Alice's Adventures in Businessland

Recently I stumbled across an interesting book - All Things Alice by Linda Sunshine. I’m not necessarily a big Alice in Wonderland fan, but this book caught my attention. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that I don’t like the books. I’ve read and enjoyed Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, I watched and enjoyed Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, and I was enthralled by the most recent bizarre results that (as always) occur when Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are paired. But I am just not a rabid fan. I have seen it as a good piece of work that stands the test of time, but not something I need to worry my pretty little head about. 

However, the one thing that has always stuck with me is the way Caroll took a deceptively simple child’s tale and peppered it with mathematical conundrums, verbal wordplay, and sometimes not too subtle attacks on the political and social mores of the day. That is why I was drawn to doing something similar in the humor piece I did for Internal Auditor last year.
 
All this as preface that there was no indication I would necessarily be attracted to this particular book. But, I was bored as I wondered through Downtown Disney in Orlando and picked it up on a whim. I found a book that is a strange and eclectic collection of quotes from Carroll’s two books, quotes from other Carroll works, quotes from his biographers (and those who spend WAY too much time studying his work), and even some recipes (yes, I said recipes). And I was instantly assaulted by the relevance of the scenes and quotes from Alice in Wonderland to many of the situations we face today.
 
Here, at relative randomness, are some I stumbled across (the kind that made me break down and buy the book.) 
 
“For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things were really impossible”
 
                “The best way to explain it is to do it”
           
“’But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘We’re all mad here. I’m mad.   You’re mad.’
‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.
‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’”
           
“How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another!”
 
“’I make you a present of everything I’ve said as yet.’
‘A cheap sort of present!’ thought Alice. ‘I’m glad they don’t give birthday presents like that!’”
 
Okay, I admit that, to some extent, I picked and chose these quotes. But it becomes quickly evident that there is something here that speaks to our work/audit/business lives.
 
There is a lot here (which means there is a lot in the Alice books themselves.) Be prepared. I will be returning to this book in the future to see what it might have to say to us as business people and auditors. But for now, I’d suggest you go back and dig out that old copy of Alice you’ve got buried somewhere and see if you don’t start to wonder if Lewis Carroll was talking about your Dilbertian situations.
 
Any good Alice quotes out there?

Posted on Jan 7, 2011 by Mike Jacka

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