What Tom’s Reading

Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, Howard Rheingold

Tom calls it extraordinary. It can be ordered from booksellers and through Rheingold's website. Check out the amusing www.rheingold.com, and join the discussion there about the book's topics and issues.




Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround, Lou Gerstner

Quote: "I came to see in my time at IBM that culture isn't just one aspect of the game—it is the game. ... If I could have chosen not to tackle the IBM culture head-on, I probably wouldn't have. My bias coming in was toward strategy, analysis and measurement. In comparison, changing the attitude and behaviors of hundreds of thousands of people is very, very hard."

Book review on forbes.com


Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War, Robert Coram


Tom sent it to a long list of friends and business leaders. Colonel John Boyd is the originator of the O.O.D.A. loop: Observe. Orient. Decide. Act.

Fast Company article re Boyd


The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History, Philip Bobbitt & Michael Howard


Quote: "We are at a pivotal point in history. ... We are at one of a half dozen turning points that have fundamentally changed the way societies are organized for governance."

Randomhouse.com article about the author and the book


Natural Capitalism, Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, & L. Hunter Lovins


Paul Hawken is the founder of Smith & Hawken, the garden store/catalog recognized for environmental concern (he is no longer with the company). In Tom's ramkings of catalogs with a plot, a story, he gives Smith & Hawken an 8+ out of 10.

What Hawken is up to now


Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach, and Increase Your Market Share of the World's Largest Market, Martha Barletta


Since June 2000, Tom has called Faith Popcorn's EVEolution the only book on this topic. Martha Barletta now adds her voice! Fun fact from the book: Between 1970 and 1998 men's median income rose 6%; women's, 63%.

Barletta's bio on www.trendsight.com

The Support Economy: Why Corporations are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff & James Maxmin

Quote: "In the second half of the twentieth century a new society of individuals emerged -- a breed of people unlike any the world has ever seen. Educated, informed, traveled, they work with their brains, not their bodies. They do not assume that their lives can be patterned after their parents' or grandparents'. ... But in a discontinuous and irreversible break with the past, today's individuals seek the experiences and insights that enable them to find the elusive pattern in the stone, the singular pattern that is 'me.'"

Book review

The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America, Louis Menand



The Mask of Command, John Keegan


A historian looks at past leaders for similarities and differences. Major theme: "The warfare of any one society may differ so sharply from that of another that commonality of trait and behavior in those who direct it is overlaid altogether in importance by differences in the purposes they serve and the functions they perform."



The Timeless Way of Building, Christopher Alexander


Quote: "The fact is, a person is so far formed by his surroundings, that his state of harmony depends entirely on his harmony with his surroundings."

All about Alexander


The Spike: How Our Lives Are Being Transformed by Rapidly Advancing Technologies, Damien Broderick


Statement by San Diego State Math Prof Vernor Vinge (now retired) at the NASA VISION-21 Symposium, quoted in the book: "Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended." And the Symposium was held ten years ago.

"The Singularity" according to Vinge
Broderick's bibliography



In the same vein: The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence, by Ray Kurzweil, was listed in What Tom's Reading in September 1999.



Polite Revolutionary: Lessons from an Uncivil Servant, Bob Stone

Stone's commentary on the book

More recent ideas from Stone

Where We Stand: 30 Reasons for Loving Our Country, Roger Rosenblatt


Rosenblatt presents his reflections post September 11, 2001.



A re-read for Tom, new to What Tom's Reading:

The Total Package: The Secret History and Hidden Meanings of Boxes, Cans, and Other Persuasive Containers, by Thomas Hine


Tom calls it Design Case I. Quote: "The most fundamental difference between a traditional market and the places through which you push your cart is that in modern retailing all the selling is done without people. It replaces people with packages."





Corpsing, Toby Litt


What Tom’s Reading

Survival Is Not Enough: Zooming, Evolution, and the Future of Your Company, Seth Godin

Tom?s quote: "If Microsoft is good at anything, it's avoiding the trap of worrying about criticism. Microsoft fails constantly. They're eviscerated in public for lousy products. Yet they persist, through version after version, until they get something good enough. Then they leverage the power they've gained in other markets to enforce their standard."


Buy it direct or read Seth's blog.



Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web, David Weinberger


Quote: "Suppose—just suppose—that the Web is a new world we're just beginning to inhabit. We're like the earlier European settlers in the United States, living on the edge of the forest. We don't know what's there and we don't know exactly what we need to do to find out: Do we pack mountain climbing gear, desert wear, canoes, or all three? Of course while the settlers may not have known what the geography of the New World was going to be, they at least knew that there was a geography. The Web, on the other hand, has no geography, no landscape. It has no distance. It has nothing natural in it. It has few rules of behavior and fewer lines of authority. Common sense doesn't hold here, and uncommon sense hasn't yet emerged."

Read David's blog.


Disruption: Overturning Conventions and Shaking Up the Marketplace,
Jean-Marie Dru


"Sony is the epitome of discontinuity. It sees all its competitors' accomplishments merely as conventions to be overturned."


"Apple opposes, IBM solves, Nike exhorts, Virgin enlightens, Sony dreams, Benetton protests. ... Brands are not nouns but verbs."

Beyond Disruption is his follow-up. Read a review.


Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, by Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, Charles Burck (contributor)


Quote: "When assessing candidates, the first thing I looked for was energy and enthusiasm for execution. Does she talk about the thrill of getting things done, the obstacles overcome, the role her people played—or does she keep wandering back to strategy or philosophy?"

See a Q&A with Larry Bossidy about the book, on Time.com.


Zero Space: Moving Beyond Organizational Limits, Frank Lekanne Deprez & Rene Tissen


"The organizations we created have become tyrants. They have taken control, holding us fettered, creating barriers that hinder rather than help our businesses. The lines that we drew on our neat organizational diagrams have turned into walls that no one can scale or penetrate or even peer over."

Read a summary.


Why Men Don't Listen & Women Can't Read Maps: How We're Different & What to Do About It, Barbara & Allan Pease


Quote (there are many more like this!): ?As a hunter, a man needed vision that would allow him to zero in on targets in the distance ? whereas a woman needed eyes to allow a wide arc of vision so that she could monitor any predators sneaking up on the nest. This is why modern men can find their way effortlessly to a distant pub, but can never find things in fridges, cupboards or drawers."

See a press release (re storm in Japan over the book!).


The Leader's Voice, Boyd Clarke & Ron Crossland. The CEO and vice chair of tompeterscompany! put their two cents in.


Quote: "Vision is a love affair with an idea."

Buy the book.


Marketing to the Mindset of Boomers and Their Elders, Carol Morgan & Doran Levy


Quote: "Households headed by someone 40 or older enjoy 91% ($9.7T) of our population's net worth. ... The mature market is the dominant market in the U.S. economy, making the majority of expenditures in virtually every category."



Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science, Atul Gawande


The Weather Channel: The Improbable Rise of a Media Phenomenon, Frank Batten (Big Boss) with Jeffrey L. Cruikshank (Collaborator) 


Wide Angle Vision: Beat your competition by focusing on fringe competitors, lost customers, and rogue employees, Wayne Burkan


Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will: How Jack Welch Is Making GE the World's Most Competitive Corporation, Noel M. Tichy, Stratford Sherman (Contributor)


An old read, but worth mention:

Results-Based Leadership, Dave Ulrich, Jack Zenger, Norm Smallwood 


Quote from a Harley-Davidson exec:"What we sell is the ability for a 43-year-old accountant to dress in black leather, ride through small towns and have people be afraid of him."





Hard Times, Charles Dickens


What Tom’s Reading

March 2002

The Mythical Man-Month. Essays on Software Engineering by Frederick Brooks.

Originally published in the mid-'70s, still highly recommended for software designers.

An idea what the book is like/about: "Large system programming has ... been ... a tar pit, and many great and powerful beasts have thrashed violently in it. Most have emerged with running systems -- few have met goals, schedules, and budgets. Large and small, massive or wiry, team after team has become entangled in the tar."

Tom's quote: "A lean, elegant programming product must present to each of its users a coherent mental model of the application. ... The most important action is the commissioning of some one mind to be the project's architect, who is responsible for the conceptual integrity of all aspects of the product perceivable by the user. The architect forms and owns the mental model of the product that will be used to explain its use to the user."

Biography of Frederick P. Brooks


Leading Change, John Kotter.

