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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Books I have just finished


These books were all very powerful and opened up various emotions in me as I read them.

"Red Sky in Mourning" is the courageous story of a young woman lost at sea along after a vicious hurricane turned her yacht upside down, killed her mate and knocked her unconscious for a whole day.
A "voice" spoke to her during her moments of insanity, desparation and struggle for survival. I felt frustrated and empty at the end of the story as she seemingly ignored the voice and any command on her life after it had helped her live. The ending became an anticlimax. I felt she was so close to God and never found Him.

"In the Presence of my Enemies" is the exact opposite. Martin and Gracia Burnham were taken hostage in the Philippines and held captive for a year. They were marched over hill and dale running from numerous gun battles and worse. They starved, lived in constant fear, Martin was manacled to a tree each night, ravaged with fever and lost extreme amounts of weight. They battled with depression, bouts of despair and "Why me God?" Yet they learned in the end to love their captors, and discovered their innermost personalities, ugly as they can be. A warning to us all that given the right circumstances we could be as evil as the next person. In the final gun battle Gracia was wounded with a shot through her thigh while Martin and the last other remaining hostage were shot dead.

Jack is a frank and open discussion of the life at the helm of GE for John (Jack) Welch Jr. There is lots of very good business analysis and management technique to extract from the book. The one grating thread is his passion for integrity and how he demonstrated that in the company, yet managed to fail two marriages. I struggle to divorce the two concepts. Recommended for anybody with any passion for learning about big business and management theory in practice.