October 23, 2003
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Mind Your Own Business
Who is Sidney Harman and why, for goodness sake, do I need to read his book? Sidney Harman is the Harman of Harman/Kardon. He is the executive chairman of Harman International Industries, an almost $2billion corporation that still makes sound but in a much larger way.
What Sidney Harman does in his book is expound on leadership: what it takes to be a good CEO. He also talks about finance, negotiation, business and life. He presents a decidedly contrary view. For example, when talking about executives:
I am tormented by the executive who thinks that it is his job merely to report on the moment, the problem, or the disaster. I call such folks weathermen. The executives job is not to note that it is storming and then throw up his hands. It is his job to recognize the nature of the problem and develop a solutionWhen criticizing a weatherman, I have sometimes been assured that the fellow isnt ideal, but he is what we have, and that is better than nothing. I dont buy that view. It entrenches incompetence and deceives the manager into thinking that he has the issue under some control, however less than ideal, the job is getting done. Removing that incompetent person concentrates the attention and makes vivid the need. Yes, it requires extra time and effort, but in the end it carries the promise of the right person in the job. There are many times when no one is better than the wrong someone.
Every page of the book has treasures like that. You may not agree with him but your creative juices will flow. He brings so much to this book because he is eighty-five years old and he has also won and lost numerous battles getting where he currently is. You will read a mavericks guide like you havent read in quite awhile. In fact, I think this is the perfect book to give as a gift.
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.