Review: The Monk and the Riddle–The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living

6 Star Top 10%, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Economics, Information Operations, Information Society, Information Technology, Philosophy, Priorities, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
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5.0 out of 5 stars Down to Earth, Absorbing, Perfectly Presented, “Must Read”

October 10, 2010

Randy Komisar with Kent Lineback

I’m putting this book into the 6 Star and Beyond category at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, for two reasons: it has a proper definition of what business should be about–creativity and humanity; and it strives to focus the innovator on passion versus drive, life versus “the kill.”

The book was first published in 2000, and I only get to it now because it was explicitly recommended to me by a Hackers Conference colleague to help me in grappling with my “what next” explorations.

The book impresses from the first page, the opening quote from Walter Pater, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (Oxford World’s Classics) which I might have to read next. It took an enormous amount of creative focus to find this quote, I will just provide the first half here:

Every moment some form grows perfect in hand or face; some tone on the hills or the sea is choicer than the rest; some mood of passion or insight or intellectual excitement is irrestibly real and attractive to us–for that moment only. Not the fruit of the experience, but experience itself, is the end.

For me, this was perfect prologue, and a have a note shortly into the book, “the zen of advanced information technology leadership.

This is a carefully crafted and elegantly presented book with exactly the right amount of white space, integrated emails, and real-life annecdote, and the bottom line is clear: bet on the vision and take the risk. Go for the big idea that changes the world or at least tries to change the world, do NOT “do” the web play as a path to being rich or anywhere other than being “there.”

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