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Originally published September 2, 2002 in The Miami
for Pound, Goleman's Book is the Best Around.
The Ultimate Resource. Daniel Goleman et al. Perseus Publishing. 2,200
Chances are, you're never going to read this book, but that's all right,
I haven't read it either - at least not the whole thing. But if you buy
this giant compendium of business wisdom, you'll probably refer to it
on a daily basis.
Created by an international team of writers, editors and authorities on
a variety of aspects of business and management, this authoritative and
comprehensive volume is encyclopedic in scope. Old business, new economy
- it's all here, with contributions from Warren Bennis, Peter L. Bernstein,
John Seely Brown, Jim Collins, Charles Handy, Thomas Petzinger Jr., David
Weinberger and many others.
Goleman, the putative frontman for this ambitious endeavor, which is a
collaboration between American publisher Perseus and the United Kingdom's
Bloomsbury, offers a thoughtful explanation of the rationale - and practical
value - behind this huge undertaking. He writes ``business literacy [is]
a working familiarity with the key thinking and writing that business
people need to keep up with. Given the thousands of books and articles
published each year for business people, it's virtually impossible to
keep current with the explosion of new ideas and concepts - not to mention
weeding out the quickly fading fads of the moment. The majority of that
unwieldy mass of ideas and insights offered up each year will fall away
like leaves in autumn. But year after year there are thinkers whose insights
prove worthwhile, because they make a practical difference - they add
to business intelligence, and prove their worth by ways they matter at
work. Business advantage is gained by harnessing smart ideas - not just
amorphous data, the latest technology, or a larger-than-life CEO. As each
of us goes through the ups and downs, crises and triumphs, of a life in
business, the brain automatically extracts lessons for confronting similar
situations in the future. Over the years we each build up a set of tacitly
learned decision rules - life's lessons - which constitute the sum total
of our wisdom on the matter. But each of us has only a specific, limited
set of life experiences - and so a restricted set of lessons - informing
our business wisdom. We can each benefit from expanding the pool of lessons
learned, given the unpredictable nature of challenges we will face tomorrow.''
This 2,200-page extravaganza is loaded with all kinds of interesting and
useful sections, including a world almanac covering 26 industry-sector
surveys, profiles of the United States and 150 other countries and every
U.S. state; dozens of best-practice essays; biographies of business leaders
like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Peter Drucker, Adam Smith, Henry Ford, Estée
Lauder and others; digests of what the editors consider to be the 70 most
influential business books; a lexicon of business terms; an anthology
of quotations; and backgrounders on dozens of topics like accounting,
intellectual property, mission statements, team building, venture capital
and (as they say) much, much more
All in all, it's an extremely well done effort. Pound for pound, in fact,
it may be the best purchase one could make for a business library.
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