A literary look at the art of selling.
By Debra Phillips
Maybe selling is the true American pastime--it seems everybody does it. Certainly, it's part and parcel of the entrepreneurial life.
As a result, small-business owners might be interested in the recent anthology Closers: Great American Writers on the Art of Selling (St. Martin's Press, $23.95 cloth).
Edited by Mike Tronnes, Closers lives up to its billing by featuring works from such literary lions as John Updike, Eudora Welty and Sinclair Lewis. Not surprisingly, an excerpt from Arthur Miller's classic "Death of a Salesman" is also included.
If selections such as Miller's seem inevitable, however, other selections are far more eclectic. Take, for instance, Flannery O'Connor's funny--yet eerie--tale of a door-to-door Bible salesman who walks off with a woman's artificial leg. Then, too, there's the stark desperation of a burned-out salesman in David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," who matches Willy Loman pathos for pathos.
In Tronnes' estimation, no fewer than 3,000 sales messages are thrown our way every day. The stories in Closers reveal the people behind the pitches--in all their glory (or lack thereof). True American pastime or not, selling makes for compelling fiction.
American Consulting Engineers Council, (202) 347-7474, firstname.lastname@example.org
Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., http://www.ReadersNdex.com/bkpub
Cavern Supply Co., P.O. Drawer Y, Carlsbad, NM 88220
The Church Brew Works, 3525 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15201, (412) 688-8200
Comedy & Magic Club, 1018 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254, (310) 372-1193
Maria Hernandez, 2454 Cameron Dr., Union City, CA 94587, (510) 487-2776
Loss Prevention Specialists, (407) 671-8226, http://www.lossprevention.com
Mellon Private Asset Management, 1 Boston Pl., Boston, MA 02108
Newbridge Communications, email@example.com
Stuart Raven Barter & Associates, (213) 931-2177, http://www.srba.com
U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business, (202) 224-8584