What Tom says: You must care. PEOPLE CAN SMELL A PHONY FROM A THOUSAND MILES AWAY. "What creates trust, in the end, is the leader's manifest respect for the followers."—John Kotter, Leading Change.

Book review of Leading Change


Education and Ecstasy, George Leonard.

Quote: "The most obvious barrier between our children and the kind of education that can free their enormous potential seems to be the educational system itself: a vast, suffocating web of people, practices and presumptions, kindly in intent, ponderous in reality."

Short bio of George Leonard


The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State, James Dale Davidson & William Rees-Mogg.

Quote: "The new organization of society implied by the triumph of individual autonomy and the true equalization of opportunity based upon merit will lead to very great rewards for merit and great individual autonomy. This will leave individuals far more responsible for themselves than they have been accustomed to being during the industrial period."


Rules for Aging: A Wry and Witty Guide to Life, Roger Rosenblatt.

What Tom says: I am not exaggerating when I claim that this is the Most Important Book I've read in 20 years. But there is a caveat. You can't just read it, chuckle, and read a few passages to your spouse or significant other or dog. You must ... MUST ... reflect on "this stuff." I imagine Mr. Rosenblatt wrote this with tongue slightly in cheek. No matter. He got it right. Very right. And I choose to take him very seriously. You'd do well to consider the same. I think.

Observation on tompeters.com


Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation, Richard Farson & Ralph Keyes.

What Tom says: Richard Farson, one of the most brilliant management thinkers of our time, has just written a book, with Ralph Keyes, that I dearly/desperately commend to your attention. The brilliant title (encompassing a brilliant book): Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation.

This book is to be published in June 2002. It can be pre-ordered now, however.


Hypercompetition: Managing the Dynamics of Strategic Maneuvering, Rich D'Aveni.

Quote: "Chivalry is dead. The new code of conduct is an active strategy of disrupting the status quo to create a series of unsustainable advantages. This is not an age of defensive castles, moats and armor. It is rather an age of cunning, speed and surprise. It may be hard for some to hang up the chain mail of 'sustainable advantage' after so many battles. But hypercompetition, a state in which sustainable advantages are no longer possible, is now the only level of competition."

Book review of Hypercompetition


Age Power: How the 21st Century Will Be Ruled by the New Old, Ken Dychtwald.

Quote: " 'Age Power' will rule the 21st century, and we are woefully unprepared."

Visit the Ken Dychtwald website


The Elephant and the Flea, Charles Handy.

Quote: "Passion as the secret of learning is an odd solution to propose, but I believe that it works at all levels and all ages. Sadly, passion is not a word often heard in the elephant organizations, nor in schools, where it can seem disruptive."

Interview with Charles Handy on pfdf.org (The Peter F. Drucker Foundation)


next: the future just happened, Michael Lewis.

Quote from Michael Lewis: "Parents, doctors, stockbrokers, even military leaders are starting to lose the authority they once had. There are all these roles premised on access to privileged information. ... What we are witnessing is a collapse of that advantage, prestige and authority."

Short bio of Michael Lewis


Lifting the Fog of War, Admiral Bill Owens.

What Tom says: TAKE THE MILITARY ... still burdened, according to former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ADM Bill Owens, by a military structure "invented by Napoleon." "By combining computer technology and other modern information-based systems," Owens writes in his brilliant, provocative Lifting the Fog of War, "we could make a revitalized, leaner military force that is designed to outsee, outmaneuver, and outfight any foe."

Book review by Michael Schrage


Medicine & Culture: Varieties of Treatment in the United States, England, West Germany, and France, Lynn Payer & Kerr White.

Quote: "Often all one must do to acquire a disease is to enter a country where the disease is recognized—leaving the country will either cure the malady or turn it into something else. ... Blood pressure considered treatably high in the United States might be considered normal in England; and the low blood pressure treated with 85 drugs as well as hydrotherapy and spa treatments in Germany would entitle its sufferer to lower life insurance rates in the United States."

Lynn Payer's Medicine and Culture Update online


The Age of Access: The New Culture of Hypercapitalism Where All of Life is a Paid-for Experience, Jeremy Rifkin.

