This article was taken from The Wall Street Journal. For all you girls who's partners don't understand why you love Twilight so much - get them to read this article. Maybe it might even tempt them to read a bit of the book!
Bella and Edward Who? Real-Estate Tycoon Deconstructs ‘Twilight’
By Anton Troianovski
Tom Barrack is one of the biggest real-estate deal-makers in the world. His investment firm, Colony Capital LLC, has raised $16 billion from pension plans and other big investors to buy properties like gaming company Station Casinos Inc., Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, and possibly even Walt Disney Co.’s Miramax movie studio.
But recently, it turns out, Mr. Barrack has also been doing some soul-searching—thanks to Stephenie Meyer’s popular vampire-novel series, “Twilight.”
In a July 2 memo encouraging his employees to consider outside points of view—you can read it in full at the end of this post—Mr. Barrack describes a lonely evening on a yacht in Turkey after a cancelled business meeting. In the yacht, Mr. Barrack writes, he came upon a book on which “were written the words that strike terror in the hearts of every macho, red-blooded male…TWILIGHT.” He goes on:
As I sat there with nothing to do the book kept taunting me. I began to think that there must be something I don’t understand. What could it be? What is it all about? Women don’t just read these books, they live them. They become each paragraph. I picked it up, but then immediately dropped it like a hot coal. What if someone saw me reading this? My macho reputation would be finished! I would be kicked out of the bench press section of the gym. My polo compadres would send me packing to the pony rides and my surfing buddies would exile me to the kiddie pool.Mr. Barrack argues that the “anticipation” in the romantic relationship between a teenage girl and a vampire has made the “Twilight” series compelling to millions of women.
But it was a long night and there was absolutely nothing, and I mean NOTHING else to do. Long story short—not only did I read Twilight, I read the other two as well!! I was fascinated, captivated even. However, what intrigued me was not the same thing that hooked the millions of women whose lives and had been changed by this series, but something else entirely.
Men, however, are all about the destination, the result, the speed and the outcome. The journey is merely penance to get to the destination. Which is why despite the vampires and werewolves, this book is kryptonite to most men.Mr. Barrack urges his employees to take the July 4 holiday to draw a lesson from the kind of entertainment offered by “Twilight.” (None of the 21 senior-management executives and six of the 30 “other senior executives” listed on Colony’s website are women.) “In every day business, we think we know it all,” he writes. “We are lacking creativity.”
The memo was briefly posted on Mr. Barrack’s public “Chairman’s Corner” blog on the Colony website. Someone who had seen the memo on the website sent a copy to The Wall Street Journal. A Colony spokesman confirmed the memo was written by Mr. Barrack and said it was meant as an internal letter to employees.
Here it is in full:
Bella and Edward Who???? July 02, 2010 Gang, The last few weeks have been an incredible adventure. Thanks to you, Colony is on fire across the globe and we are conquering new frontiers and new themes on a daily basis in almost every venue in which we conduct our business. You are the A Team and I am deeply grateful and proud of what all of you have “teamed” to our reality.
As you know, I have been caught in a vortex of meteoric movement in every aspect of life and that has intensified on a cosmic scale the last few weeks. My personal goal has always been to feel the wind blow through my hair when standing on the ledge. Well, I certainly found the ledge, if not the hair. It is where I thankfully and excitedly anticipate the scent of excitement and fulfillment the most. I seem to love the edge.
My real job is to act as the Senior Information Officer for all of you and share my points of view, newfound information, instincts, and reactions so that you can incorporate them into a plan of action, which, through sweat and alchemy, becomes profit for our investors as well as ourselves. Today the volatility and uncertainty in the world is at epic proportions and perhaps the most valuable tool that I can share with you is the ability to adapt to, and analyze other points of views. Especially, to understand those points of view which you find truly frightening, disturbing, or life threatening. We all find comfort in crawling into our own “content” of life and with death defying stubbornness refuse to look outside to the “context” in which other people view our “content”. The wars of the world since the beginning of time have been fought over diverging points of view. There is no price too great to defend it. Unfortunately, that inflexibility does not work well for global traders or businessmen. Adaptability and understanding of strange bedfellows becomes a competitive edge.
I am going to share with you a personal breakthrough, which does not relate directly to our business but does reflect upon how we all look at all the “stuff” that drives us on a daily basis. Many of you will think that I have lost my mind or have finally experienced a mystical intervention of “my feminine side”. I promise you, it is neither.
I have had an agonizingly tough couple of weeks and have survived on pure adrenaline in the midst of tumult, controversy, tough negotiations with business counterparts, and a grueling travel itinerary that was challenging even for me. One of the recent meetings was in Turkey with our Mars partners. I made arrangements to have a bit of yacht time with them. When the meeting got cancelled I did the unthinkable for me, have a little down time all to myself. I boarded the gorgeous but stark Turkish Gulet right as the sun was setting. As I made my way into the main cabin I saw something so frightening it left me speechless. There, staring up at me from the ebony coffee table was a book. On the cover was a gorgeous red apple nestled between two soft and caring hands. Between the hands were written the words that strike terror in the hearts of every macho, red-blooded male…TWILIGHT. AAAARRRGGGGHHHH!! Alone, on a boat, with no wifi, no satellite, no magazines, no newspapers, just me and this book. This piece of chick lit, teeny bopper heartthrob stuff. Terror on the high seas! I wanted nothing to do with any of it. Not relevant, not interesting.
