Business astrology. Indians will not make a deal without it. The Chinese use it every day. According to Graham Bates, author of Money and the Markets: an Astrological Guide (published, appropriately, by Aquarian books), astrology is not for the whimsical, it also has a serious place in the boardroom.
Bates, who works as an 'astrological consultant', says a company's relation to the stars and the planets will show its innate strengths and weaknesses, the good times and the bad times ahead. For example, 'Virgin has a very good chart for an airline,' he says. 'Amstrad's chart shows its continual weak side is in corporate relations, so it needs to take special care with this aspect.'
Does this mean the heavyweights mentioned above have sought his advice? Not necessarily. 'These are examples. I cannot reveal the companies that do use it. They are too scared of appearing odd.'
David Molian, a teaching fellow at Imperial College's Management School, agrees. 'It may be all right for Nancy Reagan but it would be a brave chairman who would admit to using astrology.'