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Room to Read March 18, 2007

Posted by theoxymoron in Interesting Reads, Management.
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The book I just finished was titled “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World” by John Wood.

Subtitle: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children

The book is about John Wood, a top executive at Microsoft. He was director of business development in the greater China region. After a three week vacation in Nepal his life had changed in a fundamental way. He began to question his whole life, his job and his marriage. From that moment on he wasn’t quite sure if the life he lived so far was exactly what he wanted. The trip inspired him to help the children in Nepal and to set up schools and libraries. Nepal’s illiteracy rate was 70 percent !

He built one of the most effective nonprofits called Room to Read which has now built more than 2000 schools and libraries throughout Asia and Africa! In fact he wanted to build “The Microsoft of Nonprofits”.

It is an amazing book with lots of inspiring ideas and I read it almost in one go during my vacation.

Read more about the book and some inspiring quotations on my site

John Wood on the book:

Tom DeMarco’s "Der Termin" November 9, 2006

Posted by theoxymoron in Interesting Reads, Management.
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Vor kurzem hab ich zur Abwechslung wieder einmal ein deutsches Buch gelesen. Ich hatte Tom De Marcos’s “Der Termin” noch positiv in Erinnerung obwohl es doch schon einige Jahre zurück lag als ich es das letzte mal gelesen habe. Das Buch hat den Untertitel “Ein Roman über Projektmanagement”, das heisst es wird eigentlich versucht ein Sachbuch in Form eines Romans zu verpacken. Einen ähnlichen Schreibstil, der mir persönlich aber besser gefallen hat, verwendet E. M. Goldratt in seinem Buch “The Goal” – A Process of ongoing Improvement. Bei Tom DeMarco waren mir die Schlüsse oder besser Schlussfolgerungen etwas zu oberflächlich und die ganze Geschichte wirkte ziemlich konstruiert. Ich hatte das Gefühl, dass er zwanghaft versucht seine Thesen in Form einer Story zu präsentieren und daher das Ganze nicht mehr glaubwürdig rüber kommt. Goldratt geht bei seiner Erzählung viel mehr ins Detail und die Story ist teilweise wirklich spannend und man möchte selber automatisch mehr über den wissenschaftlichen/mathematischen Hintergrund der beschriebenen Phänomene in den Produktionshallen wissen. Am meisten schockiert hat mich allerdings das Ende des Buches, das einerseits sehr plötzlich bzw. unerwartet kommt und andererseits wirklich sehr trivial ist. Plötzlich deswegen weil 257 Seiten lang die Probleme beschrieben werden von denen dann auch noch die grössten durch “unsaubere” Mittel gelöst wurden (Problem mit Herr Belok) und auf den 10 letzten Seiten die Geschichte durch ein kitschiges Happy End beendet wird.

Who am I ? August 6, 2006

Posted by theoxymoron in Interesting Reads, Management.
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A very nice description of something all of us know very good well. What is it ?

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few
lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great men.
And, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine.
Plus, the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?