I was kind of skeptical of this book when Joel handed it to me, but it was surprisingly good. It doesn’t have any original ideas, and didn’t change how I think, but the book was well-written (apparently by Catherine Fredman) and did a good job of describing how Dell had taken some basic business precepts and actually implemented them at their company. Things like “Build a company of owners”, “Develop a customer-focused philosophy”, “Narrowing our focus”, etc. It’s all really basic stuff, but they spin a good story of how these principles apply to the growth of Dell the corporation.
Reading the book did provoke me into thinking about whether I believed in the principles Dell was laying out, and how I would apply the principles at my own company. I do find it a bit ironic that listening to the customer is emphasized so much in the book, yet a couple weeks ago it took us five hours on the phone to get Dell to acknowledge that a part they had sent us was broken and that they needed to replace it. Perhaps the principles are not as well disseminated as they once were.
Summary: Quick read, well done, nothing earth-shattering, but a nice reminder of some basics.