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Showing posts from April, 2010

Books Read in April

A Dangerous Liason by Carole Seymour

Two myths surround Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. One is that they were loyal workers for the Resistance. The other is that they had had a wonderful romance. Seymour puts paid to both in this rather plodding biography.

This couple actually had rather a good time in the war - they even held parties and drank wine with Picasso. They were also not averse to working for the Germans. Sartre did write plays promoting the cause of freedom, but neither Sartre nor de Beauvoir did much for the Resistance according to this book. De Beauvoir could even be anti-Semitic at times.

They may have had a very long romance but it was very anguished. According to this book they liked to torment each other by having affairs with each other's lovers. De Beauvoir even had affairs with her young women students and passed them on to Sartre. Then she wanted to know the details of his affairs with them. They apparently constantly used and abused people and were rea…

Obstacles Welcome by Ralph de la Vega

Ralph de la Vega outlines his journey from the poverty of Cuba and hardship as a migrant in America to becoming the president of AT & T Mobility. He arrived in America as a scared boy of only ten who had to leave his parents behind. In this book he gives suggestions on how to overcome adversity and turn tough situations to your advantage.

De la Vega includes many useful tips in this book and he gives examples of how he overcame hard times himself to rise to the peak of his career. He writes about how Hurricane Andrew showed him that ‘he had to take care of his own people first’, for example. When Hurricane Katrina hit de la Vega knew exactly where all his employees were and set up a tent city for them. After the employees knew that they were cared for they could focus on their work.

This book is especially useful for rising managers and CEO’s. De la Vega writes about ethics, communication, having a vision, and other self-help topics. It is not very helpful for the self-employed.