Guest writer: Sophie Delphis
My mother is currently finishing up her French translation of Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions, which comes out in the US on March 8th. As in past translation work she has done, I’ve been providing irregular advice on how to adapt certain phrases or anecdotes in a way that conveys the comfortable, conversational tone of the original English. And I’ve also taken the opportunity to read the book myself. I’m not necessarily the immediate target demographic as an opera student. However, the book’s theme is in fact right up my alley, as I attempt to enchant audiences every time I sing. In fact, having heard the pitches of dozens of entrepreneurs since I was born, I realize that enchanting is at the base of any human interaction.
I love that Guy has readers share their own stories at the end of each chapter, as they show the breadth of what experiences have a lasting effect. I myself was not initially introduced to Guy Kawasaki as a business man, or a start-up guru and author. As the president of my mother’s American company, ACIUS, he was throughout my childhood the man who had given me a nearly life-size stuffed tiger when I was a baby. Photos abound of me through the various stages of my being able to keep myself upright, at first merely smiling at this gigantic (but apparently gentle) creature on the ground, and later riding courageously on its shoulders. And now, two decades later, I still have not only the toy, but also the set of memories that goes along with it. Guy’s gift amazed me as a small child, conjuring exotic forests and fantastical adventures in our Paris apartment, and still enchants me as a young adult.
Of course, my tiger is not strictly a case of business enchantment, but it isn’t so far off, either. The gift was so peculiar and particular that it stuck, not only with me, but with my mother as well. Being able to affect a colleague’s child so much also means making a lasting impression on the person with whom you work. The enchantment was deeply entrenched in both of us because the gift was not merely a bland token of respect sent without thought, one of the dozens of nameless and faceless stuffed animals I received in the first few years of my life from people who were themselves to remain nameless and faceless to me. The grandiose and whimsical nature of my tiger made the gift personal, and has made me associate it with the ACIUS team, and Guy in particular, ever since. The tiger has born its fruits, as I’m reading Guy’s books twenty years later!