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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Airport departure lounges can damage your health.

Along with duty free and coffee shops, airport departure lounges are where you find bookshops. Purchasing a text to while away the tedium of travel is a given. Take care what you buy though.

What really hits you, is the undue prominence on the shelves of self-improvement tomes, either of the personal relationship or business variety. Travel is a stressful enough exercise at the best of times, without being reminded of how inadequate your emotional intelligence or management skills might be.

The pressure is on you to get an instant solution to your problems by making that purchase. You get a metaphorical MBA or counselling qualification before you reach your destination then.

You are drawn in by the titles which fan your anxieties. You feel insecure when confronted with a number of texts that you think you ought to buy, but from a quick bit of browsing are not sure how to cast your vote. If you buy there is the lingering thought in your mind that you got the wrong one. As you take off you think the right one is still on that shelf.

As I wait in Dubai’s terminal, there is a performance before me from a suitably suited and booted sales guy. He is encouraging passers-by to view a video clip of recently published management texts. Terms such as “extreme leadership” and “massive goals” jump off the screen and invade the sensibilities. No subtlety here then.

With all of the economic and domestic problems facing us, one would have thought that the cumulative reading of these improvement books would have yielded some solutions. A game-changer in our lives. Alas, the reverse is the case and the hyperbole written washes over us. We are suspicious of simplistic solutions which are laid out as “10 Ways to…….”.

One can have an inferiority complex as one starts off for the departure gate. These bookshops should be tendering us something more optimistic as we pull out our boarding card.

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