“The old order is eroding away!” I’ve heard it said. “Old business tactics won’t work like they did in the past!” others proclaim. “Adapt or die!”
I actually once said that last line to my boss, who is also my dad. We were discussing our use of Facebook at the time. I’ve been given a lot of free reign with my marketing efforts here at the shop, just so long as I don’t forget my other duties.
One afternoon, however, I was desperately searching for some Renton Printery stationary, when I stumbled across a book. An incredibly old book.
In case you can’t see it in the picture, it is titled: “The Office Encyclopedia: A How-To-Do-It Manual of Modern Business Procedures.” Credit is given as, “Compiled and Edited by N. H. and S. K. Mager.”
Flipping through the book, I found that its initial printing was in 1955, this copy being the ninth edition, published in 1971. Wow. Forty-five years old as of this previous April.
I examined the table of contents, finding chapter headings such as “Basic Grammar” and “Stenographer’s Handbook” and “Telegrams, Cables, Etc.”, with subheadings such as “Principal Parts of Verbs” and “How to fasten the typewriter to the desk” and “Singing telegrams.”
Pretty wacky sounding stuff, right?
But looking through this little book, precisely 500 pages long, I realized that there’s plenty of useful information here. Some of the technical information concerning typewriters and telegrams may be out of date, but that’s not all it has to offer.
As mentioned, there’s a chapter on grammar, part of a three-chapter section titled, “Office English Handbook.” Plenty of people my age could stand to read that.
You might notice in this blog post that I’ve affect a more formal air, a result of reading a few pages of that opening section every day for the last few days. We’ll see where it brings us.
To get to the point, I am convinced that within this old book lays much useful information relevant to today’s business practices.
At the very least, I’d love to read what this little tome has to say in the chapter titled, “Advertising and Publicity.”
More to come.