In 1979, Iran underwent a revolution that was very Islamic-themed. Now, in case you don’t know, Islamic-themed revolutions are not particularly appealing to Jewish people. Whenever a Jew comes across an Islamic revolution, he thinks, “This does not appeal to me.” 100% of Jews have that reaction. At no point has a Jew ever encountered an Islamic-themed revolution and been all like, “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay! My, oh, my, what a wonderful Islamic revolution.”
So, starting in 1979, quite a few Jews left Iran and headed to various less Islamically revolutionized places, including the US. Nowadays, there are about 75,000 Persian Jews in America.
Do you know what these people do for a living? Business. They are VEB. Very Effective Businessmen. As in, they’re the type of businessmen who, if you drop them off shirtless and penniless in the middle of Wyoming, they will find their way back to Beverly Hills, and within five years they’ll own half of the city.
So, to reiterate, we’re talking about some VEB: Very Effective Businessmen. By now you might be wondering: “How are they so effective at business?” The answer is AAW. And no, I’m not talking about All-American Wrestling or the American Association of Woodturners. I’m talking about Aggression, Acumen, and Workaholism.
Let me break it down for you.
First of all, if you owe rent money to a Persian man and you’re one day past due, he won’t give you a phone call. He will come to your door and have a confrontation, and he’ll seem like the kind of guy who just stepped out of the jungle after strangling a bunch of zebras and gazelles. He’ll be ready, willing, and able to fight you to the death and then eat your esophagus as a snack. That’ll be his attitude, even if he’s a billionaire and you owe him the whopping sum of $850. He’ll still go after you.
That’s how Persians do business. Through aggression. And also through business acumen. As in, there’s this guy named Manuchehr or Parviz or Kamran or Jamshid or Hamid or Abbas, a few years ago he bought a garbage dump in foreclosure for $82,517, and he made some changes to it, and now it’s a building with 150 luxury condominiums, and Ariana Grande is moving in, and there’s an Apple Store and a Whole Foods Market and a Tesla dealership that just opened nearby, and George Clooney is shopping for a car that runs on half electricity and half sunflower seeds, and you’re looking at all of this, and you’re like, “What exactly happened to this neighborhood? Three years ago, it was chock full of poor people urinating on every street corner.”
So, yeah. Persian businessmen are smart. They’re also knowledgeable. Sort of. The thing is, some of them are knowledgeable in general, and others are knowledgeable just when it comes to business. The ones in the second group are actually the most impressive to me. There’s a Persian guy, he doesn’t know how to use a computer, he doesn’t know which one is the Pacific Ocean and which one is the Atlantic Ocean, he hasn’t read a book since the 1979 Revolution, he cannot beat a second grader in a game of Trivial Pursuit, he only knows 25 pieces of information total—and he uses those 25 pieces of information to make more money in one year than a Harvard professor makes in seven decades. He leads the league in Annual Dollars Earned per unit of Information (ADEI).
This is not a fictional example. I know this Persian man. I’ve talked to this man. I’ve also talked to a Harvard professor. Some guy whose ADEI is not particularly impressive. As in, he’s the kind of person who accumulates 170 pieces of knowledge for every post tax nickel that goes into his pocket. He knows way too much information relative to how much money he makes. One time, this professor started educating me on the topic of Shakespearean allegorical devices and their influence on 19th century American poetry. So I told that professor to shut his educated mouth. I said, “Listening to you is costing me money. You don’t have the millionaire mindset. If I want to have that mindset, I need to be as ignorant as a Persian businessman who’s worth $153 million.”
By the way—all Persian Jewish men are businessmen. Now, I know what some of you are thinking. You’re thinking, “Well, I know this Persian Jewish guy, and he’s a doctor.” No he’s not. He’s a doctor and a businessman. He’s involved in the business of jewelry, textiles, or especially real estate. All Persian Jewish men are involved in real estate.
In Persian Jewish society, if you’re a doctor, you also do real estate, and you integrate career A into career B. As in, you have this patient named Faramarz, you tell him to relax as you take his blood pressure, he tells you about an apartment building that he’s thinking of buying, you give him a prescription for Lisinopril, he gives you…
The rest of this article can be found in the book What I Think of Various Places and People by Rodney Ohebsion