Outstanding, I'm putting this up there with "the lords of strategy" as one of the more useful surveys of the field (not that there are many), it bring...moreOutstanding, I'm putting this up there with "the lords of strategy" as one of the more useful surveys of the field (not that there are many), it brings order to chaos, but as the authors note, is appropriately cautious about the allure of false simplicity.
The writing style is fresh and clear, even for a subject which is both dense and ethereal at the same time.
The authors definitely have their preferences among the ten "schools" of strategic management, as evidenced by disproportionate attention in the critiques section of each school's chapter. That said, they are fairly transparent about the preferences and a careful reader can weight accordingly and still benefit greatly from the treatment.
There are no easy roads to how to actually create strategies - these schools describe approaches, styles and philosophies for the process of strategic management, but are very often silent on strategic "construction". The authors readily note and comment sagely on this. If strategy is art, these are styles of painting and different media with which to play.(less)
This is a beautiful and (nearly) comprehensive collection of photographs spanning the history of Apple design. I enjoyed it, and very much wanted to "...moreThis is a beautiful and (nearly) comprehensive collection of photographs spanning the history of Apple design. I enjoyed it, and very much wanted to "5-star" it, but there were a couple of areas that could have been improved.
- The photography is interesting and revealing, but I'm not sure I'd say it was compelling or exciting. There is a mix of very well thought out and inspired close-ups of key industrial design elements, mixed with a number of rote "place and shoot" captures.
- Such a comprehensive collection begged more narrative commentary on the design itself. Instead the captioning is descriptive more than thoughtful.
- There are a couple of unusual minor gaps, after all the attention to other product lines, the evolution of the iPhone is hurried over
A pleasant surprise was a chapter devoted to the history of Apple packaging (and thus implicitly branding/marketing). I would have loved to have seen this more developed.
I'd say ICONIC is well worth the purchase for the faithful.(less)
Oy! Not quite sure what to say about this, other than that I persevered. Decided to read Seven Pillars after a vacation to Jordan recently followed by...moreOy! Not quite sure what to say about this, other than that I persevered. Decided to read Seven Pillars after a vacation to Jordan recently followed by a re-watch of Lawrence of Arabia. The narrative is nothing if not complete; much more a personal diary (albeit with quite elaborate ... sometimes almost contorted) writing style, than an edited book. A small handful of chapters comprised LOA. The book was somewhat frustrating ... many nuggets of wit, reflection or insight hidden amongst a much longer and larger collection of documentary chapters of the Arab revolt's specific movements and actions. (less)
Meh. Spends an agonizingly long time on the golf game, the Fort Knox finale is over in no time, and the Pussy Galore conversion even less comprehensib...moreMeh. Spends an agonizingly long time on the golf game, the Fort Knox finale is over in no time, and the Pussy Galore conversion even less comprehensible than in the movie. A disappointment, albeit peppered with Fleming's often excellent turns of phrase.(less)
I struggled between 2 and 3 stars for this one, so here's my math:
Start with 5 stars and:
(A) subtract two stars at once for the not even remotely veil...moreI struggled between 2 and 3 stars for this one, so here's my math:
Start with 5 stars and:
(A) subtract two stars at once for the not even remotely veiled contempt Fleming has for all things that aren't white, male, British, straight, and fit. I used up my "1950s product of the times" patience with him when reviewing Live and Let Die (which was truly appalling in its racism), now I just feel like a masochist. Something of a minor tragedy too ... This may have played well with a certain target demographic in 1956, but poisoned some of the books for posterity.
(B) subtract another two stars for a fairly boring - nearly nonexistent - plot which isn't even carried all the way to conclusion. Other reviews have commented on the more-travelogue-than-story aspect of DAF, I'd have to agree. In this case add in the occasional jabs and sneers at 1950s America (locale of the travelogue) and it just gets tiresome. A pity, as some of the Bond novels have outstanding plots. This isn't one of them.
(C) add one star back for Fleming's incredible writing style which focuses on bringing out detail in every setting without becoming overwhelming or boring. Bond novel chapters are written like movie scenes. Their richness keeps the story going even when the story is MIA.
