My polymath friend Michael Phillips has written a book called “The Most Important Book In Human History.” He’s not exaggerating. It is that important.
I have told you before about my friend Michael Phillips, who is not just one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, but also one of the most intellectually dynamic. He is a completely out-of-the-box thinker.
If you’re wondering what I mean when I say “out-of-the-box” thinker, consider this: Back in the day, inspired by Diner’s Club, banks started issuing their own plastic “credit cards.” The problem, though, was that they were useful only at those institutions that recognized that bank. In essence, these cards were nothing more than a shortcut way to avoid the labor of writing a check. It was Michael who came up with the idea of MasterCard — a cover organization to which all banks could subscribe. This was the first multibank card and it became the basis for a global currency that can travel with you to most points in the First World and many points in the Second.
Michael also conducted radio interviews for years, talking to anybody and everybody. These weren’t Charlie Rose or David Letterman type reviews. You know what I mean when I talk about Rose and Letterman: they are the interviewers who talk only to people who agree with them and the interviewer does most of the talking.
Michael is interested in people, not ideologies, and his ego takes a back seat during the interview. During San Francisco’s Swinging, hippy 1960s and self-actualized, self-realized 1970s, Michael talked to everyone from bankers to hippies to Todd Gitlin. If you go to Michael’s blog, Pro Commerce and look up the “hippie” category you’ll get an idea of the scope of his experience and the broad spectrum of people and institutions who made (and make) up his world. As you look through it, keep in mind that Michael in the 1960s was a University of Chicago wunderkind, a former soldier, a banker, and a committed free market capitalist, but none of that stopped him from finding this emerging counterculture fascinating and worth study. [Read more…]