Sunday, June 14, 2015

Maysville Kentucky Trip Part One: The Books I read

I found myself recently having to do to Maysville Kentucky for work.

During that trip, I managed to finish reading two nonfiction books that I'd been dragging feet on.

The first was The Black Swan. A book from author Nassim Nicholas Taleb that talks about the unexpected.

It's a nice read for the most part. There are a few bits where he gets into some math theory that I was like "What?" but the majority of the book was enjoyable.

One of the things I like is that he talks about a LOT of different things on his roundabout way of looking at the unexpected.

For example, he talks about how when many companies merge that things run smoother. Until they don't. And because these companies are now merged and under one umbrella, when something happens, it usually has a much larger impact.

Like say banks failing due to some crisis or another? Yeah... he's good.

So good that in between when I bought this and read it, he's come out with a second edition.


Seems to be a problem I have where I pick up an interesting book, read it, and then the second edition is already out. It'll be a while before I get to that as Nassim has several other books out that I'd like to read over.

Another example of things that were 'thought' provoking if you will, is the author noting that after the unexpected thing happens, how quickly we are to narrate a story of how if someone had seen X, Y, and Z, that it could have been stopped or prevented. The need to craft stories out of failure is powerful.

The second book I read was the Loyalty Effect.  The Loyalty Effect is written by Frederick F Reichheld. I picked this one up after reading Firms of Endearment. Another book I had finished recently that just came out with a second edition.

Reading the Loyalty Effect, I imagine that it too will have a second edition in the near future. It's about 20 years out of date in terms of the data its relying on to make its points.

It's main points though?

That corporations profit when they have a chain of loyalty going on.

1. Loyalty to the employee. That's a shocker eh? When you treat the employee right and give them motivation and the employee is a good fit for the company, it actually pays out more to the company to keep such employees, even during tough times than sacking them for short term profits.

2. Loyalty to the customer: A lot of this is in providing value to the costumer. Mind you, much like I say that the employee has to be a good fit for the company in #1 above, the same is true here. It's not that you want to bend over backwards for any costumer, but if you can keep your customers happy and keep them coming back? It's a profit generating machine.

3. Loyalty to the company: This one is a little more difficult for me to put into words because the book notes that when you are a publically held company, the pressure is always on to make those short term goals but in essence, you don't want to ruin what makes the company one which earned the loyalty of customers and employees because then you're investors are going to abandon you anyway because you're not going to be turning the profits you were when you were taking care of 1 and 2 in the first place.

Some good reading and I was glad to finish them off and get some new books into the click.