Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Tough Choices

This is the ninth book I read in preparation for the 2016 Presidential Elections.

When I set out to read all books by Presidential candidates this year, the library turned out to be a wonderful resource. But unfortunately our library doesn't carry Carly Fiorina's latest book Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey.

I knew very little about Mrs. Fiorina, so decided her 2006 book Tough Choices would as good a start as any. It describes her career at AT&T and Lucent, and later her work as CEO of HP.

Obviously, this was a period in her life that was about running companies -- not running for office -- so it didn't tell me much about her political ideas or ambitions, but it was a good book. I have worked with several people who were AT&T and Lucent, mostly technology folks, so I feel some affiliation with those companies. It was very interesting to read about the work of a CEO.

Throughout the book I started to like Mrs. Fiorina. She seems like a good manager. Cares about people, knows her stuff... At the same time, it is very hard to judge her performance from her own memoir, and in particular the final fight with the Board at HP was hard to gage. That's fine, this is an autobiography not a journalistic work. Clearly, Mrs. Fiorina has been a trailblazer as a female in big corporate tech businesses.

The book tells me little about her quality as political candidate. The little I've read about her so far seems to indicate she has not been very successful as a Republican candidate and she is struggling to make the threshold for the first TV debate. On social issues and foreign policy her ideas are fundamentally different than mine. The beauty about reading books like these is that you get to know and respect a person, even if their ideas and experiences are vastly different.

Carly Fiorina

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