Giáo Án Ngữ Văn Lớp 10 Tiết 22, 23: Đọc Văn Văn Bản Tấm Cám

--- Bài mới hơn ---

  • Tóm Tắt Truyện Tấm Cám Hay Nhất
  • Soạn Bài Chọn Sự Việc, Chi Tiết Tiêu Biểu Trong Văn Tự Sự
  • Soạn Bài Bắt Sấu Rừng U Minh Hạ (Sơn Nam)
  • Soạn Bài : Từ Hán Việt
  • Soạn Bài Môn Văn Lớp 10 Bài Uy
  • A. Mục tiêu bài học:

    – Nắm vững và tổng hợp kiến thức về văn học dân gian, hoạt động giao tiếp bằng ngôn ngữ.

    – Hiểu sâu hơn về văn bản tự sự, nhất là những kiến thức về đề tài, cốt truyện, nhân vật, sự việc, chi tiết, ngồi kể, giọng kể.

    – Viết được bài văn tự sự với những sự việc, chi tiết tiêu biểu kết hợp với các yếu tố miêu tả và gợi cảm.

    – Bồi dưỡng ý thức và tình cảm lành mạnh, đúng đắn đối với con người và cuộc sống.

    Tuần 10 Ngày soạn: 04/10/2009 Ngày giảng: 06/10/2009 Tiết 22.23. Đọc văn Văn bản Tấm Cám A. Mục tiêu bài học: Giúp HS - Nắm vững và tổng hợp kiến thức về văn học dân gian, hoạt động giao tiếp bằng ngôn ngữ... - Hiểu sâu hơn về văn bản tự sự, nhất là những kiến thức về đề tài, cốt truyện, nhân vật, sự việc, chi tiết, ngồi kể, giọng kể... - Viết được bài văn tự sự với những sự việc, chi tiết tiêu biểu kết hợp với các yếu tố miêu tả và gợi cảm. - Bồi dưỡng ý thức và tình cảm lành mạnh, đúng đắn đối với con người và cuộc sống. B. Phương pháp + Phương tiện: 1. Phương pháp: Nêu vấn đề 2. Phương tiện: Sgk.Sgv NV10(T1) + Giáo án C. Tiến trình lên lớp: 1. ổn định tổ chức: Kiểm tra sĩ số. 2. Kiểm tra bài cũ: Không 3. Bài mới: Giới thiệu bài mới: Từ xa xưa, hình ảnh cô Tấm dịu hiền bước ra từ quả thị luôn là hình ảnh đẹp trong lòng mỗi trẻ thơ. Song, hình ảnh cô cũng đã đi vào đời sống văn hoá cùng với sự cảm thông chia sẻ của người Việt. Để thấy được điều ấy, chúng ta cùng tìm hiểu truyện "Tấm Cám". Hoạt động của Thầy và Trò Nội dung cần đạt Gv yêu cầu: ? Dựa vào tiểu dẫn Sgk, nêu vài nét về truyện Cổ tích và cổ tích thần kì? Hs trả lời. ? Nêu những nét chính về truyện Tấm Cám (loại truyện, bố cục). Hs trả lời. Gv giải thích từ khó theo Sgk. Gọi Hs tóm tắt cốt truyện. Hs tóm tắt. Gv đặt vấn đề: ? Cuộc đời và số phận bất hạnh của Tấm được miêu tả như thế nào? Hs trao đổi theo nhóm và báo cáo kết quả. Gv có thể gợi dẫn theo các câu hỏi. ? Tác giả dân gian đã miêu tả diễn biến truyện như thế nào để dẫn đến xung đột giữa Tấm và mẹ con Cám? Hs trả lời. ? Anh (chị) có nhận xét gì về những chi tiết miêu tả để làm nổi bật mâu thuẫn? Qua đó, nhận xét về tính cách nhân vật. Hs trả lời. ? Theo anh (chị), mâu thuẫn giữa Tấm và mẹ con nhà Cám thể hiện xung đột gì trong xã hội? Hs trả lời. ? Con đường dẫn đến hạnh phúc của Tấm được mêu tả như thế nào? Anh (chị) có suy nghĩ gì về con đường dẫn đến hạnh phúc của Tấm? Qua đó bộc lộ ước mơ gì của nhân dân? Hs trả lời. Gv bình chuyển: Truyện Tấm Cám không dừng lại ở kết thúc phổ biến mà mở ra là cuộc đấu tranh không khoan nhượng để giành lại hạnh phúc. ? Căn cứ vào phần cuối truyện, cho biết Tấm đã trải qua mấy kiếp hồi sinh? Hs trả lời. Gv yêu cầu: Phân tích từng hình thức biến hoá của Tấm? Quá trình ấy nói lên ý nghĩa gì? Hs trả lời. ? Anh (chị) có nhận xét gì về những vật hoá thân của Tấm? Hs nhận xét. ? Nếu đôi giày là vật trao duyên thì miếng trầu trong truyện là vật có ý nghĩa gì? ? Sự trở về với cuộc đời của Tấm ở cuối truyện nói lên quan niệm của nhân dân ngày xưa về hạnh phúc như thế nào? Hs trả lời. ? ấn tượng của anh (chị) sau khi học xong truyện Tấm Cám? Truyện phản ánh ước mơ gì của nhân dân? Hs trả lời. Gọi Hs đọc ghi nhớ. Hs đọc. Gv cho Hs luyện tập nhanh tại lớp. ? Những tình tiết nào của truyện Tấm Cám thể hiện rõ đặc điểm của truyện cổ tích thần kì? Hs trả lời. ? Ngoài truyện Tấm Cám, hày kể ra những câu ca dao, tục ngữ hay truyện cổ tích có hình ảnh miếng trầu? Hs tìm và báo cáo. I. Tìm hiểu chung. 1. Vài nét về truyện Cổ tích. - Phân loại (3): Cổ tích về loài vật, cổ tích thần kì và cổ tích sinh hoạt. - Cổ tích thần kì: số lượng phong phú. Có sự tham gia của yếu tố thần kì. Nội dung: Đề cập tới số phận bất hạnh của người lao động về hạnh phúc gia đình, về công bằng xã hội, về phẩm chất và năng lực của con người. 2. Văn bản "Tấm Cám". - Thuộc loại cổ trích thần kì. - Bố cục: + Đoạn 1 (Từ đầu đến .... lời bụt dặn): Cuộc đời và số phận bất hạnh của Tấm nhưng luôn được Bụt giúp đỡ. + Đoạn 2 (Tiếp đến .... mẹ con Cám): Hạnh phúc đến với Tấm. + Đoạn 3 (còn lại): Cuộc đấu tranh không khoan nhượng qua những kiếp hồi sinh của Tấm để giành lại hạnh phúc. II. Đọc - hiểu: 1. Thân phận của Tấm: - Gia cảnh: + Tấm và Cám là hai chị em cùng cha khác mẹ. + Mẹ Tấm chết khi Tấm còn nhỏ. + Cha chết, Tấm ở với dì ghẻ là mẹ đẻ ra Cám. - Hoàn cảnh sống: + Tấm làm lụng vất vả suốt ngày, đêm lại xay lúa giã gạo trong khi Cám được mẹ nuông chiều, ăn mặc trắng trơn quanh quẩn ở nhà không phải làm việc nặng. + Cám lừa Tấm trút hết giỏ tép để giành phần thưởng là chiếc yếm đỏ. + Mẹ con Cám lừa giết bống ăn thịt. + Mẹ con Cám không muốn Tấm đi xem hội, đổ thóc trộn gạo bắt nhặt. + Khi Tấm thử giày, dì ghẻ bĩu môi khinh bỉ. + Giết Tấm và giết cả kiếp hồi sinh của Tấm. + Vật chất: lao động quần quật suốt ngày, trút giỏ cá, bắt bống ăn thịt. + Tinh thần: giành chiếc yếm đỏ, không cho xem hội, khinh miệt thử giày. 2. Cuộc đấu tranh không khoan nhượng để giành lại hạnh phúc. - Tấm trải qua 4 kiếp hồi sinh. - Vật hoá thân của Tấm đều là yếu tố kì ảo. Song nó khác hẳn sự xuất hiện của Bụt ở phần đầu khi mỗi lần Tấm khóc. ở đây, Tấm không khóc cũng không thấy Bụt. Tấm phải tự mình gình và giữ hạnh phúc. Cho nên các vật là nơi Tấm gửi linh hồn để trở về đấu tranh với cái ác. Những mặt hoá thân của Tấm có thể bị ảnh hưởng của thuyết luân hồi của Đạo phật. Song đó chỉ mượn cái vỏ bên ngoài để thể hiận ước mơ, tinh thần lạc quan của nhân dân lao động. + Miếng trầu nên dâu nhà người. + Nhớ lời bác mẹ em răn Làm thân con gái chớ ăn trầu người - ý nghĩa sự trở về của Tấm. + Phản ánh quan niệm "ở hiền gặp lành" của nhân dân. + Phản ánh ước mơ về công bằng xã hội: người lương thiện không thể chết oan, phải được hưởng hạnh phúc, còn kẻ ác nhất định bịo trừng trị. + Phản ánh ước mơ về hạnh phúc: Họ không tìm hạnh phúc ở cõi nào khác mà tìm và giữ hạnh phúc thực sự ngay ở cõi đời này. III. Kết luận. * Ghi nhớ. Sgk - 72. * Luyện tập. 1. Những yếu tố kì ảo. - Nhân vật Bụt. - Con gà biết nói tiếng người. - Đàn chim biết nghe theo lời Bụt nhặt thóc gạo. - Xương cá bống biến thành vật để Tấm đi hội. - Sự hoá thân của Tấm qua 4 kiếp. 2. + Truyện "Sự tích trầu cau". + Miếng trầu là đầu câu chuyện. + Miếng trầu ăn ngọt như đường Đã ăn lấy của, phải thương lấy người. ...... 4. Củng cố - Nhận xét: - Hệ thống lại nội dung: Theo yêu cầu bài học. - Nhận xét chung về giờ học. 5. Dặn dò: Học bài. Soạn bài làm văn "Miêu tả và biểu cảm trong văn tự sự".

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  • Phân Tích Nhân Vật Khách Trong Bài Phú Sông Bạch Đằng
  • Bài Thơ: Bạch Đằng Giang Phú
  • Soạn Bài Tấm Cám, Trang 72 Sgk Ngữ Văn Lớp 10

    --- Bài mới hơn ---

  • Hướng Dẫn Phân Tích Tóm Tắt Văn Bản Tự Sự
  • Soạn Bài Những Câu Hát Về Tình Yêu Quê Hương, Đất Nước, Con Người (Siêu Ngắn)
  • Soạn Văn Bài: Những Câu Hát Về Tình Yêu Quê Hương, Đất Nước, Con Người
  • Soạn Bài : Những Câu Hát Về Tình Yêu Quê Hương, Đất Nước, Con Người
  • Soạn Bài: Những Câu Hát Về Tình Yêu Quê Hương, Đất Nước, Con Người Trang 37 Văn 7
  • Tấm Cám là câu chuyện nổi bật không chỉ trong văn học mà còn trong cuộc sống, phim ảnh. Cùng soạn bài Tấm Cám và trả lời các câu hỏi trang 65 SGK Ngữ văn 10, tập 1 để tìm hiểu cuộc đời của nhân vật Tấm, người lao động xưa muốn gửi gắm những ước mơ, khát vọng về công bằng, về đạo lí “ở hiền gặp lành” người tốt ắt sẽ được hưởng hạnh phúc.

    Soạn bài Tấm Cám

    – Mối mâu thuẫn và xung đột trong truyện chính là mối mâu thuẫn giữa dì ghẻ – con chồng, giữa chị em cùng cha khác mẹ

    – Mối mâu thuẫn giữa Tấm và mẹ con Cám được thể hiện qua các chi tiết: cái yếm đỏ, cá bống, Tấm ướm thử giày của vua, chim vàng anh, chiếc khung cửi,..

    – Diễn biến truyện : mẹ con Cám thì ngày càng độc ác còn Tấm ban đầu hiền lành, phản ứng yếu ớt nhưng sau đó đã chủ động đấu tranh đáp trả những gì mà mẹ con Cám đã làm.

    Hình thức biến hóa của Tấm: đầu tiên Tấm biến thành chim Vàng anh, tiếp đó là cây xoan, khung cửi, quả thị. Thông qua hình thức biến hóa này đã cho thấy vẻ đẹp, phẩm chất của Tấm – một vẻ đẹp trong và bình dị  Sức sống mãnh liệt và thần kì của Tấm.

    Hành động trả thù của Tấm đối với mẹ con Cám là thích đáng, phù hợp với những gì mà mẹ con Cám đã gây ra cho Tấm. Hành động đó phản ánh quy luật: Ở hiền gặp lành, ác giả ác báo.

    – Trong gia đình: mẫu thuẫn giữa dì ghẻ và con chồng

    – Ngoài xã hội: mâu thuẫn giữa thiện và ác

    Câu 1. Phân tích diễn biến truyện để thấy mâu thuẫn giữa Tấm và mẹ con Cám đã diễn ra như thế nào (lưu ý các đoạn kể về cái yếm đỏ, con bống, thử giày, cái chết của Tấm, chim vàng anh, chiếc khung cửi).

    Câu chuyện được diễn biến qua 2 chặng chính:

    + Chặng 1: Tấm ở với dì ghẻ.

    + Chặng 2: Tấm trở thành Hoàng hậu đến hết truyện.

    – Chặng 1: Tấm ở với dì ghẻ.

    + Cái yếm đỏ – mâu thuẫn quyền lợi vật chất.

    Tấm chăm chỉ, còn Cám lười biếng, lừa chị để lấy giỏ tép về lĩnh dải yếm đỏ. Hành động của Cám chứng tỏ mâu thuẫn về quyền lợi vật chất giữa những người con trong gia đình – con của dì ghẻ luôn được chiều chuộng, thiên vị, được mẹ dành cho những của ngon, đồ tốt còn con riêng lại chịu cảnh làm lụng, vất vả nhưng không được hưởng quyền lợi.

    + Con bống – mâu thuẫn quyền lợi tinh thần.

    Là người bạn duy nhất chia sẻ buồn vui với Tấm trong gia đình, nhưng lại bị mẹ con Cám giết thịt. Họ không muốn cho Tấm có một người bạn nào, không cho cô được hưởng một chút hạnh phúc, thú vui tinh thần nào.

    + Đi xem hội – mâu thuẫn quyền lợi tinh thần.

    Nhà vua mở hội, đáng ra Tấm cũng được đi xem nhưng mụ dì ghẻ lại bày kế hành hạ, không cho Tấm đi. Những người dì ghẻ cay độc không bao giờ muốn cho con riêng của chồng được thảnh thơi, vui vẻ dù là một giây phút nhỏ nhoi.

    + Thử giày- mâu thuẫn cả về vật chất và tinh thần.

    “Chuông khánh còn chả ăn ai, nữa là mảnh chĩnh vứt ngoài bờ tre”.

    ⟹ Câu nói cho thấy sự khinh bỉ của dì ghẻ, vừa coi thường nhân phẩm của Tấm vừa nhằm chê bai sự không xứng đáng của cô.

    ⟹ Tóm lại, chặng 1 phản ánh mâu thuẫn xoay quanh quyền lợi vật chất và tinh thần trong cuộc sống gia đình thường ngày.

    – Tấm có 4 lần biến hóa:

    + Lần 1: Chim Vàng Anh

    Chim vàng anh là loài chim cao quý, có giọng hót hay có lẽ vậy mà Tấm đã hóa kiếp thành con chim để được quấn quýt bên vua. Cũng chính vàng anh đã hót mắng Cám để trút nỗi hận.

    + Lần 2: Hai cây xoan

    Một lần nữa bị hãm hại, nhưng Tấm không từ bỏ, nàng hóa thân vào hai cây xoan xanh mát và lại chiều được ý vua.

    + Lần 3: Khung cửi

    Lần biến hóa này là do Cám làm nên, chặt cây làm khung cửi nhưng Cám lại bị Tấm dọa cho một phen hú vía.

    + Lần 4: Qủa thị

    Đây là lần hóa thân cuối cùng, mang lại cái kết có hậu cho cuộc đời Tấm. Đây cũng là chi tiết mang tính thẩm mĩ cao. Qủa thị rất gần gũi với mỗi người dân Việt, hơn thế nó mang trong mình hương thơm dịu ngọt, mang lại cảm giác vô cùng dễ chịu. Tấm bước ra từ quả thị như một lời tuyên bố về sự trường tồn vĩnh cửu của cái thiện.

    Bốn vật mà Tấm hóa thân đều là những vật bình dị, gần gũi quen thuộc với mỗi người dân Việt Nam. Ở đây có sự hóa thân từ xa tiến đến gần, từ bên ngoài vào bên trong, từ xa đến gần gũi với con người.

    – Ý nghĩa của quá trình biến hóa:

    + Thể hiện sức sống, sự trỗi dậy mãnh liệt của Tấm cũng như của cái thiện trước cái ác.

    + Đó là sức mạnh, sự trường tồn vĩnh cửu của cái thiện trước cái ác.

    Câu 3: Anh(chị) suy nghĩ như thế nào về hành động trả thù của Tấm đối với Cám?

    – Xét về góc độ đạo đức: Hành động của Tấm có phần trái với bản chất hiền lành, lương thiện. Tuy nhiên, đây là hành động trả thù xứng đáng cho những con người độc ác, vô nhân trong xã hội.

    – Xét về vấn đề thể loại: Hành động trả thù của Tấm đã thể hiện đúng yêu cầu thể loại về truyện cổ tích.

    Câu 4: Bản chất của mâu thuẫn và xung đột trong truyện (Tấm và mẹ con Cám đại diện cho các lực lượng đối lập nào, trong gia đình hay ngoài xã hội)?

    Các lực lượng đối lập trong truyện:

    – Trong gia đình:

    + Dì ghẻ – con chồng

    + Con chung – con riêng

    – Ngoài xã hội:

    + Người thiện – kẻ ác

    – Bản chất của mâu thuẫn và xung đột:

    + Mâu thuẫn gia đình: nguyên nhân là do vấn đề thừa kế gia sản, những quyền lợi vật chất của các thành viên gia đình.

    + Mâu thuẫn xã hội: thiện – ác: nguyên nhân do xung đột giữa các lực lượng đối lập trong xã hội nhằm khẳng định quyền lợi và địa vị mới.

    LUYỆN TẬP CHUYỆN TẤM CÁM

    Căn cứ vào định nghĩa truyện cổ tích ở bài “Khái quát văn học dân gian Việt Nam” và mục Tiểu dẫn của bài này, hãy tìm trong Tấm Cám những dẫn chứng để phân tích, làm rõ các đặc trưng của truyện cổ tích thần kì.

    • Bụt – chính là Phật, có phép lực vô biên, hiền từ.
    • Tấm – sự biến hóa thần kì thông qua những lần bị giếtCon gà: biết nói, biết bới xương cho Tấm.
    • Chim sẻ: biết nhặt riêng thóc và gạo.
    • Xương bống: biến thành quần áo đẹp, đôi giày và con ngựa đẹp.
    • Chim vàng anh: do Tấm hóa thân, biết hót lời đe dọa Cám, biết làm vui lòng vua.
    • Hai cây xoan: biết vươn mình che mát cho vua.
    • Khung cửi: biết chửi rủa Cám.
    • Quả thị: bên trong là một cô Tấm, hằng ngày chui ra chui vào.

    – Các đặc trưng của truyện cổ tích thần kì:

    + Có các yếu tố thần kì (tiên, Bụt, sự biến hóa thần kì, những vật có phép màu,…).

    + Kết cấu: Nạn nhân phải trải qua nhiều hoạn nạn nhưng cuối cùng cũng tìm được hạnh phúc, sự công bằng.

    – Phân tích: Các yếu tố thần kì trong truyện “Tấm Cám”:

    + Các nhân vật thần kì:

    ⟹ Các yếu tố thần kì trên thường được xuất hiện trong truyện cổ tích, mang những phép lạ; ẩn chứa bên trong sức mạnh phi thường có thể giúp đỡ những người nghèo khổ, đồng thời làm cho câu chuyện cổ tích trở nên li kì, hấp dẫn người đọc hơn.

    + Kết cấu:

    Tấm phải trải quan hoạn nạn từ khi ở chung với dì ghẻ đến khi trở thành Hoàng hậu.

    Khi ở với dì ghẻ thì bị bắt làm lụng vất vả, chịu lời cay nghiệt, thua thiệt so với Cám.

    Khi trở thành Hoàng hậu lại bị giết hại vô cùng tàn độc, phải trải qua 4 lần biến hóa để có thể tồn tại.

    Nhưng đến cuối cùng lẽ phải, cái tốt cũng chiến thắng. Cái kết thể hiện được ước mơ cháy bỏng của nhân dân lao động về hạnh phúc gia đình, về lẽ công bằng xã hội.

    – Soạn bài Tam đại con gà

    – Soạn bài Nhưng nó phải bằng hai mày Câu 1 (trang 72 sgk Ngữ Văn 10 Tập 1):

    Xem tiếp các bài soạn để học tốt môn Ngữ Văn lớp 10

    Mâu thuẫn giữa Tấm và Cám gay gắt, quyết liệt, là vấn đề một mất một còn. Vậy nên, Tấm chỉ có hai lựa chọn một là trả thù Cám (Cám chết) hoặc là Tấm chết. Bởi vậy hành động trả thù của Tấm cũng có thể hiểu nó không còn chỉ là vấn đề trả thù nữa mà nó còn là vấn đề sinh tồn. Qua hành động trả thù của Tấm, nhân dân ta gửi gắm quan niệm: “ác giả ác báo”, “gieo nhân nào, gặt quả ấy”. Cám phải nhận sự trừng phạt thích đáng sau tất cả những gì Cám đã làm.

    Câu 4 (trang 72 sgk Ngữ Văn 10 Tập 1): Bản chất của mâu thuẫn và xung đột trong truyện:

    – Mâu thuẫn xung đột trong gia đình phụ quyền thời cổ (mâu thuẫn dì ghẻ – con chồng): nguyên nhân của mâu thuẫn này là vấn đề thừa kế gia sản và những quyền lợi khác giữa các thành viên trong gia đình.

    – Mâu thuẫn giữa cái thiện và cái ác: cuộc đấu tranh giữa người lương thiện và kẻ gian ác, bất lương.

    – Mâu thuẫn xã hội: mâu thuẫn về quyền lợi, địa vị, đẳng cấp xã hội. Tuy nhiên mâu thuẫn này còn khá mờ nhạt.

    Ngoài nội dung ở trên, các em có thể tìm hiểu thêm phần Soạn bài Phong cách ngôn ngữ sinh hoạt nhằm chuẩn bị cho bài học này.

    Hơn nữa, Cảm nhận về bài thơ Cảnh ngày hè của Nguyễn Trãi là một bài học quan trọng trong chương trình Ngữ Văn 10 mà các em cần phải đặc biệt lưu tâm.

    https://thuthuat.taimienphi.vn/soan-bai-tam-cam-ngu-van-10-38183n.aspx

    --- Bài cũ hơn ---

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  • Tài liệu ôn thi lên lớp 10 môn Văn

    Tài liệu ôn thi vào lớp 10 môn Ngữ Văn phần thơ và truyện giới thiệu tới các bạn những nội dung chính của các tác phẩm: Đồng chí, Bài thơ về tiểu đội xe không kính, Mùa xuân nho nhỏ, Đoàn thuyền đánh cá, Sang thu, Nói với con, Viếng lăng bác, Khúc hát ru những em bé lớn lên trên lưng mẹ, Con cò, Làng, Lặng lẽ Sa Pa, Chiếc lược ngà, Những ngôi sao xa xôi. Các bạn học sinh sẽ ôn tập và củng cố kiến thức hiệu quả môn Ngữ văn 9, từ đó chuẩn bị tốt nhất cho kì thi vào lớp 10 sắp tới. Mời các bạn tham khảo

    Tài liệu ôn thi vào lớp 10 môn Ngữ Văn phần thơ và truyện

    I. Phần thơ

    Văn bản: “Đồng chí” – Chính Hữu.

    * Giới thiệu bài học:

    Tình cảm là thứ quan trọng nhất đối với mỗi con người. Nó như dòng nước ngọt ngào chảy dọc trong ống nhựa tắm mát tâm hồn ta, tưới nước cho hạt giống tinh thần bên trong ta nảy nở. Thiếu đi cái ngọt ngào của tình cảm, ta sẽ chỉ như ống nước rỗng ruột, khô cứng, tâm hồn ta sẽ chẳng khác gì hoang mạc cằn khô nứt nẻ. Tình cảm trong chiến tranh, trong những mưa bom bão đạn, những khói lửa mịt mù lại càng đáng nhớ hơn, nó thể hiện sự gắn bó, yêu thương không điều kiện, đồng cam cộng khổ vượt qua những chông gai của cuộc chiến. Thứ tình cảm thiêng liêng ấy không gì khác chính là tình đồng chí. Nhà thơ Chính Hữu đã viết về tình cảm cao đẹp ấy, đồng thời tái hiện lại một cách chân thực hình ảnh người lính chống Pháp, qua bài thơ “Đồng chí” của ông.

    I – Tìm hiểu chung: 1. Tác giả:

    • Chính Hữu, tên khai sinh Trần Đình Đắc (1926 – 2007), quê: Can Lộc, Hà Tĩnh.
    • 1946, ông gia nhập Trung đoàn Thủ đô và hoạt động trong quân đội suốt hai cuộc kháng chiến chống Pháp và chống Mĩ.
    • 1947, ông bắt đầu sáng tác thơ và thơ ông chủ yếu viết về người lính và chiến tranh với cảm xúc dồn nén,ngôn ngữ cô đọng.
    • 2000, ông được Nhà nước trao tặng Giải thưởng Hồ Chí Minh về văn học – nghệ thuật.
    • Tác phẩm chính: Đầu súng trăng treo(1966), Ngọn đèn đứng gác….

    2. Tác phẩm:

    • “Đồng chí” là một trong số những bài thơ hay nhất, tiêu biểu nhất của Chính Hữu và cũng là của nền thơ kháng chiến.
    • Bài thơ đã đi qua một hành trình hơn nửa thế kỉ làm đẹp mãi cho một hồn thơ chiến sĩ – hồn thơ Chính Hữu.

    a. Hoàn cảnh sáng tác:

    • Bài thơ “Đồng chí” được sáng tác vào đầu năm 1948 – sau chiến dịch Việt Bắc (thu đông 1947). Trong chiến dịch này, Chính Hữu là chính trị viên đại đội, ông có nhiều nhiệm vụ nhất là việc chăm sóc anh em thương binh và chôn cất một số tử sĩ. Sau chiến dịch, vì là rất vất vả, nên ông bị ốm nặng, phải nằm lại điều trị. Đơn vị đã cử một đồng chí ở lại để chăm sóc cho Chính Hữu và người đồng đội ấy rất tận tâm giúp ông vượt qua những khó khăn, ngặt nghèo của bệnh tật. Cảm động trước tấm lòng của người bạn, ông đã viết bài thơ”Đồng chí” như một lời cảm ơn chân thành nhất gửi tới người đồng đội, người bạn nông dân của mình.
    • Bài thơ được in trong tập “Đầu súng trăng treo” (1966) – tập thơ phần lớn viết về người lính trong cuộc kháng chiến chống thực dân Pháp.

    b. Bố cục: 3 phần.

    • Bảy câu thơ đầu: Cơ sở hình thành tình đồng chí.
    • Mười câu thơ tiếp: Biểu hiện và sức mạnh của tình đồng chí.
    • Ba câu thơ cuối: Bức tranh đẹp về tình đồng chí, biểu tượng cao cả của cuộc đời người chiến sĩ.

    c. Chủ đề: Ngợi ca tình đồng đội, đồng chí cao cả, thiêng liêng của các anh bộ đội Cụ Hồ -những người nông dân yêu nước mặc áo lính trong những năm đầu của cuộc kháng chiến chống thực dân Pháp.

    II – Đọc – hiểu văn bản:

    * Câu hỏi 2, sgk,trang 130:

    Sáu dòng đầu bài thơ đã nói về cơ sở hình thành tình đồng chí của những người lính cách mạng. Cơ sở ấy là:

    • Cùng chung cảnh ngộ.
    • Cùng chung nhiệm vụ, lí tưởng chiến đấu.
    • Cùng chia sẻ mọi gian lao, thiếu thốn.

    1. Cơ sở hình thành tình đồng chí:

    a. Hai câu đầu:

    • Hai câu thơ mở đầu bằng lối cấu trúc song hành, đối xứng như làm hiện lên hai gương mặt người chiến sĩ. Họ như đang tâm sự cùng nhau. Giọng điệu tự nhiên, mộc mạc, đầy thân tình. “Quê anh” và “làng tôi” đều là những vùng đất nghèo, cằn cỗi, xác xơ, là nơi “nước mặn đồng chua” – vùng đồng bằng ven biển, là xứ sở của “đất cày lên sỏi đá” – vùng đồi núi trung du.
    • Tác giả đã mượn thành ngữ, tục ngữ để nói về làng quê, nơi chôn nhau cắt rốn thân yêu của những người chiến sĩ. Điều ấy đã làm cho lời thơ mang đậm chất chân quê, dân dã đúng như con người vậy – những chàng trai dân cày chân đất, áo nâu lần đầu mặc áo lính lên đường ra trận! Như vậy, sự đồng cảnh, cùng chung giai cấp chính là cơ sở, là cái gốc hình thành nên tình đồng chí.

    Năm câu thơ tiếp nói lên một quá trình thương mến: từ chỗ “đôi người xa lạ” rồi thành “đôi tri kỉ” để kết thành “đồng chí”. Câu thơ có độ dài ngắn khác nhau, cảm xúc thơ như dồn tụ, nén chặt lại. Những ngày đầu, đứng dưới lá quân kì, những chàng trai ấy còn là “đôi người xa lạ”, mỗi người một phương trời “chẳng hẹn quen nhau”. Nhưng rồi cùng với thời gian kháng chiến, đôi bạn ấy gắn bó với nhau bằng biết bao kỉ niệm: “Súng bên súng, đầu sát bên đầu – Đêm rét chung chăn thành đôi tri kỉ”. “Súng bên súng” là cách nói hàm súc,giàu hình tượng, đó là những con người cùng chung lí tưởng chiến đấu. Họ cùng nhau ra trận đánh giặc để bảo vệ đất nước, quê hương, giữ gìn nền độc lập, tự do, sự sống còn của dân tộc – “Quyết tử cho Tổ quốc quyết sinh”. Còn hình ảnh “đầu sát bên đầu” lại diễn tả sự đồng ý, đồng tâm, đồng lòng của hai con người đó. Và câu thơ “Đêm rét chung chăn thành đôi tri kỉ” lại là câu thơ ắp đầy kỉ niệm về một thời gian khổ, cùng nhau chia ngọt sẻ bùi “Bát cơm sẻ nửa – Chăn sui đắp cùng”. Và như thế mới thành “đôi tri kỉ” để rồi đọng kết lại là “Đồng chí!”. “Đồng chí” – hai tiếng ấy mới thiêng liêng làm sao! Nó diễn tả niềm tự hào, xúc động, cứ ngân vang lên mãi. Xúc động bởi đó là biểu hiện cao nhất của một tình bạn thắm thiết, đẹp đẽ.Còn tự hào bởi đó là tình cảm thiêng liêng, cao cả của những con người cùng chung chí hướng, cùng một ý nguyện, cùng một lí tưởng, ước mơ

    Câu hỏi 1: Dòng thứ bảy của bài thơ có gì đặc biệt? Mạch cảm xúc và suy nghĩ trong bài thơ được triển khai như thế nào trước và sau dòng thơ đó?

    – Dòng thơ thứ bảy trong bài thơ “Đồng chí” là một điểm sáng tạo,một nét độc đáo qua ngòi bút của Chính Hữu. Dòng thơ được tác riêng độc lập, là một câu đặc biệt gồm từ hai âm tiết đi cùng dấu chấm than, tạo nốt nhấn vang lên như một sự phát hiện, một lời khẳng định đồng thời như một bản lề gắn kết đoạn thơ đầu với đoạn thơ sau. Sáu câu thơ đầu là cội nguồn, là cơ sở hình thành tình đồng chí; mười câu thơ tiếp theo là biểu hiện, sức mạnh của tình đồng chí. “Đồng chí” – ấy là điểm hội tụ, là nơi kết tinh bao tình cảm đẹp: tình giai cấp, tình bạn,tình người trong chiến tranh. Hai tiếng “đồng chí” bởi vậy mà giản dị, đẹp đẽ, sáng ngời và thiêng liêng.

    2. Biểu hiện và sức mạnh của tình đồng chí:

    a. Trước hết, đồng chí là sự thấu hiểu, chia sẻ những tâm tư, nỗi lòng của nhau:

    “Ruộng nương anh gửi bạn thân cày

    “Người ra đi đầu không ngoảnh lại

    Sau lưng thềm nắng lá rơi đầy”. “Anh với tôi biết từng cơn ớn lạnh

    3. Biểu tượng đẹp của tình đồng chí: Sốt run người vừng trán ướt mồ hôi“Đêm nay rừng hoang sương muối

    Đứng cạnh bên nhau chờ giặc tới

    III. Tổng kết: Đầu súng trăng treo”.

    Áo anh rách vaiPhân tích bài thơ “Bài thơ về tiểu đội xe không kính” của Phạm Tiến Duật * Giới thiệu bài học: Đoàn giải phóng quân một lần ra đi. Nào có sá chi đâu ngày trở về. Ra đi ra đi bảo tồn sông núi. Ra đi ra đi thà chết chớ lui.

    I – Tìm hiểu chung: Quần tôi có vài mảnh vá

    Miệng cười buốt giá

    Chân không giày

    Thương nhau tay nắm lấy bàn tay”. Gian nhà không mặc kệ gió lung lay

    II – Đọc – hiểu văn bản: Câu hỏi 1, sgk, trang 133: Nhan đề bài thơ có gì khác lạ? Một hình ảnh nổi bật trong bài thơ là những chiếc xe không kính. Vì sao có thể nói hình ảnh ấy là độc đáo? Giếng nước gốc đa nhớ người ra lính”.

    Vì nghĩa lớn, các anh sẵn sàng từ giã những gì gắn bó thân thương nhất: “ruộng nương”,”gian nhà”,”giếng nước”,”gốc đa”… Họ ra đi để lại sau lưng những băn khoăn, trăn trở, những bộn bề, lo toan của cuộc sống đời thường. Hai chữ “mặc kệ” đã diễn tả sâu sắc vẻ đẹp và chiều sâu đời sống tâm hồn người lính. Vì nghĩa lớn, họ sẵn sàng ra đi khi lí tưởng đã rõ ràng, mục đích đã chọn lựa. Song dù có dứt khoát thì vẫn nặng lòng với quê hương. Gác tình riêng ra đi vì nghĩa lớn, vẻ đẹp ấy thật đáng trân trọng và tự hào. Trong bài thơ “Đất nước”, ta bắt gặp điểm tương đồng trong tâm hồn những người lính:

    Mặc dù đầu không ngoảnh lại nhưng các anh vẫn cảm nhận được “Sau lưng thềm năng lá rơi đầy”, cũng như người lính trong thơ của Chính Hữu, nói “mặc kệ” nhưng tấm lòng luôn hướng về quê hương. “Giếng nước gốc đa” là hình ảnh hoán dụ mang tính chất nhân hóa diễn tả một cách tinh tế tâm hồn người chiến sĩ, tô đậm sự gắn bó của người lính với quê nhà. “Giếng nước gốc đa nhớ người ra lính” hay chính là tấm lòng của người ra đi không nguôi nhớ về quê hương. Quả thật, giữa người chiến sĩ và quê hương có mỗi giao cảm vô cùng sâu sắc, đậm đà. Người đọc cảm nhận từ hình ảnh thơ một tình quê ăm ắp và đây cũng là nguồn động viên, an ủi, là sức mạnh tinh thần giúp người chiến sĩ vượt qua mọi gian lao, thử thách suốt một thời máu lửa, đạn bom.

    b. Tình đồng chí còn là sự đồng cam cộng khổ, chia sẻ những khó khăn thiếu thốn của cuộc đời người lính:

    * Ý nghĩa nhan đề bài thơ:

    Bằng những hình ảnh tả thực, hình ảnh sóng đôi, tác giả đã tái hiện chân thực những khó khăn thiếu thốn trong buổi đầu kháng chiến: thiếu lương thực, thiếu vũ khí, quân trang, thiếu thuốc men… Người lính phải chịu “từng cơn ớn lạnh”, những cơn sốt rét rừng hành hạ, sức khỏe giảm sút, song sức mạnh của tình đồng chí đã giúp họ vượt qua tất cả. Nếu như hình ảnh “Miệng cười buốt giá” làm ấm lên, sáng lên tinh thần lạc quan của người chiến sĩ trong gian khổ thì cái nắm tay lại thể hiện tình đồng chí, đồng đội thật sâu sắc! Cách biểu lộ chân thực, không ồn ào mà thấm thía. Những cái bắt tay truyền cho nhau hơi ấm, niềm tin và sức mạnh để vượt qua mọi khó khăn, gian khổ. Cái nắm tay nhau ấy còn là lời hứa hẹn lập công.

    – Bài thơ khép lại với bức tranh đẹp về tình đồng chí, đồng đội,là biểu tượng cao đẹp về cuộc đời người chiến sĩ:

    Nổi lên trên cảnh rừng đêm hoang vắng, lạnh lẽo là hình ảnh người lính “đứng cạnh bên nhau chờ giặc tới”. Đó là hình ảnh cụ thể của tình đồng chí sát cánh bên nhau trong chiến đấu. Họ đã đứng cạnh bên nhau giữa cái giá rét của rừng đêm, giữa cái căng thẳng của những giây phút “chờ giặc tới”. Tình đồng chí đã sưởi ấm lòng họ, giúp họ vượt lên tất cả…

    Câu kết là một hình ảnh thơ rất đẹp: “Đầu súng trăng treo”. Cảnh vừa thực, vừa mộng. Về ý nghĩa của hình ảnh này có thể hiểu: Đêm khuya, trăng tà, cả cánh rừng ngập chìm trong sương muối. Trăng lơ lửng trên không, chiếu ánh sáng qua lớp sương mờ trắng, đục. Bầu trời như thấp xuống, trăng như sà xuống theo. Trong khi đó, người chiến sĩ khoác súng trên vai, đầu súng hướng lên trời cao như chạm vào vầng trăng và trăng như treo trên đầu súng. “Trăng”là biểu tượng cho vẻ đẹp thiên nhiên, đất nước, là sự sống thanh bình. “Súng”là hiện thân cho cuộc chiến đấu gian khổ, hi sinh. Súng và trăng, cứng rắn và dịu hiền.

    Không có kính không phải vì xe không có kính Bom giật, bom rung, kính vỡ đi rồi.

    Súng và trăng, chiến sĩ và thi sĩ. Hai hình ảnh đó trong thực tế vốn xa nhau vời vợi nay lại gắn kết bên nhau trong cảm nhận của người chiến sĩ: trăng treo trên đầu súng. Như vậy, sự kết hợp hai yếu tố, hiện thực và lãng mạn đã tạo nên cái vẻ đẹp độc đáo cho hình tượng thơ. Và phải chăng, cũng chính vì lẽ đó, Chính Hữu đã lấy hình ảnh làm nhan đề cho cả tập thơ của mình – tập “Đầu súng trăng treo” – như một bông hoa đầu mùa trong vườn thơ cách mạng.

    Bài thơ kết thúc nhưng lại mở ra những suy nghĩ mới trong lòng người đọc. Bài thơ đã làm sống lại một thời khổ cực của cha anh ta, làm sống lại chiến tranh ác liệt. Bài thơ khơi gợi lại những kỉ niệm đẹp, những tình cảm tha thiết gắn bó yêu thương mà chỉ có những người đã từng là lính mới có thể hiểu và cảm nhận hết được.

    Với nhiều hình ảnh chọn lọc, từ ngữ gợi cảm mà lại gần gũi thân thuộc, với biện pháp sóng đôi, đối ngữ được sử dụng rất thành công, Chính Hữu đã viết nên một bài ca với những ngôn từ chọn lọc, bình dị mà có sức ngân vang. Bài thơ đã ca ngợi tình đồng chí hết sức thiêng liêng, như là một ngọn lửa vẫn cháy mãi, bập bùng không bao giờ tắt, ngọn lửa thắp sáng đêm đen của chiến tranh.

    Văn bản: “Bài thơ về tiểu đội xe không kính” – Phạm Tiến Duật.

    Vẻ đẹp của người lính lái xe trước hết thể hiện ở tư thế hiên ngang, ung dung, đường hoàng, tự tin và tâm hồn lãng mạn, lạc quan, yêu đời: Ung dung buồng lái ta ngồi Nhìn đất, nhìn trời,nhìn thẳng.

    Khúc hát quen thuộc từ xa chợt vọng lại gợi trong lòng chúng ta biết bao suy tưởng. Chúng ta như được sống lại một thời hào hùng của dân tộc theo tiếng hát sôi nổi trẻ trung và cũng bình dị như cuộc đời người lính. Không biết đã có bao nhiêu bài thơ nói về họ – những chàng Thạch Sanh của thế kỉ hai mươi. Tiêu biểu cho thời kì chống Mĩ cứu nước là Bài thơ về tiểu đội xe không kính của Phạm Tiến Duật.

    – Phạm Tiến Duật (1941-2007), quê Thanh Ba, Phú Thọ.

    – 1964, sau khi tốt nghiệp khoa Ngữ văn của trường Đại học Sư phạm Hà Nội, ông gia nhập binh đoàn vận tải Trường Sơn và hoạt động trên tuyến đường Trường Sơn trong những năm chống Mỹ.

    Nhìn thấy gió vào xoa mắt đắng Thấy con đường chạy thẳng vào tim Thấy sao trời và đột ngột cánh chim Như sa, như ùa vào buồng lái.

    – Ông là một trong những gương mặt tiêu biểu của thế hệ các nhà thơ trẻ trưởng thành từ cuộc kháng chiến chống Mĩ cứu nước.

    – Với quan niệm “chủ yếu đi tìm cái đẹp từ trong những diễn biến sôi động của cuộc sống”, Phạm Tiến Duật đưa tất cả những chất liệu hiện thực của cuộc sống chiến trường vào trong thơ. Cách tiếp cận hiện thực ấy đã đem lại cho thơ Phạm Tiến Duật một giọng điệu sôi nổi, trẻ trung, hồn nhiên, hóm hỉnh, tinh nghịch mà sâu sắc.

    Một vẻ đẹp nữa làm nên bức chân dung tinh thần của người lính trong bài thơ chính là tinh thần lạc quan, sôi nổi, bất chấp khó khăn, nguy hiểm: Không có kính, ừ thì có bụi, ……………………………… Mưa ngừng, gió lùa khô mau thôi.

    – Thơ Phạm Tiến Duật tập trung thể hiện hình ảnh thế hệ trẻ trong cuộc kháng chiến chống Mĩ qua các hình tượng người lính và cô thanh niên xung phong trên tuyến đường Trường Sơn.

    Sâu sắc hơn,bằng ống kính điện ảnh của người nghệ sĩ, nhà thơ đã ghi lại những khoảnh khắc đẹp đẽ thể hiện tình đồng chí đồng đội của những người lính lái xe không kính: Những chiếc xe từ trong bom rơi Đã về đây họp thành tiểu đội Gặp bè bạn suốt dọc đường đi tới Bắt tay qua cửa kính vỡ rồi.

    – Tác phẩm chính: Trường Sơn Đông Trường Sơn Tây, Gửi em cô thanh niên xung phong, Lửa đèn, Bài thơ về tiểu đội xe không kính…

    Bếp Hoàng Cầm ta dựng giữa trời Chung bát đũa nghĩa là gia đình đấy Võng mắc chông chênh đường xe chạy Lại đi lại đi trời xanh thêm.

    – Năm 2001, ông được tặng Giải thưởng Nhà nước về văn học nghệ thuật.

    Bài thơ về tiểu đội xe không kính nằm trong chùm thơ của Phạm Tiến Duật được tặng giải Nhất cuộc thi thơ của báo Văn nghệ năm 1969. Chùm thơ đã khẳng định giọng thơ riêng của của ông. Sau này bài thơ được đưa vào tập thơ ” Vầng trăng quầng lửa” (1970) của tác giả.

    -Bài thơ được sáng tác trong thời kì cuộc kháng chiến chống Mĩ đang diễn ra rất gay go, ác liệt. Từ khắp các giảng đường đại học, hàng ngàn sinh viên đã gác bút nghiên để lên đường đánh giặc, và điểm nóng lúc đó là tuyến đường Trường Sơn – con đường huyết mạch nối liền hậu phương với tiền tuyến. Ở đó, không lực Hoa Kì ngày đêm trút bom, vãi đạn hòng ngăn chặn sự chi viện của miền Bắc cho chiến trường miền Nam.Vượt qua mưa bom bão đạn của kẻ thù, đoàn xe vận tải vẫn ngày đêm bất chấp gian khổ và hi sinh để ra trận. Phạm Tiến Duật đã ghi lại những hình ảnh tiêu biểu của nơi khói lửa Trường Sơn. Có thể nói, hiện thực đã đi thẳng vào trang thơ của tác giả và mang nguyên vẹn hơi thở của cuộc chiến. Ra đời trong hoàn cảnh ấy, bài thơ với âm điệu hào hùng, khỏe khoắn đã thực sự trở thành hồi kèn xung trận, trở thành tiếng hát quyết thắng của tuổi trẻ Việt Nam thời kì chống Mĩ. Cảm hứng từ những chiếc xe không kính đã làm nền để nhà thơ chiến sĩ khắc họa thành công chân dung người chiến sĩ lái xe: ung dung tự tại, lạc quan sôi nổi, bất chấp mọi khó khăn gian khổ , tình đồng chí đồng đội gắn bó tình yêu đất nước thiết tha…

    Không có kính rồi xe không có đèn Không có mui xe, thùng xe có xước Xe vẫn chạy vì miền Nam phía trước: Chủ cần trong xe có một trái tim.

    – Bài thơ có cách đặt đầu đề hơi lạ. Bởi hai lẽ:

    + Rõ ràng đây là một bài thơ, vậy mà tác giả lại ghi là “Bài thơ” – cách ghi như thế có vẻ hơi thừa.

    + Lẽ thứ hai là hình ảnh tiểu đội xe không kính. Xe không kính tức là xe hỏng, không hoàn hảo, là những chiếc xe không đẹp, vậy thì có gì là thơ. Vì đã nói đến thơ, tức là nói đến một cái gì đó đẹp đẽ, lãng mạn, bay bổng.

    Bài thơ có một nhan đề khá dài, tưởng như có chỗ thừa nhưng chính nhan đề ấy lại thu hút người đọc ở cái vẻ lạ, độc đáo của nó. Nhan đề bài thơ đã làm nổi bật rõ hình ảnh của toàn bài: những chiếc xe không kính. Hình ảnh này là một sự phát hiện thú vị của tác giả, thể hiện sự gắn bó và am hiểu của nhà thơ về hiện thực đời sống chiến tranh trên tuyến đường Trường Sơn. Nhưng vì sao tác giả còn thêm vào nhan đề hai chữ “Bài thơ”? Hai chữ “bài thơ” nói lên cách nhìn, cách khai thác hiện thực của tác giả: không phải chỉ viết về những chiếc xe không kính hay là cái hiện thực khốc liệt của chiến tranh, mà chủ yếu là Phạm Tiến Duật muốn nói về chất thơ của hiện thực ấy, chất thơ của tuổi trẻ Việt Nam dũng cảm, hiên ngang, vượt lên những thiếu thốn, gian khổ,khắc nghiệt của chiến tranh.

    – Xưa nay, những hình ảnh xe cộ, tàu thuyền đưa vào thơ thì đều được “mĩ lệ hóa”, “lãng mạn hóa” và thường mang ý nghĩa tượng trưng hơn là tả thực. Người đọc đã bắt gặp chiếc xe tam mã trong thơ Pus-kin, con tàu trong “Tiếng hát con tàu” của Chế Lan Viên, đoàn thuyền đánh cá trong bài thơ cùng tên của Huy Cận.

    – Ở bài thơ này, hình ảnh những chiếc xe không kính được miêu tả cụ thể, chi tiết rất thực. Lẽ thường, để đảm bảo an toàn cho tính mạng con người, cho hàng hoá nhất là trong địa hình hiểm trở Trường Sơn thì xe phải có kính mới đúng. Ấy thế mà chuyện “xe không kính” lại là môt thực tế, là hình ảnh thường gặp trên tuyến đường Trường Sơn.

    – Hai câu thơ mở đầu có thể coi là lời giải thích cho “sự cố” có phần không bình thường ấy:

    III – Tổng kết:

    + Lời thơ tự nhiên đến mức buộc người ta phải tin ngay vào sự phân bua của các chàng trai lái xe dũng cảm. Chất thơ của câu thơ này hiện ra chính trong vẻ tự nhiên đến mức khó ngờ của ngôn từ.

    * Hình ảnh những chiếc xe không kính đã làm nổi rõ hình ảnh những chiến sĩ lái xe ở Trường Sơn. Thiếu đi những điều kiện, phương tiện vật chất tối thiểu lại là một cơ hội để người lính lái xe bộc lộ những phẩm chất cao đẹp, sức mạnh tinh thần lớn lao của họ, đặc biệt là lòng dũng cảm, tinh thần bất chấp gian khổ khó khăn.

    + Cái nhìn của các anh là cái nhìn bao quát, rộng mở “nhìn đất”,”nhìn trời”, vừa trực diện, tập trung cao độ “nhìn thẳng”. Các anh nhìn vào khó khăn, gian khổ, hi sinh mà không hề run sợ, né tránh – một bản lĩnh vững vàng.

    – “Thơ ông chân chất,bình dị, đôn hậu và chân thành…Đối với nền thơ chống Mĩ của miền Nam,Thanh Hải là một trong những cây bút có nhiều đóng góp”.

    – Trong tư thế ung dung ấy, người lính lái xe có những cảm nhận rất riêng khi được tiếp xúc trực tiếp với thiên nhiên bên ngoài:

    + Sau tay lái của chiếc xe không có kính chắn gió nên các yếu tố về thiên nhiên, chướng ngại vật rơi rụng, quăng ném, va đạp vào trong buồng lái. Song, quan trọng hơn là các anh có được cảm giác như bay lên, hòa mình với thiên nhiên rồi được tự do giao cảm, chiêm ngưỡng thế giới bên ngoài.Điều này được thể hiện ở nhịp thơ đều đặn, trôi chảy như xe lăn với việc vận dụng linh hoạt điệp ngữ “thấy” và phép liệt kê. Có rất nhiều cảm giác thú vị đến với người lính trên những chiếc xe không có kính.

    + Các hình ảnh “con đường”, “sao trời”, “cánh chim”… diễn tả rất cụ thể cảm giác của những người lính khi được lái những chiếc xe không kính. Khi xe chạy trên đường bằng, tốc độ xe chạy đi nhanh, giữa các anh với con đường dường như không còn khoảng cách, chính vì thế, các anh mới có cảm giác con đường đang chạy thẳng vào tim. Và cái cảm giác thú vị khi xe chạy vào ban đêm, được “thấy sao trời” và khi đi qua những đoạn đường cua dốc thì những cánh chim như đột ngột “ùa vào buồng lái”. Thiên nhiên, vạn vật dường như cũng bay theo ra chiến trường. Tất cả điều này đã giúp người đọc cảm nhận được ở các anh nét hào hoa, kiêu bạc, lãng mạn và yêu đời của những người trẻ tuổi. Tất cả là hiện thực nhưng qua cảm nhận của nhà thơ đã trở thành những hình ảnh lãng mạn.

    Những câu thơ giản dị như lời nói thường, với giọng điệuthản nhiên, ngang tàn hóm hỉnh, cấu trúc: “không có…”; “ừ thì…”, “chưa cần” được lặp đi lặp lại, các từ ngữ “phì phèo”, “cười ha ha”, “mau khô thôi”… làm nổi bật niềm vui, tiếng cười của người lính cất lên một cách tự nhiên giữa gian khổ, hiểm nguy của cuộc chiến đấu. Cài tài của Phạm Tiến Duật trong đoạn thơ này là cứ hai câu đầu nói về hiện thực nghiệt ngã phải chấp nhận thì hai câu sau nói lên tinh thần vượt lên để chiến thắng hoàn cảnh của người lính lái xe trong chiến tranh ác liệt. Xe không kính nên “bụi phun tóc trắng như người già” là lẽ đương nhiên, xe không có kính nên “ướt áo”, “mưa tuôn, mưa xối như ngoài trời” là lẽ tất nhiên. Trước mọi khó khăn, nguy hiểm, các anh vẫn “cười” rồi chẳng cần bận tâm, lo lắng, các anh sẵn sàng chấp nhận thử thách, gian lao như thể đó là điều tất yếu. Các anh lấy cái bất biến của lòng dũng cảm, của thái độ hiên ngang để thắng lại cái vạn biến của chiến trường sinh tử gian khổ, ác liệt. Đọc những câu thơ này giúp ta hiểu được phần nào cuộc sống của người lính ngoài chiến trường những năm tháng đánh Mỹ. Đó là cuộc sống gian khổ trong bom đạn ác liệt nhưng tràn đầy tinh thần lạc quan, niêm vui sôi nổi, yêu đời. Thật đáng yêu và đáng tự hào biết bao!

    Chính sự khốc liệt của chiến tranh đã tạo nên tiểu đội xe không kính. Những chiếc xe từ khắp mọi miền Tổ quốc về đây họp thành tiểu đội. Cái “bắt tay” thật đặc biệt “Bắt tay qua cửa kính vỡ rồi”. Xe không kính lại trở thành điều kiện thuận lợi để các anh thể hiện tình cảm. Cái bắt tay thể hiện niềm tin, truyền cho nhau sức mạnh, bù đắp tinh thần cho những thiếu thốn về vật chất mà họ phải chịu đựng. Có sự gặp gỡ với ý thơ của Chính Hữu trong bài thơ “Đồng chí”: “Thương nhau tay nắm lấy bàn tay” nhưng hồn nhiên hơn, trẻ trung hơn. Đó là quá trình trưởng thành của thơ ca, của quân đội Việt Nam trong hai cuộc kháng chiến trường kì của dân tộc. Tình đồng chí, đồng đội còn được thể hiện một cách ấm áp, giản dị qua những giờ phút sinh hoạt của họ:

    + Gắn bó trong chiến đấu, họ càng gắn bó trong đời thường. Sau những phút nghỉ ngơi thoáng chốc và bữa cơm hội ngộ, những người lính lái xe đã xích lại thành gia đình: “Chung bát đũa nghĩa là gia đình đấy”. Cách định nghĩa về gia đình thật lính, thật tếu hóm mà thật chân tình sâu sắc. Đó là gia đình của những người lính cùng chung nhiệm vụ, lí tưởng chiến đấu.

    + Điệp ngữ “lại đi” và hình ảnh “trời xanh thêm” tạo âm hưởng thanh thản, nhẹ nhàng, thể hiện niềm lạc quan, tin tưởng của người lính về sự tất thắng của cuộc kháng chiến chống Mỹ. Câu thơ trong vắt như tâm hồn người chiến sĩ, như khát vọng, tình yêu họ gửi lại cho cuộc đời.

    – Giờ đây những chiếc xe không chỉ mất kính mà lại không đèn, không mui, thùng xe có xước. Chiếc xe đã biến dạng hoàn toàn. Người lính xế lại chất chồng khó khăn. Sự gian khổ nơi chiến trường ngày càng nâng lên gấp bội lần nhưng không thể làm chùn bước những đoàn xe nối đuôi nhau ngày đêm tiến về phía trước.

    – Nguyên nhân nào mà những chiếc xe tàn dạng ấy vẫn băng băng chạy như vũ bào? Nhà thơ đã lí giải: “Chỉ cần trong xe có một trái tim”.

    + Câu thơ dồn dập cứng cáp hẳn lên như nhịp chạy của những chiếc xe không kính. Từ hàng loạt những cái “không có” ở trên, nhà thơ khẳng định một cái có, đó là “một trái tim”.

    Của ong bướm này đây tuần tháng mật Này đây hoa của đồng nội xanh rì Này đây lá của cành tơ phơ phất Của yến anh này đây khúc tình si Và này đây ánh sáng chớp hàng mi…

    + “Trái tim” là một hoán dụ nghệ thuật tu từ chỉ người chiến sĩ lái xe Trường Sơn năm xưa. Trái tim của họ đau xót trước cảnh nhân dân miền Nam sống trong khói bom thuốc súng, đất nước bị chia cắt thành hai miền.

    Mùa xuân là cả một mùa xanh Giời ở trên cao, lá ở cành Lúa ở đồng anh và lúa ở đồng nàng và lúa ở đồng quanh

    + Trái tim ấy dào dạt tình yêu Tổ quốc như máu thịt, như mẹ cha, như vợ như chồng… Trái tim ấy luôn luôn sục sôi căm thù giặc Mỹ bạo tàn.

    – Giọng thơ ngang tàn, có cả chất nghịch ngợm, rất phù hợp với những đối tượng miêu tả (những chàng trai lái xe trên những chiếc xe không kính). Giọng điệu ấy làm cho lời thơ gần với lời văn xuôi, lời đối thoại, lời nói thường ngày nhưng vẫn thú vị và giàu chất thơ (Chất thơ ở đây là từ những hình ảnh độc đáo, từ cảm hứng về vẻ hiên ngang, dũng cảm, sự sôi nổi trẻ trung của những người lính lái xe, từ ấn tượng cảm giác được miêu tả cụ thể, sống động và gợi cảm

    ” Con sông nhỏ tuổi thơ ta tắm Vẫn còn đây nước chẳng đổi dòng Hoa lục bình tím cả bờ sông…”

    – Thể thơ: Kết hợp linh hoạt thể thơ 7 chữ và 8 chữ, tạo cho bài thơ có điệu thơ gần với lời nói tự nhiên, sinh động. Những yếu tố về ngôn ngữ và giọng điệu bài thơ đã góp phần trong việc khắc họa hình ảnh người chiến sĩ lái xe trên tuyến đường Trường Sơn một cách chân thực và sinh động.

    – Cả bài thơ là lời nói, cảm xúc của người chiến sĩ lái xe trên tuyến đường Trường Sơn. Thử thách ngày càng tăng, nhưng mức độ và hướng đi không thay đổi.Vẫn là khẳng định tinh thần bất khuất, quyết thắng của quân đội ta, nhưng Phạm Tiến Duật đã đem lại nhiều hình ảnh mới và giọng điệu mới: trẻ trung, tinh nghịch, ngang tàn mà kiên định. Bài thơ đâu chỉ nói về tiểu đội xe không kính,nó phản ánh cả khí thế quyết tâm giải phóng miền Nam của toàn quân và toàn dân ta,khẳng định rằng ý chí của con người mạnh hơn cả sắt thép.

    Văn bản “Mùa xuân nho nhỏ” – Thanh Hải.

    – Thanh Hải là một nhà thơ cách mạng.

    Ơi con chim chiền chiện Hót chi mà vang trời.

    – Trong hai cuộc kháng chiến kể cả những thời kì đen tối nhất, ông đã bám trụ ở quê hương (vùng Thừa Thiên – Huế), cất lên tiếng thơ ca ngợi tình yêu quê hương đất nước, ca ngợi sự hi sinh của nhân dân miền Nam và khẳng định niềm tin vào chiến thắng của cách mạng. Có thể nói cuộc đời ông đã cống hiến trọn vẹn cho đất nước, cho quê hương.

    (Trần Hữu Tá)

    – Bài thơ ra đời tháng 11/1980, lúc này, đất nước đã thống nhất, đang xây dựng cuộc sống mới với muôn ngàn khó khăn thử thách.

    – Và đây cũng là một hoàn cảnh rất đặc biệt đối với nhà thơ Thanh Hải. Ông đang bị bệnh nặng phải điều trị ở bệnh viện trung ương thành phố Huế, và một tháng sau ông qua đời. Có hiểu cho hoàn cảnh của nhà thơ trên giường bệnh ta mới thấy hết được tấm lòng tha thiết với cuộc sống, với quê hương đất nước của nhà thơ.

    – Khổ 1: Cảm xúc của nhà thơ trước mùa xuân thiên nhiên, đất trời.

    Từng giọt long lanh rơi Tôi đưa tay tôi hứng.

    – Khổ 2, 3: Cảm xúc của nhà thơ về mùa xuân đất nước.

    – Khổ 4, 5: Lời ước nguyện chân thành, tha thiết của nhà thơ.

    – Khổ 6: Lời ngợi ca quê hương, đất nước qua điệu dân ca xứ Huế.

    Bài thơ bắt đầu từ những cảm xúc trực tiếp hồn nhiên, trong trẻo trước vẻ đẹp và sức sống của mùa xuân thiên nhiên, từ đó mở rộng cảm nghĩ về mùa xuân đất nước. Từ mùa xuân lớn của thiên nhiên đất nước mà liên tưởng tới mùa xuân của mỗi cuộc đời – một mùa xuân nho nhỏ góp vào mùa xuân lớn. Bài thơ kết thúc bằng sự trở về với những cảm xúc thiết tha, tự hào về quê hương, đất nước qua điệu dân ca xứ Huế.

    Khác với bức tranh thiên nhiên mùa xuân rực rỡ sắc màu, rạo rực tình ái trong thi phẩm “Vội vàng” của Xuân Diệu, với:

    Tôi nện gót trên đường phố Huế Dửng dưng không một cảm tình chi Không gian sặc sụa mùi ô uế Như nước dòng Hương mải cuốn đi

    Không mang một sắc xanh tràn ngập không gian như trong bài thơ “Mùa xuân xanh” của Nguyễn Bính với:

    Mùa xuân người cầm súng Lộc giắt đầy trên lưng Mùa xuân người ra đồng Lộc trải dài nương mạ Tất cả như hối hả Tất cả như xôn xao…

    Cũng không được khoác lên tấm áo mơ màng, tình tứ như trong bài thơ “Mùa xuân chín” của Hàn Mặc Tử, với:

    Bức tranh thiên nhiên mùa xuân trong “Mùa xuân nho nhỏ” của Thanh Hải được vẽ bằng những hình ảnh, màu sắc, âm thanh hài hòa, sống động, tràn đầy sức sống:

    Không gian mùa xuân rộng mở tươi tắn với hình ảnh một dòng sông trong xanh chảy hiền hoà. Cái màu xanh ấy phản ánh được màu xanh của bầu trời, của cây cối hai bên bờ, cái màu xanh quen thuộc mà ta có thể gặp ở bất kì một con sông nào ở dải đất miền Trung.

    – Nổi bật trên nền xanh lơ của dòng sông là hình ảnh “một bông hoa tím biếc”, một hình ảnh thân thuộc của cánh lục bình hay bông súng,bông trang mà ta thường gặp ở các ao hồ sông nước của làng quê:

    (Lê Anh Xuân)

    Màu tím biếc ấy không lẫn vào đâu được với sắc màu tím Huế thân thương- vốn là nét đặc trưng của những cô gái đất kinh kỳ với sông Hương núi Ngự.

    – Bức tranh không chỉ có “họa” mà còn có “nhạc” bởi tiếng chim chiền chiện cất lên với muôn vàn lời ca tiếng hót, reo mừng:

    Tất cả như hồi hả Tất cả như xôn xao

    + Nhà thơ gọi “ơi” nghe sao mà tha thiết thế! Lời gọi ấy không cất lên từ tiếng nói mà cất lên từ sâu thẳm tình yêu thiên nhiên, cất lên từ tấm lòng của nhà thơ trước mùa xuân tươi đẹp với những âm thanh rộn rã.

    + Lời gọi ấy mới đầu nhen nhóm ở một góc trái tim, nhưng con người nhà thơ và những cảnh sắc, âm thanh kia như đã hòa vào làm một, cảm xúc từ đó mà òa ra thành lời, thật ngỡ ngàng, thật thích thú.

    + Cảm xúc của nhà thơ đã trào dâng thực sự qua câu hỏi tu từ: “Hót chi mà vang trời”. Thứ âm thanh không thể thiếu ấy làm sống dậy cả không gian cao rộng, khoáng đạt, làm sống dậy, vực dậy cả một tâm hồn con người đang phải đối mặt với những bóng đen ú ám của bệnh tật, của cái chết rình rập.

    – Thiên nhiên, nhất là mùa xuân vốn hào phóng, sẵn sàng trao tặng con người mọi vẻ đẹp nếu con người biết mở rộng tấm lòng. Thanh Hải đã thực sự đón nhận mùa xuân với tất cả sự tài hoa của ngòi bút, sự thăng hoa của tâm hồn. Nhà thơ lặng ngắm, lặng nghe bằng cả trái tim xao động, bằng trí tưởng tượng, liên tưởng độc đáo:

    + Cụm từ “giọt long lanh” gợi lên những liên tưởng phong phú và đầy thi vị. Nó có thể là giọt sương lấp lánh qua kẽ lá trong buổi sớm mùa xuân tươi đẹp, có thể là giọt nắng rọi sáng bên thềm, có thể giọt mưa xuân đang rơi… Theo mạch cảm xúc của nhà thơ thì có lẽ đây là giọt âm thanh của tiếng chim ngân vang, đọng lại thành từng giọt niềm vui, rơi xuống cõi lòng rộng mở của thi sĩ, thấm vào tâm hồn đang rạo rực tình xuân.

    “Đất nước bốn ngàn năm Vất vả và gian lao Đất nước như vì sao Cứ đi lên phía trước”

    + Phép ẩn dụ chuyển đổi cảm giác được vận dụng một cách tài hoa, tinh tế qua trí tưởng tượng của nhà thơ. Thành Hải cảm nhận vẻ đẹp của mùa xuân bằng nhiều giác quan: thị giác, thính giác và cả xúc giác.

    “Sống vững chãi bốn nghìn năm sừng sững

    + Cử chỉ “Tôi đưa tay tôi hứng” thể hiện sự nâng niu, trân trọng của nhà thơ trước vẻ đẹp của thiên nhiên, đất trời lúc với xuân với cảm xúc say sưa, xốn xang, rạo rực. Nhà thơ như muốn ôm trọn vào lòng tất cả sức sống của mùa xuân, của cuộc đời.

    ” Ta làm con chim hót Ta làm một cành hoa Ta nhập vào hoà ca Một nốt trầm xao xuyến”.

    Khi xưa, trong đêm đen của kiếp sống nô lệ, nhà thơ Tố Hữu – một người con xứ Huế đã từng viết:

    Đó là Huế trong quá khứ nô lệ đen tối, lầm than. Thời nay,trong hiện tại, Huế đã đổi khác, đang hối hả nhịp chiến đấu, xây dựng cùng đất nước:

    – Không phải ngẫu nhiên trong khổ thơ lại xuất hiện hình ảnh “người cầm súng” và “người ra đồng”. Họ là những con người cụ thể, những con người làm nên lịch sử với hai nhiệm vụ cơ bản của đất nước ta trong suốt quá trình phát triển lâu dài: chiến đấu và sản xuất, bảo vệ và xây dựng Tổ quốc.

    – Mùa xuân đến mang đến tiếng gọi của những cố gắng mới và hi vọng mới, mang đến tiếng gọi của đất nước, của quê hương đang trên đà đổi thay, phát triển. Những tiếng gọi lặng lẽ tới từ mùa xuân làm thức dậy con người, làm trái tim con người như bừng lên rạng rỡ trong không khí sôi nổi của đất nước, của muôn cây cỏ đã đi theo người lính vào chiến trường, sát kề vai, đã cùng người lao động hăng say ngoài đồng ruộng.

    – Mùa xuân không những chắp thêm đôi cánh sức mạnh cho con người mà còn chuẩn bị cho con người những “lộc” non tươi mới, căng tràn nhựa sống:

    + “Lộc” không chỉ là hình ảnh tả thực mà con mang ý nghĩa ẩn dụ, tượng trưng.

    + “Lộc” là nhành non chồi biếc của cỏ cây trong mùa xuân.

    “Một mùa xuân nhỏ Lặng lẽ dâng cho đời Dù là tuổi hai mươi Dù là khi tóc bạc.”

    + Đối với người nông dân “một nắng hai sương”, “lộc” là những mầm xuân tươi non trải dài trên ruộng đồng bát ngát, báo hiệu một mùa bội thu.

    + Nhưng đặc biệt hơn cả, “lộc” là sức sống, là tuổi trẻ, sức thanh xuân tươi mới đầy mơ ước, lí tưởng, đầy những hoài bão và khát vọng cống hiến của tuổi trẻ, sôi nổi trong mỗi tâm hồn con người – tâm hồn của người lính dũng cảm, kiên cường nơi lửa đạn bom rơi – tâm hồn của người nông dân cần cù, hăng say tăng gia sản xuất. “Lộc” chính là thành quả hôm nay và niềm tin, hi vọng ngày mai.

    – Từ những suy nghĩ rất thực về đất nước, nhà thơ khái quát:

    “Nếu là con chim chiếc lá Thì con chim phải hót, chiếc là phải xanh, Lẽ nào vay mà không trả Sống là cho, đâu chỉ nhận riêng mình”.

    + “Hối hả” diễn tả nhịp điệu khẩn trương, tất bật của những con người Việt Nam trong giai đoạn mới, thời đại mới, trong công cuộc xây dựng xã hội chủ nghĩa.

    “Bui một tấc lòng trung lẫn hiếu Mài chăng khuyết, nhuộm chăng đen”.

    + Còn “xôn xao” lại bộc lộ tâm trạng náo nức rộn ràng.

    – Xúc cảm trước vẻ đẹp của thiên nhiên đất nước khi bước vào mùa xuân, nhà thơ Thanh Hải đã có cái nhìn sâu sắc và tự hào về lịch sử bốn nghìn năm dân tộc:

    Mùa xuân – ta xin hát Câu Nam ai, Nam bình Nước non ngàn dặm mình Nước non ngàn dặm tình Nhịp phách tiền đất Huế.

    + Với nghệ thuật nhân hóa, Tổ quốc như một người mẹ tần tảo,vất vả và gian lao, đã làm nổi bật sự trường tồn của đất nước. Để có được sự trường tồn ấy, giang sơn gấm vóc này đã thấm bao máu, mồ hôi và cả nước mắt của các thế hệ, của những tháng năm đằng đẵng lúc hưng thịnh, lúc thăng trầm. Nhưng dù trở lực có mạnh đến đâu cũng không khuất phục được dân tộc Việt Nam:

    Lưng đeo gươm tay mềm mại bút hoa”. (Huy Cận)

    III. Tổng kết:

    + Đặc biệt, phép tu từ so sánh được nhà thơ sử dụng vô cùng đặc sắc, làm ý thơ hàm súc -“Đất nước như vì sao/Cứ đi lên phía trước”. Sao là nguồn sáng bất diệt của thiên hà, là vẻ đẹp lung linh của bầu trời đêm, là hiện thân của sự vĩnh hằng trong vũ trụ. So sánh như thế, là tác giả đã ngợi ca đất nước trường tồn, tráng lệ, đất nước đang hướng về một tương lai tươi sáng. Điệp ngữ “đất nước” được nhắc lại hai lần thể hiện sâu sắc ý thơ: trải qua những gian truân, vất vả, đất nước vẫn toả sáng đi lên không gì có thể ngăn cản được.

    – Từ những cảm xúc về mùa xuân, tác giả đã chuyển mạch thơ một cách tự nhiên sang bày tỏ những suy ngẫm và tâm niệm của mình về lẽ sống, về ý nghĩa giá trị của cuộc đời mỗi con người:

    + Để bày tỏ lẽ sống của mình, ngay từ những câu thơ mở đầu đoạn, Thanh Hải đã đem đến cho người đọc cái giai điệu ngọt ngào, êm ái của những thanh bằng liên tiếp “ta”-“hoa”-“ca”.

    + Điệp từ “ta” được lặp đi lặp lại thể hiện một ước nguyện chân thành, thiết tha.

    + Động từ “làm” – “nhập” ở vai trò vị ngữ biểu lộ sự hoá thân đến diệu kỳ – hoá thân để sống đẹp, sống có ích.

    Phân tích bài thơ “Ánh trăng” của Nguyễn Duy

    + Nhà thơ đã lựa chọn những hình ảnh đẹp của thiên nhiên, của cuộc sống để bày tỏ ước nguyện: con chim, một cành hoa, một nốt trầm. Còn gì đẹp hơn khi làm một cành hoa đem sắc hương tô điểm cho mùa xuân đất mẹ!Còn gì vui hơn khi được làm con chim nhỏ cất tiếng hót rộn rã làm vui cho đời!

    + Các hình ảnh bông hoa, tiếng chim đã xuất hiện trong cảm xúc của thi nhân về mùa xuân thiên nhiên tươi đẹp, giờ lại được sử dụng để thể hiện lẽ sống của mình. Một ý nghĩa mới đã mở ra, đó là mong muốn được sống có ích, sống làm đẹp cho đời là lẽ thường tình.

    + Cái “tôi”của thi nhân trong phần đầu bài thơ giờ chuyển hoá thành cái “ta”. Có cả cái riêng và chung trong cái “ta” ấy. Với cách sử dụng đại từ này, nhà thơ đã khẳng định giữa cá nhân và cộng đồng, giữa cái riêng và cái chung.

    + Hình ảnh “nốt trầm”và lặp lại số từ “một” tác giả cho thấy ước muốn tha thiết, chân thành của mình. Không ồn ào, cao giọng, nhà thơ chỉ muốn làm “một nốt trầm” nhưng phải là”một nốt trầm xao xuyến” để góp vào bản hoà ca chung. Nghĩa là nhà thơ muốn đem phần nhỏ bé của riêng mình để góp vào công cuộc đổi mới và đi lên của đất nước.

    – Lẽ sống của Thanh Hải còn được thể hiện trong những vần thơ sâu lắng:

    + Cách sử dụng ngôn từ của nhà thơ Thanh Hải rất chính xác, tinh tế và gợi cảm. Làm cành hoa, làm con chim, làm nốt trầm và làm một mùa xuân nho nhỏ để lặng lẽ dâng hiến cho cuộc đời.

    + “Mùa xuân nho nhỏ” là một ẩn dụ đầy sáng tạo, biểu lộ một cuộc đời đáng yêu, một khát vọng sống cao đẹp. Mỗi người hãy làm một mùa xuân, hãy đem tất cả những gì tốt đẹp, tinh tuý của mình, dẫu có nhỏ bé để góp vào làm đẹp cho mùa xuân đất nước.

    + Cặp từ láy “nho nhỏ”, “lặng lẽ” cho thấy một thái độ chân thành, khiêm nhường, lấy tình thương làm chuẩn mực cho lẽ sống đẹp, sống để cống hiến đem tài năng phục vụ đất nước, phục vụ nhân dân.

    Nhớ khi xưa, Ức Trai tiên sinh đã từng tâm niệm:

    Còn bây giờ, Thanh Hải – nhà thơ xứ Huế trước khi về với thế giới “người hiền” cũng đã ước nguyện: “Lặng lẽ dâng cho đời/Dù là tuổi hai mươi/Dù là khi tóc bạc”. Lời ước nguyện thật thuỷ chung, son sắt. Sử dụng điệp ngữ “dù là” nhắc lại hai lần như tiếng lòng tự dặn mình đinh ninh: dẫu có ở giai đoạn nào của cuộc đời, tuổi hai mươi tràn đầy sức trẻ, hay khi đã già, bệnh tật thì vẫn phải sống có ích cho đời, sống làm đẹp cho đất nước.

    – Bài thơ kết thúc bằng sự trở về với những cảm xúc thiết tha, tự hào về quê hương, đất nước qua điệu dân ca xứ Huế.

    + Tác giả có nhắc đến những khúc dân ca xứ Huế “Nam ai”, “Nam bình”, có giai điệu buồn thương nhưng vô cùng tha thiết.

    II – Đọc – hiểu văn bản:

    + Và qua những khúc “Nam ai”, “nam bình” này thì nhà thơ đã bộc lộ tình yêu tha thiết của mình đối với quê hương, đất nước; thể hiện niềm tin yêu vào cuộc đời, vào đất nước với những giá trị truyền thống vững bền.

    Bài thơ “Mùa xuân nho nhỏ” là tiếng lòng tha thiết yêu mến và gắn bó với đất nước, với cuộc đời; thể hiện ước nguyện chân thành của nhà thơ được cống hiến cho đất nước; góp một “mùa xuân nho nhỏ” của mình vào mùa xuân lớn của dân tộc.

    – Thể thơ năm chữ, gần với các làn điệu dân ca.

    – Bài thơ giàu nhạc điệu, với âm hưởng nhẹ nhàng, tha thiết.

    – Kết hợp những hình ảnh tự nhiên, giản dị, từ thiên nhiên với những hình ảnh giàu ý nghĩa biểu tượng, khái quát.

    – Cấu tứ chặt chẽ, sự phát triển tự nhiên của hình ảnh mùa xuân với các phép tu từ đặc sắc.

    Văn bản: “Ánh trăng” – Nguyễn Duy.

    – Nguyễn Duy sinh năm 1948, tên khai sinh là Nguyễn Duy Nhuệ, quê ở thành phố Thanh Hóa.

    – 1966, ông gia nhập quân đội, vào binh chủng Thông tin, tham gia chiến đấu ở nhiều chiến trường.

    – Sau năm 1975, ông chuyển về làm báo Văn nghệ giải phóng. Từ năm 1977, Nguyễn Duy là đại diện thường trú báo Văn nghệ tại Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh.

    – Nguyễn Duy thuộc thế hệ các nhà thơ quân đội trưởng thành trong kháng chiến chống Mỹ cứu nước của dân tộc và trở thành một trong những gương mặt tiêu biểu.

    – Thơ ông gần gũi với văn hóa dân gian, nhưng sâu sắc mà rất đỗi tài hoa, đi sâu vào cái nghĩa, cái tình muôn đời của con người Việt Nam.

    ” Thơ Nguyễn Duy sâu lắng, thắm thiết cái hồn cái vía của ca dao, dân ca Việt Nam. Những bài thơ của ông không cố gắng tìm kiếm những hình thức mới mà đi sâu vào cái nghĩa cái tình muôn đời của con người Việt Nam. Ngôn ngữ thơ Nguyễn Duy cũng không bóng bẩy mà gần gũi, dân dã, đôi khi hơi “bụi”, phù hợp với ngôn ngữ thường nhật”. (Theo “Văn lớp 9 không khó như bạn nghĩ”).

    – Năm 2007, ông được tặng Giải thưởng Nhà nước về văn học nghệ thuật.

    – Tác phẩm tiêu biểu: Cát trắng (1973), Mẹ và em (1987), Đường xa (1990), Về (1994)…

    – Nguyễn Duy viết bài thơ “Ánh trăng” vào năm 1978, tại thành phố Hồ Chí Minh – nơi đô thị của cuộc sống tiện nghi hiện đại, nơi những người từ trận đánh trở về đã để lại sau lưng cuộc chiến gian khổ mà nghĩa tình.

    – In trong tập thơ “Ánh trăng” của Nguyễn Duy – tập thơ đạt giải A của Hội nhà Văn Việt Nam năm 1984.

    – Hai khổ đầu: Vầng trăng trong quá khứ.

    – Hai khổ tiếp: Vầng trăng trong hiện tại.

    – Hai khổ cuối: Cảm xúc và suy ngẫm của tác giả trước vầng trăng.

    Bài thơ là câu chuyện nhỏ được kể theo trình tự thời gian từ quá khứ đến hiện tại gắn với các mốc sự kiện trong cuộc đời con người. Theo dòng tự sự ấy mạch cảm xúc đi từ quá khứ đến hiện tại và lắng kết trong cái “giật mình” cuối bài thơ.

    Thông qua hình tượng nghệ thuật “Ánh trăng” và cảm xúc của nhà thơ, bài thơ đã diễn tả những suy ngẫm sâu sắc về thái độ của con người đối với quá khứ gian lao, tình nghĩa.

    – Hồi nhỏ sống:

    + với đồng.

    + với sông.

    + với bể.

    – Hoàn cảnh sống:

    Phân tích bài thơ Đoàn thuyền đánh cá của Huy Cận I – Tìm hiểu chung:

    + Đất nước hòa bình.

    + Hoàn cảnh sống thay đổi: xa rời cuộc sống giản dị của quá khứ, con người được sống sung túc trong “ánh điện cửa gương” – cuộc sống đầy đủ, tiện nghi, khép kín trong những căn phòng hiện đại, xa rời thiên nhiên.

    – “Vầng trăng đi qua ngõ – như người dưng qua đường”:

    + Vầng trăng bây giờ đối với người lính năm xưa giờ chỉ là dĩ vãng, dĩ vãng nhạt nhòa của quãng thời gian xa xôi nào đó.

    – Con người gặp lại vầng trăng trong một tình huống bất ngờ:

    + Tình huống: mất điện, phòng tối om.

    – Từ “mặt” được dùng với nghĩa gốc và nghĩa chuyển – mặt trăng, mặt người – trăng và người cùng đối diện đàm tâm.

    – Với tư thế “ngửa mặt lên nhìn mặt” người đọc cảm nhận sự lặng im, thành kính và trong phút chốc cảm xúc dâng trào khi gặp lại vầng trăng: “có cái gì rưng rưng”. Rưng rưng của những niềm thương nỗi nhớ, của những lãng quên lạnh nhạt với người bạn cố tri; của một lương tri đang thức tỉnh sau những ngày đắm chìm trong cõi u mê mộng mị; rưng rưng của nỗi ân hận ăn năn về thái độ của chính mình trong suốt thời gian qua. Một chút áy náy, một chút tiếc nuối, một chút xót xa đau lòng, tất cả đã làm nên cái “rưng rưng”, cái thổn thức trong sâu thẳm trái tim người lính.

    – Và trong phút giây nhân vật trữ tình nhìn thẳng vào trăng – biểu tượng đẹp đẽ của một thời xa vắng, nhìn thẳng vào tâm hồn của mình, bao kỉ niệm chợt ùa về chiếm trọn tâm tư. Kí ức về quãng đời ấu thơ trong sáng, về lúc chiến tranh máu lửa, về cái ngày xưa hồn hậu hiện lên rõ dần theo dòng cảm nhận trào dâng, “như là đồng là bể, như là sông là rừng”. Đồng, bể, sông, rừng, những hình ảnh gắn bó nơi khoảng trời kỉ niệm.

    Tập làm chủ, tập làm người xây dựng Dám vươn mình cai quản lại thiên nhiên! Yêu biết mấy, những con người đi tới Hai cánh tay như hai cánh bay lên Ngực dám đón những phong ba dữ dội Chân đạp bùn không sợ các loài sên! (“Mùa thu mới” – Tố Hữu). II – Đọc – hiểu văn bản:

    – Hình ảnh “trăng cứ tròn vành vạnh” là tượng trưng cho quá khứ nghĩa tình, thủy chung, đầy đặn, bao dung, nhân hậu.

    “Mặt trời xuống biển như hòn lửa Sóng đã cài then,đêm sập cửa Đoàn thuyền đánh cá lại ra khơi, Câu hát căng buồm cùng gió khơi.”

    – Hình ảnh “ánh trăng im phăng phắc” mang ý nghĩa nghiêm khắc nhắc nhở, là sự trách móc trong lặng im. Chính cái im phăng phắc của vầng trăng đã đánh thức con người, làm xáo động tâm hồn người lính năm xưa. Con người “giật mình” trước ánh trăng là sự bừng tỉnh của nhân cách, là sự trở về với lương tâm trong sạch, tốt đẹp. Đó là lời ân hận, ăn năn day dứt, làm đẹp con người.

