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Making the World Work Better: The Ideas That Shaped a Century and a Company (IBM Press) Paperback – June 20, 2011
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“IBM doesn’t just THINK, it thinks big. The story of these big ideas illustrates how 100 years of innovation have shaped the way we live and work today.”
--Kenneth Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express
“Making the World Work Better convincingly documents IBM’s enormous impact on business and the world. Its history provides vital lessons for organizations of all sizes, and IBM’s future promises to continue to innovate the way we work, and even think.”
--Henry Chesbrough, Executive Director, Center for Open Innovation, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
"The history of every great, enduring company includes a triumphant struggle to remain relevant in the marketplace without abandoning a core purpose and values. At 100, IBM is one of a handful of organizations with so much to teach us about this unique journey."
--Howard Schultz, Chairman, President and CEO, Starbucks
"Innovation, resilience, and great leadership are the key ingredients of the IBM story. Making the World Work Better tells that story exceptionally well. Ultimately, it reveals that IBM is not simply a technology company; it is a company of ideas and the future those ideas have created."
--John Hollar, President and CEO, Computer History Museum
From the Back Cover
Through extensive research, they explore IBM’s impact on technology, on the evolving role of the modern corporation and on the way our world literally works. Most intriguingly, they uncover a set of compelling ideas whose greatest impact may lie not in the previous century, but in the next one—ideas with the power to shape a surprising future, and to change the way we think.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is well-written and easy to read. The three authors have backgrounds writing for publications like Business Week, USA Today, Fortune and Wired, so there's no overly technical stuff. As you'd expect to see in magazines such as these, there are plenty of photos, some of which are bound to bring back memories for many readers: (very) old computers, "IBM cards," big tape drives, typewriters, early PCs, etc.
There is a short forward written by Sam Palmisano, the current chairman and CEO, and then the book is broken into three parts corresponding to the three authors. Although others may come to a different conclusion, I found the first part, by Kevin Maney, to be the most interesting. Maney develops the stories associated with much of IBM's advancement of information processing technology.Read more ›
This book is just a flat piece of amiable corporate puffery. It is a dutiful selective journey down memory lane that occasionally jazzes up the company stuff with the Bigger Picture - Information! Communication! Knowledge! The Global Whatever. It's flat and often very misleading about IBM itself, the industry, the technology and the competitive innovations that led to the rise and erosion of so many firms. It omits or jumps over so much that it makes the story about as exciting as, say, a commissioned History of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving.
For anyone interested in the history of the IT field, this is close to a zero star work. It mispresents so many key forces and events. There is barely a mention except as names of Gene Amdahl, DEC, Ethernet, Wang, SNA, EBDIC, or client/server. Microsoft gets one sentence on PC-DOS and there is nothing about how Gates so skillfully used IBM to fund his ability to compete with IBM. The proprietary/open standards/plug compatibility battles that shaped the industry are patchily covered and in some instances what is presented is way off base - examples are LANs, where token ring versus Ethernet is skipped over and Novell not even mentioned. The paragraph or so on virtualization and its direct causal link to cloud computing could hardly be more misguiding.Read more ›
While IBM's own experience provides both the foundation and framework for this exploration, it really is about more than a single company. Rather, it's about the importance of standing for basic principles in a complex and interconnected world. While the book discusses IBM's own principles as seen through the prism of business and technology, when you pull back you also realize that what the authors have to say has relevance to any enterprise or institution. It's about understanding who you are, and then using that knowledge to define your mission.
As a proud ex-IBMer, this book reminded me just how much I've been shaped by my IBM experience -- and what a truly special place it is. The ideas shared in this book aren't merely trapped within its pages, but are openly (and, at times, exhaustively) discussed every day at IBM. It's only when you leave that environment that you realize how unusual that is.
All in all, a fascinating book that appeals across a wide spectrum -- and should also become required reading for entrepreneurs who are interested in creating something that has enduring value.
IBM was a pioneering business during most of the twentieth century and its innovative products and services helped place the company among the most influential of its day. Most everyone knows at least a little bit about IBM and everyone has used it products and services at some point. Because of this, many who read this book will recognize some of the products and people who made IBM great. But IBM is also responsible in ways that many are unaware and this book brings some of these important moments and innovations to the forefront. How many are aware, for example, that IBM helped make the Apollo 11 moon landing possible? Or that IBM helped create the world's first computerized tracking system for seating availability on airplanes, helping to drastically reduce the time necessary to book a flight? These lesser- known technological advancements and others like them are among the many highlights of this book and they help maintain the reader's interest.
Making the World Work Better is similar to other historic business narratives in many ways, but one important difference is the illustrations. There are far more illustrations in this book than in most and they cover a large percentage of the book's pages. Some might consider this overkill and I did at first, but I appreciated this approach more and more as I read. The illustrations help the reader relate to the topic at hand and help to place specific moments into historic context.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book published by IBM. As an IBM shareholder, I feel this book is a must-have to get the fundamentals of IBM company.Published 8 months ago by Johnny S
This narrative provides insight into IBM and how it has adapted to the changing environment of business and the needs of business during a century of many changes that have seen... Read morePublished on January 15, 2014 by G. L. Weseman
Received this book on my first day of work at IBM.
It is definitely fascinating to see the history and the inventions that IBM gave to the world. Read more
Sensing, Memory, Processing, Logic, Connecting, Architecture! The book maybe about IBM, but it's really a trip down the memory lane, how human kind, some really smart indviduals... Read morePublished on April 20, 2013 by Nishant Agarwal