As I sat there with nothing to do the book kept taunting me. I began to think that there must be something I don’t understand. What could it be? What is it all about? Women don’t just read these books, they live them. They become each paragraph. I picked it up, but then immediately dropped it like a hot coal. What if someone saw me reading this? My macho reputation would be finished! I would be kicked out of the bench press section of the gym. My polo compadres would send me packing to the pony rides and my surfing buddies would exile me to the kiddie pool.
But it was a long night and there was absolutely nothing, and I mean NOTHING else to do. Long story short – not only did I read Twilight, I read the other two as well!! I was fascinated, captivated even. However, what intrigued me was not the same thing that hooked the millions of women whose lives and had been changed by this series, but something else entirely.
For you male Colonists, here is a brief synopsis. Stubborn teenage girl meets a handsome but moody vampire and against all odds they fall in love.
Here is my macho take – Stephanie Meyer is a total genius. As I flipped through the pages I was startled by the lack of detailed description of Bella and the surgical and illuminating development of Edward. As hard as I tried I could not really picture Bella, but I was grabbed by Edward’s character – gorgeous, super human, super strong, super fast and most importantly encompassing the wisdom of a 109-year-old man in the guise of a 17-year-old boy.
The description of Bella on the other hand, was not moving, or compelling. What I realized is the genius of Stephanie was that she knew that by keeping the character generic, any and every woman could climb inside and picture herself in Bella’s shoes. Thus the fascination and deep emotional reactions to what many (including myself) thought was a foolish teenage trashy novel.
I definitely got that the “anticipation” was much more romantic and sexy than the “consummation” to the woman. Slow, patient, caring, tender…. (guys have you heard those words before?) I found him incredibly appealing as he was taking care of Bella, putting her first, distancing himself from her to protect her and yet never being able to get her out of his mind. The relationship stood the test of time through many years, other men, family challenges and misconceptions of valiant and loving acts. A human relationship with a vampire is challenging on many levels, the least of which being you get older as your partner remain timeless. It was enticing, captivating, alluring…and dangerous. Through it all she believed that she could do it…. change her life… change his life…make it different…in spite of what conventional wisdom dictated.
Every woman longs for the anticipation, the romance, the journey, the taboo, the patience, and the attentiveness. Men, however, are all about the destination, the result, the speed and the outcome. The journey is merely penance to get to the destination. Which is why despite the vampires and werewolves, this book is kryptonite to most men.
In a world of technology these books are unique. There is so little imagination left in most of forms of entertainment today. See it, Google it, play it, do it…there is very little old fashioned make believe anymore. I could go on and on, but I know by now many of you are saying, “what happened to our leader?”… “Maybe Lebanese really is a sexual preference rather than a nationality”. I promise none of the above. [Mr. Barrack is of Lebanese descent.]
Here is my point. The idea of devoting half a day to reading these books was something that never, NEVER, entered my mind as something I would ever, EVER do. I hated them. I mocked them. It made no difference to me that over 20 million books were sold, movies made, and Team Edward and Team Jacob pandemonium had engulfed the world. I was simply stuck in my point of view.
Once I ventured into the books I learned something. I now understand why some women are emotionally altered from merely reading a book. I have also gained a deeper realization that understanding the circumstances and points of views of those with whom we are negotiating, working, living, loving or fighting is the key determinant factor in an enduring relationship.
In every day business, we think we know it all. We are the captains of our industry and we possess all the global knowledge. That which we don’t understand we push a button and it appears before us. We are lacking creativity…. it is hard for us to dream… harder for us to change our lives… hard to live in a situation that other people view as unconventional. And for sure, we all have no idea on how to be satisfied with the status quo.
It is time for all of us to become more creative, spend more time outside of the strict arithmetic cadence of our business, and understand foreign points of view. Most importantly we must really find the “moment”. Anticipation is everything. The process of getting to a destination is the objective and the more illumination, color, and vitality we give to the “road” the less important the final destination becomes. It will be what it will be!!!
On this 4th of July, slow down, take a breath, rediscover your imagination and create some excitement in your life. Take a few days to expand on the qualities of the character you would really like to become. Then live it, do it, become it! The better you are as an individual, the better we will be as a team.
I feel renewed and refreshed, having gotten out of my comfort zone and experiencing something so totally out of my normal realm. I don’t get it…. but I feel it. Taking the agenda-less time to absorb a point of view that I had ignored while loved ones around me relished in it, was an oasis for my soul. Having been unwilling to investigate the cause of such a startling movement until now was ignorant. Move your cheese!!!! Break through the comfort barriers, you can handle it whatever it is. The earth is turning on its axis. Planets and moons and suns are in orbit. Gravity is pulling and tugging, and molecules and quarks are warring inside of us. We need movement to live…
Do it Now!
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