    – Bài thơ là một lời tự nhắc nhở của tác giả về những năm tháng gian lao của cuộc đời người lính gắn bó với thiên nhiên, đất nước bình dị, hiền hậu.

    “Mặt trời xuống biển như hòn lửa Sóng đã cài then, đêm sập cửa”.

    – Gợi nhắc, củng cố ở người đọc thái độ sống “uống nước nhớ nguồn”, ân nghĩa thủy chung cùng quá khứ.

    – Thể thơ 5 chữ, phương thức biểu đạt tự sự kết hợp với trữ tình.

    – Giọng thơ mang tính tự bạch, chân thành sâu sắc.

    – Hình ảnh vầng trăng – “ánh trăng” mang nhiều tầng ý nghĩa

    Văn bản: “Đoàn thuyền đánh cá” – Huy Cận

    “Đoàn thuyền đánh cá lại ra khơi Câu hát căng buồm cùng gió khơi.

    – Huy Cận (1919 – 2005), tên đầy đủ là Cù Huy Cận, quê: tỉnh Hà Tĩnh.

    – Là nhà thơ nổi tiếng từ phong trào Thơ mới với tập thơ Lửa thiêng(1940).

    – Là nhà thơ tiêu biểu cho nền thơ hiện đại Việt Nam từ sau năm 1945:

    + Trước Cách mạng tháng Tám, thơ ông giàu chất triết lí, thấm thía bao nỗi buồn, tràn ngập cái sầu nhân thế.

    ” Hát rằng: cá bạc biển Đông lặng, Cá thu biển Đông như đoàn thoi Đêm ngày dệt biển muôn luồng sáng, Đến dệt lưới ta,đoàn cá ơi!”

    + Sau Cách mạng, thơ Huy Cận dạt dào niềm vui, là bài ca vui về cuộc đời, là bài thơ yêu thiên nhiên, con người và cuộc sống.

    – 1996,ông được Nhà nước trao tặng Giải thưởng Hồ Chí Minh về văn học – nghệ thuật.

    “Thuyền ta lái gió với buồm trăng Lướt giữa mây cao với biển bằng” “Ra đậu dặm xa dò bụng biển Dàn đan thế trận lưới vây giăng”.

    – Tác phẩm tiêu biểu: Lửa thiêng (1940); Vũ trụ ca (1942); Trời mỗi ngày lại sáng (1958); Đất nở hoa (1960); Bài thơ cuộc đời (1963); Hai bàn tay em (1967)…

    – Bài thơ được viết vào giữa năm 1958, khi cuộc kháng chiến chống Pháp đã kết thúc thắng lợi, miền Bắc được giải phóng và bắt tay vào công cuộc xây dựng cuộc sống mới. Niềm vui dạt dào tin yêu trước cuộc sống mới đang hình thành, đang thay da đổi thịt đã trở thành nguồn cảm hứng lớn của thơ ca lúc bấy giờ. Nhiều nhà thơ đã đi tới các miền đất xa xôi của Tổ quốc để sống và để viết: miền núi, hải đảo, nhà máy, nông trường… Huy Cận có chuyến đi thực tế dài ngày ở vùng mỏ Quảng Ninh. Từ chuyến đi ấy, hồn thơ của ông mới thực sự nảy nở trở lại và dồi dào cảm hứng về thiên nhiên đất nước, về lao động và niềm vui trước cuộc sống mới.

    – Bài “Đoàn thuyền đánh cá” được sáng tác trong thời gian ấy và in trong tập thơ “Trời mỗi ngày lại sáng”(1958).

    Bài thơ có 7 khổ, được kết cấu theo sự vận động của thời gian và hành trình của một chuyến ra khơi đánh cá:

    Cá nhụ cá chim cùng cá đé Cá song lấp lánh đuốc đen hồng. Cái đuôi em quẫy trăng vàng chóe

    – Hai khổ đầu: Cảnh đoàn thuyền đánh cá ra khơi lúc hoàng hôn buông xuống.

    – Bốn khổ tiếp: Cảnh đoàn thuyền đánh cá trên biển trong một đêm trăng rất đẹp.

    “Đêm thở:sao lùa nước Hạ long”

    – Khổi cuối: Cảnh đoàn thuyền đánh cá trở về khi bình minh đã rạng ngời trên biển.

    – Bài thơ có hai nguồn cảm hứng lớn, song hành, hài hòa và trộn lẫn vào nhau. Đó là cảm hứng về thiên nhiên vũ trụ và cảm hứng về con người lao động trong cuộc sống mới. Sự thống nhất của hai nguồn cảm hứng ấy được thể hiện qua kết cấu và hệ thống thi ảnh trong bài. Về kết cấu, thời gian của bài thơ là nhịp tuần hoàn của vũ trụ (từ lúc hoàng hôn đến lúc bình minh) cũng là thời gian hoạt động của đoàn thuyền đánh cá (từ lúc ra khơi đến khi trở về). Không gian của bài thơ là một không gian lớn lao, kỳ vĩ với trời,biển, trăng, sao, sóng, gió; cũng là không gian của cảnh lao động.

    Ta hát bài ca gọi cá vào Gõ thuyền đã có nhịp trăng cao Biển cho ta cá như lòng mẹ Nuôi lớn đời ta tự buổi nào.

    – Mở đầu bài thơ là cảnh đoàn thuyền ra khơi lúc hoàng hôn:

    Bốn câu thơ có kết cấu gọn gàng, cân đối như một bài tứ tuyệt: hai câu đầu tả cảnh, hai câu sau nói về con người. Cảnh và người tưởng như đối lập song lại hòa hợp, cảnh làm nền để cho hình ảnh con người nổi bật lên như tâm điểm của một bức tranh – bức tranh lao động khỏe khoắn, vui tươi tràn ngập âm thanh và rực rỡ sắc màu.

    + Hai câu thơ đầu tả cảnh hoàng hôn trên biển, cũng là thời điểm đoàn thuyền đánh cá ra khơi:

    Sao mờ kéo lưới kịp trời sáng Ta kéo xoăn tay chùm cá nặng Vẩy bạc đuôi vàng lóe rạng đông Lưới xếp buồm lên đón nắng hồng.

    _Nếu chỉ căn cứ vào thực tế sẽ thấy câu thơ có vẻ vô lí, bởi trên vịnh Hạ Long – ở hướng Đông, không thể thấy cảnh mặt trời xuống biển như thế, mà chỉ có thấy mặt trời mọc được thôi. Vậy thì ở đây, khi viết “Mặt trời xuống biển” tức là nhà thơ đã lấy điểm nhìn từ trên con thuyền đang ra khơi,giữa biển khơi nhìn về hướng Tây nơi bờ bãi. Lúc đó, xung quanh con thuyền chỉ là mênh mông sóng nước, mặt trời chỉ còn cách lặn xuống biển. Mặt trời xuống biển nhưng dường như không tàn lụi, không tắt. Nó như hòn lửa – một quả cầu lửa – đỏ rực, khổng lồ chìm vào đáy nước đại dương. Biển cả bao la như nồng ấm hẳn lên.

    + Thiên nhiên vũ trụ là cái phông, cái nền cho con người xuất hiện:

    _ Hình ảnh, nhạc điệu trong câu thơ diễn tả khí thế khỏe khoắn, phấn chấn của những người lao động: khẩn trương làm việc bất kể ngày đêm.

    III – Tổng kết:

    _ Đoàn thuyền lại ra khơi, tuần tự, nhịp nhàng như cái nhịp sống không bao giờ ngừng nghỉ. Chữ “lại” trong câu thơ đã diễn tả điều đó, cho ta hiểu đây là công việc, là hoạt động hàng ngày, thường xuyên, trở thành một nếp sống quen thuộc của những người ngư dân vùng biển.

    _ “Câu hát căng buồm cùng gió khơi” là hình ảnh ẩn dụ mang tính chất khoa trương. Tiếng hát khỏe khoắn tiếp sức cho gió làm căng cánh buồm. Tiếng hát ấy, làm nổi bật khí thế hồ hởi của người lao động trong buổi xuất quân chinh phục biển cả…

    – Tiếng hát ấy còn thể hiện niềm mong ước của người đánh cá: mong ước một chuyến ra khơi đánh bắt được thật nhiều hải sản, nhiều cá tôm giữa sự giàu đẹp của biển khơi:

    Phân tích bài thơ Sang thu của Hữu Thỉnh

    – Cảm hứng lãng mạn giúp nhà thơ phát hiện vẻ đẹp của cảnh đoàn thuyền đánh cá trên biển trong đêm trăng với niềm vui phơi phới, khỏe khoắn khi con người làm chủ cuộc đời, làm chủ biển trời quê hương.

    – Cảnh đoàn thuyền lướt sóng ra khơi, từng luồng cá bủa lưới vây giăng mang vẻ đẹp vừa hoành tráng, vừa thơ mộng:

    + Con thuyền vốn nhỏ bé trước biển trời bao la đã trở thành con thuyền kì vĩ mang tầm vóc vũ trụ. Thuyền có gió làm bánh lái, có trăng làm cánh buồm, lướt giữa mây cao với biển bằng, giữa mây trời và sóng nước.

    + Chủ nhân con thuyền – những người lao động cũng trở nên lồng lộng giữa biển trời trong tư thế làm chủ. Hình ảnh con người đã hòa nhập với kích thước rộng lớn của thiên nhiên vũ trụ. Không chỉ vậy, họ còn nổi bật ở vị trí trung tâm – ra tận khơi xa dò bụng biển, tìm luồng cá, dàn đan thế trận,bủa lưới vây giăng.

    – Bức tranh lao động được điểm tô bằng vẻ đẹp của thiên nhiên. Cái nhìn của nhà thơ đối với biển và cá cũng có những sáng tạo bất ngờ,độc đáo:

    Thủ pháp liệt kê kết hợp với sự phối sắc tài tình qua việc sử dụng các tính từ chỉ màu sắc “đen hồng”, “vàng chóe”… đã tạo nên một bức tranh sơn mài nhiều màu sắc, ánh sáng, lung linh huyền ảo như trong câu chuyện cổ tích nói về xứ sở thần tiên. Mỗi loài cá là một kiểu dáng, một màu sắc: “Cá nhụ cá chim cùng cá đé/Cá song lấp lánh đuốc đen hồng” làm nên sự giàu đẹp của biển cả quê hương. Như có một hội rước đuốc trong lòng biển đêm sâu thẳm. Mỗi khi: “Cái đuôi em quẫy”, trăng như vàng hơn, rực rỡ hơn, biển cả như sống động hẳn lên. Người xưa thường nói: “Thi trung hữu họa” – nghĩa là trong thơ có hình có ảnh. Quả đúng như thế, mỗi loài cá ở đây là bức kí họa thần tình. Chúng đâu chỉ là sản phẩm vô tri được đánh bắt bởi bàn tay con người. Với họ – những người ngư dân này – cá là bạn, là “em”, là niềm cảm hứng cho con người trong lao động, và cũng chính là đối tượng thẩm mĩ cho thi ca.

    + Cảnh đẹp không chỉ ở màu sắc, ánh sáng, mà còn ở âm thanh.Nhìn bầy cá bơi lội, nhà thơ lắng nghe tiếng sóng vỗ rì rầm:

    Bằng nghệ thuật ẩn dụ kết hợp nhân hóa, biển cả như một sinh thể sống động. Tiếng sóng vỗ dạt dào dâng cao hạ thấp là nhịp thở trong đêm của biển. Thế nhưng nhà thơ lại viết “Đêm thở: sao lùa nước Hạ Long”. Thật ra, là sóng biển đu đưa rì rào va đập vào mạn thuyền. Trăng, sao phản chiếu ánh sáng xuống nước biển, mỗi khi sóng vỗ nhịp tưởng như có bàn tay của sao trời đang “lùa nước Hạ Long”. Đó là sự độc đáo, mới lạ trong sáng tạo nghệ thuật. Có thể nói, bằng tâm hồn hết sức tinh tế, tác giả đã cảm nhận được hơi thở của thiên nhiên, vũ trụ. Chính không khí say sưa xây dựng đất nước của những năm đầu khôi phục và phát triển kinh tế là cơ sở hiện thực của những hình ảnh lãng mạn trên.

    – Bút pháp lãng mạn, trí tưởng tượng phong phú của tác giả đã sáng tạo nên những hình ảnh đẹp khiến công việc lao động nặng nhọc của người đánh cá trở thành bài ca đầy niềm vui, nhịp nhàng cùng thiên nhiên:

    + “Gõ thuyền” là công việc thực của người đánh cá, nhưng cái độc đáo ở đây là vầng trăng được nhân hóa, tham gia lao động cùng con người.

    + Người dân chài hát bài ca gọi cá, bài ca về lòng biết ơn mẹ biển giàu có, nhân hậu.

    Bỗng nhận ra hương ổi Phả vào trong gió se

    – Sao mờ, đêm tàn cũng là lúc người dân chài kéo lưới kịp trời sáng. Cảnh kéo lưới, bắt cá được miêu tả vừa chân thực, vừa đầy chất thơ với không khí khẩn trương, gấp gáp:

    Có thể nói, cảnh lao động đánh cá trên biển như bức tranh sơn mài rực rỡ. Người kéo lưới là trung tâm của cảnh được khắc họa rất độc đáo với thân hình gân guốc, chắc khỏe cùng thành quả thu về “vẩy bạc đuôi vàng lóe rạng đông”. Màu hồng của bình minh làm ấm sáng bức tranh lao động. Thiên nhiên và con người cùng nhịp nhàng trong sự vận hành của vũ trụ.

    – Đoàn thuyền đánh cá thắng lợi trở về trong bình minh rực rỡ, tráng lệ.

    – Câu đầu của khổ thơ lặp lại gần như nguyên vẹn câu cuối của khổ thứ nhất, chỉ thay có một từ (từ “với”) đem đến kết cấu đầu – cuối tương ứng, tạo sự hài hòa cân đối. Cấu trúc lặp lại ấy trở thành điệp khúc ngân nga, nhấn mạnh niềm vui lao động làm giàu đẹp quê hương và khắc họa đậm nét vẻ đẹp khỏe khoắn cùng niềm vui phấn khởi của người ngư dân.

    – Phép tu từ nhân hóa: “Đoàn thuyền chạy đua cùng mặt trời”cho thấy tư thế chủ động chinh phục biển trời, vũ trụ của người ngư dân. Đúng như lời bình của chính tác giả: “Bài thơ là cuộc chạy đua giữa con người với thiên nhiên và con người đã chiến thắng”.

    – Nếu khổ thơ đầu, mặt trời xuống biển báo hiệu hoàng hôn thì ở khổ cuối lại là mặt trời đội biển – là ngày mới bắt đầu – ngày mới với thành quả lao động bội thu và niềm tin yêu phấn chấn.

    – Câu thơ kết bài vừa mang ý nghĩa tả thực, vừa khiến người đọc liên tưởng tới một tương lai tươi sáng, huy hoàng: “Mắt cá huy hoàng muôn dặm phơi”. Ngày mới bắt đầu – thành quả lao động trải dài muôn dặm phơi – một cuộc đời mới đang sinh sôi, phát triển…

    Bài thơ “Đoàn thuyền đánh cá” đã khắc họa nhiều hình ảnh đẹp tráng lệ thể hiện sự hài hòa giữa thiên nhiên và con người lao động, bộc lộ niềm vui, niềm tự hào của nhà thơ trước đất nước và cuộc sống.

    Bài thơ có nhiều sáng tạo trong việc xây dựng hình ảnh bằng liên tưởng, tưởng tượng phong phú, độc đáo; có âm hưởng khỏe khoắn, hào hùng, lạc quan.

    Văn bản: “Sang thu” – Hữu Thỉnh

    * Giới thiệu bài học: Mùa thu luôn là đề tài, là cảm hứng quen thuộc lâu đời của thơ ca.Trong kho tàng dân tộc ta đã từng biết đến một mùa thu trong veo trong thơ Nguyễn Khuyến, thu ngơ ngác trong thơ Lưu Trọng Lư, dào dạt và đượm buồn trong thơ Xuân Diệu. Và thật bất ngờ khi ta gặp một Hữu Thỉnh tinh tế, sâu sắc đến vô cùng qua một thoáng “Sang thu”.

    – Hữu Thỉnh là nhà thơ trưởng thành từ trong quân đội.

    Sông được lúc dềnh dàng Chim bắt đầu vội vã Có đám mây mùa hạ Vắt nửa mình sang thu

    – Là nhà thơ viết nhiều, viết hay về những con người ở nông thôn, về mùa thu. Nhiều vần thơ thu của ông mang cảm xúc bâng khuâng, vấn vương trước đất trời trong trẻo, đang biến chuyển nhẹ nhàng.

    – Thơ Hữu Thỉnh mang đậm hồn quê Việt Nam dân dã, mộc mạc tinh tế và giàu rung cảm.

    Sông được lúc dềnh dàng Chim bắt đầu vội vã

    – Bài thơ sáng tác năm 1977.

    – In trong tập “Từ chiến hào đến thành phố.

    – Khổ 1: Những tín hiệu giao mùa

    – Khổ 2: Bức tranh thiên nhiên lúc giao mùa

    – Khổ 3: Những suy tư và chiêm nghiệm của nhà thơ.

    – “Sang thu” ở đây là chớm thu, là lúc thiên nhiên giao mùa. Mùa hè vẫn chưa hết mà mùa thu tới có những tín hiệu đầu tiên. Trước những sự thay đổi tinh vi ấy, phải nhạy cảm lắm mới cảm nhận được.

    Có đám mây mùa hạ

    – Với Hữu Thỉnh mùa thu bắt đầu thật giản dị:

    + Nếu trong “Đây mùa thu tới” cảm nhận thu sang của Xuân Diệu là rặng liễu thu buồn ven hồ “Rặng liễu đìu hiu đứng chịu tang – Tóc buồn buông xuống lệ ngàn hàng” thì Hữu Thỉnh lại cảm nhận về một mùi hương quen thuộc phảng phất trong “gió se” – thứ gió khô và se se lạnh, đặc trưng của mùa thu về ở miền Bắc. Đó là “hương ổi” – mùi hương đặc sản của dân tộc, mùi hương riêng của mùa thu làng quê ở vùng đồng bằng Bắc Bộ Việt Nam.

    + Mùi hương ấy không hòa vào quyện vào mà “phả” vào trong gió “Phả” nghĩa là bốc mạnh và tỏa ra từng luồng. Hữu Thỉnh đã không tả mà chỉ gợi, đem đến cho người đọc một sự liên tưởng thú vị: tại vườn tược quê nhà, những quả ổi chín vàng trên các cành cây kẽ lá tỏa ra hương thơm nức, thoang thoảng trong gió. Chỉ một chữ “phả” thôi cũng đủ gợi hương thơm như sánh lại. Sánh lại bởi hương đậm một phần, sánh bởi tại gió se.

    + Nếu như trong thơ ca cổ điển mùa thu thường hiện ra qua các hình ảnh ước lệ như “ngô đồng”, “rặng liễu”, “lá vàng mơ phai”, “hoa cúc”…thì với Hữu Thỉnh ông lại bắt đầu bằng “hương ổi”. Đó là một hỉnh ảnh, một tứ thơ khá mới mẻ với thơ ca viết về mùa thu nhưng lại vô cùng quen thuộc và gần gũi đối với mỗi người dân Việt Nam, đặc biệt là người dân miền Bắc mỗi độ thu về.

    + “Hương ổi” gắn liền với bao kỉ niệm của thời thơ ấu, là mùi vị của quê hương đã thấm đẫm trong tâm tưởng nhà thơ và cứ mỗi độ thu về thì nó lại trở thành tác nhân gợi nhớ. Chính Hữu Thỉnh đã tâm sự rằng: “Giữa trời đất mênh mang, giữa cái khoảnh khắc giao mùa kì lạ thì điều khiến cho tâm hồn tôi phải lay động, phải giật mình để nhận ra đó chính là hương ổi. Với tôi, thậm chí là với nhiều người khác không làm thơ thì mùi hương đó gợi nhớ đến tuổi ấu thơ, gợi nhớ đến buổi chiều vàng với một dòng sông thanh bình, một con đò lững lờ trôi, những đàn trâu bò no cỏ giỡn đùa nhau và những đứa trẻ ẩn hiện trong triền ổi chín ven sông… Nó giống như mùi bờ bãi, mùa con trẻ… Hương ổi tự nó xốc thẳng vào những miền thơ ấu thân thiết trong tâm hồn chúng ta. Mùi hương đơn sơ ấy lại trở thành quý giá vì nó đã trở thành chiếc chìa khóa vàng mở thẳng vào tâm hồn mỗi người, có khi là cả một thế hệ…”

    – Nếu hai câu đầu diễn tả cái cảm giác chưa hẳn đủ tin thì đến hình ảnh “Sương chùng chình qua ngõ” lại càng lung linh huyền ảo.

    + Không phải là màn sương dày đặc, mịt mù như trong câu ca dao quen thuộc miêu tả cảnh Hồ Tây lúc ban mai “Mịt mù khói tỏa ngàn sương”, hay như nhà thơ Quang Dũng đã viết trong bài thơ “Tây Tiến”: “Sài Khao sương lấp đoàn quân mỏi” mà là “Sương chùng chình qua ngõ” gợi ra những làn sương mỏng, mềm mại, giăng màn khắp đường thôn ngõ xóm làng quê. Nó làm cho khí thu mát mẻ và cảnh thu thơ mộng, huyền ảo, thong thả, bình yên.

    + Nhà thơ đã nhân hóa màn sương qua từ “chùng chình” khiến cho sương thu chứa đầy tâm trạng. Nó như đang chờ đợi ai hay lưu luyến điều gì? Câu thơ lắng đọng tạo cảm giác mơ hồ đan xen nhiều cảm xúc.

    – Sau giây phút ngỡ ngàng và khe khẽ vui mừng, cảm xúc của thi sĩ tiếp tục lan tỏa, mở ra trong cái nhìn xa hơn, rộng hơn:

    – Bức tranh mùa thu được cảm nhận bởi sự thay đổi của đất trời theo tốc độ di chuyển từ hạ sang thu, nhẹ nhàng mà rõ rệt. Thiên nhiên sanh thu đã được cụ thể bằng những hình ảnh: “sông dềnh dàng”, “chim vội vã”, “đám mây vắt nửa mình”. Như thế, thiên nhiên đã được quan sát ở một không gian rộng hơn, nhiều tầng bậc hơn. Và bức tranh sang thu từ những gì vô hình như “hương ổi” ,”gió se”, từ nhỏ hẹp như con ngõ chuyển sang những nét hữu hình, cụ thể với một không gian vừa dài rộng, vừa xa vời.

    – Tác giả cảm nhận thu sang bằng cả tâm hồn:

    + Bằng phép nhân hóa đặc sắc, nhà thơ đã rất tài hoa ghi lại linh hồn của cảnh vật, của dòng sông quê hương nơi vùng đồng bằng Bắc Bộ ăm ắp nước phù sa, vươn mình giữa ruộng đồng vào những ngày giao mùa. Vào mùa thu, nước sông êm đềm, nhẹ nhàng, trôi lững lờ mà không chảy xiết như sau những cơn mưa mùa hạ, Cái “dềnh dàng” của dòng sông không chỉ gợi ra vẻ êm dịu của bức tranh thiên nhiên mùa thu mà còn mang đầy tâm trạng của con người như chậm lại, như trễ nải, như ngẫm ngợi nghĩ suy về những trải nghiệm trong cuộc đời.

    + Trái ngược với vẻ khoan thai của dòng sông là sự vội vàng của những cánh chim trời bắt đầu di trú về phương Nam. Không gian trở nên xôn xao, không có âm thanh nhưng câu thơ lại gợi được cái động.

    (Ý thơ đồng thời còn gợi cho người đọc một liên tưởng khác: Sự chuyển động của dòng sông, của cánh chim phải chăng còn là sự chuyển mình của đất nước. Cả đất nước ta vừa trải qua chiến tranh tàn khốc mới có được hòa bình, và giờ đây mới được sống một cuộc sống yên bình, êm ả. Nhưng rồi mỗi người dân Việt Nam cũng lại bắt đầu hối hả nhịp sống mới để xây dựng đất nước trong niềm vui rộn ràng)

    – Đất trời mùa thu như đang rùng mình để thay áo mới. Cả bầu trời mùa thu cũng có sự thay đổi:

    Vắt nửa mình sang thu.

    Sấm cũng bớt bất ngờ Trên hàng cây đứng tuổi

    + Trong thơ ca Việt Nam, không ít những vần thơ nói về đám mây trên bầu trời thu:

    _ “Tầng mây lơ lửng trời xanh ngắt” (Nguyễn Khuyến – “Thu điếu”)

    _ “Lớp lớp mây cao đùn núi bạc” (Huy Cận – “Tràng giang”)

    + Hữu Thỉnh dùng động từ “vắt” để gợi ra trong thời điểm giao mùa, đám mây như kéo dài ra, nhẹ trôi như tấm lụa mềm treo lơ lửng giữa bầu trời trong xanh, cao rộng.

    III. Tổng kết:

    + Hình như đám mây đó vẫn còn lại một vài tia nắng ấm của mùa hạ nên mới “Vắt nửa mình sang thu”. Đám mây vắt lên cái ranh giới mỏng manh và ngày càng bé dần, bé dần đi rồi đến một lúc nào đó không còn nữa để toàn bộ sự sống, để cả đám mây mùa hạ hoàn toàn nhuốm màu sắc thu.

    + Nhưng trong thực tế không hề có đám mây nào như thế vì mắt thường đâu dễ nhìn thấy được sự phân chia rạch ròi của đám mây mùa hạ và thu. Đó chỉ là một sự liên tưởng thú vị – một hình ảnh đầy chất thơ. Thời khắc giao mùa được sáng tạo từ một hồn thơ tinh tế, nhạy cảm, độc đáo không những mang đến cho người đọc…mà còn đọng lại những nỗi bâng khuâng trước vẻ dịu dàng êm mát của mùa thu.

    – Nếu ở hai khổ thơ đầu của bài thơ, dấu hiệu mùa thu đã khá rõ ràng trong không gian và thời gian, sang khổ cuối vẫn theo dòng cảm xúc ấy, tác giả bộc lộ suy ngẫm của mình về con người, về cuộc đời:

    – Hình ảnh “Nắng và mưa”:

    + Nắng, mưa vốn là hiện tượng của thiên nhiên vận hành theo quy luật riêng của nó. Hữu Thỉnh đã nhìn ra từ cái mưa nắng hàng ngày một sự hụt vơi – dấu hiệu của sự chuyển mùa từ hạ sang thu.

    + Nắng vẫn còn vàng tươi nhưng nắng thu trong và dịu hơn cái nắng chói chang, gay gắt của mùa hạ.

    + Mưa cũng vẫn còn nhưng đã vơi nhiều so với những cơn mưa bong bóng kéo dài của mùa hạ. “Vơi dần” không chỉ là ít mưa đi mà còn là mưa ít nước đi. Đây cũng là dấu hiệu của sự chuyển mùa.

    II – Đọc – hiểu văn bản:

    – Ý nghĩa tượng trưng của hình ảnh “Sấm” và “hàng cây”:

    Chân phải bước tới cha Chân trái bước tới mẹ Một bước chạm tiếng nói Hai bước tới tiếng cười.

    + Cuối hạ – đầu thu, khi đã vơi đi những cơn mưa xối xả thì sấm cũng bớt bất ngờ và dữ dội. Nó không còn đột ngột, đùng đoàng rền vang cùng với những tia sáng chớp lòe như xé rách bầu trời trong những trận mưa báo tháng 6 tháng 7 nữa.

    + “Hàng cây đứng tuổi” phải chẳng là hàng cây đã đi qua bao cuộc chuyển mùa nên không biết chính xác là bao nhiêu nhưng chắc cũng đủ trải nghiệm để có thể điềm nhiên đứng trước những biến động.

    – Hai câu kết của bài thơ không chỉ mang nghĩa tả thực, mà còn mang ý nghĩa ẩn dụ, gợi những suy nghĩ cho người đọc người nghe:

    + “Sấm” là những vang động bất thường của ngoại cảnh, cuộc đời.

    + “Hàng cây đứng tuổi” chỉ những con người đứng tuổi từng trải.

    – Bằng hình ảnh thơ tự nhiên, không trau chuốt mà giàu sức gợi cảm.

    – Thể thơ năm chữ.

    – Hữu Thỉnh đã thể hiện một cách đặc sắc những cảm nhận tinh tế để tạo ra một bức tranh chuyển giao từ cuối hạ sang thu nhẹ nhàng, êm dịu,trong sáng nên thơ…ở vùng đông bằng Bắc Bộ của đất nước.

    – Bài thơ của Hữu Thỉnh đánh thức tình cảm của mỗi người về tình yêu quê hương đất nước và suy ngẫm về cuộc đời.

    Văn bản Nói với con – Y Phương

    Rừng cho hoa Con đường cho những tấm lòng.

    – Y Phương là nhà thơ dân tộc Tày.

    – Thơ ông thể hiện tâm hồn chân thật, mạnh mẽ và trong sáng, cách tư duy giàu hình ảnh của người miền núi.

    – Bài thơ ra đời vào năm 1980 – khi đời sống tinh thần và vật chất của nhân dân cả nước nói chung, nhân dân các dân tộc thiểu số ở miền núi nói riêng vô cùng khó khăn, thiếu thốn.

    Cha mẹ mãi nhớ về ngày cưới Ngày đầu tiên đẹp nhất trên đời.

    – Nhà thơ tâm sự: “Đó là thời điểm đất nước ta gặp vô vàn khó khăn… Bài thơ là lời tâm sự của tôi với đứa con gái đầu lòng. Tâm sự với con, còn là tâm sự với chính mình. Nguyên do thì nhiều, nhưng lí do lớn nhất để bài thơ ra đời chính là lúc tôi dường như không biết lấy gì để vịn, để tin. Cả xã hội lúc bấy giờ đang hối hả, gấp gáp kiếm tìm tiền bạc. Muốn sống đàng hoàng như một con người, tôi nghĩ phải bám vào văn hóa. Phải tin vào những giá trị tích cực, vĩnh cửu của văn hóa. Chính vì thế, qua bài thơ ấy, tôi muốn nói rằng chúng ta phải vượt qua sự ngặt nghèo, đói khổ bằng văn hóa”.

    – Phần 1: Từ đầu đến “Ngày đầu tiên đẹp nhất trên đời”: Người cha nói với con cội nguồn sinh dưỡng: Con lớn lên trong tình yêu thương,sự nâng đỡ của cha mẹ, trong cuộc sống lao động nên thơ của quê hương.

    Người đồng mình thương lắm con ơi! Cao đo nỗi buồn Xa nuôi chi lớn.

    – Đến với bài thơ, ta thấy điều đầu tiên Y Phương muốn nói với con chính là cội nguồn sinh dưỡng mỗi con người – tình yêu thương vô bờ bến mà cha mẹ dành cho con – tình gia đình:

    + Nhịp thơ 2/3, cấu trúc đối xứng, nhiều từ được láy lại, tạo ra một âm điệu tươi vui, quấn quýt: “chân phải” – “chân trái”, rồi “một bước” – “hai bước”, rồi lại “tiếng nói” – “tiếng cười”….

    + Bằng những hình ảnh cụ thể, giàu chất thơ kết hợp với nét độc đáo trong tư duy, cách diễn đạt của người miền núi, bốn câu thơ mở ra khung cảnh một gia đình ấm cúng, đầy ắp niềm vui, đầy ắp tiếng nói cười.

    + Lời thơ gợi vẽ ra trước mắt người đọc hình ảnh em bé đang chập chững tập đi, đang bi bô tập nói, lúc thì sa vào lòng mẹ, lúc thì níu lấy tay cha.

    Sống trên đá không chê đá gập gềnh Sống trong thung không chê thung nghèo đói Sống như sông như suối Lên thác xuống ghềnh Không lo cực nhọc

    + Ta có thể hình dung được gương mặt tràn ngập tình yêu thương, ánh mắt long lanh rạng rỡ cùng với vòng tay dang rộng của cha mẹ đưa ra đón đứa con vào lòng.

    + Từng câu, từng chữ đều toát lên niềm tự hào và hạnh phúc tràn đầy. Cả ngôi nhà như rung lên trong “tiếng nói”, “tiếng cười” của cha, của mẹ. Mỗi bước con đi, mỗi tiếng con cười đều được cha mẹ đón nhận, chăm chút mừng vui. Trong tình yêu thương, trong sự nâng niu của cha mẹ, con lớn khôn từng ngày.

    – Cội nguồn sinh dưỡng của mỗi con người được Y Phương nói đến không chỉ là gia đình mà còn là quê hương, là thiên nhiên tươi đẹp và thấm đượm nghĩa tình. Như bầu sữa tinh thần thứ hai, quê hương với cuộc sống lao động, với thiên nhiên tươi đẹp, tình nghĩa đã nuôi dưỡng, sẻ chia giúp cho con trưởng thành. Đó là:

    + Quê hương hiện ra qua hình ảnh của người đồng mình. Nói với con về những “người đồng mình”, nhà thơ như đang giới thiệu ân cần đây là những người bản mình, người vùng mình, người dân quê mình gần gũi, thân thương.

    Người đồng mình thô sơ da thịt Chẳng mấy ai nhỏ bé đâu con

    + Người đồng mình là những con người đáng yêu, đáng quý: “Đan lờ cài nan hoa – Vách nhà ken câu hát”. Cuộc sống lao động cần cù và tươi vui của họ được gợi ra qua những hình ảnh thật đẹp! Những nan nứa, nan tre dưới bàn tay tài hoa của người quê mình đã trở thành “nan hoa”. Vách nhà không chỉ ken bằng tre, gỗ mà còn được ken bằng những câu hát si, hát lượn.

    + Các động từ “cài”, “ken” vừa miêu tả chính xác động tác khéo léo trong lao động vừa gợi sự gắn bó, quấn quýt của những con người quê hương trong cuộc sống lao động.

    + Quê hương với những con người tài hoa, tâm hồn lãng mạn,cũng là quê hương với thiên nhiên thơ mộng, nghĩa tình:

    – Người đồng mình tự đục đá kê cao quê hương Còn quê hương thì làm phong tục.

    Nếu như hình dung về một vùng núi cụ thể, chắc hẳn mỗi người có thể gắn nó với những hình ảnh khác cách nói của Y Phương: là thác lũ, là bạt ngàn cây hay rộn rã tiếng chim thú hoặc cả những âm thanh “gió gào ngàn, giọng nguồn thét núi”, những bí mật của rừng thiêng….. Nhưng Y Phương chỉ chọn một hình ảnh thôi, hình ảnh “hoa” để nói về cảnh quan của rừng. Nhưng hình ảnh ấy có sức gợi rất lớn, gợi về những gì đẹp đẽ và tinh tuý nhất. Hoa trong “Nói với con” có thể là hoa thực – như một đặc điểm của rừng – và khi đặt trong mạch của bài thơ, hình ảnh này là một tín hiệu thẩm mĩ góp phần diễn đạt điều tác giả đang muốn khái quát: chính những gì đẹp đẽ của quê hương đã hun đúc nên tâm hồn cao đẹp của con người ở đó. Quê hương còn hiện diện trong những gì gần gũi, thân thương. Đó cũng chính là một nguồn mạch yêu thương vẫn tha thiết chảy trong tâm hồn mỗi người, bởi “con đường cho những tấm lòng”. Điệp từ “cho” mang nặng nghĩa tình. Thiên nhiên đem đến cho con người những thứ cần để lớn, giành tặng cho con người những gì đẹp đẽ nhất. Thiên nhiên đã che chở, nuôi dưỡng con người cả về tâm hồn và lối sống.

    – Sung sướng ôm con thơ vào lòng, người cha nói với con về kỉ niệm có tính chất khởi đầu cho hạnh phúc gia đình:

    Con ơi tuy thô sơ da thịt Không bao giờ nhỏ bé được

    – Trong cái ngọt ngào của kỉ niệm về gia đình và quê hương, người cha đã tha thiết nói với con về những phẩm chất tốt đẹp của người đồng mình.

    – Người đồng mình không chỉ là những con người giản dị, tài hoa trong cuộc sống lao động mà còn là những con người biết lo toan và giàu mơ ước:

    + Bằng cách tư duy độc đáo của người miền núi, Y Phương đã lấy cái cao vời vợi của trời để đo nỗi buồn, lấy cái xa của đất để đo ý chí con người.

    + Sắp xếp tính từ “cao”, “xa” trong sự tăng tiến, nhà thơ cho thấy khó khăn, thử thách càng lớn thì ý chí con người càng mạnh mẽ.

    + Vận dụng thành ngữ dân gian “Lên thác xuống ghềnh”, ý thơ gợi bao nỗi vất vả, lam lũ.

    + Điệp ngữ “sống”, “không chê” và điệp cấu trúc câu cùng hình ảnh đối xứng đã nhấn mạnh: người đồng mình có thể nghèo nàn, thiếu thốn về vật chất nhưng họ không thiếu ý chí và quyết tâm. Người đồng mình chấp nhận và thủy chung gắn bó cùng quê hương, dẫu quê hương có đói nghèo, vất vả. Và phải chăng, chính cuộc sống nhọc nhằn, đầy vất vả khổ đau ấy đã tôi luyện cho chí lớn để rồi tình yêu quê hương sẽ tạo nên sức mạnh giúp họ vượt qua tất cả.

    + Phép so sánh “Sống như sông như suối” gợi vẻ đẹp tâm hồn và ý chí của người đồng mình. Gian khó là thế, họ vẫn tràn đầy sinh lực, tâm hồn lãng mạn, khoáng đạt như hình ảnh đại ngàn của sông núi. Tình cảm của họ trong trẻo, dạt dào như dòng suối, con sống trước niềm tin yêu cuộc sống, tin yêu con người.

    – Phẩm chất của người của con người quê hương còn được người cha ca ngợi qua cách nói đối lập tương phản giữa hình thức bên ngoài và giá trị tinh thần bên trong, nhưng rất đúng với người miền núi:

    + Lời thơ mộc mạc, giản dị nhưng chứa bao tâm tình.

    + Cụm từ “thô sơ da thịt” là cách nói bằng hình ảnh cụ thể của bà con dân tộc Tày, ngợi ca những con người mộc mạc, giản dị, chất phác, thật thà, chịu thương, chịu khó.

    Phân tích bài thơ Viếng lăng Bác của Viễn Phương

    + Cụm từ “chẳng nhỏ bé” khẳng định sự lớn lao của ý chí, của nghị lực, cốt cách và niềm tin.

    I – Tìm hiểu chung:

    + Lối nói đậm ngôn ngữ dân tộc – độc đáo mà vẫn chứa đựng ý vị sâu xa.

    + Hình ảnh “Người đồng mình tự đục đá kê cao quê hương” vừa mang tính tả thực (chỉ truyền thống làm nhà kê đá cho cao của người miền núi), vừa mang ý nghĩa ẩn dụ sâu sắc.

    + Người đồng mình bằng chính bàn tay và khối óc, bằng sức lao động đã xây dựng và làm đẹp giàu cho quê hương, xây dựng để nâng tầm quê hương.

    + Còn quê hương là điểm tựa tinh thần với phong tục tập quán nâng đỡ những con người có chí khí và niềm tin.

    – Khép lại đoạn thơ bằng âm hưởng của một lời nhắn nhủ trìu mến với biết bao niềm tin hi vọng của người cha đặt vào đứa con yêu:

    + Ý thơ “Tuy thô sơ da thịt” và “không bao giờ nhỏ bé” được lặp lại với bốn câu thơ trước đó càng trở nên da diết, khắc sâu trong lòng con về những phẩm chất cao đẹp của “người đồng mình”. Nhưng hai tiếng “Lên đường” cho thấy người con đã lớn khôn và tạm biệt gia đình – quê hương để bước vào một trang đời mới.

    + Trong hành trang của người con mang theo khi “lên đường”có một thứ quí giá hơn mọi thứ trên đời, đó là ý chí, nghị lực, truyền thống quê hương. Lời dặn của cha thật mộc mạc, dễ hiểu, thấm thía, ẩn chứa niềm hi vọng lớn lao của cha, hi vọng đứa con sẽ tiếp tục vững bước trên đường đời, tiếp nối truyền thống và làm vẻ vang quê hương.

    + Hai tiếng “Nghe con” lắng đọng bao cảm xúc, ẩn chứa tình yêu thương vô bờ bến của cha dành cho con. Câu thơ còn gợi ra một cảnh tượng cảm động đang diễn ra lúc chia li: cha hiền từ âu yếm nhìn con, xoa đầu con và người con ngoan ngoãn cúi đầu lắng nghe lời cha dặn.

    “Nói với con”, Y Phương không chỉ sắp xếp hành trang cho riêng đứa con yêu quí của mình, mà cũng là hành trang ông muốn trao gửi cho tất cả những ai đang bước đi trên đường đời.

    Bài thơ thể hiện tình cảm gia đình ấm cúng, ca ngợi truyền thống cần cù, sức sống mạnh mẽ của quê hương và dân tộc. Bài thơ giúp ta hiểu thêm về sức sống và vẻ đẹp tâm hồn của một dân tộc miền núi, gợi nhắc tình cảm gắn bó với truyền thống, với quê hương và ý chí vươn lên trong cuộc sống,

    – Thể thơ tự do.

    – Bài thơ giản dị, với những hình ảnh vừa cụ thể vừa mang ý nghĩa biểu tượng, giàu sắc thái biểu đạt và biểu cảm.

    – Cách nói giàu bản sắc của người miền núi tạo nên một giọng điệu riêng cho lời tâm tình mộc mạc mà sâu sắc của người cha đối với đứa con.

    Văn bản Viếng lăng Bác – Viễn Phương.

    Giới thiệu bài học:

    Bác Hồ là tên gọi thân yêu vang âm trong trái tim bao người,là niềm tin, là sức mạnh, là phẩm giá của con người Việt Nam, một người bạn lớn đối với tâm hồn mỗi con người, đối với thiên nhiên tạo vật… Sự vĩ đại, vẻ đẹp của Bác, lòng kính yêu với Bác đã trở thành cảm hứng cho các các nghệ sĩ sáng tạo ra các tác phẩm nghệ thuật bất hủ. Đến sau trong đề tài thơ về Bác do điều kiện, hoàn cảnh: là người con miền Nam, cầm súng ở ngoài tiền tuyến…nhà thơ Viễn Phương đã để lại bài thơ “Viếng lăng Bác” độc đáo, có sức cảm hóa sâu sắc bởi tình đẹp, bởi lời hay.

    – Viễn Phương (1928 – 2005), tên khai sinh là Phan Thanh Viễn, quê ở tỉnh An Giang.

    – Trong kháng chiến chống Pháp và chống Mĩ, ông hoạt động ở Nam Bộ, là một trong những cây bút có mặt sớm nhất của lực lượng văn nghệ giải phóng ở miền Nam thời kì chống Mĩ cứu nước.

    – Thơ ông thường nhỏ nhẹ, giàu tình cảm, giàu chất mộng mơ ngay trong hoàn cảnh khốc liệt của chiến trường.

    – Tác phẩm tiêu biểu: Mắt sáng học trò (1970); Như mây mùa xuân (1978); Phù sa quê mẹ(1991);…

    – Bài thơ được viết vào tháng 4 năm 1976, một năm sau ngày giải phóng miền Nam,đất nước vừa được thống nhất. Đó cũng là khi lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh vừa được khánh thành, đáp ứng nguyện vọng tha thiết của nhân dân cả nước là được đến viếng lăng Bác. Tác giả là một người con của miền Nam, suốt ba mươi năm hoạt động vàc hiến đấu ở chiến trường Nam Bộ xa xôi. Cũng như đồng bào và chiến sĩ miền Nam,nhà thơ mong mỏi được ra thăm Bác và chỉ đến lúc này, khi đất nước đã thống nhất, ông mới có thể thực hiện được ước nguyện ấy. Tình cảm đối với Bác trở thành nguồn cảm hứng để ông sáng tác bài thơ này.

    – In trong tập thơ “Như mây mùa xuân” (1978)

      Bố cục: 4 phần, tương ứng với bốn khổ thơ.

    – Khổ 1: Cảm xúc của nhà thơ khi đến lăng Bác

    – Khổ 2: Cảm xúc của nhà thơ khi đứng trước lăng Bác

    – Khổ 3: Cảm xúc của nhà thơ khi vào trong lăng

    Ngày ngày mặt trời đi qua trên lăng Thấy một mặt trời trong lăng rất đỏ.

    – Khổ 4: Tâm trạng lưu luyến của nhà thơ khi rời xa lăng Bác.

      Cảm xúc bao trùm: Niềm xúc động thiêng liêng, thành kính, niềm tự hào, đau xót của nhà thơ từ miền Nam vừa được giải phóng ra thăm lăng Bác.

    Người rực rỡ một mặt trời cách mạng Mà đế quốc là loài dơi hốt hoảng Đêm tàn bay chập chạng dưới chân người.

      Cảm xúc của nhà thơ khi đến lăng Bác:Cảm xúc của một người con đã đi từ một nơi rất xa cả về không gian và thời gian, giờ đây giờ phút được trở về bên Bác đã được diễn tả sâu sắc trong khổ thơ này:

    – Nhà thơ kể: “Con ở miền Nam ra thăm lăng Bác”. Câu thơ mở đầu như một lời thông báo ngắn gọn, lời lẽ giản dị nhưng chứa đựng trong nó biết bao điều sâu xa, Nhà thơ nói mình ở miền Nam, ở tuyến đầu của Tổ quốc, ở nơi máu đổ suốt mấy chục năm trời. Như vậy, không đơn giản là chuyên đi thăm công trình kiến trúc, không chỉ chiêm ngưỡng trước di hài một vĩ nhân mà đó là cây tìm về cội, lá tìm về cành, máu chảy về tim, sông trở về nguồn. Đó là cuộc trở về để báo công với Bác, để được Bác ôm vào lòng và ngợi khen.

    – Nhà thơ xưng “con” và chữ “con” ở đầu dòng thơ, đầu bài thơ. Trong ngôn từ của nhân loại không có một chữ nào lại xúc động và sâu nặng bằng tiếng “con”. Cách xưng hô này thật gần gũi, thật thân thiết, ấm áp tình thân thương mà vẫn rất mực thành kính, thiêng liêng. Đồng thời, cũng diễn tả tâm trạng xúc động của người con ra thăm cha sau bao nhiêu năm xa cách.

    – Nhà thơ sử dụng từ “thăm” thay cho từ “viếng”:

    Ngày ngày dòng người đi trong thương nhớ Kết tràng hoa dâng bảy mươi chín mùa xuân.

    + “Viếng”: là đến chia buồn với thân nhân người chết.

    + “Thăm”: là gặp gỡ, trò chuyện với người đang sống.

    – Đến lăng Bác, hình ảnh đầu tiên mà tác giả quan sát được, cảm nhận được, và có ấn tượng đậm nét là hình ảnh hàng tre. Khi xây dựng lăng Bác, các nhà thiết kế đã đưa về từ mọi miền đất nước các loài cây, loài hoa, tiêu biểu cho mọi miền quê hương đất nước để trồng ở lăng Bác bởi Bác là một tâm hồn rộng mở trước thiên nhiên và Bác cũng là biểu tượng cho tinh hoa, cho đất nước, cho dân tộc Việt Nam. Và ai đã từng đến lăng Bác đều có thể nhận thấy hình ảnh đầu tiên về cảnh vật hai bên lăng là những hàng tre đằng ngà bát ngát. Nhà thơ Viễn Phương cũng vậy!

    + Sự xuất hiện của hàng tre trong thơ Viễn Phương không chỉ có ý tả thực, nhà thơ đã viết hình ảnh hàng tre với bút pháp tượng trưng, biểu tượng (gợi ra một điều gì đó từ một hình ảnh ẩn dụ lớn).

    + Hình ảnh thực: Trước hết, hàng tre là hình ảnh hết sức thân thuộc và gần gũi của làng quê, đất nước Việt Nam.

    + Hình ảnh ẩn dụ: Hình ảnh hàng tre còn là một biểu tượng con người, dân tộc Việt Nam.

    _ Thành ngữ “bão táp mưa sa” nhằm chỉ những khó khăn, gian khổ, những vinh quang và cay đắng mà nhân dân ta đã vượt qua trong trường kì dựng nước và giữ nước, đặc biệt là trong hai cuộc kháng chiến chống Pháp và chống Mĩ vừa qua.

    _ “Đứng thẳng hàng” là tinh thần đoàn kết đấu tranh, chiến đấu anh hùng, không bao giờ khuất phục, tất cả vì độc lập tự do của nhân dân Việt Nam dưới sự lãnh đạo của Đảng và Bác Hồ.

      Cảm xúc của nhà thơ khi đứng trước lăng Bác:

    – Nhà thơ đã sử dụng một ẩn dụ nghệ thuật tuyệt đẹp để nói lên cảm nhận của mình khi đứng trước lăng Bác:

    Trái bưởi kia vàng ngọt với ai Thơm cho ai nữa hỡi hoa nhài Còn đâu bóng Bác đi hôm sớm…

    + Hình ảnh “mặt trời đi qua trên lăng” là hình ảnh thực. Đó là mặt trời thiên tạo, là hành tinh quan trọng nhất của vũ trụ, nó gợi ra sự kì vĩ, sự bất tử, vĩnh hằng. Mặt trời là nguồn cội của sự sống, ánh sáng.

    + Hình ảnh “mặt trời trong lăng” là một ẩn dụ đầy sáng tạo, độc đáo – đó là hình ảnh của Bác Hồ. Giống như “mặt trời”, Bác Hồ cũng là nguồn ánh sáng, nguồn sức mạnh. “Mặt trời” – Bác Hồ soi đường dẫn lối cho sự nghiệp cách mạng giải phóng dân tộc, giành độc lập tự do, thống nhất đất nước. Bác đã cùng nhân dân vượt qua trăm ngàn gian khổ, hi sinh để đi tới chiến thắng quanh vinh, trọn vẹn. “Mặt trời” – Bác Hồ tỏa hơi ấm tình thương bao la trong lòng mỗi con người Việt Nam. Nhà thơ Tố Hữu đã so sánh Bác như: “Quả tim lớn lọc trăm dòng máu nhỏ”. Cái nghĩa, cái nhân lớn lao của Bác đã tác động mạnh mẽ, sâu xa tới mỗi số phận con người.

    + Thật ra so sánh Bác Hồ với mặt trời đã được các nhà thơ sử dụng từ rất lâu:

    (Tố Hữu – “Sáng tháng năm”)

    Nhưng cái so sánh ngầm Bác Hồ nằm trong lăng rất đỏ trong cái nhìn chiêm ngưỡng hàng ngày của mặt trời tự nhiên (biện pháp nhân hóa “thấy”) là một sáng tạo độc đáo và mới mẻ của Viễn Phương. Cách ví đó một mặt ca ngợi sự vĩ đại, công lao trời biển của Người đối với các thế hệ con người Việt Nam. Mặt khác bộc lộ rõ niềm tự hào của dân tộc Việt Nam khi có Bác Hồ – có được mặt trời của cách mạng soi đường chỉ lối cũng như ánh sáng của mặt trời thiên nhiên.

    + Từ láy “ngày ngày” đứng ở đầu câu vừa diễn tả sự liên tục bất biến của tự nhiên vừa góp phần vĩnh viễn hóa, bất tử hóa hình ảnh Bác Hồ trong lòng mọi người và giữa thiên nhiên vũ trụ.

    – Hình ảnh dòng người vào thăm lăng Bác đã được nhà thơ miêu tả một cách độc đáo và để lại nhiều ấn tượng:

    + Bằng sự quan sát trong thực tế, tác giả đã tạo ra một hình ảnh ẩn dụ đẹp và sáng tạo: “tràng hoa”.

    Muốn làm con chim hót quanh lăng Bác Muốn làm đóa hoa tỏa hương đâu đây Muốn làm cây tre trung hiếu chốn này.

    _ Chúng ta có thể hiểu “tràng hoa” ở đây theo nghĩa thực là những bông hoa tươi thắm kết thành vòng hoa được những người con khắp nơi trên đất nước và thế giới về thăm dâng lên Bác để bày tỏ tình cảm, tấm lòng nhớ thương, yêu quý, tự hào của mình.

    _ “Tràng hoa” ở đây còn mang nghĩa ẩn dụ chỉ từng người một đang xếp hàng viếng lăng Bác mỗi ngày là một bông hoa ngát thơm. Những dòng người bất tận đang ngày ngày vào lăng viếng Bác nối kết nhau thành những tràng hoa bất tận. Những bông hoa – tràng hoa rực rỡ đó dưới ánh mặt trời của Bác đã trở thành những bông hoa – tràng hoa đẹp nhất dâng lên “bảy mươi chín mùa xuân” – 79 năm cuộc đời của Người.

    III. Tổng kết:

      Cảm xúc của nhà thơ khi vào trong lăng:

    – Vào trong lăng, khung cảnh và không khí như ngưng kết cả thời gian, không gian. Hình ảnh thơ đã diễn tả thật chính xác, tinh tế sự yên tĩnh, trang nghiêm cùng ánh sáng dịu nhẹ, trong trẻo của không gian trong lăng Bác.

    – Đứng trước Bác, nhà thơ cảm nhận Người đang ngủ giấc ngủ bình yên, thanh thản giữa vầng trăng sáng dịu hiền.

    – Tâm trạng xúc động của nhà thơ được biểu hiện bằng một hình ảnh ẩn dụ sâu xa: “Vẫn biết trời xanh là mãi mãi”.

    Phân tích bài thơ Khúc hát ru những em bé lớn trên lưng mẹ của Nguyễn Khoa Điềm I – Tìm hiểu chung:

    + “Trời xanh” trước tiên được hiểu theo nghĩa tả thực đó làhình thiên nhiên mà chúng ta hằng ngày vẫn đang chiêm ngưỡng, nó tồn tại mãi mãi và vĩnh hằng.

    + Mặt khác, “trời xanh” còn là một hình ảnh ẩn dụ sâu xa: Bác vẫn còn mãi với non sông đất nước, như “trời xanh” vĩnh hằng. Nhà thơ Tố Hữu đã viết: “Bác sống như trời đất của ta”, bởi Bác đã hóa thân thành thiên nhiên, đất nước và dân tộc.

    – Dù tin như thế nhưng mấy chục triệu người dân Việt Nam vẫn đau xót và nuối tiếc khôn nguôi trước sự ra đi của Bác – ” Mà sao nghe nhói ở trong tim”.

    + “Nhói” là từ ngữ biểu cảm trực tiếp, biểu hiện nỗi đau đột ngột quặn thắt. Tác giả tự cảm thấy nỗi đau mất mát ở tận trong đáy sâu tâm hồn mình: nỗi đau uất nghẹn tột cùng không nói thành lời. Đó không chỉ là nỗi đau riêng tác giả mà của cả triệu trái tim con người Việt Nam.

    + Cặp quan hệ từ “vẫn, mà” diễn tả mâu thuẫn. Cảm giác nghe nhói ở trong tim mâu thuẫn với nhận biết trời xanh là mãi mãi. Như vậy, giữa tình cảm và lý trí có sự mâu thuẫn. Con người đã không kìm nén được khoảnh khắc yếu lòng. Chính đau xót này đã làm cho tình cảm giữa lãnh tụ và nhân dân trở nên ruột già, xót xa. Cảm xúc đau đớn này, vô vọng này đã từng xuất hiện trong bài thơ của Tố Hữu:

    * 3 đoạn tương đương với ba khúc hát ru, mỗi đoạn có hai khổ thơ:

    Cảm xúc này là đỉnh điểm của nỗi nhớ thương, của niềm đau xót. Nó chính là nguyên nhân dẫn đến những khát vọng ở khổ cuối bài thơ.

      Tâm trạng lưu luyến của nhà thơ khi rời xa lăng Bác:

    – Nếu ở khổ thơ đầu, nhà thơ giới thiệu mình là người con miền Nam ra thăm Bác thì trong khổ thơ cuối, nhà thơ lại đề cập đến sự chia xa Bác. Nghĩ đến ngày mai về miền Nam, xa Bác, xa Hà Nội, tình cảm của nhà thơ không kìm nén, ẩn giấu trong lòng mà được bộc lộ thể hiện ra ngoài:

    * Bài thơ có cấu trúc lặp

    “Mai về miền Nam thương trào nước mắt”.

    + Câu thơ “Mai về miền Nam thương trào nước mắt” như một lời giã biệt.

    + Lời nói giản dị diễn tả tình cảm sâu lắng.

    + Từ “trào” diễn tả cảm xúc thật mãnh liệt, luyến tiếc, bịn rịn không muốn xa nơi Bác nghỉ.

    + Đó là không chỉ là tâm trạng của tác giả mà còn là của muôn triệu trái tim khác. Được gần Bác dù chỉ trong giây phút nhưng không bao giờ ta muốn xa Bác bởi Người ấm áp quá, rộng lớn quá.

    – Mặc dù lưu luyến muốn được ở mãi bên Bác nhưng tác giả cũng biết rằng đến lúc phải trở về miền Nam. Và chỉ có thể gửi tấm lòng mình bằng cách muốn hóa thân, hòa nhập vào những cảnh vật quanh lăng để được luôn ở bên Người trong thế giới của Người:

    + Điệp ngữ “muốn làm” cùng các hình ảnh đẹp của thiên nhiên “con chim”, “đóa hoa”, “cây tre” đã thể hiện ước muốn tha thiết, mãnh liệt của tác giả.

    II – Đọc – hiểu văn bản:

    + Nhà thơ ao ước được hóa thân thành con chim nhỏ cất tiếng hót làm vui lăng Bác, thành đóa hoa đem sắc hương, điểm tô cho vườn hoa quanh lăng.

    + Đặc biệt là ước nguyện “Muốn làm cây tre trung hiếu chốn này” để nhập vào hàng tre bát ngát, canh giữ giấc ngủ thiên thu của Người. Hình ảnh cây tre có tính chất tượng trưng một lần nữa nhắc lại khiến bài thơ có kết cấu đầu cuối tương ứng. Hình ảnh hàng tre quanh lăng Bác được lặp ở câu thơ cuối như mang thêm nghĩa mới, tạo ấn tượng sâu sắc, làm dòng cảm xúc được trọn vẹn. “Cây tre trung hiếu” là hình ảnh ẩn dụ thể hiện lòng kính yêu, sự trung thành vô hạn với Bác, nguyện mãi mãi đi theo con đường cách mạng mà Người đã đưa đường chỉ lối. Đó là lời hứa thủy chung của riêng nhà thơ và cũng là ý nguyện của đồng miền Nam, của mỗi chúng ta nói chung với Bác.

    Niềm xúc động thiêng liêng, thành kính, niềm tự hào, đau xót của nhà thơ từ miền Nam vừa được giải phóng ra thăm lăng Bác.

    – Giọng điệu thơ phù hợp với nội dung tình cảm, cảm xúc: vừa trang nghiêm, sâu lắng, vừa tha thiết, đau xót, tự hào.

    – Thể thơ 8 chữ, xen lẫn những dòng thơ 7 hoặc 9 chữ. Nhịp thơ chủ yếu là nhịp chậm, diễn tả sự trang nghiêm, thành kính và những cảm xúc sâu lắng. Riêng khổ cuối nhịp thơ nhanh hơn, phù hợp với sắc thái của niềm mong ước.

    – Hình ảnh thơ có nhiều sáng tạo, kết hợp hình ảnh thực với hình ảnh ẩn dụ, biểu tượng. Những hình ảnh ẩn dụ – biểu tượng như “mặt trời trong lăng”,”tràng hoa”,”trời xanh” vừa quen thuộc, vừa gần gũi với hình ảnh thực, vừa sâu sắc, có ý nghĩa khái quát và giá trị biểu cảm.

    Văn bản Khúc hát ru những em bé lớn trên lưng mẹ – Nguyễn Khoa Điềm

    – Nguyễn Khoa Điềm là gương mặt tiêu biểu trong thế hệ các nhà thơ chống Mĩ.

    – Thơ Nguyễn Khoa Điềm không cầu kì về hình thức, câu chữ tự nhiên, đời thường, lời thơ nhẹ nhàng, tha thiết nhưng cũng đậm chất triết lí sâu sắc

    – Tác phẩm tiêu biểu: “Đất ngoại ô” (thơ, 1973), “Cửa thép” (kí,1972), “Mặt đường khát vọng”(trường ca, 1974)…

    – Bài thơ được Nguyễn Khoa Điềm sáng tác năm 1971 – những năm tháng quyết liệt của cuộc kháng chiến chống Mĩ. Giai đoạn này, cuộc sống của bộ đội và nhân dân ta trên các chiến khu rất gian nan, thiếu thốn. Ở những chiến khu miền rừng núi, cán bộ và nhân dân ta vừa bám rẫy, bám rừng vừa gia tăng sản xuất, vừa sẵn sàng chiến đấu bảo vệ căn cứ.

    – In trong tập “Đất và khát vọng” (1984).

    – Khúc thứ nhất: Khúc hát ru của người mẹ thương con, thương bộ đội.

    – Khúc thứ hai: Khúc hát ru của người mẹ thương con, thương dân làng.

    – Khúc thứ ba: Khúc hát ru của người mẹ thương con, thương đất nước.

    – Lặp cấu trúc: Bài thơ gồm 3 khúc ru. Mỗi khúc ru được tạo bởi hai lời ru:

    + Đầu đoạn: Lời ru của nhà thơ đưa em cu Tai vào giấc ngủ.

    + Cuối đoạn: Lời ru con trực tiếp của mẹ.

    – Lặp lời và lặp câu. Mở đầu lời ru em của tác giả: “Em Cu Tai ngủ trên lưng mẹ ơi – Em ngủ cho ngoan đừng rời lưng mẹ” và lời ru con trực tiếp của người mẹ: “Ngủ ngoan A-kay ơi, ngủ ngoan A-kay hỡi” được lặp lại trong từng khúc ru.

    – Lặp nhịp: Phần lớn các câu thơ đều ngắt nhịp 4/4.

    – Bài thơ khắc họa hình tượng người mẹ Tà – ôi trong cuộc kháng chiến chống Mĩ – giàu lòng yêu thương con, gắn liền với lòng yêu nước và tinh thần kháng chiến, qua đó thể hiện khát vọng tự do và thống nhất đất nước.

    – “Khúc hát ru” là một âm hưởng quen thuộc gợi ngọt ngào, sâu lắng trong tâm hồn mỗi người. Đó là điệu hồn dân tộc nuôi dưỡng tình cảm của chúng ta từ thưở ấu thơ, gợi sự êm dịu của tình mẹ.

    – Nhà thơ lấy hình ảnh “những em bé” mang tính khái quát để chỉ một thế hệ những con người lớn lên được nuôi dưỡng từ trên lưng mẹ.

    – Từ đó, ngợi ca người mẹ miền núi nói riêng và người mẹ Việt Nam nói chung: bình dị mà vĩ đại trong cuộc kháng chiến chống Mỹ của dân tộc – giàu lòng yêu thương con, yêu bộ đội, yêu dân làng và yêu đất nước.

    Hình ảnh người mẹ Tà-ôi gắn liền với công việc qua các hoàn cảnh cụ thể: người mẹ địu con làm công việc của người dân chiến khu – việc nhà,việc nước, việc kháng chiến.

    – Ở đoạn thơ thứ nhất, mẹ địu con giã gạo góp phần nuôi bộ đội kháng chiến:

    + Công việc vất vả, nhưng tình yêu mẹ dành cho con thì vô cùng sâu sắc – “Nhịp chày nghiêng… tim hát thành lời”.

    III – Tổng kết:

    + Hai mẹ con cùng chung một nhịp – nhịp chày giã gạo, nhịp lao động của mẹ.

    + Tấm thân của mẹ dành trọn cho con: đôi vai gầy làm gối, tấm lưng làm nôi đưa và tim hát thành lời ru.

    – Ở đoạn thơ thứ hai, là hình ảnh người mẹ địu con tỉa bắp trên núi Ka-lưi – mẹ đang làm công việc lao động sản xuất của người dân chiến khu

    Phân tích bài thơ Con cò của Chế Lan Viên I – Tìm hiểu chung: 1 – Tác giả:

    + Hình ảnh tương phản “Lưng núi thì to mà lưng mẹ nhỏ” làm nổi bật sự gian khổ, chịu đựng của người mẹ giữa núi rừng mênh mông, nổi bật sự kiên cường, bền bỉ của mẹ trong công việc vất vả, nhọc nhằn.

    – Ở đoạn thơ thứ ba, là hình ảnh người mẹ địu con tham gia chiến đấu:

    Giặc Mĩ càn đến, mẹ phải “đạp rừng”, “chuyển lán” để di chuyển lực lượng; mẹ phải cùng với các anh trai, chị gái tham gia chiến đấu bảo vệ căn cứ “Mẹ địu em đi để giành trận cuối”, mẹ xông pha vào chiến trường, mẹ vào tận Trường Sơn. Hai chữ “trận cuối” mang theo cả một niềm tin vào thắng lợi cuối cùng.

    – Điệp lại lời ru của mẹ ở 3 đoạn thơ, ta thấy được tình yêu con tha thiết dịu dàng của người mẹ. Tình yêu ấy trải dài qua lời ru…

    b – Thể loại, kết cấu:

    – Những điệp khúc “Ngủ ngoan a-kay ơi, ngủ ngoan a-kay hỡi”, “Mẹ thương a-kay”, “Con mơ cho mẹ”, “Mai sau con lớn” nhằm nhấn mạnh tấm lòng của người mẹ tha thiết yêu thương con. Mẹ mong cho con ngủ ngoan, và có được những giấc mơ đẹp, mẹ mong con mau lớn.

    – Tình yêu con của mẹ gắn liền, hòa quyện với những tình cảm chung rộng lớn:

    + Mẹ thương a-kay, mẹ thương bộ đội.

    + Mẹ thương a-kay, mẹ thương làng đói.

    + Mẹ thương a-kay, mẹ thương đất nước.

    c – Đề tài:

    – Trong lời hát ru, ta còn thấy ước mơ thật giản dị mà cao đẹp của người mẹ:

    Con cò bay la Con cò bay lả Con cò cổng phủ Con cò Đồng Đăng… Con cò ăn đêm, Cò gặp cành mềm, Cò sợ xáo măng…

    – Bài thơ là khúc hát ru, cũng là lời tâm tình tha thiết của người mẹ Tà – ôi đối với đứa con yêu đang từng ngày lớn lên trên lưng mẹ. Bài thơ bộc lộ tình yêu thương đằm thắm của người mẹ đối với con, tình cảm gắn bó với quê hương, với cuộc sống lao động và chiến đấu nơi núi rừng chiến khu, dù còn gian nan vất vả; đồng thời gửi gắm ước vọng con mau lớn khôn, khỏe mạnh, trở thành công dân của một đất nước tự do.

    Con cò bay lả bay la Bay từ cổng phủ, bay ra cánh đồng Con cò bay lả bay la Bay từ cửa phủ, bay về Đồng Đăng.

    Bài thơ như những điệp khúc của lời ru vừa ngọt ngào, trìu mến vừa tha thiết, mãnh liệt, với mỗi khúc ru lại mở ra một trường cảm xúc mới. Bài thơ có nhiều hình ảnh đẹp, giàu sức biểu đạt và biểu cảm như: “Nhịp chày nghiêng giấc ngủ em nghiêng”; “Mặt trời của bắp thì nằm trên đồi – Mặt trời của mẹ, em nằm trên lưng”…

    Con cò mà đi ăn đêm Đậu phải cành mềm lộn cổ xuống ao Ông ơi ông vớt tôi nao Tôi có lòng nào ông có xáo măng Có xáo thì xáo nước trong Đừng xáo nước đục đau lòng cò con.

    Văn bản Con cò – Chế Lan Viên

    – Chế Lan Viên là một trong những tên tuổi hàng đầu của nền thơ Việt Nam thế kỉ XX.

    – Thơ Chế Lan Viên có phong cách nghệ thuật rõ nét và độc đáo. Đó là phong cách suy tưởng triết lí, đậm chất trí tuệ và tính hiện đại.

    – Chế Lan Viên có nhiều sáng tạo trong nghệ thuật xây dựng hình ảnh thơ. Hình ảnh thơ của ông phong phú đa dạng, kết hợp giữa thực và ảo,thường được sáng tạo bằng sức mạnh của liên tưởng, tưởng tượng, nhiều bất ngờ,kì thú.

    – Tác phẩm chính: Điêu tàn (1937), Ánh sáng và phù sa (1960), Hoa ngày thường – Chim báo bão (1967),Hái theo mùa (1977), Hoa trên đá (1984)…

    – Bài thơ “Con cò” được sáng tác năm 1962, in trong tập “Hoa ngày thường – Chim báo bão” (1967)

    Cò một mình, cò phải kiếm lấy ăn, Con có mẹ, con chơi rồi lại ngủ.

    – Đây là một trong những bài thơ hay và độc đáo của Chế Lan Viên ngợi ca tình mẹ và ý nghĩa của lời ru đối với cuộc sống của con người.

    – Thể loại: Thể thơ tự do, các câu dài ngắn không đều, phát triển theo mạch cảm xúc, số tiếng trong mỗi câu theo một luật định nào (luật phối thanh, hiệp vần…)

    – Bài thơ chia thành 3 đoạn:

    Ngủ yên!Ngủ yên!Cò ơi,chớ sợ! Cành có mềm, mẹ đã sẵn tay nâng! Trong lời ru của mẹ thấm hơi xuân. Con chưa biết con cò,con vạc. Con chưa biết những cành mềm mẹ hát, Sữa mẹ nhiều, con ngủ chẳng phân vân.

    + Đoạn 1: Hình ảnh con cò qua những lời ru của mẹ thời thơ ấu.

    + Đoạn 2: Hình ảnh con cò và lời ru của mẹ trên mỗi chặng đường đời của con người.

    + Đoạn 3: Từ hình ảnh con cò, nhà thơ suy ngẫm, triết lí về ý nghĩa của lời ru và tình mẹ trong cuộc đời mỗi con người.

    – Tình mẹ con thiêng liêng gần gũi đối với con người đã từ lâu trở thành đề tài cho thi ca nhạc họa, mà không bao giờ cũ, không bao giờ thôi quyến rũ người đọc. Chế Lan Viên góp thêm một tiếng nói mới,độc đáo và đặc sắc của mình vào đề tài này bằng cách phát triển những câu ca dao quen thuộc nói về con cò để ngợi ca tình mẹ, lời ru của mẹ đối với cuộc đời mỗi con người.

    – “Con cò” là một bài thơ dài, nhiều ý, hình tượng phong phú, biến hóa hàm súc. Hình tượng con cò trong bài thơ khi là hình ảnh thực, khi là hình ảnh tượng trưng: khi là mẹ, khi là con, khi là đất trời, khi là cuộc đời, khi là hiện tại, khi lại là tương lai… Nhưng đều bắt nguồn từ truyền thống, và bao trùm lên tất cả là lòng mẹ yêu con, hạnh phúc vì con, hi vọng và mong muốn những điều tốt đẹp ở con cho hôm nay và cho cả mai sau.

    – Con cò là một hình ảnh rất quen thuộc trong đời sống của nhân dân ta. Con cò thường làm tổ trên ngọn tre, kiếm ăn nơi cánh đồng, bãi sông, đầm hồ, ao nước, không ăn lúa mà chỉ bắt sâu bọ nên không có hại, không bị săn đuổi (được gọi là “cát điểu”). Từ lâu, nó đã trở thành người bạn của người nông dân, nhất là trong cảnh “Trên đồng cạn, dưới đồng sâu/ Chồngcày vợ cấy con trâu đi bừa”. Và có lẽ vì thế, mà con cò đã đi vào ca dao dân ca Việt Nam cổ truyền như một biểu tượng về người dân lao động, đặc biệt là người phụ nữ vất vả, cần cù, chịu thương, chịu khó,giàu đức hi sinh và lòng vị tha. Cho nên, những câu ca về con cò đồng thời cũng là những lời hát ru dịu buồn của bà, của mẹ. Bởi vậy, bài thơ được xem như là lời mẹ ru con qua hình tượng con cò.

    Ngủ yên! Ngủ yên! Ngủ yên Cho cò trắng đến làm quen Cò đứng ở quanh nôi Rồi cò vào trong tổ Con ngủ yên thì cò cũng ngủ Cánh của cò, hai đứa đắp chung đôi Mai khôn lớn, con theo cò đi học Dù ở gần con, Dù ở xa con, Lên rừng xuống bể, Cò sẽ tìm con, Con dù lớn vẫn là con của mẹ Đi hết đời, lòng mẹ vẫn theo con. Cò mãi yêu con. Dẫu là nguyên thủ quốc gia hay là những anh hùng Là bác học hay là ai đi nữa Vẫn là con của một người phụ nữ Một người đàn bà bình thường không ai biết tuổi tên. Cánh trắng cò bay theo gót đôi chân À ơi! Một con cò thôi Con cò mẹ hát Cũng là cuộc đời Vỗ cánh qua nôi Nghìn năm trên dải đất này Cũ sao được cánh cò bay la đà Cũ sao được sắc mây xa Cũ sao được khúc dân ca quê mình! Ngủ đi! Ngủ đi! III – Tổng kết: 1 – Nội dung: Cho cánh cò, cánh vạc 2 – Nghệ thuật: Cho cả sắc trời Đến hát Quanh nôi Lớn lên, lớn lên, lớn lên… Phân tích truyện ngắn Làng của nhà văn Kim Lân Con làm gì? Con làm thi sĩ Cánh cò trắng lại bay hoài không nghỉ Trước hiên nhà Và trong hơi mát câu văn…

    Con còn bế trên tay

    + Con còn bé, chưa biết gì, nhưng mẹ đã mang tới cho con những cánh cò qua lời hát ru của mẹ.

    + Như vậy, trong những nhận thức đầu đời ,con có thể biết được về những lời hát ru, về cánh cò trắng, và đặc biệt là cảm nhận được tình yêu thương của mẹ.

    – Vậy mẹ hát ru con những gì? Tác giả viết tiếp:

    + Những câu thơ của Chế Lan Viên gợi cho chúng ta những tới những bài ca dao quen thuộc:

    Hay:

    + Nhà thơ đã vận dụng ca dao một cách sáng tạo để gợi ra ý nghĩa biểu tượng của hình ảnh con cò:

    _ Trước hết, con cò gợi hình ảnh làng quê thôn xóm Việt Nam thân thuộc, rất bình dị nhưng cũng rất đỗi thanh bình.

    _ Con cò còn là biểu tượng của người nông dân Việt Nam, người phụ nữ Việt Nam trong cuộc sống lam lũ, nhọc nhằn nhưng giàu lòng nhân ái và đức hi sinh. Lời thơ gợi cho ta nhớ đến những bài ca dao nói về thân phận người phụ nữ xưa: “Con cò đi đón cơn mua – Tối tăm mù mịt ai đưa cò về”. Ta bắt gặp hình ảnh bà Tú trong bài thơ “Thương vợ” của nhà thơ Tú Xương: “Lặn lội thân cò khi quãng vắng – Eo sèo mặt nước buổi đò đông”.

    _ Con cò còn chính là biểu hiện của tình mẹ, lòng mẹ lớn lao sâu nặng, cả cuộc đời hết lòng vì con.

    II – Đọc – hiểu văn bản:

    – Có người nói rằng khi nhà thơ nhắc tới hình ảnh con cò trong ca dao là ông đã chấp nhận một thách thức. Bởi vì có mấy ai viết về con cò hay như ca dao, hay hơn ca dao. Ca dao đã viết về con cò một cách hết sức tiêu biểu, cụ thể, hết sức sinh động và uyển chuyển, linh hoạt .Vậy thì vận dụng con cò trong ca dao, nhà thơ đã làm mới hình tượng này như thế nào? Chúng ta sẽ tiếp tục những câu thơ tiếp theo của Chế Lan Viên.

    – Khi nói về con cò, tác giả đã đối chiếu với em bé:

    + Con cò thật là vất vả, thật là đơn côi, lủi thủi đi kiếm ăn một mình nơi đồng sâu, đồng cạn.

    + Thế nhưng con có mẹ, nghĩa là con được sống trong tình yêu thương, trong sự nuôi dưỡng, bế bồng của mẹ nên “chơi rồi lại ngủ”.

    + Câu thơ “Ngủ yên! Ngủ yên! Cò ơi, chớ sợ!” ngắt nhịp 2/2/2/2 rất đều đặn giống như những nhịp vỗ về của người mẹ cho đứa con mau chóng vào giấc ngủ. Vì thế mà lời thơ mang được âm điệu ngọt ngào, dịu dàng của những lời ru.

    + Không chỉ như vậy, khi em bé ngon giấc, người mẹ còn gửi tới em những tâm tình của mình. Trong lời ru của mẹ, tác giả đã sử dụng rất nhiều hình ảnh ẩn dụ giàu ý nghĩa: ” cành mềm mẹ đã sẵn tay nâng”, “lời ru của mẹ thấm hơi xuân” hay “sữa mẹ nhiều con ngủ chẳng phân vân”. Những hình ảnh ẩn dụ ấy nói lên tình yêu thương dạt dào vô bờ bến mẹ dành cho con:

    _ Mẹ luôn ở bên, dang đôi cánh tay để che chở, ấp ủ con, để cho con luôn được an toàn – “Cành có mềm, mẹ đã sẵn tay nâng”.

    _ Với lời ru và dòng sữa trắng trong mát ngọt, mẹ đã truyền cho con hơi ấm của tình yêu thương.

    – Nếu ở đoạn 1, cánh cò trong lời ru của mẹ là điểm khởi đầu, xuất phát, thì sang đoạn 2, cánh cò đã trở thành người bạn tuổi ấu thơ, theo cùng con người trên mỗi chặng đường đi tới, thành bạn đồng hành của con người trong suốt cuộc đời:

    – Trong đoạn thơ này, tác giả đã sử dụng rộng rãi biện pháp nhân hóa, hình tượng con cò đã trở thành người bạn của con, người con của mẹ. Cánh cò từ trong lời ru của mẹ đã đi dần vào tiềm thức của tuổi thơ, trở nên gần gũi, thân thiết, và sẽ theo con trong suốt cuộc đời, trên mỗi chặng đường.

    + Khi con còn thơ bé có “cò trắng đến làm quen/ Cò đứng ở quanh nôi/ Rồi cò vào trong tổ/ Con ngủ yên thì cò cũng ngủ/ Cánh của cò hai đứa đắp chung đôi”. Con cò như một người bạn thân thiết, gần gũi bên con suốt những năm tháng ấu thơ. Cò ở bên con, trò chuyện, cùng vui đùa, cùng ngủ, cùng chơi, cùng con khôn lớn. Hình ảnh con cò hiện lên trong trí tưởng tượng của tác giả hay chính là sự phân thân của hình ảnh người mẹ. Trong những năm tháng ấu thơ, mẹ lúc nào cũng ở bên con làm bạn, vừa chăm sóc, vỗ về, vừa dõi theo sự trưởng thành của con.

    + Khi con lớn, đến tuổi tới trường “con theo cò đi học/ Cánh trắng cò bay theo gót đôi chân”. Con cò trở thành người bạn học, sánh bước bên con đến trường, cùng con bay đến những chân trời tri thức. Cánh cò trắng tinh khôi như trang sách trắng mở ra đem đến cho con biết bao hiểu biết, biết bao kinh nghiệm để con có thể bước vào cuộc đời.

    + Rồi con trưởng thành “Con làm gì?”, con đi đâu, ở đâu, lại có “Cánh cò trắng lại bay hoài không nghỉ/ Trước hiên nhà/ Và trong hơi mát câu văn..”

    – Đến đoạn thơ thứ ba thì hình ảnh con cò lại được khai thác ở ý nghĩa tượng trưng cho tấm lòng người mẹ lúc nào cũng theo sát bên con. Lời ru của mẹ sao mà thiết tha, xúc động:

    2.Nghệ thuật:

    + Ở đây, hình ảnh “con cò” lại mang ý nghĩa biểu tượng cho tình mẹ, lúc nào cũng đến với con trong suốt cả cuộc đời.

    – Từ sự thấu hiểu tấm lòng người mẹ, nhà thơ đã khái quát thành một quy luật của tình cảm có ý nghĩa bền vững, rộng lớn và sâu sắc:

    + Lời thơ đã từ cảm xúc mở ra những suy tưởng rồi khái quát thành triết lí. Đây chính là một trong những nét phong cách của nhà thơ Chế Lan Viên. Và chính phong cách này đã khiến ông được mệnh danh là “Nhà thơ triết gia”, đã khiến cho những vần thơ của ông không chỉ mênh mang cảm xúc mà còn vô cùng sâu lắng.

    + Tác giả triết lí về tình mẹ: Đối với mẹ thì bao giờ con cũng bé bỏng, mẹ phải dõi theo từng bước con đi, sẵn sàng hi sinh cả cuộc đời cho con. Còn con, dù có thể thành công hay thất bại, dù có thể thành vĩ nhân, thành anh hùng hay chỉ là một người bình thường thì con vẫn luôn cần có mẹ nâng đỡ, yêu thương, che chở. Ý thơ khiến ta chợt nhớ đến những vần thơ của nữ sĩ Xuân Quỳnh:

    – Mẹ gửi đến con những bài hát ru, gửi đến con biết bao tâm tình, gửi đến con tất cả những yêu thương. Vậy thì tác giả triết lí về lời ru như thế nào?

    Phân tích nhân vật anh thanh niên trong Lặng lẽ Sa Pa I – Tìm hiểu chung:

    + Những câu thơ triết lí mà vẫn mang âm hưởng lời ru nhẹ nhàng mà sâu sắc.

    + Tác giả khẳng định hình tượng con cò trong những bài hát ru của mẹ sẽ theo con suốt cả cuộc đời để nuôi dưỡng tâm hồn con. Con sẽ mang theo hình ảnh con cò, mang theo những lời hát ru, mang theo tình mẹ như một hành trang không thể thiếu để vào đời.

    + Và như thế thì con cò đã có sức sống bất diệt; lời ru sẽ sống mãi với con người, sống mãi với dân tộc Việt Nam.

    + Cũng viết về những điều sâu sắc như thế, thì nhà thơ Nguyễn Duy đã có những câu thơ lục bát rất hay:

    Khai thác hình tượng con cò trong những câu hát ru, bài thơ “Con cò” của Chế Lan Viên ngợi ca tình mẹ và ý nghĩa của lời ru đối với cuộc sống của con người.

    – Bài thơ đậm đà chất liệu dân ca.

    – Hình ảnh con cò gợi nhớ đến những hình ảnh rất quen thuộc của ca dao thuở nào, với giai điệu lời ru ngọt ngào, đằm thắm.

    – Bên cạnh đó, bài thơ có những hình ảnh mang ý nghĩa đúc kết sâu sắc và có tính triết lí, tạo nên chiều sâu cảm xúc thơ: Con dù lớn vẫn là con của mẹ/Đi hết đời,lòng mẹ vẫn theo con; Con cò mẹ hát/Cũng là cuộc đời/Vỗ cánh qua nôi.

    Tác phẩm Làng – Kim Lân

    – Tên khai sinh Nguyễn Văn Tài (1920 – 2007), quê Từ Sơn – Bắc Ninh.

    – Do hoàn cảnh gia đình khó khăn, Kim Lân chỉ được học hết bậc tiểu học rồi phải đi làm. Kim Lân bắt đầu viết văn từ năm 1941.

    – Ông là nhà văn chuyên viết truyện ngắn. Vốn am hiểu và gắn bó sâu sắc cuộc sống nông thôn, Kim Lân hầu như chỉ viết về đề tài sinh hoạt ở làng quê và cảnh ngộ của người nông dân.

