Monday, 14 December 2009


Distilling the essence of the past, which is experience; and
connecting it to the future, which is opportunity.”
- Ron Manners

Heroic MisadventuresI’m really enjoying reading Ron Manners’ memoirs at the moment—a record of the failures, success and thoughts of a remarkable West Australian and “an inspiring story of the power of ideas, combining a wealth of entertainment, wisdom and practical advice and an eloquent and compelling defence of individual freedom.”

Adventurer, miner, money-launderer and entrepreneur, the head of (among others things) the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, his book Heroic Misadventures is subtitled ‘Australia: Four Decades - Full Circle.’ Why? Essentially because the woes endured here are really no different in The Lucky Country, and those woes been returning:

    In the 1970s we saw Australia’s Federal Government doing stupid things. Future generations regretted that damage to our Australian economy as we paid the ongoing price.
    “Now, following a period of prosperity where industry and entrepreneurship was encouraged, we see our debt (over-stimulation) and damage (ETS) and the resultant costs and uncompetitiveness being passed onto future generations.
    “We are also forced to listen to political incompetents who claim that ‘governments create jobs’ as they gamble with our future.
    “Equally appalling is the sight of ‘big business’ lining up like pigs at a trough to collect the taxpayer-funded subsidies as their prize for demanding ‘certainty’ as the ETS inflicts another tax on anyone who produces or has the courage to engage in productive activities.
    “My book Heroic Misadventures is not entirely about such Shakespearian tragedies, it is mainly a collection of stories on how resilient individuals can rise above political nonsense, in their efforts towards survival and self-sufficiency

It’s a great and irreverent book, and a great stocking stuffer for the favourite resilient individual in your life. Ron has the tremendous ability to tell a colourful down-to-earth tale while slipping in a moral before you’ve even realised it. Even simple stories like this one about the ongoing opposition of compliance versus creativity, offered to graduating students at the WA School of Mines, which could be the theme of the 2025 Task Force:

    _quoteSo, what of the future?
    “Why am I an Optimist?
    “Well, I was thinking about that this morning when I realised I felt more adrenaline flowing from having dinner last night with our own management team of 20 executives [in his family-owned company] than I did from spending last week in Queensland at the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ Annual Conference, where 500 of Australia’s captains of industry were gathered.
    “Why was that?
    “I think that Australia’s corporate captains feel that they have already reached the ‘dizzy heights,’ and are preoccupied 90 per cent of the time with compliance issues with only 10 per cent devoted to creativity.
    “With our team, we are still on the way up, with much more yet to achieve, so we focus 90 per cent on creativity issues and only 10 per cent of our time on compliance.
    “. . . If you let compliance with the the myriad of regulations . . . take over, then nothing will be discovered or produced. . .”
    “Don’t let the detractors deter you from your productive challenges.  Anyone without a clear vision of their future ceases to live. . . Henry David Thoreau once said:
_quoteYouth gets together the materials for the bridge to the moon, but later the middle-aged man decides to make a woodshed with them."
     “As you embark on your careers, don’t let lesser people turn your ‘bridges to the moon’ into any ‘old woodshed.’ 
    “Let your visions shape your destiny, and if anyone like this gets in your way—run right over the bastards!”


  1. Sounds like a good book. I do love an optimist - I think the blogosphere is overwhelmingly pessimistic and in a state of permanent nostril-flaring outrage over anything and everything. No sense of life.

    No wonder our youth are topping themselves - we need more men and women to step up to the plate and tell them life is good and full of opportunities for those prepared to look for them.

  2. He must have read the incredible story of A.B.Facey (another West Australian) who wrote "A Fortunate Life".

    Never to be forgotten.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.