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Business @ the Speed of Thought : Using a Digital Nervous System Audio, Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; Unabridged edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570427534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570427534
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.1 x 2.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,052,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

So where do you want to go tomorrow? That's the question Bill Gates tries to answer in Business @ the Speed of Thought. Gates offers a 12-step program for companies wanting to do business in the next millennium. The book's premise: Thanks to technology, the speed of business is accelerating at an ever-increasing rate, and to survive, it must develop an infrastructure--a "digital nervous system"--that allows for the unfettered movement of information inside a company. Gates writes that "The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competition ... is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose."

The book is peppered with examples of companies that have already successfully engineered information networks to manage inventory, sales, and customer relationships better. The examples run from Coca-Cola's ability to download sales data from vending machines to Microsoft's own internal practices, such as its reliance on e-mail for company-wide communication and the conversion of most paper processes to digital ones (an assertion that seems somewhat at odds with the now-infamous "by hand on sheets of paper" method of tracking profits that was revealed during Microsoft's antitrust trial).

While Gates breaks no new ground--dozens of authors have been writing about competing on a digital playing field for some time, among them Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian in Information Rules and Patricia Seybold in Customers.com--businesses that want a wakeup call may find this book a ringer. With excerpts in Time magazine, a dedicated Web site, and an all-out media assault, Microsoft is working hard to push Business @ the Speed of Thought into the national dialogue, and for many it will be difficult to see the book as anything but a finely tuned marketing campaign for the forthcoming versions of Windows NT and MS Office. Nevertheless, as Gates has shown time and time again, him, Microsoft, and perhaps even this book you may ignore at your own peril. --Harry C. Edwards --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

There's a companion Web site , and the back cover carries the message that Gates is donating his share of proceeds to charity. See also Clark's Netscape Time, p.1450. Bonnie Smothers --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Good book, it gave me some great ideas!
John Dalesandro
My experience is that very few companies have changed their business practices.
Loren G. Carlson
This book does nothing more than state the obvious over and over again.
jmccorm@galstar.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Macrae on November 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Gates does a fine job of explaining how digitalisation will impact an office near you, and does this in a language which is so simple that even the average fiftysomething of a 20th Century boardroom will understand the wake-up call. The case of Bill Gates explaining e-business to board of directors of a German financial institution is worth the book price by itself. This case concludes that three revolutionary business shifts are in motion:
1 Most transactions between business and consumers, business and business, and consumers and government will become self-service digital transactions. Intermediaries will evolve to add value or perish.
2 Customer service will become the primary value added function in every business. Human involvement in service will shift from routine, low value tasks to a high-value, personal consultancy on important issues -problems or desires - for the customer.
3 The pace of transactions and the need for more personalised attention to customers will drive companies to adopt digital processes internally if they have not yet adopted them for efficiency reasons. Companies will use a digital nervous system to regularly transform their internal business processes to adapt to an environment that constantly changes because of customer needs and competition.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John Dalesandro on November 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The people who don't like this book are IT geeks who arelooking for big vision from Gates. While it is true that Mr. Gatesdoesn't offer a revolutionary new IT toy in this book---he does professional managers a great service by providing a framework for using information technology to improve business.
Good book, it gave me some great ideas!
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Winston Kotzan on July 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this book rather interesting to read. If you would like to run your own company, or you are just interested in reading about big business... then you will be satisfied with this book. Gates (if he really wrote most of the book) does a great job of citing examples of how technology is impacting business in today's economy. It might even give you a few ideas for making your own business more efficient.
However, this book has a major down side. I purchased this book hoping that it can give me insight of where the high tech industry is headed. Gates did not do a good job of presenting this. Instead, I found a book filled with hundreds of examples of how companies integrate computers into their business. It shows how the internet helped big companies move information and expand their customer service, but it does not show what's on the road ahead.
I recommend this book because it can help you make the most out of your company using computers. However, if you are looking for the next killer application, don't expect to find it in this book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ales Kavsek on August 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
As IT professional I found little surprises in this book about technology and the author visions how it will further influence (change) our daily lives.
Why? Because the issue Mr. Gates is writing about with such passion is really an old story nowadays. Let me explain. We have an "old" IT infrastructure in some places that is not good enough to support companies in a new economy, fortunately most of the corporate world also possess "new" PC and PC based devices connected to the Internet that are (according to Mr. Gates) fully capable and optimal way of supporting business in the 21st century. Hmm...I know at least couple of people that will strongly disagree with that (Larry and Scott where are you :-). The result is that corporate management is desperately looking for clues how to make the best use of this "new" technology to succeed in a new economy.
This book will help you get most of the answers, but (as usually) don't buy everything you read!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not negative about the book, in fact I learned a lot from Mr. Gates as businessperson. With his enthusiastic writing style, he kept me constantly rethinking from chapter to chapter about existing solutions in my company from business perspective and NOT from IT as usually!
Another good reason to read this book are real world examples from different companies, including Microsoft Corporation itself, on how you can gain business advantage with proper use of digital tools.
Last but not least, if you think that you know Mr. Gates and his company well then think again or better yet, read this book!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jim A. Beardsley on February 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Taken in it's entirety, this (March) 1999 release by the author of "The Road Ahead" has been a multi-media event. The print edition has been available in hard-cover or paperback. The audio cassette format has been marketed in both abridged and unabridged versions, and there's also been an audio compact disc available. The content poured into the book's web-site has been extensive, and has included an insightful 45-minute video "chat" by Mr. Gates recorded on March 31, 1999. There is little about the publication that hasn't been covered in over 100 reviews on either Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, or other web-sites. Traditional media coverage has been extremely broad based, and the book was ranked in the top ten on just about every final 1999 business bestsellers list, including the New York Time's and USA Today's.
Like it or not, there's no denying that this book has reached out deep into the critical masses. But, (in less than a year), has the response to this work perhaps surpassed the actual content in importance?
Take for example Scott Rosenberg's hard-hitting perspective in which Mr. Gates is critiqued as an author with obviously passionate ideas on business management, but also as one who is either unwilling or unable to break out of a dull corporate-speak writing tone. Mr. Rosenberg cites "e"source proponents of the idea "that the Internet is rapidly transforming not just the speed but the tenor and content of business communications." He furthers the suggestions that the corporate lingua-franca is soon to be made a remnant of our popular culture, and could very well be replaced with a much more original form of thought as one of the results of the "Web lifestyle" Mr. Gates is promoting.
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