    II – Đọc – hiểu văn bản:

    – Một số truyện đã thể hiện được không khí tiêu điều, ảm đạm của nông thôn Việt Nam và cuộc sống lam lũ, vất vả của người nông dân trước Cách mạng tháng Tám.

    – Ông được dư luận chú ý nhiều hơn khi đi vào những đề tài độc đáo như tái hiện sinh hoạt văn hóa phong phú ở thôn quê, qua đó góp phần biểu hiện vẻ đẹp tâm hồn của người nông dân.

    – Sau cách mạng tháng Tám, Kim Lân tiếp tục làm báo, viết văn và vẫn viết về làng quê Việt Nam – mảng hiện thực mà từ lâu ông đã hiểu biết sâu sắc.

    – Ngoài hoạt động sáng tác, nhà văn Kim Lân còn tham gia sân khấu và điện ảnh,ông kịch, đóng phim. (Tiêu biểu là vai Lão Hạc trong bộ phim “Làng Vũ Đại ngày ấy”)

    – Năm 2001, Kim Lân được trao tặng Giải thưởng Nhà nước về văn học nghệ thuật. Ông mất năm 2007, sau một thời gian dài chống chọi với căn bệnh hen suyễn.

    – Các tác phẩm tiêu biểu: Nên vợ nên chồng, Vợ nhặt, Con chó xấu xí, Làng,…

    – “Làng” được viết và đăng báo trên tạp chí Văn nghệ năm 1948 – giai đoạn đầu của cuộc kháng chiến chống Pháp. Trong thời kì này thì người dân nghe theo chính sách của chính phủ: kêu gọi nhân dân ta tản cư, những người dân ở vùng địch tạm chiếm đi lên vùng chiến khu để chúng ta cùng kháng chiến lâu dài.

    – Kim Lân kể lại: “Hồi ấy gia đình tôi cũng đi sơ tán. Trên khu ở mới, có tin đồn làng tôi là làng Việt gian. Mọi người đều nhìn những người dân làng với con mắt chế giễu, khinh thường. Tôi yêu ngôi làng của tôi và không tin làng tôi lại có thể đi theo giặc Pháp. Tôi viết truyện ngắn “Làng” như thể để khẳng định niềm tin của mình và minh oan cho làng tôi”. (Theo “Văn lớp 9 không khó như bạn nghĩ”).

    a.1: Hoàn cảnh sống và làm việc:

    – Đoạn 1: Từ đầu…đến… “ruột gan ông lão cứ múa cả lên, vui quá!”: Ông Hai trước khi nghe tin làng Chợ Dầu theo giặc.

    – Đoạn 2: Tiếp…đến…”cũng vợi được đi đôi phần”: Tâm trạng của ông Hai khi nghe tin làng mình theo giặc.

    – Đoạn 3: Còn lại: Tâm trạng của ông Hai khi tin làng mình theo giặc được cải chính.

    Ông Hai là người làng Chợ Dầu. Trong kháng chiến chống Pháp, ông phải đưa gia đình đi tản cư. Ở đây, lúc nào ông cũng nhớ làng và luôn dõi theo tin tức cách mạng. Khi nghe tin đồn làng Chợ Dầu theo giặc, ông vô cùng đau khổ, cảm thấy xấu hổ, nhục nhã. Ông không đi đâu, không gặp ai, chỉ sợ nghe đồn về làng ông theo giặc. Nỗi lòng buồn khổ đó càng tăng lên khi có tin người ta không cho những người làng ông ở nhờ vì là làng Việt gian. Ông không biết bày tỏ với ai, không dám đi ra ngoài. Thế là ông đành nói chuyện với thằng con út cho vơi nỗi buồn, cho nhẹ bớt những đau khổ tinh thần. Khi nhận tin cải chính, vẻ mặt ông tươi vui, rạng rỡ hẳn lên. Ông chia quà cho các con, và tất bật báo tin cho mọi người rằng nhà ông bị Tây đốt, làng ông không phải là làng Việt gian. Ông thêm yêu và tự hào về cái làng của mình.

    – Đó là khi ông Hai nghe được tin làng Chợ Dầu theo giặc.

    – Nhớ làng da diết – muốn về làng, muốn tham gia kháng chiến.

    – Mong nắng cho Tây chết.

    – Khi nghe tin xấu ông Hai sững sờ, xấu hổ, uất ức: “cổ ông lão nghẹn ắng hẳn lại, da mặt tê rân rân. Ông lão lặng đi tưởng như không thở được”. Từ đỉnh cao của niềm vui, niềm tin ông Hai rơi xuống vực thẳm của sự đau đớn, tủi hổ vì cái tin ấy quá bất ngờ. Khi trấn tĩnh lại được phần nào, ông còn cố chưa tin cái tin ấy. Nhưng rồi những người tản cư đã kể rảnh rọt quá, lại khẳng định họ “vừa ở dưới ấy lên” làm ông không thể không tin. Niềm tự hào về làng thế là sụp đổ, tan tành trước cái tin sét đánh ấy. Cái mà ông yêu quí nhất nay cũng đã quay lưng lại với ông. Không chỉ xấu hổ trước bà con mà ông cũng tự thấy ông mất đi hạnh phúc của riêng ông, cuộc đời ông cũng như chết mất một lần nữa.

    – Từ lúc ấy trong tâm trí ông Hai chỉ còn có cái tin dữ ấy xâm chiếm, nó thành một nỗi ám ảnh day dứt. Nghe tiếng chửi bọn Việt gian, ông”cúi gằm mặt mà đi”. Về đến nhà ông nằm vật ra giường rồi tủi thân nhìn lũ con “nước mắt ông lão cứ giàn ra”. Bao nhiêu điều tự hào về quê hương như sụp đổ trong tâm hồn người nông dân rất mực yêu quê hương ấy. Ông cảm thấy như chính ông mang nỗi nhục của một tên bán nước theo giặc, cả các con ông cũng sẽ mang nỗi nhục ấy.

    – Suốt mấy ngày ông không dám đi đâu. Ông quanh quẩn ở nhà, nghe ngóng tình hình bên ngoài. “Một đám đông túm lại, ông cũng để ý, dăm bảy tiếng cười nói xa xa, ông cũng chột dạ. Lúc nào ông cũng nơm nớp tưởng như người ta đang để ý, người ta đang bàn tán đến “cái chuyện ấy”. Thoáng nghe những tiếng Tây, Việt gian, cam – nhông… là ông lủi ra một nhà, nín thít. Thôi lại chuyện ấy rồi!”

    – Ông Hai rơi vào tình trạng bế tắc, tuyệt vọng khi nghĩ tới tương lai. Ông không biết đi đâu, về làng thi không được, vì về làng lúc này là đồng nghĩa với theo Tây, phản bội kháng chiến. Ở lại thì không xong, vì mụ chủ nhà đã đánh tiếng xua đuổi. Còn đi thi biết đi đâu bởi ai người ta chưa chấp dân làng Chợ Dầu phản bội. Nếu như trước đây, tình yêu làng và tình yêu nước hòa quyện trong nhau thì lúc này, ông Hai buộc phải có sự lựa chọn. Quê hương và Tổ quốc, bên nào nặng hơn? Đó không phải là điều đơn giản vì với ông, làng Chợ Dầu đã trở thành một phần của cuộc đời, không dễ gì vứt bỏ; còn cách mạng là cứu cánh của gia đình ông, giúp cho gia đình ông thoát khỏi cuộc đời nô lệ. Cuối cùng, ông đã quyết định: “Làng thì yêu thật, nhưng làng theo Tây mất rồi thì phải thù”. Như vậy, tình yêu làng dẫu có thiết tha, mãnh liệt đến đâu cũng không thể mãnh liệt hơn tình yêu đất nước. Đó là biểu hiện vẻ đẹp trong tâm hồn của con người Việt Nam, khi cần họ sẵn sàng gạt bỏ tình cảm riêng tư để hướng tới tình cảm chung của cả cộng đồng.

    * Sự khiêm tốn, thành thật:

    – Đúng lúc ông Hai có được quyết định khó khăn ấy thì cái tin làng Chợ Dầu phản bội đã được cải chính. Sự đau khổ của ông Hai trong những ngày qua nhiều bao nhiêu thì niềm phấn khởi và hạnh phúc của ông lúc này càng lớn bấy nhiêu. Ông “bô bô” khoe với mọi người về cái tin làng ông bị “đốt nhẵn”, nhà ông bị “đốt nhẵn”. Nội dung lời “khoe” của ông có vẻ vô lí bởi không ai có thể vui mừng trước cảnh làng, nhà của mình bị giặc tàn phá. Nhưng trong tình huống này thì điều vô lí ấy lại rất dễ hiểu: Sự mất mát về vật chất ấy chẳng thấm vào đâu so với niềm vui tinh thần mà ông đang được đón nhận. Nhà văn Kim Lân đã tỏ ra rất sắc sảo trong việc nắm bắt và miêu tả diễn biến tâm lí của nhân vật.

    Truyện thể hiện chân thực, sinh động tình cảm yêu làng quê thống nhất với lòng yêu đất nước ở nhân vật ông Hai.

    -Tác giả sáng tạo tình huống truyện có tính căng thẳng, thử thách.

    -Xây dựng cốt truyện tâm lí (đó là chú trọng vào các tình huống bên trong nội tâm nhân vật).

    -Nghệ thuật miêu tả tâm lí nhân vật tự nhiên mà sâu sắc,tinh tế.

    c.Nhân vật cô kĩ sư.

    -Ngôn ngữ đặc sắc,sinh động, mang đậm chất khẩu ngữ, gần với lời ăn tiếng nói hằng ngày của người nông dân.

    Tác phẩm Lặng lẽ Sa Pa – Nguyễn Thành Long

    d, Bác lái xe:

    – Nguyễn Thành Long (1925 – 1991), quê ở Duy Xuyên, Quảng Nam.

    – Ông viết văn từ thời kháng chiến chống Pháp, là cây bút chuyên viết truyện ngắn và kí.

    – Ông thường viết về công cuộc xây dựng chủ nghĩa xã hội ở miền Bắc những năm 60 – 70 thế kỉ XX.

    – Truyện ngắn của Nguyễn Thành Long nhẹ nhàng, tình cảm, thường pha chất kí và giàu chất thơ, thấm đẫm chất trữ tình.

    – Văn ông thường ánh lên vẻ đẹp của con người nên có khả năng thanh lọc làm trong sáng tâm hồn, khiến chúng ta thêm yêu cuộc sống.

    – Nguyễn Thành Long ngoài viết văn còn viết báo, làm xuất bản, dịch một số tác phẩm nổi tiếng của văn học nước ngoài.

    – Các tác phẩm tiêu biểu: Giữa trong xanh, Li Sơn mùa tỏi, Bát cơm cụ Hồ, Gió bấc gió nồm, Chuyện nhà chuyện xưởng, Trong gió bão,..

    III. Tổng kết:

    – “Lặng lẽ Sa Pa” được sáng tác năm 1970, trong chuyến đi thực tế của tác giả ở Lào Cai. Đây là một truyện ngắn tiêu biểu ở đề tài viết về cuộc sống mới hòa bình, xây dựng chủ nghĩa xã hội ở miền Bắc.

    – In trong tập “Giữa trong xanh” (1972) của Nguyễn Thành Long.

    – Đoạn 1: Từ đầu…đến… “Kìa, anh ta kia”: Anh thanh niên qua lời giới thiệu của bác lái xe.

    – Đoạn 2: Tiếp…đến… “không có vật gì như thế”: Cuộc gặp gỡ, trò chuyện giữa anh thanh niên với ông họa sĩ và cô kĩ sư.

    Phân tích truyện ngắn Chiếc lược ngà của Nguyễn Quang Sáng I – Tìm hiểu chung:

    – Đoạn 3: Còn lại: Cuộc chia tay cảm động.

    Trên chuyến xe khách từ Hà Nội lên Lào Cai, ông họa sĩ già, bác lái xe, cô kĩ sư trẻ tình cờ quen nhau. Bác lái xe đã giới thiệu cho ông họa sĩ và cô kĩ sư làm quen với anh thanh niên làm công tác khí tượng trên đỉnh Yên Sơn. Trong cuộc gặp gỡ 30 phút, anh thanh niên tặng hoa cho cô gái, pha trà và trò chuyện với mọi người về cuộc sống và công việc của anh. Ông họa sĩ muốn được vẽ chân dung anh. Anh thanh niên từ chối và giới thiệu với ông những người khác mà anh cho là xứng đáng hơn anh. Những con người tình cờ gặp nhau bỗng trở nên thân thiết. Khi chia tay, ông họa sĩ hứa sẽ quay trở lại, cô kĩ sư thấy xúc động, yên tâm hơn về quyết định lên Lào Cai công tác, còn anh thanh niên tặng mọi người một làn trứng.

    – Truyện ngắn “Lặng lẽ Sa Pa” được xây dựng xoay quanh một tình huống truyện khá đơn giản mà tự nhiên. Đó chính là cuộc gặp gỡ tình cở của mấy người khách trên chuyến xe lên Sa Pa với anh thanh niên làm công tác khí tượng trên đỉnh Yên Sơn.

    – Nắng đốt cháy rừng cây, mạ bạc con đèo…

    – Cây hoa tử kinh thỉnh thoảng nhô cái đầu màu hoa cà lên trên màu xanh của rừng.

    2.Tác phẩm:

    – Mây bị nắng xua, cuộn tròn lại từng cục, lăn trên các vòm lá ướt sương, rơi xuống đường cái, luồn cả vào gầm xe.

    Đây là nhân vật chính của truyện. Tuy nhiên tác giả không cho nhân vật xuất hiện ngay từ đầu mà chỉ gián tiếp qua lời giới thiệu rất ấn tượng của bác lái xe (rằng anh ta là “một trong những người cô độc nhất thế gian”, rằng anh ta rất “thèm người” và nếu họa sĩ đến gặp thì thế nào “cũng thích vẽ”; sau đó xuất hiện trực tiếp qua cuộc gặp gỡ, trò chuyện với các nhân vật khác trong khoảng thời gian ngắn ngủi (ba mươi phút). Chỉ 30 phút nhưng cũng đủ để những người tiếp xúc kịp ghi một ấn tượng – kịp để ông họa sĩ thực hiện bức kí họa chân dung, kịp để cô kỹ sư bàng hoàng và có những cái gì đó như hàm ơn về anh. Rồi dường như anh lại khuất lấp vào trong mây mù bạt ngàn và cái lặng lẽ muôn thuở của núi cao Sa Pa. Và mọi người thấm thía điều mà nhà văn muốn nói: Trong cái im lặng của Sa Pa, dưới những dinh thự cũ kĩ của Sa Pa, Sa Pa mà chỉ nghe tên, người ta đã nghĩ đến chuyện nghỉ ngơi, có những người làm việc và lo nghĩ như vậy cho đất nước.

    – Lật từng trang văn của Nguyễn Thành Long, ta thấy anh thanh niên 27 tuổi sống và làm việc một mình trên đỉnh núi cao 2600m, quanh năm làm bạn với mây mù và cây cỏ.

    – Anh làm công tác khí tượng kiêm vật lí địa cầu. Công việc của anh là “đo gió, đo mưa, đo nắng, tính mây và đo chấn động mặt đất, dự báo thời tiết hằng ngày để phục vụ sản xuất và phục vụ chiến đấu”. Một công việc gian khó nhưng đòi hỏi sự chính xác, tỉ mỉ và tinh thần trách nhiệm cao. “Nửa đêm dù mưa tuyết, gió lạnh, đúng giờ ốp thì cũng phải trở dậy ra ngoài trời làm việc”.

    – Hoàn cảnh sống khắc nghiệt vô cùng bởi sự heo hút, vắng vẻ; cuộc sống và công việc có phần đơn điệu, giản đơn… là thử thách thực sự đối với tuổi trẻ vốn sung sức và khát khao trời rộng, khát khao hành động. Nhưng cái gian khổ nhất đối với chàng trai trẻ ấy là phải vượt qua sự cô đơn, vắng vẻ quanh năm suốt tháng ở nơi núi cao không một bóng người. Cô đơn đến mức “thèm người”, phải lăn cây chặn đường dừng xe khách qua núi để được gặp gỡ, trò chuyện.

    – Và anh đã vượt qua hoàn cảnh bằng những suy nghĩ rất đẹp, giản dị mà sâu sắc.

    II – Đọc – hiểu văn bản:

    – Làm việc một mình trên đỉnh núi cao, không có ai giám sát, thúc giục anh vẫn luôn tự giác, tận tụy. Suốt mấy năm ròng rã ghi và báo “ốp” đúng giờ. Phải ghi và báo về nhà trong mưa tuyết lạnh cóng, gió lớn và đêm tối lúc 1h sáng, anh vẫn không ngần ngại.

    – Và anh đã sống thật hạnh phúc khi được biết do kịp thời phát hiện đám mây khô mà anh đã góp phần vào chiến thắng của không quân ta trên bầu trời Hàm Rồng.

    – Anh yêu công việc của mình, anh kể về nó một cách say sưa và tự hào. Với anh, công việc là niềm vui, là lẽ sống. Hãy nghe anh tâm sự với ông họa sĩ: “[…] khi ta làm việc, ta với công việc là đôi, sao gọi là một mình được? Huống chi công việc của cháu gắn liền với việc của bao anh em đồng chí dưới kia. Công việc của cháu gian khổ thế đấy, chứ cất nó đi, cháu buồn đến chết mất”. Qua lời anh kể và lời bộc bạch này, ta hiểu rằng anh đã thực sự tìm thấy niềm vui và hạnh phúc trong công việc thầm lặng giữa Sa Pa và sương mù bao phủ.

    – Sống một mình trên đỉnh núi cao, anh đã chủ động sắp xếp cho mình một cuộc sống ngăn nắp: “một căn nhà ba gian, sạch sẽ, với bàn ghế, sổ sách, biểu đồ, thống kê, máy bộ đàm”. Cuộc sống riêng của anh “thu gọn lại một góc trái gian với chiếc giường con, một chiếc bàn học, một giá sách”.

    – Ngoài công việc, anh còn trồng hoa, nuôi gà, làm cho cuộc sống của mình thêm thi vị, phong phú về vật chất và tinh thần.

    – Cuộc sống của anh không cô đơn, buồn tẻ vì anh có một nguồn vui đó là đọc sách. Anh coi sách như một người bạn để trò chuyện, để thanh lọc tâm hồn. Sách là nhịp cầu kết nối với thế giới nhộn nhịp bên ngoài. (khi bác lái xe đưa gói sách cho anh, anh “mừng quýnh” như bắt được vàng)

    – Sống trong hoàn cảnh như thế sẽ có người dần thu mình lại trong nỗi cô đơn. Nhưng anh thanh niên này thật đáng yêu ở nỗi “thèm người”, lòng hiếu khách đến nồng nhiệt và sự quan tâm đến người khác một cách chu đáo.

    – Biểu hiện:

    + Tình thân với bác lái xe, thái độ ân cần chu đáo, tặng củ tam thất cho vợ bác vừa mới ốm dậy.

    + Vui sướng cuống cuồng khi có khách đến thăm nhà.

    + Anh đón tiếp khách nồng nhiệt, ân cần chu đáo: hái một bó hoa rực rỡ sắc màu tặng người con gái chưa hề quen biết: “Anh con trai, rất tự nhiên như với một người bạn đã quen thân, trao bó hoa đã cắt cho người con gái và cũng rất tự nhiên, cô đỡ lấy”, pha nước chè cho ông họa sĩ.

    + Anh trò chuyện cởi mở với ông họa sĩ và cô kĩ sư về công việc, cuộc sống của mình, của bạn bè nơi Sa Pa lặng lẽ.

    + Đếm từng phút vì sợ hết mất ba mươi phút gặp gỡ vô cùng quý báu.

    + Lưu luyến với khách khi chia tay, xúc động đến nỗi phải “quay mặt đi” và ấn vào tay ông hoạ sĩ già cái làn trứng làm quà, không dám tiễn khách ra xe dù chưa đến giờ “ốp”

    Anh còn là người rất khiêm tốn, thành thực cảm thấy công việc và những lời giới thiệu nhiệt tình của bác lái xe là chưa xứng đáng, đóng góp của mình chỉ là bình thường nhỏ bé, anh vẫn còn thua ông bố vì chưa được đi bộ đội, trực tiếp ra chiến trường đánh giặc. Khi ông hoạ sĩ kí hoạ chân dung, anh từ chối, e ngại và nhiệt tình giới thiệu những người khác đáng vẽ hơn anh nhiều (ông kĩ sư ở vườn rau Sa Pa, anh cán bộ nghiên cứu bản đồ sét…)

    – Tuy không dùng cách kể ở ngôi thứ nhất nhưng hầu như người kể chuyện đã nhập vào cái nhìn và suy nghĩ của nhân vật ông họa sĩ để quan sát và miêu tả từ cảnh thiên nhiên đến nhân vật chính của chuyện. Từ đó, gửi gắm suy nghĩ về con người, về nghệ thuật.

    – Ngay từ những phút ban đầu gặp gỡ anh thanh niên, bằng sự từng trải nghề nghiệp và niềm khao khát của người nghệ sĩ đi tìm đối tượng của nghệ thuật, ông đã xúc động và bối rối.

    – Ông muốn ghi lại hình ảnh anh thanh niên bằng nét bút kí họa và “người con trai ấy đáng yêu thật nhưng làm cho ông nhọc quá”. Những xúc cảm và suy tư của nhân vật ông họa sĩ về người thanh niên và về những điều khác nữa được gợi lên từ câu chuyện của anh làm cho chân dung nhân vật chính thêm sáng đẹp và tạo nên chiều sâu tư tưởng.

    – Đây là cô gái dám rời Hà Nội, bỏ lại sau lưng “mối tình đầu nhạt nhẽo” để lên công tác ở miền cao Tây Bắc. Cuộc gặp gỡ bất ngờ với anh thanh niên, những điều anh nói, câu chuyện anh kể về những người khác đã khiến cô “bàng hoàng”, “cô hiểu thêm cuộc sống một mình dũng cảm tuyệt đẹp của người thanh niên, về cái thế giới những con người như anh mà anh kể, và về con đường cô đang đi tới”. Nhờ cái “bàng hoàng” ấy, cô mới nhận ra mối tình của mình bấy lâu nay nhạt nhẽo biết bao, cuộc sống của mình lâu nay tầm thường biết bao, thế giới của mình lâu nay nhỏ bé biết bao! Khoảnh khắc bàng hoàng ấy chính là sự bừng dậy của những tình cảm lớn lao, cao đẹp khi người ta bắt gặp được những ánh sáng đẹp đẽ toả ra từ cuộc sống, từ tâm hồn người khác.

    – Cùng với sự bàng hoàng ấy là “một ấn tượng hàm ơn khó tả dạt lên trong lòng cô gái. Không phải chỉ vì bó hoa rất to sẽ đi theo cô trong chuyến đi thứ nhất ra đời. Mà vì một bó hoa nào khác nữa, bó hoa của những háo hức và mơ mộng ngẫu nhiên anh cho thêm cô”. Cuộc gặp gỡ đã khơi lên trong tâm tư cô gái trẻ những tình cảm và suy nghĩ mới mẻ, cao đẹp về con người, về cuộc sống. Qua tâm tư của cô gái, ta nhận ra vẻ đẹp và sức ảnh hưởng của nhân vật anh thanh niên.

    – Bác lái xe là nhân vật xuất từ đầu truyện, nhưng cũng kịp thể hiện những nét đẹp trong tính cách. Là người rất yêu công việc, suốt 30 năm trong nghề lái xe mà vẫn luôn giữ được tính cởi mở, niềm nở có trách nhiệm với công việc, nhạy cảm trước vẻ đẹp của thiên nhiên và con người. Bác lái xe là cầu nối giữa anh thanh niên và cuộc đời (mua sách cho anh, dừng xe dưới chân đồi để anh trò chuyện, giới thiệu những người bạn mới cho anh). Bác lái xe cũng là người dẫn dắt truyện, kích thích sự tò mò của ông họa sĩ và cô kĩ sư về anh thanh niên – người cô độc nhất thế gian, người rất “thèm người”

    – Anh bạn đồng nghiệp lặng lẽ cống hiến trên đỉnh Phan-xi-păng cao 3142 mét.

    – Ông kĩ sư vườn rau Sa Pa hết lòng với công việc. Kiên trì, bền bỉ, làm việc trong âm thầm lặng lẽ “ngày này sang ngày khác”. Ông ngồi im trong vườn su hào rình xem cách ong lấy phấn, thụ phận cho hoa su hào. Và tự ông đi thụ phấn cho từng cây su hào để củ su hào nhân dân toàn miền Bắc ăn được to hơn, ngọt hơn. Ông kĩ sư làm cho anh thanh niên cảm thấy cuộc đời đẹp quá! Công việc thầm lặng ấy chỉ những con người nơi mảnh đất Sa Pa mói hiểu hết được ý nghĩa của nó.

    – Anh cán bộ nghiên cứu bản đồ sét. Anh luôn ở trong tư thế sẵn sằng suốt ngày chờ sét “nửa đêm mưa gió, rét buốt, mặc, cứ nghe sét là choáng choàng chạy ra”. Anh đã hi sinh hạnh phúc cá nhân vì niềm đam mê công việc để khai thác “của chìm nông, của chìm sâu” dưới lòng đất làm giàu cho Tổ quốc.

    – Ông bố anh thanh niên xung phong đi bộ đội.

    – Cốt truyện đơn giản, xoay quanh một tình huống đó là có cuộc gặp gỡ bất ngờ giữa ông họa sĩ già, cô kĩ sư trẻ và một anh thanh niên làm công tác khí tượng. Cuộc gặp gỡ chỉ diễn ra trong chốc lát nhưng đã để lại một ấn tượng gợi nhiều suy nghĩ và dẫn chúng ta tới những nhân vật mới: kĩ sư vườn rau, nhà nghiên cứu sét.

    – Xây dựng nhân vật chân dung, nhân vật được ghi lại được đánh giá qua những cảm nhận trực tiếp nhưng không hề nhạt nhòa bởi được khắc họa qua nhiều điểm nhìn và miêu tả tinh tế.

    – Chất thơ của “Lặng lẽ Sa Pa” cũng phụ trợ đắc lực cho bài ca, ca ngợi con người bình dị mà cao quý: trong tình huống trữ tình, trong bức tranh thiên nhiên, trong lời đối thoại, nhưng quan trọng nhất đó là những ý nghĩ, cảm xúc của người trong cuộc và vẻ đẹp rất đỗi nên thơ, nên hoa, nên nhạc của lối sống mà nhân vật chính gợi ra.

    Tác phẩm Chiếc lược ngà – Nguyễn Quang Sáng

    – Nguyễn Quang Sáng, sinh năm 1932, quê ở huyện Chợ Mới, tỉnh An Giang.

    Phân tích Những ngôi sao xa xôi của Lê Minh Khuê

    – Trong kháng chiến chống Pháp, ông tham gia bộ đội, hoạt động ở chiến trường Nam Bộ.

    – Từ sau năm 1954, tập kết ra miền Bắc, Nguyễn Quang Sáng bắt đầu viết văn…

    – Những năm chống Mĩ, ông trở về Nam Bộ tham gia kháng chiến và tiếp tục sáng tác văn học.

    – Tác phẩm của Nguyễn Quang Sáng có nhiều thể loại: truyện ngắn, tiểu thuyết, kịch bản phim và hầu như chỉ viết về cuộc sống và con người Nam Bộ trong hai cuộc kháng chiến cũng như sau hòa bình.

    – Năm 2000, ông được Nhà nước tặng Giải thưởng Hồ Chí Minh về văn học nghệ thuật.

    – Truyện ngắn “Chiếc lược ngà” được viết năm 1966 – khi tác giả hoạt động ở chiến trường Nam Bộ những năm kháng chiến chống Mĩ và được đưa vào tập truyện cùng tên.

    – Nói về hoàn cảnh viết truyện ngắn “Chiếc lược ngà”, Nguyễn Quang Sáng tâm sự:

    “Năm 1966, tôi từ miền Bắc trở về miền Nam. Vùng Đồng Tháp Mười mênh mông nước trắng. Tôi đi ghe vào sâu trong rừng và sống ở một nhà sàn treo trên ngọn cây. Lúc đó, đoàn giao liên dẫn đường toàn là nữ. Tôi rất có ấn tượng với câu chuyện của một cô gái giao liên có chiếc lược ngà trắng. Sau khi nghe cô kể chuyện, tôi ngồi viết một ngày, một đêm là hoàn thành tác phẩm này”.

    (Văn lớp 9 không khó như bạn nghĩ)

    – Văn bản trong sách giáo khoa là đoạn trích phần giữa của truyện.

    c. Chủ đề: Diễn tả một cách cảm động tình cha con thắm thiết, sâu nặng của cha con ông Sáu trong hoàn cảnh éo le của chiến tranh.

    Ông Sáu xa nhà đi kháng chiến. Mãi đến khi con gái lên tám tuổi, ông mới có dịp về thăm nhà, thăm con. Bé Thu không nhận ra cha vì vết sẹo trên mặt làm ba em không giống với người cha trong bức ảnh mà em biết. Em đối xử với ba như người xa lạ. Đến khi Thu nhận ra cha, tình cha con thức dậy mãnh liệt trong em thì cũng là lúc ông Sáu phải lên đường trở về khu căn cứ. Ở khu căn cứ, người cha dồn hết tình cảm yêu quý, nhớ thương đứa con vào việc làm một chiếc lược bằng ngà voi để tặng con. Trong một trận càn, ông Sáu hi sinh. Trước lúc ra đi mãi mãi, ông đã kịp trao cây lược cho bác Ba, nhờ bạn chuyển cho con gái.

    – Tình huống 1: Đó là cuộc gặp gỡ của hai cha con ông Sáu sau tám năm xa cách, nhưng thật trớ trêu là bé Thu không nhận cha, đến lúc em nhận ra và biểu lộ tình cảm thắm thiết thì ông Sáu lại phải lên đường.

    – Tình huống 2: Ở khu căn cứ, ông Sáu dồn tất cả tình yêu thương và lòng mong nhớ đứa con vào việc làm cây lược ngà để tặng con, nhưng ông đã hi sinh khi chưa kịp trao món quà ấy cho con gái.

    – Thu thương cha như thế. Ta tưởng chừng như khi được gặp cha, nó sẽ bồi hồi, sung sướng và sà vào vòng tay của ba nó nũng nịu với tình cảm mãnh liệt hơn bao giờ hết. Nhưng không, Thu đã làm cho người đọc phải bất ngờ qua hành động quyết liệt không chịu nhận ông Sáu là ba. “Nghe gọi, con bé giật mình, tròn mắt nhìn… ngơ ngác, lạ lùng…”. Khi ông Sáu đến gần, giọng lặp bặp run run: “Ba đây con! Ba đây con” thì “Con bé thấy lạ quá, mặt bỗng tái đi, rồi vụt chạy và kêu thét lên: Má! Má !”.

    – Suốt ba ngày, ông Sáu chẳng đi đâu xa, muốn ở bên con vỗ về, chăm sóc, bù đắp cho con sự thiếu thốn tình cảm. Song, ông càng xích lại gần thì nó càng tìm cách xa lánh, nhất định không gọi một tiếng “ba”.

    a.Nét chung:

    + Khi má dọa đánh bắt kêu “ba” vào ăn cơm, nó nói trổng: “Vô ăn cơm!”; “Cơm chín rồi!”; “Con kêu rồi mà người ta không nghe”. Hai tiếng “người ta” làm ông Sáu đau lòng đến mức không khóc được, chỉ khe khẽ lắc đầu cười.

    + Đến bữa sau, má giao cho nó nhiệm vụ ở nhà trông nồi cơm,nó không thể tự chắt nước. Tưởng chừng nó phải cầu cứu đến người lớn, phải gọi “ba”. Nhưng quyết không, nó vẫn nói trổng “Cơm sôi rồi, chắt nước giùm cái!”. Bác Ba mở đường cho nó, nhưng nó không để ý, nó lại kêu “Cơm sôi rồi, nhão bây giờ!”. Ông Sáu cứ vẫn ngồi im. Và nó đã tự mình làm lấy công việc nguy hiểm và quá sức, mà nhất định không chịu nhượng bộ, nhất định không chịu cất lên cái tiếng mà ba nó mong chờ.

    + Đỉnh điểm của kịch tính: bé Thu hất cái trứng cá mà ông Sáu đã gắp cho nó, làm cơm văng tung tóe. Ông Sáu không thể chịu đựng nổi nữa trước thái độ lạnh lùng của đứa con gái mà ông hết mực yêu thương, ông đã nổi giận và chẳng kịp suy nghĩ, ông vung tay đánh vào mông nó. Bị ông Sáu đánh,Thu không khóc, gắp lại trứng cá rồi bỏ sang nhà ngoại, lúc đi còn cố ý khua dây lòi tói kêu rổn rảng.

    – Những chi tiết bình thường mà tinh tế này chứng tỏ nhà văn rất thấu hiểu tâm lí trẻ em. Trẻ con vốn rất thơ ngây nhưng cũng đầy cố chấp, nhất là khi chúng có sự hiểu lầm, chúng kiên quyết chối từ tình cảm của người khác mà không cần cân nhắc, nhất là với một cô bé cá tính, bướng bỉnh như Thu. Người đọc nhiều khi thấy giận em, thương cho anh Sáu. Nhưng thật ra em vẫn là cô bé dễ thương. Bởi nguyên nhân sâu xa của sự chối từ ấy vẫn là tình yêu ba. Tình yêu đến tôn thờ, trung thành tuyệt đối với người ba trong tấm ảnh chụp chung với má – người ba với gương mặt không có vết thẹo dài.

    – Bằng sự quan sát tinh tế, bác Ba là người đầu tiên nhận ra sự thay đổi của Thu trong “vẻ mặt sầm lại buồn rầu”, “đôi mắt như to hơn nhìn với vẻ nghĩ ngợi sâu xa”. Điều đó cho thấy trong tâm hồn đứa trẻ nhạy cảm như Thu đã có ý thức về cảm giác chia li, giây phút này em thèm biểu lộ tình yêu với ba hơn hết, nhưng sự ân hận về những gì mình đã làm ba buồn khiến em không dám bày tỏ. Để rồi tình yêu ba trào dâng mãnh liệt trong em vào khoảnh khắc ba nhìn em với cái nhìn trìu mến, giọng nói ấm áp “thôi, ba đi nghe con!”. Đúng vào lúc không một ai ngờ tới, kể cả ông Sáu, Thu thốt lên tiếng kêu thét “Ba…a…a…ba!”. “Tiếng kêu của nó như tiếng xé, xé sự im lặng và ruột gan mọi người nghe thật xót xa. Đó là tiếng “ba” nó cố kìm nén trong bao nhiêu năm nay, tiếng “ba” như vỡ tung ra từ đáy lòng nó”. Tiếng gọi thân thương ấy đứa trẻ nào cũng gọi đến thành quen nhưng với cha con Thu là nỗi khát khao của 8 năm trời xa cách thương nhớ. Đó là tiếng gọi của trái tim, của tình yêu trong lòng đứa bé 8 tuổi mong chờ giây phút gặp ba.

    – Đi liền với tiếng gọi là những cử chỉ vồ vập, cuống quýt trong nỗi ân hận của Thu: chạy xô tới, nhảy thót lên, dang chặt hai tay ôm lấy cổ ba, hôn ba cùng khắp, hôn tóc, hôn cổ, hôn vai, hôn cả vết thẹo dài trên má, khóc trong tiếng nấc, kiên quyết không cho ba đi… Cảnh tượng ấy tô đậm thêm tình yêu mãnh liệt, nỗi khát khao mong mỏi mà Thu dành cho ba. Phút giây ấy khiến mọi người xung quanh không ai cầm được nước mắt và bác Ba “bỗng thấy khó thở như có bàn tay ai nắm chặt trái tim mình”.

    – Dường như nhà văn Nguyễn Quang Sáng cũng muốn kéo dài thêm giây phút chia ly của cha con Thu trong cảm nhận của người đọc bằng cách rẽ mạch truyện sang một hướng khác, để bác Ba nghe bà ngoại Thu kể lại cuộc chuyện trò của hai bà cháu đêm qua. Chi tiết này vừa giải thích cho ta hiểu thái độ bướng bỉnh không nhận ba hôm trước của bé Thu và sự thay đổi trong hành động của em hôm nay. Như vậy, trong lòng cô bé, tình yêu dành cho ba luôn là một tình cảm thống nhất, mãnh liệt. Dù cách biểu hiện tình yêu ấy thật khác nhau trong hai hoàn cảnh, nhưng nó vẫn xuất phát trừ một cội nguồn trong trái tim đứa trẻ luôn khao khát tình cha. Tuy nhiên, Thu trước sau vẫn chỉ là một cô bé ngây thơ, em đồng ý cho ba đi để ba mua một chiếc lược, món quà nhỏ mà bất cứ em bé gái nào cũng ao ước. Bắt đầu từ chi tiết này, chiếc lược ngà bước vào câu chuyện, trở thành một chứng nhân âm thầm cho tình cha con thiêng liêng, bất tử.

    – Nỗi khao khát gặp lại con sau tám năm xa cách.

    + Khi gặp lại con, không chờ xuồng cập bến, ông đã “nhún chân nhảy thót lên, xô chiếc xuồng tạt ra, bước vội vàng với những bước dài rồi dừng lại kêu to: Thu! Con” Anh vừa bước vào vừa khom người đưa tay đón chờ con… Anh không ghìm nổi xúc động….

    + Khi bé Thu sợ hãi bỏ chạy, anh đứng sững lại đó, nhìn theo con, nỗi đau đớn khiến mặt anh sầm lại trông thật đáng thương và hai tay buông xuống như bị gãy.

    * Nhạy cảm, mơ mộng:

    – Nỗi khổ và niềm vui trong ba ngày về thăm nhà.

    + Trước thái độ lạnh nhạt, ông đã đau khổ, cảm thấy bất lực: Suốt ngày anh chẳng đi đâu xa, lúc nào cũng vỗ về con. Nhưng càng vỗ về, con bé càng đẩy ra. Anh mong được nghe một tiếng ba của con bé, nhưng con bé chẳng bao giờ chịu gọi. Anh đau khổ lắm nhưng chỉ “nhìn con vừa khe khẽ lắc đầu vừa cười” vì “khổ tâm đến nỗi không khóc được”.

    – Tình yêu con tha thiết của ông còn được thể hiện rất sâu sắc khi ông ở khu căn cứ:

    * Hồn nhiên, yêu đời:

    + Xa con, ông luôn nhớ con trong nỗi day dứt, ân hận ám ảnh vì mình đã lỡ tay đánh con.

    + Lời dặn của con lúc chia tay đã thôi thúc ông làm cho con cây lược.

    + Tác giả diễn tả tình cảm của ông Sáu xung quanh chuyện ông làm chiếc lược:

    _ Kiếm được khúc ngà voi, ông hớn hở như đứa trẻ được quà: “từ con đường mòn chạy lẫn trong rừng sâu, anh hớt hải chạy về, tay cầm khúc ngà đưa lên khoe với tôi. Mặt anh hớn hở như một đứa trẻ được quà”.

    _ Rồi ông dồn hết tâm trí và công sức vào việc làm cho con cây lược: “anh cưa từng chiếc răng lược, thận trọng, tỉ mỉ và cố công như một người thợ bạc”. Trên sống lưng lược, ông đã gò lưng, tẩn mẩn khắc từng nét chữ: “Yêu nhớ tặng Thu con của ba”. Ông gửi vào đó tất cả tình yêu và nỗi nhớ.

    – Ông Sáu đã hi sinh trong trận càn lớn của quân Mĩ – ngụy khi chưa kịp trao cây lược cho con gái. “Trong giờ phút cuối cùng, không còn đủ sức trăng trối lại điều gì, hình như chỉ có tình cha con là không thể chết được”, tất cả tàn lực cuối cùng chỉ còn cho ông làm một việc “đưa tay vào túi, móc cây lược” đưa cho người bạn chiến đấu. Đó là điều trăng trối không lời nhưng nó thiêng liêng hơn cả những lời di chức. Nó là sự ủy thác, là ước nguyện cuối cùng, ước nguyện của tình phụ tử. Và bắt đầu từ giây phút ấy, cây lược của tình phụ tử đã biến người đồng đội của ông Sáu thành một người cha thứ hai của bé

    – Truyện “Chiếc lược ngà” đã thể hiện một cách cảm động tình cha con thắm thiết, sâu nặng và cao đẹp của cha con ông Sáu trong hoàn cảnh éo le của chiến tranh.

    – Truyện còn gợi cho người đọc nghĩ đến và thấm thía những mất mát đau thương, éo le mà chiến tranh gây ra cho bao nhiêu con người, bao nhiêu gia đình.

    – Xây dựng tình huống truyện bất ngờ mà tự nhiên, hợp lí

    – Miêu tả diễn biến tâm lí nhân vật tinh tế và sâu sắc, nhất là đối với nhân vật bé Thu.

    – Ngôn ngữ truyện mang đậm chất địa phương Nam Bộ.

    * Giới thiệu bài học:

    Đường Trường sơn – đông nắng, tây mưa; một cái tên thôi cũng gợi cho ta về một thời lửa cháy, gợi hình ảnh đoàn quân cha trước con sau cùng hát khúc quân hành, gợi những đoàn xe ra trận vì Miền Nam thân yêu. Viết về những nẻo đường Trường Sơn trong những năm đánh Mĩ, không chỉ có những bài thơ, bài ca ca ngợi những chiến sĩ lái xe hay những cô gái mở đường trong trang thơ của Lâm Thị Mĩ Dạ mà còn có những câu chuyện đầy cảm phục viết về những cô gái thanh niên xung phong, những cô trinh sát mặt đường, những cô chuyên phá bom nổ chậm mở đường cho xe qua. Những cô gái trẻ ấy đã được Lê Minh Khuê (một cây bút nữ xuất sắc của mảnh đất Xứ Thanh) kể lại và khắc hoạ chân dung tâm hồn tính cách. Ba cô gái trẻ là những ngôi sao xa xôi trên cao điểm Trường Sơn.

    – Lê Minh Khuê sinh năm 1949, quê ở huyện Tĩnh Gia, tỉnh Thanh Hóa.

    Đêm đêm tâm hồn em tỏa sáng Những vì sao ngời chói lung linh. III. Tổng kết:

    – Trong kháng chiến chống Mĩ, gia nhập thanh niên xung phong và bắt đầu viết văn vào đầu những năm 70.

    – Lê Minh Khuê là cây bút nữ chuyên về truyện ngắn.

    – Trong những năm chiến tranh, truyện của Lê Minh Khuê viết về cuộc sống chiến đầu của tuổi trẻ ở tuyến đường Trường Sơn.

    – Sau năm 1975, tác phẩm của nhà văn bám sát những chuyển biến của đời sống xã hội và con người trên tinh thần đổi mới.

    – Truyện “Những ngôi sao xa xôi” ở trong số những tác phẩm đầu tay của Lê Minh Khuê, viết năm 1971, lúc cuộc kháng chiến chống Mĩ của dân tộc đang diễn ra các liệt. Văn bản đưa vào sách giáo khoa có lược bớt một số đoạn.

    “Những ngôi sao xa xôi” kể về cuộc sống chiến đấu của ba cô thanh niên xung phong – tổ trinh sát mặt đường – Phương Định, Nho và chị Thao. Họ sống trong một cái hang, trên cao điểm tại một vùng trọng điểm ở tuyến đường Trường Sơn những năm chống Mỹ. Công việc của họ là quan sát máy bay địch ném bom, đo khối lượng đất đá để san lấp hố bom do địch gây ra, đánh dấu những quả bom chưa nổ và phá bom. Công việc nguy hiểm, luôn phải đối mặt với cái chết, nhưng cuộc sống của họ vẫn không mất đi niềm vui hồn nhiên của tuổi trẻ, những giây phút thảnh thơi, thơ mộng. Họ rất gắn bó, yêu thương nhau dù mỗi người một cá tính. Trong một lần phá bom, Nho bị thương, hai người đồng đội hết lòng lo lắng và chăm sóc cho Nho. Một cơn mưa đá vụt đến và vụt đi đã gợi trong lòng Phương Định bao hoài niệm, khát khao.

    Ca ngợi cuộc sống, chiến đấu của thanh niên xung phong trên tuyến đường Trường Sơn.

    – Truyện kể theo ngôi thứ nhất.

    – Tác dụng:

    + Tạo một điểm nhìn phù hợp dễ dàng tái hiện hiện thực khốc liệt của chiến tranh.

    + Khắc họa thế giới tâm hồn, cảm xúc và suy nghĩ của nhân vật một cách chân thực giàu sức thuyết phục.

    + Làm hiện lên vẻ đẹp của con người trong chiến tranh.

    – Ba cô gái ở trong một cái hang dưới chân cao điểm, giữa một vùng trọng điểm trên tuyến đường Trường Sơn, nơi tập trung nhiều nhất bom đạn, sự nguy hiểm và ác liệt, từng ngày từng giờ phải đối mặt với bom rơi, đạn nổ. Có biết bao thương tích vì bom đạn giặc: “Đường bị đánh lở loét, màu đất đỏ, trắng lẫn lộn. Hai bên đường không có lá xanh. Chỉ có những thân cây bị tước khô cháy. Những cây nhiều rễ nằm lăn lóc. Những tảng đá to. Một vài cáithùng xăng hoặc thành ô tô méo mó, han gỉ nằm trong đất”. Đó là hiện thực đầy mùi chiến tranh, không có màu xanh của sự sống, chỉ thấy thần chết luôn rình rập.

    – Công việc của các cô đặc biệt nguy hiểm. Họ phải chạy trên cao điểm giữa ban ngày, phơi mình ra giữa vùng trọng điểm đánh phá của máy bay địch để đo và ước tính khối lượng đất đá lấp vào hố bom, đếm bom chưa nổ và nếu cần thì phá bom. Nhiệm vụ của họ thật quan trọng nhưng cũng đầy gian khổ, hi sinh, phải mạo hiểm với cái chết, luôn căng thẳng thần kinh, đòi hỏi sự dũng cảm và bình tĩnh hết sức.

      Vẻ đẹp tâm hồn của ba cô gái thanh niên xung phong và cũng là của tuổi trẻ Việt Nam trong cuộc kháng chiến chống Mĩ:

    Họ là những cô gái còn rất trẻ, tuổi đời mười tám đôi mươi. Nghe theo tiếng gọi thiêng liêng của Tổ quốc, họ rời xa gia đình, xa mái trường, tình nguyện vào cái nơi mà sự mất còn chỉ diễn ra trong gang tấc. Họ hi sinh tuổi thanh xuân và không tiếc máu xương, thực hiện lí tưởng cao đẹp: “Xẻ dọc Trường Sơn đi cứu nước/ Mà lòng phơi phới dậy tương lại”.

    – Qua thực tế chiến đấu, cả ba cô gái đều có tinh thần trách nhiệm cao với công việc, lòng dũng cảm, gan dạ không sợ gian khổ hi sinh:

    + Mặc dù còn rất trẻ, luôn phải đối mặt với bom rơi, đạn nổ, họ có thể hi sinh bất cứ lúc nào, nhưng để con đường được thông suốt nên các cô luôn sẵn sàng trong việc ra trận. Có lệnh là lên đường bất kể trong tình huống nào. Họ làm việc một cách tự nguyện, luôn nhận khó khăn, nguy hiểm về mình: “Tôi một quả bom trên đồi. Nho hai quả dưới lòng đường. Chị Thao một quả dưới cái chân hầm ba – ri – e cũ”. Đối mặt với hiểm nguy, các cô cũng nghĩ đến cái chết nhưng là “một cái chết mờ nhạt không cụ thể” quan trọng là “liệu mìn có nổ, bom có nổ không?”. Như thế họ đã đặt công việc lên trên cả tính mạng của mình.

    + Họ bình tĩnh, can trường và có tinh thần dũng cảm. Những lúc căng thẳng nhất, chị Thao móc cái bánh bích quy trong túi ra nhai. Họ nói đến công việc phá bom với giọng điệu bình thản: “Quen rồi. Một ngày chúng tôi phá bom đến năm lần. Ngày nào ít: ba lần”. Khi phá bom, bước tới những quả bom chưa nổ, họ không đi khom mà cứ đường hoàng, thẳng lưng bước tới. Đối mặt với cái chết, các cô không hề run sợ mà bình tĩnh moi đất, đặt dây, châm lửa, tính toán sao cho chính xác.

    – Ở họ còn có tình đồng đội gắn bó, thân thiết: hiểu được tính tình, sở thích của nhau, quan tâm chăm sóc nhau rất chu đáo. Phương Định bồn chồn, lo lắng khi chờ chị Thao và Nho đi trinh sát trên cao điểm. Khi Nho bị thương, Phương Định và chị Thao đã lo lắng, băng bó chăm sóc Nho cẩn thận với niềm xót xa như chị em ruột thịt và cảm thấy “đau hơn người bị thương”.

    – Cuộc sống chiến đấu ở chiến trường thật gian khổ, hiểm nguy nhưng họ luôn lạc quan, yêu đời. Họ có cuộc sống nội tâm phong phú, đáng yêu, dễ xúc cảm, nhiều mơ ước. Họ thích làm đẹp cho cuộc sống của mình ngay cả trong hoàn cảnh chiến trường ác liệt. Nho thích thêu thùa, chị Thao chăm chép bài hát, Phương Định thích ngắm mình trong gương, ngồi bó gối mộng mơ và hát… Họ hồn nhiên như những đứa trẻ trước cơn mưa đá. Và trận mưa đã trở thành nỗi nhớ – sự nối dài quá khứ hôm qua và khát vọng mai sau. Kỉ niệm sống dậy như những khoảng sáng trong tâm hồn, những cảm xúc hồn nhiên như nguồn sống, điểm tựa, giúp họ thêm vững vàng, thêm sức mạnh vượt qua những khó khăn, nguy hiểm.

    – Nho là một cô gái trẻ, xinh xắn, “trông nó nhẹ, mát mẻ như một que kem trắng”, cô “cái cổ tròn và những cúc áo nhỏ nhắn” rất dễ thương khiến Phương Định “muốn bế nó trên tay”. Nho lại rất hồn nhiên – cái hồn nhiên trẻ thơ: “vừa tắm dưới suối lên, cứ quần áo ướt, Nho ngồi, đòi ăn kẹo”; khi bị thương nằm trong hang vẫn nhổm dậy, xòe tay xin mấy viên đá mưa. Nhưng trong chiến đấu thì rất dũng cảm, hành động thật nhanh gọn: “Nho cuộn tròn cái gối, cất nhanh vào túi”, “quay lưng lại chúng tôi, chụp cái mũ sắt lên đầu…” Và trong một lần phá bom, cô đã bị sập hầm, đất phủ kín lên người. Mặc dù bị thương rất đau nhưng cô không rên la, không muốn cho đồng đội phải lo lắng.

    – Chị Thao, tổ trưởng, ít nhiều có từng trải hơn, mơ ước và dự tính về tương lai có vẻ thiết thực hơn, nhưng cũng không thiếu nhưng khát khao và rung động của tuổi trẻ. “Áo lót của chị cái nào cũng thêu chỉ màu”. Chị lại hay tỉa đôi lông mày của mình, tỉa nhỏ như cái tăm. Nhưng trong công việc, ai cũng gờm chị về tính cương quyết, táo bạo. Đặc biệt là sự “bình tĩnh đến phát bực”: máy bay địch đến nhưng chị vẫn “móc bánh quy trong túi, thong thả nhai”. Có ai ngờ con người dày dạn trước sự sống và cái chết như thế lại sợ máu, sợ vắt: “thấy máu, thấy vắt là chị nhắm mắt lại, mặt tái mét”. Và không ai có thể quên được chị hát: nhạc sai bét, giọng thì chua, chị chăm chép bài hát dù chẳng thuộc nhạc, giọng lại chua, chị không hát trôi chảy được bài nào nhưng chị lại có ba quyển sổ dày chép bài hát và rỗi là chị ngồi chép bài hát.

    – Phương Định cũng trẻ trung như Nho, là một cô học sinh thành phố, nhạy cảm và hồn nhiên, thích mơ mộng và hay sống với những kỉ niệm của tuổi thiếu nữ vô tư về gia đình và về thành phố của mình. Ở đoạn cuối truyện, sau khi trận mưa đá tạnh, là cả một dòng thác kỉ niệm về gia đình, về thành phố trào lên và xoáy mạnh như sóng trong tâm trí cô gái. Có thể nói đây là những nét riêng của các cô gái trẻ Hà Nội vào chiến trường tham gia đánh giặc, tuy gian khổ nhưng vẫn giữ được cái phong cách riêng của người Hà Nội, rất trữ tình và đáng yêu.

    1. Nhân vật PhươngĐịnh:
    2. Phương Định là cô gái có tâm hồn trong sáng:

    – Là cô gái trẻ người Hà Nội, từng có một thời học sinh hồn nhiên vô tư.

    – Hay nhớ về kỷ niệm (kỷ niệm luôn sống lại trong cô ngay giữa chiến trường ác liệt; chỉ một cơn mưa đá vụt qua là kỷ niệm lại thức dậy trong cô…) Nó vừa là khao khát, vừa là liều thuốc tinh thần động viên cô nơi tuyến lửa.

    – Nhạy cảm, thường quan tâm đến hình thức (tự đánh giá mình là một cô gái khá…); biết mình được nhiều người để ý, thấy tự hào nhưng không vồn vã mà tỏ ra kín đáo, tưởng như kiêu kì.

    – Hay mơ mộng, tìm thấy sự thú vị trong cuộc sống, trong cả công việc đầy nguy hiểm “Việc nào cũng có cái thú vị của nó. Có ở đâu như thế này hay không…” Nó như thách thức thần kinh con người để rồi lúc vượt qua nó, chiến thắng nó, cô cảm thấy thú vị.

    – Thích hát, thuộc rất nhiều bài hát (từ bài hành khúc bộ đội đến…), thậm chí bịa ra lời mà hát.

    – Dưới cơn mưa đá, cô “vui thích cuống cuồng”, say sưa tận hưởng cơn mưa hồn nhiên như chưa hề nghe thấy tiếng bom rơi đạn nổ.

    – Có tinh thần trách nhiệm với công việc.

    – Dũng cảm, gan dạ.

    – Bình tĩnh, tự tin và rất tự trọng.

    – Khi thực hiện nhiệm vụ phá bom, ban đầu cô cũng thấy căng thẳng, hồi hộp, nhưng cảm thấy có ánh mắt của các chiến sĩ đang dõi theo động viên, khích lệ, lòng tự trọng trong cô đã thắng cả bom đạn. Cô không đi khom mà đàng hoàng bước tới; bình tĩnh, tự tin thực hiện từng thao tác phá bom, chạy đua với thời gian để vượt qua cái chết.

    – Thương yêu những người đồng đội của mình:

    + Chăm sóc Nho chu đáo.

    + Hiểu rõ tâm trạng lo lắng của Thao khi Nho bị thương, mặc dù Thao đã cố che dấu bằng việc bảo cô hát.

    + Với đại đội trưởng, chỉ tiếp xúc qua điện thoại nhưng biết rõ từ cách ăn nói đến đặc điểm riêng.

    + Quý trọng và cảm phục tất cả những chiến sĩ mà cô đã gặp trên tuyến đường Trường Sơn.

    – Qua dòng suy tư của Phương Định, người đọc không chỉ thấy sự toả sáng của phẩm chất anh hùng mà còn hình dung được thế giới nội tâm phong phú ở cô.

    – Sự khốc liệt của chiến tranh đã tôi luyện tâm hồn vốn nhạy cảm yếu đuối thành bản lĩnh kiên cường của người anh hùng cách mạng.

    – Nét điệu đà, hồn nhiên, duyên dáng của một cô gái càng tôn thêm vẻ đáng yêu của cô Thanh niên xung phong gan dạ, dũng cảm.

    – Phương Định (cũng như Nho và Thao) là hình ảnh tiêu biểu cho thế hệ trẻ Việt Nam thời chống Mỹ cứu nước.

    Truyện “Những ngôi sao xa xôi” của Lê Minh Khuê đã làm nổi bật tâm hồn trong sáng, mơ mộng, tinh thần dũng cảm, cuộc sống chiến đấu đầy gian khổ, hi sinh nhưng rất hồn nhiên, lạc quan của những cô gái thanh niên xung phong trên tuyến đường Trường Sơn. Đó chính là hình ảnh đẹp, tiêu biểu về thế hệ trẻ Việt Nam trong thời kì kháng chiến chống Mĩ.

    – Lựa chọn ngôi kể phù hợp, cách kể chuyện tự nhiên.

    – Nghệ thuật xây dựng nhân vật, nhất là miêu tả tâm lí.

    – Ngôn ngữ giản dị, vừa mang tính khẩu ngữ vừa đậm chất trữ tình.

    – Câu văn ngắn, nhịp điệu dồn dập, gợi không khí chiến trường.

    ………………………………………

    --- Bài cũ hơn ---

  • Ôn Thi Vào Lớp 10 Môn Ngữ Văn
  • Trắc Nghiệm Ngữ Văn Lớp 10: Bài
  • Đề Kiểm Tra Ngữ Văn Lớp 10
  • Bài Tập Đọc Hiểu Ngữ Văn 10 Có Đáp Án Chi Tiết Đến Từng “mili”
  • Tuần 26. Hồi Trống Cổ Thành (Trích Hồi 28
  • Oleg Tinkov “i’m Just Like Anyone Else” (Published In 2010; Full Text In English)

    --- Bài mới hơn ---

  • The Programmer’s Corner “” Various Text Files
  • Rừng Xà Nu Sách Giáo Khoa
  • Tuyển Tập Các Đề Văn Về Bài Rừng Xà Nu (Nguyễn Trung Thành) Có Lời Giải
  • Soạn Bài Rừng Xà Nu (Nguyễn Trung Thành)
  • Tuần 22. Rừng Xà Nu
  • Dedicated to my father, Yury Timofeyevich Tinkov (1937‑2002), miner in the Kuznetsk Basin and to Rina Vosman’s father, Valentin Avgustovich Vosman (1935‑2006), Estonian miner

    Just like anyone else

    Dear reader, this book has been written from my heart and soul. I don’t mean to tell you what to do or to show off, but to tell you the story of my journey of the last 42 years.

    Those of us who were born between the end of the 1960s and the start of the 1970s are very fortunate. Our time fell within a time of revolution-on the boundary between socialism and capitalism. I’d like to use my biography to give an account of this dramatic period in our country’s history. This book is not meant to be educational, then; you would be mistaken to see it as such. I had no such goal in writing it.

    But to him who has ears: let him hear. I’ll be happy if my experiences are helpful too. Smart people always learn from the mistakes of others; they seek out what other people’s lives have to offer. Please learn, then, and find answers to your questions.

    I repeat, though: this isn’t a book on how to create a successful business. It’s not a self-help book and it isn’t a set of teachings-it’s just my life described.

    Oleg Tinkov I initially agreed to write this blurb for Oleg’s book because I like him and his family enormously. Having read it I can see how useful it would be for aspiring entrepneurs in Russia to read. Here’s a man who literally built an empire from scratch without the help of handouts from Russian residents or family! He shows the way for the new entrepneurs of the future!

    Richard Branson, Virgin

    From the Editor

    When I was working as a journalist in St. Petersburg, I covered financial topics only. Thus my work never brought me into contact with Oleg Tinkov, who was an electronics salesman, frozen food producer, and owner of a restaurant on Kazanskaya Street. Sometime around 1995, however, I was made aware of this ambitious businessman and was amazed at how rapidly he was changing the game.

    At this point Oleg was already involved in what he refers to, in this book, as “speculation.” He began construction on a large brewery. The beer market was already fully saturated, however, and so not an easy place for a small player to stay alive. At the same time there were powerful players that would be able to buy out a new factory. What if they didn’t buy? Intriguing. I was interested to see what Oleg Tinkov would do next.

    When I found out in 2005 that Tinkov had sold his company to Belgian InBev for over 200 million dollars, I immediately thought that the history of such a success was worthy of a book. At that time Oleg was busy with his cycling team and, in 2006, he told be he was starting a bank, Tinkoff Credit Systems. His business model was an original one. At that time there were no exclusively Russian credit card companies. To be honest, I didn’t believe the project would be a success (you can’t be successful every time you enter a new market). The fact remains, however, that by 2009 the bank’s net profit had reached nearly 20 million dollars.

    In 2007, I offered Oleg a weekly column in Finance magazine. He agreed to write it. At the same time I reminded Oleg about the book idea. I even sent him a first paragraph: “On the 14 th of September, Oleg Tinkov came back from a two-month international tour where he had enjoyed his status as the owner of a cycling team. When he arrived at his office, the first thing he did was go to the massive aquarium by reception to find out how his fish were doing. He was sad to discover that one of the babies had been eaten by one of the larger fish. There were still grounds for optimism, though: after all, the rest of the babies had reached maturity and this meant their safety was now all but secured. Tinkoff Credit Systems was like a little fish in the credit card market.”

    Oleg Anisimov

    Oleg Tinkov and Oleg Anisimov working on I’m Just Like Anyone Else on the island of Elba

    Chapter 1

    Between the Beer and the Bank

    I spent the summer of 2005 happy as a puppy, in Tuscany, cycling and relaxing. I felt ptty pleasant-removed from it all-as I had just sold my Tinkoff beer business to the Belgian company InBev for 260 million dollars. At 37, I had become a true multimillionaire.

    My life offered an interesting vantage point on the evolution of Russian consciousness. When I sold my Tekhnoshok chain of stores in 1998 and my Darya business in 2002, people felt sorry for me. It was as though the sales meant I lost the businesses and that, therefore, I was a loser. When I closed the Tinkoff deal, however, I was praised. This was a sign of rapid evolution in the business world: people now realized that selling your business can be cool. Fortunately, I understood this 10 years before everyone else did. I knew that there is nothing like selling. It’s the only thing that puts your business, your investments, and your talent into monetary terms. And it provides you with both the time and the resources to get started on something new.

    After our vacation on Italy’s Tyrrhenian Sea we returned to Moscow. Next, our whole household, nanny included, packed our things and took a Lufthansa flight to San Francisco. Our destination was our home in Marine County, which is made up of a dozen or so small towns just on the far side of the famous Golden Gate Bridge.

    In terms of infrastructure this is the best place in the world. Downtown San Francisco is only twenty minutes away. At the same time, however, you’re basically living in the forest with deer nearby. The schools are amazing-and I’m talking about the public schools, not the private ones. My eldest son Pasha went to first grade, and my daughter Dasha started seventh grade at the most ordinary of public schools in Mill Valley. The town is well-known as the birthplace of Timothy Leary, the famous LSD enthusiast, and although my feelings towards drugs are negative, the fact is worthy of note.

    I like to spend a year in America once every five years (at least this has usually been the case in my life). The children go to local school and spend time with their peers; I look for new ideas and enjoy the freedoms, so to speak, that America has to offer. To tell the truth, it only takes about a year for me to get tired of it-there’s an awful lot of stupidity in America. The country has a few things in common with the Soviet Union. Its best features are worthy of detailed study and analysis, beyond anything that I can provide in this book.

    The statements that follow may seem ungrounded; they constitute my own opinion. America has the highest level of competition of any country. And it’s the only country where business has been elevated to the level of a science. In Russia, we have sociology, political science, physics, and math; in America, they have another science-business. There are massive universities, faculties, schools, and colleges where business is approached from a scientific viewpoint. For this reason competing with American businessmen proves a great challenge indeed. They are the most aggressive, strongest, and at times the most cynical of them all, but they are very effective in their work. They get what they want. They are capable of sharing and of coming to compromises, but they do so with only one goal in mind: to make more money.

    In America, business is gutted, cleaned, and sorted. This is partially due to the American mindset and Protestantism, but it is also a result of the way the nation is structured. Our early education involves counting apples, but little Americans learn their numbers in dollars and cents. Everything boils down to money and its accumulation. There is a deep understanding that if you have no money, you’re a loser, and that if you do, then you and your family are doing well. This is what the American dream boils down to.

    At the same time the Americans have managed to create a society where businesspeople don’t just talk about their social responsibility; they take an active stance on the latter. They cannot be bought by a phone call from the Kremlin; rather, they do as their hearts lead them to do. Feel the difference!

    In general, Americans make interesting and shrewd businesspeople. This may not apply to all of them, but it is true as a general guideline. Due to the recent crisis, however, capitalism has suffered more and more attacks. Every couple of days, people on the radio and television remind us of Marx’s claim (I’m not sure he actually said this) that any businessman is willing to commit a crime to double his profits and willing to kill in order to triple them. It may be true that nineteenth-century mores were much baser, and society less civilized than it is today, but the businessmen of today display high moral standards.

    Is it profitable to invest in Russia? Yes, of course! Would it be more profitable than investing in India, China, or Brazil-not to mention Europe? Yes, probably. You could earn twice as much in Russia than in these other places, but a number of American businesspeople feel that the rules of the game that have become established here are incompatible with their social and religious convictions. They have been brought up differently and how they live their lives is different. They feel no need for the extreme profit margins-which helps us answer the question of whether a capitalist is indeed capable of a crime to double his profits. The answer is: not always, by any means. One of America’s richest businessmen, for example, the deeply rational Warren Buffet, would not be.

    In America I pfer to hang out with Russians and other expatriates, because it’s hard for us to understand Americans. They are strange people. Immigrants try to stick together. My neighbor John, an Australian, helped me to hook up my home phone. Within a week of our arrival, without having to leave the house, I had opened a bank account, got my TV working, set up insurance policies, connected to the Internet, enrolled my children in school, and bought a car at a nearby dealership. The paperwork was all done over the phone, quickly. This was the land of the telephone!

    But don’t think that all I did was play sports and mess around. My main focus was to get a new business up and running. My thoughts were drawn to the idea of a credit card business, and it was in America that this notion was born.

    I had been in every database since 1993, when I first came to America and bought a house in Santa Rosa. There is no privacy or secrecy once you’ve filled out a form for a purchase or in order to get something for free, be it diapers or ballpoint pens. It’s not surprising that you start getting mail as soon as you provide someone with your personal information. There is nothing strange or unlawful about it. The form usually states that by default you are releasing your personal information for transfer to third parties. Sometimes you don’t even notice it. This is how your information gets out there, into the world.

    When I was studying marketing at Berkeley in 1999, I started to become more interested in how the system worked. Of course I realized that in order to open a bank I would have to have a huge sum of money and, in this respect, I didn’t picture myself as a banker.

    Rustam and I quickly came to an agreement with respect to selling his vodka. After all, he is a rational and competent businessman. There has been talk that he foolishly gets himself into trouble, along with other negative publicity. As for me, I know him well and greatly respect his business talents. His lifestyle and love of luxury and glamour do not correspond to my values, but that is his private life and has no bearing on his effectiveness as a businessman. It is possible that he is one of the smartest businessmen in Russia. He, along with Andrei Rogachov, Sergei Galitsky, and a couple others conceived of business ventures that are now worth billions of dollars and created these from the ground up.

    During that meeting I said:

    “Rustam, why don’t you start making plastic cards? It would be fantastic! It’s profitable, simple, and sexy. What’s the point of these consumer loans stores are giving out?”

    “What makes you think we don’t make them? I have three million bank cards.”

    “Are you kidding? I’ve never seen any. How come I don’t have even one?”

    “Oleg, you aren’t part of the target market for my credit cards. We need people a little poorer than you,” joked Rustam.

    “You know, the credit card business is really neat. I’ve watched Americans using them for a long time, and wouldn’t mind getting into it myself.”

    “Yes, it’s a serious business, but it would require major investments in both infrastructure and loans.”

    “Well, we’ll see. Once I’m done building the brewery works, maybe I’ll sell them…”

    The subject was dropped. Now I understand how funny I must have looked then and what sorts of things must have been going through Rustam’s head. At least I found out that Rustam wasn’t just giving out consumer loans at stores, though, but also offering credit cards-and also that he was working in the sub-prime market, that is, with the most ordinary of people.

    The scheme he followed was simple: if a person took out a loan at Russian Standard for a fridge or TV and paid it back, the bank would issue a credit card in the client’s name and send it to the person in the mail. The client would then make his or her own decision whether or not to activate the card. Of course a large percentage of the cards were unwanted and a lot of people felt the bank was pssuring them. After all, they hadn’t asked, themselves, for the card to be sent. Some, however, liked the fact that the bank had sent them the card and that it was left up to the customer whether it would be put to use: if you don’t want to use it, don’t activate the card-it is your choice.

    Naturally, I analyzed the experiences of Russian Standard as well as Home Credit Bank and decided that my bank’s distribution model would be different, closer to what’s done in America.

    * * *

    Early in the Autumn of 2005, I met with Stephan Dertnig, chief at the Moscow office of Boston Consulting Group, and asked him to do a feasibility study examining how realistic it would be to turn my idea into an operating business. The document cost several hundred thousand dollars. It embodied a very thorough approach to the analysis, however, since I was potentially going to invest tens of millions in the proposed venture. I asked Stephan to develop a concept and to offer an answer to the question whether it would it be possible to market credit cards, directly, in Russia.

    In November, Stephan traveled to San Francisco to psent the final version of the study. Along with Alex Koretsky, a Russian American from San Francisco, I came to a classy hotel in downtown San Francisco and listened to what Stefan had to say. Should the venture be undertaken? Stefan’s psentation offered a solid “yes.” What had to be done in order to get things under way, however, was not really discussed.

    I asked those psent if they believed in the idea, and all of them said they did. In the end we all shook hands, there at the table, drank some rum, and decided that my next business would be in credit cards.

    “Rustam, I’ve decided to start a credit card bank…”

    “Are you sure? You’re getting yourself involved in a serious fight. It’s a complicated technology business.”

    “Well what else can I do? I fear new developments may destroy the real estate market and he asked me,

    ‘What do you think you’re doing? This is big business. There’s no place for you here.’

    Now my share of the consumer loan market is several times larger than Alpha-Bank ‘s, and my credit card business is at least ten times larger than theirs.”

    “Listen, Rustam, you were just trying to talk me out of it-and then suddenly you’re talking about Freedman. What makes you think I won’t be able to do it?”

    “Oleg, it’s your decision. Give it a shot! But you should know that it won’t be easy.”

    I think that Rustam just didn’t fully believe I would actually start the project. Maybe he still doesn’t believe in what I’m doing. Nevertheless, I can say that a little while later, in 2009, his bank suffered losses, while my bank’s profit exceeded 18 million dollars.

    Funnier still, was a conversation I had with Mikhail Freedman. Alexander Kosyanenko, the General Director of Perekryostok, the grocery store chain, had invited me to his company’s ten-year anniversary. It was there that I bumped into Mr. Freedman. All the managers of Perekryostok sat with us at the table. I shared my idea concerning the credit card bank.

    “I’ve been thinking about opening a bank like Capital One in Russia for a long time,” was the reply given by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Perekryostok, Lev Khasis.

    “It’s a fine idea, but it would need some thorough reworking,” added Mikhail Freedman.

    “There’s just one thing I’m unsure about. If the bank doesn’t have any branches, how will people pay them off?” I asked.

    “What’s the post office for? They can pay at the post office.”

    I think that deep down Mikhail Freedman didn’t believe in me either. I had never worked in the financial industry. How was I to compete with Alpha-Bank, which had been established in 1990?

    I’m just like anyone else. If you don’t believe me, listen to the story of my childhood.

    This is what a person who has just sold his beer company for 260 million dollars looks like. Here I am in San Francisco in 2005 with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

    Chapter 2

    The Tinkov Homestead in Leninsk-Kuznetsky

    The Tinkov family is descended from nobility who lived near Tambov. There is still a village in the area called Tinkovo. I even managed to find my family’s coat of arms in the St. Petersburg Public Library. My grandparents, escaping political repssion during the dekulakization period, or because of the famine, perhaps, boarded a train and left their home in 1921. They disembarked at Kolchugino Station (as Leninsk-Kuznetsky was then known) and settled there. When my grandfather Timofey started working in the mines he was provided with housing-half of a cabin, that is, thirty-two square meters in house #16 on Kooperativnaya Street, 300 meters from the mine.

    It was in this house that my father, Yury Timofeyevich Tinkov, was born in 1937, the second youngest of eight brothers and sisters. The eldest, Vasily Timofeyevich, was 15 years older than my father. He manned a tank in the war and is still alive, thank God. After the elder brothers had grown up and married, they began moving their wives into the cabin too. They had to sleep on bunk beds so that everyone would fit. As though this weren’t enough, they started having children. In these Tinkov breeding grounds three generations were born. In time, the family members went their separate ways. But my father remained to live in the cabin.

    My grandfather spent his entire life working in the mines. In 1953, he died of acute poisonous gas inhalation after helping to put out a fire.

    My mother’s parents were also nobility. They moved from the Far East, from close to Samara, to Khabarovsk Krai. It was there, in 1938, in the city of Dalneperechensk (known as Iman, prior to 1972), that my mother was born. The family had three daughters and no sons. My grandmother was a capable seamstress. She also kept a farm with a cow and some pigs. My maternal grandfather, Volodya, served as Building Superintendent in Iman during World War II. Afterwards he ran a sawmill. Vladimir Petrovich, as they called him, was feared and respected by all. They say I look like him. He passed away not so long ago, in 2001. A portrait of Stalin hung above his bed until the day he died. It always made me feel a little uncomfortable, but I loved my grandpa.

    In 1966, my mother, Valentina Vladimirovna, made a trip to Leninsk-Kuznetsky, to visit her sister Nina. She met my father there. So my mother remained there with her eldest son Yura.

    As one of my favorite poets, Vladimir Vysotsky, once sang, “I’m not quite sure of the hour I was conceived”. I do know, however, that I was born at 2:45 p.m. on December 25, 1967. I weighed 4 kilograms. The maternity clinic was 15 kilometers away from Leninsk-Kuznetsky, in Polysayevo. That’s where I was born, although my passport says I was born in the city of Leninsk-Kuznetsky, in Kemerovo Province-which is where I spent the first 18 years of my life, in any case.

    My father was a very bright man. Both of his older brothers, Uncle Vasya and Uncle Vanya, held degrees and lived quite comfortably. Also wanting an education, my dad spent two years studying at Tomsk University. With a family came the need to make money, however, and he went to work at the mines in the transport section. His job was to operate the wagon dump, a machine used to unload coal coming in from the backwall. Father retired from the mine when he was 50 years old, following an accident where he suffered a head injury. Two of his friends died.

    This turn of events ended in Yury Timofeyevich’s untimely death from a stroke in 2002. He was a month shy of his 65 th birthday.

    I’ll be ever grateful to my father for giving me my main character traits. He taught me to be honest and to be myself, straightforward and resilient. He also taught me to love freedom and to hate totalitarianism in all its forms.

    For a miner he was very sophisticated and articulate, an intellectual. After all, he was descended from blue blood. His genes showed! From the time I was a child, my father implanted in me a hatred of the establishment. Even relative to the current regime in Russia, I remain a nonconformist. And I don’t like what’s been going on around us, especially the recent movement to reinstate the USSR.

    I remember the 26 th Convention of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union well. It was in 1981 and it was the last convention of Leonid Brezhnev’s tenure. In Siberia there was only one channel, Channel One, and to get Channel Two you had to hook up a special, enormous antenna. From morning to night all that was broadcast on the only available channel was Brezhnev and the 26 th Convention. Mother turned on the television and Dad pulled out the cord.

    “Enough listening to this nonsense!” he exclaimed.

    The sun was setting on Communism.

    * * *

    Thanks to my Father, I was raised with ill feelings towards the Soviet government. Nevertheless, in the eighth grade I was accepted into the Young Communist League. I started at the very bottom of the ranks as a good for nothing. I couldn’t have cared less. I recognized that it was all a sham. My thinking with regard to Communism was fairly lucid. I wrote an application letter to the Communist Party while in the army for the sole purpose of becoming a warrant officer. (Thank God, I changed my mind afterwards, but more on that later.) The story was different when it came to the Pioneers, the Communist government’s children’s organization. It was in an atmosphere of great celebration that they tied the scarf around my neck and pinned the badge to my shirt. I was quite worried when it took me two attempts before I was accepted.

    My father, unlike most in the Soviet Union, loved America. He was a miner from a city of 130,000 and had never been abroad. He had only been to Moscow and Leningrad. He called America a “good country.” For him this love was a kind of protest. According to what was always said on television, it was a bad place, but he claimed it was good. In 2001 I completed my mission and brought my 65-year-old father to this country. As it turned out, this was shortly before his death. He lived for a month in California. He was not doing well at the time and was a bit depssed. Of course he liked America, but his emotions didn’t appear to be that strong.

    Many of my positive qualities were developed in me by my father. My Pa means everything to me! Of course my involvement in sports and my education at the Mining Institute also had their impact. But it was my father who laid the foundation for how I see myself today. He always pssed me to be constructive and to respect others in order to become an upstanding member of society.

    An unquestionable authority in our family was Grandma Senya, my father’s mom, whose full was name Xenia Tinkova. She was a unique woman. In addition to my father and his seven siblings, she gave birth to several other children who passed away. This was in the twenties and thirties, after all, and medical science was still underdeveloped.

    Calling me a heretic, Grandma Senya tried to get me involved in the Orthodox Church. It was only when I was twenty and had moved to Leningrad that I began to think seriously about it and was baptized.

    Grandma Senya taught me important life lessons:

    “You little dummy. Who puts their sugar in the cup?”

    “What are you talking about, Grandma Senya?”

    “You should eat bits of sugar while you drink. That’s the only way to smell and taste it.”

    When she was young, sugar was the only delicacy available and people tried to savor it. People today are worried about how to lose weight; in those days, the problem was different. People were poccupied with their survival. I was reminded of this when I was in the army. Shortly after we had been drafted we were spading butter on our bread and the dischargees laughed at us:

    “What kind of person eats like that?” After a couple of weeks we understood them perfectly and found ourselves dipping frozen pieces of meat in salt and eating it without bread so as to taste it better. Until the day that I was discharged, twenty-three and a half months later, I never spad butter on my bread. If you served in the army, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

    Grandma Senya stocked up on bags of salt, grain, and peas and kept them hidden in the house. This was surprising to me:

    “Grandma Senya, why are you hiding those?”

    “You’d be hiding some too, if you’d been through a famine.”

    Grandma and Grandpa were alive in the twenties, during the civil war. It was a time of great hunger. Grandma Senya died in the winter of 1980. As a twelve-year-old, I was astonished by the funeral, with the incense wafting from the censer, and by the prayers.

    My mother, Valentina Vladimirovna, worked as a seamstress at the local tailor’s shop, sewing and ironing. She led a prudent life. Now she’s over seventy and in good health; she remains active and looks her age. I inherited limitless energy and the seeds of my entrepneurial qualities from my mother: even during Soviet times she tried to make extra money by doing sewing work from home.

    For my parents, discipline and routine meant everything. It was a well-established pattern in our family that I would be home by 9 o’clock in the evening, when the TV programme Vremya started. My friends would laugh at me when I would stop playing and head home-even in the long days of the Siberian summer. This was what we called “making a break for home.” We played hide-and-seek. We fought battles with machine guns cut out of wooden panels. We would play soccer in the middle of the street, in the dirt, sometimes with no shoes on. Each of us got only one pair of sneakers for the season and these quickly wore out if they were not torn in half first.

    “Mom, why do you come to get me to go home? None of the other children’s parents look for them and it’s embarrassing!”

    “I feel better that way. You never know what could happen…”

    I would go home, while my friends would keep playing soccer till midnight. Who knows what they did afterwards? As for me, I never hung around. Indeed, it was unheard of for me to spend the night away from home. Only when I was 18 and about to start military service did I finally do so. The first time my parents let me ring in the New Year at a friend’s place was when I was in sixth grade and 16 years old.

    I’m very grateful to my parents for all that they invested in me. After all, I grew up in a depssing part of the country. Many of my neighbors were in prison; some remain there to this day. The people I lived among were miners and former inmates and you’d often find them drunk and stoned. After spending time with such people, the St. Petersburg gangsters in their tracksuits seemed like pathetic caricatures.

    The Siberian environment is harsh and there are very strict cultural norms to follow. Say the wrong thing and you might get hit. The rules to which one had to adhere came close to what is demanded in prison. There are three penitentiaries around Leninsk-Kuznetsky, two for adults and one for juveniles. This fact left its mark on the city-to the point where, in Leninsk, it’s shameful to call the police. You have to be able to resolve issues on your own, otherwise you will lose respect. You have to be a real man. You have to put your money where your mouth is. I’m still in the habit of not making extra promises.

    Many people still remember the infamous scandal involving the mayor of Leninsk-Kuznetsky, Gennady Konyakhin. (Konyakhin and I went to the same school-No. 33.) There was a lot in the pss and on the news saying gangsters had taken over the city. The magazine Izvestiya called its publication on this matter the Bullheaded Times. President Boris Yeltsin fired the mayor himself.

    The eighties saw a rise in street fighting, neighborhood against neighborhood, both in Leninsk as well as in other cities throughout the USSR. Compared to the mass fighting in Kazan, the fights in Leninsk were not quite as bloody and got less coverage. Nevertheless, there were a few dozen guys per side. Sticks, knives, and metal bars were the weapons of choice. The teenagers injured and sometimes killed one another. An eighth grade classmate, for instance, was shot through the leg. Sometimes you’d wake up in the morning and the fence outside would be missing, the stakes pulled out during the night to be used in the fights. There was even an article ( The Sweater Thieves) in the Komsmolskaya Pravda about these bloody fights in Leninsk-Kuznetsky.

    The park where the municipal discotheque was held was in District 4. If anyone came from a different neighborhood, they’d be beaten up because they were in the minority. Central kids weren’t allowed to go there and neither were the Bazaar kids (of which I was one). I did go to the disco a couple of times. On the first occasion I had to run away though; on the second I got my head smashed in. I tried to avoid showing my face there after that. I’ve never been one to pick a fight-neither on the streets, then, nor in business, now. My experiences in Leninsk gave me a sense of where I ought not to go and a sense of when I ought not to go there.

    One day, for example, I went ice-skating at the stadium. These huge punks came up to me. One of them asked,

    “Where are you from?”

    “From the Bazaar.”

    “I see. You’re from the Bazaar.”

    Then he socked me in the face.

    I fell flat on the ice, blood gushing from my nose. To make a long story short: they beat the crap out of me. I couldn’t run away in the skates and I couldn’t hit those big losers back. What was I to do? I packed up my skates and went home. I never went back there, but instead skated exclusively at my local stadium next to Kirov Mine.

    After I finished eighth grade, I changed schools, enrolling at School No. 2 in another part of town. But things got so bad there that I had to switch schools again. I could not study at all because of the emotional and physical torment. Why were they doing this?

    Still, these experiences made my self-pservation instinct what it is today. On the one hand, given what I suffered, I’m not afraid of anyone. On the other hand, nowadays, I can see gangsters or tough guys from afar and know exactly how to maneuver away from them.

    When people tell me that the Soviet era was a good time, I can’t help but smirk. This is because I remember all the bullshit-and I remember it well. What was good about those times? Maybe you could make a case if you were talking about Moscow or Leningrad-but in our city it was neighborhood against neighborhood, stolen clothes, ex-cons, crime lords, fights, and murder.

    The mass fighting stopped in the late eighties, as drugs became more widespad. Getting high brought people together; it rendered them friends and brothers. At first, grass started to circulate; later on, heroin came on the market. In the early nineties, a lot of my peers and some younger kids died. They say that the youth of today saw what was going on back then and are afraid of drugs. From what I can tell, though, drug abuse remains a serious problem.

