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Are Your Lights On?: How to Figure Out What the Problem Really Is Paperback – March 1, 1990
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"It is a down-to-earth approach to the managerial problems of the '90's." -- Jim Van Speybroeck, Data Processing Digest
"another wonderful and whimsical book from Gerald Weinberg and Donald Gause." -- Barry Kornfeld, Sound Bytes
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Top Customer Reviews
That's why I'm buying everyone on my staff a copy of this book, now that I've managed to find a vendor who can get it.
Published originally in the 1970's, this book focuses on a number of creative approaches to solving seemingly intractable problems. Not a cookbook with recipes for specific problems, _Are_Your_Lights_On?_ inspires every reader to develop her own approaches to problems by emphasizing how many different ways there really are to skin a cat.
The book tells a number of stories that present sticky problems and then concludes the stories with how those problems were solved. The style of the writing is extremely informal and amusing while never patronizing. Entertaining pen and ink sketches illustrate the stories and the reader just keeps going because it's fun. But never mistake the seriousness of the book's purpose. One fantasizes about sending copies to Benjamin Netanyahu and Yassir Arafat with the cover note, "Read this and then try again."
What this book does not do, however, is tell you how to solve problems. If you're looking for how-to, look elsewhere.
Not only was the book delightfully written in English that second language learners could access, it was crafted with just the right balance of story telling and psychology for anyone. Indeed, it was written to help those of us who jump to conclusions, who suffer from myopia, or who never knew about the other angles, let alone trying to see things from a different perspective. It does help turn the lights on! I bet both Gause and Weinberg were storytellers in their former lives, and luckily for us, there was some transfer. They don't tell you how to solve problems; they illustrate some effective strategies and throw in lots of memorable stories that imprint their insights. Though this book is recommended for engineers and computer programs, it easily be applied to all occupations. I immediately told my family about it at the dining room table, my colleagues know about it, and I am incorporating it into my English classroom on writing and thinking. I was so impressed with this little book that I immediately went and read Weinberg's book on the Psychology of Computer Programming.
You will reap far more than you invest for this little nugget. This is what I told my student friend, who borrowed my copy. It truly is one of those pass around books. I hope he returns it or passes it on to others.
--An essential read for beginning consultants
--An important read for anyone in (or supervising people in) a problem-solving function
--A worthwhile read for experienced consultants
The page layout of the book is odd and occasionally irritating, but the information layout has no such flaws. Easy both to read and use.
This book describes the problem definition and solving method, which is very suitable for software engineer. We software engineer sometimes dig too deep into technical detail. Sometimes we forget to clearify the problem scope and defintion. This book guide us to make requirement more clear. It also teached us how to resolve some problem in non-techincal solution.
According to the statistic, management driver affect the system development cost by 64%. I agreed that. 60% of my projects failed because high level management changed their mind. After read this book, I got some idea to resolve this 'problem'.
If you are a engineer who devote yourself into technical detail, I recommend you buy this book. It will help you put more effort in 'right' problem and improve your performance. If you are a manager, like me, it could help you to clearify your situation. And let you have more idea to interact with your customers.