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  • James P. O'Shea III - Insider's experiences combined with an outsider's perspective

    I've been eagerly anticipating this book since I was a student in Mandis's `Strategic Issues in Investment Banking' at Columbia Business School, a few years into the credit crisis.

    I'm glad to see it in print, and happy to recommend it.

    As the crisis has unfolded, there have been memoirs, government reports, documentaries, and analyses written about many of the major players in the financial services industry. Many of those provide valuable insight, and are typically written from a single perspective: journalist, retired executive looking back, governmental representative of a concerned constituency, etc.

    The book is valuable because he brings together many perspectives in one voice - his personal experiences at Goldman Sachs as an employee, as a client of the firm, as a principal in firms that had to deal/compete with Goldman and its competitors, as a senior manager in a global bank, an advisor to financial institutions and regulatory bodies worldwide, and, most recently, as an academic.

    His essential recognition that quantitative analysis only tells part of the story, for me, drives the most important lesson in his work: that the human factors, shared values, beliefs, behaviors, and incentives are critical to the success of any organization. The necessarily *qualitative* nature of these factors makes it all the more challenging to get them right.

    By calling out the risks of organizational drift, Steven highlights the paradoxical `dangers of successful cultures' - how organizations make a series of decisions that, in the moment, are the `right' decisions but which, in the aggregate, move the firm away from the things that made it successful. The dangers Mandis observes and analyzes, I think, resonate with Clayton Christensen's observations on disruption at an institutional level, and Marshall Goldsmith's writings on derailing at a personal level.

    Particularly of interest is the passage where he notes that the things that are *not* spoken about constitute as important an indicator of what a culture values as do the overt expressions of what is and isn't `done' in the culture.

    In class, he was able to relate the mechanics of the individual departments of a financial firm to the qualitative value that clients place on the combination of services that were available to them.

    With humor and humility, he shared his experiences and helped his students see the world through the eyes of the service provider inside the firm, and through the eyes of clients and competitors. He also put those experiences in context with the analytic frameworks that the scholarly community uses to understand specific instances of success or failure in the general context of business and human relations.

    As the book was going to press, Mandis was preparing to teach a course on the European Financial Crisis for Columbia Business School - I wish circumstances had permitted me to attend that course in Madrid, to hear his thoughts on how things have evolved and where they might be headed. Perhaps we can hope for a follow-on book on that topic!

    Read, enjoy, and learn.

  • Cassie Laughlin - I love this!!!

    I have bought two terrible tablets because I was being cheap. I got what I paid for JUNK!!! This one I decided to go ahead and spend the extra money. I love it!!! It's been an excellent tablet for me!

  • Sandra Elliott - Life Changing

    I was in a mess, putting on weight, v low self esteem, looking for help and a wonderful 'guru' said he could put sticky plaster on BUT. He was so so right - however, initially the book seemed to be not for me - am not an 'artist' and the emphasis on this in the early pages nearly made me switch off. But don't, and in my view this is not the real message. For me, the real message, is about valuing and loving yourself. Also this book does ask for a quite a commitment - morning pages, etc. But do not be put off - I have changed out of all recognition. Lost 11lb in 2 weeks, look and feel alive and gently confident - am getting used to 'spoiling' myself and putting myself - not first - but giving me the initial time that I need, which then makes me calmer and able to be there for others - 'in my time' NOT ' when they shout! Brilliant.

  • Nadia Jaramillo - Still at Their Best!

    When I first bought the album, I thought it was going to have a few good songs and the rest of the album stunk, but then I listened to the album, back and forward, it became clear to me that they can still rock despite what people say. They still continue to use the Pink Floyd name well. I liked it that their songs related to Syd and Roger. That touched me, they never forgot about their founding members.