• Merrill R. Chapman


In 1982, Harper & Row published In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. In Search of Excellence quickly became a seminal work in the category of business management books and made its authors millionaires. Although it’s no longer the literary obsession of freshly minted MBAs that it was back in the 1980s, the book’s distribution and influence has proved long lasting and pervasive. After its introduction, the book stayed on best-seller lists for almost 4 years and sold over 3 million copies. A survey by WorldCat, an electronic catalog of materials from libraries in the United States and other countries, ranks In Search of Excellence as being on more library shelves than any other book in the world. With 3,971 libraries listing it as being in their collections, the book tops the list of 100 books held by libraries. It has held the number one position since 1989.


Federal Trade Commission Word Processor Radio Shack Electronic Catalog Street Technology 
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  1. 1.
    In point of fact, the Japanese did introduce a plethora of CP/M and MS-DOS “clones.” Like many other companies, the Japanese firms failed to understand the impact of the IBM standard on the industry and none of the machines made a significant impact on the market. In Japan, NEC and Fujitsu attempted to establish independent hardware standards, but their efforts were eventually overwhelmed by IBM’s PC standard. The most important long-term impact the Japanese had on computing technology was Sony’s successful introduction of a standard for 3“ floppies.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    An early attempt at a true “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) word processor. The product displayed your text on a bitmapped screen and could show italicized and underlined text. On a 1MHz Apple II it also ran veery sl000wly.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The first computer I ever owned was used Radio Shack TRS-80 Model One, semi-affectionately known by its owners as “Trash Ones.” The reliability of early models was less than stellar, and the paint tended to rub off their keyboards, leading older systems to develop a rather decrepit appearance.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Data General made its own contribution to stupidity with the introduction of the Data General One in 1985. This was the first “clamshell” portable and, in terms of weight and functionality, a breakthrough. A fully loaded system cost about $3,000.00, weighed about 12 pounds, supported up to 512KB of RAM, could hold two 3.5“ double-sided 700KB floppies, and featured an LCD screen capable of displaying a full 80x25 lines of text, an unusual feature for a portable in that era. It also had enough battery life to allow you to get some work done from your airplane seat. Unfortunately, the LCD screen also sported a surface so shiny and reflective you could literally comb your hair in it, making it almost impossible to view the screen for everyday computing chores. No one could ever quite figure out what had possessed Data General to release a system that basically functioned as a $3,000.00 personal grooming system. I still own one of these systems and once tried to sell it at a garage sale for $25.00. I am happy to discover they’re currently worth about $500.00 in the collectibles market.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    It has been my privilege to meet the person who holds the world record for getting the highest score ever achieved on this game, a young man who worked for me in the late 1990s. (The E.T. game and original Atari 2600 game system are somewhat collectible and still used by those interested in retro gaming. If you wish to experience the horror that was E.T.,you can download the game and a 2600 emulator for your PC from various Internet sites.) I won’t reveal the name of this stalwart gamer because my revelation might permanently damage his career. When I knew him, he suffered from insomnia, and after playing many hours of E.T. I can understand why.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews, Gates: How Microsoft’s Mogul Reinvented an Industry—and Made Himself the Richest Man in America ( New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994 ) p. 378.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    was present at such a demo. I interrupted the demonstrator to inquire “Which one?”Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    For instance, another utility called “Big Disk.”Google Scholar

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© Merrill R. Chapman 2003

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  • Merrill R. Chapman

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