12 – ‘How to Study Business Law’ by Glenda Crosling and Helen Murphy

“So,” I hear you asking, “why on earth did you read that?”. Which is just as well really as I was planning to talk about it regardless. Are you seated comfortably? Then I shall begin…

For many, many moons (nearly six years), I had been working at the Monash University English Language Centre (MUELC), firstly as an ESL teacher, then as a line manager/coordinator, when, all of a sudden, I saw an internal ad for another job (yeah, alright, it’s difficult to spot anything not all of a sudden; will you just let me get on with this?) and applied for it.

Now, lo (and, indeed, behold), I am nearing the end of my first week as a Learning Adviser at Monash College. “But Tony,” I hear you say (and yes, I do have great hearing), “what does a Learning Adviser do?”.

I’ll let you know that once I find out.

Anyway, to cut a long story short (or, at least a story which should never have been this long in the first place), I will be giving advice to college students on completing assignments in the areas of Management, Marketing, Learning Studies and… Business Law (and you thought I’d never get there). Having never studied the subjects in question, being the consumate professional I am, I decided that it was probably a good idea to get a Dummies’ guide to the aforementioned subjects, and while “How to Study Business Law” is far from patronising, it does give complete lay people, like myself, a good grounding in what is expected when you complete assignments in this area.

Mesdames Crosling and Murphy set out the principles of cases and statutes so clearly that even I could follow them, even if I occasionally had no idea whether Fred had a case against Bob for breach of contract after selling his boat to Tom after he had promised him the boat as long as he paid $500, which he was happy to do… (feel free to take a quick power-nap at this point). I think by the end of the case studies, half the time I’d forgotten who had (or hadn’t) done what to whom. But at least I knew that the courts would provide a happy ending.

The book also explains some of the basic legal terminology, which is useful for those of us who are a bit rusty when it comes to Latin (I was surprised to find out that ‘ipso facto’ is not the name of a character from a children’s television series). However, the explanations are not always useful; I’ve read the definition umpteen times, and I still have no idea what a ‘promissory estoppel’ is. Perhaps that’s for the best.

In any case, it’s been interesting to step outside my comfort zone and try something new (although I won’t be applying for the bar anytime soon). It’s always good to look at the world from a new perspective and broaden your horizons, however you choose to do it. Now though, it’s back to good old fiction; plots, dramatic twists, heroes and heroines and sparkling wordplay.

And not a promissory estoppel in sight.

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