The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a management book in the style of Goldrat's The Goal. The first three quarters of the book are a relatively simplisThe Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a management book in the style of Goldrat's The Goal. The first three quarters of the book are a relatively simplistic business story meant to get the point across by illustrating it with the adventures of a CEO named Kathryn. While no one would accuse it of being fine literature, I'll admit that I was curious to see what would happen with Kathryn's organization and how she'd implement "her" management plan.
The last quarter of the book discusses the Five Dysfunctions and gives a little bit of advice on how to address them, just in case you didn't get the point of the narrative.
Overall, the points are good ones and the story was engaging enough to keep me reading. Without the story, this would really have been a pamphlet-length book. Either way it's an extremely quick read. There's no reason not to breeze your way through this and pick up some pointers about leading teams....more
This book is a business classic. Written in 1993, this book is almost 100% relative to professional services firms today. (With the hilarious exceptioThis book is a business classic. Written in 1993, this book is almost 100% relative to professional services firms today. (With the hilarious exception of the few times he talks about how firms can use *computers*! The future is now!)
Maister walks through almost every part of running a consulting firm, and discusses the management strategies and challenges. He focuses a lot of effort on people issues - hiring the right staff and then growing them into the professionals you need. He also spends a lot of time talking about where money comes from and what sales and marketing strategies make sense.
Frankly, the only part of this book that was less useful to me was the part about partnerships (since I don't work for a partnership-model firm). Otherwise, this is an absolute must-read for anyone who works in consulting and wants to understand more about how their business runs (and should be running)....more
Southeast Asia: Past and Present is a detailed, thorough, and very dry history of SE Asia, from early history up until the present. (I'm reading the 2Southeast Asia: Past and Present is a detailed, thorough, and very dry history of SE Asia, from early history up until the present. (I'm reading the 2009 edition, and it has political information up to mid-2008). The book covers all of SE Asia and has individual chapters for most countries. The early chapters were sometimes short on detail, but that's due to the limited knowledge we have of early SE Asian society and civilization.
The more modern chapters (from the 1900s onward) are a whirl of political parties and politicians, and while that probably *is* what makes up modern history in most countries, I would have preferred a heavier focus on events and less of a focus on the political wrangling. As a reference it could be useful, but I guarantee that in two weeks, I won't remember who the PAP was and why they were different from the MRRC or the VNQDD.
The author occasionally uses Indianisms, and while the overall editing of most of the book is quite good, there are a few sloppy mistakes in the last chapter, which deals with events from the past few years. There is also occasional editorializing (it's funny to see how many deeds were "dastardly"--a particularly common word in Indian journalism that's otherwise used mainly in really bad fiction.)
I would have preferred a "lighter" history of SE Asia with more narrative content and fewer political facts, but for what it attempts to accomplish this book is very thorough and workmanlike....more
This book provides an overview of Theravada Buddhism in SE Asia. In three sections, it examines popular belief and practice; Buddhism and government;This book provides an overview of Theravada Buddhism in SE Asia. In three sections, it examines popular belief and practice; Buddhism and government; and Buddhism's adaptation to the modern world.
Overall, the book is academic in tone and detail, and contains lots of religion studies jargon. I found the first section of limited usefulness and unsurprising conclusions, however the second and third sections provided interesting historical background.
This book was a drier introduction to SE Asian Buddhism than I was looking for, but contained lots of information and was a useful read overall....more
An academic review of Southeast Asian culture at the dawn of European exploration. The author devotes chapters to Physical Well-Being; Material CulturAn academic review of Southeast Asian culture at the dawn of European exploration. The author devotes chapters to Physical Well-Being; Material Culture; Social Organization; and Festivals and Amusements. It's a relatively short, quick read with lots of interesting information. At times it's rather academic, with lists and figures, but just when I'd start to get bored, the section would end and the author would start discussing a new aspect of culture. Being an academic work, the author refers a lot to first sources, which is definitely a plus for me.
All that said, no one would mistake this for a casual overview. This is not particularly entertaining reading, and is probably not suitable for someone with just a casual interest. This is what you get when you ask an Asian Culture professor for reading suggestions....more