Letter from the President of Agora, Inc.
For the ancient Greeks, the center of social activity was the Agora, a lively marketplace where people came not only to buy and sell goods, but also to meet to exchange news and ideas.
AGORA Inc., an international publisher of financial, health, travel, and special-interest books and newsletters, is a modern marketplace for opinions and breakthrough ideas.
AGORA is a publishing company. We offer our customers ideas, information, and insights. But we do so in a manner very different from that of the traditional publishing house.
Rather than being centered on the medium—whether a given publication is, say, a book, a magazine, or a newsletter—AGORA is centered on the ideas themselves. When we have something to say about a subject—whether it be speculative investing or natural health—we offer our ideas in many different ways, including books, newsletters, Web sites, conferences, tours and special reports. The medium is important from a business perspective…but it is not as important as the message itself.
And what is the message? We publish ideas on a variety of subjects. Some of these ideas are very practical—such as how to get the best price on an airline ticket. Others are rather abstract—such as our discussion of man’s relationship to the state. But all of AGORA’s messages have something in common. They all celebrate the virtue of thinking independently and taking responsibility for your own life.
Thus, we also publish -– in our Paris-based business, Les Belles Lettres, and our English publishing house, Pickering and Chatto — the great ideas upon which our Western civilization is built. Those include ancient Greek and Roman authors in the original texts and the works of great modern thinkers such as Charles Darwin and Adam Smith, and contemporary philosophers and thinkers such as Philippe Muray and David Friedman.
The business is not only centered on ideas, but also organized according to those ideas. Each major idea — say, for example, the idea that health improvements can be generated from the bottom up…from the experience of ordinary people networking together with health practitioners, rather than passively awaiting the services of the health-care industry — becomes a “franchise.” Each franchise is a business in itself, led by someone who understands the idea and desires to realize its full potential. In the case of the vernacular health network mentioned above, the franchise leader has set up a worldwide system by which ordinary people, as well as medical professionals, share information. How do people really react to various health approaches? How do they feel about them? What new treatments, supplements and health regimens are proving effective? These are just a few of the many questions this health network seeks to answer.
The idea of experiential, as opposed to theoretical, health research goes back to the ancient Greeks too. Here again, we connect the very old with the very new. And we do it with the very newest technology. One of the most effective tools for this kind of franchise is, of course, the Internet. It makes gathering and dispensing information much cheaper and faster. Thus, it is perfect for the health network, called the Health Science Institute, and for many of our other franchises, especially those in the financial area. Indeed, AGORA is making use of the newest technology…and the oldest form of communication too. While we encourage our customers, partners, and friends to stay in touch with us over the Internet, we also make use of conferences, seminars, and old-fashioned group meetings to facilitate, enliven and enrich the process of sharing ideas and information. That is what AGORA is all about, after all.
President & Founder