Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Daily Thoughts 8/11/2009 ( Keeping Customers )

Front door of Brooklyn Public Library at sunset June 3 2008. From Wikimedia.

Daily Thoughts 8/11/2009

Today has been another quiet steady day. I started weeding the 800s which is the literature section and made sure the older books were removed from the new arrivals section. I took some time to read some more of Keeping Customers.

I am considering buying all of Charlaine Harris's mass market horror paperbacks. They are on both the Locus Magazine bestseller list and the Publishers Weekly bestseller list.

I spent some time looking through our purchase alerts for items with a lot of hold requests. I picked out some large print items that have multiple holds and a few fiction titles.

I read some more of Keeping Customers on the train. I find this book fascinating because of the way language is used. There is a language that is almost nonsensical which surrounds business management and consulting. Staple yourself to the customer, go to the war room, and look at the workflow charts to help determine the way to achieve TQC (Total Quality Control). It has this rhythm to it which at the same time shows command as well as shows wild confusion. I can understand how this kind of language encourages excess and highly risky decisions. At the same time it is both the language of highly successful companies like General Electric and at the other extreme Enron.

For me, some of it is like reading Alice In Wonderland. A lot of the business management books make absolutely no sense, especially from the perspective from someone in the nonprofit sector working to help other people. There is an incredible drive to profit. At the same time it has this really motivating, energizing quality about being goal driven. There are some books on nonprofit management, but not that many. For example, Peter Drucker has a few books like Managing The Nonprofit Organization on nonprofits, but is mostly focused on corporations. So what happens is people who work in nonprofits often generalize reading from the for profit sector to the nonprofit and government sector.

How do you generalize ideas from books like Keeping Customers into a nonprofit or government setting. You can take some ideas, but most things are simply not applicable. It is useful insofar as helping people find material to read who are in a business setting. How do I even judge or rate the ideas in this book? I am not sure I can or should. I could review it, but there are parts of it that I don't understand. It is very interesting reading. Some of the parts that are most interesting are the parts that are least applicable. I find it intellectually stimulating.

The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie came in for me to read. I think this is the book I will read next. Our library is a Carnegie building. He donated the money to build many libraries throughout the United States. He also was a steel magnate. I am hoping it will give me some insights into why he gave money to have so many libraries built.

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