Thursday, June 12, 2008

Recently Read Archives

  • Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey B. Mackay
    One of my Board Members recommended Mr. Mackay's book. It is an easy read but to be frank, I didn't really enjoy it. Let me explain why...
    Mr. Mackay is in the envelop business. I would imagine this is a pretty tough commodity driven business where a fraction of a penny can make a difference. While he gives many pointers on building relationships somehow they just don't seem to ring true.
    Yes I'd like to get to know my customers better... but I don't want to read a cheat sheet listing the clients' kids' names just before I visit them just so they are impressed and I'll make a sale. I don't know... perhaps I'm being naive but I do believe that relationships have to be sincere to succeed.

  • True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George
    I heard Bill George speak a couple of years ago at one of Jay Whitehead's CRO conferences. What a speaker... he spoke for about an hour with no notes or prompts on corporate ethics. I was really impressed but must confess that I was remiss in reading the book I bought that night. I finally got around to it and was not disappointed. Mr. George used real life examples and simple exercises throughout his book to make his case and teach how each one of us can find our True North. This is a very good book. Don't wait two years to read it!

  • Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
    I'm trying to remember who recommended this book but can't for the life of me remember who it was! Old age creeps up on me... This book is about the Generals who were at Gettysburg that fateful summer of 1863. It is written as a novel and I found it very enjoyable and educational for it takes you through the ebb and flow of the three day battle.
    I first visited Gettysburg with my wife Francine in 1993. We took a bus tour but I never really understood the battle until we returned to Gettysburg last year with my daughter Veronica on "American History" week. (We did many of the historical sites in Philadelphia, NYC and Hyde Park as well). This book brings history to life. Mr. Shaara passed away when he was only 59 but his son Jeff picked up the torch and I'm now reading his books on the civil war.

  • A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
    I read this book, actually the entire Peter Mayle series ten or fifteen years ago. Re-reading favorite books is something I often do. Its like visiting an old friend. I've re-read some books up to five times over the years. Anyways, I loved "A Year in Provence" then and I loved it now! Peter Mayle was a London advertising executive who decided to take a year off and move to the French countryside, more specifically - Provence. Needless to say he never left and his experiences spawned a series of entertaining books as well as one of my favorite movies "A Goodyear" starring Russell Crowe. One day, I'd like to live in Provence!

  • Rogues Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money that Made the Metropolitan Museum by Michael Gross
    I love museums and the works of art they house. One of my favorite museums is the Metropolitan in NYC. So reading Rogues Gallery was a real treat. It outlines the history of the Met and tells the story of its benefactors and curators and leaders. I enjoyed the book although I'm not sure that everyone else would... especially some of those in the book!

  • American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meachem
    Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States. He was a very controversial President. Known as "Old Hickory" he was the father of the Democratic Party and fought many epic military and political battles that forever changed the destiny of the USA.

  • American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin
    Robert Oppenheimer was a brilliant scientist who led the top secret Manhattan Project which led to the creation of the atomic bomb. Its creation was his triumph and his tragedy.
    He quickly realized the bomb would forever change the world and was a strong advocate for arms control and educating the public on the perils of the nuclear age.
    But he was caught up by his past and some very powerful forces. In his younger days, Oppenheimer had flirted with communism and the left wing movement. This was used against him in the early 1950s. The time by Joseph McCarthy and communist witch hunts.
    Sadly for us all Oppenheimer's voice was effectively muzzled at a time it could have made a difference.