Ever since reading bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell’s views on the subject, I’ve developed a healthy interest in the ongoing war between talent and capital. The conflict took a while to reach South African shores, but it has most definitely arrived.
Over lunch yesterday the MD of a leading book publisher explained why there won’t be any retiring Springbok’s biography available for stuffing into fans’ Christmas stockings. That’s very unusual in a World Cup year when players having had their swan-songs traditionally vie for reader attention.
He explained the likes of Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana could expect to make between R1m and R1.5m in royalties from a biography. But despite the best efforts of SA publishers, the athletes have turned them all down.
Seems the earning potential of a rugby star, even an aged one, is so high nowadays that book receipts don’t justify time they’d spend telling their story to a biographer. Talent is most certainly trumping capital. And the trend shows little sign of slowing.