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Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas)

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Managing the Future
Managing the Future
von Robert B. Tucker

4.0 von 5 Sternen Driving or Being Driven?, 17. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Managing the Future (Taschenbuch)
There are dozens of books on this subject, several of which I consider superior to this one (eg Drucker's Managing Change and O'Toole's Leading Change); however, Tucker has made an important contribution by suggesting and then discussing "10 Driving Forces of Change for the Next Century." They are:
• Real-Time Responsiveness
• No-Hassle Convenience
• Aging Boomers/Rising Xers
• Mass Customized Choice
• Lifestyle [Changes]
• Discounting
• Value Differentiation
• Ultra Service
• Techno-Edge
• World-Class Quality
Tucker offers thoughtful discussions of these "Driving Forces" (devoting a separate chapter to each), including also a series of mini-case studies based on companies such as Williams-Sonoma, Dell Computer, Southwest Airlines, and Charles Schwab. Please keep in mind that Tucker wrote this book almost ten years ago. So much has happened since, especially because of the Web and globalization initiatives made possible by it.
After a decade, Managing the Future remains a thoughtful, well-written book of special value to less-experienced executives. For those on higher levels of management, it may not offer much that they do not already know but it will certainly help them to clarify their thinking as they proceed into an uncertain future.

Patton on Leadership: Strategic Lessons for Corporate Warfare
Patton on Leadership: Strategic Lessons for Corporate Warfare
von Ph.D., Alan Axelrod
  Gebundene Ausgabe

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5.0 von 5 Sternen George C. Scott and then Some, 16. Juli 2000
Frankly, I had some reservations as I began to read this book. By now I have become weary of so many books with gimmicky concepts (eg Chicken Soup for Dummies, Caligula on Management) and was pleased to find that Axelrod has skillfully correlated Patton's expressed ideas on leadership with key issues in the contemporary business world. Many of those ideas probably reflect the influence of Sun Tzu and von Clausewitz whom Patton no doubt studied while a student at V.M.I. (for one year) and then the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from which he graduated. In any event, this is a well-written book with solid substance. After a Foreword and Introduction, Axelrod organizes 183 "Strategic Lessons" within ten chapters:
1. What He Did and Who He Was (Patton's Achievement and Background)
2. "A Commander Will Command" (On the Dimensions of Leadership)
3. "Always Attack, Never Surrender" (On Developing a Winning Attitude)
4. "How Do We Know That?" (On Fact Finding, Preparation, and Planning)
5. "Speed -- Simplicity -- Boldness" (On Execution and Opportunity)
6. "The Soldier Is the Army" (On Training, Mentoring, Motivating, and Inspiring)
7. "Letters of Instruction" ((On Communication and Coordination)
8. "Only One Direction -- Forward" (On Creating Efficiency)
9. "Success Is How High You Can Bounce When You Hit Bottom" (On Courage and Character)
10. "Audacity" (On Managing the Impossible)
I provide the chapter titles and subtitles to suggest the specific areas in which Axelrod examines Patton's ideas. Patton remains one of the 20th century's best-known and least-understood military leaders. Mention his name and most people immediately conjure an image of George C. Scott whose inspired portrayal provided an accurate but incomplete representation of Patton. It is worth noting that Patton's strategies minimized casualties of his own troops while maximizing destruction of those whom his troops opposed, that he assembled an extraordinarily talented staff to whom he delegated effectively and whose members remained steadfastly loyal to him, and that under his leadership his troops achieved truly stunning results, often with severely limited resources and under political constraints. There is a great deal to learn from this man...and Axelrod has done a brilliant job of suggesting what that is.
Axelrod includes a Recommended Readings section to which I presume to add Puryear's 19 Stars (A Study in Military Character and Leadership). In it, Puryear examines the careers of George S. Patton, Jr., Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, and George C. Marshall. You may also wish to check out Sun Tzu's The Art of War (Oxford University Press) and von Clausewitz's On War (Penguin).

