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Discovering Alec Guinness

I had started reading Alec Guinness's A Positively Final Appearance. Then it suddenly did a mysterious disappearing act, writes Deepak Mankar.

business Updated: Sep 29, 2005 19:13 IST

A curious thing happened to me maybe a couple of months ago. I had started reading Alec Guinness's A Positively Final Appearance (Penguin, 1999). Then it suddenly did a mysterious disappearing act. After searching and re-searching for it for an unconscionably long time, I bought a second copy, again from Strand at their usual special price. I think I made a wise decision. It's quite a piece of autobiographical writing. Frankly, Guinness was never a personal favourite as an actor except as Mr Holland, the Dutch boss of The Lavender Hill Mob (1951). His Obi-Wan Kenobi (remember the fleet-footed lightsaber wielder?) had amused me immensely, though. What tickled me in his book is his account of the re-release of Star Wars and his disgust at the fuss made about something so banal that had lost all its virginal freshness. It's a rollickingly great read by any standard. Read the book extract that includes the Star War-related episode here:

P.S. I learned from Alec G the origin of the term 'scapegoat'. It seems from an account he cites from the Mishnah, supposedly a part of the Talmud, that every Holy Week, the Scapegoat with a crimson thread tied around his neck to symbolize the piled-up sins of the community was driven three miles into the desert. Simultaneously, another crimson thread was tied to the door of sanctuary in the Temple. The Scapegoat would eventually die in the desert cleansing the collective sins and the thread in the Temple would turn white. Now we know why a person falsely accused of a wrong is called a scapegoat. In other words, the fall guy, yes?

INDIA UNBOUND? Special coverage by McKinsey.

This is for every Indophile's eyes. The Manmohan Singh interview ('India's economic agenda: An interview with Manmohan Singh') where he discusses India's prospects and challenges, says that the ultimate goal is to wipe out poverty, ignorance and disease and accepts "the logic of globalization" can be read here: at, there's 'When to make India a manufacturing base', a sort of cautionary how-to guide for intending entrants. Key Tip #1: "Multinationals considering India as a manufacturing base should focus on skill-intensive industries to take advantage of the country's abundant supply of well-qualified engineers." Key Tip #2: "Companies that make the effort now to source and manufacture products in India may obtain first-mover advantages such as close relations with the best suppliers, access to the best talent, and government support." The rather topical 'Unearthing India's mineral wealth' predicts: "Our research finds that removing these barriers would, by 2015, double both the contribution of the sector to India's GDP and the number of people it employs. This would greatly benefit the country's mineral-rich but impoverished eastern states." Read it here:

GUERRILLA MARKETING. New secrets revealed.

It's nirvana time, folks! Guerrilla Marketing's self proclaimed guru, the one and only Jay Conrad Levinson ( has a treat in store for all of us lesser mortals. Memorize these fifteen words and you know all there's to know about GM, is what he virtually tells us. The 16-concept mantra is: Commitment - Investment - Consistent - Confident - Patient - Assortment - Convenient - Subsequent - Amazement - Measurement - Involvement - Dependent - Armament - Consent - Augment - Content. "These 16 concepts are probably the reason that many start-up guerrillas now run highly successful companies. They are the cornerstone of guerrilla marketing, now the most popular marketing series in history, published in 39 languages, and required reading in many MBA programs worldwide. Just 16 words, but each one nuclear-powered and capable of propelling you into the land of your dreams," he concludes. to read a bunch of his free articles. By the way, you can even listen with your own ears to the GM guru's advice by clicking on

SEARCH ENGINES. Not the be-all and end-all of website marketing.

Once upon a time, the website marketing success secret was this mythical mantra: "Once you submit to the search engines, then thousands of visitors will swarm to your web site." Then the sobering truth dawned slowly but surely: "Search Engines are not everything that they profess to be. They are certainly not the traffic producers that you have been told they are. Search engines are important, but they should only be a small part of your marketing efforts. You need to be able to submit to them, then forget them."

NO MORE 'NICHE'. Blog readership gains respectability.

Imagine! In 2005's first quarter, blogs had 50 million US-based readers. So, it's bye-bye to their erstwhile lowly 'self-publishing niche' status. Move over, mainline media. " now reaches more visitors than, and -clear evidence that consumer-generated media can draw audience on par with traditional online publishers," notes the comScore Networks report (August 2005) bringing the good news. Of the 50 million American blog readers, over 19 million visit sites hosted on Google's domain. This is where blogs with the Blogger software that Google acquired when it purchased Pyra Labs are hosted. At the top of comScore's rankings come blogs dealing with politics and news. These include with visitors at 3.6 million first-quarter unique visits. And, had over 44 million total visits. It also placed second in unique visitors (2.2 million). Political and news blogs outranked the seven blog categories in the study for SEMs following blog traffic - with 43 percent visitors in that category alone. 18 percent visited 'hipster' blogs and 16 percent tech blogs. This column's last blog coverage: ('A: ONE OUT OF SIX. Q: How many US blog readers?')


A recent (end-July 2005) BURST! Media survey of 13,000 web users, 14 years and older, showed that the personal computer was rapidly replacing other ubiquitous appliances (the telephone, radio and television) as the household's tool of choice. Entertainment that earlier used to be accessed on separate appliances was now increasingly accessed via the computer. Of the respondents 24 years and younger, 39.1% cited the Internet as the primary way they listened to music. (76.5% overall said they listened to music over the Internet.) 31.2% said the Internet was the primary way they played games. (65.4% overall said they played Internet games.) 53.3% said they used the Internet to watch movies and other video programming (27.6% of all other age groups). Four out of five (86%) said their daily routine would be disrupted if their home computer were taken away and not available for one week. (42.1% said their daily routine would be disrupted "significantly".) Chuck Moran, Manager, Market Research, BURST! Media, said "Along with VoIP and streaming video, this is just the beginning of a centralization of most communication and entertainment functions in the home into a single appliance." To which Jarvis Coffin, CEO & President, BURST! Media, added this pertinent comment: "The new media environment centered around the … PC, is a boon for advertisers who now have expanded opportunities to cross-sell their products…"

That's all for now though there's plenty more out there. Join me again next week, same place.

Copyright (c) 2001- 2005 by Deepak Mankar. All rights reserved. Deepak Mankar, an advertising practitioner on the creative side since 1965, is also intensely passionate about the web and web content creation. Read his online articles at Website: You may e-mail him at

First Published: Sep 29, 2005 19:13 IST