Surprisingly good and refreshing as one of the few bond tales not to be carved up and turned into movie fodder. Definitely in my top 3 Bond books so f...moreSurprisingly good and refreshing as one of the few bond tales not to be carved up and turned into movie fodder. Definitely in my top 3 Bond books so far.(less)
Wow, surprisingly good out of a genre I thought I had left behind; beholden to my Goodreads friends for the recommend. I'd agree with some other revie...moreWow, surprisingly good out of a genre I thought I had left behind; beholden to my Goodreads friends for the recommend. I'd agree with some other reviewers that this book evoked the same reaction in me as early King, before I got bored with King's progression ... Almost tempted to say the son may have surpassed the father as this book is in many ways cleverer, more engaging, and more artful than most King I've read.(less)
Excellent story, great writing. At times (especially in the middle) the "epic" nature causes it to drag and become a little redundant. ... But overall...moreExcellent story, great writing. At times (especially in the middle) the "epic" nature causes it to drag and become a little redundant. ... But overall very satisfying.(less)
This book was a pleasant surprise; military history isn't typically my cup of tea but I gave it a crack. While a bit dense it was very enjoyable.
For r...moreThis book was a pleasant surprise; military history isn't typically my cup of tea but I gave it a crack. While a bit dense it was very enjoyable.
For readers who aren't already familiar with the four admirals the book will likely start slow; treating their family histories, Naval Academy years and early careers, there is little to differentiate between the four 'young admirals' as their stories are told simultaneously, and their individual character profiles take time to build up. The payoff for this buildup is that once the narrative switches over to World War II, telling the story of the war in the Pacific through the eyes/careers of the admirals ends up being a very effective way of communicating the history to distant (and in my case, previously disengaged) audiences. While not a page-turner, the book definitely builds in momentum in a very satisfying way.
As a treatise on leadership, the book is interesting but not completely compelling. Clearly (and the book asserts) these are four leaders with completely different leadership styles, but there isn't necessarily a complete connection between having these attributes (as many do) and attaining the leadership role (as many don't). Indeed, the first half of the book makes clear that their ascension to positions from which to conduct leadership was as much about careful, artful, and sometimes lucky choices of next-career-steps (especially within the Navy politics and bureaucracy), as it was about their personal characteristics. Perhaps that is the take-home, but the conclusion seems to imply it was all about their personal character. Another review here makes the case that the book relies as much on emotion as on demonstration; I wouldn't go quite so far, and the emotional content is quite compelling, but the critique that the leadership case isn't fully closed I think still lies.
Regardless, if the subject and content sound intriguing, and readers are willing to embrace a book midway between history, biography, and exposition, I think they are likely not to be disappointed.(less)
I started Skunk Works expecting to like it, but not expecting to love it as much as I did. Other reviews here recap its content well - it covers the...more I started Skunk Works expecting to like it, but not expecting to love it as much as I did. Other reviews here recap its content well - it covers the period of SW history in which the U-2, Blackbird, and F-117A stealth bomber were developed (along with some less well known ventures such as high altitude spy drones and a stealth ship), and does good justice both to the incredible engineering and the cold war context and political climate of the day.
Rich's personal story is enhanced with 2-3 page "other voices" sections contributed by program managers, administration officials, test and operational pilots, DoD brass, etc. These add alot of depth and help keep the narrative moving and interesting. You don't need to be an engineer to enjoy this book, but it is a fine and actually exciting capture of the incredible engineering that went into developing these aircraft.(less)
This book appeared most insistently at the top of my Goodreads recommends after I added a couple of Ken Follets, and while I wasn't overly impressed w...moreThis book appeared most insistently at the top of my Goodreads recommends after I added a couple of Ken Follets, and while I wasn't overly impressed with the KFs or the genre, I followed the "trust goodreads" rule and gave it a whirl. Glad I did ... Whole different class.
I confess to having missed the Shakespearean treatment of Richard III (beyond the somewhat perplexing "1930s fascist England" movie version of the mid 90s), knew little of the conventional Tudor histories, and of the period in general... So I found my way halfway through the book before desiring to learn a bit about how much of it was grounded in truth (by that point, the various plots and romances were starting to accumulate to bordering on the potentially contrived). A quick trip to Wikipedia confirmed its authenticity at the expense of divulging "spoilers" (though in a different way increased my satisfaction with the rest of the book). If you're inclined to try this out and want to remain spoiler free, be assured its anchored fairly closely in history, and that it attempts to tell a Yorkist/Plantagenet version of that history unreconstructed by subsequent Tudor historians. (This alone makes it interesting fodder).