In the Words of Great Business Leaders
In the Words of Great Business Leaders
von Julie M. Fenster
Preis: EUR 28,90

5.0 von 5 Sternen A Wealth of Wisdom and Eloquence, 16. Juli 2000
Most executives have a personal business library, consisting of titles which are most relevant to their respective needs and interests. Here is an excellent candidate to consider. Fenster has anthologized a wealth of insights from a diverse range of sources, including several one would not perhaps think of as "great business leaders." For example, Mary Pickford, Madame C.J. Walker, Clarence Birdseye, and Margaret Rudkin. Of course, there is a generous selection from the usual sources such as Andrew Carnegie, Sam Walton, John D. Rockefeller, Albert P. Sloan, Jr., David Packard, and Herb Kelleher. The quotations are organized within five Parts:
Talk About Convincing: SALESMEN
The Thoughts That Count: SELF-MADE SUCCESSES
The Buck Stops: BOSSES
No Matter What Everyone Else is Doing: MAVERICKS
This would be a terrific source for material to be included in correspondence, internal and external newsletters, speeches, business plans, formal proposals, and multi-media presentations. The same material also offers new insights or reminders which can help to clarify thoughts, especially during a problem-solving process. Fenster includes a brief introduction to each Part and then a brief bio of each great business leader quoted. One of my personal favorites is what Herb Kelleher says about Perspective: "Think small and act small, and we'll get bigger. Think big and act big, and we'll get smaller." Some of the hundreds of quotations will be familiar to each reader...others will not. All are worthy of inclusion in this entertaining as well as useful collection.

The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market
The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market
von Michael Treacy
Preis: EUR 11,60

5.0 von 5 Sternen How to Select, Focus, and Dominate, 16. Juli 2000
The message of this important book is that "no company can succeed today by trying to be all things to all people. It must instead find the unique value that it alone can deliver to a chosen market. Why and how this is done are the two key questions the book addresses." The authors focus with rigor and precision on three different "disciplines": operational excellence, product leadership, and customer intimacy. It remains for any company (for any organization, for that matter) to determine which of the three should be its primary discipline but all are obviously important...indeed interdependent. Nonetheless, one discipline should be pre-eminent. The authors examine dozens of companies which have concentrated primarily on one of the three "disciplines" so that they can select their customers and then narrow their focus inorder to gain and sustain dominance within their respective marketplaces. I think this book will be of substantial value to executives in any organization but of greatest value to those in organizations which are small-to-midsize. Unless they have dysfunctional management and/or defective products, their mastery of that discipline will enable them to compete more effectively against larger organizations which (obviously) have greater resources available. My own view is that as B2B and B2B2C continue to increase at exponentially greater velocity, leadership of ANY market will require mastery of customer intimacy and at least one (but preferably both) of the other two disciplines. In that event, the insights which Treacy and Wiersema share will be even more valuable.

The Quest for Unity: The Adventure of Physics: The Adventures of Physics
The Quest for Unity: The Adventure of Physics: The Adventures of Physics
von Etienne Klein
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 34,03

5.0 von 5 Sternen A Never-Ending Journey, 14. Juli 2000
In the Introduction, the authors quote Steven W. Hawkins: "Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations...However, if we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists....[We can then] take part in the discussion of of the questions of why it is that we and universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason reason -- for then we would know the mind of God."
This book was written for the reasonably intelligent non-scientist who shares the authors' curiosity about matters such as these:
• Over the centuries, why have so many great minds attempted to formulate a "unification theory" which accommodates the totality of what is known about the universe?
• As a results of such efforts, what have been the major breakthroughs in understanding the universe? For example, what are the specific contributions of the ancient Greeks, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, and Einstein?
The authors observe: "Our purpose here is to focus on the state of physics, for that is where the search for unity is currently being pursued the most actively and has been rewarded with the greatest achievements in the realms of both the infinitely large and the infinitesimally small." In all probability, this book will not be of great interest to everyone. I recommend it highly to the aforementioned "reasonably intelligent non-scientist" who is curious to learn more about the evolution of intellectual history, and especially the evolution of the history of science during which physics has played such an important part.

