Sep 19, 2019
I want to start out a bit differently today with a quote by the great visionary, activist, poet and author, namely Maya Angelou, who once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” With that as the backdrop my friends, we have with us Nancy Bass Wyden － who in addition to being both one of my favorites as both a person and client － is the 3rd generation owner of the legendary Strand Book Store on 12th Street and Broadway in New York City, which has been in existence since 1927. When I walk into the Strand, it makes me feel as if I am visiting a dear, warm and fuzzy, but still totally cool and vibrant, childhood friend ... and I attribute that feeling to both Nancy as well as her grandfather Ben, and her father Fred. The sense of community one gets from being at the Strand is something that, simply stated, is one that should be bottled and marketed to the masses, because if it was, we would all be better off for it.
At 2:56, Nancy Bass Wyden describes what being “lost in the stacks” at the Strand Book Store means to her. At 4:23, Nancy highlights her family being in the book business for 92 years, and discusses old, rare, and new books. At 6:04, Bass Wyden informs that she is in the process of writing a memoir – stay tuned! At 6:33, she makes note of how short life is, and shares that she is one who wakes up in the morning with an optimistic and “kick ass” mindset. At 7:09, Nancy speaks about the accumulation of knowledge and her ability in noticing patterns in businesses and people. At 8:24, Bass Wyden touches upon open mindedness and always keeping your curiosity up. At 9:58, she dives into the government’s overreach in landmarking the building that the Strand is located. At 13:22, Nancy points out the reality of the Strand operating on thin margins in a fragile environment, as well as the extra operational costs due to the Strand’s building being landmarked. At 15:23, Bass Wyden discusses her grandfather, as well as her father saving up to buy the building. At 17:40, Nancy mentions her responsibility to the Strand’s employees, and touches upon the retail landscape and Amazon. At 21:51, Nancy talks about the Strand’s knowledgeable employees and their customer’s insatiable curiosity. At 23:29, Bass Wyden discusses forming long term relationships with her tenants. At 24:47, she shares that as she has gotten older, she has become a bit more anti-establishment. At 28:21, Nancy dishes on how the Strand has changed the culture of book stores by hiring “extroverts.” At 29:11, Bass Wyden informs us about the Strand’s 400 annual events schedule. At 30:09, she speaks about the impact her father Fred has had on her. At 31:40, Nancy talks about doing the right thing and your reputation. At 32:38, Bass Wyden points out her love for nature, sea air, diving into a good read, and the opportunity to write and ponder. At 33:37, Nancy Bass Wyden closes out the podcast with a message on keeping with the family mission of putting good books in the hands of young and old readers.