In preparing for our Twilight-themed trivia contest—you have only 8 more hours to turn in your submission!—I read up as much as I could about the saga; however, I think I’ve just discovered the very last article I will ever read about it.
Enter one Tom Barrack, the head of a $16 billion multi-national investment firm whose hands are deep into pockets the Station casinos you see off the strip in Las Vegas and whose firm may even be still in the running to buy the troubled Miramax studio. Apparently Barrack was bored on his yacht off the Turkish shores one day and ended up reading the first three novels when a business meeting was unexpectedly canceled.
He was so inspired by the tale that he fired off a lengthy internal memo to all his employees, which was leaked to the Wall Street Journal and posted for all to see:
As I sat there with nothing to do the [Twilight] book kept taunting me. I began to think that there must be something I don’t understand. What could it be? What is it all about? Women don’t just read these books, they live them. They become each paragraph. I picked it up, but then immediately dropped it like a hot coal. What if someone saw me reading this? My macho reputation would be finished! I would be kicked out of the bench press section of the gym. My polo compadres would send me packing to the pony rides and my surfing buddies would exile me to the kiddie pool.
But it was a long night and there was absolutely nothing, and I mean NOTHING else to do. [Ed. note: You’re rich; couldn’t you have called some of your buddies in town over for a high stakes poker game?] Long story short—not only did I read Twilight, I read the other two as well!! I was fascinated, captivated even. However, what intrigued me was not the same thing that hooked the millions of women whose lives and had been changed by this series, but something else entirely.
For you male [Colony employees], here is a brief synopsis. Stubborn teenage girl meets a handsome but moody vampire and against all odds they fall in love.
Here is my macho take—Stephanie Meyer is a total genius.
Barrack’s main point is that he and his employees shouldn’t be afraid to think “outside the box” when it comes to finding inspiration to guide them in their work:
Once I ventured into the books I learned something. I now understand why some women are emotionally altered from merely reading a book. I have also gained a deeper realization that understanding the circumstances and points of views of those with whom we are negotiating, working, living, loving or fighting is the key determinant factor in an enduring relationship.
In every day business, we think we know it all. We are the captains of our industry and we possess all the global knowledge. That which we don’t understand we push a button and it appears before us. We are lacking creativity…. it is hard for us to dream… harder for us to change our lives… hard to live in a situation that other people view as unconventional. And for sure, we all have no idea on how to be satisfied with the status quo.
I totally can get behind something like that, and if more “titans of the industries” thought that way, then maybe we would see more people of color in science fiction and less Hollywood remakes of existing franchises. One big question lingers in my mind, though: “How would Tom Barrack have reacted if someone had left Ender’s Game on board that boat instead?”