A callow youth inherits his father’s company, fires all the executives, and lets people come to work whenever they want.
It sounds like the plot of anA callow youth inherits his father’s company, fires all the executives, and lets people come to work whenever they want.
It sounds like the plot of an Adam Sandler movie, but it’s a true story, and Semler, the hero of that story, made millions of dollars turning the aging Semco into Brazil’s best company to work for. His achievements include:
* Making bosses get their own coffee (and retraining secretaries to draft engineering documents or run the company’s foundation)
* Publicizing every salary (which led to significant shrinkage of the pay gap between managers and other employees)
* Helping his employees leave to start their own companies (which had so many interesting benefits that you’ll have to read Chapter 32 instead of a parenthetical summary)
Semler is a cheerful, honest companion on this corporate journey. While his stories don’t all have happy endings, the book as a whole is a marvelous testament to the power of freedom....more
Worm, my favorite book of 2014, featured (mild spoiler) a man whose power was organization: The bigger and more complicated the plan, the better. He becomes a villain when the government rejects his brilliant strategy to solve world hunger.
David MacKay is the nonfictional version of this. He tells you facts, then more facts, then combines the facts into a plan that would clearly work, if only everyone would cooperate!
He isn't as frustrated as I am, unless he hides it very well behind his graphs. He just gets on with the facts, at a rate of approximately 0.8 facts per sentence. (Many of the non-factual sentences are quotes from other writers who make things up, and require correction from Mr. MacKay.) If two sources disagree, MacKay breaks down their claims into a single question, answers the question, and moves on. He even uses colored fonts to make his numbers easier to read!
I'm a little bit in love with this man, and judging by his miraculous Amazon reviews, I'm not the only one. And his book, again, is free. Please join me in my devotion....more
I don't give books any extra points for having been written a long time ago. That said, Montaigne lives up to the hype.
My copy of "The CompleteI don't give books any extra points for having been written a long time ago. That said, Montaigne lives up to the hype.
My copy of "The Complete Essays" is scribbled-upon and corner-folded to a greater extent than nearly any other book I own, for the language and the humor and the clarity of the ideas. I read it at a time when I tried to finish every book I started, but still felt comfortable putting it down, picking it up nine months later, putting it down again, and so on.
As far as I know, there's nothing Montaigne says that hasn't been said better by someone else. But he says a great deal, says it well, says it from the unusual perspective of 16th-century France, and is a kind, curious person worth spending time with....more
This is not a book for sport-specific athletes or aspiring Olympic lifters. This is a book for people who want toWhat can I say? It worked for me.
This is not a book for sport-specific athletes or aspiring Olympic lifters. This is a book for people who want to build and/or maintain muscle mass without spending very much time. In other worlds, this is a book for most people, especially older people.
I'll stay specific from now on. I am 22 years old. I weigh 180, bench 225, squat 275, deadlift 350 (with some variation around these numbers). I can do 20 strict chin-ups without stopping. I work out once every four or five days, for 20-25 minutes of actual lifting (and about the same amount of rest time), with some Tabata intervals thrown in once in a while for cardio. Most of the time, I'm either lifting 90 seconds to failure (as the book recommends) or lifting for 1-2 sets of 3-5 reps, followed by 90 seconds to failure.
From ages 17-20, I built up to my current level of strength by working out 3-4 times per week, with slightly longer workouts. Since then, I've used the workout pattern described above to maintain that strength. My bench hasn't gone down in two years (and has gone up a bit). My body fat percentage hasn't really changed. I still sleep well at night, have a resting heart rate of 58 bpm, and have near-optimal blood pressure.
Admittedly, I don't power-clean as much I once did, and I don't see my main lifts increasing much unless I do something fancy. But I can see myself following my rough Body By Science protocol pretty much as-is for the next 20 years without losing strength. (I'm certainly lucky to be young, but I'd be happy to compensate for aging by working a bit harder and cleaning up my diet.)
* * * * *
Anyway, you don't really need to buy this book. Visiting the website and watching the YouTube videos of people working out with the method should suffice to get you started. I mostly bought BBS to support Dr. McGuff's work. It's the sort of book I'd give as a gift, or lend out to a friend.
What else can I say?
The scientific bits are interesting. The writing is crisp, and the authors don't repeat themselves too often. The photos show people lifting heavy weights with questionable form: ignore them.
Also, if you like this book or the ideas within, you might also like Tim Ferriss' The Four-Hour Body, and Martin Berkhan's essays on "Reverse Pyramid Training" (which have also been influential on helping me figure out my workouts)....more
What an odd book! Half of it is business-book boilerplate, to the point of being trite, but the other half is divided into a really fascinatingWhat an odd book! Half of it is business-book boilerplate, to the point of being trite, but the other half is divided into a really fascinating personal story (culminating in a sort of business vision quest, where the truth of the world is revealed to the author during what sounds like a very serious Dark Night of the Soul) and a series of quite beautiful musings on the ways that order can bring peace and joy to a person's life. Carpenter's spiritual cousins include Marie Kondo and Cal Newport.
Something like 3.9 stars sounds right for an average reader, but if you've read a lot of business books or you're just good at skimming in general, you may rate the book higher, since you can absorb the good and zip through the meh. In so doing, you'll get to watch the mind of someone with peculiar-but-effective views on life and work.
(I wouldn't usually give five stars to a book of such uneven quality, but something about the simplicity of the author's language, the success of his business, the specificity of his stories, and the way that his system echoes in the creation process of the book -- it all combines to make something more real than I've seen in almost any other book on business, and I suspect that I'll remember it for many years to come, with a tiny Sam Carpenter emerging from a part of my brain to remind me when it's time to make a system. Any book that implants a shard of its author in your brain is a solid candidate for Goodreads' highest rating.)
Quotes I especially liked:
"99.9 percent of everything works fine: Look around! There is a penchant for efficiency in the world. The systems of the world want to work perfectly, and 99.9 percent of them do."
"For some undocumented processes our analysis suggested that creating a Working Procedure wasn’t necessary, and in fact we had been wasting our time performing the process at all! Eliminating the system of storing paper records of customer contacts was a good example of this purging action. In analyzing the system from outside and slightly above, we discovered that after years of carefully storing hard-copy evidence of every client interaction, no staff member had ever gone back to those files for information! Not once! When these obsolete systems occasionally appeared, we dumped them with a flourish, a collective grin on our faces. In reinventing Centratel, there was nothing more satisfying than discovering and then discarding useless processes."
"If an owner or manager begins with the premise “all employees are lazy” or “there is no work ethic anymore” or “I can’t pay enough to find and hold quality people,” where will that lead? If these are your fundamental beliefs, you must change them. If you don’t, you are doomed."
"Business is art. It's a heroic undertaking, and within it lies two superb by-products: tangible value to others--employees and customers--and personal income for the creator....more