Globe-trotting corporate fix-it man Marwood recalls his years boosting profits and crossing cultures in his debut memoir.
Marwood has an impressive rÃ©sumÃ©. In his 40-plus-year career, he’s headed companies and spearheaded divisions on four of the seven continents. He sold Caterpillar equipment to Saudi princes and worked with the Soviet Union on special projects while heading a company in Canada. He was one of the first Westerners many Chinese workers had met–he flew frequently from his base in Hong Kong to mainland China to service equipment in the years after Mao Tse-tung’s death. Marwood helped turn lagging companies around, giving them new life despite bad odds and unfavorable conditions. He was also forced out of a few boardrooms and backrooms due to personality conflicts and the odd corporate raider. The author’s had the kind of career that deserves a strong memoir, full of the driving personality that helped fuel his success. But what Marwood holds dear above all else is professionalism, even in his prose. Professional Nomad is logical and fact-driven, just like the Six Sigma management style the author often espouses. He reduces his stints in Switzerland, Taiwan, the Middle East and Africa to a bare minimum of description. Only when Marwood writes about his life outside the boardroom–his years mountaineering, his months cruising the Intercoastal Waterway, his afternoon swimming with sharks–does he figuratively take off his tie. His account of trekking across Nepal, and ending his trip in the shadow of Mount Everest, is as engrossing as the area he describes. Furthermore, his inclusion of a section on current global issues–specifically radicalism and energy exploration–is fascinating, as Marwood lets his personal experience drive his reasoned opinions.
A memoir that could use a tad more passion, yet still manages to be engrossing.