August 6, 2001
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Blood Sweat & Tears
The very first quality I look for when trying to pick a Jack Covert Selects book is customer value. Stuck at the Airport, included in this missive, is a perfect example of a book offering a ton of value to our customers. Then, I look for some innovative idea that I think is key to bring to your attention. Finally, I look for books by, or with involvement from, respected thinkers. Warren Bennis, one of the top five management thinkers alive today, wrote a remarkable forward to this book, Blood, Sweat & Tears, calling it ...huge. In every good sense of the word. I completely agree, and would assert that this book meets all of the JCS requirements listed above.
Blood, Sweat & Tears is an intense and comprehensive history of work. At over 350 pages, it reads surprisingly easily. Its greatest appeal, however, lies in its subject matter: here is a history book about what we do todaybusiness. The author, Richard Donkin, is a columnist and writer for Financial Times. What he has done here is look at the evolution of work from the earliest times to the present. He incorporates all the major periods in the history of business, from the guilds, to slavery, to the digital world, and from Peter Drucker to Deming, Follett and Taylor. He leads us on a complete overview of this process we call work, and shows us how we got to this point where, as Alvin Toffler said, We are moving from the workplace to work done any place.
Donkin concludes the book with the following extraordinary passage: In the future, work will need to earn its place in our lives. We cannot live for work. Instead we must take control of our lives. But the choice is ours. We cannot expect anyone to make it for us. If we choose wisely, if we follow our hearts, we may just begin to experience something called living. In the end, its up to us; our work, our play our learning. We get only one life. Lets live it. Not a bad way to end a book that has taught us the history of work, and attempts, by showing us the past, to lead us into the future.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.