Tom's slide: Markets to networks. Hierarchies to networks. Sellers and buyers to suppliers and users. Ownership to access. (Age of Access.) Marginalization of physical property. Weightless economy. Protean generation. Outsourcing of everything. Franchising of everything. (Business format franchising.) (Leasing DNA.) Everything is a service/platform for services delivery. (Give away the goods, charge for the services. VALUE = THE RELATIONSHIP. "Share of market" to "Share of customer.") Every business is show business. Source: The Age of Access.


Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity, Karl Weick & Kathleen Sutcliffe.

Tom's slide: Winning By Acknowledging Failures: Wernher Von Braun, the Redstone missile engineer who "confessed" & the bottle of champagne. Award to the sailor on the Carl Vinson-for reporting the lost tool. Amy Edmondson & the successful nursing units with the highest reported adverse drug events. [Examples from Managing the Unexpected.]

Biography of Karl Weick


Weird Ideas That Work: 11 1/2 Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Innovation, Robert Sutton.

A sample: "(6) Reward success and failure, punish inaction. ... (10) Don't try to learn anything from people who seem to have solved the problems you face. ... (11) Forget the past, particularly your company's success."

Book review of Weird Ideas That Work


Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan.

Quote: "Active mutators in placid times tend to die off. They are selected against. Reluctant mutators in quickly changing times are also selected against."



Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee.

What Tom says: I've read perhaps the most troubling book I've ever read. By the South African author J.M. Coetzee. The title ... Disgrace. It's about South Africa after apartheid. People coming to grips with new roles. As with all great fiction, consider James Joyce's Ulysses, it's about human beings exploring their limits.

J.M. Coetzee website


The Falls, Ian Rankin.

What Tom says: Ian Rankin, to my mind, is the best mystery writer alive. All his books are terrific; and I love his very flawed detective-protagonist, John Rebus.

Visit ianrankin.com

What Tom’s Reading


First a book that I've re-visited: The Innovator's Dilemma, Clayton Christensen.

Interview on BusinessWeek.com/eBiz

For more on innovation, read Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation, by James Utterback, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. (He uses the Christensen book in his classes.)

More innovation, via the Internet! I love David Stauffer's new book, D2D: Dynosaur to Dynamo. The cover blurb/sub-sub-title says it all: "How 20 old economy companies are winning the new economy."

"Ezzay" by David Stauffer

You've been asking about this book, which I've been quoting for a while. It was just published in May. Free Agent Nation: How America's New Independent Workers Are Transforming the Way We Live, Daniel Pink.

Go to danpink.com

This one's not to be published until September '01, but I previewed it. I call it "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." It's Jump Start Your Business Brain, by "the man," Doug Hall, master of Eureka Ranch in greater Cincinnati.

Visit the Eureka Ranch website

Education. I was onto this subject, but I became PASSIONATE when I read this book: A Different Kind of Teacher: Reflections on the Bitter Lessons of American Schooling, by John Taylor Gatto.

More from Harvard prof Howard Gardner, he who gave us M.I.: the seven "Multiple Intelligences." The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think & How Schools Should Teach.

Profile of Gardner

Frank Smith was onto the subject of education ten years ago! He wrote Insult to Intelligence: The Bureaucratic Invasion of Our Classrooms, in 1991.

The next "big thing" is Healthcare. Start with this memoir by Hamilton Jordan, former chief of staff under Jimmy Carter: No Such Thing as a Bad Day.

For more on healthcare, read Ian Morrison's Health Care in the New Millennium: Vision, Values, and Leadership.

Here's another book I'm quoting right now: Beyond Managed Care: How Consumers and Technology Are Changing the Future of Health Care by Dean Coddington, Elizabeth Fischer, Keith Moore & Richard Clarke.

Healthcare again: HealthCare.com: Rx for Reform, by David B. Friend.

Finally, a couple more books on the women thing. This one is by a recent "Cool Friend," Ronna Lichtenberg: It's Not Business, It's Personal.

Interview on tompeters.com

Harriet Rubin, another "Cool Friend," gave us this: The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women.

Interview on tompeters.com


David McCullough's John Adams yielded this great quote: "It is a glory to have broken such infamous orders."


My recommendation for summer reading is Thinks ... by David Lodge.

What Tom’s Reading


Michael Schrage is perhaps our #1 Innovation Guru. For the last half dozen years, he's been obsessed with the importance of prototyping. In fact, Schrage claims that innovation is how we react to the prototype. How we react when we see a test. What that leads us to conjure up ... for the next test. Schrage has taken it to a brilliant extreme in his utterly marvelous book ... Serious Play: How the World's Best Companies Simulate to Innovate.