The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress
The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress
von Virginia Postrel
Preis: EUR 17,92

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way, 14. Juli 2000
In the Introduction ("The Search for Tomorrow"), Postrel observes:
"The future we face at the dawn of the twenty-first century is, like all futures left to themselves, 'emergent, complex messiness.' Its 'messiness' lies not in disorder, but in an order which is unpredictable, spontaneous, and ever shifting, a pattern created by millions of uncoordinated, independent decisions....Ours is a magnificently creative era. But that creativity produces change, and that change attracts enemies, philosophical as well as self-interested. With some exceptions, the enemies of the future aim their attacks not at creativity itself but at the dynamic processes through which it is carried."
In the final chapter, Postrel suggests that "We live in an enchanted world, a world suffused with intelligence, a world of our making. In such plenitude, too, lies an adventurous future." She then quotes Fredrich Hayek: "It is in the process of learning, in the effects of having learned something new, that man enjoys the gift of his intelligence." Postrel responds: "It is in curiosity, problem solving, and play that we discover who we are. These are the very qualities and activities that make the future unknown and unknowable....We cannot build a single bridge from here to there, for neither here nor there is a single point. And there is no abyss to cross."
On occasion, I include excerpts in my review because those who read reviews online do not have direct access to the text, as they would if browsing in a bookstore. In this instance, I include excerpts to suggest the seriousness of the issues which Postrel addresses in this brilliant book. There have always been "enemies of the future" (for reasons which Postrel addresses effectively) and there always will be. Peter Drucker once observed that one of the greatest challenges now facing organizations is to recognize and then manage the implications and consequences of a future which has already occurred. In Now or Never, Mary Modahl emphasizes the importance of rapid response to those opportunities which change creates.
I am in great debt to Postrel and others who continue to remind us how perilous the future can indeed be but also how imperative it is to approach that future with passion as well as prudence...and especially, with a sense of we explore our global community, of course, but as we also seek out what is yet to be revealed within our hearts and minds.

Svengalis Web: The Alien Enchanter in Modern Culture
Svengalis Web: The Alien Enchanter in Modern Culture
von Daniel Pick
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 62,11

5.0 von 5 Sternen A Window and A Mirror, 14. Juli 2000
Decades ago while earning a graduate degree in comparative literature, I happened to come upon a badly-written novel authored by George Du Maurier. When I later asked my professor about it, he explained that Trilby was in fact a bestseller after its publication (in 1894) but that its only claim to literary fame is that it introduces a character named Svengali. I recalled that conversation as I began to read Pick's book. It is a brilliant achievement. The "web" to which the title refers consists of all manner of connections between hypnotism and anti-Semitism. Those connections are presumably what attracted Pick to Trilby and, especially, to the implications of the novel's great success in Victorian England.
Centuries earlier in A Merchant in Venice, Shakespeare introduced a usurer named Shylock who was viewed with contempt by most of the other characters. Revealingly, only Shylock fully honors all of the terms and conditions in his financial transactions to which others voluntarily (indeed eagerly) agree and yet he is reviled. Indeed, he is the principal victim in the play and yet, even today, is often viewed as the villain...usually by those who have not read the play or at least not read it with care. Shylock's name remains synonymous with unscrupulous money-lenders. Perhaps Pick had this in mind as he began to examine the character Svengali whose name is synonymous with hypnotic, almost irresistible evil. In any event, with consummate skill, Pick uses Svengali as a focal point through which to examine all manner of social and political forces at work in late-19th century England. In our own age when so many movies seem to be made primarily to sell merchandise, the "Trilby Phenomenon" also suggests commercial implications of mesmerizing significance.

