A remarkably comprehensive treatment of an ever-changing commercial landscape.

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SEEING DIGITAL

A VISUAL GUIDE TO THE INDUSTRIES, ORGANIZATIONS, AND CAREERS OF THE 2020S

A thorough consideration of the future of digital commerce. 

When the information technology industry first emerged, it was largely conceived as a tool for larger corporations. It’s since become more focused on the consumer, leading to truly innovative leaps in technology. According to this book, innovation was once mostly an “inside-out” process that moved from proprietary technologies and organizational control to the public, but now it’s becoming “outside-in,” focusing on public collaboration, customer participation, and the sharing of an IT ecosystem. In general, innovation is shifting to a human platform, argues Moschella (Customer-Driven IT, 2003, etc.), a research fellow at the Leading Edge Forum, the “thought leadership arm” of DXC Technology, a $25 billion global IT services provider. He says that the line between work and play has become blurred, as have the boundaries between the virtual and the real. This change has birthed new professional requirements, as well—the ideal executive, Moschella says, will be fluent in the languages of business and IT, as corporations need “double-deep” workers who understand the industry in its totality. All of these changes are effecting a monumental movement from cloud computing to “the Matrix,” which the author defines as an “increasingly intelligent societal infrastructure.” The further integration of the digital into every aspect of human life, he says, will cause industries to explore “cross-industry capabilities”: horizontal expansion into multiple types of industries. Moschella panoramically assesses the consequences of these transformations for the IT industry as a whole, considering not only their opportunities, but also their potential risks and ethical pitfalls.  Moschella’s expert command of the industry’s history is extraordinary. His book is subdivided into digestible questions, which he tackles concisely with a relentless emphasis on the power of pictorial illustration. Indeed, nearly every page comes complete with some kind of visual aid—charts, graphs, illustrations, lists of terms. The author’s prose can sometimes be quite dense, however, and it traffics liberally in the gratuitously technical jargon that’s typical of the IT world. That said, he clearly isn’t aiming his book at an audience of untutored neophytes. One of the principal strengths of this work is its sweeping breadth, as Moschella traverses an expansive stretch of intellectual territory. His consideration of China’s economic rivalry with the United States, for example, is especially impressive; while the Asian country will continue to support its monopoly on its own domestic market and remain a burgeoning IT powerhouse, the author says, there will still be plenty of opportunities for American businesses, as well as for those in a rising India. The author also prudently withholds self-assured predictions, when appropriate. For example, when he considers the cultural impact of a shift to the Matrix, which seems to involve a diminishment of individual privacy, he exercises impressive restraint: “while social media has enabled a great many important innovations, the expectation that we will expose our full selves to everyone represents a major psychological and cultural shift, whose end effects are still far from clear.”

A remarkably comprehensive treatment of an ever-changing commercial landscape. 

Pub Date: July 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-11344-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: DXC Technology

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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