Friday, February 04, 2005

All I Really Need To Know In Business I Learned At Microsoft

Last night I finished reading All I Really Need To Know In Business I Learned At Microsoft by Julie Bick. The book was recommended to me along with several others by the Microsoft recruiting team after I accepted an offer back in November.

Overall, I'd have to say it was a pretty interesting read. At about 160 pages, it only took two sittings to get through. The best way to describe the book is as a collection of anecdotes, each serving as an example of how to function as a model employee in a corporate environment. The anecdotes are all drawn on experiences at Microsoft, but the principles behind them certainly extend to any and every organization.

The book didn't present any groundbreaking theories, or even convey to me concepts I hadn't already been aware of. But it did formalize and provide examples of common best practices in the workplace. If you're looking for enlightenment, All I Need To Know might not be the book for you. But I'd imagine it'd make for a great one-sitting airplane read. I'd even consider rereading it every 2-3 years to keep the bigger picture fresh in my mind. There's also a sequel, The Microsoft Edge, which I purchased at the same time and plan to read soon.. next time I fly, perhaps.

As for specific content, thoughts, reactions.. I'd have to say that it's important to take this book for what it is -- a compilation of best practices, not a mirror image of reality. There are parts that can only be characterized as a bit Office Spacey (ask yourself: "Is this best for the company?"). Bick alludes at least once to Microsofties using their own products internally -- and they do, except now and then.

Again, overall it was an interesting read -- self-bettering and thought provoking, perhaps, a little. Bick's advice would certainly make for a good box calendar.. like this one by Suze Orman I had back in 2002.

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