a stone carvers, a scale makers, a brewers, an agricultural company, a gum manufacturer. How on earth have they managed that? And what are their secrets of survival?

In Established, twelve business writers set out to find the answers to these questions and to tell the stories of these companies that have survived scores of booms and busts, black sheep in the family and strange twists of fate.

But they’re not your typical team of business writers. The twelve are from the Dark Angels stable, the brand that since 2004 has been encouraging authentic voices in business writers through its residential courses and workshops. Storytelling is at the heart of the Dark Angels approach. In Established you will find that each of these enduring businesses has a great story, each of which is told in an individual voice that brings range and freshness to the book and makes it quite unlike the mainstream ‘how to’ hardback.

But the lessons the stories contain are every bit as instructive, from the eschewal of nepotism to the generational mantra of ‘humility and rebellion’. The reader will find contradictions, on questions like world domination or keeping it to the one shop. And that’s the joy of this book, that readers looking for insight as well as good old entertainment will gravitate towards the business that most resembles theirs in spirit and set-up if not in actual trade.

The lesson in every instance that is closest to the writers’ hearts is that the story itself is one of the greatest assets of every business – and when you’ve got over 500 years of records it’s quite a challenge to tell it, especially in a couple of thousand words. Established does just that.

I want to supp

Poets and maps, power and language

His name is Mr. Wendell Berry and we need his voice now more than ever. One startup, 57 trillion squares. This subversive intellect from Atlantic City has thought deeply about you, your country, your children, and your calling. A near perfect film about journalism and power. A beautiful writer leaves home for another language. “Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining.” – James Hillman

Screen-Shot-2014-10-24-at-7.08.45-PM1 1.
Wendell Berry, the essential voice

wendell_berry

Continue Reading…

The fear, the light, the code, the rain

 

Photo by terry reed

Agreat writer pens an essay on fear in America. Meet a Seattle artist obsessed with light, magic and the everyday. The working mom who invented software. So many podcasts and one great app. Wherever you are, the rain makes its own sound. How could you not love this. “Come into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.”

– William Wordsworth

Screen-Shot-2014-10-24-at-7.08.45-PM1

Continue Reading…

5CT June 2015

G reetings from Torridon, on the west coast of Scotland. The big empty, as my friend Jamie Jauncey calls it. This issue circles back to (recently featured) Sherman Alexie, who just floored some Dark Angels. Torridon is geologically and visually stunning. Voice is central to Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Herbie Hancock’s chant. A periodic table of storytelling? Yes. And where to store all those wonders you find online? “My great-great uncle and Long Wolf understood that to be fully human means dwelling not just on the planet but in nature. That’s where our hearts beat strongest.” Jamie Jauncey

Dark Angels, Moniack Mhor 2015
Dark Angels, Moniack Mhor 2015

 

Continue Reading…

5CT March 2015

A brilliant new podcast steps up. Drones are now making haunting films. These cave paintings sent an art critic into paroxyms of joy. David Carr’s course syllabus is a trove. And, a buzzy new entry into the music streaming world. “And all of us laughed as we walked and drove and rode our way back to our lonely, lonely houses.” ― Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

1.
When writers speak | A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment

Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter have launched a podcast, "A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment." (Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns, Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter have launched a podcast, “A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment.” (Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns, Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Continue Reading…