    Strange things were always happening in Leninsk. People would go missing on a regular basis (and still do). When my parents lived in Polysayevo and I was serving in the army, their neighbor’s husband Slava disappeared. The last that anyone saw of him was one day in Kuznetsk Mine. He was gone, after that, for two weeks. As it turned out, three of the miners were standing at the bus stop, waiting for their bus, which was late. A car drove up and three jock types jumped out. They shoved the miners inside and drove away. The three were taken into the wilderness where they were made to do slave labor, hauling cement, bootlegging vodka, and making marijuana products. Somehow Slava managed to escape. Making his way home, he would walk only at night, hiding out during the day. He returned two weeks after his disappearance, all scraped up, wearing clothes he had found in a dumpster. Before he could get inside his apartment he collapsed from exhaustion in front of the elevator.

    In the eighties fat women started to go missing. The public said they we were being cut up for ravioli. There was a serial killer in our town too. During the day he worked in the mines; by night he would kill young women in the park.

    Our neighbors in the duplex were constantly getting drunk. At night, arguments would develop into screaming matches. Once, as I was falling asleep, I could hear fighting on the other side of the wall-the usual. In the morning, we found out that our neighbor had killed his wife, Auntie Valya. When the police came, I looked in the room. She was still lying on the bed with a knife sticking out of her. My neighbor was sentenced to prison and his son became a virtual orphan.

    It is scary to think about it, but a significant number of my childhood classmates have passed away. Some of them died in jail, others were murdered, and still others drank themselves to death. Strict discipline, routine, and sport were my salvation. Now I’m trying to raise my kids the same way. God forbid they should ever know what it is like to lose their freedom. My daughter Daria is 16; I never let her stay over at her girlfriends’ places, even though she asks.

    Of course, I tried to do things my parents did not allow me to do. I tried alcohol for the first time in the eighth grade, at a party on March 8-Women’s Day. I was with my friends Slava Zuyov (who died from pneumonia in 2009) and Misha Artamanov (who was shot five years ago under stupid circumstances on a hunting trip). We drank a bottle of Cahors wine and went to the disco to dance with girls. As though puking all night wasn’t enough, my dad beat me with his belt for disobeying. My classmates, on the other hand, came home drunk and their parents closed their eyes to it.

    Later, when I was in the ninth and tenth grades, I drank, of course, but rarely. And I always kept it a secret from my parents. At the same time, though, I was getting into cycling-and sports and alcohol, as you know, are incompatible. Although I messed around with booze that last year before military training, it was mostly out of boredom. We would chip in and buy a bottle of wine for 3 rubles 42 kopeks-or sometimes vodka-and would sit drinking it in the playhouse outside the daycare.

    My father almost never drank and I guess he passed those genes on to me. I like to relax with a drink, but I wouldn’t do so more than once or twice a month, to be honest. Large amounts of alcohol make me sick, just like my dad.

    In the summer the boys and I would go swimming in Inya creek, a tributary of the Ob river. It was against my parents’ rules, so I had to dry my hair and take measures to pvent them from finding out. Sometimes, though, they pd it out nevertheless and would punish me. But really there was nothing to worry about. We had a blast, daring each other to jump off rocks and cliffs three or four meters high. The creek was small and you had to come straight back out of the water as soon as you dove in if you didn’t want to break your neck. It is true that a lot of people drowned there, so my parents’ worries were not completely unfounded. Now, at least, I can pe head first, five meters down off a yacht with no problem!

    One day I smoked a little, and when I came home I smelled like smoke. Once again dad got out his belt. This was a common punishment in our family.

    A belt is a handy thing. My father’s was brown and hung in his wardrobe. I was whipped a lot. The worst part was the buckle. It was only when I was 16 or 17 and getting bigger that I grabbed the belt and stopped him from hitting me-and my dad ended the practice.

    I feel no resentment towards my father. No, I am thankful for what he taught me. Otherwise I would not have made it, considering what was going on around me as a child. Everything you are comes from your family, from how you were raised. We Tinkovs stood apart. My parents made their living honestly and were not drinkers and this gave me a strong foundation. Up until I left for the army, my parents kept me on a tight leash. I had no choice but to behave myself.

    I’m almost three in this 1970 photo. At that time, Leonid Brezhnev ruled the country, which would remain at a standstill for a long time afterwards. From left to right: Marfa Yefanova, Timofey Vasilyevich, and Xenia Evstafyevna Tinkov (my grandparents); Evstafy and Anna Yefanov (my great grandparents) and Praskovya Yefanova My grandfather Timofey Tinkov worked in the mines his whole life. He died in 1953 from inhaling poisonous gases while trying to put out a fire.

    My father, Yury Timofeyevich, loved to read the newspaper Trud. Smokey the cat helped him with this.

    This honor roll certificate from when I was in the first grade shows how well behaved I was. It was also the last time I made the honor roll.

    My father and grandfather ruined their health in Kirov Mine

    Valentina Vladimirovna, Oleg Tinkov’s mother:

    Oleg was born on December 25, 1967, at 2:35 p.m., weighing 4 kilos. He was always a healthy, active, good boy. He started walking at nine and a half months. We enrolled him in pschool at two and a half. He sang songs there and played on spoons made of wood.

    Oleg learned the letters of the alphabet from his older brother Yura. At five, he could read and count and even knew a few English words. The newspaper Leninsky Shakhtyor , the girls wrote a poem for Oleg that went something like this: “Oleg rode far away from us on his bicycle.”

    He really did hit the ground running. I worked for 48 years at the school and saw many interesting students graduate. Among them were some that went on to become scientists and arctic explorers. None of them ended up as a successful as Oleg, however.

    By eighth grade, some of the kids were trying vodka. Oleg was doing business. My students told me about how Oleg had brought cosmetics back from the Baltics to sell. Oleg traded, exported and imported. At the time, neither his fellow students nor we teachers took these activities seriously.

    Chapter 5

    The Border Guard, not the Sports Club

    When I was working at the mine, all I could think about was the coming Spring-because I hoped to be accepted, then, into the Army Sports Club. If I could not achieve that, then I would have to be a soldier. It was now that my coach Ivan Stepanovich failed me, for the first and probably the last time. I do not resent him for it now. Everything always works out fine in the end. He promised that he would get me a spot in the ASC, but there was only one vacancy. During the 1986 spring draft, it turned out I was not the only athlete born in 1967. There was another, the son of the director of the Novosibirsk ASC. Instead of selecting me, Oleg Tinkov, then-champion of the city and of the Kuznetsk Basin, winner of more than one competition-this son was admitted to the Novosibirsk ASC. He was admitted, too, even though I could have out-pedaled him with one leg.

    The strong arm of the old-boy network has always held sway in Russia and always will. Thus I missed out. In April 1986, I was taken into the army and, instead of getting into the ASC, I ended up among the border troops, under the control of the USSR’s KGB. My career as a cyclist, which had held such great promise, ground to a halt. Everything that I did later-my return to sports in 2005-2006, my participation in races, the creation of the Tinkoff cycling team, and the cycling trips to Italy where we cover 4000 km in a month-is connected with the fact that my career was cut short at that time.

    As we were being loaded into the railway coach, I looked out the window and saw the new spring growth. It reminded me of a song written by Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky:

    Spring has just begun,

    Most of the people are still indoors,

    But I had to get out there, –

    Then two arrived suddenly,

    With a convoy, with a convoy.

    “Get dressed,” they say, “come out!”

    I begged the sergeant:

    “Let me stay with the Spring!”

    But the sergeant took me away. First, we took the train to Krasnoyarsk. From there we flew to Vlapostok and then took the bus to Nakhodka.

    When we arrived at the unit, the dischargees took all our food from us. We did not resist. At first we were brisk with them. But they replied: “Let’s get you shaved, then we’ll talk”. We had our hair cut and then were sent to the sauna. Afterwards we were given submachine guns and then mounted Kalashnikov machine guns. This type of gun is very heavy but fires better than the others. It is hard to miss when using it, in contrast to the hand-held variety. We ran cross-country, but the 3-km sprints were easy for me: when I was cycling, after all, we would run 15-20 km during our winter practices.

    We would sweat so hard from the heat and the pssure that the fabric of our uniforms would start to dissolve. Within three months they would tear. According to regulations we were supposed to get new clothing every six months, but ours had to be replaced more often. We had to run, jump, and blow things up. Explosions rumbled from all sides-flash! Bang! It is depssing to read about what goes on in the army nowadays. Serious training has been replaced by hazing. The goal then, was to make us into real border guards. If there had been a war we really would have protected our country. The army-or at least the border guard-was really and truly combat-ready.

    The rumors about hazing in the Soviet army are highly exaggerated. Things were not all that bad. Believe it or not, we had nothing of the sort in the border guard. It all depended on your officers, their qualifications, and their approach to training. Sure, the army has its hierarchy: I washed the floors, of course, and the senior officers did not. But I was never-not once-punched in the two years that I was there. The worst I suffered was a shove or a minor kick in the butt if I was moving to slow. I was never beat up.

    A lot of my friends ended up in the Afghan war and I might have been sent there myself. It was a choice between Afghanistan and the border. Our Fatherland decided that, being 190 cm (6′ 4″) in height, I would be of more use at the border. Three of my classmates who served in Afghanistan came home ruined men. The war taught them how to smoke marijuana and how to do a lot of other things. Up until 1986, when I was in Siberia, I did not know what drugs were. When I got back from the army, though, pot had become commonplace, distributed by veterans of that war. Heroin was next.

    * * *

    Healthy, young Siberian men were sent in bundles to the border and into Afghanistan. Less were taken from St. Petersburg and Moscow. I have heard terrible stories from friends about how much they were beaten and about how much they drank. The border guard was completely different. Everything was done with pcision and exactitude.

    I was admitted to the sergeant training school. For six months, from April to October 1986, I trained to become junior sergeant. These were some of the most trying times of my life, taxing both physically and psychologically. I even considered suicide at one point. After that-until, perhaps, I was training for a race in 2005 (of which more later)-life was never so hard again.

    A sergeant lives the good life: no washing floors, no kitchen duty and therefore no dirty dishwater. One day, though, I was stupid and told an officer to screw off. I had my sergeant’s badges ripped off and had to wash the kitchen floors and deal with the trash. This was unpleasant, to say the least, considering that I was in my second and last year of mandatory service. I did get my badges back, though, before being discharged.

    Some of you may remember Mikhail Gorbachev’s famous trip to the Far East, to Nakhodka, Vlapostok, in June 1986. He even came to our unit, although I did not see him myself. Our unit was considered an elite one. It was called Nakhodka Independent Identity Check Point and was at the border at Vostochny Port. Because the country’s top official was coming, our combat training all but stopped for two months. Instead, we practiced for Gorbachev’s arrival. What did this involve?

    I am not sure how things are today, but in the Soviet Army I was emotionally tormented. It was really a hard thing to take. One would get up in the morning and the clock would be ticking. Instead of socks, you would wrap cloth around your feet and pull on your boots. The blisters would burst and they would have to cut of the wrapping in the medical station. This happened to everyone. Stand, squat, get on the ground, push up! Silence, soldier! Shut up! My calluses got so thick from the binding and the canvas boots that today I can wear new shoes without the slightest discomfort.

    My friend Oleg Kakovin, a guy from Leninsk, just could not let go. For three months, he kept fighting with the warrant officers. He would swear at them, but it was pointless. The system was built on the oppssion and destruction of the inpidual. Soldiers are rivets. The goal is to make the person into nothing. When there is no “I,” the color khaki pervades all. As the Soviet rock group Nautilus Pompilius sang: “I haven’t seen a scarier crowd than a crowd dressed in khaki.” Perhaps the same thing happens in western armies.

    If my friend Oleg argued or told the sergeant to screw himself, the command would ring out: “Line up, platoon! Three kilometers running. March!” We’d all start running and tell Oleg to cut it out. Or we would be given the order to get up and all of us-except Oleg-would be on our feet. The punishment would be the same: a three-kilometer battle march. But when he refused to obey a third time and we were all forced to run three kilometers as a result, that made us angry. Everyone ran up to him and started kicking him. So you would give up resisting whether you liked it or not. We were disciplined as a group. You simply could not be mouthy or 30 people would get punished on your account. In the end you would suffer. This was very effective psychology. Thank God, I never used this approach in my business relations.

    My responsibilities as a border guard included inspecting foreign ships as they were coming into port. We made sure that no one crossed the state border unnoticed and undocumented. It never happened. How crazy would you have to be to want to come illegally into the USSR? There were some that wanted to leave without permission, of course, but it was absurd to think that anyone would want to sneak in! Some Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese did come in legally. We would conduct a formal inspection. Going through the cabins, we saw foreign objects-jeans and magazines-and examined them closely.

    This was how I learned my first few words in English:

    “Open this.”

    Please, go one by one.”

    “Show me your passport, please.”

    Please, open the door.

    In our unit there were two brothers from Bryansk, one of which was a snitch. I beat him up for tattling to our superior, Colonel Zubr, who was scary as hell. If you let one word slip, he would make you dig shit out of the toilet all day long. It was terror: you had to keep your mouth shut and your eyes on the floor. I left the army twenty-two years ago. But if I bumped into Zubr today, I would punch that pig’s face in. Imagine what you would have to put a person through to make him want to kick your head in, twenty years later? And I am not even a resentful guy. I have no hard feelings towards people who have screwed me over, once a year or so has gone by.

    * * *

    My second year of service was easier, but more hectic too. For the two years I was there I took a break from speculation. After all, it was impossible to sell stuff in the army. My military service marks the only period, two years in all, when I have no memory of doing business. My green shoulder marks kept me barricaded from it. I suddenly had new priorities. I wanted a border guard marks of excellence: level one, level two… The army sucked me in and I found myself working to build my military career, even considering staying on as a warrant officer.

    Before I was discharged in April 1988, three of my friends and I applied to serve further. Later, I was even summoned. One of the officers convinced us: what was there to do as civilians? A wide-scale restructuring of the system had begun while we were gone. Everything was a mess. Factory workers were not getting their pay. By contrast, the army meant stability. We were promised full government support, food, and a monthly salary of 200‑250 rubles. Imagine how things would have gone if I had signed that contract! I would be a moron now, a senior warrant officer or captain, stationed in a place like Nikolayevsk-on-Amur.

    Border guard captain Tinkov!

    But the hand of God was at work. A voice inside me said, “No, Oleg. Go home.” I came to Captain Sayakhov and told him,

    “Comrade Captain, I want to take back my application.”

    “What! Are you nuts? We’ve already sent everything to Vlapostok and you’ve been approved.”

    “I don’t want to be a warrant officer.”

    The captain called me an idiot and I was dismissed.

    At the same time, Providence protected me from membership in the Communist Party. If you wanted to become a warrant officer you had to be a communist. I even wrote a membership application.

    After my discharge, two friends and I flew from Khabarovsk to Kemerovo. From there I needed to make my way home to Leninsk. Gorbachev’s battle with alcoholism was in full swing and it was nearly impossible to buy vodka. We waited in line, bought a bottle, and shared it between the three of us. I got sick, collapsed, and fell asleep right at the station in Kemerovo. I did not manage to get home that night. It was a strange picture: a soldier in full parade uniform with regalia, asleep under a bench in a puddle of vomit. Having slept it off, I went to the house of one of my co-dischargees who lived in Kemerovo. I got a brush from him, cleaned off my clothes, and left for Leninsk.

    The army is simply bad, but I am happy that I enlisted. The experience hardened me physically and emotionally. The army is not for the faint-hearted and it is not for little girls. On the whole it was a negative experience and I would rather not go into too many details. Still, I would recommend military service to anyone: you really gain a lot from it and return, ultimately, a new person. It is easy for me to say this, I suppose, since I have already been through it myself. Believe it or not, I can discern to a high degree of accuracy if someone has been in the army-just by having a conversation with him. People who have served have a soundness of mind at their core. In a similar way, I can tell that a young woman is Russian based on a number of factors, no matter how well she speaks another language. I wrote about this in my blog once, which led to a lot of heated discussion.

    Let me tell you an interesting story. On February 23, Fatherland Defenders’ day, which is, traditionally, a holiday when women congratulate men for being-well, men-about 200 people filed into our auditorium. I opened the event in the customary way, with a speech. I started with the words “A display of prowess.” I spoke to those gathered about the army, but they seemed perplexed or oblivious. So I asked: “Which of you guys served in the army, anyway?” There were about 150 men psent. I was expecting half of them to raise their hands-or maybe twenty, fifteen percent at least. Imagine how shocked I was when only three hands went up. I felt sick, quickly wrapped up my speech and left.

    We have a lot of double standards in Russia. The spectacle of white-collar workers, none of whom served in the army, celebrating February 23 in Moscow offices-and with a bang-brings the word duplicity to mind. Either refrain from celebrating the holiday at all, or just call it “Men’s Day,” as though it were the male counterpart of Women’s Day on March 8. These days hardly anyone serves in the army. Who knows if this is good or bad?

    One way or another, on May 28-Border Guard Day-I arrived back in Leninsk-Kuznetsky. This holiday is celebrated completely differently now than it was then. You can see crazy drunks in green berets running down the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg, yelling, singing, and jumping in the fountains.

    Dear reader, I solemnly declare that I am not one of them!

    Even though I remember well our battle song:

    A border guard must follow cruel laws,

    We can’t sleep when others are asleep,

    You and I, pal, we’re back on duty.

    A border guard must follow cruel laws.

    We were taught that the USSR border was sacred and untouchable. We had been warned about the hazing, but none of it happened in our unit. Sure, we washed the floors, while our senior officers did not, but I never got beat up in the two years that I was there. This letter contains the phrase “the doors of any educational institution are open to you.” I didn’t take it seriously. Oleg Ikonnikov, cyclist:

    Oleg and I practiced together, went to training camps, and passed the qualifiers for Master of Sport candidacy. He was a very strong finisher. He’d win the criterium and the group races. He could keep a good pace and hold his own in a team when we went to Russia-wide competitions. Even though his age ought to have put him in the juniors he competed with the grown men. He could have won among the juniors, but he was put into a more senior team to fill in the gaps. If he had stuck to it, he would have achieved great heights. The conditions would have to have been different and the coaches more professional, like in Omsk or Kuibyshev. Whoever got into the Army Sports Club (in Omsk) ended up succeeding. If Oleg hadn’t stopped training, he could have been a champion. He has the talent.

    It was hard to get into the ASC. You had to get to Omsk, first, then fall on your knees in front of the coach and beg him to take you. Apparently Oleg wasn’t too interested. The team in Omsk was strong. From there you would get into the Central ASC or into the All-Union team. Once the nineties came, getting into the Omsk ASC was your ticket into professional teams. Of course, back when Oleg and I were training, there was no such opportunity. The ASC in Novosibirsk, though, was run like in a village. There really was no good reason to go there, except as an excuse not to join the army. Coaches should do all they can to keep a hold of and promote athletes like Oleg. But we had to promote ourselves, otherwise nothing would work. But that’s supposed to be the coach’s job.

    Chapter 6

    There Will Be No Wildfire

    I came home from the army certain that I would work in the mines.

    I got a call from the Committee for State Security (KGB) immediately. They wanted to recruit me. Because the Border Guard was administered by the committee they told me, “You’re already one of us!” If you paid attention to what I said about the values my father instilled in me, however, you will understand why I politely declined.

    I was going to be a miner like my dad! He had just retired, so I pd I could take his place in Kirov Mine. I went and put in an application to work there. But I also thought about how nice it would be to take a vacation beforehand.

    I happened to bump into my homeroom teacher from school. She told me she was going to work as director of a Pioneers Camp and asked me if I would like to go with her to get some rest. There was a teachers’ college in our town, which ppared future pschool and primary school teachers. Before placement, the teachers had to complete internships as Pioneers’ counselors at a Young Builder camp belonging to a construction trust located in Leninsk-Kuznetsky. “You’re an athlete. Why not come teach phys ed?” my homeroom teacher asked. I agreed and worked there all summer. I would go to work in the mines in September.

    Looking back, I think that June 1988 was the happiest month of my life. It turned out that there were only two men in the whole camp: myself and the art director. The artist painted posters with logos along the lines of “Pioneers ahead!” Unlike me, a good-looking chap recently “emancipated” from the border guard, he enjoyed no success of any kind among the women. If you count all the medics, management, and counselors, the male-to-female ratio at the camp was around 1 to 50. The impact was obvious. I felt like king of the camp! The gains in sexual experience were-fantastic! There were even catfights over me. I had money: that same thousand I had earned from selling the Colnago bike. I bought Hungarian champagne by the caseful-paying 5 rubles 50 kopeks per bottle-and kept it in my room, where we drank. I would get up in the morning to do my workout and the whole camp would laugh at me. The team-leaders understood everything and shouted at me: “Oleg, get some sleep!” They had heard me getting wasted with the girls all night. But I would yell back, “Do some push-ups!”

    One day they asked me to lead a game called “Wildfire.” I did not know the rules. In order to get out of it, I had to have an affair with the senior camp counselor. She relented: “Fine. You don’t have to lead the game. Who even cares?” The Pioneers asked me,

    “When are we gonna play wildfire, Mr. PE teacher?”

    “There will be no wildfire,” I answered with confidence.

    The sun, the river, wild berries, girls-what else does a recently discharged soldier need? I’d recommend that everyone coming home from the army work a summer as physical education teacher at a camp. For a soldier, it is as entertaining and romantic as it gets.

    While I was at the camp I met a girl named Zhanna Pechorkina. She was doing her internship, working part time in the cafeteria as she ppared for medical school. When I saw her in the cafeteria, about three weeks after I had started working, I knew that my days of fooling around were over. It was love at first sight. She turned 17 that June. Given today’s standards, that seems very young, but this was not so in Soviet-era Siberia. At the time, it was considered normal to have your first child at 18. We went on walks in the forest holding hands. Ah, the romance! An innocent girl-my first true love.

    We were inseparable and went to the city together to visit my parents. On June 28, 1988, we got on a yellow Ikarus bus departing from the central market in Leninsk-Kuznetsky and went to the village of Yegozovo. Everyone took a seat; we stood on the floor near the back and kissed. The bus drove at an immense speed and bumped wildly up and down. I wondered why the driver was going so fast. Suddenly there was a crash and a grating sound. I blacked out. The next thing I knew, I was lying on the steps of the bus, which had spun to a stop. Getting up, I saw that half of the bus was missing. The back part of the roof was torn off and the windows shattered. The bus sort of resembled one of those tourist buses in London or Paris. In a state of shock, I started calling for Zhanna. I climbed through the hole in the back of the bus where the window had been. I landed on the road and started looking for her. I found her in the ditch, her dress pulled up over her head so that all I could see were her bare legs and underwear. I told her, “What are you thinking? People can see everything.” I pulled her dress down from her face. And then I saw something that I hope never ever to see again in my life-my beloved girl with no head, in effect. Her casket stayed closed at the funeral.

    I grabbed her hand, choked with memory. Then I felt hands grabbing me from behind and I heard someone say, “Get this one to the ambulance immediately!” My head started spinning once I got to the car. I spit and saw eight teeth fall onto the pavement.

    What had happened in that fateful moment? As we were standing there, kissing, a KamAZ truck, driving too fast, hit the side of our bus. A pole broke loose from the force of the impact and I was thrown to the floor and onto the steps. I did not fly out of the bus and that saved me. Zhanna had been standing with her back to the pole, while I faced her. The pole just ripped through her head. She got the brunt of the blow, while I was hit with less force. Because Zhanna was six inches shorter than me, she got hit in the head, while I was struck in the teeth. Essentially, she saved my life by blocking the blow with her head. It is ironic that this happened just as we were kissing.

    This was the first time that my life was spared. The Lord protected me… I was taken to the hospital. I underwent multiple surgeries. Investigators came and got information from me. I was totally devastated by this tragedy. What a thing for a twenty-year old man to suffer…

    I could not look our mutual friends in the eye; I could not look at her parents or at buses or at the town. As Nautilus Pompilius sings: “I looked at these faces and couldn’t forgive them for being able to live without you.”

    I had to leave Leninsk-Kuznetsky.

    One day I ran into my friend and neighbor Yura, who lived across the way from me on Kooperativnaya Street. He told me that my other neighbor Vitya Starodubtsev had moved to Leningrad in order to attend school at the Mining Institute. Yura and Vitya explained that it was not that complicated. All I had to do was to get a paper from the mine saying that I had worked there. On top of that, I had already completed my military service. I was fascinated and inquired as to when they were accepting applications. It turned out that I had only one week left. My friend Edik Sozinov, who was still living in Leninsk, helped me. Quickly, we gathered all of the required doctor’s notes and I got a letter from the mine stating that I had worked there for nine months. Once I had all of my documents together and had put on my junior sergeant’s uniform, I got on the train and left for St. Petersburg to start school. To stay in Leninsk would have been unbearable.

    About ten years ago, I met up with Edik. He told me,

    “I remember how we took you to the train station. But no one believed you’d finish what you set out to do.”

    I am not so sure that I believed it myself. I was absent for almost all of my last two years of high school. I then served two years in the border guard, which most likely did nothing for my intellectual capabilities. Who knows what kind of impudence it took to think that I could get into the Leningrad Mining Institute, the top university in Russia, established during the reign of Catherine the Great!

    I returned from the army in 1988, grown up and hungry for sex. Looking back, I think that the happiest time of my life was spent working at the Pioneers’ Camp in June 1988 Lidia Irincheyevna Baturova, Oleg Tinkov’s homeroom teacher:

    I met with Oleg’s class twenty-five years after their graduation. The kids told me what they had achieved. Fourteen of the students finished school with B’s and A’s, but none of them managed to achieve Oleg’s level of success.

    When Oleg Tinkov’s generation was growing up, there were eleven mines and factories operating in Leninsk-Kuznetsky. Later, everything shut down. Circumstances during the stagnant Soviet period were stable at least: you finished school, attended an institute or technical school, got an education, and then went to work. Now these kids had taken their first grown-up steps at the end of the eighties, when the country was in turmoil. Few had managed to stand up to the revolution in our way of life.

    All of the social facilities that existed then have closed down: the schools, pschools, and stadiums. The stadium and gym where Oleg grew up and trained as a cyclist have been demolished. There are only five mines in the city now and five of the other larger enterprises have been closed as well: the yarn plant, the light bulb plant, Kuzbasselement, Khimprom, and the clothing factory. Thousands of people were thrown overboard, in a manner of speaking. As a consequence, these people were unable to provide a good education for their children. The tragedy in small towns today consists in the fact that children have no opportunities for development and nowhere to go. I’m already teaching the children of my former students and I can say that it’s a rare thing to see someone achieve a level of education higher than trade or technical school. Only a very few inpiduals are capable of breaking free and going further. The children lack the finances and the motivation. Once Oleg had gotten on his feet, he came to Leninsk-Kuznetsky with his kids and brought them to see the school. His daughter Dasha, who had just returned from America, asked,

    “Dad, I can’t believe kids actually go here.” The school is small, poorly maintained and has no funds. So Oleg decided to help. He was the first graduate of the school to donate money for repairs and equipment for his class. He wanted the kids to see that you can succeed through knowledge and schooling. I’m grateful to him for using gifts to encourage people in the right direction. His charity gave rise to a conundrum in the graduates’ minds: why is he able, but we are not? A whole movement was started. Everyone wanted to help out as much as they could.

    The municipal school board received an official charitable donation in the amount of 150 thousand rubles. The bureaucrats decided to hold on to the money for a while in order to profit from it. I received a call from Oleg, who was in Italy at the time:

    “Did you get the money?” My answer was,

    “No.” He started swearing,

    “Don’t just gape, find it!” He gets like that sometimes. I got in contact with the local criminal authorities, some of whom I had taught in school. Immediately, the money was found.

    The municipal school board accounted for every kopek. And I had to keep Oleg just as informed as I was. I know my student. He can be very nice, but when it comes to money, he’s incredibly strict.

    We ordered new furniture for the classroom, but it was taking forever for the delivery to come. September 1 was just around the corner. Once again, I had to involve the criminal element. These guys like Oleg a lot and respect him for helping the school. They drove to Kemerovo, where the furniture manufacturer is located. As a result, the furniture arrived the following day. Everything was assembled and set up over night.

    When Oleg came, I showed him everything: the new windows, the newly laid linoleum floors, the desks and chairs, the board, the TV-VCR combo, the video camera and the audio library for geography class. It seemed like his mind was elsewhere, but he took note of everything and was interested in the details. He hadn’t just doled out the money like an aristocrat-he wanted to be sure that his money had been put to good use.

    The next time he came to see what we’d done, everything had been set up. We reminisced about the new furniture that was brought to the school in the summer of 1980. We workers at the school, as well as the kids and parents, assembled everything ourselves. All of the chairs were still in tact, including the one that Oleg had put together and signed with his name over 20 years ago. We had his son Pasha sit on that chair.

    This wasn’t the only time that Oleg helped the school board. We really wanted him to build a school, but he decided to build a playground instead, along with Natalya Vodyanova and Alexei Prilepsky. Good for him! I value his humanity. When he comes to visit, you never get the impssion that he’s stuck up or seeking attention. He always asks about everyone and takes an interest in how things are going and who needs help.

    That last time we got together as a class, we noted with great sadness that six of the students have now passed away. All of them were Oleg’s good friends. Each of them went down a different path. Some got involved with organized crime and two girls drank themselves to death. Their male classmates can’t believe it.

    Some of my earlier graduates fought in Afghanistan, and some of my more recent ones served in Chechnya. The have found it difficult to readjust to normal life.

    To tell the truth, some of the groups of kids I’ve seen through to graduation ended up much worse off than Oleg’s class. In one class, for example, all but one of the boys served time. Many have died. The neighborhood where Oleg grew up became a hotbed of drugs. Thanks to sport, Oleg was able to catch hold of life and get further than these others.

    My memories of Oleg are all good ones. He can be harsh and severe, but he always keeps his head about him. I really hope that he retained his grasp of, and sensitivity to, the situation at hand. This is a skill we lack. May everything be good for him.

    Young people are living a modern life. You are insiders. We stand at the curb and can do little to affect what’s going on-except through you. Students are smarter than their teachers. We provide a base; we lay a foundation. What grows from this is up to the child. Every student, no matter who he or she is, is unique. As long as you don’t put too much pssure on kids, they will rise by themselves. My motto is “Teachers should bring up children so they can be learned from.”

    Chapter 7

    Change! We Wait for Change!

    When I applied to the Leningrad Mining Institute, the physics professor took pity on me. At the exam I could not explain Newton’s second law. He looked at my sergeant’s shoulder marks, and my badges of excellence from the border guard and said,

    “Do you promise to bring your physics up to snuff before the start of the semester?”

    “I promise!”

    “Okay, I’m giving you a C.”

    “Thank you!”

    I was really pleased, considering that I had already been given B’s in composition and math. I got in! It was a good thing that I had come dressed in uniform. Otherwise I would have ended up at Moskovsky Station waiting for a train to Leninsk-Kuznetsky-something I did not want at all. I cannot remember what that professor’s name was, but I would thank him, if I were to see him again, for offering me the chance to give life in Leningrad a shot.

    Strangely enough, I did well in school. Because I had barely made it into the program, I had to promise myself that I would study hard. I sat in the first row, the best place for absorbing knowledge. I can still remember our math professor, Lobazin, and our physics professor, Mezentsev. If I could not understand something, I would come up to the teacher after class and ask him to explain further. My studies bore fruit: I was the first in my class to write my final exams and I was even one of only four students who passed physics on the first try.

    At the institute I met the most cultured intellectual people. The best people in the country. The professors were the embodiment of intelligence. Their speech, their approach to the material, their love of liberty, and their ambition captivated me. It amazes me to think that such obviously anti-Soviet ps could end up teaching in a state-run university in the USSR. They criticized Soviet authority-some of them doing so indirectly, but the more courageous ones just telling it like it was. Some of them would make post-lecture announcements such as, “Remember, Nautilus Pompilius has a concert tonight.” The professors at the Mining Institute planted the seeds of nonconformism and inner freedom in me.

    I do not know how things were in Moscow at that time, but in St. Petersburg everything was light and color. After its founding in 1703, the city was originally the freethinking capital of Russia. The Decembrist uprising of December 14, 1825, the workers’ revolt of January 9, 1905, and the 1917 revolution all happened there. It is not surprising that the years 1988-1990 saw an intensification of anti-Soviet sentiment in Leningrad. I just cannot understand why there has been no protest in St. Petersburg during the current stagnant period in our country.

    Back then, freedom was in the air. I was really excited about all of it. I remember buying a badge reading, “Yegor, you’re wrong!” The slogan referred to Yegor Ligachev, who had interrupted one of Boris Yeltsin’s speeches, saying, “Boris, you’re wrong. It’s not just tactics that make us different now. Boris, you possess a great deal of energy, but it’s not creative energy. Rather, it’s destructive.” People decided that Yegor was wrong. We supported Yeltsin because we believed that he would save the country from communism.

    Of course, it was Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev who got the ball rolling. He had the strength and courage to take down the Soviet system from the inside. Of all the leaders of the USSR and Russia in the twentieth century, I respect him the most. He was a member of the communist mafia-there’s no other way to put it-and decided to fight against it. He was a rule-breaker. He broke down the very organization of which he was a part, in order to offer us freedom.

    A lot of people say that Gorbachev had no choice-that everything would have unfolded exactly as it did regardless of his involvement, but I disagree. I think he had a choice. He could have tightened the bolts, as Andropov did in 1982-1983. But this was a person who had been elected as the General Secretary of the only political party in the country-and it turned out that he held democratic and liberal views. Gorbachev is the sharpest and greatest Russian politician ever. It is not for nothing that he has garnered praise and respect in the West. The only thing that he did wrong was the alcohol reform. Without a doubt, he will go down in history as the man who put an end to communism. Yeltsin will be remembered as Russia’s first psident. Lenin and Stalin will be remembered too, but with the least fondness. As for the others, my gut feeling is that their memory will be all but erased.

    When he dies, we will cry. We will pay him our respects and remember what a good person he was. For now though, as long as he is still with us, I would like to expss my gratitude to him for conquering the communist dragon.

    Mikhail Sergeyevich, THANK YOU! My deepest respect!

    We still hear the voices of those idiots that praise the Soviet Union. What is there to praise, anyway? It is unfortunate that those in power in Russia today often appeal to the USSR. Some even anticipate its restoration. But that is something that I would most certainly not want to see. I would not want to see a specific quota of mohair scarves allocated to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where the coldest it gets is plus 10. Nor would I want to see big shipments of plastic ice hockey sticks being sent to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Soviet economy was inoperable. The system’s collapse was just a matter of time. And then there was America dragging us into the arms race. But even if that had not happened, the crash would have been inevitable.

    In the last few years we have seen a governmentalization of the economy; once again, today, we see socialism baring its teeth. Half of the economy now hangs on Gazprom, along with some soccer and hockey teams. We are treading water, in spite of Gorbachev’s breakthroughs and in spite of the work that Yeltsin did towards accelerating our country’s development. We have strayed from the path. We have taken one step forward and two steps back.

    I would stress that my argument must be understood from an economic standpoint. I am no political scientist or politician. I do not know how many parties there are in the country. But I am certain that there are more than one. The economy must operate in accordance with capitalist mechanisms. It is the best approach that we have thought of. Take, for example, communist China’s economic successes. They are based on market principles. In this respect, their approach has not been socialist in the least.

    In the summer of 1988, before I started my studies at the Mining Institute, the nineteenth Party Conference was held. At this conference, changes were announced, changes bearing on the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It had become clear that communism was weak and could not last. The wind of change was blowing from the Baltic Sea, the Bay of Finland, and from Europe. The Scorpions would sing about the wind of change in the nineties. In Russia, the rock group Kino was already singing about it:

    Change! Our hearts require it.

    Change! Our eyes need it. In our laughter and tears and in our pulsing veins:

    Change! We wait for change!

    During my very first semester at the institute, our trigonometry professor told us about Anatoly Sobchak, a teacher at a nearby university. Sobchak’s star was only starting to rise. He was fighting for the most basic of western values: democracy, inpidual liberty, and private property.

    At the end of the 1980s, we believed that everything would change and we would be the ones to make it happen. There is a reason why university students are considered key to revolutions. In spring 1989, a miracle happened: we elected Anatoly Alexandrovich Sobchak to the USSR parliament, repsenting the Vasilievsky Island District 47. I am glad that my vote played a part in that victory. Sobchak could not win in the first round, even though he had a majority of votes. But in the second round his win was unequivocal. One of the voting stations was in our dormitory in Building 5, Shkipersky Stream.

    I fell in love with St. Petersburg. Vasilievsky Island, the buses full of foreigners, the imported goods, the colored lights, the wide prospects, the steamships-it was a country boy’s dream come true, especially after I had come so close to becoming a warrant officer. I just went crazy. I was in awe of the wealth of knowledge available at the mining institute, the statues by the entrance, the huge staircase leading down to the Neva River, the neighboring Baltic factory, where a reconstruction of the icebreaker Lenin was on display. I had only ever seen such things on TV. I would call my state upon arrival in Leningrad euphoric. It was as though I was high all time.

    Ever since, I have had my own special relationship with the city. It was in this great, beautiful city that I grew up and became the person and the businessman I am today. It is disappointing to have to say it, but I am not a native Leningrader. And yet I am probably more of a patriot than many who were born there. Of course I consider myself Siberian, but after thirteen happy years in St. Petersburg, I am a most genuine Petersburger.

    I went to university in this city, I met my future wife there, and this is where I started nearly all of my businesses. No city in the world has given me anything remotely like what this city has.

    So I’ll quote Iosif Brodskoi:

    There’s no country or graveyard,

    Which I would pfer.

    It’s on Vasilievsky Island

    That I’ll be interred.

    I associate the Leningrad of the late nineteen-eighties with the rock band Kino and its lead singer Viktor Tsoi. My Baptism

    In December 1988, I went to Nikolsky Church to be baptized. The priest asked me,

    “Do you know the Lord’s Prayer?”

    “No.”

    “Then I can’t baptize you. Go learn it.”

    I memorized the prayer on the plane on one of my trips to Siberia. I still remember it:

    “Our father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

    On December 25, 1988-my birthday-the priest baptized me.

    Chapter 8

    The Mining Trade Institute

    The Leningrad Mining Institute is the oldest technical school in Russia and is, for all intents and purposes, where international mining science originated. Because of this, at the end of the eighties, the Institute’s student body included people, not just from the socialist camp, but Americans and Western Germans as well. For the most part though, international students came, naturally, from “third-world” countries in Asia and Africa.

    When they came back from holidays, they would bring merchandise with them. A lot of them flew through Berlin, while students from former French colonies (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire) had stopovers in Paris. They all wanted to earn some extra cash. They came to Russia with jeans, perfume, and cassette tapes. After exams were over they would return home with their money in foreign currency-dollars, marks, or francs.

    The foreigners were not good at selling on the street. Maybe they were just scared to do it. Instead they sold their goods to Russian speculators, like me. On the street, my profit would reach fifty to one hundred percent. I lived off this margin. To tell the truth, though, I did not save much as we loved to party in the dorms.

    I soon realized that, in Siberia, goods that were in short supply could be sold for twice as much again. For instance, I could sell cosmetics kits in Leningrad for 25 rubles, while in Leninsk-Kuznetsky they sold for 50. Lipstick was 15 rubles in the city, but 25 in Siberia. Of course, when I could, then, I tried to sell in Siberia.

    In Leninsk I would come to the shoe or yarn factory, which were staffed mostly by women. Because they would not let me in through reception, I had to climb through a window. The workers already knew that there was this guy named Oleg from Leningrad and that he traded in scarce, imported products. I was able to make even more money there than I would have if I had sold the stuff at the local market. This was because the women liked the idea of making their purchases from the comfort of their own place of employment. This is just another example of the importance of service in business.

    (I still remember the lessons that I learned then. In particular, the savings program launched in 2010 by Tinkoff Credit Systems is based on the same principle: a bank repsentative comes to where you are when you want to open an account.)

    Of course, sometimes, the merchandise turned out to be complete crap. Once I bought lipstick with glitter in it from some Gypsies on Staronevsky Prospect. Later I saw how they made it. They would take shiny chocolate wrappers, cut them into tiny pieces, and add them to the lipstick.

    In the main, I sourced my merchandise from foreigners. Another source, however, was a fellow student at the Mining Institute, Igor Spiridonov. He was from Prokopyevsk in Kemerovo Province. Igor sold in small bulk: cosmetic kits came in full boxes; lipstick in blocks of 100 each; VHS cassettes in packs. I bought my first consignment in cash and sold the goods inpidually in Siberia. A week later, I bought more. Because Igor and I were fellow Siberians, he offered me a larger consignment and said I could pay him back after I had sold the product. In this way I made money off the difference with no investment.

    At one point I was flying three or four times a month. I would load up a couple bags, buy a ticket to Kemerovo for 60 rubles, and then sell the goods in Siberia for twice as much or more than they would have cost in St. Petersburg. Of course my trips were not just about business. I also spent time with my friends, Edik Sozinov, Alexei Smirnov, Zhenya Brekhov, and Alexei Prilepsky. I even convinced the latter two to apply for university in Leningrad.

    Later, I started bringing stuff back to sell. A group of Yugoslavian construction workers were building a hospital in Leninsk-Kuznetsky. They lived in what was called the Yugoslavian Village, in trailers. They brought German marks with them from Europe. You could not buy anything in Soviet stores with foreign currency, however-be it vodka or treats for the girls. Because the Siberians had no need for foreign money, I bought the marks from them at a ludicrously low price and sold them to speculators on Vasilievsky Island. If I remember correctly, they cost me five rubles each and I sold them for nine. Such was the Soviet Forex!

    Most of the people studying at the Mining Institute were from regions where there was an active extraction industry. There were a lot of students from the Kuznetsk Basin, Don Basin (Donetsk, Chervonograd and Shakhty), Vorkuty, and Ukhty. There were a few students, too, from Slantsy and Yakutia, where diamonds are mined. I tried to stick with guys from Kemerovo Province; we were from the same area and I was used to trusting my own. I considered them more reliable and understanding.

    But this approach almost backfired. Vitalik from Kemerovo, who was about five years older than me, got me involved in some shady dealings having to do with gold. And I crossed a few lines. I am ashamed to admit it, but it got to the point where I was taking part in some straight-up thievery. Thank God, I had the strength and soundness of mind to get away from these people. The Lord led me away. They wanted to expel me from the Institute. I lost so much. Worst of all, I lost my good name in the dormitory. The most important thing, though, is that I stopped hanging out with that crowd.

    So why am I writing about this? None of us is perfect. Young men arriving in a new city are bound to get mixed up with bad apples. You have to try your best to avoid them, but if it is too late for that, then you have to have the strength to walk away. Now, I never judge people for their mistakes-remember that even Pinocchio got mixed up with the wrong crowd. But he showed what his character was like by breaking away. I was like Pinocchio in that story. I was led astray by their high life: the restaurants, discos, and strip chúng tôi was all so tempting. After all, before I came to Leningrad I had not even seen the inside of a restaurant, really.

    One way or another, I decided that I would never become involved with crime. And although the article against speculation was only removed from the Criminal Code in 1991, it had been largely unenforced for a long while before then. Undoubtedly, I should have been more careful, but I was afraid of nothing in pursuit of the good life. I had to keep speculating.

    Every day, during our long break after second period, we speculators would meet at the Mining Institute, in a wide square hall, which we called the “meeting spot.” People could get onto campus without documents and speculators from various neighborhoods, from places like Aprashka (Appraising Door) and Galyora (Gusting Door), came to the Institute to buy product. The meeting spot was a place of intense commercial activity. Items for sale included clothing, appliances, and electronics. Currency was also exchanged. Trade was evolving. At first clothing and perfume were the most sought after items; later, demand for electronic gear grew. For two years dual-cassette tape recorders were all the rage. We called them soapboxes.

    We students made money any way we could. I would buy vodka at the store, during the day, and then sell it in the dorm, at night, for 20 rubles. Some people accused me of being an animal for this, but I disagree. If you do not go to the store, during the day, to get your vodka-and you want some at night-then you have to pay up. Nothing is free, including drink, when a sudden urge to have some sets in. My fellow students would get mad about it, but they would buy the vodka. One kid got a VCR from his parents and he used to charge a ruble to anyone who wanted to watch a movie in his room. All was right and fair: the VCR was an asset and assets should bring you profit. We would stay up all night watching movies starring Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Lee, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. We thought action movies were the height of cinematography.

    * * *

    I liked it in Leningrad, but I missed my friends in Leninsk dearly. In the winter after I had finished my first midterms, I almost made the biggest mistake of my life. There was a university transfer system in the Soviet Union, which allowed you to transfer to a more pstigious school after you had been accepted to a lesser one. In the winter of 1989 I went to the Kuznetsk Basin Polytechnical Institute in Kemerovo. Like the Mining Institute in Leningrad, it trained future mineworkers.

    The young woman in the transfer department looked at me like I was an idiot.

    “What! Are you stupid?”

    “I’m sorry. What do you mean?”

    “We have fifty students waiting on transfers from Kemerovo to Leningrad. What are you doing, man? Don’t screw around.”

    She changed my mind; I withdrew my transfer documents. I feel like God was at work here too. That girl at the Institute could have taken all my papers without saying anything. I probably would have ended up working as an engineer or something in the mines in Leninsk!

    Cosmetic kits cost 25 rubles in Leningrad. In Siberia, their price was double. One of my first investors, Oleg Korostelev, his wife Vera, Rina, and I in Morskoi Restaurant. Eduard Sozinov, a friend of Oleg’s from school:

    Every time Oleg came to Leninsk-Kuznetsky, he would bring something to sell. It was the simplest way to make extra money. Before, this was called speculation; now we call it business. At the time, though, I thought it was a completely normal thing to do. He’d bring jeans and coats people had ordered-in small amounts, though. Mostly he sold cosmetics, however. Women go crazy over things like that and the stores didn’t carry anything. Lipstick and perfume sold like hotcakes, because the price was reasonable. Jeans, on the other hand, were something very few people could afford…

    Igor Spiridonov, Oleg’s business partner during his university years:

    I lived in a dormitory on Maly Prospect (Oleg lived on Shkipersky Stream). Oleg had good connections when it came to sales in Siberia. I knew where you could get stuff cheap in Leningrad. During our early days of speculation, the main products were clothing and toiletries. Later we started speculating on currency and electronics and started making grown-up money.

    The first time Oleg came to my dorm on Maly Prospect, he told me that he was from Leninsk-Kuznetsky (we were practically neighbors, as I was born in Prokopyevsk in Kemerovo Province). He had heard from someone that I had merchandise for sale. A week later he came back and said he had sold everything. “Nice turnover,” I thought. Mostly Oleg bought cosmetic kits, VHS cassettes, and lipstick. Later on, like good neighbors, we agreed that he would take a bigger shipment of merchandise to Siberia and pay me when he got back.

    Chapter 9

    Gangster Stories

    In Leninsk-Kuznetsky I saw some real tough gangsters. When I moved to Leningrad, I came into contact with athletes who called themselves gangsters. They were from Tambov, Kazan, and Vokruty, and because they did not know how to do anything else, they took up hustling. You would join a gang based on what part of the country you came from. Unlike in other cities, in St. Petersburg there were few people from the south. Chechens and Dagestanis played only a minor role there. The top guns were from Slavic gangs, which were dominated by former athletes. They were not really gangsters in an ordinary sense.

    At the end of the eighties in St. Petersburg, if you were doing business then gangsters would inevitably become involved. This happened, for the first time, when I managed to sell a can of black caviar to some foreigners at the Pribaltiyskaya Hotel for fifty dollars-an insane amount of money at the time. It was the first time I had ever held a fifty-dollar bill in my hand. I nearly went nuts. To my dismay, the in-house gangsters saw me making the sale and decided that they deserved a cut. I had to escape through the restaurant kitchen, running past the frying pans with food cooking in them, just like in mafia movies.

    The Mining Institute was under the protection of some guys from Vorkuty. They were big and aggressive and liked to rock it out at nightclubs. You would not say that they were well-structured, but they sure had biomass. The prostitutes on Vasilievsky Ostrov paid them for protection, as did the currency dealers and rich kids who sold matryoshka dolls. This was nothing serious, just old-fashioned racketeering. Now I realize that the gangsters did not make all that much money, but at the time they seemed super-rich, driving 2109 Ladas and eating out at restaurants.

    My first encounter with the Vorkutians came when I was in my first year of university. I and our Komsomol rep, Vitya Cherkashin, were returning home from the pub across from Kazan Cathedral. We were a little tipsy when we got back to the dorm. We noticed the Vorkutians loitering there, as they often did. Their boxer, Igor, was harassing people and a few of the others stood nearby watching and laughing. Vitya and I were walking down the hall. They were walking towards us. I was certain that we were going to get punched and possibly kicked. If we pushed up against the wall, they would take exception; if we walked straight towards them, they would get mad. They would get pissed no matter what. Once we had reached them, the boxer took his stance.

    “Whatchya gonna do, Tinky?” he sneered.

    What was I to do? The beer and lack of options gave me the guts to act. I had nowhere to turn. I remember that I had been taking boxing at the Mining Institute for six months, at that point, and we had only worked through one punch-the right straight. I did not think about matters for long. I took up my position and followed through with the punch. It was a good hit, for me, but not so much for Igor. I got him in the jaw. Boxers know that this is the worse place to be hit-you can fall down immediately. I thought it was over, that they would kill me. Contrary to what I expected, though, his buddies, who were standing close by, opted not to get involved. None of them wanted to go down second. They just shit themselves! I shouted something along the lines of,

    “That’s what’ll happen to every one of you!”-and withdrew.

    Realizing I would be screwed if I stayed around, I ran out of the dormitory five minutes later, caught a cab, and went to my girlfriend’s place. She was studying economics and lived on Bolshaya Morskaya Street. The next day, after class, I came back to my room. I sat waiting, knowing they would be coming. The ringleader entered and said,

    Suddenly, I was recognized all over and my reputation inched upward. One fine day during the long break, some strong men from Vorkuty, wearing black leather jackets, approached me.

    “We’re going outside. We need to talk,” one of them said.

    We went outside and stopped on the staircase in front of the chemistry department.

    “So, you’re selling here?” one asked.

    “Yeah, I’ve been trying to earn some money.”

    “You’re going to have to pay us. You’ve got to feed the bros.”

    “What does this have to do with me?”

    “Listen, you! Are you looking for trouble?”

    Of course I was already ppared for this moment.

    “I couldn’t care less who you need to feed. I have a dad, mom and brother. They’re the only ones I owe anything to-no one else. If you harass me again, I’m writing a police statement.”

    “Listen, what the hell is your problem? Don’t you know the rules?”

    “I’m not interested in your rules. I set my own.”

    “Okay, fine. What point is there talking to this piece of trash?” They threatened me and left.

    Naturally, I never had to deal with them again and I kept on working.

    Ever since then, I have understood that the dumb underdog gangsters are easily scared, while their leaders should be used; you might borrow money from them. They are rich and they have their head on their shoulders. Later on, I borrowed money from certain organizations, understanding clearly that they were controlled by people whose names were often mentioned in criminal histories. I took loans from them rather than from banks, at interest rates that were reasonable-to say the least. Should it make a difference where I get my loans? They had capital and I did not have the money I needed for various projects. And you would never hurt someone who owes you. No one would. They thought they were using me, but, in my view, they were the ones being used. Not many of those people are still alive today, although now and then I do see some of them around St. Petersburg. Now they have realized who was using who. After all, I was paying them at a fixed interest rate, but in the end their money earned me much, much more.

    In the 1990s gangsters liked to follow a scheme called “raising hogs.” They would give money to an entrepneur, would get a share in the business, and then, when the company started to go under, they would milk the owner dry. Or kill him. I would never give gangsters a share in my business, because it always ended badly.

    As long as he has something to hide, a businessman will always fall victim to extortion. For the moment, unfortunately, law-abiding businessmen are few and far between. A lot of people want to get rich in six months, buy a yacht and plane, and move to Monaco. In order to achieve this, they avoid paying taxes, or customs duty, and they bribe officials. They give extortionists something to work with.

    My situation is different. I have been laboring hard for 20 years and yet I have not acquired anything extraordinary for myself. Compared to the average man, I am very rich, to be sure. But from the point of view of the richest, I am poverty-stricken. I am not accustomed to fast money and I am not willing to break the law in order to make a profit. I will not go against my own conscience. That is why I will not let anyone make my life difficult. It would be unfair. I will protect my rights by whatever means possible. As for those who steal from their country or from others, their lives should be made difficult. You must not forget, I have a home in St. Petersburg and a lot of my friends are high up now. I am respected. I receive offers of help as soon as I have a problem. A lot of people might say, “Well, I haven’t got any influential friends from St. Petersburg!” I am just saying that you must use your head and act in a way that protects you from harassment.

    Again, I never got involved in any business with a really high profit margin that would be of interest to the mafia. A lot of my friends and other acquaintances have been killed, sometimes for no apparent reason. But I have never had bullets flying by my head-not even during those dark and dreary days when human life had lost nearly all its value.

    I do have one story involving bullets, actually, but it has nothing to do with business. It was December 25, 1992, and I was celebrating my birthday in the Pribaltiyskaya Hotel. After dinner I invited all of my guests (there were eight or ten of us) to the dance club Eldorado in Karelia Hotel. It was controlled by thugs from the town of Tambov. A few of them sat a couple of tables away, giving us dirty looks. As the night wore on, most of the girls left the club. Finally, our wives were the only women left. One of the smaller thugs, who wore a cap, came up to Rina, pulled at her hand and said,

    “Come on. Don’t ya wanna dance?”

    I took hold of his hat, pulled it down over his face, and told him to you-know-what off. He hit me first, I hit back, and so the fight started. There were five of us and nine of them. The police put an end to the fight, but the gangsters went outside, got in their cars, and waited for us. The cops that worked at Karelia enjoyed some kind of relationship with the gangsters and maybe even got money from them. The policemen told us straight up,

    “Guys, you’re screwed. You’ve got no chance. Get whoever protects you in here, otherwise you’re dead.”

    The cops were slow to understand their pdicament. Half an hour later they realized that if we were killed, they would get in trouble too. In view of this, they offered to take us to the station. They backed a police van up to the exit and one by one we jumped inside. When they saw that we were going to get away with our offensive behavior, the gangsters drew their guns and jumped out of their BMWs.

    The cops started shooting into the air.

    “Everyone in your vehicles!”

    When the van started moving, the mob cars followed us. They followed us all the way to the station. I was on the edge of my seat, as though I were in a movie. When we got to the police station, we were put in a cell. The police told us to wait until morning and then to call whoever it was that protected us to come pick us up. I really value my freedom, but I was totally fine with spending that night behind bars. By morning, the thugs had gone. We all went back to our homes and for the next couple of weeks tried not to stray outside.

    Eduard Sozinov, a friend of Oleg’s from school:

    The street fighting in Leninsk-Kuznetsky stopped after we were discharged from the army in 1988. The reason was the rising popularity of drugs. Within what seemed like moments, everyone united and became friends and brothers. At first grass and bud were the mainstay, but later on heroin made an appearance. During the early nineties, the shit infected the city and a lot of our peers died. Practically every single young adult used. No one tried to avoid it. At least everyone tried it once. I’m not sure about Moscow and St. Petersburg, but I think that drug-use thrives to this day across the country.

    During those terrible, dark times, Oleg tried his best to stay away. The place was a cesspool of drugs and murder. For several years the shootings and funerals were incessant.

    Oleg took pains to be careful. He made sure no one knew he was coming. One day, we were told some people were looking for him; it sounded as though they wanted to kill him. The boys had found out that he had money. They wanted to take everything they could from him. Probably the first order of business was to track him down, harass him for money, and then, based on his reaction, decide whether to put the squeeze on him further.

    Oleg used to say that you could actually talk to the gangsters in St. Pete’s, but the ones back home wouldn’t listen, no matter what you said. He never even tried talking to them. Still, his trips were frequent, because he had to keep up his business in Leninsk. And he had to visit his parents. For safety’s sake, he avoided spending the night there. We found him a rental each time he came.

    After the collapse of 1991, Oleg brought a large consignment back home. There was wine, vodka, and some kind of clothing-denim skirts, perhaps. The city bomb shelter was stuffed full. But there was a robbery and a lot was stolen. Oleg even went to the police, but they ended up finding nothing. It’s a good thing that Zhenya Brekhov and I had sold off some of the vodka and wine to various stores the day before.

    Chapter 10

    The Girl from Estonia

    The dorm on Nalichnaya Street housed students from various faculties of the Mining Institute. I met an awesome girl there, at a dance, in April 1989. Here name was Ira. We danced and I fell in love. I always try to bring things to their logical conclusion. That night, though, it did not work out. The night was nearing its climax and I noticed that she had disappeared. She must have gone to her room. My search turned up nothing.

    The next day I was walking by the math department and saw her (or was it someone else?).

    “Ira! Hey!” I said with a start.

    “I’m not Ira, I’m Rina.”

    That is how, thanks to a random dance with a girl named Ira, I met my future wife, Rina. It was not until twenty years later that we were officially married-but more on that later. The next time we met was two months later, in June. I had gone into the grocery store at the corner of Gavanskaya Street and Shkipersky Stream to buy some sausage. As I stood in line, I noticed the same girl that I’d seen before, as I was walking by the math department-Rina.

    I bought her a birch beverage for 11 kopeks and she had the indiscretion to tell me her room number. The following Saturday, I and my friend Edik, from Vorkutia, grabbed a bottle of wine and went to visit Rina on Nalichnaya Street. She had two female roommates and so Edik and I were happily outnumbered.

    The Gavan Hotel had recently opened on Maly Prospect on Vasilievsky Island. It was not long before I took Rina there. We paid three rubles for entrance to the Hotel because it was part of the Intourist system and was not technically intended for Soviet citizens. You had to walk up to the glass door and show the doorman your open palm with a bill in it. He would open the door, take your money slyly, so that no one would notice, and let you into the hotel. There was a bar on the top floor. The barman Albert was an enterprising man in glasses. According to the menu, beer cost 55 kopeks, but everyone paid a ruble. Some people asked for change. When they came back for more beer, Albert would say, matter-of-factly,

    “We haven’t got any beer.”

    On this occasion, I got Rina really drunk and brought her back to my dorm. She gave in immediately, of course. It was not just anybody that could show a girl the kind of good time that I had. The moral of the story is simple: without money, you can accomplish nothing with women. I am kidding, of course. Rina is not materialistic. I took her to some cooperative restaurants, a few times, but later my money ran out. So Rina started taking me out! My sense was that she had money because she was from a fairly well-to-do Estonian family. According to her, however, it was because she was careful about how she spent her stipend. Whatever the case might have been, a girl paying my way was unacceptable. I started feeling shabby about it. I realized that the time had come to start making real money. I started putting twice the energy into my speculation business. My motive was simple: I wanted to take this beautiful girl to restaurants. The size of my consignments grew.

    But I proved unable to get rich quick. I remained in the dorm and Rina moved in with me. It was we two, plus Andrei Pavlov from Kingisepp. Hungry days ensued. Andrei’s mom would bring him a sack of potatoes once a month and that is how we fed ourselves. I cannot stand potatoes to this day.

    One day I stepped out of the kitchen to get some salt. When I came back, I discovered that someone had taken the whole pan of potatoes. There was an unwritten rule that said: make sure you stay with your potatoes during the last five minutes of frying-otherwise they will be stolen and later you will find your empty pan back in the kitchen. Sometimes people’s soup even went missing. There was no point in looking for it as 150 students lived on our floor alone.

    There were bedbugs in the rooms. We would poison them, but they were never gone for long. Moving the beds away from the wall and into the center of the room afforded us some protection, but they would still climb up the walls, along the ceiling, and then fall on us from above, feeding on us once more. All of these domestic annoyances pushed me to do greater things. After all, I’d seen fortunate speculators who rented or bought their own apartments, drove their own cars, and were always going from restaurant to restaurant.

    Sometime after I had finished my first term, I went to a regular store and bought some cans of red caviar at government prices. I got into a commuter train at Finlyandsky Station and got a ticket to Repino. I walked to Penaty Estate Museum where the Finnish tourists were filing out of the buses. I simply repeated the phrase “sata marka,” which means a hundred marks in Finnish. I quickly sold all the caviar for ten times what I had paid for it at the store.

    After I pulled that off, I felt incredible. The business was easy and the profits huge. I told a kid in my dorm, Volodya, that there was money to be made. The next morning, we bought two whole cases of caviar and made the trip to Repino. After a couple days business with the Finns we found ourselves surrounded with 2106 Ladas with tinted windows. We did not know if it was the mob or the cops. Either way, since nothing good would come of us sticking around, Volodya and I started running in opposite directions. I raced along the tree line, tossing caviar into the bushes as I went. My hands were empty of cash. Even though I was an athlete, I could not outrun the officer, who wore a leather jacket. He caught up and twisted my arm behind my back, told me to pick up the jars that I had discarded, and took me to the Repino police department.

    He took me to the special cases section, wrote me up, and confiscated my caviar. I sat across from that overstuffed cop, filling out the papers.

    “You know what makes you lucky?” he asked

    “What?”

    “These problems you had today, they’re minor.”

    “Minor? You caught me, didn’t you?”

    “If you had been caught by the mobsters that control that spot, your problems would be much more significant. You were only here briefly. Now don’t come back.”

    It seemed the cops were more afraid of the gangsters than I was. Maybe they were even getting a cut for protecting people that were essentially their superior officers. After these events, the Mining Institute received a letter saying that I was involved in the black market. For the second time they wanted to expel me. I’m not sure how they could let me leave to Poland with a service record like this: it must have been the lack of a unified information system.

    I never again made the trip to Repino after this. In July, though, I received invaluable work experience in Soviet commerce. Nikolai Nikolayevich, the manager of the produce store on the Corner of Havana Street and Little Avenue, gave me a job selling fruit and vegetables at the stand. The kiosk still stands on that corner, next to the dairy store.

    Our business was unique. You would weigh a kilogram of tomatoes. Then, before putting them in the bag, you would throw one of them under the table. Bananas, being both heavy and expensive, were especially profitable to tip in this way. Not stealing was not an option here. For instance, when a delivery would come in, they would tell us, “Here are a hundred kilos of tomatoes” and you would weigh them and there would be only ninety. But when you would say that some were missing they would always ask the same question: “Do you want to keep working here?” So really, you had to cheat-just another feature internal to the socialist system. To this day, when I go to the market, I always keep close watch on the shopkeepers’ fingers.

    In August, Rina and I headed south with the money that I had “earned.”

    Because I was only ever taken to Yevpatoria as a child, it was with pleasure that I took my love to the same small Crimean town. Memories of beach sex have blotted out all other recollections from the trip. Not surprising? Maybe not-except that we had sex during the crowded part of the day. We just covered ourselves with a blanket and assumed that nobody would notice what we were doing. As it turned out, we were mistaken.

    At the same time, merchants from Moscow and Leningrad started sweeping up chainsaws and other electrical appliances and exporting them to eastern European countries. These products were still available for sale in the towns and villages of Kemerovo Province. I scooped them up with a view to selling them in Poland.

    Rina came from Estonia to study at the Mining Institute. Estonia, though part of the USSR, was more like a foreign country. Rina Vosman, Oleg Tinkov’s wife:

    Oleg was a Siberian guy, different from the others, unique. Life in Siberia is tough. I’m softer, more intelligent (laughs).

    He was always different from the others-from the moment I met him. He wasn’t like anyone else. When I came to St. Petersburg, I was 20, a young, cute girl. And I knew a lot of people. But everything changed as soon as Tinkov came into my life. The last twenty years have flown by. Oleg has said that I’m from a rich family and that that’s why I had money kicking around. But it really was because I saved bit by bit. He loved to have a good time. When Tinkov got his stipend, everyone would have a good time. Every girl in the dorm would be in his room. He really loved girls ( laughs). There were girls named Mashka and Svetka and Lenka-all different kinds. He’d spend his whole stipend on champagne, then he’d eat fried potatoes or go hungry all month. But that’s how he’s always been: he has a big heart. As soon as I started coming to his dorm, the girls stayed away. It was the easiest thing in the world for me to achieve. Slowly I started moving my stuff in. When we lived in the dorm, we were poor. We had nothing to eat. After the third period in the day, we’d skip school and stand for three hours waiting in line to buy “blue birds.” That’s what we called the Soviet chickens due to their peculiar coloration. Fried potatoes and a three-liter jar of tomato juice-now that was a hearty meal! So we thought in those days, at least.

    Chapter 11

    Hello, Europe!

    Rina’s parents lived in Estonia, while here maternal grandparents were in Szczecin, Poland. This made it easy for her to get into Poland. As for me, I had to get approval from various offices, the trade-union committee, the Communist youth league, and so on. Since Poland was still part of the Soviet bloc, the first time we went there, in 1989, we did not even have to apply for a foreign travel passport. Our Soviet ones were enough.

    After we arrived at the home of Rina’s relatives in Warsaw, the first thing we did was head to Voskhodny Market, which means “Eastern Market” in English. We made the acquaintance of a Polish man there-Juliusz. He told us which goods from the USSR were in highest demand and so we started to bring these in.

    In Poland, the price on anything with a power chord was three times higher than in the USSR. We would buy Raduga television sets in the Kozitsky Union Store on Maly Prospect on Vasilievsky Island. I would load them onto the train, disembark in Warsaw, sell them for 200 dollars apiece, and come home. Rina transported TV’s too. I would load them on the train in Leningrad and Juliusz would unload them in Warsaw.

    In 1990, we made things more complicated. Rina spent the whole summer in Warsaw and I traveled back and forth. I flew to Siberia, bought Taiga chainsaws at various general stores for 200 rubles each, brought them with me to the airport in Kemerovo, paid for the excess baggage, and then flew on to Leningrad. From the station, I brought the saws to the room we rented in a co-op apartment on Gavanskaya Street. The next day, I was off to the station and, a twenty-four-hour train-ride later, I was in Warsaw. The logistics took up an awful lot of time. But it was totally worth it: in Poland we sold the saws for 200 dollars each, which was enough to buy another six or seven of them back in Russia.

    From time to time, I’d fly in to Novosibirsk, hire a cab, and drive around to general and co-op stores, buying every electric appliance they had. In the cities, speculators had bought everything up, while in the villages, the stores were still stocked. Sometimes I would drop by my mom’s place in Leninsk-Kuznetsky for five minutes or so. She was always surprised because she thought I was in class.

    * * *

    One day Juliusz told us about a particular kind of business that the Poles liked conducting: taking cigarettes to Berlin. A pack cost one mark there, which was twice as much as in Poland. My Soviet passport allowed me to go to Poland, but not Germany. I took the risk and went with him anyway. I simply handed my passport to the German border guard, who decided he would not trouble me and put a red stamp in it.

    In Berlin I was surprised by the stark contrast between capitalism and socialism, between West and East Berlin. It was at that time that they began tearing down the famous Berlin wall. I got on the S-Bahn train, which connected East Berlin with the West. It was like some crazy dream: like moving from a black and white movie into a colored one.

    I got off the train at the Zoologische Garten Station, and found myself surrounded by the most delicious of aromas. There were little lights and flashing signs all around. In stalls along the street, you could buy all kinds of exotic fruit: kiwis, bananas, and pineapples. There was nothing like it in the USSR, nor in Poland. There, in West Berlin, I was finally set completely free from the illusions of communism and my father’s words-that capitalism is cool-were confirmed once and for all.

    In Berlin, Rina and I had to sleep at the station. Once, while we were walking along the street, I saw a hotel with a sign out front stating that they charged 50 marks per night for a room. This may sound cheesy now, but I said,

    “Trust me, Rina. A day will come when I will be making money and we’ll be able to stay in that hotel.”

    Later, I stopped taking the risk of going to Berlin without a foreign travel passport. Rina started to go instead. Apart from cigarettes, skirts and shirts were big sellers. At the open-air market in Warsaw, we bought black Turkish skirts with belts as well as military shirts (faux denim) with tags reading, “US Army.” Rina is thin, so she would put on five or seven layers of shirts and skirts.

    At the station in Berlin, Gypsies would spend mark upon mark to buy this crappy junk. It is a mystery where they sold it. After all, the quality was revolting. In any case, though, we made good money selling it. Within 15-20 minutes, the Gypsies would gobble everything up and Rina would board the train heading back to Warsaw.

    Some of our imports from Europe included gas canisters, pistols, and cartridges. All of these things sold well in St. Petersburg. By the end of summer 1990, we had made a few thousand marks. I used the money to buy a computer, which I took with me on an LOT airlines flight to Leningrad. At Pulkovo airport everything might have come crashing down. A customs official took one look at my suspicious facial expssion and said,

    “Would you mind stopping, sir?” I ptended I did not understand what it was he wanted. He was distracted and I managed to slip through.

    After I sold the computer, I flew to Tyumen and bought my first Lada 2109. The color was called “wet asphalt.” It cost me somewhere in the range of 25,000 to 35,000 rubles. Lada aficionados will know what I mean when I say it had “long fenders.” The license plate had “TYU” on it, which meant that I was Tyumenian, automatically. I barely knew how to drive and so my friend Sergei Abakumov helped me to get the car back to Leningrad. As we were coming into the city he said that he was tired, so I got behind the wheel. You had to see my steering as we drove past Moskovsky Department Store to believe it! Somehow, though, I made it back to Vasilievsky Island.

    Rina was not pleased:

    “I slaved away all summer long and wore ten dresses at a time for you-and you went and bought a car?” And she was right. While we were in Europe we pinched pennies everywhere and we often went hungry. We did not want to spend our foreign currency. In Germany, for example, a kebab would cost a mark, while in the Soviet Union you could survive for a whole week on the same money. We would skip dinner and have sex instead. We went hungry so that we could make money. After all that-pig that I was-I went and bought a 2109. I am sorry, Rina! Remember, though, how it took us a mere three hours to drive that 2109 from Vasilievsky Island to your home in Kohtla-Jarve?

    I spent all of our money on the car because I was sure that I would make more soon-which I did. In 1990 I met a man named Andrei Rogochov, who later started the Pyatyorochka retail chain and became the richest person in St. Petersburg. We started as equals, opening a company called LEK-kontakt. He held a 50 percent stake, while I shared the other fifty percent with the Pakhomov brothers (better known as the Ilyiches). My trips to Germany became more serious. I got a foreign travel passport. Rina now stayed home, happy to get treats, such as pineapples, from Europe.

    I brought cash into Germany, but not altogether legally. I would hide it in a mattress or-no need to fret-in my own ass. I would then buy fairly large batches of printer cartridges and toner. Andrei was in charge of selling these in St. Petersburg.

    Once, when I was taking our assets to Germany, I came close to losing everything. One night on the train, after the other passengers in my compartment had fallen asleep, I carefully opened a stretch of seam on the mattress, put the money inside, and sewed it back up. At customs, I had to roll up the mattress and wait for the officer. He caught me off guard when he said,

    “All right, take out your money.”

    “What money?”

    “In the mattress.”

    Catastrophe. I broke out in a cold sweat. The problem was not just that I might lose all the money. There would surely be a criminal investigation, as well, and I might even end up behind bars.

    “I don’t have any money.”

    “What do you mean, you don’t have any money? You do…”

    The official started pinching and pulling at the mattress-touching the very place where the money was hidden. But he did not feel anything! He rolled the mattress up again and said, “You’re right, there’s nothing.”

    What was that all about? Had one of the other passengers snitched? Was the officer bluffing?

    You know what I think: it was God, protecting me once again from very serious trouble.

    In Poland and Germany I honed my mastery of business. I bought Xerox toner in this store in Germany. On Meeting a Polish Man

    One day, I wanted to get some zloty, but the currency exchange was already closed. An elderly Pole came up to me, and asked,

    “Did you need something?”

    “I wanted to changed some money. I have some German marks, but I need some zloty so that I can get something to eat.

    I must have looked a bit unkempt, so the man took me into a bar and bought a sandwich and some tea.

    “Are you Russian?” he asked

    “Yes,” I replied.

    He began telling me the story of the emancipation of Poland by Soviet forces. In 1944 the Poles revolted, but they could not get the support of the Red Army and the Germans crushed the revolt. According to his version of events, the Russians declined to help the Poles on purpose, in order to get rid of the dissidents of the day. He also talked of the violence committed by Russians against the local population. I had been raised to believe that we saved Europe, so this was a shock to me. Here I was, sitting in Europe, hungry; one of our “emancipated” Poles was feeding me and telling me about how evil we were.

    “So why did you feed me?”

    “I have no pjudice against you. You’re a poor hungry student. But you must know these facts.”

    Now I understood that the same historical events may be interpted differently by different people. The Soviet version of these events was very different from the Polish one: Konstantin Rokossovsky, the commanding officer of the First Belorussian Front, who later became Poland’s National Defense Minister, asserted that the Polish uprising was in no way supported by the Red Army.

    Rina Vosman, Oleg Tinkov’s wife:

    We trekked to Poland to make money. Time after time, I made the trip from Warsaw to Berlin wearing military-style shirts that were supposed to look like they were made out of faded denim and ugly black skirts with gold-colored buckles and elastic waistbands. Oleg could not do it, because he did not have a foreign travel passport. The Gypsies would scoop everything up within 20 minutes of my arrival at the station and I would have to keep my wits about me to make sure that I was not ripped off in the frenzy. I failed to understand the business. Did someone need this junk somehow? The Gypsies paid in marks. I could not get my head around the fact that people in Germany paid two Deutschmarks for a Pepsi. To me, that seemed like crazy money. In Russia you could survive for quite a few days on two marks. That is why we packed sandwiches and water. We would do anything to hold onto those marks. One day I found myself in a stressful situation. Usually, the customs officers were men. They would simply look the other way, as it were, when faced with a women bundled up in clothes for sale. This time, however, the officer was a woman and she started to strip search me. The next thing I knew, they had taken Juliusz and me off the train. We had to spend the whole night on the platform. Some Germans walked by with dogs that sniffed at us. We had this uncanny feeling-as though it were 1943 again. We sat there until the sun came up. Then we took the next train back to Warsaw. We were lucky not to have had everything confiscated. We escaped with minor bruises, so to speak.

    After our first trip to Europe, Oleg got a photocopier to bring home and sell. After our second trip, he brought back two of them. After our third, he was driving a “wet asphalt” colored number 9 Lada with long fenders.

    Nikolai Nikitich Zhuravlev, former psident of Kuzbassprombank:

    I met with a huge number of clients during my time at the bank. Oleg Tinkov left the best impssion of any of them. He came to me, told me what his business was about, and asked for a loan. I liked his reasoning, so we gave him a million rubles. He bought various goods with the money and then sold them inpidually. He even came to our bank to sell stuff. The girls loved that kind of shopping. So we started giving him more. Oleg was always careful to pay back his debts. Later he got into more serious business. He started opening stores that sold household appliances. In spite of our forty-year age difference, we became friends. I watched Oleg as he worked. He had clear and specific goals and he always got right down to business. He can talk to anyone and is good at building strong relationships, qualities that were given to him by nature.

    It is amazing how good a worker he is. He is highly energetic and picks everything up as he goes along. That is why I was not surprised in the least when I heard that he had opened a pasta factory and later a brewery in St. Petersburg. He is curious. I have been with him at different meetings in the Central Bank and he always showed a keen interest in the inner workings of the financial industry.

    To tell the truth, if there were fifty people like him in Russia, then they could keep the economy growing. I think Oleg would make a fine Minister of Finance.

    Chapter 12

    From the Soviet Union to Singapore

    One rainy autumn day in 1990, I parked my No. 9, once again, across from the Institute. Our drilling-and-blasting professor parked his No. 1 in the next spot over. He looked at me and we went together into the lecture hall. What could he teach me? Well he could teach me about drilling and blasting. But when it came to making money, there was nothing he knew that I did not. In the end, I never wrote my final exams. I never crossed the finish line at the Institute.

    This decision followed logically from my priorities at the time. Why had I started my studies? Well, my goal at the time had been to return later to Leninsk-Kuznetsky and to work as a section superintendent in one of the mines.

    The peak of my career, then, would have been becoming mine director. If that had happened, my pay would have been 1000 rubles a month and I would have been given a Volga to drive. In my third year of university, however, I was already earning 10,000-15,000 rubles each month and the prospect of becoming a mine director held no attraction for me whatsoever.

    Everything I do is based on economics. Sometimes, of course, I am motivated by charity, care, a desire to help, but I believe that if a person spends dozens of hours a month on something, he should reap the rewards. From that perspective, it seemed there was no point at all in continuing my studies at the Mining Institute. Moreover, with the help of the widely respected Novosibirsk businessman, Voldemar Basalayev, I and the Ilyiches had gotten into the car business. This business was nothing out of the ordinary, but the potential profits were huge and it would take some time to achieve them.

    We came up with the idea of delivering cars by air. At the Chkalov factory we got soldiers to agree to take our cars on flights to Moscow or, less often, directly to Leningrad. Two cars could fit in an An-26. We paid the soldiers 5,000 rubles cash for each car and then drove them into the cargo hold. We stayed in them during the flight, which included a refueling stop in Chelyabinsk.

    Every few days, my neighbors would be shocked to see me driving up to my building on Nakhimov Street (nearby the Pribaltiyskaya Hotel)-where Rina and I paid 500 rubles rent per month for an apartment with just one room and a kitchen-in a brand new car, either a 2108 or a 2109. We did not worry in the least about selling the cars at the market. Instead, we would just sell them at a slightly reduced price to people we knew-people who would actually go to the market and sell the cars there. I had around twenty cars registered under my name at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

    Just think how ineffective the economic policies of the Soviet Union were. They would assemble a car in Tolyatti and ship it 2500 kilometers to Novosibirsk, via Ufa, Chelyabinsk, and Omsk. From there we would fly the car to Moscow and then drive the seven hundred kilometers from there to Leningrad. But we would still manage a huge profit margin. That is how inefficient the system was!

    And I was not the least bit surprised that 1991 was the year in which the USSR collapsed. Events were unfolding rapidly. It was hard for me to keep on top of it all. Starting on August 19, a group of Communist Party hardliners put Gorbachev under house arrest at his summer cottage in Foros. Then they announced the creation of the USSR State Emergency Committee. The committee was made up of Vice President Gennady Yanayev, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov, KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, Minister of Defense Dmitry Yazov, Minister of Internal Affairs Boris Pugo, First Deputy Chairman of the Defense Soviet Oleg Baklanov, Chairman of the Farmers’ Union Vasily Starodubtsev, and the President of the Association of State Enterprises and Industrial, Construction, Transport and Communication Facilities, Alexander Tizyakov. I remember how Yanayev’s hands were shaking when the state of emergency was declared. I could already see that the people who were trying to seize power had no control. None of them were particularly enthusiastic about their cause.

    The people involved in the coup really believed that somehow the USSR could be saved. All they accomplished, however, was to ensure that its downfall was irreversible. The people were already taking big gulps of freedom and no one liked the bans that the SEC was trying to introduce. No one took to the streets in support of the committee. In contrast, the President of the RSFSR, Boris Yeltsin, who was leading the fight against the coup, garnered the support of hundreds of thousands. Thank heavens, the coup was over soon enough: on August 22 the members of the SEC were arrested and Mikhail Gorbachev returned to Moscow. Real power in Moscow had been transferred to Yeltsin though. The “parade of sovereign states” began: on August 24, Ukraine declared its independence, on 27 August, Moldova declared its sovereignty, Kyrgyzstan did so on August 31, and so on.

    On September 6, the Presidium of the Supme Soviet of the RSFSR issued an order, renaming Leningrad Saint Petersburg. Of course, I was happy with this decision, as I had a clear understanding of the role Lenin played in Russia’s history.

    It so happens that I spent my childhood in Leninsk-Kuznetsky, went to cycling camp in Leninabad, and later moved to Leningrad. Both my childhood and my youth, then, were connected to Lenin. When I was young, Soviet propaganda encouraged us to deify him. It was only at the end of the eighties, when I was in Leningrad, that I realized he was simply a Jewish weirdo who had made an agreement with the Petrograd bankers of the time and plunged the country into poverty, essentially destroying Russia and the Russians. He brought suffering upon the Russian people. We are still suffering. I would have had him burnt at the stake.

    The last nail was hammered into the USSR’s coffin in Bialowieza Forest on December 8. Boris Yeltsin, Stanislav Shushkevich, and Leonid Kravchuk signed an agreement: “We, the Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation (RSFSR), and the Ukraine, as founding states of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter called the Supme Parties to the Agreement, having signed the Union Agreement of 1922, hereby declare the dissolution of the USSR as a subject of international law and as a geopolitical reality.”

    Thus Gorbachev became the psident of a non-existent country. On December 25-on my birthday to be pcise-he retired.

    By that time, the country’s economy was faltering badly and had reached a dead end: the government kept issuing unsecured money, which led to major deficits and a massive rate of inflation against the US dollar. The government simply could not go on regulating prices; regulation had bled itself dry. As we looked on, the ruble lost its value and respectability. Everyone was trying to get rid of any rubles that they had, buying foreign currency or goods. The shelves were empty. The whole country was collapsing. What was there to do? On November 6, Boris Yeltsin appointed Yegor Gaidar as deputy chairman of the economic policy committee of the RSFSR. Mr. Gaidar decided that shock tactics were the best medicine for the economy. On January 2, 1992, shoppers discovered that prices had increased enormously.

    To tell the truth, however, these problems were no worry of mine. I kept my savings in dollars, but constantly turned them over. The value of the ruble against the dollar was shrinking faster than the prices of goods were growing. In January 2002, I was worth a ten thousand dollar wad of cash. I took that same pack of money with me on my first trip to Singapore. I really started making big money on that trip and, at the same time, my Tekhnoshok retail chain put down its roots.

    Igor Sukhanov let me in on the Singapore idea. This man was a renowned speculator who went by the nickname Dushny, which means “soulful.” I bought computers and fax machines, which I was able to sell for a total of 30,000 dollars on the day of my return. I really liked this three-to-one business model and my trips to Singapore became very frequent indeed.

    Each trip took a few days and a visa was required, but we had our tricks. I got some people at Aeroflot to give us a few stickers that were normally used to change the dates on tickets. In Singapore, we would stick them on our tickets to make it look like we were leaving the next day. They would let us into the country and then we would throw the stickers away. When our day of departure arrived, the customs officials would sometime noticed that we had exceeded the twenty-four hour visa-free period. They would put a red stamp in our passports, indicating our violation. Never once, however, did this lead to further problems. The officials in Singapore had the right to arrest us at the airport upon our third violation. In view of this fact, we always got new foreign travel passports after our second warning.

    The idiocy of the Soviet system played into our hands. First of all, when one was leaving the country, it was possible to exchange 300 rubles for dollars at the government rate. In order to do that, we would have to stand in line for two or three hours at the Vneshekonombank on Gertsen Street. But it was not quite so simple. The wait-time was only two to three hours if you bought your place in line (another widespad phenomenon of the early nineties). Basically, there were people who made money by waiting in line outside, all night, in order to sell you their spot in line in the morning.

    Secondly, because of the low dollar-exchange rate, business class tickets turned out to be incredibly cheap. In the West they would cost 1000 dollars, but in Russia you could get them for around 600 rubles. In other words, at the black market exchange rate of 15 rubles on the dollar, the cost of a business class ticket would work out to 40 bucks.

    Igor Sukhanov gave me lessons on how to transport cash. Using Mr. Taya’s company, Future Systems Electronics, we would hand it over in Russia, then picked it up again upon our arrival in Singapore. This was an ideal method-particularly because it meant that I did not have to shove the bills through my back door as I had done on those earlier trips to Germany. We bought calculators, toner, photocopiers, computer parts, and even fax paper from Mr. Taya. If you could sell it in Russia, for a profit, we got it.

