On Friday the 27th November, 2020 we commemorated 125 years of Mannwest Group (as well as Mannkal’s 23rd birthday), and celebrated in style aboard the paddle steamer Decoy.
To mark the occasion, I launched my 7th book Mannerisms: 1985-2020, and made a few remarks which you can read below. Following tradition, I also read out my annual poem – this year entitled “The Gift of 2020” which I hope you will enjoy.
In marking our family company’s 125th anniversary let me mention an alarming statistic.
The first generation of any ‘firm’ usually builds the company from scratch.
The second generation usually manages to continue the building process with the progressive stages of continuous improvement.
However, the third generation (which is my lot in life) has become famous, over the years, as being the generation who simply ‘buggers it all up’.
So, that explains why, from the minute I wake up each day I am in constant fear of following that normal path and that is why I work hard to escape that third-generation trap.
Well, tonight, as a way of marking our 125th anniversary, we are combining it with a book launch of my seventh book Mannerisms.
This book started life as a kind of personal diary to help me reflect on the circumstances in which we all find ourselves from time to time.
You might call these written reflections ‘Musings’. I call them ‘Mannerisms’.
Mannerisms are based on my paper trail of notes and poems that I have used as life’s markers – reminders to myself to formulate some deeper thoughts later as time allows; and it quite often does not.
Over the past few years, these Mannerisms have been published regularly on our Mannwest website, and from time to time you see them featured in our e-Focus newsletter.
The idea to bring all my “Mannerisms” together in one place started as an excuse for tonight’s 125th Anniversary party.
Let me pay a special tribute to Nicola Wright for bringing all the bits of paper together in this way.
Nicola is already busy as she has started on my next book – the 8th – of course 8 being a lucky number, it is an event that I’m looking forward to already!
I’m not selling this book tonight, I’m giving it to you, to mark our 125th anniversary.
If you miss out on a printed copy tonight, or the very few collectors’ items in print form, you can find a free PDF version on the Mannwest.com website.
In producing this book, I liken my mindset to fellow clarinet player Artie Shaw, who once said that when it comes to producing art, you play three chords for beauty’s sake – and one to pay the rent.
So this book will not be paying any rent. It is one my ‘three chords’ – my gift to you just for the sake of ‘sheer beauty’ (perhaps that is an exaggeration?).
By that I mean that it is my fervent hope that it will inspire in you – if that thought isn’t already there – the desire to observe, to reflect and to make the time to develop your own philosophy which you can then apply consistently to your personal life, your business life, your political life and your family life, and punch out your own book, so I can have a laugh at you, when you have your own book launch.
The first story in the book is how Jenny and I got started in business together with our lawnmowing contracting business in Kalgoorlie, and how we sold it at a profit.
Inspirational stuff, so I hope you read the book in bed tonight in readiness for my request for a critical book review by sometime tomorrow.
The Gift of 2020
Who would have imagined,
the surprise of Coronavirus,
could be a golden gift,
of the rarest kind.
There we were,
going about our affairs
in the conventional way,
quietly completing our tasks.
We travelled here,
We travelled there,
sitting at airports,
pretending to achieve.
Then normality was stolen,
plucked from our plate,
robbing us of the ability
to rush, not to be late.
Now, as the year closes
we can pause and ponder.
Coronavirus gave the gift
of many precious hours.
How did we invest, or waste,
the gift of these hours?
Did we write that promised book?
Did we work on those many lists?
Or even take a serious look.
What did we learn?
How have we changed?
Did we fail as we watch the year’s setting sun?
The situation handled so differently.
Observed from near and far.
Some, not so fortunate,
with much still to learn.
Will we be happy, looking back,
on how we invested those lonely hours
or sadly realise we had only
pissed them up against the wall?
This was followed by one of our Leadership Development Program Scholars, Alexandra Wolf, reading her poem below:
A Poem for the Poet
There’s a battle raging on, but they don’t know it,
A war echoing horrors of history before.
2020 or Orwell’s 1984?
When in the name of safety, the people submit.
Youthful minds ensnared, in a web of lies,
Believing in an economy of socialist design
Where their personal interests rarely align.
But even in this darkness, I see hope arise.
Up from Kalgoorlie came a man: generous and wise,
Who took promising students, taught them to think and lead.
Educating youth became the man’s creed,
Exposing the truth and executing evil’s demise.
The students’ confidence in government was firmly shaken,
As they learnt the pathway to truly be free
Is to accept personal responsibility.
The minds of the scholars were at last awakened.
They learn how to think from new perspectives.
Taught individuals matter as much as collectives.
Hearing ideas in university banned,
From the works of Hayek to Mises and Rand.
So, I write as one voice among many, on our graduation today,
To thank the great Mr Manners,
Who showed us the truth about government planners.
Blessings to you and Mannkal, I pray.
May your work continue its impact, each and every day.
Photos from the Decoy can be viewed on my Instagram account.
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