Matters Of Trust

Closing Remarks

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.

Contact Sources

American Consulting Engineers Council, (202) 347-7474,

Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.,

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,

Mellon Private Asset Management, 1 Boston Pl., Boston, MA 02108

Newbridge Communications,

Stuart Raven Barter & Associates, (213) 931-2177,

U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business, (202) 224-8584

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This article was originally published in the March 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Matters Of Trust.

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