    On the way back, I did not want to pay five dollars for every kilo in excess weight, so I would raise the scale from underneath with my foot. The important thing was to make sure that the needle remained stationary and did not jump around. One time, after I had held it up so carefully, the airline worker decided he was going to re-weigh the bag. I had no idea how hard I had been pushing up the first time. I cannot deny that, now and then, we would be asked to take a couple of steps back from the scale.

    My approach to business was different from his. I always liked long cycles: because the prices there were much higher, I would sell my product in Kemerovo, Novokuznetsk, and Leninsk-Kuznetsky. For instance, I could get 2000 dollars in St. Petersburg for a computer that cost me 1000, while in Siberia the same computer cost 3000. Svetakov, however, liked fast cycles: he would pay 1000 for a computer in Singapore and sell it directly in Moscow for 1500. Each of us has our own approach. I do not like fast wholesale money, but try to squeeze every penny I can out of the process. Big markups are my weakness.

    To be honest, it took some small kickbacks to get it done. The price depended on what you negotiated and on the amount of digits the calculators displayed (8, 10, 12 or 16). I did not like having to pay 14-25 percent just to get the money out. Plus, it was really risky business. I had to go to Moscow to get the rubles, in cash. Then, I would carry the bags with me on the train to St. Petersburg, on edge the whole way. Next, I would go to Vasilievsky Island and buy dollars from rich kids at the Gavan and Pribaltiyskaya Hotels. It was a ptty hodge-podge procedure! But I managed to find a way around it soon enough. I learned how to buy non-cash dollars for non-cash rubles, which I would then transfer directly to Singapore to pay for the hardware through joint ventures that were entitled to carry out wire transfers.

    Before too much time had passed, I managed to close a very large calculator deal. Procurements at the yarn factory in Leninsk-Kuznetsky were done through a rather strange character. He contacted me himself and said he was looking to buy three thousand Aurora calculators. The record remains silent on the question why these yarn-spinning women needed such a massive number of calculators. But the enterprise was state-run, which meant that it did not really belong to anyone. This procurement worker was accountable to no one. I sold the calculators to him and earned a hundred grand in the process. I think it was purchases of this kind that led to the plant’s ultimate bankruptcy.

    In those days, the sums I earned selling calculators were colossal. I was able to buy a two-bedroom apartment in a modern 137 series building on Korolyov Street, near Kommendant Airport. In order to establish my residency in St. Petersburg, I had to marry a local woman, Nina Iosifovna. Born in 1927, she was 40 years my senior. At the marriage office, everyone looked at us like we were crazy. When I gave a bouquet to the female marriage registrar, though, she smiled and said,

    “I’ve got you guys pd out.”

    Later I found a fake Leningrader husband for Rina as well. Here was another holdover from the Soviet system: even if you had money, you could not buy an apartment in a city unless you were registered there.

    We bought a dog, a boxer, and started thinking about having kids. Every seven to ten days I would fly to Singapore. When possible, I would make two trips a week. It worked out, then, that I was in the air for fifty-six hours each week. And with every excursion, I doubled my capital.

    My business grew by leaps and bounds. I could not fly to Singapore anymore, so I started shipping my merchandise on cargo planes. I would do the receiving and customs paperwork at Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg. Because of the immense pssure, my business methods became more civilized. In September 1992, Rina and I went to the Municipal Executive Committee to register a limited liability partnership, Petrosib. We chose a transparently honest name: I shipped electronics from St. Petersburg to Siberia. At the entrance to the building, which once housed the Kalininsky District Party Committee, we were told that, “You can register one of those businesses upstairs.”

    After the failed coup, Yeltsin had outlawed the Soviet Communist Party and now big wax seals, labeled “sealed,” hung on the door. It was a criminal offense to tear off one of those seals. It is a real shame that, later on, Yeltsin betrayed himself by allowing the Communist Party to come into existence again. It would be better if those doors were still sealed and if people like Gennady Zyuganov, the current Communist Party leader, never had any say. Germany had forbidden Nazism; in consideration of its history, Russia should have made communism illegal as well. I am not really all that interested in politics, because it is irrational to bother about things that you have no control over. As a citizen, though, I am obliged to state my opinion.

    * * *

    Nikolai Nikitich Zhuravlev made a phone call from Kemerovo to Promstroibank in St. Petersburg and helped us to open both a US dollar and a rubles account for Petrosib. I hired an accountant, Nadezhda Ivanovna Turukhina. In this way, in the autumn of 1992, my operations became completely legal.

    I had begun to get my bearings in Singapore and I switched suppliers, abandoning Future Systems Electronics for Cut Rate Electronics. This new company was headed up by an ethical Indian businessman, Ashok Vasmani, who everyone called Andy. Mister Andy. The stuff he sold may have been of slightly lower quality, but it was still cheaper.

    One day, when I was buying yet another consignment of Record televisions, he asked me,

    “Oleg, why don’t you get a container?”

    “A container? How many TV’s is that?”

    “Three hundred and twenty.”

    “But that’s over sixteen thousand dollars. Plus you have to pay five thousand for the container. And then you have to wait forty days. I can’t take that much money out of circulation.”

    “Correct, but when you send it by cargo, you’re paying five dollars per kilo. If you send them in a container, it’ll cost you almost half as much.”

    I paid for half the container and convinced Andy to loan me the money for the other half. Forty days later, I was doing customs clearance at the St. Petersburg port. My partner, Andrei Surkov, and I unloaded the container and stored the 320 television sets at the Petrosib office at 10 Sadovaya Street. We put some on display in one of the rooms, set up some fake trees, and hung a digital clock on the wall.

    We hung up a banner reading “Cheap Televisions” and instantly people started coming, asking questions and making purchases. The turnover was slow, of course, but our sales volumes increased and our profits grew with each TV that we sold.

    The calculators made me tons of money and now, too, these TV sets. We got more of them, but it was getting harder and harder to sell them in St. Petersburg-even at a low price of $350. We started having them delivered to other regions. In Siberia, a TV cost 500 dollars. We registered more companies: Petrosib-Novosibirsk and Petrosib-Omsk. We used the Regional Supplier system for warehousing. This was highly profitable, as small-scale retailers from the district centers usually went to the Regional Suppliers-and our TV’s were right there. Two years later we did a count and were shocked: we had sold 300 containers of televisions!

    Nikolai Nikitich Zhuravlev had given me my first money loan; Andy loaned me product worth much more. At one point, I owed him a million dollars. But he took the risk and trusted me and, in the end, both of us earned a good chunk of money in electronics sales.

    Andy left the electronics business and is now the owner of one of Singapore’s biggest Indian restaurants. We remain close. My wife, some friends, and I flew to Indonesia recently via Singapore. We dropped by Andy’s place, tried his different dishes, and listened to eastern music.

    Andy is a person who believed in me and helped me to build my career. He is another gift that fate bestowed upon my life. Everyone needs to meet someone along the way that believes in you. There is no other way to become a businessman. I sincerely hope that every person finds his or her own Andy.

    * * *

    1992 was a very difficult year for the country and a simply fantastic one for me. I was exhausted from the constant running around and now had the money to take a little break. Vyacheslav Butusov, a Russian singer, sings a song about America. Part of it goes like this: “It took a long time for us to learn to love your forbidden fruit.” As it turns out, he was absolutely right. As soon as I had the time to do it, I took off to the states.

    I bought my first imported car, a Ford Orient, in 1992.

    The Petrosib team next to the famous fake trees that I had purchased in Hong Kong.

    Ashok Vasmani, nicknamed Andy, and Nikolai Nikitich Zhuravlev are people who helped me so much to do business in the early nineties. St. Pete’s speculators in Amsterdam: Igor Sukhanov, nicknamed Dushny, Igor Spiridonov, myself, and Oleg Korostelev. At first, San Francisco made no impssion on me. Valentina Vladimirovna, Oleg Tinkov’s mother:

    When Oleg was training in the cycling team, he’d sometimes bring some stuff home with him, like scarves and arm warmers. I was worried, because I didn’t know where he was getting it. I got on his case. When he started doing business at the Institute, I didn’t get in his way. He was an adult now. He met Rina, studied, and made money on the side. One day he borrowed 150 rubles from me; he said he wanted to buy something. Later he made it back and sent me a wire transfer. But I sent him the money back. He needed it more because he was far from home. But in the end he dropped out of school after his third year and dedicated himself completely to business.

    On fake trees

    One of my clearest memories of my business in those days involved my trip to Hong Kong. Sankin introduced me to a former classmate, Max, who lived in Beijing. Max told me I should look into selling fake flowers and trees. I flew to Hong Kong to buy some. At that time it was still administered by Great Britain. All we did there was to buy a copy of the Yellow Pages, find a manufacturer, dial his number from a payphone, arrange an appointment, and go straight to the factory. It was not far from the airport. Leafing through the catalog, we called Moscow and found out that the same stuff cost five or six times as much there. My greed was my ruin. When I saw the potential for a huge net profit-sixfold!-I bought not one, but three containers. A fully loaded forty-foot container cost around twenty grand, so I paid sixty for the three.

    On the one hand, I made the sixty back quickly, covering my investment. On the other hand, though, I had a lot to sell! So I started doing away with the plants in other ways. I took some to my house, sold some to my friends, and gave them to my employees as bonuses. Two years passed, but I just could not get rid of those trees and flowers!

    So I called the head of our Kemerovo office, Svetlana Alexandrovna, and told her,

    “Do something with these flowers!” A natural-borne salesperson, she had worked as commercial director at the Regional Supplier and she could sell just about anything. She is best described with a metaphor:

    She will stop a horse in mid-gallop, enter a burning house, and convince someone inside to buy something!

    She sold a bunch of the plants at a good price and then said,

    “Oleg, I found a client that’s willing to buy everything we have.”

    “How much?”

    “They want a 60% discount.”

    “Sold!” I did not want to have to deal with those stupid trees anymore. “Who’s buying, anyway?”

    “The Kemerovo Funeral Home.”

    There were so many flowers that, to this day, they are probably making wreaths from them for funerals in Kemerovo Province. On a side note, there is always good money to be made in the funeral business. A client who is under intense emotional pssure and on a very tight schedule will not try to talk you down. That is why funeral businesses drive their prices up.

    Thus my business portfolio includes two strange deals in Kemerovo Oblast: the sale of three thousand calculators to a yarn factory and a truckload of fake flowers to a last-rites business. It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

    Andrei Surkov, Oleg Tinkov’s partner at Tekhnoshok:

    Our meeting was based on speculation. Oleg lived in a Mining Institute dorm on Shkipersky Stream, while my dorm was on Nalichnaya Street. We students would buy here, sell there. On this basis, some of us became business partners or even friends.

    Later I got a job in a company, so I could understand what goes on when you don’t have to do all the running around the city with bags yourself. I wanted to see what it was like to run a more or less civilized business, in an office, with other people and some kind of organization. It was at that time that Oleg started actively pursuing business in Singapore. He would fly there to buy ink, toner, photocopiers, and calculators. He called me in 1991. We met up and went to the bathhouse, where he offered me a position as his junior partner, working with electronics. I agreed immediately, because I considered Oleg a good person and a competent businessman. At the beginning, our work at Petrosib consisted in the following: once a week Oleg would fly to Singapore for office supplies, calculators, and toner. Then he’d come back. A few days later, he would leave for Singapore again…

    On selling liquor

    For around a year Igor Spiridonov and I imported liquor into Russia. For around two years there was no extra fee for alcohol. One of the best products in those days was Royal, a type of hard liquor from Holland, but we did not know anyone there. There was, however, a small-scale plant in Hungary with which we knew how to do business. We ordered the liquor in Budapest and, once in Siberia, it sold well. Igor placed the orders and I was in charge of sales and payments. A half-liter bottle of liquor cost us between sixty and sixty-two cents, including delivery to Russia. A container held twenty-two thousand 500-mL bottles or seventeen 700-mL ones.

    At first we got five thousand bottles, then ten thousand, then a container, then two, until we reached a maximum of ten containers. A funny thing happened with that last contract. We ordered five containers of 500-mL bottles of Dolce Vita and another five containing 700-mL bottles. The bottling plant mixed up the labels, but it did not matter. We sold the liquor with the wrong labels.

    Chapter 13

    Why Hello, America!

    In the early nineties, in Russia, if you were a foreigner it was as if you had blue blood. It did not matter if you were a simple Italian plumber or an American mover. From our point of view, even foreigners coming to Russia on a tour package that cost them all they had seemed like billionaires. They wore Reebok or Nike sneakers and leather jackets, signs of great wealth during the breakup of the USSR. We called them businessmen. Now I understand that these were low-budget tourists, but in the midst of the rampant poverty, they seemed super rich. That is why everyone wanted to hang out with foreigners. Male university students chased after them, hoping to make a buck; women followed them around so that they could get into US-dollar bars like the ones at the Pribaltiyskaya or the Gavan Hotel. If they were really lucky, they might be taken to the Grand Hotel Yevropa. Better yet, they would get married and move away. Not that every story had a happy ending.

    Every Wednesday at the Kirov Cultural Center there was a party for people over thirty. Those parties seemed really lame at the time and now, too, when I am over forty myself, they still seem like a silly idea. I do not know what possessed my classmate Sasha Sankin to go there. Maybe it seemed like it would be easier to meet a woman there and take her to a hotel-because people over thirty are more easy-going. What actually happened though was that he met an American woman over forty years old, they had sex at the dormitory-and she fell in love with him!

    She was in love with a poor student twenty years her junior, who had moved to St. Petersburg from Tashkent! In the end she invited him to move to a small town called Santa Rosa, 30 miles from San Francisco, a typical Californian town with a population of about one hundred thousand. Not far away is the famous Wine Country, where there are thousands of wineries dotting the valleys of Napa, Sonoma, Alexander, Bennett, Dry Creek, and Russian River.

    Santa Rosa lies along the Russian River; at its mouth, on the Pacific Ocean, stands the town of Fort Ross; it was the southernmost Russian colony during the early 19 th century. It was at Fort Ross that the Russian ships Yunona and Avos, made famous by Andrei Boznesensky’s and Alexei Rybnikov’s opera, made landfall. It is not a made-up story: in 1806, according to official records, the Russian aristocrat Nikolai Rezanov actually met and fell in love with Concepción Argüello, the daughter of the Spanish Governor.

    The Russians left Fort Ross in 1841. From an economic point of view, there was no reason for them to stay there. In 1867, Alexander II sold Alaska to the Americans for 7.2 million dollars in gold, but the Russian colonies on the Pacific coast were not included in the transaction.

    By a twist of fate, then, Sankin ended up in a place that had been historically Russian. He had been living there for a year already, but I had no idea; I was simply sitting in my Petrosib office, wearing a raspberry-red blazer. As soon as I found out he had moved there, I got hold of his telephone number. At that time, it was not easy to place a phone call to America. I went to the Central Post Office, waited in line, and got through to Sankin. It seemed miraculous-just as placing a phone call to Mars would now.

    “Hi, Sasha! This is Oleg Tinkov. So you’re really in America? That’s awesome!”

    “Hey, Oleg! Yeah, I’m slowly getting settled in here.”

    “How’s your American wife?”

    “We recently got porced…I got a Green Card and am official here now. I brought my dad here from Tashkent. I’m renting an apartment. I work a power lift at Friedman Brothers. We sell home hardware.”

    “No way! Can I come visit you?”

    “Fly on over. I’ll help you out when you first get here. You can stay at my place.”

    Getting my visa was a headache and a half. I tried everything. For a small fee-or maybe out of the kindness of his heart (I don’t quite remember the details)-a friend from the Leningrad Army Sports Club hockey team set things up to appear as though I had been hired as support staff. My height, at six feet, four inches made me convincing. In December 1992, I came to the consulate for an interview.

    “Okay, we’ll give you the visa, but how are you going to pay for living expenses?”

    “I have a credit card.”

    When I was in Singapore, I broke Russian law by opening an account at Citibank. I got a Visa Gold card. By then, my credit card history went back 18 years. This made an impssion on the consul: in St. Petersburg, out of a population of five million, there were perhaps a thousand people who had a card like that. How did someone who worked as part of a hockey team’s support staff end up with a Gold Visa? The consul refrained from asking and gave me another visa-in this case an American one.

    I partied over New Year’s Eve. Then, in January 1993 I got into an Il-86 airplane on an Aeroflot flight from Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow to San Francisco via Anchorage. My surroundings shocked me: there were Jewish refugees, crying children, and a bunch of mesh bags. I was stunned by the smell of the San Francisco airport. Anyone who has flown in America knows that unique airport smell. There were a lot of iron doors and police shouting into megaphones:

    “Go right!”

    “Go left!”

    The movie Gangs of New York with Leonardo Dicaprio reminds me of the imposing feeling I had then, at the beginning-the sense that America resembles a big prison. At the airport, if you are an outsider, they immediately make sure you know that everything is serious, that everything is under the government’s control. Big Brother is watching you! Sasha Sankin met me and drove me around San Francisco in an old Toyota. I was sleepy because of jetlag, but nevertheless we went to a bar to have a beer. At first glance, I did not like the city. It seemed strange, unintelligible, and unkempt. Today I think that it is the most European and the most beautiful city in the US. I spent close to 5 years there. If I ever decided to move to America permanently, I would settle in San Francisco.

    We drove thirty miles to Sasha’s small house in Santa Rosa, past the famous Golden Gate Bridge, which I had often seen in Hollywood movies. The house really did look like it was made of cardboard, which is something people usually say about American houses. I was also surprised to note that Sasha’s father was very angry, aggressive, and bitter. Towards himself, towards Sasha, towards me-he resented everyone. They would get up at six in the morning and leave the house, making sure the heater was turned off, because they wanted to save money. The intense cold would wake me up. I realized I would not be able to sleep, so I got up right after they did. Welcome to capitalism!

    When I arrived in America, I knew practically no English. I gawked at my surroundings, dumbfounded. It was hard to learn the language. Now, though, my speaking and writing skills are not all that bad. I make mistakes, but I doubt that my written Russian is much better.

    Now, naturally, simply having a good time was not my only reason for being in America. I wanted to start something. That same January I went to a government office in Santa Rosa and registered a company, California Siberia Enterprise. Between the paperwork and getting a stamp made, the procedure took about an hour. Next I went to Kinko’s, where you can pay for office services. I leafed through the free templates and found an image of a Siberian Bear, which I decided to use as my company logo. Everything fell together: the bear symbolized Siberia and the yellow and green motif repsented California. I had a bunch of business cards printed, right away, which read:

    California Siberia Enterprise Oleg Tinkov President

    In 1993, for my part, I had a lot more than business on my mind. I was trying to find a way to stay in America. In order to get a Green Card (i.e. permanent residence), I had to go often to the INS (the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service), the authority that handled immigration.

    * * *

    In America, I became authentically Orthodox. I had already been baptized in Leningrad on December 25, my birthday, in 1988, but I seldom attended church. In Santa Rosa, a lot of local Russians gathered together at church. I found that I enjoyed going there as well. It was an outlet, the only place where I could speak Russian. The priest, congregants, and I would drink tea and eat crêpes after the service. I fell even deeper in love with Russian culture, the Orthodox religion, and the church. I was drawn to it.

    Through the church I met a lot of “Old Russians,” descendents of White émigré families. Like me, most of them traced their roots to Siberia. Their ancestors had escaped the Bolsheviks by moving to Harbin, China. When China had its own revolution, they left by ship, traveling to Brazil and Venezuela, eventually settling in California. I hung out with these old timers who spoke three languages: Russian, Chinese, and English. I saw Russian ladies wearing veils. There, in the USA, in church, from the mouths of these old Russian immigrants, I heard the most articulate and beautiful Russian I had ever heard. In that atmosphere, I came to be even more convinced that Orthodoxy was my religion. Most importantly, however, I was able to meet a “different” kind of Russian, people that had not been affected by the Soviet system. They counseled me on how to adapt and took pity on me. One even gave me a mattress so that I could sleep better on Sankin’s floor. It was in America that I realized what Russia had lost.

    In reality, the Russians had no relation whatsoever to the Russian Mafia-a popular topic of conversation in the States. There was a gang, for instance, active in San Francisco, that had been responsible for several murders. After they were caught, the newspaper printed a picture showing them with the Russian church in the background. The headline read, “Russian Mafia finally decapitated.” The article featured surnames such as Zimmerman and Lerner. This was offensive and insulting to the Old Russian intellectuals. Between the late eighties and early nineties, members of the noveau riche began immigrating to the US from the USSR, including Jews, Ukrainians and Moldovans, among others. Their Russian was grammatically incorrect and they hated the Russians, but the Americans still referred to them as Russians. The public automatically attributed all of their unsightly actions the “Russians” in general and the “Russian Mafia” in particular.

    Let me talk a bit more about the so-called Russian Mafia. In 1993, shortly after I arrived, I went to the Russian restaurant StageCoach, which was a dance club on Saturdays. As usual, some of the local big-shots tried to pick a fight with me. They had watched a lot of post-Soviet movies were trying to look like the gangster characters in them. Really, they were trying to look like “brothers in arms” from their historical homeland, but in San Francisco they just looked cartoonish. There were some serious types there, mind you, like Pasha Ulder, whose brother was shot dead by the Chinese the night before I first met him.

    When they started harassing me verbally at the bar, I was wearing black Versace from head to toe. I wore a diamond signet on my little finger and I had a scar on my face. In other words, by their standards I was a “dude” and maybe even a big-timer. I played along. I started talking like an ex-con. They decided I was one of them, befriended me and, in the end, they did not touch me.

    And of course His Majesty Luck helped me out. A fellow Siberian, Nikolai Nikitich Zhuravlev, had come to visit me and, in accordance with Siberian tradition we decided that we wanted to visit a bathhouse. We found out that some Jewish immigrants ran a Sauna in downtown San Francisco, which was supposedly similar to a real Russian bathhouse. So off we went. The service was revolting, though, the place was a sanitary train-wreck, the temperature only reached 50 degrees, and so forth. It was a scandal. I started making demands and got into a battle of words with the owner’s wife. She turned out to be the sister of that same Pasha Ulder I mentioned above. On top of that, she was the girlfriend of my good friend from Odessa, the legendary Zorik. Zorik is an interesting specimen in that, even after having spent 25 years in the States, he still could not speak English at all. He is also well known for some interesting stories involving drunkenness and experimentation with drugs.

    At the same time, however, Zorik is the most talented barber I have met in my entire life. He cuts hair without looking, very fast and with great confidence. I have known him for fifteen years and have never heard of him having an unsatisfied customer, man or woman. His shaving skills are to die for. If you are ever in San Francisco, make sure to visit him at the Backstage Salon on Green Street.

    But let us get back to the sauna. After we left, the place burnt to the ground. The next morning, Pasha called me and said that, bro-to-bro, he realized that the proprietors had been in the wrong, but that he thought my reaction over the top. This was really and truly funny, but I did not try to set him straight. In the end I became a legend in San Francisco, and I never had any trouble with the local gangsters again.

    * * *

    In April, the long-awaited day arrived: I arrived at the airport in the ten-year-old red Ford that I had bought for four thousand, shaking with anticipation. I do not know how I drove her back to Santa Rosa. Can you imagine? Three months with no sex. We had a most authentic Parisian wedding and, 9 months later, on December 31, 1993, our first little miracle, Daria Tinkova, entered the world.

    In the morning Sankin’s dad came into the room and told us with anger in his voice,

    “We couldn’t sleep all night. Our walls are like cardboard. It’s over, get out of here.” He was also waiting for his wife. He was a very strong man somewhere between fifty and fifty-five years old, and his heart and other organs could not handle our sex-so he just kicked us out. There we were: Rina and I, the mattress, the fax machine, the Ford, and couple thousand dollars in our pocket. Where did we go? To the church of course. We only spent one night in the home of an acquaintance. Immediately, they helped us to rent a room for 300 dollars a month. Sankin and I stopped talking to each other because he had not stuck up for me when his dad kicked us out. Later he admitted that he had been in the wrong: sure we had kept everybody up, but that was not the right way to react… Without his help, I had been left with no interpter, in any case, and, as a result, my skill in English began to grow more quickly.

    In the summer of 1993, I bought a house in Santa Rosa. An Armenian guy named Dzhavayan sold it to me. Like the Armenian he was, he just had to sell me something. So he sold me his house, which cost 120 thousand dollars. I paid 20 thousand up front and borrowed the rest from a bank. My monthly payment was 600 dollars. I bought a massive two-storey house that I really had no need for at all. I sold it later for less than I had paid for it and so lost money-but no matter. The important thing to notice is that this dark-skinned Armenian managed somehow to dump the place on me. I still cannot p out how he pulled it off.

    * * *

    While we were trying to get our bearings in America, things in Russia began to turn sour once again. President Yeltsin got into trouble with the Supme Soviet. The deputies were displeased with Yegor Gaidar’s reforms and blocked the initiatives attempted by the psident and government. The psident felt that, as guarantor of the Constitution, he did not have sufficient power to actually guarantee it. In the end, the banal power struggle stretched on for a year. On September 21, Yeltsin signed a decree Concerning Gradual Constitutional Reform in the Russian Federation, whereby parliament was dissolved and elections to the State Duma were set for December 11-12. The Supme Soviet, however, staged a protest, which ended with the White House being stormed on October 3-4. Soviet Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov, Vice President Alexander Rutskoy, and some of Yeltsin’s other opponents were arrested.

    We flew into Moscow on the very day that tanks were shooting at the White House. We watched the events live on CNN at the Olympic Penta Hotel where Andy, my partner from Singapore, had gotten a room. He got phone-call after phone-call from his friends that day, asking if he was okay. After a couple of days, Andy left, saying that he would never come to Russia again.

    “It’s better if I send you containers. You guys have tanks shooting at houses there,” he explained.

    The country was suffering true political and economic ruin. The quality of health care was on the decline and we just could not risk dealing with a Russian maternity clinic. An acquaintance recommended a clinic in downtown Prague. We took a train to Lviv, Ukraine, which turned out to be just as messed up as St. Petersburg. I was surprised to find that all of the restaurants there were closed, but that for a small bribe we were nevertheless allowed in for something to eat. We got back on the train, rode to Prague, and rented a small apartment, for pennies, not far from the maternity clinic.

    Right before the New Year, on December 31 at 8 p.m. local time (10 p.m. in St. Petersburg), Rina gave birth to Daria Olegovna Tinkova. The end of yet another fortuitous year was marked by true happiness.

    Zorik, from San Francisco, is the best hairdresser on the planet Earth. In this photograph, Daria Olegovna Tinkova is only 5 days old.

    Chapter 14

    This is not a Dream-this is Tekhnoshok!

    At a certain point I realized that retail electronics sales had become more interesting. Selling televisions in bulk in Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, and Omsk brought in less and less money. Finally, I closed my branches in those cities. I simply had to have my own retail chain!

    Around the same time, we opened a Sony store on Maly Prospect on Vasilievsky Island. Sony’s management was skeptical about the idea at first, but had no choice but to come to terms with it. First of all, at that time there were no legal grounds for complaints: after all, we would actually be selling Sony products. Secondly, we were buying the equipment from Sony’s official distribution network, but got it on the gray market, in Singapore. The Sony dealers were not happy about us opening the store: they felt that they were Sony, and we were not. In essence, we undermined the dealer system. Because Sony had no other choice, though, they actually helped us out in the end, providing design elements for the store, brochures, and slides.

    On March 23, 1994 the newspaper Delovoy Peterburg (“St. Petersburg in Business”) published an article that ran as follows:

    Andy came to the grand opening in spite of his fear over those shots fired at the White House.

    “You are very ambitious,” he told me as we sat in a restaurant celebrating the store opening. At the time, the word “ambitious” had negative connotations in Russia. I asked,

    “Andy, what do you mean?”

    “You’ll go a long way.”

    I liked this wording much better. Andy explained clarified his use of “ambition” and I realized that it actually denoted a really positive quality. Thank God, to be ambitious in Russia is no longer equivalent to being a scoundrel.

    The Sony store sold twenty thousand dollars worth of product every day and the profit was phenomenal! Management’s main task was to sew money bags!

    In Singapore, not only did I encounter delicious food, I also learned new ways of doing business. I discovered that many people could use a single phone number. This was incredibly apparent at Future Systems Electronics. I bought a Panasonic phone station. It had three lines for incoming calls as well as eight outgoing lines. We had grown used to Soviet calls, which all sounded exactly the same. Consequently, I particularly enjoyed changing my tone every day. And of course I made the secretary say “Hello, how may I be of service?” as secretaries did in Singapore where, for example, Future Systems ‘ secretary always answered the phone, saying “May I help you?” It is quite possible that we were the first company in St. Petersburg to offer assistance to our clients. In the chaotic nineties, people would be bowled over by this kind of treatment. Some just hung up the phone.

    The office was up and running and I did not have to be psent constantly, so in the summer of 1994 we took little Dasha and flew to Santa Rosa, to our house on Little River Avenue. Soon afterwards, I met Alexander Koretsky, a descendent of the old-time Russian immigrants. Sasha helped me with my English and I gave him tips on Russian. Together we opened the Petrosib USA office. The office fulfilled the same function as Sankin’s home had done, back in 1993. We would find an interesting product and sent large shipments to my retail stores in St. Petersburg. We even hired a secretary and a couple of workers.

    I liked America and did not rule out the possibility of settling there for good. I found an apartment in San Francisco, on famous Lombard Street, with an excellent view of the Golden Gate Bridge and of the whole city. Rina and I really felt at home in the flat and we decided to sell the house in Santa Rosa and buy the apartment.

    But we did not end up being able to settle in the States. My retail business was growing and starting to bring in good profits. We had no choice but to work on it directly in Russia.

    Realizing the prospects, in late 1994 (believe it or not) I decided to hire a lawyer and a marketing specialist. I had read someplace that the best way to go about recruiting this type of staff was through an agency, a head hunter, as such organizations were still know back then. I decided to give it a try.

    My first experience exceeded my expectations. I got in contact with the company BusinessLink Personnel and put in a request for personnel to fill the two positions. This company had been founded right at the beginning of the nineties. When Procter and Gamble first entered the St. Petersburg market, staff at St. Petersburg University did a lot of the recruiting. The experience was a success and so the same people registered a business. They continue to achieve big things to this day. Working with the agency was unlike anything I had ever done before: I went to their office and they brought the candidates, one by one, into a special conference room where I interviewed each of them.

    I was immediately impssed by a young guy who had just completed his law degree with honors at the university, in the same department where Putin and Medvedev had studied. The kid’s name was Sasha Kotin.

    He turned out to be a diligent student. We began to restructure the company, borrowing money and doing up contracts according to correct protocol. This really helped me out in the end. If it had not been for Sasha and his astute legal moves, I really would have been screwed during the first crisis in 1998. It is likely that some very bad people would have taken our business away from us. Sasha fought for every penny, for every dollar, and for our company’s reputation. He was incredibly loyal, even though he did not have partner status. He was very conscientious, sharp, intelligent, intellectually astute, and an effective manager. Later, tragedy befell Sasha-but I will talk about that in a bit.

    As with Sasha, I was incredibly lucky with the marketing specialist that I hired. BusinessLink secured the services of Samvel Avetisyan on our behalf. He had been working as a science consultant at the State Public Library on Fontanka River and was earning around 200 rubles per month. I believed he was the right person for the job and so offered him three hundred dollars a month-really good money at the time. Today, Samvel is a marketing hero. He has his own company, Arkhideya, which develops marketing concepts.

    My first experience with hiring through the agency turned out to be a huge success. Prior to that, in accordance with Russian tradition, I had hired my friends, or acquaintances, or people that had been recommended to me. Both Samvel and Sasha demonstrated insane levels of efficiency, skill, and knowledge. This was especially clear when you compare their work with that of the managers I had hired on the strength of word of mouth endorsements. If you are serious about being a businessman, then sooner or later you are going to have to turn to a recruitment agency. This is because hiring strictly from among the people that you actually know is a surefire way of destroying your business. If you want to derail your work and lose your investment, do exactly that!

    It all started on September 1, 1995. The city was drenched in Tekhnoshok. We booked as many billboards as well could and called all of the radio stations in order to secure as many spots as they would give us. We hung banners across Maly Prospect and Mayakovsky Street. Oleg Gusev filmed a commercial that was shown on the St. Petersburg TV station. This was around the time that Gusev was filming music videos for Pugachova and Kirkorov-most notably for the latter’s hit song, ” Zaika Moya ” (“My Baby”).

    The song in our ad went like this:

    There’s simply no need to bring a shopping bag when you come, Tekhnoshok will deliver anything you need, straight to your home.

    It was utter nonsense, but within an hour everyone knew about us. There were line-ups outside the stores. We kept running out of product. The store’s daily revenue was 20 to 50 thousand dollars. It was as though we were printing money. Armored cars with men in bulletproof vests came and went, to and from the bank, picking up our cash. My thanks go out to Promstroibank and Vladimir Kogan, who believed in me and gave me a seven million dollar line of credit. This was serious money in Russia at the time: in 1995 our two stores achieved sales volume to the tune of 20 million dollars.

    Business was going well and so we began to expand. We rented more space and opened a third store at Kommendantsky Airport, with a fourth on Moskovsky Prospect. By the beginning of 1996, we had a full-fledged chain: five stores in St. Petersburg, two each in Omsk and Kemerovo, and one in Novosibirsk.

    * * *

    It is not surprising that, at this point, I was not actually acquainted with all of the people who worked for me. In this respect, one interesting story concerns something that happened in October 1995, when I dialed an internal number and an unfamiliar voice answered the phone. Naturally I asked,

    “Who is this?”

    “Who are you?”

    “I don’t quite get it. Come to my office, we should talk.”

    It turns out I had been speaking to our new marketing manager, Vadim Stasovsky, who had been discovered and hired by Samvel. He had met everyone in the office, but did not know all that much about me. Vadim probably thought that this encounter would end badly for him. But we got acquainted and had a straightforward conversation.

    As a marketing specialist, Vadim’s achievements were huge. We would send him to nearby stores and he would count the boxes our competitors were selling. He would stand for two hours in the freezing cold outside one store, then another two outside another, counting boxes and trying to get an idea of their price. Then he would ppare enormous analytical reports on their sales volume. We realized that Vadim was good with numbers, so we transferred him to finance. At that time corporate finance was a different world than it is today. For the most part there were two elementary types of calculation: addition and multiplication. Whoever was strongest in this regard would get into finance. Vadim has been on my team now for 15 years. He was involved in all my businesses and he has an enormous reservoir of experience. Today he works at Tinkoff Credit Systems.

    * * *

    In the meantime, business went well. At the end of 1995, Rina, Dasha, and I were able to move into a new apartment on Kamennostrovskoy Prospect. The apartment, which was located in that majestic building where the son of St. Petersburg Governor Yakovlev would later buy a flat, cost 250 thousand dollars. That was a giant leap for me at the time. When we started remodeling, we took our designer with us to San Francisco. We brought everything-from furniture and drywall to plates and spoons-from the USA. We filled three containers!

    On December 31, we flew to Chamonix with Uniland ‘s Oleg Leonov. His wife came along too. Oleg was already a very adept skier. I, on the other hand, had only gotten started at 28 (do not think that 28 is too old). I simply fell in love with the mountains at that time and since then have made good progress. I also remember well a call that I received from Andrei Surkov on January 1, 1996. He wished us a happy New Year and told us the he had sold 100 thousand worth of product the day before-on New Year’s Eve. People bought psents and I grew richer.

    From left to right: I, Igor Spiridonov, Andrei Surkov, and Alex Koretsky at the Hungarian stage of Formula 1 in 1995. That summer I decided to be a blonde.

    My 28th birthday celebration with the Tekhnoshok team on December 25, 1995.

    The first big publication on me was published on August 13, 1996 in the newspaper Delovoy Peterburg.

    Vadim Stasovsky, member of the board of directors at Tinkoff Credit Systems:

    I started working at Petrosib in early October 1995 as a marketing manager. I was hired by Samvel Avetisyan. At that time Oleg spent most of his time in America and only came to Russia for six months of the year.

    The Oleg of 15 years ago was very different from the Oleg that we know today. Back then, you could see him coming to the office from a mile away: he’s here! Everyone started running around and panicking. The situation changed by leaps and bounds. Now people still react to him in a particular way (especially those who’ve only known him for 2 or 3 or 5 years). As compared to the Oleg I knew 10 or 15 years ago, however, the change is very significant.

    It was like a whirlwind. He did not shout-he just had a certain way of talking. He had a natural manner of speaking.

    The six-month periods when that he was in the office had a very different feel to them than the six when he was away. He managed to maintain pssure on everyone though, too, even when he was a thousand miles away.

    Interacting with Oleg outside the office, on the one hand, and interacting with him at work, on the other, leaves the impssion that you are dealing with two completely different people. At the same time, though, you have to keep in mind (and I only realized this many years after I had met him), that much of the time he is just messing around. He can shout and stomp his feet, but afterwards you realize that the emotions he had been expssing were simply not there. Oleg was just a good actor.

    Vladimir Malyshov, editor of Delovoy Peterburg (St. Petersburg Business) in the 1990’s:

    Tinkov is an unusual and fascinating Russian business p. He wants to be unique, attractive, and creative. And, without a doubt, he succeeds in these respects.

    We first met at his first official event-the opening of the Sony store in St. Petersburg. Petrosib, his company at the time, had been selling mostly wholesale electronics. Then his priorities changed and Oleg opened the first store in the city that repsented a Japanese corporation. That evening, in a basement store on Vasilievsky Island, around 20-30 guests gathered. Oleg was really nervous. He was running around the room with orders, scolding his employees as well as the caterers. He greeting the guests, smiled at the pss, and, now and again, hid in the back offices with important ladies and gentlemen from the district administration. It was clear that the man wanted to stand before his guests and before the assembled journalists, in all his fame and glory, as the “owner of the first brand name Sony store in St. Petersburg.” In order to get the material that I needed, all I had to do was to ask him a few typical questions about his business (investments, return, Sony’s terms, etc.). But I did not want him to experience the nervousness that interviewees usually feel and I did not want journalists from competing publications to eavesdrop on our conversation.

    The situation was so stressful I almost got into an argument with him. I introduced myself in the normal manner, saying,

    “I’m Vladimir Malyshov, business editor for the newspaper Delovoy Peterburg.” Then I asked him, “When can we talk quietly?” He replied gladly,

    “Let’s talk right now.” And then he turned, suddenly, to greet another guest, who took him off to talk with some other characters. They chatted boisterously as they walked quickly into one of the back rooms.

    I was tired of it: time was passing and I hadn’t gotten a single snippet of information.

    He was 26 then and had only just begun his difficult journey into the business elite.

    Chapter 15

    Premonitions of the Crisis

    In 1996, political instability returned. The communists’ prospects for returning to power looked very realistic, particularly in consideration of Boris Yeltsin’s extremely low popularity ratings. But the state’s machinery worked solely towards getting him reelected as psident. The idea was simple: the message was not so much in favor of Yeltsin, but rather against Zyuganov, who was associated with the return of the Soviet Union. The slogans that arose in this context are still well-known today-“Vote with your heart!” “Vote or lose!” The Kremlin needed to get younger voters out to the polling stations, voters that would not want the communists back in power. And the Kremlin achieved its objectives. Young people started to worry about a communist victory. Just prior to the 1996 election, Anatoly Sobchak, mayor of St. Petersburg, told me,

    “Two locomotives are flying at full speed towards one another. If they hit head on it will be a tragedy for the country. We need to redirect them. We can’t give the communists their revenge. Everyone must vote!”

    To tell the truth, however, Sobchak did not emerge victorious in the municipal elections. In the first round of voting, on May 19, he defeated his former deputy, Vladimir Yakovlev (garnering 29% versus 21.6% of votes). But prior to the second round, the losing candidates had came out and spoke strongly against Sobchak. On Monday, June 3, I woke up and heard on the radio that Yakovlev had won the election by 1.7% of the vote. I immediately imagined how crushed Sobchak, who was such a stately and aristocratic person, must have felt. What state must he have been in as he left his house, got in his car, and drove to the Smolny? He would have been crushed, not because he had to turn of his blinker, surrender the government-owned Volvo 740, and get into a private car; he would have been crushed by the defeat of his liberal ideals.

    Anatoly Alexandrovich Sobchak: a great man; a true democrat; a true patriot of his country; a man with truly righteous convictions. Indeed, I do not understand how he became the person that he is-in the context of the Soviet Union. Only freethinking St. Petersburg could have produced such a person in those times. In 1989, when I was still a student at the Mining Institute, I voted for him in the elections for the Supme Soviet of the USSR and, on June 12, 1991, I voted for him as mayor.

    I met Anatoly Alexandrovich for the first time in 1996, at an Alla Pugachova concert. Afterwards we went to the Pribaltiyskaya Hotel and sat at the same table. We met a few times after that, too, and probably conversed for a total of ten minutes. On one occasion he even held Dasha. A real politician should always take kids in his arms and hold them: for every kid he picks up, he gets two votes, one from the dad and one from the mom. For my part, I know Sobchak’s daughter Xenia quite well. This might not please her too much, but I have to say that everything that is good in her, everything that I like about her, she got from her father. I can say for certain that he is one of only a few people whose depiction in the media has been completely true to what they are in reality-as with Richard Branson, for example, or myself.

    It is such a pity that Sobchak was hounded after his defeat, with his sudden death in 2000, under suspicious circumstances, being the inevitable conclusion. Otherwise, he might still be alive today, continuing to bring much good to the country.

    In 1996 Sobchak campaigned convincingly, so we voted for Yeltsin. On June 16, during the first round of votes, Yeltsin took 35.3% of the vote-3.3% more than Zyuganov. General Alexander Lebed came in third at 14.5%. In view of this achievement he was immediately granted the position of Secretary of Defense. Thus, in the second round of voting, the votes he would have received went to Yeltsin instead. That is how it worked out. On July 3, Zyuganov took 40.3%, while 53.8% voted for Yeltsin. Later on, it came out that Yeltsin had survived a heart attack in June, but they managed to keep this fact a secret until the elections were over.

    Of course, I voted for Yeltsin, not just because of what Sobchak had to say about him, but also because of my hatred for communists and my respect towards Russia’s first psident. My feelings about him are deeply positive because he gave us the opportunity to at least try a taste of freedom. What Gorbachev started, Yeltsin deepened.

    I recall the feelings I experienced between 1993 and 1998. Some might say that it was a time of anarchy and chaos. In my opinion, however, it was a time of freedom. My complaint against Yeltsin concerns a different matter entirely: he came under the influence of his daughter, as a result of which he went too far, distributing state property among people close to his family.

    I, on the other hand, privatized nothing, but rather strived to develop my own businesses. By August 1996, I had garnered a lengthy article in the “My Business” column of Delovoy Peterburg. The article was written by journalist Volodya Malyshov. A number of quotes from it are still current today.

    One example pertains to structuring a business:

    It is impossible to operate successfully over the long term without structure-without people sitting in offices, filling out paperwork, holding meetings, working in the warehouse, working at the counter. That is why we build our structure-we hire the best specialists, we equip them with everything they need to work, and we open new stores. Right now people do not get us, but in 10 years, we will see what has become of the “two friends selling cordless phones” and what has become of us. They are moving fast, but who knows where they are going.

    Another quote concerns professionalism:

    If you can find the people, you will find the money. Unfortunately there are not very many genuine people out there. Now we only look for professionals. We need people with healthy ambitions, people whose goal is not simply to make a thousand dollars or more a month, but who really want to grow their career. When we manage to find people of that sort, then we see them grow up within a year… Often we have to say good-bye to friends-if they are not professional.

    Or on business objectives:

    Our original business philosophy was to work for profit. I am more impssed, not by the amount of product we sold, but by the amount that the company earned from these sales. For me, the indicator of a business’ success is net profit.

    It was not for nothing that Volodya Malyshov wrote about Tekhnoshok and me. Between 1995 and 1996 our revenue had grown from 20 million to 40 million dollars. The competition, however, had grown fiercer. The chain Eldorado had come to St. Petersburg and commenced some severe low-balling. They offered incomphensible prices. How did they manage to survive? On the basis of which profit? On some driving-force items, the profit margin fell to 5-7%. This is next to nothing in retail, where the overhead-everything from salaries to rent-is so high.

    In 1997, I felt the slowdown and began looking for opportunities to sell the chain. The company’s annual revenue had reached 60 million dollars and we were always hiring. At the end of the year, I threw a corporate party at the Olympia Club on Liteiny Prospect. I did not know half the people there and this made me afraid. I felt really big, but it was a scary feeling. Now I have my fifth business and I can say for certain that if I am in my office and find that I am faced with a bunch of people that I do not know, that I cannot feel, as it were, then that means it is about time to sell the business. In any case, I had already made up my mind to leave the electronics retail business and to start a pelmeni, where Isayev speaks German with no accent whatsoever. That is why we always speak Russian at home, even though we could speak English or Italian. Dasha is also strong in French.

    Let me get back to my studies at Berkeley. They were incredibly difficult for me. Kostya, who knew English better than I, helped me to get the gist of a few assignments, but I completed them myself. My studies-and maybe even my life-however, were nearly cut short due to an accident that happened about a month after I started.

    I had driven from Berkeley, riding my new Ducati Monster motorcycle, and I went to Kostya’s place for his birthday. We hung out and I had a couple drinks. I wanted to park the bike, but later decided that I would drive back carefully. In fact, I almost made it back, but on the second to last turn, coming along the winding road, I lost track of my speed and wiped out. The bike’s footrest hit the pavement at an enormous speed and I flew, spad like a butterfly, towards the ocean. I got to my feet and saw my pinky dangling in my glove. Full of adrenaline, I drove home and woke Rina. She was in shock. I myself dialed 911 and found out first-hand how terrifically well that system works.

    They asked me to stay on the line, talked to me, and kept me psychologically stable. The ambulance, fire truck, and police car came flying in a mere five minutes later. They loaded me in and took me away. The police officer could smell the alcohol on my breath and tried to do some analyses for his report, but the young paramedic insisted that that should not be done: I was in critical condition and had to be taken to the operating room. The officer asked me how much I had had to drink and I replied with my usual answer,

    “Two beers.”

    Back home, they would have chopped off my finger, but in America two doctors spent the whole day restoring it. Today my fingers are all crooked and I am missing a knuckle on my left pinky. Thanks are due to the doctors and the young paramedic though. Once again, I was saved by my guardian angel. If it were not for him, a 36-hour jail sentence would have been waiting for me upon my exit from the hospital, for driving under the influence. I would have lost my insurance, my license, and so forth. Welcome to American democracy!

    Please, never drive if you have been drinking alcohol!

    * * *

    So guys, go to the States to go to school. It is of the essence that you do so. Go for a few months, at least, like I did-but for intensive study-because business education is better there. For Americans business is like mother’s milk. It is a nation of salespeople, a country of entrepneurs. Americans understand business better than anyone else. So do not think twice about it: go to Berkeley or someplace else, but make sure it is in America. And, too, your education will enhance your knowledge of the English language immensely-another reason to chose the States.

    In total, between January 1993 and June 2006, I lived in America for six years. And I realized that Americans and Russians are two of the closest nations around. If two poles are the same, they repel each other; consequently, we love and hate one another. It really is true that Russians are very similar to Americans!-even more so than they are to the British or Germans who live closer to us, in Europe.

    Of course America never became my second home country, but it has had more influence on me than any other country, apart from Russia. It was there that I learned how to understand business, entrepneurship, and liberty-each of which is so lacking in Russia. In June 2009, I wrote in my blog that “I don’t like Americans, I don’t like America, but at the same time I love Americans. I don’t like Russia, I don’t like Russians, but at the same time I love Russians and I love Russia. These are two countries that have melded together, in me, in a contradictory way.”

    If we do not study business, how can we become effective in it? On the one hand, it is a bad thing that there are so few professional businesspeople in our country. But on the other hand, you always have to look for opportunities where things are negative. If someone is not doing their job correctly, do it better and win out over him! Russia still has a lot of niches where you can develop a business. If Russian businesses were only 20 twenty percent as effective and smart as American businesses, then, considering our natural resources and our talented people ( Yes! Russians are a lot smarter and more talented than Americans), ours would be the number one country in the world instead of theirs.

    * * *

    While I was living in America, I attempted to get into forestry. Andrei Surkov became my minority partner. He was to work in Russia and I in the States.

    What was the idea? I found out by chance that a cubic meter of our round timber cost ten dollars if you bought it directly from a forestry agency, while the Finns would pay thirty dollars for the same amount. Later I found out how much timber cost in America. It turned out that you could not import round timber, only sawn, dry lumber. Americans are very concerned about the environment and their country’s wild places and so they are worried about the introduction of beetles and other bugs.

    In America the price for hard lumber-the oak and elm grown in the south of Russia, for example, in Krasnodar Krai-ranged from 1500 to 2000 dollars per cubic meter. In Russia, taking into account the procurement, transport from the south, milling and drying, shipping, fees, and delivery to America, the cost was 200 dollars per cubic meter. Wow!

    We created a partnership with Nikolai Vladimirovich Kozlovsky, the owner of the St. Petersburg bank Finansovy Kapital, with a 50/50 split of ownership. He allotted us some land in Tosno and gave us a bank loan; we bought three American drying machines. Andrei’s job was to fly to Krasnodar and buy choice timber. It was cut at the factory and then he had it loaded into containers and sent to San Francisco.

    It seemed like the perfect scheme, but we miscalculated with one thing-the Wild West, which bared its ugly teeth.

    The lumber market in the States is very structured and has evolved in the course of many decades. As a rule, hardwood is used for kitchens in America. In California, for example there are around twenty manufacturers that use it. There are wholesale suppliers that import sawn lumber from the northern States or from Canada. At the same time, too, it is hard to tell where the Canadian company ends and the American one begins. They have an Anglo-Saxon friendship.

    I immediately sold my first consignment of lumber for something close to twelve hundred dollars per cubic meter. Percentage-wise, the profit was colossal. But because the container did not hold very much, the profit was not so high in monetary terms. In order make a lot, you had to sell a lot. Naturally, being your run-of-the-mill greedy capitalist, I called Andrei and said: “Come on! Let’s see some normal volume!” But Andrei let me down a bit. He stopped controlling the quality-and Americans count the number of knots in a cubic meter very meticulously. As a result, the value can fall by ninety percent, from fifteen hundred to a hundred and fifty. At first he was sending top-grade lumber, which sold well. But then everyone realized that there was this new player on the market who was offering huge quantities at far lower prices. This made people very nervous. These distributors were just like the mafia. They came to an agreement with the kitchen-cabinet makers, who in turn stopped buying lumber from me directly. They said they did not need so much and that it would be better for us to go to the wholesalers. Now, when I went to the wholesalers, they complained about the quality, which really was not the best. They really got me down when they said they would not be buying my lumber anymore. Now I was really upset! In the end they offered to buy the wood, but at a price that was basically equal to cost. They made a rough estimate of what I had paid and started offering me two hundred dollars per cubic meter. Now I had fifty containers sitting in the port. At some point I realized that the cost of storing the containers was about the same as what they were offering me. In the end I managed to sell around ten containers. The other forty I just had to abandon. It was easier to simply leave them than to pay for their storage, reloading, and warehousing. I made a note of the loss. Nothing worked out in the States and we could not find any other market to sell in.

    I still wonder if Russia exports sawn lumber overseas. But no: we have always exported round timber and we go on doing it. The European markets are under the protection of the state and the traders keep doing it against the wishes of foreigners, even though the governments of the importing countries continue to insist that the wood needs to be processed and not transported as timber. In Sweden and Finland the infrastructure already exists, the forestry business has been around for centuries, and the last thing they need is for the Russians to import product that would cost two to three times less. They are ready to buy the raw material and make things themselves. They will not even import our half-finished goods or products; thus completely finished products are absolutely out of the question-unless of course we built our own furniture stores there, as IKEA has done in Russia.

    Neither the governments, nor the businessmen themselves want the Russians to come onto the scene because this puts pssure on prices and they lose their margin, income, and jobs. Even now there are no countries where it is possible to export any substantially processed wood product.

    I have run businesses of varying degrees of success, but I always made money on them. Even in my restaurant business, which I do not consider to be particularly successful, I made good money. But probably every businessman has to live through one failure. This episode involving the lumber was probably my biggest failure. Taking into account the drying costs and the abandoned product, I lost somewhere in the range of one and a half to two million. Ten years ago that was a huge sum and even today it would be a lot.

    It turned out to be hard to do business in America. I know that our oligarchs, like Mordashov, Deripaska, and Alekperov do not find it easy to work there either. Even Branson complained that America was the most difficult country for him. I was once again reminded of this in a far more personal way when I was selling my Tinkov beer in the U.S.A. For the American market, I changed the double “ff” to “v,” because surnames ending in two f’s look German, rather than Russian, to Americans. We bottled the beer behind our store in St. Petersburg and sold it in retail stores in California. I really understood then that the market was very difficult.

    From that point on, Andrei Surkov and I stopped doing business together. We decided we would just stay friends and, thank goodness, we still are. If we had kept doing business together, we would have probably killed one other by now.

    I was the only Russian in my Berkeley marketing class. My American friend, Jack Smith. This is the Ducati motorcycle that I crashed in 1999. In America they make a business out of everything, even when it comes to pictures of your kid in the maternity ward. These photos show Pasha, who was born on December 31, 1998.

    This diploma lists all nine courses that I completed at Berkeley.

    Konstantin Aristarkhov, member of the board of directors of Tinkov Credit Systems:

    I first met Oleg in 1999 when we went skiing with a group of people near Lake Tahoe in Squaw Valley. There weren’t many recently arrived Russians, so we got to talking and it turned out that we had a lot of the same interests. We were both born in Siberia, I in Krasnoyarsk and Oleg in Kemerovo Province. We both skied. Oleg had served in Primorskoi Krai and I had served in Vlapostok.

    I had come to the States to study, sponsored by Primorsklesprom, a forestry company where I had already worked for a while. So I helped Oleg a bit when he was involved in wood sales, when he and Andrei Surkov bought the saw and started processing lumber.

    One day I ended up staying late at his house. He lived across the bay, while I lived downtown.

    “Oleg, the boats aren’t running anymore. Let me borrow a car,” I asked him. He let me take his Porsche, which he had first taken to Russia, then brought back to America to sell. I drove home in it, parked it, and fell asleep. I live in a good neighborhood, but someone slashed the convertible roof during the night. It was probably a drunk or one of the bums that live under bridges in cardboard boxes. The car was empty; there was nothing in it. They just cut a hole in the roof, the morons. I was supposed to pay Oleg for the damage, but he acted nobly, saying,

    “I see that you came and you’re trying to fix things yourself. I’m not taking money from you.”

    Chapter 19

    Abramovich’s First Daria

    In 2001, a day came when Andrei Beskhmelnitsky, who managed Roman Abramovich’s food assets, along with Andrei Blokh (one of Abramovich’s first and main partners from back in his toy co-op days), were busy creating a holding company called Planet Management. The highly profitable but small business with the ptty name, Daria, sounded appealing to the oligarch.

    Andrei Beskhmelnitsky is a unique inpidual. He is one of the most hardworking and meticulous managers that I have ever met. They hounded me for nearly six months, but in the end they gave me no other choice-there is no other way to put it-I simply had to sell this fast growing and high quality business.

    On the one hand, the business brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars every day and so I was fine with it. On the other hand, though, the pelmeni market was worth a couple of million dollars a year and our share in it was already high. After I finished studying at Berkeley, I realized what market volume and share really are. If a market is large, then you can make good money even if your share is only three percent. But if the market is small, you have to be a powerful player. Now, naturally, it is really hard to grow your share if you are already the biggest player-the competition will always try to pinch a little piece of the pie. And here they were, in this case, talking me into selling my business for a couple tens of millions of dollars…

    Abramovich came out to meet us and personally led us into his beautiful guest room. I could not help but stare at a massive black and white portrait hanging behind him in which Putin was wearing a kimono. The picture had obviously been retouched. On the table there was another photo of Putin, which was also quite strange. It seemed to me that this was some kind of sign or signal. Why did he have a picture of Putin in a kimono at work? Was it an expssion of respect for the psident or an implication that he, the 35-year-old Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich, was on joking terms with Putin? After all, it has been said that Abramovich is among the people who selected Yeltsin’s successor. At the same time, though, there was a certain degree of provocation in the photos. I still have not pd out the answer to this riddle.

    I am a businessman and, as such, I have to have good intuition. There are a lot of incredibly unpleasant types among the oligarchy, but Abramovich made a very decent impssion on me. He is certainly no tool, as some are. But I cannot say that he is smart and scholarly. The saying, “be quiet and you’ll pass for smart,” describes him. In the half hour that we were there he said about four phrases: “Alright, okay. So what are you gonna do with the money once you’ve sold?” And his last words were, “All right guys, get him paid up.” That was it! Ellochka Lyudoyedka was involved in the socio-economic crisis in Pikalyova) told me about an empty property on Kazanskaya Street, in building 7, where there used to be a Zarya factory. The property was perfect for a fancy restaurant. It was 200 meters from Kazan Cathedral and 250 meters from Nevsky Prospect. It was on a quiet side street where it would be easy to park your car. Long ago it had been a Nobility Hall, but on January 1, 1842, the first savings bank in Russia was established there by Nicholas I, “with the goal of providing low income people of all professions with a means of saving in a reliable and profitable way.” If I had been in German Gref’s shoes, I would have bought the building for Sberbank. He is quite aware of it, as he helped me to rent it for use as a restaurant when he was chairman of the CPMC.

    At the same time, the company Stanley, owned by Stanislav Bushnev, was also looking to get into the place. This kid is way behind the times. We all remember the turbid nineties. That is when he was born. Unfortunately, the mindset in the regions has changed at a much slower rate than in Moscow. I saw Bushnev in St. Petersburg recently, and he still walks around all grim and surrounded by bodyguards.

    When I was trying to secure the property, Stas proclaimed,

    “That place is mine.”

    “But the papers show that it’s mine,” I replied.

    It developed into a conflict and I told my friend Emma Vasilyevna Lavrinovich about the situation. She is still the director of Oktyabrsky Big Concert Hall. She knows all the politicians and businessmen in St. Petersburg. If she charged them a commission for everyone she knows, she would be one of the richest people in Russia. In 1996, she had introduced me to Alla Borisovna Pugachova. Now, however, she told me to get in touch with German Gref and to explain the situation to him.

    Andrei Surkov attended the meeting. Gref finished listening to our story about how we wanted to build a restaurant, with a microbrewery attached, and signed a ten-year lease agreement, with far better terms than one usually sees in the city. We offered several times more than Stanley had offered. It is not enough to offer the government more money. You have to talk to a high-ranking official as well if you want to see the issue resolved.

    I will tell you more: even today, the building’s fate has not been sealed. People are still arguing about it. I created and sold four businesses and fought to keep the restaurant in the same building the whole time. For the most part, however, the conflict does not concern the part of the building where the restaurant is located, but rather the Zarya Defense Plant. On March 17, 2004, Anatoly Ivanov, the plant’s director, was shot dead, along with his bodyguard. Ivanov had had lunch in my restaurant. Then, in the courtyard of his building, a contract killer opened fire on him with a Kalashnikov.

    In downtown St. Petersburg the most fantastic things can occur within a few thousand square meters of real estate. In St. Petersburg, unfortunately, in contrast to Moscow, the legal mechanics of regulating real estate are very complicated. In the end it is still difficult to establish who the landlord of the building on Kazanskaya Street actually is. Currently a trust management institute is used for real estate objects, along with some other complex bureaucracies. Every building should have an owner though-either the city or a private owner. You cannot reinvent the wheel.

    * * *

    By spring the Germans had finished making the equipment and in May it arrived in St. Petersburg. Installation began. The question now arose of what kind of beer we would be making. Joost suggested a line-up of six standard varieties, along with four seasonal beers. This is a widespad scheme in German beer restaurants. I suggested that we name the beers according to color, however, as Russians have little sense of what terms like “pilsner,” “lager,” “porter,” and so forth actually mean.

    – Platinum non-filtered (original gravity: 13%, alcohol content: 4.7%; light and caramel malt, hops, yeast, and water). I expssly asked Wachsmann to begin with pilsner, as it is my favorite kind of beer. Given a choice, I always buy either German or Czech pilsner (Budweiser, Pilsner Urquell, or the identical Plzensky Prazdroj).

    – Platinum filtered (original gravity: 13%, alcohol content: 4.7%; light and caramel malt, hops, yeast, and water). We did not have much in the way of filtered beer-because I do not understand why anyone would want to drink filtered beer when non-filtered is available.

    – White unfiltered (original gravity: 13%, alcohol content: 4.7%; light and wheat malt, hops, yeast, and water). I like wheat beer as well.

    – Light unfiltered (original gravity: 11%, alcohol content: 4.0%; light, caramel and dark malt, hops, yeast, and water). This is a lager.

    – Dark unfiltered (original gravity: 14%, alcohol content: 4.7%; light, melanoidin, dark and caramel malt). Porter.

    – Non-alcoholic filtered (original gravity: 6%, alcohol content: 0.5%). It should be clear what we did here. We made a beer for people who like the taste, but cannot drink because they are behind the wheel, or for some other reason. The beer turned out to have pleasant bready notes and a hoppy aroma.

    In order to offer more variety, we introduced a few seasonal beers. Two of them were:

    – White Nights. I like this wheat beer even more than our usual “White”. We brewed it for the first time in St. Petersburg, which is famous for its long summer days with short “white nights” when the sun barely dips below the horizon. The beer was created especially for the summer: it is really light and, unlike traditional wheat beer, it is brewed using a top fermentation process, where the yeast is put on top instead of at the bottom.

    – Winter Bock or Red (original gravity: 18%, alcohol content: 5.9 %). A beer with a wine-like flavor. For the strong at heart!

    I set the opening for August 1, 1998. To promote the restaurant we gave away free food and drink for an entire day and night to all of our guests-something that was audacious for St. Petersburg at the time. A large number of the city’s restaurateurs came and were surprised to hear that I was anticipating daily revenue of ten to twenty thousand dollars. They thought that this would be impossible, given that their highly sophisticated restaurants only managed to pull in three or four grand. Supposedly, the record for the highest one-day sales volume, eight thousand dollars, was set by the Senate-Bar on Galernaya Street, where groups of foreigners were often taken and which U.S. President Bill Clinton himself visited in 1996.

    From among the city’s administration came first vice governor Ilya Klebanov along with German Gref. German Oskarovich drank some beer, congratulated me, and said that he was moving to Moscow for work. On August 12, I heard on the news that he had been appointed first deputy to the Minister of State Property. When Vladimir Putin became acting psident, following the historic voluntary resignation of Boris Yeltsin on December 31, 1999, Gref was appointed head of the Center for Strategic Development, a body that was to come up with economic ideas for the new psident. As it turned out, Vladimir Putin must have felt that these ideas worked very well, considering that he appointed Gref Minister of Economic Development and Trade immediately following his election. He worked in that post for over seven years, until he managed to convince the psident that he would be better off working at Sberbank. The only minister to maintain his position longer was Alexei Kudrin, who had also started out in the St. Petersburg mayor’s office.

    On one occasion, Vladimir Putin himself visited my restaurant, along with Vladimir Yakovlev. We drank some beer with them and they liked it. Putin said that he had had some beer in Germany and that Tinkoff was crap. But really, Tinkoff is a person and the beer is delicious! Thank goodness, Putin considers me a person. Bureaucrats, listen! Write this down! He drank my beer and he liked it. So you had better not cut me off on the road! This applies to law enforcement in particular. Think about it!

    This is simply not true!

    You can always find a niche. And you can do this yourself. After all, an entrepneur is a person who sees opportunities, a person who can ascertain what others cannot, who can perceive the positive in what seems at first glance to be a negative situation.

    An entrepneur is an optimist by nature! Of course luck plays a significant role and, without a doubt, I am a lucky man. I always have been. But in order to make your luck work for you, you have to do something. Bear in mind that merely finding a good niche is not sufficient. You also need to choose the right people and motivate them in the right ways-materially and emotionally.

    In St. Petersburg, in 1998, to have an in-house microbrewery attached to a restaurant was revolutionary.

    The slogan “It’s one of a kind ” was not yet on the drawing board, but Tinkoff bottled beer was already my brainchild.

    Valentina Vladimirovna, my mother, visiting in 1999 after Pasha was born.

    Here I am in San Francisco with Dan Gordon, one of the co-founders of the Gordon Biersch chain of restaurants and microbreweries.

    On Sushi

    I saw it done in San Francisco and I just copied the practice. For Arkady Novikov, however, the idea did not work in St. Petersburg. And it did not work in the Moscow restaurant Sushi Vyosla, either. The assembly line approach is an option only for business lunches and for restaurants with a large output capacity.

    Chapter 21

    Moscow Sausage

    Originally, I had not intended to create a restaurant chain. I had opened the St. Petersburg restaurant, in part to promote my beer brand, while dreaming of opening a full-fledged factory later on, and in part for myself -so that I would have someplace to go with my colleagues and friends after work. Randomly enough, I soon realized that this was not such a bad business after all. I started meeting lots of Muscovites who had fallen in love with the Restaurant on Kazanskaya Street in St. Petersburg. Of course, opening a restaurant in Moscow would be scary and expensive. The business world of St. Petersburg was not accustomed to paying forty thousand dollars a month for a property, when you could get the same place for eight thousand back home. I had my doubts, but the more praise I heard from Muscovites, the more I thought about opening a restaurant in Moscow. In 2000, then, when the crisis had eased slightly, I decided to enter this new territory.

    Immediately, I felt the contrast between Moscow and St. Petersburg. There was extortion everywhere. Gimme, gimme, gimme! I can only imagine what goes on in big investment projects. Moscow is structured completely differently from St. Petersburg. Every step you take costs money; you have to pay tribute on everything. That is what you call the Byzantine Empire, my friends-Moscow, the capital of our homeland. Nothing of the sort ever happened in any of the other cities where we opened restaurants. But what can you expect from a city where the blood has already curdled? It is a city that has been ruled by the same man for 20 years now, a man whose wife, one of the richest people in Russia, is the only female billionaire (in dollars) in the country. This scenario would be impossible in any other civilized nation. An office-holder in a position like that would have stepped down from his post, at least. At most, he would have put a bullet in his own forehead.

    Let me get back to the restaurant. We opened in Moscow in late 2001. All together the restaurant cost me two million dollars. In addition, we bought the property a year into our lease, which, as you can understand, ended up a very good investment, considering the growth in real estate prices.

    People came to Protochny Alley, drank beer, and liked it. Everyone from Vladimir Zhirinovsky to Vagita Alekperova came to check it out.

    I started coming to Moscow more often. You might say that I moved to the city, if you could say such a thing about a person who tries to spend no more than a few days at a time in any given country.

    After all these years, though, I still do not feel like I love the city. Consequently, I agree with Bogdan Titomir’s song about Moscow: “Moscow is shit”.

    I do not like the city at all. For me Moscow is one big office: huge, comfortable in places-an office, but not a home. When I fly into Sheremetyevo or Vnukovo airport, an interior switch flips to “work” position. When I am leaving Moscow, as soon as I get into the plane, it flips back to “rest.”

    The city is not designed for family life; it is not pro-children. I realized this in 2001, when I took Rina and the kids to a restaurant, aptly called Hole in the Wall. Everyone looked at us as though we were enemies of the people. A hooker sat there with her legs crossed. Her facial expssion seemed to say: “Why in the world did you show up here with your kids?” It is not just that, though. The city, in general, was simply not built for living in.

    There is always an issue about where to go for a stroll on the weekends. Do you leave town? It takes hours to get out of the city and the same amount of time to get back. The suburbs? Everything has been overhauled. They have not kept any of the old buildings and estates. The only decent place to go for a walk, perhaps, is Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo Park and only in winter. Overall, though, there is nowhere in Moscow that you can do it. You can do a lap around the Patriarch’s or Clear ponds, but no more.

    Moscow is a city with completely bizarre architecture. Look at Khodynskoye Field. It is eclectic: round, square, tacky buildings (built, by the way, by Russia’s richest woman). It is totally absurd-it was an empty field. Why could they not have done what people do everywhere else in the world, constructing perpendicular and parallel streets, nice humane housing, and parks where you can go for a walk?

    I went there to visit someone and it took me forever to find my way. All of the new Khodynskoye buildings, which were built five years ago, look as though they have been standing there for fifty. Alexander Kuzmin, the Chief Architect behind the project, is quite the character. Why does he not simply resign? What he has done is totally out of line, to put it mildly.

    In St. Petersburg people are asking whether the Gazprom Tower might disturb the city’s harmony. Compare this with Moscow. The city has been snapped down the middle, trampled, and spat on.

    Sure, Moscow reminds one of New York and, sure, it is a dynamic city. It is a good place to make some money too-I agree. But to live there is simply unbearable. That is why a lot of people send their children overseas to study, including the Moscow bureaucrats who do not believe in the city themselves. It is a dying city. Bulgakov wrote that Muscovites are good folk, but the apartment issue ruined them. After all, Woland (the Satan-p in Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita) came to neither St. Petersburg, nor to Novosibirsk, but to Moscow-City of the Devil.

    Why am I being so mean? It is because, when I wrote the foregoing, I had already been in Moscow for four weeks. Luckily I flew to Dubai the following day. A normal person has a home and an office. All of Moscow is my office. Unfortunately Luzhkov and his associates have made it so that you cannot stay in Moscow for long. How can you blame businesspeople, or the bureaucrats themselves, for sending their kids to other countries, if normal living conditions are completely lacking here? Sure, a big-time bureaucrat may be able to make himself a little Singapore in the suburbs, a gated 100-hectare estate with fields, woods, and animals. But what of the common man?

    I love St. Pete’s; I dislike Moscow. And on the whole I feel okay about other major Russian cities. Novosibirsk, for example, is a very cozy city, even if it is big. There are problems with the infrastructure there, of course, but the city is interesting and suitable for living. I like it there, even though attempts were made to pvent me from opening a restaurant there in January 2003.

    My restaurant in Samara, seating 275, opened in November 2002, a little earlier than the one in Novosibirsk. I created it in partnership with a local restaurateur, Alexander Terentyev, offering him a twenty-five percent share in exchange for his help in finding my way around the city and introducing me to the upper class.

    It quickly became one of our most successful locations. Apparently this was because, although the city’s infrastructure is a complete wreck, its people are good.

    For some reason the people of Samara and St. Petersburg are similar, like brothers. They have the exact same mindset. People befriend one another and entertain in their homes. In Moscow it is not common for people to go to one another’s houses. If you are invited, it means that there is going to be some kind of business-related standoff. A Muscovite is consequently a special kind of person, a severe type.

    And the best, the most beautiful girls in the country live in Samara too. I do not know what caused it, but there appears to have been some kind of explosion there-environmental or demographic-and now every one of them is gorgeous. There are so many! It is a case where quantity and quality are not mutually exclusive.

    By early 2003, we already had four restaurants. I went around to other cities, looking at how their markets were developing, trying to discern whether they were ready for us to come open a restaurant.

    My memories of Nizhny Novgorod are very warm. The city is interesting and so are the people. I always enjoy my time there.

    Kazan is a distinctive city. I can say a lot of nice things about its management. Despite a few Eastern frills, when it comes to attracting investment, everything is done there rationally and at a high quality. Dubai was taken as a reference point for Kazan. Even though there are some financial problems in Dubai, it would be stupid to deny that what they have done with their infrastructure is revolutionary-even if they did go a bit overboard.

    Both Rustam Minnikhanov, the prime minister of Tatarstan, and the people at the mayor’s office in Kazan are on the right track. They have created an investor-friendly environment. Everything is understandable and pdictable, two critically important factors for investors. It is a good thing that Minnikhanov was appointed psident of Tatarstan in early 2010, rather than Mintimer Shaimiev.

    The feelings I associate with the neighboring city of Ufa, where we also opened a restaurant, are less positive. There is more of a mess there. At least, that is how it was in 2003. Perhaps now, in 2010, Murtaza Rakhimov, the psident of Bashkiria, has done something to improve the investment climate.

    I have bright memories of Yekaterinburg. Opening our restaurant there was a lot of fun. The governor of Sverdlovsk Province, Eduard Rossel, introduced me to his deputy and we assumed that we would not have any problems with the local authorities. But wait! Welcome to modern Russia! Who could have pdicted that relations between the municipal and regional administrations would be so tense? Our manager made a mistake by failing to hold any talks with the mayor at all. We brought in a bunch of musicians-Mikhail Boyarsky, Leonid Yarmolnik, Igor Kornelyuk, Mumiy Troll, De Phazz. Right at the climax of the performances there was a power failure and, in the meantime, the director of the power network was off at his summer cottage.

    We could not simply disperse the crowd. At first we lit a bunch of candles. Then we worked things out with some military men, who pulled two generators up to the building. Everything worked out well end. The moral of this story is: never give up, always look for a solution and build a good team that will help you in the battle. People still remember the opening of our restaurant well, which is better promotion than we could have hoped for. It is not for nothing that the restaurant in Yekaterinburg is one of the best in our chain.

    I have fond memories of Chuvashia as well. In 2003, I wanted to buy a brewery in Chebosary (which I will discuss in more detail in the next chapter). As Nikolai Fyodorov, the brewery’s psident, and I rode in the car, I experienced something that I had never experienced before and would never feel again. As we drove by some traffic cops, they saluted us.

    By developing this most beautiful of cities, it can be made into a Mecca, both for Asian and Russian tourists.

    With typical frankness, I declare that Kamchatka is the best place in Russia, if not in the whole world. I have never seen anything like it: volcanoes, geysers, bald mountains, snow, sudden weather changes. I went with a group of French, Germans, and Americans on a freeride skiing trip. Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the Jacuzzi-like hot springs that winter. It is a completely one-of-a-kind place. Thank God we did not sell it when we sold Alaska.

    I like spending time in Sochi at Krasnaya Polyana. I do not recommend taking the chairlift, but as far as freeride skiing goes, it is one of the best places in the world, both in terms of snow quality the steep inclines. No wonder one of the stages of the freeride world cup is held there; even the best athletes are dumbstruck by it.

    “Yes this really is an awesome place.” It is probable that Sochi will be the infrastructure capital of Russia now. After all, it is simply mandatory that we do everything really well in pparation for the 2014 Olympics.

    There are a lot of beautiful, scenic places in Russia, inhabited by beautiful people. But our economy is upside-down. Everything flows to the center, to Moscow. This is very unfair and it is not right. So I am not in the least bit surprised that Muscovites are some of the least liked people in Russia. What does it mean that even St. Petersburg is more critically short of money than Moscow? This is especially apparent in the ambitions of Muscovite managers: they want salaries running to ps that their counterparts in St. Petersburg would never dream of demanding.

    At the same time, managers in St. Petersburg are often more effective than those in Moscow. People from St. Petersburg are better workers. We are more effective, less narrow-minded. You can find examples in the business world, the political landscape, and in show business. We can see how St. Pete’s is at the top of its game in every category. The reasons are straightforward ones: on the one hand, it is the northern capital; on the other hand, there is less money there and consequently one has to put in more effort to make it. There is a parallel here with how boxers train: some use weights and others do not. That is why we are more effective managers than those one might find in other cities.

    The same can be said with respect to artists. Shnur used to sing for a hundred dollars. He has seen it all. Or there is Mumiy Troll from Vlapostok who came, saw, and conquered. In my opinion, regional ambitions are always good. In Moscow, though, you can sing one song, or sell a mediocre product for 20 years straight, and still be successful. The market is like that; it is like a spoiled kid.

    The competition in Moscow is very specific and in some areas there is none at all. Here I am judging from my own restaurant: at one point we had barely any competition and the restaurant made really good money. After a few years, though, our profits began to fall off and, by the time the most recent crisis rolled around, the restaurant was suffering. First of all, people started going out to eat less often. Second, there were now many similar restaurants all around Moscow. The Moscow public is easier to sway and tends to be less loyal than in a lot of places. The people love novelty. They are always looking for something better and so it can be quite hard to find and keep loyal customers. Whereas Muscovites are all about the new and the better, people in St. Petersburg visit the same restaurants decade after decade. That’s small-town Europe mentality for you! My favorite place is the best that there is, period!

    Furthermore, the restaurant economy in Moscow is not market-based at all. A lot of restaurants were opened, but guest numbers did not grow, especially given the crisis. At the same time, millions of dollars were invested in these ventures. In America or Europe, eateries with such large investment volumes are doomed. In short, there, the market works.

    Every day in San Francisco one restaurant opens and another closes. In other words, it would be impossible to eat at every restaurant that there is, even if you went to a new one every day. And if you see a restaurant at eighty percent capacity, in the evening, it means that it is going to shut down soon. Overhead is so high that you simply cannot keep a restaurant running unless it is packed all the time.

    But in Russia, you see restaurants that remain virtually empty year after year. Why? Because the owner does not regard the place as a business. Rather, it is a status symbol. Or it is a way of keeping his wife busy. Or it is a place where he can sit in peace and quiet. Restaurants are designed with flaws built into them. And when a lot of the players do not play by the rules of the market, it is easy to see why a normal businessman, wanting to make some money, will have a hard time. That is why I do not recommend opening restaurants in Moscow at this time.

    In the autumn of 2009, Aras and Emin Alagorov opened a restaurant called Nobu (the original Nobu was opened way back when by Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert De Niro) in Moscow. My family and I came there one day for lunch and we were the only guests in the whole place. It seems like that ought to have been a wake-up call, but this happened in the gorged Moscow of today. Back in the late nineties and in the early years of the new century, my restaurants were met with cheers across nearly all of Russia.

    In 2001, I set up a Tinkoff restaurant in Moscow, investing unsparingly, because I wanted to keep the satiated public happy. I opened a 1300 square meter restaurant in Nizhny Novgorod on September 26, 2003. To the left is Joost Wachsmann, who sold me beer-making equipment for my restaurants. Sergei Kirienko, the psident’s authorized repsentative, came, along with his wife, to the opening of the restaurant in Nizhny Novgorod.

    Chapter 22

    Like No Other

    The equipment at the St. Petersburg restaurant turned out to produce in such high volume that it was impossible to sell all of the beer that we had on tap. Thus Igor Sukhanov and I decided to buy a beer bottling line. I flew to Italy and ordered it, at a cost of a few hundred thousand dollars. A little later I bought out the twenty-five percent held by Igor and so became the restaurant’s sole owner. He left to work as a big boss then, as the deputy general director at Mezhregiongas.

    The demand for bottled beer exceeded the supply. We could make a couple thousand bottles a day, but we needed ten times that. A bottle cost us thirty cents to produce and we sold them at wholesale for a dollar apiece. The price reflected a stock factor: if there was none left in the warehouse, we would raise the price, but if we had some, we would leave it alone. That is marketing in a nutshell.

    We had insufficient product and so I started thinking about constructing a factory. I had some extra money at that point since I had recently sold my Daria pelmeni business. But I did not want to invest all of the proceeds in a factory, having decided to leave some for my family. So I approached Anton Bolshakov with the idea of building a factory. We had met back in 1999 and it still brings a smile to my face to remember how that came about.

    When I was studying at Berkeley Igor Pastukhov called me and said,

    In the evening, I got on an overnight train to St. Petersburg, saw how things were going at the Daria factory, and, immediately after that, went on to Pulkovo airport. When you are flying to America, it is as though you are going back in time. So I landed in San Francisco on Sunday evening, and on Monday morning went to school.

    Every Monday we would talk about what we had done on the weekend. One of the students related how he had bought the Saturday edition of The Wall Street Journal and read it while sitting in a Starbucks. Someone else talked about skiing in Squaw Valley. The professor asked me,

    “Oleg, where did you go?”

    “I took a trip to Russia-to Moscow and St. Petersburg.”

    “Are you kidding?”

    “No, I had a business meeting in Moscow and then I checked in on my factory in St. Petersburg.”

    It was ptty funny. The students and the professor were shocked by this Russian weirdo. But it was a good thing that I took that plane trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg. The fact that I knew Anton Bolshakov served me well in 2002.

    He was the one I came to when I decided to build the beer factory.

    “Anton, I have a beer restaurant in St. Petersburg, with a small bottling line. The beer is really taking off! We get several times more orders than our plant can fill-even though I have invested hardly anything so far in promoting the brand!”

    “Interesting. Now what did you want?”

    “I want to build a small brewery for twenty million dollars. I need a four million dollar loan. A factory of the size I envision would be able to brew twelve and a half million liters of beer per year. That’s three million bottles a month. It’s an intermediate option between a big plant and a microbrewery. I’ve got the blueprints.”

    Anton believed in the idea and opened a line of credit for us. I have to give him credit: the man was able to distinguish between trash and treasure, grain and grass. And I am not the only one he has helped. On his initiative the bank started working with other capable businessmen.

    Such considerations did not make me feel too much better though. I was doing the construction with borrowed money and every month the bill kept growing. I was really nervous. For the first time in my life I suffered from insomnia. It took me forever to fall asleep and I would wake up after two or three hours. If you do not sleep well, then during the day you feel like a piece of shit. In January 2003, just before the opening of the restaurant in Novosibirsk, I did not sleep for a night and a day. I felt so terrible that I left while the party was in full swing, right when Leningrad were starting their set. After I left, I wandered around the hotel. I could not sleep. I tried everything from hot milk to a warm bath. The birth of our third son Roma, on February 23, 2003, did not make matters any better. The only thing that worked was vodka. I could sleep normally after having some. I ended up having to go to a doctor specializing in sleep problems.

    “What’s bothering you? What’s putting you on edge?”

    “I’ll never finish building the brewery. I am afraid I’ll break the bank.”

    “Once you’ve built it, then you’ll be able to sleep.”

    The delay might have been even longer, if the construction had not been conducted at Stakhanovite. We’re already seeing this in the defaults that are just beginning to pile up.

    Sergei answered me indirectly at a meeting with some journalists,

    “I don’t know this man and I don’t want to know him, to tell you the truth. He makes strange claims and tells people to go places. Look at the clip. He told all developers to go someplace far away. For me that’s a strange position. There’s no one like him on the map. What has he done with his life? He has made Tinkoff Beer and that’s it.”

    I could not resist the urge to respond to him-because it was a lie: I had done a lot more than just produce beer. We shot another video column in which I explained to Sergei that he was mistaken. After that, we did not attack one another again-particularly given Sergei’s problems with paying back his loans.

    I’ve known Sergei for a long time and, no matter what’s gone between us, I think of him as a good guy. He is talented. Sometimes he goes a little too far, but on the whole he deserves credit. There was a huge pit in the middle of Moscow for years and years and monsters like Abramovich, Kerimov, and Luzhkov could not build anything there. When Sergei came to St. Petersburg as a young man, though, even if he was rude and obnoxious and not quite like everyone else, he just did what needed to be done.

    From the point of view of business logic and common sense he did the wrong thing. He took out too many loans. And yet this is a problem that all developers face. They do not understand that sometimes we have stability, but that there are other times when we are faced with collapse. They simply follow the same formula, assuming that the price of a square meter will keep going up and up. If you build your business on such a formula, then sooner our later you’ll reap lamentable results.

    That’s why, Sergei, I hope you return from Elba one day. For now, though, I’m afraid I have to say that your card is trumped. It’s as though you’re out in the ocean somewhere: if a shark swims past you, you’re safe, but once it’s circled you once, it’s all over. Freedman made his circle and this shark’s teeth are very sharp. You’ve fallen into his circle of interests. I can only sympathize. And I am not looking to dance on Sergei’s grave here. I really do feel bad for him. The more talented entrepneurs there are, the faster the economy will grow, which means that things will get a little better and life will become more pleasant. That’s why, Sergei, I wish you a triumphant return from Elba.

