January 14, 2002

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The New Imperialists

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 8:36 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The New Imperialists; by Mark Leibovich; Prentice Hall; 244 pages, $25.00; Hardcover, January 2002, ISBN 0735203172
Diversity is not on this authors agenda, but entertainment and enlightenment are. The author has chosen five of the usual suspects (all white, middle-age males with an outstanding intellect) who have lead the Internet revolution. With these mini-biographies of the heads of Time Warner/AOL, Amazon, Cisco, Microsoft and Oracle, Leibovich fleshes out the legendary figures. Beginning at childhood, the personal stories, supported by a great number of interviews, show that these leaders were exceptional from the get-go, despite a common pattern of early struggles. I must tell you that this book is a truly fun read. By the end, it is evident that the leaders, as exceptional as they are, are also unbelievably weird (not a very diplomatic way of saying it, but true non-the-less). From the story of Larry Ellison making a huge wake with his 248-foot yacht which caused Paul Allens small 200-foot yacht to rock and disrupt his dinner party to Jeff Bezos obsession with quantifying his employees intelligence through IQ scores and word problems.
I have talked in the past about airplane reads, and this is a classic airplane read. Each of these five guys gets about 40 pages, and essentially, you will get the People Magazine view of each. You will not learn their secrets of management, but you will discover something about their lives or their personality that you didnt know. You may even see some of yourself in them.