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The Close-to-Complete Diary of Harriet Rubin: Excerpt 3: Going All the Way (or trying to)
 

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In earlier diary excerpts, Rubin talks about making the leap into independent consulting after a long career as an editor at Doubleday. Here, she details her struggles in finding the strength to cut the final cords.

Please note: This is the raw text of a personal diary. It has not been edited for accuracy of dates or facts. Read Rubin's introduction to her diary.


February 5, 1998: New York City.
A chicken-with-broccoli-and-cold-sesame-noodles emergency

Home sweet home. English language. Seven-digit dialing. Chinese home delivery. Life at its best is simple. Sometimes it takes sickness to reveal this. Sometimes just travel.

I'm not even jet-lagged. I'm too excited by the basic Davos lessons.

1. I have to start an active mailing list. Keep in touch with people, even people I didn't "mate" with for life. Acquaintances in the network of ideas are just as important as new-found friends.

2. Remember how important it is to boost your horizon, even more than your ambitions. I've decided I can't limit myself to writing about business, for business. My subject is bigger: grace, genius. I will seek out Tutu, and write about him. I will seek out Mandela. I need to keep the Alps and Davos firmly in mind.

3. Learn a new language. I will immerse myself in a new vocabulary: history. I need to keep upping the ante. It frees me from the habits of psychologizing everything. It gives me a new set of eyes on business and the bigger world.

As a reminder, I will paste a postcard of the Alps over my desk.

Books to read:

  • Anything on Eisenhower, called by Gingrich the most unfairly forgotten pres in history
  • Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of the Finch
  • Thomas Mann essays
  • Isaiah Berlin on the Russian Thinkers
  • Einstein bio
Friday, February 6.
Please be nice to me, I'm mad as hell

Just saw Paul Monette documentary. Cried like a fiend on my way out. Monette was a homosexual and writer, in the closet for half his life. I've been in the closet for longer than that. My closet is business. I'm a woman and treated like a fag by the guys in charge. Just this morning the BoA director who'd sent me a contract for the speech got cold feet. She wouldn't take my references' word about how good I am as a speaker; she saw the recent issue of Fast Company and thinks the coverage I got means I "have an 'in' at the magazine." Would anyone say that about a man? Would anyone damn a guy for his success? Damn BoA, and damn business. It is a stupid pursuit. Why am I writing about statesmen and leaders who follow their dream? Why don't I abandon all pretense and follow my own dreams, and stop trying for acceptance in a world where I will always be an outsider?

Last updated: Oct 19, 1998




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