    Of course, you’re going through tough times now, but hold tight. We business people are all waiting for you; we love you and we forgive all your foolish mistakes. We know that nobody’s perfect. At the end of the day everyone has his or her minuses and each of us has a skeleton in our closet.

    And so, Seryoga, I wish you the best of luck!

    Miracles never happen: you have to start with something small and push, push, pushLike me, Andrei Korkunov, got into the banking business after spending time in the food industry. . Andrei Rogachov, entrepneur:

    With Leonid Shutov, who opened Bob Bob Ricard -one of the best restaurants in London.

    Oleg is without a doubt one of the brightest entrepneurs in contemporary Russia. Entire generations of young risk-takers follow his example. Oleg Tinkov is our Richard Branson. He’s had a lot of successful projects. He knows how to choose one good idea from among a thousand. And then, too, he is able to bring the project to serious capitalization. He exhibits a rare combination of traits: he’s a charismatic leader, but at the same time he’s capable of bringing together team with technological savvy. I’m sure that we will see him undertaking more interesting projects in the future.

    Around 1994, I went to visit Oleg on Sadovaya Street and was greeted by an unexpected scene. Oleg was scolding a foreigner. He was explaining to the man-I think he was American-that he had no idea how to run a business in Russia. “Stupid” was one of the milder epithets that he used. I asked Oleg whether he mightn’t be offending the American, but he optimistically replied that the American didn’t understand Russian and so it didn’t matter. I pd that Oleg had the American there as a stress reliever.

    Why don’t Oleg and I take up joint-partnership on a project? Partners should supplement each other so that their team has stability. Maybe when I’m a little older-Oleg remains eternally young-we’ll start something together. He’d be the motor and I’d be the brakes.

    Chapter 28

    Once a Miner, Now a Banker

    I started this book with a story about how our banking business was born. Recall that the final decision was made on November 18, 2005, on Necker Island. Little did I know the difficulties that awaited me after that.

    On January 1, 2006, while I was spending the holidays with my family in New York before returning to San Francisco, Alex Koretsky flew from San Francisco to Moscow for the bank’s opening. Alex proved unable to work at anything like the miraculous rate that was required and, in the end, I had to go to Moscow myself to give the business a shove.

    I hired old friends from Coruna (a company that I mentioned earlier), including general director Sergei Kim, to do the branding for the bank. Their price/idea/quality ratio is unparalleled in Russia. I gave them a few tasks: to develop a credit card and logo, to make a brand book, and so forth. Things progressed slowly but surely. We met sometime in June. On that occasion Sergei said,

    At first I was surprised by this name, but then I realized that “Tinkoff” is a recognizable name, while “Credit Systems” sounds solid and would leave open the possibility of our offering services in addition to credit cards.

    “Rustam, you know Camal very well. He’s going to head up my credit card business.” Rustam’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets.

    “I’ve invited Camal to work for me in Russia more than a couple times and he’s always refused. I can’t believe that he’ll come.”

    For the next two weeks I waited for Camal Bouchie to develop and send me a business plan, but ultimately he called and declined our partnership. Rustam, who had realized that Camal was now willing to work in Russia, made him an offer that he could not refuse. According to my information, Rustam offered him more than twice as much as I had. But everything has worked out well in the end. I am glad that Rustam intercepted him and I understand why they ended up working together so effectively: they both love Eastern luxuries.

    In the summer of 2006 I met with Maxim Chernushchenko, the deputy chairman of the board of Investsberbank, as well as with some other bank managers. Alexander Ponomarenko was already pparing the bank for sale to the Hungarian OTP Bank and the managers kept surveying the room. I suppose that is a normal reaction to outside threats because acquisitions always put management at risk.

    In August, Alex Koretsky met with Georgy at Egon Zehnder ‘s offices. Alex liked him:

    “The guy knows the trade. He’s into the idea of a model similar to Capital One. He said that we’d best not even think of buying IT-systems until we’ve hired either him or someone else with knowledge of the field.”

    “That guy has pride issues, which is just what we need. How about I fly in to meet with him immediately?”

    On September 18, 2006, Alex and I came to Egon Zehnder ‘s offices. Artyom Avdeyev said,

    “Damn, Artyom, didn’t I ask you not to bring in people from Russian Standard? What are you, dumb?”

    “Oleg, apart from people who’ve worked at Russian Standard, I couldn’t find anyone who met the requirements.”

    “Why the hell have you brought me another person from Russian Standard? Is there really no one else available?”

    “Georgy wasn’t a top manager at Russian Standard, so I think there’s nothing personal between him and Rustam, as there was with Chernushchenko.”

    “Okay, I’ll call Rustam to talk about it.”

    “Oleg, let’s not waste time,” said Georgy. “If I don’t fit into your plans because of my connection to Russian Standard, that’s no problem. If you need to talk to Rustam first, then let’s reschedule this meeting.”

    “But why did you leave Investsberbank?”

    “I got into an argument with a shareholder and he made the decision.”

    “So you think it’s okay to fight with shareholders? A shareholder is God and King!”

    “I learned my lesson.”

    At the end of the meeting, I invited Georgy to come to our offices the following evening. We met in the conference room with Alex Koretsky, Kostya Aristarkhov, Ulyana Antonova, and Vadim Stasovsky, head of the legal department and the only person to work with me on running four of my businesses, beginning with Tekhnoshok. A consultant from MasterCard Advisors stood at the flip chart and talked about how payment systems are structured and how the cards work. I invited Georgy to sit at the table and, at the end of the psentation, all the managers started asking him questions. It was the same grilling that all of our key personnel had to submit to subsequently as well.

    I hired him to work at the bank, which shared its offices-located on 1 st Street in Yamskoye Polye, directly across from where Golden Palace Casino now stands-with the Tinkoff Restaurant chain. We had just bought the license, so all we had was a desk, a chair, and an idea. That was it. We hired people to work exclusively on that idea. I am very grateful to our first ten employees. They had it harder than anyone else. Of course they worked to maintain my good name and they believed in me, but they still took a risk. Some had to give up old positions that they could not have back if their new jobs fell through. Others risked their own reputations.

    The autumn of 2006 saw the most overheated labor market ever. People came, I would offer them a salary, they would call back two weeks later and tell me that they had been offered a better deal elsewhere. Nevertheless, in order to work with us, Artyom Yamanov and Stas Bliznyuk left the successful Raffeisenbank, which is one of the best run and most fortunate foreign banks in Russia. Kostya Aristarkhov was the head of a difficult department-debt collection. I had brought him with me from America. I have already mentioned that I am not keen on doing business with friends. I believe in friendships based on business, though, even if things do not work the other way around. But I would have to say that Kostya is the exception that proves the rule. We have been friends for many years-since 1999. In America, Russians hold each other close. In the States, we had spent some great times together and Kostya had shown his best qualities. Over the ten years of our friendship he has never once let me down. I hope that he can say the same thing about me.

    He had gone through Far East University and has an American education. He is a fast learner and, most importantly, he has an enterprising spirit. He owned a construction company in the States, which sold and installed windows. He has everything we needed-loyalty, understanding of the market, and experience with the American business system. Moreover, he picks up new skills quickly. In the course of the three years that he has worked at the bank, he has built a good reputation for himself. He has built an incredibly effective, high quality, and technologically sophisticated debt collection department (one whose work draws on statistics, information volumes, and IT). The numbers speak for themselves. We know how difficult the market is at psent. There are more and more overdue payments, people are losing their jobs, or are simply inept at making their payments on time. At our bank, these indicators have remained relatively stable. In fact, they are the best in the industry.

    Georgy Chesakov got to work on the IT platform immediately, building the network and guiding principles, and later got to work on the products. The rest of our staff began learning the ropes. We hired some high-end technicians, including Anatoly Makeshina from Zenit Bank. In this way we began to assemble the company-in our laps, essentially. I remember Georgy coming to me and saying,

    He does not ask me that question any more.

    Georgy Chesakov, chairman of the board of Tinkoff Credit Systems Bank:

    We issued the first Tinkoff Platinum test cards in May 2007. That fall we began distributing them en masse.

    Oleg is tough-skinned, explosive, and exuberant. But at the same time, he’s a lot more tolerant of resistance and complaints than my pvious employers, Rustam Tariko ( Russian Standard) and Alexander Ponomarenko ( Investsberbank)-even if, at first glance, it might seem like the opposite would be true.

    I got a good impssion of Oleg back at the beginning of the banking project, in 2006, when he gathered the whole team together in his office. He pointed at the glass desk and said,

    “I put my own money into this project and I’m ready to chew on this glass to ensure its success.” Later I quoted these words to candidates who asked if Oleg might shut down the project if it wasn’t working out. Another quote: “You need to have balls of steel to put 50 million dollars of your own money into a project like this.” I’m in awe of Oleg’s ability to think about what seem like completely unrelated things in business and in life and to make nontrivial, deep conclusions based on subtle observations. In those moments, you can’t help but think that you’d never thought about it before, but that his observation really was true. Oleg always remembers the basic economics of the industry and the project, quickly and correctly, and he is able to distinguish between important details and unimportant ones-and to disregard the latter. He’s not bound by ruling assumptions concerning the market. He’s able to attract and hold on to good people. He also knows how choose business ventures that have high margins of profit.

    Konstantin Aristarkhov, member of the board of directors at Tinkoff Credit Systems Bank:

    I learned from him how to be tougher, how to count pennies, and how to focus on and think about what’s actually important at a given moment in time.

    I continued living my life, while Oleg returned to Russia to build a brewery. I felt a little awkward calling him: he’s always busy. But Oleg called me himself to find out how I was doing. Later he came back to America for a year. By that time I had my own businesses and I’d become more free and independent. We even had the time to take a trip together to Russia when he was closing a deal.

    One day, when September was in full swing, we went to the Sanduny Bathhouse in Moscow. This was after Oleg had sold his beer company. Oleg said,

    “Let’s go to Yalta right now. So we left straight away from the sauna and, wearing what we had on, flew to Yalta to swim in the Black Sea. We were back in Moscow two days later. In 2005 and 2006 we took quite a few trips together-around America as well as throughout Europe. Later Oleg offered me a job at the bank and I came. I had wanted him to hire me and had been waiting for it when he invited me. I sold my real estate and business before I left.

    Chapter 29

    Non-Standard Bankers

    In early 2007 I began to realize that we needed someone to take responsibility for the bank’s management overall. I started looking and, as usual, I hired a recruitment agency, interviewing the candidates that they sent me. I probably met with ten hopefuls, which was not very many people and expensive. A lot of them were fairly strange. For instance, one particular nut job showed up-from Binbank I think-and asked for a salary of 1.5 million dollars.

    In March I sat in the office and thought,

    “Man-who will it be? Who will it be?” Suddenly I remembered an Englishman who worked at Visa. What was his name? John? Richard? Oliver? Yes: Oliver. Oliver Hughes. But he is a serious guy, I thought, the head of Visa. He’ll be a tough sell. Would he come to work at a bank that’s still taking losses? I started recalling the history of our relationship-which was not a simple one.”

    As I have already written, I had approached Visa for the first time in the autumn of 2005, when I talked with Lou Naumovsky, the lead vice psident of Visa for Russia and the CIS. He is a Canadian of Russian heritage.

    “Guys, I want to get into the credit card business.”

    “What do you mean?” Lou glared at me.

    “I’m totally serious. I want to distribute plastic cards and offer people credit.”

    “Have you ever been in the business before?”

    “No, but if you take Rustam Tariko as an example, he wasn’t in the business a few years ago and now he controls eighty percent of the market,” I replied.

    “Oleg, why do you want to meet?”

    “I want to offer you a job.”

    “You know what? That sounds interesting. Let’s meet.”

    I nearly fell off my chair. I thought he was joking. But another thought flashed through my mind: this Oliver Hughes is going to ask for ten million dollars a year.

    We met at my office and came to an agreement really quickly. Maybe he was already planning on leaving Visa, which would explain why he was so quick to make a decision. He had worked there for nine years at that point, which is quite a long time. Or maybe there was something about me that he liked. Doubtless, he was attracted to the project itself and the people involved in it. He agreed immediately, in any case, at our first meeting. He said that he would be ready to start working in two months and he named his price. Oddly enough, I did not negotiate with him. Twenty minutes later we had our top manager.

    On April 27, Oliver left his post as Visa repsentative for Russia and in June he started working at the bank. Prior obligations to his pvious employer entailed that he was not able to start working for us right away.

    The news caused a storm in the market: people did not understand and are still unable to comphend why he left Visa and came to work with us. People often ask about it. In all honesty, though, people question it less, now that three years have gone by. Our results speak for themselves. At the time, however, everyone was shocked. A man who had worked for eight years as the head of Visa switched jobs to work at a small bank under the management of some sort of crazy person.

    I agree with Marx’s assertion in Das Kapital that English managers are in charge in Russia. They were already in charge back in the nineteenth century. And it is true that if you see a good manager, he is usually an Englishman. The Russian people need Englishmen. There is still so much to do before our own managers reach maturity. I do not know what Skolkovo and other schools are up to but, objectively speaking, our achievements in the area of management are still mediocre. In the twenty years that I have been in business, I have seen a lot of managers and entrepneurs and I can make comparisons and discuss the issue. Anglo-Saxons-the British, Americans, and Canadians-are the best of the best. I like everything to have its own place on the shelf. In my cabinet, the vodka must be Russian, the cars German, the businessmen American, and the managers British.

    Oliver’s wife is named Valmay. She was born in Wales. They have an interesting daughter, Maggie. Oliver used to be a punk. I even have a picture of him with a mullet. As I got to know him better, I realized that I had made the right decision: he is my kind of person. Just imagine: here was a foreigner who had spent 10 years in Russia with his British wife. I do not know very many foreigners who have spent that much time in Moscow without trading their foreign wife for a Russian one. I do not want to give a detailed account of why this happens. I am just stating a fact. I once told New Zealander Steven Jennings, head of Renaissance Capital (and I do not mean to jinx Oliver here) that he was the only foreigner living in Russia who lacked a Russian wife. Three months later he had porced his Canadian wife, Tina. I respect Oliver though. It is easy to come to Russia and find a Russian girl, aged twenty years, say, with long legs-a blonde or a brunette-who is simpler, more compliant, and easier to control than women back home. Oliver never took the easy path, however. He is a very conscientious, principled person. I liked him for his punk convictions and the fact that he is alive and real and not some kind of British bourgeois with a golden spoon in his mouth. I had been a nonconformist in my own youth, too-back when I had strange haircuts and wore badges with pictures of Viktor Tsoi on them and hung around the meeting place near the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Oliver had traveled the world. He had lived in cheap motels, been to Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan. When I went to Morocco, he recommended a number of sights that I simply had to see. It seems like he has been everywhere. He does not choose the Malpes or Hawaii, either, but pfers places that are somewhat dangerous. He is interested in artifacts and has been on archeological digs in search of sphinxes in the Crimea. He is a very interesting inpidual. I am very happy and grateful to God that he has brought such good people into my life.

    Oliver and I still work and grow together. There have been a couple of difficult moments over the past two years, but on the whole everything has run smoothly. I am pleased with him and think he is also pleased with our cooperation. Oliver is my partner, just like the other upper management at our bank. One of the conditions for growth in a company consists in having your top management as partners and so keeping them interested in growing capitalization and profits. Our top ten people are all shareholders in the company and this makes our model more sustainable. It is one of our strong points.

    The Human Resources Department at Ernst & Young helped us develop this approach. In particular, Tim Carthy is a very talented HR specialist. I recommend him. We are very pleased with the results of our cooperation.

    On May 15, 2007, all the bank’s systems were up and running. In terms of technology, we were ready to seize the credit card market. In May, we did a test mailing of 75,000 invitations to potential clients, most of whom were from Volgograd. The first response consisted in 1,500 card applications, some of which we approved. In the summer, we started mass mailings, sending out about 200,000 letters per month.

    * * *

    For some reason, their managing director, Julian Salisbury (who is now in charge of all of Europe and Asia), believed in me from the start. We met for the first time in February 2007 and in April we were already signing the Term Sheet, which consisted of pliminary agreements for the transaction. Next, they had lawyers review the document and, in September, just as the mortgage crisis was starting in the States, we closed the deal.

    Goldman Sachs made a proposal for the purchase of a stake in a bank that had not yet issued a single card. That is to say, we were essentially nonexistent. They invested in our technology, in the team, and in our own faith. Indeed, ours is the only bank in Russia in which Goldman Sachs, the largest and most successful investment bank in the world, holds a stake. Julian said,

    On September 1, 2007, I ended my vacation in Forte dei Marmi, boarded a plane, and flew to London. I attended a very brief meeting at Julian Salisbury’s office. He was very busy and Ion Dyagtoglu was the main person in charge of the transaction. We sat in the conference room and looked out the window. Ion said,

    “The crisis has started.” When people talk about the crisis in Russia, for some reason they take 2008 as the starting point. For me, though, it is absolutely clear that it all began in the summer of 2007.

    Ion said, “What’s going on in the States is a nightmare. Everyone’s defaulting on securities. The markets are falling. And so we can’t buy the stake for the amount we discussed before. You’ll have to lower the price.” I was furious. We fought intensely. But rage is useless in negotiations. Then Julian came in. I had brought Valentin Morozov, our financial director, with me. Six months later he ran away and joined the staff at Sberbank (he literally ran away-there is no other way to describe it). Valentin tried to bring the conversation around to a more rational tone, but I grew even more infuriated. What a waste of time!

    While Nick and I ate lunch, he said,

    “Listen, you have a good proposal, but I think that we’ll give you a little more and we’ll close this deal. We cannot do so, however, until closer to the New Year. If you want to move faster, you’ll have to accept their offer.” I appciated Nicholas’ honesty. It was the professional approach to take.

    Two hours later I returned to the Goldman Sachs office. I said to Ion,

    “Let’s make the deal-at the price you’re offering-but let’s break it into two payments. Ten percent now and five percent next June. If all the indicators line up with the business plan, then you’ll buy the rest and the price will compensate for the discount that I’m giving you today.”

    He agreed.

    Dear ladies and gentlemen! My fellow businesspeople! Remember that there is no such thing as a dead-end situation. There is always a way out. You have to offer an original proposal and usually you will find the approval you need. Of course you cannot disregard the role played by my meeting with Lehman Brothers. You must understand that I orchestrated a leak of that information. I still made a compromise though.

    Why did the others not believe in us? Well, it is probably because the people at Goldman Sachs are smarter than most. Or maybe it was in the stars. I am very thankful to them and I know that they will earn huge money on their investment. Their stake is already worth much more than it was at the outset, in spite of the crisis. I am simply angry that the other companies I approached did not even want to talk to me.

    In September, immediately following the closing of the deal, we began to send out mass invitations in earnest-in the millions. The response to our mail-outs was meager. People returned their applications incomplete or completed the forms incorrectly. Some included profanities, directed at me personally, in their applications. People tried to insert the cardboard mock-ups of the cards into bank machines; bankers from all across Russia called us and asked that we not send out any more of these “cards,” as they were getting stuck in ABM’s. Some clients, after getting the card, would go to the bank machine, withdraw the entire credit limit, and then throw the card in the nearest trashcan. It appeared that our direct marketing approach was connecting us with the most financially irresponsible people in the country.

    Gradually, we began to acquire more clients. It was obvious that the money we had would not last long. The bank’s business consists of buying money, cheaply, and then selling it for more. Where could we borrow more though? We do not have offices. Consequently, we could not serve clients like a full-service bank. The capital markets left us with no options. We had to issue bonds. In the fall, though, it became clear that people with money pferred to keep it to themselves and that the Western markets had closed their doors to Russian borrowers entirely. The last few months of 2007 became a waking nightmare for us.

    We set a date for October 23. Prior to the crisis, every time bonds were issued there was always a high level of oversubscription. It just looked bad if a company was unable to place an issue. We were able to sell only eighteen percent of the issue, in spite of a really attractive interest rate at eighteen percent annually. Objectively, the market situation was poor and it is unlikely that someone else could have sold bonds with greater success than we did. Nevertheless, our reputation took a hard blow. It was as if the investors did not believe in Tinkov.

    We decided to complete the circulation at a later date. I called all of the financial workers that I knew and tried to convince them to take part in the circulation, but this achieved little. All together, we placed four hundred million rubles worth of bonds. The remaining six hundred million had to be placed on our own books, that is, we had to buy them out. The investors simply scattered.

    This was a serious blow. I sat in the office at my round table, just crushed, and I cried. Of course, I am Siberian, a strong man, but I had tears running down my face. Why the hell were these bitches willing to buy shit? I did not understand it. A year later we saw all these shit retail and shit construction companies, which had been built on debt defaults.

    An acquaintance of mine bought one hundred million dollars in bonds from each of ten companies, including mine. Out of the billion he invested, nine hundred million ended up in default. We were the only ones to return his money. Why were they buying from others, but not from us? What was with this attitude towards me? Why does everyone hate me? Why do people think that Tinkov is worthless? I did not understand and so I sat there and cried. The only person from the office who came in to see me was Oliver Hughes and I saw that his eyes were wet too. We just embraced and I said,

    “Fuck it, we’ll win this war!” From that moment on I have always felt Oliver’s support and I hope that he feels mine as well-and we will continue this goddamn fight. We will prove to everyone out there that we are not in this business for nothing.

    That fall I lost some friends. One of these was Alexander Vinokurov. Not only had he organized the bonds for me, he was also my friend and we had spent a lot of good times together. In London I had introduced him to Natalya Sindeyeva, co-owner of the radio station Seryebranaya Dozhd. I was at their wedding. They have a good family and I am happy for them, but my personal relationship with Sasha is unlikely to become friendly.

    He called me once at one o’clock in the afternoon, when the trading day was wrapping up at 4 p.m., so I asked him:

    “Sasha, buy a hundred million from us, or at least fifty. The investors are calling the brokers and telling them that KIT Finance, who organized the circulation, is not looking to buy, so they certainly do not want to buy any.”

    “Oleg, I have a mortgage, you know that we put all our money into it.”

    “Please, can’t you at least support us from a PR viewpoint. You can sell the bonds later.”

    “Listen, I don’t believe in your idea. Credit cards are shit. You’re lying. You love to lie, but in reality things are not going well with you. And Goldman Sachs isn’t your partner, they’re just fronting you.”

    When I heard this complete bullshit I hung up the phone. So I would like to say something here to Sasha: You were unable to buy fifty million rubles in bonds, but now you are broke and you owe the bank tens of billions. The problem was not that you failed to help out a friend. The problem is that you did not buy those bonds, when they were being sold by your bank.

    During that circulation I lost another two or three people that had been friends, but I am thankful to the people that helped me. Anton Bolshakov bought one hundred million in bonds. Troika Dialog approached the issue professionally and Boris Jordan did as well. They believed in us, earned their annual eighteen percent, and received their money back exactly one year later. We were one of very few companies that borrowed money in 2006-2007 and then perfectly fulfilled our obligations on the one-year offer.

    The idea behind entrepneurship is a simple one: if you do not take risks, you will never drink champagne. Here I am at the wedding of Alexander Vinokurov and Natalya Sindeyeva, whom I had introduced to one another in London. To my left are St. Petersburg entrepneur Alexander Aladushkin and actress Alla Dovlatova. Oliver Hughes, psident of Tinkoff Credit Systems Bank:

    I was worried. The surname Vinokurov had become a red flag for me. A year later, in September 2008, justice was served. I opened the newspaper and read that he had lost it all. Did I gloat? To be honest, I did. At that moment it was really happy news for me.

    The fact that Oleg approached this project as though it was normal, non-financial business was really the right thing to do. What difference does it make if your business is a bank or not? A bank is very much like any other business. The international and universal principles underlying the creation of businesses are the same: common sense, strategy, tactics, organizational structure, recruitment, and execution.

    Konstantin Aristarkhov, member of the board of directors of Tinkoff Credit Systems Bank:

    The original concept was to attract money from the debt markets and put that into our portfolio. It’s a totally normal task. But it became our Achilles’ heel, because the debt markets had died. This was a global problem. Even so, our very small startup attracted over two hundred million dollars during the deepest crisis since the Great Depssion. Huge sharks and small fish crashed and burned during the crisis, but we’re alive. We are an absolutely unique project. There are similar banks in the world, but the specifics of the countries, the legal requirements, the quality of the consumers, and the level of development of the banking sector, all play very important roles. Other projects may bear some superficial resemblance to ours, but they still differ. In my view, we are a bit like Capital One in its early stages, both in our approach and with respect to the technologies we use.

    The fact that Oleg is able to organize, establish, fine tune, and give a burst of energy is indisputable. What’s unique about him is his meticulousness. If he enters into any sort of relationship, in any business, he’s always at the crest of the wave; he knows everything about it, he pays close attention to detail and he’s always aware of what’s going on. This is so, not just in his own work, but in everything that’s involved with the business he’s trying to build. It takes him only a moment to perceive every facet of a situation. I’ve never seen these one-of-a-kind qualities in anyone else. Plus, his mindset is undoubtedly Western, an awe-inspiring trait in a guy from Leninsk-Kuznetsky- notwithstanding the fact that he lived in St. Petersburg and worked the black market there. He picks up on everything in the blink of an eye and he correctly and appropriately evaluates and understands what is going on in the world-and why. A lot Russians that have spent time with foreigners have a habit of sucking up to them. Not so with Oleg. He’s straightforward and simple and has never sucked up to anyone in his life. He always judges people fairly, regardless of their gender, race, or ethnicity. He sees them through to the core. This quality also helps him in business. And if you look closely at him, you’ll see he doesn’t offend people. Sometimes he says things that may seem offensive, but on the whole, if he doesn’t have anything else against a person and sees his good qualities, he’ll never say an unkind word. If he does, in any case, instead of being offended, you need to listen to what he’s said and think about it and you’ll find there’s truth to his words.

    For instance, he might say something sharply to his wife Rina, but she doesn’t even notice it any more. And even if he says something hurtful, you try, as you might with anyone, to imagine yourself in his shoes; you analyze what he said and realize that there was no offence in it at all. Usually it’s deserved. But if it wasn’t and you answer him constructively, staying on topic, and he agrees and admits he was wrong, then he might even apologize-if discreetly-ten times over. Because he knows his own personality and knows that he can flare up. He won’t keep fighting with you. He’s too classy to go on and on about something. If he’s at odds with you on some point of substance, all you can do is ask for an explanation. But if he himself is wrong, he backs down and doesn’t seem to find it difficult to admit that he’s made a mistake.

    Chapter 30

    How to Grow in a Crisis

    We were barely able to place the bonds and things were still very bad. Late 2007 was the most difficult period that we have gone through to date. I had very little money left in the bank. We did not have money for operating costs or for expanding our portfolio. Through all kinds of craftiness and careful liquidity management, we got through that stage. But for a while the management were not getting their salaries.

    In late December, Julian Salisbury of Goldman Sachs sent us a famous letter that is still kept in our office.

    “We’re giving you more money. Use it as you have the other money we’ve given you. We believe in you, but it’s quite possible that this is the last money the bank will be able to attract. A serious crisis is coming.” That was the gist of the letter.

    A lot of people ask me what it was that made TCS ready for the crisis. It is because we have partners who send us letters like that one. We never lived for today, but always lived for tomorrow. We saved money, penny by penny.

    At the end of a nerve-wracking 2007, things eased up. The bank received money to feed into our credit card portfolio. Having skied through the holidays, we returned to the office at 1 Volokolamsky Proyezd, close to Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo Park. What did the year have in store for us? First of all, we needed to fulfill our obligations so that Goldman Sachs would buy the remaining five percent of the bank-at the highest option possible. Secondly, we needed to find more money and keep growing.

    We could talk to Western partners with confidence, but the Russian market did not understand us. “Tinkov’s got a Bank? Ha ha ha! You’ll see what happens to them in a year.” “They don’t understand the banking business. You’re not stuffing pelmeni anymore!” “Sending cards in the mail is so last century. People don’t want to activate cards that they didn’t order.”

    In one sense, we did not even try to prove the skeptics wrong. There are a lot of bankers out there that are still convinced that we hand out our cards to anyone and everyone. In reality we have never done anything of the kind. We have always sent out proposals, inviting people to become a client and then, only when the person has filled out and sent in the application, will he receive a card-and only if he is approved for it by the bank.

    According to data registered in the turnover balance sheet of the bookkeeping accounts (form 101) of Tinkoff Credit Systems Bank, as of February 1, 2008, the bank’s total corporate credit portfolio amounted to 339 million rubles, while overdue debt on credits to legal entities amounted to 94.95 million rubles. These data are available on the Bank of Russia’s website. The percentage of corporate credits overdue as of February 1 was 28%, while overdue retail credits made up 1.58% of the total loans given out to inpiduals (886 million rubles).

    Analysts note that these results are doubly surprising, given that Oleg Tinkov’s bank still psents itself as an exclusively retail-level institution. Now, however, it has been revealed that a third of TCS ‘s credit portfolio is made up of loans to legal entities. On top of this, the value of their overdue loans has beaten all records set in the consumer loan segment, where the levels of return have traditionally been high.

    Hogwash! The story was not worth the paper it was printed on. In reality we had bought Khimmashbank, which had offered credit to companies and had begun expanding our portfolio with physical entities. Accordingly, the share of corporate credit in our portfolio had begun to shrink and, as a result, we were left with three bad loans, amounting to around one hundred million rubles-and so they remained unpaid. But when we bought the bank we knew that there were some problem loans and that legally speaking they were on the balance sheet. As far as the bank’s actual business went, this was not a problem at all. You must understand, however, that people read things diagonally; the see a negative headline and the words “30% of loans overdue” and think that things are not going well for the bank. In reality, though, the amount of overdue loans relative to the value of our entire portfolio was insignificant.

    It is a good thing that foreigners do not read Russian newspapers. In the spring we held talks with a number of creditors. The money we had received from the syndicated loan was put into our credit portfolio. We wanted to keep growing. The proposals that we received from a few of the investment banks were quite ludicrous. They wanted a lot of shares at a low valuation of the bank and enormous interest rates on the debt instruments.

    Vedomosti features a column entitled “Company of the Week.” In late June 2008, my bank was profiled as one such a company. Vasily Kudinov wrote in the column:

    Of course, credit should not go to the Swedes alone, but to Oliver as well. All of the capital-attracting deals came about by way of a kind of road show. Oliver and I toured America extensively and then he traveled all around Europe on his own. Imagine telling the same story for two weeks, five or six times a day! You might wonder what the big deal is. Believe me, though, by the third day, even I, sitting beside him, was shocked. I did not speak much. Oliver gave the psentation in English, but even I got sick of listening to it. It is an exhausting and very serious job.

    Having successfully placed the Eurobonds, we faced the crisis fully armed. In September 2008, when the banks were collapsing like houses of cards, we had around 130 million dollars in our accounts! Everyone was whining and complaining, but we tightened our belts as effectively as we could and kept on working. What had we done? Because we have no branches and therefore none of the associated costs, we simply scaled back our overhead for the mailings and cut other costs.

    We started placing the money we made into our portfolio. On July 1, 2008 our credit portfolio was worth 2.5 billion rubles; by the first of October it had grown to 3.9 billion; and, as of January first, it had reached 4.8 billion rubles. In other words, we nearly doubled our portfolio at the peak of the crisis, thanks to the Eurobonds we had circulated.

    Tinkoff Credit Systems expanded its credit portfolio in 2009 and earned nearly twenty million dollars in net profit. In addition to our usual credit cards, we have also begun issuing co-branded cards and debit cards. My lifelong dream has come true. I am a banker now. Sicily trip 2008: the Bank Tinkoff Credit Systems watched Team Tinkoff Credit Systems race live. On Corporate Culture

    Beginning in November 2008, the bank became profitable, which the market did not expect. Between the purchase of the bank and our first profit, exactly two years had passed, which can be considered a good result. That is how life goes for us: we keep fighting and a few more people believe in us-but even more have yet to start believing. Their unbelief has filled me with anger, strength, and a desire to fight to prove them wrong. People do not believe in me? Well good for them. Now let me keep doing what I think needs to be done.

    Once a year, I take our key team members on a trip abroad. We started the tradition back in the days of Daria, when we took trips to Bali and Hawaii. Usually we rent a huge villa so that we do not have to stay in a hotel. We rub elbows and feel the camaraderie. We take our wives and sometimes-less often-our children. The company pays for everything. In 2004 we took a memorable trip to Jamaica. We rented the villa where Ian Fleming lived and wrote James Bond. It’s a massive villa. (By the way, it’s not too expensive, and I’d recommend it; it was a lot cheaper than getting ten hotel rooms; there are housekeeping and food services.) Our wives spend time together and see who it is that their husbands spend time at work with, why they spend long nights away from home, and who they spend those nights with. Nothing brings a team closer together than company trips like these. We all have a rest and let our brains air out-although in the evenings we do sometimes do some business brainstorming. In all five of my businesses we’ve come up with good ideas while smoking cigars at villas or on our trip to Necker Island, after we sold the beer business in 2005.

    In 2008 we went to Sicily and in 2009-2010 we went skiing in Verbier, where we rented out Richard Branson’s chalet. The last three trips have been with Tinkoff Credit Systems.

    I like the expssions “There’s time for business and an hour for pleasure” and “He who rests well, works well.”

    But company holidays should not be abused. There are companies that organize trips like these two or three times a year, trying to develop staff loyalty. When I was running Petrosib I did the same thing, taking my top managers and their wives all over the place. When I was skiing, so were they; when I was sailing, they were there with me. That’s not right, though. People need their personal space.

    Chapter 31

    Get out of the Restaurant!

    After I sold my brewing business, I lost nearly all interest in my restaurant chain. In fact, I had wanted to sell the chain to the Belgians, but InBev, huge company that they are, had no need for it. In 2005, the restaurants reached their seventh year-which is quite old when you considered that I am typically interested in a business for between four and six years before I tire of it.

    I began studying the market to see if it would be possible to sell the restaurants. I wanted to get twenty-five million dollars for them. In my opinion, this was a fair asking price. In 2004, the chain’s turnover was twenty million dollars. In the same year the chain had grown by fifty-four percent. It is clear that some of this growth was connected with two new restaurants that we had opened in Yekaterinburg and Sochi. Nevertheless, though, I sincerely believed that the chain’s revenue would reach one hundred million dollars within a few years, which is a significant number no matter what business you are running.

    By early 2005, my chain consisted of eight restaurants: one each in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, Novosibirsk, Ufa, Nizhniy Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, and Sochi. Two more locations were in development.

    On March 21, 2005, we became an international chain when we sold a franchise in Almaty. The restaurant covered two thousand square meters and the brewery’s output capacity was 50,000 liters per month. Taken together, the three main floors and the summer veranda on the roof could seat three hundred guests at once! There were only 150 staff in this huge restaurant.

    On June 11, Tinkoff Kazan opened. We rented a 1000-square-meter space in the former home of merchant Leonty Kekin, a significant historical site that was built in the early twentieth century. It took us five months and 1.7 million dollars to remodel the pmises and install equipment capable of producing 120,000 liters of beer per year.

    Essentially, by selling the properties, I was pumping money out of the business. As a rule, I was selling for three times as much as I had paid in 2001-2004. I put all the money into pidends. Some people might say that it is not good policy to drain money like this, but I disagree. It is bad if it hurts the other shareholders, or if the company is carrying debt. I was the chain’s sole owner, however, and so I acted as I saw fit. The company leased back these same buildings, immediately. Our customers felt no change at all. At the same time, though, I was pulling cash out of the business.

    In 2006, we expanded the chain by a mere two restaurants. These were different in that, instead of my being the investor, someone else was involved. Thus, for instance, the owner of the Tolyatti Restaurant in Rostov-on-Don was Restoria, which belongs to Samar businessman Alexander Terentyev.

    Jumping ahead a bit, I will say that later on both franchises had to be closed. Franchising does not work in Russia-not for now at least-and we did not prove to be an exception in this regard. Moreover, these restaurants’ owners failed to fulfill their contracts. In short: the whole thing was a nightmare. This was so with Terentyev in particular: although our work together had always gone well at the Samara location, the Tolyatti Restaurant did not function well at all. He got some politicians involved and ended up in a difficult financial situation.

    From the viewpoint of financial indicators, 2007 turned out to be the best in the chain’s history. Turnover amounted to 800 million rubles. The restaurants in Kazan, Sochi, Moscow, Samara, and Yekaterinburg were doing well.

    Since then, only one new Tinkoff restaurant has been opened-at 23 Varshavsksaya Street in St. Petersburg. We invested close to forty million rubles in the project: a 1000-square-meter space seating 300. Of course, the idea was to have it designed in such a way as give it a different look and feel from the restaurant on Kazanskaya Street. The walls were finished in Cumaru wood, the bar in aged natural marble with brass ceramic fixtures. Tabletops were made of oak, and we hung projectors from the ceiling. We used crimped wire mesh, semi-transparent material, beer kegs, and faux gold. The restaurant ended up being beautiful and modern, but the financial indicators connected with it did not make us happy.

    * * *

    In 2007, Oliver Hughes, the psident of our bank, introduced me to his friend Gleb Davidyuk, a partner at the Mint Capital fund. Funds like this one deal in private equity; that is, they buy shares from non-public companies, help the companies to grow, and then sell their stake in an initial public offering or to a strategic investor.

    At this point, Mint Capital had already invested in a number of Russian companies. These included, for example, UCMS, Fruzhé, Moné, A-Dept, Verysell, Maratex, Eleksnet, Gameland, ABBYY, Studio 2B, Advakom, ParallelGraphics, and jNetX. Mint Capital chooses companies that are undergoing active development, companies with annual revenue of ten to one hundred million dollars. Tinkoff met their criteria and they began to consider a partnership.

    In August 2008, after having reviewed the idea, Mint Capital invested ten million dollars in the restaurant chain, buying twenty-six percent of the company’s shares for regional expansion. Maxim Sokov, who worked for Oleg Deripaska, became a minor partner. Valentin Morozov, the bank’s financial director, had introduced me to Maxim. What happened next, however, resembles a Great Septembrist Revolution affecting the consumer sphere as a whole and the restaurant industry in particular. In autumn 2008, the financial crisis began in the country. Companies began firing people and people began spending less-as a result of which other companies had to fire people as well. Of course, it is not as though everything got underway all at once: the crisis had been developing for a long time in the global economy. Already in 2007, we saw that it was becoming more and more difficult to borrow money from banks, both overseas and in Russia. The sector itself only began to feel the effects of the crisis domestically closer to the end of 2008.

    The crisis put pssure on the company’s weak points. All of the management’s mistakes began coming to light. In the pceding years, I had stopped active involvement in the company and, in my absence, the managers did not do their jobs well. They began to get wrapped up in new construction projects, which remained at a standstill for long periods and which were undertaken in locales where restaurants were not supposed to have been built in the first place. They ppaid suppliers when they should not have done so. The quality of the food did not always meet Tinkoff ‘s standards. Servers began treating guests poorly.

    Gleb and I decided to replace Alexei Yatsenko, the general director. The first candidate for the position was a guy from McDonald’s, while the second, Yevgeny Shalaginov, was already in the beer industry. After the interviews, I was more inclined towards the first candidate, while Gleb felt that, because his entrepneurial qualities were more highly developed, the second would be a better choice. In the end I gave in and we hired Shalaginov.

    Later, we perceived that the company was in no state to rent properties at the old rates, so Gleb and I went to Troika Dialog to talk with Pavel Teplukhin.

    “Pavel, you must understand that we won’t be able to continue suffering losses for long. Look at what’s happening in the world and in the country. It’s had a big impact on the restaurants. We’re losing money. If we close the chain, you’ll lose out on the rent we’re paying entirely. Let’s lower the rates.”

    The negotiations ended with Troika agreeing to a substantial reduction in rent beginning on January 1, 2009. This enabled us to save money for the whole year, which is as it should be: in a crisis, property owners should be able to come to a compromise with their clients.

    In February 2009, we were forced to close the restaurant in Rostov-on-Don. Why? After I had sold the beer business you could not find me in Russia. Consequently, it was not until much later that I learned of Alexei Yatsenko’s bad decision to open the restaurant in June 2006. The service industry has three rules: location, location, and location. Where a restaurant is located is of primary concern. The Don River’s north bank is the traditional recreational area for Rostovites, but we were renting 1500 square meters on the south bank. To make matters worse, the property was located in the commercial and office complex on Buyonovsky Prospect, in a district where the man in charge does not know how to do his job. Financial results there were mediocre at the best of times. They were even worse now that we were in the midst of a crisis.

    In March 2009, we sold the Novosibirsk restaurant franchise, with all related equipment, to the investment company Blok, which is headed up by Voldemar Basalayev, the same man I had worked with in 1991, bringing cars to St. Petersburg from Siberia. The restaurant owed money to the landlord. Hence, we came out of the deal, basically, with nothing apart from income amounting to five or six percent of turnover, being the price paid by the franchisee for the use of the brand.

    At various meetings of our board of directors we took these unpopular decisions: to close restaurants, to move our central offices from St. Petersburg to Moscow, and to cancel the construction of new restaurants in Moscow and Samara.

    The company was in crisis mode. This was apparent, not only from the falling numbers, but from the flavor of our steaks, the smiles of our waitresses, and other small details. Russian consumers are extremely spoiled and so they immediately let us know what they thought of all this-by taking their rubles elsewhere.

    Gleb, Marala, and I went to the Moscow restaurant on Protochny Alley to introduce them to their new director. Basically, what I said to them was,

    “So you’re dissatisfied. Some people are on strike, but look at you. Where will the money come from to pay you guys if no one is eating in the restaurant? And why aren’t they coming? Because our food is shit. It used to be delicious, but now it’s shit. You’re the only ones who can earn a living for yourselves; I am not going to invest any more in the company; if it goes under, it goes under. Whoever is unwilling or unable to work can get the hell out.”

    The food really had started to taste bad. On top of that, we were faced with delivery interruptions, as a result of which certain menu items were unavailable. Unhappy customers began tipping their servers less. The servers, in turn, stopped smiling and no longer made an effort to create a pleasant atmosphere in the restaurant. Basically, a crisis had descended upon the company.

    In order to get out of it, the first thing we had to do was to pay all outstanding salaries, which we did. We also brought Andrei Shinkarenko of Deloitte on board as financial director. It was clear that our staff was back on track, but it was uncertain whether the business would survive. For my part, I grew more and more weary of the restaurants. They were taking up a lot of time and effort and that was taking a toll on my main business, Tinkoff Credit Systems. It sapped my strength and wore down my nerve-endings. Several times, Gleb Davidyuk and I came close to fighting in a manner from which there would have been no recovery.

    But I have always had a fondness for acting irrationally. I think that I will feel more calm and balanced emotionally now, though, which is a lot more important than money to me. I’m tired of this business and, in reality, it never really belonged to me. The restaurants were supplementary to my factory and beer project-part of my marketing strategy.

    I sold the brewery business long ago. I made a mistake by not selling it to the Makhmudov-Bokarev team two years ago, when its value was significantly higher. But we all make mistakes and I am no exception. I never considered myself a restaurateur and I couldn’t stand how detailed and procedural the business was. It wasn’t for me. So now I’ll feel good; I will not have to think about it anymore. I can concentrate on new things. Nevertheless, though, we really built one of the best chains in all of Russia. And this chain, headquartered in Moscow, had eleven locations, each of which adhered to the standards set in St. Petersburg back in 1998, and all of which were owned in their entirety by a single person! We covered four time zones and eleven provinces. I do not know of any other examples like that; but nothing is unique. The industry essentially consists of franchising and local partnerships. Times have changed now; there has been a paradigm shift, so to speak. The chain needs a new strategy, new strength, and new ideas. The new guys have all of these things.

    I’d like to thank everyone who worked with me in building this chain! I remember you all and love you and I hate those who stole from me. I remember you too!

    I still believe, in all sincerity, that the Tinkoff beer brewed in the restaurants-especially the unfiltered and unpasteurized varieties-is the best Russian beer there is.

    I will continue to eat at my (?) restaurants. I wish all the best of luck to Gleb and Maxim. Guys, support them with your rubles.

    Having sold the restaurants, I was finally able to breathe easy and focus all of my attention on the bank. The second St. Petersburg restaurant was closed after I had already left. As things turned out, its location was all wrong; the company was forced to write off its investment there. There was no electricity in the neighborhood and when a restaurant runs off a diesel generator its operational costs are huge.

    My history in the restaurant industry taught me a great deal. I am convinced now that, in accordance with the laws of marketing, every business has its own life cycle. Perhaps you you’ve hear of “morning star,” “milking cow,” and “sunset.” Now the life cycle of my restaurant business was winding down. Of course, that does not mean that the new owners will not manage to breathe new life into it. They might well go on to introduce new ideas and marketing approaches, to freshen things up-as they say in the West.

    I came to be convinced that the restaurant business was simply not for me. The business is a pain in the ass, consisting of a bunch of tiny details. Restaurateurs are a breed of their own, too. I respect them, but I feel sorry for them as well. Look at how famous and not-so-famous restaurateurs act and talk when they are in their own restaurants. Look at how they are constantly observing everything that is going on, how they do not really see you when they are talking to you, but rather see the kitchen, the service, and the tables being filled. These are sick people…

    Second, the restaurants played a foundational role in the creation of the Tinkoff and Oleg Tinkov brands. People came to my restaurants, ate and drank beer, and so found out about me. Some people liked me and some did not; few were completely indifferent. This really helped us to grow. This was also key for our successful sale of the bottled beer business. I hope that this heightened profile will enable me to earn more in the future too.

    The restaurant business demands attention to countless small details. This was not my thing, even though I made good money off the restaurants in the end. In 2009, I decided to “turn off the tap” and put an end to my involvement in the restaurant industry. With the girls at the opening of the restaurant in Sochi in 2004. With Konstantin Aristarkhov and Otar Kushanashvili at the opening of the restaurant in Tolyatti. Gleb Davidyuk, partner at Mint Capital:

    If I want to drink some lively beer, then I go to Tinkoff, buy some “unfiltered platinum,” and order one of my three favorite dishes: dried smelt, calamari rings, or a meter of sausage.

    This man has made a name for himself. He has created and sold a number of businesses. This is a man whose story is worthy of a book. He’s a living being with a head, two arms, and two legs that personifies a certain lifestyle. Does he fit in with Russian society’s social model? Not always, in my view. When society fails to see the behavior from you that it expects, then it becomes volatile in relation to you. So you have to learn how to control society’s attitude towards you, how to make it work for you and not against you. Oleg has recently spent a lot of time working to influence society’s feelings towards him-to render these favorable rather than harmful. Tinkov is a public businessman, which is a very rare thing in our country. When there is very little of some particular commodity in the market, then people’s interest in it is always great. There’s a deficit, to speak in Soviet terms. And you always want that thing of which there’s a deficit.

    Our businessmen are outsiders in the western world. They are misunderstood as though they are aliens. But people try to understand Oleg and he does a lot to enable them to do so. I’m sure that Abramovich has not been completely understood, although he has recently come much closer to that. Abramovich just bought England, but he has not proven able to completely integrate into Western society-regardless of how much money he has. Oleg has a sportsman-like approach to business. On the one hand, it is a matter of constant forward movement until the end, until victory is achieved. On the other hand, if things are not working out it is better to leave the track. He’s a tall, strong athletic person. He’s always confident in himself. It is always easier to do business with assets like these. Oleg tries to mold circumstances to his favor, rather than depending on them.

    We had the best possible dialog when, just as the crisis was starting in 2008, we went to Troika Dialog to talk about the lease agreement. Pavel Teplukhin probably remembers the conversation to this day. Oleg shone. A normal twenty-first century businessman would have slacked off and not known what to say. But Oleg explained the trends in the restaurant industry in a clear and straightforward manner, in layman’s terms, showing Pavel the prospects for his real estate trust if we came to an agreement.

    Chapter 32

    Patriarchy Forever!

    Rina, Dasha, Pasha, and Roma are my family. They are a big motivator for me, as they would be for any normal person. Indeed, sometimes, they are my reason for getting up in the morning. But it would be false and stupid to claim that concern for my family is my only incentive. A normal man should be motivated by three things: sex, family, and ambition. If a person does not have these three motives, then he is not a man.

    My kids are growing up to be good people. Anyone who knows them personally can attest to this. Of course, it is still hard to say what they will become. When your kids are little, their problems are little, but when they are big, their problems are big-this I know for a fact. Dasha is 16 and, from time to time, she does things that make our challenges with Pasha and Roma pale in comparison. Nevertheless, I am proud of my children. And I am very happy that I live with Rina, in particular, because she is the perfect mother.

    They say sometimes that if a woman stays at home she does nothing and does not develop. This is a complete lie. Xenia Sobchak once told me that she does not like children. I think that this is the most horrible thing that a woman can say. Now, Xenia is still young, of course, and silly (in the good sense of the word), so it is forgivable.

    A woman must love children. It is not a must that she remain at home. To force her to do so would also be extreme. In our case, though, that is just how things turned out: I have always been the one to earn the money and bring it home. Rina was pgnant once, a second time, and a third. We lived in America for a while and then in Italy, so that she simply never had an opportunity to work. But it would be silly to do as some of my friends have done, who purchased businesses for their wives and imagined that, in this way, they were taking care of them. There are so many examples of this sort of thing. She might be an architect-wife or PR-director-wife. We know all of these companies where people’s wives and lovers work.

    Our whole family rides ordinary bicycles. We ride them along the seashore and make our way, like that, to crazy, phenomenal restaurants. We study Italian and horse around in the pool and on the beach. It is basically a normal family vacation. Sometimes, when we go to dinner, though, I run into acquaintances from Moscow.

    “Oh, Oleg. We haven’t seen you for the whole month,” they say. But I think to myself,

    “I’d go another month without seeing you. I was already sick of you in Moscow. I’m here with my family. I’m resting and I feel good.”

    A businessman’s wife is of the utmost importance to him. Things have not changed since ancient times: the mother is the keeper of the hearth and must always keep the fire burning. In the beginning, we brought mammoth meat home and now it is cash-that is the only difference. I am very grateful to fate and God for having set me on the path to meeting Rina and for the fact that I live with her. Our example shows that Russians can get along with Estonians, even though relations between the two nations following the USSR’s collapse suggest the contrary. Not only has Rina always maintained the hearth, she has allowed me the freedom to take care of my businesses. She has never been burdensome. A man is free to act decisively when his home front is secure. When he knows that everything is well at home and that his family is there, waiting for him, he can leave and head out to the battlefield.

    A lot of businessmen trade their old wives and lovers for new ones. Some of the oligarchs from Forbes magazine were never married at all. From my point of view, this is unhealthy. You have to have a wife. There has to be a hearth and a woman/mother guarding it. A woman is your home front. She is your salvation. She makes you what you are. I do not believe in doing big business without the support of a wife. Mikhail Prokhorov is an exception, but he is a talented and unique person.

    Some may say that this emphasis on family is old-fashioned, but I could not care less about what is in fashion I associate the cave and the fire with women and the man with hunting and patriarchy. If things are not like that, then you have nothing. I believe in eternal values.

    When I start cooperating with someone in business, I always look at what kind of wife he has. If he does not have a wife, then he has no base, no roots. I try to avoid doing business with such people. They are half-wits, as far as I am concerned. But if there is a woman in the picture, someone for whom everything is being done, then I see the person as reliable and orderly. There must be a clear, balanced structure.

    I am a person with many positive and many negative traits.

    A man’s family must love him and forgive his shortcomings. I am not a perfect person. But since I have no intention of getting into politics, I do not need to be perfect.

    The latter entail various inconveniences and problems, but without them I would not be Oleg Tinkov. I am not superhuman. You only see superhuman people on television. If I were a lot richer, I would have a big villa with guards, a hundred-meter yacht, and a big airplane. I have all of that, though-only on a smaller scale. I pfer to be free and to live as I please. I do not want to watch my every step and bend to the strong of this world in order to increase my financial standing by a percentage point.

    It is more important to me to spend time with my kids, to race up and down the passes of the Apuan Alps, and to ski down the wild slopes of the Savoy Alps. I do not enjoy thinking about what I ought to be saying to whom, or to worry about whether or not I am acquiring enemies. That would be too rational a life. And that is not my thing. I would go completely nuts if I thought like that. As it is, though, I sleep as soundly as can be. I do not owe anyone anything. I do not need to lie, nor to keep track of what my last lie consisted in. I live by my emotions. We only live once, after all. You do not get a second chance.

    My problem is that I am a perfectionist. Some might say that by 42 years of age I should have calmed down and stopped seeing the world in black and white. But I have not calmed down. It might be because I am not as rich as I would like. I remain a maximalist. I do not like compromises and gray areas. My easily triggered temper does not make my life any easier either. If it was not for these demons, if I were more thoughtful, calm, and rational, I would have become a billionaire, in dollars, long ago-and I would have left Vladimir Lisin in the dust. But these things have always hindered me. I repent, I repent, I repent, but I am still this way.

    It is not easy to say this, but I need to make another difficult statement: I have no friends in the literal sense of the word. If you have friends like that, then I envy you. Of course, in reality I do have somewhere between ten and fifteen friends, but these are not the sorts of friendship that you read about in books. Friendship is first and foremost a matter of self-sacrifice. I, however, am not ready to make sacrifices, nor would I accept the sacrifices of other people. Friendship requires time. But I am an entrepneur whose business is his life and so I only have enough time remaining for my family and for sports. Friendships are formed in the course of a lifetime and my constant movement around the world is not conducive to that.

    But maybe having “friends at all costs” is not a necessity after all. In Russia, friendship has taken on an absolute value, thanks to our classics. In the Anglo-Saxon model, friendship is something more rational. I do not know which model is better. But I know that one only allows another into his or her inner world if that accords with the person’s own desire. If you do not let someone into your soul, then that person will not let you into his or hers either. This is a process of mutual exchange. In the same way, friendship that is one-sided ends quickly.

    I probably only have one real friend-my wife Rina. It is a friendship that has been tested by time. We have been together since 1989-over twenty years. Our relationship is so honest that for a long time the thought of signing a marriage contract and having a wedding did not even cross our minds. But in order to protect the family economically, I decided it was time to get married and legalize our relationship.

    The idea of having a wedding entered my mind in the winter of 2009, while I was turning the pedals of my Colnago Ferrari bicycle at the gym (I turned it into an exercise bike by attaching a cylinder under the back wheel). As I pedaled, I thought,

    “In June, it will have been twenty years since I met Rina. We need to celebrate! Rina always wanted a white dress, but we never ended up having a wedding. If we wait much longer, we’ll actually be old before it happens. While the kids are little and while we’re young, we’ll look good in the photos. It’s time to get married!”

    Instantly, other thoughts began popping up madly in my mind: Where? How? I have a lot of Italian friends, including Francesco and Patricia Gioffred, who own the huge castle Castello Di Tornano. I thought about the castle and about America. I thought about France, where we have a small flat with a view of the Eiffel Tower. No, it would not work. Forget it!

    I kept pushing the pedals and the solution came all by itself. Why not make it Lake Baikal? I had never been there myself, but had heard a lot about it. I started talking with my friends. None of them had been there.

    A lot of people ask where ideas come from. I was at the gym, riding an exercise bike; I got to thinking and then-Baikal.

    All right, great!

    The next morning I was already worried. I looked online. I called my friend Mikhail Slipenchuk (head of Metropol group). I had been introduced to him in 2008 by Oleg Anisimov, who then worked for Finance magazine, at a forum in Dubai. Now Oleg works in my bank as vice psident for marketing. Mikhail had mentioned that he had a few mining operations in Eastern Siberia, so I called him and he recommended Baikal’s Buryat shore.

    The wedding was organized by Lena Surkova and Sveta Podolskaya. They own a party planning organization in St. Petersburg called Amusement City. (By the way, they are the best event organizers in the country!) Sveta Podolskaya’s husband, Stas, worked in my beer business and Lena’s husband, Andrei Surkov, worked with me to build the Tekhnoshok chain and also on our (unsuccessful) wood business. I called Sveta and Lena and said, “No one will do a better job. We’re old buddies.”

    Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia, lies 5500 kilometers from Moscow, a six-hour flight away.

    The most important thing, friends, is to not grow old in heart,

    To sing the song we wrote until we reach its end.

    We have started on a long road, to a part of the taiga

    You can only reach by plane.

    Dear airplane, as you fly away,

    Protect what is in your heart…

    And under the airplane’s wings you can hear a song

    Being sung by the green sea of the taiga.

    On our way to Ulan Ude we stopped in Kemerovo, in my homeland. Aman Tuleyev gave us a cordial reception at the gubernatorial residence. My friend Alexei Prilepsky organized the reception. At one time I had encouraged Alexei to move to St. Petersburg. Now he is one of the major suppliers of mining equipment in the Kuznetsk Basin, constantly flying back and forth between Kemerovo and St. Petersburg.

    While the guests were resting, I took Oliver Hughes and Stefano Feltrin, along with some other Italians, to my hometown of Leninsk-Kuznetsky. After this outing they came to understand me a lot better.

    For five days, I was missing from the face of the earth. For Rina and I it was a true fairy tale. The wedding itself took place on June 12, 2009 and conformed to the usual Russian traditions-the matchmakers, the dowry, the guises, and all kinds of amusements. Rina’s dream came true: our children carried the train of her huge white dress down the aisle. We walked, holding hands, over the sand and rocks, since the wedding was in a marquee only a few meters from the Holy Baikal. We threw quite the party!

    I was simply happy. My guests created a truly warm and sincere atmosphere. I would like to expss particular thanks to Valera Syutkin for hosting the event (for free!) and to my favorite Englishman, Bryan Ferry (I am happy that I invited him, rather than Valery Miladze, as I had originally wanted to do). I remembered-just in time-that his song, “Slave to Love,” from the movie 9 1/2 Weeks with Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger, was a hit back when Rina and I first met. So twenty years later I decided that it would be our wedding tango.

    I did everything I could (and I thank Richard Branson for his help too) to book Bryan Ferry. He came, sang “Slave to Love,” the love anthem, and Rina and I, wearing white, danced a beautiful dance on the shore of Lake Baikal. Yes, the dream came true.

    It was unbelievably fun. And yet, even so, we were sad at times. It was a bona fide May 32 nd. Smile, gentlemen, smile! And think up holidays for yourselves, especially now, during this crisis!

    A wedding, twenty years later, is awesome, I think. It is for real.

    The lyrics to Yury Antonov’s song, “Twenty Year’s Later,” composed by Leonid Fadeyev, reflect my emotions perfectly:

    I am thankful to fate

    For the love that is given us.

    I know I’ll need you,

    Always you alone,

    Just you alone.

    I want us to be close,

    In spite of all the years.

    I want us to be close

    Dasha, Pasha, and Roma: my children and my hope. Gucci spent 10 years with us before dying in March 2010. In 2001 I introduced my father and mother to America, a country that my father had respected during the Soviet era. I will not leave a fortune to them. I will pay for whatever level of education they choose to pursue. Beyond that, they should develop on their own. My children and I love our Villa Le Palme in Forte Dei Marmi. Rina has mixed feelings about it, however, since when we are there she has to do more housework than usual. About my Favorite Cities

    Twenty years from now…

    Of course, I am a rootless cosmopolitan. Where else would you find such a weirdo: born in Leninsk-Kuznetsky; lived there for eighteen years; spent two years in the Far East (a year in Nakohdka, in Primorsky Krai, plus another in Nikolayevsk-on-Amur in Khabarovsk Krai); thirteen years in St. Petersburg; six in the U.S.A.; a year in Italy; and now I reside mainly in Moscow. No wonder, then, that I am a man without roots. No wonder that the idea of a fatherland is foreign to me. I have a spot of homeland in Leninsk-Kuznetsky; my father’s grave is there on its ten-meter plot. But I am a man of the world. I like Americans, Italians, Frenchmen, and Russians. I like ordinary, good, capable people. I chose Forte Dei Marmi for one simple reason-the people there are pleasant and they feed us well.

    Rina Vosman, Oleg Tinkov’s wife:

    I do not understand why people go to France-where you pay people to be rude to you, offend you, and spit in your oysters. Only gluttons for punishment go there. There are two types of Russian people: those who like France and those who like Italy. I have noticed that I am usually friends with people of the second kind. And I do not really understand people who pfer France. My Italian friends are Patricia and Francesco who own the Castello di Tornano. I first met Patricia in the early nineties when she was head of Whirlpool and Petrosib was their dealer. We are still friends after all these years. She suggested that I get a home in Forte dei Marmi. It was important that an Italian make this suggestion and not a Russian. I love the place. It has come to be one of the most important places in my life. St. Petersburg, Forte dei Marmi, Leninsk-Kuznetsky, and San Francisco-I can draw a box around these four.

    Oleg’s business successes are his achievements alone, but I played the part of guiding star, so to speak, his guiding force. I guess I have to say I motivated him. Or, to put it differently, he’d use me sometimes. I only found out after the fact that I was one of the stakeholders in Petrosib. He kept business information from me. Of course I was aware of what he was working on. For instance, when the factory was under construction, we drove to the site every Sunday to keep track of the progress. But he didn’t inform me of any problems. I think he did the right thing.

    As the years passed he became calmer- much more so. In the nineties he was a total firework. There are still little bursts, now and then, but it is not a firework show. He’s always overflowing with energy; he did everything-and then some. Like Karlsson-on-the-Roof with his little motor! He was completely uncontrollable. I always tried to keep him in check. Maybe ours is the perfect marriage: opposites attract. He’s reliable and I didn’t make the wrong choice. He manages to keep his eye on me, on the children, and on his work. I never had to adapt to his needs. If there’s something that we don’t like, we always speak to each other frankly. Maybe that’s why we’ve been able to live together for twenty years. The first ten were really difficult, though; we’re completely different, after all. We celebrated our wedding in June 2009. By that time our other married friends had long since porced.

    One Italian lady asked me,

    Yevgeny Brekhov, friend of Oleg Tinkov:

    “How did you live with someone you weren’t married to for twenty years?” But I felt completely comfortable. I didn’t need anyone’s stamp of approval.

    We went over to Seryozha Ufimtsev’s house and I saw a man just back from the army sitting there. How did I know this about him? His dress was peculiar. I invited him to the movies and he began by turning me down, saying there’d be a fight there. I insisted that if he came with me there wouldn’t be any. That’s how I met Oleg Tinkov-a good, kind, unusual guy. Since then he’s told me two stories. One was about his girlfriend who was killed. He told me the second story, about Rina Vosman, his second total love, when he was in university. He really is completely lucky in life. If Oleg had stayed with his first girlfriend and the tragedy hadn’t happened, he would be working and living today in Leninsk-Kuznetsky. He would still be a miner in love. And he would never have met Rina-his true other half. Rina is the most important part of his life. She has helped Oleg to take a completely different stance on life and she has helped him to build it. She gave him his family. With Oleg, everything that happens, happens for Rina Vosman, the best woman in the world. I’m lucky that I can bear witness to the happiness of two people at once. They are a beautiful and very good couple.

    Chapter 33

    The Call Online

    I believe that our future lies on the Internet. Consequently, I am interested in development in this area and in deeper integration with it. I want to prove that online business can be profitable. For the moment, few people earn decent money on the Internet. At our bank we have gambled on the possibility of attracting clients that are looking to open an account via the Internet. It is possible, however, that I will eventually have some other kind of business on the Web. For now, though, the Internet has more entertainment value for me than it does anything else. I enjoy maintaining my blog, tweeting, and experimenting with social networks. Let me tell you about how my blog came to be one of the most popular in Russia.

    Hi!

    Today I’m officially letting everyone know that I’ve started a blog. How do I see it?

    1. I’m not afraid of mistakes. I’m from a small provincial town and I didn’t finish university.
    2. I don’t want to do as my colleagues have done (you know who I mean), who brag about themselves in their blogs-in spite of the fact that their blogs are actually written by their assistant or a hired PR agency (respect, Yulia!).
    3. This won’t be a blog; it will be my diary.

    I’m not aiming for pulp fiction. Instead I’ll just write a couple lines here and there. A little of something good is best. 🙂

    I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t write all my silent letters, or if I leave them out entirely-it’s not that important.

    Oleg

    I wrote regularly and about everything: business, sex, music, politics, food, architecture, and so on. A year later, in spite of the odd errors in my writing, I had 15,000 friends and I was ranked in the top thirty in Yandex ‘s blog ratings, which is typically a very difficult thing for new bloggers to achieve.

    In the course of the year I had been caught up in a number of Internet scandals. For instance, on September 29, 2009, I wrote a post in support of the construction of the Gazprom skyscraper in St. Petersburg. I had never had so much shit dumped on me before! People accused me of anything and everything: of stupidity, of poor taste, of brown-nosing… I will repeat my position though: I just like the tower. Both of my apartments in St. Petersburg have nice views. The first looks out on the Admiralteystvo, the second looks over the whole city. Once it is built, one will be able to see Okhta Center from there as well. I did not speak out in favor of the tower because I had been asked to by Matvienko, whom I had not seen since 2005, or by Miller, whom I have never seen in my life. I spoke out because I sincerely feel and-I am not afraid to say it-hold, from an aesthetic point of view, that building is beautiful. The project contributes to the development of a depssed part of the city, too, and will create jobs for local residents.

    St. Petersburg is an excellent city, but it does have its weaknesses-that pseudo-intellectual arrogance that says: we will live in shit and we will not allow anyone to do anything about it.

    Why not let them clean up the Okhta neighborhood, free the place from the rats and dirt? Why not let them build a ptty glass building, run the utilities and make a beautiful spire that I will be able to see from my building. Once upon a time a White Russian General who had immigrated to New York was asked why he was renting an apartment rather than buying one. His answer was that he already had an apartment-in St. Petersburg. I say the exact same thing. From my St. Petersburg apartment I can see everything from the mosque to St. Isaac’s Cathedral. I will look upon the tower at Okhta Center with pleasure too.

    Some people felt that I had spoken out in favor of the tower because my business was not going well and because I therefore wanted to pay my respects to the city’s politicians. What a load of crap! I have never sucked up to politicians. Judge for yourselves: all those people you see on TV are accessible to me-all it would take would be a phone call. I know all of them and I feel no need to prove anything to them. I expss my own opinion on matters civil and aesthetic. I have never used political connections; I do not need to.

    I cannot abide being wrongfully accused: I react sharply. Oleg Anisimov scolds me for this: why reply to an anonymous online user who has only five friends? And sometimes it fails to help at all. I lose my temper and write nasty things. I cannot stand to read bullshit.

    People addressed a lot of crap to me after I invited Xenia Sobchak to the first episode of my Internet show, Business Secrets with Oleg Tinkov. They accused me of reducing the whole discussion to a conversation about sex. They complained that the program turned out to be mere sensationalism. They said that I was stupid. Few understood, however, that we opened the series with a scandal on purpose in order to make ourselves known. The people who were most offended were the first to watch subsequent episodes, which were devoted to business.

    Our show has featured numerous guests: Mikhail Slipenchuk ( Metropol), Igor Ponomaryov ( Genser which did not lead to anything good. I am a little afraid because of these things.

    Will I fight it? I never tried to twist myself into a Khodorkovsky caricature. I have great respect for the man, given what he did. I do not know whether he is guilty or not. Did the company he kept kill anyone? Possibly. Up until the moment he got on the plane he said that he didn’t care about anything and that he would fight. That’s why I consider him a great man and a hero. I admit that, like all the oligarchs, he did some shady things. But really, he suffered for what he did. And he acts nobly; he even spent six years in jail. And you should hear the interviews he gives! He never gets mad at anyone!

    I would like to know for myself how you make decisions and take risks. It would be really interesting to see a discussion in the book concerning Russia’s business situation, its problems and ways of solving them. This won’t just be a biography, I hope, but a book that looks forward to the future.

    When people tell me that I will never be like Khodorkovsky, I reply that, of course, I won’t be. He’s a monster of a man, a boulder with a big personality. I could never do what he has done. There are strong people and weak ones. Unfortunately, I am weak in this respect. That doesn’t mean that I am integrated into the system. To the contrary, I’m fighting it. I am a businessman and an entrepneur. I do my thing; I feed my family. Russia is my fatherland. Everyone knows that you do not chose where you come from. I am certainly not planning on getting involved in politics, creating a party and fighting-just as I do not plan on joining the United Russia political party.

    It’s a tough question. We are talking about metaphysics here, so we have no material. It’s impossible after all to know why you fell in love with a particular girl. Something happened to you on a chemical or physical level and suddenly you were in love.

    In order to make a decision, you have to make a quick analysis. Our brains are not fit with Pentiums but with much more awesome processors. We analyze quickly and make decisions quickly. I took a Socionics test and ended up in the Huxley category for intuition, my tendency to make fast choices and to find the right people.

    When a person comes to an interview, how do you assess him or her?

    I’m not ready to speculate on Russia’s future, as I am not a politician. To me the future looks fairly clear and steady. But I don’t expect there will be any major shifts to either side. Unfortunately, we will remain the earth’s source for natural resources. But at the same time our citizens’ prosperity will grow and maybe in the foreseeable future we will catch up to Eastern Europe. Realistically, though, there will be no breakthrough. Why? Because we just don’t have the education. More importantly, we don’t have any business education. We need to make substantive changes to our system for training personnel. The Soviet educational system has outlived its usefulness. The switch to innovative technologies is also important, but that’s not fundamental. The key is education.

    Have you made mistakes?

    I look the candidate in the eye. Of course I am not the Lord God and I can make mistakes, but I’m right most of the time. I choose people. If he’s a good person and, in addition to that, a good worker and manager (like Oliver Hughes, Georgy Chesakov, and Artyom Yamanov), you’ve achieved a success. All of our guys are supermen. On average I select three out of every ten. I evaluate people based on their human qualities. The most important thing is that they share my values-rebelliousness and joy in business.

    Of course I have-though not very often. As a rule, I’ve made mistakes when I thought bad things about people and they turned out to be good. I’ve never had that happen to me the other way around. I don’t know if it’s a matter of stereotyping or what.

    A lot of stereotypes are circulating in connection with me. “Now Tinkov, he’s a-” and the list starts. Damn! You guys don’t know me. Maybe when you finish reading this book you will have finally learned something about me. Guys, we don’t need stereotypes. Chichvarkin is a clown. Abramovich is a billionaire. All of these are stereotypes.

    How do you feel about criticism?

    Forgive me Lord. I repent. I was mistaken!

    Just like any normal person: negatively. It is normal for a person to be averse to criticism. He may recognize that the criticism is fair, but on a subconscious level he will not like it. Nevertheless, criticism is a good thing and I like constructive criticism.

    For example, if people tell me, “Oleg you’re such and such” and they back up their claim, then whether I reply or not, I give it some thought. But if they straight out insult me, then I just block them. I do not like it either when people write that I’m looking to win Matvienko’s favor just because I am in favor of the tower. It drives me up the wall because it is not true. I just like the tower project and I want to be able to see it out my window.

    I welcome criticism. Please criticize me. I am a living person and not the God Almighty. I have so many shortcomings. …

    Would you want to buy an island?

    But I’m 42 years old and it would be impossible to reform me. I don’t have a media strategy. If I could be reformed, then I would long ago have become like Roman Abramovich or Xenia Sobchak. I might even have outdone them. I have always followed my gut, so things will turn out as they might. I’m a simple, Siberian felt boot. Oleg Anisimov-and my intuition-suggested I start a blog and so I did. My intuition, Oleg Anisimov, and Richard Branson suggested that I write a book and so I’m writing it. Sometimes I turn down offers to appear on TV, but there are other times when I agree. There is no strategy in any of this though.

    Do you want your children to be in business?

    To tell you the truth, yes. I have thought about it for a while. Branson influenced me in this regard as well. As with this book, Branson simply hammered the last nail in the coffin. I have always dreamt of acquiring my own island and creating a micro-state there with its own rules. Elsewhere people are always loading me down with all kinds of futility, a constitution and a passport. On the island, however, there would be 500, or better 200, of my citizens living there and I would create the Republic of Liberty. We would do as we pleased. Communism. I would be an emperor with no crown. I would buy the island only in order to make these people the happiest people ever.

    What quality has hampered your life and your business?

    Probably yes, but not necessarily. I would want my kids to be people, first and foremost. I like my sixteen-year-old daughter Dasha’s grasp of business. She’s very sensible. When it comes to Pasha it’s hard to say and the answer for Roma is no. The boys are doing their own thing. If they end up in business that would be great, but I won’t be discouraged if they don’t.

    What do you like to do in your free time?

    Life and business are one and the same thing for me. The only thing that has hampered me has been my short temper. Unfortunately my mother, Valentina Vladimirovna, passed this trait along to me. She was a poorly educated woman, hot tempered, provocative, and high strung. But I love her nonetheless, obviously…

    You want to become really rich. Why?

    I consider time “free” if I’m not spending it on business or on family. That said, my favorite pastime is sleep-or watching television. I feel that these are excellent hobbies. Sleep is a healthy thing to do. I don’t understand people who sleep three hours a night.

    That is the hardest question you can ask a person. It involves higher philosophy. Do I want to become rich? Well, don’t you want to? Every normal person wants to be rich, healthy, and young.

    Mezentsev, our great physics professor from the Mining Institute, asked one of my classmates to get up and he asked him,

    “And how much money do you want?”

    “Lots.” The professor replied,

    “For some people a lot is not enough.” What a great answer. For some, having a villa and a pool in Tuscany would be their wildest dream come true. But for someone it would be jack squat-even if they had a villa on eight hectares with five pools and another ten villas scattered around the world. What does it mean to be rich? Who knows? Consider Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Abramovich. There is Polonsky. There is Tinkov. Each is rich in a different way. But the term is the same, “rich!” I became rich during my second year at the Mining Institute, after I moved from the dormitory into a room in a co-op flat for fifty rubles on the corner of Shkipersky Stream and Shevchenko Street. There were eight people in the apartment. Our drunken flat mates were constantly coming into our room. Once, our neighbor Auntie Masha stumbled and fell right into Rina’s and my bed. I got up and dragged her carefully back to her room. I was rich because all my friends lived in the dormitory, but I had my own room with my beloved girl. It is so important to have your own space. I got tired of living with-and banging my girlfriend in close proximity to-three other friends in our fifteen-meter room.

    I do not want to do anything for free. It would not be right. It is White Anglo-Saxon Protestant logic-experience has shown that doing everything for money is the right thing to do. If people do something for free, based on friendship, then nothing will come of it. Or it will turn out poorly. But if it is done for money, then the result is different. I can do something for friendship’s sake once or twice, but then it does not work anymore. If a person spends more than an hour of his or her free time on something each day then it has to be paid for. Now, money is a tool. I need it in order to pay for my countless apartments all over the world and for my children’s clothing and education. My daughter’s education alone costs several tens of thousands of dollars a year and I have two more children growing up. My mission is to raise all three of them and send them on their way.

    There are bankers who do not wear a suit. Here is an example.

    Perhaps I will disappoint someone by saying this, but I will not leave my fortune to my children. The most that I will do will be to fund whatever level of education they want to achieve-and then I will allow them to continue developing in whatever way they see fit.

    Oleg Anisimov, editor and founder of Finance magazine:

    Sergei Galitsky, founder of the Magnit store chain, is an entrepneur whom I respect for the fact that he created a truly major business from scratch.

    I suggested that Oleg Tinkov start a blog on Livejournal with a self-serving goal in mind: I wanted him to promote my magazine by publishing his columns and putting links on the site. I even told him we could post material on his behalf. But Oleg immediately rejected the offer and started writing himself.

    He hasn’t always stepped too carefully, like any inexperienced blogger, but his sincerity has won people over: Oleg’s is one of the most popular blogs on the Internet. People see how he writes and communicates on his own, without the help of a blog secretary, so they’re willing to forgive his imperfections.

    The bank’s blog has been a great help in 2010, when we started the deposit program at Tinkoff Credit Systems. At that time I already worked as the bank’s vice psident for marketing.

    Chapter 34

    A Revolution is our Prerogative

    Let me get back to the bank. Due to funding problems, growth in the bank’s credit portfolio slowed in 2009: we had 5.2 billion as of April 1, 5.4 billion as of July 1, and 5.1 billion as of October 1. There was nothing we could do but to work better with the portfolio we had, increasing the quality of our risk analysis and improving our interactions with people who were failing to make payments.

    In the bank we used a test and learn approach, based on the experience of Capital One, testing all kinds of different approaches to getting through to the client. Our method is somewhat like Japanese kaizen: we are constantly looking for the smallest improvements that we can make, which taken together yield big results. Here is a banal example: originally my signature was at the bottom of the letters that we sent. Later we started testing other signatures-Oliver Hughes’, Georgy Chesakov’s, and so forth. Some people might say that it makes no difference whose signature is at the bottom of the form, but we had to do this test to see which one of them worked better in practice.

    We strove to improve our offer package (which goes in the envelope that is sent to the client), to find an optimum balance between being under the weight limit and achieving maximum effect with the mailing. The package has to interest the client, as does the text of offer. A client might stop reading at any moment, so it was important to maintain her interest and-assuming that she was in was in need of credit-to get her to fill out the form. Since March 2007, we have sent out close to thirty million letters. As a result, we have one of the best databases in Russia.

    The largest bank in Russia, Sberbank, had absolutely nothing on the credit card market until only recently, and I looked for areas where we could cooperate.

    German Gref is one of only a few Russian politicians towards whom my feelings have not grown cold. He went through fire and water when he worked for the St. Petersburg administration and in the Ministry of Economic Development. Sberbank was one of his less momentous jobs. Will he be able to remain an ordinary person and not lose track of his liberal values? He has the same Siberian-Petersburger values that I do. The next few years will tell. It’s difficult. The bank is big and it is no simple matter to cross a hedgehog with a water snake-no more so than teaching an elephant to dance.

    Gref and I met, and I made a proposal aimed at securing his cooperation. In 2008, our credit card portfolio was bigger than Sberbank ‘s and the technology that we used was a generation ahead of theirs. More importantly, though, we knew how to attract customers and they didn’t. I said to him,

    “Let’s cooperate. You know that magic word, ‘outsourcing’? We’ll candy-coat it for you. With our technology, if you don’t see the elephant dancing, at least it’ll be bouncing up and down.”

    Gref understands that he is a big boy who can do anything. The Royal Bank of Scotland acts more competently, however-they gave Branson the right to accept deposits under his brand and they do not pide the additional earnings. As far as I know, Virgin Money ‘s net profit amounts to 60 million pounds sterling a year, half of which goes to the partner banks and half of which remains with Richard.

    In order to succeed at Sberbank, Gref and his people need to change their mindset. They need to accept the ideas of partnerships and outsourcing. Alexander Lifshits, former Finance Minister, told us that sharing is important. The approach that begins with the attitude that “I’m big and don’t need anyone else” is behind the times. If we keep thinking like this, then it is unlikely that the elephant will dance in the near future.

    My personal relationship with Gref is a good one. He stood up for businessmen more than a few times when he worked in the ministry. For instance, he defended Yevgeny Chichvarkin when the cops were attacking him. He was always a spokesman for liberal values in the government. My wish for him is that he remain the man that he is today and that he not be spoiled by the enormous power he now has.

    Our banks may cooperate yet, but as of the spring of 2010, none of the required conditions is in place. In one way or another, Sberbank is not the only fish in the sea. Without a doubt, my bank is a project that I plan to sell someday and there will be other interested players when that time comes. As I said in Kommersant magazine in March 2010:

    There is a possibility, then, that you will join forces with one of the existing players?

    I understand, as do my minor stakeholders, that we are in this project whole-heartedly and that in the end it will become part of a large, global bank in which we will simply be the credit card department.

    Are there any potential buyers? Who has expssed an interest in acquiring your bank? But have there been any concrete purchase proposals?

    Of course not; it will be a sale. We will sell it and then they can integrate it with their bank.

    There have been. I’ve listed a bunch of banks; we have received proposals from some of them.

    My bank currently controls close to five percent of Russia’s credit card market. I am often asked, “Where are your cards? I’ve never seen any.” In all probability, this means that you are not supposed to see them, pcisely because you are not one of our target customers. Or you will see them soon: let us not forget that there are 140 million people living in Russia. I never saw Russian Standard cards either, when they were leading the market. Bear in mind, too, that Rustam and I work in the pmium consumer market, which is not always the most successful platform when it comes to building a profitable large-scale business.

    So the model that my bank is following has been successfully implemented in a market as competitive as the States. In Russia, however, competition for customers is in its embryonic stage. How did our bank achieve serious success in the credit card market? This was thanks to our service. No one in our country, though, can imagine-or wants to imagine-providing customer service. Customers ought to find it convenient to use your services. If they do, then you will sell more-and for more money. People are always willing to pay for timesaving measures and for convenience. With these things in place, the bank’s profitability will line up with customer satisfaction.

    It just so happens, I think, that my investors are smarter than those skeptics who bought up a bunch of securities before the crisis-securities, that is, which later defaulted. Why, then, am I the one that people write shit about online? These guys said, “I’d be better off buying securities from Yevrokommerts. They have a smart young psident, Grigory Karpovsky. He’s a financier. Tinkov, on the other hand, is a brewer.” But the next thing you know, Yevrokommerts defaulted and these investors’ balance had a gaping hole in it. I use this factoring company as an example because we were in direct competition with them when we were looking for investors in the debt market.

    Give me even a single instance where I did not fulfill my obligations on a loan. All of my partners and investors are more than happy-everyone from Promstroibank to Goldman Sachs. Even the bondholders, who were really worried during the ruble’s devaluation period, got two warrants each at eighteen percent annually. They too are happy. It is always the more reliable, higher quality companies that end up having to restructure their obligations.

    In cases like these, we need to consider the person standing behind the company and have a look at the company’s credit history. Someone that has been in business since 1989, someone that has built and sold four companies-such a person is trustworthy. Those who are afraid to lend to him are idiots-and that is all there is to it. They do not know how to pursue treasure. They do not know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. They continue to lend money to phony companies. Let them have their defaults; let them restructure their debt for years afterward. Smart investors will work with people who have been proving their worth for the last twenty years-and they will earn their eighteen percent. Building a business, like living a life, is not equivalent to crossing a field.

    An entrepneur must always be read to plunge into battle. In March 2010, our company took a trip to Verbier. We did not merely ski, though. We also had business brainstorming sessions In the Steps of David Bowie?

    As a banker I can confirm that one can invest confidently in someone that had his first business in 1989-1993. One can boldly loan money to such a person as well. People like this have gone through the toughest schooling out there-and their achievements speak for themselves. They survived in a time when a lot of businessmen dropped out of the race. They are the best of the best.

    I have been thinking lately about issuing my own Ruble bonds @ Moscow. At one point, David Bowie set a very good example of the kind of thing that I have in mind (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowie_Bonds).

    On November 7, 2009, I wrote all of the bank managers a letter. I give it in the original so that you can get in some English practice.

    I think my name has more fame and credibility in Russia than even TCS Bank. According to some studies, the name Oleg Tinkov is in the top five inpiduals who come to mind when people think of Russian businessmen, beating Abramovich, Khodorkovsky and Deripaska.

