Tag Archives: Andrew S. Grove

Book Review: Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove (2/5)

20 Dec

I hadn’t had a Goodreads account very long when my boss mentioned this book as one ‘everyone should read.’ I’m not sure under what context he read it, but it was instantly added to my TBR where it lingered for 3.5 years. I now have a little break from my book clubs and I’m determined to read books from my shelves and from the library to cut down my TBR. It’s going slowly, but it’s happening.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Only the Paranoid Survive: How to exploit the crisis points that challenge every business by Andrew S. Grove

Summary from Goodreads:

Under Andy Grove’s leadership, Intel has become the world’s largest chip maker and one of the most admired companies in the world. In Only the Paranoid Survive, Grove reveals his strategy of focusing on a new way of measuring the nightmare moment every leader dreads–when massive change occurs and a company must, virtually overnight, adapt or fall by the wayside.
Grove calls such a moment a Strategic Inflection Point, which can be set off by almost anything: mega-competition, a change in regulations, or a seemingly modest change in technology. When a Strategic Inflection Point hits, the ordinary rules of business go out the window. Yet, managed right, a Strategic Inflection Point can be an opportunity to win in the marketplace and emerge stronger than ever.
Grove underscores his message by examining his own record of success and failure, including how he navigated the events of the Pentium flaw, which threatened Intel’s reputation in 1994, and how he has dealt with the explosions in growth of the Internet.

Because of my old boss’s praise, I was expecting a lot out of this book. I’m wondering now if it was a letdown because I had an older edition that did not include a chapter on how to apply the lessons to your personal career. Hm. The book felt very dated to me and to be fair, Grove wrote it in 1996 with different editions coming out periodically. The stories felt old and the ‘scary times’ he describes are from a time when I wasn’t paying attention to the news let alone the microprocessor industry. It didn’t strike a chord with me. The most distracting thing was how Grove frequently talked about the internet like it wouldn’t revolutionize computing. The dated feel was hard to shake. Another thing I didn’t like was how even though Grove tried to relate to other industries, those examples were very short of details and it all came back to Intel. The book would have been better marketed as a book about running Intel because it didn’t seem to translate well to other industries. Instead of helping to identify a strategic inflection point (Grove’s name for a time when change is needed), he tells you how it felt to him at Intel. This is a little too soft to be helpful.

Grove comes off as the hero of his story but I believe he is a hero at Intel. If he wasn’t, I don’t think he’d get a book about him published. He doesn’t name others in his story so he’s the only person we can see the transformation through and, as he’s written the book on it (literally), he is great at finding the inflection points he talks about.

I’m a bit confused about where the title came from. Grove never mentioned being very paranoid or why being paranoid is a good thing specifically in the book, though it’s implied a paranoid person would be better at identifying strategic inflection points because he or she would be paying attention to the signs that they’re coming. I think Grove should have been a bit more straightforward about this.

I feel like I’m a paranoid person sometimes. I did like that Grove gave me a few things worth being paranoid over, though I’m not sure how helpful they will be unless I’m a CEO. I think this book could be good for small business owners, too. Anyway. I thought ‘listening to Cassandra’s’ was a fun lesson but I’m worried I’m more likely to be a Cassandra than be in a position to listen to one. I guess it’s letting me know to speak up?

Andrew Grove Image via The Seattle Times

Andrew Grove
Image via The Seattle Times

The best and worst part of the book (at least my edition) was the final chapter on the internet. With about 20 years of ‘seeing what will happen,’ the advice and predictions were laughable. Grove’s inclusion of this topic made the book seem dated more than it should have. It was funny to read the things that were wrong and insightful to see what a doomsday approach many were taking know what’s happened from this side of time. I wonder what we’re blowing out of proportion now that others will laugh about in 20 years.

 

The overarching theme I got from this book was to always be on your toes and not to be afraid of making big changes. The change Grove took Intel through changed their core business and was risky. Grove realized, though, that the risk of not moving was greater. Look at the number of companies that we’ve lost who didn’t adapt including, the greatest loss to me, Borders. Barnes & Noble developed the Nook and ebooks where Borders failed to adapt. Kodak fell in a similar way. Sticking to your guns can be the most dangerous in a technologically advanced world.

