Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Review: Divide or Conquer

Management books typically aren't riveting. This one grabbed me from the start.

It's Diana McLain Smith's "Divide or Conquer," and the thing that grabbed me were the stories / case studies presented in the book. The first "meaty" one analyzes the "Steve Jobs and John Sculley days" of Apple, and does a phenomenal job of breaking down the dynamics, dysfunctions, errors, and blind spots that caused all kinds of turmoil at Apple, ultimately ending in Steve Jobs being removed from his job.

The interesting thing about this case study and some of the others in the book is that Jobs and Sculley were friends in the beginning, but parted with bitterness and frustration. This kind of thing happens all the time in business and personal relationships, and this book seeks to help us understand why and suggests ways to prevent it from happening.

I see dead people

The first key is to be able to recognize the signs when things are on the wrong path. Smith provides some great models, examples, and techniques to help you here. More importantly, she provides some tools to help you push the reset button and try to get things on a healthier trajectory.

Brilliant stuff, and very practical.

Not navel gazing

A lot of books about improving communications and relationships seem very touchy-feely and don't seem like things that would work in the world I live in. This book's not like that. Sure, there are plenty of things about feelings and emotions, but the approach is a bit more logical / clinical than I usually see in these sorts of books. I really like it because it deals with people's egos and insecurities, but in a way that seeks to find out what's going on behind the actions, and provides suggestions for how to improve and change the situation, rather than just getting better at sucking it up.

In short, this is an excellent book if you are trying to improve the dynamics of your relationships - particularly work relationships where you are dealing with lots of egos, turf wars, and things of that sort.