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    Nội Dung Bài Rô Bin Xơn Ngoài Đảo Hoang, Tóm Tắt On Ngoài Đảo Hoang Ngu Van 9, Tóm Tắt Rô Bin Xơn Ngoài Đảo Hoang Ngữ Văn 9, Rô Bin Xơn Ngoài Đảo Hoang, Văn Bản Rô Bin Xơn Ngoài Đảo Hoang, Văn Bản On Ngoài Đảo Hoang Violet, Tóm Tắt Robinson Ngoài Đảo Hoang Ngu Van 9, Giáo án On Ngoài Đảo Hoang, Bài Giảng Rô Bin Xơn Ngoài Đảo Hoang, Văn Bản Rô Bin Xơn Ngoài Đảo Hoang Facebook, Giáo án Rô Bin Xơn Ngoài Đảo Hoang, Văn Bản Robinson Ngoài Đảo Hoang Violet, Phân Tích Rô Bin Xơn Ngoài Đảo Hoang, Tóm Tắt Đoạn Trích Rô Bin Xơn Ngoài Đảo Hoang, Giáo án Robinson Ngoài Đảo Hoang, Khi Nói Về Tia Hồng Ngoại Và Tia Tử Ngoại, Phát Biểu Nào Sau Đây Là Đúng?, Chọn Câu Đúng Về Tia Tử Ngoại Và Tia Hồng Ngoại, Tác Dụng Của Tam Thất Hoang, Tá Dụng Của Tam Thất Hoang, Chọn Câu Đúng, Về Tia Tử Ngoại, Tia Tử Ngoại Được Dùng, Don Xin Dung Rap Ngoai Duong, Nội Dung Bài Ga-vrốt Ngoài Chiến Lũy, Hướng Dẫn Sử Dụng ổ Cứng Ngoài Wd, Quy Phạm Xây Dựng Mạng Ngoại Vi, Hướng Dẫn Sử Dụng ổ Cứng Ngoài, Hướng Dẫn Sử Dụng ổ Cứng Gắn Ngoài, Kết Luận Nào Sau Đây Chưa Đúng Với Tia Tử Ngoại, Bản Cam Kết Sử Dụng Thành Thạo Ngoại Ngữ, Hướng Dẫn Sử Dụng ổ Cứng Ngoài Transcend, Hướng Dẫn Sử Dụng ổ Cứng Ngoài Wd Elements, Chuyên Đề 10 Xây Dựng Mối Quan Hệ Trong Và Ngoài Nhà Trường, ứng Dụng Công Nghệ Thông Tin Trong Dạy Học Ngoại Ngữ, Tìm Hiểu Nội Dung Đường Lối Đối Ngoại Của Đảng Thời Kì Đổi Mới, Thông Báo Tuyển Dụng Doanh Nghiệp Nước Ngoài, Tiếng Việt Thực Hành Dùng Cho Người Nước Ngoài, Tài Liệu Khóa Luận Nghiên Cứu Bào Chế Kem Biposa Dùng Để Dưỡng Da Và Hỗ Trợ Trị Bệnh Ngoài Da Từ Dịc, Tài Liệu Khóa Luận Nghiên Cứu Bào Chế Kem Biposa Dùng Để Dưỡng Da Và Hỗ Trợ Trị Bệnh Ngoài Da Từ Dịc, Nội Dung, Giải Pháp Của Đảng Và Nhà Nước Về Quốc Phòng An Ninh Và Đối Ngoại, Phiếu Khảo Sát Thực Trạng ứng Dụng Microsoft Teams Trong Dạy Và Học Trường Đại Học Ngoại Thương, Giấy Đê Nghị Bán, Chuyển Mang Ngoại Tệ Ra Nước Ngoài, Giáo Trình Tiếng Việt Cho Ngoài Nước Ngoài 2, Mẫu Giấy Đề Nghị Bán, Chuyển Ngoại Tệ Ra Nước Ngoài Eximbank, Trong Các Loại Tia: Rơn-ghen, Hồng Ngoại, Tự Ngoại, Đơn Sắc Màu Lục; Tia Có Tần Số Nhỏ Nhất Là, Giấy Đề Nghị Mua Chuyển Ngoại Tệ Ra Nước Ngoài, Giấy Đề Nghị Bán Chuyển Ngoại Tệ Ra Nươc Ngoài, Mẫu Giấy Đề Nghị Bán, Chuyển Ngoại Tệ Ra Nước Ngoài , Quy Hoạch Xây Dựng Vùng Tỉnh Quảng Ninh Đến Năm 2030 Tầm Nhìn Đến Năm 2050 Và Ngoài 2050, Tia Hồng Ngoại Tia Tử Ngoại Tia X Và Tia Gamma Đều, Kết Hôn Với Người Nước Ngoài / Giữa Người Nước Ngoài Với Nhau,

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  • Sensory Evaluation Of Food: Principles And Practices, Second Edition (Food Science Text Series)

    --- Bài mới hơn ---

  • Oleg Tinkov “i’m Just Like Anyone Else” (Published In 2010; Full Text In English)
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  • Food Science Text Series

    The Food Science Text Series provides faculty with the leading teaching tools. The Editorial Board has outlined the most appropriate and complete content for each food science course in a typical food science program and has identified textbooks of the highest quality, written by the leading food science educators.

    Series Editor Dennis R. Heldman Editorial Board David A. Golden, Ph.D., Professor of Food Microbiology, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Tennessee Richard W. Hartel, Professor of Food Engineering, Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin Hildegarde Heymann, Professor of Food Sensory Science, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California-Davis Joseph H. Hotchkiss, Professor, Institute of Food Science and Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology, and Chair, Food Science Department, Cornell University Michael G. Johnson, Ph.D., Professor of Food Safety and Microbiology, Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas Joseph Montecalvo, Jr., Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, California Polytechnic and State University-San Luis Obispo S. Suzanne Nielsen, Professor and Chair, Department of Food Science, Purdue University Juan L. Silva, Professor, Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, Mississippi State University

    For further volumes: http://www.springer.com/series/5999

    Harry T. Lawless · Hildegarde Heymann

    Sensory Evaluation of Food Principles and Practices Second Edition

    123

    Harry T. Lawless Department of Food Science Cornell University Stocking Hall, Room 106 14853 Ithaca NY, USA

    ISSN 1572-0330 ISBN 978-1-4419-6487-8 e-ISBN 978-1-4419-6488-5 DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-6488-5 Springer New York Dordrecht Heidelberg London Library of Congress Control Number: 2010932599 © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010 All rights reserved. This work may not be translated or copied in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher (Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013, USA), except for brief excerpts in connection with reviews or scholarly analysis. Use in connection with any form of information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed is forbidden. The use in this publication of trade names, trademarks, service marks, and similar terms, even if they are not identified as such, is not to be taken as an expssion of opinion as to whether or not they are subject to proprietary rights. Printed on acid-free paper Springer is part of Springer Science+Business Media (www.springer.com)

    Preface

    vi

    Preface

    Preface

    vii

    Peryam, David Stevens, Herb Meiselman, Elaine Skinner, Howard Schutz, Howard Moskowitz, Rose Marie Pangborn, Beverley Kroll, W. Frank Shipe, Lawrence E. Marks, Joseph C. Stevens, Arye Dethmers, Barbara Klein, Ann Noble, Harold Hedrick, William C Stringer, Roger Boulton, Kay McMath, Joel van Wyk, and Roger Mitchell. Ithaca, New York Davis, California

    Harry T. Lawless Hildegarde Heymann

    Contents

    1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1 Introduction and Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1.1 Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1.2 Measurement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 Historical Landmarks and the Three Classes of Test Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.1 Difference Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.2 Descriptive Analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.3 Affective Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.4 The Central Dogma-Analytic Versus Hedonic Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3 Applications: Why Collect Sensory Data? . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3.1 Differences from Marketing Research Methods . . . 1.3.2 Differences from Traditional Product Grading Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.4 Summary and Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Physiological and Psychological Foundations of Sensory Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2 Classical Sensory Testing and Psychophysical Methods 2.2.1 Early Psychophysics . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.2 The Classical Psychophysical Methods . . . . 2.2.3 Scaling and Magnitude Estimation . . . . . . 2.2.4 Critiques of Stevens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.5 Empirical Versus Theory-Driven Functions . 2.2.6 Parallels of Psychophysics and Sensory Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3 Anatomy and Physiology and Functions of Taste . . . . 2.3.1 Anatomy and Physiology . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.2 Taste Perception: Qualities . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.3 Taste Perception: Adaptation and Mixture Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.4 Inpidual Differences and Taste Genetics . . 2.4 Anatomy and Physiology and Functions of Smell . . . . 2.4.1 Anatomy and Cellular Function . . . . . . . .

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    Contents

    2.4.2 2.4.3 2.4.4 2.4.5

    Retronasal Smell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Olfactory Sensitivity and Specific Anosmia Odor Qualities: Practical Systems . . . . . Functional Properties: Adaptation, Mixture Suppssion, and Release . . . . . . . . . . 2.5 Chemesthesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.1 Qualities of Chemesthetic Experience . . . 2.5.2 Physiological Mechanisms of Chemesthesis 2.5.3 Chemical “Heat” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.4 Other Irritative Sensations and Chemical Cooling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.5 Astringency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.6 Metallic Taste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.6 Multi-modal Sensory Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . 2.6.1 Taste and Odor Interactions . . . . . . . . . 2.6.2 Irritation and Flavor . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.6.3 Color-Flavor Interactions . . . . . . . . . . 2.7 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Principles of Good Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2 The Sensory Testing Environment . . . . . . 3.2.1 Evaluation Area . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.2 Climate Control . . . . . . . . . . 3.3 Test Protocol Considerations . . . . . . . . 3.3.1 Sample Serving Procedures . . . . 3.3.2 Sample Size . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.3.3 Sample Serving Temperatures . . 3.3.4 Serving Containers . . . . . . . . 3.3.5 Carriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.3.6 Palate Cleansing . . . . . . . . . . 3.3.7 Swallowing and Expectoration . . 3.3.8 Instructions to Panelists . . . . . . 3.3.9 Randomization and Blind Labeling 3.4 Experimental Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4.1 Designing a Study . . . . . . . . . 3.4.2 Design and Treatment Structures . 3.5 Panelist Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . 3.5.1 Incentives . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.5.2 Use of Human Subjects . . . . . . 3.5.3 Panelist Recruitment . . . . . . . 3.5.4 Panelist Selection and Screening . 3.5.5 Training of Panelists . . . . . . . 3.5.6 Panelist Performance Assessment . 3.6 Tabulation and Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . 3.6.1 Data Entry Systems . . . . . . . . 3.7 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    4 Discrimination Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.1 Discrimination Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2 Types of Discrimination Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.1 Paired Comparison Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.2 Triangle Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.3 Duo-Trio Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.4 n-Alternative Forced Choice (n-AFC) Methods . . . 4.2.5 A-Not-A tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.6 Sorting Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.7 The ABX Discrimination Task . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.8 Dual-Standard Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3 Reputed Strengths and Weaknesses of Discrimination Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.4 Data Analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.4.1 Binomial Distributions and Tables . . . . . . . . . . 4.4.2 The Adjusted Chi-Square (χ2 ) Test . . . . . . . . . . 4.4.3 The Normal Distribution and the Z-Test on Proportion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.5 Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.5.1 The Power of the Statistical Test . . . . . . . . . . . 4.5.2 Replications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.5.3 Warm-Up Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.5.4 Common Mistakes Made in the Interptation of Discrimination Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix: A Simple Approach to Handling the A, Not-A, and Same/Different Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    5 Similarity, Equivalence Testing, and Discrimination Theory . . . . 5.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.2 Common Sense Approaches to Equivalence . . . . . . . . . . 5.3 Estimation of Sample Size and Test Power . . . . . . . . . . . 5.4 How Big of a Difference Is Important? Discriminator Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.5 Tests for Significant Similarity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.6 The Two One-Sided Test Approach (TOST) and Interval Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.7 Claim Substantiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.8 Models for Discrimination: Signal Detection Theory . . . . . . 5.8.1 The Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.8.2 Experimental Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.8.3 Assumptions and Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.8.4 An Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.8.5 A Connection to Paired Comparisons Results Through the ROC Curve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.9 Thurstonian Scaling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.9.1 The Theory and Formulae . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.9.2 Extending Thurstone’s Model to Other Choice Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    5.10

    Extensions of the Thurstonian Methods, R-Index . . . 5.10.1 Short Cut Signal Detection Methods . . . . 5.10.2 An Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.11 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix: Non-Central t-Test for Equivalence of Scaled Data References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    6 Measurement of Sensory Thresholds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.1 Introduction: The Threshold Concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.2 Types of Thresholds: Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.3 Practical Methods: Ascending Forced Choice . . . . . . . . . . 6.4 Suggested Method for Taste/Odor/Flavor Detection Thresholds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.4.1 Ascending Forced-Choice Method of Limits . . . . . 6.4.2 Purpose of the Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.4.3 Preliminary Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.4.4 Procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.4.5 Data Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.4.6 Alternative Graphical Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.4.7 Procedural Choices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.5 Case Study/Worked Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.6 Other Forced Choice Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.7 Probit Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.8 Sensory Adaptation, Sequential Effects, and Variability . . . . 6.9 Alternative Methods: Rated Difference, Adaptive Procedures, Scaling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.9.1 Rated Difference from Control . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.9.2 Adaptive Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.9.3 Scaling as an Alternative Measure of Sensitivity . . . 6.10 Dilution to Threshold Measures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.10.1 Odor Units and Gas-Chromatography Olfactometry (GCO) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.10.2 Scoville Units . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.11 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix: MTBE Threshold Data for Worked Example . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    7 Scaling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.2 Some Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3 Common Methods of Scaling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3.1 Category Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3.2 Line Scaling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3.3 Magnitude Estimation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.4 Recommended Practice and Practical Guidelines . . . . . . 7.4.1 Rule 1: Provide Sufficient Alternatives . . . . . . 7.4.2 Rule 2: The Attribute Must Be Understood . . . . 7.4.3 Rule 3: The Anchor Words Should Make Sense . 7.4.4 To Calibrate or Not to Calibrate . . . . . . . . . . 7.4.5 A Warning: Grading and Scoring are Not Scaling

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    7.5

    Variations-Other Scaling Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5.1 Cross-Modal Matches and Variations on Magnitude Estimation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5.2 Category-Ratio (Labeled Magnitude) Scales . . . . . 7.5.3 Adjustable Rating Techniques: Relative Scaling . . . 7.5.4 Ranking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5.5 Indirect Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.6 Comparing Methods: What is a Good Scale? . . . . . . . . . . 7.7 Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.7.1 “Do People Make Relative Judgments” Should They See Their Previous Ratings? . . . . . . 7.7.2 Should Category Rating Scales Be Assigned Integer Numbers in Data Tabulation? Are They Interval Scales? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.7.3 Is Magnitude Estimation a Ratio Scale or Simply a Scale with Ratio Instructions? . . . . . . . 7.7.4 What is a “Valid” Scale? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.8 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 1: Derivation of Thurstonian-Scale Values for the 9-Point Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 2: Construction of Labeled Magnitude Scales . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Time-Intensity Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.2 A Brief History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.3 Variations on the Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.3.1 Discrete or Discontinuous Sampling . . . . . . . 8.3.2 “Continuous” Tracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.3.3 Temporal Dominance Techniques . . . . . . . . . 8.4 Recommended Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.4.1 Steps in Conducting a Time-intensity Study . . . 8.4.2 Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.4.3 Recommended Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.5 Data Analysis Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.5.1 General Approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.5.2 Methods to Construct or Describe Average Curves 8.5.3 Case Study: Simple Geometric Description . . . 8.5.4 Analysis by Principal Components . . . . . . . . 8.6 Examples and Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.6.1 Taste and Flavor Sensation Tracking . . . . . . . 8.6.2 Trigeminal and Chemical/Tactile Sensations . . . 8.6.3 Taste and Odor Adaptation . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.6.4 Texture and Phase Change . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.6.5 Flavor Release . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.6.6 Temporal Aspects of Hedonics . . . . . . . . . . 8.7 Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.8 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    9 Context Effects and Biases in Sensory Judgment . . . . . . . 9.1 Introduction: The Relative Nature of Human Judgment . 9.2 Simple Contrast Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.2.1 A Little Theory: Adaptation Level . . . . . . 9.2.2 Intensity Shifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.2.3 Quality Shifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.2.4 Hedonic Shifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.2.5 Explanations for Contrast . . . . . . . . . . . 9.3 Range and Frequency Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.3.1 A Little More Theory: Parducci’s Range and Frequency Principles . . . . . . . . . . . 9.3.2 Range Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.3.3 Frequency Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.4 Biases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.4.1 Idiosyncratic Scale Usage and Number Bias . 9.4.2 Poulton’s Classifications . . . . . . . . . . . 9.4.3 Response Range Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.4.4 The Centering Bias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.5 Response Correlation and Response Restriction . . . . 9.5.1 Response Correlation . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.5.2 “Dumping” Effects: Inflation Due to Response Restriction in Profiling . . . . . 9.5.3 Over-Partitioning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.6 Classical Psychological Errors and Other Biases . . . . 9.6.1 Errors in Structured Sequences: Anticipation and Habituation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.6.2 The Stimulus Error . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.6.3 Positional or Order Bias . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.7 Antidotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.7.1 Avoid or Minimize . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.7.2 Randomization and Counterbalancing . . . . 9.7.3 Stabilization and Calibration . . . . . . . . . 9.7.4 Interptation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9.8 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Descriptive Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.2 Uses of Descriptive Analyses . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.3 Language and Descriptive Analysis . . . . . . . . . 10.4 Descriptive Analysis Techniques . . . . . . . . . . R 10.4.1 Flavor Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R 10.4.2 Quantitative Descriptive Analysis . . . R . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.4.3 Texture Profile R 10.4.4 Sensory Spectrum . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.5 Generic Descriptive Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.5.1 How to Do Descriptive Analysis in Three Easy Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    10.5.2

    Studies Comparing Different Conventional Descriptive Analysis Techniques . . . . . . 10.6 Variations on the Theme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.6.1 Using Attribute Citation Frequencies Instead of Attribute Intensities . . . . . . . . . . . 10.6.2 Deviation from Reference Method . . . . . 10.6.3 Intensity Variation Descriptive Method . . . 10.6.4 Combination of Descriptive Analysis and Time-Related Intensity Methods . . . . 10.6.5 Free Choice Profiling . . . . . . . . . . . . 10.6.6 Flash Profiling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Texture Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.1 Texture Defined . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.2 Visual, Auditory, and Tactile Texture . . . . . . . . . . 11.2.1 Visual Texture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.2.2 Auditory Texture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.2.3 Tactile Texture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.2.4 Tactile Hand Feel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.3 Sensory Texture Measurements . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.3.1 Texture Profile Method . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.3.2 Other Sensory Texture Evaluation Techniques 11.3.3 Instrumental Texture Measurements and Sensory Correlations . . . . . . . . . . . 11.4 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Color and Appearance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.1 Color and Appearance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.2 What Is Color? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.3 Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.3.1 Normal Human Color Vision Variations 12.3.2 Human Color Blindness . . . . . . . . . 12.4 Measurement of Appearance and Color Attributes 12.4.1 Appearance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12.4.2 Visual Color Measurement . . . . . . . 12.5 Instrumental Color Measurement . . . . . . . . . 12.5.1 Munsell Color Solid . . . . . . . . . . . 12.5.2 Mathematical Color Systems . . . . . . 12.6 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Preference Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.1 Introduction-Consumer Sensory Evaluation 13.2 Preference Tests: Overview . . . . . . . . . 13.2.1 The Basic Comparison . . . . . . 13.2.2 Variations . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.2.3 Some Cautions . . . . . . . . . . 13.3 Simple Paired Preference Testing . . . . . .

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    13.3.1 Recommended Procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.3.2 Statistical Basis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.3.3 Worked Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.3.4 Useful Statistical Approximations . . . . . . . . . . 13.3.5 The Special Case of Equivalence Testing . . . . . . . 13.4 Non-forced Preference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.5 Replicated Preference Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.6 Replicated Non-forced Preference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.7 Other Related Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.7.1 Ranking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.7.2 Analysis of Ranked Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.7.3 Best-Worst Scaling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.7.4 Rated Degree of Preference and Other Options . . . . 13.8 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 1: Worked Example of the Ferris k-Visit Repeated Preference Test Including the No-Preference Option . . . . . . Appendix 2: The “Placebo” Preference Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 3: Worked Example of Multinomial Approach to Analyzing Data with the No-Preference Option . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Acceptance Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.1 Introduction: Scaled Liking Versus Choice . . . . . . 14.2 Hedonic Scaling: Quantification of Acceptability . . . 14.3 Recommended Procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.3.1 Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.3.2 Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.3.3 Replication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.4 Other Acceptance Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.4.1 Line Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.4.2 Magnitude Estimation . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.4.3 Labeled Magnitude Scales . . . . . . . . . 14.4.4 Pictorial Scales and Testing with Children . 14.4.5 Adjustable Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.5 Just-About-Right Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.5.1 Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.5.2 Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.5.3 Variations on Relative-to-Ideal Scaling . . . 14.5.4 Analysis of JAR Data . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.5.5 Penalty Analysis or “Mean Drop” . . . . . 14.5.6 Other Problems and Issues with JAR Scales 14.6 Behavioral and Context-Related Approaches . . . . . 14.6.1 Food Action Rating Scale (FACT) . . . . . 14.6.2 Appropriateness Scales . . . . . . . . . . . 14.6.3 Acceptor Set Size . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.6.4 Barter Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14.7 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Consumer Field Tests and Questionnaire Design . . . . . . . . . . . 15.1 Sensory Testing Versus Concept Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.2 Testing Scenarios: Central Location, Home Use . . . . . . . . 15.2.1 Purpose of the Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.2.2 Consumer Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.2.3 Central Location Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.2.4 Home Use Tests (HUT) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.3 Practical Matters in Conducting Consumer Field Tests . . . . . 15.3.1 Tasks and Test Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.3.2 Sample Size and Stratification . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.3.3 Test Designs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.4 Interacting with Field Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.4.1 Choosing Agencies, Communication, and Test Specifications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.4.2 Incidence, Cost, and Recruitment . . . . . . . . . . . 15.4.3 Some Tips: Do’s and Don’ts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.4.4 Steps in Testing with Research Suppliers . . . . . . . 15.5 Questionnaire Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.5.1 Types of Interviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.5.2 Questionnaire Flow: Order of Questions . . . . . . . 15.5.3 Interviewing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.6 Rules of Thumb for Constructing Questions . . . . . . . . . . 15.6.1 General Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.6.2 Brevity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.6.3 Use Plain Language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.6.4 Accessibility of the Information . . . . . . . . . . . 15.6.5 Avoid Vague Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.6.6 Check for Overlap and Completeness . . . . . . . . . 15.6.7 Do Not Lead the Respondent . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.6.8 Avoid Ambiguity and Double Questions . . . . . . . 15.6.9 Be Careful in Wording: Present Both Alternatives . . 15.6.10 Beware of Halos and Horns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.6.11 Pre-test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.7 Other Useful Questions: Satisfaction, Agreement, and Open-Ended Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.7.1 Satisfaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.7.2 Likert (Agree-Disagree) Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.7.3 Open-Ended Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15.8 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 1: Sample Test Specification Sheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 2: Sample Screening Questionnaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 3: Sample Product Questionnaire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Qualitative Consumer Research Methods . . . . . . . 16.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16.1.1 Resources, Definitions, and Objectives 16.1.2 Styles of Qualitative Research . . . . 16.1.3 Other Qualitative Techniques . . . . .

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    16.2

    Characteristics of Focus Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 383 16.2.1 Advantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 383 16.2.2 Key Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384 16.2.3 Reliability and Validity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 384 16.3 Using Focus Groups in Sensory Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . 385 16.4 Examples, Case Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 386 16.4.1 Case Study 1: Qualitative Research Before Conjoint Measurement in New Product Development 387 16.4.2 Case Study 2: Nutritional and Health Beliefs About Salt 387 16.5 Conducting Focus Group Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388 16.5.1 A Quick Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388 16.5.2 A Key Requirement: Developing Good Questions . . 389 16.5.3 The Discussion Guide and Phases of the Group Interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390 16.5.4 Participant Requirements, Timing, Recording . . . . 391 16.6 Issues in Moderating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 392 16.6.1 Moderating Skills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 392 16.6.2 Basic Principles: Nondirection, Full Participation, and Coverage of Issues . . . . . . . . . 393 16.6.3 Assistant Moderators and Co-moderators . . . . . . . 394 16.6.4 Debriefing: Avoiding Selective Listening and Premature Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 395 16.7 Analysis and Reporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 395 16.7.1 General Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 395 16.7.2 Suggested Method (“Sorting/Clustering Approach”), also Called Classical Transcript Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 396 16.7.3 Report Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 397 16.8 Alternative Procedures and Variations of the Group Interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 398 16.8.1 Groups of Children, Telephone Interviews, Internet-Based Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 398 16.8.2 Alternatives to Traditional Questioning . . . . . . . . 399 16.9 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400 Appendix: Sample Report Group Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402 Boil-in-bag Pasta Project Followup Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404 17 Quality Control and Shelf-Life (Stability) Testing . 17.1 Introduction: Objectives and Challenges . . . 17.2 A Quick Look at Traditional Quality Control . 17.3 Methods for Sensory QC . . . . . . . . . . . 17.3.1 Cuttings: A Bad Example . . . . . . 17.3.2 In-Out (Pass/Fail) System . . . . . 17.3.3 Difference from Control Ratings . . 17.3.4 Quality Ratings with Diagnostics . . 17.3.5 Descriptive Analysis . . . . . . . . 17.3.6 A Hybrid Approach: Quality Ratings with Diagnostics . . . . . . . . . . .

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    17.3.7 The Multiple Standards Difference Test . . . . . . . Recommended Procedure: Difference Scoring with Key Attribute Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.5 The Importance of Good Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.6 Historical Footnote: Expert Judges and Quality Scoring . . . . 17.6.1 Standardized Commodities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.6.2 Example 1: Dairy Product Judging . . . . . . . . . . 17.6.3 Example 2: Wine Scoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.7 Program Requirements and Program Development . . . . . . . 17.7.1 Desired Features of a Sensory QC System . . . . . . 17.7.2 Program Development and Management Issues . . . 17.7.3 The Problem of Low Incidence . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.8 Shelf-Life Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.8.1 Basic Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.8.2 Cutoff Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.8.3 Test Designs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.8.4 Survival Analysis and Hazard Functions . . . . . . . 17.8.5 Accelerated Storage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.9 Summary and Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 1: Sample Screening Tests for Sensory Quality Judges . . . . Appendix 2: Survival/Failure Estimates from a Series of Batches with Known Failure Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 3: Arrhenius Equation and Q10 Modeling . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Data Relationships and Multivariate Applications . . . . . . . . . . 18.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.2 Overview of Multivariate Statistical Techniques . . . . . . . . 18.2.1 Principal Component Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.2.2 Multivariate Analysis of Variance . . . . . . . . . . . 18.2.3 Discriminant Analysis (Also Known as Canonical Variate Analysis) . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.2.4 Generalized Procrustes Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . 18.3 Relating Consumer and Descriptive Data Through Preference Mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.3.1 Internal Preference Mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.3.2 External Preference Mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.4 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Strategic Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.1.1 Avenues for Strategic Research 19.1.2 Consumer Contact . . . . . . . 19.2 Competitive Surveillance . . . . . . . . 19.2.1 The Category Review . . . . . 19.2.2 Perceptual Mapping . . . . . . 19.2.3 Multivariate Methods: PCA . . 19.2.4 Multi-dimensional Scaling . .

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    19.2.5

    Cost-Efficient Methods for Data Collection: Sorting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.2.6 Vector Projection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.2.7 Cost-Efficient Methods for Data Collection: Projective Mapping, aka Napping . . . . . . . . 19.3 Attribute Identification and Classification . . . . . . . . . 19.3.1 Drivers of Liking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.3.2 The Kano Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.4 Preference Mapping Revisited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.4.1 Types of Preference Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.4.2 Preference Models: Vectors Versus Ideal Points 19.5 Consumer Segmentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.6 Claim Substantiation Revisited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.7 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.7.1 Blind Testing, New Coke, and the Vienna Philharmonic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.7.2 The Sensory Contribution . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Appendix A Basic Statistical Concepts for Sensory Evaluation . . A.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.2 Basic Statistical Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.2.1 Data Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.2.2 Population Statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.3 Hypothesis Testing and Statistical Inference . . . . . . . A.3.1 The Confidence Interval . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.3.2 Hypothesis Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.3.3 A Worked Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.3.4 A Few More Important Concepts . . . . . . . . A.3.5 Decision Errors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.4 Variations of the t-Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.4.1 The Sensitivity of the Dependent t-Test for Sensory Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.5 Summary: Statistical Hypothesis Testing . . . . . . . . . A.6 Postscript: What p-Values Signify and What They Do Not A.7 Statistical Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix B Nonparametric and Binomial-Based Statistical Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B.1 Introduction to Nonparametric Tests . . . . . . . . . B.2 Binomial-Based Tests on Proportions . . . . . . . . . B.3 Chi-Square . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B.3.1 A Measure of Relatedness of Two Variables B.3.2 Calculations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B.3.3 Related Samples: The McNemar Test . . . . B.3.4 The Stuart-Maxwell Test . . . . . . . . . . B.3.5 Beta-Binomial, Chance-Corrected Beta-Binomial, and Dirichlet Multinomial Analyses . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    B.4

    Useful Rank Order Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B.4.1 The Sign Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B.4.2 The Mann-Whitney U-Test . . . . . . . . . B.4.3 Ranked Data with More Than Two Samples, Friedman and Kramer Tests . . . . . . . . . B.4.4 Rank Order Correlation . . . . . . . . . . . B.5 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B.6 Postscript . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B.6.1 Proof showing equivalence of binomial approximation Z-test and χ 2 test for difference of proportions . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Appendix C Analysis of Variance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.1.1 Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.1.2 Basic Analysis of Variance . . . . . . . . . . . C.1.3 Rationale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.1.4 Calculations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.1.5 A Worked Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.2 Analysis of Variance from Complete Block Designs . . . C.2.1 Concepts and Partitioning Panelist Variance from Error . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.2.2 The Value of Using Panelists As Their Own Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.3 Planned Comparisons Between Means Following ANOVA C.4 Multiple Factor Analysis of Variance . . . . . . . . . . . C.4.1 An Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.4.2 Concept: A Linear Model . . . . . . . . . . . . C.4.3 A Note About Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . C.5 Panelist by Product by Replicate Designs . . . . . . . . . C.6 Issues and Concerns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.6.1 Sensory Panelists: Fixed or Random Effects? . C.6.2 A Note on Blocking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.6.3 Split-Plot or Between-Groups (Nested) Designs C.6.4 Statistical Assumptions and the Repeated Measures ANOVA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.6.5 Other Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix D Correlation, Regression, and Measures of Association D.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D.2 Correlation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D.2.1 Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient Example . . . D.2.2 Coefficient of Determination . . . . . . . . . . D.3 Linear Regression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D.3.1 Analysis of Variance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D.3.2 Analysis of Variance for Linear Regression . . D.3.3 Prediction of the Regression Line . . . . . . . . D.3.4 Linear Regression Example . . . . . . . . . . .

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    D.4 D.5

    Multiple Linear Regression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Other Measures of Association . . . . . . . . . . . . D.5.1 Spearman Rank Correlation . . . . . . . . . D.5.2 Spearman Correlation Coefficient Example D.5.3 Cramér’s V Measure . . . . . . . . . . . . . D.5.4 Cramér Coefficient Example . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Appendix E Statistical Power and Test Sensitivity . . . . . . . . E.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E.2 Factors Affecting the Power of Statistical Tests . . . . . E.2.1 Sample Size and Alpha Level . . . . . . . . . E.2.2 Effect Size . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E.2.3 How Alpha, Beta, Effect Size, and N Interact E.3 Worked Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E.3.1 The t-Test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E.3.2 An Equivalence Issue with Scaled Data . . . E.3.3 Sample Size for a Difference Test . . . . . . . E.4 Power in Simple Difference and Preference Tests . . . . E.5 Summary and Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Appendix F Statistical Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Table F.A Cumulative probabilities of the standard normal distribution. Entry area 1-α under the standard normal curve from −∞ to z(1-α) . . . . . . . . . . . . . Table F.B Table of critical values for the t-distribution . . . . . . . . Table F.C Table of critical values of the chi-square (χ 2 ) distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Table F.D1 Critical values of the F-distribution at α = 0.05 . . . . . . Table F.D2 Critical values of the F-distribution at α = 0.01 . . . . . . Table F.E Critical values of U for a one-tailed alpha at 0.025 or a two-tailed alpha at 0.05 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Table F.F1 Table of critical values of ρ (Spearman Rank correlation coefficient) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Table F.F2 Table of critical values of r (Pearson’s correlation coefficient) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Table F.G Critical values for Duncan’s multiple range test (p, df, α = 0.05) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Table F.H1 Critical values of the triangle test for similarity (maximum number correct as a function of the number of observations (N), beta, and proportion discriminating) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Table F.H2 Critical values of the duo-trio and paired comparison tests for similarity (maximum number correct as a function of the number of observations (N), beta, and proportion discriminating) . . . . . . . . . . Table F.I Table of probabilities for values as small as observed values of x associated with the binomial test (p=0.50) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Table F.J

    Critical values for the differences between rank sums (α = 0.05) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Critical values of the beta binomial distribution . . . . . . Minimum numbers of correct judgments to establish significance at probability levels of 5 and 1% for paired difference and duo-trio tests (one tailed, p = 1/2) and the triangle test (one tailed, p = 1/3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Minimum numbers of correct judgments to establish significance at probability levels of 5 and 1% for paired pference test (two tailed, p = 1/2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Minimum number of responses (n) and correct responses (x) to obtain a level of Type I and Type II risks in the triangle test. Pd is the chance-adjusted percent correct or proportion of discriminators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Minimum number of responses (n) and correct responses (x) to obtain a level of Type I and Type II risks in the duo-trio test. Pc is the chance-adjusted percent correct or proportion of discriminators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . d and B (variance factor) values for the duo-trio and 2-AFC (paired comparison) difference tests . . . . . . d and B (variance factor) values for the triangle and 3-AFC difference tests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Random permutations of nine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Random numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Author Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Subject Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Table F.K Table F.L

    Table F.M

    Table F.N1

    Table F.N2

    Table F.O1 Table F.O2 Table F.P Table F.Q

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    Chapter 1

    Introduction

    Abstract In this chapter we carefully parse the definition for sensory evaluation, briefly discuss validity of the data collected before outlining the early history of the field. We then describe the three main methods used in sensory evaluation (discrimination tests, descriptive analysis, and hedonic testing) before discussing the differences between analytical and consumer testing. We then briefly discuss why one may want to collect sensory data. In the final sections we highlight the differences and similarities between sensory evaluation and marketing research and between sensory evaluation and commodity grading as used in, for example, the dairy industry.

    Sensory evaluation is a child of industry. It was spawned in the late 40’s by the rapid growth of the consumer product companies, mainly food companies. . . . Future development in sensory evaluation will depend upon several factors, one of the most important being the people and their pparation and training. – Elaine Skinner (1989)

    Contents Introduction and Overview . . . . . . . . . 1.1.1 Definition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1.2 Measurement . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 Historical Landmarks and the Three Classes of Test Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.1 Difference Testing . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.2 Descriptive Analyses . . . . . . . . . 1.2.3 Affective Testing . . . . . . . . . . 1.2.4 The Central Dogma-Analytic Versus Hedonic Tests . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3 Applications: Why Collect Sensory Data? . . 1.3.1 Differences from Marketing Research Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3.2 Differences from Traditional Product Grading Systems . . . . . . . . . . 1.4 Summary and Conclusions . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1

    1.1 Introduction and Overview . . .

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    15 16 17

    1.1.1 Definition The field of sensory evaluation grew rapidly in the second half of the twentieth century, along with the expansion of the processed food and consumer products industries. Sensory evaluation comprises a set of techniques for accurate measurement of human responses to foods and minimizes the potentially biasing effects of brand identity and other information influences on consumer perception. As such, it attempts to isolate the sensory properties of foods themselves and provides important and useful information to product developers, food scientists, and managers about the sensory characteristics of their products. The field was comphensively reviewed by Amerine, Pangborn, and Roessler in 1965, and more recent texts have been published by Moskowitz et al. (2006), Stone and Sidel (2004), and Meilgaard et al. (2006). These three later sources are practical works aimed at sensory specialists

    H.T. Lawless, H. Heymann, Sensory Evaluation of Food, Food Science Text Series, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-6488-5_1, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

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    in industry and reflect the philosophies of the consulting groups of the authors. Our goal in this book is to provide a comphensive overview of the field with a balanced view based on research findings and one that is suited to students and practitioners alike. Sensory evaluation has been defined as a scientific method used to evoke, measure, analyze, and interpt those responses to products as perceived through the senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing (Stone and Sidel, 2004). This definition has been accepted and endorsed by sensory evaluation committees within various professional organizations such as the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Society for Testing and Materials. The principles and practices of sensory evaluation involve each of the four activities mentioned in this definition. Consider the words “to evoke.” Sensory evaluation gives guidelines for the pparation and serving of samples under controlled conditions so that biasing factors are minimized. For example, people in a sensory test are often placed in inpidual test booths so that the judgments they give are their own and do not reflect the opinions of those around them. Samples are labeled with random numbers so that people do not form judgments based upon labels, but rather on their sensory experiences. Another example is in how products may be given in different orders to each participant to help measure and counterbalance for the sequential effects of seeing one product after another. Standard procedures may be established for sample temperature, volume, and spacing in time, as needed to control unwanted variation and improve test pcision. Next, consider the words, “to measure.” Sensory evaluation is a quantitative science in which numerical data are collected to establish lawful and specific relationships between product characteristics and human perception. Sensory methods draw heavily from the techniques of behavioral research in observing and quantifying human responses. For example, we can assess the proportion of times people are able to discriminate small product changes or the proportion of a group that expsses a pference for one product over another. Another example is having people generate numerical responses reflecting their perception of how strong a product may taste or smell. Techniques of behavioral research and experimental psychology offer guidelines as to how such measurement techniques should be employed and what their potential pitfalls and liabilities may be.

    1 Introduction

    The third process in sensory evaluation is analysis. Proper analysis of the data is a critical part of sensory testing. Data generated from human observers are often highly variable. There are many sources of variation in human responses that cannot be completely controlled in a sensory test. Examples include the mood and motivation of the participants, their innate physiological sensitivity to sensory stimulation, and their past history and familiarity with similar products. While some screening may occur for these factors, they may be only partially controlled, and panels of humans are by their nature heterogeneous instruments for the generation of data. In order to assess whether the relationships observed between product characteristics and sensory responses are likely to be real, and not merely the result of uncontrolled variation in responses, the methods of statistics are used to analyze evaluation data. Hand-in-hand with using appropriate statistical analyses is the concern of using good experimental design, so that the variables of interest are investigated in a way that allows sensible conclusions to be drawn. The fourth process in sensory evaluation is the interptation of results. A sensory evaluation exercise is necessarily an experiment. In experiments, data and statistical information are only useful when interpted in the context of hypotheses, background knowledge, and implications for decisions and actions to be taken. Conclusions must be drawn that are reasoned judgments based upon data, analyses, and results. Conclusions involve consideration of the method, the limitations of the experiment, and the background and contextual framework of the study. The sensory evaluation specialists become more than mere conduits for experimental results, but must contribute interptations and suggest reasonable courses of action in light of the numbers. They should be full partners with their clients, the end-users of the test results, in guiding further research. The sensory evaluation professional is in the best situation to realize the appropriate interptation of test results and the implications for the perception of products by the wider group of consumers to whom the results may be generalized. The sensory specialist best understands the limitations of the test procedure and what its risks and liabilities may be. A sensory scientist who is ppared for a career in research must be trained in all four of the phases mentioned in the definition. They must understand products, people as measuring instruments, statistical

    1.1 Introduction and Overview

    1.1.2 Measurement Sensory evaluation is a science of measurement. Like other analytical test procedures, sensory evaluation is concerned with pcision, accuracy, sensitivity, and avoiding false positive results (Meiselman, 1993). Precision is similar to the concept in the behavioral sciences of reliability. In any test procedure, we would like to be able to get the same result when a test is repeated. There is usually some error variance around an obtained value, so that upon repeat testing, the value will not always be exactly the same. This is especially true of sensory tests in which human perceptions are necessarily part of the generation of data. However, in many sensory test procedures, it is desirable to minimize this error variance as much as possible and to have tests that are low in error associated with repeated measurements. This is achieved by several means. As noted above, we isolate the sensory response to the factors of interest, minimizing extraneous influences, controlling sample pparation and psentation. Additionally, as necessary, sensory scientists screen and train panel participants. A second concern is the accuracy of a test. In the physical sciences, this is viewed as the ability of a test instrument to produce a value that is close to the “true” value, as defined by independent measurement from another instrument or set of instruments that have been appropriately calibrated. A related idea in the behavioral sciences, this principle is called the validity of a test. This concerns the ability of a test procedure to measure what it was designed and intended to measure. Validity is established in a number of ways. One useful criterion is pdictive validity, when a test result is of value in pdicting what would occur in another situation or another measurement. In sensory testing, for example, the test results should reflect the perceptions and opinions of consumers that might buy the product. In other words, the results of the sensory test should generalize to the larger population. The test results might correlate with instrumental measures, process or ingredient variables, storage factors, shelf life times,

    3

    or other conditions known to affect sensory properties. In considering validity, we have to look at the end use of the information provided by a test. A sensory test method might be valid for some purposes, but not others (Meiselman, 1993). A simple difference test can tell if a product has changed, but not whether people will like the new version. A good sensory test will minimize errors in measurement and errors in conclusions and decisions. There are different types of errors that may occur in any test procedure. Whether the test result reflects the true state of the world is an important question, especially when error and uncontrolled variability are inherent in the measurement process. Of primary concern in sensory tests is the sensitivity of the test to differences among products. Another way to phrase this is that a test should not often miss important differences that are psent. “Missing a difference” implies an insensitive test procedure. To keep sensitivity high, we must minimize error variance wherever possible by careful experimental controls and by selection and training of panelists where appropriate. The test must involve sufficient numbers of measurements to insure a tight and reliable statistical estimate of the values we obtain, such as means or proportions. In statistical language, detecting true differences is avoiding Type II error and the minimization of β-risk. Discussion of the power and sensitivity of tests from a statistical perspective occurs in Chapter 5 and in the Appendix. The other error that may occur in a test result is that of finding a positive result when none is actually psent in the larger population of people and products outside the sensory test. Once again, a positive result usually means detection of a statistically significant difference between test products. It is important to use a test method that avoids false positive results or Type I error in statistical language. Basic statistical training and common statistical tests applied to scientific findings are oriented toward avoiding this kind of error. The effects of random chance deviations must be taken into account in deciding if a test result reflects a real difference or whether our result is likely to be due to chance variation. The common procedures of inferential statistics provide assurance that we have limited our possibility of finding a difference where one does not really exist. Statistical procedures reduce this risk to some comfortable level, usually with a ceiling of 5% of all tests we conduct.

    4

    1 Introduction

    (Lawless and Klein, 1989). An important function of sensory scientists in an academic setting is to provide consulting and resources to insure that quality tests are conducted by other researchers and students who seek to understand the sensory impact of the variables they are studying. In government services such as food inspection, sensory evaluation plays a key role (York, 1995). Sensory principles and appropriate training can be key in insuring that test methods reflect the current knowledge of sensory function and test design. See Lawless (1993) for an overview of the education and training of sensory scientists-much of this piece still rings true more than 15 years later.

    1.2 Historical Landmarks and the Three Classes of Test Methods The human senses have been used for centuries to evaluate the quality of foods. We all form judgments about foods whenever we eat or drink (“Everyone carries his own inch-rule of taste, and amuses himself by applying it, triumphantly, wherever he travels.”-Henry Adams, 1918). This does not mean that all judgments are useful or that anyone is qualified to participate in a sensory test. In the past, production of good quality foods often depended upon the sensory acuity of a single expert who was in charge of production or made decisions about process changes in order to make sure the product would have desirable characteristics. This was the historical tradition of brewmasters, wine tasters, dairy judges, and other food inspectors who acted as the arbiters of quality. Modern sensory evaluation replaced these single authorities with panels of people participating in specific test methods that took the form of planned experiments. This change occurred for several reasons. First, it was recognized that the judgments of a panel would in general be more reliable than the judgments of single inpidual and it entailed less risk since the single expert could become ill, travel, retire, die, or be otherwise unavailable to make decisions. Replacement of such an inpidual was a nontrivial problem. Second, the expert might or might not reflect what consumers or segments of the consuming public might want in a product. Thus for issues of product quality and overall appeal, it was safer (although often more time consuming and expensive)

    1.2 Historical Landmarks and the Three Classes of Test Methods

    to go directly to the target population. Although the tradition of informal, qualitative inspections such as benchtop “cuttings” persists in some industries, they have been gradually replaced by more formal, quantitative, and controlled observations (Stone and Sidel, 2004). The current sensory evaluation methods comprise a set of measurement techniques with established track records of use in industry and academic research. Much of what we consider standard procedures comes from pitfalls and problems encountered in the practical experience of sensory specialists over the last 70 years of food and consumer product research, and this experience is considerable. The primary concern of any sensory evaluation specialist is to insure that the test method is appropriate to answer the questions being asked about the product in the test. For this reason, tests are usually classified according to their primary purpose and most valid use. Three types of sensory testing are commonly used, each with a different goal and each using participants selected using different criteria. A summary of the three main types of testing is given in Table 1.1.

    1.2.1 Difference Testing The simplest sensory tests merely attempt to answer whether any perceptible difference exists between two types of products. These are the discrimination tests or simple difference testing procedures. Analysis is usually based on the statistics of frequencies and proportions (counting right and wrong answers). From the test results, we infer differences based on the proportions of persons who are able to choose a test product correctly from among a set of similar or control products. A classic example of this test was the triangle procedure, used in the Carlsberg breweries and in the Seagrams distilleries in the 1940s (Helm and Trolle,

    5

    1946; Peryam and Swartz, 1950). In this test, two products were from the same batch while a third product was different. Judges would be asked to pick the odd sample from among the three. Ability to discriminate differences would be inferred from consistent correct choices above the level expected by chance. In breweries, this test served primarily as a means to screen judges for beer evaluation, to insure that they possessed sufficient discrimination abilities. Another multiple-choice difference test was developed at about the same time in distilleries for purposes of quality control (Peryam and Swartz, 1950). In the duo-trio procedure, a reference sample was given and then two test samples. One of the test samples matched the reference while the other was from a different product, batch or process. The participant would try to match the correct sample to the reference, with a chance probability of one-half. As in the triangle test, a proportion of correct choices above that expected by chance is considered evidence for a perceivable difference between products. A third popular difference test was the paired comparison, in which participants would be asked to choose which of two products was stronger or more intense in a given attribute. Partly due to the fact that the panelist’s attention is directed to a specific attribute, this test is very sensitive to differences. These three common difference tests are shown in Fig. 1.1. Simple difference tests have proven very useful in application and are in widespad use today. Typically a discrimination test will be conducted with 25-40 participants who have been screened for their sensory acuity to common product differences and who are familiar with the test procedures. This generally provides an adequate sample size for documenting clear sensory differences. Often a replicate test is performed while the respondents are psent in the sensory test facility. In part, the popularity of these tests is due to the simplicity of data analysis. Statistical tables derived from the binomial distribution give the minimum number of correct responses needed to conclude statistical

    Table 1.1 Classification of test methods in sensory evaluation Class Question of interest

    Type of test

    Panelist characteristics

    Discrimination

    Are products perceptibly different in any way

    “Analytic”

    Descriptive

    How do products differ in specific sensory characteristics How well are products liked or which products are pferred

    “Analytic”

    Screened for sensory acuity, oriented to test method, sometimes trained Screened for sensory acuity and motivation, trained or highly trained Screened for products, untrained

    Affective

    “Hedonic”

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    1 Introduction

    Fig. 1.1 Common methods for discrimination testing include the triangle, duo-trio, and paired comparison procedures.

    significance as a function of the number of participants. Thus a sensory technician merely needs to count answers and refer to a table to give a simple statistical conclusion, and results can be easily and quickly reported.

    the consensus of a panel was likely to be more reliable and accurate than the judgment of a single inpidual. Second, it provided a means to characterize the inpidual attributes of flavor and provide a comphensive analytical description of differences among a group of products under development. Several variations and refinements in descriptive analysis techniques were forthcoming. A group at the General Foods Technical Center in the early 1960s developed and refined a method to quantify food texture, much as the flavor profile had enabled the quantification of flavor properties (Brandt et al., 1963, Szczesniak et al., 1975). This technique, the Texture Profile method, used a fixed set of force-related and shape-related attributes to characterize the rheological and tactile properties of foods and how these changed over time with mastication. These characteristics have parallels in the physical evaluation of food breakdown or flow. For example, perceived hardness is related to the physical force required to penetrate a sample. Perceived thickness of a fluid or semisolid is related in part to physical viscosity. Texture profile panelists were also trained to recognize specific intensity points along each scale, using standard products or formulated pseudo-foods for calibration. Other approaches were developed for descriptive analysis problems. At Stanford Research Institute in the early 1970s, a group proposed a method for descriptive analysis that would remedy some of the R apparent shortcomings of the Flavor Profile method

    1.2 Historical Landmarks and the Three Classes of Test Methods

    Table 1.2 Descriptive evaluation of cookies-texture attributes Phase Attributes Word anchors Surface

    First bite

    First chew Chew down

    Residual

    Roughness Particles Dryness Fracturability Hardness Particle size Denseness Uniformity of chew Moisture absorption Cohesiveness of mass Toothpacking Grittiness Oiliness Particles Chalky

    Smooth-rough None-many Oily-dry Crumbly-brittle Soft-hard Small-large Airy-dense Even-uneven None-much Loose-cohesive None-much None-much Dry-oily None-many Not chalky-very chalky

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    a uniform and controlled manner, typical of an analytical sensory test procedure. For example, the first bite may be defined as cutting with the incisors. The panel for such an analysis would consist of perhaps 10- 12 well-trained inpiduals, who were oriented to the meanings of the terms and given practice with examples. Intensity references to exemplify scale points are also given in some techniques. Note the amount of detailed information that can be provided in this example and bear in mind that this is only looking at the product’s texture-flavor might form an equally detailed sensory analysis, perhaps with a separate trained panel. The relatively small number of panelists (a dozen or so) is justified due to their level of calibration. Since they have been trained to use attribute scales in a similar manner, error variance is lowered and statistical power and test sensitivity are maintained in spite of fewer observations (fewer data points per product). Similar examples of texture, flavor, fragrance, and tactile analyses can be found in Meilgaard et al. (2006).

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    1 Introduction

    the food product (the stimulus). However, since a sensory perception involves the necessary interaction of a person with a stimulus, it should be apparent that similar test methods are necessary to characterize this person-product interaction.

    1.2.4 The Central Dogma-Analytic Versus Hedonic Tests

    Fig. 1.2 The 9-point hedonic scale used to assess liking and disliking. This scale, originally developed at the U.S. Army Food and Container Institute (Quartermaster Corps), has achieved widespad use in consumer testing of foods.

    The central principle for all sensory evaluation is that the test method should be matched to the objectives of the test. Figure 1.3 shows how the selection of the test procedure flows from questions about the objective of the investigation. To fulfill this goal, it is necessary to have clear communication between the sensory test manager and the client or end-user of the information. A dialogue is often needed. Is the important question whether or not there is any difference at all among the products? If so, a discrimination test is indicated. Is the question one of whether consumers like the new product better than the pvious version? A consumer acceptance test is needed. Do we need to know what attributes have changed in the sensory characteristics of the new product? Then a descriptive analysis procedure is called for. Sometimes there are multiple objectives and a sequence of different tests is required (Lawless and Claassen, 1993). This can psent problems if all the answers are required at once or under severe time pssure during competitive product development. One of the most important jobs of the sensory specialist in the food industry is to insure a clear understanding and specification of the type of information needed by the end-users. Test design may require a number of conversations, interviews with different people, or even written test requests that specify why the information is to be collected and how the results will be used in making specific decisions and subsequent actions to be taken. The sensory specialist is the best position to understand the uses and limitations of each procedure and what would be considered appropriate versus inappropriate conclusions from the data. There are two important corollaries to this principle. The sensory test design involves not only the selection of an appropriate method but also the selection of appropriate participants and statistical analyses. The three classes of sensory tests can be pided into two types, analytical sensory tests including discrimination

    1.2 Historical Landmarks and the Three Classes of Test Methods

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    Fig. 1.3 A flowchart showing methods determination. Based on the major objectives and research questions, different sensory test methods are selected. Similar decision processes are made in panelist selection, setting up response scales, in choosing experimental designs, statistical analysis, and other tasks in designing a sensory test (reprinted with permission from Lawless, 1993).

    and descriptive methods and affective or hedonic tests such as those involved in assessing consumer liking or pferences (Lawless and Claassen, 1993). For the analytical tests, panelists are selected based on having average to good sensory acuity for the critical characteristics (tastes, smells, textures, etc.) of products to be evaluated. They are familiarized with the test procedures and may undergo greater or lesser amounts of training, depending upon the method. In the case of descriptive analysis, they adopt an analytical frame of mind, focusing on specific aspects of the product as directed by the scales on their questionnaires. They are asked to put personal pferences and hedonic reactions aside, as their job is only to specify what attributes are psent in the product and at what levels of sensory intensity, extent, amount, or duration. In contrast to this analytical frame of mind, consumers in an affective test act in a much more integrative fashion. They perceive a product as a whole pattern. Although their attention is sometimes captured by a specific aspect of a product (especially if it is a bad, unexpected, or unpleasant one), their reactions to the product are often immediate and based on the integrated pattern of sensory stimulation from the product and expssed as liking or disliking. This occurs without a great deal of thought or dissection of the product’s specific profile. In other words, consumers are effective at rendering impssions based on the integrated pattern of perceptions. In such consumer

    tests, participants must be chosen carefully to insure that the results will generalize to the population of interest. Participants should be frequent users of the product, since they are most likely to form the target market and will be familiar with similar products. They possess reasonable expectations and a frame of reference within which they can form an opinion relative to other similar products they have tried. The analytic/hedonic distinction gives rise to some highly important rules of thumb and some warnings about matching test methods and respondents. It is unwise to ask trained panelists about their pferences or whether they like or dislike a product. They have been asked to assume a different, more analytical frame of mind and to place personal pference aside. Furthermore, they have not necessarily been selected to be frequent users of the product, so they are not part of the target population to which one would like to generalize hedonic test results. A common analogy here is to an analytical instrument. You would not ask a gas chromatograph or a pH meter whether it liked the product, so why ask your analytical descriptive panel (O’Mahony, 1979). Conversely, problems arise when consumers are asked to furnish very specific information about product attributes. Consumers not only act in a non-analytic frame of mind but also often have very fuzzy concepts about specific attributes, confusing sour and bitter tastes, for example. Inpiduals often differ markedly

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    in their interptations of sensory attribute words on a questionnaire. While a trained texture profile panel has no trouble in agreeing how cohesive a product is after chewing, we cannot expect consumers to provide pcise information on such a specific and technical attribute. In summary, we avoid using trained panelists for affective information and we avoid asking consumers about specific analytical attributes. Related to the analytic-hedonic distinction is the question of whether experimental control and pcision are to be maximized or whether validity and generalizability to the real world are more important. Often there is a tradeoff between the two and it is difficult to maximize both simultaneously. Analytic tests in the lab with specially screened and trained judges are more reliable and lower in random error than consumer tests. However, we give up a certain amount of generalizability to real-world results by using artificial conditions and a special group of participants. Conversely, in the testing of products by consumers in their own homes we have not only a lot of real-life validity but also a lot of noise in the data. Brinberg and McGrath (1985) have termed this struggle between pcision and validity one of “conflicting desiderata.” O’Mahony (1988) has made a distinction between sensory evaluation Type I and Type II. In Type I sensory evaluation, reliability and sensitivity are key factors, and the participant is viewed much like an analytical instrument used to detect and measure changes in a food product. In Type II sensory evaluation, participants are chosen to be repsentative of the consuming population, and they may evaluate food under more naturalistic conditions. Their emphasis here is on pdiction of consumer response. Every sensory test falls somewhere along a continuum where reliability versus real-life extrapolation are in a potential tradeoff relationship. This factor must also be discussed with end-users of the data to see where their emphasis lies and what level of tradeoff they find comfortable. Statistical analyses must also be chosen with an eye to the nature of the data. Discrimination tests involve choices and counting numbers of correct responses. The statistics derived from the binomial distribution or those designed for proportions such as chi-square are appropriate. Conversely, for most scaled data, we can apply the familiar parametric statistics appropriate to normally distributed and continuous data, such as means, standard deviations, t-tests, analysis of variance. The choice of an appropriate statistical test is not

    1 Introduction

    always straightforward, so sensory specialists are wise to have thorough training in statistics and to involve statistical and design specialists in a complex project in its earliest stages of planning. Occasionally, these central principles are violated. They should not be put aside as a matter of mere expediency or cost savings and never without a logical analysis. One common example is the use of a discrimination test before consumer acceptance. Although our ultimate interest may lie in whether consumers will like or dislike a new product variation, we can conduct a simple difference test to see whether any change is perceivable at all. The logic in this sequence is the following: if a screened and experienced discrimination panel cannot tell the difference under carefully controlled conditions in the sensory laboratory, then a more heterogeneous group of consumers is unlikely to see a difference in their less controlled and more variable world. If no difference is perceived, there can logically be no systematic pference. So a more time consuming and costly consumer test can sometimes be avoided by conducting a simpler but more sensitive discrimination test first. The added reliability of the controlled discrimination test provides a “safety net” for conclusions about consumer perception. Of course, this logic is not without its pitfalls-some consumers may interact extensively with the product during a home use test period and may form stable and important opinions that are not captured in a short duration laboratory test, and there is also always the possibility of a false negative result (the error of missing a difference). MacRae and Geelhoed (1992) describe an interesting case of a missed difference in a triangle test where a significant pference was then observed between water samples in a paired comparison. The sensory professional must be aware that these anomalies in experimental results will sometimes arise, and must also be aware of some of the reasons why they occur.

    1.3 Applications: Why Collect Sensory Data? Human perceptions of foods and consumer products are the results of complex sensory and interptation processes. At this stage in scientific history, perceptions of such multidimensional stimuli as conducted

    1.3 Applications: Why Collect Sensory Data?

    by the parallel processing of the human nervous system are difficult or impossible to pdict from instrumental measures. In many cases instruments lack the sensitivity of human sensory systems-smell is a good example. Instruments rarely mimic the mechanical manipulation of foods when tasted nor do they mimic the types of peri-receptor filtering that occur in biological fluids like saliva or mucus that can cause chemical partitioning of flavor materials. Most importantly, instrumental assessments give values that miss an important perceptual process: the interptation of sensory experience by the human brain prior to responding. The brain lies interposed between sensory input and the generation of responses that form our data. It is a massively parallel-distributed processor and computational engine, capable of rapid feats of pattern recognition. It comes to the sensory evaluation task complete with a personal history and experiential frame of reference. Sensory experience is interpted, given meaning within the frame of reference, evaluated relative to expectations and can involve integration of multiple simultaneous or sequential inputs. Finally judgments are rendered as our data. Thus there is a “chain of perception” rather than simply stimulus and response (Meilgaard et al., 2006). Only human sensory data provide the best models for how consumers are likely to perceive and react to food products in real life. We collect, analyze, and interpt sensory data to form pdictions about how products have changed during a product development program. In the food and consumer products industries, these changes arise from three important factors: ingredients, processes, and packaging. A fourth consideration is often the way a product ages, in other words its shelf life, but we may consider shelf stability to be one special case of processing, albeit usually a very passive one (but also consider products exposed to temperature fluctuation, light-catalyzed oxidation, microbial contamination, and other “abuses”). Ingredient changes arise for a number of reasons. They may be introduced to improve product quality, to reduce costs of production, or simply because a certain supply of raw materials has become unavailable. Processing changes likewise arise from the attempt to improve quality in terms of sensory, nutritional, microbiological stability factors, to reduce costs or to improve manufacturing productivity. Packaging changes arise from considerations of product stability or other quality factors, e.g., a certain

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    amount of oxygen permeability may insure that a fresh beef product remains red in color for improved visual appeal to consumers. Packages function as carriers of product information and brand image, so both sensory characteristics and expectations can change as a function of how this information can be carried and displayed by the packaging material and its print overlay. Packaging and print ink may cause changes in flavor or aroma due to flavor transfer out of the product and sometimes transfer of off-flavors into the product. The package also serves as an important barrier to oxidative changes, to the potentially deleterious effects of light-catalyzed reactions, and to microbial infestations and other nuisances. The sensory test is conducted to study how these product manipulations will create perceived changes to human observers. In this sense, sensory evaluation is in the best traditions of psychophysics, the oldest branch of scientific psychology, that attempts to specify the relationships between different energy levels impinging upon the sensory organs (the physical part of psychophysics) and the human response (the psychological part). Often, one cannot pdict exactly what the sensory change will be as a function of ingredients, processes, or packaging, or it is very difficult to do so since foods and consumer products are usually quite complex systems. Flavors and aromas depend upon complex mixtures of many volatile chemicals. Informal tasting in the lab may not bring a reliable or sufficient answer to sensory questions. The benchtop in the development laboratory is a poor place to judge potential sensory impact with distractions, competing odors, nonstandard lighting, and so on. Finally, the nose, eyes, and tongue of the product developer may not be repsentative of most other people who will buy the product. So there is some uncertainty about how consumers will view a product especially under more natural conditions. Uncertainty is the key here. If the outcome of a sensory test is perfectly known and pdictable, there is no need to conduct the formal evaluation. Unfortunately, useless tests are often requested of a sensory testing group in the industrial setting. The burden of useless routine tests arises from overly entrenched product development sequences, corporate traditions, or merely the desire to protect oneself from blame in the case of unexpected failures. However, the sensory test is only as useful as the amount of reduction in uncertainty that occurs. If there is no uncertainty, there

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    is no need for the sensory test. For example, doing a sensory test to see if there is a perceptible color difference between a commercial red wine and a commercial white wine is a waste of resources, since there is no uncertainty! In the industrial setting, sensory evaluation provides a conduit for information that is useful in management business decisions about directions for product development and product changes. These decisions are based on lower uncertainty and lower risk once the sensory information is provided. Sensory evaluation also functions for other purposes. It may be quite useful or even necessary to include sensory analyses in quality control (QC) or quality assurance. Modification of traditional sensory practices may be required to accommodate the small panels and rapid assessments often required in online QC in the manufacturing environment. Due to the time needed to assemble a panel, ppare samples for testing, analyze and report sensory data, it can be quite challenging to apply sensory techniques to quality control as an on-line assessment. Quality assurance involving sensory assessments of finished products are more readily amenable to sensory testing and may be integrated with routine programs for shelf life assessment or quality monitoring. Often it is desirable to establish correlations between sensory response and instrumental measures. If this is done well, the instrumental measure can sometimes be substituted for the sensory test. This is especially applicable under conditions in which rapid turnaround is needed. Substitution of instrumental measurements for sensory data may also be useful if the evaluations are likely to be fatiguing to the senses, repetitive, involve risk in repeated evaluations (e.g., insecticide fragrances), and are not high in business risk if unexpected sensory problems arise that were missed. In addition to these product-focused areas of testing, sensory research is valuable in a broader context. A sensory test may help to understand the attributes of a product that consumers view as critical to product acceptance and thus success. While we keep a wary eye on the fuzzy way that consumers use language, consumer sensory tests can provide diagnostic information about a product’s points of superiority or shortcomings. Consumer sensory evaluations may suggest hypotheses for further inquiry such as exploration of new product opportunities. There are recurrent themes and enduring problems in sensory science. In 1989, the ASTM Committee

    1 Introduction

    1.3 Applications: Why Collect Sensory Data?

    (4)

    (5)

    (6)

    (7)

    control in multi-plant manufacturing situations, as well as international product development and the problem of multiple sensory testing sites and panels. Environmental and biochemical factors. Kamen recognized that pferences may change as a function of the situation (food often tastes better outdoors and when you are hungry). Meiselman (1993) questioned whether sufficient sensory research is being performed in realistic eating situations that may be more pdictive of consumer reactions, and recently sensory scientists have started to explore this area of research (for example, Giboreau and Fleury, 2009; Hein et al., 2009; Mielby and Frøst, 2009). Resolving discrepancies between laboratory and field studies. In the search for reliable, detailed, and pcise analytical methods in the sensory laboratory, some accuracy in pdicting field test results may be lost. Management must be aware of the potential of false positive or negative results if a full testing sequence is not carried out, i.e., if shortcuts are made in the testing sequence prior to marketing a new product. Sensory evaluation specialists in industry do not always have time to study the level of correlation between laboratory and field tests, but a prudent sensory program would include periodic checks on this issue. Inpidual differences. Since Kamen’s era, a growing literature has illuminated the fact that human panelists are not identical, interchangeable measuring instruments. Each comes with different physiological equipment, different frames of reference, different abilities to focus and maintain attention, and different motivational resources. As an example of differences in physiology, we have the growing literature on specific anosmias-smell “blindnesses” to specific chemical compounds among persons with otherwise normal senses of smell (Boyle et al., 2006; Plotto et al., 2006; Wysocki and Labows, 1984). It should not be surprising that some olfactory characteristics are difficult for even trained panelists to evaluate and to come to agreement (Bett and Johnson, 1996). Relating sensory differences to product variables. This is certainly the meat of sensory science in industrial practice. However, many product developers do not sufficiently involve their sensory specialists in the underlying research questions.

    13

    They also may fall into the trap of never ending sequences of paired tests, with little or no planned designs and no modeling of how underlying physical variables (ingredients, processes) create a dynamic range of sensory changes. The relation of graded physical changes to sensory response is the essence of psychophysical thinking. (8) Sensory interactions. Foods and consumer products are multidimensional. The more sensory scientists understand interactions among characteristics such as enhancement and masking effects, the better they can interpt the results of sensory tests and provide informed judgments and reasoned conclusions in addition to reporting just numbers and statistical significance. (9) Sensory education. End-users of sensory data and people who request sensory tests often expect one tool to answer all questions. Kamen cited the simple dichotomy between analytical and hedonic testing (e.g., discrimination versus pference) and how explaining this difference was a constant task. Due to the lack of widespad training in sensory science, the task of sensory education is still with us today, and a sensory professional must be able to explain the rationale behind test methods and communicate the importance and logic of sensory technology to non-sensory scientists and managers.

    14 Table 1.3 Contrast of sensory evaluation consumer tests with market research tests

    1 Introduction Sensory testing with consumers Participants screened to be users of the product category Blind-labeled samples-random codes with minimal conceptual information Determines if sensory properties and overall appeal met targets Expectations based on similar products used in the category Not intended to assess response/appeal of product concept Market research testing (concept and/or product test) Participants in product-testing phase selected for positive response to concept Conceptual claims, information, and frame of reference are explicit Expectations derived from concept/claims and similar product usage Unable to measure sensory appeal in isolation from concept and expectations

    designed to make the product conceptually appealing (e.g., bringing attention to convenience factors in pparation). In a sensory test all these potentially biasing factors are stripped away in order to isolate the opinion based on sensory properties only. In the tradition of scientific inquiry, we need to isolate the variables of interest (ingredients, processing, packaging changes) and assess sensory properties as a function of these variables, and not as a function of conceptual influences. This is done to minimize the influence of a larger cognitive load of expectations generated from complex conceptual information. There are many potential response biases and task demands that are entailed in “selling” an idea as well as in selling a product. Participants often like to please the experimenter and give results consistent with what they think the person wants. There is a large literature on the effect of factors such as brand label on consumer response. Product information interacts in complex ways with consumer attitudes and expectancies (Aaron et al., 1994; Barrios and Costell, 2004; Cardello and Sawyer, 1992; Costell et al., 2009; Deliza and MacFie, 1996; Giménez et al., 2008; Kimura et al., 2008; Mielby and Frøst, 2009; Park and Lee, 2003; Shepherd et al., 1991/1992). Expectations can cause assimilation of sensory reactions toward what is expected under some conditions and under other conditions will show contrast effects, enhancing differences when expectations are not met (Siegrist and Cousin, 2009; Lee et al., 2006; Yeomans et al., 2008; Zellner et al., 2004). Packaging and brand information will also affect sensory judgments (Dantas et al., 2004; Deliza et al., 1999; Enneking et al., 2007). So the apparent resemblance of a blind sensory test and a fully concept-loaded market research test are quite illusory. Corporate management needs to be reminded of this important distinction. There continues to be

    1.3 Applications: Why Collect Sensory Data?

    1.3.2 Differences from Traditional Product Grading Systems A second arena of apparent similarity to sensory evaluation is with the traditional product quality grading systems that use sensory criteria. The grading of agricultural commodities is a historically important influence on the movement to assure consumers of quality standards in the foods they purchase. Such techniques were widely applicable to simple products such as fluid milk and butter (Bodyfelt et al., 1988, 2008), where an ideal product could be largely agreed upon and the defects that could arise in poor handling and processing gave rise to well-known sensory effects. Further impetus came from the fact that competitions could be held to examine whether novice judges-in-training could match the opinions of experts. This is much in the tradition of livestock grading-a young person could judge a cow and receive awards at a state fair for learning to use the same criteria and critical eye as the expert judges. There are noteworthy differences in the ways in which sensory testing and quality judging are performed. Some of these are outlined in Table 1.4. The commodity grading and the inspection tradition have severe limitations in the current era of highly processed foods and market segmentation. There are fewer and fewer “standard products” relative to the wide variation in flavors, nutrient levels (e.g., low fat), convenience pparations, and other choices that

    15

    line the supermarket shelves. Also, one person’s product defect may be another’s marketing bonanza, as in the glue that did not work so well that gave us the ubiquitous post-it notes. Quality judging methods are poorly suited to research support programs. The techniques have been widely criticized on a number of scientific grounds (Claassen and Lawless, 1992; Drake, 2007; O’Mahony, 1979; Pangborn and Dunkley, 1964; Sidel et al., 1981), although they still have their proponents in industry and agriculture (Bodyfelt et al., 1988, 2008). The defect identification in quality grading emphasizes root causes (e.g., oxidized flavor) whereas the descriptive approach uses more elemental singular terms to describe perceptions rather than to infer causes. In the case of oxidized flavors, the descriptive analysis panel might use a number of terms (oily, painty, and fishy) since oxidation causes a number of qualitatively different sensory effects. Another notable difference from mainstream sensory evaluation is that the quality judgments combine an overall quality scale (psumably reflecting consumer dislikes) with diagnostic information about defects, a kind of descriptive analysis looking only at the negative aspects of products. In mainstream sensory evaluation, the descriptive function and the consumer evaluation would be clearly separate in two distinct tests with different respondents. Whether the opinion of a single expert can effectively repsent consumer opinion is highly questionable at this time in history.

    Table 1.4 Contrast of sensory evaluation tests with quality inspection Sensory testing Separates hedonic (like-dislike) and descriptive information into separate tests Uses repsentative consumers for assessment of product appeal (liking/disliking) Uses trained panelists to specify attributes, but not liking/disliking Oriented to research support Flexible for new, engineered, and innovative products Emphasizes statistical inference for decision making, suitable experimental designs, and sample sizes Quality inspection Used for pass-fail online decisions in manufacturing Provides quality score and diagnostic information concerning defects in one test Uses sensory expertise of highly trained inpiduals May use only one or very few trained experts Product knowledge, potential problems, and causes are stressed Traditional scales are multi-dimensional and poorly suited to statistical analyses Decision-making basis may be qualitative Oriented to standard commodities

    16

    1 Introduction

    1.4 Summary and Conclusions Sensory evaluation comprises a set of test methods with guidelines and established techniques for product psentation, well-defined response tasks, statistical methods, and guidelines for interptation of results. Three primary kinds of sensory tests focus on the

    existence of overall differences among products (discrimination tests), specification of attributes (descriptive analysis), and measuring consumer likes and dislikes (affective or hedonic testing). Correct application of sensory technique involves correct matching of method to the objective of the tests, and this requires good communication between sensory specialists and

    Methods Selection

    yes Consumer Acceptability Question? no Choose from: Preference/choice Ranking Rated Acceptability

    no go to Panel Setup

    Sensory Analytical Question? yes

    yes

    Simple Same/different Question?

    re-open discussion of objectives

    no

    no

    Choose from: Overall difference tests n-alternative forced choice Rated difference from control

    go to Panel Setup Nature of Difference Question? yes

    Choose from: descriptive analysis techniques or modifications

    go to Panel Setup

    Fig. 1.4 A sensory evaluation department may interact with many other departments in a food or consumer products company. Their primary interaction is in support of product research and development, much as marketing research supports the

    References

    end-users of the test results. Logical choices of test participants and appropriate statistical analyses form part of the methodological mix. Analytic tests such as the discrimination and descriptive procedures require good experimental control and maximization of test pcision. Affective tests on the other hand require use of repsentative consumers of the products and test conditions that enable generalization to how products are experienced by consumers in the real world. Sensory tests provide useful information about the human perception of product changes due to ingredients, processing, packaging, or shelf life. Sensory evaluation departments not only interact most heavily with new product development groups but may also provide information to quality control, marketing research, packaging, and, indirectly, to other groups throughout a company (Fig. 1.4). Sensory information reduces risk in decisions about product development and strategies for meeting consumer needs. A wellfunctioning sensory program will be useful to a company in meeting consumer expectations and insuring a greater chance of marketplace success. The utility of the information provided is directly related to the quality of the sensory measurement. . . . , sensory food science stands at the intersection of many disciplines and research traditions, and the stakeholders are many (Tuorila and Monteleone, 2009). Quantities derive from measurement, ps from quantities, comparisons from ps, and victory from comparisons (Sun Tzu – The Art of War (Ch. 4, v.18)).

    References Aaron, J. I., Mela, D. J. and Evans, R. E. 1994. The influence of attitudes, beliefs and label information on perceptions of reduced-fat spad. Appetite, 22(1), 25-38. Adams, H. 1918. The Education of Henry Adams. The Modern Library, New York. Amerine, M. A., Pangborn, R. M. and Roessler, E. B. 1965. Principles of Sensory Evaluation of Food. Academic, New York. ASTM E1958. 2008. Standard guide for sensory claim substantiation. ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA. ASTM. 1989. Sensory evaluation. In celebration of our beginnings. Committee E-18 on Sensory Evaluation of Materials and Products. ASTM, Philadelphia. Barrios, E. X. and Costell, E. 2004. Review: use of methods of research into consumers’ opinions and attitudes in food research. Food Science and Technology International, 10, 359-371.

    18 Giboreau, A. and Fleury, H. 2009. A new research platform to contribute to the pleasure of eating and healthy food behaviors through academic and applied food and hospitality research. Food Quality and Preference, 20, 533-536 Giménez, A., Ares, G. and Gámbaro, A. 2008. Consumer attitude toward shelf-life labeling: does it influence acceptance? Journal of Sensory Studies, 23, 871-883. Hein, K. A., Hamid, N., Jaeger, S. R. and Delahunty, C. M. 2009. Application of a written scenario to evoke a consumption context in a laboratory setting: effects on hedonic ratings. Food Quality and Preference. doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2009.10.003 Helm, E. and Trolle, B. 1946. Selection of a taste panel. Wallerstein Laboratory Communications, 9, 181-194. Jones, L. V., Peryam, D. R. and Thurstone, L. L. 1955. Development of a scale for measuring soldier’s food pferences. Food Research, 20, 512-520. Kamen, J. 1989. Observations, reminiscences and chatter. In: Sensory Evaluation. In celebration of our Beginnings. Committee E-18 on Sensory Evaluation of Materials and Products. ASTM, Philadelphia, pp. 118-122. Kimura, A., Wada, Y., Tsuzuki, D., Goto, S., Cai, D. and Dan, I. 2008. Consumer valuation of packaged foods. Interactive effects of amount and accessibility of information. Appetite, 51, 628-634. Lawless, H. T. 1993. The education and training of sensory scientists. Food Quality and Preference, 4, 51-63. Lawless, H. T. and Claassen, M. R. 1993. The central dogma in sensory evaluation. Food Technology, 47(6), 139-146. Lawless, H. T. and Klein, B. P. 1989. Academic vs. industrial perspectives on sensory evaluation. Journal of Sensory Studies, 3, 205-216. Lee, L., Frederick, S. and Ariely, D. 2006. Try it, you’ll like it. Psychological Science, 17, 1054-1058. MacRae, R. W. and Geelhoed, E. N. 1992. Preference can be more powerful than detection of oddity as a test of discriminability. Perception and Psychophysics, 51, 179-181. Meilgaard, M., Civille, G. V. and Carr, B. T. 2006. Sensory Evaluation Techniques. Fourth Second edition. CRC, Boca Raton. Meiselman, H. L. 1993. Critical evaluation of sensory techniques. Food Quality and Preference, 4, 33-40. Mielby, L. H. and Frøst, M. B. 2009. Expectations and surprise in a molecular gastronomic meal. Food Quality and Preference. doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2009.09.005 Moskowitz, H. R., Beckley, J. H. and Resurreccion, A. V. A. 2006. Sensory and Consumer Research in Food Product Design and Development. Wiley-Blackwell, New York. Moskowitz, H. R. 1983. Product Testing and Sensory Evaluation of Foods. Food and Nutrition, Westport, CT. Oliver, T. 1986. The Real Coke, The Real Story. Random House, New York. O’Mahony, M. 1988. Sensory difference and pference testing: The use of signal detection measures. Chpater 8 In: H. R. Moskowitz (ed.), Applied Sensory Analysis of Foods. CRC, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 145-175.

    1 Introduction O’Mahony, M. 1979. Psychophysical aspects of sensory analysis of dairy products: a critique. Journal of Dairy Science, 62, 1954-1962. Pangborn, R. M. and Dunkley, W. L. 1964. Laboratory procedures for evaluating the sensory properties of milk. Dairy Science Abstracts, 26, 55-121. Park, H. S. and Lee, S. Y. 2003. Genetically engineered food labels, information or warning to consumers? Journal of Food Products Marketing, 9, 49-61. Peryam, D. R. and Swartz, V. W. 1950. Measurement of sensory differences. Food Technology, 4, 390-395. Plotto, A., Barnes, K. W. and Goodner, K. L. 2006. Specific anosmia observed for β-ionone, but not for α-ionone: Significance for flavor research. Journal of Food Science, 71, S401-S406. Shepherd, R., Sparks, P., Belleir, S. and Raats, M. M. 1991/1992. The effects of information on sensory ratings and pferences: The importance of attitudes. Food Quality and Preference, 3, 1-9. Sidel, J. L., Stone, H. and Bloomquist, J. 1981. Use and misuse of sensory evaluation in research and quality control. Journal of Dairy Science, 61, 2296-2302. Siegrist, M. and Cousin, M-E. 2009. Expectations influence sensory experience in a wine tasting. Appetite, 52, 762-765. Skinner, E. Z. 1989. (Commentary). Sensory evaluation. In celebration of our beginnings. Committee E-18 on Sensory Evaluation of Materials and Products. ASTM, Philadelphia, pp. 58-65. Stone, H. and Sidel, J. L. 2004. Sensory Evaluation Practices, Third Edition. Academic, San Deigo. Stone, H., Sidel, J., Oliver, S., Woolsey, A. and Singleton, R. C. 1974. Sensory evaluation by quantitative descriptive analysis. Food Technology 28(1), 24, 26, 28, 29, 32, 34. Sun Tzu (Sun Wu) 1963 (trans.), orig. circa 350 B.C.E. The Art of War. S.B. Griffith, trans. Oxford University. Szczesniak, A. S., Loew, B. J. and Skinner, E. Z. 1975. Consumer texture profile technique. Journal of Food Science, 40, 1253-1257. Tuorila, H. and Monteleone, E. 2009. Sensory food science in the changing society: opportunities, needs and challenges. Trends in Food Science and Technology, 20, 54-62. Wysocki, C. J. and Labows, J. 1984. Inpidual differences in odor perception. Perfumer and Flavorist, 9, 21-24. Yeomans, M. R., Chambers, L., Blumenthal, H. and Blake, A. 2008. The role of expectation in sensory and hedonic evaluation: The case of salmon smoked ice-cream. Food Quality and Preference, 19, 565-573. York, R. K. 1995. Quality assessment in a regulatory environment. Food Quality and Preference, 6, 137-141. Zellner, D. A., Strickhouser, D. and Tornow, C. E. 2004. Disconfirmed hedonic expectations produce perceptual contrast, not assimilation. The American Journal of Psychology, 117, 363-387.

    Chapter 2

    Physiological and Psychological Foundations of Sensory Function

    Abstract This chapter reviews background material underpinning sensory science and sensory evaluation methodologies. Basic and historical psychophysical methods are reviewed as well as the anatomy, physiology, and function of the chemical senses. The chapter concludes with a discussion of multi-modal sensory interactions. There is no conception in man’s mind which hath not at first, totally or in parts, been begotten upon by the organs of sense. -Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)

    Contents 2.1 2.2

    2.3

    2.4

    2.5

    Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Classical Sensory Testing and Psychophysical Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.1 Early Psychophysics . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.2 The Classical Psychophysical Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.3 Scaling and Magnitude Estimation . . . 2.2.4 Critiques of Stevens . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.5 Empirical Versus Theory-Driven Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.6 Parallels of Psychophysics and Sensory Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anatomy and Physiology and Functions of Taste . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.1 Anatomy and Physiology . . . . . . . . 2.3.2 Taste Perception: Qualities . . . . . . . 2.3.3 Taste Perception: Adaptation and Mixture Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.4 Inpidual Differences and Taste Genetics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anatomy and Physiology and Functions of Smell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.1 Anatomy and Cellular Function . . . . . 2.4.2 Retronasal Smell . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.3 Olfactory Sensitivity and Specific Anosmia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.4 Odor Qualities: Practical Systems . . . . 2.4.5 Functional Properties: Adaptation, Mixture Suppssion, and Release . . . . . . . . Chemesthesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.1 Qualities of Chemesthetic Experience . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    2.5.2

    19 20 20 21 23 25 25

    Physiological Mechanisms of Chemesthesis . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.3 Chemical “Heat” . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.4 Other Irritative Sensations and Chemical Cooling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.5 Astringency . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.6 Metallic Taste . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.6 Multi-modal Sensory Interactions . . . . . 2.6.1 Taste and Odor Interactions . . . . . . 2.6.2 Irritation and Flavor . . . . . . . . . 2.6.3 Color-Flavor Interactions . . . . . . 2.7 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    . .

    42 43

    . . . . . . . . .

    44 45 46 47 47 49 49 50 50

    26

    2.1 Introduction 27 27 30 30 33 34 34 36 37 38 39 41 41

    In order to design effective sensory tests and provide insightful interptation of the results, a sensory professional must understand the functional properties of the sensory systems that are responsible for the data. By a functional property, we mean a phenomenon like mixture interactions such as masking or suppssion. Another example is sensory adaptation, a commonly observed decrease in responsiveness to conditions of more or less constant stimulation. In addition, it is useful to understand the anatomy and physiology of the senses involved as well as their functional limitations. A good example of a functional limitation is the threshold or minimal amount of a stimulus needed for perception. Knowing about the anatomy of the senses

    H.T. Lawless, H. Heymann, Sensory Evaluation of Food, Food Science Text Series, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-6488-5_2, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

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    Physiological and Psychological Foundations of Sensory Function

    can help us understand how consumers and panelists interact with the products to stimulate their senses and by what routes. Different routes of smelling, for example, are the orthonasal or sniffing route, when odor molecules enter the nose from the front (nostrils), versus retronasal smell, when odor molecules pass into the nose from the mouth or from breathing out, and thus have a reversed airflow pathway from that of external sniffing. Another basic area that the sensory professional should have as background knowledge involves the sensory testing methods and human measurement procedures that are the historical antecedents to the tests we do today. This is part of the science of psychophysics, the quantification and measurement of sensory experiences. Psychophysics is a very old discipline that formed the basis for the early studies in experimental psychology. Parallels exist between psychophysics and sensory evaluation. For example, the difference test using paired comparisons is a version of the method used for measuring difference thresholds called the method of constant stimuli. In descriptive analysis with trained panels, we work very hard to insure that panelists use singular uni-dimensional scales. These numerical systems usually refer to a single sensory continuum like sweetness or odor strength and are thus based on changes in perceived intensity. They do not consider multiple attributes and fold them into a single score like the old-quality grading methods. Thus there is a clear psychophysical basis for the attribute scales used in descriptive analysis. This chapter is designed to provide the reader some background in the sensory methods of psychophysics. A second objective is to give an overview of the structure and function of the chemical senses of taste, smell, and the chemesthetic sense. Chemesthesis refers to chemically induced sensations that seem to be at least partly tactile in nature, such as pepper heat, astringency, and chemical cooling. These three senses together comprise what we loosely call flavor and are the critical senses for appciating foods, along with the tactile, force, and motion-related experiences that are part of food texture and mouthfeel. Texture is dealt with in Chapter 11 and color and appearance evaluations in Chapter 12. The auditory sense is not a large part of food perception, although many sounds can be perceived when we eat or manipulate foods. These provide another sense modality to accompany and reinforce our texture perceptions, as in the case of crisp

    or crunchy foods, or the audible hissing sound we get from carbonated beverages (Vickers, 1991). One growing area of interest in the senses concerns our human biopersity, differences among people in sensory function. These differences can be due to genetic, dietary/nutritional, physiological (e.g., aging), or environmental factors. The research into the genetics of the chemical senses, for example, has experienced a period of enormous expansion since the first edition of this book. The topic is too large and too rapidly changing to receive a comphensive treatment here. We will limit our discussion of inpidual differences and genetic factors to those areas that are well understood, such as bitter sensitivity, smell blindness, and color vision anomalies. The sensory practitioner should be mindful that people exist in somewhat different sensory worlds. These differences contribute to the persity of consumer pferences. They also limit the degree to which a trained panel can be “calibrated” into uniform ways of responding. Inpidual differences can impact sensory evaluations in many ways.

