“Being creative is about building new connections based on existing concepts”

Inspiring people


Fernando Trias de Bes (Barcelona, 1967) is a writer, economist and professor specialized in marketing and innovation. At the age of 35, he wrote Good Luck: Create the Conditions for Success in Life and Business, which was translated into 35 languages and sold over 3 million copies. Since then he has continued to publish prolifically, including essays on business and economics, as well as business narratives. And fiction. He doesn't like to be pigeonholed. His new projects even include a play and a feature film.


You are a writer, economist and professor. Was this a childhood dream or did you come to realize that it was the best way of conveying the complex workings of society to a wide audience?

My dream was to work on artistic projects, and I came to writing in the most unexpected of ways...through the business world! This proves that you should never close yourself off to a field you're interested in simply because you studied something else.

Do you feel that we're coming out of the economic crisis?

Yes and no. Company financial results, lower unemployment, bank restructuring, and GDP are all positive. Every year, bit by bit, we're increasingly better off. That being said, certain issues still need to be resolved: debt is still too high, the deficit is constant, and we need EU-level reforms in order for us to be faster.

What stage are we at now and where are we headed?

It is a tumultuous period. Creative destruction through and through. New business and technological models are redefining everything. That, in combination with various generations living side by side whose life expectancy is ever higher, is creating double, triple markets that are very different. And companies must cater to them all. This is very complicated to manage.

What have we (companies, people, brands) learned during these difficult years? Do you think we've had to get more creative to grow, survive or succeed?

We've definitely learned a lot of things. For example, that credit-financed growth is a boomerang, that we should pay close attention to asset inflation. These years have been like everyone’s MBA. We've had to operate with few resources and dwindling demand. Power to creativity. We're all reinventing ourselves.

What does it mean to be creative? Is it something one can learn?

Being creative is about creating new things, building new connections based on existing concepts. Being creative means developing your ability to create, which is a deeply human ability, and applying it to your professional field.

Did the success of Good Luck surprise you? Why do you think it sold over 3 million copies and was translated into 35 languages?

At the time it really surprised me. But that was almost 14 years ago. I was a lot younger then, 35 years old. Both Álex and I had to deal with our fame as management communicators at a relatively young age.

You've written books about marketing, economics, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship... Which of your 15 books is your favorite and why?

My novels are my favorites. Tinta is the best thing I've written. Doing better than that is going to be a challenge. It is my favorite, because it is an elemental novel, deeply creative, both in form and content.

How does one make complex economics accessible to the general public?

By focusing on what is most important and approaching economics as what it is—a social rather than exact science. Fewer numbers, more people. Less econometrics, more anthropology. Then everyone understands you and economics.

What is your take on the concept of the “self-help book”? Do you think the genre has been abused? We know you don't like to categorize...

It is a category of books where, as with any category, you find worthwhile texts and absolute garbage. Helping yourself is good. It is important to read honest and truly well-prepared authors.

What role does literature play when it comes to reinforcing people's creativity?

Like all art, literature has no set limitations. In contrast to business narratives, where the writing is conditioned by a specific reality, the only limitation in literature is your imagination and the ability to express it to the reader. It is an infinite universe.

How have new technologies and social media affected marketing? And interpersonal relationships?

They changed everything. The speed, number of relationships, ways of relating to each other... But it is still evolving. Eventually social media will be limited to certain very specific functions.

What does one need to be an entrepreneur? Are entrepreneurs born or made?

You need all the enthusiasm in the world and a willingness to suffer. Being an entrepreneur isn't easy.

What advice do you have for an entrepreneur who wants to start his or her own business?

They shouldn't obsess about the idea, but about capturing value. Don't tell me what you're going to sell, but why people will buy from you. That is a business, a reason.

What does business success mean to you and how do you think it is achieved?

Having sustained profits while also providing a service to society and contributing to the growth of the people who work with or for you. This is achieved with great determination, honesty, principles and patience.

Do you believe millennials are a generation whose business success is guaranteed?

I have no idea.

What projects are you planning for the future?

Three books are in progress, a play, my first feature film as a director, and keeping up my speaking engagements.


A Brief Taste

Do you like wine?

Of course.

What is the best moment to enjoy a glass of wine?

As an aperitif before dinner. With cheese or cured meats.

 A song to accompany a good wine.

Any Italian Bel Canto aria.

A place to get lost in.

The El Corredor [nature park] in the Maresme coastal region.

If you could be reincarnated, who or what would you be?

I'd have a hard time giving up my life.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Play the piano.

A flaw and a virtue.

I always plan too many projects for the future. It is both a flaw and a virtue.

What did you want to be when you were small?

A pianist.

And when you're older?

To keep creating.


Categorías: Inspiring people