About the same time at the end of the 1980s, moving into the beginning of the 1990s, two thought leaders wrote books on influence and power. They were journalist Hedrick Smith and public affairs player Robert Dilenschneider. Those books got people thinking: Hmmm, maybe I can get into that game. Most recently there's been an update on the influence and power scene with Mark Leibovich's "This Town." The best-seller remains in the 400-ranking on Amazon.com.
But, after two brutal recessions in the 21st century, some of us are shrugging our shoulders. We're deciding that maybe influence and power aren't worth the energy needed to be continually funneled into it. Just the special events, ranging dinner parties to the fundraisers, are enough to leave little time over for actual tasks one might enjoy doing.
Money, with no influence or power attached, seems to be what more of us are opting for. Take selling used cars. More middle class folks are stuck in the $50,000 bracket and can only afford a used car. They will buy from those they trust, who allow iffy credit without a penalty, and are there post-sale if problems arise. The owners and salespeople in used cars are making a very good living. No one is approaching them to run for mayor. And they want it just that way.
A sign of what might be changing values is the growing popularity of the tenets of Buddhism. One of the classics among the Buddhist texts is "Being Nobody, Going Nowhere" by Ayya Khema. When neighbors spot me heading toward my car in my meeting-clients outfit and Coach attache case and ask how things are going, I answer, "Enough business to pay my bills, at least right now." I blush to remember how I used to gush about the influential and powerful leaders I did assignments for.