    2.2 Classical Sensory Testing and Psychophysical Methods 2.2.1 Early Psychophysics The oldest branch of experimental psychology is that of psychophysics, the study of relationships between physical stimuli and sensory experience. The first true psychophysical theorist was the nineteenth century German physiologist, E. H. Weber. Building on earlier observations by Bernoulli and others, Weber noted that the amount that a physical stimulus needed to be increased to be just perceivably different was a constant ratio. Thus 14.5 and 15 ounces could be told apart, but with great difficulty, and the same could be said of 29 and 30 ounces or 14.5 and 15 drams (Boring, 1942). This led to the formulation of Weber’s law, generally written nowadays as I/I = k

    (2.1)

    where I is the increase in the physical stimulus that was required to be just discriminably different from some starting level, I. The fraction, I/I, is sometimes called the “Weber fraction” and is an index of

    2.2 Classical Sensory Testing and Psychophysical Methods

    how well the sensory system detects changes. This relationship proved generally useful and provided the first quantitative operating characteristic of a sensory system. Methods for determining the difference threshold or just-noticeable-difference (j.n.d.) values became the stock in trade of early psychological researchers. These methods were codified by G. T. Fechner in a book called Elemente der Psychophysik (Elements of Psychophysics) in 1860. Fechner was a philosopher as well as a scientist and developed an interest in Eastern religions, in the nature of the soul, and in the Cartesian mind-body dichotomy. Fechner’s broader philosophical interests have been largely overlooked, but his little book on sensory methods was to become a classic text for the psychology laboratory. Fechner also had a valuable insight. He realized that the j.n.d. might be used as a unit of measurement and that by adding up j.n.d.s one could construct a psychophysical relationship between physical stimulus intensity and sensory intensity. This relationship approximated a log function, since the integral of 1/x dx is proportional to the natural log of x. So a logarithmic relationship appeared useful as a general psychophysical “law:” S = k log I

    (2.2)

    where S is sensation intensity and I is once again the physical stimulus intensity. This relationship known as Fechner’s law was to prove a useful rule of thumb for nearly 75 years, until it was questioned by acoustical researchers who supplanted it with a power law (see Section 2.2.3).

    21

    with a particular type of measured response of sensory systems. The method of limits was well suited to determine absolute or detection thresholds. The method of constant stimuli could be used to determine difference thresholds and the method of adjustment to establish sensory equivalence. In the method of limits the physical stimulus is changed by successive discrete steps until a change in response is noted. For example, when the stimulus is increasing in intensity, the response will change from “no sensation” to “I detect something.” When the stimulus is decreasing in intensity, at some step the response will change back to “no sensation.” Over many trials, the average point of change can be taken as the person’s absolute threshold (see Fig. 2.1). This is the minimum intensity required for detection of the stimulus. Modern variations on this method often use only an ascending series and force the participants to choose a target sample among alternative “blank” samples at each step. Each concentration must be discriminated from a background level such as plain water in the case of taste thresholds. Forced-choice methods for determining thresholds are discussed in detail in Chapter 6. In the method of constant stimuli, the test stimulus is always compared against a constant reference level (a standard), usually the middle point on a series of physical intensity levels. The subject’s job is to respond to each test item as “greater than” or “less

    2.2.2 The Classical Psychophysical Methods Fechner’s enduring contribution was to assemble and publish the details of sensory test methods and how several important operating characteristics of sensory systems could be measured. Three important methods were the method of limits, the method of constant stimuli (called the method of right and wrong cases in those days), and the method of adjustment or average error (Boring, 1942). The methods are still used today in some research situations and variations on these methods form part of the toolbox of applied sensory evaluation. Each of the three methods was associated

    CONCENTRATION

    16.0 8.0 4.0 2.0 1.0 0.5 .25 A1

    D1

    A2

    D2

    A3

    D3

    TRIAL

    Fig. 2.1 An example of the method of limits. The circled reversal points would be averaged to obtain the person’s threshold. A: ascending series. D: descending series. In taste and smell, only ascending series are commonly used to pvent fatigue, adaptation or carry-over of persistent sensations.

    22

    2

    Physiological and Psychological Foundations of Sensory Function

    Frequency (percent) judged “sweeter” than the standard

    80

    60

    40 UDL

    20 standard

    2

    4

    6

    8

    10

    12

    14

    16

    18

    SUCROSE CONCENTRATION (%)

    Fig. 2.2 A psychometric function derived from the Method of Constant Stimuli, a repeated series of paired comparisons against a constant (standard) stimulus, in this case 10% sucrose. Frequency of judgments in which the comparison stimulus is

    judged sweeter than the standard are plotted against concentration. The difference threshold is determined by the concentration difference between the standard and the interpolated 75% (or 25%) point. UDL: Upper difference limen (threshold).

    than” the standard. Many replications of each intensity level are psented. The percentage of times the response is “greater than” can be plotted as in Fig. 2.2. This S-shaped curve is called a psychometric function (Boring, 1942). The difference threshold was taken as the difference between the 50 and 75% points interpolated on the function. The method of constant stimuli bears a strong resemblance to current techniques of paired comparison, with two exceptions. One point of difference is that the method was geared toward interval estimation, rather than testing for statistically significant differences. That is, the technique estimated points on the psychometric function (25, 50, and 75%) and researchers were not concerned with statistical significance of difference tests. Also, a range of comparison stimuli were tested against the standard and not just a single paired comparison of products. The third major method in classical psychophysics was the method of adjustment or average error. The subject was given control over a variable stimulus like a light or a tone and asked to match a standard in brightness or loudness. The method could be used to determine difference thresholds based on the variability of the subject over many attempts at matching, for example, using the standard deviation as a measure

    of difference threshold. A modern application is in measuring sensory tradeoff relationships. In this type of experiment the duration of a very brief tone could be balanced against a varying sound pssure level to yield a constant perception of loudness. Similarly, the duration of a flash of light could be traded off against its photometric intensity to create a constant perceived brightness. For very brief tones or brief flashes, there is summation of the intensity over time in the nervous system, so that increasing duration can be balanced against decreasing physical intensity to create a constant perception. These methods have proven useful in understanding the physiological response of different senses to the temporal properties of stimuli, for example, how the auditory and visual systems integrate energy over time. Adjustment methods have not proven so useful for assessing sensory equivalence in applied food testing, although adjustment is one way of trying to optimize an ingredient level (Hernandez and Lawless, 1999; Mattes and Lawless, 1985). Pangborn and co-workers employed an adjustment method to study inpidual pferences (Pangborn, 1988; Pangborn and Braddock, 1989). Adding flavors or ingredients “to taste” at the benchtop is a common way of initially formulating

    2.2 Classical Sensory Testing and Psychophysical Methods

    products. It is also fairly common to make formula changes to produce approximate sensory matches to some target, either a standard formula or perhaps some competitor’s successful product. However, the method as applied in the psychophysics laboratory is an unwieldy technique for the senses of taste and smell where elaborate equipment is needed to provide adjustable stimulus control. So methods of equivalency adjustment are somewhat rare with food testing.

    23

    they are a log scale of sound pssure relative to a reference (db = 20 log (P/P0 ) where P is the sound pssure and P0 is the reference sound pssure, usually a value for absolute threshold). However, discrepancies were observed between decibels and loudness proportions. Instead, Stevens found with the direct magnitude estimation procedure that loudness was a power function of stimulus intensity, with an exponent of about 0.6. Scaling of other sensory continua also gave power functions, each with its characteristic exponent (Stevens, 1957, 1962). Thus the following relationship held:

    2.2.3 Scaling and Magnitude Estimation S = kI n or log S = n log I + log k A very useful technique for sensory measurement has been the direct application of rating scales to measure the intensity of sensations. Historically known as the “method of single stimuli,” the procedure is highly cost efficient since one stimulus psentation yields one data point. This is in contrast to a procedure like the method of constant stimuli, where the psentation of many pairs is necessary to give a frequency count of the number of times each level is judged stronger than a standard. Rating scales have many uses. One of the most common is to specify a psychophysical function, a quantitative relationship between the perceived intensity of a sensation and the physical intensity of the stimulus. This is another way of describing a dose-response curve or in other words, capturing the input-output function of a sensory system over its dynamic range. The technique of magnitude estimation grew out of earlier procedures in which subjects would be asked to fractionate an adjustable stimulus. For example, a subject would be asked to adjust a light or tone until it seemed half as bright as a comparison stimulus. The technique was modified so that the experimenter controlled the stimulus and the subject responded using (unrestricted) numbers to indicate the proportions or ratios of the perceived intensities. Thus if the test stimulus was twice as bright as the standard, it would be assigned a number twice as large as the rating for the standard and if one-third as bright, a number one-third as large. An important observation in S. S. Stevens’ laboratory at Harvard was that the loudness of sounds was not exactly proportional to the decibel scale. If Fechner’s log relationship was correct, rated loudness should grow in a linear fashion with decibels, since

    (2.3)

    where n was the characteristic exponent and k was a proportionality constant determined by the units of measurement. In other words, the function formed a straight line in a log-log plot with the exponent equal to the slope of the linear function. This was in contrast to the Fechnerian log function which was a straight line in a semilog plot (response versus log physical intensity). One of the more important characteristics of a power function is that it can accommodate relationships that are expanding or positively accelerated while the log function does not. The power function with an exponent less than one fits a law of diminishing returns, i.e., larger and larger physical increases are required to maintain a constant proportional increase in the sensation level. Other continua such as response to electric shocks and some tastes were found to have a power function exponent greater than one (Meiselman, 1971; Moskowitz, 1971; Stevens, 1957). A comparison of power functions with different exponents is shown in Fig. 2.3. Many sensory systems show an exponent less that one. This shows a compssive energy relationship that may have adaptive value for an organism responding to a wide range of energy in the environment. The range from the loudest sound one can tolerate to the faintest audible tone is over 100 dB. This repsents over 10 log units of sound energy, a ratio of 10 billion to one. The dynamic range for the visual response of the eyes to different levels of light energy is equally broad. Thus exponents less than one have ecological significance for sensory systems that are tuned to a broad range of physical energy levels.

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    2

    Physiological and Psychological Foundations of Sensory Function

    Psychological Magnitude, S

    Electric Shock

    Apparent Length n=1

    Brightness n1 n=1 n

    1 2

    (4.3)

    The verbal form of the alternative hypothesis is that the population would be correct (saying that AB and BA pairs are different and that AA and BB pairs are the same) more than half the time. The results of the paired difference test will only indicate whether the panelists could significantly discriminate between the samples. Unlike the paired directional test, no specification or direction of difference is indicated. In other words, the sensory scientist will only know that the samples are perceptibly different but not in which attribute(s) the samples differed. An alternative analysis is psented in the Appendix to this chapter, where each panelist sees an identical pair (AA or BB) and one test pair (AB or BA) in randomized sequence.

    4.2.2 Triangle Tests In the triangle test, three samples are psented simultaneously to the panelists, two samples are from the same formulation and one is from the different formulation. Each panelist has to indicate either which sample is the odd sample or which two samples are most similar. The usual form of the score sheet asks the panelist to indicate the odd sample. However, some sensory specialists will ask the panelist to indicate the pair of similar samples. It probably does not matter which question is asked. However, the sensory specialist should not change the format when re-using panelists since they will get confused. See Fig. 4.3 for a sample score sheet. Similarly to the paired difference test the panelist must be trained to understand the task as described by the score sheet. The null hypothesis for the triangle test states that the long-run probability (Pt ) of making a correct selection when there is no perceptible difference between the samples is one in three (H0 :Pt = 1/3). The alternative hypothesis states that the probability that the underlying population will make the correct decision

    Fig. 4.3 Example of a triangle score sheet.

    84

    4

    1 3

    (4.4)

    This is a one-sided alternative hypothesis and the test is one tailed. In this case there are six possible serving orders (AAB, ABA, BAA, BBA, BAB, ABB) which should be counterbalanced across all panelists. As with the difference paired comparison, the triangle test allows the sensory specialist to determine if two samples are perceptibly different but the direction of the difference is not indicated by the triangle test. Again, the sensory scientist will only know that the samples are perceptibly different but not in which attribute(s) the samples differed.

    Discrimination Testing

    Again, the panelists should be trained to perform the task as described by the score sheet correctly. Duo-trio tests allow the sensory specialist to determine if two samples are perceptibly different but the direction of the difference is not indicated by the duo-trio test. In other words, the sensory scientist will only know that the samples are perceptibly different but not in which attribute(s) the samples differed. There are two formats to the duo-trio test, namely the constant reference duo-trio test and the balanced reference duo-trio test. From the point of view of the panelists the two formats of the duo-trio test are identical (see Figs. 4.4a and b), but to the sensory specialist the two formats differ in the sample(s) used as the reference. 4.2.3.1 Constant Reference Duo-Trio Test

    1 2

    (4.5)

    In this case, all panelists receive the same sample formulation as the reference. The constant reference duo-trio test has two possible serving orders (RA BA, RA AB) which should be counterbalanced across all panelists. The constant reference duo-trio test seems to be more sensitive especially if the panelists have had prior experience with the product (Mitchell, 1956). For example, if product X is the current formulation (familiar to the panelists) and product Z is a new reformulation then a constant reference duo-trio test with product X as reference would be the method of choice.

    Before starting please rinse your mouth with water and expectorate. There are three samples in each of the two duo−trio sets for you to evaluate. In each set, one of the coded pairs is the same as the reference. For each set taste the reference first. Then taste each of the coded samples in the sequence psented, from left to right. Take the entire sample in your mouth. NO RETASTING. Circle the number of the sample which is most similar to the reference. Do not swallow any of the sample or the water. Expectorate into the container provided. Rinse your mouth with water between sets 1 and 2.

    Fig. 4.4a Example of a constant reference duo-trio score sheet.

    Set 1

    Reference

    2

    Reference

    4.2 Types of Discrimination Tests

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    Fig. 4.4b Example of a balanced reference duo-trio score sheet.

    Reference

    2

    Reference

    reference and the other half of the panelists receive the other sample formulation as the reference. In this case, there are four possible serving orders (RA BA, RA AB, RB AB, RB BA) which should be counterbalanced across all panelists. This method is used when both products are prototypes (unfamiliar to the panelists) or when there is not a sufficient quantity of the more familiar product to perform a constant reference duo-trio test.

    differ in the specified dimension and which sample is higher in perceived intensity of the specified attribute. The danger is that other sensory changes will occur in a food when one attribute is modified and these may obscure the attribute in question. Another version of the n-AFC asks panelists to pick out the weakest or strongest in overall intensity, rather than in a specific attribute. This is a very difficult task for panelists when they are confronted with a complex food system.

    4.2.5 A-Not-A tests There are two types of A-not-A tests referenced in the literature. The first and the more commonly used version has a training phase with the two products followed by monadic evaluation phase (Bi and Ennis, 2001a, b), we will call this the standard A-not-A test. The second version is essentially a sequential paired difference test or simple difference test (Stone and Sidel, 2004), which we will call the alternate A-notA test. The alternate A-not-A test is not frequently used. In the next section we will discuss the alternate A-not-A test first since the statistical analysis for this version is similar to that of the paired comparison discrimination test. The statistical analyses for the various standard A-not-A tests are based on a different theory and somewhat more complex and will be discussed later.

    4.2.5.1 Alternate A-Not-A test This is a sequential same/difference paired difference test where the panelist receives and evaluates the first

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    4

    Fig. 4.5 Example of a three-alternative forced choice score sheet.

    relevant to the objective of the study. However, the differences in color or shape or size have to be very subtle and only obvious when the samples are psented simultaneously. If the differences are not subtle the panelists are likely to remember these and they will make their decision based on these extraneous differences.

    4.2.5.2 Standard A-Not-A Test Panelists inspect multiple examples of products that are labeled “A” and usually also products that are labeled “not-A.” Thus there is a learning period. Then once the training period has been completed the panelists receive samples one at a time and are asked whether each one is either A or not-A. As discussed by Bi and Ennis (2001a) the standard A-not-A test potentially has four different designs. For the monadic A-not-A test the panelist, after the training phase, is psented with a single sample (either A or not-A). In the paired A-not-A version the panelist, after completion of the training phase, is psented with a pair of samples, sequentially (one A and one not-A, counter balanced across panelists). In the replicated monadic A-not-A version the panelist, after completion of training, receives a series of samples of either A or not-A but not both. This version is rarely used in practice. Lastly, in the replicated mixed A-not-A version the panelist, after completion of training, receives a series of A and not-A samples. Each of these different formats requires different statistical models and using an inappropriate model could lead to a misleading conclusion. As described by Bi and Ennis (2001a) “The statistical models for the A-Not A method are different from that of other discrimination methods such as the m-AFC, the triangle, and the duo-trio methods.” “Pearson’s and McNemar’s chi-square statistics with one degree of freedom can be used for the

    4.2 Types of Discrimination Tests

    standard A-Not A method while binomial tests based on the proportion of correct responses can be used for the m-AFC, the triangle, and the duo-trio methods. The basic difference between the two types of difference tests is that the former involves a comparison of two proportions (i.e., the proportion of “A” responses for the A sample versus that for the Not A sample) or testing independence of two variables (sample and response) while the latter is a comparison of one proportion with a fixed value (i.e., the proportion of correct responses versus the guessing probability)”. Articles by Bi and Ennis (2001a, b) clearly describe data analysis methods for these tests.. Additionally, the article by Brockhoff and Christensen (2009) describes a R-package called SensR (http://www.cran.rproject.org/package=sensR/) that may be used for the data analyses of some Standard A-not-A tests. The data analyses associated with the standard A-not-A tests are beyond the scope of this textbook, but see the Appendix of this chapter which shows the application of the McNemar chi-square for a simple A-not-A test where each panelist received one standard product (a “true” example of A) and one test product. Each is psented separately and a judgment is collected for both products.

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    4.2.6.2 The Harris-Kalmus Test

    4.2.6 Sorting Methods In sorting tests the panelists are given a series of samples and they are asked to sort them into two groups. The sorting tests can be extremely fatiguing and are not frequently used for taste and aroma sensory evaluation but they are used when sensory specialists want to determine if two samples are perceptibly different in tactile or visual dimensions. The sorting tests are statistically very efficient since the long-run probability of the null hypotheses of the sorting tests can be very small. For example, the null hypothesis of the two-out-of-five test is 1 in 10 (P2/5 = 0.1) and for the Harris-Kalmus test the null hypothesis is 1 in 70 (P4/8 = 0.0143). These tests are discussed below. 4.2.6.1 The Two-Out-of-Five Test The panelists receive five samples and are asked to sort the samples into two groups, one group should contain the two samples that are different from the other

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    4

    Discrimination Testing

    4.2.8 Dual-Standard Test The dual standard was first used by Peryam and Swartz (1950) with odor samples. It is essentially a duo-trio test with two reference standards-the control and the variant. The two standards allow the panelists to create a more stable criterion as to the potential difference between the samples. The potential serving orders for this test are R(A) R(B) , AB, R(A) R(B) BA, R(B) R(A) AB, R(B) R(A) BA. The probability of guessing the correct answer by chance is 0.5 and the data analyses for this test are identical to that of the duo-trio test. Peryam and Swartz felt quite strongly that the technique would work best with odor samples due to the relatively quick recovery and that the longer recovery associated with taste samples would pclude the use of the test. The test was used by Pangborn and Dunkley (1966) to detect additions of lactose, algin gum, milk salts, and proteins to milk. O’Mahony et al. (1986) working with lemonade found that the dual-standard test elicited superior performance over the duo-trio test. But O’Mahony (personal communication, 2009) feels that this result is in error, since the panelists were not instructed to evaluate the standards prior to each pair evaluation and therefore the panelists were probably reverting to a 2-AFC methodology. This would be in agreement with Huang and Lawless (1998) who studied sucrose additions to orange juice and they did not find superiority in performance between the dual standard and the duo-trio or the ABX tests.

    4.3 Reputed Strengths and Weaknesses of Discrimination Tests If the batch-to-batch variation within a sample formulation is as large as the variation between formulations

    4.4 Data Analyses

    then the sensory specialist should not use triangle or duo-trio tests (Gacula and Singh, 1984). In this case the paired comparison difference test could be used but the first question that the sensory specialist should ask is whether the batch-to-batch variation should not be studied and improved prior to any study of new or different formulations. The major weakness of all discrimination tests is that they do not indicate the magnitude of the sensory difference(s) between the sample formulations. As the simple discrimination tests are aimed at a yes/no decision about the existence of a sensory difference, they are not designed to give information on the magnitude of a sensory difference, only whether one is likely to be perceived or not. The sensory specialist should not be tempted to conclude that a difference is large or small based on the significance level or the probability (pvalue) from the statistical analysis. The significance and p-value depend in part upon the number of panelists in the test as well as the inherent difficulty of the particular type of discrimination test method. So these are no acceptable indices of the size of the perceivable difference. However, it is sensible that a comparison in which 95% of the judges answered correctly has a larger sensory difference between control and test samples than a comparison in which performance was only at 50% correct. This kind of reasoning works only if a sufficient number of judges were tested, the methods were the same, and all test conditions were constant. Methods for interval level scaling of sensory differences based on proportions of correct discriminations in forced choice tests are discussed further in Chapter 5 as Thurstonian scaling methods. These methods are indirect measures of small differences. They are also methodologically and mathematically complex and require certain assumptions to be met in order to be used effectively. Therefore we feel that the sensory specialist is wiser to base conclusions about the degree of difference between samples on scaled (direct) comparisons, rather than indirect estimates from choice performance in discrimination tests. However, there are alternative opinions in the sensory community and we suggest that interested parties read Lee and O’Mahony (2007). With the exception of the 2-AFC and 3-AFC tests the other discrimination tests also do not indicate the nature of the sensory difference between the samples. The major strength of the discrimination tests is that the task that the panelists perform is quite simple and

    89

    intuitively grasped by the panelists. However, it is frequently the very simplicity of these tests that lead to the generation of garbage data. Sensory specialists must be very aware of the power, replication, and counterbalancing issues associated with discrimination tests. These issues are discussed later in this chapter.

    4.4 Data Analyses The data from discrimination tests may be analyzed by any of the following statistical methods. The three data analyses are based on the binomial, chi-square, or normal distributions, respectively. All these analyses assume that the panelists were forced to make a choice. Thus they had to choose one sample or another and could not say that they did not know the answer. In other words, each panelist either made a correct or incorrect decision, but they all made a decision.

    4.4.1 Binomial Distributions and Tables The binomial distribution allows the sensory specialist to determine whether the result of the study was due to chance alone or whether the panelists actually perceived a difference between the samples. The following formula allows the sensory scientists to calculate the probability of success (of making a correct decision; p) or the probability of failure (of making an incorrect decision; q) using the following formula. P(y) =

    n! py pn−y y!(n − y)!

    (4.6)

    where n = total number of judgments y = total number of correct judgments p = probability of making the correct judgment by chance In this formula, n! describes the mathematical factorial function which is calculated as n×(n-1)× (n-2). . .×2×1. Before the widespad availability of calculators and computers, calculation of the binomial formula was quite complicated, and even now

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    4

    it remains somewhat tedious. Roessler et al. (1978) published a series of tables that use the binomial formula to calculate the number of correct judgments and their probability of occurrence. These tables make it very easy to determine if a statistical difference were detected between two samples in discrimination tests. However, the sensory scientist may not have these tables easily available thus he/she should also know how to analyze discrimination data using statistical tables that are more readily available. We abridged the tables from Roessler et al. (1978) into Table 4.3. Using this table is very simple. For example, in a duo-trio test using 45 panelists, 21 panelists correctly matched the sample to the reference. In Table 4.3, in the section for duo-trio tests, we find that the table value for 45 panelists at 5% probability is 29. This value is larger than 21 and therefore the panelists could not detect a difference between the samples. In a different study, using a triangle test, 21 of 45 panelists correctly identified the odd sample. In Table 4.3, in the section for triangle tests, we find that the table value for 45 panelists at 5% probability is 21. This value is equal to 21 and therefore the panelists could detect a significant difference between the samples at the alpha probability of 5%.

    Discrimination Testing

    O2 = observed number incorrect choices E1 = expected number of correct choices E1 is equal to total number of observations (n) times probability (p) of a correct choice, by chance alone in a single judgment where p = 0.100 for the two-out-of-five test p = 0.500 for duo-trio, paired difference, paired directional, alternate A-not-A tests p = 0.333 for triangle tests E2 = expected number of incorrect choices E2 is equal to total number of observations (n) times probability (q) of an incorrect choice, by chance alone in a single judgment where q = 1−p q = 0.900 for the two-out-of-five test q = 0.500 for duo-trio, paired difference, paired directional, alternate A-not-A tests, ABX tests q = 0.667 for triangle tests The use of discrimination tests allows the sensory scientist to determine whether two products are statistically perceived to be different, therefore the degrees of freedom equal one (1). Therefore, a χ 2 table using df = 1 should be consulted, for alpha (α) at 5% the critical χ2 value is 3.84. For other alpha levels consult the chi-square table in the Appendix.

    4.4.2 The Adjusted Chi-Square (χ2 ) Test

    4.4.3 The Normal Distribution and the Z-Test on Proportion The chi-square distribution allows the sensory scientist to compare a set of observed frequencies with a matching set of expected (hypothesized) frequencies. The chi-square statistic can be calculated from the following formula (Amerine and Roessler, 1983), which includes the number -0.5 as a continuity correction. The continuity correction is needed because the χ 2 distribution is continuous and the observed frequencies from discrimination tests are integers. It is not possible for one-half of a person to get the right answer and so the statistical approximation can be off by as much as 1/2, maximally. χ = 2

    The sensory specialist can also use the areas under the normal probability curve to estimate the probability of chance in the results of discrimination tests. The tables associated with the normal curve specify areas under the curve (probabilities) associated with specified values of the normal deviate (z). The following two formulae (Eqs. (4.8) and (4.9)) can be used to calculate the z-value associated with the results of a specific discrimination test (Stone and Sidel, 1978):

    z=

    + 1.645(1.5) (X/N)(1−X/N) N

    (5.7) Here is a worked example. Suppose we do a triangle test with 60 panelists, and 30 get the correct answer. We can ask the following questions: What is the best estimate of the number of discriminators? The proportion of discriminators? What is the upper 95% confidence interval on the number of discriminators? What is the confidence interval on the proportion of discriminators? Finally, could we conclude that there is significant similarity, based on a maximum allowable proportion of discriminators of 50%? The solution is as follows: Let X = number correct, D = number of discriminators, so X = 30 and N = 60. We have 1.5(30)-0.5(60) = D or 15 discriminators, or 25% of our judges detecting the difference, as our best estimate.

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    5 Similarity, Equivalence Testing, and Discrimination Theory

    The standard error is given by

    1.5

    (30/60)

    (6.4)

    variation was used by Stevens et al. (1988) in a landmark paper on the inpidual variability in olfactory thresholds. In this case, five correct pairs were required to score the concentration as correctly detected, and this performance was confirmed at the next highest concentration level. The most striking finding of this study was that among the three inpiduals tested 20 times, their inpidual thresholds for butanol, pyridine, and phenylethylmethylethyl carbinol (a rose odorant) varied over 2,000- to 10,000-fold in concentration. Variation within an inpidual was as wide as the variation typically seen across a population of test subjects. This surprising result suggests that day-to-day variation in olfactory sensitivity is large and that thresholds for an inpidual are not very stable (for an example, see Lawless et al., 1995). More recent work using extensive testing of inpiduals at each concentration step suggests that these estimates of variability may be high. Walker et al. (2003) used a simple yes/no procedure (like the A, not-A test, or signal detection test) with 15 trials of targets and 15 trials of blanks at each concentration level. Using a model for statistical significant differences between blank and target trials, they were able to get sharp gradients for the inpidual threshold estimates. In summary, an ascending forced-choice method is a reasonably useful compromise between the need to pcisely define a threshold level and the problems encountered in sensory adaptation and observer fatigue when extensive measurements are made. However, the user of an ascending forced-choice procedure should be aware of the procedural choices that can affect the obtained threshold value. The following choices will affect the measured value: the number of alternatives (both targets and blanks), the stopping rule, or the number of correct steps in a row required to establish a threshold, the number of replicated correct trials required at any one step, and the rule to determine at what level of concentration steps the threshold value is assigned. For example, the inpidual threshold might be assigned at the lowest level correct, the geometric mean between the lowest level correct and highest level incorrect. Other specific factors include the chosen step size of concentration units (factors of two or three are common in taste and smell), the method of averaging or combining replicated ascending runs on the same inpidual and finally the method of averaging or combining group data. Geometric means are commonly used for the last two purposes.

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    6 Measurement of Sensory Thresholds

    6.7 Probit Analysis

    7.0

    97.5 95 (90)

    90 (80)

    (85)

    6.0

    Cumulative Percentage

    80 70

    (57)

    60 5.0

    50

    (40)

    40

    PROBIT

    It is often useful to apply some kind of transformation or graphing method to the group data to linearize the curve used to find the 50% point in a group. Both the psychometric curve that repsents the behavior of an inpidual in multiple trials of a threshold test and the cumulative distribution of a group will resemble an S-shaped function similar to the cumulative normal distribution. A number of methods for graphing such data are shown in the ASTM standard E-1432 (ASTM, 2008b). One simple way to graph the data is simply to plot the cumulative percentages on “probability paper.” This p-printed solution provides a graph in which equal standard deviations are marked off along the ordinate, effectively stretching the percentile intervals at the ends and compssing them in the midrange to conform to the density of the normal distribution. Another way to achieve the straightening of the S-shaped response curve is to transform the data by taking z-scores. Statistical packages for data analysis often provide options for transformation of the data. A related method was once widely used in threshold measurement, called Probit analysis (ASTM, 2008b; Dravnieks and Prokop, 1975; Finney, 1971). In this approach, the inpidual points are transformed relative to the mean value, pided by the standard deviation and then a constant value of +5 is added to translate all the numbers to positive values for convenience. A linear fitted function can now be interpolated at the value of 5 to estimate the threshold as in Fig. 6.6. The conversion (to a z-score +5) tends to make an S-shaped curve more linear. An example of this can be found in the paper by Brown et al. (1978), using data from a multiple paired test. First the percent correct is adjusted for chance. Then the data are transformed from the percent correct (across the group) at each concentration level by conversion to z-scores and a constant of 5 is added. The mean value or Probit equal to 5 can be found by interpolation or curve fitting. An example of this technique for estimating threshold from a group of 20 panelists is shown in Meilgaard et al. (1991) and in ASTM (2008b). Probit plots can be used for any cumulative proportions, as well as ranked data and analysis of inpiduals who are more extensively tested than in the 3-AFC method example shown earlier.

    30 (18)

    20 10

    4.0 (6)

    5 2.5

    3.0 1

    2 4 8 16 32 64 Threshold Concentration (log scale)

    Fig. 6.6 An example of Probit analysis. Numbers in parentheses are the cumulative percentages of panelists reaching threshold at each concentration step. Note the uneven scale on the left axis. Probits mark off equal standard deviations and are based on the z-score for any proportion plus the constant, 5. Interpolation at the 50% or Probit 5.0 gives the threshold value.

    6.8 Sensory Adaptation, Sequential Effects, and Variability Inpidual variability, both among a group of people and within an inpidual over repeated measurements psents a challenge to the idea that the threshold is anything like a fixed value. For example, stable olfactory thresholds of an inpidual are difficult to measure. The test-retest correlation for inpidual’s olfactory threshold is often low (Punter, 1983). Even within an inpidual, threshold values will generally decrease with practice (Engen, 1960; Mojet et al., 2001; Rabin and Cain, 1986), and superimposed upon this practice effect is a high level of seemingly random variation (Stevens et al., 1988). Inpiduals may become sensitive to odorants to which they were formerly anosmic, apparently through simple exposure (Wysocki et al., 1989). Increased sensitivity as a function of exposure may be a common phenomenon among women of childbearing age (Dalton et al., 2002; Diamond et al., 2005). Sensory adaptation and momentary changes in sensitivity due to sequences may have occurred in

    6.9 Alternative Methods: Rated Difference, Adaptive Procedures, Scaling

    the experiments of Stevens et al. (1988) and could have contributed to some instability in the measurements. As pdicted by sequential sensitivity analysis (Masuoka et al., 1995; O’Mahony and Odbert, 1985) the specific stimulus sequence will render discrimination more or less difficult. After the stronger of two stimuli, an additional second strong stimulus psented next may be partially adapted and seem weaker than normal. Stevens et al. remarked that sometimes subjects would get all five pairs correct at one level with some certainty that they “got the scent” but lost the signal at the next level before getting it back. This report and the reversals of performance in threshold data are consistent with adaptation effects temporarily lessening sensitivity. The sensory impssion will sometimes “fade in and out” at levels near threshold. In attempts to avoid adaptation effects, other researchers have gone to fewer psentations of the target stimulus. For example, Lawless et al. (1995) used one target among three blank stimuli, a 4-AFC test that has appeared in pvious studies (e.g., Engen, 1960; Punter, 1983). This lowers the chance performance level and lessens the potential adaptation at any one concentration step. To guard against the effects of correct guessing, threshold was taken as the lowest concentration step with a correct choice when all higher concentrations were also correct. Thresholds were measured in duplicate ascending runs in a test session, and a duplicate session of two more ascending runs was run on a second day. Correlations across the four ascending series ranged from 0.75 to 0.92 for cineole and from 0.51 to 0.92 for carvone. For carvone, thresholds were better duplicated within a day (r = 0.91 and 0.88) than across days (r from 0.51 to 0.70). This latter result suggests some drift over time in odor thresholds, in keeping with the variability seen by Stevens et al. (1988). However, results with this ascending method may not be this reliable for all compounds. Using the ascending 4-AFC test and a sophisticated olfactometer, Punter (1983) found median retest correlations for 11 compounds to be only 0.40. The sense of taste may fare somewhat better. In a study of electrogustometric thresholds with ascending paired tests requiring five correct responses, retest correlations for an elderly population were 0.95 (Murphy et al., 1995). In many forced-choice studies, high variability in smell thresholds is also noted across the testing pool.

    137

    Brown et al. (1978) stated that for any test compound, a number of insensitive inpiduals would likely be seen in the data set, when 25 or more persons were tested to determine an average threshold. Among any given pool of participants, a few people with otherwise normal smell acuity will have high thresholds. This is potentially important for sensory professionals who need to screen panelists for detection of specific flavor or odor notes such as defects or taints. In an extensive survey of thresholds for branched-chain fatty acids, Brennand et al. (1989) remarked that “some judges were unable to identify the correct samples in the pairs even in the highest concentrations provided” and that ” panelists who were sensitive to most fatty acids found some acids difficulty to perceive” (p. 109). Wide variation in sensitivity was also observed to the common flavor compound, diacetyl, a buttery-smelling by-product of lactic bacteria fermentation (Lawless et al., 1994). Also, simple exposure to some chemicals can modify specific anosmia and increase sensitivity (Stevens and O’Connell, 1995).

    6.9 Alternative Methods: Rated Difference, Adaptive Procedures, Scaling 6.9.1 Rated Difference from Control Another practical procedure for estimating threshold has involved the use of ratings on degree-of-difference scales, where a sample containing the to-be-recognized stimulus is compared to some control or blank stimulus (Brown et al., 1978; Lundahl et al., 1986). Rated difference may use a line scale or a category scale, ranging from no difference or “exact same” to a large difference, as discussed in Chapter 4. In these procedures ratings for the sensory difference from the control sample will increase as the intensity of the target gets stronger. A point on the plot of ratings versus concentration is assigned as threshold. In some variations on this method, a blind control sample is also rated. This provides the opportunity to estimate a baseline or false alarm rate based on the ratings (often nonzero) of the control against itself. Identical samples will often get nonzero difference estimates due to the moment-to-moment variability in sensations.

    138

    of the inpidual thresholds, due to the larger number of observations, another oddity of using statistical significance to determine the threshold. Instead of using statistical significance as a criterion, Marin et al. determined the point of maximum curvature on the dose-response curve as the threshold. Such an approach makes sense from consideration of the general form of the dose-response (psychophysical) curve for most tastes and odors. Figure 6.7 shows a semi-log plot for the Beidler taste equation, a widely applied dose-response relationship in studies of the chemical senses (see Chapter 2). This function has two sections of curvature (change in slope, i.e., acceleration) when plotted as a function of log concentration. There is a point at which the response appears to be slowly increasing out from the background noise and then rises steeply to enter the middle of the dynamic range of response. The point of maximum curvature can be estimated graphically or determined from curve fitting and finding the maximum rate of change (i.e., maximum of the second derivative) (Marin et al., 1991).

    Psychophysical function (semi-hyperbolic) 100

    Response (percent of maximum)

    In one application of this technique for taste and smell thresholds, a substance was added in various levels to estimate the threshold in a food or beverage. In each inpidual trial, three samples would be compared to the control sample with no added flavor-two adjacent concentration steps of the target compound and one blind control sample (Lundahl et al., 1986). Samples were rated on a simple 9-point scale, from zero (no difference) to eight (extreme difference). This provided a comparison of the control to itself and a cost-effective way of making three comparisons in one set of samples. Since sample concentrations within the three rated test samples were randomized, the procedure was not a true ascending series and was dubbed the “semi-ascending paired difference method.” How is the threshold defined in these procedures? One approach is to compare the difference ratings for a given level with the difference ratings given to the control sample. Then the threshold can be based on some measure of when these difference ratings perge, such as when they become significantly different by a t-test (see Brown et al., 1978). Another approach is simply to subtract the difference score given to the blind control from the difference score give to each test sample and treat these adjusted scores as a new data set. In the original paper of Lundahl et al. (1986), this latter method was used. In the analysis, they performed a series of ttests. Two values were taken to bracket the range of the threshold. The upper level was the first level yielding a significant t-test versus zero, and the lower level was the nearest lower concentration yielding a significant ttest versus the first. This provided an interval in which the threshold (as defined by this method) lies between the two bracketing concentrations. One problem with this approach is that when the threshold is based on the statistical significance of t-statistics (or any such significance test), the value of threshold will depend upon the number of observations in the test. This creates a nonsensical situation where the threshold value will decrease as a function of the number of panelists used in the test. This is an irrelevant variable, a choice of the experimenter, and has nothing to do with the physiological sensitivity of the panelist or the biological potency of the substance being tested, a problem recognized by Brown et al. (1978) and later by Marin et al. (1991). Marin et al. also pointed out that a group threshold, based on a larger number of observations than an inpidual threshold, would be lower than the mean

    6 Measurement of Sensory Thresholds

    80

    60

    R = (Rmax C) / (K + C) K = 1000, Rmax = 100

    40

    20

    zone of inflection = threshold range

    0 0

    2

    4 log Concentration

    6

    8

    Fig. 6.7 Beidler curve.

    6.9.2 Adaptive Procedures Popular methods for threshold measurement for visual and auditory stimuli have been procedures in which the next stimulus intensity level to be tested depends

    6.9 Alternative Methods: Rated Difference, Adaptive Procedures, Scaling

    SAMPLE UDTR RECORD CONCENTRATION STEP

    CONCENTRATION STEP

    the part of the respondent. Psychophysical researchers have found ways to undo this sequential dependence to counteract observer expectancies. One example is the double random staircase procedure (Cornsweet, 1962) in which trials from two staircase sequences are randomly intermixed. One staircase starts above the threshold and descends, while the other starts below the threshold and ascends. On any given trial, the observer is unaware which of the two sequences the stimulus is chosen from. As in the simple staircase procedure, the level chosen for a trial depends upon detection or discrimination in the pvious trial, but of that particular sequence. Further refinements of the procedure involve the introduction of forced-choice (Jesteadt, 1980) to eliminate response bias factors involved in simple yes/no detection. Another modification to the adaptive methods has been to adjust the ascending and descending rules so that some number of correct or incorrect judgments is required before changing intensity levels, rather than the one trial as in the simple staircase (Jesteadt, 1980). An example is the “up down transformed response” rule or UDTR (Wetherill and Levitt, 1965). Wetherill and Levitt gave an example where two positive judgments were required before moving down, and only one negative judgment at a given level before moving up. An example is shown in Fig. 6.9. Rather than estimating the 50% point on a traditional psychometric function, this more stringent requirement now tends to converge on the 71% mark as an average of the peaks and valleys in the series. A forced choice can be added to an adaptive procedure. Sometimes

    SAMPLE STAIRCASE RECORD

    64 32 16 8 4

    R 2 R R 2

    3

    4

    R

    R

    1

    1

    5

    139

    6

    7

    R 8

    9

    10

    TRIAL

    Fig. 6.8 Staircase example.

    TRIAL

    Fig. 6.9 Staircase example.

    140

    6.9.3 Scaling as an Alternative Measure of Sensitivity Threshold measurements are not the only way to screen inpiduals for insensitivity to specific compounds like PTC or to screen for specific anosmia. Do thresholds bear any relation to suprathreshold responding? While it has been widely held that there is no necessary relationship between threshold sensitivity and suprathreshold responding (Frijters, 1978; Pangborn, 1981), this assertion somewhat overstates the case. Counter-examples of good correlations can be seen in tests involving compounds like PTC where there are insensitive groups. For example, there is a -0.8 correlation between simple category taste intensity ratings for PTC and the threshold, when the rated concentration is near the antimode or center between the modes of a bimodal threshold frequency distribution (Lawless, 1980). Thus ratings of a carefully chosen level can be used for a rapid screening method for PTC taster status (e.g., Mela, 1989). Similar results have been noted for smell. Berglund and Högman (1992) reported better reliability of suprathreshold ratings than threshold determinations in screening for olfactory sensitivity. Stevens and O’Connell (1991) used category ratings of perceived intensity as well as qualitative descriptors as a screening tool before threshold testing for specific anosmia. Threshold versus rating correlations were in the range of -0.6 for cineole, -0.3 for carvone, and -0.5 for diacetyl (Lawless et al., 1994, 1995). The correlations were obtained after subtraction of ratings to a blank stimulus, in order to correct for differences in scale usage. Thus there is a moderate negative correlation of sensitivity and rated intensity when one

    6 Measurement of Sensory Thresholds

    examines the data across a highly variable group as is the case with specific anosmia or tasting PTC bitterness. The correlation is negative since higher thresholds indicate lower sensitivity and thus lower rated intensity.

    6.10 Dilution to Threshold Measures 6.10.1 Odor Units and Gas-Chromatography Olfactometry (GCO) In this section, several applied methods will be described that make use of the threshold concept in trying to determine the sensory impact of various flavors and odor materials. The first group of methods concerns the olfactory potency of volatile aroma compounds as they are found in foods or food components. The issue here becomes one of not just threshold determination, but determination of both the threshold and the actual concentration psent in a food sample. The ratio of these concentrations (actual concentration to threshold concentration) can help indicate whether or not a given flavor substance is likely to contribute to the overall sensory impssion in a food. These ratios are commonly called “odor units.” The second much older method is similar in logic and was developed to determine the point at which the irritative or heat sensations from pepper compounds would be first detectable when diluted to a given extent, the Scoville procedure. Both of these techniques then use dilution-to-threshold as a measure of sensory impact. When a complex natural product like a fruit extract is analyzed for its chemical components, hundreds or even thousands of chemicals may be identified, many of which have odor properties. The number of potential flavor compounds identified in any product seems only to be limited by the resolution and sensitivity of the current methods in analytical chemistry. These methods are always improving leading to longer and longer lists of possible contributing flavor materials (Piggott, 1990). Flavor scientists need to find a way to narrow the list or to separate those compounds which are most likely contributing to the overall flavor from those compounds that are psent in

    6.10 Dilution to Threshold Measures

    such low concentrations that they are probably not important. Obviously, a sensory-based method is needed in conjunction with the analytical chemistry to provide a bioassay for possible sensory impact (Acree, 1993). Thresholds can be useful in addressing this kind of problem. The reasoning goes that only those compounds that are psent in the product in concentrations above their threshold are likely to be contributors to the flavor of the product. There are a number of potential flaws in this thinking discussed below, but for now let us see how this can be put to use. Given a concentration C psent in a natural product, a dimensionless quantity can be derived by piding that concentration by the threshold concentration Ct , and the ratio C/Ct defines the number of odor units (or flavor units) for compounds assessed by smell. According to this logic, only those compounds with odor units greater than one will contribute to the aroma of the product. This reasoning is extended sometimes to include the idea that the greater the number of odor units, the greater the potential contribution. However, it is now widely recognized that the odor unit is a concentration multiple and not a measure of subjective magnitude. Only direct scaling methods can assess the actual magnitude of sensation above threshold and the psychophysical relationship between concentration and odor intensity (Frijters, 1978). Furthermore, this idea ignores the possibility of subthreshold additivity or synergy (Day et al., 1963). A closely related group of chemical compounds might all be psent below their inpidual thresholds, but together could stimulate common receptors so as to produce an above-threshold sensation. Such additivity is not pdicted by the odor unit approach and such a group of compounds could be missed in dilution analysis. Nonetheless, thresholds provide at least one isointense reference point on the dose response curve, so they have some utility as a measure of potency used to compare different odor compounds. In analyzing a food, one could look up literature values for all the identified compounds in the product in one of the published compendia of thresholds (e.g., ASTM, 1978; van Gemert, 2003). If the concentration in the product is determined, then the odor unit value can be calculated by simply piding by threshold. However, it is important to remember that the literature values for thresholds depend upon the method and the medium

    141

    of testing. Unless the same techniques are used and the same medium was used as the carrier (rarely the case) the values may not be necessarily comparable for different compounds. A second approach is to actually measure the dilutions necessary to reach threshold for each compound, starting with the product itself. This necessitates the use of a separatory procedure, so that each compound may be inpidually perceived. The combination of gas chromatography with odor port sniffing of a dilution series is a popular technique (Acree, 1993). Various catchy names have been applied to such techniques in the flavor literature, including Aroma Extract Dilution Analysis (for examples, see Guth and Grosch, 1994; Milo and Grosch, 1993; Schieberle and Grosch, 1988), CHARM analysis (Acree et al., 1984) or more generically, gas chromatography olfactometry or GCO. The basis of these techniques is to have subjects respond when an odor is perceived when sniffing the exit port during a GC run. In recent years, the effluent has been embedded in a cooled, humidified air stream to improve the comfort of the observer and to increase sensory resolution of the eluting compounds. Over several dilutions, the response will eventually drop out, and the index of smell potency is related to the reciprocal of the dilution factor. The sniffer’s responses occur on a time base that can be cross-referenced to a retention index and then the identity of the compound can be determined by a combination of retention index, mass spectrometry, and aroma character. In practice, these techniques considerably shorten the list of potential aroma compounds contributing to flavor in a natural product (e.g., Cunningham et al., 1986). The method has also been used as an assessment technique for measuring the sensitivity of human panelists, as opposed to being a tool to determine the sensory impact of flavor compounds (Marin et al., 1988). In this approach, the gas chromatograph once again serves as an olfactometer. Known compounds can be psented as a dilution series of mixtures. Variation in inpidual thresholds can readily be assessed for a variety of compounds since they can be combined in a GC run as long as they have different retention times, i.e., do not co-elute on the column of choice. The potential use of GCO for screening panelists, for assessing odor responses in general, and for assessing specific anosmias has also been attempted (Friedrich and Acree, 2000; Kittel and Acree, 2008).

    142

    6.10.2 Scoville Units Another example of a dilution method is the traditional Scoville procedure for scoring pepper heat in the spice trade. This procedure was named for W. Scoville who worked in the pharmaceutical industry in the early twentieth century. He was interested in the topical application of spice compounds like pepper extracts as counterirritants, and he needed to establish units that could be used to measure their potency. His procedure consisted of finding the number of dilutions necessary for sensations to disappear and then using this number of dilutions as an estimate of potency. In other words, potency was defined as a reciprocal threshold. A variation of this procedure was adopted by the Essential Oil Association, British Standards Institution, International Standards Organization, American Spice Trade Association (ASTA), and adopted as an Indian standard method (for a review, see Govindarajan, 1987). The procedure defined units of pungency as the highest dilution at which a definite “bite” would be perceived and thus contains instructions consistent with a recognition threshold. Scoville units were dilution factors, now commonly given as mL/g. ASTA Method 21 (ASTA, 1968) is widely used and contains some modifications in an attempt to overcome problems with the original Scoville procedure. In brief, the method proceeds as follows: Panelists are screened for acuity relative to experienced persons. Dilution schedules are provided which simplify calculations of the eventual potency. Solutions are tested in 5% sucrose and negligible amounts of alcohol. Five panelists participate and concentrations are given in ascending order around the estimated threshold. Threshold is defined as the concentration at which three out of five judges respond positively. This method is difficult in practice and a number of additional variations have been tried to improve on the accuracy and pcision of the method (Govindarajan, 1987). Examples include the following: (1) substitution of other rules for 3/5, e.g., mean + SD of 20-30 judgments, (2) use of a triangle test, rather than simple yes/no at each concentration, (3) requiring recognition of pungency (Todd et al., 1977), (4) reduction of sucrose concentration in the carrier solution to 3%, and (5) use of a rating scale from 1 (definitely not detectable) to 6 (definitely detectable). This latter

    6 Measurement of Sensory Thresholds

    modification defined a detection threshold at mean scale value of 3.5. Almost all these methods specify mandatory rest periods between samples due to the long lasting nature of these sensations. The measurements are still difficult. One problem is that capsaicin, the active heat principle in red pepper, is prone to desensitize observers within a session and also regular consumers of hot spices also become less sensitive, leading to wide inpidual differences in sensitivity among panelists (Green, 1989; Lawless et al., 1985). Alternative procedures have been developed based on rating scales with fixed physical references (Gillette et al., 1984) and these have been endorsed by ASTM (2008c) as standard test methods. These rating scale procedures show good correlations with instrumental measures of capsaicin content in pepper samples and can be cross-referenced to Scoville units for those who pfer to do business in the traditional units (Gillette et al., 1984).

    6.11 Conclusions Threshold measurements find three common uses in sensory analysis and flavor research. First, they can be used to compare the sensitivities of different panelists. Second, they can be used as an index of the biological potency of a flavor compound. Third, they can provide useful information regarding the maximum tolerable levels of an off-flavor or taint. A variety of different techniques have been used to find thresholds or have employed the threshold concept in practical flavor work. Examples of different threshold methods are given in Table 6.4. In spite of their practical applications, the usefulness of threshold measures is often questioned in sensory evaluation. One criticism is that thresholds are only one point on an intensity function and thus they do not tell us anything about abovethreshold responding. There are some good examples in which thresholds do not pdict or do not correlate very well with suprathreshold responses. For example, patients irradiated for cancer may lose their sense of taste temporarily and thresholds return to normal long before suprathreshold responsiveness is recovered (Bartoshuk, 1987). However, as we have seen both in the case of PTC tasting and in specific anosmias, insensitive inpiduals (as determined by their threshold) will also tend to be less responsive above

    Appendix

    143

    Table 6.4 Threshold procedures Method Citations/examples

    Response

    Threshold

    Ascending forced choice Ascending forced choice

    ASTM E-679-79 Stevens et al. (1988)

    3-AFC 2-AFC, 5 replicates

    Semi-ascending paired difference

    Lundahl et al. (1986) Rated difference from control

    Adaptive, up-down transformed response rule

    Reed et al. (1995)

    2-AFC

    Double Random Staircase CHARM analysis

    Cornsweet (1962) Acree et al. (1986)

    Yes/No Yes/No

    Geometric mean of inpidual threshold Lowest correct set with confirmation at next concentration t-test for significant difference from zero with all blank trials (blind control scores) subtracted Average of responses ascending after one incorrect, descending after two correct at each level Average of reversal points Nonresponse on descending concentration runs (implied)

    threshold. These correlations are strong when comparing inpiduals of very different sensitivities, but the threshold-suprathreshold parallel may not extend to all flavor compounds. A more complete understanding of the whole dynamic range of dose-response, as found in scaling studies, would be more informative. Other shortcomings need to be kept in mind by sensory workers who would use threshold measurements for making product decisions. First, thresholds are statistical constructs only. Signal detection theory warns us that the signal and noise perge in a continuous fashion and discontinuities in perception may be an idealized construction that is comfortable but unrealistic. There is no sudden transition from nondetection to 100% detection. Any modern concept of threshold must take into account that a range of values, rather than a single point is involved in the specification. Thresholds depend upon the conditions of measurement. For example, as the purity of the diluent increases, the threshold for taste will go down. So a measure of the true absolute threshold for taste (if such a thing existed) would require water of infinite purity. The threshold exists not in this abstract sense, but only

    as a potentially useful construct of our methods and informational requirements. Finally, because of the problems mentioned above, sensory professionals need to keep the following principles firmly in mind when working with threshold procedures: First, changes in method will change the obtained values. Literature values cannot be trusted to extend to a new product or a new medium or if changes are made in test procedure. Next, threshold distributions do not always follow a normal bell curve. There are often high outliers and possibly cases of insensitivity due to inherited deficits like specific anosmia (Amoore, 1971; Brown et al., 1978; Lawless et al., 1994). Threshold values for an inpidual are prone to high variability and low test-retest reliability. An inpidual’s threshold measure on a given day is not necessarily a stable characteristic of that person (Lawless et al., 1995; Stevens et al., 1988). Practice effects can be profound, and thresholds may stabilize over a period of time (Engen, 1960; Rabin and Cain, 1986). However, group averaged thresholds are reliable (Brown et al., 1978; Punter, 1983) and provide a useful index of the biological activity of a stimulus.

    Appendix: MTBE Threshold Data for Worked Example

    Panelist 1 2 3 4 5 6

    Concentration (μg/L) 2 3.5 + o o o o + o o + o o o

    6 + o o o + +

    10 + + o o o +

    18 + + o o + +

    30 + + o o + +

    60 + + + + o +

    100 + + + + + +

    BET 4.6 7.7 42 42 77 4.6

    log(BET) 0.663 0.886 1.623 1.623 1.886 0.663

    144

    Panelist 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 Prop. Corr.

    6 Measurement of Sensory Thresholds

    Concentration (μg/L) 2 3.5 6 o + + + + o o o + o o o + o + o o o + + + + + + o + + o o + + o + o o + + + + + o + + + + + + + + + o + + + o + + o + + + o o o o + o + o o + + + o o + + + + + + o o o o o o o o o + + + + o + + + o o o + + + + o + o o o o o + + o + + + + + o + o o + o o o o o o + o o o + + + + + + + o o o o + o o o o o + 0.44 0.49 0.61

    10 o + o o + o + + o o + + + + + + o + + + o + o o + + o o + + + + o o + + o o o + o + + + + + + o + o + 0.58

    18 + + + o + + + + + o + + + o + + + + o o + + + + o o + o o o + + + + + + o + + + o o o + + + + o + o o 0.65

    30 + + + o + o + + + o + + + + + + + + + + o + + + o o o o + + + + + + + + o o + + + + + + + + + + + + + 0.77

    60 + + + o + + + + + + + + + o + + + + + + o + + + + o + + + + + + + + + + + + + o + + + + + + + + + + o 0.89

    100 + + + + + o + + + o + + + o + + + + + + + o + + o + + o o + + + + + + + + + + + o + + + + + + + + + + 0.86

    BET 13 7.7 13 77 4.6 132 1.4 1.4 13 132 4.6 4.6 1.4 132 1.4 1.4 13 1.4 23 23 77 132 13 13 132 77 42 132 132 23 1.4 1.4 13 13 1.4 7.7 42 42 13 77 132 23 23 4.6 7.7 1.4 1.4 23 4.6 23 77 Mean (log(BET)) 10ˆ1.154=

    log(BET) 1.114 0.886 1.114 1.886 0.663 2.121 0.146 0.146 1.114 2.121 0.663 0.663 0.146 2.121 0.146 0.146 1.114 0.146 1.362 1.362 1.886 2.121 1.114 1.114 2.121 1.886 1.623 2.121 2.121 1.362 0.146 0.146 1.114 1.114 0.146 0.886 1.623 1.623 1.114 1.886 2.121 1.362 1.362 0.663 0.886 0.146 0.146 1.362 0.663 1.362 1.886 1.154 14.24

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    146 Guth, H. and Grosch, W. 1994. Identification of the character impact odorants of stewed beef juice by instrumental analysis and sensory studies. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 42, 2862-2866. Harris, H. and Kalmus, H. 1949. The measurement of taste sensitivity to phenylthiourea (P.T.C.). Annals of Eugenics, 15, 24-31. Harvey, L. O. 1986. Efficient estimation of sensory thresholds. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments and Computers, 18, 623-632. James, W. 1913. Psychology. Henry Holt and Co., New York. Jesteadt, W. 1980. An adaptive procedure for subjective judgments. Perception and Psychophysics, 28(1), 85-88. Kittel, K. M and Acree, T. E. 2008. Investigation of olfactory deficits using gas-chromatography olfactometry. Manuscript submitted, available from the authors. Lawless, H. T. 1980. A comparison of different methods used to assess sensitivity to the taste of phenylthiocarbamide PTC. Chemical Senses, 5, 247-256. Lawless, H. T. 2010. A simple alternative analysis for threshold data determined by ascending forced-choice method of limits. Journal of Sensory Studies, 25, 332-346. Lawless, H. T., Antinone, M. J., Ledford, R. A. and Johnston, M. 1994. Olfactory responsiveness to diacetyl. Journal of Sensory Studies, 9(1), 47-56. Lawless, H. T., Rozin, P. and Shenker, J. 1985. Effects of oral capsaicin on gustatory, olfactory and irritant sensations and flavor identification in humans who regularly or rarely consumer chili pepper. Chemical Senses, 10, 579-589. Lawless, H. T., Thomas, C. J. C. and Johnston, M. 1995. Variation in odor thresholds for l-carvone and cineole and correlations with suprathreshold intensity ratings. Chemical Senses, 20, 9-17. Linschoten, M. R., Harvey, L. O., Eller, P. A. and Jafek, B. W. 1996. Rapid and accurate measurement of taste and smell thresholds using an adaptive maximum-likelihood staircase procedure. Chemical Senses, 21, 633-634. Lundahl, D. S., Lukes, B. K., McDaniel, M. R. and Henderson, L. A. 1986. A semi-ascending paired difference method for determining the threshold of added substances to background media. Journal of Sensory Studies, 1, 291-306. Masuoka, S., Hatjopolous, D. and O’Mahony, M. 1995. Beer bitterness detection: Testing Thurstonian and sequential sensitivity analysis models for triad and tetrad methods. Journal of Sensory Studies, 10, 295-306. Marin, A. B., Acree, T. E. and Barnard, J. 1988. Variation in odor detection thresholds determined by charm analysis. Chemical Senses, 13, 435-444. Marin, A. B., Barnard, J., Darlington, R. B. and Acree, T. E. 1991. Sensory thresholds: Estimation from dose-response curves. Journal of Sensory Studies, 6(4), 205-225. McBurney, D. H. and Collings, V. B. 1977. Introduction to Sensation and Perception. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Meilgaard, M., Civille, G. V. and Carr, B. T. 1991. Sensory Evaluation Techniques, Second Edition. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. Mela, D. 1989. Bitter taste intensity: The effect of tastant and thiourea taster status. Chemical Senses, 14, 131-135. Milo, C. and Grosch, W. 1993. Changes in the odorants of boiled trout (Salmo fario) as affected by the storage of the raw

    6 Measurement of Sensory Thresholds material. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 41, 2076-2081. Mojet, J., Christ-Hazelhof, E. and Heidema, J. 2001. Taste perception with age: Generic or specific losses in threshold sensitivity to the five basic tastes. Chemical Senses 26, 854-860. Morrison, D. G. 1978. A probability model for forced binary choices. American Statistician, 32, 23-25. Murphy, C., Quiñonez, C. and Nordin, S. 1995. Reliability and validity of electrogustometry and its application to young and elderly persons. Chemical Senses, 20(5), 499-515. O’Mahony, M. and Ishii, R. 1986. Umami taste concept: Implications for the dogma of four basic tastes. In: Y. Kawamura and M. R. Kare (eds.), Umami: A Basic Taste. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp. 75-93.. O’Mahony, M. and Odbert, N. 1985. A comparison of sensory difference testing procedures: Sequential sensitivity analysis and aspects of taste adaptation. Journal of Food Science, 50, 1055-1060. Pangborn, R. M. 1981. A critical review of threshold, intensity and descriptive analyses in flavor research. In: Flavor ’81. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 3-32. Piggott, J. R. 1990. Relating sensory and chemical data to understand flavor. Journal of Sensory Studies, 4, 261-272. Prescott, J., Norris, L., Kunst, M. and Kim, S. 2005. Estimating a “consumer rejection threshold” for cork taint in white wine. Food Quality and Preference, 18, 345-349. Punter, P. H. 1983. Measurement of human olfactory thresholds for several groups of structurally related compounds. Chemical Senses, 7, 215-235. Rabin, M. D. and Cain, W. S. 1986. Determinants of measured olfactory sensitivity. Perception and Psychophysics, 39(4), 281-286. Reed, D. R., Bartoshuk, L. M., Duffy, V., Marino, S. and Price, R. A. 1995. Propylthiouracil tasting: Determination of underlying threshold distributions using maximum likelihood. Chemical Senses, 20, 529-533. Saliba, A. J., Bullock, J. and Hardie, W. J. 2009. Consumer rejection threshold for 1,8 cineole (eucalyptol) in Australian red wine. Food Qualithy and Preference, 20, 500-504. Schieberle, P. and Grosch, W. 1988. Identification of potent flavor compounds formed in an aqueous lemon oil/citric acid emulsion. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 36, 797-800. Stevens, D. A. and O’Connell, R. J. 1991. Inpidual differences in threshold and quality reports of subjects to various odors. Chemical Senses, 16, 57-67. Stevens, D. A. and O’Connell, R. J. 1995. Enhanced sensitivity to adrostenone following regular exposure to pemenone. Chemical Senses, 20, 413-419. Stevens, J. C., Cain, W. S. and Burke, R. J. 1988. Variability of olfactory thresholds. Chemical Senses, 13, 643-653. Stocking, A. J., Suffet, I. H., McGuire, M. J. and Kavanaugh, M. C. 2001. Implications of an MTBE odor study for setting drinking water standards. Journal AWWA, March 2001, 95-105. Todd, P. H., Bensinger, M. G. and Biftu, T. 1977. Determination of pungency due to capsicum by gas-liquid chromatography. Journal of Food Science, 42, 660-665. Tuorila, H., Kurkela, R., Suihko, M. and Suhonen. 1981. The influence of tests and panelists on odour detection

    References thresholds. Lebensmittel Wissenschaft und Technologie, 15, 97-101. USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2001. Statistical analysis of MTBE odor detection thresholds in drinking water. National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) # 815R01024, available from http://nepis.epa.gov. Van Gemert, L. 2003. Odour Thresholds. Oliemans, Punter & Partners, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Viswanathan, S., Mathur, G. P., Gnyp, A. W. and St. Peirre, C. C. 1983. Application of probability models to threshold determination. Atmospheric Environment, 17, 139-143.

    147 Walker, J. C., Hall, S. B., Walker, D. B., Kendall-Reed, M. S., Hood, A. F. and Nio, X.-F. 2003. Human odor detectability: New methodology used to determine threshold and variation. Chemical Senses, 28, 817-826. Wetherill, G. B. and Levitt, H. 1965. Sequential estimation of points on a psychometric function. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 18(1), 1-10. Wysocki, C. J., Dorries, K. M. and Beauchamp, G. K. 1989. Ability to perceive androstenone can be acquired by ostensibly anosmic people. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 86, 7976-7989.

    Chapter 7

    Scaling

    Abstract Scaling describes the application of numbers, or judgments that are converted to numerical values, to describe the perceived intensity of a sensory experience or the degree of liking or disliking for some experience or product. Scaling forms the basis for the sensory method of descriptive analysis. A variety of methods have been used for this purpose and with some caution, all work well in differentiating products. This chapter discusses theoretical issues as well as practical considerations in scaling. The vital importance of knowing the properties and limitations of a measuring instrument can hardly be denied by most natural scientists. However, the use of many different scales for sensory measurement is common within food science; but very few of these have ever been validated. . . . -(Land and Shepard, 1984, pp. 144-145)

    Contents 7.1 7.2 7.3

    7.4

    7.5

    7.6

    Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Some Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Common Methods of Scaling . . . . . . . . . 7.3.1 Category Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3.2 Line Scaling . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3.3 Magnitude Estimation . . . . . . . . . Recommended Practice and Practical Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.4.1 Rule 1: Provide Sufficient Alternatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.4.2 Rule 2: The Attribute Must Be Understood . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.4.3 Rule 3: The Anchor Words Should Make Sense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.4.4 To Calibrate or Not to Calibrate . . . . . 7.4.5 A Warning: Grading and Scoring are Not Scaling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Variations-Other Scaling Techniques . . . . 7.5.1 Cross-Modal Matches and Variations on Magnitude Estimation . . . . . . . . . 7.5.2 Category-Ratio (Labeled Magnitude) Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5.3 Adjustable Rating Techniques: Relative Scaling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5.4 Ranking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5.5 Indirect Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . Comparing Methods: What is a Good Scale? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.7.1 “Do People Make Relative Judgments” Should They See Their Previous Ratings? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.7.2 Should Category Rating Scales Be Assigned Integer Numbers in Data Tabulation? Are They Interval Scales? . . . . . . . . . 7.7.3 Is Magnitude Estimation a Ratio Scale or Simply a Scale with Ratio Instructions? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.7.4 What is a “Valid” Scale? . . . . . . . . 7.8 Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 1: Derivation of Thurstonian-Scale Values for the 9-Point Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix 2: Construction of Labeled Magnitude Scales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.7

    149 151 152 152 155 156 158 159 159 159 159 160 160 160 162 164 165 166 167

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    169 169 170 171 172 174

    7.1 Introduction People make changes in their behavior all the time based on sensory experience and very often this involves a judgment of how strong or weak something feels. We add more sugar to our coffee if it is not sweet enough. We adjust the thermostat in our home if it is too cold or too hot. If a closet is too dark to find your shoes you turn the light on. We apply more force to

    H.T. Lawless, H. Heymann, Sensory Evaluation of Food, Food Science Text Series, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-6488-5_7, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

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    chew a tough piece of meat if it will not disintegrate to allow swallowing. These behavioral decisions seem automatic and do not require a numerical response. But the same kinds of experiences can be evaluated with a response that indicates the strength of the sensation. What was subjective and private becomes public data. The data are quantitative. This is the basis of scaling. The methods of scaling involve the application of numbers to quantify sensory experiences. It is through this process of numerification that sensory evaluation becomes a quantitative science subject to statistical analysis, modeling, pdiction, and hard theory. However, as noted in the quote above, in the practical application of sensory test methods, the nature of this process of assigning numbers to experiences is rarely questioned and deserves scrutiny. Clearly numbers can be assigned to sensations by a panelist in a variety of ways, some by mere categorization, or by ranking or in ways that attempt to reflect the intensity of sensory experience. This chapter will illustrate these techniques and discuss the arguments that have been raised to substantiate the use of different quantification procedures. Scaling involves sensing a product or stimulus and then generating a response that reflects how the person perceives the intensity or strength of one or more of the sensations generated by that product. This process is based on a psychophysical model (see Chapter 2). The psychophysical model states that as the physical strength of the stimulus increases (e.g., the energy of a light or sound or the concentration of a chemical stimulus) the sensation will increase in some orderly way. Furthermore, panelists are capable of generating different responses to indicate these changes in what they experience. Thus a systematic relationship can be modeled of how physical changes in the real world result in changing sensations. Scaling is a tool used for showing differences and degrees of difference among products. These differences are usually above the threshold level or justnoticeable difference. If the products are very similar and there is a question of whether there is any difference at all, the discrimination testing methods are more suitable (Chambers and Wolf, 1996). Scaling is usually done in one of the two scenarios. In the first, untrained observers are asked to give responses to reflect changes in intensity and it is psumed that (1) they understand the attribute they are asked to scale, e.g., sweetness and (2) there is no need to train or calibrate them to use the scale. This is the kind of scaling done to study a

    7

    Scaling

    Fig. 7.1 The two processes involved in scaling. The first, physiological process is the psychophysical translation of energy in the outside world into sensation, i.e., conscious experience. The second is the translation of that experience into some response. The psychophysical process can be modified by physiological processes such as adaptation and masking. The judgment function can be modified by cognitive processes such as contextual effects, number usage, and other response biases.

    7.2 Some Theory

    7.2 Some Theory Measurement theory tells us that numbers can be assigned to items in different ways. This distinction was popularized by S. S. Stevens, the major proponent of magnitude estimation (1951). At least four ways of assigning numbers to events exist in common usage. These are referred to as nominal scaling, ordinal scaling, interval scaling, and ratio scaling. In nominal scaling, numbers are assigned to events merely as labels. Thus gender may be coded as a “dummy variable” in statistical analysis by assigning a zero to males and a one to females; no assumption is made that these numbers reflect any ordered property

    151

    of the sexes. They merely serve as convenient labels. The meals at which a food might be eaten could be coded with numbers as categories-one for breakfast, two for lunch, three for supper, and four for snacks. The assignment of a number for analysis is merely a label, a category or pigeonhole. The appropriate analysis of such data is to make frequency counts. The mode, the most frequent response, is used as a summary statistic for nominal data. Different frequencies of response for different products or circumstances can be compared by chi-square analysis or other nonparametric statistical methods (Siegel, 1956; see Appendix B). The only valid comparisons between inpidual items with this scale is to say whether they belong to the same category or to different ones (an equal versus not equal decision). In ordinal scaling, numbers are assigned to recognize the rank order of products with regard to some sensory property, attitude, or opinion (such as pference). In this case increasing numbers assigned to the products repsent increasing amounts or intensities of sensory experience. So a number of wines might be rank ordered for perceived sweetness or a number of fragrances rank ordered from most pferred to least pferred. In this case the numbers do not tell us anything about the relative differences among the products. We cannot draw conclusions about the degree of difference perceived nor the ratio or magnitude of difference. In an analogy to the order of runners finishing in a race, we know who placed first, second, third, etc. But this order does indicate neither the finishing distances between contestants nor the differences in their elapsed times. In general, analyses of ranked data can report medians as the summary statistic for central tendency or other percentiles to give added information. As with nominal data, nonparametric statistical analyses (see Appendix B) are appropriate when ranking is done (Siegel, 1956). The next level of scaling occurs when the subjective spacing of responses is equal, so the numbers repsent equal degrees of difference. This is called interval-level measurement. Examples in the physical sciences would be the centigrade and Fahrenheit scales of temperature. These scales have arbitrary zero points but equal pisions between values. The scales are inter-convertible through a linear transformation, for example, ◦ C = 5/9 (◦ F-32). Few scales used in sensory science have been subjected to tests that would help establish whether they achieved an interval level of measurement and yet this level is often assumed.

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    instructed to assign numbers in relative proportions that reflect the strength of their sensations (Stevens, 1956). However, ratio instructions are easy to give, but whether the scale has ratio properties in reflecting a person’s actual subjective experiences is difficult to determine, if not impossible. Because of these different measurement types with different properties, the sensory professional must be careful about two things. First, statements about differences or ratios in comparing the scores for two products should not be made when the measurement level is only nominal or ordinal. Second, it is risky to use parametric statistics for measurements that reflect only frequency counts or rankings (Gaito, 1980; Townsend and Ashby, 1980). Nonparametric methods are available for statistical analyses of such data.

    7.3 Common Methods of Scaling Several different scaling methods have been used to apply numbers to sensory experience. Some, like magnitude estimation, are adapted from psychophysical research, and others, like category scaling have become popular through practical application and dissemination in a wide variety of situations. This section illustrates the common techniques of category scales, line marking, and magnitude estimation. The next section discusses the less frequently used techniques of hybrid category-ratio scales, indirect scales, and ranking as alternatives. Two other methods are illustrated. Intensity matching across sensory modalities, called cross-modality matching, was an important psychophysical technique and a pcedent to some of the category-ratio scales. Finally, adjustable rating techniques in which panelists make relative placements and are able to alter their ratings are also discussed.

    7.3.1 Category Scales Perhaps the oldest method of scaling involves the choice of discrete response alternatives to signify increasing sensation intensity or degrees of liking and/or pference. The alternatives may be psented in a horizontal or vertical line and may offer choices of integer numbers, simple check boxes, or word phrases. Examples of simple category scales are shown in

    7.3 Common Methods of Scaling

    153

    A) INTENSITY 1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9 Strong

    Weak

    B) Oxidized

    not noticeable trace, not sure faint slight mild moderate definite strong very strong

    D) Sweetness

    Extremely sweet

    Not sweet at all

    E) Sweetness

    R

    Weaker

    Stronger

    F) Hedonic scale for children

    Super Good

    Really Good

    Good

    Maybe Good or Maybe Bad

    Bad

    Really Bad

    Super Bad

    Fig. 7.2 Examples of category scales. (a) a simple integer scale for sensation strength (after Lawless and Malone, 1986b); (b) a verbal scale for degree of oxidized flavor (after Mecredy et al., 1974; (c) a verbal scale for degree of difference from some reference or control sample (after Aust et al., 1985), (d) a simple

    check-box scale for perceived intensity; (e) a simple check-box scale for difference in intensity from some reference sample, marked R (after Stoer and Lawless, 1993); (f) a facial scale suitable for use with children, after Chen et al. (1996).

    Fig. 7.2. The job of the consumer or panelist is to choose the alternative that best repsents their reaction or sensation. In a category scale the number of alternative responses is limited. Seven to 15 categories are commonly used for intensity scaling depending upon the application and the number of gradations that the panelists are able to distinguish in the products. As panel training progresses, perceptual discrimination

    of intensity levels will often improve and more scale points may be added to allow the panel to make finer distinctions. A key idea is to psent an easily understandable word like “sweetness” and ask the participant to evaluate the perceived intensity of that attribute. A second important factor concerns the verbal labels that appear along the alternatives. At the very least, the low and high ends of the scale must be labeled

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    with words that make sense, e.g., “not sweet at all” to “extremely sweet.” A wide variety of these scales have been used. A common version is to allow integer numerical responses of approximately nine points (e.g., Lawless and Malone, 1986a, b). Further gradations may be allowed. For example, Winakor et al. (1980) allowed options from 1 to 99 in rating attributes of fabric handfeel. In the Spectrum method (Meilgaard et al., 2006) a 15-point category scale is used, but allows intermediate points in tenths, rendering it (at least in theory) a 150point scale. In hedonic or affective testing, a bipolar scale is common, with a zero or neutral point of opinion at the center (Peryam and Girardot, 1952). These are often shorter than the intensity scales. For example, in the “smiling face” scale used with children, only three options may be used for very young respondents (Birch et al., 1980, 1982), although with older children as many as nine points may be used (Chen et al., 1996; Kroll, 1990). Lately there has been a move away from using labels or integers, in case these may be biasing to subjects. People seem to have favorite numbers or tendencies to use some numbers more than others (e.g., Giovanni and Pangborn, 1983). A solution to this problem is to use an unlabeled check-box scale as shown in Fig. 7.2. In early applications of category scaling, the procedure specifically instructed subjects to use the categories to repsent equal spacing. They might also be instructed to distribute their judgments over the available scale range, so the strongest stimulus was rated at the highest category and the weakest stimulus at the lowest category. This use of such explicit instructions surfaces from time to time. An example is in Anderson’s (1974) recommendation to show the subject specific examples of bracketing stimuli that are above and below the anticipated range of items in the set to be judged. A related method is the relative scaling procedure of Gay and Mead (1992) in which subjects place the highest and lowest stimuli at the scale endpoints (discussed below). The fact that there is an upper boundary to the allowable numbers in a category scaling task may facilitate the achievement of a linear interval scale (Banks and Coleman, 1981). A related issue concerns what kind of experience the high end anchor refers to. Muñoz and Civille (1998) pointed out that for descriptive analysis panels, the high end-anchor phrase could refer to different situations. For example, is the term “extremely sweet”

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    Scaling

    7.3 Common Methods of Scaling

    7.3.2 Line Scaling

    155

    a) very poor

    excellent

    AROMA

    b) moderate

    weak

    strong

    Pepper Heat

    c)

    O threshold

    slight

    moderate

    strong

    Sweetness

    d) weaker

    reference

    stronger

    overall opinion

    e) dislike moderately

    f)

    X

    least liked

    neither

    like moderately

    X most liked

    Fig. 7.3 Examples of line-marking scales: (a) with endpoints labeled (after Baten, 1946); (b) with indented “goal posts” (after Mecredy et al., 1974); (c) with additional points labeled as in ASTM procedure E-1083 (ASTM, 2008b); (d) a line for ratings relative to a reference as in Stoer and Lawless (1993); (e) hedonic scaling using a line; (f) the adjustable scale of Gay and Mead (1992) as pictured by Villanueva and D Silva (2009).

    An important historical trend to use lines in descriptive analysis was instrumental in the popularization of line marking. Stone et al. (1974) recommended the use of line marking for Quantitative Descriptive Analysis (QDA), then a relatively new approach to specifying the intensities of all important sensory attributes. It was important to have a scaling method in QDA that approximated an interval scale, as analysis of variance was to become the standard statistical technique for comparing products in descriptive analysis. The justification for the application in QDA appears to rest on the pvious findings of Baten regarding the sensitivity of the method and the writings of Norman Anderson on functional measurement theory (Anderson, 1974). In his approach, Anderson used indented end anchors (see Weiss, 1972, for another example). Anderson also showed his subjects examples of the high and

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    Scaling

    with a cursor that moves up and down via the computer mouse. Time-intensity methods are reviewed more fully in Chapter 8.

    7.3.3 Magnitude Estimation 7.3.3.1 The Basic Techniques A popular technique for scaling in psychophysical studies has been the method of magnitude estimation. In this procedure, the respondent is instructed to assign numbers to sensations in proportion to how strong the sensation seems. Specifically, the ratios between the numbers are supposed to reflect the ratios of sensation magnitudes that have been experienced. For example, if product A is given the value of 20 for sweetness intensity and product B seems twice as sweet, B is given a magnitude estimate of 40. The two critical parts of the technique are the instructions given to the participant and the techniques for data analysis. Two primary variations of magnitude estimation have been used. In one method, a standard stimulus is given to the subject as a reference and that standard is assigned a fixed value such as 10. All subsequent stimuli are rated relative to this standard, sometimes called a “modulus.” It is often easier for panelists if the reference (i.e., the item used as the modulus) is chosen from somewhere near the middle of the intensity range. In the other variation of magnitude estimation, no standard stimulus is given and the participant is free to choose any number he or she wishes for the first sample. All samples are then rated relative to this first intensity, although in practice people probably “chain” their ratings to the most recent items in the series. Because people can choose different ranges of numbers in this “non-modulus” magnitude estimation, the data have to be treated to bring all judgments into the same range, an extra step in the analysis. Variations on magnitude estimation and guidelines for data analysis are found in ASTM Standard Test Method E 1697-05 (ASTM, 2008a). In the psychophysical laboratory, where magnitude estimation has found its primary usage, generally only one attribute is rated at a time. However, rating multiple attributes or profiling has been used in taste studies (McBurney and Bartoshuk, 1973; McBurney and Shick, 1971; McBurney et al., 1972) and this can

    7.3 Common Methods of Scaling

    naturally be extended to foods with multiple taste and aromatic attributes. Magnitude estimation has not been used very often for descriptive analysis, but in principle there is no reason why it could not be used for that purpose. Participants should be cautioned to avoid falling into pvious habits of using bounded category scales, e.g., limited ranges of numbers from zero to ten. This may be a difficult problem with pviously trained panels that have used a different scaling method, as people like to stick with a method they know and feel comfortable with. Panelists who show such behavior may not understand the ratio nature of the instructions. It is sometimes useful with a new panelist to have the participant perform a warm-up task to make sure they understand the scaling instructions. The warm-up task can involve estimation of the size or area of different geometric ps (Meilgaard et al., 2006) or the length of lines (McBurney et al., 1972). Sometimes it is desired to have panelists rate multiple attributes at the same time or to break down overall intensity into specific qualities. If this kind of “profiling” is needed, the geometric ps can include areas with different shading or the lines can be differently colored. A practice task is highly recommended so that the sensory scientist can check on whether the participant understands the task. Values of zero are allowed in this method as some of the products may in fact have or no sensation for a given attribute (like no sweetness in our example). Of course, the rating of zero should not be used for the reference material. While the value of zero is consistent with common sense for products with no sensation of some attributes, it does complicate the data analysis as discussed below. 7.3.3.2 Instructions The visual appearance of the ballot in magnitude estimation is not critical; it is the instructions and the participant’s comphension of the ratio nature of the judgments that are important. Some ballots even allow the subject/participant to view all pvious ratings. Here are sample instructions for the use of magnitude estimation with a reference sample or modulus with a fixed number assigned to it: Please taste the first sample and note its sweetness. This sample is given the value of “10” for its sweetness

    157 intensity. Please rate all other samples in proportion to this reference. For example, if the next sample is twice as sweet, assign it a value of “20”, if half as sweet, assign it a value of “5” and if 3.5 times as sweet, assign in a value of 35. In other words, rate the sweetness intensity so that your numbers repsent the ratios among the intensities of sweetness. You may use any positive numbers including fractions and decimals.

    The other major variation on this method uses no reference. In this case the instructions may read as follows: Please taste the first sample and note its sweetness. Please rate all other samples relative to this reference, applying numbers to the samples to repsent the ratios of sweetness intensity among the samples. For example, if the next sample was twice as sweet, you would give it a number twice as big as the rating assigned to the first sample, if half as sweet, assign it a number half as big and if 3.5 times as sweet, assign it a number 3.5 times as big. You may use any positive numbers including fractions and decimals.

    7.3.3.3 Data Treatment In non-modulus methods, participants will generally choose some range of numbers they feel comfortable with. The ASTM procedure suggests having them pick a value between 30 and 100 for the first sample, and avoiding any number that seems small. If participants are allowed to choose their own number range, it becomes necessary to re-scale each inpidual’s data to bring them into a common range before statistical analysis (Lane et al., 1961). This will pvent subjects who choose very large numb