Fine words and good looks are not enough

In 1946 Bedouin shepherds stumbled on a huge archaeological discovery.  In caves near the Dead Sea they found a series of scrolls housed in jars.  By 1951 a full excavation was under way and in the end nearly a thousand documents were discovered.


The documents were dated to the time of Jesus – around 33 CE.  It took years for their full publication, and they’re still surrounded in controversy and some mystery.


Most of the content is versions of the Old Testament; they appear to be the library of a Jewish sect, the Sons of Light, who fled to the caves to escape the Romans.  In addition to fragments of every book of Old Testament (except for the book of Esther) there are prophecies by Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Daniel not found in the Bible.


There are also non Biblical Scrolls that include writings on Law, Community rules, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymns and benedictions.


The Scroll of War would not have been much use in fighting the notoriously efficient Roman army.  It mainly consists of detailed instructions about exactly what must be written on trumpets, banners and weapons: on the darts must be written “Bloody Spikes to Bring Down the Slain by the Wrath of God”.


Precise instructions are also given about the appearance of the weapons: the spike of a spear should have “ears of corn in pure gold pointing towards the tip”.


“If the battle could have been decided by literary excess and sumptuous scmeckerel it would be a cakewalk for the Sons of Light” says historian Simon Schama.


Lovely as it sounds it is of course all style and no strategy.


Sounds like a gorgeous looking PowerPoint presentation that’s got no strategy behind it.  We’ve all wasted time looking for the perfect image for our charts and left the construction of the argument till last (when of course it must come first).


Looks are important of course.  I was once called by an irate boss who was judging some industry awards shouting that our entries weren’t as pretty as our competitors.  (I’d been concentrating on the content instead).  As we get into the heart of awards judging season I will be looking out for beautiful entries that don’t have much of a strategy or weak tactics and results that are no more than a manipulation of statistics.  Just as with fighting the Romans, aesthetics is not enough.




Comments are closed.