Tag Archives: business

Book Review: Barack, Inc. – by Barry Libert and Rick Faulk

Barack, Inc. – by Barry Libert and Rick Faulk

Everyone gets something different out of a book. The opinions here are mine only.

This book is about the “Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Campaign”. It may seem at this point in time, four years after President Obama was elected, that many are disillusioned by the state of the economy (although some would argue he inherited a terrible economy and has done a reasonably good job on it). Four years ago though, the campaign that won him this term in office, was regarded as a resounding business success and offered valuable lessons to be learnt.

The authors are the director and CEO respectively of Mzinga, a leading provider of social software solutions that help corporations create online communities – hence there is a deep appreciation in particular, for the phenomenal success of Obama’s use of social networking that contributed to this campaign’s success.

The crux of the lessons in the book can be distilled to the following key themes:

  1. Staying cool
  2. Unleashing social technologies
  3. Embracing and embodying change

These were particular strengths of this campaign compared with other political campaigns in the past and hence the leadership lessons here are fresh and unique. There are many anecdotes of what happened throughout to illustrate the campaign’s strengths in these areas and the tactics and principles that were utilised. The book is well structured with a bullet list of lessons at the end of each section, and is an easy read, with just 146 pages.

Book Review: Carly Fiorina – Tough Choices (A Memoir)

Carly Fiorina - Tough Choices (A Memoir)Carly Fiorina – Tough Choices (A Memoir)

Everyone gets something different out of a book. The opinions here are mine only.

This is a story told from the heart, from a lady who was passionate about her job and actually achieved a tremendous amount during her career. There are many leadership lessons throughout, as well as important observations for any woman in the business world. We learn of Carly Fiorina’s guiding principles throughout the book, such as: “What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.” and “Leadership is about the integrity of one’s character, the caliber of one’s capabilities and the effectiveness of one’s collaboration with others.” We learn also about her diligence, thoroughness and dedication throughout and about the seemingly insurmountable challenges she faced, and how she dealt with them.

One area of interest to many is what happened at the end of her tenure. It is well known that under Carly Fiorina’s leadership, her company did exceedingly well. She pulled off the merger between Hewlett Packard and Compaq and proved to be right about it, despite all the naysayers. The results spoke for themselves. Yet, in the end, she had felt that she had been betrayed.

Initially, I was disappointed, as this part of the story seemed to be skimmed over at the end. However, there is a whole section (the Afterword) dedicated to this at the end. The Afterword of the memoir explains what others (board members etc.) had said about this later on (e.g. in TV interviews such as The Charlie Rose Show) and Carly Fiorina’s own views. The Afterword ends with more leadership lessons, thoughts and optimism about leadership in the world in general.

I found this book to be an intriguing read, from a person with a very rich experience. I would probably read it again when I have a chance and would recommend it to anyone interested in management and leadership.

Book Review: Euphamania – by Ralph Keyes

Euphamania – by Ralph Keyes

Everyone gets something different out of a book. The opinions here are mine only.

This is an infomative and entertaning book. It is well researched and witty at the same time, so makes an enjoyable read.

From taboo subjects to business, food, drink and politics, our language is filled with euphamisms. Different euphamisms fall in and out of fashion over time. Just think about the number of euphamisms for “telling lies” to avoid our discomfort at referring to someone as a liar. In Chrchill’s time there were “terminological inexactitudes”. We “massage the truth”, we “sweeten the truth”, we “tell the truth improved” and we “pretend”. We have also seen people “misspeak”, “make bad choices” and “exercise poor judgement”. Bernard Madoff apologised for his “error of judgement”. Richard Nixon was often “in denial”.

There are probably more stories about the history of euphamisms than in this 250 page account, but it captures the essence of how euphamisms emerge and evolve and is great for someone reading about the subject for pleasure. Above all, it is hilarious in places and great fun to read.