The July edition of Entrepreneur features business bars

I’ve let most of my magazine subscriptions expire; I’m too busy writing to read articles other than those online anymore. But the ONE magazine I kept was my favorite: Entrepreneur. I remember the first time I read a copy, I thought to myself, “These are my people! This is the magazine for ME!”

I’m having second thoughts after seeing the July issue, however! As “The Queen of the Business Lunch™” I am often asked about drinking alcohol when out with clients. I caution my audiences to take it easy, to NEVER have more than one drink at lunch, two with dinner. I tell them to arrange for a taxi or other transportation if they are planning a bigger celebration and think they may drink more. AND – most importantly – I ALWAYS caution against getting drunk in front of clients. Sure, eating before drinking can help keep you from getting very drunk; a belly full of food is sure to slow the effects of alcohol – especially compared to drinking on an empty stomach.

I was STUNNED to read the advice in this issue of Entrepreneur Magazine with regard to drinking for business. Before my book, “The Art of the Business Lunch” was published, I came across a book called “Power Lunching” which, when – for strictly entertainment purposes, I read excerpts from it at my presentations, audience members guessed it was from the 1930’s. “Power Lunching” was actually published in 1983, although the advice it gave was horrifying. Foods and beverages were categorized as being either “Power” foods or “Wimp” foods, much along the line of “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche,” – quiche, of course, being a “W” for wimp food.

In E. Melvin Pinsel and Ligita Dienhart’s book, readers were told that for a power lunch, they should order a drink that would convey dominance, such as scotch, bourbon, gin martini, vodka martini, any whiskey served “neat” or with a simple mixer, or club soda. The authors warned that the following drinks would put you in the “wimp” category: whiskey sour or any drink served with fruit or vegetables, Perrier, Coke, Tab, 7-Up, or “any fancy mixed drink such as a daiquiri or Mai Tai or anything with an umbrella.”

While encouraging their readers that it’s okay to enjoy a round or two or THREE with your clients … even to go ONE MORE drink than your guests, they also warned about getting drunk. I don’t know how you can have two drinks before lunch and NOT get drunk! But I digress.

The point of this rant is that poor Melvin and Ligita wrote their book at the end of the ’70’s, before MADD had judges thrown off their benches for being too lenient toward drunk drivers and before public drunkenness, sexual harassment lawsuits, and women’s lib put an end to the social acceptance of all this craziness. Watching “Mad Men” on AMC is engaging because it is hard for most of us to remember that the work place ever really functioned as it does at Stirling Cooper, the fictitious ad agency that boasted bars in offices, “eye openers” for breakfast, and business executives heading out for nooners after 3-martini lunches.

So WHY is Entrepreneur touting bar meetings in 2010 and encouraging business executives to drink “power” drinks like scotch in order to discuss business? I don’t get it … and I could not be more disappointed. I think they were merely trying hard to be cutting-edge cool. And, I’m afraid an “influencer” like Entrepreneur might just encourage some young eager beavers who are not confident enough on their own to take the magazine’s advice and end up with a business mess or possibly a life disaster on their hands. Their cover story seems like a giant leap BACKWARD for progress.