What’s with the sudden popularity of going on an African safari?Everyone seems to want to go on one. At least, judging by responses from our Valley 200 honorees, an African safari is the most popular bucket list item right now. In fact, 11 people mentioned it, making it the biggest single answer of all the questions asked our 200 most influential people.I guess the urge to take an exotic trip makes sense. We are all yearning to breathe free after 15 months of working from home, Zoom meetings and DoorDash deliveries. So, when we asked the 200 most influential Valley area people what’s at the top of their bucket list, the usual items – writing a novel, visiting every baseball park, etc. – were largely absent. In their place were travel destinations. Everyone wants to go somewhere.Lawyer Sue Bendavid seemed to speak for many when she answered the bucket-list question this way: “Getting back to traveling the world for vacation. I miss that.”And our most influential people don’t merely want to go anywhere. They want exotic travel. “Swimming with great whites in Africa,” was the way Lindy Pearson of Cresa answered the bucket list question. “Climb Mount Everest,” said James Munter of Bank of America. And, as mentioned, 11 people said they wanted to go on a safari. (Bill Allen of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. specified that he wanted to go on a photo safari, which I assume the others meant as well.)And the farther the destination the better. “Space travel,” said Arthur Pfefferman of Coldwell Banker Commercial. Four people mentioned going to the remotest place on Earth: Antarctica. Murtaza Sanwari of Kaiser Permanente even said he wants to go swimming in the Antarctic.I mean, people really want to get away. So that’s the deal with the sudden popularity of safaris.The Valley 200, a separate book distributed to paid subscribers with this issue of the Business Journal, is our annual list that profiles the 200 most influential people in the Valley area.As part of the Valley 200, we often ask a few simple questions. Three of those questions this year: What’s your favorite book? What’s the best advice you ever got? And what’s at the top of your bucket list?The answers give us a little insight to each person. But sometimes, so many people give similar answers that it’s striking. This year everyone wants exotic travel but two years ago, in a question about what they like most about the Valley area, I was struck by how many of our influential people mentioned all the great hiking trails that surround us. At first, that seemed surprising until several people explained that the trails, nearby and abundant, are a great way to sweat off stress from work.What other answers this year stood out?The favorite-book question was interesting. Eight people said the Bible, or some book of the Bible, was their top choice. That’s not surprising, but the second most popular book, with six mentions, was one I would not have predicted: “Atlas Shrugged,” the Ayn Rand classic. Among the other books that got multiple mentions: “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu; “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. And the question about the best advice you ever received? One popular answer had to do with embracing failure as a part of learning.
• “If you are not failing, you are not learning,” said Martha Diaz Aszkenazy of Aszkenazy Development.” • “It’s better to regret failing at something you tried than to regret not trying something because you were afraid to fail,” said State Assemblymember Laura Friedman.
• “In order to succeed you must embrace failure,” said Isaac Larian of MGA Entertainment.
• “There is no such thing as failure. It is simply a lesson to be learned to take the next step,”said State Senator Robert Hertzberg.My favorite answer? There really are many great ones. But after some consideration, I settled on one from Lisa Rule of the Acorn newspapers. Asked to cite the best advice she ever got, she answered: “It is better to wear fuzzy slippers than try to carpet the world.”Charles Crumpley is editor and publisher of the Business Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.