What Do You Make of This?

My book, “Don’t Let Your Dream Business Turn Into a Nightmare” is an honest account, from my perspective, of my experience in founding one of the first day spas for men in the world called The Men’s PowerSpa.

When I had finished my book, in late 2008, I submitted it to one of the leading independent publishers in Canada, and the Managing Editor, who loved the book, and called it “the most original business book he had ever read”, said that it belonged on the syllabus of every M.B.A. program in the country.

That was a “light bulb” moment for me, as I had written the book as a cautionary tale for would-be entrepreneurs, to help them avoid the misfortune that I experienced. I had not thought of the book as an educational resource to be used in college or university entrepreneurship and business courses.

Based upon the comments of the Managing Editor, I decided to publish the book myself, and to send it to university and college instructors, to see if it might be of interest for their graduate and undergraduate courses. One of the most thrilling responses that I received was from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, not only one of the top business schools in Canada, but my alma mater, as I have a Master’s degree in English from Western.

In short, the Ivey School of Business adapted my book, which is the tale of a first-time entrepreneur with the dream of creating one of the first spas in the world for men, into a case study. The case study was completed in the fall of 2009, and made available on the Ivey Publishing website.

I did not have any financial interest whatsoever in the use of the case study at Ivey or in the sale of the case study to other business schools, but I did see a benefit to me in the association with a prestigious academic institution like Ivey and in exposing my story to students of business around the world, some of whom might have interest in reading the complete story as I told it in my book.

I should also point out that in writing my book, I was as honest as I could possibly be about my actions, my decisions and my mistakes, and those of others involved in the story. I was guided at all times by the truth, and the advice that I had received from several lawyers, that as long as I told the truth, I could defend myself against any legal challenges that might arise. I also felt, and I am going to admit this openly, that as a citizen of Canada, I had the right to tell my story my way - and that is what I did. I refused to allow myself to be cowed out of doing so by anyone.

And, what happened to the case study that was created by the Ivey School of Business?

Shortly after it was published, they received an email from someone associated with the business who complained that the majority owners had not given their consent to use the case study.

The case study that was based upon my book.

The book that was an honest and truthful account of my experience.

The experience that belongs to me, which is part of my life story, and which I told as truthfully as I could.

And, what did Ivey Publishing do? They immediately withdrew the case study from their website, with the intent of revising it so as to completely disguise the name and the identity of the business.

In other words, to completely alter the story that I wrote.

And why would they do that?

I was told that their case studies are not based upon individual stories - like the story of an entrepreneur whose dream business turned into a nightmare. Their cases are based upon businesses, and unless everyone signs off on the case study like a happy little family, they won’t use it.

Wouldn’t want to risk controversy in the academic world now, would we?

Someday, there may be a case study that bears some vague resemblance to the story that I told in my book.

The story of how my dream business turned into a nightmare.

There are always going to be cowards who are afraid of the truth, and those who lack the courage to tell the truth.

And, hopefully, others who aren’t and don’t.

If you want to know my story, read my book.


One Response to “What Do You Make of This?”

  1. Melinda Williams says:

    Hey, I’ve been visiting your blog for a while now and I always find a gem in your new posts. Thanks for sharing.