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'The Art Of The Sale': Life's A Pitch

•, by NPR Staff

Salesmen are rarely heroic figures in American culture. They're often shown as slick, unscrupulous charlatans like Ricky Roma in David Mamet's play Glengarry Glen Ross. And then there are sad, defeated characters like Willy Loman in Death Of A Salesman, who shortly before taking his life says, "After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive."

Yet sales drive the economy. The cleverest invention or product will disappear — creating no income, no employment — unless someone can sell it.

Philip Delves Broughton was a world-roving reporter for The Daily Telegraph of London. But Broughton left journalism for Harvard Business School, where he observed that most M.B.A. programs teach nothing about sales.

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