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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Summary: Obviously, as a business book, there's no plot. Well, not quite. There is a bit of plot in that de la Vega chronicles his career throughout the book. Keeping up with his different positions, projects, and goals provides a nice framework for him to impart the business advice he wants to impart. Mainly, it boils down to this: work hard, make sacrifices, get outside your comfort zone, and you will be happy with your advancements at work. It's pretty standard fare as far as this kind of advice goes, the thing that helps keep it engaging is how de la Vega interweaves his own personal story and passion throughout the book. I came away from the book feeling more like I had a conversation with de la Vega instead of simply reading a dry business book.
What I thought: Meh. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't outstanding. As I mentioned before, the advice was commonplace. There really wasn't anything new. The main thrust is reduced to the cliche "obstacles are opportunities." It's really about finding ways to overcome the obstacles, turn them into opportunities, and capitalize on them. When you strip away the fancy words, you're left with working hard and making sacrifices.
I'm glad I read the book, and I think it may have given me some inspiration to try things differently at work to help advance my career the way I want it to advance. There are no easy answers here, but good food for thought.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love it! Gives a new meaning to life if you are a proactive seeker of new tools to problem solving.Published 18 months ago by Ronnie Knino Stokes
Not only does this book share the author's experience turning adversity to advantage, but also it describes what it takes to transform vision into results. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Hsuan-Hua Chang
I am proud to work for a company that has Mr DE LA Vega at the head of AT&T Mobility. I wish I felt the same limitless opportunities were still available but it's hard. Read morePublished on July 15, 2014 by A. Wagner
This is a innovator who overcame numerous odds. It is a page turner and I am truly enjoying reading this book. I am gonig to share the link to everyone to purchase.Published on June 19, 2014 by Brandon V. Ray
An amazing story of one mans journey. An even better lesson on exceeding in business a must read for anyone with a job.Published on May 9, 2014 by chris ilardi