Thank you for reading and experiencing the bookbinder. This Bookbinder’s journal will contain my thoughts, background reading for those of you that are curious and the hidden meanings that I have placed within the story to challenge the careful reader. Every month I will add to this journal and I encourage you to communicate with me if you have any questions. I can answer one immediately and that is, Yes, there will be a second book. The Bookbinder will reemerge and Phillip’s evolution and learning continues. In writing this book, one of my goals was to make it a comfortable read and have some intriguing asides to interest the reader. This journal will be our way to communicate with each other for discussion and further explorations with the bookbinder. I plan on adding to this journal every month. The additions will approximate the subjects addressed in the chapters.
As Harris says, it is always best to start at the beginning. Actually, that is an inexact quote from Charles Lutwidge Dodgson a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, he wrote the metaphorical novel, Through the Looking Glass. Many of us know his more familiar first book, Alice in Wonderland, thanks to Walt Disney. Dodgson was a curious fellow that was a mathematician, Anglican clergyman, photographer, and logician. I also alluded to his Cheshire cat, in Harris’s asking repeatedly “What do you want?” The Cheshire cat repeatedly asked Alice a similar question. “Who are you?” Know yourself.
But I digress, We meet Dr. Phillip A. Zahn (German for tooth) as he is beginning another very hectic, and might I say, boring day. Although I am a dentist by profession I have coached and consulted with many people outside the practice of dentistry and I have found that the challenges of all of our work a day lives are much more similar than one would initially suppose. Phillip is busy with the busyness of his business. He may have a financially growing practice but has it become a multi-headed beast that requires more and more energy to keep it on track. His office systems may keep him at a level of efficiency but is he being effective? He has lost a level of control and is experiencing all the signs and systems of what is commonly known as burnout.
There seems to be a lack of effective systems within his practice but also there is apparently a culture of fixing teeth not treating people as individuals. Dentists can fall into the destructive habit of having a tooth ache in room # 2. Just as other businesses have a call on line #2.
Phillip, when thinking about getting his father’s book fixed, has become the patient, or business prospect with all the uncertainty, fears and tendencies to ask simple questions due to the lack of background of the process. For example: “How much will it cost”
The pace of his life slows significantly when he enters the shop and meets the bookbinder. Harris Tautell, a very thinly veiled reincarnation of Aristotle, is a mosaic of many different mentors I have experienced in my life. Some are still on this earth but many of them were friends who have passed away. Others are more famous and have left their legacy in literature to insure their immortality.
Harris Tautell, what's in a name? Besides the most obvious phonetic allusion to Aristotle, the spelling of his last name has a message. The first three letters are TAU, an alternate spelling of TAO. This is The Way as taught by the Zen master Lao Tzu. Add a letter and you get Taut, or taught. The last four letters are Tell. I used this to emphasize that in addition to the modern day mantra of self-discovery, sometimes we just have to hear the answer. Tell, as in William Tell was a bit obscure but was too good to pass up.
The feeling of comfort that Phillip experiences as he enters the shop presages their future discussion on the importance of design of our work places. It is important to note that Harris’ bookbinding shop is separated into two distinct areas. Phillip is somewhat confused to where the bookbinding is actually done when he does not immediately notice a work area. Already we are seeing a blurring of the boarders of work- love and play. I have visited many offices around the country and those that have spaces designed for interviewing clients, planning and contemplation as well as work spaces are in better balance and inevitably happier.
It is important to realize that the interview process be comfortable and unhurried. I trust you became aware early on, that the bookbinder anticipated working on more than a book with Phillip. Harris begins immediately to help Phillip start to define who he is. He is more than a dentist, just as Harris is more than a bookbinder. If our vocations define us, who are we when we no longer have that vocation? It is a sad occurrence when we witness someone becoming, and remaining; only what they do.
The cup of tea story is a classic Zen lesson. I changed it slightly so Harris would not continue to pour into the full cup and soak the precious book and the wooden box on the table.
Harris learns a lot about Phillip in this interview, as Phillip does most of the talking. In my experience I can never listen too much. It is also important to note, that Harris knows how to close a sale. With excellent timing, he confirms Phillip as the decision maker, qualifies, receives a commitment and makes the appointment. He creates ownership by having Phillip take the book home with him to begin the process.
Our next discussion will be on how we make decisions. I am now humming that show tune: Three coins in a fountain…
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