The Art of the Deal: An electrical distributor and one of his beautiful deals VikZA/iStock/Thinkstock

The Art of the Deal: An electrical distributor and one of his beautiful deals

The medium of the business deal is not, as one might think, money, but personal relationships. For an artist, the people involved in the deal are like the colors on his palette. The skill required is not — as it is in ordinary business deals — sizing up the other players and playing to their weaknesses, but finding their strengths and working with those, just as a painter appreciates, even loves, the paint with which he works.

My father was an artist — an artist of the business deal. He was a virtuoso. Most of his deals, but not all, were profitable. Many turned out quite ordinary. But some were beautiful.

As an art form, the business deal is fluid, pliable, liable to shift, even fall to pieces, at any moment. It resembles music in that its structure takes place over time. Unlike music, it cannot be judged until it is completed, when it can be contemplated as a finished work.

The art of the bu

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