Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar

Often mentioned by people who liked The Four Hour Work Week, or Vagabonding, I’d been meaning to read the Monk and the Riddle for a few years now. It’s business philosophy at its heart, though far less philosophical than the title might lead you to believe. In a rambling collection of Silicon Valley anecdotes, bookended by a couple of glimpses into various world travels Randy has enjoyed, Mr. Komisar advances the popular cliché that “It’s not the destination that matters, but the journey.” He digresses from this central theme for the majority of the book to name drop and wag about the ways of the Silicon Valley VC crowd, using a case study in misguided entrepreneurial spirit ( as an object lesson in why just chasing money isn’t likely to be very successful. At its best moments, the book discusses the difference between management (execution) and leadership (vision), and meanders around the importance of an inspiring vision to galvanize a company to greatness.

Interesting book, but somehow a lot less insightful or motivational than I expected, given the praise it has received. Had I just already learned all this through high-tech osmosis over the last decade?

Goes on the shelf between Tim Ferris and Jack Welsh, but isn’t as good as either.

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