Seek you counsel of the aged for their eyes have looked on the faces of the years and their ears have hardened to the voices of Life. Even if their counsel is displeasing to you, pay heed to them.

—KAHLIL GIBRAN 1883–1931

Mentors are priceless.

IN 1975, I was branch manager for a consumer finance company in eastern Tennessee. It was a pleasant town to live in, with major employers like Eastman Chemicals, defense contractors, glass manufacturers, and a publishing firm, which meant that there were a lot of good-paying jobs. This is important if you are lending money because when there are good jobs, the borrowers are easier to qualify and to collect from.

Being a branch manager had been good to me. While I had managed four different ...

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