Okay. It’s Thursday night. The Friday blog post should be in by midnight. I got nothing. At the first of the year I made the commitment that, every Friday, I would use the book I was reading or one I’d recently read as a springboard for a discussion about internal audit. And I got nothing. I could just ignore that commitment, but I’ve kind of slacked off lately and I’d like to think I can at least come close to pulling this off.
Okay. Okay. Think. What have you read lately? There’s that dual novel by Delany. Always easy to talk about science fiction and how auditors should be willing to use every opportunity to expand their personal horizons. Nah. I think I’ve done that one before. Just finished Sedaris’ new book - a collection of short, twisted fables. Nope. Don’t even go there. With any luck that’ll be fodder for the magazine’s next humor piece, and you don’t want to give it away. Let’s see what else is on the just read pile. David Eggers short story collection? Hmmm - nice collection. Good stories. What in them can apply to auditing? Shoot, why’s it so hard to remember what you’ve just read. Maybe something about the way the collection was constructed. That’s right. It was a little different in that longer stories were separated by one/two page vignettes. That’s a good mix of things. Maybe use it as a reminder that auditors need to make sure they mix things up if they want people to pay attention. Use different communication methods– one time a written memo, the next a Powerpoint, then just an oral presentation, then high opera, then a sock puppet show, then a Greek tragedy, then a… Nope. Not working.
Shoot. Let’s try the “books I’m kind of reading at” stack. There’s the Doonesbury retrospective. Could use that to talk about the need for humor in auditing. Nope, been there. Maybe use it to talk about irreverence. Yeah, how irreverence can play an important role in our striving for independence and objectivity. No. That seems like a lot of work. Here’s Connected which provides an in-depth look at how social networks (the real ones, not the cyber ones) lead to surprising results. (Is fat contagious?) Something auditors might be interested in, but it would be tough to actually make a specific parallel to internal audit. Maybe something about IIA chapter meetings and rubber chicken being contagious? Can’t do it – too close to the truth.
Running out of time. What else. The collector’s edition of the gaming guide for Epic Mickey? The less said about that one the better. What’s this one over here? Wait. Doesn’t count. My wife read it; not me. Maybe a discussion of how auditors experience so much of life in the business world vicariously through the people who do the real work. A little too mean. I just got another brochure for my Disneyland memorabilia collection. Would reading a pamphlet from 1955 count? Maybe something about nostalgia for the good old days of internal audit. Just printed out the chords and lyrics to Alison Krauss’ “Baby, Now that I Found You.” A discussion on copyright violations?
Okay, out of time, out of ideas. I got nothing. Why the heck did I come up with this crazy idea in the first place? I guess I was trying to practice what I preach; that by making this kind of stretch people can build their creative abilities. You know. Maybe I’ve achieved that anyway. No, I didn’t come up with a book and a deep thought. (Maybe Jack Handy’s book? Never mind.) But I did go through the exercise and, even if some of those stretches were really stupid, it’s as much about the stretch as it is about what is reached.