The Complete Guide to Mergers and Acquisitions: Process Tools to Support M&A Integration at Every Level: Process Tools to Support M and A Integration at Every Level (Jossey-Bass Business & Management)
The Complete Guide to Mergers and Acquisitions: Process Tools to Support M&A Integration at Every Level: Process Tools to Support M and A Integration at Every Level (Jossey-Bass Business & Management)
von Timothy J. Galpin
  Gebundene Ausgabe

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5.0 von 5 Sternen About as "Complete" as Possible, 14. Juli 2000
There is already an abundance of resources on the subject of M&A, especially those available on the WWW. If you are looking for a single-volume source, this is probably one of the best. The authors devote 14 chapters to virtually all aspects of M&A. In process, with clarity and eloquence, they explain the "Watson Wyatt Deal Flow Model" which, after appropriate modifications, can be applied to almost any organization involved in M&A negotiations, either as a buyer or as a seller. The final chapter, all by itself, is well worth the cost of the book. In it, the authors suggest various "keys" to M&A success. They then provide:
Resource A: Sample Task Force Charter
Resource B: Integration Planning Template
Resource C: Executive Summary of Watson Wyatt Worldwide's 1998-1999 Mergers and Acquisitions Survey
What we have here is a single-volume in which two experts on the subject of M&A seem to share everything they know about the subject. Even if your company is not currently a buyer or seller, its senior-level executives should read this book. Why? Because you just never know. Perhaps sooner than now anticipated, your company will be courted by another...or it will be attracted to another company as a prospective acquisition. In either situation, this book (and the "Watson Wyatt Deal Flow Model" it discusses) will be invaluable.

The Cluetrain Manifesto
The Cluetrain Manifesto
von Rick Levine
  Gebundene Ausgabe

5.0 von 5 Sternen Here They Stand, 14. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Cluetrain Manifesto (Gebundene Ausgabe)
The authors post 95 theses which suggest all manner of ways in which to communicate more effectively during the New Millennium. For example the first thesis asserts that "Markets are conversations", also the title of Chapter 4; the last thesis asserts that "We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting." That is to say, the Internet and the Web have created unique, indeed unprecedented opportunities for conversations between and among people almost anywhere, anytime. So much has already been said and written about technological connectivity and interaction. The Cluetrain Manifesto provides a wealth of insights concerning connectivity and interaction in human terms, connectivity which is permitted by technology but not dependent on institutional ventriloquists. Of course, all this is occurring in so-called nanoseconds. (Check out Guy Claxton's Hare Brain Tortoise Mind for some thought-provoking perspectives on the concept of time.) The authors obviously do not expect their readers to agree with every thesis. Indeed, I suspect, they would be upset if any one reader does. In effect, they say "Rigorously consider what we suggest and then formulate your own theses." Their book combines a cordial invitation to think with a passionate imperative to care.

The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America
The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America
von Jeffrey Rosen
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 22,99

5.0 von 5 Sternen Dimensions of Privacy, 6. Juni 2000
I have a problem with the subtitle ("The Destruction of Privacy") because my definition of privacy seems to be more inclusive than is Rosen's. He is quite correct when expressing concern about what we both view as abuses of the Fourth Amendment, especially in recent years because of the WWW. I also agree with him that, in a litigious society, the sexual-harassment law has motivated many people to assert that all forms of offensive behavior are ipso facto illegal. But has privacy been destroyed or, at least, is it in imminent danger of being destroyed? I don't think so. I define privacy to include thoughts and feelings to which we can control access by another person. There are certain areas within the human mind and heart which can never be penetrated by an electronic device. However unwelcome an "unwanted gaze" may be, however offensive or even illegal another person's behavior may be, one's private or personal "space" need not be penetrated...unless with permission. Rosen raises a number of important issues. He supports his assertions (especially those concerning the sexual-harassment law) with solid examples. I share his concern about abuses of information which have been made possible by various electronic devices. I share his contempt for any behavior which violates human dignity.
As previously indicated, my definition of privacy is apparently more inclusive than is his. We also seem to differ on the purpose of privacy. For Rosen, privacy is defined by "social boundaries that protect us from being simplified and objectified and judged out of context." For me, privacy exists within four different dimensions (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) and its purpose is to help define one's identity and nourish one's dignity. Laws should protect us from threats which are illegal...and social rejection should protect us from threats which are offensive. What are your own thoughts about all this? Read Rosen's book. You may have your own disagreements with him on certain points but I think you will share my appreciation of the information and opinions he shares.

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