Monday, March 07, 2005

IBM Redux

I just finished reading the book "IBM Redux" by Doug Garr. The book is all about the business turn around by IBM in the last decade under the leadership of the previous CEO, Lou Gerstner.

The book is a great read on how corporations behave and gives many insights into how a gigantic corporation like IBM works. It is quite eloquent in its praise for Gerstner, though his not-so-amiable personality and ego-centric nature is pointed out as personal drawbacks. However, the book lays no doubt on who is responsible for the bounce back by IBM from the bottomless quagmire it found itself in the beginning of the 90s.

It also has a few interesting anecdotes such as IBM's role in the 1994 Atlanta Olympics and the PR disaster which ensued. A few pages are also devoted to the much hyped Garry Kasparov - Deep Blue face-off in 1997.

The book follows a rather chronological style, starting from the events that lead to Gerstner's heading IBM, and ending with the peak of Gerstner's rule at 1999, when he is sitting pretty at the top and is percieved widely as the saviour of IBM. The author follows the style of chipping in with a few anecdotes and history pieces here and there which sometimes is against the flow of reading. However, he cannot be charged on missing out a single piece of event which impacted the computer & software technology landscape during 1993-1999, where IBM played a part, either as the vanquisher or as the vanquished (Remember OS/2 Anyone?).

All in all a good read and a book recommended to anyone interested in the history of technology.

Some links worth reading about Lou Gerstner and his life.