Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Winning or Chasing Ghosts

Winning: The Answers: Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business Today

Author: Jack Welch

In Winning, their 2005 international bestseller, Jack and Suzy Welch created a rare document, both a philosophical treatise on fundamental business practices and a gritty how-to manual, all of it delivered with Jack's trademark candor and can-do optimism. It seemed as if "no other management book," in the words of legendary investor Warren E. Buffett, would "ever be needed."

Instead, Winning uncovered an insatiable thirst to talk about work. Since the book's publication, the Welches have received literally thousands of questions from college students and seasoned professionals alike, on subjects ranging from leadership and global competition to tough bosses and building teamwork. Indeed, questions about virtually every business and career challenge have poured in—some familiar, others surprising, many urgent and probing, and all of them powerfully real.

Winning: The Answers takes on the most relevant of these questions, and in doing so, its candid, hard-hitting responses expand and extend the conversation Jack and Suzy Welch began with Winning. It is a dialogue that is sure to be both compelling and immensely useful to anyone and everyone engaged in the vital work of helping an organization grow and thrive.

New interesting textbook: Topics in Microeconomics or Managing Smart 325 High Performance Tips Every Manager Must Know

Chasing Ghosts: Failures and Facades in Iraq: A Soldier's Perspective

Author: Paul Rieckhoff

The riveting, action-packed true story of the first soldier to challenge the war in Iraq.

As a 1st Lieutenant and Infantry Platoon Leader for the U.S. Army, charged with leading 38 young men in Iraq, Paul Rieckhoff was proud to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who served during Vietnam and WWII respectively. He and his soldiers spent almost a year in one of the most dangerous and volatile areas of Baghdad. And what they encountered there was chaos: not nearly enough troops, no humanitarian aid, no body armor, no radios, and no real plan for what to do after Baghdad fell.

Rieckhoff was shocked to see that sometimes the greatest challenges his platoon faced did not come from enemy combatants. He saw firsthand the disastrous results of disbanding the Iraqi army, sending thousands of armed, angry, and unemployed men out into the streets. And he saw what happened when we tried to conduct a war on the cheap, by bestowing government contracts to the lowest bidder and sending our military into battle inadequately protected and armed. What followed, over the next ten months, set him on a course that would forever change his life.

When he finally came home from his tour of duty, Rieckhoff vowed to tell Americans the truth about what was going on in Iraq. He demanded accountability from elected officials and was the first Iraq veteran to do so publicly. He created Operation Truth, which grew into IAVA, the first and largest veterans' group specifically for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through this organization, he has become a leading spokesman for troops, veterans, and their families, and a critical voice in the ongoing debate surrounding this conflict.

What is really happening in Iraq? Should we be there? Should we stay? Rieckhoff is in a unique position to answer these crucial questions. Not only was he on the ground in the heat of battle but he is also on the front lines politically at home. He provides a grunt's-eye view of the harrowing, bloody battles on the streets of Baghdad and a patriot's vision of where America has gone wrong and how it can reset its path.

Washington Post

...his straightforward style comes across as honest and underscores the earnestness of his attempt to wrest back from the Bush administration his cherished conception of America.

Publishers Weekly

An Operation Iraqi Freedom vet and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Rieckhoff recounts his journey from National Guard lieutenant to disillusioned patriot in this disappointing combat memoir-cum-polemic. Rieckhoff admits that he thought the reasons for invading Iraq were "bullshit," but volunteered to go anyway. His experiences in Iraq-patrolling the chaotic streets of Baghdad in the months after its occupation-only confirmed his initial judgment that the invasion "was one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in our nation's history." Rieckhoff is anything but humble. An Amherst grad (as he often interjects), he finds his recruiter repellant-a "slick, fat... Sergeant [who] smelled like a dirty ashtray"- but enlists anyway. President Bush is "arrogant" and "a bully," and Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer is "ignorant and out-of-touch." Rieckhoff is bipartisan in his contempt: when the Kerry campaign ignores his advice, he dismisses the Democratic presidential candidate as "a calculating and coached politician." Finally, he and a "small band of pissed-off visionaries" founded their own organization, Operation Truth, to get out the word. In the end, Rieckhoff has a story to tell, but he undermines his credibility with his arrogance and petty offside remarks. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal

Rieckhoff, a lieutenant and infantry platoon leader for the National Guard, starts his chronicle on a civilian 747 bound for Iraq two weeks after the U.S. invasion. He writes his somewhat angry but undeniably proud narrative with the intent to show us the circumstances in Iraq from a soldier's perspective. We see Rieckhoff leading his squad through its complex duties and how he worried about the tide of good will turning on his men. Outdated equipment, a lack of supplies, and little advance training in urban combat or Arab customs cause frustration. Wanting to make changes once he was home, Rieckhoff tried to reach out to both political parties. Although he issued the Democratic response to one of President Bush's radio addresses a year ago, he remains politically independent. He was also instrumental in forming a grassroots organization, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, to support and speak for his fellow veterans. His book is recommended for all public libraries.-Nancy Larrabee, Greenburgh P.L., Elmsford, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

What People Are Saying

Richard Clark
Rieckhoff's rage is the anger of a patriot.

Max Cleland
This book hit me in the gut.... It is full of courage, GI talk, humor and pure patriotism.

Arianna Huffington
A book that all Americans who care about their country should read.

Chuck D
Paul Rieckhoff is a human being of true substance and character.

Gideon Yago
An honest, electric memoir.

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