I'm no expert but it seems to also be reasonably period appropriate in writing and narrative as well; occasionally I had a vague sense that I might be reading some anachronisms in either language or worldview, but nothing I could specifically put my finger on and nothing so much as to distract or detract from enjoying the story.
Still not sure if I'm a huge fan of historical fiction but if I dip my toe in again, it'll likely be for a Sharon Key Penman novel.
As with some others on Goodreads, I found this book a little hard to rate, thinking it a "3.5" and opting for a 4 star rating from an "E for Effort" s...moreAs with some others on Goodreads, I found this book a little hard to rate, thinking it a "3.5" and opting for a 4 star rating from an "E for Effort" standpoint. Part of this is high expectations on my part based on affinity for Silver's FiveThirtyEight election prediction work.
The book is well researched and covers a nicely diverse array of example topics, including but not limited to economics, betting, sports, weather, climate, earthquakes and terrorism. The diversity keeps the interest going. A challenge here is that few of the examples were unfamiliar to me; ironically as the book is ultimately about Bayesian inference, there may be a little bit of a Bayesian thing going on relative to those most likely to buy/read and those most likely to have prior exposure and be left wanting more. The same thinking might suggest that the book is targeted more towards readers attracted by Silver's political forecasts than those with a wonkish or professional interest in prediction itself.
For the latter, Silver redeems by offering something hard to find in similar popular literature, a high level synthesis across both realms and disciplines in prediction. A contrast with Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow and Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds (both of which Silver draws from) helps illustrate: While these two books are by no means peers (Kahneman's represents a lifetime of scholarship, Surowiecki's is more management faddish), as books, both suffer a bit from "the curse of knowledge" - the authors' over familiarity with the often contradictory details leaves the reader rudderless on how to apply the findings in practice.
Silver, instead, takes a first step towards synthesis. This is welcome, although occasionally questions do arise about the formal correctness of mixing and matching themes and findings from very the different predictive methods (regression, classification, physics based modeling, simulation, etc) covered in the book. Absent a unifying framework to relate these methods (Silver is clearly an applied forecaster rather than a theoretician) the reader must rely on his claims to authority by experience (as well as the depth of research indicated by heavy citation) in trusting the synthesis and recommendations.
Overall, Silver ends up on the positive side of the trust ledger sheet, and even for readers already familiar with the topical examples, he provides enough additional color, as well as thought provoking commentary, to make it all worthwhile.(less)
Wow! This book is not only beautiful but really interesting. Far more than just a nostalgia coffee-table piece, the text is both interesting and thoug...moreWow! This book is not only beautiful but really interesting. Far more than just a nostalgia coffee-table piece, the text is both interesting and thought-provoking.
I found the best chapters / collections to be those on the human form, and on modern art influences. In these not only were the graphics themselves stunning, but the narrative added significant depth. I was a smidge less interested in the chapters that spent more time writing about technical details - the content seemed too deep for a non-aerospace reader, but "already known" for insiders.
A surprising side to this book was how many of the advertisements are focused on recruiting, reflecting the early space age ramp up. To this end the ad copy itself is often very interesting as well.
I gather the author is hard at work on another book. Can't wait!(less)
A good lesson against impulse buying based on Amazon "you might be interested in..." recommendations without checking Goodreads first. This book was a...moreA good lesson against impulse buying based on Amazon "you might be interested in..." recommendations without checking Goodreads first. This book was a huge disappointment.
First, the easy: design-wise, the book is awful. Typographically it's a train wreck, even in its attempts to be "nostalgic". The layout is off in many ways, and the graphics frequently include unnecessarily large blow-ups of screened / stippled newsprint type images that make them almost unrecognizable. In some cases it looks like this effect was intentionally applied. It's just ugly and not pleasant to read and the nostalgic angle gets old after a few pages.
With respect to content, it's fairly lazy. Almost completely comprised of very short snippets from old Popular Mechanics magazines with minimal commentary. The order is hodge-podge, and the selections only mildly interesting. The book could have been so much more had it taken a "predicted vs actual" approach towards what was technologically anticipated versus how it turned out. A few items have schlocky "True!" stickers next to them but a perplexingly large number don't, even thought they effectively panned out, just not quite in the ways anticipated in the PM blurbs.