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Senior Member
This is from the upcoming book on John Lennon, which I'm translating into Slovene. It's about John Lennon's women. In a dictionary I get two quite different explanations for enabler which could both work. ENABLER | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
So, what do you think, is enabler used in a positive or negative meaning in this case? His first unofficial manager-slash-enabler was a woman: Mona Best.
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I don't know anything about Mona Best. What did she enable him to do?

    If she was not an official manager, her duties might not have been well-defined, so "enabler" might cover anything that wasn't strictly to do with the professional side of his life.


    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Honestly the only context that I've heard the word "enabler" in is in reference to a person that silently allows or even openly encourages the bad habits of others. In this sense I would say that the word has some definite negative connotations from my point of view, so if the passage is biographical I'd avoid this word as it would tend to add some bias.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    There's no evidence that the intended meaning is negative. In business jargon the term seems to indicate a management style, and West must have been active at the very beginning of Lennon's career, when the Beatles weren't heavily into addictive substances and their lifestyles were not self-destructive.

    Enablers are the people who help the implementors focus on implementing. They make sure all of the implementors are working towards the same end result and deal with things that take time away from creating. They are the leaders, managers, and assistants who keep the business side of things running.

    Having a mix of implementors and enablers is a very good thing...
    Are You an Implementor or an Enabler? – Josh Kaufman


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    My first thought is that it's negative. She indulged his bad habits. They don't just have to be drugs. People can be stupid/jerks in many ways.

    But mixed with manager, it gives me pause. Maybe it is used in a business sense even though I've never heard that sense before. I think the surrounding paragraphs should help clarify the intention. Do they talk about problem behaviors of his or do they talk about her arranging good opportunities for him?


    Senior Member
    UK English
    I have no doubt the positive meaning is correct. Her son Pete was one of the Beatles (for a time) and ' It was Mona who gave the band their first bookings in the tiny club she set up in the basement of her home in Liverpool, and Mona who became their first, unpaid manager. (Source)'

    I think the word fixer might be better than enabler.

    PS I think calling her 'his' first manager is misleading, even if the book is about John in particular; she was 'their' first manager.
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