I've told this one in different forums since it happened in 1995-ish. A recent incident prompts this version.
Back in the days when Harvard Square was one giant bookstore, a corner of two floors was occupied by Wordsworth. Always jammed, knowledgeable clerkery, books, books, and more books, the place where it was easy to walk out with two shopping bagsful of books.
"The TeamNet Factor is faceout at Wordsworth," Daughter #2 said in 1993. It was a star from Kirkus at the time, an acknowledgement from the arbiter of good books that this was worth reading.
So I went to take a look and there it was, third shelf up faceout.
I gasped and the man next to me said: "What's wrong?"
"That's my book!"
"Great book," said he, "I read it. And have you read my book?" He reached across, a couple of shelves down to hand me Managing Information Strategically, inadvertently pushing me into the woman just beside us.
"Oh, is that your book?" she said. "Well, this is my book, or I mean his book," pointing to the man to her left. "I'm just the editor."
Jim and I chatted for a while; he mentioned that he was at Ernst & Young; we exchanged contact info; and I formulated The Bookstore Theorem: The only people there are authors.
Fast forward a year or two to the mail dock at Bear Island where I spotted a couple looking for directions. They wanted to find the girls' camp that their daughter had gone to; they were staying nearby at the Appalachian Mountain Club on Three Mile Island; they'd just paddled over.
Me: "The girls' camp is close to our cabin." Off we went, following the red trail, chatting, who are you, what do you do, until eventually the husband said, "I work at Ernst & Young."
Perfect entre for my book-story to which he had the perfect rejoinder.
"I'm Jim McGee's co-author on that book," said Larry Prusak.
Fast forward again to very recently. Two good friends decided to go to the AMC camp on Three Mile for the weekend so we visited, got the tour of the camp (go, that's all I can say, it's beautiful).
Outside the dining hall was a list of those present for the weekend.
Yes, Larry, who, by the way, is reading Jonathan Franzen's new one, Freedom. "Beautifully written," he says.
And, staying current, Larry and Tom Davenport are working on a new book of their own on judgment. On which subject, they have a post on HBR Blogs, "If Only BP Knew Now What It Knew Then." Great title, guys.