Magazine article Management Today

Books: Last in the Three-Legged Race

Magazine article Management Today

Books: Last in the Three-Legged Race

Article excerpt

Ancient Greek notions of trinity provide the structure for this modern Greek's self-help book. Unfortunately, what she's served up is not tripos but tripe, says Stephen Bayley.


The third metric to redefining success and creating a happier life

Arianna Huffington

WH Allen, pounds 16.99

Watch it! Arianna is reaching out to us. I am all for how-to books History has many fine examples. Works by Machiavelli, the first management consultant, and Henry David Thoreau, the first dropout, are personal favourites, as well as masterpieces of world literature. Does Mrs Huffington, referred to by docile PRs as 'one of the most influential women in the world', sit comfortably in this company?

Alas, rich, sleek, coiffed Mrs Huffington has, despite appearances, or maybe because of them, not been sitting comfortably at all. The 'third metric' of her subtitle is a reference to the Greek tripos, the three-legged stool that has lent a useful image, first, to Cambridge University and, now, thanks to Arianna, to the rest of us.

Two legs of Arianna's stool are money and power. In her case, they are ample and sturdy. But, until recently, the third leg has been missing, giving an element of emotional instability to an otherwise supremely successful media career, and what appeared to be a dominant sitting position with many of the less fortunate crushed beneath her callipygian bottom. This third missing leg is 'mindfulness', or whatever it's called this week.

A hospital episode caused a personal crisis. Stellar vectors of wealth, influence, status and social promotion were brought thumping down to earth, as mortality said: 'Hi, be seeing ya!' Eartha Kitt used to insist: 'If I can't take it with me, I'm not gonna go.' The thought, happily misplaced, of having to go turned Arianna contemplative. However, despite a new appetite for transcendental calm, her ambition seems unabated. The Huffington Post Media Group, a digital pioneer known affectionately as HuffPo, was sold to AOL for dollars 315m, and Arianna is still in charge. You can, it seems, have your wobbly stool and eat it.

Meanwhile, Arianna advises us to get in touch with 'who we really are'. I am not sure this is wise. Many of us have spent time and effort getting away from our authentic selves by fabricating more attractive personae. Certainly, I have. I would be horrified to be told to rediscover the real me. Anyway, wasn't the now Waspy Mrs Huffington the Hellenic Ms Stassinopoulos at uni? …

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