Thursday, December 24, 2009

Relentless Change

In my post on Article Marketing yesterday, I was remiss to not mention my friends' Chris Knights ezinearticle site. This is one of the best organized and legitimate article sites on the internet. And Chris is one of the best networkers that I know. He puts me to shame.

I find that most of the books I read are about Leadership and Business, although occasionally I do just read a book for recreation.

One of my friends Joe Martin wrote a book called Relentless Change – A Casebook for the Study of Canadian Business History. Read sort of for just recreation but it is also business focused.

I know Joe fairly well, since he sat on the board of Angoss Software for about 10 years.

Relentless Change, is a study of Canadian business history.

Joe is a Historian / Academic / Ph.D / Professor, so the study is absolutely a great work of research. This certainly is not as shallow as many of the other business books I read.

Being Canadian, I find it fascinating all the references to the companies I have heard about and know of.

The book starts in 1850 and lays out the Bank Act, which he calls 'The Origin of Our Financial Stability'. It also talks about Hudson's Bay Company and the first great Canadian manufacturing enterprise, Massey-Harris.

Then it moves on to 1905-1955, talking about the CNR and the rise of the automobile industry as well as Eatons. I took particular interest in the Eaton's story since in the 80s Eaton's was in the computer business and was a customer of ours. Eaton's treated suppliers so poorly at time that my brother Glen refused to buy anything from them. Of course, he thinks the reason Eatons eventually went bankrupt was because of their arrogance, which I believe is the major challenge that large companies face.

Part 3 was the period 1955-1980 with discussions of Inco and oil. Then part 4 is called the challenging years from 1980-2005 talking about the Free Trade Agreement, the collapse of Fed Life and discussion about RBC.

Although the book is a series of case studies as would be used in a University M.B.A. class, each one of these stories are stand-alone. Joe is not the author of all the cases although in many cases he is the co-author.

I think it's a fascinating book for anybody interested in Canadian business history.

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