How Maxwell inspired academic research

February 23rd, 2011

(This is a Maxwell anecdote never told before because it happened on 23 Feb 2011. Yes, 2011.)

I rang my bank early this evening and got  through to a man, not in India.

To pass the time of day I asked him if he had heard of Robert Maxwell.

Oh yes, he said, I had to wade through a 90,000 word Ph D thesis on Maxwell’s accounting fiddles when I was at uni.

So I told him he could learn much more about Maxwell’s many and various skills, by reading Bower’s book, which he could buy for a couple of quid from Amason. No need to plough; it reads like a thriller. He would stay up all night reading it in bed.

But, I told him, that if Bower had got any vital fact wrong he would have been bankrupt years ago.

I waited while he slowly wrote down the details:

Maxwell. The Final Verdict by Tom Bower.

He checked to make sure he had got it down right.

I was so gob-smacked that my bank employed such an intelligent man, who was still to learn the possible pitfalls ahead in his trade, that I quite forgot what I had rung about.

So I told him I would have to call back in an hour or so.

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