June 30, 2011

To have or to be

There are some incidents in our lives which are turning points. One of mine was reading the book “To have or to be” by Erich Fromm given to me by one of my friends more than 30 years ago.

Some excerpts from the book: “Having refers to things and things are fixed and describable. Being refers to experience and human experience is in principle not describable.”…. “Being [...] implies the faculty of being active; passivity excludes being.”

It had taken me years to read this book for the first time, most probably due to my being an engineer since engineering entertains itself with describable matters almost at all times. I assume that it would have taken me even much longer to read it today in this world which is more and more getting to be a ‘to have’  one.

If you consider sharing your business, you can make a valuation for all your buildings, machinery and customers. But what is the value of all the people working for the company and especially of you? How can one evaluate your decision to enter the business life and your proactive actions to grow your company?

As we look for partners for a company we put more emphasis on the characteristics of the owners than on what they own.  As Froom says: “If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I?”

If you want to read more about Fromm, please click here.

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