Watch Dog Book Review: "All I Know About Management I Learned From My Dog"

 |  Jun 27th 2011  |   4 Contributions


Hey Dogsters! Today I'm delighted to bring you a book review by John D. Williams. John (aka Watch Dog) is the customer service representative for Dogster & Catster and an adjunct professor of communication at Tarrant County College. He lives in Arlington, Texas with his wife, Tricia, and 11-yearold daughter, Hannah, who is crazy about dogs.

If you like what you read here, tune in tomorrow: We're going to give away five copies of the book!

All I Know About Management I Learned From My Dog

Reviewed by John Williams

In the world of business, you often hear the expression, Its a dog-eat-dog world. Im happy to report that Martin P. Levins new book has gotten our canine friends out of the doghouse and into the boardroom with style. At a modest 128 pages, from title page to postscript, Levins charming monograph (as he calls it) has much to offer, and if you happen to be a passionate entrepreneur who loves dogs, so much the better.

The premise of the book comes from Levins attempts to cope with the loss of his wife Marcia after sixty-eight years of marriage. His counselor repeatedly advises him, Youll feel better if you get a dog. Levin resisted. I thought to myself disdainfully, Ive had a dog; in fact Ive had several dogs. But Ive only had one wife, and Im not convinced that a border collie is going to do the trick, even conceding the devoted loyalty of dogs and the fact they are mans best friend.

But when weeks of mourning and grief counseling turned into months, somewhat on impulse, the eighty-nine-year-old publishing lawyer decided to visit a local shelter. What he and his assistant found was Angel, a mature female golden retriever/virgule chow mix.

All I Know About Management I Learned From My Dog follows Levin and Angels journey from insecure rescue dog and somewhat reluctant dog owner, to comfortable companions. It soon became clear that my best resource for managing Angel would be, unexpectedly, the six decades of experience I had in a variety of management positions and the principles I had learned in the process.

I confess the phrase managing Angel gave me caution, but Levins businesslike approach to pet ownership is obviously interlaced with devoted love for Angel. Any doubts I may have had dissolved quickly and, after all, it is a book about management styles.

Levins Angel-inspired tips, for running a business and being a happy dog owner, are beautiful in their simplicity:

1. Trust & Leadership
2. Communication
3. Problem Solving & Decision Making
4. Perseverance & Success

Youll need to read the book for details, but in this reviewers opinion, you wont be disappointed. Levin delivers the goods in fine style, sprinkled with good humor and wisdom garnered from six decades of management experience juxtaposed with his new life with Angel. Levin shares the ups and downs of learning to communicate with Angel; developing coping mechanisms for her fear of thunderstorms; and learning how to handle the challenges of traveling together.

Having managed a pizza shop and two university television stations, I found myself nodding in agreement with much of Levins management advice, especially his counsel to stick to basics and remain young at heart:

Staying young has long been the subject of philosophers and writers, from Aristotle to the present, and this is not an exaggeration. In the complex management environment, staying young is essential, and there are a number of issues involved in remaining so.

I am advised by Angel that if I take regular naps and stay young at heart, she expects more from me there is much more to come.

There is a wealth of wisdom in this little book for both entrepreneurs and dog lovers. Levin has a treasure trove of experience from which to mine his management advice, and a simply delightful story to share in Angel. And it isnt all about Levin teaching Angel; much of the story is how Angel teaches him life lessons, which blends nicely with Levins belief that a good manager must also be a good listener and always interested in learning.

All I Know About Management I Learned From My Dog is not a large book, but neither is it short on substance. Definitely worth putting on your bucket list of books to read this summer. You wont be disappointed.

(Image of office dogs Watson and Cressi from the Flickr photostream of emdot.)

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