Writer’s Takeaway: Books don’t always age well. Technology will change and things that seemed futuristic in the 50s seem outdated or ridiculous now. Reading dystopias such as Huxley’s Brave New World now can seem silly. At the same time, it’s easy to read old books and think ‘that would be solved with smart phones.’ It’s hard to write a book that won’t feel dated, but I think the less technology involved, the better. One of my WIPs is a contemporary book and while texting and phones play a big part in the plot, I try to limit references to them to keep the content slightly more timeless.

Enjoyable book but not very applicable to the average businessperson in the 21st century. Two out of Five Stars

 

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Andy Grove: Only the paranoid survive | Quite a Quote!
Book Review: “Only the paranoid survive” – Andy Grove | value and opportunity

WWW Wednesday, 30-November-2016

30 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


breakoutCurrently reading: I got World Without End by Ken Follett back! I started listening to it on Friday during my run and I’m beyond excited to keep listening. I hope to finish it this time, but there’s a lot going on between now and when it returns again.
I’ve only read a bit of The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge. Again, as an ebook, I don’t tend to read these quickly. It helps that I own this one and won’t have to continue to check it out every three weeks!
I picked up Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass on Sunday and I plan to start applying it to my novel-in-progress in December and January. I’m not sure how much of it will be fun to apply and how much of it will frustrate me and make me want to pull my hair out, haha.

paranoidRecently finished: I finished Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove Sunday morning. It wasn’t as informative as I’d hoped it would be. The advice applies better to senior level managers and since I’m only at the entry-level point of my career, I’m not sure how much of it I’ll use and I’ll likely forget the important parts when I would be ready to use it. Oh well.
I finished The Tempest by William Shakespeare on Friday before I started back up with Follett. It was hard to follow while running, which is the first time I’ve said that. Usually I have no trouble but I found I needed to picture the actors moving across a stage and it was hard for  me to do that and not run off the side of the road.

onceuponReading Next: It’s likely going to be Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, my book club’s January pick. I have another book club book coming up soon so I better start in on these and make sure I get them both done in time!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 23-November-2016

23 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


birthdayboysCurrently reading: I’m so anxious to get World Without End by Ken Follett. All my audiobooks are about to wrap up and it would be the perfect time to jump back into it full-force. Soon enough…
I’m still making only minor progress with Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove. It’s slow reading and a lot of it is about the computer industry which is outside what I know. Also, the book is really dated sometimes, asking if the Internet is going to be a big thing for companies to adapt to. Ha!
I was given a copy of The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge a few weeks ago and finally started in on the ebook. It’s exactly what I suspected so far, which is a good thing! I’m a fan of Bainbridge’s style so I’m looking forward to this one.
I also started listening to The Tempest by William Shakespeare. My husband has read almost all of the Bard’s works and of the ones written in the 1600s that I haven’t read, he recommended this one. It’s quite short so I should be done soon!

BeastsRecently finished: SO MUCH PROGRESS! I, unexpectedly, finished In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson on Thursday. I was only at 79% but it turns out the rest of the book was notes and references! That was a pleasant surprise. It was a good read and I almost wish Dodd had been in Germany a bit longer, but I can’t change history.
I also finished Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler on Thursday. It was a bit more abrupt than I was expecting but it was appropriate. The part of Zelda’s life when she was in treatment was glossed over a lot so it sped to the end quickly. Still, the book was really enjoyable.
I’ll have a lot of book reviews to write at the beginning of December because I also finished The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. I didn’t enjoy this one much, to be honest. I’m a bit nervous about reading another Ferrante novel but I’ve got one on my shelf so I’ll get to it eventually.

breakoutReading Next: There are a few options. I’d like to start working with Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass as part of NaNoWriMo. I should get through this re-read of my novel and be able to start on some serious editing with the book before the end of the month.
The other option is Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell, my book club’s January selection. For that club, January will be my last meeting before I have to miss three months due to class. (I’ve already cried over this.) I might delay starting it a bit so it’s fresh in my mind for the meeting.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!