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A Fisherman’s Parable

2009 October 20
by Jordan Lindberg
Fly Fishing Tales

Fly Fishing Tales

A friend and business acquaintance sent a parable to me today as, I think, something of a cautionary tale. It’s too nice not to share, particularly with fellow anglers. I am probably violating all sorts of copyright in sharing it this way, but what the heck:

An investment banker was at the pier of a coastal Greek village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.
The banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of the fish and asked, “How long does it take to catch them?”
The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”
The banker then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish. The fisherman answered that he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The banker then asked,”But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my beautiful wife Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play cards with my friends…I have a full and busy life.”
The banker scoffed.
“I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing, and then with the proceeds you could buy a bigger boat. Later on you could then buy several more boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would then need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Athens, then London, and eventually New York, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Greek fisherman asked, “But how long will this all take?”
The banker replied, “15 to 25 years.”
“But what then?”
The banker laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich … you would make millions.”
“Millions,” the fisherman said. “Alright, then what?”
The banker said, “Well, then you would retire … move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play cards with your friends.”
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