Interview on tompeters.com

YOU MUST READ in "The Old Print Version" The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual. There's a lot here I think is bullshit. But I love the baldly polemic nature of this treatise. So: read it, inhale it. If it pisses you off, GREAT! [The Website is a must, too!] By Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searles & David Weinberger.


My take on "standard" big acquisitions is perfectly captured by consultant and business professor Mark Sirower in The Synergy Trap: How Companies Lose the Acquisition Game. Quote: "When asked to name just one big merger that had lived up to expectations, Leon Cooperman [of Goldman Sachs] answered: 'I'm sure there are success stories out there, but at this moment I draw a blank.' "

Book Review

"The leaders of Great Groups love talent and know where to find it. They revel in the talent of others." A quote I use often, from Warren Bennis & Patricia Ward Biederman: Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration.

Interview with Warren Bennis

Another quote: "Even if executives of established businesses grasp the impact of new technologies ... they still face a massive competitive disadvantage precisely because they are incumbents. ... They do complex financial calculations and get bogged down in internal political debates. Insurgents have no such inhibitions." From Philip Evans & Thomas Wurster in Blown to Bits: How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy.

Book Review

Ken Dychtwald wrote Age Wave: How the Most Important Trend of Our Time Will Change Our Future, and, more recently, Age Power: How the 21st Century Will Be Ruled by the New Old. My quote from Age Wave: "At each stage of their lives, the needs and desires of the baby boomers have become the dominant concerns of American business and popular culture. If you can predict the moves of the baby-boom generation's life-span migration, you can see the future."

The Masters Forum on Ken Dychtwald

"Experiences," write Joseph Pine & James Gilmore in The Experience Economy: Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage, "are as distinct from services as services are from goods."

Visit their COOL website

This book is out of print, but it's worth searching out through your favorite online bookseller, based on the title alone! But its author, Ralph Caplan, is also a widely recognized authority on design. The title: By Design: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV, and Other Object Lessons.

Article by Ralph Caplan

Another favorite quote is this: "Men and women don't think the same way, don't communicate the same way, don't buy for the same reasons ... He simply wants the transaction to take place. She's interested in creating a relationship. Every place women go, they make connections." It's from Clicking: 16 Trends To Future Fit Your Life, Your Work, and Your Business, by Faith Popcorn & Lys Marigold.

Visit Faith's website

Bringing us to my BIGGEST "thing" for 2001. Women! ... Here's an addendum to the list I started in March 2001.

First another book by Faith Popcorn & Lys Marigold: EVEolution: The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women. Is it a perfect book? No. None is, in my extensive experience. But I also think that my experience is extensive enough to be able to say ... unequivocally ... that this is a genuine original.

Interview on tompeters.com

I recommend this book by our latest Cool Friend, Deborah Tannen: You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation.

Interview on tompeters.com

Then there's Harvard sociologist Carol Gilligan's classic study: In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development.

Book Review

Here are the latest books I've been reading:

The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life, by Parker Palmer.

success@life: How to Catch and Live your Dream, A Zentrepreneur's Guide, by Ron Rubin & Stuart Avery Gold.

Cisco Unauthorized: Inside the High-Stakes Race to Own the Future, by Jeffery S. Young.

Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them, by Richard Foster & Sarah Kaplan.

The eProcess Edge: Creating Customer Value and Business Wealth in the Internet Era, by Peter Keen & Mark McDonald.


Two more books I've been quoting for quite a while are biographies.

Saul Bellow: The Adventures of Augie March. Quote: "I am an American, Chicago born, and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way."

John Buchan: Sick Heart River. Quote: Rabbi Zusya: "In the world to come I shall not be asked, 'Why were you not Moses?' I'll be asked, 'Why were you not Zusya?' "


Perhaps the first New Economy free-lancer is Travis McGee, who goes to work only when the pile of money in his hidey-hole gets uncomfortably low. A detective series by John D. MacDonald, from The Deep Blue Good-by in 1964 (re-released in 1995), to The Lonely Silver Rain in 1985. They're a tad misogynistic (consider the times!), but I promise that once you start, you'll plow through these books.

