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The following story is based upon an email that circulated around the internet a few years ago.

An American businessman, vacationing in Mexico, watched a local fisherman set out every morning, and return in the afternoon with fish.

One day the fisherman returned to shore early. The business man approached, obviously curious. "Why are you back so early?" The fisherman held up a string of fish, smiling. "The fish were biting today and I caught what I needed in an hour."

"What will you do with the rest of the day?" The fisherman grinned and replied "After lunch I will take a siesta. In the afternoon I will play with my children and in the evening I will make music with my friends."

The American saw an opportunity to be of service. "No, no, no! You have it all wrong! Now listen carefully. I am a successful business man and the advice I am going to give you is worth a lot of money".

"When the fish are biting, that is precisely when you do stay out. The extra fish that you catch you will sell to the fish vendor. Within a year you will be able to afford a second boat, and within 10 years you will have a small fleet. "Then you will have enough volume that you can bypass the middle man and open your own fish market. As you grow, of course, you will have to move to Mexico City to run your business more efficiently. In 20 years you will have so much business you will need to move to New York to handle your fishing empire."

The business man paused, seeming very satisfied with his advice. The fisherman, a little confused asked "and what then?" The business man got a big smile on his face and said "Well this is the best part. After 30 years you sell everything and retire to Mexico where you can spend the rest of your days fishing in the morning, taking a siesta after lunch, and in the evenings you can make music with your friends!"


Here is another version of the story.


GREEK FISHERMAN: Wisdom from Simplicity

A boat docked in a tiny Greek village.  A tourist complimented the Greek fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Greek.

"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the tourist.

The Greek explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The tourist asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife.  In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends, dance a little, play the bouzouki, and sing a few songs.  I have a full life."

The tourist interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you.

You should start by fishing longer every day.  You can then sell the extra fish you catch.  With the revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.  With the extra money you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers.  Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.  You can then leave this little village and move to Athens, Los Angeles, or even New York City!  From there you can direct your huge enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the Greek.

"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the tourist.

"And after that?"

"Afterwards?  That's when it gets really interesting," answered the tourist, laughing.  When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions?  Really?  And after that?"

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings singing, dancing and playing the bouzouki with your friends.

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