Written for software developers in a project sense, it is of much more global impact to skills managers & leaders need. This is the reference bookWritten for software developers in a project sense, it is of much more global impact to skills managers & leaders need. This is the reference book (among several) that any working person should read, as it provides insight into how our managers can work better and how eventually we can be better managers. The snapshot it provides is the reference managers need to work effectively.
What DeMarco and Lister have provided is what could be read as a field manual for managers. Indeed if you consider that the some parts of US military is extremely effective at creating leaders and innovators (in addition to creating mega-bureaucracies and contradicting the innovation), then you can see how much management is a commonality that the military codified and mastered. Esprit de corp, small units, independence and responsibility, etc. are all elements that military's use, not because they developed them, but because they recognize they are a commonality in human management.
Of course this analogy can only be taken so far, but what DeMarco and Lister have provided is powerful deductive analysis based on the best theories we have, experience of effective management, and as much data as they could absorb. What's more they didn't jargonize it beyond the layman's ability to read, it's a book for anyone (as it should be). With over 50% of the business in the US being classified as small businesses, the ones who need to learn this are not highly educated business men (although I'm sure this wouldn't hurt many) it is the mom & pop shops that drive our economy.
I hope they are compelled to update this and write a 3rd edition, perhaps toned less for the software developers and more for the general public....more
Being a minor computer hacker (in the MIT sense of the word), loving history while being a futurist, being fascinated by human psychology, biologicalBeing a minor computer hacker (in the MIT sense of the word), loving history while being a futurist, being fascinated by human psychology, biological motives, and having a love for practical anthropology, this book rocked my world.
Some have compared it to Tom Clancy, but Clancy has nothing on Suarez considering the real knowledge that Suarez puts into his books from a huge variety of sources (behavioral psychology, anthropology, physics, chemistry, government theory, mechanical engineering, behavioral engineering, pharmaceuticals, database engineering, computer virus, etc). Insofar as it's an intricate fast paced thriller that involves politics Suarez's initial novel is similar to Clancy, but as a 386 is to the pentium core duo, Suarez is exponential evolution forward.
The subtle and subtext of Suarez speaks to the inner geek in me. It's the modern geek's magnum opus. Although, it's strictly speaking SciFi, Suarez plays heavily on technologies that do exist in R&D or niche markets but haven't been used together in anything but imagination. No doubt you will see some of his imagination turn into real predictions.
For those who don't understand technology, this book is not for you, but for those who do, this should give you hours of thoughts to consider. Don't fear it's predictions, unless you fear the inevitable change in the first place. Embrace the imagination and inspiration that fellow geeks can learn from this and let's make our reality better then this.
Buy this book as you'll re-read it in the years to come....more
Having been to Antarctica myself, albeit via NZ to McMurdo rather then via Chile or South Africa and working for a US Government contractor rather theHaving been to Antarctica myself, albeit via NZ to McMurdo rather then via Chile or South Africa and working for a US Government contractor rather then a for-profit, I find this book odd. Part of it is because she's explaining an entirely foreign experience to me. ANI (now ALE) is generally hard to fathom for United States Antarctic Program regulars at McMurdo, South Pole, Scott Base, and elsewhere. The happenings of ANI/ALE is pretty much out of the realm of what we even consider on a day to day basis. The USAP is entirely devoted to science, which although is not logistically true as--like any support pyramid--there are far more non-scientist then scientist. What's more this devotion to science comes from the Antarctic Treaty, which limits government's objectives in Antarctica to science and excludes military and mineral extraction.
In this way my conception of Antarctica is driven by science, the various national bases, and the research that is going on. My time on the Ice was dominated by the interventions of science, the scientists, and the logistics to make science happen. Alexa gives the impression that the comings and goings of various clients is a normal way of thinking. Somehow this is slightly baffling. Not to say it's not true, but it's just not what an USAP person would think of a normal Ice experience. In this I enjoyed the book as it's challenges my perspective on Antarctica and reminds me it's a vast continent with a fair number of other international bases, and USAP being the largest Ice researching program, isn't the only experience people have.
On second thought I have to concede that the landscape dominated my mind as it is simply so striking, followed by what I previously said dominated my time. In this Alexa reflected my memory, as the challenge, beauty, starkness, and vastness of the continent continues to be repeated throughout the book. However, even in conveying the striking nature of Antarctica, this book feels more whiny and gossipy then unique. Yes people did gossip and whine while I was in Antarctica, indeed gossip was the news of the town as it was big enough for news to happen, but small enough not to need a daily conveyance of news. Yet to me, Alexa spends an inordinate amount of time pissing and whining about her situation, about the uncertainty with and lack of confidence about her situation in Blue 1. This strikes me as daft, as most people going to Antarctica for the first time, had no idea of what to really expect about going to the ice. This in spite of research on the conditions, which Alexa seemed to do very little of.
In her defense, setting up camp in Antarctica is rather different from living at a permanent base and shares small similarities with your camp in the woods. Antarctica makes you adhoc and troubleshoot due to the rough nature of it, but a field camp on the Ice is a very different civilization. I find it rather amazing that they sent her as a FNG to a field camp as the cook and put her in charge of logistics for the meals. Field experience as a trekker and cook would have been rather necessary experience I would assume, and she did manage rather well in spite of this if her telling is accurate.
I realize that it's odd to critique a book that's talking about the 00-01 season, when my Ice time was 05-06 and it's now 2010. I realize also that people may not like the "morally questionable" with Ewan, however I have to say that this is not an uncommon experience for the USAP side. Dating on the ice, including normal singles, is a strange experience more akin to combat romances then to normal life given the cooped up proximity, isolation from normal civilization, and distinctness from an otherwise normal life.
A topic I consider regularly, but one to which I was enlightened by his 12 years of research and his very reasoned approached to all of his topics. IA topic I consider regularly, but one to which I was enlightened by his 12 years of research and his very reasoned approached to all of his topics. I look forwarded to applying his 5 questions at the end, as well as reading this book again with a view to more note taking. I do hope that some day we can find a textbook that inspires better history then our current lot, but perhaps it's enough to give our children the dual tools of seeking questions and then seeking answers to those questions....more