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Obstacles Welcome: How to Turn Adversity into Advantage in Business and in Life Hardcover – October 27, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, is responsible for all consumer marketing, sales, content and converged services, customer care and operations for wireless and wireline services. He also represents AT&T's entire wireless business.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595552642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595552648
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #645,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author, Obstacles Welcome
President and CEO AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions
Chairman of All Market Initiatives, Boy Scouts of America
Former Chairman of Junior Achievement Worldwide

Ralph de la Vega's success story exemplifies the possibilities that exist for those who are willing to work hard and sacrifice to achieve their goals.

Born in the comfort of middle class Cuba, at age 10 he found himself alone in Miami as a refugee without his parents, without any money, and unable to speak English. What he learned while overcoming the difficult years that followed became the foundation of de la Vega's leadership style, which guided him to success.

He shares those lessons often when addressing audiences nationwide, particularly Hispanic youth, with whom his story resonates deeply.

He has also shared his story, his lessons learned and his leadership style in his new book, Obstacles Welcome (Thomas Nelson, October, 2009).

De la Vega's professional success is marked by determined efforts to overcome obstacles along the way. He started in the telecommunications business as a management assistant in 1974 and climbed his way to becoming the president and CEO AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions. Previous executive positions include president, Regional Telecommunications and Entertainment, chief operating officer of Cingular Wireless, president of BellSouth Latin America, president of BellSouth's Broadband and Internet Services, and president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets.

De la Vega's lifelong desire to inspire others has led him to personally support youth development organizations such as Junior Achievement and The Boys Scouts of America, ultimately taking leadership positions in both. He served as chairman of Junior Achievement Worldwide and as Chairman of All Market Initiatives for the Boy Scouts of America.

He also serves on the boards of Morehouse College and the Georgia Aquarium and recently was
honored with the Global Innovation Award from Emory University.

He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Florida Atlantic University, a master's degree in business administration from Northern Illinois University, and a Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa from Florida Atlantic University.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marcela R. Murillo on May 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is an inspiration and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to climb the corporate ladder. It provides wisdom, lessons learned, success stories, proactive steps to eliminate possible gaps in your career that prevent you from getting where you want to be, and talks about the importance of mastering public speaking skills as a key asset in corporate America. The author shares his success cycle and provides a success framework with which he explains how he assesses the situation and turns obstacles into opportunities. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to be inspired, motivated and has big dreams to achieve success in the corporate world or in their personal life because the content of the book is applicable to both

Ralph de la Vega arrived alone in the USA from Cuba when he was 10 years old. He learned at that young age, one of most difficult and scary moments in his life, to turn adversity into opportunity and focus on the opportunities behind the obstacles. Other key learning's were:
* Hard work was going to pay off. Life was going to get better.
* The meaning of sacrifice and the power of making sacrifice in the present for the sake of a better future.
* The need to make plans and not just drift with circumstances.
* Take risks in search of opportunity.
* Focus on the possibilities.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dyton L. Owen on October 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Obstacles Welcome is one of the best books I've read recently on leadership. Thought it is not from a church point of view, many of its principles can be applied.

de la Vega is the President and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. A Cuban refugee, he came to the USA in 1962 at the age of 10, without his parents. This book tells of his journey from being raised by friends of his parents in the U.S., to becoming the CEO of AT&T Mobility. It is an inspiring story of his ascent in the world of telecommunications, but more is told of his leadership principles and ideas, which is why I chose this book.

Some of the most interesting parts of the book, personally, is his behind-the-scenes stories of his work in telecommunications, and the merger of AT&T and Cingular Wireless - the largest cash merger in history. His stories of how he accomplished such a feat are interesting and make for a good, solid foundation in leadership that can be applied - at least to some degree - to all kinds of work, including leadership in the church.

I also liked this book because, unlike many books on leadership that tend to be all theory and not practicality (which is fine, to a point), de la Vega gives good, practical advice on creating actions plans, taking calulated risks, vision, recognition of obstacles as opportunities, unlearning "old-think", etc.

I would recommend this book for a couple reasons: 1). it's a good read just for the behind-the-scenes information and 2). it's a well-written, practical leadership resource.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Elenbaas on October 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading the book Obstacles Welcome: turn adversity to advantage in business and life. This book by Ralph de la Vega is part autobiography, part leadership history, part leadership principles, part self-help, and part personal development. de la Vega, President and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets has been responsible and overseen everything from the move to mobile to the proliferation of the iPhone. The book starts out, though, with stories from de la Vega's youth in which he emigrated to the United States without his parents through a last minute glitch at the airport. At the age of 10, he began his life in the United States without his parents.

I really enjoyed reading Obstacles Welcome. It was a really accessible and easy read, and de la Vega takes the complexity of managing a huge corporation and a gives simple but not simplistic look into how he does it. I also appreciated the type of leadership de la Vegan seems to exhibit. He appears to be a person who values people, virtue, integrity, hard work, and determination. After reading this book, I thought to myself, "de la Vega would make a good mentor" and that is exactly what he does through this book, becoming a personal and leadership mentor. If you're in a leadership position, it's worth a read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Shaun St.Hill on May 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am an avid reader of most genres, especially motivational and business titles. I can honestly say Obstacles Welcome by Ralph de la Vega is one of the best books I've read. It's extremely well written. Once you pick it up you will not want to put it down. The book chronicles the struggles of Ralph's early life on through the triumphs of his business career, culminating in his current role as CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. Throughout the book, the author gives you an authentic look at his upbringing. He also dispenses nuggets of wisdom at the end of each chapter that are applicable for personal or professional growth. After reading this book, I was reminded that obstacles in life are not to be avoided but welcomed. They are designed to help realize your potential. I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Crowe on May 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What I appreciated most about Obstacles Welcome is that it inspires you professionally and personally - and in a simplistic way. You'll come away with how to make decisions at work, at home and everywhere along the way. This isn't your traditional business book - think of it as a inspiring roadmap for operating and continually improving yourself. This book provides a frankly much needed reminder that we all will be faced with challenges - they might be different, but they will be there. The key is how you deal with them. De la Vega takes you down a road and shows you first hand how that by having a plan, you can win. One of my favorite lines is "Hope is not a strategy." You'll walk away with the perspective you must have a game plan for life just like you do at work .

I found Obstacles Welcome encouraging from a business perspective but what even made it more fascinating was the courage of de la Vega, especially after the challenges he faced as a young child. He tells a vivid story of how having the right mindset, you can be successful . He makes it clear, it's not without risks, obstacles and roadblocks - and he offers a fresh (and proven based on his success) perspective while articulating in a way anyone could grasp those sure fire elements you'll need along the way - like good communications, a focus on results and getting all the best out of people - and of vital importance, and the hardest thing to do - "be comfortable with being uncomfortable." To get the most out of life, you have to move out of your comfort zone.

I liked the way Obstacles Welcome was organized - it's clear, "glide through" reading - I especially appreciated the "Takeaway Messages" at the end of each chapter.
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