#ferengi #lustforlatinum

THE LUST FOR LATINUM

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Most fans of the Star Trek universe know about Ferengis. They were first introduced on Star Trek: The Next Generation. They are greedy, manipulative businessmen who fly through space in search of profit. They are sexist to the extreme although they are turned on by the female populace of every other race they encounter. They have a rodent like appearance and would sell their own mother to earn a buck. They are not the stand up, ethical heroes that one would want to know.

 

Of course, the Ferengi have attained a large degree of popularity due to Armin Shimmerman's excellent portrayal of Quark on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Quark is the owner of the bar on the space station. He had numerous run ins with Commander Sisko and station security officer Odo. His thirst for profit could very often conflict with the good of the station. But he also could come through for you in the pinch. And he would sometimes do the right thing regardless of profit.

 

The Ferengi are best known for their Rules of Acquisition. These are a set of 285 rules to guide the Ferengi businessman on the path to greater profit. The first rule simply states Once you have their money you never give it back. That pretty much gives you an idea what it's all about. The Rules will be occasionally cited throughout episodes of the show. Some offer good business insight. Others can be funny. I always thought it would be a good idea to put out the Rules of Acquistion in bookform. I was curious to know what they all would be.

 

So one day when I was surfing amazon, I decided to run a book search. Imagine my delight when I found that the Rules are available. It only cost six bucks so I quickly through it in my shopping cart and made the order. I was anxious to be enlightened by the business acumen of this fictional race.

 

The book is presented as being by Quark as told to Ira Steven Behr. It even begins with an introduction from Quark. After the introduction, each rule is presented alone on a page. There are black and white pictures scattered throughout the text.

 

To give you an idea of some of the rules, I'll randomly cite a few of them:

 

 #144 There's nothing wrong with charity-as long as it ends up in your pocket

 

 #13 Anything worth doing is worth doing for money

 

#109 Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack

 

#177 Know your enemy. . .but do business with them anyway.

 

#112 Never have sex with the bosses sister

 

#113 Always have sex with the boss

 

It is easy to see that the Ferengi were created to illustrate some of the darker points of capitalism. While I think Gene Roddenberry was a shrewd businessman and very proud American, I think he occasionally saw the other side of our culture. He seemed to have a vision for a glorious future where humankind could transcend many of the woes that afflict our society. Roddenberry often used other races to parallel the issues that face the world. He was also sympathetic as the Ferengi for all their rattiness can be very likable.

 

One flaw I saw with this book was that they only give you 70 rules. There are supposed to be 285 Rules of Acquisition. Apparently the Star Trek writers are making them up as they go along. They do not have a full 285 rules. Quark acknowledges that we humans could only handle about a quarter of their wisdom. So I ended up spending six bucks for an abbreviated list. Sure there are a few nice pictures but I did feel shortchanged by the incompleteness.

I also didn't like the idea of one rule occupying an entire page. Maybe they should have printed up a pamphlet and sold it that way. I also would have liked if they presented some information about the Ferengi, given some history and accounts of some of their great historical figures. I also think that if they actually sat down and created a full list, it would have made for a better book.

 

Even though, I was very intrigued and enthralled by what I read, I felt it to be a bit of a rip-off. Of course, it really was my own fault. I forgot all about the 19th Rule of acquisition: Satisfaction is not guaranteed.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

This was a book review previously posted on a site called epinions back around 2002.  We have a lot of Ferengi in our world today so it might be worthwhile to learn something about them.

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