‘* one-offs’ Category Archives

7
May

Love Is The Killer App

by Tony in * commentary, * one-offs

Tim Sanders is “Chief Solutions Expert” at Yahoo! and this books is, in part, his tale of how being a “lovecat” helped him get that job, and helped Yahoo! make lots of money. Whilst that section of the book, which takes about about the first third, is mildly interesting, I was much more impressed by the second section: “Knowledge”, which takes as its central thesis that you really need to read. Not magazine articles (the “between-meal snacks”), or electronic news (“candy and soda”), but real-life, dead-tree, books. Ideally in hardback (“A paperback is made to be read. A hardcover is made to be studied”). He spends a long time on how you know what to read, how to read what you’re reading, how to process what you’ve read, and how to apply what you’ve learnt. It’s all fairly basic stuff, but I’ve often been amazed at how little “professional” people actually read – particularly in the “computing” and “business” areas. If even encountered people who get offended if you suggest a book to them – as if you’re saying they’re not good at their job!

The rest of the book consists of fairly basic “Network” and “Compassion” sections (the book is classified as “Business – Motivational”, which is usually a bad sign IME), so I wouldn’t really advise buying it. But the “Knowledge” section is is worth a read, for people who don’t read. Getting them to read that of course is going to be the difficult bit.

 

6
May

Dream Merchants and Howboys

by Tony in * commentary, * one-offs

I discovered at the airport that Barry Gibbons had a new book. He’s the ex-CEO of Burger King, and writes exactly in the manner that you would not expect of such. His previous books (“This Indecision Is Final : 32 Management Secrets of Albert Einstein, Billie Holiday, and a Bunch of Other People Who Never Worked 9 to 5“, and “If You Want to Make God Really Laugh, Show Him Your Business Plan” were both excellent. One Amazon reviewer puts it well:  “This guy writes with the wit and wisdom of Tom Peters and the hysterical observations and honesty of Dave Barry.”

This new book, “Dream Merchants and Howboys: Mavericks, Nutters and the Road to Business Success“, is no exception. He spends a chapter each on some of his business heroes – each one definitely a maverick, and many indeed complete nutters –  Luciano Benneton, Richard Branson, James Dyson, Steve Jobs, Herb Kelleher etc. There’s not a huge amount of research into these – in many of the cases where I’ve read more detailed biographies I could spot either inaccuracies or important omissions – but it’s a great introduction to many of them, told not only with great wit but also with passion. Gibbons obviously admires (almost) all of these figures immensely, and it shows.

Probably the only business book that made me laugh aloud on this trip!