I knew that the trip from the housing projects of New York to the Supreme Court would be made by an interesting person. Ms. Sotomayor did not disappoint in that regard. What I did not anticipate was how charming and inspiring her family and her story turned out to be. Years of hard work by a smart, grounded and rational person pushed her to the summit of a legal career. What Sonia Sotomayor did was not flashy or even fun. It took focus and a willingness to defer gratification. This is the quintessential American story. Among the things that I take from this book are that we must find a way to engage our best and brightest people and if we do that our best days, as a country, are yet to come.
This is a short easy read. If you are looking for character development, that is not what this book is about. Clarks' gift is in articulating the wonder and majesty of the future. This he does in spades. You do not have to be a science fiction fan to appreciate "Childhood's End". Beware however, I expect that this work has the ability to turn you into one.
Jim Collins talks about a commitment to discipline and a concept he calls the 20 mile march. Calling for more discipline in business is not a revelation but it well deserves repeating and emphasis. The 20 mile march was the best and most empowering part of the book. Most of us are not, nor do we work for Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or some other visionary business leader. The 20 mile march throws open the doors for the rest of us. It says that most of us can do great things if we work within certain reasonable parameters. Collins attempt to pump up the energy with his spirited narration comes off as a bit over the top on occasion. Don't let that minor flaw dissuade you from benefitting from this fine piece of work.
The wonder and magnificence of Clarkes' 2001 Space Odyssey is here in spades with "Rendezvous with Rama". Rama is a bit more down to earth. I found the characters easier to understand and identify with. This book was believable and fun and yet still fantastic with the spectacle of science and exploration. Books like this create science fiction fans for life. I and going to buy a hard copy for my two teenage boys.
I though this book started off a bit on the slow side. At first I didn't find the pre Zappos history especially interesting. That history became relevant as the narrative unfolded and it was clear how Zappos was shaped by the years that preceded its founding. In the early part of the book, the writer/reader struck me as flighty, immature and even a little annoying. Later in the book, I realized that I had misinterpreted his want for a fun, non-boring workplace as naive and youthful when it was actually focused and visionary. From the chapter on culture through the end of the book the pace picked up. This is an important book on customer and employee relations. It should be required reading for any retailer, internet or otherwise.
This audio book is long (14 plus hours). Even so, it flys by. It's compelling from start to finish. The Facebook Effect has a lot to say about vision, long term planning, passion and energy.
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