If you want to know what, in my opinion, makes a book great, then read the next 3 paragraphs. If not, skip them.
Re-imagine!There are a few qualities I look for in a book before I refer to it as a great book. Firstly, a great book needs to capture me. I know this happens when I pick up the book first out of the pile of other books I happen to be making my way through. To capture me, it needs to hold my attention – an important thing for an Xer as it is often easier to stop reading than to finish.
Secondly, a great book needs to connect with where I am. If this happens then the words become alive as I find and meet their connection in the world around me. It is in this process that a book becomes timeless … in a sense its words now walk with me ahead in life.
Thirdly, a great has the ability to get me out of bed (or in Graeme’s case: keep him in the bath until the water is cold). Huh? Well, I read before going to bed, and it is a rare thing when a book hauls my sleepy gray matter off the road to slumber land, and onto a path of discovery as thoughts, inspirations and questions fly to the surface. As I sit here now, this is what has happened.

Why the long shpeel about what makes a great book to me? Well, Re-imagine!, by Tom Peters, is a great book (get it on Kalahari.net, or Amazon.com).
I came into the working world fresh out of varsity as an idealist. I had it in my mind the way a businees should run. This picture was informed by information gathered from my parents, older family members, lecturers, the media and some older friends. I soon realised that this picture was not going to graft in the company I found myself in and for a while I could not understand why “businessâ€? was not as I had heard. The truth is that the company operated under a different set of rules … and this I only realised was okay once I had read Re-imagine!.
For a young snot like myself, with little business experience by Boomer standards, with an overactive sense of involvement, Re-imagine! helped me understand that the “old rulesâ€? do not appeal to me, and why the “new rulesâ€? are a delectable delight. Perhaps it is just where I am in my development as a “workerâ€? but Re-imagine! captured me, it connected with me and got me out bed … numerous times!
Most of the book is outrageous. From it’s design and layout to it’s content and bias towards getting our A’s into G it sticks it’s neck out in an outrageous way. In fact, you could get quit miffed by the way Tom rants at every chance he can get …
We are not prepared, we are not prepared, we are not prepared, we are not prepared to make the transition needed as individuals and companies to stay competitive and to emerge as forerunners in the emerging economy. But thankfully, he invisions a new brand of employee, enterprise and social contract that will prepare us.
However, this transition will require a re-imagining of how business has been run. The new economy is not just fluid, but helishly fluid. Sit for too long in your boardroom strategising and you’ll find yourself in a mess … in fact, if you sit you’ll be in trouble. So accept the mess, embrace it and manouvre within it to stay alive.
I suppose a review needs to consider the negatives of a book as well; there are 2 in my eyes: 1- the fact that it is a book, and as such, is static. The words and pages are printed and bound and will inevitably occupy many bookshelves as our world’s continue to change, and 2 – the fact that what Tom writes will very soon become dated. Perhaps this is not a criticism as I’d imagine he’d be happy with this book becoming obsolete. Why? Because our workplace will change again and again. It is then that we’d need to re-imagine our world and our selves yet again.
Gone are the days of stability and guarantees! Gone are the days of loyal employees! Gone are the days of loyal customers! Gone are the days of an easy ride!
Here are the days of using our creativity to stay alive! Here are the days of becoming our own bossess! Here are the days of getting computers to do our rote work! Here are the days of proving our worth!
If you wear a suit to work – you’re in trouble! If you sit in a cubicle – you’re in trouble! If you’ve been in the same job for 2 years – you’re in trouble! If the work you did 2 years ago, is now done by computers – you’re in trouble If you get to work just to reach 5 pm – you’re in trouble! If you work to build a retirement – you’re in trouble! If I’ve said enough to piss you off, then read Re-imagine! – read it, you’ll understand:)

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