Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Thursday, December 02, 2010

On perfection

Think you are a perfectionist when it comes to grammar? Reluctant to let any spelling mistake go? I bet you're not like SG Warburg, founder of the eponymous bank. As Niall Ferguson relates in the latest edition of the 'The Oxford Historian', the magazine of the history faculty at the university:

A perfectionist across the spectrum of banking activity, Warburg was unforgiving of lapses not just in ethical standards but even in grammar and syntax. A typical telephone call was one between Warburg and Stormonth Darling, one of his many Oxford proteges, when the latter was at his home:

Warburg: 'I do hope I'm not disturbing you.'

Darling: 'Oh no, Mr Warburg, not at all.'

Warburg: 'Well, it's about your note dated 22 December on the American stock market. Do you have a copy in front of you?'

Darling: 'Er, no, I'm afraid my copy is in the office.'

Warburg: 'Well, let me remind you of your second sentence in the fifth paragraph... I think there should be a comma after the word "development".'

This was on Christmas Day.


No doubt there is much more of this in Ferguson's biography of Warburg.

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