Business anthropologist Ashkuff packs a punch

Business anthropologist Ashkuff is the brainchild of Al Ashkuff, a Florida-based business anthropologist. I was lured over to his site by a posting on LinkedIn advertising a free white paper titled BLOOD, SWEAT & ANTHROPOLOGY: a Tactical Guide for Aspiring Fitness Club Owners and Business Anthropologists. It is an engaging piece of auto-ethnographic writing. Told in Ashkuff’s inimitable, witty style, it is the story of how he starts a business – a recreational boxing club¬† – and at the same time it is an anthropological analysis of the entire process. It successfully combines informative, highly readable content in a concise format. Management consultants charge big bucks to produce research reports like this and I’m definitely going to offer Ashkuff work on my next consulting gig (if he’s available).

Besides the free white paper there are all sorts of other goodies at There are short ethnographic films, essays, photographs, blog commentary, and opinion pieces. The website is an example of the excellent things that can be done when a sharp anthropological mind-set (devoid of obvious ideological motives) is combined with ingenuity and drive. It should inspire those students of anthropology who choose not to pursue graduate studies but strongly desire to apply in practical contexts the knowledge they acquired studying the science of culture .

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