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Harry Pottash

Tujunga, CA, United States | Member Since 2009

  • 2 reviews
  • 50 ratings
  • 204 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015

  • Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Douglas Rushkoff
    • Narrated By Douglas Rushkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Douglas Rushkoff, in tracing the roots of corporatism from the Renaissance to today, reveals the way it supplanted social interaction and local commerce and came to be regarded as a preexisting condition of our world, from the history of public relations to the relentless gentrification of America's urban neighborhoods. And he shows us how to fight back: how to de-corporatize ourselves, disengage from branded expectations, think locally, and return to the real world of human activity.

    A. Yerkes says: "Accessible Indictment of the Lost American Dream"
    "An unenlightening, oversimplified rant."

    I had high hopes for this book. I'm politically sympathetic to the author's positions, it was reviewed well, and I was interested in the subject, particularly the "how to take it back" portion.

    My hopes were dashed when I discovered an endless rant blaming every social, economic and political ill that the world knows on corpratisim. The views were comically one sided, not even bothering to present counterarguments in order to refute them, and the world is depicted in large, simplistic strokes using the sort of black and white morality favored by children.

    The book is an enumeration of what Rushkoff doesn't like about the world (including but not limited to the banking crisises, worker exploitation, stagnent wages, new age spiritualism, and isolation) and how each of these things can be blamed on the corporate structure.

    There were a few juicy historical tidbits scattered here and their and one interesting argument regarding the nature of centralized fiat currency, but they were rare gems in an otherwise dull slog of a book.

    Most disappointing of all was the extremely light "what you can do about it" chapter, tacked on to the end as an afterthought. It can be summed up as "volenter rather than donate"

    Skip this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Geoff Colvin
    • Narrated By David Drummond
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    One of the most popular Fortune articles in many years was a cover story called "What It Takes to Be Great." Geoff Colvin offered new evidence that top performers in any field - from Tiger Woods and Winston Churchill to Warren Buffett and Jack Welch - are not determined by their inborn talents. Greatness doesn't come from DNA but from practice and perseverance honed over decades.

    Sasha L. Stowers says: "An Even-Handed Look At Talent"
    "Rubbish, some good bits cribbed from Gladwel"

    The book can loosely be divided into two parts. The first is dedicated to driving home the idea that all extraordinary skill and ability at endeavors comes from practice (something I happen to by and large agree with). Practice in this case being only hazily defined, but with the general idea that it is:

    a) hard
    b) not the task itself
    c) slightly beyond the current skill level of the trainee
    d) sometimes is the task itself (Yeah, this is one of those books that has no problem contradicting itself)

    The section rambles relentlessly, often providing no evidence, or anecdotal evidence, or siting studies without telling you what the study was, or siting Malcolm Gladwel. That last one really galls me, because this portion of the book could best be described as a clumsy re-rendition of Blink and Outliers. And M. Gladwel already has a problem with not being a reliable resource.

    From this bearable, but undistinguished start the book takes a nose dive in the second section, which I will loosely describe as MBA / Corporate BS. The author talks about several CEOs, and a few companies, and then muddles about with some point related to development of personel being a critical corporate function. This section reads like he's trying to promote himself as a management consultant. Let's just say he was doing much better when he was literally ripping off Gladwel.

    Through the book he promises to end with a look at how people become motivated to practice, but then fails to deliver, other than some rehashed bits from outliers.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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