Softwar : An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle
||Author: Matthew Symonds, Larry Ellison|
List Price: $28.00
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Publisher: Simon & Schuster (01 October, 2003)
Sales Rank: 5,187
Average Customer Rating: 4.35 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 5 out of 5
This book is a comprehensive, detailed collection of Larry Ellison anecdotes and quotes from people around him. Author Matthew Symonds occasionally interjects himself, but mostly lets his sources talk. Perhaps for fairness, he quotes many people who disagree with each other about important decisions at Oracle. Perhaps for journalistic objectivity, he generally refrains from judgment. This shows the reader every perspective, even if it doesn't define context, chronology or direction. You get all of the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, though you may want a clearer box top picture. Some of the technology coverage will intrigue only tech industry buffs, but overall you will learn a great deal of interesting information about Ellison and Oracle. We also found that Ellison's character came most into focus when the book entered the world of yacht racing, his passion. The author also includes poignant, revealing anecdotes about Ellison's childhood and candid reports about his personal life. Larry Ellison was allowed to review the manuscript and his comments appear as counterbalancing footnotes on many pages. That guy, he always does things a new way - as you will see.
Rating: 5 out of 5
A Great Book about a Very Interesting Company
A fascinating book. I should note that I worked at Oracle for 12 years (1989-1991), though much too far down in the hierarchy to have had dealings with Larry Ellison himself. But when Symonds writes about the people that I did know and work for and with, he hasn't struck a single false note. He has captured very accurately the Oracle culture--a lot of very bright and very driven people, with of course a few inevitable mistakes thrown in.
In this book, Ellison comes over as one of the most insightful leaders in SV in the 80s and 90s. I wasn't always able to see this side of him, as I kept hearing negative reports from those who had been subjected to his (earlier, and admitted by him in this book to have been wrong) MBR (management by ridicule) approach.
I believe Symonds has done an accurate evaluation of Ellison, and Ellison, in his footnotes, comes over as a thoughtful person able to admit where he was wrong.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Some interesting history
I was intersted in the history of relational. There is one lamentably brief chapter: System R, Sybase, Ingres, two-phased commit, stored procedures, etc. Apparently 4 was the first version written in C.
By the way, what happened to Power Objects (Oracle's answer to Visual Basic)? A victim of Ellison's internet epiphany, I assume?
Most is management history: Ray Lane, Geoff Squire etc. Good if you're interested.
You'll probably want to skip the girlfriends and sailboats.
· The Oracle of Oracle: The Story of Volatile CEO Larry Ellison and the Strategies Behind His Company's Phenomenal Success
· Inside Intuit: How the Makers of Quicken Beat Microsoft and Revolutionized an Entire Industry
· Everyone Else Must Fail : The Unvarnished Truth About Oracle and Larry Ellison
· Larry Ellison: Sheer Nerve (Techies)
· The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison : *God Doesn't Think He's Larry Ellison