Mornings on Horseback is a meandering and slow paced biography covering the lives of three generations of Roosevelts. Living in Dutch New York at the...moreMornings on Horseback is a meandering and slow paced biography covering the lives of three generations of Roosevelts. Living in Dutch New York at the end of the 19th century, the book tells of the fortunes, adventures, disappointments, and the daily lives in general of this prominent and privileged family.
The book's main focus is on the childhood of Theodore Roosevelt, who diligently kept a detailed diary as a young boy, which provides the bulk of the source material. This, together with the large amount of letters which he both wrote and received, most of which seem to have survived, provide a very personal account of his close relationship with his father, his lifelong love for nature, the happy days spent with his family on vacation sailing the Nile river and touring Europe, and the close bond he enjoyed with his parents and siblings (almost all of whom suffered from some strange physical or mental affliction).
More than anything, it is the tale of a young man trying to find his place in the world, and living up to the expectations of his father and the reputation of the family name.
It is obvious that the Roosevelts were fabulously wealthy, and this makes the book all the more interesting for the frequent trips to exotic destinations, interactions with prominent members of old New York's social elite, and Theodore's enthusiasm for fine clothes and guns, among other things.
Like most great men his life was not without tragedy. And the author does a great job of conveying the sense of loss and despair which these events so often bring.
It's a really long book. But you will find yourself picking it up and dusting it off to go on, just like 'TD' had to do so often himself(less)
This book details a handful of subjective research findings as to why some companies become great, while others simply remain good at what they do. Th...moreThis book details a handful of subjective research findings as to why some companies become great, while others simply remain good at what they do. The author uses strained analogies to belabor a few simple concepts which can basically be summarized as:
Rule #1: Hire the best people you can, and make sure that they fill the right positions Rule #2: Learn rule #1 first.
Everything else seems to flow naturally from the above: maintaining a culture of discipline, the compounding effects of launching the right small initiatives, avoiding mistakes, focussing on what makes you money, figuring out what your company can be the best at, remaining realistically optimistic etc.
The book does provide some interesting insights into 11 great companies (some of which have gone bankrupt since the book was published by the way), and may be worthwhile if only to become privy to a few intimate details of how the companies were run, and the personalities that shaped their destiny.(less)
I'm not sure that Mr. Hsieh really knew what he was doing most of the time. He was obviously quite young when he enjoyed his initial success with Link...moreI'm not sure that Mr. Hsieh really knew what he was doing most of the time. He was obviously quite young when he enjoyed his initial success with LinkExchange, and it's hard to tell wether or not there was ever any sound basis for the decisions he made.
I liked his ideas on 'Ask Anything', and how a business should be obsessed with its customers in order to remain successful over the long term. The book also provides some interesting insights as to what it was like to start one's career right at the beginning of the dot-com boom, and life on the west coast during that era in general. I was amazed to learn how many high-risk, radical changes the leadership team was willing to introduce in the early days of Zappos in order to try and address problem areas. And how these radical interventions helped shape the culture and result in the business eventually turning profitable for the first time.
It ain't Drucker, but if you enjoy feel-good hippie business books, or have not explored the genre before, it may be an entertaining read. (less)