The Walking Dead on AMC is my favorite show since the X-Files. I’ve watched each season with anticipation and when the last season ended a few weeks back, I went into withdrawals. Yep, those kind of withdrawals. The ones that only a person hooked on something like pizza would understand. I needed a fix bad. I’m not a Mad Men kind of guy so, I began looking up random movies to fulfill my hunger. I watched Tucker & Dale vs Evil, considered even breaking down and watching a lot of really crappy zombie films. Then last week I kind of stumbled on a needle… okay poor choice of words. I’m just trying to get you to understand my thirst. My wife sat down and ordered the graphic novels the show was based on. She ordered the first book and then she realized that there was a collection out there. The Walking Dead Compendium 1 & 2.
Ahhhhhh the sweet smell of rotting flesh and the taste of muscle and cartilage. I dove into the novels like a … (insert random saying, I can’t think of one). I dove into the books like a bunch of B-List stars into a swimming pool. I know that’s not such a good comparison, but you get the picture. The first thing I noticed was that the graphic novel, as with most books, is much better than the show, but not by much. It is also a lot different. Don’t worry there isn’t a spoiler here at all. As a matter of fact what I’m doing here is less of a review of the book and more of what I wrote in the title, a connection.
The Walking Dead Compendium by Robert Kirkman is a collection of the first 16 novels. While the characters in the show are based on the novels and many of the situations are similar, the outcomes are much different. Also some of the hook ups with characters are really unexpected, but that’s a different story. I read the books and the artwork with the dialogue captures the feeling of desperation in the same way as the show. The difference in reading though is the connection that immediately stands out in relationship to business. In a post, well, current-apocalyptic world that no longer has guidelines and rules, the free for all society is almost identical to the opportunities and problems in small business. Yep, I’m transitioning here. Rick Grimes the main character can be considered a serial entrepreneur. He is comatose, wakes up, finds immediate happiness, disturbing problems and a continuous stream of disgruntled customers roaming his business. These customers are grunting and dragging their bodies through his life, taking away any chance for him to get rest, or have a moment that isn’t occupied with how to make his business better. See, I said something without giving away any of the book, which you should definitely click and purchase right now.
Rick-as-entrepreneur and this collection of graphic novels can be taught in any MBA program in the country and the parallels would be immediately evident to the world of business. He has to develop strategies which almost never work in conjunction with the way it was planned. He has to gain the trust of various characters, without forcing his ideas on them in a way that creates distrust. He has to navigate the world of ‘walkers’ that are not really paying attention, but only get interested when there is a sale (blood in the water, or fresh meat in the area). He then has to take his employees with him into this world and teach them how to engage not only the ‘walkers’ but the competition seeking to capitalize on his mistakes.
Maybe, I’m looking far to deep into this…nahhh I’m right. The Walking Dead is more than a narrative about surviving the zombie apocalypse, it is a text that is about learning to adjust to numerous situations that don’t have a real ending. It is about remaining acutely aware of the world and all the things taken for granted. I highly recommend the novels as both entertainment and motivation for learning how to deal with the ups and downs of business. Trust me, you’ll enjoy every bloody detail.