Apr 15, 2008

Book Reviews

I spent a couple days in the Hoosier state and read some business/workplace related books while traveling and thought I'd review them.

Less Is More: How Great Companies Use Productivity As a Competitive Tool in Business by Jason Jennings

The best book of the three, it was good from start to finish, even though the basic message is simple: have a clear goal, stop screwing around and get to it. Anyone halfway intelligent knows the difference between productive and non-productive work. Both the vision and culture have to be pushed and maintained by management (or CEO) taking a long term view. The book does recommend being polite to a point, but doesn't adhere to the rule as strictly as the next two books.

What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith

This book details 20 character flaws that can hold you back in your career such as:

  • Withholding information to maintain an advantage over others
  • Passing the buck
  • Telling the world how smart we are
  • Passing judgment
  • Adding too much value, the overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion
etc., you get the idea. The books generally describes how to be nice and why being nice is good for your career. I liked the first half of the book, but after a while it seemed a bit repetitive. Most of this stuff is common sense, but the book does a decent job of making you think about it in new ways and gives good success story examples. I bought this book for $1 + shipping on EBay and it was completely worth it.

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't by Robert I Sutton

Since this is a family blog, I'll use the term jerk instead. This book shows how persistent workplace jerks lower everyone's productivity. Common bad actions:
  • Personal Insults
  • Invading one's "personal territory"
  • Uninvited physical contact
  • Threats and intimidation, both verbal and nonverbal
  • Jokes and teasing used as insult delivery systems
  • Withering email flames
  • Status slaps intended to humiliate
  • Public shaming rituals
  • Rude interruptions
  • Two-faced attacks
  • Dirty looks
  • Treating people as if they are invisible
I better watch the jokes and teasing one, although I generally think I'm too nice and put up with more crap than I should despite the passive aggressive blog. Anyway, I thought this book was not as useful or interesting as the other two and wouldn't recommend it. It is about 200 pages that could have been fit into a decent magazine article.

1 comment:

Walker Thompson said...

Really enjoyed the book reviews here. Thanks for the post...

Walker Thompson