Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Book review: Softwar

At last January’s LegalTech, I met Charlie Uniman. It’s always nice when someone who’s read the blog introduces themselves; more refreshing was that Charlie, a lawyer for over twenty years in Manhattan, demonstrates what (in my experience, anyway) is a rare grasp of how technology can (and should) fundamentally change the practice of law. In any event, Charlie and I have kept in touch in the past year, and last night he sent me this reveiew of Softwar, a look at Larry Ellison and Oracle. With Charlie’s permission, I’m sharing his take on the book:

While in LaGuardia, heading to Atlanta bookless last week, I picked up a copy (hard cover, no less) of Matthew Symonds’ Softwar, a book about Larry Ellison and Oracle. Far from being just a gossipy stroll through Ellison’s personal life, women, yachts, airplanes and all, it is a serious discussion of how a software business can succeed (or fail) at sales, marketing, product development and management overall. Symonds, a former technology editor for The Economist, not only writes with verve, but goes on to allow Ellison to comment (by way of footnotes) on the author’s substantive treatment of Oracle’s business (from its founding, to its near-death in the early ’90’s, to its success in the current down turn). Far from being just a gimmick, the sparing use of this footnote-device really works.

My enthusiastic recommendation for this business-book gem that goes beyond catch-phrase business platitudes and reaches for (and many times manages to grab) meaningful business-book content.

Thanks to Charlie for the review!

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