Monday, October 30, 2006

More Books (it's still October!)

I also read The Innovator's Dilemma. Remember folks, I don't actually read these. I buy the audiobook versions and listen to them mostly while driving. This works out well since my hobbies include doing things far from home and that means lots of driving. This book is interesting. I had to say that first, because the audiobook narration was painfully dry. But having survived engineering school, I'm accustomed to gleaning value from dry presentations of all sorts. Here's a short excerpt from the Amazon summary summary comments by one Harry C. Edwards:
At the heart of The Innovator's Dilemma is how a successful company with established products keeps from being pushed aside by newer, cheaper products that will, over time, get better and become a serious threat. Christensen writes that even the best-managed companies, in spite of their attention to customers and continual investment in new technology, are susceptible to failure no matter what the industry, be it hard drives or consumer retailing. Succinct and clearly written, The Innovator's Dilemma is an important book that belongs on every manager's bookshelf.

It was interesting to examine some of my personal experience in the framework described of innovators. I never realized it, but there was a time when me and my coworkers at TRW were definitely innovators (by the standards described in the book) and were using the very same techniques to break away from the corporate status quo. I recommend the book for anybody interested in managing or participating in business innovation.

To balance that review, I read a book about a fish. Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World is not a good book. I was enticed by the 4.5/5 stars from 88 Amazon reviewers. Often, I thought the author must have been meaning to write a cook book. He includes cod-based recipes throughout the book. I did enjoy the historical information. It's neat to learn about how significant this staple was in so many markets around the globe. I would have preferred a more orderly presentation of that historical information. Maybe geographical, or chronological, or theological. Anything but the apparent meandering path taken. The same author has another book titled "Salt: A World History". It's not yet available in audiobook format. I may not read that one.

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