Imagine you are a fresh college graduate heading to the big city for an interview. On the train next to you is a middle aged man dressed in a pin striped suit and you exchange pleasantries. While you are convulsing in a mixture of excitement and trepidation, there is a sense of calmness in the other gent. Without letting him know that you are anxious, you start asking him questions about his work, his workstyle and soon you forget that your anxieties because the quality of the conversation is compelling. It seems that these were just the words you needed. The kind of words that your Dad would have shared on the phone, if only you were not diffident to ask. You start taking mental notes as his words, spoken in a cordial, gentle tone ring a bell in your mind. The insights he shares, somehow resonate with external reality. You sense a genuine desire that he wants to relate to you, and wish you well. There is a sense of magnanimity about his entire discourse. The anecdotes he gives, may not have happened to you but you relate to the spirit of his dialogue.

The little Red Book of Wisdom by Mark DeMoss is like a traveller’s companion. You feel, when you read the Red Book,that you are in an inspiring session, hearing someone who has been there, done that and is expounding. Mark distills his professional and personal experiences into two parts and offers you his not only his view but his worldview as well. I could relate to Mark on three levels. At the outset, he talks about the ephemeral nature of life and shares a deeply personal story. Who cannot connect with the inexorable shadow of the finality of life? So taking human experience and drawing his audiences into the conversation is Mark’s first success in the book. The second area I was able to engage with Mark was his professional conviction. In the corporate world where ethical decisions are made often on value equations, his experiences are deeply anchored in values that lay in the scriptures, his worldview as a christian. In other words, he says your True North,your internal compass cannot change on a situational basis. You may lose dollars, often huge amounts but there is an ROI that no currency can calculate if you live by your moral compass. Finally, I relate to Mark as a fellow PR professional as the stories he shares truly strike a chord with me. One of the corporate maxims, “Underpromise and Over deliver” is often quoted but seldom practiced. Some of the campaigns that Mark talks about are case studies of success but the point is not self-trumpeting. Underpinning those stories are nuggets of truth, when applied can cause shifts in your mindset and in turn, your career or life.

This is an engaging book. The fact that it is little should give hope for those who get turned off by tomes. It is an easy read, but finishing the book in a jiffy is to defeat the purpose of the book. Read it in a relaxed manner and grapple with the contents and internalize them if your end goal is wisdom. However I have one grudge about this book. While this book is full of rich content with gems of insight laced throughout, Mark casually slips in what I call boulders of wisdom in an almost unobstrusive manner. I would have like to see such insights highlighted, perhaps in a box towards the end of a chapter. I, for one always enjoy such summaries since it gives me a view of what I learned before I head off to another part of the conversation.

As the train pulls into the station, you try to recap and structure those thoughts in your mind. Wow, not only the journey ended in a flash but you feel so much stimulated. I can handle this interview, you tell yourself and stridently make your way towards your future office. The Little Red Book of Wisdom will be my preferred gift to all my friends, particularly those who are younger. In the last days while Knowledge will increase, Wisdom is an awfully short commodity. This book will suit those who are on the search.