In the introduction to 64 Shots: Leadership in a Crazy World, I riffed on the meaning of 64. Year of famous songs and impassioned speeches. Call sign for New Zealand. 8×8. Numeracy has a lot to offer, on a level or two above tarot cards, clues to pattern recognition and serendipitous connections. There is a Wikipedia page for every number.

I stumbled across a Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma Country, California called 47 Friends. Here’s their rap:

“Students arrive at college – laden with poetry, philosophy, mathematical proofs, chemical formulae, and a thirst for knowledge – and leave with all of this enhanced and knit-together in a beautiful body of knowledge. Longer-lasting than any of the bits of knowledge and insight gained, however, are the relationships developed. That was my experience.

“These are my original 47 Friends. They can tell stories: late nights when a corn puppet made an appearance, helping me survive organic chemistry, kayaking a pristine lake in northern Idaho, re-building a house on the Oregon coast, swimming in the lazy Russian River, playing bocce on the Sonoma coast, and cooking and eating countless meals and drinking countless glasses of wine together. This fellowship – knit together by enjoyment of food and wine – is deeply satisfying. 47 Friends wines was born.

“I wanted to make a wine that I – and all of my 47 Friends – could afford to enjoy regularly. Oh, we loved to savor a $60 Cab, but what about a wine that we could drink every night – without playing roulette with our local supermarket’s “value wines”…some decent and some terrible? So I made a blend of Cabernet, Zinfandel, and Syrah, bottled it, and brought it with me to the Sonoma coast to see what my friends thought. They all loved it – and asked how they could get some.

“We all can have 47 friends. These circles of friends can be made, and added to, generously. You can find them at work, school, the tennis court, a local wine bar, the co-op grocery, online…anywhere you go with an open spirit. To knit them into your life, nothing works like the sharing of food and drink. The 47 Friends wines were made for just this purpose.”

Anyways, here is their proof of the significance of 47. Fact-checking is an interesting exercise after a few glasses of their product, but here goes for an interesting trip through math, politics, engineering, history and urban myth:

  • The Declaration of Independence has 47 sentences
  • The tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are located 47 degrees apart.
  • There have been 47 reported sightings of Bigfoot in Siskiyou County
  • The length to width ratio of the Golden Gate Bridge is 47:1
  • Caesar made his famous proclamation, “Veni, vidi, vici” in 47 B.C.
  • The road running through the Joshua Tree National Monument is 47 miles long.
  •  It takes 47 divisions of one cell to produce the number of cells in the human body.
  • Sir Francis Drake returned from his circumnavigation of the world with enough stolen Spanish treasure to repay his backers their investment 47 times over.
  • Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa was killed by a barrage of 47 bullets.
  • The sun moves a total of 47 degrees from south to north across the Earth’s sky between winter and summer solstice.
  • The Pythagorean Theorem is Proposition 47 of Euclid’s Elements.
  • In the song “Macarena,” the refrain is repeated 47 times.
  • 47 is a strictly non-palindromic number.
  • 47 bones of the “Lucy” skeleton were unearthed in 1974.
  • There are 47 occurrences of 47 in the first thousand prime numbers.
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex measured 47 feet in overall length.
  •  Professional football teams are limited to 47 players.

64-47=17. 17, well that’s an interesting number. And so here’s to 47 of my friends. Especially the old one…Robin – who has an important 7 in his age locker.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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