For our Fictional Speaker Series, we here at Brevity are constantly on the lookout for adventurous professionals in the business world. People unafraid to rebel against conventional wisdom and undertake new and risky projects. So we're proud to present Tyler Durden of Fight Club.
A pair of warnings. First, Tyler's advice might sound riddled with conflict, almost as if it were delivered by two different people. Just go with it. Second, Tyler seemed to know the caterers we hired, so we decided not to serve any food.
On using the third person: People are always asking me if I know Tyler Durden.
On hiring: All right, if the applicant is young, tell him he's too young. Old, too old. Fat, too fat. If the applicant then waits for three days without food, shelter, or encouragement he may then enter and begin his training.
On open communication: I know this... because Tyler knows this.
On gender equality: We're a generation of men raised by women. I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.
On unilateral decisions: You had to give it to him: he had a plan. And it started to make sense, in a Tyler sort of way. No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.
On cheaper alternatives: Did you know if you mixed equal parts of gasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate you can make napalm?
On role playing: Tyler's words coming out of my mouth. And I used to be such a nice guy.
On advertising: We're consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don't concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy's name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.
On self-scheduling: Tyler was a night person. While the rest of us were sleeping, he worked.
On possessions: The things you own end up owning you.
On risk management: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.
On workplace prayer: You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, He hates you.
On tough negotiations: With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels.
On mentorship: I'll bring us through this. As always. I'll carry you, kicking and screaming, and in the end you'll thank me.
On repeat business: Tyler sold his soap to department stores at $20 a bar. Lord knows what they charged. It was beautiful. We were selling rich women their own fat asses back to them.
On pep talks: Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.
On sweating the small stuff: Even a hummingbird couldn't catch Tyler at work.
On dispute resolution: I want you to hit me as hard as you can.
On working 80-hour weeks: By the end of the first month, I didn't miss TV.
On company mascots: Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
On travel fatigue: You wake up at SeaTac, SFO, LAX. You wake up at O'Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI. Pacific, Mountain, Central. Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time. You wake up at Air Harbor International. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?
On the office washroom: Listen, you can run water over your hand and make it worse or -- look at me -- or you can use vinegar and neutralize the burn.
On certainties: On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.
On vacation time: We just had a near-life experience, fellas.
On CEO corruption: I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.
On insider trading: F--- Martha Stewart. Martha's polishing the brass on the Titanic. It's all going down, man.
On telecommuting: I have a better solution. You keep me on the payroll as an outside consultant and in exchange for my salary, my job will be never to tell people these things that I know. I don't even have to come into the office, I can do this job from home.
On preaching efficiency: I see all this potential, and I see squandering.
On avoiding bosses: I ran. I ran until my muscles burned and my veins pumped battery acid. Then I ran some more.
On test groups: Like a monkey, ready to be shot into space. Space monkey! Ready to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
On convenience: Everywhere I travel, tiny life. Single-serving sugar, single-serving cream, single pat of butter. The microwave Cordon
Bleu hobby kit. Shampoo-conditioner combos, sample-packaged mouthwash, tiny bars of soap. The people I meet on each flight?
They're single-serving friends.
On Enron: It's not until you lose everything that you are free to do anything.
On personal life: I can't get married. I'm a thirty-year-old boy.
On workplace identity: You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet.
On Mondays: If I didn't say anything, people always assumed the worst.
On overtime: Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.
On maintaining focus: After fighting, everything else in your life got the volume turned down.
On motivational speakers: Hitting bottom isn't a weekend retreat. It's not a damn seminar. Stop trying to control everything and just let go! LET GO!
On taking questions: I am Jack's cold sweat.
And then, Tyler was gone.