training stories
July 18, 2005 9:17 AM   Subscribe

What are good sources of "training stories"?

Any recommendations for collections of stories that could be told during trainings? In my mind, a training story should have a few qualities: 1) Short, typically a page or less, 2) Should get the listeners to think, that is, it has a point but isn't obvious about it, 3) Should have a universality, interesting to many different types of people.

For example, a story I've picked up and used is the story of the steam engineer who was called in to repair a steamship boiler that was leaky, noisey and inefficient. The engineer spent a few hours asking questions, examining pipes, listening to the noises, and feeling around the structure. After this, he walked over to a red valve, pulled out a small hammer from his shirt pocket and tapped the valve once. Immediately, the noises disappeared, the leaks stopped and it seemed to be functioning much more efficiently. Everyone was happy, they congratulated the engineer and he left. A week later the boat captain received a $1000 bill from the engineer. Not comfortable with paying that much for sucha fast job he asked the engineer for an itemized invoice, which he received another week later. It said: For hitting valve with hammer $1, for knowing where to hit $999.
posted by blueyellow to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That story sounds like Charles Steinmetz, except it was a generator instead of a boiler. Sorry, no stories to add but at least you can put a name to yours.
posted by revgeorge at 10:40 AM on July 18, 2005

posted by andrew cooke at 12:05 PM on July 18, 2005

andrew cooke has it right, there are plenty of these kind of cutesy business stories at the business section of Snopes, mostly urban legends, not true.

My favorite is the one about NASA supposedly spending big bucks to develop a pen that would write in space, while the Russians used a pencil.
posted by GaelFC at 4:15 PM on July 18, 2005

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