The complete list

What Tom’s Reading


There are only a small handful of books I read and reread. For example, I've "done" Karl Weick's SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OF ORGANIZING at least 8 or 9 times, re-underlining each time.

This "vacation" it was my 4th heavily underlined rereading of Stephen Jay Gould's FULL HOUSE. I LOVE STATISTICS AND PROBABILITIES AND THE PROPERTIES OF VARIOUS DISTRIBUTIONS OF DATA. (There, I've said it.) Gould explains phenomena grand and trivial by examining the properties of variations in populations.

Interview Mother Jones.com

"All this" led me to the SUPER HOT "cloning thing." Consider another of my "light reads," Richard Lewontin's THE TRIPLE HELIX. Bottom line: Genetic Determinism is BULL. What matters: The INTERACTION of Genes and Environment and Random Shit that happens.

Book Review

For more vacation reading, see FICTION, below.

"All this" must be put in the context of a world that's changing at an unprecedented rate. David Schneider & Grady Means, MetaCAPITALISM.

Book Review

Or, consider one of my favorite topics, The War for Talent. As Stan Davis & Christopher Meyer put it in futureWEALTH, "When land was the productive asset, nations battled over it. The same is happening now for talented people." Talent rules!

A Conversation with the Authors

And diversity! "Diversity defines the health and wealth of nations in a new century."—G. Pascal Zachary, THE GLOBAL ME: New Cosmopolitans and the Competitive Edge: Picking Globalism's WINNERS AND LOSERS. READ THIS BOOK! The basic assertion is strong.


THE RISE OF THE VIRTUAL STATE, Richard Rosecrance. Solid book. Solid argument. So far ... no one is "in the lead" ... when it comes to creating EducationCentury21.


BANKER TO THE POOR, Muhammad Yunus, Founder of the Grameen Bank. Three hearty cheers to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank. Yunus' un-secret secret: LENDING TO WOMEN!!!!!!!!!!

Yunus' Bio

Bringing us to my BIGGEST "thing" for 2001. Women! What follows is my short list. There's much more.

I've added ... and added ... and added ... "women's stuff" to my seminars. Gotten more strident. FIRE ALL MALE SALES PEOPLE, I shout, only half in jest, following my interpretation of SELLING IS A WOMAN'S GAME: 15 Reasons Why Women Can Outsell Men, by Nicki Joy & Susan Kane-Benson.

Sally Helgesen, FEMALE ADVANTAGE. I WAS MEZMERIZED. Her logic was compelling.

tompeters.com Interview

Helen Fisher, THE FIRST SEX: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World. READ THIS BOOK! The premise is ... exactly ... right.


"It's time for U.S. organizations to act. No other country in the world has a comparable supply of professional women waiting to be called into action. This is America's competitive secret." Strong statement! Competitive secret #1!    I AGREE!    Judy Rosener, AMERICA"S COMPETITIVE SECRET.

Book Flap Comments

"Would Congress [the Boardroom] be a different place if half the members were women?"—Susan Estrich, SEX AND POWER. Who can resist this title?


THE DIAGNOSIS, by Alan Lightman. The main riff is about the fantastic (truest meaning of that word) 24/7 life many of us now lead. WHICH MAY WELL BE KILLING US.

My next thrilla was Caleb Carr's KILLING TIME. Set in 2023, it depicts a world where the once-benign Internet has made it impossible for any of us to discern truth from fiction. Again, this hit home.

Speaking of thrillas ... I have just found somebody truly as good as Le Carre ... somebody totally unknown to me. I've quickly devoured about 4 of Alan Furst's novels. Such as KINGDOM OF SHADOWS, DARK STAR, and THE POLISH OFFICER.

What Tom’s Reading


CORPORATE RELIGION, Jesper Kunde, Financial Times/Prentice Hall (UK). A totally fresh ... AND INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT ... look at brands: Brand Power in the "outside" market is a direct byproduct of the internal soul and personality of the Firm.

Kunde and Company Website


EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING: How to Get Customers to Sense, Feel, Think, Act, Relate, Bernd Schmitt, Free Press. Beyond "service" to the Total Experience of Dealing with the Company. [Every airline CEO oughta memorize this, for starters.]


