Des Kenny Bookseller


For those of you new to my blog each week I conduct a conversation with an achiever capable of inspiring us. This weeks “Conversation…” is with Des Kenny, a member of the world famous Kenny bookselling family in Galway.

I love loads of things about Des.

1. He makes time every day for his passion in life – books. Irrespective of whatever is going on in his life Des allocates time for reading. So do all his family, and so should we too. Because books create space for ourselves in the midst of what often can be a stressful and frenetic world. Incidentally, Des will frequently read books in bars. This contributed greatly to the enjoyment of doing this interview. In order for me to bring you this refined wisdom it was necessary for me to meet with Des in The Bal Lounge for many hours! Incidentally, if you’re at a loss as to what to read you could do worse than start with Des’ own book”Kenny’s Choice 101 Irish Books You Must Read”.

2. Des is a “soft hardman”. Alarmingly direct, he’ll not let you away with an scintilla of inaccuracy. But when it comes to those who really matter to him – his wife Anne, his four kids, his siblings and the memory of his mother and father- he is fulsome in his love for them and the time he devotes to them. A reason that they have survived 70 years in business may well be that in all that time not one harsh word was uttered amongst them.

3. Des is a pure and unadulterated salesperson and I really love that about him. In Ireland we have certain notions about selling. While we’re naturally extremely adept at selling we’ll go to all lengths to avoid describing ourselves as salespeople. A cursory glance through my business cards reveals all manner of titles from chairman to consultant to coach to director to marketing executive to president…… Henry Ford’s title at the height of his success read “Henry Ford. Sales”. Learn from the conversation the power of great mentors in developing your sales acumen. From his mother he learned emotional intelligence. From his father he learned product knowledge. And from Sonny Molloy he learned the psychology of selling. All you’ll ever need and more to develop as a sales master.

4. Lighten up, laugh more and don’t take yourself so seriously. We may have limited control over the economy. We have massive control over our ability to laugh more. I think Tom Kenny’s contretemps with the bin man in High Street is Galway humour at it’s best. It could also turbocharge your appreciation of art.

Next week. Pat Mc Donagh, founder and MD of Supermacs, reveals how he left a life in teaching to become Ireland’s most successful indigenous franchise.

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