201 GREAT IDEAS FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS, Jane Applegate, Bloomberg. Fabulous "stuff" for all of us ... not just small business owners.

Excerpt: Always Go to the Top Guy


RADICAL MARKETING, by Sam Hill and Glenn Rifkin. Cases of unconventional, passionate marketing ... from Harley to the NBA. [I'm re-reading this.]



Jakob Nielsen's Website—lots of web usability ideas


MACHINE BEAUTY: ELEGANCE AND THE HEART OF TECHNOLOGY, by David Gelernter, Basic. "Beauty" and "business" ... YES!

Author Interview: Science Friday (Audio)


FUNKY BUSINESS, Kjell Nordström and Jonas Ridderstråle, Bookhouse (Sweden). A "crazy" ... and brilliant ... book ... by two "straight" Swedish business-strategy profs. (I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!)



THE FUTURE AND ITS ENEMIES, Virginia Postrel, Free Press. Extremely thoughtful analysis of why unvarnished competition and entrepreneurialism power economic growth. (The best thing since Hayek!)

Virginia Postrel's Website


THE ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF NEW BUSINESSES, Amar Bhide, Oxford. Thoroughly original research on the shape of entrepreneurialism.



Book Site


THE BEAK OF THE FINCH, Jonathan Weiner, Vintage. If this doesn't make you an "evolutionist," I don't know what will!


THE RISE AND FALL OF STRATEGIC PLANNING, Henry Mintzberg, Free Press. I called this "the book of the decade." I meant it. This is about my 5th close reading.


THE LOOK OF THE CENTURY: DESIGN ICONS OF THE 20TH CENTURY, Michael Tambini, DK. This is a wonderful catalog of the products that have shaped our lives.


THE PENCIL: A HISTORY OF DESIGN AND CIRCUMSTANCE, Henry Petroski, Knopf. 434 pages on the origin and evolution of the not-so-humble pencil! I love "sagas" like this; among other things, they reinforce one's [MY!!] views about the fascinating messiness of "progress."


BLIND MAN'S BLUFF: THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUBMARINE ESPIONAGE, Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, Public Affairs. Yes ... a page turner. But I also read it as a "management" story ... dealing with the "risk-reward tradeoff" ... when the stakes are the future of the world!


BETWEEN SILK AND CYANIDE: A CODEMAKER'S WAR 1941—1945, Leo Marks, Free Press. Even when the cause is clearly just—beating Hitler—WOW Projects must survive tortuous politics!!!

What Tom’s Reading


RULES FOR RADICALS, Saul Alinsky. The 1971 organizer's classic. The Bible on moving people to action. Hint: Applies to a Y2K finance project as much as to a 1960s union certification drive!

INFLUENCE: SCIENCE AND PRACTICE, Robert Cialdini. Best and best researched book ... ever(?) ... on this topic. He would have predicted 10 years ago the power of permission marketing on the Web!

THE POWER OF MINDFUL LEARNING, Ellen Langer. When we are deeply engaged, we soar. When we ain't, we don't! This is an incredibly readable, brilliantly researched tome.

DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS: HOW TO DISCUSS WHAT MATTERS MOST, Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen. I'm on my third reading. Half the pages are dog-eared. This is a mind-bogglingly (yech!) powerful book. For life. For getting things done in organizations. (From members of the renowned Harvard Negotiation Project.)

WHY WE BUY: THE SCIENCE OF SHOPPING, Paco Underhill. Goes very deep on this eternally relevant subject. (More relevant than ever, as we try to fathom the impact of the Web.)

WORLDLY GOODS: A NEW HISTORY OF THE RENAISSANCE, Lisa Jardine. I find that, paradoxically, reading history helps me feel my way through these mad times much more effectively. (This has long been Peter Drucker's secret weapon.)

THE VICTORIAN INTERNET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF THE TELEGRAPH AND THE NINETEENTH CENTURY'S ON-LINE PIONEERS, Tom Standage. The telegraph, relatively, was as big a deal as the Web! Great read!

THE AGE OF SPIRITUAL MACHINES, Ray Kurzweil. If you only read one book in the next few months, make it this one. In short, we ain't seen nothin' yet! Speaking of ain't, Ray Kurzweil ain't no flake!


DAMASCUS GATE, Robert Stone.


What Tom's Reading.
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